Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mosaic #1 Review

When news dropped of Mosaic this past year, I was immediately intrigued by the idea and excited about a new, Black superhero being added to the Marvel Universe.  I had even scheduled an interview with the writer, Geoffrey Thorne that fell through at the last minute.  Marvel starting a new book with a Black lead and both writing and pencils being done by African Americans.  This is a big moment.  I was not thrilled with the idea of Mosaic being an Inhuman, but I could look past that.

Issue 1 of Mosaic does not disappoint long time comic book fans and is a great jumping on point for new readers who wont be burdened by years of continuity to understand the character.

Morris Sackett is a tier 1, basketball superstar in the MBA( Marvel Basketball Association?).  His team, the New York Stride are about to clinch their 5th MBA title, along with a 5th MVP award for Sackett.  Like most basketball superstars, Sackett has tons of talent and an ego to match which does not make him beloved by his teammates.   As I read the book, Sackett read like a modern day, in his prime Kobe Bryant.

Now even tho Sackett is a star, he does have his Pops and his girlfriend T-Fleek by his side to keep him grounded.  I loved how the writer here gave Morris a white, pop star girlfriend.  It felt very much like a nod to the Nick Yong and Iggy Azalea coupling.

Life is going very well for Morris Sackett... until the Terrigen Mist which had been unleashed by the Inhumans, finds Morris and transforms him into one of those Inhuman cocoons.  Of course, every one is worried. From Pops, to T-Fleek, and to his millions of fans across the globe.   Most who are affected by the Terrigen Mist do not have the resources that Morris Sackett has and Pops uses them to help find a solution for his son.  Stark, Parker, and Wakandan technology are all being used to figure out what happened to Morris.  Pops care of Morris is evident and even tho some may see the coupling of him and T-Fleek as a publicity stunt, she is very concerned as well.

I am getting into spoiler territory.... proceed with caution.  Mosaic's birth leads to massive confusion on Morris' part and those who love and care for him and he eventually finds himself on the streets of New York confused and with new powers.  Mosaic has the ability to mind jump from person to person and even when he leaves one person, he still carries with him some of their memories and skills.

As he begins to learn his new powers, moving from random New Yorker to New Yorker, he eventually winds up with two kids with criminal intentions which leads to our conclusion and lead in for issue 2.

In the realm of Black Superheroes, Mosaic has been given a chance to catch the Inhuman wave that is sweeping over Marvel Comics right now.  In this book, Thorne and artist Khary Randolph have given us a new hero, with an interesting power set and I am curious as to how Mosaic fits in the Marvel Universe moving forward.  As always, with any Black hero comic, the concern will be if people will support the book and the character.  Mosaic, to me, is a great starting point for new readers, as well as old school readers looking for a new character to follow. I am looking forward to issue two and how they handle Morris' coming to grips with his lack of self, loss of relationships, on top of the development of his power set. Again, great start, many different possibilities for the book and the character moving forward.  Color me intrigued.

The Producer

Monday, October 17, 2016

Death of X Review

If rumors are to be believed, Death of X as the lead in to Xmen Vs InHumans is going to leave our mighty mutant friends in a version of comic book limbo.  Word on the streets for months has been that Marvel comics and their Disney overlords are going to drop the Fantastic Four bomb on the X-Men.  This bomb would essentially cancel many X-books and spread out the X-Men into other Marvel titles.  Disney/Marvel's goal is to regain control of the X-property for their cinematic purposes.  Again, its just a rumor.  But the rise of the InHumans and the dwindling mutant population in the comics gives it some credibility.

Death of X picks up in the year missing between the present and post Secret Wars.  Cyclops is dead in our current continuity and this story is to fill in the gaps as to how that happened.  The book looks at the current state of both teams from their different perspectives.

The InHumans are riding high.  The Terrigen mist has been released and new InHumans are popping up everywhere.  The fact that a smog is sweeping the world is not scaring people- they are craving it and wanting it hoping that it will unleash the power within them. Crystal and the other InHumans are in Japan overseeing the coming of the mist.

