Big Two Round-Up: Comics Released 3/2/16

roundup1We got us a double-header! We try to stay up on what’s going on with the Big Two, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles released by Marvel and DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Batman and Robin Eternal 22, Black Widow 1, Green Lantern 50, Old Man Logan 3, and Spider-Man 2.

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Batman and Robin Eternal 22

Batman and Robin Eternal 22Mark: Who could have supposed after the interminable Robin War, an entire crossover event dedicated to Robins, that the most contemplative reflection of the characters would come months later in an issue of Batman and Robin Eternal. This is probably the strongest issue this weekly has produced. While we get a bit of plot movement in the final pages, Genevieve Valentine pumps the brakes on the relentless action of the last few issues. Instead, we finally get a few moments for characters to really react to what has happened.

The issue begins with Harper getting a full 3 pages to explain her pain to Cass, and it’s honest and realistic in a way that’s jarring for this mayhem-fueled book and superhero books in general.

Batman Robin Eternal 22

I feel like we almost never get moments like this in superhero comics. Instead, we normally see reactions more like Harper’s Fear Serum reaction a couple issues back: a lot of bellowing followed by a lot of punching.

And after swooping in to save the day at the end of Batman and Robin Eternal 20, of course it’s Damian who gives the rest of the Robins a pep talk after they’re ready to all but give up. Because, of course, Batman didn’t expect or want every Robin to be identical soldiers. In their training, he allowed each Robin to figure out where they excelled. Now the stage is set for Jason, Tim, Dick, and Damian to each bring their unique skill sets to the table as they work together to take down Mother.

How was this not the climax of the ill-conceived Robin War? Frustration!

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Black Widow 1

Black Widow 1Spencer: Co-writer and artist Chris Samnee gets top billing in the credits of Black Widow 1, and looking through the issue, it’s easy to see why. This is clearly a title that values visual storytelling above all else, and Samnee is more than up to the task of carrying the story — the man’s a master of his craft. It’s especially notable that our protagonist only gets one line of dialogue in the entire issue — on the last page at that! — yet she never comes across as a cipher.

Instead, Samnee and Mark Waid’s story and Samnee’s art especially paints a remarkably clear picture of Natasha Romanoff. Her escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. shows off her grace and agility, her vicious, no-holds barred battle with an agent at the issue’s close shows off her raw power and skill, and moments like the following highlight Widow’s guile and cunning:

the kiss

That kiss is an important moment too, because it stops Natasha from being a stereotypical stone-cold action hero and instead imbues her with just a touch of humor. These moments of levity do wonders to humanize a character who’s so often written as absolutely cold, mysterious, and unknowable.

get her!

Of course, there’s still an element of mystery to Black Widow. What did she steal from S.H.I.E.L.D., and why? It’s a compelling hook to hang this series on, but perhaps more importantly, it leaves plenty of opportunity for more high-octane chase scenes like the one that dominates Black Widow 1. If Samnee and Waid can keep pumping out action like this on a monthly basis, they won’t even need a plot to make this book a hit.

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Green Lantern 50

Green Lantern 50Michael: DC must have an unwritten rule that every Green Lantern 50 since the ’90s must feature Hal Jordan as Parallax. Hal became Parallax in 1994’s Green Lantern 50; he briefly reunited with Parallax during “Blackest Night” in 2010’s Green Lantern 50 and now in the most recent Green Lantern 50 has Hallax (presumably from Convergence) arrive to the New 52 Earth. Robert Venditti and Billy Tan open up the issue by focusing on the imagery of “Emerald Twilight”: greying Hal Jordan in a construct sling, mourning the loss of his hometown Coast City. No matter how far Hal Jordan and Green Lantern have come since 1994, that is still a powerful and dark symbol in the character’s history. After introducing Hallax to the modern day, undestroyed Coast City we turn our focus to New 52 Hal (or as I shall call him for sake of clarity: hoodie Hal). Hoodie Hal is still feeling guilty for inadvertently landing his nephew in a wheelchair (for the moment) because of his battle with Sonar.

