Marvel’s Re-Branded Replacements
Marvel has made many announcements and changes to their main roster over the past few years but none seem to draw as much attention as the sudden race swapping of classic characters. This is a very strange move on Marvel’s part seeing as how Marvel was the first company to show minorities in comics. It started with small steps like having Peter Parker’s school be a racially integrated school. Marvel even created the first minority hero with Black Panther and followed up with Luke Cage. Marvel Comics was a pioneer when it came to bringing diversity to comic books with creative new characters. So why suddenly become a company that doesn’t seem to understand that people want new creative characters not just re-branded replacements. Where did Marvel’s creative spark go?
Back after the Ultimate run at Marvel, they introduced a lot of new characters to update their image to further diversify their comics. This was called The All New, All Different Marvel. It started with the introduction of a new Spider-Man in the Afro-Latin Miles Morales. Then we have Jane Foster becoming Thor: The Goddess of Thunder. These changes in a way makes some sense It’s stated in the Thor comics that any who are deemed worthy to hold Mjolnir will be blessed with the power of Thor; Where in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics Miles received his powers from a spider mutated by Peter’s DNA. This, in the least, explains how they can respectively take up these mantels since the characters’ names are presented as a title. But Marvel wants their comics to be synonymous with diversity so they just keep on changing characters instead of creating new ones, and to what end.
In 2015 Marvel made a major change to the Hulk by having the Korean-American scientist Amadeus Cho steal the Hulk power from Bruce Banner. This is a cheap trick if you ask me. I’m not referring to the actual theft of power, but the way in which Marvel is trying to make their hero lineup more diverse. If Marvel really wanted a new Hulk why have the power stolen to begin with, why not have Cho recreate the event that caused Banner to become the Hulk. Instead of creating a new person with abilities, they have someone steal the powers of the Hulk? What kind of message does it send to have a someone gain superpowers only by stealing them. Of course he did it to prevent the Hulk from possibly going nuclear but it’s not a very progressive to portray gaining powers in this manner.
Then we have the most recent act of Marvel to further diversify their cast. Riri Williams is a genius young woman that invented her own Iron-Man suit in her dorm room. Now this is an awesome premise, and what does Marvel do with this new character. Do they deliver us the Iron Lady, or Iron Girl. No, Marvel, in the tradition of re-purposing characters, declares that this new young woman is going to be the new Iron Man. That’s right this woman, will be Iron Man. Now I don’t know if it’s me but calling a woman a man doesn’t seem like a good move, nor does it seem tolerant. It’s as if Marvel is saying she’s good enough to carry her own comic but not good enough to merit her own title. Maybe I’m jumping the gun and they plan on giving Riri her own series. I hope Marvel has the foresight to give her a new title and they don’t just label her the something something Iron Man.
Marvel has become a company concerned with maintaining an up to date image of society by adding diversity to their comics, but they’re too lazy to create new ones. Instead we will get half hearted attempts at creating a multi-cultural world. This direction feels less All New and All Different with every re-purposed character.