PC Gamer’s just made some pretty awful recommendations for what your average computer gamer should read in Avengers and Marvel Comics material before playing the pretentious new game Marvel’s Avengers from Crystal Dynamics. Let’s start with what they say about Jonathan Hickman’s run:
I might be throwing you straight into the deep end here, but I’m a sucker for anything written by Jonathan Hickman. He likes his concepts high and his stories dense, and his exceptional run on The Avengers does not ease you in. It’s still absolutely worth jumping into head first, however, as it really explores the concept of the Avengers and sets up one of Marvel’s most ambitious eras.
Hmm, does that mean if Scarlet Witch is depicted as a murderous creature in House and Powers of X, that’s okay? Tsk tsk. I’ve figured based on that there could be more than one thing wrong with Hickman’s MO. But things get even worse when they cite the Death of Captain America as a recommendation:
The Death of Captain America takes place after the superheroes took sides and duked it out in Civil War—also well worth a read—when the star-spangled hero is assassinated outside a courthouse. With Cap no more, his closest friends try to fill the void and Winter Soldier takes up his best friend’s mantle. It hits many of the notes of a classic Captain America story, but it’s also brilliantly tangled up in conspiracy-laden thriller.
While we’re on the subject of Captain America comics that don’t feature Steve Rogers, there’s also Sam Wilson’s stint as America’s favourite hero. It’s a brutal run that sees the new Cap turned on for standing up to a private police force and expressing a pretty muted ‘political’ opinion. Race is very much at the forefront of the series, with white Americans reacting very differently to a Black Captain America. These are comics filled with protests and anger and frustration, which strike even more of a chord in 2020.
This is actually why killing off Steve Rogers was so tasteless at the time, by tying it in to Civil War in some ways, much like Spider-Man’s One More Day, and considering how awful it got when Cap was turned into a Hydra-Nazi while Axel Alonso was still EIC, while previous writers said nary a word in protest, that’s one more reason I can’t condone the Winter Soldier story. And look at how the columnist made sure to sugarcoat the ultra-leftist turn when Sam Wilson is put in the costume. Guess he’s not concerned about how BLM is lionizing criminals for the sake of violence. Also cited in the article is an Iron Man story written by a certain embarrassment:
While there have been plenty of twists and changes since, 2005’s Extremis is really where this era of Iron Man begins, with Warren Ellis and Adi Granov building a Tony Stark for the future. […]
The MCU version of Iron Man owes a great deal to Extremis, especially the third (and best, sorry) film, which lifts much of the story, and it really set the tone and visual style for everything Iron Man-related going forward. Expect Marvel’s Avengers version of Iron Man to be pretty similar.
After the recent Ellis scandal, in which there were at least 2 matters that could certainly be considered reprehensible, I don’t see the point of citing one of his tales as something great to read. His career certainly may be crippled now, and it’s not clear if he’ll continue on the Castlevania cartoon where he served as chief storyteller. And wouldn’t you know it, the columnist even made sure to recommend Marvel’s most politically motivated book of the past several years, kept in print deliberately for propaganda purposes:
This is an easy one. Kamala Khan only took over as Ms. Marvel in 2013, when she became the first Muslim superhero to get her own Marvel comic, so you might as well start with the first (superb) volume. And then the rest because they’re awesome.
No Normal has a classic Spider-Man vibe, with Ms. Marvel juggling school, teen drama and her secret identity as an Inhuman crimefighter. She’s awkward, she jokes, she’s smart but sometimes makes bad choices for good reasons—it’s familiar, comforting stuff, but also a lot more important than another white coming of age story.
G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona created a fun, kinetic yarn that’s full of action and conspiracies, but some of the best parts are Kamala dealing with her family and faith. Though a lot of the story beats are conventional superhero fair, by exploring them through a Muslim teenager from Jersey City, this familiar tale gets a fresh perspective.