What follows is an extra-sized issue (because it’s a #50) that is basically hoodie Hal trading blows with Hallax while trying to plead to Hallax’s sensibility. Since current DC continuity is pretty murky as far as Batman and Green Lantern go, I was very curious to see where Venditti was going to stand on the issue of Hal and Parallax. At first it seemed like the issue was going to ignore the Green Lantern: Rebirth story altogether, as Hal didn’t immediately recognize a doppelganger of his in one of the most murderous phases of his life. It’s not until the last quarter of the book that hoodie Hal corrects Hallax (and addresses my concerns) by telling him that Coast City was destroyed and that he had been corrupted by the Parallax entity. Hoodie Hal uses the gauntlet to become a living construct — for some reason this is way too much for Hallax and he just straight up leaves.

gl50

Huh? Hallax’s whole shtick is that he wants more and more power — he even says so in this issue. You’re telling me that he sees a Green Lantern become a living construct and he’s not gonna try to steal that? Yeah…no.

This was one of the more entertaining issues of the Venditti/Tan Green Lantern run — probably only for nostalgia’s sake. Nevertheless the question remains: why? Why did we have to have an oversized issue of Hal Jordan fighting himself? This may be a cop out but I’m gonna go ahead and say it: bring on DC’s Rebirth.

 

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Old Man Logan 3

Old Man Logan 3Spencer: Is Logan’s tragic future fated to be the future of the current Marvel universe? It’s a question that’s been lurking in the background of Old Man Logan since its inception, but it’s especially pertinent in issue 3, where Kate Bishop straight-up questions the validity of Logan’s mission. Writer Jeff Lemire pulls off a tricky balancing act here, using flashbacks to keep the reader keyed into Logan’s emotions and remind us of why his mission is so vital to him, yet consistently calling his perspective and methods into question in the present-day. Kate’s arguments against Logan are valid, but there’s truth to Logan’s argument as well — by keeping the truth ambiguous Lemire keeps the reader as off-balance as Logan himself is, again helping us to become invested in Logan as a character by making sure we know nothing more than Logan himself does.

Lemire’s character work here is top-notch as well. Kate makes a terrific foil to Logan — she enables him and questions him in equal measure. In a way Kate fills the typical “Wolverine’s young female companion” role, but even that helps show how this Logan differs from the one we knew; our Logan would never have attacked Kitty or Jubilee the way this Logan does Kate, and she can’t bring out Old Man Logan’s soft side the way those previous young women did. It seems entirely possible that Logan’s soft side no longer exists, or that if it does, it belongs only to his dead family. Perhaps one of the best aspects of Kate’s characterization here, though, is that she’s a stone-cold badass, capable of standing up to Logan and going toe-to-toe with him if needed.

badass kate

Andrea Sorrentino (and colorist Marcelo Maiolo) are astounding here — Kate’s open-palm thrust looks like it hurt, and they highlight her skill and athleticism without diminishing her optimism and humor elsewhere in the issue. These three creators have obviously found their rhythm working together, and it shows in the final product. We may have reason to doubt Logan, but I’ve got full confidence in Lemire, Sorrentino, and Maiolo.

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Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2Drew: “What does Hawkeye do in his free time?””What if Jane Foster was Thor?” “What if the Vision created a robot family?” Some of Marvel’s best series in recent years have sprung from these kinds of questions, pushing characters in new directions, and offering structure to the nonstop grind of publication. I could go on at length about why I think this has been such a successful strategy for them, but there’s no denying that it’s a decidedly different strategy (or at least appears to be different) from the villain of the week model that typified the first decades of the publisher. In that climate, you might think the thesis-free plotting of Spider-Man might be a refreshing change of pace, but instead, it feels utterly aimless.

