Ultimatum Edit Week 5: Day Six

August 7th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

We’re almost done. Last time we checked in, the Ultimates and X-Men escaped the exploding Avalon and then Cyclops got shot in the head at a rally. Surely that would be enough, but I think Loeb can squeeze in maybe ONE more death before he calls it in.

Hey, remember that Ultimate Fantastic Four arc when Dr. Doom fought and somehow survived against the Cosmic Marvel Zombies Corps after they had just eaten Galactus and inherited his power? The same story that flat out told us that in terms of power, Doom > Thor > Human Torch > Thing? Who knew that all Thing had to do is just walk up to Doom and do that?

Tomorrow is the big finale. See you then.

Day Seven!

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Ultimatum Edit Week 5: Day Two

August 3rd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

And we’re back.

Yesterday, Wolverine jumped at Magneto and started clawing at him while defending Canadian health care. That’s about it, sorry to say. Let’s keep it going.

ManiacClown and I will be back tomorrow to watch the tag team match of Hulk and Colossus vs. Sabretooth and Mystique. Wait. Is that actually supposed to be a challenge?

Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Ultimatum Edit Week 4: Day Seven

June 13th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday’s installment of Ultimatum Edit brought our remaining heroes to Magneto’s lair. Magneto showed that he has balls of steel (which he can manipulate) by not blowing their planes out of the sky. Then Angel died gratuitous Loeb death #529 and Sabretooth got shot in the eye, which is as much of an inconvenience as Superman’s cellophane S was to Non.

Let’s take it home.

And there we go. Funny how Cap and Valkyrie are more of a threat to Magneto than Thor after all. ManiacClown insisted I didn’t make any jokes about how it looks like Valkyrie has the runs during that silhouette panel where Magneto cuts her, so good on him.

And if you’re rightfully wondering about that sound effect that I inserted into that scene, well, I couldn’t help myself. You see, it’s a ridiculous piece from a ridiculous sequence in a ridiculous comic that I will be reviewing in the coming days. Want a peek? Knock yourself out. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Phew. Only one more issue of this left.

Week 5!

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Ultimatum Edit Week 4: Day Three

June 9th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday had Kitty Pryde find the torn mask of Spider-Man and then Dr. Strange and Dormammu started doing one of their magic fighting skits. And Dormammu’s in the middle of a song. Don’t forget about that.


You know what’s even stupider about this? We’re not going to get to the climactic battle with Dormammu. Chances are, that’s going to be left for Ultimate Fantastic Four: Requiem and left out of the main book.

Hulk’s rampage will continue next time. Come on back tomorrow. ManiacClown and I will be waiting for you.

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Great Moments In Black History #09: “I Guess He’s Never Heard of Lauryn Hill”

May 11th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from marvel’s fantastic four: the new fantastic four. words by dwayne mcduffie, art by paul pelletier.

(i still don’t know that i genuinely care about storm, but this is a couple of good bits.)

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“It shines through your beautiful skin”

May 8th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Cheryl Lynn and I play this game on twitter. I’ll post a link to something I find interesting/funny/horrible, and she’ll click it and end up thirsting for vengeance and retaliate a few days later. I’m pretty sure that being linked to this essay on scans_daily is the latest volley in our cold war 2.0, and probably payback for the time that I called Brother Voodoo the Cam’ron of comics.

I’d actually slotted the post away to write about today, because it’s so wholly horrible. Setting aside the word “Thorm,” I could take issue with

Because as a starting point for hooking up 2 characters go, “storm deities living in New York” makes a heck of a lot more sense than “two black Africans who have met maybe twice”.


I always liked that aspect about how Storm’s features were the distilation of the best of the various human racial groups, something that pretty much seems to have been tossed by the wayside.


Who drew it? (i can’t read the signature) Storm’s features are so unique and diverse.

I mean, the last one bugs me on a grammar level (you can’t be “so” unique like lights can’t be “so” off) and a race level. I would’ve had this short-ish essay springboarding from the topic of Storm being some ridiculous mesh of all races into my absolute loathing of use of the terms urban/ethnic/exotic/diverse when all you really want to say is “black” or “not white.”

I think it would’ve been pretty good, honestly. I haven’t really dug into race&comics since black history month, and I rarely see other people doing it regularly. I was starting to feel that itch again. But, Cheryl beat me to it with this jawn, her long-awaited essay on the female half of Black Trinity. I wrote last year about Luke Cage as the Black Reality, Shilo Norman as the Black Fantasy, and Black Panther as the Black Ideal. Three aspects of one people: pure wish fulfillment, reality, and then the best we can hope to be.

