Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 09

Every Tuesday, I post excerpts from my best-selling at not-selling super blog, Playing Favorites

So, I don’t care about a single thing about Cable up to the point that he quit whatever X team he was on at the time and starting paling around with Deadpool. That at some point, he said, “All this fighting and shit…what if we just…stop that?” And started to use the fact that he’s from the future to try to make the world a better place. And the world hated him for it. Yeah. Fuck yeah. Sure, it’s not going to work, because even if Marvel Comics was going under tomorrow, they certainly wouldn’t end the Marvel Universe with Cable bringing about world peace. Kang the Conqueror would come riding in from a time swirl on the shoulders of Galactus talking about The Great Menace of the Future, which is actually a super-Hulk made from the bodies of six smaller Hulks. Now, I’m not saying that super-Hulk would punch something hard enough to break time-

-because that would be dumb-

-but whatever the problem, it would be massive, all-encompassing, and cataclysmic. Picture Utau, the perennially-uninvolved Watcher, with three-day stubble, a bandolier, and a laser gun in each hand in full action pose on the rubble of New York (you can tell because of Statue of Liberty behind him). That big. So Cable isn’t quite genre-savvy enough to figure out that this thing will be cool until it gets boring, then it’s going to sink like a metal city full of mutants in the middle of an ocean (I know you probably didn’t get to read ‘Cable & Deadpool,’ but that’s literally how Cable’s dream ends.).

But he still tries damnit. And as much as a comic book character created by Rob Liefeld can, he gives up violence and tries to formulate new ways to run governments and communities and he tries to reform even the worst that society has to offer by showing them a better way. This includes everyone from Deadpool to the Marvel Universe’s version of Osama Bin Laden. The Bin Laden thing was going okay, according to all reports; it was the Deadpool thing that didn’t turn out too well…at first.

In fact, Deadpool towards the end of ‘Cable & Deadpool’ ended up being a character well on his way to redemption. He had friends, respect…both of which he’d earned by not being a crazy bastard all the time. He managed to rub shoulders with the best of the Marvel Universe and come away wiser for it. Sure, all that progress gets undone whenever you have three ongoing series, plus a limited series and a cameo in every book that isn’t “I Hate Deadpool Monthly,” but that Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth on his way to being a hero, I’ll miss that guy.

Although his book would have been Spider-Man with katanas instead of angst meets Wolverine with a different spread of impulse control problems. Wow, that started with an ‘although,’ but it didn’t sound that way at the end. I’d totally buy “Drama-Free Katana Spider-Man/Impulse Control Problem Wolverine.”

Now, speaking of a respectable license to print money, Spider-Man was a candidate be an earlier part of this endeavor. He’s a good guy, works hard, has depth, has a good power suite (which hasn’t really been an issue thus far, but it is a factor). Supermodel wife or no, the guy is relatable. He tries to do the right thing and often times, it’s not easy for him. Sometimes, it’s even counterproductive. I like that he-like Ultimate Captain America-subverts the righteous violence trope of comics by being a guy who will almost always do the right thing, and will commonly be punished for it. His life isn’t easy, and Spider-Man only makes it harder, but he keeps doing what he does because ultimately he’s a selfless guy (and the universe tends to punish him whenever he doesn’t, and even the biggest paste-eater in the class would’ve caught on that trend and straightened up into a bastion of morality by now. Nothing that ever befalls Spider-Man for doing the right thing will ever be worth what happens to him if he doesn’t.)

That does bring to light a certain pitfall of comics; because moral themes are so fundamental, every lie and half-truth will eventually settle out to the bottom. I sometimes say that a fallen object cannot fall. Lies and truths are very similar. Truth is a fallen object; it cannot be unearthed or dropped further; all of the potential is taken out of it. Lies are suspended like the Sword of Damocles. Whenever heroes take a short cut or do something tremendously wrong, it usually comes back to haunt them. Look at “World War Hulk.” Okay, one example, no matter how massive, isn’t really good enough to make an argument, so let’s look at ‘Watchmen’; Veidt crafts a new world based on lies, but once the lies come out, the potential crashes and all Veidt’s work is for nothing. Building a better world based on truth means that it’s more stable. It will be much harder for one fact to bring the world to back to the minute before midnight. Look at “Onslaught Saga”; Xavier wiped Magneto’s mind and the entire universe had to be remade.

And by all reports, most of it was terrible.

Spider-Man is on. Tentatively. As long as he isn’t whining. Spider-Man is a top-notch hero, but he isn’t whenever he’s whining. I know I love a hero’s home life and watching them between superheroics being a person. I think it makes them more grounded, more three-dimensional, and—especially with Spider-Man—easier to relate to. That said, I wish they could just let the whininess go. We all like Spidey to be a little tortured--the Spidey-Snap is, in my limited experience, prelude to pure Spider-awesomeness. And hey, if any hero in the world you gives you this shot without being The Flash,
they’ve almost earned their way into my top ten with a single panel of win.

So Spider-Man’s story is rife with injustice, but rich with humanity. I add him to the list and put it two guys over, as it officially becomes a sausage and wrinkly-chin fest.

[EDIT: I've since learned a lot about Final Crisis since writing this and it doesn't sound as dumb as others made it out to be.]

[ALSO EDIT: I've learned a little about Heroes Reborn since writing this and it still sounds god-awful.]

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