Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/13/16

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We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing A-Force 4, Amazing Spider-Man 8, Gwenpool 1, Mockingbird 2, Rocket Raccoon and Groot 4, Spider-Gwen 7, and Weirdworld 5.

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A-Force 4

A-Force 4Spencer: As the finale of the first arc, Kelly Thompson, G. Willow Wilson, and Jorge Molina’s A-Force 4 is the issue where these characters finally solidify as a team that will continue to exist beyond this “Anti-Matter” conflict. Yeah, true, they’re immediately thrust into a new crisis directly caused by the defeat of Anti-Matter, but what’s important is that these women choose to tackle this crisis together in a way they didn’t when they were first assembled. Even more vitally, deeper bonds have formed between the team that makes their continued cooperation appealing to them all.

dazzler

The women of A-Force have little in common other than their connection to Singularity in an alternate universe, but the varied levels of experience each member brings to the team end up being an asset. No two members of A-Force have dealt with the same challenges, but just the simple fact that they’ve all faced trauma and lived to tell the tale puts them in a position to help each other face their own challenges, no matter how great or small, how similar or how bizarre.

I think most of us, no matter what our gender, would kill for that kind of support from our friends. It’s a powerful foundation to build A-Force on, and one that’s already leading to some welcome growth from our cast (especially Dazzler). I can’t exactly say I’m thrilled to see that Anti-Matter’s still a threat (he hasn’t been the most compelling villain), but in every other way I’m excited to find out where A-Force will go next, and especially to see how it will help our cast of characters grow and evolve.

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Amazing Spider-Man 10

Amazing Spider-Man 10Drew: As much as I lamented Spider-Man’s transformation from street-level crime-fighter into an international force a la Batman Incorporated, its certainly opened up a world of possibilities for his adventures. As odd as it may be to see Peter Parker outside of New York, let alone riding rockets into space, Dan Slott has spun this new paradigm into his unique brand of dense-yet-breezy action. In short, he might be doing Batman Incorporated better than Grant Morrison did.

This issue skips across Europe, packing in an unreasonable amount of action, including a street fight in Paris and a high-speed train chase in the Chunnel, but the real fun for me was seeing Spider-Man calling upon all of Parker Industries to investigate Scorpio’s lair. It’s a logical end to the network Peter has created (which Slott hits a little too hard in his declaration that this is Spider-Man’s “best web of all”), allowing modest Peter Parker to grow to fill his now much bigger container. That is, while the setting and scope may have changed, Slott is still telling very much the same kinds of stories. Even with all of these resources, Peter is just barely holding it together, and still seems just a few steps behind Scorpio. He may be more powerful than ever, but that just means his responsibilities are bigger, too — and that his Parker luck demands even more powerful enemies.

Speaking of enemies, that mysterious wish-granter continues to assemble an army of familiar baddies, including the Rhino, the Lizard, and a de-powered Electro. Oh, and Anna Maria is maybe starting to notice the Living Brain is acting strangely — not enough to suspect Otto Octavius is hiding in there somewhere, but certainly noticing something. I have no idea when or how these subplots will come to bear on the story at hand, but they’re certainly keeping me engaged above and beyond Peter’s current problems. It’s always something, isn’t it?

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Gwenpool 1

Gwenpool 1Patrick: The danger inherent in breaking the fourth wall is obvious: if a character makes it clear that they understand they’re in a work of fiction, the reader is forced to confront that same reality. And, like, what’s the point of fiction if not to try desperately to make us forget that what we’re reading didn’t actually happen? That was one of my old complaints about the character of Deadpool, and I was happy when Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn introduced a more-or-less in-universe justification for Deadpool believing he’s in a comic book — it’s a psychological answer to an impossible question. Gwenpool’s relationship to the fourth wall may be similar to her namesake (er… half-namesake), but her reasons for that awareness are completely different.

For Gwen Poole, who we only see either fully in-costume or mostly in-costume, the pages of this comic book are a reality that she seems to actually exist within. She’s a visitor to a world she knows to be the Marvel Universe, presumably believing the real world that she comes from to be fundamentally less fictional in nature. She demonstrates this early in the main story, recognizing the Sentinels’ attack patters from the X-Men arcade game.

