2007 in Marvel minorites

December 30, 2007

Random info:

Marvel has 3 black writers currently (that I know of): Reginald Hudlin (of BET fame, not sure where to link to) on Black Panther, Dwayne McDuffie (who’s been in the biz for ages) on Fantastic Four & Damage Control (& Avengers classic?), and newcomer Kevin Grevioux (I would link to his site, www.kevingrevioux.net, but it appears to be hijacked by “rapimusic” right now. Oh wait, I did just link to it, consider yourself warned) on New Warriors.

Is that some kind of industry record (outside of Icon, for which that was pretty much the point)?

They’ve also got 1 Asian-American writer – Greg Pak, who has been doing a fucking killer job on the Hulk/Planet/War thing in the last few years.

Who am I missing? Tell me I’m missing people!

So, on to the characters, who died, who didn’t, and who’s new?

Avengersland

  • Over in the Initiative, we have a return to action for Rage and Triathlon, and somewhat of a new character (he was featured in a future shot in She-Hulk I guess??): Gauntlet. Now, Gauntlet may be in a coma, but he’s not dead! Sooo…we’ll call it a step?? Dani Moonstar also put in a few panels over there. Lots of other random background characters…or at least there should be with 140+ characters to choose from.
  • In New Avengers news, Luke Cage is Bendis’ dreamlover (;p), so no one is touching him for while. His & Jessica’s baby was born recently. We used to have a poster up of all the Avengers welcoming the baby, it must be around her somewhere (image on right). Anyway, this is kind of a big deal, and I hope the baby doesn’t get turned into some freaky alien or something, and grows up to become a hero, so my son (and any future children we have) can have a young multiracial character to identify with. Not that he won’t love all the black & white heroes out there (of course he’s going to love comics, he’s my child!), but it’s always nice to have someone you can have that kind of identity bond with. Or so I’m told. Bendis also brought Echo with him from Daredevil. I’m glad he brought her in, she’s too good a character to leave floundering around in Limbo. She’s supposed to be deaf, but I think the artists need to be made aware of this, because she is often shown responding to conversation she couldn’t have lip read from her position.
  • Arana is still hanging out in Ms. Marvel (speaking of Ms. Marvel, random link), along with Agent Sum. I guess, I don’t read the title much so I don’t know if he has a real part, but I thought I’d be nice & say hi to him. I never did read Arana’s series seriously – I mean I skimmed it and saw some stuff about a mystic spider cult or something, and she met Spider-Man, etc. – so I have no idea what she’s about, but the character seems like it has a lot of potential. Especially for a young hero – she’d fit in well with the next round of Young Avengers I think.
  • The Order is a title composed almost entirely of new blood, so you’d think they would take some risks and go for some prominent minority characters right? Well, you might not have thought that a year or two ago, but hey, it’s 2007 baby! People talk to each other on the street! So, uh, yeah, we’ve got Marvel’s first (?) lesbian (bi?) – Mulholland Black, an Asian American – Calamity, a half-Mexican/half-German – Veda, and an African-American – Supernaut. And all of them have fleshed-out, actual characters. Holy shit you say, indeed. Dammit, I just realized I should start buying this book before they cancel it. It really is a good read, I was just scared off by the 98% new cast (Initiative at least had a strong previously established supporting cast). Ok, it’s going in the pull box next week.
  • (Black) Goliath (…gotta love those 70s names. I’m sure he hangs out with Black Panther and Black Lightning whenever he gets a chance) got annihilated by Clor in order to make the Civil War “really serious” (Look, we hauled a character that hasn’t been used much in years out of the closet and blew his chest out! Look at our huge Marvel-ous balls!). Surprisingly, it took a turn for the positive (or looks that way so far), by highlighting his nephew Tom Foster as a character, and allowing him to take over the mantle. Yay for legacy heroes! This seems like a good way to make use of a death, and the attention should be a good thing for Tom’s character. He got some good panel time in the WWH stuff, and is set to appear in McDuffie’s Damage Control next month.

