Greetings, my lascivious envelope-lickers! Uh, that sounded dirtier than I intended. Sorry. In today's mailbag, I have the answers you seek — as long as you're wondering where the hell Disney's cartoons are hiding and whether Thor's hammer has accidentally killed somebody. Three, two, one, let's jam!


Civil, Right

Mad scientist13:

Mr. Postman:

I am glad to have finally cracked the space time continuum to ask a very interesting question and one that has been bugging me since the last episode of AoS. Everyone, including myself, have been wondering the premise of Civil War. As we know in the comics it is about the registration of people with powers, meaning mutants and the like. However, since this is the MCU we don't have access to mutants. Could it be possible that Marvel plans to use Inhumans instead of mutants as their registration group with the big introduction of Inhumans being in Age of Ultron with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and the more minor introduction being in AoS with Sky/Daisy?

I think that would make Civil War a much more interesting movie then ones I have seen proposed and it would stick much more closely to the comic even with the switch in place.

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I doubt the Civil War movie is going to focus on superpower registration, whether it be heroes in particular or mutants. Partially because that's a pretty big issue that would overshadow the Captain America-Iron Man conflict, which presumably the movie will focus on; partially because I don't know why Captain America would be so concerned with Inhuman rights that he'd become a fugitive from justice on their behalf; and mostly because there are many more interesting ideological battles between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark to have them battle over without suddenly bringing the Inhumans to the mix. Someone suggested that perhaps the Winter Soldier could have killed Howard Stark, Tony's dad, and that's as good a reason as any for Cap and Iron Man to clash.

Plus, I don't think the Inhumans are going to really get introduced until the Inhumans movie. Oh sure, they'll be a part of Agents of SHIELD, but as we've discussed Agents of SHIELD is small beans compared to the Marvel movies. Consider the Inhumans of AoS an extended version of Hawkeye's cameo in Thor — an introduction, a tease, but Marvel isn't going to suddenly make them a major part of the MCU until the movie, where they can do so properly.

While we're on the subject, two related facts: Given that it appears the Inhumans will be more or less taking the place of mutants in the MCU, I've seen a lot of worry that Marvel is trying to replace the X-Men and mutants with Inhumans in the comics, too — perhaps in one of those insane attempts to affect Fox's X-Men movies, as if the comics literally have any impact on them. As O-Deck's Alliterator points out so ably, Marvel is still publishing many, many X-Men comics, and you know why? They make money. Sure, Marvel is probably trying to push the Inhumans more in the comics, but to raise awareness and perhaps generate storylines for future movies, but the X-Men are safe — well, as safe as they ever are.

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Fact #2: You don't want the Civil War movie to be like the comic, because the comic was Not Good. The impossibly erudite Sean T. Collins described the series' problems best, in my opinion:

Even by the debased standards of superhero-as-political-metaphor, Civil War is the work of writers with an almost aggressive disinterest in thinking their central conceit through. Nominally attempting to wrestle with War on Terror-era conflict between liberty and security as the driving force in American political life, they made the "security" side, the pro-Registration forces led by Iron Man and Mister Fantastic, into secret police–wielding tyrants who literally open a concentration camp. Not to be outdone in idiocy, they made the "liberty" side fight not for freedom of speech or assembly, or for privacy from the surveillance state, but for the right to exercise extrajudicial vigilante violence against people at will.

Yeah. Murderous tyrants vs. illegal vigilantes, and those were the heroes! Whatever the Civil War movie ends up being, let's hope it's a damn sight better than that.

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Three's No Charm

Alex S.:

Dear postman of the future,

From your vantage point from after the Second, er.. the Third (or Fourth ?) Impact, do you know why Evangelion 3.33 isn't available in DVD/Blu-Ray yet [in America]? Something tells me that I will watch the 4th movie before the 3.33 release!

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For those who don't know the facts: The Evangelion 3.0 movie came out in Japan in 2012. The Evangelion 3.33 DVD/Blu-ray (the movie, gussied up with some additional animation) hit Japan in April of 2013. The U.S. DVD/Blu-ray release was supposed to arrive in February of 2014, but was delayed for unknown reasons. Just last month, licensor Funimation announced that Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno's Studio Khara would be creating a new English subtitle track for the movie, despite the fact that Funimation had already made and used one for the movie's theatrical release.

So it appears that the hold-up is this new subtitle track. But that doesn't mean the problem is at all simple.

