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405

God of Comics: Tekken #1 (Titan Books)

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 2, 2017

I’ve mentioned this before, but fighting games all have these weirdly detailed plotlines that go in all sorts of weird directions and have supremely strange character arcs. The bad guy in Street Fighter is a death-powered demi-god who pushes drugs and whose ultimate form is a cloned woman who escaped his grasp and now works for British Intelligence. Darkstalkers features a vampire god stalking a succubus who is also a god and her younger sister, who is actually a repository of her full power that was taken away from her and became sentient. Mortal Kombat is a mish-mash of classic martial arts tropes taken to their logical extreme.

Even given all of that, Tekken is fucking batshit lunacy.

The CEO of a multinational corporation that pretty much rules the world holds a one-on-one fighting tournament every year where he puts control of his company on the line. His son, who he threw off a cliff to try and toughen up, shows up one year and throws him off the cliff because apparently the devil is in his genes. The CEO returns to depose his son, but not before his evil son has a child with someone who is wholly good, so now there’s a grandkid running around who sometimes grows wings and shoots lasers out of his eyes.

Did we mention there’s a Bruce Lee stand-in? Or one for Jackie Chan? How about the street boxer whose kick buttons are replaced by dodges? That’s all fairly standard… okay, how about the cyborg bounty-hunting samurai who fights with a laser sword that he sometimes uses as a pogo stick or helicopter and who might be immortal?

We haven’t touched the insane military cyborg on the run, the luchador who died and whose guilt-stricken rival trained his replacement, either of the rich deletants who’re dancing their way through a murder investigation, the Aztec Demon who sometimes shows up for shits and giggles… it’s all kind of insane.

Handling the insanity is writer Cavan Scott, who has worked on much simpler fare in the past… things like Doctor Who and Vikings, so when we say simpler we do not mean by very much. Titan Books has also put Andie Tong on art, and he’s very much the sort of artist who can bring the technical skill that these fighters display to life while capturing the odd mosaic of emotions and motivations that drive everyone here.

There’s more than enough material and character here for this to be something truly special. We’ll see if Titan can pull it off… fingers crossed.

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447

God of Comics: Night Owl Society #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 25, 2017

Night Owl Society #1 (IDW Publishing)

IDW Publishing has made a name for themselves by taking older properties and building upon them: Ghostbusters, TMNT, GI Joe, MASK, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, all their like. The truth is that all of them are good – all of them take every iteration of this properties and mash them up and take out the best bits and add new ones and make them better, but it’s rare for IDW to come up with something new.

By which I mean that IDW had very few in-house properties, but when they do decide to do something it tends to fucking rock. Locke & Key comes immediately to mind. This is something new, something unique, and it sounds like it’s going to be interesting.

David is one of those lonely kids, a misfit who doesn’t fit in – not at home and definitely not at school. He’s got very few people he legitimately cares about, so when one of them is killed by the local mob, David takes it personally. Now, in a better world, the police would deal with it… but the police are corrupt. Look at those cops arresting the people that showed up to talk to their politicians in Flint, or any of the murderers that kill unarmed citizens every few days for no real reason.

No, the police are not a problem for the wealthy, and crime pays when you’re running things. David’s friend was killed by an actual mob boss, the sort of person who pays politicians and sits on corporate boards and isn’t going to be given any hassle by the police. There’s no justice, and David is old enough to understand that and young enough to be angry about it, young enough to do something about it, young enough to take matters into his own hands.

The thing about marginalized peoples is that they find one another and form bonds stronger than anything outside of those groups could possibly understand. Their ties aren’t based on faux-oppression or similar likes but by a simple need to not die, and when one of them does die the others tend to react badly.

In David’s case, that means organizing his friends, figuring out what skills they have, and going after the mob on their own. The police won’t do it and the politicians are actual criminals themselves, so someone has to make good. Why not David? Why not his friends? All they have to do is make the world a better place and avoid getting killed… or grounded.

Hey, the kids are alright. JamesVenhaus is on writing duties and this is a weird one: he’s a playwright whose done some awesome stuff, most notably Ugly People (about running an electoral campaign) and Weird Sisters (which is Macbeth set in a modern high school where the students are studying the Scottish Play). His work is quirky dark comedy with soul, the sort of thing I keep hoping one of the local theater troupes will do (hint, hint). He’s a treasure, is what I’m saying, and if this comic brings more attention to his work that can only be for the best.

Pius Bak is on art duties and I feel that should sell the comic all by itself. This is the comic I’m most looking forward to this week.

