How To Drop The Ball In Comics: What Bothers Me About The X-Men’s Plight
…Okay, before anyone sees that title and asks, no, I don’t hate the X-Men in any way, shape, or form. I love the X-Men. In fact, I think it’s that love of the X-Men that helped me realize this issue of mine. See, a few days ago, while discussing the possibility of the X-Men and Fantastic 4 being phased out in terms of importance to the Marvel Universe, I mentioned how, and I quote, “the X-Men’s continued plight as being loathed by humanity becomes more absurd the more you think about it and the more time goes by”. I also mentioned how I’d like to see Marvel Studios come to some kind of deal with Fox to be able to incorporate the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if for no other reason but to have Wolverine potentially join the Avengers for a mission or two. However, looking back on that, I think that would only make the same problem I have with the X-Men in the comics present in the movies. And for those wondering what that is, I will spell it out for you: The X-Men and mutantkind in general being hated and mistrusted by ‘normal’ human beings MAKES NO SENSE when they exist in the same universe as the Avengers, who are seen as the legitimate heroes of Earth. Hell, it doesn’t make any sense when presented in the same universe as ANY superhero team that has super-powered members of any kind. Every excuse I’ve ever heard, be it that they’re too powerful, too different, were ordinary humans changed to be superhuman, can read minds, none of them have any kind of leg to stand on when you really analyze them. And, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to present my evidence in a very simple bulleted list.
- The Avengers have plenty of super-powered individuals that can be seen as being as powerful or more-so than the average mutant. And don’t split hairs with me, you know what I mean by average. The number of mutants that could take Thor or the Hulk in a one-on-one fight are probably a bit on the short side. So, those that fear that mutants are too powerful have clearly never taken a good look at Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
- Members of the Avengers have come not only from various walks of life on Earth, but from different worlds and even whole different realms of existence. And while I’m not saying that people aren’t afraid of Thor for being different, I would go out on a limb and suggest that they are considerably less than the number of people that fear mutants for the same damned reason.
- There exist plenty of superheroes both on the Avengers and other superhero teams (hell, EVERY MEMBER of the original Fantastic 4) who were ordinary humans that were altered, empowered, or transformed in some way, shape, or form that all get free passes from prejudice and hate. Now, granted, there are those that ARE feared and hated, too. Probably the biggest example of such would be the Hulk. However, let’s look at the biggest example of a human being who was changed and became able to perform superhuman feats: Steven Rogers, AKA Captain fucking America. Granted, at the end of the day, he’s still a human being with basic human weaknesses, but he can lift more and run faster than any non-enhanced human being, and can process information quicker than the average person too. And while I wouldn’t wanna make an ass outta you and me, I’m nonetheless going to assume that significantly fewer people fear Captain America than mutants.
- Mutants aren’t the only individuals in the Marvel Universe that possess a form of telepathy. Granted, the list of humans that can use telepathy and aren’t considered mutants is pretty frigging short, and mutants employ several of the best telepaths in the universe, but they aren’t the only ones. Hell, Sam Wilson has a telepathic connection with his fucking bird, and no one raises an eyebrow. Look, I get it, the idea of people able to read our thoughts can be kinda creepy, and there are those in the mutant community that don’t exactly do a great job of diffusing such fears. I’m not even necessarily talking villains here, either. Recently, the time displaced Jean Grey of the past (long story short for those that don’t know, the original five X-Men of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel, and Beast were brought to the present and have refused to go back until they fix the mess their future selves made) revealed that Iceman was gay by going into his brain and reading his thoughts without his consent and continued to do so even after he asked her not to. Still, it’s not like that’s a scenario exclusive to mutants. Oh, and speaking of which, I can’t help but notice that Earth in the Marvel Universe has, like the real world, become a place where we’re becoming more accepting of people of different races, religions, orientations, genders, and anything else that could divide us as a species…and yet, mutants, which have been used as a metaphor for all of those things, are still not accepted. That’s a problem. lol
Anyway, I think that pretty much covers most of… … … … …Oh wait, I almost forgot…
Even before the Unity Division, AKA the Uncanny Avengers, X-Men members like Wolverine, Storm, and Beast have joined various incarnations of the Avengers. Hell, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have been longtime members of the Avengers, and they used to work for the Brotherhood of Mutants. Y’know, the bad guys? Don’t recall that ever being a problem, or if it was, I never heard of it being so.