Spider-Man has always been kind of a reactive character — he has a responsibility to fight crime, but not to prevent it, apparently — which can make giving him an objective somewhat difficult. That difficulty ends up driving the narrative in this issue, bouncing Miles Morales from one conflict to another. Unfortunately, those conflicts never result in any consequences, robbing them of any narrative tension they might have. Peter Parker not wanting Miles to use the name Spider-Man could be an interesting source of tension, but it dissipates as quickly as it comes on. A demon could be an interesting villain, if Miles hadn’t already defeated it easily in the previous issue. Miles balking at being labeled “the black Spider-Man” and getting chewed out by his grandmother for failing grades are the only threads that have any teeth in this issue, but neither has the space to be properly developed.

To its credit, the issue seems designed to avoid the “nothing happened” label often thrown at Brian Michael Bendis joints, but enough of the events are rendered moot that I think that label still feels apt. Paradoxically, more meaningful storytelling might have happened if Bendis had actually excised some of these happenings. Why have the demon come back only to be defeated again? It doesn’t introduce anything new about the demon, and only serves to interrupt the argument between Peter and Miles — an argument that also could be excised if it’s not going to go anywhere here. I genuinely believe there’s a great story (and meta-commentary) in Miles being labeled “the black Spider-Man,” but unfortunately, this issue can’t commit enough to that concept to give it its due. Here’s hoping it can find its direction next month.

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The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

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7 comments on “Big Two Round-Up: Comics Released 3/2/16

  1. ” I genuinely believe there’s a great story (and meta-commentary) in Miles being labeled “the black Spider-Man,” but unfortunately, this issue can’t commit enough to that concept to give it its due. Here’s hoping it can find its direction next month.”

    This was by far the most interesting part of this comic and I am interested in where Bendis is going to go with it.. There is a lot to say and Bendis is one that isn’t afraid to have nothing happen but people just say stuff, so we’ll see… Unfortunately, the big bad reveal at the end doesn’t really have anything to do with Black Spider-Man, so we’ll see…

  2. Black Widow #1: I have zero interest in this character. None. Literally. However, I like the Waid/Samnee combo quite a bit (although I did think DD in SF was only ok), so I was willing to give it a try. Damn. One thing I like is that for a while now Waid and Samnee shared some sort of equal billing as storytellers and I don’t think it’s every been more obvious than here how well that can work out. A+ comics here.

    There’s no regular roundup, but I have to throw out a comment about Garth Ennis and his war story comics. Dreaming Eagles (3) from Aftershock is great comics. It’s fantastic. Johnny Red (3) from Titan comics is also very good, but Dreaming Eagles is a must read. I think it’s just six issues, so maybe get the trade, but support this. It’s a brilliant story about black American fighter pilots in WWII and so damn good.

  3. Batman and Robin Eternal: I don’t want to give this issue an exact Act designation, as I’d have to reread the entire series to give an accurate designation. Quite simply, forcing a story into a set number of acts is the second biggest problem with the Three Act Structure (the biggest problem being that it is utterly useless and without value as a structure. Nothing is funnier than reading screenwriting books attempt to explain how their Four or Eight Act Structures are actually Three Act Structures, to justify the existence of an Act Structure that actually means something).

    But whichever Act this issue begins, it is equivalent to Act 4 in Shakespeare’s structure, which gives Valentine the unenviable task of doing the most boring Act in a story, place-setting for the finale. It is hard to make Act 4 interesting, and few manage to do it (my favourite example of a successful Act 4 is Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn manages to take the boring task of ‘the Guardians decide if they are going to fight Ronan’ into one of the most captivating and deepest sections of the movie).

    And Valentine has proven that she can do the same. Valentine’s Catwoman was a hidden masterpiece, and were it not for the fact that she unfortunately doesn’t seem to be given as many books to write as King, I would be screaming about her in the comments just as much. I am honestly tempted to read Xena comics because of her, despite my issues with licensed comics and my unfamiliarity with the franchise.

    Seeley’s return didn’t reach the heights of his first two amazing issues of Batman and Robin Eternal, but Valentine? This is the stuff that I have been waiting for. The opening with Harper and Cassandra is, as you said, so emotionally honest. What I really love, though, is that it surprises you. I’m lucky to never have been as poor as Harper. And what makes the scene work is that the stuff she tells catch you off guard. THey don’t fall into the cliche and surprise you. Which really makes Harper’s pain stick.

