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Pull list for June 1 2016; Thoughts on Captain Hydra

May 31, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I’m off tomorrow, hurrah.

I’ll go to the store for: A-Force #6, by Kelly Thompson, Ben Caldwell, Scott Hanna and Ian Herring; All-New Wolverine #9, by Tom Taylor, Marcio Takara and Mat Lopes; ANAD Avengers #10, by Mark Waid, Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig.

I’ll also review: Deadpool #13, by – deep breath – Gerry Duggan, Charles Soule, David Walker, Jacopo Camagni, Guillermo Sanna, Elmo Bondoc, Paco Diaz, Veronica Gandini, Mat Lopes, Nolan Woodard and Israel Silva; Old Man Logan #7, by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo; X-Men ’92 #4, by Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Alti Firmansyah and Matt Milla.

So that’s 3 comics I’m picking up, and 4 reviews. A light week.

I’m fairly excited for all three comics, but especially A-Force and Wolverine. A-Force is a lot of fun. Dazzthor! Dazzler as a Thor! Also, according to the preview, normal Dazzler can pick locks, at least on handcuffs. Which is weirdly great. Why did she learn how to pick locks? Why not, I suppose. I ike to think she just gave Storm a call on day and said, “My life is insane, I know I’m going to end up in handcuffs again, can you teach me to get out of them?” And Wolverine has her going into the belly of Fin Fang Foom. Which is so great.

My Marvel pull list for June: A-Force #6, All-New Wolverine #9, ANAD Avengers #10, New Avengers #12, Vision #8, Ms. Marvel #8, Ultimates #8, Silver Surfer #5, Silk #9, Captain Marvel #6, Hellcat #7, Black Panther #3, Moon Girl #8, Power Man & Iron Fist #5, Nighthawk #2, ANAD Avengers #11, Squirrel Girl #9, Mockingbird #4. 18 Marvel titles, which is about my average. Plus, WicDiv, Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet (two issues!), Mirror and Insexts. And I need to get Nameless City.

So everyone spent the past week talking about Steve Rogers being a Hydra agent. I figured I should probably give my thoughts on it. My main thought is: I don’t particularly care. I really don’t. Captain America was never one of my favourite characters. So him being Hydra? Not a big deal to me. I’ve read enough Captain America stories to have seen similar plots before, where he got brainwashed into joining bad guys. Simply put, it’s a really obvious story to do with the character. The fact that he represents American Ideals is what makes it so obvious. It’s not like this is going to last, and odds are good it’s a matter of Red Skull messing with his memories. So I don’t find this a big deal.

No, what bothers me about it is how much attention it’s gotten. Frigging everyone has been talking about it, and won’t shut up about it. Meanwhile, last week had Ms. Marvel, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Mockingbird, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Hellcat, Nighthawk, Weirdworld and Totally Awesome Hulk. A bunch of books with leads who are women and people of colour. And all of them – every single one of those books – put out a very strong issue. Ms. Marvel was delightfully fun, and it also included a really good speech about how the cost of university forces students to compete for scholarships, making education competitive rather than collaborative. The speech also serves as a really fun way of poking fun at Civil War II. Squirrel Girl was a hilarious issue exploring the awkwardness of online dating, something a lot of people can relate to. Mockingbird was a fantastic commentary on tween girls and just how awful society is towards them. Moon Girl was fun, and also used the new character, Mel-Varr, to explore the consequences of parents putting too much pressure on their kids. Nighthawk was an excellent debut, with some great commentary on racial politics. (I got a digital code for the issue, and I’m adding that book to my pull list. It wasn’t on my list because of my long-running stance of “fuck Batman,” which extends to knock-offs of Batman, but the first issue was so well-written that I’m going to start picking it up.) Weirdworld was a deeply emotional finale that also explored how parents can put pressure on their children, and how it affects them. Even Hulk had some really strong emotional value with how Amadeus and his sister are still grieving the deaths of their parents several years ago. And Hellcat? Well, that one was just hilarious. No great commentary, just great comedy.

These are great books with some really interesting things to say about the human condition. And they’re books that promote diversity – three of them have women of colour as leads, two others are men of colour, and another three are white women. It’s great! It’s great diversity! And every single one of them got ignored in favour of The White Dude. And that’s disappointing to me. We have so. Goddamn. Many. Stories. About the white dude already. We have 75 years of stories about Captain America. He’s had so many stories about him. And we just keep talking about him. We don’t let anyone else matter. Mockingbird has Things To Say about how society treats young girls? Tough shit, she should’ve been Steve Rogers because that’s the only way she ever could’ve mattered! Nighthawk has some complex commentary on racial politics? Who cares, he’s not Steve Rogers, racial politics are way less important than a temporary retcon that will inevitably be retconned away again pretty soon anyway!