• For instance, Studio Khara may have disliked Funimation's original English language track, and decided they needed to make one closer to Anno's intent. However, although they may have found the first subtitles bad, this does not mean that they have the ability to make better subtitles, or ones that use good English. The track may be finished, and they have order Funi to use it, and Funi may be balking because it's full of broken English and grammatical errors. I've seen this before! And if Funi tries to point out these problems, Khara may just order them to use it anyways, because they own the Evangelion license. I've seen this happen too.

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• On the other hand, Studio Khara may have demanded to make their own English subtitle track… and still hasn't given it to them. Funimation has already paid Studio Khara a huge pile of money to license the movie for America; maybe Khara gets a little bit more per sales, but it's pretty negligible compared to what they've already been paid. So really, they have no incentive to actually make the track, even though they're the ones who have forced Funimation to wait for it.

• There's a third possibility here, that Studio Khara is upset about something else entirely, and is passive-aggressively using the subtitle issue as a way to delay the release and punish Funimation for some kind of perceived transgression. I've found Japanese companies do this a lot to American companies in the anime industry, since U.S. companies are completely beholden to the Japan studios from their products. Hell, Funimation may not even know what they did wrong — there may be a group of people who are trying to figure out what they did wrong and how they can fix it (and if they can afford to).

All I can tell you is this: Funimation is losing their minds that they haven't been able to sell 3.33 yet, and as one of its most major titles, its absence is fucking with their budgets and projections and profits and all that. The hold-up is in Japan, I guarantee you, and they have their money, so they're in no rush to let you buy Evangelion 3.33. Actually, since Japan is so worried about illegal DVD/Blu-ray imports (American releases are significantly cheaper than Japanese DVDs and Blu-rays) the longer the prevent the U.S. version from coming out, the more they force Japan fans to purchase the more expensive versions. And maybe you too, if you're desperate enough.

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Can't Touch This

A Concerned Citizen of Midgard:

Hey Mr. Postman:

I have a question about Thor and his/her relationship to Mjolnir. It's actually been bugging me for a while now.

I haven't read very many of the Thor comics, but in the MCU at least, Thor can call Mjolnir into his hand, from miles away even, and it just comes flying into his hand, smashing though anything in its way. His fight with the Hulk in Avengers is a good example scene.

So, uh. . . how does he know he isn't bludgeoning innocent bystanders to death every time he does this? It's a damn WAR HAMMER flying through the air at high speed, often at just about the elevation of the average human head. Anybody unlucky enough to be in between Mjolnir and Thor's hand is gonna have a bad time. I shudder to think what would happen if it came streaking though a crowded shopping mall, or derailed a passenger train, or punched a hole in a tanker full of toxic chemicals.

So what's the deal? Does Mjolnir steer around some obstacles while smashing through others? Or does some lesser Asgardian bureaucrat have to follow in Thor's wake to quietly sweep the death and destruction under the rug?

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Given Mjolnir's magic/unknowable scientific powers, which include the ability to return to Thor's hand from virtually any location and the inability to be picked up by anybody who isn't arbitrarily worthy of it, it seems to me that it's perfectly reasonable that the hammer has the ability to keep itself from running into people or causing damage as it flies back to Thor. Frankly, I'm guessing that its cognizant enough to recognize whether it can safely crash through a wall without, say, bringing down a building on someone — or if it would have to take a quick detour to avoid a load-bearing wall that may cause a building to collapse on someone.

Also, I feel pretty confident I've seen Mjolnir take some turns when flying back into Thor's hands — I don't think it's always a straight shot from hammer location to hand — which can probably be attributed to the hammer specifically avoiding hurting people. However, I admittedly don't remember the specifics.

Anyways, I doubt Thor needs to be conscious of what the hammer is doing. Mjolnir is smart/advanced/magic enough to worry about all this shit on its own. All Thor needs to do is keep his hand out and wait for his weapon to return.

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Requiem for a Stream

John S.:

Hey two queries;

I want to know why you think BIG TELEVISION hasn't put the following on any kind popular streaming platform; Batman: The Animated Series, Freakazoid, Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky and The Brain (all WB I know), Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers (all disney, but disney is using netflix for marvel shows so...come on). There are others. Many others. It doesn't seem likely that there's a high demand for these on DVD (worked a couple of Christmas seasons at Best Buy and they have like one copy of each of these collecting massive amounts of dust, although I guess that could be explained by the death of box stores but if that were all it would seem like there would be more releases and options other than buying them off ebay) and they stream some stuff (Justice League, JL Unlimited) but not others that actually lead up to those shows (aforementioned Batman:TAS and the Superman cartoons). I'd love to waist saturdays watching these but instead I just get to gripe. They stream new garbage that no one wants to watch but not the gold.