The X-Men however, are looking into the mist as well as it was swept through Muir Island and they received a distress call from the island.  The Island is in shambles as well the science facility and the workers there are all dead.  The team, led by Cyclops and Emma Frost, are exploring to see what happens.  They see the mist and it seems to be effecting Cyclops more than any of the others.

In Japan, the mist has found 1 person that is transformed into an InHuman.  Of course, this is a comic and Hydra shows up to battle the InHumans and we get pages of battle between the two groups.  Its typical comic book stuff and really adds nothing to the story other than the reveal of the new InHuman.

Back on Muir Island, there is a death to a long time mutant that I wont reveal and the discovery of the research into the mist.  That info is quickly sent to Beast who is very concerned about the initial findings.  Short thereafter, Cyclops collapses and you are not sure if he is alive or dead.

But as the book comes to a close, Hydra is defeated and Cyclops is not dead.... Again this is spoiler free but the groundwork gets laid for the battle to come.

Overall, I thought the book was lacking and seemed to be more of a place holder for the X-Men VS InHuman books.  I am just not sure where they are headed with this.  My prediction is whatever version of Cyclops that has turned crazy over the last 5 years will be eliminated somehow.  They took the character way off base and turned him into Magneto and ruined him.  Its no coincidence that teenage Cyclops from an alternate reality is here and in the Champions.  Additionally, it seems these two groups of characters, who are very similar now, cannot co-exist so one of them has to lose and sadly I think it will be the X-Men.  Of course its comics and this could be a temporary leave of absence until the next relaunch of X-books but how we get there and when it happens- I wont be around for it. So thumbs down to Death of X #1.  I will check out the X-Men VS InHuman books instead.

The Producer

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Teen Titans Rebirth #1

Writer: Ben Percy
Pencils: Jonboy Meyers

As DC has rolled out their Rebirth line, some books took a bit longer to debut. Teen Titans is in wave 2- along with her other teenage based superhero books such as SuperGirl( review coming).  This new Teen Titans picks up after the alleged death of Tim Drake(Red Robin).  Each Titans member has been dealing with their grief in their own way.

Beast Boy has decided to become an actor out in Hollywood and is burying his feelings in partying.  As usual, Beast Boy has no game with the ladies and his immaturity always gets the best of him.  He also does not realize he is being watched and is quickly captured by a mysterious figure.

StarFire has moved on to dedicating her life to fighting for children.  She has moved to the Island of Tornado- because its tropical weather reminds her of home and is working on shutting down a child trafficking ring.  As she moves to stop a child from being abducted, she is also captured by a mysterious figure.

Raven, prefers the solitude of museums as they give her a break from constantly hearing the thoughts of others.  As usual, she is afraid of fulfilling her destiny of being the child of Trigon and is frightened by an image created at the museum.  In her attempt to escape, she is also captured.

Lastly, Kid Flash, AKA Wally West, is breaking up crime in his city and is very philosophical about his place in the Flash universe. In an attempt to rescue a homeless person, he does not see its an actual trap and he is captured as well.

All of our heroes are trapped and brought together by this mysterious figure- who really isn't mysterious as he is featured prominently on the cover- Its Damian Wayans or Robin or The Son of Batman who has brought the Titans together- but for what reason?

The book is a very short and easy read.  Your enjoyment of the book moving forward will probably be based on how you feel about Damian Wayne.  I do not like the character. I never have.  They gave him such a huge push when he debuted and the character is such a dick. They have made it virtually impossible to actually like him.

Overall, I will probably not continue with this Rebirth title.  I do enjoy the Teen Titans but I'm now down with the Son of Batman and chances are he and his stories will dominate the Teen Titans so I will pass until Red Robin returns( hopefully).

