Bendis gives Miles ‘toughest villain yet’: Christian grandmother

SP3 promo

The promotional material for the third issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ Spider-Man promised Miles Morales would go up against “his toughest villain yet.” It did not disappoint, as the young hero and his family are subjected to an irascible jerk of a woman for most of the book. I found myself at times shocked that social-justice obsessed Marvel would allow a minority character to be written with so many flaws until Bendis disclosed the reason why: She’s a Christian hypocrite.

Miles Grandmother

Spider-Man #3 is a perfect example of how Marvel’s track record for inserting politics into comics alienates fans and mars an otherwise good title. It also shows how a good writer can subtly insert an agenda into his book so that many readers will be none the wiser.

Unlike other writers at Marvel, Bendis understands that most people will not care about the character under the mask if his personal life is not adequately developed. Readers will not be invested in supporting cast members if they randomly fly past the hero’s obit on occasion like a comet.

If Miles’ grandmother is going to play a huge part in his life moving forward, then it makes sense that an entire issue would be devoted to introducing her to the audience. If not, then the decision was a waste of time. I’m inclined to give Bendis the benefit of the doubt due to his track record.

Miles Dad

The problem, at least as far as this reader is concerned, is that once again a Marvel book shines an unfavorable light on Christianity.

Miles grandmother generally acts like a buffoon. The way she treats his father is horrible. She shows zero respect for her own daughter. She barrels through the house and leaves anger and confusion in her wake, and then when she tries to show a softer side she tells Miles, “Let Jesus be your guide.”

Indeed, that is great advice. Unfortunately, it seems as though the only time Marvel talent puts a spotlight on Christianity it is in a negative light.

  • Dan Slott of The Amazing Spider-Man tells Christians who win legal cases before the U.S. Supreme Court to go to “Christ-Land.” (I’m still waiting for him to tell a bunch of Jews to go to Jew-topia over a similar disagreement, but I don’t think that will happen.)
  • Nick Lowe dresses up as the pope for Halloween for laughs because dressing up as Mohammed or an Orthodox Jew would require personal and professional courage.
  • Dan Slott used the San Bernardino, California, terror attack to mock Christians who prayed to God after the massacre.
  • Jose Molina’s “point” tales in ASM turned Peter Parker into The Amazing Spider-Atheist — so much so that he called God a “lie” after Uncle Ben’s death.

Under normal circumstances there would be no reason to care about having a Christian hypocrite appear in the Marvel universe because everyone is guilty of hypocrisy at some point. We are all fallible.

The reason why it is an issue with Marvel as a company is because there is a repeated pattern of anti-Christian sentiment disseminated by its staff.

Jose Molina’s Peter Parker will call God “a lie,” but where is the Marvel character who openly calls God “the Truth” in print? Daredevil is a Catholic, but his faith is regularly ignored and Tom Brevoort makes jokes of that fact on Formspring

How sad is it that fans of the character have to watch the Netflix series to see him go to confession or make the sign of the cross?

Brevoort Formspring Daredevil

Brian Michael Bendis will introduce a Christian hypocrite who is incredibly grating to readers, but when will they get a Christian character who is the modern equivalent of Saint Francis, Dom L. Scupoli Apulia, G.K. Chesterton, St. John of the Cross, etc.?

Regular readers of this blog know that I have given Bendis’ work great word of mouth for months — for both Invincible Iron Man and Spider-Man.

I want to support Marvel, but there is almost no reason to do so when time after time its creators needlessly take sucker punches at my faith or political persuasion.

Miles Morales Grandma

With that said, the only other development in the issue involves Black Cat, who apparently wants to go after the “new” Spider-Man in town.

Marvel’s insistence on portraying Black Cat as a wannabe Mafia Queen is laughable. As is the case with every other editorial misstep, the guys in charge would rather dig their heels into a stupid-trench than admit they were wrong.

Black Cat Hammerhead

Spider-Man #3 is an important issue in terms of establishing family dynamics that will come into play in the months ahead, but it should also serve as a red flag for potential customers of faith.

