Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 5/17/17

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 Mighty Thor 19, Royals 3, Secret Empire 2 and Ultimate 2 7. Also, we discussed Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 20 on Thursday and will be discussing Daredevil 20 on Tuesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Taylor: The thing that makes superhero comics weird is that writers are essentially playing with house money. What I mean is, no matter what happens in their stories, the hero almost always emerges victorious. True, there are exceptions to the rule, but 99% of the time the titular hero of a comic emerges victorious. This is precisely what makes Mighty Thor interesting. By picking Jane Foster to be the next Thor, Jason Aaron has guaranteed that she will lose her final battle with cancer. Jane knows this to be true as well, and that gives all of her actions an added gravitas and urgency that other, healthier heroes lack.

The Phoenix has risen and Jane and Quentin Quire are trying to stop it from engulfing the gods in flames. During the battle, the Phoenix telepathically connects with Jane and offers her a proposition: surrender Mjolinir to her and she will go in peace. Thor scoffs at the idea because she realizes that the only reason the Phoenix wants the hammer is because she is afraid of it. What led to this moment was the Phoenix’s miscalculation of Jane. It thought that, like itself, Jane would be motivated by the fear of death, cancer or otherwise. But Jane isn’t one to have her emotions toyed with like that, and she is anything but afraid of dying, as the the Phoenix painfully learns.

Unlike most people, heroes and gods included, Jane is fully aware of the fact that her life is finite. However, this is what gives her power and makes her inspiring. After she delivers the blow seen above, Jane asserts that she will “die like a god” — or in other words — in her Thor form protecting the universe from danger. The fact that Jane is dying and promises to keep on fighting until her final breath is admirable because in her mouth it’s not just some trite platitude. Jane knows her time is short and all her energies will go into saving her planet until she makes the ultimate sacrifice. In other words, Jane is hero, all the more so because she knows that she won’t win every battle.

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Royals 3

Patrick: Y’all remember Amazing Spider-Man 698? That’s the issue we discover that Peter Parker’s mind is trapped inside Otto Octavius’ swiftly dying body. It’s a bit of a mindfuck, and writer Dan Slott is a master at withholding information until the absolute final moments, playing the twist for all its rug-pulling glory. He went on to write 30+ issues based on the premise “what if Doc Ock was in Spider-Man’s body?” and that series got to some interesting emotional truths about what it means to be Spider-Man. Royals 3 writer Al Ewing doesn’t have 30+ issues to explore what motivates Maximus the Mad’s decision to switch places with his brother — he’s got 20 pages. The result is a dizzying ballet, skipping between eras and perspectives where the only thing to hang on to is the emotional through-line.

The explanation is confusing enough that I’m not totally certain of the identity of the Black Bolt we know “five thousand years from now.” Is this Future Black Bolt’s voice continuing to reverberate with his brother’s biology or did Maximus never let go of his assumed identity? Ewing has hit on an idea so appealing, so sci-fi crazy, that the decades-old relationships between these characters feel immediately refreshed. The gist of it is that Maximus and Black Bolt’s powers are tuned to each other, so when Black Bolt says is brother’s name, Maximus’ telepathy and mind control powers gain access. Effectively, Black Bolt can blast his brother physically but leaves himself vulnerable mentally. They are simultaneously enemies and intimately linked — more vulnerable for each other’s strengths, and more powerful for each other’s weaknesses.

That’s a lot to take in. Artists Thony Silas and Will Robinson end up playing with some powerful and vulnerable images. From Lynda’s glowing pregnant belly to the atemporaly speaking fetus inside, there’s sci-fi magic in everything.

All of this baggage leaves the Inhumans at something of an impasse moving forward. They literally cannot retrieve Black Bolt from the prison Maximus left him in, and that may even run counter to their mission anyway. Throughout the issue, Maximus repeats “what I do, I do for the good of all.” In this case, the good of all is whatever Marvel Boy is leading our heroes to. Maybe he’s just making sure the Royals get the job done.

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Secret Empire 2

Drew: There are lots of explanations for Marvel’s appeal, from its flawed heroes to its “world outside your window” approach to its universe, but its summer crossover events always make a stronger case for the sheer depth of their character bench. Its characters range from street-level brawlers to literal gods, and each has their own unique voice. It’s a valuable asset, but one that must be daunting to wield; a big tentpole event like this more or less demands giving every hero their due, leaving creators with dozens of characters to juggle. Secret Empire 2 checks in with almost every hero still on Earth — including one nobody was expecting.

