Iron Fist Episode One Review

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So Iron Fist, the last series before Marvel’s The Defender has finally arrived. Multiple outlets have had a chance to screen half the season for early reviews. The reviews have been extremely negative with a common tread, that tread being boredom. Most if not all outlets have called the series boring and not thrilling in any fashion. Many critics have be harsh on the series for its lead being cast as a white male instead of an Asian American. I’ve been eager to watch the show as I feel Marvel has done a great job of making each installment on their Netflix shows different from the one before it.

Being that I came off of a overnight shift at my job, I was only able to watch one episode. The first episode was a decent introduction to our protagonist, not better than the previous introductions of Marvel/Netflix’s protagonist. We should go into this judging it as its own entity but given that it’s in the same universe, streaming service and company it is incredibly difficult to do. With that said, I believe that as a first episode it wasn’t as strong as what came before it but still a good introduction nonetheless.

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Danny Rand seems just like a 10 year old would act if they were gone from the world for 15 years and thought dead. There’s a sense of ignorance and innocence in Danny, one that a child would have.  As of now, I find that Finn Jones plays a fine Danny, not much to dissect just yet. Jessica Hanwick portrays plays Colleen Wig in the series which is a major role in the Iron Fist mythos, she seems like she will be a fan favorite and a fierce female co-lead.

As of now the villains seem to be either poorly cast or poor written or poorly portrayed, I’ve haven’t decided yet. After a few more episodes I’ll be able to point out the steam of the problem. They seem like bland villains, just dicks for being dicks. I can’t really say it any other way. They are no where near as compelling as Wilson Fisk, Cotton Mouth or Purple Man from DareDevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones; respectively. Whenever they were onscreen I wanted the scene to cut to someone else which is a problem, but it is a problem that can be fix with further character development and writing so I will find out in later episodes.

There were a complaints that the fight scenes were too choreographed and looked like dancing more then a fighting. Unfortunately, I would have to agree. The fight scenes felt very choreographed and Danny never seemed in danger even if he is a Kung Fu master. Maybe that was done on purpose since the people Danny was fighting were just regular hired goons. I would like to see what the fight scenes will look like when he fights The Hand or enhanced individuals, again, I will have to wait and see.

So in closing I thought the first episode was just fine, nothing near the garbage that outlets have been painting it to be but not at the high standard the Marvel/Netflix collaboration. Finn Jones has come out and said that the show was made for fans and not for critics, as of now I think I see that. Let’s hope it gets better as the series goes on.

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Diversity in Comic; Divisive?

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Diversity in comics, it has become a topic of conversation and heated debates in recent years. Some see it as a move in the right direction for the comic book industry while others see it as a misstep that will turn away long time fans. I stand with the former rather than the latter, though I do agree that diversifying the medium at times seems forced and could be handled in a better from a story perspective.

Marvel being founded in 1939 and DC before it in 1934 had primarily an all white roster of super heroes and support cast. That remained for many years until the late 60’s and early 70’s when we were introduced to Black Panther and the Falcon at Marvel and Black Lighting at DC. That was a full thirty years before a Black character put on a mask to serve the greater good at either publisher. The same goes for any and all minorities as well; Asian, Hispanic/Latinos, Middle Eastern, etc. Even with the introduction of Black Panther and Black Lighting, super heroes with non-white background were far and in between.

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We fast forward a few decades to the 2000’s, the Civil Rights movement happened thirty years ago, we have had huge leaps in women’s rights and slow but steady progress with Gay rights. Yet with all that progression, when we look at the comic book genre it seems like they’re still behind in the times. The flagship titles for Marvel were X-Men, Avengers and Spider-Man; none with a single minority besides maybe Storm from the X-Men. Flagship titles for DC were Justice League, Batman and Superman. All not having a single minority, including supporting characters. Both companies weren’t mirroring the unique potluck of cultures and ethnicities we have in our country but still mirroring other aspects of it (Society) like our politics, pop culture and overseas conflicts.

Now as more people spoke out about needing diversity in comics among other mediums, Marvel and DC took note. In my opinion, Marvel embracing it more then the other. Marvel slowly started to introduce characters from different nationalities, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion for the past ten to fifteen years. Not to say that diverse characters weren’t in comics already but Marvel was pushing them to headline their flagship titles. One of the two Spider-Man titles stared a half Black/half Puerto Rican teenager who is Miles Morales, the protagonist in Thor was now a woman which is Jane Foster, Captain America is a Black man from Harlem named Sam Wilson, Ms. Marvel is a Muslim American by the name of Kamala Khan, The Hulk is an Asian America named Amadeus Cho and the list goes on and on.

