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)
“G.I. Joe is the codename for America’s daring highly-trained special mission force. Its purpose: To defend human freedom from Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.”
We’ve all heard of it, I’m sure most of us know it by heart. And we all root for the Joes to kick Cobra ass time and time again. But what if they fail? That’s the question G.I. Joe Deviations is trying to answer.
G.I. Joe scribe Paul Allor and artist Corey Lewis answers this question the in the best way possible. Cobra somehow manages to successfully put their weather machine to good use and destroyed G.I. Joe, ushering in a planet that is COBRA.
So you’ve ruled the world, what next?
And that, is the next question. Cobra is an organization determined to /rule/ the world, not /run/ the world. Cobra Commander is even more so. The New Cobra Order has no place for harebrained schemes and ridonkulous doomsday weapons. What it has, however, is massive boredom for everyone in the Cobra inner circle. And so, Commander hatches the most ridiculous of ridiculous schemes: Give what’s left of G.I. Joe the means to rise up and fight the power.
And this concept proves to be a winner. You’d think this concept would be played extremely seriously, but Allor plays this humorously, complete with some nods to the old eighties cartoon series. The action alternates between funny and awesome in a heartbeat, then back again. The Cobra inner circle, in particular, have their skills put to other uses like corporate espionage, IT support, and even restarting Cold Slither.
Walker’s art fits the whole vibe of the book well, being cartoony but with a slight edge reminiscent of Jim Mahfood. Besides the sprinkling of nice little visual gags throughout the comic, the action scenes are great, albeit short. My favourite would be Jinx and Snake Eyes (now sporting trainers and a Hawaiian shirt instead of full ninja gear) going up against Croc Master, but the other action sequences are highlights of their own. The real winner here are the redesigns Walker made to the cast, including aforementioned Snake Eyes and the almost Trigon-like Cobra Commander. And who knew Scarlett would look cute with a buzzcut?
All in all, this is a Deviation I’d like to see more of. As it is, the book is a very fun ride from start to finish. You eagle-eyed Street Fighter fans might be in for a treat, too. Just saying.
Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #2, as before, provides one of the best fight-based stories outside of professional wrestling. On the card this time:
- Major Guile, master of the Sonic Boom and renowned family man takes on Ragin’ Cajun Joe Gung-Ho
- Butt of a thousand jokes and the only guy who can look good in a pink gi Dan Hibiki up against Interpol agent and owner of the best legs in the franchise Chun-Li
- The Phoenix Master, Storm Shadow, wrestling Gator Master Croc Master and his alligator
- Shadaloo head and not the boxer guy M. Bison will fight his own former puppet, Cammy
Sitterson doesn’t waste any time getting into the fights, establishing a little more of the plot as it goes. As it turns out, some of the Street Fighters are in league to take down Bison, and some fighters are not as innocent as they seem. And Bison? You thought he put himself in the tourney for kicks? Of course not.
Writing and art in this series is almost inseparable. With that in mind, Emilio Laiso and David Garcia Cruz’s art shines in making every fight look as great as possible. Yes, even the squash matches. My personal favourite out of this one was the Gung-Ho vs Guile fight. As short as it was, the idea of a knock-down drag-out brawl between these two bruisers is something I’d really like to see. Bonus points to the Storm Shadow vs Croc Master fight, because ninjas vs crocodiles.
While the whole thing feels a little more ‘thin’ than the previous issue, SF X Joe #2 still manages to be one of the most fun books out right now. It’s still the dream crossover no one saw coming, after all.
As much as I suck at it, the Street Fighter franchise has been quite the mainstay of my life, having been one of my first video games I ever played. And although I’ve only gotten into G.I. Joe the past few years or so, it quickly became one of my favorite franchises. When the news broke that these two great franchises with decades of history would cross over, I, along with I’m sure a lot of fans all over the world, rejoiced.
Aubrey Sitterson (Former Marvel editor, host of wrestling podcast Straight Shoot), Emilio Laiso (Hack/Slash), David Garcia Cruz (G.I. Joe), and Robbie Robbins (The Authority) bring us Street Fighter X G.I. Joe, a fight comic crossover between the World Warriors and the Real American Heroes. The central concept is simple enough, a fight tournament between the characters of both franchises. As simple as the concept was, it’s the execution that shines through.
The fight-based storytelling that Sitterson has talked about in his interviews regarding the series is put in full effect in the comic, which almost exclusively consists of fight scenes. As cool as these fight scenes are, they also serve to deliver the main meat of the plot. Fans of either (or both) franchises will love seeing the characters’ voices (or lack thereof) being nailed perfectly by Sitterson, despite some of them having a very limited screentime. The brisk pacing that throws us from fight to fight sometimes with less than a page between KO’s happening and the next fight recalls the format of Street Fighter’s Arcade modes, being thrown from one fight to the next with only a little breather. Despite the tournament bracket being shown at the start, get ready to have your predictions thrown out the window as Sitterson isn’t afraid to have the underdogs win (as this issue has demonstrated).
Of course, these fights won’t be any fun without Laiso’s art, combined with Cruz’s colors. The kinetic flow of actions from panel to panel is like watching a Street Fighter match unfold, with no dull moments to be found. The cartoony style also meshes well with both sides of the crossover, looking almost like as if Capcom made an actual Street Fighter X G.I. Joe game (Get on it, Capcom!). The colors especially shine at the special attacks. Seeing Ryu pull out the Hadouken dropped my jaw at how awesome it looked. Robbins’ letters also deserves a special mention here, especially whenever the fight starts and ends. You can just hear the announcer yelling ‘FIGHT!’ and the ‘K O!’ at the end, along with the loser’s echoing screams. Art-wise, this series cannot get any better.
The extra stuff for readers didn’t disappoint either. This issue featured a short recap of what happened in the qualifying rounds and could be an explanation for why some of your favorites didn’t make it into the tournament. Reading some of these, I’d read the hell out of a spinoff one-shot that shows the qualifying rounds. The Street Fighter characters featured in this issue also received Joe-style filecards, which is a nice bonus.
For fans of either (or both) franchises, this is a must-read. Despite a few issues, like the absence of several mainstays like Duke and Scarlett even in the qualifiers (I know, nitpicking), this is a great start to a great tournament, and I can’t wait to see the next issue.
If you’ve known me for any length of time, then you all might be aware of my obsession–passion for a little comic from 2006 called Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Now that it’s supposedly the comic’s tenth birthday (according to Marvel.com, but I was late by two days because I’m an idiot. It’s supposedly the 25th of January), I think a few words might be in order.