It sounded like a parody at first.
Conservatives have long accused Marvel Comics of going woke at the expense of solid storytelling. A similar sentiment, others said, leaked into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, the fabled comic book company is introducing a new array of heroes straight from Titania McGrath’s wish list.
Marvel’s updated “New Warriors” title, out April 15, will be passing the heroic baton to characters unlike their predecessors.
Let’s meet a few of the new New Warriors, created by “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” writer Daniel Kibblesmith and artist Luciano Vecchio (“Ironheart”).
The Psychic Twins
Snowflake, a cryokinetic, can materialize snowflake-shaped shuriken projectiles for throwing. Safespace can materialize pink forcefields, but he can’t inhabit them himself, the reflex only works if he’s protecting others. They’re hyper aware of modern culture and optics, and they see their Super Heroics as “a post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying.”
“…it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor….
Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them, and has the power to generate individual crystalized snowflake-shaped shurikens. The connotations of the word ‘snowflake’ in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.
Trailblazer is “a regular kid scooped up into the world of teenage Super Heroing. Her “magic backpack” is actually a pocket dimension with seemingly infinite space, from which she can pull out useful or random objects—it’s not always under her control.
She claims to get her power from god, but “not the god you’re thinking of.”
The updated Marvel title came with a video introduction. And that’s where things get interesting. Viewers didn’t embrace the concept at first blush.
In fact, they loathed it.
Look at the “thumbs up, thumbs down” ratio on the page in question. As of March 21 the former counted around 2,800+ approval votes, an impressive number. The latter camp?
A staggering 102,000+ down votes.
Here’s a sampling of the comments:
Literally the worst idea Marvel ever had. Hands down. If Marvel has any interest in their stocks they should run from this man. Nearly 100% negative feedback.
I guess the villain is called “the white privileged heterosexual predator” or something like that
I was expecting the next thing out of his mouth to be: “they don’t actually fight the villains, they just start hashtags on twitter to get them cancelled”
When you cater to about 4% of the population, don’t be surprised when about .004% of said population is interested in your product. How have you not learned?
Certainly those comments don’t reflect the feelings of liberal readers, the kind eager for more diversity.
Marvel apparently missed the cultural memo on going woke. You can never, ever be woke enough.
Consider the Tweets reacting to Marvel’s New Warriors announcement. Many excoriated the premise, like the aforementioned YouTube commenters. Others who presumably agree with the concept, on paper, weren’t happy, either.
Please get some LGBT people of color in the writing room………
— milesdraws (@milesdraws1) March 18, 2020
I get the intention, and the intention is (presumably?) good, but this reeks of not actually consulting queer PoC creators and just steamrolling ahead without consideration. If people aren’t sure whether or not it’s a joke, that’s not points in your favor.
— goji @ animal crossing babey (@gojiberry_bbq) March 18, 2020
Even a popular comic book YouTuber, who wanted to like the concept, slammed Marvel’s new title.
“I don’t make reactionary stuff,” warns YouTuber Comic Drake, using the term to let viewers know he’s not part of any Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. He’s also on board with more diversity in his comic book fare.
Still, he’s aghast at Marvel’s new woke title.
“I cannot defend this one … at all,” he says.
“The new, new team is like peak, peak cringe. This is some of the worst stuff that I’ve ever seen from Marvel,” he says, citing another woke Marvel title, the short-lived “America Chavez” as more sub-standard writing.
He reserved most of his ire for the Psyche Twins -- Safespace and Snowflake.
“The names alone … wow,” says Comic Drake, a self-described straight cis white man who shares his pronouns on his page. “This does not seem like representation done right.”
The YouTuber added he’s not alone in his assessment.
“When I Tweeted about this … some of the people who are the most angry are non-binary folks,” he says. “This seems like these characters would fit right at home inside of some super bigoted parody book.”