Archive for Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Miles Ahead


Spider-Man #1

Well, I never read the previous Miles Morales comics, because I generally avoided the Ultimate universe once it got so pointlessly screwed-up. So a lot of this is backstory I’ve never been aware of, and some of it is stuff that I’ve learned by reading what other people have to say about it.

So let’s start from the top. Miles Morales is the Spider-Man from the Ultimate universe, and he now lives in the main Marvel Universe. He’s not alone — his family is here, too, including his mother, who actually died several years ago. Some of his friends are here, too, including his best pal Ganke. But all is not rosy in Miles’ new world — he’s not doing well in school, and he has to cut class to go fight supervillains.

And the latest supervillain is a doozy. By the time Miles shows up on the scene, he’s already beat the stuffing out of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Vision, and Scarlet Witch. His name is Blackheart, and he’s a huge and absolutely terrifying demon — and he’s way out of Miles’ league. So why does he beat it so quickly? And why does that make Peter Parker so angry?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of cool character work on Miles and his supporting cast, and the action is good, too. My lone quibble — this is the first Marvel comic I’ve seen in ages that didn’t come with an intro page summary — and this one really needed it for people who weren’t more familiar with Miles.


Captain Marvel #2

Carol and the members of Alpha Flight explore the derelict spacecraft that crashed into the space station last issue. It’s dark and spooky and unpleasant, and there’s goo everywhere, and some dead aliens, and way too many automated defense systems. Even when they get back to the space station, the trouble isn’t over. The enemy attacking them is probably aboard the ship — and Captain Marvel sustained more serious injuries from the ship’s defense systems than she thought…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic horror-movie atmosphere on board the spacecraft, and it’s great to see Alpha Flight doing more than standing around looking purty.


Klaus #3

Lord Magnus’s men sic a bunch of dogs on Klaus, but his wolf Lilli scares them off. By the time the guardsmen make it to the square, they find Klaus’ footprints and Lilli’s pawprints — and they start worrying they’ve got a werewolf on their hands. The captain orders his men to watch every door, so Klaus will have to find another way to get toys to the poor children in Grimsvig. Meanwhile, children are sending their wishes up chimneys, Magnus’s wife is keeping secrets, and there’s something horrible hiding inside the mines.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, fun art — but with another four issues to go, we won’t finish this Santa Claus origin story ’til summer. That’s just poor planning, y’all.


The Vision #4

With Viv recovered and back home, it seems that happy days are back for the Visions — but Virginia still has her mysterious blackmailer holding the secret of the Grim Reaper’s murder over her head. Most of the kids at school don’t like Vin or Viv — except for Viv’s lab partner, Chris Kinzky, who Vin beat up after she was injured. But Chris likes Viv a lot — which is going to make it really uncomfortable when it turns out that his dad is the blackmailer…

Verdict: Thumbs up. As creepy as always — and now starting to read as much like a Greek tragedy as anything. There’s no way anyone is getting a happy ending out of this, not a chance in hell.

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Flying High


Captain Marvel #1

Another new #1 issue?! Marvel, I’ma whup you with a Chrysler fender.

Carol Danvers has a new gig — she’s in charge of the Alpha Flight Space Station, which is supposed to be Earth’s first defense from space-based threats. The name of the station is no coincidence — several members of her crew are members of Canada’s once-foremost superhero team, including Puck, Aurora, and Sasquatch. Her second-in-command is Abigail Brand, formerly of S.W.O.R.D., and it looks like Brand is not happy having Carol in charge. Carol and the crew fend off a rogue asteroid, but a member of the science staff determines that the asteroid was deliberately targeted at the station — and an attacking spaceship crewed by dead aliens just opens up more questions.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Everything’s pretty keen, but gotta give credit to the fantastic characterization. Puck is particularly fun, and I hope the rest of Alpha Flight get some great character moments, too.


