"U.S.Avengers": A Guide to Marvel's New Patriotic Superhero Team
X-Factor #12-23 (Marvel) by Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri (#12), Walter Simonson (#13-15, 17-19, 21, 23), David Mazzucchelli (#16), June Brigman (#20), Sal Buscema (#22), Bob Wiacek (#12, 14-15, 17-19, 21-23), Dan Green (#13), Joe Rubinstein (#16), Randy Emberlin (#20), Petra Scotese, Joe Rosen, Bob Harras
I tend to enjoy any comicbook that looks at the inescapable personal torments, damaged relationships, and psychological strains of the superhero lifestyle. Secret identities, an endless and self-feeding cycle of violence, taking on the impossible responsibility of keeping the rest of the world safe—it’s bound to take its toll on anyone, and it’s nice when a narrative acknowledges that. X-Factor #12-23 digs deep into these superhero problems and their consequences, then piles on several other whole sets of problems, too. There is, of course, the classic conundrum of humans fearing/hating mutants no matter what they do, which is amped up more than usual in this particular series because of its foundational concept of X-Factor pretending to be mutant hunters. Though less explicitly discussed, there’s also an argument embedded in these issues that the whole idea of gathering mutants together and training them to use their powers and fight evil mutants might be flawed, that Xavier did both harm and good with the original X-Men and now, as X-Factor, those same characters are repeating his mistakes with a new generation. Then again, there’s no better alternative offered here, because if not protected, nurtured, and taught control, the young mutants of the world could potentially do massive damage without even meaning to. So X-Factor presents a pretty dreary interpretation of the mutant-heavy reality of the 1980’s Marvel Universe, one where there may not be any truly good choices for mutantkind to make, especially because, in that world, superpowers almost always lead to superheroics (or supervillainy), which in turn lead to their own significant stresses, injuries, etc. Continue Reading »
Have a seat, eat some fried eggs and bacon, and read up on some links. Sounds like a good time to me!
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‘I met Andy Warhol at a really chic party’ / Blow it out your hairdo, ’cause you work at Hardee’s!
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An old Ukrainian proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.”
That is a risk we will have to take. (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
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There is not much importance in giving an award of importance to someone of no importance. (Joseph Heller, from Picture This)
“Italians have made the family an extremist group. The family is the instrument of revenge.” (Don DeLillo, from The Names)
If so, that impression was in his mind on that last day of 1807 when he was forty and played Surrey to Burr’s Wolsey, exclaiming to the ravening crowd that Burr had “no religious principles, and little, if any sense of reverence to a moral Governor of the Universe.” How could even an Adams purport to know such a thing? John Quincy Adams’s theologically trained father would have been aware that one makes a statement about the state of another person’s soul at great peril to one’s own. (Roger Kennedy, from Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson)
“And the good thing about feeling really happy, you know, Valentin? … It’s that you think it’s forever, that one’s never ever going to feel unhappy again.” (Manuel Puig, from Kiss of the Spider Woman)
It came to me that he meant something different by “smile” than I did; that the irony, the humourlessness, the ruthlessness I had always noticed in his smiling was a quality he deliberately inserted; that for him the smile was something essentially cruel, because freedom is cruel, because the freedom that makes us at least partly responsible for what we are is cruel. So that the smile was not so much an attitude to be taken to life as the nature of the cruelty of life, a cruelty we cannot even choose to avoid, since it is human existence. (John Fowles, from The Magus)
Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares. (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)
Out of the seven days of creation, four were successful and three were unsuccessful. Only one day held sway and made this world a successful world. That was the seventh day, the day of rest, when the Creator did nothing. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted with Tea)
Aliye’s death, and its echoes, had been stilled by the greater horror of this mother’s death, which burned inside him like a smothered coal in the silence there. But Aliye had started dying from the moment his mother told him that they were not to marry, in spite of the bey’s gracious visit, in spite of the fine carpet, in spite of the words he has whispered to Aliye and which he had thought were true words. He knew then how it must end for her, though his mother said it would be otherwise. He wished that there were one fixed thing in the world that would never change, or disappoint him, or leave him, but he did not know what that might be, unless it was the idea of God, which was a certitude without delight or consolation. (Starling Lawrence, from Montenegro)
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from X-Factor #66, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated May 1991. Enjoy!
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“What of the success of the Expulsion?” Carranque asked. The driver was momentarily silenced.
“Success for the Catholics?” I ventured.
“Certainly not, Señora.” Now it was Carranque who laughed. “The Expulsion of the Jews was an unmitigated disaster for the Catholics. For a brief time, Their Catholic Majesties feasted on the properties and treasures left behind by the running Jews. But after a very short while they awoke to the truth that their best and their brightest had fled. Gone were their merchants, their statesmen, their doctors, their artisans and their artists, their poets, their musicians, their singers, and their leatherworkers. Without its Jews, Spain dried up into the shriveled olive it is today.”
“So the success?”
“Was the success of the Jews — the Jews who fled to Morocco, to Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to the Netherlands. They spread their art and learning across the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar and northward into Europe. They made a virtue of exile, found their greatest reward in exile, found their humanity, their lost identity, in exile.” (Jonathan Levi, from A Guide For The Perplexed)
“It’s sex, isn’t it? We can’t deal with it. That’s why our religions hate it so much. It wants to save us from ourselves. If we don’t have any certainties, we can’t trust ourselves.” (Graham Joyce, from Requiem)
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