The Producer

Champions #1 Review

Writer: Mark Waid
Pencils: Humberto Ramos

Stop me if you heard this story before.... the younger versions of adult super heroes become fed up with their counterparts and break free to form their own team that is going to be different than the adults.  Whether its the Teen Titans, or Young Justice, The New Mutants, or the Young Avengers, the teenage team is an age old comic book trope.

Champions #1 continues the trope as we see a team of teenagers break away from the Avengers and form their own team known as the #Champions.  The book opens with the Avengers being heroes in New York City against an unknown villain.  After they are successfully in saving the city, the citizens are unhappy that the city is destroyed and Ms. Marvel feels the Avengers should help with the clean up as well as the super hero stuff.  Her request is rebuffed and she becomes upset and quits the team and sends a text to two former Avengers- Nova and Spider-Man( Miles Morales).

The heroes meet and decide to form their own team and are off to recruit other teenage heroes for their cause.  The first draft pick is Totally Awesome Hulk- who is off rescuing miners trapped in Kentucky.  Of course the team uses teenage super teamwork to save the day( and the miners) and of course they help put the mine and town back together.

The next draft pick is Viv- the daughter of the Avenger Vision, who is hooked into a super wi-fi network all across the world.  Viv could serve as their Oracle to find events that are happening that would require Champions attention.  Of course, there is a situation happening right now and the team is dispatched to the final battle against an unnamed sex trafficking clown( no, really).  The team again uses super powered teenage teamwork to save the girls and stop the sex trafficking clown.  Sadly, one of the girls did not survive being trapped and died and the crowd that has gathered wants vengeance and The Totally Awesome Hulk almost gives it to them... before Ms.  Marvel stops him.  The funniest part about this is she states she is going to give a speech- but then proceeds to give a 5 panel speech about how they are going to be different than the adult heroes.  This leads to a a call back page to all the heroes who will make appearance in the book- including Iron Heart, Cyclops, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and what appears to be some teenage versions of Wasp and Falcon.

The book ends with #Champions as all our heroes are checking their phones.  Sigh, look, I hate to be that old dude but Ima do it.  The idea of teenage super hero teams is so played out.  I mean, its as dead as dead can be. I never understood the appeal in modern comics because who is the audience for this book?  Are you looking for new pre-teen/teenage readers of comics?  That would be great if there was a large audience of teens reading comics( which there is not).  Most comic book readers are like me( old, with a job to pay $4.00 for a comic book). And most older readers, like myself, roll their eyes to see a team formed and #hashtags being used to spread the good word of the team.  Its hokey and I would imagine teenage me woulda found it hokey too.  What it sounds like is a middle age man( Mark Waid) writing about what he thinks teenagers would do.  Its pandering at its finest and I thought the book was a poor start by an excellent writer.

I will not be continuing with #Champions.  Possibly my pre-teens will continue to read it- but that will require me giving them $4 for the book and that's #nothappening

The Producer

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pissin on Matt Damon's feelings

With New York Comic Con ending last week, we were treated to great cosplay, teasers and trailers for upcoming events, and unfortunately, a Q&A of white tears and feelings from a so- called ally named Matt Damon.

I am going to be real with you- I have never been a fan of dude. Not really sure why, but I never really understood why he was famous. I mean he has made some ok movies, but he takes himself way too seriously and his fake sincerity is vomit inducing to me.

His sincerity towards issues in film regarding people of color took a huge beating when he whitesplained and mansplained to Effie Brown on how to cast a movie of color and made himself look like a fool.  In case you forgot, here is that awful moment:

You would've thought he learned from that and he went on the white man apology tour after trying to explain it was the editing of the show and the producers who made that look worse than it was... forgetting to mention that he is the executive producer of the damn show.  Man get the fuck out of here with that excuse.