Astro City #31

The Living Nightmare returns, leaving havoc and terror in its wake. It’s viewpoint is narrated by the scores of Astro City residents who had dreams about it last night as it rampaged through the city. We get its origin story — the ever-reliable scientific experiment flying out of control — and some of its history, including the period when it was controlled by a military pilot and served as a member of Honor Guard. Now in the present, it attacks Honor Guard again — but this time, it has a very surprising reaction.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve always loved the Living Nightmare, so I was entirely jazzed that it’d be making a return, and even happier that it was going to be the focus character for this issue. But it’s nothing compared the excitement I feel when I see that next issue will feature the return of one of my favorite characters, Steeljack.


Lumberjanes #22

Well, it turns out Seafarin’ Karen is a werewolf. It doesn’t let her get to the selkies who stole her ship, though. And speaking of shapeshifters, the Bear Woman is leading Molly and Ripley into the alt-dinosaur dimension. Back home, Jo, April, and Mal have a plan to get them and Karen across the water and onto the boat — but even when a plan works, it can still fail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another really fun issue, with great art and character work. Lots of clever problem-solving, too, and a decent cliffhanger.


Ms. Marvel #3

Hope Yards Development is actually being run by HYDRA, and their nanites have added Bruno to the gentrified zombie hordes. Kamala isn’t able to rescue him, but remembering he’d recently told her that his girlfriend Mike had the “key to his heart,” she goes to see Mike and learns that she carries the passkey to the cloud account with all his research. They discover the antidote to the mind-control nanites, but can they save Jersey City from HYDRA before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a wonderful comic. Excellent characterization and art, and the action is even better than usual, with Kamala showing a lot more skill with her powers than she has before.

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Friends to the End


Ms. Marvel #17

The end of the world is happening, and Kamala Khan has finally gotten to meet her idol, Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel. After the two Marvels bond for a bit, Kamala recruits Carol to help her find her brother, Aamir, who’s been kidnapped by the rogue Inhumans, including Kamala’s former crush, Kamran, so they can activate his Inhuman powers and try to turn him into a supervillain. Will they be able to make it across town, do some good for the people in Jersey City, fight the occasional supervillain, and figure out where Aamir is being held before it’s too late?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic writing, characterization, and art. It’s great seeing the little moments where Kamala can help her fellow citizens — as well as the moments where there’s little she can do. As always, the great joy of Adrian Alphona’s art is checking the fun bits hidden in the background.


Giant-Size Little Marvel: A vs. X #3

The Little X-Men and Little Avengers are still working hard to impress newcomers Zachary and Zoe to get them to join their teams. The X-Men give them their own (temporary) mutant powers and let ’em run wild in the Danger Room, while the Avengers take ’em to Asgard, let them jump on spider-web trampolines, and let them play with some of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor. The ensuing explosion introduces them to Galactus, Thanos, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Skottie Young’s cartooning is endlessly awesome. Almost every panel is grand fun to look at.

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Quacked Skull


Howard the Duck #3

Howard just barely made it back to Earth with the doohickey he was hired to steal from the Black Cat — and he immediately gets robbed and pistol-whipped — by Aunt May?! And the flipped-out dude who hired him is seriously ticked-off at the delays in getting his necklace back! He and Tara set out to track down Aunt May — Howard’s style of investigation involves running around a duck pond naked so the old folks feeding the waterfowl will think he’s a regular duck. When they find Aunt May, she remembers nothing about robbing them but agrees to help them investigate. After trailing an old coot who stole someone’s purse, they discover who is the ringmaster of scheme. Can they defeat him? And can they defeat the villain who’s playing them all for suckers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a very silly story. Howard crawling around the pond without any clothes is dang hilarious, and the running gag of Spider-Man thinking he’s failed to save someone and then breaking down into an emotional basket case is still funny.


Captain Marvel #15

Carol has returned home to Earth only to learn that her longtime friend and mentor Tracy Burke died just a week ago of cancer. The rest of the issue focuses on Tracy’s will and Carol’s reflection on her life, her relationship with her partner Teddy, and her posthumous attempt to get Carol to move on with her life.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully illustrated, wonderfully written study on death and mourning. The post-story note focusing on writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s memories of her own late Aunt Polly just boosts the coolness of this issue.

