Tag: Comic Books

So I admit it . . . (More on Captain America: Steve Rogers)

***

Update September 2016

From now on, all of my superhero-related posts will be published at my A Clash of Heroes Blog.

***

. . . and I’m even happy to admit it. Thrilled. Like most of the world, I was hasty in my initial judgment of the Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 twist. In some ways, I think that the shocking turn at the end of that issue could prove to be a brilliant move—precisely because it turns out that Steve’s Hydra loyalties aren’t a secret that has been hidden from Marvel fandom for 75 years. Instead, it turns out that his mind has been hijacked by Kobik and the Red Skull.

I’ll have much more to say about this in my book, A Clash of Heroes, but for now I’ll say that issues 2-4 of Captain America: Steve Rogers have (mostly) impressed me in the way that they have driven home the fact that this is still Steve Rogers that we’re talking about (heroic virtues and all), and that in hijacking Steve’s mind with a sentient Cosmic Cube, the Red Skull has not only taken over America’s most beloved patriotic superhero; he is coming damn close to hijacking the very notion of what it means to be an American (which often seems pretty close to the truth). (more…)

Advertisements

Thoughts on Captain America: Steve Rogers #1

Update September 2016

From now on, all of my superhero-related posts will be published at my A Clash of Heroes Blog.
***

Update, September 5th, 2016

So I think that a few months is enough time to calm down and think a little more reflectively about the issue. Please see my newest post about Captain America: Steve Rogers.

***

(It’s hard to imagine that the book hasn’t been spoiled for every person on the planet by now, but SPOILER ALERT for Captain America: Steve Rogers #1.)

I’ll say this at the outset: in spite of what Nick Spencer and Tom Brevoort say, the Captain America we have known for 75 years is not a Hydra agent.

No, I’m not in denial. It is simply not the case that the current bigwigs at Marvel can rewrite the 75-year history of one of their most important characters, and especially not this character. Yes, Captain America belongs to Marvel, and they can do whatever they want with him, right? Nope. Sorry. Spencer can write whatever story he wants to write; it won’t change the work of creators like Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Mark Waid, Ed Brubaker, Mark Millar, J. Michael Straczynski, and others. Spencer and the folks at Marvel are custodians of a legacy that they have inherited, not its sole owners. (more…)

What Critics Have Gotten Wrong About BvS

the-hidden-plot-of-batman-vs-superman-dawn-of-justice-593860

***

Update September 2016

From now on, all of my superhero-related posts will be published at my A Clash of Heroes Blog.
***

A lot of critical ink has been spilled about Zack Snyder’s newest film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Many people love it, but many others seem to hate it. I won’t rehash here what other critics have said. Instead of reviewing the film as a whole, I want to take a different approach. At the risk of sounding like a fan-boy or an apologist, I want to answer just one of the the most common objections that critics have had against BvS: its depiction of Superman.

Many people have criticized Snyder’s depiction of Superman as cold, unfeeling, or wooden. “That’s not my Superman,” a lot of people have said. While I sympathize with those who want an optimistic, idealistic Superman, I don’t think that this Superman is really very different from past versions; it’s the world that changed. Past Superman movies have, by and large, shown him in a world that loves and trusts him unquestioningly. But is that how the world would respond to someone with the power of Kal-El of Krypton? Like it or not, Snyder has asked, “How would people really react if Superman existed?”

After a prologue dealing with Bruce Wayne, the real action of the film begins with Superman saving Lois Lane from terrorists who have taken her hostage in an African village. When they realize that Superman is coming, the terrorists slaughter many of the villagers and flee, leaving only their leader with Lois held at gunpoint. Then the scene turns to a Senate committee hearing, where a surviving villager says that Superman answers to no one, “Even, I think, to God.” Even though he did not kill anyone, the committee holds Superman responsible for the deaths of the villagers because, they say, his presence there caused the violence. If that strikes you as ridiculous and unrealistic (as some critics have argued), then I suggest that you pay closer attention to real-world politicians (who aren’t exactly models of reason). (more…)

Why We Need Superheroes

age-of-ultron

***

Update September 2016

From now on, all of my superhero-related posts will be published at my A Clash of Heroes Blog.

***

My students all know that I love superheroes, and I often find ways to use superheroes and their stories as analogues for issues that I discuss in class. But last week a student said to me that a movie like The Avengers “doesn’t have anything to do with the real world. It’s just dumb entertainment.” I had to forgive this student for such an egregious claim. She’s new to college, and I have no control over whatever subpar education that she received before now and would lead her to think that The Avengers is just “dumb entertainment.” But she made me realize that while it is certainly true that superhero movies are wildly popular right now, some people don’t realize just how important the mythology of comic book heroes can be if we’re willing to take them seriously.

(The Desire for) Power Corrupts

One of the reasons that I think superheroes are important at this particular moment is how good their stories are at helping us think about questions of power. And perhaps more now than in any other time, we need to think about what it means to seek and to wield power. (more…)