As we move forward in 2016 however, Matt Damon has a movie coming out called the Great Wall.  The original teaser trailer about a movie, set in China with a monster is kinda a cool concept.... until Matt Damon shows up looking like a broke ass Legolas.  Of course, the people of twitter were all over this racial trope of white savior character. I mean, there are hundreds of millions of Chinese people, yet they need this 1 white man to turn the tide against the monster?  Its a trope repeated over and over in movies and the idea that China would need this dude is preposterous.  This coming on the heels of the whitewashing of Ghost in a Shell with Scarlettt Johansen and Dr. Strange and this had people( especially POC) kinda frustrated.

Not much positive has been said about the movie since the trailer dropped, but Hollywood has to Hollywood and Damon has to do press for this movie so he was at New York City Comic Con to promote the film- and of course he was asked about this.  Now, like Jesus in the New Testament, we gonna put Matt Damon's words in RED since he wants to play savior and we will dissect his statement line by line

Speaking at the New York Comic-Con, Damon addressed the ‘whitewashing’ claims, saying “It was a f**king bummer,” adding that the cast felt “wounded” by the backlash.

So his initial response was in his feelings about being bummed out and wounded that people brought up a legitimate issue. Now this man went to Harvard so allegedly he is intelligent and instead of helping the situation, he doubles down on whitesplaining

“To me, whitewashing, I think of Chuck Connors when he played Geronimo,” he said according to ScreenCrush. Speaking about the initial teaser, he added: “They’re trying to establish a number of things in 30 seconds or a minute or whatever they have; it’s not a full-length trailer, it’s a teaser. 

Again, choosing not to address the legitimate concern, he gives a throwback to a time long ago with a white man playing Geronimo( which was also bullshit).Basically saying, "we're not that bad." No its just as bad-if not worse because with your star power and so called ally status, you have the power to make change and make sure this type of shit does not happen.  But you didn't choose that- you chose to take a check and continue the trope.  Then he uses the Hollywood machine as a reason for this continued bullshit!

“They’re trying to tease the monster. They’re trying to speak to a bigger audience. ‘You probably don’t know who this director is in Middle America, the Steven Spielberg of China. Don’t worry, they speak English in this movie’ – you hear my voice speaking English. ‘Don’t worry, Matt’s in the movie, you’ve seen this guy before.’ So they’re trying to establish all these things. And by the way, there are monsters. So there’s a lot of pipe they’re trying to lay in that 30 seconds.”

I love the "laying pipe"analogy because they are literally trying to fuck us with this excuse So now he is saying they have to sell the movie to Middle America( white people) and that is why he is in the movie( speaking English of course). And he name drops the Chinese director, but of course compare him to a white man.  And really, that is the problem in a nutshell.  White people have a huge problem seeing anyone non- white in starring roles and especially roles in science fiction and fantasy. White people view this genre really as their last frontier as if they left all the niggas back on earth  while they rule the day in Middle Earth and any interloper is treated with disdain and hostility.

Then to complete the bullshit sundae, he drags the other non Asian co-star into it and tries to use sarcasm to make everyone feel better

Damon revealed how co-star Pedro Pascal (Narcos, Game of Thrones) called him soon after the first teaser was released to say: “Yeah, we are guilty of whitewashing. We all know that only the Chinese defended the wall against the monsters when they attacked.”

Look Matt Damon and those who look, act, and think like him- We know its a movie. We know there is no monster that the Chinese are fighting.  We also know that is not why the Great Wall was built and we also know that it was built to stop invading forces from other countries-especially colonizers who looked like you Matt Damon from getting into China.  Because as soon as colonizers got there, they want to run shit like they were the originators.  This is utter bullshit and the only people you are fooling with this are white fans who live out their fantasies through these movies and who are so myopic, they can accept dwarfs, elves, and halflings more than they could accept a Black man playing Thor.  Its white privilege at its finest and this so called "ally" is continuing the bullshit instead of stopping it.

This frustrates the hell out of people of color. Any talk of characters in sci-fi/fantasy or comics being black or a female, brings out all the white male fans who are clutching their pearls about canon being changed and "staying true to the character". Man, shut the fuck up!  Its a movie! Its fantasy and white people don't own the right to have only their version of their fantasy on screen or in comics.  The world is bigger than straight, white men and its high time they get on board.