We’ll get to that twist in a moment, but first, I want to talk about the various missions Nick Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino set for each of the factions. In New York, the mission is mostly just “survive,” as the darkforce dimension is full of demons that can only be repelled by light — a resource Dagger is becoming increasingly unable to provide. It’s a bit like survival mode in a zombie game set on that planet from Pitch Black, though there are also whiffs of “No Man’s Land,” as citizens struggle over limited resources and Kingpin stakes out a territory. The tone is grim, to be sure, but characters like Luke Cage and Danny Rand still leave Spencer plenty of room to ply his knack for goofy banter.

Meanwhile, Cap and the Underground have set competing collection missions, both gunning for the Cosmic Cube shards necessary to reassemble Kobik. It’s a straightforward multi-MacGuffin hunt, but Widow sees a shortcut, having resolved to kill Steve. As far as she’s concerned, it’s what the Steve they know would have wanted.

Black Widow

That’s a shade too dark (and perhaps too touchy a subject) for Clint, so Widow leaves the Underground, plotting an assassination with the Champions, who also defected.

That’s plenty of event for one issue, setting clear objectives for all of our characters, but an epilogue reveals one more: a second, bearded Steve Rogers. Exactly who he is or how he came to be isn’t clear, but Spencer wastes no time in establishing his heroism, showing him leaping in to rescue a woman from the Serpent Society. This clearly isn’t the same guy that’s been leading Hydra. Or is it? Like the prologue to Secret Wars 0, this sequence is drawn by Rod Reis, so it’s not 100% clear that this is happening in the same universe or timeline as the events of the rest of the issue — perhaps our Steve was exiled in Hydra-Cap’s universe? There are far more questions than answers here, but that’s what has always made Spencer’s cliffhangers so effective.

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Ultimates 2 7

Spencer: Just in terms of sheer scope and scale, Ultimates 2 is a “big” series. The Ultimates exist to solve the “ultimate” problems, and the overarching story of both volumes has been building up to a battle against, essentially, an entire sentient universe. Any other threat ends up looking small in comparison, which is a problem Ultimates 2 7 faces as the series gets caught up in the path of yet another crossover event. It’s also a problem Al Ewing and Aud Koch end up addressing explicitly within the text of the issue.

It’s time for every series to drop what they’re doing and tie into Secret Empire, and Ultimates 2 does so with gusto; the title of this issue is “Purgatory,” and it spends its entire time with the members of the Ultimates trapped in space by the Planetary Shield as they unsuccessfully attempt to find a way to make it home before yet another wave of Chitauri Drones attack. Marvel’s last crossover event (Civil War II) derailed The Ultimates to the point where relaunching the series seemed prudent, so this time Ewing gets ahead of the game by, through Galactus, addressing the change in the scale of this new threat himself.

Galactus essentially claims that the threat of Secret Empire and the Planetary Shield is insignificant compared to the threat of Logos and the First Firmament; one could very well read this as Ewing apologizing for the series getting caught up in something so far from what it’s been building to over the past six months. Then again, America immediately responds by declaring “Everything’s part of the big show — our little planet, your cosmic war, all of it” — could this be Ewing instead defending this crossover issue as important even if it doesn’t measure up to the title’s typical stakes?

Honestly, how you end up reading that scene will probably come down to how successful you feel this issue was. Personally, aside from the clunky recap of how we got to this point, I think it fares far better than the Civil War II crossover, mainly because it sticks to the perspective of the core team members, finding some surprisingly human moments amidst the violence; newcomer Koch’s art is a wonderful compliment in this regard, giving this series its most tactile, human interpretations of the Ultimates yet and showing the tragedy of this violence through sheer brutality alone.

We also get some signature Ultimates 2 action as the team (especially Spectrum) pushes their abilities to the limit to find a way to breach the shield. Isn’t that exactly what this team is meant to do, solve the ultimate problems? The fact that they fail shows that the shield may be more of a threat than even Galactus gives it credit for. Whether you view this issue as embracing the crossover or as an apology for it, it certainly doesn’t look like it will be derailing the series like the last one. If we’re stuck in this crossover purgatory for half a year, though, I may change my tune.

