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Comics Picks For 05.02.2014

On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Ms. Marvel #1 (Comics Review)

First new comics day of a new month, and since this is February 5th, 2014 that means that today is the day that sees the launch of Ms. Marvel #1. Long the identity of Carol Danvers after she got some powers from the first Captain Marvel aka Captain Mar-Vell (sp?), it was discontinued in the launch of Marvel Now since Carol was asked by Captain America to take up the mantle of the fallen Mar-Vell. Under Kelly Sue DeConnick and a rotating team of artists, Carol Danvers became the new Captain Marvel and went on for some great things. But now, with the launch of All-New Marvel NOW! and the upcoming Inhumans crossover, we have a new Ms. Marvel. And she is as different from the original as you could get.

Kamala Khan, daughter of Pakistani immigrants to the US, has been picked out by the Terrigen Mists to become a new superhero, a descendant of the offshoot of the Inhumans tribe that left their people thousands of years in Earth’s past. With the recent events of Infinity and the crash of Attilan, the city of the Inhumans, big changes are on the horizon and Kamala is at the center of them all. She is now the heir to a legacy that she has wished all her life, and under writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, it looks like its going to be one hell of a ride.

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Superman/Batman (Public Enemies):Enemies Number One

Another DCAU review for you this time. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is one of the best animated movies that have come out of DC’s animated movies line-up and it is one that I recommend highly. The sense of camaraderie between the two leads, the whole plot involving Lex Luthor becoming President of the United States and bringing some superheroes under his own banner and so on, its all really good stuff. And its got great humour, which is always key when it comes to the two leads, I think, whenever they are shown together that is.

So hope you enjoy this review and give the movie a go. If you do, then do let me know how you find it.

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Advent Review #9: Infinity by Jonathan Hickman (Graphic Novel Review)

This year has certainly been the year of mega-crossovers and events. Barely does one stop when the next one begins. With Marvel, it was, first, their Marvel NOW! relaunch last fall, which was quickly followed by the universe-wide Age of Ultron, and then immediately after that we delved into TWO crossover events. The first of these was Avengers and New Avengers scribe Jonathan Hickman’s grand space opera Infinity and the other was Battle of the Atom (Part 1, Part 2) for the primary X-Men team books and was penned by multiple writers. And barely has either event finished that we are moving on to the next event: Inhumanity, which has already begun in bits and pieces but won’t kick into overdrive until next year. And not to forget, Marvel’s Ultimate universe is also undergoing its own event right now, Cataclysm which just might see the destruction of that setting.

So indeed, there’s been a lot going on at Marvel next year, including their All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch of certain titles from the current range and which will see some new books debuting as well. Through all of it, I’ve stuck with only two events: Battle of the Atom and Infinity. The former event had a really good start in its first month but fizzled out completely in the second. The latter, which I just read back-to-back (just the core event issues), has been a much better read, primarily because of its incredible scope which covers a lot of different characters and teams and organisations within the Marvel-616 universe and thus giving the reader a good taste for all of it.

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Black Widow/Wonder Woman: Impossible Perfections

Yesterday evening, I read an article on the geek news site The Mary Sue, which touched on an interview that ToonZone had with James Tucker recently (link to article). In this interview, he was asked by Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s recent comments that the studio really needs to get on with making a Wonder Woman movie because it is too big a thing to miss out on, essentially. Tucker is a supervising producer of the studio’s DC Animated division and as such, what he says should carry some weight in the discussion that has surrounded this topic of late: Wonder Woman getting her own live action movie, or at least the failed television show being given the go ahead.

I’ve been quite frustrated with all the non-news about the topic, particularly since DC and WB seem to be dragging their heels on the subject. What little comments that have filtered down to the masses, other than Tsujihara’s somewhat positive take, have all been about gender inequality and this notion that Wonder Woman can only work if she has THE perfect script going for her because she is, in a nutshell, too difficult a character to bring to the mainstream cinema audiences. Tucker’s comments fueled that fire further with his own brand of such silliness.

So, in a fit of frustration, I took to Twitter to talk about it and had a very interesting discussion with a few people about what is happening. This post is an offshoot of that entire discussion.

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Diversity In All-New Marvel NOW!

I’ve blogged about diversity in comics before. I’ve even talked about it extensively on Twitter and Facebook as well. As an Indian comics reader, comics diversity is something that I think about a lot, and being a reviewer has helped me to think about it in several different ways that I didn’t quite consider before. Diversity doesn’t just stop with gender, or race. It is much more. It is about religion, geography, physical attributes, mental state, health disorders, etc. One point I’ve iterated on again and again is that today, comics readers aren’t just white males in their teens and twenties and living in UK/US. They are much. Comics readership crosses all sorts of boundaries today. All sorts of people, from all walks of life and with all kinds of backgrounds read comics in this day and age.

Hell, comics aren’t just print anymore. They went digital and they have only been growing despite the ridiculous scaremongering from those who dislike the medium or are hopelessly wedded to their print collections to the exclusion of all else.

In a world like this, diversity is an important topic to discuss. And there are no better agents to discuss this topic than the Big 2, Marvel and DC. They are the giants of the industry who together make up about 67-75% (give or take a couple percentage points) of the market in terms of unit sells and market shares in any given month. They have the longest legacies, and thus the most material to contribute to such a discussion.

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