Also; in the year 4545 do we still need our teeth and eyes? Are there things to eat? Will people look at me?

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I'm pretty sure I know the answer to why Disney hasn't put these classic cartoon series on streaming: they don't care. Specifically, they don't care because the shows, beloved as they are, aren't worth much compared to pretty much everything else Disney does. As you pointed out, the DVDs sold okay at best. To Disney, that failure means there's no demand, and thus they'd rather spend their time on things that can make them more money, like current shows and selling streaming rights to their hit movies to Netflix. Disney has had no problems stopping DVD releases if they don't make enough money for them, and I am 100% confident that also means they're not going to bother with streaming rights until someone offers a deal that makes selling them worth their while.

(I know this seems counter-intuitive to what Disney has done with all the old Marvel cartoons, but chances are there's a group at Disney whose orders are "take this Marvel content and just make as much money as you can." But there's nothing like that for Disney's own, lesser content — they're all supposed to be working on more lucrative projects. Make sense?)

But as for why WB hasn't managed to get Batman: TAS on streaming, when all the other DC animated series are… or things like Tiny Toons or Freakazoid… man, I don't know. I don't know what allowed them to put Justice League, Batman Beyond and Batman: Brave and the Bold on Netflix, but not the first series. Are they saving them for something? Are they worried that putting TAS on Netflix will cut into DVD sales? Is there some kind of long forgotten rights issue holding things back? Sorry, this one's a mystery to me.

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As for 4545, you will need eyes — more for aesthetic reasons if anything, but you won't need teeth because teeth technology will have advances to the point where all humans get cyber teeth installed which don't require brushing. This is when Colgate, Crest and the Tooth Fairy team up, thus dooming humanity to our post-apocalyptic future.


Teen Spirit

Robert Nease:

Hail Postman,

I hope you can take the time out of your busy nanobot-zombie-eluding schedule to answer the following highly frivolous query from a long time reader.

I recently decided to watch the first episodes of "Young Justice" due to the overwhelmingly positive things I'd heard about it on io9 and elsewhere. Lo and behold, I really liked it! It's a good balance of coming-of-age stories and fun comic book missions, with enough guest appearances from the heavy-hitters of the DC universe to up the stakes and make me miss "Justice League Unlimited" that much more.

With Marvel's recent kidtastic outings such as "Avengers Assemble", "Ultimate Spider-Man" and "Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H." (never have I typed a series of periods more needlessly, sigh) doing well (financially, anyway) it made me think that having a teenaged Avengers show must be on their radar, but at the same time it made me realize that Marvel comics have never been as saturated with teeny-bopper sidekicks as their DC rivals. With your inexplicably immense trove of comic-booky lore perhaps you can shed light on this phenomenon? Was it a deliberate editorial decision made by Stan Lee and co. to help differentiate from DC?

PS Will I finally get my Aqualad movie by the 2040s? It might be fun to see with the grandkids…

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When the Golden Age of comics began in the last '30s and early '40s, all superheroes were adults. But given the young audience of superhero comics, these same creators quickly discovered that adding young sidekicks to their adult heroes often got kids more interested in reading their books. When Robin debuted, sales of Batman doubled, and countless other heroes suddenly got teen sidekicks, including Captain America's Bucky. By the time the '50s rolled around, it was standard procedure for most heroes to have younger versions of themselves alongside.

DC of course survived the decades, and thus its plethora of teen sidekicks was a well-established part of the DC universe by the time Marvel started up again in the '60s. Now, there's surely a lot of sociopolitical reasons behind the cultural change, but the end result is that kids were no longer interested in identifying with sidekicks, they wanted to be the heroes themselves. Thus, Marvel created Spider-Man and the X-Men as teens, alongside more regular adult heroes like the Avengers and Fantastic Four. No teen sidekicks necessary! The teens were their own stars! I don't know if it was a deliberate decision by Stan Lee to differentiate himself from the competition as much as one designed to appeal to the modern youth of the '60s, but it worked.

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This is of course a very simplified version of events, but that's basically the reason why DC has a massive stable of teen sidekicks, while teens in Marvel are usually better known as their own protagonists. That's not to say there aren't a few exceptions in both companies. As the years go on, Marvel has tried a few times to start younger teams of teens firmly in older heroes' shadows — Young Avengers comes to mind — but that's essentially the reason there's Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Miss Martian and the others, but why Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Hulk and the others never had sidekicks of their own.

And no, you've never getting an Aqualad movie. Sorry. And if somehow I'm wrong and Warner Bros goes insane and does make one, I guarantee your grandkids will have no desire to watch it.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!

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