Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ice-Mans coming out party


Our friends over at the Nerditst have an interview with the creators of Iceman's solo book.  Remember this version of Bobby Drake is Gay and marks a big step for Marvel as it embraces an openly Gay Character with his own monthly title.  I dig the progress and there should be more diverse characters. I guess my issue is that Iceman being gay was given a gay writer to handle his book- probably because, obviously a Gay man would have a great handle of the what its like to be a Gay man.  That makes sense to me. I am sure that writer, Sina Gray will have a unique and authentic voice to what its like to be a gay, white male.

Marvel has been doing ok with diversity in their writing teams.... that's me grading on the curve, tho  David Walker has given us great work on Power Man and Iron Fist and the criminally underrated Nighthawk.  Ta-Neisha Coates Black Panther run has been lauded as one of the finest takes on the character.  And friend of the show, Geoffrey Thorne just launched Mosaic a few months ago.  Just this past month, Roxanne Gay became Marvel's first African American female writer working on the World of Wakanda. And early next year, Gabby Rivera, a gay, Hispanic female writer will be writing America Chavez- a gay, Hispanic female. So yes, there has been some progress.  But to paraphrase James Baldwin, "How much time do you need for progress?"

Sam Wilson: Captain America- written by a white guy.  Spider-Man/Miles Morales and RiRi Williams/Ironheart- written by the same white guy.  X-Men- a book rooted in discrimination has never been written by a person of color.  It seems that Marvel is very slow to turn over their flagship characters to people of color to write.

This is never more evident in the handling of the Storm solo series.  Storm, one of the most popular X-men of all time, finally got a solo title. Marvel has a chance to make a statement and hire a Black, female to write this book.  Her take would be fresh, different, and come from a personal space and place.  What does Marvel do... they hire Greg Pak- an Asian male to write the book. A person of color- YES.  But is he really the best person to be writing the voice of a Black Female?

See Marvel was never going to give Iceman's coming out party to a straight white male or even a gay, black male.  The recognized that the writers take on the character would be more authentic in the voice of a gay, white male.  I get that!  So why not extend that to the other characters in your universe?  I'd love for a Black, female to write Ironheart.  I'd die to see an Hispanic male get a chance to write Miles Morales. It really is long overdue for this to happen.

Someone will inevitably read this and ask or say" so only Black people can write for Black people. That's racist!" No that is not what I am saying! There is a void of people of color writing comics( drawing them and inking them as well) and Marvel and DC and Image need to recognize that and allow for diverse creators to write for diverse characters.

So good for Bobby Drake! We are proud of you Marvel for taking this leap forward with the character. Don't be afraid to keep it going!

The Producer

The X-men Okey Doke

News about the X-men in comics the last few years has not really been that great.  We all know the edict put forth by the Marvel powers that be about not creating new mutants and how the X-men have been pushed to the back of the line to make way for the InHumans.  There had even been rumors that the X-Titles themselves would be phased out after the X-Men VS InHumans miniseries because of Marvel not wanting to bump for characters that their cinematic universe does not own. There is precedent for this because the Fantastic Four are still on a milk carton.

Marvel shot down those rumors when they came out and announced the X-books and certain characters would be getting their own solo titles.  There was to be a Jean Grey solo title, along with Ice-Man and Cable also getting books.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement for me loosening my change purse to buy these books but it was a sign that Marvel was not going to kill the X-Men titles.  Then Marvel did something they knew would get X-Fans hyped by announcing that the two new X-titles being launched would be X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold.  Now if you are a long time reader of the X-Men, you know the craziness surrounding the early 90's relaunch of the X-Men.  At the time, Marvel split the X-Men into two books and two teams- Blue and Gold.  Each book also had top creators for their relaunch.  Jim Lee and Chris Claremont on one book and Whilce Potacio and John Byrne on the other.  When modern comic fans tell you they "Love the X-men, its probably because of these books!
These books were fire and sold out like crazy with people having to get 4th and 5th prints of the books.  It was a great time for comics and comic book fans!

So when Marvel put out in the universe they were going to do X-Men Blue and X-men Gold again, people( including this blogger) got hyped.  I was thinking they were finally going to bring some semblance back to the books and cast off these mutants that no one cares about( looking at you Gold Balls) and focus on the characters that so many of us grew up with and care about.  Not only that, I convinced myself that the books would get top creative teams. I did not think Jim Lee was coming back or anything, but a hot new artist and a great writer and we could relive the good ol' days.  Man Marvel slapped me in the face.

