It’s Perfectly Okay to See Things Through Another’s Perspective: The Marvel Conundrum

Have we lost that loving feeling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or Can we not see the universe through a female perspective? The recent reaction to the MCU kind of shows that as an audience, that over half of us cannot relate to the universe that we all once loved, but why is that? 

I know it’s been a minute since we wrote something here and thank you for being here to read this. This topic is important to us because 1)  We love seeing new characters being introduced to the MCU. 2)  We love seeing representation in our media and 3) Nora finally can relate to some of the superheroes outside of Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. 

While rewatching the first two phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we rarely see a strong female presence. Yes, we had Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger but we wouldn’t see the character return until Avengers Endgame.  (I know she got her own show, that lasted two seasons but sadly it’s rarely talked about) Pepper Potts unfortunately will always be linked to Tony Stark and it took a few films until Natasha Romanoff was not objectified and became a total badass. 

Now we have a MCU that is loaded with amazing female characters and a bias is starting to be shown. There has been a positive reaction from critics and hatred from certain aspects of the fan base. It all started with Captain Marvel, a lot of hate was aimed towards the film and main actors. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the film due to the storyline and lack of credible villain. The positives of the film was Brie Larson and introducing me to a character I knew little about. Fast forward to Black Widow in 2021, a fun film that was definitely entertaining but was told through a female perspective. We were introduced to a great character in Yelena Belova, yet fans felt the film was unnecessary. 

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves for a quick second, are any of these films necessary? 

Disney plus brought us Wandavision, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and currently She-Hulk. Episodic stories to view weekly, yet even more criticism formed and we started to hear the term “M-she-U”. Hawkeye, Ms.Marvel, and She-Hulk have all done a tremendous job of establishing strong, powerful female characters with comedic undertones. So why the hate? I’ll never understand honestly, maybe we are scared of our idols becoming women, maybe we are scared for our male superheroes to be vulnerable. 

Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk do not deserve the hate they have received. In my opinion they are two of the best efforts from the MCU for episodic storytelling. It was recently reported that She-Hulk is scoring lower than Inhumans for audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is ridiculous. Think some of us forgot that She-Hulk is a sitcom and we need to lower our expectations. Most sitcoms lack direction and tell a story for laughs. Also just because one may be a male and cannot relate to the life of a female, does not mean the show is instantly bad. The story of Jennifer Walters being a petite lawyer that can turn into a Hulk is something that most of us cannot relate to to begin with. For example in the first episode, Jennifer tells her cousin Bruce that she has to restrain her anger everyday because as a female she feels different stressors than a man. This scene was criticized yet when talking about to it Nora, she related the most to this scene and instantly felt emotionally attached to what Jennifer had said. 

So while some are complaining about the direction of the MCU, others are feeling seen. Think about that, if you aren’t quite liking this Phase of the MCU and then reflect on what that truly means.

Shame! I Know I Need to Read These Comics.

After admitting to these heinous crimes I will feel like Cersei Lannister, while you chat “shame” at me, but I am about to admit to not reading some of the greatest stories in comics. Now, before the judgement is forced upon me, let me defend myself. I did not start reading comics till closer to my twenties. Besides Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke, my reading would consist of a Deadpool trade once in a while, it would be around 2016 when I dove head first into reading comics. This list was inspired by the podcast “Stegman and his Amazing Friends” and a conversation between Nora and I on the way to our local comic shop.

Crime #1) Brian K Vaughn

Yes I am starting off the list with not one single series or book, but an author. Thinking about it, I have never read a story by Brian K Vaughn. The messed up thing, Nora has read the entirety of Saga and Paper Girls in the last two month. So, why have I not read Saga or Paper Girls if we have them collected? Truthfully, I have no damn clue why I have skipped over Brian K Vaughn. Looking at Saga, it has a intimidation factor to it, with the size of the recent compendium (collecting the first 9 volumes and features 1400 pages) that could be a reason or it could be the fact I know I will be instantly hooked and would get lost in the 1400 pages.

As for his other works, Paper Girls, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and Y: The Last Man I believe that it comes down to my attachment towards superhero comics and the big two. This will change soon, as I plan on reading Saga sooner than later.

Crime #2) The Sandman

This is probably the one series I am most ashamed for not reading. Being a fan of Neil Gaiman and seeing Nora just fall in love with the series, I should have read it by now. But it is a series that I push aside for something else usually Batman or Spider-Man related. The worst thing about not reading this, is the fact that I have read Death: High Cost of Living and quite bit of Hellblazer/Constantine. In fact, the short animated film of Death that came with Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, I found to be a damn masterpiece.

It’s hard to call Gaiman, one of my favorite writers knowing that I have skipped this series that he won an Eisner award for. But, Black Orchid and Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? are among my favorite stories. Not reading The Sandman, almost gives a feeling of revoking my comic nerd card. Hopefully by the end of 2020, I can say I have finished The Sandman, but that is something I said for 2018 and 2019.

Crime #3) Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye

This was a tough decision between Hawkeye or The Walking Dead and if it was not for seeing Fraction’s Hawkeye on many different lists on decade defining books, I would have put The Walking Dead here. Fraction is much like Brian K Vaughn, regretfully I have never read any of his work. But, I think the perfect place to start would be this series. From what I hear about this run, it is unforgettable and the best Hawkeye story, which has me intrigued.

Hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to have a different hall of shame list, but one of the best things about being a comic fan, its like being in school. Everyday there is something new that you’re learning or adding to your pile to read. Also look out for Nora’s debut piece soon, maybe she’ll do a Shame blog, which I can bet will be mostly Frank Miller’s work.