Cheryl’s first entry is on Storm as the Black Fantasy. In her own words:

Today we are going to talk about the Black Fantasy from the female perspective. And the Black Fantasy is Storm. Storm is what black women want, or are constantly informed by the media that they should want, but are also told that they never will achieve. To be loved and to be beautiful. To be free. To be special.

Basically, you need to read it, and after you read it, you need to digg it. Link it around if you can. I noticed that it’s on Comics Blips, which is kind of like a baby digg. Get it out there.

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Ultimatum Edit Week 3: Day Four

March 24th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

As we last left our Ultimate heroes, Yellowjacket bit off the Blob’s head out of revenge and Wolverine found Nightcrawler lying amongst the poo-gas. Now we continue with the X-Men and see what Thor and Captain America are up to.

Those X-Men sure don’t give a shit about the millions of other people who died. Muties are so elitist. Yeah, I said it.

Thanks to ManiacClown for the usual assistance. I really only mention his name and bold it out out of habit these days. Maniac Clown, dudes.

Tomorrow we’ll get more Thor fun as well as Multiple Man.

Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Great Moments in Black History #01: Amandla, Man

March 16th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from marvel’s black panther: little green men. words by reggie hudlin, art by cafu

(it isn’t daily, but it is weekly. a different moment every monday morning at nine PST for the foreseeable future, an amazon link so you can read it, and minimal commentary from me. just a little something to brighten up your monday mornings, and i’ll never suggest a scene or series that i don’t genuinely enjoy. if you’ve got requests, be it for a character or a specific scene, you know the e-mail.)

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Joëlle Jones: Redesigning X-Women

August 22nd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Joëlle Jones took a stab at redesigning a few of the X-Women, with colors by her friend Terry Blas.

Props to Khux for the find.

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When a whip and a chain isn’t the black american dream

August 14th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Gonna go to Ghana!
And when I get there…
Ohh! I’m gonna dance!
Dance! Dance! Dance!

–Killer Mike, “Gonna Go To Ghana”

I find it’s distressin’, there’s never no in-between
We either niggas or Kings,
We either bitches or Queens

–Mos Def, “Thieves in the Night”

Black is
Black is something to laugh about
Black is something to cry about
Black is serious
Black is a feeling
Black is us, the beautiful people

–Mos Def & Talib Kweli, “Yo Yeah”

I happened upon the idea of a black Trinity entirely by accident. I wrote about Luke Cage for the 4th of July and thought the American Dream/Black Reality connection was pretty swift. Then, I wrote the piece on afro futurisim and New Gods. The ensuing conversation, which has sprawled from real life to email to twitter to IRC to AIM and back around again, has been fascinating.

The FBB4l gang, chief among them Pedro, Chris, and David, helped me think this latest step through. Luke is the American Dream/Black Reality. He’s in the thick of it and grinding to make ends meet and make sure his daughter lives a better life than he did (shades of B.I.G.). Mister Miracle, Shilo Norman, is the Black Fantasy. He’s broken the chains of slavery and oppression, and exists to bring everyone else out of it. He’s Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, MLK, and Malcolm X all rolled up into one.

Black Panther is the third part of the trinity. He’s the Black Ideal. Some context first, though.

It’s fair to say that Africa is idealized amongst Americans. You can see it in dead prez’s “I’m A African,” in the niggas/kings dichotomy, or even in those dudes who still wear those corny dashikis in public. Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and other countries are crazy hyped. I’ve personally known a few blacks who have gone to Africa and come back with some kind of epiphany or new outlook on something. Richard Pryor decided to stop saying “nigger” after he went to Africa.

I plan to visit Africa one day. I lived in Spain during high school, so I could have easily made that trip, but I’m kind of glad that I didn’t. I’m older and hopefully wiser now, so when I finally do it, it’ll mean more. It’s like saving yourself for marriage, but way more expensive and you’re more likely to get stung by a fly and die.

Africa is in a special space for a lot of black people. It’s the Motherland. It’s where we all came from, and kind of like growing up and leaving the house, you can’t go back again. Marcus Garvey‘s (birthday next Sunday!) Back to Africa movement got derailed pretty quickly, and that was probably the most organized push. Beyond that is the much-talked about anti-black sentiment on the part of some Africans (“Some Africans don’t like us no way,” Nas) and the reality of how much it costs to visit Africa, not to mention relocation.

(Marcus Garvey looks kinda like Beanie Sigel.)