So, with all of that said, the only conceivable answer I can come up with for why mutants are still loathed and feared in the Marvel Universe when there are people like the Avengers and the Fantastic 4 running around is because humanity is either immensely hypocritically bigoted, or it’s fucking stupid. And, as I’ve said before, if a story only works because the characters involved are morons, the story ultimately fails… … …which, to be perfectly frank, is probably why the X-Men and the struggles of mutantkind being pushed aside a bit in the grand scope of the Marvel Universe, and not being an element of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are good things. And again, I love the X-Men. I love seeing the characters show up and be awesome, and watching them take part in big, epic events to save the world is great. And the stories that focus primarily on them are still good. It’s when I’m asked, in a story involving the Marvel Universe in general, to believe that they’re still despised by humanity in spite of every reason why they shouldn’t be that I find the severe logical problem in storytelling, which is one reason why I REALLY didn’t like Avengers vs X-Men… … … … …And oh God, do I ever dread the day when I’ll have to give my full thoughts on that event. -_-
Anyway, those are my thoughts on that particular subject. Lemme know what you think of it in the comments section below, and be sure to bamf back here the next time I have a random thought about how a comic idea can kinda fail sometimes. Ja né!
Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Things I’d Like To See Added Or Changed By Next May In Marvel
Well, it’s the last day of May, so I guess that makes this the last blog post for Marvelous May. I wanna thank everybody that came to this blog to enjoy my first ever theme month. Will I do this again? Meh, maybe, if I feel up to it. Still, if I ever do Marvelous May again, here’s some things that I’d like to see different with Marvel Comics and other related properties by that point. As usual, this is in no particular order. And I’m not even gonna bother mentioning that Marvel Studios should make a deal with 20th Century Fox, since I said that once already today. lol So, let’s start off with a big one that I’ve been complaining about for a long time now…
I cannot be the only person bothered by this. In fact, I know for certain I’m not. I remember being so excited for AXIS, thinking “WOW, they finally did it. They’ve got a big crossover event between the Avengers and X-Men where the focus is on stopping the villain and not fighting each other.” And what happened by the end of it? Heroes fighting heroes. Guys, it’s been played out to DEATH. I’m not saying you can’t ever do it again, that’s stupid. Of course, when you’ve got so many heroes from different walks of life and with differing view points on philosophy, methods in the field, belief systems, etc., things are naturally gonna get heated from time to time. But for God’s sake, it’s like at LEAST every other event in Marvel eventually boils down to or is centered around the idea of heroes fighting heroes. I’m just saying, it’s a new universe following Secret Wars, it’s a clean slate, let’s try something different. Hell, I’ve even got one in mind…
Here’s my idea: Have Marvel Ultimate Alliance be an annual Summer-long mini-series. Each year, the most insane yet awesome set-ups and scenarios occur, requiring the team-up of heroes that aren’t generally seen together. Stuff like ten villains being merged together into a single entity wielding the Mandarin’s rings, or a sentient sun that goes around literally turning whole planets to ash, or the Infinity Gems becoming entities that are out of control. Just crazy stuff like that where we’d need team-ups between the Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic 4, Inhumans, and so on. It’d be great, and it’d be about superheroes saving the day against incredible odds.
Look, I see nothing wrong with flawed heroes. It’s unrealistic to imagine heroes not having any kinds of problems, considering all they have to deal with, and frankly, it’s not interesting to read. But for God’s sake, there’s a difference between being flawed and just being plain unheroic. This is my problem with Hank Pym, Reed Richards, and modern-day Tony Stark and Scott Summers. They don’t act like heroes. Granted, right now, Tony kinda has an out where his moral compass has been inverted, but he was already kinda taking a dive to the dark side long before that, as I’ve documented before. Then there’s Cyclops, who willingly put the world in jeopardy to bring back the Phoenix, and then after doing horrible things while being possessed by it, has apparently decided in the set-up for Secret Wars to become the Phoenix AGAIN. I remember a while ago making a demotivator telling everyone to get over the fact that Cyclops was a villain, and then recently he decided to try to be a good guy again, and now he’s pulling this crap. Oh, and just saying this now, I don’t care what is done from here on out, I am NEVER accepting Namor as a superhero ever again. That was my ONE problem with A-Force #1, was when he showed up to help out. On top of everything else he’s done, he knowingly and willfully blew up a fucking planet, killing everyone on it. More than anyone else in the Illuminati, he is now unforgivable in my eyes. I would sooner read Tony as a hero than Namor. If you want these guys to be villains, FINE, make them villains. If nothing else, it makes their behaviour easier to understand. Do not, however, jerk us around with this crap by having them be heroes that do outright villainous things. It’s ANNOYING.
