LAST WEEK’S COMICS TODAY VOL 12
Welcome back everyone to another installment of LAST WEEK’S COMICS TODAY! In this episode we have only one comic review – a She-Hulk / Ant-Man shrinking team-up extravaganza, but we also have an extended SuperWoman of the Week section where we talk the sensational Angelfire and lay it all out on the table in regards to female led superhero flicks.
So hang onto your butts True Believers, because here we go!
A quick warning, there will be SPOILERS for the books, so if you have the same irrational fear of spoilers that keeps you on an Internet blackout for days if you’ve missed an episode of ORPHAN BLACK like I do, then finish up your books and come on back when you’re ready.
Then on with the show!
SHE-HULK #7 (MARVEL)
W/ Charles Soule
A/ Javier Pulido
It’s been a while since we last reviewed an issue of SHE-HULK. I’ve been enjoying the series so far, it’s a fun, lighthearted read every month and Soule really does a great job of capturing the spirit of Jen Walter, as a superhero, a lawyer and a woman.
This issue is a self contained story guest starring the soon to be Paul Rudd Ant-Man. He, Shulkie and her BFF Hellcat are minimized in search of a scientist who’s co-opted some Pym Particles for his own commercial purposes and doesn’t want to sell his inventions to a mystery buyer (who turns out to be Hank himself).
Pym plans on showing them the ropes of how to fight in a diminished state, but is unexpectedly swept away by a perspectively gigantic bird. Jen and Patsy have to fend for themselves, battling against monstrous ants (which Hellcat tries to control with Hank’s Ant-Helm, to disastrous effect) and ferocious cats (which Hellcat fights back with much less disastrous effect – it’s just a cat and she’s a Hellcat, of course). Eventually the rogue scientist is found and they work out an agreement him and Hank.
Like I said, this was a fun self contained issue that felt like one of the flighty, whimsical She-Hulk stories of the John Byrne era, which I adored. There was also some fine character moments between Jen and Patsy. When they’re escaping for the ants, She-Hulk grabs her buddy and leaps up atop a towering grill. Hellcat chastises her for jumping what is nearly the height of a skyscraper which hurt her because she doesn’t have Shulkie’s super-durability and is also upset because she was trying to control the ants with the Hank-Helm before she was yanked away. She’s mad Jen is always the one saving the day and she wants to be the one who does the superheroics for once. I’m loving the relationship between these two, they play well off each other, the dialogue between them is always snappy and it was nice to see a little bit of tension in their relationship after the previous issue had been mostly just paling around and stomping bad guys.
It was great to have Pulido back on art this month. I really did not care for the guy they had on pencils the last couple months – Pulido’s work is very stylized, but I thought previous issues were too much with exaggerated POVs and everything. I really love the simplistic but evocative style Pulido brings to the book and Vincente brings the vibrant colors that make the pop-art pencils leap from the pages. Love it so so much.
This week’s Superwoman of the Week is Angelfire (aka Alison Vingiano) the star of a short film and the first episode in a developing webseries, Adventures of Angelfire, where a female superhero pitches a film about her origins and escapades to studio execs with unsurprisingly depressing results.
Every time Angelfire rolls into her pitch she’s interrupted with the execs’ ponderously dumb ideas of what they want to do with her story or the nonsensical excuse of why her film wouldn’t work. I can just imagine variations of these lines have been utter in real life when a similar idea has been pitched:
“We’ve been looking for a vehicle for MAN HERO and you’d be the prefect sidekick! He can save you AND the day! And just think of the sequels!”
“This one very particular, but important to us for some reason, market just isn’t ready for this kind of movie. Pluuuuuus, I don’t think our corporate sponsors would really like it.”
“What do think about being a hot alien?”
It’s a pretty simple and funny film, but does a great job of highlighting what I think is the trepidation of some movie executives when considering a female lead superhero film and accurately portraying the absurdity of it.
Now I don’t think anyone in the offices of Marvel Studios has said to someone pitching a BLACK WIDOW movie that it should be tag-lined ‘Justice is a Bitch’ or anything as blatantly misogynistic as that (or at least I hope not). But it well documented Kevin Feige, the Overlord of Marvel’s film division has been dancing around the prospects of a female lead film for a while now. His excuses about having to move pieces around chessboard, are not even close to on par with what’s presented in Angelfire’s video, but are just deflecting of legitimate questions.
I don’t want to sound like I’m bagging on Marvel here, though. There’s also DC/WB Studios who announced a schedule of ten new films going out to like 2020 last week, but no titles for any of them. I’m going to assume one of these is a WONDER WOMAN movie. It has to be. I mean, there’s no possible way in the Multiverse (that’s 52 worlds in DC continuity) that the one of, if not the most, iconic female characters in the history of mainstream media, isn’t given top billing in one of these movies.
