Tag Archives: Superheroes

New Comic Book Day September 30, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I approach every New Comic Book Day the same way Forest Gump approaches a box of chocolates. You may never know what you’re gonna get with a box of chocolates, but you usually have a partial idea with comics. However, that does leave some room for novelty and exploration.

For as long as I’ve been into comics, I’ve had a simple rule. I have books that I’m subscribed to. I’ll always buy them the day they come out. They’re usually just standard X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Avengers titles. These are like big budget blockbuster movies. You know what you’re getting with them and it’s usually awesome.

At the same time, I always try to leave some room for new, different, or otherwise unknown titles. That’s how I discover underrated gems or new characters that I become fond of. Even when my comics budget is tight, I try to leave enough money for just one of those books.

It’s because of this rule that I found Ms. Marvel.

It’s because of this rule that I rediscovered the Power Rangers comics.

If you’re into comics on any level, I highly recommend you adopt this rule. Your budget may vary. You can still work with that. You may have to be patient and wait for some other books to come out in trades, but use every week as an opportunity to find a new flavor of chocolate.

You’ll be amazed at some of the gems you find. You may find yourself becoming a fan of something you don’t expect. It’s a beautiful thing and this is as good a week as any to start. Here’s my pull list and pick to help get you started. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Avengers #36

Batman: Three Jokers #2

Batman/Superman Annual #1

Falcon & Winter Soldier #3

Justice League Annual #2

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #54

Savage Avengers #12

Shang-Chi #1

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #4

Transformers vs. Terminator #4

Wonder Woman #763

X-Factor #4


My Pick Of The Week
Shang-Chi #1

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Jack’s Comic Gems: Superior Iron Man

The following is a video for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s part of my comic gems series that highlights an overlooked or underrated gem from the world of comics. Enjoy!

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New Comic Book Day September 23, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I’m simple man. I like waking up early on Wednesday mornings, brewing a cup of coffee, and reading new comics on my iPad via Comixology. If I can, I try to do all this naked. For much of the spring and summer, this isn’t an issue. This morning, it might be a little challenging.

That’s because for the past couple of days, it’s been downright cold in my part of the world. I know that’s not major news for some people, who have already felt the shifting seasons. However, this is somewhat jarring to me.

It’s still September. Historically, September mornings have been relatively cool, but never cold. In some years, I could lounge around naked reading comics into October. I honestly don’t think I can do that today. That doesn’t bode well for the coming winter, but I’ll manage. I have comics, coffee, and sweat pants to keep me warm.

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy reading comics naked on Wednesday mornings. I will not ever apologize for that. I just may have to start wearing pants sooner than usual this fall. To those living in warmer climates, I hope you take advantage of that on New Comic Book day. It’s a wonderful feeling.

To assist in that effort, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Action Comics #1025

Aquaman #63

Daredevil #22

DCeased: Hope At World’s End #10

Doctor Doom #7

Juggernaut #1

Rick and Morty #4: Go To Hell

Spider-Man #4

Spider-Woman #4

Venom #28

X Of Swords: Creation #1


My Pick Of The Week
Dr. Doom #7

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WandaVision Trailer: My Reactions And (Renewed) Hopes

This year has been a lost year for many things. I don’t think I need to go into reasons why or to what extent. It’s awful. We don’t need to be reminded of that. This is especially true for fans of superhero movies. To some extent, this year almost feels like karma after movies like “Avengers Endgame” dominated the box office for so long.

As bad as things have been, we’re still trying our best to inject a little awesome into this increasingly dystopian landscape. Like it or not, superhero movies and media still have a place in the entertainment landscape. This past year might have been a huge loss for the box office, but there’s still reason to be excited about the future of the genre.

That includes the entertainment behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When this year began, it promised to be a time of transition. With the rise of Disney Plus, Marvel Studios has a new medium to explore and evolve. Among those crop of shows is mini-series called “WandaVision.”

Given Vision’s fate in “Avengers: Infinity War,” the setup alone for this show is odd. Not being a fan of how their relationship was handled in the movies, I admit I wasn’t that excited about this show. However, I was curious.

Then, the trailer dropped and my curiosity has only grown. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you check it out.

It looks weird. The setup is very strange. The visuals are all over the place. It’s hard to tell whether Vision is alive, dead, or part of some strange fever dream. There’s a lot of strange humor and odd mysteries. This show looks downright crazy.

That’s exactly why my hope and excitement for this show has been renewed.

To explain, it’s necessary to know a few things about Wanda Maximoff. Before she helped make Elizabeth Olson a star, she was a very controversial and very unstable character in the comics. She had a nasty history of warping reality in distressing ways, often at the cost of her sanity.

If this trailer is any indication, she has not been coping well with Vision’s death at the hands of Thanos. That reaction would be perfectly in line with what happened to her in the comics during the infamous House of M event. That event is still a bit of a touchy issue for many comic fans, but it’s a perfect foundation for this show.

It puts Wanda in a position to deal with her many issues. However, given her powers and her unstable nature, that process is bound to be messier than series of intense therapy. It wouldn’t even be the first show that explored reality-warping people dealing with mental health issues.

