So stuff happened during the convention and Crohn’s distractions. One of the biggies is an announced change at Marvel considering their three biggest heroes right now–Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. Two of these are the subject of tonight’s commentary but I’ll give you my thoughts on “Superior” Iron Man now. So they’re making Tony a bigger jerk than during Civil War. Yes, way to build on the movies, guys. Also, I’m tired of “Superior” in comic titles at Marvel. I didn’t care for the “Superior” Spider-Man and I’m hoping this isn’t the start of a trend, like the “Dark” Avengers only worse. I do like the new armor but it’s missing the color scheme.
Now that’s out of the way let’s hit the big changes. Thor and Captain America are getting new owners. The real Thor is losing his powers to a girl…yes, again, and Captain America will now be Sam Wilson, otherwise known as The Falcon. These are stupid gimmicks…at least I think they are since I don’t follow either character and if it wasn’t for the outcry I probably would be ignoring this.
Oh I don’t mean the naysayers. I don’t care enough about the characters, especially Thor (whom I have slightly more interest in than the Fantastic Four) to bother with them on this one. It’s the other side, who accused critics of sexism and racism. Look, I agree that there isn’t enough diversity among the superheroes, but the solution being sought after is really the wrong one. I understand it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.
I know everybody wants to be represented and why wouldn’t they? I know, for example, Icon will never be as big as Superman, and some of you may not even know who Icon is. And that’s the problem. You want a black superhero who is as big as Superman. That’s fine, and you forget Static is so big that DC robbed Dwayne McDuffie blind to get him (and then poorly used him because that’s the New 52 in a nutshell). And there’s a big deal made about the new Superman of Earth-2 being black. Or if there isn’t there should be because it means replacing Clark Kent. Except that when Miles Morales replaced Spider-Man in a parallel universe (the Ultimate Universe) nobody really blinked. That’s a parallel universe. They made Nick Fury black there it was cute and we sat back to see if both Miles and Samuel L. Fury (why do you think the movies went with that version; because he’s designed after Jackson) would be good characters. And lo, they were and are. They also did not change the guy in the main universe. Well, Nick did after the movie because screw the guy that’s been around since the old war books, we want to be popular and junk. If you were a fan of the original…well, sucks to be you, doesn’t it?
That’s why these gimmicks (and let’s face it that’s all they are, gimmicks that will last at most until before Age Of Ultron hits theaters) bother people. They pick up a Thor comic to read the adventures of Thor Odinson, not some girl who happens to have Thor’s powers. (Not that this doesn’t sound like an interesting character…which is why they’ve done it before.) I’ll get into the specifics momentarily on Lady Thor and Captain Samerica. My point is that if a character has been around long enough throwing some character into the suit doesn’t always work. We grew up with Clark Kent and anybody else calling himself Superman won’t be the same character. I can call myself Chris Hemsworth (or let’s be honest, Tom Hiddleston) but nobody is going to dress me up as a fictional god and women are not going to throw themselves at me. Or I’d have done it already. I can’t call myself the new Barrack Obama and get to run the country, especially since we’re on opposite wings of the eagle, so to speak.
It’s easier with Captain America than it is with Thor, however, because Captain America IS a title. Steve may have been the first but there were others after he went ice fishing for a few decades. Thor isn’t some identity, it’s his name. When the character first showed up, the idea was that Donald Blake found a stick that, when he struck it on the ground, would turn into Thor’s hammer and himself into Thor, but it was really Donald Blake. It was a later retcon that decided that Blake was the fake identity and he truly was the Thor of Norse mythology. That means this is more than taking up a mantle and title. Superman is a title. Captain Marvel is a title (in both DC and Marvel, really). The new Earth-2 black Superman isn’t calling himself Kal-El or even Clark Kent. Miles Morales is Spider-Man but he isn’t calling himself Peter Parker. Even if the new Thor was a dude this is going to be looked at the same way that Otto Octavius did when he took over Peter Parker and not just being Spider-Man. This isn’t sexism. If Sif had her own comic and suddenly her name and power would be given to a man, it would be the same thing.
This is an argument I’ve had before. Wanting to see the same character and not just somebody using the name isn’t racist, sexist, or any other ist. I’ve heard people give the reason they don’t watch Batman Beyond is that it isn’t Bruce in the costume. Not that they have a problem with Terry but that he isn’t the Batman they want to see. (I happen to really like Terry.) Both characters are white males. They want to see Thor Odinson using his own name and costume. Yet somehow in the comic he won’t be worthy of his own name and powers. (Remember the inscription on the hammer that lost meaning once the guy holding the hammer was revealed to actually BE Thor and not just a lame-legged doctor using his powers and outfit.) Could this be a good character? Possibly, we haven’t seen her yet. That doesn’t mean Thor Odinson’s fans want to see someone else using his name, even if he was a white male.
Sam’s case is a bit different, however. Yes, anybody can be chosen (based on whatever qualifications there are sans Super Soldier Serum) to become Captain America. There have been at least two, possibly three (I don’t really follow Captain America lore) Captains America in the past while Steve Rogers has gone by “Nomad” and “The Captain” at various points in his life. I don’t have a problem with someone taking over the name. For some reason Steve will be stripped of the Serum that gives him his strength and near-eternal youth and Sam will be given his title. Why not Bucky? Again, I don’t follow the lore so I don’t know what Winter Solider is up or down to these days.
I, however, have a different problem with Sam taking over as Captain America. He already has his own superhero identity, the Falcon. He was a main character in The Super Hero Squad Show, has made other cameos in Marvel toons, and recently appeared in the latest live-action movie, making him part of the Marvel Movieverse and a potential Avenger in future movies. (Was Falcon ever an Avenger in the comics?) Redwing is part of the Pet Avengers, although I suppose that doesn’t have to change. My point is the same when someone says Dick should never have gone back to being Nightwing and remained Batman…he has his own identity, costume, and style. (Although that’s been stripped from Grayson, Dick Grayson, in favor of making him a secret agent because…) That means that Falcon is dropping the superhero identity he’s spent years establishing and becoming somebody else. I thought he was fine the way he was and if someone could make the Falcon interesting enough to get his own comic series I’d rather they do that.
This isn’t about challenging diversity. Contrary to popular belief we conservatives are all about diversity…of skills, talents, and interests. These are unnecessary changes when there are plenty of female and black superheroes Marvel needs to promote and find writers who can write them. It’s working for Captain Marvel and it has worked on and off for She-Hulk. It has worked for Black Panther on and off. You just need to find someone who can make the characters work. And Marvel isn’t doing this in the name of diversity. They’re cheap gimmicks that aren’t even about keeping a series fresh, like the previous people calling themselves Thor (at least Eric had a good reason, having been merged with Thor’s body or something, and even became his own superhero eventually). It’s a marketing ploy that will be immediately tossed aside as soon as the next Avengers, Thor, or Captain America movie (like when Bucky handed the mantle back to Steve) hits theaters in the belief that fans of the movie will want to see that character in the comics. The fans of that character, however, will wait until their characters are back and fans of the new character may leave when the old one inevitably returns (possibly not realizing it was inevitable because they haven’t seen this happen a few dozen times like we have). This isn’t racism or sexism or any other ism. It’s wanting to see your favorite character still in action, not some new person bearing their name.