The team-ups are pretty great, too, with this ordinary kid suddenly getting to hang out with the most powerful heroes on the planet and rubbing shoulders with Inhuman royalty. Kamala is a bit of a hero geek, which makes her a good pick for reuniting the rest of the heroes in Marvel’s Avengers.
This is easily the most forced of the recommendations, but what else can one expect of these pretentious news sites? No mention of any of the dishonest propaganda tactics or how the story made typical white characters look awful, and bringing in a Jewish guest star at one point does nothing to alleviate the concerns the setup is whitewashing the Koran’s demonizing viewpoint of Jews, damning them as the offspring of “monkeys and pigs”.
Also recommended by the columnist is Jason Aaron’s takes on Thor:
Jason Aaron really put Thor through the ringer. Starting in Thor: God of Thunder and continuing through multiple series, including The Mighty Thor and The Unworthy Thor, the beefcake Asgardian gets stripped down, ripped apart and experiences multiple major transformations, with Aaron really digging into Thor’s history, beliefs, relationships—every aspect of him.
This spans lots of volumes and arcs, including a cosmic adventure to hunt down a divine serial killer, several brutal wars, a surprising amount of corporate espionage, a depressed Thor and a completely new Thor… which probably sounds pretty intimidating if you’re just dipping your toes into it now. Take the plunge anyway, as nothing will give you a clearer picture of who Thor is and why he loves swinging that hammer.
Noticeably absent here is unambiguous mention of the alterations taking place just so Jane Foster could become a female Thor with the very same name. And when they turn to a recent Black Widow miniseries called Deadly Origins, they say:
Marvel hasn’t always done right by Black Widow, who’s often been pushed off to the side or playing second fiddle to another character, despite being involved in so many important storylines over the decades. Deadly Origins shows some of the breadth of her career, filling you in on her long and tangled history, as well as establishing her relationship with Daredevil, Wolverine, Winter Soldier and Captain America.
Well in that case, why must they pretend nothing poor occurred of recent either? They fail to mention any of Natasha Romanoff’s older solo stories, like a 4-parter from Marvel Fanfare in 1983, where she certainly got to shine. The writer also said the following about a Matt Fraction-penned Hawkeye miniseries:
Until Matt Fraction and David Aja stuck Hawkeye in a crummy apartment and gave us a look at what the archer gets up to when he’s not mucking around with SHIELD or the Avengers, I’d never really thought much about him. My Life as a Weapon changed that pretty quickly.
Wow, another phony who’s got no interest or respect for past iterations of the Silver/Bronze/Iron Ages, yet when some overrated hack of modern times pens a pretentious mini about Clint Barton, suddenly the columnist thinks it’s all a big classic deal. I’m not impressed. Anybody who can’t appreciate Stan Lee’s hard work has no business claiming he actually embraces this modern farrago.
Since we’re on the topic, it also brought to mind this Newsarama announcement of who’s been hired to write extra stories for Amazing Spider-Man #850, as Marvel’s decided yet again to restore legacy numbering until the time they see fit to exploit all the speculators anew with another needless Numero Uno relaunch:
Series writer Nick Spencer will have a lead story with artist Ryan Ottley, followed by other stories from Bachalo, Humberto Ramos, Aaron Kuder, Tradd Moore, Kurt Busiek, and Saladin Ahmed.
It’s bad enough somebody with as horrible a personality as Ahmed’s is being granted story space in a book created by a Jewish guy. But it’s also decidedly bad Busiek was granted space here too, considering he’s part of the crowd that backed One More Day, and dissolving the Spider-marriage to suit a denigrating agenda. There was once a time when Busiek was a talented writer, and I do still consider a number of his past stories from the 80s and 90s excellent contributions. But, his political conduct of the past decade or so is exactly why I feel his return to anything mainstream superhero-related is but bad news, and nothing to celebrate any longer. I just can’t see somebody that blatant making a good writer anymore (and if memory serves, he was one of Ahmed’s supporters in past years).