‘Dark Days: The Forge’ proves why DC is a cut above Marvel

The Forge Dark Days

The past year or so has seen the classic “DC vs. Marvel” debate take on added significance due to the success of DC Rebirth and the faltering (to put it lightly) of Marvel under the tenure of Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. There are many reasons for Marvel’s failures, but DC’s Dark Days: The Forge #1 shines a giant Bat-Signal spotlight on one of them.

The bottom line is that DC, whether it’s something like The Button or Dark Days: The Forge, is telling good old-fashioned “yarns” because it’s actually concentrating on big ideas — namely the issue of Good vs. Evil.

The Forge #1 is a tale that revolves around two beings — one of goodness and light, the other of darkness and evil — who are granted immortality via a mysterious metal and then tasked to fight each other in cycles of reincarnation. Batman’s discovery of the metal prompted a years-long investigation into its origin, which led him down a dangerous rabbit hole. It’s one that no man — even Bruce Wayne — should explore.

What separates modern DC from Marvel is that the former is willing to explore ideas of good and evil in serious ways. If you pick up most Marvel comics, then what you’ll find is moral relativist heroes fighting each other over a catty disagreements; and heroes fighting villains in a “going through the motions” manner because that’s what they’ve always done; political allegories that primarily use characters as vehicles to vent anger at [insert politician here].”

Out of all the comics I’ve read over the past two years, I think only Charles Soule’s Daredevil confronted a character described as truly “evil.” When most Marvel heroes talk about good and evil, they do so in ironic Deadpool-speak.

Paraphrase [insert hero here]: “Do you think we’ll come out of this one alive? Of course we will — we’re the good guys!”

People who believe good and evil are real — not just artificial constructs in a godless universe — typically do not become jaded. If you believe that your life has meaning and is intrinsically good, then you are not prone to hold life in contempt.

DC appears to have enough writers and editors on its staff who understand this, who are genuinely inquisitive about big issues, and then willing to appropriately use their iconic stable of characters to explore them.

Marvel, on the other hand, appears to be populated with a cloister of bitter moral relativists who write books for a small population of philosophical malcontents. Then, when their screeds don’t sell, they rhetorically lash out at fans for not being embracing Mighty Marvel Pessimism Pods.

I don’t know too much about Dan DiDio, but I do know quality work when I see it. I got into DC in a significant way for the first time in my life this year, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon as long as I keep getting books like The Button and Dark Days: The Forge.

Kudos to DC’s creative team for a job well done.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be reviewing Dark Days: The  Forge #1 on my YouTube channel soon. If you haven’t already subscribed, then please do. I don’t always have time to transfer the videos over to WordPress as quickly as I’d prefer.

Advertisements

Subs Dare Doug: Answers on Jordan Peterson, Star Wars, and Marvel politics

A friend of mine used to call me “Daring Doug” when I was a kid because I was willing to do all sorts of crazy stuff in the neighborhood. That fun element of my past has morphed into a new segment on the YouTube channel called “Subs Dare Doug.” In short, my subscribers dare me to answer questions on all sorts of subjects, and then I answer in a future broadcast.

Today’s “Subs Dare Doug” is focused on Dr. Jordan Peterson, Star Wars: Episode VII, politics at Marvel Comics, a comic recommendation, and progressive activists.

If this is something you’d like to take part in, then just head on over to the YouTube channel on any day and ask in the following format: SubsDareDoug: [Insert question here].

I can’t promise I’ll answer everyone’s question, but I’ll try my best.

Iceman #1: Purifiers show Marvel’s double-standard, cowardice

Marvel Comics is known for having a “world outside your window” approach to its storytelling, and for decades the company did it well. These days, however, editor Axel Alonso appears to have issued a fiat that creates the politically correct world outside your window.”

Iceman #1  — along with its Christian villains known as “Purifiers” — demonstrates the state of affairs quite nicely.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would Marvel Comics ever have an anti-mutant group called “The Sons of Jihad” that hunts down metaphorical minorities?
  • Would Marvel Comics ever have an anti-mutant group  called “The Sword of Allah” with costumes featuring a star and crescent moon?

Magic 8 Ball says, “Not likely.” But yet, for some peculiar reason, the “Purifiers” and their Christian crosses are on full display. Meanwhile, the defining national security threat of the last 20 years has had nothing to do with Catholic guys like me.

If you want to hear more about the double-standards and hypocrisy of Marvel, then check out my new YouTube video below. And, as always, feel free to sound off in the comments section.