First off the Gold Team looked to have potential as it had classic characters from the X-Men with Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler. I could never see Old Man Logan again and it would be too soon but whatever.  Then, they added Rachel Grey a character that NO ONE cares about or has ever cared about.  And then they top this shit burger by telling us Kitty Pryde is leading the team. Say what now?  The team that has both Nightcrawler and Storm is being led by Kitty Pryde? Man, get the fuck out of here with that mess! And then they top the shit burger with a creative team that no one has heard of.  Look these guys may do fine and great but there is no sizzle with the team or the creators so why would I spend my money on this?  On top of that, Kitty comes to lead the X-Men because Storm gives up her leadership.... What now? She gives up her leadership to Kitty?  Kitty Pryde? Man get the fuck out of here!  Kitty Pryde has never made anything better with the X-Men. And I mean never. She is quite possibly the worst X-Man ever and even tho they have given the character a much better middle than the beginning, she is still awful.

Then the Blue team.... man listen... They already did this.  The classic 60's era X-men team just recently had stories running through All New X-Men and it was fine.. I guess.  But who was asking for this?  They could've done the book with the current version of the originals minus Cyclops or add the young Cyclops.. I don't know?!  Who was asking for a book with Beast, Ice-Man, and Angel tho? They suck! They have always sucked!  Its just such a disappointment and the creative team is also uninspiring.

This messed me up yesterday when this dropped! I thought Marvel was fully behind the X-Men again and were going to do their best to reset and restore the team as one of their flagship titles.  They did not.  This looks to be another curve ball by Marvel at Fox to not fully back X-Men until those movie rights are shared or turned over outright.

So I wont be buying either of these X-Titles and none of the relaunched books because.. why the hell would I?  We love supplying you guys with reviews of new and current books but I cannot get behind this at all.  Sorry, Marvel- you lost an X-Fan with this one!

The Producer

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Invincible Iron Man Review

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stefano Casseli

I am a little late to this party but I wanted to get a review in before issue 2 comes out.  As Marvel moves into their Marvel NOW era, we get a relaunch of Iron Man.  But its really not Iron Man- its Iron Heart as RiRi Williams takes over the Iron Man armor... well sort of.  If you are a reader of this blog and follow us on Twitter @brothascomics, you will know that we have called out Marvel for essentially making a Plessy V Ferguson roster of heroes.  We have the Black Iron Man, Black Captain America, Black Spider-Man, etc.  Again, this would not be an issue if their white counterparts were not around.  But they are, which in my opinion, diminishes from the Black heroes.

That being said, even tho Tony Stark is not around, Iron Heart is not the only Iron Man.  DR. Doom is also Iron Man in a separate Marvel Now title so we really have the same separate but equal heroes living and existing in the same space.

When news dropped that RiRi Williams was going to be Iron Man, I was excited, but also a bit scared.  Marvel wants to diversify their books, but not their writing rooms and when I heard Bendis was going to be writing this book, along with the Miles Morales Spider-Man, I kinda just rolled my eyes.  Marvel missed the chance to hire a Black, female writer to give the book a voice that is so underrepresented in mainstream comics.  And to me, this plays out in IronHeart.  This is not including the contrversey over the cover by J. Scott Campbell and the white boy fan backlash of having Iron Man now be a Black teenager.

The book opens with RiRi Willliams being diagnosed as a child hood prodigy and her parents hearing this and dealing with how they will need to parent her.  Its a great opening scene and got the book off to a fascinating start. But the book time jumps between the past and the present over the course of the issue and we see IronHeart fighting a D-level villain and we see her as a 10 year old where she meets her best friend Natalie.  Then back to fighting awful villain and then here is where I kind wanted to jump off.

The book is set in Chicago and you would have to live under a rock to not know the situation there in the city is bleak.  Joblessness leads to crime which often leads to violence.  Bendis decides to tackles this in the history and world building of RiRi and its unnecessary.  An act of violence( a drive by shooting) kills RiRi best friend and her dad(step dad).  Yes, tragedy as a call to action for heroes is a long time comic book trope- I get it!  But it also does not have to be. Why use a real life city and its tragedy to build the hero?  Why use the loss of innocent Black lives as the spark to becoming a superhero?  In light of the James Rhodes tragedy from Civil War 2, I think we all came to the conclusion that killing Black folks for white tears is wrong.  And this is wrong here. Iron-Man/Ironheart is not a street level hero like Spider-Man or Luke Cage who deal with regular people in their attempts to do hero work. Iron Man/IronHeart is an Avenger of the highest order.  She will fight powerful villains and along side powerful heroes.  Iron-Man/Ironheart is not going to be on the streets of the southside of Chicago looking for hooligans who killed her family.  It makes no sense.  I didn't like that part and it spoiled the rest of the book for me.

The ending of the book is a time jump to present day.  RiRi's mom knows about her superhero work and is ok- well as ok as a mom could be with it.  RiRi's armor is still in its developmental stage and she needs new AI to work better.  Out of the blue of course there is a delivery and of course Tony Stark makes an appearance...as AI.

Overall the book is ok.  The art work is great and the story is recoverable, but to me its not a great start for such a groundbreaking hero and book.  Hopefully there is a payoff to her family being killed, but I am not holding my breath that it will make more sense later.

The Producer