Do not miss it.

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128

God of Comics: X-Men Prime #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

X-Men: Prime #1 (Marvel Comics)

Oh, Marvel. Oh, the X-Men.

There’s something wrong at Marvel, a company where they do small things amazingly well and large things badly. This is a company that’s turned Captain Marvel into a Nazi for short-term sales that will do long-term damage to their brand. Iron Man wasn’t a Nazi in Civil War, but he became a default villain for a decade after that event. Civil War II has done the same to Captain Marvel. And as for the X-Men…

Here’s the trick: about twenty years ago Marvel went bankrupt. They went bankrupt because they were doing too many crossovers and their readership revolted and left because of their revulsion. They sold the film rights to their a-list characters, which is why the MCU started with Iron Man and not the X-Men.

Now Disney owns Marvel and the company is making money hand-over-fist with their movies and video games and cartoons, so the comics can afford to do idiot things like make a Holocaust survivor a Nazi. They’ve also been devaluing the X-Men in the comics in hopes that Fox Studios will give them their characters back, but Fox just recently learned that you can make good movies with superheroes in them and make money doing it, so that’s not likely to happen.

Because some of the editorial board has a questionable capacity for thought, they’ve decided throwing a tantrum is best for business and have made the X-Comics less and less readable for years while threatening to replace the X-Men with the Inhumans, using the same process that got them into this mess in the first place.

So, with all that said, why am I looking forward to this comic?

Marc Guggenheim has a lot to do with it. He wrote the Overwatch novel, co-developed the Arrow television series and wrote twenty-seven episodes back during the first couple of seasons. He also co-developed and wrote some episodes of Legends of Tomorrow, and you can see the exact moment in the series where he got involved. Comics-wise, he helped create the Young X-Men comics and wrote the X-Men Origins: Wolverine video game.

He’s done some cool shit, is what I’m saying.

He’s also responsible for the Green Lantern script and the disastrous second Percy Jackson film, but Hollywood writing credits are often deceptive and so we should take that with a grain of salt.

As mentioned earlier, Marvel turned Iron Man into their number one villain for a decade with an idiot event and recently managed to undo it by rebooting their whole universe to undo the damage caused by a handful of writers and, again, the questionable long-term planning of the comics editorial board. Part of this led to the off-panel divorce of Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde, and the latter is going back to the X-Men to see if there’s any pieces to pick up after their idiot war with the Inhumans and the death of Scott Summers.

Maybe she can ask Rachael Grey Summers what the hell she’s wearing? Just… no. That’s a bad costume, but at least it will look nice with Ken Lashley on art. The man does some incredible things with his pencils and inks and draws in a style that is distinctively modern – you can see his art and echoes of it through Marvel and DC Comics, and you can bet he’ll bring his a-game to this title.

Really, I just want these comics to be as good as they could be and I have faith that this time can do it. Fingers crossed.

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110

God of Comics: Ninjak #25

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

Ninjak #25 (Valiant Entertainment)

Okay, take the best parts of Batman and James Bond and combine them, through in some nihilistic Buddhism, throw them in a blender, and the end result is Ninjak.

Ninjak is Colin King, a wealthy Brit who works as a spy after his parents died and he was left in the care of his abusive butler, a person so loving the Colin spent most of his childhood haunting the grounds of his estate rather than deal with the man.

He lends himself out to British Intelligence, combining all sorts of skills, gadgets, and wealth to take on the most dangerous assignments anyone can think to give him: in the past he’s been tasked with stopping alien invasions, assassinating X-O Manowar, and regularly hangs out with the Eternal Warrior. He’s a Badass Normal in the Valiant-verse, and so writer Matt Kindt gets to play with the full weight of this sort of character.

The end result is a comic that started slow and got progressively better, to where it’s now one of Valiant’s best but weirdest. There’s a lot of strange philosophy here, centered around a character who is effectively an adrenaline junkie with a death wish and enough skill to keep from dying. It’s blockbuster material.

At the start, Colin was investigating the Shadow Seven, a group of high-tech weapons dealers who dealt with cutting edge technology and weapons of mass destruction. Since then, he’s started working with them to fight off a larger threat: Master Darque, the Shadowman villain who beat his hero by recruiting him and is the background bad guy of the whole Valiant Universe, a literal god-made-flesh.

