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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Matt Bors and Pope Francis

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TV | Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered on ABC last week; so far, it’s living up to the hype. An offshoot of 2012’s megahit The Avengers, the series picks up where the movie ends: New York City is still reeling from a thrwarted intragalactic scheme to subjugate Earth and the public knows superheroes exist. It’s up to a secret team of international agents to investigate superhuman people and otherworldly weirdness. With Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and Avengers director Joss Whedon at the helm, you can expect snappy dialogue, dazzling explosions, kick-ass leading ladies and city blocks of public property razed to rubble and ashes. Watch it Tuesdays at 8 pm.

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CARTOONIST | Sometimes, our country’s ongoing political drama is so maddening, you have to laugh to keep from crying. Enter Matt Bors, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated editorial cartoonist, with smartly funny and wincingly ironic antidotes to your despair. Flip through his newest book of cartoons and essays, Life Begins at Incorporation, and you’ll meet the “Avenging Uterus,” protector of reproductive rights and shamer of misogynistic assholes, or “Ultra Awareness Man,” who jogs for the “cure(s)” to dozens of diseases while raising awareness for banal causes and tweeting. You can follow Bors’ comic genius online at’s The Nib blog or the digital magazine NSFWCorp.

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POPE | I was raised Catholic, but the church’s stodgy perspective and scandal-plagued history left me uninspired and unbelievin’. But Pope Francis has, to some extent, reinvigorated my faith in the Catholic Church. In a candid and widely publicized interview with several Jesuit publications, the Pope said the Church should reprioritize and focus on social justice, rather than contraceptives, abortion and gay marriage — issues he’s purposely stayed away from. I’m not going to reconvert anytime soon, but I do admire a man who believes inclusivity trumps exclusivity and in kindness over judgment. He also just got a sweet used car that he actually drives around Vatican City.

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