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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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4 comments on “Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 5/17/17

  1. Invincible Iron Man: I swear, this is stealthily one of the best books on the stands. Lots of clever stuff, like how the intro serves as both a development of Riri through looking at her ordinary day AND fuelling the division between Riri and SHIELD AND setting up for the big shock half way through the issue where Riri messes up against Will o Wisp, turning what was an ordinary day to Riri’s first loss. A pretty fantastic first half, and leading to a second half which uses this to really dig into Riri’s place in the Iron Man mythos. Bendis has found a great place for Riri, making it official that Riri is Tony’s ‘daughter’ (interesting possibility? This is connected to Tony finding out he’s adopted. After all Bendis has done to develop that idea, the idea of Tony symbolically adopting Riri works really well). And then to finish things off, an attack of Sharon Carter – the exact perfect threat for this time. Stakes are at their highest, keeping the pressure high exactly when Riri realises she needs to commit herself to practice. And Riri dealing with an attack on SHIELD will be perfect, considering how Bendis is developing her strong set of politics.

    I actually do love that part of Riri a lot. She’s political, but not as a primary trait. Unlike, say, Spencer’s Sam Wilson, politics isn’t at the forefront of what she does. However, her strong politics do inform her, and flesh out in a way that few characters get. Usually, politics is either the primary part, or ignored. But Riri has it as a strong, but secondary trait. It informs her, but doesn’t dominate her. It really works. This doesn’t criticise characters like Sam Wilson and Kamala Kahn, whose greatness comes from the way politics is at the forefront. But it really does work. As much as I joked last issue about Riri’s need to avoid the Champions and Waid’s poor writing, the Champions really is the best place for her.

    Oh, and, as always, Caselli’s art excels. I actually gasped at that full page spread. It must be difficult to find an artist so adept at having characters sit there and talk AND action sequences where the kineticism. Hell, just the fact Caselli both excels with balancing the real world aspects and the sci fi aspects are amazing. The Iron Man suits have never looked better. Especially with Gracia’s fantastic colour palatte. Fantastic ‘lighting’ really helps sells the great art. Gives the art a sense of location, even usign shadows, that really boosts both the blocking of the dramatic scenes and the intensity of the fighting. Love it.

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    Luke Cage: The writer of Nighthawk and Power Man and Iron Fist doing a Luke Cage book? Should have been perfect. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

    I think this is the first solo book Luke Cage has had since his modern reinvention. Since Jessica Jones came up, and started the modern update that made Luke Cage one of the biggest heroes in Marvel’s bench. And I love how Walker combines all the elements. The opening action sequence combines Luke’s sheer power with his community aspect – I love that he deals with the hostage situation through talking. Reallr feels like the Hero of the People. Especially when the parents of the daughter he saved asks the Hero for Hire how they can repay him, and Luke asks them to employ a friend of his struggling to find work. First six pages is a pretty great Luke Cage short.

    But the rest struggles to be interesting. To find a unique story to tell. Walker effortlessly shows he gets Luke Cage, even in the more serious confines of this book. But doesn’t find a story to tell with Luke.

    This is made worse but the bad guys. One of the great things about superpowers is how you can use the rules they set on the narrative to force it in more interesting directions. Luke Cage can’t be hurt, which means you have the ability to build sequences around that. Which leads you to interesting paths like ‘What happens when other people are targeted instead?’, for example. Here, instead, we have literally the most boring thing we can have the guy with unbreakable skin face. Weapons that can get past his skin. How boring could you be?

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    Mighty Thor: As a climax, this is a pretty ordinary climax where Jane simply restates the basic idea of the book in a heroic manner. Not that this is a bad thing, it is a truly fist pumping sequence, where Dauterman’s wonderful art sells the scale. Whether it is the way the Phoenix overwhelms the panels, an all consuming force that surrounds the heroes, or just how small Jane is in the massive, empty White Hot Room.

    The more interesting idea is the coda, where Aaron proves why doing a restating of the premise is so worthwhile. Because it makes Jane stepping down from the Council of Worlds more meaningful. I do wish that more time was spent there, but Jane having to make the choice to step down, because between a cancer that will never heal and her duties as Thor, Jane can’t perform her duties there.

    The heroism of Jane is more than the fact that she knows life is finite. As Taylor said, it is her willingness to sacrifice that life. But it is more than an abstract ‘I’ll die soon, but I’m using that time to serve others instead’. She is willing to pull down her own life to help others. That matters. She’s lost her seat. She’s lost part of what makes up Jane, to best the best Thor she can be. Because the world needs a great Thor. That is meaningful.