    And then there was Damian. His speech and the flashback are almost perfect (suffers a bit from the fact that Jason Todd will never be a natural fit in the Batfamily as a gun toting killer). But it is the perfect encapsulation of what Robin, at its best, should be. I braved through the middle section, which was seemingly left to the lesser writers. But this is why. Because eventually, the good writers were going to return. Thank god for Valentine, and let’s hope she gets a comic in DC Rebirth

    Black Widow: Unsurprisingly, I haven’t read this. Nice to see that after the generic sounding ‘on the run from SHIELD’ premise, there actually is a unique angle, similar to their Daredevil (for all my problems with it).

    I currently have a big interest in reading some comics that are almost purely visual like this, but I just can’t trust Waid to sustain these ideas in the long term. His Daredevil run started started with an uncharacteristic brilliance, until he very quickly proved himself unable to tell a long term story and it utterly collapsed. And honestly, if Black Widow remains as highly visual as it looks, I think the comic will turn into something even worse if Waid makes the same mistake. A highly visual story like that requires forward momentumn, and Waid proved that he wasn’t up to the task with that in Daredevil.

    Honestly, and this is a compliment, Marvel should just stick him in a team up book like his SHIELD series. Honestly, I’d also recommend he write an Avengers book, especially one that generally kept to itself and just told story after story kind of like the old Avengers Assemble comic, except All New All Different Avengers proved to be a disaster. But he just isn’t built for long term storytelling.

    Ah well, I just hope this is successful. The movies have made me love Black Widow, so I hope she remains successful in comics until we can have some really good runs. THe last one came close. It feels like the inspiration for the what will be the definitive Black Widow run

    Spiderman: I’ve been reading Brubaker/Lark’s Daredevil series lately, and I honestly really enjoying the way Daredevil was written in the days of Bendis/Brubaker. Part of it is the strong noir influence, part of it is the fun combination of street level stories and the spiritualism (more should be done with the fact that Daredevil is both a boxer and a ninja. A fantastic contradiction to explore). Part of it is fantastic teams. Part of it is the focus on every part of the character’s life, with Foggy, Becky, Dakota and Milla featuring, in some way, in every story arc.

    But part of it is the much maligned ‘Writing for the Trade’ aspect. Can be hell on an issue basis, but it really does make great reading when you read it all together. The stories begin stretched out in one hundred different ways, as if it is thesis free plotting that is utterly aimless. Until you reach the end of the arc,

    Melvin Potter murders people, yet oddly denies responsibility? A new bad guy is entering Hell’s Kitchen, and thugs would rather commit suicide than be stopped by Daredevil? Someone is following Milla, and adjusting their plans to take into account her therapy? Except by the end, it all comes together. And because it is written for the Trade, it does so in a way that makes the world of Hell Kitchen feel expansive and deep.

    Spiderman (unsurprisingly, considering the writer) seems to be doing the same thing. The start sets up all sorts of things up. It looks a bit directionless at the moment, because instead of a central throughline, there are multiple different threads, none more important than the other.

    Blackheart is basically supposed to be a joke villain. A villain who exists solely to set up the rest of the elements. Peter being not entirely sure about Miles as Spiderman, Miles having a big success that leads to all sorts of exposure, and a reason for him to leave class to explain his poor grades. The important thing is that this was the catalyst for the ‘directionless’ threads, that are eventually going to come together. You can actually see the clear thematic commonality. It is all about Miles dealing with his new status, and how it effects him and everyone around him.

    There some actually quite clever structuring of the elements. Everything about the issue is Miles dealing with how people perceive him as Spiderman. He is desperately trying to deal with what it means to everyone until, in a cliffhanger, he meets the exact opposite problem with a new villain – his angry grandmother.

