Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 9/7/16

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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 Daredevil 11 and Silk 12 — and come back on Friday for our discussion of Doctor Strange 11 and on Tuesday for our discussion of Moon Knight 6As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Daredevil 11

daredevil-11Drew: What is art? It’s not a question that comes up too often in superhero comics. Sure, ignorant critics may dismiss the genre as “low” art, but there’s little doubt that the basic elements of writing, drawing, and coloring are all acts of artistic creation. There is plenty of art that does challenge our understanding of “art” as a concept, though, often because it was created using unconventional methods, uses unconventional materials, or features unconventional content. Such was the case in 1999 when then-Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani threatened to pull city funding from the Brooklyn Museum over an art show he objected to — specifically, Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin Mary,” which Giuliani claimed was offensive to Catholics. That attempt sparked a first amendment case that was eventually settled, though not before a federal district judge ruled that Giuliani’s attempt did indeed violate the first amendment. Giuliani was entitled to his opinions over the art, but he wasn’t allowed to use his authority to silence that art. With Daredevil 11, Charles Soule and Ron Garney create a similar civic conflict, although they manage to goose it with a moral question much more interesting than Rudy Giuliani’s capacity for offense.

In this case, it’s that blood painting from the previous issue. Nobody is objecting to the content of the painting, but instead, its materials: the blood of over a hundred missing people. One of those missing people happens to be the niece of the speaker of the city council, who feels displaying the painting as disrespectful to the families of the victims. It definitely is, but, of course, there’s no “disrespect” clause in the first amendment, so the painting’s owner is welcome to display it in poor taste if he so choses. That is, until the councilwoman pressures the DA’s office to intervene. This gives Matt — defender of rights that he is — pause, though he’s not really in any position to refuse orders from his boss.

It’s an intriguing moral question (even if the legality is relatively cut-and-dried), but I suspect even more questions will come as the artist comes to the fore. It seems he is indeed hurting innocent people, which decidedly wouldn’t be within his rights, but I’m curious if there’s more to his story than it seems. Or perhaps that physical violence is a reflection of the spiritual violence Giuliani claimed of Ofili’s painting all those years ago. In any case, Soule is getting into much subtler shades in this censorship study than artists typically do — his training as a lawyer is paying dividends here, allowing him to approach an issue that must interest him both as a student of the law and as an artist. It’s a much more nuanced argument than “censorship is bad,” revealing just what this creative team can do when they cut loose.

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Silk 12

silk-12Spencer: Silk 12‘s recap page starts out by proudly proclaiming “Things are looking up for Silk!” before ironically listing all the ways in which Cindy Moon’s life actually sucks at the moment. That dichotomy goes on to define the rest of the issue, except, interestingly enough, usually with the opposite result; as bad as things often look throughout Silk 12, they usually end up turning around and working in Cindy’s favor.

That starts with some of the “unfortunate” facts listed in the recap, such as Lola and Rafferty figuring out Silk’s secret identity; that quickly turns out to be an asset, as the pair not only provide Cindy much-needed assistance on her trip through the Negative Zone, but make quite pleasant company as well. Then there’s the team’s encounter with a dragon; what at first looks catastrophic turns to their advantage when the dragon (named David Wilcox, of all things) not only turns out to be on their side, but leads them straight to Cindy’s mother!

In any other title — or even any other issue of Silk — I’d say that this pattern was simply the calm before the storm, but this time the creative team of Robbie Thompson, Tana Ford, and Ian Herring seem to be actively embracing optimism, advocating for genuinely looking at the bright side of whatever situation you’re in.

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It’s terrible, of course, that Cindy’s gone without her parents, but the whole reason they disappeared at all is because they love her enough to run off to the dang Negative Zone to try to find a way to help her. It is, admittedly, a mixed blessing at best, but still points to this issue’s overall theme — sometimes even the greatest trials have silver linings, and sometimes, even the things in our life that seem scariest work out for the best if we just keep an open mind.

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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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3 comments on “Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 9/7/16

  1. I struggled with this issue of Silk. The Negative Zone is so aggressively silly that it was hard for me to get invested in much of anything. Also, I don’t know why I have an aversion to joking around about loving high fantasy narratives, but I’m certain that’s why I didn’t care for Rat Queens. A wink and a mention of the Mother of Dragons or The One Ring doesn’t do anything for me, and it makes Cindy’s friends feel like gross sycophants toward the story they’re in.