Even still, Africa is the Motherland. It’s as black as a raised right fist, red and black and green flags, drums, and dancing. You can trace the drums in hip-hop back to the drums of Africa and ciphers to villages. We’ve adopted names, terms, and various rituals into our cultural identity. We’ve even faked it up some with Kwanzaa. I personally don’t like the term, but a lot of people have adopted African-American at least in part because it’s a connection to Africa.

It was something that was common growing up. “In Africa, we weren’t slaves. We were kings and queens. We were equal. We were free.” Putting aside the idea of everyone ever being kings and queens, it’s a great sentiment. It’s another way to build up an identity.

In a curious bit of luck and serendipity, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, two old Jewish guys, created the logical endpoint of this idealization of Africa in the Black Panther. The character was ushered further in that state by Don McGregor, Christopher Priest, and Reggie Hudlin, amongst others.

There’s a few good reasons as to why this is so. He’s from a country that’s both technologically advanced and successfully avoided colonization. He’s the king of that country. And he married a Strong Black Woman(tm) and made her the queen of that country. Let’s go through in order.

Wakanda is both isolated and technologically advanced. The important part is that both of these are by choice. They are self-reliant. They didn’t need anyone to bring knowledge to them, because they are a nation of intelligent black people. Panther is smart, to be sure, but he is reaping the benefits of those who came before him. He is standing on the shoulders of giants. He’s learning from the past, in as literal a way as possible. Panther didn’t get to where he is all by himself. His family helped him along that path. He’s part of a legacy.

Wakanda has never been conquered. The clearest way I had this put to me was that “Europe was the worst thing to happen to Africa.” Without that, you’ve got no colonization, or what’s generally thought of when you say ‘colonization,’ at least. You’ve got a nation of black people who stood up against the man and didn’t buckle. They did a lot more than not buckle– they killed kind of a lot of people in the process. Their behavior was kind of like a snake. If you don’t mess with it, it won’t mess with you. “Don’t start none, won’t be none,” to be glib.

Never been conquered. That’s a big deal. That’s the guy who brags about being undefeated, never been knocked out, and can take on all comers. It’s Muhammad Ali in the form of a country. First minute, first round. Hudlin showed this in his first arc. Jason Aaron showed this to great effect in his first issue of Panther’s Secret Invasion tie-in.

When they’re going up against humans, they’re unstoppable. Your guns won’t even work. Don’t even bother. Against super advanced space aliens who planned ahead? They’re going to break down their high technology and reduce the fight to sticks and spears.

Plus, they’ve already got Skrull heads on pikes. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Panther being the king of Wakanda is kind of the easy one, with Storm being his wife a close second. Everyone wants to be the top dog, right? T’Challa being number one counts for a lot here. It’s a sign of not being downtrodden, being beholden to no one, and being able to chart the course of your own destiny.

The Storm and Panther marriage, regardless of your opinion on its execution, fixed that. It simultaneously fixed the problem of the most popular black character in comics ignoring basically every aspect and other member of her race and created a fertile new storytelling ground by instantly turning Wakanda into a superpower.

My favorite part of it, though, is the racial aspect. T’Challa and Ororo have become the king and queen that so many black couples want to be. They run one of the most powerful nations in the world. Wakanda is suddenly interesting again. They have land, a family, and will eventually have a dynasty.

They’re doing all of this free of oppression of any kind. Their royal status means that no authority on earth can lock them down them. No one can touch them. They’re finally at the point where they are free to live life as they wish.

Their relationship forces both of them to elevate their game. T’Challa is used to a) always being right, b) always getting his own way, and c) not being questioned. Now that Storm is there, he’s got somebody who’s going to put him in check vigorously and often. Now that Storm has T’Challa, she can open up and drop that snooty ice queen act she’s been using. She doesn’t have to be aloof and cold any more. Two strong personalities being thrown into the mix forces change.

A couple further points. A big part of Luke Cage’s character is providing for his daughter, and therefore the future. In a similar move, T’Challa has his younger sister Shuri to worry about. He comforts her when she kills her first man, gives her support when she needs it, and trusts her skill. In the future, she’s the Black Panther, so they both must have done something right between now and then. T’Challa keeps an eye on the future, and part of that is being willing to put on someone else and step down.

Panther is confident, powerful, intelligent, and free. That sounds like the Black Ideal to me, yeah?

That’s the Black Trinity there. Reality, Fantasy, and Ideal. That’s a misnomer, though. The word Trinity implies that it’s the full range of experiences, when that is kind of clearly not true. Cheryl Lynn has some interesting ideas on what the female part of the Black Experience involves, including specific takes on Storm and Misty Knight. We’ll see those one day, I’m sure.

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