When there is a chance to denigrate your worldview, Marvel will almost always jump at the opportunity. Its best writers insult you with kind of finesse that on some level is impressive, but they insult you nonetheless.

Do not buy this book if you are sick and tired veiled and unveiled political pot shots by Marvel’s writers and editors.

Exit question: Should I continue reviewing Bendis’ Spider-Man? On some level I feel as though it is important to shed light on what Marvel is doing. My thought process is that I may spend $50 a year reviewing a book, but exposing political or religious suck-punches will cost the company more in the long run. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Bendis weakens established heroes to elevate Miles, readers notice cheap shortcut

Miles Blackheart

Writer Brian Michael Bendis has a tricky job ahead of him. He is trying to establish Miles Morales as the Spider-Man, but he wants to do it in a short amount of time. While the first issue of Spider-Man was admittedly a fun read, the second issue shows some of the challenges Bendis’ social-justice project presents.

SM #2 begins with Spider-Man — the original — asking Miles who or what took out all the Avengers, yet retreated when he entered the fray. As the two are discussing the matter, along with whether or not Miles should continue to go by just “Spider-Man,” the demon Blackheart returns from the spirit world and essentially takes Peter Parker out of the fight with a single blow. Miles uses multiple venom blasts and Captain America’s shield to quickly dispose of the villain.

“You did this?” Tony Stark asks as he regains consciousness and stumbles forward. Even Bendis knows this is absurd, so he has Miles reply, “Well, uh, I mean it was more like a group effort.”

Miles IronMan Falcon

There is only one problem with that line: It wasn’t a group effort. Everything about the first two issues — including the cover, with Miles triumphantly standing with Cap’s shield over helpless Avengers — screams, “Respect this Spider-Man! Respect him! Seriously! Please?”

The reason for the cheap shortcut comes soon afterward, when word spreads of the new Spider-Man. A girl calls Miles “black Spider-Man” and this annoys him.

“I don’t want to be the black Spider-Man. I want to be Spider-Man,” Miles tells his friend Ganke.

“Okay, poof, you’re Spider-Man,” his friend replies.

If only it were that easy — but it’s not.

Readers can simultaneously appreciate Bendis’ mastery of the craft of writing while acknowledging that Miles is getting an embarrassing assist in the credibility department.

Miles SM2

Fact: In a world where Peter Parker exists, he will always be seen as the Spider-Man. Any derivative of him can never be the Spider-Man because Peter Parker was and always will be the original. Readers can either call Miles “black Spider-Man” because he is black, or because he chose to wear a black costume.

At the end of the day, it is bizarre to arbitrarily make Captain America black, Thor a woman, and Spider-Man a black guy when the original characters — who are still popular — are something else. Many Marvel readers get this, despite the creators’ best efforts to brainwash them otherwise.

Is Spider-Man a good book? Sure. So far. Is it worth spending $4.00 on? Yes. Will I ever consider Miles Morales the Spider-Man? No — because he’s not. He’s a Spider-Man (a good one), who came after Peter Parker.

I look forward to reading the third issue of Spider-Man. I just hope Bendis doesn’t have Miles taking down Ultron to prove the character’s worth.

 

Bendis launches Spider-Man with a bang: Miles a fun read in opener

SpiderMan Miles

Brian Michael Bendis’ Spider-Man, featuring Miles Morales, finally hit stores this week. The event was an opportunity to sell readers like yours truly — a guy who never gave Marvel’s Ultimate Comics the time of day — on the character. The good news: It seems like it will be a really fun book. The bad news (at least for die-hard Peter Parker fans): This may be the Spider-Man you want to add to your pull list if you’re short on cash.

Blackheart

Bendis had certain notes that he had to hit in this issue for individuals who know nothing about Miles Morales.

  • Is he believable as a modern teenager? Yes.
  • Is he likable? Yes.
  • Are his interactions with his parents authentic? Yes.
  • Are his interactions with his peers authentic? Yes.
  • Are his interactions with authority figures in his life (e.g., teachers) authentic? Yes.
  • Does he seem like a version of Spider-Man I’d like to read about regularly? Yes.

