Tag Archives: brian michael bendis

Marvel Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Wolverine

It’s Wednesday which means new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. We’ve got three more volumes from Marvel covering a wide range of characters and years.

Captain Marvel Vol. 3: Earth’s Mightiest Hero collecting issues #1-11 from 2014 by Kelly Sue Deconnick, David Lopez, Marcio Takara, Laura Braga, and Lee Loughridge.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Civil War II collect Guardians of the Galaxy (2105) #11-14 and material from Free Comic Book Day 2016 Civil War II #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Valerio Schiti, Kevin Maguire, Jim Cheung, John Dell, Richard Isanove, and Justin Ponsor.

Wolverine: Prehistory collecting Wolverine (2003) #32, Logan: Path of the Warlord, Shadow Society, Wolverine: Agent of Atlas #1-3, First X-Men #1-5, Wolverine: Hunger, Wolverine (1988) #1, Before the Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm & Logan #1-3, Wolverine/Cable, Material from Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #93-98, Wolverine: The Amazing Immortal Man & Other Blood Tales, and Wolverine (2010) #1000 by various writers and artists.

Find out what each trade has in store and whether you should grab yourself a copy. You can find all three in comic stores February 15 and bookstores February 28.

Get your copies now. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Captain Marvel Vol. 3: Earth’s Mightiest Hero
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Civil War II
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

Wolverine: Prehistory
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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Preview: Invincible Iron Man #4

Invincible Iron Man #4

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 15, 2017
SRP: $3.99

With every issue Riri discovers more about what being a hero really means in this modern complicated world. Her actions start to have a powerful effect across the world and the question is, is Riri ready to take on that responsibility? All this plus, Not only did Tony Stark leave a laundry list of things that need taking care of, he left a laundry list of criminals looking to destroy his legacy.

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Preview: Guardians of the Galaxy #17

Guardians of the Galaxy #17

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Valerio Schiti (CA) Arthur Adams
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

GROUNDED!

Angela has come a long way from the skies of Heven… to find herself grounded on the Earth. Can she find a new home among the heroes?

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Preview: Jessica Jones #5

Jessica Jones #5

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Michael Gaydos (CA) David Mack
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Feb 08, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Jessica made some tough choices to save her husband and child from the clutches of the latest hateful madness that has hit the Marvel Universe. But was it enough? Another all-new chapter from Jessica’s original creators. The new adventures of Jessica Jones that you’ll only find right here.

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Would Captain America Approve of Punching Nazis? (YES.)

As would surprise absolutely no one who’s followed my People’s History of the Marvel Universe series, I’m a strong believer in the idea that our pop culture is both influenced by our political culture and can have a strong influence on that political culture. Thus, it’s a major problem when the author of both of Marvel’s current Captain America comics gets all pearls-clutchy about whether it’s ok to punch Nazis.

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(credit to Shop5)

While people who’ve followed this spat on comic book twitter are familiar with this particular debate, allow me to clarify for everyone else: Captain America, as a pop culture icon, was designed to punch Nazis. And not merely in a cheeky, subversive symbolic, let’s-make-fun-of-Hitler way; the first Captain America comics were very clear in their argument that Nazis were a real threat to the United States both abroad and at home (with Jack Kirby and Joe Simon calling out real organizations like the German-American Bund, the Silver Shirts, and the America First Committee), and that we should go and fight them now (a year before Pearl Harbor). Nazis didn’t like this argument and they didn’t like Captain America as a pop culture icon – hence why they sent death threats to Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, threats that Jack Kirby met by being ready to punch Nazis at a moment’s notice.

Current Cap writer Nick Spencer’s stance doesn’t show a great understanding of the characters he’s working with or the spirit in which they were created, but that wouldn’t be so much of a problem…except that Spencer’s online conflicts with critics and fans are starting to bleed over into his comics, denying people a useful symbol for resistance in an era in which we really need them.

