Click on thumb to see full
As always, you can also go to the dedicated Al’Rashad site.
FAVORITE CHOCOLATE BARS OF SUPERHEROES
Superman: Whatchamacallit (he thinks it’s a funny name even now. Lois just grimaces)
Kitty Pryde: Reese’s Pieces
Aquaman: Bounty (he prefers it to Mounds)
Martian Manhunter: everyone gets him Hershey’s Cookies N’ Cream but it’s not proper cookies and he doesn’t really like white chocolate anyway; he likes Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Wolverine: Coffee Crisp (because Wolverine is Canadian, see)
The Flash: Mars bars (fun fact: you can cram an entire Mars bar in your mouth incredibly fast)
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan): “Chocolate bars? Oh, I dunno. I haven’t had a chocolate bar in a while, mostly because I spend all my time in space. Hey, you know who makes a great dessert? Thanagarians. They do this thing, it’s kind of like a chocolate bar but it’s way better. I can’t really describe it. It’s a shame you can’t go to space.”
Mr. Fantastic: Milk Duds
Spider-Man: Payday, because actual chocolate bars always smear on his mask and then he has to put the mask in his laundry and that’s such a pain but Payday is just firm caramel and peanuts so it doesn’t leave stains
Captain America: Hershey Bar
Beast: anything with toffee in it, but Bobby always buys him Chicken Dinners because Bobby thinks that is a funny joke and Hank just sighs1
The Thing: Valomilk
Wonder Woman: Green & Black’s
Green Arrow: Avoids most chocolate because of third-world labour issues but since he found out Cadbury has at least an okay labour force, if not exceptional, he will occasionally indulge in a Caramilk
Dr. Strange: York Peppermint Patties
Deadpool: Everlasting Gobstoppers
Batman: 88% dark Peruvian chocolate when he chooses for himself; Three Musketeers when Alfred brings him one for a snack
Three immediate caveats before I begin, here: First, yes, I am serious. Second, when I say “Knightfall” I’m actually referring to the entire “Knightfall/KnightQuest/KnightsEnd” saga that ran through the Bat-titles for the better part of a couple years, and when I say “The Death of Superman”, I’m really referring to the entire “Death of Superman/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen” storyline that ran through all the Superman titles for a year or so. Third, yes, I’m still serious. I love these books.
I’m not blind to their faults, mind you. I agree that they have some flaws (the mindless Doomsday reading a “Metropolis” road sign, Shondra Kinsolving having magical healing powers that she can never use again after this one story, pretty much anything to do with the idea that Bibbo is effective comic relief), and they did usher in an era of gimmicky “replacement hero” stories that we’re still wading through today. But the reason they got imitated so often is the same reason DC is still doing riffs on ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’: The original was so good, and so many people loved it, that everyone’s been trying to duplicate its success ever since. And these are good stories.
They both have something to say, and it’s pretty much the same thing (these stories are obvious bookends to each other, and everyone knew it even at the time): Why are Batman and Superman still relevant heroes for a modern era when they were created so long ago? Why are their morals and ethics still meaningful in an age where the anti-hero is celebrated and the “boy scout” mentality is seen as quaint? Why, in short, do we still need these two around?
Both stories go about answering these questions the same way: By giving us what we think we want. New villains are introduced to “permanently retire” the classic heroes (and although Bane and Doomsday were never again allowed to be as effective as they were in these stories, both worked well at the time–Bane was a cunning schemer as well as a physical threat, forcing Batman to run a gauntlet of all his worst enemies before taking him on, while Doomsday was a sheer elemental force of mindless rage) and once they’ve gone down, new versions are introduced that are more in keeping with the times. Azrael’s Batman is everything people wanted Batman to be–psychologically damaged in “cool” ways, brutal and uncompromising, and willing to kill…well, almost. One fair criticism of KnightQuest is that for a variety of reasons, they didn’t want to go too far with AzBat even though that’s what the story is arguably about. But even if he’s not quite where he needed to be, he’s certainly someone on the far side of the line that Batman refuses to cross.
And the Supermen, well…they went for a full-spectrum analysis of everything that makes Superman who he is. Each of the four Supermen represented an aspect of his character, and it says a lot that the two most positive (Steel and Superboy) went on to become mainstays of the DC Universe in their own right. The Eradicator plays the AzBat role in this scenario, doing all the killing and maiming that people seemed to want in their Superman. And the Cyborg? Well, everyone was a cyborg in the Nineties. Cable, Nathaniel Richards,
the Winter Soldier…
And of course, without the originals, everything went to hell in a handbasket. AzBats lost his tenuous grip on sanity, the Cyborg blew up a city, the Eradicator started punishing people all out of proportion to their offenses…the message was clear, and well conveyed. The world needs a Batman and a Superman. It needs heroes, not just killers who prey on the people we’ve given up on. And when the heroes return, they set everything to rights. And more than that, they set their replacements on the right path. Obviously, the Cyborg was a straight-up villain and beyond redemption, but it says a lot that KnightsEnd concludes with Batman helping Azrael back to sanity instead of just beating him up, and that ‘Reign’ ends with the Eradicator learning enough empathy to sacrifice himself to restore Superman’s full strength. (Not that he stayed dead either, but…)
There’s a lot more I could say about these–I’ve completely glossed over ‘Funeral for a Friend’, for example, which really did explore the feelings of the supporting cast quite well and got into what it means to lose someone close–but ultimately, I think they’re really good explorations of their respective characters’ place in our culture while still being good adventure fiction. And you get to see Batman spray a panther in the face with a fire extinguisher, which is never a bad thing to have in your comics.
So say Marvel decides to do the unthinkable and make a movie with a female lead. How do they make it?
Pretty straightforward: you do Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, and you do it as a passing-torch movie, with Mar-Vell falling from the sky and playing a combination of Abin Sur and Anthony Hopkins Old Zorro from Mask of Zorro. Say Mar-Vell has the Quantum Bands, which give him all the Captain Marvel powers – flight, toughness, blasting things, etc. (You probably also want to include a sensory power of some kind because it’ll create a visual hook and be the key to defeating whatever Big Bad eventually shows up – this could be her precognitive “seventh sense” or whatever, but the point is you need that power because without it her powerset is kind of generic. Although being able to fly in space unassisted is sort of a special thing in the Marvel movies right now, so maybe that instead? I dunno.)
Anyway. You can even work Mar-Vell having cancer into it – say the Quantum Bands are the only things keeping him alive and they won’t work much longer so he’s looking for a successor, and it can’t be a Kree because the Kree are planning to invade Earth, as alien empires do, and Mar-Vell is opposed to that so there you go, more comics adaptive referencing. Mar-Vell crash-lands on Earth, promptly gets picked up by the Air Force, and I think it would be pretty great if, rather than being “oh we must be suspicious and scared of the alien” they were immediately co-operative and worked with him. Except, of course, they want to make sure the Bands go to their handpicked alpha dog asshole, even though Carol is of course the superior pilot. Needless to say, Alpha Dog (hell, that should be his callsign) thinks the Bands are basically meant to be his, and everybody agrees with him. Except Mar-Vell, of course, and when a Kree advance strike force attacks that’s when he gives Carol the bands and then dies.
Anyway, the rest of the movie writes itself at that point: Carol has to deal with the military who, even if they can’t bring themselves to admit it, don’t want a woman having the awesome space weapons, and also with the Kree invasion force (probably involving a lot of deep-space fighting because that, in the movies, can be Captain Marvel’s Specific Thing). It’s definitely got a nice meta taste to it but I think that’s what makes it work.