So, I recently saw Thor: Ragnarok and it was AMAZING. (See it, see it, see it, see it.) Originally, I just wanted to write a post that was just me gushing about how much I loved it (Thor’s a doofus! Loki’s a dork! Valkyie’s an icon! Hulk’s a sweetie!), but this blog is called Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts, not Death by a Thousand Actual Cuts, because then the police might suspect me even more of murder. (I admit nothing.) BUT since I need to flail about how much I loved Thor: Ragnarok, I’m going to just recommend some books for some Avengers with a good dose of flailing on the side. (Any excuse to flail is a good excuse to flail.)
Our first character is the one that started it all off. The one, the only, Tony Stark.
What book should Tony read? I’m going to suggest that Tony read Warcross by Marie Lu. Warcross is set in a world with technology that feels like it’s from five minutes in the future, which is how the early Iron Man movies felt. (Before we got space vikings and talking trees and whatever the everloving fuck Doctor Strange is.) Bonus! The super-cool tech in Warcross was developed by a crazy genius-type person, the Warcross glasses remind me a lot of the display inside the Iron Man suits, and both stories deal with questions about how far technology should go in the name of protecting people.
The next character may be from a country that most of the world loves to hate, but none of us hate him. HOW COULD YOU HATE HIM? LOOK AT THAT FACE!
Front Lines is criminally underhyped. It’s an alternate history about a version of the Second World War where women were in combat positions along with the men, and AAAAHHH IT’S AMAZING. It follows the stories of three girls: Rio, a farmgirl who finds herself uncomfortably good at being a soldier, Frangie, an African-American medic trying to reconcile her spirituality with what she sees around her, and Rainy, a Jewish intelligence agency whose only goal is to take down the Third Reich. While there are obvious superficial parallels (here be Nazis!), there are also a lot of thematic similarities. Both stories deal with how hard it is to hold on to your morals when you’re surrounded by killing and how there are no right choices in war. Cap would approve.
Just for the record, the only Thor is Taika Waititi Thor. We’re just going to pretend the other ones didn’t exist.
American Gods is the perfect Thor book. It, too, deals with gods (especially Norse ones) living among us, although, while it’s quite humorous, it’s not exactly Taika-Waititi-style humour. It’s a story about belonging and what it means to come from somewhere, and messed-up families, what home is – which is kind of what Thor: Ragnarok was about, at the end. Plus, Neil Gaiman confirms that I’m not the one who hears Loki every time some says low-key.
We’re going to forget that there was ever actually an official YA Black Widow book. (There was. It was called Black Widow: Forever Red, it was by Margaret Stohl, it wasn’t really about Black Widow and it’s one of my biggest disappointments ever.) Instead, we’re going to focus on the morally-grey female antihero we deserve: Lada Dracul from And I Darken. Like Black Widow, she was raised without a lot of love, and became an absolutely terrifying human being, but, unlike Black Widow, she’s not hung up at all on the fact she can’t have kids. Read for complicated women who kick a lot of ass.
Okay, this is not technically a person, but, y’know what, I’m lumping them all together. SUE ME!
Guardians of the Galaxy and Illuminae just go hand-in-hand perfectly. Both of them are set in space. Both of them have very sassy characters with lots of grade A banter! Both of them have things with personalities that do not usually have personalities! (Trees! Computers!) Both of them were kind of unusual and unique when they came out! And both of them are fun, exciting reads that will leave you wanting moremoremore.
Bear with me here. I’ll explain this pairing.
My Lady Jane and Ant-Man. IT MAKES SENSE IN MY HEAD. The premise for both of these stories sound kind of stupid. A superhero whose power is… getting really small and commanding ants? A novel about… Jane Grey surviving and also, England is now full of people who turn into animals? Neither of these things sound like they are good ideas for stories. But, they both manage to pull them off. (Although, if I’m being fair, I prefer My Lady Jane a lot to Ant-Man. Sorry, Ant-Man. You were just kind of forgettable.)
My first though for this was, of course, the Sherlock Holmes stories. But I think this one makes more sense.
Yes, okay, the main reason I paired these two is because of the outerwear. Doctor Strange has a magical cape. Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic has a magical coat. And, really, the more you look, the more similarities there are in the magic system. Parallel worlds? They both got ’em. As Tascen and a sorcerer’s portals are very similar. And… okay, I just paired these two because of the outerwear. But can you blame me? They both have supremely good outerwear. (Get it? Sorcerer supreme? *slaps knee*)
Spider-Man: Homecoming and Percy Jackson both involve heroes who were pretty nerdy before they developed special powers and got whisked off by an outside force (both including some gods) to use those powers. Now they need to balance normal life at school with things like saving the world. Hilarity ensues. It’s a very apt comparison! Except Percy doesn’t actually spend that much time at school. (Although, now that I think about it, Peter does skip a lot of school for world-saving. That shit wreaks havoc on your timetable.)
I don’t actually know much about Black Panther or Children of Blood and Bone since neither of them is out yet, but ohmigodimsoexcited for both of them. They’re both set in some form of sub-Saharan Africa (Wakanda and the Nigerian-inspired world of Orisha), and I CANNOT WAIT for 2018. Also, Michael B. Jordan is in Black Panther, and I am so attracted to him. Marvel needs to stop casting insanely attractive people as their villains. It’s not healthy for anyone.
Look at that face. You’re welcome.
If you didn’t think Loki was going to show up here, you were wrong, because Loki is my favourite, and one of the 384 reasons you should see Thor: Ragnarok yesterday. (Along with Valkyrie, Korg, the music, Thor, Jeff Goldblum, ect, ect.) He’s still talking about how he’s going to take over the universe, but now he’s just 500x more likely to trip and fall on his face after saying that, which I am HERE! FOR! because I, too, am pale and overdramatic, with shoulder-length dark hair, and would like world domination please, but also am kind of a Complete Dorkus, so I feel represented. Also, I haven’t yelled into the abyss about my love for The Lies of Locke Lamora in a hot minute, so I’m going to use any excuse to do that. In all honesty, Loki and Locke aren’t exactly identical, because Locke has this intense sense of loyalty to his fellow Gentleman Bastards, and Loki is just straight up a bastard in all senses of the word who has never heard of this “loyalty” you speak of, but it starts with an L, which is the same letter his name starts with, so he’d appreciate it if we could pay attention to him again. It’s okay, Loki. You may not be the king of Asgard, but you’re the reigning drama queen of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We’ve established Thor: Ragnarok is my new favourite Marvel movie, but what’s yours? Have you seen Ragnarok yet? What did you think? Are there any additional book recommendations you’d like to make for Marvel characters?