NaziCap and the “Alt-Righting” of HYDRA

Now, I’ve already talked about why NaziCap is a terrible idea – not only is it deeply insulting to the creators of Captain America and the various writers and artists who worked for decades to establish Steve Rogers as a consistent character, not only does the whole story only work by leaning on played-out non-mind control mind control gimmicks that relied on outright lying to your customers, but so far the only up-side is that Nick Spencer gets to write stories for months on end where Steve Rogers becomes a straight up supervillain:

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Now, it would be bad enough if Spencer’s problematic story resulted only in bad writing. But the problems go far beyond that, because Spencer’s Steve Rogers has an undeniable and inescapable political line. Take for example, Cap’s extended speech in Civil War II: The Oath:

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Let’s be clear: this is not just a comment on Marvel’s Civil War II; this is a blatant copying of post-2016 election hot takes blaming liberal coastal elites for the election of Donald Trump due to their lack of empathy for Trump voters in the heartland, bootstrapped into an anti-superhero and pro-HYDRA rant. Now, leave aside for the moment that this whole scene is jarring and awkward in the extreme in that Captain America is completely contradicting himself from Marvel’s first Civil War event – and remember, Nick Spencer’s non-mind control mind control retcon means that Cap still did and thought everything he did and thought in that series. (After all, Civil War II is absolutely cluttered with examples of characters from Tony Stark to Carol Danvers forgetting what they thought and did during Civil War I and before.)

The bigger problem is that Spencer is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he’s constantly riffing off of the rhetoric and imagery of present-day white nationalist and neo-Nazi movements to elicit controversy and give his story some “subversive” heft. On the other hand, Spencer constantly runs away from the implications of his own ideas by trying to de-Nazify HYDRA (which not-coincidentally prevents Steve Rogers from crossing a line that might harm his value as a brand):

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Once again, let clarify the comic book history: HYDRA was created as a Nazi organization, as part of an argument by Jack Kirby that the true believers in the Third Reich were still out there, ready to strike back against their enemies in the name of Nazism. HYDRA’s leader, the Red Skull, isn’t just a COBRA villain who hates freedom, equality, puppies, and sunshine in a generic Saturday morning cartoon way. From the beginning, the Red Skull has been not just a Nazi but a personal acolyte of Adolf Hitler:

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Indeed, the Red Skull is such a massive racist that he was once successfully distracted from his master plans by the fact that Peggy Carter was in an interracial relationship with another SHIELD agent:

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Likewise, the Red Skull’s chief subordinates in HYDRA were quite emphatic about the fact that they were actual and current believers in Nazi political ideology.

Now, Spencer isn’t the first person at Marvel to try to de-Nazify HYDRA – Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors story about HYDRA being an ancient organization that dates back to the Third Dynasty in Ancient Egypt set the pattern for fandom arguments that HYDRA wasn’t “really” fascist. But in the current political environment, it is especially tin-eared for Nick Spencer to “alt-right” HYDRA: we live at a time when we have actual Neo-Nazis in the White House working references to America First into Inaugural Addresses and dog-whistling to their fanbase by removing references to Jews and anti-Semitism from Holocaust Memorial addresses, all the while trying to use weasel-words to rebrand themselves as members of the “alt-right” so that they can normalize themselves in the media and the broader political culture. Indeed, Richard Spencer (who led crowds in throwing Nazi salutes at the alt-right’s election celebrations in D.C) was giving an TV interview about how the “alt-right” weren’t neo-Nazis when he got punched.

Sam Wilson as Sockpuppet and SJWs Are the Real Threat:

At the same time that Spencer has mired himself in a political quagmire in Captain America: Steve Rogers, we’re starting to see some of the same problems crop up in Captain America: Sam Wilson, which I used to enjoy because the book seemed to be grounded in a sincere love of Captain America comics from the 70s through 90s, what with Cap-Wolf and the Serpent Society showing up almost immediately. But given the tight-rope walk that always comes when a white writer is writing a highly political comic by speaking through a character who’s a black man, it’s a very bad sign when Nick Spencer’s twitter fights over the right and wrong ways to protest start coming out of Sam Wilson’s mouth:

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Leave aside that portraying Sam Wilson as the “both-sides-do-it” moderate clashes with the book’s raison d’être of Sam Wilson as the more militant political version of Captain America. Far worse is the actual content of the issue, which presents as its villains a group of campus left terrorists who use bombs to enforce “safe spaces:”

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Now, all of this would in normal times be painfully awkward, what with the white guy in his late 30s trying to do Tumblr-speak. But to push the idea that campus leftists are the real danger at a time when anti-fascist protesters have been shot by fans of neo-Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos, who deliberately targets critics for harassment and deportation, and when campus recruiters for the “alt-right” turn out to have past form for burning down black churches, comes across as pushing “alternative facts.”

Conclusion:

So why should we care, why does all of this comic book stuff matter when compared to the real-world political side of things?

As I said at the time, the “subversive” reimagining of Steve Rogers as a fascist was never ok, but there is far less leeway for it in a world in which Donald Trump is president. We have actual Neo-Nazis at the very top of the Federal government, directing government policy to enforce religious bans on Muslim immigrants, refugees, and permanent residents, to build border walls and prepare new offensives against young formerly undocumented immigrants given legal status and low-income immigrants. The “contrarian” fantasy of NaziCap has been lapped by reality and thus no longer serves any satirical purpose.