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Everyone’s Going Cosmic


Captain Marvel #14

This is all the way into chapter 11 of the X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy “Black Vortex” crossover, so it’s a pretty good guess we don’t know what the heck is going on. Basically, there’s this ancient artifact called the Black Vortex — it’s been lost for millennia but has finally showed up again. Basically, it’s a big mirror, and it shows you what you’d be like with insanely powerful cosmic powers — on a level with the Silver Surfer — and if you like what you see, it’ll turn you into an insanely powerful cosmic supervillain, because power corrupts, and absolute power makes you absolutely crazy. Beast, Angel, and Gamora have already grabbed at the shot for ultimate power (We see them in just one panel in this issue), and with other villains trying to get their hands on the mirror, Captain Marvel whisks it away into space in an attempt to keep it safe.

Well, first, if you ever decide to fly to outer space to keep something safe from cosmic supervillains, maybe you don’t understand how cosmic supervillains really work, ’cause sure enough, Carol doesn’t get three pages into the story before one of the bad guys shoots her with ray guns. From there, it’s a wild battle to keep the villains from killing her and taking the mirror away — but once Carol finally catches a glimpse of how powerful she could be in the mirror, will the battle be all over?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Getting in on the very middle of a crossover for just one issue, when no one knows what the heck is going on? And when the only interesting cosmic villains — Beast, Angel, and Gamora — aren’t in the story at all? And when none of the other crossover players are present either? And Carol handled these three or four cosmic-powered baddies incredibly easily, considering that people on the Silver Surfer’s power level should’ve mopped the floor with Carol. No, sorry, this one is a stinker.


Astro City #22

A character we’ve seen periodically in the background of other stories is Starfighter, a cosmic superhero who had his glory days in the ’70s — and a stylin’ ’70s ‘stache, too. Nowadays, he doesn’t look much like a superhero. He’s Duncan Keller, an aging hippie who writes science fiction novels — but he still finds time to use his slowly fading cosmic powers to visit his wife Illula and his two kids Trill and Artie on their homeworld of Jarranatha. Duncan reminisces about his past and worries about his powers — and he learns that there’s more to life than being a superhero.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A fantastic story by Kurt Busiek, with strong roots on Earth and in outer space — and fantastic artwork by guest artist Jesus Merino, who gives Duncan the face of a man who’s lived hard but isn’t sorry — and isn’t finished either. Like just about every issue of “Astro City,” I would love to read more and more stories about Duncan Keller and his family.


Nameless #3

Nameless and the rest of the crew of the exploratory ship are busy checking out the monstrous asteroid Xibalba, but things are going weird — or at least weirder than they expected. Their robot drones aren’t responding the way they expected and soon stop broadcasting. The massive door they opened reveals even more massive stairs. Their benefactors have gone violently insane. And the monsters in the basement of the universe are about to drag everyone into their horrific torture chambers.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Ye gods, this is creepy as hell. Oh, yes, bloody and violent and chock-full of creative disfigurements. But the creepiness is fantastically well done. I hope you’re reading this one, horror fans.

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Duck and Cover


Howard the Duck #1

It’s been a while since we had a high-profile ongoing comic starring Howard the Duck, and we can pretty much credit it all to that one post-credits scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This one is written by Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by Joe Quinones.

So we’ve got Howard, now trying to make a living as a private detective — and getting thrown into jail now and then for being unable to control his temper. He meets a new friend there, a girl named Tara Tam, a tattoo artist, and once he gets released from the slammer, he quickly gets a new client, a suspiciously wrapped-up schlub who’s looking for a necklace stolen by the Black Cat.