Shadowman was the weakest of the opening salvo of Valiant comics, a meandering tale that couldn’t come to terms with its hero or concept but who did have an immediately engaging villain. The protagonist faded and Darque has since plagued the Valiant Universe, causing massive destruction on a handful of occasions, and he’s one of those villains that wins even when he loses.

Back in the strongest issue of the old Shadowman series, we were given an origin story for Darque and that story has entered and currently haunts Ninjak in the form of Sandria Darque, a relative and another mysterious god-made-flesh who is clearly up to something, helping Ninjak for reasons of her own, reasons that have never been revealed, reasons that we just might learn this issue.

Artist Stephen Segovia is doing some interesting things in this book with panel layout that give an interesting illusion of movement while also making infodumps interesting. Writer Matt Kindt is Matt Kindt, so you know the story is going to be good and head in directions you might not expect – which is perfect for this title. If you like Batman and want to try something different you really should give this a look.

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112

God of Comics: Jem and the Holograms #24

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

Jem and The Holograms #24 (IDW Publishing)

Kelly Thompson has been quietly writing on the most inclusive comics ever published. This needs to be explored and needs to be read. Let’s get the obvious Jem and Holograms is outrageous out of the way before really digging into the guts of this thing, because these are some pretty impressive guts.

Okay, we’ve got outrageous out of our systems? Great. Four young women who live together discover their father left them an artificial intelligence that can project holographic images into meatspace that appear real. This is good because they are a struggling band and their lead singer, Jerrica, is shy, so with the AI they come up with an alter ego for her: Jem.

They’ve got fame now, having deposed the Misfits with some pretty light writing, by which I mean everything that has happened so far has been because of character and character development; there’s not a single issue where you can feel the sledgehammer of plot, not a single moment where you might think self, the writer is trying to force things along.

It’s a feat that would be impressive with four characters and an artificial intelligence, but we have the main four, their AI, a reporter, a spy, two different bands that have their own unique members with unique goals, business managers… everyone has a voice, everyone is either up to something or wants something, and none of it ever takes itself seriously which allows for this comic to cover some pretty heavy issues.

Contract negotiations, for example. The difficulties of dating outside of cis-normatives when you’re famous. The difficulties of dating someone your friends consider a rival… from both sides of the relationship. The price of fame. The power of music. The mania that comes with obsessive art. The cost of devoting yourself entirely to an art form. The splitting family when people feel the need to pursue their own dreams. The power of family to heal, even when that family is dysfunctional, and how artists need to put ego aside if they plan on getting anything done.

Did I mention the different body types? Because no two anyone looks alike. You can tell who these people are from their silhouettes, and the comic does go into the horrors of fat-shaming and eating disorders and how some people hurt themselves or suffer because of societal expectations. The entire thing is amazing… and that’s before you get into the songs.

Yes, it’s a comic about a rock/pop band, of course there are songs. Splash pages that hint at movement, at tune, that give you just enough that you can almost hear the tune, almost hear the words being sung. It’s an amazing accomplishment that makes the comic hard to put down, this weird slice-of-life comic that deals with epic and small moments with equal aplomb. It is, really, everything the movie wasn’t.

Anyways, Jem and the Holograms are heading to Hawaii for some sorely needed rest and relaxation after rival band the Misfits nearly spoiled a performance with a zany scheme that could have gotten people hurt or killed, and from the creepy stalking of another rival band, the Stingers, whose lead singer is obsessed with Jem herself in a creepy stalker way.

Oh, except the Stingers have rented the cabin next door to where Jem is staying. Because that’s not creepy or stalkery at all.

Kelly Thompson continues to write and amaze and Gisele Lagace is on art, and this comic’s art is gorgeous. If you’re looking for something that is insane and good and dayglo that exists outside of the superhero set, this is your title. It’s one of the best comics IDW is publishing, which is saying something given how great some of their other comics are (I’m looking at you, TMNT). Highly recommended.

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106

God of Comics: Batgirl Annual

God Of Comics, Reviews

March 28, 2017

Batgirl Annual #1 (DC Comics)

Batgirl has been one of the weirdest titles to spill out of DC Comics in the past decade.

Hear me out. Weird doesn’t mean bad, but the title is indicative of the direction DC Comics is going to take as a whole. As Batgirl goes, so does the company.

Want proof?

Back before in the good old days of the late aughts, we got two different Batgirl titles leading up to the nu52. The first was an exploration of Cassandra Cain, a late and popular addition to the bat-franchise that was the daughter of the man what taught Batman how to fight and the best hand-to-hand fighter in the DCU, a woman named Lady Shiva. She’d been raised to use violence as a weapon and that was a fun comic that sort of died out as writers who didn’t understand the character were assigned to the comic, which was a thing that was happening a lot in DC Comics at the time.