DC hasn’t push diversity as much as Marvel in recent years but they have still made progress. In the last few years they have introduced two additions to the Green Lantern Corps, one Simon Baez a Lebanese  American Muslim who was initially framed for a terrorist attack and Jessica Cruz being Latin American and the first female Green Lantern from Earth. They also have Cassandra Cain which is the current Batwoman who is also an open member of the LGBT and is co-staring in Detective Comics along Batman. Detective Comics being one of DC’s flagship titles.

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With the recent steps towards diversity in comics, it doesn’t come without it’s share of backlash and problems. Many have claimed that DC and especially Marvel are just diversifying their super hero community as a publicity stunt and pandering to minorities. Some say that the publishers are messing up the the current super heroes in exchange to make way for the new ones, they would prefer instead to introduce new characters with their own super hero identity. Now while I hear those arguments, I adamantly disagree with them.

To argue that comic book publisher’s attempt at diversity is just a publicity stunt is absurd. Publicity stunts are done to make initial shock and be talked about for five minutes. Marvel and DC’s push for diversity has been a slow build that they have been working at for years. They have invested time and effort into these characters’s story arc, titles and development. Miles Morales who is a perfect example of Marvel’s commitment to new characters that are minorities. Miles was introduced in 2011 as the new Spider-Man for the ultimate universe with stellar writers and artists attached to the title for the entire run. He was once deemed as a stunt as well and yet six years in and he’s now in the main Marvel continuity, a member of the Avengers and the newly formed Champions.

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The reason behind the recent diversity stems from pandering? I think not. Diversity is a natural evolution of the medium.  Studies have shown that the main consumer of comics are white males in the 30’s and 40’s. It just makes sense to borden consumer base. Since DC and Marvel’s initiative sales have gone up for both companies across the board with new buyers of all ages and backgrounds. Some would counter that it could be caused by the boom in super hero movies driving sales but that’s been proven false. Since the MCU, there hasn’t been a jump in sales, movie goers don’t walk into comic book stores after watching The Avengers on the big screen. Women are buying more comics then ever, young adults and minorities have been driving up the sales as well. The top Marvel comics constant of a female Thor, a Muslim American and half Black/half Puerto Rican Spider-Man. People want to see super heroes that look like them, that they can relate to.

The biggest and fairest argument (Even if I don’t agree and see its massive flaws) is that it ruins the current super hero status quo in favor of being replaced by new characters. I think that complaint, for the most part, holds no basis. Let’s take the Thor title for example; the main character of that title, which was Thor Odinson has been replace by Jane Foster (His on again, off again girlfriend) as the title’s protagonist. People were up in arms, saying how preposterous it was for Thor to now be a woman. People were angry to be angry. Thor was still Thor, a man. Jane Foster, a woman, was bestowed with powers of an Asgardian and took on the mantle of Thor. Thor Odinson wasn’t dead or gone from any major books, he actually got a new book called “The Unworthy Thor” and is going by the name Odinson. The Thor you know and love is still there for you to enjoy.

In the case of Sam Wilson,  Marvel announced in late 2014 that he would be the new Captain America. Again, people were in full rage mode. “How could Captain America be Black? Captain America is white”. Actually, Steve Rogers is white; Captain America is a mantle that could be taken up by anyone no matter race, religion, creed or sexual orientation. Now if you would want to get technical though, the first Captain America was a Black man from Harlem named Isaiah Bradley but I digress. There have been multiple individuals to take up the mantle of Captain America, the most recent before Sam Wilson was Bucky Barnes. Bucky was Captain America’s (Steve Rogers) side kick back in WW II. He had shown up in the preset day and took up the mantle when Steve Rogers was assassinated. When that happened no one was in the streets in protest, even if Bucky was a Russian assassin that murdered dozens of political figures for decades and was now the face of our country. Why is that? Because he was white and it apparently made sense. Sam Wilson was Steve Rogers’s partner for years and a veteran Avenger, it makes sense for him to have the mantle of Captain America passed on to him by Steve Rogers himself because he represents what Captain America stands for as a symbol.

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Just to piss off some closed minded people. Jane Foster and Sam Wilson were a thing.

Now however, I do think Marvel and DC have made taken some missteps when trying to diversify their brand. When you introduce a new character, pass on mantles or shack up the status quo, it should feel organic and natural. I don’t think it has been the case in multiple instances. In 2015 Iceman from the X-Men comics came out as being gay by way of his younger self from the past that was stuck in the present admitted (Comics, I know). That’s all fine, the issue was that when asked about the Iceman from the present, he was straight which doesn’t make any sense. The same person at two different times of their lives can’t have different sexual orientations. When the writer did that he promoted the notion that sexual orientation is a choice rather then something you’re born with. The whole situation was poorly handled and later rectified when they had the present day Iceman admit to being gay all along.

Another instance was on DC’s behalf that I found was a poorly executed attempt at diversity. In 2014 DC introduced us to a new Wally West, being that the DC universe was reconfigured in Flash Point (Again, comics) some characters hand’t shown up in publication, one of those said characters being Wally. When he came to the scene it was meet with some backlash. The Wally that emerged wasn’t the Wally we all knew, the new Wally was a Black teenager. Now, personally the fact that he’s Black wasn’t an issue to me (Though it might have been to some), my issue was that in introducing that specific Wally you essential erased the Wally we all knew for decades out of existence. The new Wally wasn’t taken up a mantle he replaced a preexisting character that had decades of stories, relationships and effects to the DC universe. That was all done away with and rewritten with the introduction of the new Wally. Thankfully, the original interpretation of Wally West, having been the starring character in the Flash titles for many years, was still missed by DC’s fans, and so the company decided to bring the original Wally back into continuity in late 2016. Now both Wallys reside in the DC universe and all is right with the world.

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Regardless of any missteps, diversifying the comic book landscape is a admirable cause and one that we should applauded and welcomed. Comic books are an art and art imitates life, so it makes sense for the heroes to finally look like the rest of us. A reader should be able to pick up a comic book and see themselves when they look at the cover. There is no evil agenda being pushed, the only thing that is being pursued is realism, inclusion, equality and authenticity.

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Deathstroke confirmed and being played by Joe Manganiello.

Deathstroke is coming and many might not know who he is. He is a force to be reckoned with, he is easily physically and mentally superior to Batman. Here’s a quick rundown on who Deathstroke The Terminator is.

Slade Wilson joined the Army at sixteen by lying about his age. Once in, he excelled in all forms of warfare. He got the attention of higher ups and was chosen to undergo a experimental treatment to enhance adrenal glands to resist truth serum. This being comics, the experiment didn’t go as planned. Slade fell into a coma, when he awoke he discovered that he could use 90% of his brain at once and his strength, durability and agility had increased to near superhuman levels (Think a la Captain America).

Being unable to reenlist into the Army he became a mercenary. After an incident with a rival mercenary kidnapping his son he lost his eye during the rescue. He later wore a mask showing off that he only had one eye, boasting that he was still the world’s greatest mercenary even with the injuring.

Slade has a long history as an enemy of the Teen Titans, beginning when his son, Grant, he became an early Titans foe called the Ravager. Grant took a contract to defeat and capture the Titans. Ravager was given enhancements that granted him abilities, however, those enhancements proved fatal and Slade agreed to complete the contract after his death. As a result, he attacked the Titans continually.

Deathstroke has had run ins with the likes of Batman and has a deep rooted hatred towards Green Arrow which was show cased in the second season of Arrow on the CW. Slade even fought a part of the Justice League and systematically took them out one by one, eventually losing during a deadlock with Kyle Reyner, the Green Lantern, that Green Arrow capitalized on.

Slade has three children, all with an interesting and dark past as much as his father. I will feature them in future post but for now I hope you know a little bit more about Deathstroke The Terminator. He will be in the next solo Batman film starting Ben Affleck and How Manganiello.

Captain Marvel 101

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Captain Marvel (Mar-vell) is a fictional superhero appearing in Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and designed by artist Gene Colan and first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 in 1967. He is of the alien race, the Kree, who was originally sent to Earth to spy on the human race. During his time he began to care for humans and would use his powers to help humanity. In one instance a crowd had over heard a villain yell out his name, Mar-vell, but misheard and they ended up calling him Captain Marvel. Over the years he would go on multiple adventures and have constant conflicts with his Kree brothers over his love for the human race. Mar-vell would unfortunately pass away due to lung cancer which was caused do to a fight with the villain Nitro after inhaling deadly nerve gas.

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Carol Danvers is the current character to take on the Captain Marvel mantle and probably the most popular one besides Mar-vell himself. She was created by writer Roy Thomas and designed by artist Gene Colan, Major Carol Danvers first appeared as a member of the United States Air Force in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in 1968. Carol was very successful during her time in the Air Force, she even retired as a Colonel before accepting a securtiy position with NASA. Due to Carol becoming the youngest security captain in NASA’s history, she became involved in the schemes of the Kree Empire. That is when she met and became friends with Mar-Vell, whose enemies would be responsible for her accident/transformation. During a battle between Mar-vell with the alien Yon-Rogg, Carol was knocked into a damaged Kree Psyche-Magnitron, a powerful device that could turn imagination into reality. Carol’s genetic structure was altered making her a half-Kree superhuman. After Carol recovered from the explosion, she had gained superhuman powers much like those of Captain Marvel and her alter-ego even wore a costume patterned after that of the Kree hero. She became known as Ms. Marvel, and soon established herself as a powerful superhero in her own right. She went through several costume changes as most super heroes do. I placed some in this post so no one would get confused when searching her up in the future on the internet.

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Marvel Studios has decided to go with Carol Danvers as the character they will use to introduce the world to Captain Marvel. There are probably multiple reason why Marvel could’ve went that route. The original Captain Marvel hasn’t been used in continuity for over 30 years, excluding the occasional parallel universe or doppelgänger. Carol has had multiple self titled series and has been a mainstay on the Avenger titles for over ten years. She will also be the first female lead super hero movie from Marvel which needs to diversify their cinematic universe. All Marvel has is Black Widow played by the amazing Scarlett Johansson, which who knows how long she’ll be in contract with Marvel. They are in dire need of some girl power and they’ll have that and some with Captain Marvel.

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Finally some Captain Marvel news!

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Marvel just confirmed rumors that Brie Larson will be playing Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel due out in 2018. Captain Marvel’s first appearance might be in Avengers: Infinity War Part I which is coming out May 2017 before her own film.

Brie Larson is an Oscar winning actress and you might have seen her in Scott Pilgrim vs The World, 21 Jump Street, Room which she won an Oscar for and she’ll be starring in Kong: Skull Island along side the talented Tom Hiddleston.

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Comic-Con is hot and heavy right now and tons of news is coming out. I’ll try and keep up as much as I can. Stay tune for me! During the upcoming week I’ll give you guys a little insight on who Captain Marvel is.

 

 

New Poster for Wonder Woman released!

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Warner Bros. released a new poster for Wonder Woman’s feature film that is due out next summer in 2017. The poster is bright, powerful and with the tag line; Power, Grace, Wisdom, Wonder.

Wonder Woman is intended to be the fourth installment in the DC Cinematic Universe. The film is directed by Patty Jenkins who was behind the Oscar winner “Monster” starring Charlize Theron.  It’s being written by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns, Johns which is the “God father” of all things DC and behind dozens of A list productions in television, film and comics. It stars Gal Gadot, of course, from the Fast series and Chris Pine.

If you would like to know a bit more about Wonder Woman, check out my earlier post about Diana Prince by clicking on the link below.

https://younerditfirst.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/wonder-woman-the-amazonian-princess/

There’s a new Hulk and he’s totally awesome.

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Amadeus Cho was created by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa and first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. Amadeus is a Korean American teenager and at a young age, it was discovered that he had the ability to calculate and perceive the endless possibilities of a moment. He has a superhuman brain called a hypermind, which makes him one of the smartest people on the planet. At the age of 15, he was a senior in high school and competed in an online quiz sponsored by the Excello Soap Corporation.

The Excello quiz was actually a way  for a paranoid genius named Pythagoras Dupree to find other hyperminds like himself and kill them. Amadeus would have died in an explosion that destroyed his home and family, but he was distracted on his way home by a girl and was late for dinner. Scared and alone, Amadeus went on the run and eventually met up with The Hulk while in trouble and was saved by him. After that, Amadeus became a fan of The Hulk and saw him as a hero. Amadeus would soon become an ally of the Hulk during numorous story arcs through the years.

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In 2015, Amadeus Cho was announced as the new Hulk in the series The Totally Awesome Hulk. Following an incident where the original Hulk (Bruce Banner) absorbed a lethal amount of radiation that would have been dangerous even to him, Amadeus used some special nanites to remove the Hulk from Bruce Banner and place it into his body which allowed him to become his own version of Hulk fearing that Hulk’s meltdown due to over radiation exposure would kill a lot of people.

Amadeus Cho becoming The Hulk and being Korean-American shows Marvel’s continued willingness to diversify. This is a Hulk that we have never seen before; in control, powerful, intelligent, witty and most importantly wants to be The Hulk and loves what he does. Amadeus, a minority, has taken up the mantle of yet another top tier superhero with no indication of retiring those purple stretchy pants. The Totally Awesome Hulk could be found along side Ms. Marvel and others in Marvel’s Champions due out in the upcoming months.