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.
The world finally has an R-rated version of Wolverine that does everything right.
If you love Wolverine, then you should run out to see Hugh Jackman’s final turn with the character in Logan. It’s a smart film that doesn’t skimp on action, it’s filled with heart, and the performances by Mr. Jackman and Patrick Stewart as Professor X are top notch.
There is much to say about this movie, but instead of doing up two different reviews I think I’ll just share a portion of what I wrote for Conservative Book Club and then ask you to kindly check them out for the full version.
I wrote shortly after the film’s release:
The world has seen Hugh Jackman play the Marvel superhero Wolverine for 17 years, but it appears as though the actor saved his best performance for last. Director James Mangold’s R-rated Logan hauled in $247.3 globally its opening weekend, and for good reason — it’s a superhero movie that transcends the genre.
What is perhaps the most fascinating about Logan is that while it is chalk full violent deaths, underneath the blood and gore is a film that promotes selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, loyalty, family, and the possibility of redemption for all men — no matter how fallible they may be. Bad characters die, but the film’s message on many levels can be considered “pro-life.” Good samaritans risk everything for children who are treated as expendable tools, while the life an elderly and infirm man is fiercely protected by the protagonist.
Logan (story by Mangold, screenplay by Scott Frank) takes place in a future where all of the X-Men in the 20th Century Fox franchise are dead — wiped out in large part due to the decaying mind of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Wolverine and an ally named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) have been driven underground along the U.S. border with Mexico, although the hero is able make enough cash to get Charles seizure medication by working nights as a limo driver.
Everything changes for the trio when a nurse smuggles a genetically engineered child known as X-23 (Dafne Keen) out of captivity before she can be killed by the villain Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Her goal is to transport the girl a rally point in North Dakota where children with similar capabilities will attempt to cross the border into Canada. Logan, with his failing immune system and broken body, is coerced into the quest by Charles and the surviving shards of virtue buried deep within his own adamantium bones.
“You know, Logan, this is what life looks like: a home, people who love each other, a safe place. You should take a moment and feel it,” Xavier says when they are eventually given food and shelter by a family of farmers.
“Yeah, it’s great,” the reluctant hero sarcastically replies.
Something rather amazing happened last week that mainstream comic book websites ignored: Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort likened Cyclops to Adolf Hilter — the infamous man responsible for killing six million Jews.
For some inexplicable reason, Mr. Brevoort thought it was a good idea to sell the upcoming “Champions” book on more political activism and “Kid Hitler.” Seriously.
BREVOORT: This is the young Scott Summers pulled from the past. In my head, he’s kind of the first challenge the group faces. Which is to say that when they get together and start to do this, what they’re doing is not just putting together a superhero team, they’re more like activists. They’re making an inclusive statement that they mean to be for all members of their generation: it’s time to get together and stand up and fix the world. This is a message that goes out and people come in response to it. Cyclops shows up and goes, “Boy I love what you’re putting down, I’d like to be a part of it.” It’s kind of like Kid Hitler showing up at the door. The older Cyclops has done some stuff. He’s a hugely divisive figure in the Marvel universe, so the first question these kids have to answer for themselves is, should we let him be a part of this? Is his very presence going to taint what we’re doing? His older self became a radical and a revolutionary and did awful things, but is it the same guy? And that’s kind of why he’s there I think. He wants to go down a different road than his older self did.
A comic book fan does not even know what has happened in the X-Men books for the past few years to understand how pathetic it is that Scott Summers is “Kid Hitler.”
At what point in time did the Holocaust essentially become an Entertainment Weekly punchline for Mr. Brevoort? Oh that ‘Kid Hitler.’ Tune into to see if the other super-kiddies welcome him into the club after what he’s done!
At what point did Marvel decide that it was “fun” to read heroes who earn Hitler analogies?
Marvel is in such sad shape these days that heroes seem to fight heroes more than villains, Hydra-Cap gimmicks are required for quick sales, Doctor Octopus spent over a year in Peter Parker’s body, and now Cyclops is “Kid Hitler.”
If you get a chance, ask Marvel’s writers and editors how much money they estimate Mr. Brevoort’s Holocaust analogy in Entertainment Weekly will net the company. My guess is that they will somehow try and portray you as the bad guy, but if they do then just keep in mind who you’re dealing with — men who turned Cyclops into “Kid Hitler.”
X-Men: Apocalypse was finally released in U.S. theaters for Memorial Day weekend after having premiered in places like the United Kingdom on May 9. The wait, overall, is worth it, but that is in large part due to Michael Fassbender’s performance as Magneto. The movie drags a bit at 144 minutes, but luckily Charles Xavier’s mutants are saved by the emotional weight Fassbender brings to the character Erik Lehnsherr.