Miles Morales

Fun fact: When I was a high-school kid I had a habit of not doing my homework. I used to go up into my room and read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and write short stories instead of doing my math homework. I watched movies with my girlfriend. I played basketball with my friends. And then, just like Miles, my mom asked me if I was on drugs.

While it would have been a better story if I was solving crime as Spider-Man, the underlying point is that kids often prioritize their lives differently than their parents would like — no matter how well the parents do their job — and “Are you on drugs?” is on the checklist of questions when they have no idea what’s going on.

These are the little things writers — good writers — need to know in order to convince new readers to plunk down $4.00 each month. Note to certain writers on The Amazing Spider-Man: It is possible to craft an exciting story that also includes character development. It’s a shocker, I know, but it’s true.

Long story short, if you want to see a day in the life of Miles Morales, which just so happens to involve ditching school to take on Blackheart and explaining to his parents why his grades are suffering, Bendis delivers the goods.

Finally, it should be noted that Sara Pichelli’s artwork a pleasing to the eye as well. There really is a depth and breadth to her work that is impressive. Whether Miles is sitting on a bench discussing life with his friend Ganke, trying to placate his angry parents, or taking on a demon who just leveled The Avengers, each situation is exquisitely crafted. One could argue that if all the dialogue were stripped from the book it would still be worth the cover price. If Pichelli has never done work as a Hollywood storyboard artist, then she may want to look into it.

Spider-Man is a worthy read. As long as Bendis does not get weirdly political on a regular basis, there is a high probability that I will continue to purchase the book going forward.

 

Miles Morales now Spider-Man ‘for kids of color’: Marvel enters era of Separate but Equal superheroes

Miles MarvelOne of my favorite G.I. Joe characters as a kid was Roadblock. When I watched the Rocky movies I loved Apollo Creed. My brother introduced me to Marvel’s Iron Man, and I took a liking to James Rhodes. My favorite football player was Marcus Allen. Likewise, I loved G.I. Joe’s Flint, Rocky’s “Italian Stallion,” Iron Man’s Tony Stark, and the New York Yankees’ Don Mattingly. My “heroes” weren’t heroes because they were black or white — they were heroes because they were just “cool.” These days, the politically correct, race-obsessed clowns at Marvel can’t have that. Instead, they have taken a page out of the pre-civil rights era mentality and started creating, for all intents and purposes, a “separate but equal” superhero class.

Here is what Brian Michael Bendis told the New York Daily News on Sunday regarding Marvel’s decision to make Miles Morales the new Spider-Man:

“Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.”

Here is the message Marvel is sending: If a superhero is a white man, then he isn’t for “everybody.” If the superhero is black, then he is for black children, for black adults, and, ummm, “everybody” else — once those first two groups are creatively coddled (usually by liberal white men).

If you think it’s weird to essentially make a separate-but-equal superhero class, then Marvel’s creative teams will probably label you a racist.

To see just how race-warped the minds of these creators are, one needs to only examine Bendis’ next statement:

The enormity of Miles Morales’ place in comic book history didn’t really hit Bendis, a father who has two kids of color among his four children, until recently. His 4-year-old adopted African-American daughter found a Miles Morales Spidey mask in the toy aisle of a department store, put it on and said, “Look daddy, I’m Spider-Man!” he recalls.

“I started crying in the middle of the aisle,” says Bendis. “I realized my kids are going to grow up in a world that has a multi-racial Spider-Man, and an African American Captain America and a female Thor.”

If “Douglas Jr.” put on a “War Machine” mask and said, “Look dad, I’m War Machine!” I would not correct my son and tell him that he was white/asian and couldn’t be James Rhodes. I would not start crying tears of joy because a half-white, half-asian Ernst child was pretending to be a black man. I would only start crying because he liked a character who was in the Air Force instead of an Army guy like Steve Rogers. (I’m joking about the Air Force making me cry. Sort of.)