    • Haven’t read Silk, but I know what you mean about Rat Queens. It probably has something to do with Dungeons and Dragons – decades of bad GMs have turned Fantasy into something that too many people think is a cliche to mock, instead of a vibrant landscape for stories. Rat Queens is the perfect example, where it seemed far too interested in self aware mocking about adventure parties to properly be about something. I find Rat Queen’s self aware setting an interesting thing to compare to the DND setting Eberron. Both setting are highly aware of the tropes of DND, but where Rat Queens mocks itself to the point of undercutting itself, Eberron is a dramatic, pulp-inspired setting inspired by post-World War One Europe and the effects of mechanisation on society by treating DND mechanics as the underlying principles, and worthy of attention.

      Comparing self aware stuff to humorous fantasy comics like Weirdworld, Guilded Age, John Rogers’ Dungeons and Dragons comic or Order of the Stick makes the differences clear. Weirdworld’s comedy was built into the setting, and not through ironic detachment. Guilded Age and John Roger’s Dungeons and Dragon comic’s humour comes from characterisation, and the instances of self awareness are often used for dramatic purposes. And Order of the Stick, despite being highly meta, using its self awareness for genre critique, drama and characterisation (there is a lot of clever stuff I could discuss about how genre convention is played to build character. Like how Xykon’s sadism manifests in the ways that he, in full self awareness, chooses to follow genre convention).

      Honestly, the issue of self awareness comes down to ironic detachment. Few things are worse about today’s media culture that the idea of ironic detachment – where laughing at it and being superior to the text is seen as better than actually engaging. And too often self awareness is used to place yourself above the story, to mock it instead of engaging it. Which is where things like Rat Queens go wrong.

      Rat Queens laughs at the idea of adventure parties and fantasy tropes
      Eberron creates a world where adventure parties and fantasy tropes are part of the fundamental fabric, creating an army of story ideas
      Weirdworld uses adventure parties and fantasy tropes to explore loss and COming of Age
      Guilded Age uses Adventure Parties and fantasy tropes to tell a story of a Working Class Adventure
      John Roger’s Dungeons and Dragons uses Adventure Parties and fantasy tropes as a foundation for entertaining storytelling.
      Order of the Stick uses the idea of adventure parties and fantasy tropes as something worthy of critique, exalting the best elements while condemning the worst.
      There is a reason that of that list, Rat Queens is the one I don’t like.

      Because actual engagement also tops a cute wink

  2. Doctor Strange: The continuity nerd in me wants to say that MGH was developed by the Owl long after Doctor Strange became the Sorcerer Supreme, but honestly, I don’t care that much. Unlike Lemire’s Hawkeye, that was inconsistent with the very series it was designed to be a sequel to, that isn’t important. Far more important is the great idea that Strange tried everything, including MGH, to regain his powers. It really shows his desperation. And works so well in building the narrative of the issue.

    The fact that the man who would overdose on MGH would refuse a cure to learn magic shows exactly how tragic the the Magical New World Order is. Everything Strange discovered he loved is barely there, a slither of its former glory. Last time he lost everything, he found magic. And now, with magic so weak, he has lost everything again. A tragic circumstance, and the perfect time for old enemies to return. Looking forward to what is going to happen next

    Also, I am so happy that even with the Ancient One saving Strange from an overdose, he didn’t lead Strange to Tibet. I like that ultimately, ti was still Strange himself who found the Ancient One.

    ________________________________________________________

    Invincible Iron Man: You would expect this book to be heavily into Civil War. I mean, usually the writers of the Event make their books very closely related. But instead, Bendis is only interested in Rhodey’s death. With Rhodey’s death, Bendis is getting into Tony’s head and using it to set up the new Iron Man books. Last issue focused on Riri, but this issue is focused on Doom. Though that is not to say that this is not Tony’s book. Infamous Iron Man set up is intimately connected to Tony’s own struggles. His own self destructive tendencies, especially when he’s grieving. Tony’s head is never a good place, and that is Bendis’ focus. Ultimately, setting up the next books has everything to do with Tony

    Also, Doom looks like a young Peter Capaldi in a couple of panels this issue…

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