    Also, can’t wait to see Odinson’s reaction to Jane next issue

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    Secret Empire: To be posted later

  2. Secret Empire
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    The Bombshell: I discussed the way that Secret Empire 1 created a powerful status quo. But you still need an inciting incident. Something to blow everything, to force everyone to act. What turns people from passive participants to active agents. Last issue, the Underground were a pretty passive group. They had all but given up, to the point of ignoring Rayshaun’s information. They were existing within the regime the only way they could, by resisting, but all stories need that additional spark. What shifts these characters from saving strangers to actually acting to bring down the entire government?

    And so, we have the bomb. In two pages, we have everything needed to incite the characters. It is a powerful look at what will fuel the entire rest of the event, and it works. Sorrentino’s art is perfect, using the unique nature of Sorrentino’s style too really show the horrors. The world never looked more horrible. Here, there is truly a demand for heroes.

    A great inciting incident can be hard for superhero comics. They are inherently reactive characters, which means that often their inciting incidents don’t make them active protagonists. Batman responds to the Joker, but no matter what the inciting incident, Batman usually never drives the narrative. Just chases after. But the shift from traditional superheroics to a rebel alliance changes things. This is an inciting incident to remember

    In fact, we instantly see the effect on Natasha. Last issue, she felt empty. Instead of having her own character, she felt like she existed solely as a pretty face. Empty motivation, wrapped up sexily in a tight catsuit. She was Clint’s reward for standing up and founding the Underground. Yet another example of a passive woman as a reward for active men. With two panels of Natasha framed in shadow, with a panel of Natasha the colour of blood, the idea of her being little more than a pin up is gone. Has Natasha whisper ‘He has to die’, she turns into a character. In fact, she turns into the most compelling character in the story so far. With a single moment, with a single line, everything changes. Such is the alchemy of a great inciting incident.

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    Chiaroscuro: It is so fitting to take all of Marvel’s street level characters and trap them in literal darkness. The street level books, especially if you ignore Spiderman, owe so much to noir tradition that to trap them in the world of noir lighting is perfect.

    But the actual genius of this section is how, despite the heavy level of supernatural and horror elements, it actually is noir. Ultimately, and importantly, it roots Luke Cage and the New York heroes in a very human crisis. The effect of Secret Empire on the common man is a key part of the story so far, and in what is one of the most comic book concept parts of the story yet, Spencer doesn’t forget this.

    So despite the horror elements, with the evil monsters and the slow shredding of Tandy’s mental state as she provides the only light available, the true horrors of the world they are trapped in is familiarly noir. Complex, dangerous situation beyond the heroes’ control? Society is broken to the point of lawlessness? All pure noir. Which is perfect, as noir has always been about the people. About the struggles of people and the chaos that happens when the situation is at its worst. If you want to show the human horror of Steve’s plan, don’t have generic monsters run around. Show Fisk building a power base.

    Because Fisk here is the real marvel. It would be easy to compare him to figures like Jeff Sessions, evil men who have been empowered by the Trump administration. But even ignoring the comparison, there is so much more to say. Because he is the true evil. Jessica rightly draws attention to, out of everything going wrong, the increasing power of Fisk as the biggest threat. Through finding the right narrative tradition, Spencer is keeping things focused on the very human way evils can exist. And that’s important, as a big reason why the sense of hopelessness works is that the villainy isn’t abstract, isn’t some threat so fantastic is ceases to be real. It is a very ordinary, very evil man taking charge when no one else can.

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    Of course Tony is the Superego: A strong reason why Secret Empire works is the fundamentals. Get those right, and you’ll be amazed at what happens. For example, a lot of the problematic character work of last issue is fixed by a focus on very simple dynamics. But the fact that those dynamics are simple doesn’t make them bad.

    For example, the war council takes several basic ideas. Spencer outright steals ‘One was Light and the other was Darkness’, the lynchpin of Hickman’s Avengers run. Which is perfect. Hickman’s Light/Darkness construction was centre to his idea that, in the face on the Incursions, the Avengers would collapse in on itself. He divided the Avengers into two, completely opposite groups that fundamentally couldn’t coexist. Which is perfect, as the Underground splits and divides itself for the same reason.

    But Spencer also uses another true classic, the Freudian Trio of the id, the ego and the superego. The id is the impulsive/instinctual side of our psyches, the superego is the logical/intellectual side and the ego mediates between the two. Which we have here, with Clint trying to mediate between the Natasha as the id and Tony as the superego.

