Trailer Tuesdays: Marvel’s The Defenders

With the release of Marvel’s Iron Fist earlier this year, we now have first (and the occasional second) seasons for all of the individual Defenders: Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand. However, each of these individual series had their pros and cons, and Iron Fist was so bad that I kind of never wanted to see anything with Danny Rand in it ever again. But now the full-length trailer for Marvel’s The Defenders is out, and it’s actually a little…. entertaining?

Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Gender Dichotomy

jessica-jones-luke-cagePlenty has already been said about heroes and anti-heroes. Superman was created over seventy-five years ago, and yet America today prefers its heroes to have a bit more grit, like Tony Stark. What’s undeniable is that a dichotomy exists between light heroes and dark heroes. It’s a way of looking at protagonists that has ancient roots, but manifests differently in male and female characters.

The light and dark dichotomy is very old and very ingrained in our storytelling traditions. On the surface, “light” stereotypes give the character traits that are traditionally associated with positive ideas and symbolism. More often than not these characters will wear white or light colors, have light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. “Dark” characters tend to have dark hair, skin, eyes, and clothing. This color dichotomy is associated with good and evil, for religious and historical reasons. If you don’t have electricity you can be more productive when the sun’s out, while it’s easier for robbers and rule-breakers to hide in the cover of night. White is associated with purity and goodness, especially in Christianity, while black is associated with evil and the consequences of evil (like sin and death).

While light heroes cling to a traditional morality, dark heroes have a more subversive attitude. There’s something bad or wrong or broken with a dark character, which is usually the source of their darkness. Men tend to be gallant, chivalrous heroes or troubled rogues, while women tend to be virginal maidens or seductive vamps. It’s taken generations to move beyond this rigid dichotomy, giving the light and dark new and interesting implications. But if we really care about smashing gender stereotypes, we need to move beyond the light and dark gender axis. Both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones from Marvel’s respective Netflix series take the light and dark dichotomies and smash them to bits.

Spoilers for all of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones below.

Continue reading

Throwback Thursdays: Alias

It is often the case that this column overlaps with an object of nostalgia: something we loved when we were younger and are now re-viewing with a critical eye. Today’s Throwback is an exception to this standard. We’ve talked about the Jessica Jones series here and there, and our general opinion of it is that it was a fantastic and feminist, if incredibly dark and triggering, show. I recently had a chance to read “Purple”, the five-issue series of Alias that was published in 2004 and upon which the first season of the miniseries was based. And although I rarely say this, I actually think I like the TV adaptation better.

alias logo

Spoilers for Alias and Jessica Jones and a trigger warning for rape after the jump.

Continue reading

Representation Roll Call: The Black List

Welcome back, gentle readers! My cute little roll call format and I have missed you so. Lady Saika and I wrote a post about the new Mighty Avengers (2013) #1, which features a great cast of characters, many of whom are black and/or Hispanic. Since you might not know who some of them are, I figured I’d give you a little rundown on the crew.

Let’s jump into it, shall we? According to Wikipedia, the Infinity Event Mighty Avengers includes the following characters: Luke Cage, Victor Alvarez, Ava Ayala, Monica Rambeau, Otto Octavius/Peter Parker, Adam Brashear, Samuel Wilson, and Jennifer Walters. You’ll recognize some of those names right off the bat, but I think it’s telling just to look at the names of the cast laid out. I’m not going to address all of them, just my relevant favorites (sorry Otto/Jennifer/Sam/Adam)!

Continue reading

The Mighty Avengers #1

mighty-avengers-banner

Saika: I’m starting to consider the possibility that Marvel has a psychic on staff. How else could they have perfectly timed the release of The Mighty Avengers #1, a comic that unbenches and gives the spotlight to several well-loved PoC heroes, to coincide with their not-so-Distinguished Competition’s putting like eight feet in its mouth last week?

Ink: Speaking of eight feet, do you know who’s completely unbearable? Superior Spider-Man, aka Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body. This issue opens with the first of several chump villains, the Plunderer. As he and his henchmen attempt to separate Horizon Labs from their hi-tech doodads, they are confronted (which is a euphemism for beat about the head and body) by Cage’s new Heroes for Hire crew. Superior Spider-Man joins the brawl against the Plunderer, and ridicules the gang for their mercenary behavior, right after giving the etymology of the word mercenary. That’s what’s different about our soon-to-be Avengers: they have to keep the lights on.  After being abandoned by White Tiger, the team retreats, leaving its individual members, which includes the new Power Man (Victor Alvarez) and the Blue Marvel, to contemplate their future.

Continue reading

The Ultimate Spider-Man is Actually Pretty Good

So I’ve been trying recently to branch out into American comics. You may have noticed this. My most recent adventure has taken me into the animated world of Spider-Man.  Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man TV show is actually pretty awesome. The premise is this: Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for a while when he is approached by Nick Fury with a proposition: join up with S.H.I.E.L.D. and let them train Peter into the “ultimate” Spider-Man.  Peter accepts and is suddenly tossed onto a team with junior S.H.I.E.L.D. agents White Tiger, Nova, Power Man, and Iron Fist.  Hijinks ensue and Peter learns valuable lessons about superheroing, blah blah, you know the drill. Anyway, it’s a pretty fun show.

So first I gotta be upfront with you about the real reason I started watching this show. Yes, it was a good way to learn more about the Marvelverse, as Peter often breaks the fourth wall to explain a situation or introduce a character we may not know.  But really? I needed more Son of Coul in my life.  Yup, that’s right. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a lot of influence on this show, and one way that shows is in the presence of Agent Coulson as a supporting character.  Best of all, they even got Clark Gregg himself to do the voice acting! It’s just a small part in the background (Coulson is undercover as the principal at Peter’s high school) but it made me happy nonetheless.

The voice acting in general on this show is pretty great, with Drake Bell as Peter Parker, Tara Strong as Mary Jane, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, and Tom Kenny, Greg Cipes, Steve Blum, Travis Willingham (as Thor!), and even Mark Hamill as various other roles. (Stan Lee has a running cameo as the high school’s janitor.)

The animation is somewhat inspired by anime, with some chibi-fication and whatnot.  It also has a good mix of episoding plots versus an overarching storyline.

I’m enjoying it so far. (Although, to be fair, seeing as the internet seems to be full of this show’s haters, I’m relatively easy to please and have no basis for comparison.) I recommend you check it out, too!