But on a more serious note: far from being emboldened by being punched in the face, Neo-Nazis are already emboldened by the fact that they have one of their own in the White House. Hence the burning of mosques in Texas and the Quebec mass-shooting , hence the constant drum-beat of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, hence the rise of hate crimes and random incidents of aggression from racist assholes who think that Trump has legalized bigotry.

A small part of this is an attempt by Neo-Nazis to claim cultural spaces and symbols, whether we’re talking about fights over Twitter access, the appropriation of memes like Pepe the Frog, the appropriation of language from sexual subcultures, attempts to recruit right-wing anime fans, Gamergaters, and furries, and most worrying of all, the attempt to reframe anti-corporate works like They Live to fit anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. And it’s not like Marvel has been immune to this: “Hail HYDRA” and HYDRA iconography has been a favorite of Neo-Nazis online as a way to get around bans on outright Nazi imagery, and defenses of the HYDRA secret agent Grant Ward on ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD” have sometimes blended into defenses of fascism more generally.

In the face of all of these, people really need anti-Nazi symbols to inspire and rally them. Captain America ought to be one of these symbols, but he can’t be as long as Steve Rogers is a HYDRA agent and Sam Wilson is more worried about the campus left – i.e, as long as Nick Spencer is the lead writer of all of Marvel’s Captain America comics. So here’s my pitch to Marvel Comics: hire Brubaker, hire Rucka, hire G. Willow Wilson, all writers who’ve shown a grasp on both storytelling and politics, or hire someone new with fire in the belly, and give us a Cap who will fight for us.

Preview: Infamous Iron Man #4

Infamous Iron Man #4

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Alex Maleev
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 25, 2017
SRP: $3.99

It seems like old times as Victor Von Doom finds himself confronted by Benjamin J. Grimm. But with so much history between them, can Victor ever possibly convince him that times have changed? That Victor Von Doom is now REALLY Iron Man?

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Marvel Reveals The Defenders & Guardians of the Galaxy for Free Comic Book Day!

all-new_guardians_of_the_galaxy_fcbd_coverThe biggest heroes, the biggest creators and the biggest stories are coming to Free Comic Book Day 2017! Marvel has unveiled the first of two, can’t-miss Free Comic Book Day offerings this year. Featuring two thrilling tales, All-New Guardians of the Galaxy FCBD #1 is the place to be to catch a prelude to two of 2017’s biggest new comics!

First, blast off with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot as they head for the stars and right into an all-new ongoing series! Creators Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder and Ive Svorcina bring you over-the-top action and out-of-this-world adventure as the stage is set for May’s highly anticipated All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1! As this unlikely band of misfits returns to outer space once more, nothing will prepare them for their first run in with the new Nova Corps!

Then, head back down to Earth and the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen as the blockbuster creative team that brought you Civil War II, Invincible Iron Man and Ultimate Spider-Man bring you their next explosive epic in…The Defenders! Superstar creators Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez and Justin Ponsor unite Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist as they go head-to-head with the new criminal element in the Marvel Universe. What new player is running things in the underworld? Find out here with a 10-page tale that leads directly into The Defenders #1 this June!

Celebrate Free Comic Book Day on May 6th at participating comic shops everywhere!

Preview: Invincible Iron Man #3

Invincible Iron Man #3

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 18, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Riri faces her first big Marvel villain. A big Iron Man villain. And it does not go great. Will Riri find a way to rise to the challenge she has set for herself? Does she really have what it takes?

All this plus, Riri finds out who else is running around as Iron Man… Riri Williams makes international headlines.

Find out why.

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Preview: Spider-Man #12

Spider-Man #12

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Sara Pichelli
Rated T
In Shops: Jan 11, 2017
SRP: $3.99

THIS IS IT! THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! THE KISS HEARD ROUND THE WORLD!

The two most talked about heroes give us something new to talk about in this Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen crossover. How did Miles and Gwen get here?!

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Preview: Guardians of the Galaxy #16

Guardians of the Galaxy #16

(W) Brian Michael Bendis (A) Valerio Schiti (CA) Arthur Adams
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 11, 2017
SRP: $3.99

GROUNDED!

The forests of the Earth vary… From prickly pines to bearers of fruit… But now they’re home to a new tree… Who tells me that his name is Groot.

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