He heads out to pester Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, in her legal practice, hoping to get a moment alone with her rolodex so he can yoink Spider-Man’s contact info. Spidey is less than helpful, but as it turns out, Tara knows exactly where she lives. So after a terribly thought-out plan, they break into her place — alerting her, her goons, and the cops — and steal the necklace. And then an oversized space mook kidnaps Howard for the Collector’s space zoo. Hey, do I smell a Guardians team-up?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I wasn’t really expecting much from this one, so I was pleasantly surprised by how good the story was and how consistently funny it was all the way through the issue. It’s great to see She-Hulk and her supporting cast from her just-cancelled comic, and it’s cool to think that we may get to see more of them in this comic. Wonderful dialogue, excellent humor — some slapstick, some punning, some surreality. I approve of this comic, and I hope we get to keep enjoying it for a while.


Captain Marvel #13

Well, Cap has gotten herself stranded in a quasi-multi-dimensional subspace pocket, and it’ll take her weeks to steer her way out, all while her cat and her friend Tic are threatened by interstellar slavers. So she has to steer her ship through some deeply unscientific hyperspeed gel to accellerate herself to safety. Can she make it out without blasting her ship to pieces? Can she save her friends in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely whacked-out space opera, complete with unlikely physics, improbable piloting and laser-shootin’, aliens galore, and witty banter with a computer. As always, lots of fun.


Silver Surfer #10

Galactus is ready to devour the planet of Newhaven, and the Silver Surfer has been depowered and left to die in space. But wait — he was just playing possum all along! But his attacks still aren’t doing enough to harm Galactus — until the citizens of Newhaven hear how Norrin agreed to become the World-Devourer’s herald in exchange for sparing his own world — and they all volunteer for the same duty! But Galactus is uninterested — he’s already destroyed their own worlds, so he doesn’t care. But he’s never destroyed Earth, and when Dawn Greenwood volunteers, he takes her up on the offer. But the transformation is agonizing, and the Surfer can’t save her. Will anyone else make the supreme sacrifice for Dawn?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fantastically epic story, with every character in the story, including every person on the planet, willing to sacrifice anything to stop Galactus. Mike Allred’s art is epic, Dan Slott’s writing is epic, pretty much everything in the comic is epic!

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Rising to the Heights, Crashing to the Earth


Astro City #20

We continue Quarrel’s story. During an attack by the alien supervillain Imperion, Quarrel gets into a tight spot and is rescued by the speedster MPH. And since she and Crackerjack are on one of their periodic breakups, this leads to a relationship between the two. It lasts a ridiculously short time because Quarrel is absolutely awful at relationships because she focuses all her energy on training and none on stuff like remembering birthdays. Quarrel and Crackerjack are still getting their butts stomped periodically because they don’t have powers and they’re getting older and slower. But Crackerjack has a plan to make it all better, if it doesn’t make everything worse.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but not a real enthusiastic thumbs up. It’s a good story, don’t get me wrong, with lots of excellent characterization and dialogue, but it’s really here mostly to advance us to the final issue of the storyarc. There’s no real reason for Quarrel and MPH’s relationship, other than to fill time. A lot of this is stuff we’d already seen talked about in the previous issue, too. But the cliffhanger is a pretty good one — by which I mean, a pretty bad one…


Captain Marvel #12

Lila Cheney teleports Carol back to her spaceship — and Carol finds the place deserted, Tic and Chewie missing, the AI computer powered down, and the gravity shut off. When she finally gets the computer on, it’s just in time to take out another attacking spaceship. And she then learns that more aliens had kidnapped Tic and Chewie, and her best chance to catch up with them is to take a shortcut through something called the Endless Envelope. But the shortcut may not end up being very short at all…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful art and very nice sci-fi action — not sure I’ve ever seen someone use the trick Carol does with the ship’s forceshields, and the Envelope’s gimmick is pretty sweet. I still wish a bit more had happened in this issue…


Secret Six #2

Well, the disembodied voice demanding the six supervillain captives pick one of their number to die spends the whole issue demanding that the six pick one of their number to die, so either it’s a really slow minute or a really patient disembodied voice. But the group manages to escape and beat up their captors a bit — and they apparently decide to stick together for the foreseeable future.