    And that’s the story. He’s found himself in a new world – both figuratively and literally – and faces a completely new set of challenges around how he is perceived. It is about him needing to work out who both Miles and Spider-man is in the new world. It isn’t thesisless, but you need to wait for the story arc to end for the thesis to become clear.

    Also, just like Miss Marvel, it just seems to work better if you pretend Miles isn’t part of the Avengers. If Miles/Kamala sin’t a big deal, and a little guy doing the best they can.

    Invincible Iron Man: If you wanted a thesis statement from Bendis, here it is. A wonderfully written conversation between Tony Stark and Mary Jane that explores the central thesis of Bendis’ Iron Man, building wonderfully on the great opening speech from issue 1 (and that’s not all from issue 1 that has returned). Bendis is doing th eopposite approach to SPiderman, where he starts small and builds outwards. What begun with Tony is a garage is steadily getting larger, as what could have been accused of being a throwaway line is now a key subplot. Pepper Potts is finally introduced to the story, and I like how Bendis is starting the elements really small, so that when they grow it really feels like a legitimate expansion

    Also, Bendis may finally be doing something with the ‘TOny Stark is apparently poor’ thing, though it could go either way. Either a key element of the comic, or annoying window dressing that Waid stuck Bendis in. Is there a comic that has actually addressed Waid’s Avengers run in a way that actually adds to it? I think Nick Spencer’s Captain America has, since it fits so well with his ‘superhero as a job’ themes, but has anything else?

    Omega Men: Naturally, this wasn’t as good as last issue. Last issue is likely going to be on my best of 2016 list, but this one was a ‘normal’ issue of Omega Men. Which is to say, still the best thing on the stands, and still doing things so much ballsier than anyone else.

    Last issue broke Kyle Rayner, and he is desperate and ineffective. He is broken, even as he tries to fight. Ultimately, the Omega Men quickly take control of the situation for their goals. They blow up a planet, and doom the Galaxy in an attempt for clarity. THe Omega Men reject the idea that the Citadel can act without accountability, and if the Citadel wish to continue with (noble) goals, they must do so with full accountability of their actions. They are, as they have always been, just as much villains as the Citadel. THey accept this, and have built a world view that states than one must choose which villain they wish to follow. Alpha or Omega.

    Kyle Rayner stands between them, and so pays the price of neutrality. He is shot by both sides. And yet, in a moment that is almost textbook Hero’s Journey yet works anyway, Kyle is ‘resurrected’. He has his heroic insight, the thing that pieces everything back together. And best of all, it comes straight from the centre of the Green Lantern mythos. And now, Kyle Rayner is the White Lantern again.

    This comic has been utterly packed, and full of such thematic development that it is a more complex story in 9 issues than most can do in 25. This series is a masterpiece.

    Prez: Had some time to reread some stuff, including Batman: The Black Mirror (to this day, still possibly Snyder’s best Batman story) and Prez.

    Any discussion of Prez can’t ignore politics, especially considering the primaries. And rereading Prez after everything that has happened is truly fascinating. I mean, the comic begins with the Republican party meeting in a dark room to decide who their candidate will be, an amazingly incorrect insight in a world where the Republican party recently had a very similar meeting in a desperate attempt to work out how the hell they can stop Trump.

    But Russel’s failure to predict the unpredictable is not the most interesting thing about Prez. I was actually nervous rereading it, because of the other major problem, Bernie Sanders.

    The whole premise of Prez is a power fantasy about how the right person can come in and fix American politics. Which is a great fantasy that can lead to a hilarious and intelligent book. But also a dangerous fantasy when in the current world, people want to subject the Democrat Party to the same purity tests that destroyed the GOP so badly that Trump is leading their Primary, all in service of nominating a man who will be utterly unable to win an election, nor actually get any of his (fantastic) dreams done. A man with a single issue that doesn’t understand so many important parts of today’s world, and whose actual policy proposals to implement his dreams are generally ludicrous. The focus on eating the Democrat’s own (and the racism/sexism that comes out the moment things don’t go their way) is scary, and there is a real possibility of real problems for the Democrats in the general, caused by people who treated Clinton as an evil force, instead of someone who will be able to make pragmatic, incremental and important changes (and politically, is exactly the same as Obama).

