Marvel sums up its current comic book era with one line


Marvel Comics is known for its heroes that you can relate to, and The Death of Doctor Strange: White Fox # 1 explains why it works so well.

Warning: spoilers for The Death of Doctor Strange: White Fox # 1 are coming.

Over the course of several decades, Marvel comics has developed and perfected its own definition of the heroic. Characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and Ms. Marvel all produced distinct identities as superheroes that drastically moved the genre forward. Each specific Marvel Comics era can be roughly defined by a few different traits shared by its major players, and with The Death of Doctor Strange: The White Fox # 1, writer Alyssa Wong succinctly sums up what makes this emerging generation of heroes so different from their ancestors (art of Andie Tong and Luciano Vecchio, colors of Arif Prianto, letters of Travis Lanham of VC).

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In this issue, two Atlas agents, White Fox and Sword Master, investigate the appearance of a kumiho, a Korean fox demon, in a remote village in Korea. As they approach the scene of a reported attack, White Fox, a kumiho herself, remembers that she never learned to completely transform because her mother was killed before she was born. can teach him properly. Sword Master recounts White Fox’s experiences, as he himself bequeathed the sword of Fu Xi, an ancestral weapon used to fight the demons of Chiyou, an ancient Chinese god of war. Like White Fox, Sword Master lost his family before he could learn how to properly wield his weapon, saying, “I’m doing my best, but most of the time I feel like I haven’t.” no idea what i’m doing. I play the hero instead of being one. “In response, White Fox said,” Heroism is not an identity, it is a process.


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The ethics behind White Fox’s words capture the essence of the current generation of Marvel superheroes, who like Sword Master and White Fox spend so much time. learning how to be superheroes as they do while fighting baddies. Characters like Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, Silk, and Amadeus Cho have become superheroes, instead of being born with their powers or trained to use them. As a result, part of their journey is to overcome their limited vision for what a superhero can look like and act. So, by presenting heroism as a “process” rather than an innate quality, Wong sums up everything that makes Marvel’s New Heroes so relevant.


Master of the sword and white fox in The Death of Doctor Strange: White Fox # 1.

What works so well about approaching heroism as a “process” instead of an “identity” is that it relies on the comic book medium itself. As a serialized format, superhero comics are already designed to capture the “process” in which a character comes into its own. This is what makes Kamala Khan’s first appearance in her homemade costume in Ms. marvel # 4 so satisfying – readers had seen her struggle to accept that she too could be a hero in previous issues (written by G. Willow Wilson, drawing by Adrian Alphona, colors by Ian Herring, letters by Joe Caramagna of VC). In this sense, Marvel’s New Heroes have reinvented the genre and the medium as a space for self-discovery.


Doctor Strange’s death reverberated throughout the Marvel Universe, providing an opportunity to explore the event from the perspective of newer and lesser-known characters. Sword Master and White Fox’s conversation reveals how the two characters fit perfectly into the brand of heroism that Marvel has championed for decades, with their culturally specifics offering a new twist on familiar themes. With the spell of Sword Master left open with the conclusion of the issue, fans are now wondering what the next step in his heroic process is in Marvel comics could be.

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