Verdict: Ehh, I ain’t real keen on it. The art is all kinds of messy. The newer characters are still complete cyphers, while Catman’s personality gets much weirder — his dislike of confinement makes sense; his dislike of getting wet is just odd. And there’s so very much attention given to the new Ventriloquist and her dummy, who are both just so utterly unlikeable. I hope this series improves a lot soon…

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Lovers’ Quarrel


Astro City #19

This issue has nearly all of its focus on more of Quarrel’s backstory, as she establishes herself in Astro City, saves Honor Guard and is then inducted into the membership, meets and starts working with Crackerjack, and suffers what could be a career-ending injury. How did she survive it and remain a superhero?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m really enjoying learning more about Quarrel. She’s always been a background character, so it’s great to see her step into the spotlight.


Captain Marvel #11

Carol has come back to Earth at Christmas to visit friends. She spends the night at the hospital with her ailing friend Tracy Burke, but she ends up getting captured by Captain Marvel-hating mad scientists Grace Valentine and June Covington, who dampen her powers, kidnap a homeless mall Santa, and prepare to torture and kill both of them. But it turns out the homeless guy has a very big trick hidden up his sleeve…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Probably would’ve been better if they’d released this one before Christmas, and if they’d explained the huge coincidence of kidnapping that specific mall Santa. But I still had a lot of fun reading it. The writing and art were top-notch, just as we’ve usually come to expect with this comic.


Batgirl #38

Barbara decides she wants to make sure no one else is able to coopt her identity as Batgirl, so she starts making sure she gets in social media a lot — mainly, letting fans take pictures of her to put on Instagram — and sometimes, taking selfies of herself fighting crime. Not everyone is happy about this — Black Canary thinks she’s grandstanding and not being a serious crimefighter, while her cop boyfriend thinks Batgirl is just as bad as any villains she fights because she wrecks police investigations. All of this makes Babs want to win over even more people, and she decides to do this by taking down the local bad boy, Jordan Barberi, who likes to wreck things up in his fancy sports car while his lawyers make sure he gets in no trouble. But things don’t work out the way she planned.

Verdict: Ehh, I don’t know. The action is excellent, and the characters are fairly fun. The main problem I’m having with this series right now is that every issue has an extremely strong focus on social media and nightclubbing. More realistic, maybe, for someone about Barbara’s age. But I think a lot of people had an expectation that this title would become more all-ages friendly, and while we’ve got a cooler costume, and Batgirl isn’t a relentless downerfest like it used to be, it’d be tough to find a reason to put this comic in a little kid’s hands when there’s so much in here about drinking and hookup apps. That probably just makes me an old fogey…

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Marvels Everywhere!


The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1

Welcome to Earth-5, home of Captain Marvel and the rest of the Marvel Family! But it might be the end of everything — Dr. Sivana has a terrible new scheme involving building himself a new Rock of Eternity and using the amazing element Suspendium, harvested from other multiverses from dozens of alternate Sivanas, to create a new day where he can rule everything — Sivanaday! After capturing the wizard Shazam, Sivana empowers his own children with Marvelesque powers. Luckily, Cap isn’t on his own — Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. soon make an appearance — but the Sivanas have also released the Monster Society of Evil. The Lieutenant Marvels, Uncle Marvel, and Talky Tawny show up to lend a hand, but Cap needs to get to the Rock of Eternity to see if he can help the Wizard. But when Dr. Sivana turns himself into the all-powerful Black Sivana, is there any chance for good to triumph over evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Thumbs way, way, way up. I haven’t enjoyed a comic this much in a long, long time. It’s really, really wonderful to see a DC comic starring the classic Captain Marvel — and not that brooding, hooded non-entity “Shazam.” (Do you think DiDio, Lee, and Johns ever sit up late pondering how badly they screwed that character up? Or do you think they just congratulate themselves for helping make comics more mundane and quasi-edgy?) Even the new spins we get on the classics, like Sivana’s superpowered kids, the dizzyingly wide variety of alternate-universe Sivanas, and the Lieutenant Marvels flying around with jetpacks and rayguns, just make everything even more fun. And it’s all topped off with Cameron Stewart’s outstanding artwork. If you love Captain Marvel and if you love fantastic superhero comics, you owe it to yourself to get this one.


