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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…

THE X-MEN HAVE JOINED THE AVENGERS!!!

X-MEN MEMBERS HAVE JOINED THE AVENGERS!!!

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!

Who Do You Think Of When You Think Of The Avengers? Please Comment Below

Y’know, something that seems to happen a lot in comics is that superhero teams will go through multiple iterations with varying members that switch in and out of the roster. The Justice Society, the Justice League, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Teen Titans, the New Warriors, etc. Now, a word that’s been going around a lot lately is ‘iconic’, specifically as it pertains to individuals bearing legacy hero aliases or variations of superhero teams. Ultimately, though, what it boils down to is which version you think of first. Like, for example, I love the idea of people like Sam Wilson, Miles Morales, and Kamala Khan taking up the names of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Ms. Marvel. Thing is, though, as much as I love it and hope they stick around for the long-haul, unless your first exposure to the Star-Spangled Avenger was the book All-New Captain America, you’re probably gonna think of Steve Rogers first before Sam Wilson. And that is in no way a knock at Sam, it’s just how it is. Steve has now had five individuals who have taken up the shield in varying absences and has always found a way to retake it every time, meaning that in his 74 year existence in comics, he’s spent the vast majority of it as Captain America, and is therefore likely to someday become Cap again. The movies don’t really help much there either, since Marvel always tries to have their comics reflect elements of the movies for the sake of new readers that got into the characters and stories through the movies, except in rare cases. Like, I don’t expect Carol Danvers to become Ms. Marvel again now that she’s got a movie in the works as CAPTAIN Marvel, so Kamala is probably safe in her current role.

Still, that raises an interesting question: Is there a universally accepted definition of who the most iconic versions of heroes and/or members of superhero teams are? Because every comic is conceivably someone’s first, so who knows? Maybe some people’s first exposure to Captain America is the Sam Wilson version? And hey, Free Comic Book Day is meant to get new readers on board with comics, so it’s entirely possible that the first version of the Avengers for some people is the one that debuted there, assuming they don’t watch the movies of course. Likewise, people who don’t read the comics and only watch the movies would think of that team of heroes as the Avengers first and foremost, and would probably be shocked to learn that Captain America wasn’t a founding member, Hulk left within a couple of issues and didn’t return until 2012, and Black Widow didn’t join the team until a full 10 years and 100+ issues into the Avengers’ history.

As such, here’s the question I pose to you all: Who do you think of when you think of the Avengers? Do you think of the original five founding members of Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk? Perhaps Cap’s Kooky Quartet of himself, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch? Maybe the A-Next team from the MC2 Universe, consisting of J2, Mainframe, Stinger, and Thunderstrike? Or maybe you don’t even think of one single version of the team, but rather different members that have been on various incarnations of the team, like Spider-Man, Vision, Wolverine, Luke Cage, or Doctor Strange?

So, basically what I want is for you to list the first five to ten characters you think of when you hear the word ‘Avengers’. Keep in mind, there is no wrong answer here. It all depends on who you think of. List them in the comments section below, and we’ll see who everyone thinks of, and if there are any universally considered iconic members of the Avengers. Ja né!

My Thoughts On The All-New, All-Different Avengers Preview Comic

So, I went to Heroes’ Beacon and GameZilla for Free Comic Book Day today. Sadly, I can’t upload photos of my trips to either, because my computer, for some strange reason, doesn’t wanna accept SD cards right now. I can’t even begin to understand why. Nonetheless, the point of this article is not to talk about Free Comic Book Day and what I did there, but rather, what I got: All-New, All-Different Avengers.

So, not a whole lot to say, since it’s just a preview of stuff to come. What’s here is good, though. We see the Avengers having to fight Radioactive Man, but something apparently goes wrong when Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Spider-Man (Miles Morales), and Nova (Sam Alexander) are sent to bring him in while Thor (the new female one), Iron Man (presumably Tony Stark, although they can’t seem to recall that Wasp was the one to name the team the Avengers), Vision, and Captain America (Sam Wilson) deal with…erm, Radioactive Man’s giant green dragon……’kay. Anyway, the other four seem to the teens as being highly upset that Radioactive Man seemingly got away, but it turns out that the reason he got away was because the teens decided to save one innocent pedestrian in the middle of the chaos. When Cap presses the issue and asks if they really thought saving one man was worth it, which they seem to confirm…he’s convinced that they were the right choices for the new team. Saving people is their number one priority, and these three clearly have the mindset of doing so above all else. So yeah, it’s kinda short, but it nonetheless showcases how these seven operate, and I do like the way they work as a unit. Still, I would’ve liked to see some mix-and-matching between the older and younger groups instead of having the generational members split off, but I guess I can look forward to that when the book starts.

