Civil War II # 3: Bruce Banner goes out like a punk during superhero amateur hour

Marvel’s Civil War II #3 was released today, which means Bruce Banner is officially dead (until he’s alive again). Your friendly neighborhood blogger might do up a write-up in the future, but I figured the occasion offered a good excuse to experiment with uploading my first real YouTube review.

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ trailer begs the question: How can Joss Whedon not direct ‘Avengers 3’?

Ultron no strings on meBy now the entire world has seen the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. There really is only one word to describe it: awesome. The first movie made over $1.5 billion worldwide. It seems fair to say that $2 billion this time around is a distinct possibility. However, if director Joss Whedon delivers the goods — and all signs point to ‘yes’ — then it begs the question: How can he walk away from a climatic Avengers 3?

Over the past few weeks it’s been rumored that Marvel wants Joe and Anthony Russo to sign on for the 3rd and 4th Avengers movies, but it feels as though everything is building to Avengers 3. Only Marvel knows if that is the case, but I can’t help but feel as though walking away before completing an Avengers trilogy would be a bizarre move on Mr. Whedon’s part.

Directing a movie on as big of a scale as The Avengers must be physically and mentally exhausting. The time away from family and the pressure it puts on the director must be unbearable. However, if Mr. Whedon has set the stage for the superhero movie of all superhero movies to be Avengers 3, then passing on the job would be like the quarterback who leads his team down the field at the end of the big game, only to walk off the field on the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Regardless, for those who were too dazzled by the visuals of the teaser trailer to pay attention to the narration, it appears as though Whedon is going Empire Strikes Back-dark with this installment.

Ultron: “I’m going to show you something beautiful — everyone … screaming for mercy. You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change. You’re all puppets tangled in strings. String. But now I’m free. There are no strings on me.”

Then there is this exchange between Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff:

Tony Stark: “It’s the end. The end of the path I started us on.”

Natasha Romanoff: “Nothing last forever.”

Meanwhile, an eerie rendition of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Disney’s Pinocchio plays in the background. (The merger between Marvel and Disney continues to pay off in interesting ways.)

Avengers Age of Ultron teaserIt’s hard to see how Marvel can continue to keep this momentum going. The Black Widow is right: “Nothing lasts forever.” Eventually, Marvel will create a movie that implodes under its own weight. Eventually, all waves crash against the shore. Regardless, when that happens it will be hard not acknowledge that it was one wild ride.

The real story behind ‘The Hawkeye Initiative’: Liberals bashing liberals

Hawkeye Initiative

Not familiar with The Hawkeye Initiative? You should be, especially if you’re into comics. It’s a somewhat-amusing attempt by artists to replace “strong female character poses” with Hawkeye.

We’ve seen a lot of clever responses to the spine-twisting, butt-baring poses so many female comic book characters are subjected to, but the Hawkeye Initiative is particularly fun. Their mission: to take those particularly awful poses and replace the female characters with Hawkeye.

Why Hawkeye? It seems it all began when artist Blue decided to switch the poses and positions of Hawkeye and the Black Widow on one of their comic book covers. …

Then Blue and Noelle Stevenson (also known as Gingerhaze and creator of the fabulous webcomic Nimona threw a challenge out to Tumblr: fix those “Strong Female Character” poses by replacing them with Hawkeye doing the same thing.

The problem with I09’s Lauren Davis’ take on The Hawkeye Initiative is that it misses the story behind the story. Who are all these artists and writers and editors in the comic industry? What kind of sexist jerks would try and hide their objectification of women behind false attempts to portray a “strong female character”? Given that there’s a “war on women,” any rational human being would conclude that the perps are all very white, very Republican men. Right? Wrong.

Matt Fraction  — liberal. Joe Quesada — liberal. Grant Morrison  — liberal.  Rick Veitch — 9/11 Conspiracy theory kook liberal. Geoff Johns — liberal. Dan Slott — liberal. Sara Pichelli — liberal. Brian Michael Bendis — liberal. Alex Ross — liberal. Mark Waid — liberal. And for many, many more you can visit the Four Color Media Monitor.

Is it possible that some of the allegedly-sexist poses these women are put in are in fact rather innocuous — but that critics are merely projecting their own sexual biases onto the images? I think so. Scrolling through the Tumblr account, anyone who has read Spider-Man knows that as a quick and agile  character, many of his contortions would be interpreted as “sexist” if a woman was drawn the same way. Women have different bodies than men, an inconvenient truth that the gender police don’t want to acknowledge.

Hawkeye Initiative

One of the biggest tells of The Hawkeye Initiative is that it doesn’t even require submissions to be from people who are actually fans of the work they’re criticizing. What if the image in question includes the Marvel equivalent of Ke$ha? What then? I guess it doesn’t matter, since all that counts to the self-righteous know-it-all are her intentions. “My statement about female empowerment matters more than my practical knowledge of the characters, their histories and their motivations.”

It may also be a shock to The Hawkeye Initiative crowd, but women are able to possess power, intelligence and sexuality at the same time. While even I get annoyed at the artist who is obviously obsessed with the porn-star-with-disturbingly-large-breast-implants look, I also don’t mind seeing  a female character whose strength and amazing figure are highlighted. (Apparently, the creators of The Hawkeye Initiative have never been to a bodybuilding competition, where men and women contort themselves in interesting ways to show off as many of their best assets in one pose to audience members and the judges.)

Regardless, the next time your friend talks to you about the “war on women,” go to your stash of comics created by liberal writers and artists. Show them a good butt-shot, and then ask them if they’d still buy the product if it was a known Republican who was devising such demeaning poses.

Update: If you’re coming here from Reddit, just a heads up: I’d comment in the thread, but my first tactful rebuttal was deleted because that’s how liberal Reddit goon moderators roll. We can’t have the conservative guy actually defending himself, can we?