So . . . Secret Wars. I’m sure there are a number of articles out there that could explain what exactly this event is to those new to the medium, but I’m going to try to do it in as few sentences as possible. Basically multiple earths have been colliding with and destroying one another. The last two earths to play interstellar chicken are Earth 616 [the primary Marvel universe] and Earth 1610 [the Ultimate Marvel universe].
That’s pretty much all the context you need, honestly, because what you should really be focusing on is that the world is ending. The tagline to the event as it started out was “Everything Dies” and the Last Days issues for a number of Marvel titles concern how the characters we know and love will spend what time they have left. Throughout the past fifteen issues we’ve seen Kamala Khan own her identity as a superhero; it goes without saying how she plans on facing the apocalypse.
For the Illuminati, a shadowy group of Marvel’s brightest and most powerful, absolutely everything has been counting down to this final incursion. For Ms. Marvel recent events are also coming to a head as her falling for and subsequent falling out with Kamran has left her in a pretty dark place. Heartbreak plays an enormous role in the life of the average teen and she even admits that it’s “affecting [her] work” to a listening
bartender hot dog stand vendor.
With another planet looming above Manhattan all that is soon washed away as Kamala is reminded that she has another city entirely to protect. She directs Bruno and others to Cole Academic High School and then tends to her number one priority: her parents. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged 16, Aamir, Adrian Alphona, art, brother, Bruno, character, comics, crush, diversity, end of the world, family, G. Willow Wilson, heartbreak, hipster viking, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Last Days, Loki, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, Secret Wars, villain, ward
So ends the three-issue story arc “Crushed” and any semblance of a relationship that Kamala Khan and family friend [not cousin/blood relative] Kamran once had, not with a bang but with a helping hand. Let me backtrack a little-
Really, this plot in this issue is fairly simple. As I mentioned pretty explicitly in my last review the newest character to be introduced is bad news, his closeness with our heroine seemingly acting as a way for him to more easily serve his master, Lineage. That’s where things get a little less simple, so I suppose I should backtrack yet again and try to explain what’s been happening outside of Jersey City for those of you who are only reading this book out of Marvel’s many, many titles.
To start with, on the recap page you may have noticed the final line: “These events take place between Inhuman #14 and the Inhuman Annual.” Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, writing
Tagged 15, Aamir, art, Bruno, character, comics, coup, Crushed, diversity, friendship, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, she isn't, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain
Yeah, I saw Age of Ultron exactly a week ago. Yes, keeping myself from watching as much promotional material as possible prior to seeing it actually improved my viewing experience immensely. Oh, and that being said I did enjoy it, thank you for asking. Not a perfect film by any means, but still pretty good.
To back up the title of this post allow me to reveal that I spend at least three digits of dollars worth of comic books every month, and at least 90% of that money goes to Marvel Comics. As a company they own most of my favourite characters and are telling the stories I’m most interested in. I think “fanboy” goes a little too far, but you cut those last three letters off and I’ll wave that flag with a moderate amount of enthusiasm.
Having gotten that out of the way it should go without saying that even when they’re pretty bad [I’m looking at you, Iron Man 2] I still enjoy them. I know for a fact what movies I’m watching out to 2019, which is something I’ve never been able to say before. With the way the hype train has been rolling on towards the third installment in the Avengers film franchise there are still times when I need to pump the brakes [trains have brakes, right?] and remember something-
Three hunky White Chrises.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly White [I know there’s something you want to bring up, fellow Age of Ultron viewers, and I’ll get to that closer to the end]- Continue reading
Posted in comics, film, race
Tagged Anthony Mackie, Aquaman, avengers, black, comic books, comics, Cyborg, DC, diversity, Don Cheadle, Earth's Mightiest, film, Green Lantern, Jason Momoa, John Stewart, Marvel, MCU, race, Ray Fisher, representation, Suicide Squad, Warner Bros., white
Congratulations Are In Order
First thing’s first, I’d like to extend all the congratulations in the world to Em Liu of Fiction Diversity for having one of her articles hosted on The Hooded Utilitarian. This is thrilling to me for a number of reasons, listed in no particular order: she’s someone I follow and who I’ve had conversations with between our two blogs , The Hooded Utilitarian is one of my go-to places for pop culture critique on the internet, and the topic she wrote on is one that is very near and dear to my own heart, namely: “Hollywood’s (Real) Problem with the Asian Male”.
I very, very strongly recommend that you read it in its entirety, because with the sole exception of one small portion I’ll be addressing I believe it to be the gospel truth. If you still absolutely refuse to for some absurd reason, and I’m going to ask you to check it out again before moving on . . . the post catalogues the portrayal of Asian men in American cinema, specifically in terms of their desirability. It was particularly eye-opening to me in that one of the earliest examples goes back to the late 1950s with The Crimson Kimono [poster on the right, obviously].
After elaborating on how things have mostly been downhill from there, Liu takes care not to shy away from the fact that one of the cultural reactions to this trend has been “a troubling emphasis on the need for the Asian male to simply ‘get the girl‘ onscreen.” Allow me to take a brief, and very relevant segue to discuss how strongly that idea resounds with me, and how badly I once wanted [and oftentimes still do want] this.
