The Shield as Excalibur in Captain America 702

by Drew Baumgartner

Captain America 702

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Drew: Comics historians are obsessed with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth. There’s fun parallels to draw between the lasso and Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston’s invention of the lie detector, but another essential point is that a lasso isn’t a phallus in the same way that a sword or gun is. That is, it’s a feminine weapon, designed to entwine Wonder Woman’s enemies, rather than pierce their flesh. I think that reading certainly has utility, but I think practically, the effect of that choice is that Wonder Woman is less concerned with injuring and maiming her enemies as she is neutralizing them — her weapon of choice embodies her compassion. I think Captain America’s shield represents a similar compassion, positioning as a defender, rather than an aggressor. That fact becomes particularly salient as Mark Waid and Leonardo Romero explicitly draw parallels between the shield and Excalibur, effectively highlighting the difference between a shield and a sword. Continue reading

The Black Hood 6

black hood 6

Today, Patrick and Ryan M. are discussing The Black Hood 6, originally released October 28th, 2015.

Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s like the only disease that you can get yelled at for having. “Damn it Otto, you’re an alcoholic.” “Damn it Otto, you have lupus.” One of those two doesn’t sound right.

Mitch Hedberg

Patrick: Addiction is ugly. It can make a human being totally (and literally) self-destruct, and in many cases there’s nothing that friends and family can do to help. The extra psychological stress of knowing that addiction is a disease that the addict seemingly inflicts upon himself can be downright devastating. Hedberg himself died of a drug overdose, despite the fact that he had been in treatment and had a strong support network and friends and family invested in his well-being. On some level, someone succumbing to their addiction seems like a personal failing, as though they lacked the willpower to simply overcome it. That’s one of the dangers of depicting addiction in fiction – so often, “getting clean” is the final step in that addicted hero’s journey. But addiction isn’t a dragon, or a witch, Darth Vader, it’s a disease that rewards someone for behavior that will ultimately lead to their undoing. It’s a heartbreaking thing to witness, and everyone involved feels powerless to it. Greg H. is an addict, but not just to painkillers: he’s addicted to being the vigilante known as the Black Hood. Duane Swierczynski and Howard Chaykin embrace that ugliness and helplessness as Greg’s addiction comes back to routinely bite him in the ass. Continue reading