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New Escapist Column! On the Redemption of Baron Zemo in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. As The Falcon and the Winter Soldier winds down its season, it seemed like a good opportunity to consider the show’s approach to the character of Baron Helmut Zemo. The villain was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, but the streaming series offered something of a soft reboot of the character.

On paper, Helmut Zemo is the most compelling villain imaginable for a superhero story. He is a man who has suffered at the hands of these super-powered individuals who act without respect or consideration for due process or collateral damage. Zemo is comparable to a character like Billy Butcher from The Boys, a man with a reasonable and grounded critique of a culture built around the unquestioning fetishisation of power.

However, Civil War could never explore Zemo’s perspective, because that would mean asking uncomfortable questions about the power fantasies of superheroism. More to the point, Zemo’s motivations were very much at odds with the purpose of a movie where a large part of the appeal was watching these supermen cause untold property damage. The MCU could not support Zemo as an antagonist, so Civil War marginalises and minimises him. In contrast, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cannily reinvents the character.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Falcon and the Winter Soldier – “Power Broker” Discussion…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the third episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which I really liked. It’s an interesting and clever reworking of certain flawed elements of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.

Jason Aaron’s Run on The Incredible Hulk – Vol. 1-2 (Review/Retrospective)

To get ready for Iron Man 3, we’ll be taking a look at some Iron Man and Avengers stories, both modern and classic. We hope to do two or three a week throughout the month, so check back regularly for the latest update.

Of the major writers currently working at Marvel, Jason Aaron seems the best fit for the Hulk. Aaron has an undeniably charming pulpy style, an approach to mainstream superhero comics that has given the creator enjoyable and engaging runs on characters like Ghost Rider or Wolverine. As such, Aaron would seem to be the perfect fit for a character who likes to smash things. Aaron’s run isn’t perfect. It’s too scattershot to really offer an insight into the character, too short and all over the map to be a “definitive” take on the Hulk.

However, the run consists a fun and amusing set of comic book stories, where thoughtful high-concepts combine with absurd set pieces to create something the feels quite unique. While certainly not the strongest one there is, nor the best run for character or author, there’s a wit and a charming energy to Aaron’s run on The Incredible Hulk.

Green with envy...

Green with envy…

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