Tagged: controversy

Is Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ Really Rooted in Racism?

It’s a hot topic here the past couple days surrounding the upcoming Netflix series ‘Iron Fist’ online. The series starring Finn Jones as the legendary kung fu playboy vigilante has come under fire for it’s supposed racist roots and just plain shitty all around reviews. It’s been slammed pretty hard by the critics calling it “boring” and “racially uncomfortable” with it’s white male lead. Apparently Finn Jones shut down his Twitter because of the online backlash from people who’re calling him out personally as part of the problem.

Now I’m not sure whether the show really sucks or not, I haven’t seen it. I’m curious to see if it’s indeed as bad as critics are saying or if perhaps this racial controversy is really the root of all the negative reviews. I thought the previews looked ok but the whole set up looks a bit too familiar. The problem seems that people are upset that the character, who is a white male in the original comic books, should have been recast and played by an Asian actor in the new series. Then it was stated that many were against the idea of a recast because having an Asian actor in the role of the “martial arts guy” played too strongly into racial stereotypes. A bit of a double edged sword it seems. Continue reading

Advertisements

Comic Book Review: The Skeptics & Black #1

The Skeptics #1 (Black Mask)

I just read the debut issue for the new Black Mask series “The Skeptics” and was quite pleased with this sweet little intro to a thus far promising retro adventure. Brought to you by Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi we’ve got a solid story of two teenagers during the Cold War era that are brought in by the US government to test for paranormal abilities. There’s a claim made by the Soviets that they’ve got a new breed of soldier in the works, ones with intense psychic abilities. But is it just a hoax to scare us Americans during those tense times? Either way it doesn’t matter because of course the US is determined to find people with similar unique abilities here in our own country to face off with the Soviets.

Well all just is not what it seems when Mary and Maxwell are brought in for testing, for unknown reasons these two have figured out a way to to trick the scientists and even the President into believing they’ve got telekinetic abilities. The President claims they’re the key to stopping World War 3 but it seems there’s more going on than meets the eye. The two young “psychics” quickly decide to take matters into their own hands when they realize that perhaps it’s not a hoax. The Soviets may indeed be harboring people with superhuman abilities. 

I had a pretty fun time with the first issue, it’s really simplistic, pure story telling with some decent artwork as well. It’s a refreshing break from all of the ultra edgy stuff being cranked out these days, I’ll check out issue number two and see just where this all goes but either way the debut is worth a look if you’re looking for something a little different.

 

Black #1 (Black Mask)

Here’s another decent debut issue that finds it’s plot ripped from the media headlines. It’s a story about police corruption and racism in America with a superhero twist. We’ve got corrupt white cops who shoot down three black teens who’ve done nothing wrong in broad daylight on the streets of the inner city. Sound familiar?

Well things get more interesting when one of the teens who’s presumed dead awakens alive and well in the ambulance on the way to the hospital with seemingly superhuman energy and endurance. On the run from the cops he meets a Morpheus like character (from the movie The Matrix) who helps him to safety and soon it’s revealed that people do indeed exist on this planet with superhuman powers….except only those who are black can have them. This like The Skeptics is also a pretty quick and simple read with an  interesting spin on the superhero genre. This idea spun out of a Kickstarter campaign and was soon picked up by Black Mask. The art adds to the experience as it’s really well drawn and in black and white.

The writing for this by Kwanza Osajyefo is solid yet at the same time a bit on the predictable side. Starting out with a fairly popular view point being, corrupt cops are running rampant and they kill black people for no apparent reason. I think it’s fair to say from most of the news stories we’ve heard reported on point to this similar scenario. So we’ve definitely got a story here thats basis is controversial and hotly debated. I can already see people being upset about the race issue presented here, it is indeed written to get a response from white readers and continue the much needed dialogue about racial tension today. I think however it’s not much really of a different concept than say “Y The Last Man” yet this comic’s timing probably is the most controversial aspect of it.

Overall I dig it, the idea of just one race being graced with superpowers is an odd angle but given the recent headlines this one’s certain to make some waves. It’s also written & drawn by an all black team as the above The Skeptics is an all female team. So we’re getting a lot more projects out there now that are created with race appropriate and gender appropriate teams attached. It I guess raises questions about whether or not it’s ok in modern times to have people writing books that aren’t of the same gender or race of the characters in the book? This topic alone has become somewhat of an issue lately for movies, books and tv shows. I’m still under the belief that at the end of the day in works of fiction, in a free society none of that needs to really be micro-analyzed. So therefore I welcome anyone to bring a unique story to the table no matter what their race, gender, sexuality or association may be. With that being said I’m curious to see where the story of “Black” ultimately goes. I’ll be back for a second issue…   

The Walking Dead #156: Kirkman Pulls an M. Negan Shyamalan!

