MARK MILLAR, YOU INSULT ME
Alright, let’s get the obvious kudos out-of-the-way. Like most everybody, I loved Millar’s Wanted (the comic, not the movie). Loved Superman: Red Son (although Grant Morrison seems to have some sort of creative issues with the work). Even liked American Jesus: Chosen (for the most part). If you’re wondering why I am so swiftly glossing over my Millar likes… It’s because THAT Mark Millar– the one who wrote THOSE comic books…
… Apparently he’s gone– and he ain’t coming back.
Instead we’re left with this full-of-shite Scotsman who seemingly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about crafting coherent stories and/or his own artistic credibility. He now seems to be a writer who favors bombast over innovation– shock over craftsmanship… And most disgustingly– he seems to TRULY HATE WOMEN.
And not just a little bit. He seems to HATE them a WHOLE LOT… So much so that Millar’s writing can leave one wondering if he spends some of his days just designing new ways to humiliate, abuse, rape, torture and murder them. I seriously don’t know what female Mark may think screwed him over (if any)… But it must’ve been an AWFULLY BIG SCREW (if it happened)– as he seemingly possesses no compunction in regards to his mammoth disdain toward the fairer sex.
I keep using variations of the word “seems” because I freely admit I do not know Millar personally. I am also not Mark Millar, nor am I Mark Millar’s psychiatrist (if he has ever had one). I know nothing about the man other than what he has exposed in his interviews and his comic book scripts.
Yet I can tell you that I’ve never felt any stronger hatred directed toward women in mainstream comics than in Millar’s hideous scripts for the Ultimate Avengers: Next Generation hardcover. In his quest to make sure we understand just how vile a creature his version of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe Red Skull is– Millar pushes the disgust factor so far beyond the pale that he may find his career forever stained and beyond any serious critical acceptance. (To readers that care about such things, at least.)
Let me put this in a separate paragraph so you understand I mean “business”: Millar goes so far beyond the pale in his degradation and depiction of violence against women in this comic book– he may never redeem himself as a writer… In nay reader’s minds.
Millar affords the Red Skull scene after scene of violent behavior toward all types of foes– both imagined and real… But the writer seemingly can’t be satisfied with just amping up the story’s carnage quotient far past the “way more than necessary” mark. So he is absolutely certain we “get” that this Red Skull is one depraved fucker– Millar reserves the harshest bouts of villainous violence for the Skull’s female victim.
To summarize: The Skull forces a woman (the future Red Wasp) to murder her husband. He promises her that if she doesn’t commit this heinous act (with a pair of “old scissors” no less), he will kill her baby. But this being a Mark Millar Blockbuster Script™– the shock-a-minute fun house ride demeaning women doesn’t end there… For even as the woman successfully cuts her husband to bits– the Red Skull repays her by casually throwing her child out of a high-rise window anyway.
Just in case any reader might attempt to fantasize that a cool dude like Spider-man swings by off panel and catches the innocent tyke in mid-fall… Millar, penciler Carols Pacheco and colorist Justin Ponsor cut to an exterior view of the building on the next page– emphasizing a huge red blood stain on the white snow-covered sidewalk many floors below.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE BULLSHIT!
You’d think these actions would be more than enough to establish the Red Skull’s inhumanity, right? Well, Millar’s not done yet– as he forces readers to watch as the woman is pounced on by three of the Red Skull’s goons.
With the ominous words “… And so began the longest night of that lady’s life” plastered over the next panel… A panel that inexplicably features a shot of an empty stairwell. What the fuck does an empty stairwell have to do with Millar’s allusions to a night of brutal rape and sodomy? Are we to believe something else was originally drawn in this panel– but eventually censored by Marvel?
Here’s what I do know: Being forced to digest this needless rape coda (after having already been subjected to page after page of this over-the-top violent mish-mash)– I couldn’t help but wonder exactly what sexual perversions Millar would have gleefully shown us in the next 6 to 8 pages if he owned Marvel Comics– instead of just worked there.
Here’s a certainty: You’ll never find Millar’s wise ass grin (look up his silly photos in a Google image search) next to the word subtle in any dictionary.
The man either doesn’t know– or doesn’t care– to learn when to stop the violence. Not content to just pander to his reader’s most prurient interests, he makes certain to drive every one of his masochistic points home with a over-sized sledgehammer.
If you look back, you can see the roots of Millar’s seeming female dissatisfaction sprout in his original Ultimates series– as hardly any female character can prance (and I mean half-naked prance) through one of these earlier Ultimates comics without making certain that everyone within earshot knowing she was a sex hungry slut ready to taken on all perversions, as served by any gender.
At first, the overt sexualization of Marvel’s main heroes (albeit in an alternate universe) seemed ballsy and refreshingly direct. Unfortunately, it very quickly became apparent that Millar was a one suck pony. When these asshole versions of Marvel’s Mightiest weren’t sniping at each other or blatantly killing their enemies– they were banging each other’s brains out… Usually in male dominant– female supplicant– positions that were sure to appeal to the wet dreams of comicdom’s most adolescent pervs.
Believe me when I write that I am no prude. I have lived in Hollywood for a relatively long time. I’m an actor. I have been propositioned in every way imaginable in both personal and professional situations. Nothing shocks me now… And I find all this “real-life” predatory bullshit to be as boring and disgusting as the iron clad predictability of Millar’s current fictional attempts to shock us… From Kick Ass, to Nemesis, to the Ultimates.
The work now has a built-in yawn factor that begs the question, “Can Mark Millar write a comic book without relying on the same clichés?”
Unfortunately, his current Ultimate Avengers and Nemesis books seem to show emphatically that he can’t– or won’t– rise above his own formula… Which is truly sad, as it seemed he once had talent to spare.
Goodbye Mr. Millar… It seems we hardly knew ye. And what’s left, I want nothing to do with– at all.
(The preceding was simply an OPINION PIECE, reflecting MY OPINIONS on Mark Mllar’s comic book works… And just like assholes, it is my God-given right to have such opinions. My right to free speech and to form my own opinions guaranteed to me under the U.S. Constitution.)
Here are Jose Melendez and Elliott Serrano (founders of CCW*TV)– with their excellent reviews of Millar’s Ultimate Avengers #6 and Ultimate Avengers 2 #1 comic books (embedded with permission) below. If you haven’t seen this video yet, please watch it now. These two gentlemen can pick these issues– and the “issues” inside the issues– apart like nobody’s business!