X-World:

  • Monet is still chilling in X-Factor. She gets the award for most variably drawn skin color. I’ve seen her drawn as a white girl, to a black girl, to everywhere in between. I’m not sure what they intend her actual ethnicity to be – her mother is Algerian, and they vary a lot in skin tone and ethnicity – arabs, africans & french, lots of mixing. I’m not sure what her dad was, French last name. They need to decide, so artists can be fucking consistent. Rictor is still there too. They cleared up that long running rumor about his sexuality too., He’s straight.
  • Bishop is still floating around, but see X-Men 206 for a WTF moment.
  • Storm is of course, floating around. She must have got a little bit of Wolverine smeared on her or something…because she was appearing in 3 separate titles for a few months – and only one of them was an X-book! She can now also say, like Wolverine, that she has been a member of the Fantastic Four. Her tenure lasted longer than his too! Check her out in that BP cover (#34) on the right.
  • Warpath has been getting a lot of page time lately, with the Shi’ar war bit, and his thing with Hebzipah, and the new X-Force.
  • Forge was around for a few cameos, looking dead now (but I doubt it).
  • Over in the New X-Men, Prodigy surprised pretty much everyone on the planet by not pulling a Cypher/Sync “I’ve got no powers, so now I die.” I like him, and love that the Cuckoos made him semi-bad ass again. His costume looks kind of stupid now though. Anole is currently the only gay male hero at Marvel (Northstar is a villain or something now right?? Or was he un-brainwashed in that annual. I forget). Rockslide & Dust have also proven pleasantly difficult to kill. Is Dust the only Muslim in Marvel comics? Nezhno (sp?) & Indra and also make an occasional appearance.
  • Thunderbird was back in Exiles for 5 seconds, he’s gone again though.
  • Nothing to say about adjectiveless X-Men.

Misc-Marvel-land

  • No one is killing the Black Panther, that would just be silly, so he’s still going strong in his solo title and over in McDuffie’s FF. FF probably also set a record by being 50% black for a few months.
  • The New Warriors are back, bringing with them one of Marvel’s few long running black characters from my generation of readers (if you count the 1989 as long running, although he did last longer than Synch, my favorite Gen X kid), Night Thrasher, sans skateboard thankfully. Interestingly, this is also looking to be one of Marvel’s few legacy super-heroes. I like legacies (which is why Hal Jordan should have stayed dead. Nevermind…). This title brings with it some other returning ethnic characters: Jubilee and Angel 2 (the fly chick from Morrison’s X-Men run), and a pair of black siblings whom I can’t place – oh shit, he dug deep – Christine & Christian Cord – the sister was Tattoo, one of the many students created during Morrison’s run. No idea about the brother. Anyway, sister is dead already, but brother is still alive, so we’ll call the two of them a net gain of 0 (kill an old char, bring in a new one). Wind Dancer/Sofia is also in this title, and she is from Venezuela, but they always draw her as lily white, so I’m going to just call her white. There are white people from Venezuela, so I’m thinking that’s just what she is. Maybe I’m wrong though? I should add that I MUCH prefer Angel’s (out of costume) look from X-Men to the one she’s got now. I guess this could have been under the X-banner, since Grevioux raided the X-vault for de-powered kids. This is a good thing though!
  • In New Warriors related news, Turbo hung out in The Loners.
  • In Heroes for Hire, they featured Shang-Chi, Misty Knight & a new Tarantula. Great character moments for all 3 in the series, although I stopped picking it up after the first few because ….hmm, I forget why, it got lame for a few issues I think. The finale/WWH/Savage Land stuff was decent though.
  • The new White Tiger had a limited series, targeted at young girls I guess (guessing this due to the writer they picked). It was decent, and the character is not dead, so we’ll call that a step.
  • Rocket Racer (yeah, I know) and Puma put in an appearance in a limited series. I think Puma might have been floating around somewhere else too….dating the Black Cat in one of the Spider-titles I think.
  • Greg Pak did a brilliant job of making Amadeus Cho so much more than a stock or token minority character. I can see this kid staying around, and being interesting, for years to come. Here’s to hoping other writers keep him around after Pak moves on.