Okay, let’s get this outta the way right now: I’m very happy that Renew Your Vows features a Peter Parker that didn’t make the deal with Mephisto, is still married to Mary Jane, and has a daughter named Annie-Wait, Annie? What happened to Mayday? Also, REALLY, guys? You had a redheaded daughter that you decided to name ANNIE? And yes, I know MJ has an aunt named Anna, but come on. Regardless, even if this is a change that will continue into the new universe, the bigger problem is that the deal wouldn’t have been UNDONE, just forgotten about and tossed aside to where it’s never addressed again. What I would much rather like to see is the main Peter Parker learning of this one living in Battleworld, recalling the deal, and before Secret Wars is over (or perhaps after it as a sort of follow-up story), he tells Aunt May the truth about what he did, then decides to go see Mephisto and call off their deal, realizing what he gave up and how wrong it was. THAT would be undoing One More Day and the deal with Mephisto, and would set Peter back on the path of taking actual responsibility for his actions and growing into an adult with real adult problems requiring real adult solutions. Granted, I might also like to see him still running Parker Industries as best as he can at the same time. Plus, then we’d have a really good excuse/explanation for why him and Miles are both Spider-Man following Secret Wars, since both have so much in their lives that they need to balance. Actually, I’m pretty sure that last part is more or less what they’re gonna do regardless of if the deal is undone or Peter and MJ are married or not, but whatever, just saying there’s more drama and potential storytelling to be had there.
I like Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I may have brought this up once or twice before. lol However, even if I didn’t, I can assure you, I would still hate its successor, Avengers Assemble. The writing is weaker, the choices of voice actors are kinda iffy, and whereas EMH started off with a team that paid tribute to the early days of the Avengers in the comics and then eventually added new members from various eras of the Marvel Universe, this team is pretty blatantly based off the movie team, with Falcon being added to basically be the viewer’s stand-in guy for the team. Kinda like Jubilee in the X-Men cartoon, where she was the new girl and was our eyes and ears in this world. Then Scott Lang joins, because he’s got a movie coming out, and do you see the problem? The quality of the show takes a backseat to advertising the movies. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t advertise the movies, just that we still need a quality show. What would be a MUCH better idea, in my opinion, is to have a show where all the new solo-movie heroes (Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man), along with some of the new Avengers that joined in Age of Ultron (Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Falcon, and War Machine) team up, and bring back the writing team that did EMH. That way, you’re still advertising the movies, but you’re also doing something different and you’re making sure the writing is good enough to where people WANT to watch. I have NO idea who is watching this show or why… … …Also, just saying this while I’m on the subject, EMH has the best frigging superhero cartoon theme. Not kidding. Play that shit.
Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Got one I didn’t list? Leave it below, and we’ll see how things change between now and next May. In the meantime, as we close out Marvelous May, be sure to check in next month when I give my thoughts on DC’s Convergence, both good and bad, and where this is all hopefully going. Ja né!
My Thoughts On The X-Men & Fantastic 4 Possibly Being Phased Out
Y’know, something I’ve been asked about online a couple of times and have seen being debated about on various websites and on social media is the supposed phasing out of the X-Men and Fantastic 4 in Marvel Comics. Basically, the belief is that, because Marvel Studios doesn’t own the movie rights for the characters, they want to instead primarily push the characters they DO own the movie rights to in the comics to the forefront of stories, leaving two of the greatest superhero teams to the wayside. And I say that as someone who doesn’t even particularly like the Fantastic 4 (admittedly mostly due to the presence of Reed Richards, but that’s beside the point), and feel that the X-Men’s continued plight as being loathed by humanity becomes more absurd the more you think about it and the more time goes by…but that’s a rant for another day.
So, what are my thoughts on the matter? Well, there’s some truth to it, but not to the degree that seemingly some are afraid of. I think a lot of people are scared that the Fantastic 4 and X-Men will just straight up fade away. Honestly, I don’t see that happening. And even if the teams disappeared, the characters would still be around. I mean, if they were ever going to completely erase them from history, I would think that Secret Wars would be the time. And guess what? We know from past interviews that the X-Men will still be around post-Secret Wars, and Human Torch has been seen in his Fantastic 4 uniform hanging out with the Inhumans in the Free Comic Book Day preview of Uncanny Inhumans.
