Marvel MCU at #SDCC, with Captain Marvel, Thor, and Infinity War

This may not be strictly superversive, but as we have a surfeit of geeks and nerds in our readership (assuming we’re not the entire readership), I thought we should take a quick look at some of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe had at San Diego Comic Con this year.This is “some,” in part, because they dropped an Avengers trailer during SDCC … and not to the public. It was leaked and taken down in short order.

To start with, it seems to have been confirmed that the Punisher will be in The Defenders. Meaning there will be a fourth person I will actually care about in The Defenders (The other three being Stick, Daredevil, and possibly Luke Cage).

And if the Punisher isn’t in Defenders, then they’ve got some explaining to do. (At the 60 second mark)

Other than the Punisher, the trailer didn’t add much … except show us that Stan Lee is still alive. Good for him.

And then, we’ve got Thor: Ragnarok

Early on, I had been a little worried that they were going to be focused on the wrong things in this film. I like that Bruce Banner appears in the trailer as Bruce Banner. It could have been all too easy for them to have the not so jolly green giant have all the screen time. But seeing Mark Ruffalo is reassuring. And …

Is that Hulk versus the wolf Fenris? Really? And Thor, with Loki, with fully automatic blasters, mowing people down like Arnold in Commando. And Valkyrie riding a winged horse. Again, we’ve got more of a humor vibe here, with our opening to the trailer, and even the conversation — actual whole sentences from Hulk, huh — at the end. And I’m still getting more and more of a Guardians, over the top vibe. Gee, I think someone’s been taking notes on what audiences actually like. (If only Sony would do the same.)

Though I’m amused that Jeff Goldblum is even in the franchise now. And it sounds like he’s stopped with the Jurassic Park stutter.

I especially like how Loki is revealed here. I was wondering how they were going to handle it.

But, dang it, I want to see how Doctor Strange shows up in the film. I’d rather it would be more than just a glance at the end.

Though, I’m a little curious about how much Ragnarok is going to act as a direct lead in to Infinity War. Why? because the Infinity War trailer opened with the Guardians running into space debris … an unconscious, beaten up Thor. Which makes me wonder if Ragnarok is actually well-titled.

Speaking of Avengers Infinity War, it’s also got some poster art.

infinity-war-poster

In other news, SDCC discussed the Captain Marvel film. In the comics, Carol Danvers, air force fighter pilot, was kidnapped by aliens called the Skrulls, experimented on, and turned into a flying juggernaut who shoots lasers out of her hands, and is build like Marilyn Monroe.

In the Cinematic universe … Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s.

… What?

Sigh. Okay. Let’s dig down into this a bit.
It’s been confirmed that the Skrulls will actually show up in the film, despite the half dozen missed opportunities for them to have shown up earlier. In the comics, the Skrulls are the long-running foe of the Kree … yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, they were at war was Xandar? It’s almost like they were cautious about showing another alien race that wasn’t tall and blue. But I suppose that legal issues have been settled.
Captain Marvel will apparently feature the Kree-Skrull war. Unless Captain Marvel  will feature an actual end to said war. Eh. Who knows?

The film will also star Samuel L. Jackson with two eyes. Because the 90s.

Yeah, I have no idea why they’d set it in the 90s. The actress they have for Captain Marvel, Brie Larson, looks like she’s 12. Unless they’re going to say that her powers have slowed down her aging, this would make her a middle aged superheroine today … but if that’s the case, where the bleep has she been through: three alien invasions, a robot army, and a SHIELD meltdown?The answer is probably … IN SSSSSPPPPPPAAAAAAAAAACCCCCEEEE.

But we’ll see. They may have the balls to actually kill off a superhero… No, I don’t think so either.
All in all, it looks like Marvel is going to stay on top for another year or so. As long as you don’t count their network TV shows. Those still look like they merely suck.

Black Panther Trailer Breakdown

Welcome back to the Marvel Cinematic universe. The next trailer for the movie after next is here.
And now: Black Panther.

Let’s go through this one frame by friend…. well, close enough.

0:04: Yes! Watson is back! Sorry, I mean Martin Freeman. Wow. It’s been so long since I last saw Captain America: Civil War that I forgot that Freeman was in this franchise. He’s playing a kind of state department bureaucrat, who’s been a thorn in the side of the Avengers a few times in the comics. We see him here interviewing Andy Serkis, Mister Klaue (Claw) from Age of Ultron. Serkis is playing is a Black Panther villain, but in this case, he’s no where near the final villain form that we see in the comics. I doubt they’ll use that form in the films, but we’ll see.

0:14: Some nice CGI as Freeman begins to explain that Wakanda is a “3rd world country.” Which, to everyone’s knowledge, is BS. The audience knows this from the Comics, as well as the post-credits Civil War scene, that Wakanda is a highly advanced country. I guess they’ve decided that it’s a secret only known to the super hero community. Or Freeman is playing dumb to see what Serkis tells him — which is entirely possible, as we’ll see T’Challa outside the interrogation world.

0:23: And here’s where we explain in the trailer that the 3rd world country bit is a front, and we see some of the high tech stuff kicking around. Please don’t say aliens. Please don’t say aliens….

0:27: Ooh, shiny.

0:30: And here’s the high tech shuttle.

0:35: Gee. Hunters in a dark jungle. I’m getting a Jurassic Park feeling. Anyone else?

0:47: That costume looks snazzy.  From here, we see what comic readers should expect from Black Panther: he’s an awesome martial artist, and his costume is bullet proof.

1:02: I think Serkis has lost his mind. Again. Are we sure he’s not playing Gollum again?

1:05: Remember when I said Wakanda were advanced? Now I really am starting to wonder about aliens. They could make this another infinity gem storyline, if only to power Wakanda.

1:07: Interesting facial markings. I understand these are usually tribal.

1:10: Andy Serkis may have a staring role in this one! There’s a break out.

1:12: I wonder if this is Black Panther’s sister.

1:17: One, NO. NO HIP HOP. T’Challa is as far from Black America as you can get without going to another planet. Hell, I’d sooner look up Afro-Celt and play some of that! Yes, Afro Celt, it’s a thing.  Two? Andy Serkis might be the villain here. He was a weapons dealer in Age of Ultron, it looks like he’s keeping up his business. So it could be T’Challa versus techno thieves.

1:18: The UN? really?

1:18-1:32.  Micellanous images. I’m getting the impression we might have some political gaming here along the way. Game of Thrones, Wakanda edition? Serkis may just be a subplot.

1:32 T’Challa stopping an SUV with his body. Okay, that’s cool. Nice imagery. Nice slow motion.

Okay, I’ll confess, this generally looks good. Marvel, this is your movie to screw up. Make it about their native culture, and their city, and a lot of action, and we’ll be good. This is your chance to world build. Build it. If you make it about racial politics, you’ll have problems.

Also, more Martin Freeman. Because he’s awesome.

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.

The Love at First Bite series. 
    

Another Subversive Marvel Project Cancelled

There is a Black Panther spinoff called Black Panther and the Crew, and it’s been cancelled … on issue #2. Which is, in itself, a cute truck. Gee, why ever would they cancel a comic around a character that was part of the popular film, Captain America: Civil War?
Let’s start with the premise.

Black Panther and the Crew brought together several of Marvel’s most popular black characters, including Black Panther, Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and Manifold for a story dealing with police violence in Harlem.

Ahem….
They …. Did … WHAT?
Let’s just think about this for a moment, shall we? Because there is so much stupid packed into one little statement, it’s painful to look at.

Black Panther — KING OF HIS OWN COUNTRY — has come to Harlem to deal with local police violence… The only time he should have to deal with the cops of another country is the five minutes before he tells them that he has diplomatic immunity, and they’re fired if they even look at him the wrong way.

Panther is joining forces with his (for the moment) ex-wife, Storm, the mutant FROM AFRICA, who has previously joined in on intergalactic wars. She has personally fought, and is friends with, freaking space aliens. But she’s going to come down from her mansion in Westchester … to deal with police officers?

All of this is to deal with a political narrative from over three years ago…

And they expect teenagers — THEIR TARGET AUDIENCE — to give a crap about this?

And it’s written by a “journalist” from The Atlantic….

Yes. Didn’t know that? The author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a journalist. He’s worked for CUNY, and now NYU. A journalist, and an academic. He’s also written for the New York Times, and the Washington Post….

I wonder if he’s at all left-wing.  Gee. Maybe?

And of course, notice that I didn’t say that he was a New Yorker. Because he’s not. No. He’s from Baltimore. Some people get pissed about fake news. I get pissy about out of towners who think they can write stories about my city and get away from it. Fight fake New Yorkers.

But wait, there’s more.

Io9 said,

“When Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew launched earlier this year, it proved that big publishers like Marvel can, in fact, still tell timely stories about real world issues, like how police brutality devastates black communities. But now, after a mere two issues, Marvel has cancelled the series.

Yeah. We kind of thought that this was political BS masquerading as a comicbook.
But despite having a story line so politically blatant, Coates had the audacity to say

Coates tells the Verge that Black Panther and the Crew wasn’t about making a political statement.

Yeah. He said that.

Hey, Coates, tell io9 that you weren’t being political. Go ahead. Tell them that. Tell them. Go on. And if you’re wondering why I think this is a BS statement, you’ll see a little bit farther down. But let’s look at more behind the concept.

“The Crew was an opportunity to get inside them as black people,” Coates said, assuring fans that “the mystery will be solved.” 

Uh… huh…

Right now, the only mystery I see is how this launched in the first place. Why? Again. Let’s think on this for a moment.

  • Storm grew up poor on the streets of Africa. I’m not even going to ask how she survived, and just presume it was all Artful Dodger 101. She then moved into a mansion, and works as a teacher when she’s not engaged in full-on battles or married to a King.
  • Black Panther grew up as an African Prince in a highly-advanced fictional country.
  • Luke Cage and Misty Knight actually grew up in Harlem. One is an ex-con, the other is a detective.

I’m certain — CERTAIN, I tell you — that these four, “as black people,” will be exactly the same. Because they’re black, and that’s all that’s needed for conformity of soul, spirit, and personal life experience.

….

….

OF COURSE NOT, ARE YOU FREAKING INSANE? That would be one of the dumbest, most idiotic things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. That’s as insane as saying that just because I’m white, I have the exact same live experiences as any white person in any other random European country. I’m sorry, but what racist idiot truly thinks that “black people” is a universal experience?

I am certain that some twit is going to bitch about racism somewhere. Coates is also currently writing the main line Black Panther comic … though, Black Panther #1 sold relatively well. Could it possibly to do less with the aspect of a Black character, and more with a focus on — gasp — good story telling? Or maybe he was in an awesome film last year called Civil War? Though I’ve seen nothing about the rest of the series. I wonder if that means the rest of that series sucks too– just not as badly as The Crew.

Seriously, The Crew. That’s a racing video game.

While Coates tried to claim a politically neutral stance, io9 preferred to spin Black Panther and The Crew a different way

Stories like Black Panther & The Crew deserve to be told not just because they’re socially relevant, but because they demonstrate how comics as a medium can bring people from all walks of life into important conversations they might not otherwise participate in. However, simply creating these comics is not enough. If Marvel (and other publishers) really believe in the messages of diversity and inclusion that they proudly preach, then they’ve got to get better about actually supporting these endeavors once they go to print.

Sigh. They didn’t say it was a good or an entertaining story. No.It was “important.” Somehow, it’s not “important” that Cage or T’Challa (the Black Panther’s real name) have their own comic lines, which might–might, I say — actually make money. I mean, Hell, Marvel can only run so many virtue signalling story lines on which they’ll make no money (I’m looking at you, Secret Empire).

Anyway, let’s look at this for a moment. What did they actually do?

Set in a near-future Harlem-turned-police state patrolled by robotic police officers controlled by a private security contractor

STOP. Just stop right there.

  1. That’s RoboCop.
  2. That’s stupid.
  3. I don’t see any Officer Murphy here.

What should I expect from a world that put Norman Osborn, psychopath, as the head of a SHIELD replacement agency?

Let’s look at this.

Frank Miller should sue. He did RoboCop, right?
Wow. We’re going to shoot little old ladies in the middle of the street, and this is not about politics? Are you kidding me? When Deathstroke came out for gun control, it was bad. But wow, I don’t think I’ve seen something this heavy handed since, well, that.
Shoot me now.
But, yeah. I await someone to spin this as a matter of racism, instead of blatant lefty narratives being dressed up with bright superhero colors. Frankly, comic books should be Superversive by nature. Seriously, is there anything more black and white, hero vs villain, than Captain America punching Red Skull (or Hitler) in the face with a red white and blue shield? And that’s yet another reason why their sales are down. Marvel is too busy trying to subvert their own IP.
Screw it. Here, have some books that are completely and utterly devoid of politics. Enjoy,
The Love at First Bite series. 
The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them immediately. The instructions are right there.