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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    I get it, but judging Sam independent of the intertextual connection to Obama would you still judge Sam as such? Meaning take Sam Wilson: Captain America simply as the story within the pages without bringing real world politics would it still be considered bad in your eyes?

    I'm just curious because I wonder if that is what people were criticizing Spencer for i.e. the real world politics within the pages of the book
    You can't take the politics out of Spencer's run, because they were in every single issue, however poorly executed. And to be clear, I loath Trump and voted for Obama.

    And yes, treating Sam as a failed Cap, who's tenure barely ranks above Walker's, is poor treatment of a good character. His experience as a superhero, his background, meta and non, all made him the ideal non Steve Captain America.

    I will admit that Rick R really fumbled his debut, but Spencer butchered his time as Cap.

  2. #17
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    It feels like they used Sam the way they use Green Arrow on TV: as a version of Batman who can make mistakes. They wanted a more human Captain America. Steve Rogers isn't really allowed to be human.

  3. #18
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    I loved the run all the way through Secret Empire. It made me uncomfortably interested. First comic to ever have that effect on me.
    'Till the end of the line.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    It feels like they used Sam the way they use Green Arrow on TV: as a version of Batman who can make mistakes. They wanted a more human Captain America. Steve Rogers isn't really allowed to be human.
    Sam was less the Cap that could make mistakes than he was the Cap they could use as a soapbox. Often without thought to meaningful execution.

    The CEOs who were 'too big to fail thus can't be arrested for murder' still makes me cringe. Spencer understands that CEOs aren't an entire company, right?

  5. #20
    Fantastic Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    You can't take the politics out of Spencer's run, because they were in every single issue, however poorly executed. And to be clear, I loath Trump and voted for Obama.

    And yes, treating Sam as a failed Cap, who's tenure barely ranks above Walker's, is poor treatment of a good character. His experience as a superhero, his background, meta and non, all made him the ideal non Steve Captain America.

    I will admit that Rick R really fumbled his debut, but Spencer butchered his time as Cap.
    I hear ya, I guess I can't relate to the poor treatment of characters because for me a character is a blank slate for whatever writer comes on board.


    Quote Originally Posted by cc008 View Post
    I loved the run all the way through Secret Empire. It made me uncomfortably interested. First comic to ever have that effect on me.

    I feel the same way, but it had me intrigued from beginning to end not because it was uncomfortable but the fresh take on a legacy character.

    I think Spencer really ran with it especially after Hickman's Secret Wars where nothing was sacred and the status quo can be put on its head. Before Spencer and Hickman before him, when was the status quo questioned in such a visceral way?

    I mean we had Aaron's Thor but I don't think it was even remotely close to the hoopla that Spencer conjured up.

  6. #21
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    I hear ya, I guess I can't relate to the poor treatment of characters because for me a character is a blank slate for whatever writer comes on board.





    I feel the same way, but it had me intrigued from beginning to end not because it was uncomfortable but the fresh take on a legacy character.

    I think Spencer really ran with it especially after Hickman's Secret Wars where nothing was sacred and the status quo can be put on its head. Before Spencer and Hickman before him, when was the status quo questioned in such a visceral way?

    I mean we had Aaron's Thor but I don't think it was even remotely close to the hoopla that Spencer conjured up.
    So, are you saying Reed Richards can’t put the ANAD universe back together like the old 616, and it’s a faulty, unsanctified universe, where Cap isn’t sacred, Dr Strange’s Magic is degraded, and, Asgard magic is so disrupted Father Odin is ineffective now?

  7. #22
    Fantastic Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackolover View Post
    So, are you saying Reed Richards can’t put the ANAD universe back together like the old 616, and it’s a faulty, unsanctified universe, where Cap isn’t sacred, Dr Strange’s Magic is degraded, and, Asgard magic is so disrupted Father Odin is ineffective now?
    I'm confused, yes he can but that came from Hickman's status quo changing story?

    Am I understanding you correctly?

  8. #23
    Extraordinary Member DebkoX's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed Secret Empire.
    That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.

  9. #24
    Extraordinary Member jackolover's Avatar
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    I suppose what was wrong with Spencer’s Cap Sam and Hydra Steve, was it was depressingly negative in both cases. Sam was very poorly treated as a Cap because of racism. Hydra Cap was an idea about portraying Steve Rogers the opposite to what he stood for - freedom. As a tactic by Hydra it was a huge success. It just left America without a symbol for their achievement as a nation, and that’s very depressing. It means people in the Marvel Universe were so ready to believe that Steve Rogers would do something like this to them. It took Sam Wilson to stop Hydra Cap, because America wouldn’t. And Still Sam Wilson is disillusioned.