Arcade Pool

It’s bizarre how this observation can simultaneously make Gwen appear more sympathetic and more alien. Gwen ultimately shares the reader’s perspective, but does so within the context of this story. She makes multiple comments about wanting to deliver what “they” (read: we) want, even when it means putting herself in harm’s way. She doesn’t see the conflict there, until the issue’s end when the consequences start to get real and Gwen loses the sidekick so carefully established in the Prologue. It’s interesting, cruel plotting on Christopher Hasting’s part, and that promises a series that’s more substance than kitchy meta-bullshit. Plus, artist Gurihiru uses such clean line work, reminiscent of American animation, which ameliorates any weirdness inflicted by the story.

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Mockingbird 2Ryan M.: After a puzzle box of a first issue, Mockingbird 2 offers a more linear spy adventure as Bobbi infiltrates the Hellfire club to save first her non-boyfriend Lance and then, the Queen of England. All of this before returning to S.H.I.E.L.D. Medical Clinic to complete her second check-up. Writer Chelsea Cain and Artist Kate Niemczyk subvert the cliches of the genre while delivering all the cool spy stuff, too. I mean, maybe there was a shortage of gadgets, but that’s a small complaint when we get fight scenes like this one.

kicking gimp butt

While Lance is central to the panel, filling the role of damsel in distress, Niemczyk offers us five Mockingbirds simultaneously dispatching pain in the form of THWKs. Bobbi is an effortless badass, and her confidence doesn’t falter for a moment. In addition to the gender reversal of Bobbi saving Lance, they way the two of them are dressed in the scene further plays with the idea of the traditional spy and his lady friend. Bobbi dresses the part for the S&M dungeon, but from the spikes on her shoulders to her choice of ponytail to keep her hair out of her face, there is no question of her agency. Meanwhile, Lance is the one subject to objectification. Rather than a man tortured, he looks like, well, a perfect specimen for the center piece of the Hellfire Club sex dungeon. Bobbi pretty much destroys the show, though in the panel above, the women in the lower right seems to be pretty into it.

There is a silliness to the world of Mockingbird, which Cain and Niemczyk. reinforce with small background gags and running bits. There is so much fun to be had in this issue, even as the larger arc is teased out. There are two moments in the issue where Bobbi’s nascent illness seems to emerge. First, very angry Rottweilers run away after getting a whiff of her. Later she stops the Black Queen’s attempt at a mind-fillet. Bobbi seems clueless about her effect on the dogs, but there is something in her side eye to the Black Queen that has me wondering if she’s starting to figure out what ails her. This issue acts as both a satisfying story and a provocative entry in a larger narrative that I am excited to see unfold.

slim-banner4Rocket Raccoon and Groot 4

Rocket Raccoon and Groot 4Drew: I’ve always been a sucker for “superheroes hang out” stories — there’s something about seeing these characters doing everyday, totally human activities that just tickles me. It’s why I found Avengers 24 to be such a delight, and why the phrase “Avengers vs. X-Men softball league” fills me with such joy. Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon maintained that kind of goofiness as an undercurrent (the standout issue being an elaborate treasure hunt that turns out to just be a setup for a surprise birthday party), but this issue lays those hangout cards (or perhapms more appropriately, those character sheets) on the table from the get-go.

Apparently, Rocket is the dungeon master for some kind of superhero tabletop gaming group that includes, among others, Ms. Marvel (duh), Deadpool (I’d buy it), Beta Ray Bill (’cause why not?) and Thor (if you say so).

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Of course, because of the personalities involved, not everyone is great at respecting the rules, which totally derails the gameplay. Tony Stark in particular gets under Rocket’s skin, so Rocket agrees to a challenge to best Tony at his own game of choice: Fantasy Football. Only, it’s very much real football — the “fantasy” comes from the fact that it’s played on another planet by a multi-species team over the course of 40 quarters. Rocket manages to eke out a victory — mostly by violating the “rules” in the same way that Tony was doing earlier — forcing Tony to agree to follow the rules Rocket imposes on their next campaign.

It’s a total hangout issue. The stakes are whether or not Tony will play by the rules in future D&D meetups — not even particularly important to the characters involved — but that’s what makes the issue so charming. It’s a profound waste of time on these characters’ parts, revealing just how petty and egomaniacal they can both be. It’s a microcosm of the character study the first three issues of this series turned out to be, only without the pretense that this is a life-and-death situation. It’s exactly the kind of low-stakes hangout story I’m always craving, delivered with just enough self-awareness about how goofy it is to see a dozen heroes in full costume sitting around a table to play a game.

slim-banner4Spider-Gwen 7

Spider-Gwen 7Spencer: When reviewing Batman/Superman on Monday, Drew and I discussed the unique structure of comic crossovers, the way a story can switch focus and perspective depending on which title a particular chapter is published in. Jason Latour and Bengal’s Spider-Gwen 7 does something similar; while last week’s Spider-Women Alpha 1 focused on the relationships between its titular Spider-Women, this second chapter narrows its focus to the world of Earth-65, as any typical issue of Spider-Gwen would. The twist? The star of this issue isn’t Gwen, but Jessica Drew.