The ship was righted. Cass left when Steph Brown picked up the cowl with the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordan, took over a mentor role that saw something fluid and unique and fun that worked with the DCU. The rest of DC Comics seemed to be going in that direction, focusing on fun interactions and stories that drew on existing continuity, building on the idea of legacy and exploring new character types.

… and then the nu52 happened. Fan boys of comics twenty years old who didn’t like anything that had happened since (save the grim and gritty tone of nineties Image) decided they were going to be nineties Image Comics, and Batgirl got handed to Gail Simone and she gave them exactly what she wanted. Out of all the dark nu52 comics, Batgirl was about the darkest; we got the return of Barbara Gordon and Gail worked her over like the GOP works over America, only it was entertaining. Just bleak. Hopeless.

Shortly before the nu52 ended, Batgirl was handed off to another writer and moved out of Gotham, went back to college, and became the modern incarnation of the character. Babs continues to be Batgirl, only now the comic is fun and forward-thinking. There’s a sense of motion to the title, a lot of manic fun that was a measured intelligence to the proceedings and has spun off into a whole new Birds of Prey comic. It’s all pretty great.

And that brings us to the annual. Even during the dark days of the nu52, the annuals tended to be a lot of fun – blockbuster stories that happen once a year, standalone tales that somehow set the stage for things to come. This year, Babs gets to team up with Supergirl it what should be about the most fun you’ll have reading a DC Comic this week.

For point of reference, the last Batgirl Annual featured Babs recognizing Dick Grayson after he’d faked his death and was wearing a disguise… that did not include his ass. She managed to recognize him by his bum. Way to put that photographic memory to good use, Babs.

Anyway, Babs and Kara are going to break into Arkham Asylum – which might be harder than breaking out of it, which isn’t setting the bar very high – where they will uncover a secret inmate that will lead to a much bigger story that should influence how things work for the next year or so. The two of them have infiltrated Arkham before (Ivy and Harley were villains then and Ivy was still doing the kissing mind control thing, which did not work on Kara), but I’m expecting this to be a lot more fun than that was.

A big reason for that? Hope Larson has been brought in for writing duties, and she’s a lot of fun – weird sense of humor that should lend itself well to these characters and the story, and I’m curious to see how where this goes. Also, Inaki Miranda is handling art that that’s reason enough to go out and buy this. She does lush inks and scenes, adding depth to stories even when they don’t deserve it… and wasn’t she on Coffin Hill? Oh, Gods, she was. Okay, this comic is going to beautiful. This story should play to all her strengths and I can’t wait to see the result.

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245

God of Comics: X-O Manowar #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

X-O Manowar #1

We spent four years calling X-O Manowar the best of all comics. We then went into detail explaining why we said this, and you can read that explanation by clicking here. Everything we said still rings true and Valiant is about to take Aric of Dacia into a whole new storyline.

For those that don’t know, Aric of Dacia was a land-locked proto-Viking at war with Rome who mistook some aliens for Romans and attacked him. He got abducted, led a revolt, was chosen by their God, teleported back to earth more than a thousand years later, fought Italy until Italy surrendered, went back to free his people, and then brought his people home.

I’m brushing over the finer details for the sake of not repeating myself, but Aric saved the world, an alien civilization, and all sentient life in the cosmos. He learned and fought and began to desire only peace, and we learn that he found what he wanted at the beginning of this comic.

He’s given up the armor, settled on an alien world, and is tilling the land. All he wants is to tend his crops and live with his mate, an alien woman he’s met on this new and primitive world. He wants to be left alone, free from the war and violence that defined his every waking breath. Even the god-armor that gave him power lies dormant and Aric is finally at peace.

So, of course, some people are going to cross him and spoil everything.

Here’s the set-up: an alien army comes recruiting and decides to drag Aric to the front lines to be used as canon-fodder, but this is motherfucking Aric of Dacia, and he will win this battle so that he can go home, but the aliens leading this army won’t let him leave, won’t hold up their end, and are going to force him to fight. They have no idea who they’re dealing with or what they’ve awoken, because Aric of Dacia is not the sort of person you want to push around.

Matt Kindt is taking over writing duties from Robert Venditti, and if there’s anyone that can bear the weight of Venditti’s crown it’s got to be Kindt. He’s the force behind the utter brilliance that is divinity, also from Valiant, and if he brings the same sense of pathos and epic to this title that he brought to that one, then we’re in for one hell of a ride.

