A Clash of Heroes

Superheroes, philosophy, ethics, and politics

I Hope That They See What Makes Her Special

My wife and my daughter saw Wonder Woman on Friday, and my oldest two sons saw it on Saturday. (Our youngest is a toddler, so we can’t go to movies together right now.) Before the boys and I went to the theater, I took my daughter to our local comic shop for some free comics and to have her picture made with a Wonder Woman cosplayer.

After I snapped the pic, the cosplayer smiled at my daughter and told her, “Go protect your family!” It’s what you’d expect a superhero cosplayer to say to a kid, but the admonition struck me as odd and stuck with me for the rest of the day. Continue reading “I Hope That They See What Makes Her Special”

Notes from the Secret Empire Part 5.5: Beating Us Over the Head With the Trump Stick

This is getting a little ridiculous. Almost laughable, even.

That’s what I thought when I read Captain America: Steve Rogers #17.

I hate saying that, because these days the Captain America books and Secret Empire are the books that I look forward to the most. I hate saying it because I think that they’re some of the best comics being written right now. Hell, they’re some of the best superhero comics to be published in a long time.

So what’s different about CA:SR #17? Continue reading “Notes from the Secret Empire Part 5.5: Beating Us Over the Head With the Trump Stick”

NOW Can We Finally Rethink Man of Steel and Batman v Superman?

The outpouring of support for Zack Snyder since he announced that he was stepping away from the director’s chair of Justice League after the death of his daughter has been moving. My social media feeds have been flooded with posts, memes, articles, and other things offering prayers, condolences, and appreciations for the director and his wife, Deborah. I still think that the internet is mostly a festering cesspool of ignorance and nastiness, but every so often it helps people to come together in beautiful ways.

On the other hand, all of the warm feelings feel a little surreal coming after a year of the Snyder-bashing that followed BvS. The sudden turnaround following the nearly relentless hatred that followed in the wake of that movie feels familiar. Haven’t we seen this before? Right––we’ve already seen this in BvS. Continue reading “NOW Can We Finally Rethink Man of Steel and Batman v Superman?”

Notes from the Secret Empire Part 5: The Return of Hope?

***Major spoilers for Secret Empire #2***

Secret Empire #2 knocked us all off our feet earlier this week because it has a doozy of a last page. While the issue gives us plenty to think about, it seems like most commentators have spent their time speculating about what the last page means. Is it really Steve Rogers? Which one? Is it the Cap from the Ultimate Universe? Is this more shenanigans caused by Kobik? I’ll admit that the last image in the book left me stunned, and for the next hour it’s all I could think about. Here was exactly what I’d been waiting for: the return of Steve Rogers. I just hoped that it wasn’t a gimmick or a trick. We’ve been tricked several times since Captain America: Steve Rogers was announced last year, after all. Is this another one? Continue reading “Notes from the Secret Empire Part 5: The Return of Hope?”

An Unconventional Mother’s Day Post: Alfred Pennyworth and the Dignity of Unsung Work

It’s an odd connection to make, but with Mother’s Day this weekend (and Father’s Day coming up in about a month), I find myself thinking about Alfred Pennyworth and his daughter, Julia. (Hopefully, I’ll make that connection clear by the end of this post.)

One of my favorite scenes in Batman Eternal, the 2014 limited series by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and others, is the conversation between Alfred and Julia in issue #12. Julia, an agent of the British Special Air Service, was injured in a fight with Shen Fang, and Batman has brought her back to Gotham to convalesce at Wayne Manor. Julia and Alfred haven’t seen each other in years, and Julia has no idea that Bruce is Batman or that her father spends his evenings helping the Dark Knight fight crime. She thinks of her father (who was once a medic in the British Army as well as a celebrated stage actor) is now little more than a manservant to a spoiled billionaire: Continue reading “An Unconventional Mother’s Day Post: Alfred Pennyworth and the Dignity of Unsung Work”

The MCU Has a Language Problem

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a language problem.

Let me preface this by saying two things:

First, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to think about movies, if you’re the kind of person says, “But it’s just entertainment!” or “It’s just a movie!” or “You think too much!”––well, this post isn’t directed at you. You might as well move on to the next blog.

Second, this is not in any way an attack on the MCU. I LOVE the MCU. If I’m going to spend my increasingly-rare free time on a movie, nine times out of ten it’s going to be a Marvel movie. I’ve seen every MCU movie opening night since The AvengersI was there for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 opening night in IMAX, and I loved it.

But it’s true: the MCU has a language problem. Continue reading “The MCU Has a Language Problem”

Notes from the Secret Empire (Part 4): On That Twist . . .

Notes from the Secret Empire (Number 4)

What actual hell?

***Major, gigantic, huge spoiler alert for the Free Comic Book Day issue of Secret Empire . . . which was already spoiled a couple of weeks ago.***

So, in the Secret Empire Free Comic Book Day special, this happened: Continue reading “Notes from the Secret Empire (Part 4): On That Twist . . .”

Notes From The Secret Empire (Part 3)

)Secret Empire #1 hit the shelves today. It’s going to be a hard road––for everybody: for the Champions, who are currently hiding in a compound in Arizona; for the American people, who are currently being reeducated in Hydra-improved schools; for Captain America, who is learning the difficulty and loneliness that come with being in power; and it’s going to be a hard road for those of us who are reading.

Division at the heart of everything

If betrayal and the triumph of Hydra were the story of Secret Empire #0, struggle and division are the story of Secret Empire #1. Continue reading “Notes From The Secret Empire (Part 3)”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Descartes’ Nightmare Scenario

The current story arc in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (AoS) uses a computer-generated artificial environment called The Framework to explore what might have happened if Hydra had succeeded in taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. Besides giving us the opportunity to see some of our favorite heroes at their worst, the story also raises interesting philosophical problems, questions that were anticipated centuries ago by philosophers like René Descartes. Specifically, the Hydra story explores problems associated with epistemology, or the study of what we can know and how we can know it.

Read more here.

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