It’s an interesting decision on Latour’s behalf, but one that actually makes quite a bit of sense. One of the greatest pleasures of reading Spider-Gwen has always been the outsider’s perspective the audience brings to Earth-65; as readers, we get a big kick out of the differences between the mainstream Marvel Universe and Earth-65. In Spider-Gwen 7, Jessica and Cindy Moon step into the audience’s shoes, getting to marvel at these differences just as we would.

shulkie

For these characters, though, these differences represent more than mere Easter Eggs. For Silk, who runs off early in the issue, they’re a chance to reconnect with her family. For Jessica Drew, they’re a chance to see what it’s like to actually have a family. Gwen has the childhood (or young-adulthood?) and family Jessica always wished she had, and like a true mom, Jessica tries to take the burden of their mission all on herself in order to allow Gwen to fully appreciate what she has. Gwen, though, helps Jessica to realize that she’s a part of this family too.

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Jessica’s outsider perspective of Earth-65 clues the audience into, not only the differences in continuity it has to offer, but the tight-knit family Gwen and her supporting cast have created as well. Talk about taking advantage of a crossover!

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Weirdworld 5Patrick: What does it actually take to make a teenager snap out of their own problems and start to take notice of what’s going on in the world around them? It takes a-fucking-lot, and Weirdworld‘s Becca has a better reason than most to be withdrawn into herself. The world that Sam Humphries and Mike Del Mundo present issue-after-issue aggressive vies for her attention, but to little avail. Even when she cares about her companions, ultimately, Becca just wants to get her mother’s ashes home.

But man, oh man, Del Mundo gives us some pretty compelling reasons to pay attention to Weirdworld. Not only has the story moved into all out war between Morgana LeFay and the Swamp Queen, but the spectacular nature of this conflict is placed front and center. LeFay’s forces literally fold the world on itself to gain a tactical advantage — it’s a jaw dropping splash page.

I’m even more drawn in by the little pieces of Weirdworld that are this close to being normal. For example, Jennifer Kale’s planes are flown by dog pilots (called Dogfighters, because Humphries has a soul) who are treated like normal-ass dogs. She calls him a good boy and everything! Or like when Becca gets behind the controls of the dog’s biplane and the control panel is like some wacky arcade cabinet from 1993.

Arcade World

It’s this mix of shockingly weird and shockingly mundane that makes both Weirdworld and Weirdworld so undeniable.

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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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13 comments on “Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/13/16

  1. Spencer, what a great observation about this issue of Spider-Gwen! I love the idea that Jessica manages to take on the reader’s perspective, turning Easter Eggs into meaningful things. Like, it’s fun for us, but EARTHSHATTERING for her and Cindy.

    I really disliked the art in the first issue, so it was nice to see the second chapter of this story in a style I’m already comfortable with (and enthusiastic about). Really looking forward to the Silk issue… which… I think is out today, so I’ll stop looking forward and just read it.

    • The problem with the art of the first issue was that it was completely out of place. Despite having problems, I would be perfectly happy if that sort of art was being used during the days of Bendis and Brubaker doing street level superhero stuff like Daredevil and Alias

      And I loved Spider-Gwen 7. I love that Latour didn’t feel the need to have Gwen as the lead character, and instead served the story entirely. In some ways, I would say the ‘lead’ swapped throughout the issue, as a true ensemble. Which is how a crossover like this should work. THis is utterly perfect crossover writing, and even stronger with the actual great character work being done here. Really made me excited for more Spiderwomen

  2. Hey, so where does the Gwenification of the Marvel Universe end? Spider-Gwen has obviously captured imaginations, and Gwenpool garnered enough attention from one alternate cover to get her own series. Spider-Man and Deadpool are probably some of the easier characters to rif on (especially through Gwen Stacy), but are there other characters are ideas that should get the Gwen treatment? FURTHER: what does that even mean? What’s the connective tissue between Spider-Gwen and Gwenpool? GP isn’t even technically Gwen Stacy, right? Her last name is Poole.

