Monday, July 6, 2015

Miles Morales and Sam Wilson

I have to admit that I've been pretty disinterested in Marvel's current Secret Wars crossover. It feels like it could have been more properly titled Back to the Well as it's essentially about revisiting older stories. I'm usually not such a naysayer, and I've enjoyed most of what Marvel's been doing since Civil War, but I haven't been picking up a whole lot of Marvel books since this story has started.

Anyway, I'm a bit more interested in what's going on after this is all over. Marvel has announced a bunch of new titles, and some of them look pretty cool. For people who have been away from the Marvel Universe for a while, it'll seem like a whole lot has changed, even those most of these changes were in place before the big Secret Wars event. For one, there's a female Thor. This series continues along with what Jason Aaron has been doing with the concept for the past few years now, and it's been one of my favorites and has continued to be so even with the introduction of the female Thor. Before this whole crossover got started, her real identity was revealed, and it opened the door for even more cool stories featuring the character.

Two other big changes involve Spider-Man and Captain America which furthers what seems like a pretty deliberate effort to make the Marvel Universe a little bit more ethnically (and sexually) diverse. With Spider-Man, it looks like Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man, will be part of the regular Marvel Universe, and we're going to have two Spider-Men since Peter Parker seems to be sticking around. As for Captain America, we still have Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, flying around and tossing the shield.

I'm glad to see Miles Morales be a part of the proper Marvel Universe, and I'm just fine with him being another Spider-Man. I'm not as happy with Sam Wilson. Here's why:

I've read all of the collected editions of Miles Morales's adventures, and I've enjoyed them all tremendously. Even though he's not Peter Parker, his stories bring it all back to the "hero who could be you" vibe that the original Spider-Man adventures had, while giving it a modern twist. As for his ethnicity (black and Hispanic), it's a part of who he is but I don't see any reason why a white kid couldn't relate to him, just as plenty of black and Hispanic kids could relate to the teenage Peter Parker. Is it diversity for diversity's sake? Maybe the initial premise was, I have no way of knowing one way or the other. But even if it was, they've created a great character whom I care about.

The thing is with Peter Parker is that he carries a lot of baggage. They aged him at a rapid pace in the early years, but then they tried to slow things down as it was clear that the character was going to keep attracting new fans. It seems like in the new Marvel Universe, Peter has been allowed to progress and achieve his potential in the field of science that we always knew he had. Sure, they'll probably eventually pull the rug out from under him, but just as it's cool to see an old friend grow, we still have Miles to experience new adventures of a regular kid with spider powers.

But why am I not as happy about Sam Wilson as Captain America? Have I got something against The Falcon? Actually, my problem is the exact opposite. I love The Falcon. He's a great character, and I always liked to see him play a key role in Captain America's adventures. (And I really love Anthony Mackie's portrayal of the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) I'd buy a Falcon solo series if there was one.

In other words, even though he still has the wings, I miss The Falcon, and I don't need him to be Captain America.
Plus, it still feels too soon to me after Bucky Barnes replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America to have yet another "Here's another guy wearing the Captain America outfit" story. Still, if they had to do it, I'd rather see some other guy wear the costume than Sam Wilson. Plus, I think that if you're going to have a black Captain America, then you have to go all-out with it. In other words, think of how so much of the country freaked out when Obama was elected President. People were screaming "I want my country back!" before he even took office. Parents were protesting that students were shown a video of him giving a "work hard, stay in school" message because somehow there's just something sinister about that guy. It seems to me that if there really was a Captain America, and then he got replaced by a black guy, that man would have to deal with some serious grief.

And yes, I know, comics are fantasy and aren't necessarily going to reflect reality in all ways. But Marvel does have a track record for taking on social issues. Seems to me like they have an opportunity to do so here.

Shoot! Maybe they are going to address it with the new series! That sort of a thing might make me change my mind.

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