Legion,” a short lived, yet well-done show on FX did something similar. For Wanda, creating these pocket realities in which she’s still with Vision, living this ideal life with her lover, feels exactly like something she’d do. Giver her upcoming role in “Dr. Strange: In The Multiverse Of Madness,” it could act as a precursor for things to come.

I hope this sets the stage. I also hope this makes Elizabeth Olson’s take on the character more complex. To date, all she’s done is fail to protect her loved ones and lash out. I think she has room to do so much more. I hope she succeeds with this show.

I think Marvel and Disney need this show to succeed, too. With the world still such a mess, they can’t rely totally on the cuteness and merchandizing potential of Baby Yoda to see them through.

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Jack’s World: How House Of X/Powers Of X Redefined The X-Men

The following is a video from my YouTube Channel, Jack’s World. As someone who has followed and praised X-Men comics for years, I wanted to make a video that articulated just how important the recent House of X/Powers of X story by Jonathan Hickman is in the history of the franchise. I tried to do it justice while trying not too hard to geek out. Enjoy!

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New Comic Book Day September 16, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Happiness and joy often come in small doses, but like good investments, they compound quickly. I learned that early in life when I discovered how much more joy I got from a $3 comic than I did by trying to be the most popular kid in school.

Don’t get me wrong. Having friends is great. Being popular is great. It’s just easier to pay a few bucks for a comic than it is to jump through all the assorted hoops that come with seeking more elaborate forms of happiness. In terms of the simplest things that make me happy, a comic is one of the best bargains out there.

They’re not very expensive. They’re colorful and easy to access. You can even take them with alcohol. Kids and adults alike can appreciate them. Once you find a few series and titles you like, you’ve got a consistent source of joy to look forward to every week. That’s a big part of what makes New Comic Book Day such a delight.

My comic book consumption has changed over the years, but I’ve always found a way to enjoy every Wednesday. Thanks to Comixology, it has never bene easier. In a year like 2020, we need whatever sliver of joy we can get. New Comic Book Day can be part of that effort. To that end, here’s my pull list and picks for the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins Of Norman Osborn #1

Batman #99

Catwoman #25

Excalibur #12

Hellions #4

Immortal Hulk #0

Star Wars: Darth Vader #5

Justice League #53

Thor #7

X-Men #12

Giant-Sized X-Men: Storm #1


My Pick Of The Week
Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1

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New Comic Book Day September 9, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

It’s official. We made it through the summer of 2020. In most years, that’s hardly cause for celebration. In fact, around this time last year, I was lamenting over the end of warm bikini-enabling weather. This year is different because this year just objectively sucks for reasons we’re all painfully aware of.

We all have our own way of getting through awful years like this. For me, a weekly dose of new comics has been critical to keeping my broken sprits relatively intact. It’s not just about escapism and distractions, either. Comics are a good reminder that these ideals we still cherish are relevant, even when a pandemic comes so close to breaking us.

In years past, they’ve provided a sense of comfort and reprieve for when school started up. It was still much harder back then because I didn’t have Comixology or day-and-date digital releases. I like to think if I did have it, I would’ve coped better with my circumstances.

However, I don’t want to focus too much on the past or how awful this year has been. Summer may be over, but with another season behind us, we’re that much closer to leaving this awful year behind us. In the meantime, I want to focus on the present and how new comics make it objectively more awesome.

To that end, here is my pull list and picks of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #48

Captain Marvel #21

Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1

DCeased: Hope At World’s End #9

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1

Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1

The Flash #761

Marauders #12

Superman #25

Wonder Woman #762

X-Force #12

X-Factor #3


My Pick Of The Week
Superman #25

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Jack’s World: New Mutants Movie Review

The following is my first video movie review for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. After a summer being locked down due to a global pandemic, movie theaters in my area finally re-opened. Fittingly enough, the first movie I checked out was the frequently delayed “New Mutants.” Was it worth the wait? Well, see for yourself!

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Jack’s World: Why Conservatives Make Better Villains (For Now)

The following is a video I made for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video version of an article I wrote a while back. I added and removed a few details to the video. If necessary, I’ll do a follow-up. Enjoy!

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Why Conservatives Make Better Villains (For Now)

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We currently live in a golden age of villains. Between Thanos, Erik Killmonger, the Joker, and Walter White, there has been a veritable surge of complex characters who also happen to be compelling villains. While there’s still a place for the kind of pure evil that Disney villains have relied on for years, this trend in a more refined brand of villainy feels both refreshing and overdue.

I’ve written extensively on villains before. As a lifelong fan of superhero comics and movies, I’ve consumed, contemplated, and scrutinized hero/villain dynamics more than most. In doing so, I’ve noticed plenty of trends. Like most aspects of popular culture, it’s always evolving. Very few themes and details remain constant, especially when it comes to antagonists.

That said, there’s one trend in villains that has remained somewhat constant over the course of my lifetime. It’s also a trend that I see as intensifying, albeit in a subtle way. Some of it coincides with the growing complexity of villains in popular culture, but most of the trend precedes the current era of superhero-dominated media. If anything, superhero media helped accelerate it.