    For my money, Gwen is a way to put a female character into a role usually reserved for a male character. Spider-Gwen inverts the gender dynamic of the fridging trope and Gwenpool allows for female fourth-wall-breaking jokester character (which… DC may have their own version of that in Harley Quinn, but she’s also insane, which GP does not appear to be). What other male superhero types could Gwen inhabit? Gwen-Gambit? Gwen-Reed-Richards? Gwen-Cable? We talked about a female Captain America in our comments on the 75th Anniversary of Captain America #1 – Captain Ameri-Gwen?

    • I honestly love the Gwen Stacy Captain America cover that they did during their big Gwen Stacy variants. So yeah, let her join the rest of the gang in my Captain Americas book.

      And yeah, I kind of love the idea of Gwen Stacy as a character who is almost a symbolic righting of Marvel’s wrongs. With Gwenpool, it is almost like she is now no longer a SPider-man character, but a symbol of Marvel as a whole. The act of making Gwen Deadpool is in some ways a more powerful symbolic act than making her a Spider-man. Spider-Gwen is always going to be a riff on 616-Gwen, but Gwenpool is basically saying that Marvel’s iconic example of sexism/fridging etc is a character that can be anyone.

      Even if they call her Gwen Poole instead of Gwen Stacy

  3. Gwenpool: The choice of Hastings for this book is perfect. Because Hastings is the guy who made his name taking a silly concept with utter sincerity. I mean, it even addresses that Ronnie must be an enabler in order to accept the premise works.

    Which is what Hastings has always done, since he started a webcomic and built elaborate stories based around Dr McNinja. The fact that the world is crazy and fun doesn’t mean it can’t also be rooted in character. Jokes like Gwen pushing the merc in the engine don’t feel like a cheap gag, but feel like opportunism/self preservation. Funny, but rooted in character. And the ending, with Modok, is the perfect example of what Hastings does. All the expected humour of having Modok, but also understanding that Modok is both silly and dangerous.

    The only problem is the art, that falls a bit too close to anime for me. The faces have every aesthetic problem that has had me keep as far away from anime as possible

    Spider-Gwen: Everything I said above, basically

    Weirdworld: You basically said everything I wanted to. Huphries has turned Weirdworld into a treat, and sneakingly one of Marvel’s better titles

    • Hastings is a peach! I don’t know why that costume can look so weird and/or gross when other people draw it, but so fun and sexy and cool when he does. I think it’s probably the first quality feeding the other two – because it’s so obvious the character is having fun, all those other admirable qualities pour out of that. That may also be why Deadpool is also so cool and so sexy; it’s hard not to be put under the spell of someone so joyfully confident.

    • I will keep beating the Weridworld drum until I have no drum left to beat. It’s such a perfect title for Del Mundo, who maybe ended up being a little underserved by Hayden Blackman’s scripts (which were always pretending that Del Mundo was J.H.Williams – but he ain’t). It’s nice to see that Aaron (during Secret Wars) and Humphries (now) have dialed into his particular brand of lunacy.

      On the subject of Humphs – I’m enjoying his Citizen Jack as well. I think I’m the only one reading it on the site, but it gets out a lot of my anxiety about the political atmosphere right now with some sharp writing and attractively ugly art.

  4. Mockingbird: How did I forget about this? THe first and most obvious thing is just how sexy it is. Not just in the Lance Hunter is topless way, but also in the way that Bobbi dressing as a dominatrix and being into BDSM is not treated as a big deal, nor is the fact that Hunter is explicitely not Bobbi’s boyfriend even as they are shown to be in a long sexual relationship. The fact that the redhead in the bottom right seems to be into it (or that the Black Queen, despite being the leader, wears a collar, suggesting that even as the leader, she enjoys being the sub). It is great to see the comic have such a healthy attitude about sex. We spend a lot of time discussing the bad sorts of sexy, they it can be easy to turn the story into something where sexuality isn’t important. I like that Mockingbird embraces characters having sexual identities without ever feeling like it is about the audience. Even Hunter has agency in his sexuality, considering it is clear he chose to dress like that (and is shown to go to the Hellfire Club a lot).

    It is slightly disappointing that the puzzle box elements are so small, but that doesn’t change the fact that the actual story it tells is really great fun. I honestly feel like this is coming really close to Marvel’s best titles, if it plays its cards right

  5. Oh, there is one more thing I want to say about SPider-Gwen, especially after making the mistake of reading the first volume of Captain America and the Mighty Avengers recently. What is it with all these Nextwave references recently?