However, there is nonetheless truth to the suggestion that the X-Men and Fantastic 4 are being put aside as Marvel pushes the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Inhumans as much as possible. While they’re still around, their overall importance to the overarching story isn’t quite as much as they used to be. Also, according to Chris Claremont last year, X-Men writers aren’t allowed to create new characters anymore because, and I quote, “Why promote Fox material?”. Now, I don’t know if this is still in effect, but if it is, I get the feeling this should piss me off a lot, and I’m sure it does so with plenty of people. And while it does annoy me a little, at the same time… … …Do you have any idea how many X-Men there are? Seriously, look it up. That and the number of X-Men villains. It’s insane how many there are. If the X-Men stories ever separated from Marvel completely into a company of nothing but X-Men and X-Men related characters, they’d be just fine, which is likely why Fox has decided to go ahead with doing more movies with characters related to them. I DO hope that this isn’t a complete copy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though, requiring us to watch EVERY MOVIE to understand the overall plot, and instead allowing us to watch the ones we want to follow the characters we like.
Another thing that leads people to believe Marvel is going to completely disperse the X-Men is the fact that a number of characters have either died or been turned either villainous or SEVERELY anti-heroic. Okay, lemme address this right now: Wolverine and Deadpool are not staying dead FOREVER. I guarantee it. As much as they’re making or have made Fox, it’s not like Marvel’s not seeing money from them too. And plus, Hugh Jackman has already declared that Wolverine 3 is his exit. Well, what the hell are they gonna do with Wolverine then? What CAN they do at that point? Xavier… … …Honestly, I think I actually prefer having Storm running the ship right now. On top of that, Xavier and his methods were becoming increasingly deplorable the more we learned about him. And as for Cyclops…Well, a lot of people kinda hated him already, so why not make him an anti-hero constantly on the edge of being a villain?
You’ll notice I haven’t really talked much about the Fantastic 4. Well, that’s because, other than ending this current volume of the book, teasing the end of the team (and then going back on it), and having Ultimate Reed Richards complete the heel turn his 616 counterpart began pretty much from the moment he was conceived as a character, there’s not a lot suggesting that the Fantastic 4 are going anywhere. Like I said, Johnny Storm was seen in the Uncanny Inhumans preview in his Fantastic 4 costume. And considering that, while the Fantastic 4 as a group don’t play a big role in stories nowadays, their villain, Doctor Doom, plays a HUGE part in Secret Wars as the man who created Battleworld, I think it’s safe to say that the Fantastic 4 aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Ultimately, for fans of these characters, I wouldn’t worry too much. Are they getting downgraded? Yes, but I don’t think they’re outright disappearing. You’ll still be able to read about these two superhero teams in the future. Besides, if Marvel Studios could eventually come to make a deal with Sony Pictures, I don’t see any reason to believe they might not eventually come to a similar deal with Fox…Although, that being said, PLEASE, if y’all make a deal, please do not reboot X-Men and Fantastic 4. The latter is just now going through a reboot, and X-Men has finally had the really bad mistakes made with the franchise fixed and are looking to do some great stuff. Plus, while Hugh Jackman is planning to bow out in Wolverine 3, as I said before, I KNOW he would jump at the chance to play him in an Avengers movie… … …OR, if I had my way…
My God, that’d be badass… … …Erm, anyway, that’s my take on all of this, at least for now. Lemme know what you think in the comments section below, and we’ll see how things shape up in the future. Ja né!
My Thoughts On The Black Widow/Age Of Ultron Situation
*sighs*… … …So, I figured I should probably give my two cents on the situation involving the infamous “Black Widow calls herself a monster for not being able to have kids” scene from Age of Ultron, seeing as how I didn’t talk about it in my official review. And sadly, I know going into this that I’m gonna say some stuff that not everybody is gonna be okay with, but I have to be honest and sincere, so I ask that you all try to bear with me and understand my point of view.
First off, I should probably clarify the reason I didn’t talk about all of this before. After all, you’d think something like that would be really important to me and that it’d take up most of what I had to say about Black Widow. Well, the reason I didn’t bring it up is…it honestly kinda went over my head. lol I’m sorry, I know I may be offending some by admitting to that, but it’s the truth. I was still so sad about what had happened to her that I didn’t really register it. In fact, now that I think about it, I wonder if maybe the hope for many that worked on the film was that it wouldn’t register. Regardless, I apologize for not picking up on that.
Either way, looking back on the scene in hindsight…yeah, it’s problematic as fuck. Still, whether it be by naïvety or through a sense that more was going on than they tried to make it seem there was, I think that’s not how the scene was originally supposed to be played out. I just get this feeling that there’s more to that scene that wound up on the cutting room floor, that maybe she went on to talk about more that happened in her initiation and afterward, the ‘red in her ledger’, which led to her calling herself a monster. It’s been suggested by some fans that she may have been forced to kill someone close to her to prove her readiness as an assassin at the time, and/or that she may have been experimented on like in the comics. Yeah, for people who have only watched the movies, you might be surprised to know that Natasha is actually technically classified as superhuman due to being injected with a Soviet-made variant of the Super-Soldier Serum used on Steve Rogers. She’s actually supposed to be roughly as old as Cap, or at least close to it. It hasn’t boosted her strength and abilities to his level, but it’s nonetheless improved her strength, speed, reflexes, and longevity, among other things.