Fuck Steve Rogers. I don’t give a single good goddamn about Steve Rogers being Hydra. I care about Ms. Marvel. I care about Hellcat. I care about Moon Girl. I care about characters who haven’t already had every single possible story about them told, re-told, told again, and then told a bunch more times.

Moving on. I read Genrenauts #2: The Absconded Ambassador, by Michael Underwood. My review:

This was an enjoyable read. It’s a very metatextual book, talking quite a bit about the nature of fiction, and more specific to this story, the nature of sci-fi. The sci-fi world Underwood created was interesting, and there’s some fun stuff. There’s also some good casual diversity going on. It is a fairly simple, straightforward book. It’s an enjoyable read, but not one that particularly blew me away. But it’s good, it’s worth reading.

I also read Cautionary Fables and Fairy-Tales. My review:

This is a great read. It’s an anthology of European fables and fairy tales. Some are intense. Most are just fun. There’s a lot of strong humour and cute art. But there’s also some very dramatic writing and emotional art. All the stories are great, regardless of their tone. This is definitely worth reading.

And I read Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales: Africa Edition:

This is so great. It’s an anthology of comics based on African fables and fairy tales. And it’s a great mix of comedic comics and serious ones. Most are fun, though. Quite a few are kinda silly and ridiculous, which just makes them even more enjoyable. The art in most of the stories is really cute and expressive. There are some stories that are more serious, and those make for a nice bit of variety, and are well-told. The one complaint I have is that it would’ve been nice to get more African creators involved. Most of the creators were white, which feels like a wasted opportunity.

Still, it’s a great book, and well worth reading.

This puts me at 24 books for the year so far. Well ahead of my schedule. Next, I’ll read either Evil Librarian or Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf. I’ll see how I feel. I’ve read 9 prose books so far, out of a goal of at least a dozen. So I should actually finish my reading goal in July. Woot.

So, on Sunday night, Makiko Futaki died. She was an animator for Studio Ghibli (and also worked on the Akira anime). It’s funny, I’d never heard of her. I only learned about her when I read she died. And yet, her death made me sad. I wasn’t affected when Bowie or Prince died, or most other celebrities. But this woman I didn’t know existed? It bummed me out a bit. Because I was never a fan of Bowie or Prince or most pop culture icons. But Studio Ghibli? I frigging love Studio Ghibli. They made some of my all-time favourite movies. Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Arrietty, Whisper of the Heart, Howl’s Moving Castle, When Marnie Was There. So many movies that fill me with wonder and wreck me with feels. And the animation is definitely a major part of that. They are gorgeous movies. Just visually stunning, without fail. So learning that one of those animators died makes me sad. In her honour, I re-watched her final movie, When Marnie Was There. It’s not the best Ghibli movie, but it is one of my favourites. It’s really good. It’s sweet and sad, and just a little bit unnerving in a good way. I also have a soft spot in my heart for that movie, because it introduced me to the music of Priscilla Ahn. Of course, part of the reason I love Priscilla Ahn is because she reminds me of that movie. Either way, if you haven’t watched the movie, you should. And then you should listen to Ahn’s album, Just Know That I Love You, an album inspired by the book the movie’s based on. Because that album – yeah, feels. So many feels. (On a side note, the director of When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, also directed another of my favourite Ghibli movies, Arrietty. Miyazaki’s my favourite of Ghibli’s directors, but Yonebayashi’s second, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.)

My schedule for the week: 1:30-8:15 Thursday, 9-6 Saturday (I might have that down wrong), 6:30-11:15 Sunday, 10:45-7 Monday. So posts Friday and Tuesday.

And that’s it for this week.

  1. That’s quite the Captain America rant there – awesome. I get why people are making a big deal about it – he’s been around for 75 years and has a lot of history, not to mention Captain America: Civil War just came out, so he’s fresh in people’s minds. But yeah, people are making too big of a deal out of it. As someone who likes Captain America but not enough to call myself a fan, I look at it as a potentially fun story to read as it comes out, but I probably won’t stick with this new series for too long.

    Yeah, A-Force, All-New Wolverine and All-New All Different Avengers are on my pull list as well. A-Force and ANW should both be good, and Mark Waid’s Avengers is entertaining at least.

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