    Now, Nextwave is brilliant. You buy six copies of Nextwave. Nextwave should only be taken in 100mg doses and never through the uretha. Nextwave is all those stuff, and amazing. But why the hell are we pretending it is in continuity?

    I have no problem with how Machine Man and Elsa Bloodstone have had their characterizations defined by Nextwave, nor Monica Rambeau’s look. But why are we pretending that Nextwave is in continuity? Because any attempt at pretending Dirk Anger, Agents of HATE, the Beyond Corporation are in continuity is stupid. Nextwave is the antithesis of continuity, and spent a good portion of its time taking the piss out of it. So why not let Nextwave be Nextwave, and don’t try and force it into something its not.

    Jessica Drew giving a small mention to Dirk Anger is nowhere near as bad as the godawful stupidity of Captain America and the Mighty Avengers, but can we please remember that Nextwave, by design, is the antithesis of continuity, and therefore not try and fit it into the Marvel Universe in any way? Borrow from it, but don’t pretend that it actually happened

    • I dunno man, doesn’t the recombobulation of the world in the wake of Secret Wars mean that anything (and any part of anything) could be part of the continuity right now? If the Richards deem it worthy, Molecule Man wills it into existence, right?

      I am admittedly not that clued in to what Nextwave even is, but I think context clues are helping me out a ton here. It’d be sort of like insisting (or implying) that parts of Gotham by Gaslight or Flashpoint where part of main DC continuity, ya?

      • Patrick, Nextwave is an excellent, excellent comic by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen. ’nuff said, right? You should check it out — everybody should check it out. They just released the entire series in trade paperback a few months ago. It’s smart and bizarre and I don’t even know how to begin to describe it.

        And Nextwave is set in the Marvel Universe (Spectrum, Elsa Bloodstone, and Boom Boom of the X-Men are all members of the team and many references to their adventures with the Avengers and the X-Men are made), but Marvel likes to act like it’s noncanonical. Which is a shame for Nextwave, but probably necessary for the rest of the universe.

      • Gotham by Gaslight nor Flashpoint weren’t about taking the piss out of continuity.

        Nextwave was Warren Ellis 12 issue series about Monica Rambeau, Elsa Bloodstone, Machine Man, Boom Boom and the Capitan as Nextwave, fight the Beyond Corporation, secretly a front for SILENT (its version of HYDRA) which secretly controls HATE (its version of SHIELD. A hilarious, irreverant parody that is all about enjoying the kinetic thrills of superheroes punching each other while taking the piss out of the everything, as a tribute to meaningless action and instant gratification.

        To treat it as anything other than a joke would be to say that Captain America is a sexist jerk, Devil Dinosaur is the secret mastermind of a worldwide terrorist organization, Boom Boom literally has no brain, Monica Rambeau is a jaded jerk entirely obsessed with her past (and her mother is in hell, being used as a bucket by giant weasels dressed like cheerleaders) and stuff like that.

        Unlike what Spencer says, I would say that Nextwave wasn’t set in the Marvel Universe, it just pretends to be part of the Marvel Universe for the jokes. It is its own thing and it is designed to being radioactive to the idea of being in the same continuity as the rest of the Marvel Universe by its very definition (not by being a parody, but for what it is. Ellis made very clear that this isn’t the sort of thing to be taken seriously.

        Which is why it is so stupid that people try and connect Nextwave to the Marvel Universe, as it makes no sense. At worst, you get Captain AMerica and the Mighty Avengers, where the Beyond Corporation aren’t revealed to be a simple plot mechanism to create Nextwave stories but a but of eldritch abominations doing convoluted things with realities which does nothing but kill the magic of Nextwave, while requiring things so convoluted that the stories themselves suffer.

        Nextwave was never supposed to be canon. It rejects the very idea of canon, plot or anything like that. And yet writers keep trying to make it canon. Smart, bizarre masterpiece by ELlis, but should be left that way.

  6. I decided to pick up Rocket Raccoon and Groot this week, out of a weird interest about the fact that DND keeps coming up in Marvel Comics recently (and in Gotham Academy). First was Guardians of the Glaxy/Black Mirror, secondly was Spider-Gwen and now Rocket Racoon’s book. Interestingly, all three were down by different writers. The idea interests me, not just because I’m an avid roleplayer, but because it is really fucking nerdy. Nerdy even today, in the world ruled by the geeks. Therefore, placing it in comics creates an interesting thing

    Because on the one hand, anyone can be a geek, and therefore anyone can enjoy Dungeons and Dragons. I am part of a diverse roleplaying community that involves all types of people, including many that you don’t expect. On the other hand, there is something wish fulfilment about the idea of ‘all your favourite character love that game you love’ that goes against actually caring about who the character is. SO while I will likely use DND as a way to interpret TNC’s Black Panther, if the Wakandan who has spent his entire life as either a prince or a king decides to sit down and play Dungeons and Dragons, I will be disappointed.