  10. #25
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    -Sam never "gives up." He stops being Captain America because he gets disillusioned, but the point of the Cap SE tie-ins was that he was still being a hero and helping people, the most important part of being Cap. And his leadership is what saves the entire Marvel Universe at the end.

    -There is no way a story about Hydra taking over the US can't be an event. The ones being seduced by the message of Hydra are the American public. And the Pym and Hulk subplots were to show how the Avengers had to face previous mistakes to get over the ones that caused the event to happen in the first place.

    -Stevil was not a Nazi. He was just a facist. A big chunk of his arc is about he thinks that makes him superior, but as the story progresses and he starts cracking, the point is that he's not that different after all. Sharon says it.
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  11. #26
    Astonishing Member Inversed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Murdock View Post
    The other big myth I would argue (and this one might be a bit more controversial) is that Captain America was not a Nazi in the story. He wasn't even Hydra. In fact, Sam Wilson wasn't even close to either of those things and he was Captain America. Yes, Steve Rogers was brainwashed to be both Hydra and a totalitarian (with racial superiority aspects at least in the sense of the Marvel analogues), but Secret Empire was fundamentally a story about Sam Wilson as Captain America. At a minimum, his work deserves to be judged as a whole in the context of a Sam Wilson story.
    I feel this is the most important thing, I remember Spencer had an interview fairly recently and he was asked about his previous work and what he liked most, and when he mentioned his Cap/Secret Empire stuff, the main thing he talked about was the Sam stuff.

    I see it as the dangers of a one-trick mind, how the general public have led themselves to believe that Captain America stands for one thing or follows one way, that the moment Sam starts to act through what he believes in, as his own person, he gets turned on. Meanwhile the fake Captain America is the one praised for having the appearance of what Captain America "should" do, while secretly manipulating his own agenda. Sam is our protagonist, Hydra Steve is our antagonist. They may get equal "screen time" so to speak, but like with most stories, the main narrative focus is the hero.
    Current Reading List: Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, West Coast Avengers, Ms. Marvel, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers, Sonic The Hedgehog

  12. #27
    trente-et-un/treize responsarbre's Avatar
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    Did somebody ask for opinions about Spencer's Captain America? Because I sure hated it! It's been a while since I last reread it so I probably won't have clear thoughts, but I think it's a complete mess in terms of structure, messaging, and theming with an eye-roll worthy plot. There are a lot of moments I like in isolation (especially from his Sam Wilson run), but I think the run as a whole is tainted by his awful approach to political writing.

    My biggest issue is that he very obviously had no idea what he was trying to say with Stevil. There was a lot of competing material about Stevil being intrinsically worthy and good and destined for greatness. Spencer went out of his way to emphasize that stuff, and he paired it with moments like Steve being part of the "not too eager to collaborate with Nazis" sect of Hydra and killing the Red Skull. But at the end of the day, he still wrote Steve as an out-and-out fascist who ran concentration camps and fought for the Nazis and wished for a world where the Nazis won WW2! He was also manipulative and ruthless towards his closest friends, he KILLED BUCKY, and he imprisoned the love of his life! But every other issue we got a speech from Elisa about Steve's pure heart, or a moment like Stevil raising Mjolnir. It's odd and unnerving and it doesn't have any payoff. If there was a broader message about nature vs. nurture and how strong hearts can be corrupted by their environments, it wasn't developed well and it wasn't borne out by the text which didn't seem very clear about Stevil's nature.


    And the political stuff was … bad. Spencer always seemed like he didn't actually have anything to say beyond raising the idea of "this is a current issue!", or if he did, it was weaksauce "you need to acknowledge both sides" BS that undercut the point of the story he was writing.

    For example, the fact that the Sons of the Serpent were just a convenient cover for Karl Malus's human experiments doesn't change that there are racist militias at the border who try to kill people that cross it. It begs the question of why Spencer would even bring up the comparison if the Sons of the Serpent aren't functioning as actual specters of violent racism. They were just set dressing, but set dressing that was supposed to make you feel like you're reading something politically charged because of all of the political allusions in the rest of the text.

    And look at what he did with Rick Jones. He turns him into a hacktivist, who was exposing corrupt activities with the Cosmic Cube shards by SHIELD because he (correctly!) predicted that they'll be abused and/or lead to a catastrophe. And once Rick Jones got caught … he actively aided and abetted the corrupt security organization that he had just devoted months to exposing. He barely even registered being upset about it.