    But one of the best parts is that Spencer is not only using these fundamentals, but twisting our expectations. Takes the strong function, but also surprising us in interesting ways. Like how Tony, who represented Darkness in Hickman’s Avengers, is now the Light. Or how Tony and Natasha have swapped positions to what we expect. Natasha is usually known for her cold, planned approach. A creature of control, Natasha is the ultimate superego. Meanwhile, Tony is the id personified. Despite my joke in the title of this section, Tony rarely uses reason. He is a creature of instinct, of excess. But in the horror of events, the characters are challenged. They aren’t acting out of character, but the pressures of events have placed them in a position where they exist outside their equilibrium. Natasha has lost Bucky and since everything she fought for turn to waste, and so is struggling to control her emotions. Tony has seen his world spiral out of control again, and finds himself only able to rely on his intellect and reason.

    Strong fundamentals, with clever, character motivated reversals of expectations. That is great drama
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    Change We Can Believe In: The one piece of art everyone is going to talk about is that collage, made entirely out of images from Spencer’s previous issues. But that is not the only way that Sorrentino’s art excels. I’m actually a big fan of the Hydra Two page spread. The way that the page has all the uniqueness you expect from this sort of page, and yet obeys a formalist design that you could imagine that Sorrentino is doing art for Tom King, not Nick Spencer. Followed by another page, where a panel is trisected to represent the way that Kobik/the Cosmic Cube has been divided. The panel is actually impressive, in how it communicates information. It allows Sorrentino to show what a shard of the Cosmic Cube looks like, even as it uses panel design to show the split.

    But the most interesting fact is that Sorrentino follows an issue from McNiven, as we have gone from an artist who did such a fantastic job at realism to an artist whose art is anything but. Sorrentino’s art is marinating in the horror of the world that McNiven used restraint. It is the perfect choice, for immediately after the first issue. After the bombing of Las Vegas, it is right for the world to seem this dark, this oppressive.

    But the most interesting thing is going to be how the art changes work alongside the story. The transition from McNiven to Sorrentino is the perfect transition, and Rod Reis appears to have a clear purpose, but how is the comic going to justify the shift to Leinil Yu? Or back to McNiven? It will be interesting to find out

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    (The Fools Who Dream): As I’ve mentioned before, Spencer let down Natasha last issue. But here, he is fixing all the problems. Not only is she an active character, but many of the problems are properly explored now. Like her relationship with Clint. Previously, she was an empty love interest. Now, we get a powerful, tragic story. As Natasha says, ‘I’m glad we keep making the same mistake’.

    A relationship with Clint is the dream. That perfect version of Natasha’s life that could never happen. Something she can never have, except as passionate flings that always break down because the same thing that draws Natasha to Clint is the exact reason why they could never be together. It is the dream that Natasha could be someone else. Someone other than the Black Widow.

    Which is why it is so important for her to break up with Clint here. Intellectually she’s already made her choice of id over superego. Emotionally, she needs to cut the strings. Because drama needs disagreement, but it also needs consequences. For Natasha to make the choice she makes, she has to leave. Coexistence is now impossible.

    Sorrentino beautifully depicts the beauty of the dream and the horror of what Natasha has to do. Natasha has thrown away the dream. Which is going to place her in a very interesting place

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    La Femme Natasha: Sorrentino’s colours are always amazing, the unique way that he can tell an entire story with just the colour choices. A simple two page sequence, full of meaning. The first page is grey and black, as the focus is on Natasha. We are at her darkest point, so of course the shadows back this up. But when Miles seizes the attention, the colours lighten. When he challenges the idea that Natasha will kill Steve, things are brighter. And in that final panel, it is just a background of innocent white.

    Which leads to the next page, of all the young heroes flying down, in just as innocent white. This is the goodness of superheroes. Which is why that last panel sticks in your head. Because Natasha is here to corrupt. She has fallen to her darkest moment, and she doesn’t want to champion heroic values. She has fallen back to her old ways. That’s why she’s created a new Red Room.

    And so, that final panel. The white background, smeared with blood red by Natasha’s own hand. A blood red that matches her hair. A corruption of the purity of what the building was before it became Natasha’s new Red Room. Even the splotches of black suggest a corruption. They are almost like fingers reaching down, grabbing everything, or a cancer growing across the page. Natasha is taking good, innocent and pure kids, and turning them into assassins.

