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Linkara I ended up finding through his History of Power Rangers, and while I tried not to check out Atop the Fourth Wall originally, I gave it a look and I got hooked. The humor isn't pure slapstick or puns, some of it is wit, other is referential, and a lot of times the jokes are funny. Despite the tag line "Where Bad Comics Burn", when he rips into a bad series, it genuinely deserves the hate, but he'll also praise good stories both new and old. He can give detailed information on backgrounds, just enough to get you to look up the stuff more on your own, and with the confusing continuity of comics, its a big help when he can actually outline what happened and how. And while his storyline stuff isn't for everyone, I find it genuinely interesting enough.
However, one of my bigger problems is that, like everyone, he has opinions, and these opinions can make him biased in regards to reviewing certain characters and series. Namely, his beliefs in Anti Heroes. Because of how opinionated people can be and that I like to avoid causing issues, I'll just leave it at that. Aside from some opinions of his I disagree with, Linkara is an amazing reviewer you should definitely check out.
See, I think this is absolutely a false equivalence? And also, I refer to SFDebris\' definitive video on the subject when I say, if Batman hands over the Joker to face justice, and society decides to put the Joker in a prison or asylum he will easily escape from, how the fuck is that on Batman and not society? Where do we get off demanding he bloody his hands so ours remain clean? And if you say, \"Well, then he should change society!\" is this not the point at which heroics become hero-worship? Saying that, above and beyond the huge amounts of money Bruce already dumps into trying to fix Gotham, what we need is a strongman to take away our freedom and rule us for our own good?
To say nothing of the obvious fact that even the Punisher and his ilk are absolutely powerless before the basic facts of business and genre that are the actual source of the problem here.
But, more-deeply... his overall point is supposed to be, yes. These are all unrealistic people. The Punisher is no less a 100% unrealistic wish fulfillment character than any of his comic book brethren. Arguably moreso, given he\'s using high explosives and high-powered rounds in population dense urban environments, and is somehow so good he never kills innocent people in the process.
But, while in these other cases, it\'s wish fulfillment of a good wish: the wish that you were powerful, and could use that power to help others. That you\'d make the world a better place. It wouldn\'t always be easy, or fun, or even pleasant. But it\'s you taking these things that you could use for selfish gratification and instead trying to use them for others.
And for the Frank Castles and Jasons of the world (especially the Jasons, really), it isn\'t. It\'s the adolescent fantasy of being able to engage in lots of guilt-free sex and violence without consequences.
You say that makes them relatable. Okay? I mean, sure, as someone currently undergoing anger management therapy, on some level I understand being very angry and wanting to lash out at the world.
But that old, old, tired, exhausted, nursing home argument that Superman isn\'t relatable exhausts me. In my small, meaningless life, I\'ve had to sigh and help people who don\'t appreciate it, even within my own family, and I\'ve had to grapple with whether or not volunteering at a food bank is actually helping anyone or just perpetuating a problem. That\'s not really so different.
And that\'s what irritates me most. People trying to argue that superheroes are \"unrealistic\" and \"unrelatable\" because they involve someone with extra-normal abilities using them to try to make the world a better place instead of just a means to sate their ids. It shows a bone-deep misanthropy with little basis in either psychology or philosophy. And really, buzz off.
It may sound like I\'m going off on you pretty hard. And I guess I am, a little? But this is less a review of Atop the Fourth Wall and more the same old tired anti-superhero ranting that the British New Wave has been exhausting us with for decades, and I don\'t exactly see a lot of new ideas in here to engage with.
... Wow. You are really passionate about this. I was only speaking from my experience in that I've seen a lot of people have had similar opinions to what I said. I'm not really into comics too much, and this was more just me giving my feelings on his feelings on Anti Hero characters. Though to respond to some of your answers:
Well, trying to master a deep surge of anger at what sure feels like a high-horse sentiment of "I'm not really a fan of the material, and I only know about it by reputation and a cursory inspection, but I choose to have an opinion about it anyway!" I'll try to stay calm.
And that's not what happens. Batman, when the Joker does bad things, stops him. Then, he gives him to the cops, and the courts shut him up in Arkham, to rest up until he kills again.
How is that on Batman? Because he chooses not to give into nihilism, to assume that people are just like this and will never deal with the Joker? Or on society, for refusing to deal with the problem of the Joker according to the law, and then having the teremity to insist that Batman is the real problem for not taking on another burden he never asked for and bloodying his hands doing a job they have the power to do and refuse to?