Decades ago kids played “Cowboys and Indians.” They played “Cops and Robbers.” Fast forward in time and they pretend to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but yet guys like Brian Michael Bendis want us to believe that little children spend odd amounts of time arguing over a superhero’s race.

Many kids of color who when they were playing superheroes with their friends, their friends wouldn’t let them be Batman or Superman because they don’t look like those heroes but they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be under that mask.

What? What neighborhood did Mr. Bendis grow up in, where little white kids were telling black friends they could pretend to have been bitten by a radioactive spider, but they couldn’t pretend to look like Steve Rogers?

What neighborhood did Mr. Bendis grow up in, where a white kid’s imagination allowed him to be a green ninja turtle, but not James Rhodes?

Marvel’s “House of Ideas” is really the “House of Political Correctness” — and it’s not really a house. It’s more like an insane asylum where the race-obsessed inmates are in charge.

Miles Morales is a cool character. I have no doubt that he will have many heart-stopping adventures in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. The problem is that these days it is somehow problematic if popular superheroes are straight white men.

If Marvel’s sales decline in its separate-but-equal universe, then there is no doubt that “racist” and “sexist” white men will be blamed for not embracing She-Thor and suddenly-gay Iceman. Marvel employees can take all the racial palliatives they want, but the truth is much more biting: the creative process does not reward writers whose every move is determined by a complex algorithm of racial calculus mixed with politically correct engineering.

With each passing day, Marvel becomes more and more a shell of its former self. That is why people try out books like “Peter Panzerfaust,” “Deadly Class,” “The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” and any number of other books that do not have “Marvel” on the cover.

Indeed, this generation of kids will have a more diverse set of Marvel heroes. It’s just a shame that those Marvel heroes are directed by political activists masquerading as comic book writers.

Marvel’s ‘All-New,’ All-Derivative Avengers lumps minorities together, calls them ‘Different’

All Different AvengersIn Marvel’s quest to prove how supercrazydiverse (one word) it is, its ‘All-New, All-Different Avengers’ actually has a cringe-inducing vibe. The company is lumping all of its new minority heroes — already derivatives of the classics — onto one team and calling them ‘All-Different.’

After the announcement, Comic Book Resources asked Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about its obsession with diversity for the sake of diversity:

Albert Ching: Axel, looking at the recently revealed lineup of the “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” you see the female Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Miles Morales, Kamala Khan — it feels like a reflection of the changes and greater diversity that Marvel has seen in the past few years. Was that a motivating factor — or the motivating factor — in putting this lineup together?

Axel Alonso: Waitaminute, is that Miles Morales? Or is that someone else? Someone new? Someone from Spider-Verse? Or maybe it’s Peter? Or maybe it’s someone he recently Googled? [Laughs]

Anyway — that roster! When [editor] Tom Brevoort laid out the cast for the new team, it just felt right — especially the inclusion of Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson, and the new Thor. It felt like Next Level $#!#.

Got that? Marvel is taking diversity to the next level, baby. Tom “take your medicine” Brevoort has decided that fans are so sick with anti-diversity fever that the only way to cure them is to go Voltron-level diversity and then have Mark don’t-buy-my-comics Waid write the adventures.

Mark Waid F off tweetThe line-up for the ‘All-Different Avengers’ is as follows:

  • She-Thor (derivative)
  • Spider-Man (Miles Morales, derivative)
  • Ms. Marvel (derivative)
  • Captain America (Sam Wilson is filling in for Steve Rogers)
  • Nova
  • Vision
  • Iron Man

Strangely enough, Mr. Alonso hints that it might not be Tony Stark beneath the mask. Perhaps I shouldn’t have joked that Marvel will one day totally lose it and go with Toni Stark, The Invincible Iron Woman.

Alonso: Yeah! You’ve got a healthy mix of characters — a core nucleus of veterans that have proven they can kick ass: Cap, Thor, Iron Man — but is it really Tony inside that armor…? Then you’ve got some newer, younger characters that are still proving themselves: Ms. Marvel and Nova. And then you’ve got some wild cards: the Vision and whoever it is in those black Spider-Man tights. The diversity of the cast is going to allow for very different perspectives on the Avengers-scale problems they’re going to face.