So no- @brothascomics will not be seeing Great Wall and Matt Damon is on the " I can't fuck with him" list moving forward.  I am sure after this bombs, he will do and apology tour again, but sadly him and his ilk will learn nothing from this and probably blame the Chinese for not co-signing their bullshit because of course, the white man is never wrong.

The Producer

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Luke Cage: Black Characters, not caricatures

As we have all binged multiple episodes of Luke Cage and seen the ashy and somewhat racist reviews by writers, I was brought back to the reality of how the history of early Luke Cage in comics was so racist and how a so called ally named Quentin Tarantino almost fucked it up for all of us.

Let me first state that I do not care for Quentin Tarintino. I believe he is one of the most overrated writers and filmakers of a generation and his cocaine influenced views of pop culture and obsession with characters saying nigga/nigger is problematic at the least.  The fawning over his "genius" is white privilege at its finest.

Once Luke Cage came out, I am not sure why anyone was asking his opinion anyway, but someone did and he came out with this qoute ( even tho he has not seen the show).

"Well, frankly, to tell you the truth, I might be one of the pains in their asses because I love the way the character was presented so much in the '70s. I'm not really that open to a rethinking on who he was. I just think that first issue, that origin issue … was so good, and it was really Marvel’s attempt to try to do a blacksploitation movie vibe as one of their superhero comics. And I thought they nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. So, just take that Issue 1 and put it in script form and do that."

So much to unpack, but lets start with the Luke Cage origin and setting the show in the 70's blaxploitation era as a good thing.  It was not a good thing.  The racist and prejudice depiction of the characters( including Luke Cage), is troubling if you go back and read the books.  The writing is often uncomfortable and the stereotypes culturally dangerous and racist.  Luke Cage was created, developed and written by white writers who exploited his Blackness and Black culture for their entertainment. Their vision of  Black people, Luke Cage, and the world around Luke was influeneded by their whiteness and their prejudice played out panel to panel. Look at the designs of the characters that Netflix used on the tv show.

Tarrantino(and those who think like him) is the worst because this is how he also sees Black Characters- exploited for their Blackness, and shaped in the hands of a white man to fit their fantasy of the Black experience.  And that is fucked up.  If Tarantino had made that movie, as he alludes to in the article,  it would have destroyed the character of Luke Cage in comics and we would have never gotten the modern version that we see today. Hell its been hard for people not to see him in his yellow, buttefly collar and his mini afro. A movie cementing that verison of the character would have left him in the Stone Age of creativity and would have been considerd the true version of Luke Cage.

Luke Cage on Netflix has given us Black characters who we can relate to on multiple levels, who are complicated with depth of feelings and emotions. In the case of Cotton Mouth and Black Mariah, they are both good and evil with a backstory more disturbing and tragic than any of us could imagine.  They have soul and even tho they may fit into a certain stereotype, they are not defined by it. 

Luke Cage himself has shed the yellow shirt and we see the deeply hurt and conflicted man pushed on by his guilt and tragedy.  But also a person still willing to give us so much to fight for those who he feels have been wronged.  In the hands of white writers, Luke probably would have been turned into a  Magic Negro- out to punish the bad Blacks and make Whites happy with his respectability.  And of course shout out , "jive turkey, sucka, and sweet christmas"!

White wrtiers like Tarrantino see black folks and culture as caricatures - not characters. They don't see the depth or the histroy of the emotion associated with those characters.  They only see the hipness, the jive, and the ghetto( white writers love the ghetto).  And even if the character does make it or stive in the situation, there is always the underlying voice of a white man trying to sound black and give their take on how Black people live, act, and talk.

So thank God Tarantino made Pulp Fiction( a bullshit movie...go ahead an @ me) and did not get his slimy hands on Luke Cage.  We'd still be trying to clean up that mess!

The Producer