It’s been another bad week for Marvel Comics.
This week marked the beginning of Marvel’s Civil War II event, which they’ve been promoting heavily for the past few months. I’m an unapologetic fan of the first Civil War event, because it came along at just the right time in my life where it seemed weirdly relevant, and to see something relevant to my real life in comics was a new experience for me. So, going in to Civil War II, I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, especially since it was well-known that G. Willow Wilson and Ta-Nehisi Coates were at the planning summit.
Civil War II is not off to a great start.
There’s been a disconcertingly large amount of puff promos and deliberately non-critical interviews. But that’s okay, because this is the only article about Civil War II you need to read. I’m not going to restate Narcisse’s point, and the essay does contain spoilers, but I will quote from this section, so you understand why this essay is so important:
“Sure, it’s good storycraft to use death to illustrate stakes. But there are other stories that could have been told, other characters that could have carried that weight. I have to imagine that Marvel editorial already knew that black-guy-dying-nobly is a tired trope that would annoy parts of their audience. In fact, I don’t have to imagine it.”
What Narcisse is referring to is an interview from Newsarama with Tom Brevoort (Yep. The same Brevoort as the last Marvel issue. He’s really batting 1000 right now) where he refers to the aforementioned Marvel retreat, and Coates’ reaction to the decision to kill yet another black character:
“He heard all of this, and afterwards, he sent a long missive to myself and Axel, which we forwarded to Brian and we all spoke about, in terms of what he thought the reaction would be and what the ramifications would be, that we had to consider that from all sides. And we have.”
I call bullshit, Brevoort. Because if you had considered the ramifications of what Ta-Nahesi Coates said in those letters, I wouldn’t be writing this column, because the decision wouldn’t have happened. And it’s especially irritating in the face of Axel Alonso recently being quoted as saying “Writing comics was a hobby for white guys.” This, among other things, proves it still is.
I have other problems with Civil War #1, not the least being Tony telling Carol drinks are on him and the two of them appearing to be drinking alcohol. Tony was/is (since there has been no official retconning) Carol’s AA sponsor from a storyline written by Kurt Busiek, who talks about the storyline here:
So, barring further critical essays on Civil War II, you will not be finding much coverage on it here from me. If Marvel gave us review copies, maybe it’d be a different story. Maybe. But it’s hard for me to justify reading events like this one when at the same time, Marvel is killing the ongoings that are good, and different, and important. RIP Weirdworld. Tom King’s Vision isn’t far behind you.
There’s a commonly held belief that Marvel shouldn’t be allowed to retain their Marvel properties, and with rumors that they’ve re-secured the rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner (a character who was killed off in the comics last October) circulating, it seems an appropriate time to re-visit that belief. Especially in regards to X-Men: Apocalypse and advertising.
X-Men: Apocalypse debuted last weekend to mostly meh reviews. Jamie Kingston’s review on WWAC had the following to say:
“Singer’s largest problem, to me, seems to be that he just does not know what to do with women in general. The film doesn’t pass the Bechdel-Wallace test. I don’t think there is a single moment in which a woman addresses another woman without a man being part of the conversation. He also tends to portray his women as meek and lacking in common sense far more so than I would prefer. As a lifelong X-Men fan and a feminist, that rankles. I started reading X-Men just as the comic introduced a full complement of kickass women, and Singer’s film downplays their power and strength.”
Marvel not knowing what to do with their women isn’t a problem unique to the X-Men franchise, though it famously took Kitty Pryde’s time travel storyline and gave it to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Because Wolverine. And doesn’t know what to do with Storm. Like, at all. (P.S. Check out the rest of the essays in BtchFlcks’ themed week on superheroines! Great essays here). WWAC contributor Tea Fougner dissects Marvel’s Sharon Carter problem–which is a problem that isn’t unique to Sharon Carter.
It is something of an irony that while Fox doesn’t know what to do with their women narratively, it does understand when an advertisement is problematic and offensive and immediately takes it down (though why it was up in the first place is a fair question).
It was Wizard World in Philadelphia this week, but it was an extra-Marvel-ous WWcon thanks to appearances by Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston. The most talked-about photo from the con so far is probably this one by RoaringGirlCosplay, whose photo op went viral on social media. The Cap cosplayer wrote about the experience here on her tumblr:
In her words:
“They were totally cool with it! Seb said, “Ohh! Hahaha, nice!” And Chris started giggling. The guy behind us said they high fived after we left!”
This is my second favorite thing to have come out of Philly this past weekend, though the first was this tweet: