Opinion: On Fan Reactions

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Yesterday was quite the eventful day for the comics world as a whole. The amazing The Flash season finale. Minds being blown by DC Rebirth. And of course, the newest craze to hit comics Twitter, Steve Rogers being a Hydra mole all along. But that’s not what I’m here for today. It’s the reactions that made me want to write this.

Now while reactions are obviously part and parcel of comics and being a fan in general, I can’t help but feel the fandom has been overly toxic in reacting to this. The requisite death threats to writer Nick Spencer is there, of course, even some misdirected venom to longtime Captain America writer Ed Brubaker who hasn’t touched a Captain America book in years. And in that, I am disappointed at the fandom as a whole.

It’s okay to react negatively. I was upset when I first found out, too. The All-American hero we’ve been looking up to the past few decades was secretly Hydra scum all along, how could you not? But that’s what a story does. It makes you feel, it makes you react, it makes you either want to hug the creators and treat them for a drink of the story or rip their heads off and piss down their necks. And it’s perfectly fine!

What isn’t, however, is to send overly venomous threats to the persons involved in the story and misaiming vitriol to the people not even involved. Yes, we’re fans. We spend countless years and dollars to experience the latest adventures of our favourite heroes, only for him to turn his back on us like this? While it may be upsetting, there is something important to remember. In comics, Status Quo Is God. Look at the reviled changes in superhero comics history. Superior Spidey, Teen Tony, Heroes Reborn, even the New 52, they all come undone in time and the heroes we know and love eventually come back. And this too, shall pass.

There is also this disturbing trend of combining the canons of the movies and the comics together. One tweet I saw says that if this was true, then Steve was complicit in Bucky’s brainwashing into the Winter Soldier. No. The comic Winter Soldier is a Soviet creation without a Hydra hand in it. At the very least, check your facts before coming into social media whinging about things that are neither here nor there. Don’t be that guy/girl.

Also there’s a long game to consider, a scheme the writers have in mind that will make sense in time. Take a look at what Jonathan Hickman’s built up since his initia run on Fantastic Four, culminating in Secret Wars. Or what Larry Hama has built in his 200+ issues of G.I. Joe. Hell, even Spencer himself, revealing Mockingbird as an AIM sleeper agent in his Secret Avengers arc with Ales Kot, To M.A.I.M. A Mockingbird. These are the stories that might upset you at first, but will end up with you saying ‘you crafty bastard’ when you finish, and walk out with a newfound appreciation of the creators.

While we are fans and we have attachments to the characters that we know and love, just keep in mind that these characters are fictional and sending death threats to the REAL people creating these stories isn’t something Steve Rogers, Hydra or otherwise, would do. The only thing Marvel is at fault here is cheap shock value marketing, the comics equivalent of clickbait to drive up sales. While it’s a somewhat questionable tactic, it’s not worth sending death threats over.

The next time you encounter something like this again, I implore you to take a second, take a breath, and think before you fire off a nasty tweet to the person who came up with it. Things aren’t always what they seem to be at first.

When all else fails…just listen to this song.

(credit to Shaun/@RedRoomWriter for the Secret Avengers bit)

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(Re)Genesis – DC Universe: Rebirth Review

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DC Universe: Rebirth
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Phil Jimenez, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver, Brad Anderson, Jason Wright, Joe Prado, Hi-Fi, Gabe Eltaeb
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Legacy. That was the main buzzword being thrown around by Geoff Johns and DC Comics regarding Rebirth, DC’s newest rebootlaunchnumbering initiative. While it may be easy to dismiss this as a half-assed reboot that’ll be undone within the next six years, I think it couldn’t be further from the truth.
WARNING: Full spoilers for DC Universe: Rebirth from here on out.
Legacy is indeed the focal point of everything in this book. When the fallout of Darkseid War created an opening for Pre-Flashpoint Wally West to return, a chain of events is set off to return the ‘erased’ past of Pre-Flashpoint times to this new universe. Along the way, we see characters from DC’s past, present, and future. As befitting the theme, passings of the torches of Atom and Blue Beetle also happen here, along with a revelation regarding the Scarab.
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Now all we need is a Beetle-Booster teamup

What Johns has written here is for all intents and purposes a love letter to the DCU and its rich history, and what I consider ‘killing off’ the New 52 in a cleverly not-so-subtle way. Those little niggling questions that have been lingering on the backs of our heads since the New 52 started will most likely be put to rest here as well. For a writer of his caliber, I wouldn’t expect any less.
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She got Rorschach’ed

The art, in one word, is briliant. The talent put together by DC on this book is nothing short of the best of the best DC Comics could offer today. If I saw a book with even half of these names on the cover, I’d buy them, no questions asked. Stylistically, these artists mesh well together and avoids the jarring effect sudden shifts of art that happen on most books with different artists. Individually, each and every artist puts out some of their best work to these pages, making this book as much a treat for the eyes as it is for your fanboy/girl hearts.
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Classic Joker is back, ready to pull even more boners for a new generation

While this seems to be a book that will cater to longtime fans, we’re caught up quite nicely for the newcomers and lapsed readers so I don’t they’ll be totally lost. Maybe a little bit lost. That said, this is a very enjoyable book and a treat to DC fans, longtime or otherwise. For all you newcomers, welcome. There has been no better time to jump into DC Comics than now. It’s a whole world of possibilities out there, I can’t want to ‘watch’ what happens next.
The New 52 is dead, long live the DC Universe.
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An Explosive Start – Preacher ‘Pilot’ Review

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After years of uncertainty, AMC’s adaptation of the Vertigo classic Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon finally hits our screens. This series stars Dominic Cooper as the titular Preacher Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as resident gunslinger Tulip O’Hare, and Joe Gilgun as asshat Irish vampire Cassidy.
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Don’t change the channel, you’re not watching Civil War

Let me get this out of the way first. AMC’s Preacher does not lift directly from the comics shot-per-shot. What it does, however, is translate the general feel of the comic onto the screen, with great success. While it may at times feel like the show is a softened version or a take made more palatable to wider audiences of Preacher, this version still carries most of the spirit the comic has.
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It’s time to meet the meat

The main trio all turn out strong showings and their respective introduction scenes gives newcomers to Preacher on what to expect from each of them, which means a lot of violence and bucketloads of fun. The supporting cast fans would no doubt be familiar with like Arseface and his father Sheriff Root also make appearances, with slight tweaks to the character, though no less compelling. And there was also a tease to one of the more depraved (and with what goes on in Preacher most of the time, that’s saying something) baddies no doubt coming to the show in future episodes.
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Just about the corniest way to kill someone

If you were afraid of this series being a watered-down version of the Vertigo classic, fear not. The pilot episode still has a wit reminiscent of Ennis’s writings with a twisted edge that a Preacher adaptation just has to have, along with a nice helping of dark humor and a friendly jab to a certain big-name movie star.
While the show could stand to be a little more…’mature’ and heap on the trademark black humor, this is still a very solid adaptation from one of the best comics to come out of Vertigo with a lot of room to find its voice in the coming episodes. I can hardly wait for the next one.

The (Not-So) New Mutants-X-Men Apocalypse Review (Non-spoiler)

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Fox continues their good run to wash the bad taste of last year’s abysmal (and I’m using this term generously) F4ntastic from our collective minds with X-Men Apocalypse, the third installment in the ‘McAvoy Timeline’ of X-Movies. Taking one of mutantkind’s toughest enemies and bringing back their most iconic X-Men for a new generation, Bryan Singer seems to have found a recipe for success here.
X-Men Apocalypse’s plot, while very straightforward and just a mite bit predictable, does what it needs to do. This movie’s strength lies in the characters and how they play off of one another.
The cast is where this movie shines. McAvoy and Fassbender still continues to shine in their roles as Charles and Erik, of course, but I’m giving the strongest performances here to the new blood and (hopefully) our X-Men moving forward. Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Kurt Wagner (Kodi Smit-McPhee) all show great chemistry together along with the sadly underused Jubilee (Lana Condor) as believeable teenagers being pulled from their daily lives to fight an apocalyptic threat. X-Mainstays Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Alex Summers (Lucas Till), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and Peter (need to learn not to always say Pietro) Maximoff (Evan Peters) with the returning Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) all turn out great performances. Our surprise guest, who I’ll just refer to ‘X’ for some of you who haven’t seen the more recent trailers, also appeared shortly but quite memorably.
On the bad guy side, we have of course, our Apoecalypse, Oscar Isaac, who does a good job with what he’s given playing card-carrying evil villain En Sabah Nur who thankfully doesn’t look like Ivan Ooze anymore. Despite limited screentime and lines, the other Three Horsemen Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Angel (Ben Hardy) had their moments, though they could’ve posed a bigger threat to our heroes.
While Peter did try to steal the show again this time, it was Nightcrawler that caught my eye the most this time around. This Kurt is much more awkward and he managed to score some of the funniest moments in the movie, and he turns out to be one of the best things about the movie.
Visually, Apocalypse (the movie) is a treat. From the opening credits, we’re treated with a dope-ass opening taking us through history and kudos to the good people working on that because that is one of the best opening credits in an X-Movie so far. Then there’s the creative ways people get killed. Burned to ash, crushed, melted, being psionically compacted, you name it. I was both cringing and fanboying at the creativity of some of these kills most of the time. The final sequence of the movie was also quite a sight to behold, with fights happening every which way and everyone’s powers being shown in full force.
Those of you eagle-eyed fans of the comics and fans of eighties culture in general, you’re also in for a treat. Nods to the comics and snippets of the eighties are strewn about everywhere in the movie. Some classic characters might also make a passing appearance here and there. Fans of the old X-Men vs Street Fighter game might also find something oddly familiar in the movie. Easter egg hunters will have a field day with this one.
Be sure to stay around for the stinger. I have two witnesses who can attest to the fact that I screamed LOUD by the time that ended.
Bottom line, X-Men Apocalypse, while nothing groundbreaking, is all fun, without the time travel and alternate timelines fuss that seems to have a lot of people’s knickers in a twist. All the excitement, none of the confusion.