I just read issue #156 of the Walking Dead last night and it seems Kirkman did a mighty fine job of pulling off an “M. Night Shyamalan”, at least on me. Beware of SPOILERS ahead. I’ve been having a pretty good time recently with The Walking Dead, which is somewhat of a surprise as I’d gotten a bit bored with the title over time. Heck though issue #156 was definitely an interesting read. We got a full issue of the escaped Negan who was up to his old crazy antics once again. The way this issue read having him as the main focal point however almost felt like it had been written by The Farrelly Brothers. It felt a bit like a raunchy slapstick comedy as this guy tried in his own messed up way to “fit in” with his new crew. We got Negan hanging out with Alpha and The Whisperers, the latest gang of human scum that is threatening Rick and his gang. It felt awkward at times watching Negan interact with them all, like the dude was a foul mouthed Jim Carey. I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I thought the Whisperers in reality would have offed him within five minutes of meeting him- he’s so god damn irritating!

Ok I guess the guy is somewhat amusing but still as a main character it’s hard to take the story seriously at times. Anyway we’ve got yet another shocking act of violence that stains the issue by it’s end. Just as I thought I kinda had Negan figured out he goes and does something completely insane. I guess I should have seen it coming by now huh? Well this time as he’s trying to prove his worth to The Whisperers and impress their female leader Alpha he goes for the shocking twist ending. Negan appears concerned here about doing “the right thing” as he witnesses a woman being sexually assaulted. He tries to convince Alpha that it’s wrong not to interfere and later has a long discussion with her about how though he’s done some fucked up shit in his time, it’s always been to protect people.

I was starting to suspect he was up to something funny, in fact I highly suspected that he was pulling a full on fast one on Alpha. He even got her to open up to him and cry. What happened next though was pretty out of the blue as he went into psycho mode slitting her throat and then continuing to decapitate her. As we see him hold her head up it appears he’s under the impression that good ol’ Ricky boy is gonna be tickled pink at his latest kill. So I wonder just what Rick IS going to think?

Issue #156 is pretty interesting and it’s likely to generate a lot of controversy as Negan kills a seemingly powerful female villain named Alpha. Not the most PC thing to do at this point in 2016 but of course a ballsy move by Robert. We’ll see what happens as The Walking Dead has peaked my interest once again…what did you think?  

 

Identity Crisis: Is Marvel Ashamed of Their Classic Characters?

I have been pretty open about the fact that I really don’t read any Marvel Comics anymore these days and part of the problem for me is that they just intrigue me the way they used to even a decade ago. I guess I was inspired to write my thoughts here as a bit of a response to the recent news that now Tony Stark will be retired as Iron Man soon. That’s fine by me but It seems that Marvel just can’t stop changing their classic characters races and genders. Now don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s always been an interesting concept to take a character like Iron Man even back in the 1980’s & have James Rhodes take over the suit or Bucky & The Falcon taking over the mantle of Captain America. However more recently it appears that Marvel is on a mission to change up nearly every classic character’s identity in some way shape or form. I mean the Fucking Hulk has even changed into The Totally Awesome Hulk with Amadeus Cho as the alter ego.  

I totally understand that Marvel is trying go a long with current social issues by trying to incorporate more diversity into their comic books. I really do commend them for the effort but after numerous changes to the gender, race and identities of Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Wolverine and now Iron Man (there are likely more) it’s beginning to seem like Marvel has just run out of good stories for their classics. Or perhaps people indeed are really fucking bored with the traditional Marvel universe? Marvel these days seems more worried about what race and gender their classic character’s are than giving people truly intriguing stories.

 I don’t mind a little change up here and there, in fact I totally dig it (heck I loved when Heather Hudson took on the role of Vindicator and lead Alpha Flight-it was a smooth, intelligent totally righteous transition) but it seems that Marvel has largely forgotten that they could simply bring more existing characters into the limelight rather than giving all of their classics a brand new identity? I think it’d be equally exciting to get some some brand new superheroes on the shelf rather than constantly changing the classics. I know times have changed and more people than ever read comics, it’s not just the stereotypical geeky men of yesteryear buying them up, so naturally they may want to rethink their strategy. I get it. 

 

It’s actually become somewhat of a  predictable move for Marvel in 2016, deciding to ditch Tony Stark and reboot a new series with a female Iron Man but (a bit odd to still call the book “The Invincible Iron Man” with a female lead, it must be because they don’t want to risk losing any money ditching the name?). I don’t think it’s really that odd of an idea for a woman to design her own Iron Man armor and start kicking ass. Though it seems like Marvel might trying a tad too hard to be relevant in 2016. We all know controversy does sell quite well…

 

For me there has always been a lot of pleasure in picking up a comic book and reading stories that take me away from our daily routines, media trends, political ideals, online debates and reality in general. I want as much diversity in comics as possible but it’s not feeling real genuine to me these days from the big Marvel cash machine doing anything it can to make a quick buck. I’ve heard as well the debates now heating up about the race and gender of the writers and that they’ve got to match the characters of the comic book they are writing…At some point I think all of this becomes a bit of a drag.