    It really changes how you look at Prez. On the one hand, a reread revealed a lot of the cleverness I missed the first time. Still utterly hilarious, but it also sneakily rejects its own fantasy. Ultimately, true success comes from being a sneaky, underhanded bastard. Ross is a great president because she has no ties to anyone, but all this means is that her goals are her goals. But her failures are Bernie-style grand dreams with no real plan, like her apology tour that doesn’t cause any meaningful change except piss a few nations off, despite her beautiful speech (though to be fair on her, at least she has some idea about Foreign Policy) while her successes are based on being underhanded and willing to get dirty in the trenches for meaningful change, and the willingness to work alongside the powerful who align with her interests. And yet, is it too subtle? In a day when that very power fantasy is being taken to a very toxic conclusion, I’m a little more conflicted.

    It is hard to say that on its own, it is still a masterpiece, as a book like Prez is built on the the current world. But as the Primaries have gone on and got scarier and scarier, some of the joys now scare me. Still impeccably written, but written for a world where the Primaries didn’t turn into an insane trainwreck. Which does hurt it

  4. Hey, interesting question for everyone about the Black Widow kiss stuff. What is everyone’s view on Black Widow’s characterization. Because I honestly don’t care for the kiss.

    My view on Black Widow has generally been a very professional. Strong sense of interiority, and whose actions generally represent an intentional act. What makes her not a stereotypical stone cold action hero is the utter level of professionalism, the layers of facades and the juxtaposition between her ‘ordinary’ life and the world around her. The fact that she is Jason Bourne in a James Bond movie (which is crossing over with the rest of the Marvel Universe).
    In the instances when we do see what is really under her skin, I see basically her in Age of Ultron. Tiredness and guilt, with a healthy dollop of doubt on her own ethics and a feeling of being lost and alone (though Marjorie Liu’s series also makes me think of her having a strong sense of justice, even if she doesn’t believe so).

    So to me, the kiss feels out of character. It doesn’t feel purposeful, which is what I believe every Black Widow action should feel like. And it also plays to the most regressive elements of her design. There are smarter ways to play with the seductress elements, especially as I feel the sexy action heroine is cookie cutter.

    But I’m interested in where everyone else views Black Widow. Because I think she is a character going through something similar to, say, Hawkeye in finding that iconic version of her.

    (I also worked out the answer to my question about whether or not any book has used the All-New All-Different Avengers line up to their advantage. The Vision. His position as an Avenger actually feels meaningful to the story, instead of an unnatural attempt to match the character’s needs with the All-New All-Different Avengers Book)

    • I was surprised by the kiss, it seemed far to whimsical for who I thought her to be. however, I know nothing about her character really other than the movies and her guest appearances in other books. I did keep getting her confused with Black Cat for about 10 years, too, until I read a bunch of old Spectacular Spideys with Cat in it, and then I realized I didnt’ know anything about Widow.

      But it seemed out of place, but I’ll go along for the ride as this seemed a fresh start and I liked everything else.

    • I can certainly understand your POV when it comes to the kiss. I admit that it feels more like something Scarlet Johanson’s movie-Widow would do than the comic incarnation, but I’m cool with that — I like that movie-Widow can be kinda flippant and snarky at times without ever undercutting her skill or intensity, so I don’t mind seeing that incorporated into comic-Widow either.

      And I don’t really feel like seductress/sexuality plays much of a role in it either. I mean, there’s a LITTLE of it there obviously — you wouldn’t see a male character do that — but it clearly wasn’t meant to be a sexual kiss nor even Widow seducing the grunt. As she is won’t to do, she preys on his underestimation of her by pretending to surrender, then immediately steals his gear and gives him a quick peck as a way of saying “sorry!” before taking off with his jetpack. If Waid had been using dialogue for Widow she’d probably have just said sorry before taking off, but this is another instance of he and Samnee using her actions to inform us of Widow’s feelings and intentions, and I like that as a take on the character. It helps us understand the character while still keeping her appropriately distant.