Editors Note: Make sure to stay tuned after the “outro” music for my “letters to the editor”-type idea for future broadcasts.

Secret Empire #3: Nick Spencer event is really his ‘Secret Lecture’

Marvel’s Secret Empire #3 came out this week, although at this point it really should be called Secret Lecture. As I have said before, writer Nick Spencer is an intelligent man who knows a thing or two about the technical aspects of storytelling. The problem, however, is that he uses his gig at Marvel as a psychiatrist’s couch and a college professor’s podium. He seems to care less about entertaining readers than he does about working out his own political issues and lecturing America for electing President Donald Trump.

There’s much more to say, but for that I invite you to check out my latest YouTube review. If the format is up your alley, then make sure to subscribe and leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marvel’s ‘America’: 50 Shades of Ororo, more race politics in 3rd issue

It was only a few months ago that Marvel Comics released America, by writer Gabby Rivera. Fans who thought Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso had reached a saturation point with politicized comics were proven wrong, as America turned out to be the perfect storm of social justice activism meeting Alonso-vision. I analyzed the first two issues on my YouTube channel and thought I would be done with it, but the sheer interest in this train wreck all but guaranteed another review.

Behold, brave readers! America #3 is what happens when Marvel superheroes mix with racial politics, the “fly girls” from the 1990s show “In Living Color,” bizarre sexual fetishes best left to 50 Shades of Grey, and elderly luchadores.

DC’s ‘The Button’ offers lesson for Marvel, Axel Alonso

I used to have an irrational disdain for DC superheroes as a child. I was a “Marvel kid.” Sure, I loved Batman, but outside of his adventures I turned up my nose at DC fare. The echoes of my own irrationality reverberated into the future as I stuck to reading The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, and then occasional X-Men book as an adult. But somewhere along the line, Marvel decided to adopt a business model that needlessly alienates long-term readers. That, my friends, is where our discussion on DC’s The Button comes in.

Marvel Editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and everyone who takes their marching orders from him would be wise to look at what DC is doing under the watchful eyes of Geoff Johns. DC Rebirth was a creative home run, and now it seems as if the same can be said of The Button.

Check out my latest YouTube review on parts 1-3 of The Button, which is a great blueprint for Marvel to follow if it wants to win back fans. And, as always, I’m interested in hearing your feedback in the comments section below.

Secret Empire #1: Hydra-Verse and Marvel PR damage control in full swing

Marvel’s comics division has been taking it on the chin in terms of bad press for well over a year now, and the official kickoff to its latest event is no exception. This week saw the release of Secret Empire #1 and a tie-in issue for Free Comic Book Day, which theoretically should bring elicit smiles across the country. Wrong. In fact, the project is so controversial that Marvel had to put out a statement earlier this week asking fans to be patient (even though the story has been building for well over a year).

My latest Youtube review covers the good, the bad and the ugly of writer Nick Spencer’s reality-warping Hydra-Cap tale. And yes, on some level it is good — but the whole situation is a bit complicated.

Anyway, check out the review and let me know what you think in the comments section below. Also: If anyone knows YouTube’s exact rules for using music clips without getting copyright infringement strikes, then let me know — I don’t want to make a habit of joke-singing songs like “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses…

X-Men Gold #1: The house that Axel Alonso built gives Marvel Ardian Syaf controversy

It seems like not a week goes by without Marvel Comics having some sort of PR nightmare, whether it’s smaller things like Gabby Rivera’s America making a gang of “privileged” white cyborgs the enemy, or what we saw this weekend with X-Men Gold #1 — artist Ardian Syaf’s decision to put anti-Christian and anti-Semitic messaging into his work.

Yes, that’s right, of all the books to go down bigotry path, it had to be the book that is supposed to be the “gold” standard of tolerance and acceptance.

There is much more to say about this issue, so for all the details on The House the Axel Alonso Built and its slow-motion implosion, I invite you to check out my latest YouTube video. As always, make sure to subscribe if the format is up your alley, and please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marvel’s zero-sum politics needlessly damage the comics industry

The partisan politics of modern Marvel Comics creators is a mainstay of this blog, but for the most part it is usually discussed within the context of whatever “red state vs. blue state” argument makes headlines each week. Today, however, I’d like to dig a little deeper into the zero-sum politics of these writers and artists. In short, they act as if any positive development for “Character A” means that “Character B” is negatively affected.

