Marvel Comic is Bringing Back Two of Their Most Pretentious…

Over 2 decades ago, JMS penned one of the most pretentious runs possible on Spider-Man, and subsequently, added Thor and Superman to the list of comics he had no business shoving his ultra-leftist viewpoint onto. Now, in this Gizmodo interview, we learn JMS is coming back to the company he assisted in dumbing down, and the main project he’ll be taking this time is Captain America, which already suffered more than enough under writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates:

 

16 years ago, J. Michael Straczynski inadvertantly gave the Marvel Comics world one of the all time great Captain America moments in the pages of his Civil War-era run on Amazing Spider-Man. Now, it’s time for him to move: in a major return to the publisher, to put the spotlight on Steve Rogers for real in a brand new run of Captain America.

io9 can exclusively reveal that Straczynski—the renowned comics and TV writer already in the midst of returning to one of his other iconic works, the sci-fi series Babylon 5—will team up with Jesús Saiz for the relaunch of Captain America later this year. The series will see Steve thrust into a shadowy plot to prevent Captain America from changing the world of superheroes forever as he did bursting onto the scene in the age of heroes… and a sinister foe that wants to plunge the world into darkness, no matter the cost.

 

Based on his past political allegories and metaphors from a liberal perspective, one can only wonder if the foe who wants to cast darkness upon the globe is a right-winger. After all, Straczynski’s shown no signs of changing his leftist politics, and there’s every chance he’ll practically be allowed by the editors now to write in more terrible liberal-influenced moments, if they’ve decided to lift any previous opposition to doing so. After all, if Coates was allowed, then let’s not think things will improve with JMS at the helm.

 

James Whitbrook, io9: Why was now the time for you to return to Marvel in an ongoing capacity, and why was Captain America the character that drew you back?

J. Michael Straczynski: Like most things, the process was incremental. It started when Wil Moss asked me to do a short piece for the big Thor anniversary issue, which ended up getting a fair bit of attention. Then he asked me to do a Thanos story for that big issue, which also drew a lot of eyeballs, which led to me writing yet another piece for Marvel Age 1000 coming out soon. During all this, Wil Moss asked if I’d write a six-issue mini-series that would be a bit of an Event. [Editors note: more on that coming soon!] I did so, it was a ton of fun for everyone involved, and Wil gave Alanna [Smith, Marvel comics editor] one of my scripts that involved Captain America.

Alanna liked how I handled the character, and sends an email asking if I’d like to take over the monthly Captain America book…and that was pretty much the best thing ever, because I’ve always had a strong affinity for Cap, which is why I would sneak him into just about everything I wrote for Spider-Man and Thor.

 

From what I recall about Smith, she’s a bad leftist lot too, so we can only expect the worst from her as an editor by extension. If they’re boomeranging back to divisive politics in any way, that won’t be shocking at this point. And for somebody claiming to have big affinity for Cap, he sure didn’t seem to have any for Mary Jane Watson, nor Gwen Stacy, back in the mid-2000s.

 

io9: Tell us a little bit about what you have in store for Steve in this new run. What do you want to say about Captain America?

Straczynski: Here’s the thing: I come from television, where the #1 rule is that you must service the main character above all else. When I took on The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter had been all but lost in a crowd of supporting characters, so I set them aside to delve deep into him, his relationships, his fears and his dreams, along the way setting the stage for the Spider-Verse. I did much the same when I came aboard Thor, and began asking what it actually means to be a god, and putting Asgard in Oklahoma to see how he and the others relate to the mortal world, making them both more god-like but also more personal. Ditto for Supreme Power and Mark Milton. Again, it’s all about servicing the main character first and foremost.

 

On this, sounds like he’s making cheap excuses for kicking much of the supporting cast to the curb, since the whole notion they make it impossible to focus foremost on the star of the show is laughable. So if he’s going to sideline Sharon Carter, in example, like he did with Sif in his Thor run, not only will that not be surprising, it’ll be a telling sign Straczynski’s clueless where to go with his new Cap run either.

 

I’ve often heard writers say how hard it is to write for Captain America because in recent years he’s become a symbol more than a person, and because they see him as “a man out of time,” which is true but that needn’t define him. In a sense, we’re all people out of time because the world we live in at age 30 isn’t the same it was when we were six. It doesn’t change the fundamental question: who is this character at their absolute core? Push them to their limits, put them up against a wall, make them stand when standing is the hardest thing in the world…and what do you see? Who do you see?

One thing about Steve Rogers that’s never really been addressed is the period between when his parents died, and when he became Captain America. We’re talking about a sickly, skinny 17 year old kid, trying to survive on his own for because he’s stubborn and independent, on the street for several years, hustling for any gig he can get, even if it’s bigger than he is, trying to afford food and a place to stay. So we will counterpoint a present-tense story in which Captain America faces off against a new villain of supernatural origin, with a story about his younger self, with both stories tightly interwoven.