The Thirst Is Real [Leonard Nam Should Be In More Stuff]
I very vividly remember being in my early teens and watching a trailer for 2004’s The Perfect Score-
To stop you before you get there, yes, it is funny that Chris Evans [aka Captain America] and Scarlett Johansson [aka Black Widow] appear together years before their stints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yes, in her dream sequence she does imagine becoming a leatherclad ass-kicker, life is weird, isn’t it? Carrying on- Continue reading
Posted in Asia, feminism, language, race, relationships, sex
Tagged asian, badass, Brian McBrian, capable, competent, competition, conquest, desirable, diversity, Fast Five, Fiction Diversity, film, Gal Gadot, Gisele, Han, Hollywood, Leonardo Nam, male, male gaze, relationships, representation, sexuality, Sung Kang
Before we really delve into this review, can we please pause for a moment and gush over its cover? Jake Wyatt returns after providing art duties for issues 6 and 7 last year, reminding us that if he wasn’t doing his own thing with his creator-owned Necropolis we would fully welcome him back with open arms. No offence to Alphona, of course, but Wyatt’s about as great a fill-in artist as you can get for whenever the Canadian needs to take a break.
Which of course isn’t to deride current artist Takeshi Miyazawa, because he is likewise killing it. We’ll get there when we get there, though, because this latest arc, “Crushed” is a ride.
Yes, the very handsome Kamran is very much still a factor, and yes, he is also an Inhuman. Just in case it wasn’t a big enough deal that he is also a nerdy Pakistani-American it just so happens that he too was given powers by the Terrigen Mist that gave Kamala the ability to embiggen, etc. How his story intersects with our heroine’s and proceeds is fairly straightforward, so I thought I would draw your attention to two parts of the narrative that can be told given who Ms. Marvel is, specifically. Continue reading
Posted in comics, race, relationships, religion, review, writing
Tagged 14, Aamir, art, character, comics, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, maturity, minority, Ms. Marvel, Pakistani, realism, representation, review, Sana Amanat, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain, Violence
This isn’t going to be the longest post for two reasons: 1) I made a bet with a friend and am only eating leaves for the entirety of today [this was my breakfast] and am therefore weak in mind, body, and spirit, and 2) this is a very straightforward assessment that two other other writers have already broken ground on already. Let me take a single step back, though, and remind you of what happens in a week’s time and why I’m writing this.
Furious 7 comes out.
I know I used my love of comic books to springboard my post on Flash Boys, the novel Aaron Sorkin refuses to write a screenplay for because “there aren’t any Asian movie stars”, but here we are again. Well, sort of. See, comic books only reach so large an audience. Comic book movies, on the other hand? They find themselves as two out of the top five highest grossing movies of last year [four of the top ten]. Everyone wants to get in on that business, to the point where a shared universe of larger-than-life characters was one of the goals of the truly awful Dracula Untold. Here’s the thing Universal, you already own The Fast and Furious [referred to as FF from this point on] franchise which has been going hard since the early aughts.
Remember at the end of Iron Man when Tony Stark meets Nick Fury for the first time and your nerdy friend gripped your arm so hard you thought they would snap it and whispered directly into your ear that “it’s happening“? The FF movies have been pulling that same move for years without the help of a narrative that’s been ongoing since the 60s. Every one of their reveals is builds on the preceding films,and the fact that they’ve managed to make this viewer drop his jaw is worth mentioning in and of itself.
Posted in Comedy, comics, family, film, race, relationships, writing
Tagged action, Brett White, comic book movie, continuity, diversity, evolution, family, film, Furious 7, In Your Face Jam, Marc Bernardin, movies, reveal, shared universe, The Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel
Look, I know I was tough on Ms. Marvel last month. It was a so-so issue, a fact that surprised me greatly considering it guest starred the Norse god of trickery. The thing is, even then I wasn’t worried that it was some sort of herald of less-great things to come, and the latest installment of Kamala Khan’s adventures is one of the best yet.
Everything that was missing from the Valentine’s issue is present here. Inhumans? Check. Genuine hero vs. villain throwdowns? Check. An exploration of the life hyphenated-American youth live, AKA the cornerstone of immigrant literature? Ch-ch-ch-check.
That last point is what truly made me love this comic, because the rest of the Khans get some quality pagetime after being out of the spotlight for so long. Take the following panel-
It takes place after we see Kamala training in the Inhuman version of the X-Men’s Danger Room, and while seeing Medusa worry about her subject [she is queen of the Inhumans, after all] is intriguing all I could think of was: “older Pakistani people would probably not be down with the skin-tight leggings she has on.” Lo and behold we have her ammi chiding her for her indecency. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, family, race, review, Youth
Tagged 13, Aamir, amma, appa, art, auntie, Bollywood, character, comics, cousin, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, not incest, Pakistani, representation, review, Sana Amanat, second-generation, Takeshi Miyazawa, uncle, villain