Although Marvel’s ham-handed and self-congratulatory diversity spiels are embarrassing, perhaps the most laughable aspect of this ‘All Different’ cast is how the rules have changed. Teenagers like Miles Morales and Kamala Khan apparently get the equivalent of a ‘Monopoly’ “Advance to Go — Collect $200” card.

MonopolySomeone can correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Peter Parker have to put in years of time proving himself before he even became a reserve member? Was the bar lowered for becoming an Avenger? If so, then that’s embarrassing.

Here is the bottom line: All of the heroes mentioned above are just that — heroes —but there is a difference between doing the hard work of building up a character’s reputation and prestige over time, and trying to convince fans that just because a character is a minority that he or she deserves a spot on the world’s most elite team.

Falcon? Sure. No problem. Kamala Khan? Give me a break. Miles Morales? Sure — when he matures like Peter Parker before him.

At some point in time, Marvel ceased to be the “House of Ideas” and morphed into the “House of Race and Gender Politics.” The company is still capable of churning out good stories on occasion, but more often than not it just embarrasses itself with transparent attempts to insert “Next Level $#!#” into its books when all that is called for his good storytelling.

Hat Tip: Colossus of Rhodey

Marvel’s New Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Is Your Spider-Sense Tingling?

Some people will be angered by the new Spider-Man's race. They have problems. Others will be angered by Marvel's obsession with alliteration. They are healthy.

In Marvel Comics’ Ultimates line, the new Peter Parker is Miles Morales. Miles is a half-black, half-hispanic boy. Of all the angles to this story, his race is one of the least noteworthy aspects—even more so than Marvel’s continued use of alliteration. (Will the next Spider-Man be named Guillermo Guillen?) Since I’m sure there are conservatives who will be annoyingly offering “unhelpful” comments about this new character, someone needs to set the record straight:

  1. The original Peter Parker is right where he’s always been. Unfortunately, liberal writers and editors had their way with him and he now makes deals with (for all intents and purposes) the Devil.  If Spidey fans are upset, their anger should be directed at what is quite possibly the worst editorial mistake in the history of the character. That’s saying a lot, since Marvel has botched him for years.
  2. The Ultimates line is completely separate from the universe casual fans know about.
  3. Everyone’s seen and experienced the black Nick Fury. It worked. Big time. Sometimes switching it up is a good thing.

With that said, here’s where the story gets interesting:

Italian artist Sara Pichelli, who was integral in designing the new Spider-Man’s look, says, “Maybe sooner or later a black or gay — or both — hero will be considered something absolutely normal.”

Note to Sara Pichelli: It is normal! It’s only not normal when it’s shoved in our faces. It’s only not normal when political points are shoe-horned into a story for no other reason than to make readers wear a Progressive worldview. There’s a difference between crafting a story that has—or requires—a black, gay hero, and crafting a story with a black, gay hero just so you can have one. Or so you can play sociological experiments with your readers.

As a business, it makes sense that Marvel would want to reach out to a growing demographic of young, multi-ethnic readers. As the pigment of our population changes, so will the color of our fictional heroes. And there isn’t anything wrong with that—as long as they’re fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Would you rather have a black Superman who fights for the American Way, or Brian Singer’s white Superman who fights for “all that stuff”? The answer is simple.

Fact: future generations of Americans will be increasingly brown. And no one in their right mind should care. What they should care about are the principles that will guide those future Americans. Will they be the kind of people who consider balanced budgets an “extremist” position, or will they be fiscally sane? Will they believe in limited government and the increased personal liberties that come with it, or will they allow an ever-expansive entitlement mentality to eat away at their entrepreneurial spirit? Will they believe in American Exceptionalism, or will they believe that America’s rightful place in the world is as an also-ran (or worse) with Belarus?

Welcome to the Marvel Universe, Miles Morales. Best of luck to you. I just wish the same could be said for those penning your exploits.