Bryan Singer’s latest installment in the X-Men franchise (a tough act to follow after X-Men: Days of Future Past) breaks down as follows:
En Sabah Nur (played by Oscar Isaac) is allegedly the first mutant. Although he has god-like powers, a series of events leaves him in a state of suspended animation in a buried Egyptian temple.
En Sabah Nur is revived in the 1980s and becomes the “Apocalypse” X-Men fans are all familiar with. He begins his quest to gather “Four Horsemen,” wipe the earth clean, and begin anew with himself at the center of the universe.
Professor-X (played by James McAvoy) is captured by Apocalypse and his crew. The young X-Men must now save him — and the world.
X-Men: Apocalypse, in many ways like its predecessor, explores the idea of painful pasts and whether or not individuals choose to be defined by those experiences or rise above them. Mr. Singer wants everyone to know that they have greatness within them — a commendable message — but the script does not allow the supporting cast to truly shine.
Evan Peters as Quicksilver should probably be the linchpin of the next X-Men movie (i.e., it’s time for him to confront his father), and Sophie Turner shows real promise as Jean Grey, but the movie lacked a spark from the one person it was heavily invested in: Jennifer Lawrence.
Ms. Lawrence’s role as Mystique felt flat for three reasons:
She simply looked bored. Her performance screamed, “at least I’m getting a paycheck.”
The script shoved a slew of Katniss Everdeen-like platitudes into her mouth while shorting her on scenes that would have formed an instant connection with the audience. (Note: All husbands/fathers can related to Magneto after what happens to him in Poland.)
Can it be any more obvious that Ms. Lawrence didn’t want to sit in a makeup chair unless absolutely necessary, and that she was given her way because her name is Jennifer Lawrence? Anyone who plays Mystique should be blue for more than 5 percent of their screen time.
All things considered, however, X-Men: Apocalypse is still worth seeing for anyone enjoys the superhero genre. It is not as strong as X-Men: First Class or X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it is still does its job when all is said and done.
Finally, make sure to stay through the ending credits for a clue to the next film’s villain.
One of my older brothers used to read X-Men and X-Factor when I was growing up in the 80s. Regular readers know that I’ve always been a Spider-Man fan, but I think it’s safe to say that I read plenty of stories with Bobby Drake. Now, after all these years, Brian Michael Bendis has decided that the character is gay. Why? Answer: Diversity!
Bobby Drake, otherwise known as classic X-Men member Iceman, will come out of the closet this week. In a collection of leaked panels from All-New X-Men #40, due out tomorrow, Drake finds himself outed by fellow teammate Jean Grey. The revelation makes Iceman one of the most prominent (and powerful) LGBT superheroes in Marvel comics, and is in keeping with the company’s push for more diversity among its characters.
The circumstances surrounding the character’s coming out are unique, to say the least. Readers discover that the past, teenaged Bobby Drake, who has been transported to the future along with the original X-Men to help solve a crisis, is gay. Meanwhile, the present-day Iceman — who is still very much around — has had relationships with multiple women in the past. Apparently, that was an act.
A writer who thinks that a character with a long history of dating women can convincingly be turned gay over night is almost as embarrassing as the writer who tells a long and involved tale that ends “…and then I woke up!” Only a company with zero respect for its audience would allow such lazy and transparent pandering to happen. Marvel expects its fans to clap like trained diversity seals who care more about politically correct editorial mandates than sound storytelling. Given that comic industry journalists are little more than Marvel and DC propaganda arms, it’s a good bet you will soon hear the sound of happy seals.
Perhaps just as bizarre was Brain Michael Bendis lamenting the fact that the issue couldn’t come out and “just be. no press. no sensational headlines.”
If Marvel created a brand new hero who just so happened to be gay — or perhaps a gay, disabled, black and Muslim super-powered diversity-mutant — then that could have happened. No one really cares about introducing new characters, but they do care about arbitrarily making drastic changes to a character they’ve known for decades. They also care when legitimate criticism runs up against men like Dan you-support-Jim-Crow-laws-if-you-think-Peter-Parker-should-stay-white Slott.
Read through the comments section on the websites reporting on the suddenly-gay Bobby Drake, and you’ll see plenty of the “you just have a thing against gay people” mentality on display. It’s sad and pathetic, but it’s the kind of stupid partisanship Marvel needs in spades if it plans to continue these stunts.
After years and years of evidence to the contrary, readers are now supposed to believe that the way to melt Iceman’s heart is to have a Y chromosome. If you’re not a fan of Marvel’s diversity for the sake of diversity business model, then I suggest walking away from the brand and letting them know on your regular circuit of comic-related news sites. Only when it bleeds enough in sales will the company possibly get the message.