Tomas Giorello is handling the art, and you might know him from his work on various Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian comics, which might be the single greatest resume possible to work on X-O Manowar.

Seriously, get in now. If this run ends up being even a tenth as good as the original it will still be mind-blowingly excellent.

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262

God of Comics: WWE #3

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

WWE #3 (Boom Studios)

Normally, I talk about the writers when I discuss comics. I love writing, am drawn to it with a certain degree of madness, and I’ve got some ideas for a comic I’ve been batting around for a while but I need an artist and it’s the artist here that I want to talk about: Dan Mora.

Dan Mora did the art for a Lovecraftian horror comic called Hexed, a spinoff from the incredible Fall of Cthulhu comic that was written by Michael Alan Nelson and also published by Boom. He also does the art for Klaus, a series that basically casts Santa Clause as Conan the Barbarian. It’s freaking brilliant and you should go and read all the things and take the time to study the gorgeous art.

Here’s the thing: that is Dan Mora’s entire body of work. He has done nothing else and this means that he is criminally under-recognized. The work he does is amazing and more people need to be aware of how amazing it is, so, kudos to you, Mr. Mora. You rock.

Case in point: the covers for this comic.

This isn’t to take away anything from the inside, either: Serg Acuña and Doug Garbank do a stellar job of capturing the insanity that is the world of professional wrestling and translate it to an entirely different medium, one that it has quite a lot in common with.

A lot of people liken professional wrestling to soap operas, but that’s not quite it. Professional wrestling is a pre-determined (not fake!) artform in which performers who are part-actor and part stunt-people pretend that they are in a wrestling show. It’s a live action comic that features larger-than-life good guys and bad guys in costume who engage in battle for a variety of complex reasons, but no fight can ever end in death and the show must go on.

Want an example of the insanity that is unique to wrestling? Recently, a swamp-dwelling cult leader had his cult infiltrated by a snake-obsessed sociopath. The sociopath ruined the cult to get to the source of the cult leader’s power, literally burning his house down to rob him of the powers granted him by the sister of Satan himself, only for the cult leader to go and baptized himself in her ashes. The two of them are one of the headlining battles at Wrestlemania this year.

And speaking of Wrestlemania, one of the big stories going into the marquee event – wrestling’s version of the SuperBowl – features Seth Rollins taking on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. You can learn more about the latter by clicking here, but Seth Rollins is something else again and this comic is about him.

Seth came in with a trio called the Shield, and they spent a year and a half dominating the whole roster before Seth betrayed his companions, selling out to his enemy to eventually become the WWE Champion. He’s an uber-talented performer who, because of his prior relationship with HHH, was treated badly by him. It was interesting, because Seth was a bad guy who was treated like a good guy by the bad guys in charge, and had good guy reactions while still being hated but appreciated by the crowd.

Did you get all that?

A little more than the grunting you thought wrestling was?

This comic goes into even more detail, giving background and expanding upon the events that led to the betrayal of the Shield, Seth’s rise to power and feud with his two blood brothers from that group, his difficult relationship with HHH, and the tragedy of a real-life injury that put him out of action for more than a year and stripped him of the heavyweight title, forcing him to come back and fight to regain the championship he never lost.

Dennis Hopeless – the writer on this – totally gets the pathos, pomp, and circumstance that goes into wrestling, and it makes this comic a hell of a lot of fun to read. Boom is onto something with this comic, and with Wrestlemania just around the corner, you might want to give this a look.

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246

God of Comics: The Unworthy Thor #5

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

The Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel Comics)

While Marvel continues to copy DC Comic’s plan of fail (controversy equals cash! Everything needs to be dark and gritty! Let’s reboot the universe! Captain America is a Nazi! Magento is a Nazi! Nick Spencer is a Nazi! Wait a minute…), some of their books have managed to avoid the terrible and quietly do incredible things. Few have managed to do the incredible as well or as long as Jason Aaron’s entire run on the mythic side of Marvel Comics.

Jason’s been working on a proper set of myths, building and expanding the visions set forth by luminaries like Walt Simonson and others. He’s turned a house into a mansion, and the one event Marvel let him plan (Original Sin) gave us Heven, a background for Angela, new Nick Fury, and the new Thor. It created new stories that made sense in the context of the world and added new facets to the heroes involved, as opposed to some other more recent events (Captain Marvel screwed over all her friends because she doesn’t like Phillip K. Dick!)