Ultimateland

  • Ultimate Nick Fury turns out to be even more of a dick than we thought, and gets left in another dimension so they can say the crossover really “shook things up”.
  • Ultimate Colossus and Northstar are still gay, and even appear in panel once and a while.
  • Ultimate Bishop shows up, and so does Ultimate Psylocke – does she count? I’d say no, but who knows.
  • Ultimate Black Panther is in too. He doesn’t talk much.
  • In general, Ultimate universe continues to fail by not “changing” anything about the big name characters other than Nick Fury or Colossus.

There’s probably (hopefully!) more out there, I can’t read everything.

So, what’s the verdict?

Progress: weight on accelerator increasing, still cruising through of the desert, needs air conditioning.

And it wasn’t really anything all that special, but there was some good stuff.

Avengers: Initiative #8

This title hasn’t failed to impress yet. More madcap happenings both above and below ground at super-hero-u. Clone more MVPs you say? That sounds like a brilliant idea! And yet, nothing ever works out quite that well does it?

The new Ant-Man shows up….and somehow Hank doesn’t recognize his design that went awol from shield. Really?? That would be the one spot of really poor writing in an otherwise awesome series. Slott is very attentive to continuity normally, so I have a feeling he has a fix worked out for this one. Hopefully it will be spelled out on paper somewhere.

More character reveals (I like lizard girl more now), Hardball continues to be an ass, although the ass-ness pays off here, and he has a nice not-ass moment. When did “Thor-girl” join? Did I miss that? I remember reading the Thors with her, but I have no idea what her deal is…will have to look it up.

Starjammers 4, err I mean X-Men: Emperor Vulcan 4

I’m still enjoying this series and curious how it is going to wrap up. I don’t like the “reveal” that the MKraan just found the crystal too, this cheapens their initial position somewhat – although it was their homeworld, at least at that point in time.

How is Havok going to deal with his brother is beyond me, but I’m sure they’ve got something in mind. Because, really, leaving him alive at this point is stupid.

Lilandra’s continued ignorance of actual Shi’ar behavior seems a bit out of character though, she was never naive before, why should she be about this? I guess that’s what happens when you mix religion into politics.

X-Men 206

Small cover shot because it’s so fucking ugly. But, that was the intent afterall. 9 issues in and the “future” plot thread is still shaping up to be a waste of time. I mean, I’m sure it matures at some point, but WTF?

We get a “traitor” reveal, but I’m sure it’s not what it looks like, telepathy or something I’m sure. If it is what it looks like, well, shucks. There goes 30% of the minority X-Men ;p.

Oh, and Warpath gets more bloodthirsty. Dude, you haven’t talked to Caliban in years…you just have to admit to yourself that you really weren’t that close. And he was really stupid, trying to take a bullet for a bullet-proof friend.

Giant-Size Avengers 1

Pretty much a fluff piece here, in retrospect I shouldn’t have picked it up. The “Spider-Man learns respect” thing was stupid, and the Emperor None or whatever thing was moderately funny, but I’m pretty sure the punchline there (hint: Wolverine) has been done before, or at least done in a spoof.

Some good cheesecake shots of the “Ladies of Avenging” lounging by the pool if you’re into that kind of thing though.

Serious continuity flaw on one of the first pages though. Pretty sure I saw Diamondback in there with the Serpent Society ladies…and she joined the Initiative over in #8…that and isn’t she an LMD or something? I seem to recall something happening with her not too distantly in Captain America, not sure what though.

I haven’t gone through the reprint material yet, it might be worth it, I just don’t care enough.

New Warriors 7

I’m really enjoying this incarnation, and hope it lasts a while, the writer is doing a great job of going in a different direction than other series and giving it a distinct role. There are also some nice reveals and moments for old school New Warriors fans here (although it just happened to concern a period during which I wasn’t reading – second volume maybe? I’ll have to check).