      But yeah, the arguments against the kiss are certainly valid, I can see why it might ruffle some feathers or seem out of character.

      ——
      On the subject of books using the All-New All-Different Avengers line-up to their advantage, I think Nova has been doing a good job of it too. The Avengers are a pretty prominent presence — his membership is affecting his schoolwork, Iron Man acts as Sam’s mentor/soundingboard, and Miles and Kamala are essentially supporting cast members at this point. The team feels like a natural part of Sam’s world without dominating the title, a balance no other book has really balanced besides Vision, as you point out.

      • I don’t think the movie Widow would do that, as that is where a lot of my interpretation comes from. I think it is notable that the movie where Black Widow is her most flippant and snarky (the Winter Soldier) is also the one where she admits that her entire personality is an act for Captain America (she even asks Steve who he wants her to be). Black Widow is flippant in the movies, as it makes her teammates comfortable.

        The kiss is certainly more ‘sexy action girl’ than ‘seductress’, but since Black Widow will never fully escape the seductress elements of her original design (I mean, she is actually called Black Widow), I feel sexual elements should be approached carefully. I mean, I don’t think you can call the kiss not sexual. Beautiful bombshell taking time to give a flirtatious peck in the middle of battle is certainly sexy. And considering all the black widow imagery in Black Widow’s design, playing up her sexiness plays up the ‘she’ll make you fall in love with her before stabbing you in the back’ Seductress stuff. I’d rather have Black Widow save that side of her during actual seductions. It comes back to the idea of intentionality, I’ve always seen Black Widow as a character whose every move is explicitly chosen because that will get her closer to her goal.

        The rest of the scene does this perfectly. Each action has obvious motive. Honestly, I wouldn’t have complained about Black Widow saying ‘Sorry’ there breaking the ‘99% visual’ storytelling style, but honestly, I feel the parachute is a better example of Black Widow apologizing. Presents that message much more clearly, and in a way more consistent both with Black Widow’s characterization and the idea of keeping her distant – a kiss is a very expressive and intimate act, not one that suggests distance.

        So yeah, I guess to me such a casual kiss – or any action done casually without forethought (I remember one of Hickman’s Avengers issues annoying me greatly in this regard) doesn’t fit my version of Black Widow. Especially when I think the pulling of the parachute communicates everything that Samnee wants communicated much better

        _______

        Haven’t read Nova, but keep meaning to try it. Nice to see it uses the Avengers well.

        But the odd thing is that so many comics being affected by the All-New All-Different Avengers. Never seemed to happen with Bendis or Hickman. Gillen had Iron Man fly out to space and Hickman just had to deal with that. But at the moment, it is almost hard to ignore the fact that All-New All-Different Avengers seems to be effecting other books

        The Mighty Thor is basically ignoring it, with the cameos of Captain America and Iron Man in the first issue being totally divorced from any Avenger context. Vision uses the fact that the Avengers is his ‘job’ really well for thematic reasons, and apparently Nova does it well.

        But Ms Marvel feels like the Avengers stuff would work better if her making mistakes in Issue 4 meant calling down ‘the Big Guns’ instead of her teammates. Miles stopping Blackheart feels like it would have been better if Blackheart had beaten the ‘the Big Guns’ instead of his teammates. And Iron Man’s money issues keep being brought up without meaning, especially as he is still booking out restaurants and giving Mary Jane a massive salary.

        It reminds me of Dwayne McDuffie’s Justice League run, where the opposite happened. McDuffie found himself at the whims of what every other book was doing (and Final Crisis plans). All his plans were cut to pieces, and it was generally a mess. Here, luckily, it is only one book that is influencing multiple books in small ways, instead of multiple books subjecting one book to death of a thousand cuts, but there seems like there has been some sort of communication failure considering how poorly everything fits together (I think there has been a lot of ‘sure, that sounds like a great idea’ before properly thinking through what that means for the comic.)

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