While most villains and heroes rarely identify with a certain political affiliation, it’s usually not hard to discern how most would vote in a contemporary election. I would even argue that it’s easier to surmise what a villain’s political leanings are compared to that of heroes. Take any villain from the past 10 years of movies, be they superhero or otherwise. Chances are a vast majority of them would identify as conservative.

Now, I understand conservatism is an exceedingly broad term. It has a dictionary definition, but as a political philosophy, there are many sub-sets, divisions, and variations. From fiscal conservatives to social conservative to neoconservatives, there are many wildly different ideologies that still identify as conservative. A few actively clash with one another.

Those complexities aside, there are some core tenants associated with conservatism and it’s those very tenants that make it such an effective basis for villains. Chief among conservative values is the idea that traditional norms, institutions, and values be maintained. Change isn’t actively dissuaded, but it is viewed with caution and suspicion. To be conservative is to affirm the status quo, to some extent.

That’s all well and good if the status quo is beneficial to everyone. It’s not so preferable for those who either fail to benefit or are actively screwed over by that same status quo. Since there has never been a society in history that has achieved perfect prosperity for everyone, regardless of their minority status, there’s bound to be people who get left behind.

In our own real-world history, we’ve seen people from those disaffected groups organize and fight the status quo to better their lives. That struggle has played out in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the movement for women’s rights, and the LGBT rights movement that’s still going on today. Those who oppose these movements tend to have, broadly speaking, conservative leanings.

Look at the groups that opposed the Civil Rights movement.

Look at those who actively oppose LGBT rights, women’s rights, and immigrants.

They all espouse rhetoric that would put them at odds with Superman, Captain America, and most other superheroes who value justice, truth, and peace. For some, their talking points sound like ideas that only villains in the mold of Lex Luthor would agree with. While not all of them identify as overtly conservative, the standard principles are there.

Anything too different from the status quo must be wrong or evil.

Anybody too different from the people everyone else in a society must be bad, evil, or devious.

Any idea, trend, or movement that is disruptive or deviant in any way is something to be opposed.

It doesn’t just manifest in superhero movies or underdog stories, either. Look at a movie like “Footloose.” In this story, the people who ban dancing are uptight, dogmatic, religious zealots who likely voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 when this movie came out. They were the antagonists of that story and the kids, while not overtly liberal, dared to defy them.

It can even manifest subtly in other media. In kids shows like “Recess,” “Hey Arnold,” and “Rocko’s Modern Life,” the most common antagonists are uptight authority figures who have no tolerance for new ideas, big changes, or anything remotely fun. It’s hard to imagine any of these characters voting for someone who builds their slogan around change, reform, and reinvention.

They like things the way they are. Most of them benefit from the current system and will naturally seek to preserve their place in that system. While they won’t always see themselves as villains, it’s difficult for them to come off as heroes. You can only be so heroic when your side is closely aligned with predatory business practices, fun-hating religious zealots, and unabashed war-mongers.

That’s not to say it’s impossible for liberals to be villains too. It does happen and it can be done very well when done right. I would argue that Erik Killmonger in “Black Panther” was more in line with an extreme liberal revolutionary who didn’t just want to pursue change. I would make a similar argument for Ra’s Al Ghul in “Batman Begins.”

These characters didn’t just seek to change society from its current unjust state. They sought to violently destroy it and rebuild it from the ground up. That kind of liberalism exists in the real world and it can make for compelling villains.

However, the number of villains who align with the politics of Killmonger are far fewer than those who would align with the politics of Lex Luthor. In general, it’s easier to resist change rather than embrace it. It’s also necessary to some extent for those to resist change to be uptight authority figures who are okay with coercing others to maintain traditions. Logistically, the villains in many conflicts must be conservative.

Now, that’s not to say that villains will always lean conservative in popular media. What it means to be conservative changes over time. If you were to listen to conservative rhetoric 50 years ago, they would sound very different. They might even sound liberal by today’s standards.

The same goes for liberalism of previous eras. It hasn’t always been closely aligned with the politics surrounding minority rights, income inequality, or political correctness. The liberals of the 1920s would likely clash with the liberals of today. That’s just part of the ever-evolving nature of politics.

 

For the time being, though, being a villain in popular culture usually means being conservative to a certain extent. Conservatives are more likely to be the rich, greedy business people who would gladly burn down a rain forest or exploit slave labor to raise profits. Conservatives are more likely to be the rule-loving, fun-hating, curfew-enforcing religious zealots who wouldn’t mind electing theocrats with every election.

These types of individuals are far more likely to be villains in a story. At the very least, they’ll side or tolerate the villain. It’s easy to believe that those who side with the religious right and well-connected rich people will generally oppose a selfless, likable protagonist. From a narrative perspective, these kinds of villains are better in that we tend to root for heroes who oppose authoritarian bullies like that.

Again, it’s guaranteed that political and cultural trends will likely change what it means to be conservative, liberal, and everything in between. For the time being, if you were to bet on the political leanings of an antagonist, the odds are mostly in favor of that antagonist being conservative.

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