One of my favorite tropes in all of fiction is Evil Versus Oblivion, wherein a super-villain is a reasonable enough person that they willingly side with the heroes when there’s a bigger, more dangerous threat. Doctor Doom, Magneto and the Kingpin do it a lot, offering aid and resources to heroes when someone like Onslaught comes along and threatens to destroy all existence.
This past week, in the pages of Uncanny Avengers, writer Jim Zub and artist Kim Jacinto (with some assists) brought this trope to life with one of my favorite super-villains, a villain I like especially because he’s a reasonable guy.
SPOILERS for Uncanny Avengers #24 and #25.
I love the Shocker because he’s a working class, ordinary sort of crook who just wants to make some money. He doesn’t have an intense, personal hatred of Spider-Man, he’s not consumed with the desire for revenge against the wall-crawler, and he’s not just crazy and evil. He’s just a guy with some special tools that he uses to try to steal money.
And he was trying to loot the Gold Reserve with another favorite villain of mine, Scorpia, when they’re discovered by Rogue. They’re all in Manhattan during Secret Empire, wherein the evil Captain America has created a Darkforce Dimension bubble around the whole island. Monsters of all shapes and sizes are descending on the island and interrupt the villains’ looting.
Then it’s up to Rogue to convince Shocker and Scorpia to join her in fighting for their lives and stopping the monsters!
This is literally plucked from my dream journal of comic book happenings. The Shocker being used in an Evil Versus Oblivion moment? That is what I want from comics. It’s like Zub reached into my brain and picked the absolute perfect character for this moment.
Granted, Shocker doesn’t go full hero — though while we’re on the topic, I think he’d be a great addition to the Uncanny Avengers. Shocker and Scorpia aren’t big on helping Rogue stop monsters, but they’re still involved.
And that’s enough for me. I don’t read Uncanny Avengers and I’m avoiding most Secret Empire tie-ins, but when a writer I like seems to literally read my mind and make my comic book wishes come true, I gotta respect that and buy some new comics!
Also, I am now totally ‘shipping Shocker and Scorpia. So that’s a thing.
Double also, this almost makes up for Zub killing off Mach X a couple weeks ago. Almost.
I don’t normally like to set photos from movies still in production, because part of me feels like it ruins the magic. But this one is pretty awesome, because it’s our first look at the costume of the Shocker in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie! It’s a very homemade sort of look, but it fits the character’s color scheme at least, which is cool. Word has it that actor Bokeem Woodbine is playing the role.
Word also has it that this is just Shocker’s first costume, and that maybe he gets an upgrade later. Sounds good to me. The Shocker is one of my favorite Spider-Man villains, and I am very excited to see him in the movie. He’s perfect for a minor role, to give Spidey more bad guys to punch without overloading the movie with villains.
The casting hasn’t been officially announced yet, and I suppose it could change, but word has slipped that actor Zendaya will play Mary Jane in Marvel’s upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. Sounds fine by me.
I don’t know anything about Zendaya — like why she seems to only have one name — but I am perfectly fine with this casting. In fact, I’m really only writing this story so that I can put down my mark and make it totally clear that this fat, grumbly comic book nerd is totally and 100% fine with Zendaya being cast as the white, red-haired Mary Jane Watson.
She doesn’t need to die her hair or put on a red wig. She doesn’t need to do anything. Heck, I don’t even need her to say the “jackpot” line. If this is who Marvel has cast as Mary Jane Watson then I have total and utter faith in that decision. They have never failed at casting before, and they’re not about to start now.
So yeah, Zendaya as Mary Jane sounds good to me.
Also, if I can tack this one here, a potential leak has revealed that actor Bokeem Woodbine will be playing the Shocker! That’s amazing! Woodbine was absolutely fantastic in Season 2 of the Fargo TV show, and I would love him as the Shocker!
That casting is a bit less confident, and I really hope Marvel actually officializes some of these announcements soon. No need to keep secrets.
Also, while we’re on the subject, Season 2 of Fargo is bloody brilliant; some of the best, most gripping television I’ve watched in quite some time. And Bokeem Woodbine is responsible for a lot of that, along with the guy who played Nite-Owl in the Watchmen movie.
Happy Turkey Week, Comic Book fans! Did everybody have a good Thanksgiving? And for those of you who don’t celebrate, did you have a good Thursday? I had a blast. I always get together with my family, and they’re a good group of people. I made banana bread, because it’s nice to contribute something, especially if it’s my favorite dish. I’m a grown up now, I should contribute.
Speaking of contributing, how about adding some more comic book reviews to the Internet? I know I can’t get enough! We’ve got new issues of Aquaman, Arkham Manor, Superior Iron Man and more, but the real standout this week is the (regrettably) final issue of Superior Foes of Spider-Man! Why couldn’t this series have done better or lasted longer? It was so much fun!
But all good things must come to an end. Or maybe it’s that we can’t have nice things? Surely one of the two.
Comic Reviews: Aquaman #36, Arkham Manor #2, Batman Eternal #34, Scarlet Spiders #1, Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17 and Superior Iron Man #2.
Alright, guys and gals, this is the last time I change up my rating system. I know I changed it just a few months ago, but now that I’ve been trying it out for awhile, I realize just how confusing it might be. I started out with a scale of just 0-5. Then I added decimals, because that seemed like the thing to do, and I wanted my reviews to be a little more nuanced. Now I’ve decided that the decimals just add a lot of unnecessary clutter. But rather than do away with them, I’ve decided to take my 0-5 system and upgrade it to a 0-10 instead. I think, in the long run, this will just be easier.
Let’s do a quick run down:
0 – Abomination; 1 – Terrible; 2 – Very Bad; 3 – Bad; 4 – Pretty Bad; 5 – Alright; 6 – Pretty Good; 7 – Good; 8 – Very Good; 9 – Great; 10 – Fantastic!
Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, on with the reviews!
Short week, this week, with only a handful of comics coming out on my buy pile. Avengers continues their big storyline, Batman Incorporated draws ever close to the finish, and the new writer on Green Lantern settles into his new role of storyteller. All quality comics, and I enjoyed each and every one. But the real standout this week is The Superior Foes of Spider-Man! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this comic since it was announced, and it did not disappoint (though the name could stand to be a little less complex). Superior Foes is about a handful of Spider-Man’s B and C-list foes banding together into a new Sinister Six (which would have been a fine title). The comic takes the down-to-Earth, personal appeal of a book like Hawkeye and adds a dash of villainy. The characters here aren’t out to rule the world. They’re just out to make a living, and costumed crime is the path they’ve chosen. This is exactly my kind of book, and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man easily wins Comic Book of the Week.
It’s the little stuff that matters. Like Shocker and Speed Demon arguing over the keys.
Comic Reviews: Avengers #15, Batman Incorporated #12, Green Lantern #22, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1.