I’m not gonna talk too much about the other half of the book, which features the Uncanny Inhumans, except to bring up a couple of points. First off, why is it called Uncanny Inhumans? Look, I know that a lot of adjectives used to describe heroes and teams have been interchangeable at times, but there really is no way to use the word ‘Uncanny’ to describe a superhero team without thinking of the X-Men. In fact, the only one I can think of off the top of my head other than them is the Uncanny Avengers, which have like half their team made up of X-Men alumni. Next thing I gotta ask about is the Human Torch’s presence on the team. Not only does this raise some questions about his status with the Fantastic Four, but…………..Since when were Johnny Storm and Queen Medusa ROMANTIC?! Maybe this is none of my business, but isn’t Medusa married?! The frak is going on?! But other than that, it was okay, showing the team going up against Hydra agents looking to kidnap newly awakened Inhumans.

Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say about the book. It was good, and the post-Secret Wars universe looks promising, but man, does it raise some interesting questions. Lemme know what books you guys got at FCBD, and then come back in a day or two for when I give my overall thoughts and opinions on Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ja né!

Contemplating Avengers Fic For Next Year – Amazing Spider-Man or Ultimate Spider-Man?

So, as the title suggests, I’ve played with the idea of doing an Avengers fanfic. I mostly blame that on the fact that I can’t seem to get THIS song outta my frakking head…

…but I digress. The Avengers are a large group. In fact, I’m fairly certain every major superhero in the Marvel universe has been a member of at least one incarnation of it. Some have been a part of SEVERAL, *COUGH!*Iron Man*COUGH!*. As such, I can pretty much get away with having whatever Marvel heroes I want on my own Avengers team. The question is, who? Well, there’s plenty to choose from, but I think I’d want the team to be diverse and not have a lot of powers be shared by multiple members. Also, for obvious reasons, I wouldn’t want more than one character with the same alias. So, with that out of the way, I’m left with a simple question: Amazing Spider-Man or Ultimate Spider-Man?

Now, lemme clear something up: When I say “Amazing Spider-Man or Ultimate Spider-Man?”, what I really mean is “Peter Parker or Miles Morales?”. Now, if you’re wondering why I would even ask such a thing…Well, you probably haven’t been reading the comics as of late. Plus, as is my custom with writing superhero teams, I like a diverse team with multi-ethnical flavour, so the temptation to include Miles partly stems from that (though I will admit that I object to making a hero black JUST BECAUSE Obama was elected). There are other reasons too, but I’ll get into that in a bit. First, let’s look at why I would go with his predecessor, Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man.

First appearing in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter Benjamin Parker was the average high school bully-magnet nerd, albeit with a real talent and passion for science. However, his life changed the day he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Initially trying to cash in on his success by becoming a novelty TV star in a costume, called ‘Spider-Man’, his failure to stop a fleeing burglar, seeing it as not being his problem, resulted in the crook murdering his Uncle Ben. Realising his new powers came with a responsibility to use them wisely, Peter instead dedicated his life to fighting crime. He has since been a member of both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.

Thanks to the spider bite, Peter possesses superhuman strength, enough to bench press 10 tons, enhanced speed and agility, insane levels of durability, and can crawl along walls. Using his advanced scientific mind, he also created a pair of web-shooters, which are strapped to his wrists and shoot a synthetic polymer adhesive, very similar to a spider’s webbing, used either to tie up foes or swing between buildings. The webbing is fired by placing the right amount of pressure on the trigger in his palm with his middle and ring fingers, which was designed intentionally as to avoid accidentally firing them by making a fist. He’s also created spider-tracers, which are tiny devices that send out a signal for him to track down. He even developed his own martial art, ‘The Way Of The Spider’, which uses his abilities and arsenal to their fullest potential. But the greatest asset to his abilities is his Spider-sense. To quote Wizard of ScrewAttack!, the Spider-sense “gives Peter omnipresent detection of his surroundings. This is how he’s able to swing through New York without looking where he shoots his webs.” Of course, even with such an ability, Spider-Man has to be able to react to its warnings, so if he thinks he’s not in danger or simply isn’t able to move fast enough…well, you get the idea.