Aquaman is getting a movie some time in the next five years.
Angelfire’s struggles highlight the more ridiculous and outlandish reasons why her pitch is rejected, but let’s address what seems to be the main concern and excuse that’s almost always trotted out when the discussing the green-lighting a female fronted superhero movie.
The argument I hear most when this topic comes up is these movies are incredibly expensive and there’s too much risk involved with investing $200 million in a unproven commodity – in this case a female lead superhero.
And it’s an utterly ridiculous argument.
A movie where the two most famous actors on the cast played talking raccoon and tree has made $180 million since it’s debut two weeks ago. That’s not because there’s a huge talking tree and raccoon demographic out there that Marvel finally tapped into (although there is a great love of anthropomorphic animals in some internet circles) but because of the strength of the Marvel brand.
I’ve been reading comics for 20 years and I’ve never read a Guardians of the Galaxy comic.
I didn’t know the main character was named Star-Lord until that first trailer. Who, indeed?
But I went and saw the movie because Marvel has been making great films ever since the first IRON MAN and they’ve earned my trust and my ten bucks every time an new film debuts (not to mention my debilitating romantic feelings for Chris Pratt, but that’s besides the point. Ahem.)
They’re making an Ant-Man movie right now and it’s going to make bank when it comes out. Not because Ant-Man has a huge fan base, but because of the Marvel brand. I’ll be there the first weekend (Paul Rudd love another aside) just like I have for every other Marvel film.
You mean to tell me a ScarJo helmed Black Widow flick, a character already established and important character in the known MCU and star of her own Box Office conquering film in LUCY, wouldn’t do well with that Mighty Marvel Marketing behind it?
Ridiculous, I say again.
DC/WB, on the other hand, has yet to engender this kind of goodwill with the movie-going public, but if BATMAN V SUPERMAN is actually a good film and not the beginning of a pretty good movie and then 60 minutes disaster porn like MAN OF STEEL, they’ll be on the right track.
But that really shouldn’t matter in terms of a Wonder Woman movie. She’s one of the most recognizable characters ever – on pure name recognition alone, I think her film will sell tickets, even if BvS is terrible. There are people who have waited decades for Wonder Woman to appear on the big screen. They will come to this film. Anyone who grew up watching the Linda Cater TV show or reading George Perez’s excellent run in the comics or discovered the the character from the outstanding Justice League animated series or even just got into the current Azzarello run on the comics.
Wonder Woman has a built in following – there is a cultural zeitgeist around her that can’t be denied or understated.
In closing, aside the from Wonder Woman and Black Widow, I think there are two female heroes that must get films in the next few years and ones that I think could be huge successes at the Box Office.
She’s basically female Superman, but an actual human instead of an alien – making her, I think, even more relatable than the Big Blue Boy Scout. She’s treated as an iconic character in the comics like Superman too, having her own group of admirers call the Carol Corps. She’s fiercely loyal to her friends and allies and a battles injustices not only on Earth across the stars.
The qualities of an old-school valiant hero. Marvel could make an incredible Superman movie with her – one with the kind of uplifting awe and wonder of the Christopher Reeve era films that was do absent in the very bleak MAN OF STEEL
In the comics she also has a relationship with the Guardians of the Galaxy and is connected to the Kree mythology, so introducing her in the GotG sequel and spinning that off into a solo film in the future seems like a no-brainer to me.
We’re talking Kamala Khan here, the new Pakistani-American teen Ms. Marvel. She’s smart, charming and exceedingly likable character Marvel could make an amazing slice of life / coming of age / self discovery film out of her story akin to the first SPIDER-MAN movie. I’ve said previously that Kamala could be this generation’s Peter Parker.
I think she has crossover appeal to the teen and YA crowd crowd as well. Marvel has yet to deal into the teen superhero portion of their universe and there are many good stories to tell there (RUNAWAYS!) and Kamala would be a great staring place to build a roster of teen heroes from. She is most certainly the most prominent and recognizable one in the Marvel U right now.
Also, she’s an Inhuman, the group of superhumans Marvel has been pushing in the comics lately since they can’t use mutants in their films. With the announcement of a likely Inhumans movie some time in Phase 3 just yesterday, it would be a prefect opportunity to introduce the concept of the Inhumans in a Ms. Marvel film to set up their own feature film.
A post-credit teaser of Black Bolt showing up in Jersey City?
Make it happen Mahvel.