For instance, Tony Stark’s existence as Iron Man was problematic for writer Brian Michael Bendis’ to introduce Ironheart — Riri Williams. Normal people have no problem with a young girl named Riri flying around the Marvel Universe while Mr. Stark does his thing. That is not the case for Marvel writers these days. In the mind of the modern Marvel creator, Mr. Stark needed to be hurt or sidelined or have his reputation sullied in some way so that a minority female character could succeed.

This line of thinking has poisoned Marvel’s decision-making from the top down in recent years, and as long as it continues the industry as a whole will needlessly suffer. For more details on this, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video on the subject. Then, if you like what you’ve seen, be sure subscribe for regular updates.

As always, make sure to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

‘Totally Awesome Hulk’ totally makes sense; Axel Alonso should shut up so he doesn’t ruin it

Amadeus ChoMarvel announced Friday that the world was going to get a new Hulk: Amadeus Cho. The move follows a whole host of odd decisions by the company — diversity for the sake of diversity’s sake — but this one actually makes sense. The only problem is that the guy who should be able to properly promote the story, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, can’t help but stick his politically correct foot in his mouth.

Consider the difference in language between writer Greg Pak and editor Mr. Alonso in their Entertainment Weekly interview. First we have Mr. Pak, who serves as a fine ambassador for his upcoming project:

PAK: I actually co-created Amadeus back in the day, 10 years ago — it’s coming out around the 10th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. And Takeshi Miyazawa was the artist and I was the writer, and we introduced this Korean-American kid into the Marvel Universe. It’s been a blast to write ever since. We did a lot of stuff with him over the years in the Hulk universe. This is also a character, by the way, who has a long history with Banner and the Hulk. He basically started out as Hulk’s number one fan because he’s a crazy teenager with as little impulse control as the Hulk, so he kind of identified with him. But the character always meant a huge amount to me. When I had the opportunity to create this new character, I realized there aren’t specifically that many Asian-American characters at this time in the Marvel Universe, and it was sort of a niche. I also wanted to write a character who talks a lot. I was writing a lot of Hulk stuff, I was writing very closed-lip surly characters. But it’s been tremendous. I go to cons and people come up to me dressed as Amadeus Cho, and that blows my mind. And then the character’s also been picked up in some of the cartoons that Marvel puts out, and in one of the DVD movies they did. It’s kind of tremendous when anything you work on kind of resonates with people and goes on to be used by other creators as well.

The other thing is that this felt like a natural next step for both the Amadeus and the Hulk stories. It wasn’t what we imagined 10 years ago when we created the character, that this is exactly where he would end up. But just given the character’s history, it makes total sense. And the story is totally true for both the Hulk story and the Amadeus story, so it’s a lot of fun when those kinds of things can naturally come together for something this big.

Indeed, it does make total sense. At least it did until Axel Alonso weirdly had to emphasize that the character isn’t simply a Hulk, but the Hulk.

Readers can’t simply enjoy a story that makes sense — they must be beaten over the head with a message that Tumblr kids with low self-esteem want to hear. Marvel does not inch closer to Diversity Utopia unless the language used to discuss the new Hulk arbitrarily elevates him to a status at or above the classic white character.

Alonso: I also want to say that he will be the only Hulk in the Marvel Universe. He will be the Hulk, the green Hulk, that will be him. Just like there’s one Thor in the Marvel Universe and she’s a she, there is one Hulk and it is Amadeus Cho. But I also want to say that there is a story to be told for Banner. Banner’s story is not over. And I don’t want people saying, “Oh, these guys hate Banner, and they don’t like him and they’re sick of him.” No — we love Banner.

Why was that necessary? It wasn’t, unless you are either a.) some obsessive-compulsive diversity activist, or b.) seeking to please obsessive-compulsive diversity activists.

Mr. Alonso takes a rhetorical dump on Bruce Banner and the character’s fans to score points with the social justice crowd, and then he says “No — we love Banner.” It doesn’t work that way. He “loves” Bruce Banner like people say they love Dunkin’ Donuts coffee on Monday morning, which means that he merely has appreciative love.

Greg Pak should be given a pat on the back for the work he’s done at Marvel. Mr. Alonso, however, might want to consider locking himself in the closet any time someone asks him to comment on upcoming projects. There are many readers who want to give writers like Greg Pak a chance, but refrain because guys like Axel Alonso are in monomaniacal pursuit of political activists’ approval.

Exit question: If there was a Tumblr campaign started to create “The Totally Tubular She-Hulk” — and make her a lesbian black little person who liked to surf, what are the chances that Axel Alonso would take it seriously?

Totally Awesome Hulk Marvel