For all of his abilities, both superhuman and otherwise, Spider-Man isn’t perfect. He does possess an inferiority complex, probably at least partially due to years spent being bullied for his lunch money. He’s a bit anti-social, again, probably because of being a bully magnet, has a bit of a fear of women…which is odd, seeing as how many girlfriends he’s had (gotta be the tights. Oh yeah. lol), can be somewhat accident-prone without his Spider-sense, and has apparently dealt with severe amounts of Oedipal guilt, and if you don’t know what that is, for the love of God, DO NOT LOOK IT UP. And yes, I suppose I should bring this up: Because he’s CONSTANTLY agonising over the meaning of right and wrong, and has this little irritating problem with acting like a grown-up, he once traded life with his wife for life with his repeatedly dying aunt to the devil, and not because she was dying, but because it was his fault, meaning it was less about her and more about his own pain. And for those wondering, NO, if I EVER write Amazing Spider-Man, I am not including the events of One More Day and the deal with Mephisto to his back-story. You can make whatever argument you like, IT WAS WRONG, DAMMIT.

So, there’s the arguments for and against Peter Parker. Now, let’s take a look at his arguably lesser-known successor from another universe, this is Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man.

First appearing in 2011’s Ultimate Fallout #4, Miles Morales exists in the Ultimate universe, which is usually used for modern retellings of long-time superheroes without having to reboot the entire franchise, something other comic book companies might’ve wanted to consider. Regardless, Miles is of mixed heritage, being half Mexican and half African-American, and is the nephew of the Ultimate universe’s Prowler. An Oscorp scientist was using Peter Parker’s blood to recreate the formula that turned him into Spider-Man. However, Prowler stole the formula, but one of the spiders created through it snuck into his duffel bag. It then bit Miles when he was visiting his uncle, whom he was unaware was the Prowler. At first, due to the urgings of his friend, Ganke, he engages in super-heroics, but quickly quits. However, following the death of the Ultimate universe’s Peter Parker when he saves his family and friends from the Green Goblin, Miles realises that he could’ve been there to help him, and after learning of Peter’s story from Gwen Stacy, decides to become Spider-Man, later being allowed to join the Ultimates.

Through the bite of the genetically engineered spider, Miles possesses most of Peter’s abilities, although his Spider-sense isn’t nearly as effective. He also has Peter’s web-shooters, which were given to him by Aunt May and Gwen after they accepted him as the new Spider-Man, and a similar aptitude for science. However, Miles has two abilities unique to himself. The first is that he can camouflage himself into his surroundings, including his clothes, to make himself unseen by most opponents. The other is the venom strike, an electrical touch that can be conducted through clothes, and even across certain materials like the Amazing Spider-Man’s webbing, to paralyse the target. Speaking of, it should be noted that, during a cross-over event called Spider-Men (one of the only post-One More Day stories I’m actually tempted to buy), an altercation born out of confusion between the Amazing Spider-Man and the Ultimate Spider-Man resulted in Miles actually disabling his predecessor with the venom strike, although one could argue this was simply due to a lack of understanding on Peter’s part of Miles’ unique powers.

With all of that said, however, Miles has his issues as well. For example, while mainstream Peter Parker is generally portrayed as having been bitten by the spider roughly in his mid to late teens, Miles was THIRTEEN. While quitting superhero activities as quickly as he did might seem odd, when you consider that he was 13-years-old, having to bear the weight and responsibility of being Spider-Man, and is the son and nephew of thieves, trying to determine if he really could be a good person (the whole nature vs nurture thing), it becomes a bit easier to understand. In fact, he’s arguably more sympathetic than Peter, as they both tend to deal with their problems in similar fashion, and often-times have made the same mistakes (aside from one rather big one I already mentioned), but one actually IS a teenager, while the other simply BEHAVES like one. Plus, just try not to feel at least a little sorry for a kid his age that has to fight the worst criminals and horrifying super-villains comic book New York has to offer. If he doesn’t grow up to be completely mentally unstable, it’ll either be the work of a miracle, or because he was killed in action.

So, there you go. Arguments for and against both the Amazing Spider-Man and the Ultimate Spider-Man. Who would you rather see written alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Leave your comments below, or simply vote for your favourite. I’ll probably be doing similar polls for other heroes of the Marvel universe, so keep your eyes peeled. Either way, you can probably expect the Avengers fic to come out either Spring or Summer 2014. Ja né!