    His avatars of far-left extremism are ridiculous across the board. Flag Smasher wants to get rid of corporate control of politics and get rid of the No-Fly List, and Rick Jones actively stops Flag Smasher from deleting the No Fly List. The No Fly List! And then it turns out that Flag Smasher was paid off by Stevil! For no reason! It doesn't even amount to anything! All Spencer is doing here is saying that far-leftism is equivalent to fascism, and I'm not even sure if that's unintentional or not, and if it isn't, there's no attempt at all to even explain that connection.

    The Bombshells were cringeworthy and felt like an old man shaking his fist at the way teenagers talk on the internet, and completely …. dumb! The story they were in was awful! Joaquin Torres got mad that "I Can't Believe It's Not Tomi Lahren/Ann Coulter" was exposing him as an undocumented immigrant on television and putting him at risk of getting deported. And then Sam yells at Joaquin for going to confront her, because he could have ended up like the Bombshells! Because going to tell someone to not be racist and to stop trying to get you deported is just one step away from turning into a violent maniac who only speaks in a 40 year-old's approximation of SJW buzzwords! Wow I hate that issue so much.

    The structure of the series was awful, the lead-up was uneven, and a million plot points got lost in the shuffle. Elisa is an elder god and possibly responsible for Hydra but she barely shows up again after the opening issues of Secret Empire. Elisa killed Steve's mom oh no how scary, except Steve's mom is alive look at how Elisa kept her safe all this time. The new Kraken is someone with strong ties to Steve Rogers who has to hide his identity, too bad that it never pays off. Spencer is the only Captain America writer to be writing two different versions of Captain America consecutively, with competing visions of what Captain America should be -- it's almost like this might lead up to a final confrontation between the two of them -- oh wait no Kobik materialized a Good Steve to come and save everyone and do everything the underground resistance couldn't accomplish.

    And outside of the Sam Wilson main cast, his handling of supporting characters sucked! It sucked real bad! His Maria Hill isn't just the jerkiest, most incompetent, and most actively antagonistic incarnation of the character; she doesn't even have a fraction of the nuance that writers like Bendis, Kot, Edmondson, or Fraction were able to give her, despite how much "screentime" she gets. His character arc for Black Widow in Secret Empire revolved around her trying to get children to kill people when 80% of her stories since 1999 have revolved around her trying to stop people from turning children into killers.

    I think Spencer writes some great comedy books, but his Secret Avengers runs were proof enough that he's bad at writing Steve Rogers and that he's bad at big conspiracy plots and his Captain America run was a mistake from page one, panel one.
    Last edited by responsarbre; 02-10-2019 at 12:49 AM. Reason: typos because i'm dumb and bad at writing

  13. #28
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    The idea behind Stevil is that the traditional Steve Rogers value system and those beliefs don't line up. He is forced to exist, but isn't really supposed to. Every time he does something that can be viewed as good like planning against Skull, it's accompanied by something horrible like trying to assassinate Jack in his bed, shooting Rick, and killing Bucky. By the end of Empire, the mask is off and any notion of sympathy he's had has been eroded. Because that is what those beliefs would do to a person. It's nurture swallowing up the Steve Rogers nature.

    The Sons of the Serpent were a specter of violent racism, because the entire scheme is about preying upon vulnerable minorities, making it racist from top to bottom. Just because there was a larger scheme at play doesn't negate what those Serpents were doing and what attitudes they were promoting.

    Black Widow was trying to prevent the kids from killing. She recruited them to watch over them because Miles was going to go no matter what and the others were going to join him, so she took them to help her do it herself. He tricked him and locked him in that truck. She gave her life to make sure a child didn't kill.

    Sam defeats Stevil with the Ant-Man trick. Sam defeats Hydra. Sam lets Steve fight Stevil on camera to take his face back, because he stops the other heroes from getting involved. And then Steve gives Sam the shield and Sam gets the pose and Sam gets the toy because Sam saved the day 100%.

    The Flag Smasher LMD was doing ethically sound things, Rick and the others knew that, the issue was that he was doing it through violence and murder. Which is bad, and what Flag Smasher has always been. A sound anti-nationalist position corrupted by extremism. The reason was to make Sam look like a failure and start the path that led him to giving up the shield. So it's one of the most important issues.

    Elisa is very important to the first two acts of Secret Empire and the entire run. She's the mechanism created to make this entire thing happen and is the mastermind behind a lot of it. She stops appearing because she dies, and her death is extremely important because it sends Stevil off the deep end. And to really reach that position of Stevil's modern mother figure, she can't be responsible for the death of his actual mother who he also loves.

    Joaquin was not put in the wrong for going after the commentator, Sam just wanted him to prioritize getting his legal status together first. But he knows where Joaquin is coming from. Misty backed Joaquin up. And he and Rage are put in the right compared to the Bombshells, who were only wrong because they tried to prove their point with violence.