Captain Marvel #10

Captain Marvel gets a letter from home, sent from her best friends on Earth — her young fangirl Kit, Spider-Woman, James Rhodes, and her girl friday Wendy. The villainous Grace Valentine escaped from jail, then released an army of mind-controlled rats on the city, all of them aiming at the Statue of Liberty! Once Kit and Spider-Woman stop that threat, War Machine heads after Grace, but gets suckered with a bomb strapped to his back. Can he escape death? Can they bring Grace to justice?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great, wide-ranging story, with fun art provided by a team of artists, including David Lopez, Marcio Takara, and Laura Braga. Carol Danvers only appears in the framing episodes, but it’s great how the letters from her friends still spotlight her as a important part of these battles, even while she’s nowhere near Earth.


Ms. Marvel #10

The Inventor is powering his machines with local teenagers who he’s brainwashed into believing they’re so worthless that their only real use for society is to be used as batteries. After Kamala has Lockjaw teleport the Inventor’s minions away, she gives the kids a pep talk to convince them they’re all worthy and awesome on their own. But the Inventor captures Lockjaw, and Kamala may not be able to take down the villain on her own…

Verdict: Thumbs up. We get some great superhero moments, some excellent characterization moments (both when Kamala is giving her pep talk, and artistically, as each of the kids gets a great, unique, and interesting look), and some wonderful villainous moments — the Inventor’s schemes are entirely diabolical, and I also love his first giant robot, which wears a jaunty and hilarious derby hat.

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Baby, You’re a Star


Captain Marvel #9

Captain Marvel and Tic are traveling through the galaxy when they unexpectedly meet up with mutant teleporting rock superstar Lila Cheney! She reveals a particularly weird problem she has — she’s supposed to marry a prince on a world where everyone rhymes, and she doesn’t really want to get hitched. So Carol and Tic have to figure out a way to keep Lila away from the altar. Can she handle fighting off a jealous suitor? Can she keep this rhyming gig going all the way through? Will there be a surprise wedding after all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story, fantastic and charismatic art — David Lopez has a very strong talent for great facial expressions — and perfectly servicible rhymes. It’s a fun and funny break, and the sort of thing that’s always enjoyable in a superhero comic.


Red Sonja #13

Sonja tracks down and executes a murderous sorcerer, but not before he hits her with a terrible curse, depriving her of the ability to ever forgive anyone of any slight, no matter how small. That means she ends up unleashing on everyone she comes across — and her newly boundless rage even costs her the opportunity to destroy the only marauder who escaped her vengeance after the destruction of her home village.

Verdict: Thumbs up. New storyarc, but same familiar and wonderful artwork and storytelling we’ve come to expect from this title. Looking forward to what looks like a more personal challenge for the She-Devil with a Sword…


Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1

The Falcon is the new Captain America, and he’s preparing to lead the Mighty Avengers. This is good news, right? Well, maybe not. The Falcon was among a number of superheroes and villains affected in the “Axis” crossover — a mystical/psionic event has flipped their psyches around on their axes. Luke Cage is now a very hard-edged and ruthless businessman, while the new Captain America is, well, a fascist, much too eager to use brutal, unforgiving methods against criminals or, in fact, anyone who gets in his way. So he’s not so much going to lead the Mighty Avengers as he is going to try to kill them all…

Verdict: Man, I don’t know. The story is fine, the art is wonderful, the interlude with Spider-Man begging forgiveness for Otto Octavius’ time running around in his body is funny — but I really, really question the wisdom of pulling the high-profile stunt of putting an African-American superhero in the Captain America costume and immediately turning him into not only a supervillain but an enthusiastic fascist. There are just a vast number of unfortunate implications going on right there…

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