Thursday, February 08, 2007

Faustian Bargain

Just recently read Minister Faust's _From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain_ and I can't recommend it enough. It's both a brilliant send up of classic comic book superhero tropes, and a serious social commentary on the pathology of therapy and today's political reality. The author maintains a very interesting Afrocentric blog at, and based on replies to some of my comments along with his work, seems to be the very definition of a gentleman and a scholar. I am definitely going to have to check out his previous novel, _Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad_, now.

One thing I truly enjoyed about the novel (the superhero one) was the mention of one of the main characters, X-Man's, childhood idol Maximus Security, a clear homage to Luke Cage, Marvel's Power Man, one of the first black superheroes to carry his own title (and the source of Nicolas Cage's stage name). Faust pokes gentle fun at Cage's old disco hell attire and bizarre version of 'authentic' Afro-speak, but it's clear that there's plenty of love there nonetheless.

I was only mildly disappointed not to see his versions of Black Panther and/or Black Lightning in the mix, but Cage is in many ways cooler, if only because of the time he pursued Dr. Doom to his castle and beat him up over $200! That and the fact that in the aftermath of Marvel's otherwise pretty awful Civil War crossover, Luke Cage is now the leader of the New New Avengers. Although he's not wearing his old canary yellow disco shirt, which is kind of disappointing.

I also read the first issue of New Avengers with Cage in this role, and it wasn't half bad. Although Bendis - are you listening, Bendis? - needs to remember, Ronin (whoever he is, which is a whole other issue) has no call to go around telling Dr. Strange that it's fun to hit people. Why? Because Dr. Strange already knows this *very well indeed*! Clearly, the good Doctor is no stranger to pleasures of punching somebody in the face.

Both of the last two links were courtesy of Chris's Invincible Super-Blog, by the way.

Oh, yeah, Ronin. Here's my official guess on this one. Bendis might be trying to suggest with the new Ronin's speech patterns that this is Clint Barton/Hawkeye behind the mask, rather than Steve Rogers doing a repeat of his whole Nomad riff. However, in honor of Minister Faust's excellent efforts, let me offer another suggestion. Wouldn't it be cool if Cage wasn't the only black man on the team, and Ronin was really Kasper Cole, the White Tiger from Christopher Priest's the Crew? After all, the White Tiger name's been taken by a relative of the original, so why not?


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