    Rocket as a bad GM is an idea I love, someone who goes on egomaniac control trips to the point where Carol Danvers runs back into the arms of Beast’s superior GM skills (the X-Men are a great example of a place where a character having a love of roleplaying games. The family/school environment of the Xavier mansion makes perfect sense as a place where you can understand a group coming together to roleplay). Speaking of Carol, a character like that can easily be connected to the ideas of roleplaying, both because of her relationship with the X-Men and the fact that the military is the sort of place conductive to roleplaying (soldiers have to do things during downtime). As are the spiderpeople, whether Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy or Miles Morales (and by the same virtue, Kamala Kahn). But while it is easy to justify any character who you can expect to have periods of downtime (especially periods of downtime surroudned by friends) as having a reason to roleplay, I often find the more interesting thing here is about how the character is presented as they do it (which is why I love how Star Lord most notably doesn’t roleplay with the rest of the Guardians. It makes sense from a character perspective that he would prefer something more hedonistic, like going out to bars or stealing shit (though movie Star Lord I could imagine loving DND, because he had some books in his bag when he was abducted. ANd probably discusses the glories of retroclones and stuff like that). However, the idea of Gamora and especially Drax roleplaying with Rocket, Groot, Venom and Captain Marvel doesn’t feel right. Between their interiority, their obsession with their quests for redemption/Thanos’ head and Drax’s particular social issues does not make them feel like the sort of people who would be the most natural fit for the sort of experience roleplaying is, as opposed to more traditional Guardians downtime activities like heavy drinking). Deadpool is an easy person to understand. There is an entire player archetype that fits Deadpool around a roleplaying table, and you can imagine what he would be like. He would be the exact person who would talk about casting the ‘Tasha’s Uncontrollably Hideous Sister’ spell or organizing halfling pit fights or anything else that would be on the list of 2400 things Mr Welch can no longer do when roleplaying. You can imagine Kamala’s rampant power fantasies that she would make, and Jane Foster’s wish to live her life to the full means you can easily see her joining everyone else, if only to have fun with friends. With thought, you can justify many characters so that it isn’t just fanservice to nerds.

    Which is the problem with Tony Stark? Would Tony Stark enjoy roleplaying? Who knows. The writer can choose. Here, Young chose for him not to enjoy roleplaying. But is this really the way you would see Tony Stark be a dick while roleplaying? He would either be too cool to bother, or he would manipulate the systems to create the most obnoxiously powerful character while unleashing his worst, hedonistic impulses. If you want TOny Stark to be a dick at the table, it makes more sense for him to break the spirit of the game, instead of the rules. Have him create an overpowered character using some complex combo of feats and equipment that let him do something truly broken. When Rocket complains about TOny betraying everyone and turning into a giant robot, Tony should defend himself by explaining how being a Goblin gave him 50 extra character points and small size, which meant mecha were cheaper. Then he took the Mechanical Genius feat AND the… and so on, explaining exactly why he is allowed to be a dick that is ten times more powerful than anyone else. And the idea that Tony broke Rocket’s rule around the Mech-dragon expansion works, as you can understand Tony obsessing over creating the perfect build that the fact that something that would be legal in any other game was there…

    Like Drew, I love the idea of downtime issues. And I understand why Dungeons and Dragons is being used a lot by Marvel, as many writers and readers both love the game. But the wish to have your favourite characters play your favourite game should still involve sitting down and thinking about characterization. Spider-Gwen’s use of Dungeons and Dragons was perfect, but I wish more writers would keep characterization in mind when they did their roleplaying scenes, and make them feel less forced. Make sure that there is a reason for the character the to be sitting there rolling dice that makes sense for their character, instead of the wish to use it as this issue’s downtime activity.

    And that is a massive post on a weird topic. Who knew I could write so mcuh on the use of DUngeons and Dragons for characterization? Got to say, as I write this, I kind of want to see an issue of Mockingbird do an Dungeons and Dragons issue. Chelsea Cain has spoken a lot about how she views Mockingbird as Bobbi’s view of events, with a touch of unreliable narrator, and I think she could possibly do something really interesting with something like Dungeons and Dragons, that exists entirely in the players’ heads

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