Part of the consequences of Original Sin led to Thor Odinson losing his hammer. Thor, now simply the Odinson, is no longer considered Worthy. We don’t know what caused this, but he went out and tried to fight without the hammer and lost his arm in the process. His arm has since been replaced, and after giving the new Thor his blessing, went off to look for a replacement Mjolnir.

So, funny story: remember the Ultimate Universe?  It was a mostly successful attempt to place the Marvel superheroes in a more realistic setting, modernizing and condensing some classic Marvel comics. The Ultimates, their Avengers analog, was basically the template for the Avengers movie. It was good times. The Ultimate line also has Jonathan Hickman at his very best, and as critical as I am of him, his Fantastic Four is amazing.

Anyway, their version of Thor was never considered unworthy, so that Mjolnir never had a curse put on it. Anyone with the strength to do so can pick that thing up and it looks super weird and awkward, but someone as strong as Odinson isn’t going to sweat those details. There is a hammer, he wants it, and he’s on the verge of getting it.

Jason Aaron simply gets the Odinson in a way no one else does. He’s been rocking at this for years, instilling all the mythic Marvel comics with pathos and humanity. They are some of the very best that Marvel has to offer on an epic scale, what with Doctor Strange and the Mighty Thor and the Unworthy Thor, and if you’re not reading this and want to see what sort of magic Marvel is capable of you should pick this up.

All those comics feature some of the best artists that Marvel can get their hands on, and the Unworthy Thor is no exception; Olivier Coipel is doing some amazing things with this book, so if you’re in this for the pretty you will not be disappointed. Check it out.

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239

God of Comics: Iron Fist #1

Books & Writing, Culture, God Of Comics, Reviews

March 22, 2017

Iron Fist #1 (Marvel Comics)

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh.

So, the Netflix series happened. I’m about halfway through it not, and it’s… there, I guess? The better side of okay, maybe? There’s just a lot of stuff that they touch on that doesn’t seem to pay off with the main story: everything they’re doing with the Hand is great, but the main story is just kind of there. Nothing happens. There’s chances to talk about corporate greed in more than just a superficial way.

Daredevil was about legal and political corruption. Jessica Jones was about rape culture and PTSD. Luke Cage was about institutionalized racism and crime. Iron Fist is about… what, exactly? American Exceptionalism?

It’s frustrating. The show introduces the concept of heaven and time-displaced cities, hints at talking about corporate greed and the burgeoning class war, touches on colonialism and stereotypes, and even brushes in some talk about PTSD in a different way than Jessica Jones does. There’s mention of reality and expectation and then none on it is followed up upon.

Danny is joyless, laughless, exhibiting a sort of douche-bro cool that comes from a cishet white rich high schooler who went backpacking for the summer and just has to tell you about it. He doesn’t struggle. There’s no danger of him starving or dying of cold or being harrassed when he’s poor. And he comes across as a rude jackass Harry Stu, what with his moralizing without humor, lack of self-awareness, and walking into someone else’s dojo and trying to take over.

The whole thing is irritating.

And yet, I still have high hopes for this series.

Writer Ed Brisson has a proven track record and digging into the guts of a character’s themes, especially characters like this. Look at the work he did on Sheltered or the Violent, or his other big Marvel comic, Bullseye. He gets it, the view from the trenches, the utter destruction that an entire generation is enduring, and what are superheroes if not a means of fighting back against the corruption that is killing us all?

The set-up sounds like Ed has that very concept in mind: to start, K’un Lun is in ruins. Heaven is ruined. Because of this, the flow of chi – the life force of everything on the planet, the pure life energy that gives Danny his powers – is flickering away into nothing. Danny Rand is pushing himself to the breaking point trying to find some means of fighting the decay of his immortal power but the implications are terrifying.

If the life-force of the planet is fading, then so is the life of the planet. Danny might be the only person with the training to recognize the damage being done, but as his strength entropies he might not be in a position to do anything about it – not physically, anyway. Not through brute force. He might need to turn to a battlezone he’s unfamiliar with, the war that is politics, to save us all.

No idea if that’s where this is going, but it feels like a very Ed Brisson thing to do and I kinda wanna see that story. Social martial arts? If someone doesn’t write that I’m going to. Mike Perkins is handling art, and you might remember him from the awesome Ed Brubaker run on Captain America that Marvel and Nick Spencer betrayed when they turned Captain America in a Nazi.

Anyways, this sounds like a lot of fun. Check it out.

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