We’re talking about characters that were intended for kids that now have become somewhat of hot button for everyone and their mother & father to get all up in arms about. The landscape of comic books has changed quite a bit over the years and at least Marvel’s approach feels like they’re desperately trying to fit in. Perhaps it’s true people are tired of the old gang of Tony Starks and Bruce Banners. Perhaps their story has already been told and feels tired but I’m hoping Marvel will at some point settle on “who’s who” and let us all just get on with some incredible superhero stories. What do you think? Are you bored with the classic characters? Is Marvel setting bold new trends? Let me know what you think!

Doomsday Terrorizes Superman…Joker Style?!

No matter what you though about the controversial cancelled Bat Girl variant cover you can’t deny it’s got people talking about what they think is appropriate in 2015 for the two big major comic book companies! Well here we another pic that’s generating some buzz by Ray Dillon it’s Superman being terrorized by Doomsday, the very villain who at one time killed him! What do you think he’s trying to say about the topic?

Bat Girl #41 Variant Cover Controversy: Did They Really Go to Far?

First let it be known, I’m not a dedicated reader of the latest Bat Girl series, but I’ve obviously read “The Killing Joke”, arguably the greatest Batman story ever. In that classic graphic novel The Joker became one of the most frightening villains in all of comic book history. We saw a Joker that was far more dangerous, insane and sick than anything we ever witnessed before and this all involved what he did to Barbara Gordon (Bat Girl). The Joker kidnaps her, shoots her, strips her naked and then photographs her for her father to later see. This was a chilling sequence in the original comic book, and it left you wondering just what else the Joker may have done to her that was not shown but rather implied by a few of the panels.

Flash forward to present time and we have a newer Bat Girl series, with a lighter tone and delivering a positive message of empowerment to women. Then along comes this very different feeling variant cover by Raphael Albuquerque….

It was meant as a throwback cover to The Killing Joke and has caused loads of controversy. DC has received threats of violence and harassment for the image. People have deemed the cover as too inappropriate because of it’s clearly dark imagery a frightened, crying and bleeding Bat Girl with the Joker’s arm wrapped around her, gun in hand. It’s a variant cover so it really doesn’t need to have anything to do with the story inside the comic and most often these covers are meant for die hard collectors. I’m thinking a few things as I view it, first it’s an incredibly creepy cover, mostly if you know exactly what happened to Barbara Gordon back in The Killing Joke. Second it’s clearly a awesome piece of artwork portraying an excellent clearly insane Clown Prince of Crime. Third it’s maybe one of the most powerful comic book covers I’ve seen in years, it clearly strikes a nerve and leaves you with a feeling of utter dread.

 

I don’t think the cover is so offensive that it should be cancelled, but it may be tonally wrong for the series at the current moment in time. People in an uproar however also need to realize that this is fiction, not every story is going to an uplifting experience, some of the best stories do at times involve tragedy, in fact that’s what makes The Killing Joke so powerful in the first place. I agree, this cover may just be too disturbing for the current Bat Girl series, it does show a Bat Girl in a state of pure fright, some may view it as a women portrayed as weak, it brings back some those bad vibes of the Alan Moore tale but I also can say as a fan of The Killing Joke, if this was the cover to an actual Bat Girl story that was related to 1988 classic, DC would’ve have me picking up Bat Girl on a regular basis for the first time in my life…

 

Captain America’s Costume for Lease: The Falcon Joins the Growing List of Cap Wannabes!!

So it seems that ol’ Steve Rogers has got some problems again-as you all probably already know he’ll be passing the mantle of Captain America to he longtime buddy Sam Wilson, formerly The Falcon! Wilson arguably the first black superhero in mainstream comics, originally appearing in the late 1960’s and has been one of Cap’s best friends since. It seems Marvel’s trying to really shake things up there to generate new some interest, most recently, the company announced a new Thor that’d be a female version and also announced that Wolverine would be killed off in the coming months. Of course we all know, Wolverine will be back, Thor will be a man again and Steve Rogers will once again return as Cap, so really there’s nothing to lose here for Marvel, it’s not even a gamble in smallest possible way.

captain_america_ml_140717_4x3_992

But Man, Steve Rogers has a rough time being Captain America in the modern age doesn’t he? Being killed off in Civil War and having Bucky become the new Cap (I LOVED the Bucky version by the way) and now his super soldier serum being taken from his body?! Dang! Now Steve will operate from behind the scenes sitting at a desk as he’s now an old fogey! Ouch!! Anyway I think it’s a cool idea and I like the fact that the Falcon stepped to the plate to make some Cap history.

From what I hear too is that Wilson won’t be giving up his wings either-a good decision. Plus a winged flying Cap is a cool idea. My question is why realistically would Wilson decide to be Cap when he’s already a legend in his own right? I guess it’d be like if Spider-man died and suddenly The Black Panther decided he was going to be the Spider-man?!

Anyway there have over the years several others who’ve taken the role of Captain America besides Steve Rogers, here’s a list of the Cap wannabes!!

My fave the Bucky Cap…

3364694-captainamerica_50_cover

 

Then there’s the Isaiah Bradley, version, considered the second incarnation of Cap, he’s also black, sorry Sam …

 

The there’s William Naslund, also known as “The Spirit of 76”, he’s the 1950’s Cap with Fred Davis the second Bucky… Continue reading