    Maria's characterization is subjective, so agree to disagree.

    The early Rick stuff I actually just don't remember and don't really wanna bury through right now, so I surrender.

    New Kraken's identity is a little hanging thread, yeah, but he said he wanted to leave that up in the air. So maybe he'll get back to it?
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  14. #29
    trente-et-un/treize responsarbre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    The idea behind Stevil is that the traditional Steve Rogers value system and those beliefs don't line up. He is forced to exist, but isn't really supposed to. Every time he does something that can be viewed as good like planning against Skull, it's accompanied by something horrible like trying to assassinate Jack in his bed, shooting Rick, and killing Bucky. By the end of Empire, the mask is off and any notion of sympathy he's had has been eroded. Because that is what those beliefs would do to a person. It's nurture swallowing up the Steve Rogers nature.

    The Sons of the Serpent were a specter of violent racism, because the entire scheme is about preying upon vulnerable minorities, making it racist from top to bottom. Just because there was a larger scheme at play doesn't negate what those Serpents were doing and what attitudes they were promoting.

    Black Widow was trying to prevent the kids from killing. She recruited them to watch over them because Miles was going to go no matter what and the others were going to join him, so she took them to help her do it herself. He tricked him and locked him in that truck. She gave her life to make sure a child didn't kill.

    Sam defeats Stevil with the Ant-Man trick. Sam defeats Hydra. Sam lets Steve fight Stevil on camera to take his face back, because he stops the other heroes from getting involved. And then Steve gives Sam the shield and Sam gets the pose and Sam gets the toy because Sam saved the day 100%.

    The Flag Smasher LMD was doing ethically sound things, Rick and the others knew that, the issue was that he was doing it through violence and murder. Which is bad, and what Flag Smasher has always been. A sound anti-nationalist position corrupted by extremism. The reason was to make Sam look like a failure and start the path that led him to giving up the shield. So it's one of the most important issues.

    Elisa is very important to the first two acts of Secret Empire and the entire run. She's the mechanism created to make this entire thing happen and is the mastermind behind a lot of it. She stops appearing because she dies, and her death is extremely important because it sends Stevil off the deep end. And to really reach that position of Stevil's modern mother figure, she can't be responsible for the death of his actual mother who he also loves.

    Joaquin was not put in the wrong for going after the commentator, Sam just wanted him to prioritize getting his legal status together first. But he knows where Joaquin is coming from. Misty backed Joaquin up. And he and Rage are put in the right compared to the Bombshells, who were only wrong because they tried to prove their point with violence.

    Maria's characterization is subjective, so agree to disagree.

    The early Rick stuff I actually just don't remember and don't really wanna bury through right now, so I surrender.

    New Kraken's identity is a little hanging thread, yeah, but he said he wanted to leave that up in the air. So maybe he'll get back to it?
    I deffo misremembered major stuff from Secret Empire so you got me there. I should give Secret Empire some slack because I do think it functioned pretty well as a dramatic peak to the series, and I think most of the problems I have with the way the plotlines were handled at the end might have to do with behind-the-scenes stuff. (I got the impression that a lot changed up to the last minute? Or at least that was the gossip.)

    I still really don't like the way Spencer approaches politics, but that's really colored by my own knowledge of the fact that he used to have some majorly different views (you can find Kim O'Connor's write-up of his old political career and his old personal blog if you dig for it). I think there's more to what Spencer is getting at besides "violence is never the solution", especially considering the context of what he's doing. The only people who are ever really in the wrong (or face consequences) for their approach also happen to be the ones with the strongest "leftie" convictions on a certain issue: Rage, the Bombshells, Flag Smasher, etc etc. The fact that respectability politics are a recurring theme in his run, to me, signifies the fact that he was intentionally undercutting a lot of those political issues by pushing a center-ground approach. And I don't think that makes for particularly substantive or helpful political commentary!

    I can buy the stuff with Black Widow as a no-prize to fit it into her characterization, but the earlier issues definitely read like she's planning on incorporating the children into her murder plans, and that was the gist of the Derek Landy tie-in, too. It seemed to me like she only changed her mind at the end. I mean, I do like that as an explanation but that's not the impression I remember getting at the beginning? I should reread and see if I'm actually just being dumb.

    And I do think that's a better reading of what Spencer was going for with Stevil than I've seen anywhere else so far.

  15. #30
    Extraordinary Member Mike_Murdock's Avatar
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    I'm not convinced Rage was shown to be in the wrong. I thought that was very much left ambiguous and was a major catalyst for Sam Wilson's actions after that point.
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