    Welcome to the Red Room

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    Black Falcon Down: Sam Wilson could only be found in one place. He couldn’t be with the Underground, with the others. Not at the darkest hour. His return had to be meaningful. A shift. Even if he hadn’t given up the shield at the end of his last issue, he couldn’t be with the rest of the heroes. He couldn’t be there at the darkest hour. Because what makes this moment so terrible is that there is no true Captain America, just Kobik’s bastardised version.

    And that’s the thing. Lots of things are missing, to the Underground. But the most important is hope. Hope is gone, and therefore Captain America is gone. Instead, you have Sam Wilson sitting in a bar, surrendering. Even as Sam smuggles people out of America, he has surrendered. Hell, you could argue that Sam is actually working to achieve Steve’s aims. Sam is removing undesirables, even if it is in a more humane way. That isn’t to say Sam is evil, just that he is living in a way that assumes Steve has won.

    But with the Underground meeting Sam, we have a flashpoint. The Underground meet the one person they are missing the most. The one person who can truly provide what is missing. But one person that doesn’t want anything to do with them. A difficult challenge, but an important one. Because if they can get Captain America back, that is the sort of win they need. It is only here that, despite everyone’s attempts to fight, that hope actually arrives. This is the first victory, the first sign of progress.

    And it is a great start.

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    An Old Hope: Superhero comics are metaphor. But at their best, they combine their metaphors alongside just discussing things straight. For example, Peter Parker’s story is about puberty and Coming Of age, and just as getting spider powers and becoming Spiderman is a metaphor for that, Peter Parker also deals with more ordinary issues like girls. Ultimately, when to use the metaphor and when to use the real thing is complex. For example, Spencer was right, in the Americops arc, not to use metaphor. The Americops didn’t brutalise mutants or inhumans. They brutalised black people. But Spencer was also right to have HYDRA target inhumans for their internment camps, instead of, say, Muslims.

    This story was always going to be about Steve Rogers’ values defeating the bastardised version of America that the HYDRA version held. And so, the big twist is a natural metaphor. And you could do some interesting stuff with this. One of my favourite writers, Siddhant Adlakha, discussed the power of the metaphor, on how it separates Steve Rogers’ values from the Captain America symbolism. Contrasting the meaning of those values with the meaning of an America stripped of those symbols, and showing the superiority of the values. And he’s right.

    I just can’t help but feel there is a more interesting way to do it, without metaphor. Is creating a metaphor really the best way to show the superiority of the values of the empty symbolism, or are we falling into the same trap? It is not like this story doesn’t already have an issue with people complaining about how in these times, there is no Captain America to punch Nazis while ignoring the fact that Sam Wilson is there, punching Nazis. As a metaphor, is there the risk of falling into the trap of suggesting that what is special about Steve Rogers isn’t the values, but Steve Rogers himself? To serve only to deify Steve Rogers, instead of the values themselves? And even if Spencer avoid this, wouldn’t this be a case where metaphor isn’t better?

    Just like it is better to show racism with black people instead of with white people calling themselves mutants, isn’t it better to show the values themselves defeating fascism than a super special man who represents those values? That the heroes themselves unite under the dream that the real Steve Rogers had and achieve victory, that unite behind the super special man? Because that’s the great thing about Steve Rogers. The greatest thing about him is the easiest thing to replicate. You need no superpowers to be Captain America. No great ability. Just a conscience. So why not focus on that?

    Because honestly, the last thing we need today is more focus on who the person is, not what they stand for.

    • Got to say, I am having fun coming up with references for my titles. Pretty proud of Alternative Facts of Life and Chiaroscuro, and especially the Bombshell, that works on three different levels.

      Not entirely sure how sustainable this approach is. As the story develops, it is going to focus. I already spent a bit too much time discussing Natasha this issue. But it is great fun so far

  3. Got a question to ask about Secret Empire. The way I read Sam Wilson’s appearance is exactly the same as the way everyone read Steve Rogers’ appearance at the end (with the exception of the fact that I banged my head on the wall for it being the most obvious comic book twist and the least interesting way to achieve that effect. Despite my praise of most everything else about Secret Empire, I really don’t think I’m going to like this plotline). Because of that, I’m interested in hearing everyone else’s thoughts on the two characters use.

    At this moment of time, what do you see as the meaningful difference between Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers’ appearances so far?

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