One thing I’m not sold on is the art, I really don’t like the way some of the characters look…and I’m still not sold on Angel looking totally different (PS who is watching their 15 kids?). I have to look up Stacy and see what she looked like de-powered, but she also looks pretty different here.

I also picked up the final available volume of Y trade (v. 9) and got the Planet Hulk trade from Amazon. Both are great reads.

Oh, I almost forgot, grabbed X-Men Messiah Complex: Mutant Files

Bunch of retread source material for the most part, but I was curious what clues might be in here for the coming year.

Sure enough, I think there were some – or some of the stupidest red herrings ever.

So it would have all the standard stuff you would expect of a current-related sourcebook (ie stuff that’s been featured recently): Marauders, Illyana, Predator X, Kimura, the Deadly Genesis stuff, 198 stuff, new Starjammers, etc.

What it also had was: Savage Land Mutates (W T F?), Phoenix (please sweet comic deity don’t rez her yet, wait for everyone else to finish their corpse runs!), Lifeguard & Slipstream, Trish Tilby. So, I suspect those 4 will be chewing some scenery this year, because otherwise there was less than zero reason to update their info. Unless, of course, maybe it’s totally accounting style and LG & SS never had an entry before? I suppose that is possible. I would like to see LG again though, but SS was stupid. I’m thinking LG/SS would fit right in with the Exiles and they are Claremont creations…./shrug. Mutates…ok, so someone is going to the Savage Land. Trish? Moving into one of the books supporting casts I guess.

The back cover also mentioned “Ghoul”, but I couldn’t find him/her/it inside. Hmmm?

Note: My post got un-edited somehow and reset to an older version, losing about 70% of my commentary.

Not that anyone cares, but I can’t remember specifically what I said, and I don’t have time to retype it. So the last 3 reviews are very brief. FUCK!

Mighty Avengers 6

It’s about fucking time! So yeah, the first arc is finally over and we can catch up, hopefully, to wherever New Avengers is plotwise.

As for the resolution? It came a bit too fast, and was kind of silly and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from a technical standpoint (would a modern virus scanner really not be able to pick up say, a virus written in FORTRAN? Somehow I suspect it would because they analyze behavior these-a-days), but it was a nice sort of, intro-to-everyone kind of first arc.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next arc – which we’ve already seen the semi-resolution for oven in New, but at least we haven’t seen whatever it is they are doing with Doom. Time travel sounds fun, haven’t seen much of that in a while… oh wait, there’s Time Travel in FF & in the X-Men crossover right now too. I guess Marvel must have lifted their TT moratorium (no idea if they really had one, but there wasn’t much of it for a while) finally, because that’s a lot of time hopping at one time.

Cho’s art was nice, but I won’t particularly miss it. I’m looking forward to Bagley’s (brief) arc.

New X-Men 45

MC continues! We get to see Wolverine’s “X-Force” get some action, although still no explanation of why they would think Cable would turn traitor…especially after being an X-Man for a few issues and being killed by the same folks that are after them now (well, Sinister’s side at least).

Recap:
The bit with the X-Men chasing Cable and gunning to kill is stupid, and had better be explain in the closing issues.

Caliban trying to take a bullet for a bullet-proof friend was stupid. (Or is he not bulletproof now??) It was a needless way to get death & drama into this series without taking any real character kill (no, the X-kids don’t count) risk.

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Exiles 100

Recap: Could be better, looking forward to next version.

Wolverine Origins 20

Recap: Why is this even a series if it spends so much time fucking around? I hope it pays off in the end, which there HAD BETTER BE A PURPOSEFUL END.

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Cable/Deadpool 48

Recap: It’s an amazing thing FN did making a title like C&D work for this long, but it’s not surprising it’s ending and I’m looking forward to the new Cable book.

I really hope they give FN a real series, Thunderbolts would be nice.