However, herein lies a problem: Even if those were in the original script, and I REALLY hope that, if so, they get included in the home release, for whatever reason, they were cut. Instead, the scene plays itself out so that, after revealing to Bruce Banner that she’s sterile, Natasha says, and I quote, “You still think you’re the only monster on the team?”. I don’t know whose call this was, or who thought that it would be appropriate to have her say that, but I do know that, following this, Joss Whedon has come under heavy fire on social media, so much so that he has left Twitter on the pretense of getting some peace and quiet.
Now, because there’s pretty heavy debate about this, what we were led to believe would be her role in this movie, and whether or not her wanting to be a mother is feminist or not feminist, I’m gonna make my overall feelings about this as clear as possible. Is Black Widow’s role in the movie problematic? Yes. I think that, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be a mother, the suggestion that she’s a monster for being infertile is gross and disturbing. Furthermore, the implication that the Avengers, particularly the Hulk, are used thematically as her surrogate children, is at least a tiny bit degrading for the whole lot of them.
With that said, though, here’s where I’m kicking the hornet’s nest. Is this something that should’ve been discussed with Joss Whedon? Absolutely. In fact, I would encourage the hell out of that idea. However, there’s one important minor issue that really, I’m sorry, you cannot pretend didn’t happen: Joss Whedon was sent DEATH THREATS by angry fans, and a LOT of them. And again, I’m sorry, but you can make all the excuses you want, and it will not change the fact that sending someone death threats until they opt to leave social media is not a discussion. That’s a mob. All that was missing were the pitch forks and torches…or pitch forks soaked in lighter fluid and set ablaze, just to get the ol’ two-for-one deal going. Now, to those of you who weren’t involved in that little ‘crusade’, that sought more diplomatic ways to express your disdain for what happened? Great. I applaud you, and hope that more people take after you in future incidents such as this. To those that were a part of it? I understand where you’re coming from, but you took it WAY too far.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. If I’ve offended anyone, I apologize, but as I said, I needed to be honest about this, and I hope that we can all learn from this situation and hopefully avoid having it ever happen again. Ja né!
Confirmation: Spider-Man Now A Part Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe + My Thoughts On The Matter
So, every now and then, when I can’t quite go to sleep, I do a quick, routine check of social media, just to make absolute certain I’m not missing anything. Y’know, put my mind at ease. Well, last night was one of those nights. And what did I find? THIS:
“Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man. Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films. The new relationship follows a decade of speculation among fans about whether Spider-Man – who has always been an integral and important part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comic books – could become part of the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Spider-Man has more than 50 years of history in Marvel’s world, and with this deal, fans will be able to experience Spider-Man taking his rightful place among other Super Heroes in the MCU.”
…YEAH. So, Spidey’s apparently coming home to Marvel and will be playing a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, obviously, with a decision as big as this, there’s going to be more than a few questions. Namely, can this partnership stand the test of time? Can both companies keep their egos in check to make this as great as they can? Who will be playing Spider-Man? Will Spider-Man even be Peter Parker, or will it be one of his replacements, like Miguel O’Hara or Miles Morales? What does this mean for the other Marvel movies? Well, right now, it’s looking like Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Inhumans will all be pushed back a little, with Inhumans actually marking the end of Phase 3, but all things considered, that’s not so bad in the long run.
As for the lead role…well, here’s my personal reaction to the suggestion that Andrew Garfield won’t be Spider-Man anymore:
Seriously, unless they find a truly superb replacement, or want to go a different route than Peter Parker, I’d stick with Garfield. He knows what he’s doing, he knows the character, and while I get that this is a reboot, we don’t need to change EVERYTHING all over again for the second time in this movie franchise. Speaking of, I would avoid having the new movie be yet another origin movie. We KNOW the character’s origins. We’ve seen movies that tell the origin twice now. We don’t need three in fifteen years. And finally, and this is admittedly a long shot, but if Marvel Studios could re-cast J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, that’d be GREAT.
Yeah, I know, long shot. Anyway, leave your thoughts and feelings on this matter below, and we’ll see how things develop from now until 2017. Ja né!