After all, Frank Castle has had the chance to kill several of his nemeses over the years and let them walk away. Jigsaw, for instance. How does this make sense? Is the Punisher understood to be morally responsible for Jigsaw's actions, rather than the courts who put Jigsaw into a prison he will easily escape from?
And again, the real reason is because killing off major villains means no writer can ever use that villain ever again. To say nothing of the fact that such villains often ''seem'' to die at the end of story arcs, only to improbably survive later on. At a certain point, you're criticizing the Necessary Weasel, rather than the character, and may as well ask why, in kung fu movies, nobody tries just using guns.
...And, honestly, I never liked any of those dumb "Batman grabs a gun" moments, and find it easier to sweep them into the "this never happened" bin with that time it turned out Frank had actually been supernaturally empowering that first mob boss he killed by slaughtering his minions, or when all the heroes were openly racist during the Golden Age, but sure, fine, I guess technically he shot a space god one time.
And, really, if you're in favor of Batman being judge, jury, and executioner, being the sole arbiter of who lives and dies with no legal process? If you want a world where all superheroes use lethal force, a rogue military unfettered by the law? That's a distinction without a difference from the Regime. You can say, "Well, you can have the murderer without the totalitarianism," and okay, fine.
Can you though?
When Superman intervenes in wars far afield, saving innocent lives threatened by national squabbles, and does so using lethal force, killing their presidents and leaders until someone he approves of is in power... well, is he not the master of the world then?
Oh, but you only want it at a street level? Well, fine. What's shooting a couple of rapists and drug dealers actually going to do about the problem? It is not the severity of punishment, after all, that deters crime, but the certainty. If the system puts them in prisons that are poorly equipped for rehabilitation because of a culture that glorifies punishment over actually fixing the problem... well, again, how is that on the superhero?
This isn't just a question of anti-heroes with guns vs. traditional superheroes, it's a question of whether or not Jason Todd, crime lord engaging in a guilt-free power trip of murder and fucking right out of A Clockwork Orange is somehow morally superior to Batman, a guy who just wants to help a broken world as best as he can, just because Jason Todd is willing to murder a bunch of people who're making bad choices because people are awful, they cannot be improved, and the only law is the law of the jungle where men like him can force their will on the world, while Batman, though not as obviously as his friend, holds onto hope for the pitiful human race. That we can be better, get better, do better.
That's part of why I have at least one glowing review of The Dark Knight Trilogy here on this wiki. Because it understood that Batman's story isn't an endless status quo of punchable supervillains, but Gotham itself going from a grimy third-world slum to a shining city of tomorrow. Because, good isn't perfect... but just giving up, turning to hedonistic nihilism like these anti-heroes you're defending do, is rejecting that possibility.
That's where he, and I, are coming from.
...Also, SF Debris put this better and less confrontationally than I did in his video review of Superman Vs. the Elite, and now you probably won't want to watch it because I made a pill of myself complaining like this... sorry. Though, those guys're a pastiche of the Warren Ellis school of nihilistic anti-hero, rather than the Punisher or Todd.
Anyway. I actually think he's very fair to his anti-hero characters? He outright says he doesn't like them and why, but, when he does go over their work, he goes out of his way to try to say when the work disrespects them and how. I found his examination of that one Punisher angel book thing to be very, very even-handed, talking about what could have made it work, and why it ultimately didn't.
That's part of why I disagree too. I personally don't like blood and guts horror movies, but I don't say Chris Stuckmann has a "bias" towards those; I accept that's a difference in taste that will alter the way I listen to his opinion as a reviewer. And I often disagree with Jim Sterling about whether or not shit things are good because they're camp, or good things are bad because they're serious, but I don't think that means he has a "bias." That's just what he likes as a critic, man.
What I would say would be valid criticism would be, for instance, pointing out that both men tend to beat all the life out of bad gags, either by stretching them out past the point that all humor has been wrung from them, or by repeating the gag over and over until you hate it. In Linkara's case, I find he can sometimes be very picky and fussy over fairly minor details that don't affect the reading experience in the moment, or gets hung up on bold inflation in dialogue that's been part of the way comics work for longer than either of us have been alive.
I admit bias may be too strong a word.
And I am a fan of Comics, just no that big of one. I'm not going off of reputation or a cursory look.
We'll have to overall agree to disagree though. While you seem to be the optimist, I find myself more on the pessimistic side.
I wouldn't say I'm a nihilist, since I do see the value in trying, but if you keep trying over and over and nothing changes, then it seems better to try a different approach.
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