Because there’s one other, key aspect to that period that we will be addressing. The years young Steve was on his own were the same years during which the American Bund – for all intents and purposes the Nazi Party in America – was growing very powerful in real world New York, blocks from where he lived. They held public marches and rallies, harassed people, and spread hate, all part of an effort to get America on the side of the Nazis, a campaign that came to a head with the biggest Nazi rally on American soil in history, as tens of thousands of people, Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, crammed into Madison Square Garden to celebrate their dream of a thousand-year Reich.

We are going to put young Steve right into the middle of that real-life vortex, where despite terrible odds he will make a crucial difference at an even more crucial moment. For a young Peter Parker, the murder of his uncle Ben was a transformational event putting him on the path to becoming Spider-Man. This story will be equally transformational, putting a young Steve Rogers on the path to being the hero he eventually becomes.

To balance all that, the contemporary story has a lot of fun and action, and in both storylines we get to see more flashes of humor from Steve, because I think that range is essential to good storytelling. We will loosen him up, and make him even more of a compelling character on his own terms.

 

Seeing how he failed to do that with Spidey, I can’t see why we should expect any improvement here. Nor should we be shocked if comparisons are drawn between modern right-wingers and National Socialists of the past, mainly because it’s been done countless times before in the past decade or so, and no chance they’ll cease now. The part about Cap being a “man out of time” continues to be quite insulting to the intellect, because it sounds more like a subtle attack on the values Steve Rogers was built upon, and sadly, that’s practically what’s happened for 2 decades already.

 

io9: Steve’s relationship to the iconography of America as a political entity is something he’s always grappled with throughout his career as a hero. How do you approach writing Steve and his relationship with America in this new book?

Straczynski: As you note, this has been dealt with a lot in the title, so rather than go up against all that to redefine it one more time, I’d rather go in a different direction at the start. Not to ignore it, because that bill always comes due sooner or later, but just to give it a bit of a rest while we focus on Steve as a character, as a person, rather than one symbol trying to figure out how he relates to another symbol.

 

Alas, whichever direction he goes in, it’s not bound to be a good one, and if JMS could screw up Spidey’s continuity and history as badly as he did, we can expect no less this time with Steve Rogers.

 

io9: You’re working with Jesús Saiz on the new Cap series – after you previously crossed paths over at DC for Team-ups of the Brave and the Bold. What’s it been like working with Jesús again, and what has he brought to the new series?

Straczynski: We’ve seen the first issue’s worth of art from Jesús, and it’s just beautiful. He was on my short list from day one, because so much of my work lives or dies by whether or not you can read emotion in the faces of the characters, and Jesús excels at that. He gets to explore the contemporary story with a lot of action, much of it of a supernatural origin, then go into a period look for the book as we follow Steve in New York in the late 1930s, so he gets to play with all the fun toys and show what he can do. So yeah…it’s a really great looking book.

So overall, the goal is to do some really challenging stories, some really fun stories, and get inside Steve’s head to see who he really is in ways that may not have been fully explored before. If folks like what I did with Peter in ASM, and Thor in, well, Thor, then they should really give this a shot, because I’m really swinging for the bleachers in this one.

 

Hmm, now that sounds familiar. “Getting inside heads” is just what JMS supposedly set out to do with Spidey, and all that came of it was distorted continuity, just a taste of what was to come, and lest we forget the atrocity that was Sins Past, with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson becoming 2 birds killed with one stone in a tale that made them both out to look sleazy and stupid, with the former’s forced and contrived depiction having sex with Norman Osborn and bearing his children an utter embarrassment. Also note JMS didn’t say if he’d be willing to write stories where Cap battles Islamic terrorism in ways that improve upon the atrocity that was the Marvel Knights run, and if he won’t spotlight serious issues like those, we can’t expect anything intelligible now either. It’s not hard to guess he hasn’t changed, and has no regrets over what an awful story Sins Past was, in example. And that’s why this new Cap tale should be avoided.

JMS isn’t the only terrible scribe who’s making a “comeback” on something previously worked upon. Even Dan Slott’s returning to writing a new volume of Superior Spider-Man, according to ComicBook:

 

[…] In a quick tweet on Saturday the publisher confirmed that the fan-favorite Superior Spider-Man would be returning. Marking the third volume to star the character, Marvel also confirmed that Eisner Award-winner Dan Slott will return to write the new series which arrives this Fall. Though they added “More info swinging in soon,” it seems likely we may not know more about the new Superior Spider-Man series until San Diego Comic-Con.

 

In that case, one more reason to stay away from the SDCC altogether. Slott was doing nothing more than troll the audience, not to mention inject a bunch of “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” propaganda, and the way he treated Mary Jane in the tale was inexcusable too. And look how they perpetuate the propaganda about the series being a “fan-favorite”. That’s also insulting.

So, there’s 2 overrated writers who’ve sadly been given another chance at some series they never had genuine respect for in the first place. This sure is a most sad occasion indeed.

 

 

Originally published here.

Avatar photo

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON