laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

"Earlier in my reviews of this run, I commented that Spencer’s version of Sam Wilson reminded me a lot of President Barack Obama. Now that we’ve had more time with him, I see that he’s much more than that. He’s every black person that’s ever had to think about where they fall in the battle of injustice. He’s every one that’s been given power and had it stripped away. Which, eventually, boils down to practically every minority in America. [...] This current run of Captain America: Sam Wilson is going to end up on the syllabus of a really liberal, young-minded sociology professor one day." -- Black Nerd Problems

Date: 2017-05-11 01:09 am (UTC)
superboyprime: (Default)
From: [personal profile] superboyprime
This is reminding me of what Christopher Priest wrote when Sam-as-Cap was first announced:

[Sam]’s a guy who had a heart for the disenfranchised, for the least among us, which makes him something of an evangelical. He’s seen both the good and the terrible things government can do. Steve Rogers is unique among all human beings not because of the Super Soldier serum but because of his unapologetic commitment to the promise of America, his belief in moral absolutes, something most of us would consider somewhat naive. It works for Steve because Steve is 110 years old. Sam—or, frankly, you or I—are simply not capable of seeing the world the way Steve Rogers does or living out that level of commitment. We’ve seen too much; even our best idealism has been tainted by gross disappointment. That stuff just rolls off of Steve Rogers in a way it never could roll off of Sam Wilson.

Sam, as I understand him, has, however, become infected not necessarily with Steve’s patriotism but with Steve’s integrity. If Sam could not commit 100% to the ideal of Captain America, he would not wear the uniform. Sam is not a patriot in the same sense of the word as Steve, but he’d honor both Steve and the Captain America uniform by not draping himself in that legacy if he couldn’t be what Steve was.

Wonder if those comments were going through the current creative team's mind.

Date: 2017-05-11 02:31 am (UTC)
nyadnar17: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nyadnar17
""Earlier in my reviews of this run, I commented that Spencer’s version of Sam Wilson reminded me a lot of President Barack Obama. Now that we’ve had more time with him, I see that he’s much more than that. He’s every black person that’s ever had to think about where they fall in the battle of injustice. He’s every one that’s been given power and had it stripped away. Which, eventually, boils down to practically every minority in America. [...] This current run of Captain America: Sam Wilson is going to end up on the syllabus of a really liberal, young-minded sociology professor one day.""

The idea the liberal black America is the only black America or at least the only authentic black America drives me fucking nuts. Part of the reason I love Priest is he is one of the few is only writers that acknowledges that black political/social thought encompasses a wide spectrum.

Date: 2017-05-11 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arthur_wynne
Well, what do you mean by "authentic"? I don't care for nationalist essentialism, so in that sense of "real" or "not real", of course every American is as authentic as every other. And they all have the right to have their voices heard.

But if by "authentic" you mean working towards, rather than against, an America that is as great, free and egalitarian as it should be, and as it likes to consider itself, then never mind black or non-black: The liberal or, by American standards, the left-radical America is the only authentic America, full stop.

Date: 2017-05-11 02:32 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Hate to see him go as Capt- I could've stood to have more straight heroic adventure stories with him too, which he mostly got in the team books. Though to be fair, he was in multiple team books so, yea.

Date: 2017-05-11 02:51 am (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
According to solicits, he'll take the mantle again to fight against HydraCap.

Date: 2017-05-11 03:09 am (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Ooh, pleasing news ^^

Date: 2017-05-11 03:04 am (UTC)
ovaltinepatrol: Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef (Default)
From: [personal profile] ovaltinepatrol
Didn't the AXIS event happen right after Sam took up the mantle? That probably wasn't good for the character's brand.

Date: 2017-05-11 03:36 am (UTC)
informationgeek: (djpon3)
From: [personal profile] informationgeek
Yeah it did. Soooooooooooo poorly timed. Marvel really doesn't think a lot at times it feels like.

Date: 2017-05-11 04:19 am (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
They never did explain what Sam said to make people say "Captain Communist." At least people calling Barack Obama a socialist made a warped kind of sense, in that they considered ALL Democrats to be socialists.

Date: 2017-05-11 08:02 am (UTC)
leoboiko: manga-style picture of a female-identified person with long hair, face not drawn, putting on a Japanese fox-spirit max (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
He wanted to care for the poor and oppressed. That's communist, just like Marx said in Matthew 25:34-46.

Date: 2017-05-11 01:09 pm (UTC)
cyberghostface: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cyberghostface
Probably just Spencer trying to be politically relevant without looking up context.

Date: 2017-05-11 03:17 pm (UTC)
velador: Victor von Doom gonge good, repaired face (dr.doom)
From: [personal profile] velador
It's the equivalent of saying all right-wingers are nazis.
Edited Date: 2017-05-11 03:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-11 05:33 pm (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
That's a relief. I thought you meant *I* was calling Sam a communist. Or someone was calling *me* a communist. Or something.

I am over-thinking why Sam would be called a communist, especially if it was just a reference to how Barack Obama was called a socialist.

Date: 2017-05-11 05:07 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
It still just seems like he's quitting because he doesn't say what he's going to do next. He could use this opportunity to announce his new project, to try and rally people around a particular cause, but nah. He's just leaving.

It's like his speech at the beginning that set everything off - we never find out what he said. And that's an okay joke, but if you're going to keep coming back to it as a formative moment for the character, you're sort of admitting he's a blank slate. What's he going to be doing after this? What's he going to be standing up for? I dunno. He just equivocates and frets and resorts to platitudes and sinks deeper and deeper into despair.

Take Rayshaun - Sam's whole speech is about how he can't be Captain America any longer, how he can't affect the change he wants while serving as a mascot of the USA. So why is this kid inspired to design a red, white and blue outfit and start calling himself "The Patriot"? It doesn't make sense, but that's the only legacy Sam left behind to hold on to. There's nothing else there.

Date: 2017-05-11 05:25 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Is that what Sam Wilson stands for? Or is that just what Reyshaun stands for? When did Sam's actions ever encourage him to do anything like that? Why would Reyshaun want to dress in a red white and blue outfit and call himself a Patriot, when even Sam doesn't want to do that anymore?

The real answer is because Sam Wilson is the star of the book, and we're trying to make-believe that he's inspirational so this all doesn't seem like a total downer. But if you just think about it for a second, there's no reason Reyshaun would be listening to him at all by this point.

Date: 2017-05-11 09:28 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
What the heck man. Captain America gives speeches about how violence is never the answer, scolding both protesters and Americops. Captain America is conflicted about releasing a tape of an innocent man being beaten by the police because it might cause conflict in the community. Rayshaun puts on Rage makeup and throws molotovs at banks.

The only way I can imagine Sam inspiring Reyshaun is as an example of one-upmanship: "Boy, this guy sucked at being a patriotic hero, I could probably do better!"

Date: 2017-05-11 10:25 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Yeah, dude, and if you focus on the overlap, we're all human, ain't we, so naturally we all support each other and are cool all the time. I love people who use violence to support any of my causes! And I'm sure they love me when I denounce all use of violence! As long as we're on the same side of a single issue, even though our methods of resolving it are polar opposites, we'll get along just fine!

Seriously though, even if Reyshaun did respect Sam on a personal level, the only inspiration Sam could serve is as an example of what doesn't work, of ineffective methods. There would be no reason to emulate him.

Date: 2017-05-11 11:28 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I think you're understating the difference! What do you even think is happening here? Do you think Reyshaun has somehow been inspired by Sam's failure and resignation to give up rioting and become a good clean patriotic superhero? Or when you said "Consider how Rayshaun's been portrayed up to this point. Consider what he's acted to do. I think that points us to what Sam stands for." did you mean that Sam's actually stood for violent revolution this whole time, and that the new Patriot's going to be out there firebombing more buildings?

Sure, it's 'meaningful', everything has a meaning, but what do you actually think Reyshaun is going to do now?

Date: 2017-05-11 12:37 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I mean, you have Rayshaun's history and actions up to this point, you know:

He watches the whole controversy of Rage being convicted of robbing a pawnshop, despite Captain America's best efforts to defend him. This enrages Rayshaun so much that he puts on Rage facepaint and joins the riots, firebombs buildings. Captain America calls for peace, obviously Rayshaun does not listen. Then later, he watches Captain America resign because Sam's given up on his methods and doesn't believe in wearing the flag anymore.

And then I ask you if you think Rayshaun's going to give up rioting and be a good clean patriotic superhero, or if he's going to continue on his path, and you just don't know. As if both options are equally likely to you.

Why do you do this, why do you reduce all things to their most generic formulation? The diametrically opposed methods of Reyshaun and Sam don't matter, what's really fundamental is that they're both fighting against the same thing, so maybe they agree - or then again, maybe they don't. At this point, why even bother reading a story then, when anything can happen next and make sense, where there's no momentum of the story leading in one direction or another? A tyrant can pardon the rebels or execute them immediately, and they're both equally sensible options. A villain can want to prevent a force field from being built, or depend on the force field being built, and they're both part of his master plan. A teen rebel can either reform, or keep going down his path, and based on the story so far I have no idea what's going to happen next! Why even bother with plot and buildup? Just flip a coin!

Date: 2017-05-11 02:22 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
A kid firebombs a bank and you say "he's a blank slate," okay. We're not seeing random glimpses into this guy's life. We're seeing the moments Nick Spencer chooses to show us to characterize him. If your response to a character doing something is "maybe he immediately regretted it off-screen", then you have given up on the craft of storytelling. If you sincerely view characterization is as arbitrary as rigging 'who would win in a fight' - it depends on what's convenient to the plot - then characterization doesn't matter.

"The right context," you say, "execution is everything" you say, and yet here you are ignoring what actually happened in favor of all the possibilities that might have occurred. We could have seen nothing but scenes of Rayshaun going to school and doing his homework, we could have been shown scenes of him killing a dog, we could have been shown scenes of him defending a protester from the cops, and you would still be here using the same argument, that he is unknown and unknowable, separate from everything that has actually happened.

Sure, yes, Rayshaun could be anything, these are comic books after all, but you're allowed to say, "I think there was a change of plans, I think there was a soft retcon here, because this certainly doesn't seem like this was what they were building up to when they introduced him."

Date: 2017-05-11 11:39 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Even as a background character, an extra, Rayshaun's purpose is to help set the tone of the scene, right? In his case specifically, it's to show that Sam is losing control of the situation. Elvin's been convicted, and despite Sam's constant pleas for non-violence, the community is outraged and breaking out into rioting. Rayshaun's purpose is to illustrate that.

Sam continues to call for non-violence, but the riots continue and his words start sounding increasingly hollow even to him, until he finally resigns as Captain America. This is the story we are being told, of Sam's methods failing until he gives up on them.

And then you come in and say, hey, maybe this rioter listened to Sam off-screen. Maybe he regretted his actions, off-screen. Maybe Sam's methods were actually effective, off-screen. Maybe he convinced someone, off-screen. Maybe he succeeded, off-screen!

Never mind that Reyshaun is listening to Sam's resignation as he sneaks back into his house. Maybe he immediately regretted his actions, maybe he listened to Sam's earlier speech, and immediately stopped rioting way back then. Maybe he's just been hanging around all this time outside his house dressed up as Rage for no reason whatsoever. Sure, that's technically possible. Or maybe you're ignoring the actual text of the story in favor of shrugging and saying, maybe, maybe, maybe.

Even for background characters, heck, even for props, you don't just assume an untold backstory that says the opposite. If we're telling a story about a poverty-stricken town and a broken down jalopy drives by, what's the point in saying, hey, maybe the driver's an eccentric millionaire and he keeps that car around for sentimental reasons!

Seriously, why do you even read stories if you don't care about what happens in them. Why not just stare at a blank piece of paper and say 'Wow! Anything could happen!'
Edited Date: 2017-05-11 11:43 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-12 02:32 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
I mean in the context of this run and this story arc in particular, Sam has argued the benefits of nonviolent resolution. Rage is a foil to Sam, right? Rage would rather run in and punch the bad guys, that's the tension between them. The whole reason Rage allowed himself to be put on trial was because he agreed to try Sam's 'better way', and call attention to this injustice without punching people. And the arc culminates in Rage getting hospitalized and Sam failing to keep the peace and the community breaking out into a riot.

I'm not talking about a strictly causal relationship from a single speech, I'm talking a thematic one, in which Sam spends his entire run trying to keep a balance, trying to find a better way, and Rayshaun and the riots are the evidence of that better way not working. Rioting doesn't need to be harshly portrayed - obviously there's a lot of sympathy with the rioters - it just needs to show Sam's failure to provide a better option.

(My other examples were 'staying home and doing his homework' and 'saving a protester from a cop'; they weren't meant to vilify rioting, they were random hypotheticals.)

You are still saying: maybe this rioter gave up rioting off-screen and was just peacefully protesting like Sam wanted, in a story about Sam's failure. If you want to argue that the story's not about Sam's failure, or that Reyshaun rioting doesn't reflect badly on Sam at all, or some other argument like that, sure, do that. But don't just shrug and throw up your arms and say, maybe, maybe, maybe.

Date: 2017-05-12 11:55 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Because someone killing a dog, that is determinative. A writer's not going to put that in unless the point is, "This guy's a monster."

Hmm, not really though. Maybe a racist sicced their dog on him and he had to defend himself by killing it. Maybe he was caught up in the emotion of the moment and immediately regretted it. Maybe it was an entirely reasonable decision in the heat of the moment. It's a powderkeg, and people will act differently outside of that powderkeg. So who knows?

I'm joking, but I think it's weird that you can rightfully see a guy killing a dog as the writer painting them as a monster, but show a guy firebombing a bank, and you're making all these excuses that maybe the writer intended to portray someone totally different, and that maybe the character regretted it off-screen.

I think the difference is that you view rioting as vilifying, and so you think it would be wrong to judge these people at their lowest point. I don't think that. I think it's a legitimate character trait, a legitimate ideology, that it's a legitimate option at this point to resort to violence after the legal system has clearly proven it doesn't care about them and theirs. I think it would be interesting to see an anarchist superhero - okay, maybe he doesn't firebomb banks specifically, that's sort of cliche - but it would be interesting for me to see a superhero who's opposed to the establishment, opposed to the cops, and not afraid of using violence to attain his goals.

I think the opposite would be insulting - if Rayshaun were to become just another goody-goody patriotic hero who upholds the law, that would be fucking bullshit. Why would he be doing that, when the law has already proven it doesn't care about people like him?

You say the rioting is an understandable consequence of rightful outrage, but you're treating it like a moral lapse.
Edited Date: 2017-05-12 11:56 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-13 11:19 pm (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
Rayshaun is not an average guy who was at a protest that turned violent, and he got swept up in it. He was sitting safely at home when he heard the news, so he made a firebomb (!!) and put on a disguise, and he snuck down to an apparently peaceful protest and struck the first blow unprovoked. (This was actually really inconsiderate to all the peaceful protesters.)

If a real-life rioter did that, I be comfortable assuming that yeah, he did have a commitment to change through violent action.

I just don't understand your criteria. Why is killing a dog 'determinative', why is refusing to fight back 'determinative and telling'? I might as well say that a fight is an exceptional circumstance, and how a person reacts when they're being attacked in a fight doesn't say anything about them as people. Maybe they freaked out, maybe they froze up, maybe, maybe, maybe. And we're talking about superhero comics here, most of the circumstances are exceptional. The writer chooses which moments to show us, and if he wanted to make a point that Rayshaun regretted his actions, he could have easily shown us that. He didn't. At some point we have to take it on faith that what the writer shows us is what he wants us to see, that despite the exceptional circumstances, the writer isn't deliberately just showing us all the reactions that are out of character.

Date: 2017-05-14 07:59 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
If all I knew about a guy is that he put on a mask / facepaint and snuck down to a peaceful protest and firebombed a bank from the shadows and initiated a riot, absolutely, I would ascribe political motivation and commitment to his cause, and I would expect him to repeat it in the future.

This "because he's opposed to violence" bit - how can you prove motivation? Maybe he's lying, maybe he's dissembling, maybe he's justifying his cowardice to himself - intent is fundamentally unknowable to outsiders, and sometimes it's mysterious even to the actors themselves. You are slipping back into 'everything is unknown and unknowable territory'. Barring any evidence to the contrary, you have to judge people by their actions, and this is especially true for fictional characters, who do not exist at all outside of the page, outside of the thoughts and actions and words we are shown, so we can actually see them in their entirety.

Date: 2017-05-11 07:50 am (UTC)
commodus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] commodus
This is even sadder when you consider what's actually happened to Cap in the recent comics.
Honestly, part of me wishes comics weren't so obsessed with reflecting real-world injustices just so some of these characters could catch a break. I could totally see people picketing Sam for no damn reason at all, despite him doing his damndest to help them.

Date: 2017-05-11 06:40 pm (UTC)
nyadnar17: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nyadnar17
Its a SUPER large part for me. I don't need to see how people fail. I fucking know how that works, I see it all the time in real life.

But just because I see it all the time doesn't mean that is all there is or even the majority of what there is. What I see IRL is more often than not just a reflection of how negative stories get more press. Show me stories inspired by the people who actually won and the progress that has been made.

2017 ain't perfect, but its better than 2005, which was better than 1993, which was a damn site better than 1968. Reflecting that there are still issues and problems shouldn't mean you have to drown in pessimism and fatalism.
Edited Date: 2017-05-11 06:40 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-11 07:45 pm (UTC)
lbd_nytetrayn: Star Force Dragonzord Power! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lbd_nytetrayn
So I saw one of the signs a protester was carrying up there, and was Sam serving just an MCU thing?

Date: 2017-08-09 01:52 am (UTC)
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starwolf_oakley
Yes. Sam was a social worker and once ran for Congress in the mainstream 616, but he was never in the military.

Date: 2017-05-11 10:48 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
To steal shamelessly from Twitter; The SamCap era in a nutshell:

Seriously though, this was a strange run. Spencer chose to take on some heavy ideas in a way that I almost respect, but not going the cathartic route of something like Occupy Avengers or Nighthawk has meant that this book was just kind of a bummer. I suppose that decision could make this a meaningful and thought provoking read about how there are no easy solutions, but especially given the context of Secret Empire and Nick Spencer's personal politics, Sam just comes of as weak and ineffectual.

Sidenote: Given that a new Patriot is in cards, I'm still annoyed that Eli Bradley hasn't be featured in years, given that I find the character quite interesting.

Date: 2017-05-12 05:05 pm (UTC)
akodo_rokku: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akodo_rokku
It certainly feels like AN ending, if nothing else. Maybe it's just an end to the run being so damn sad. We can hope!

Date: 2017-05-12 10:07 pm (UTC)
silverhammerman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverhammerman
Excellent point, and we've also definitely seen Steve Rogers walk away from being Captain America on multiple occasions.

That said, it does feel like much of the SamCap run has been about him basically being unable to overcome systemic problems, so barring a massive change in the approach and tone of the book to that stuff, which seems unlikely given that Secret Empire is about to take centre stage, I don't know how Spencer could go back on this in a satisfying way.
Edited Date: 2017-05-12 10:11 pm (UTC)


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