Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What I Bought 11/22/16

So hey, here's that book I decided to start buying last week! I saw some of the first issue on Scans Daily and decided it was worth looking in to.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 and 2, by Jonathan Rivera and Gerard way (writers), Michael Avon Oeming (artist), Nick Filardi (color artist), Clem Robins (letterer) - That is still a mouthful of a title. Also, it's never a good thing when you reach the end of a tunnel and find a giant eye.

Eileen, who was the princess of a subterranean kingdom and married to Cave Carson, has died. Cave is struggling to deal with what to do next, when he's visited by a member of that kingdom. Who is badly wounded, and then turns into a fungus monster. And it turns out Cave's boss may have something to do with this, and he's definitely trying to abduct Chloe, Cave and Eileen's college-age daughter. So Cave steals the Mighty Mole again (although there's a new version in development I'm sure will come into play), and with the help of Wild Dog of all people, attempts to save Chloe. Except the people chasing her also turn into fungus monsters.

I was glad to see Chloe and Cave have a reasonably good relationship. I was worried this was going to be one of those things were the father was a distant authoritarian and his kid hates him. Cave seems like he might have been a less-than-spectacular dad - that bit about awarding her meaningless ranks to produce greater effort was stupidly blunt - but he does seem to care about her, and she cares about him. Even if it seems like she's downplayed how much training she really got. Either that, or the training is working on a subconscious level she isn't aware of.

In addition to Wild Dog being a friend/mechanic/sounding board for Cave, Doc Magnus also showed up as the guy Cave goes to for getting that cybernetic eye. The Metal Men were there, not doing anything, just chilling. Magnus seems to be revamped to be sort of hipper, wearing the shirt of a sergeant in the Army unbuttoned and with goggles pushed back up on his forehead. Don't know if the Doc will pop up again or not.

There's these faint circles in the backgrounds for a lot of the panels. In the green circle  around the panel where Cave details all the things his cybernetic eye told him about Chloe. Or on the next page, in the light shining through the diner windows to the street outside. And sometimes when a character is shown only in outline a shadow form, there are the little circles, but not always. I'm not at all sure what those are about, it seems like some distinct stylistic choice Filardi is making, but hell if I can parse what it means. There are a lot of colors in this - I think meant to represent the eye seeing things in spectrums outside visible light - that make me feel like I need 3-D glasses. There wasn't some sort of promotion involving those was there?

There are also some panels where character's eyes have peculiar shading in them, or they're empty dark voids. Probably significant, but also possibly an error, or just meant to be lighting. It's early days for the book, I can't rule anything out yet.

One of the things that convinced me to give the book a whirl was Oeming's art, though I wasn't paying enough attention to the credits when looking online to notice it was him. I just noticed the art reminded me a little of Darwyn Cooke's and I figured that worked pretty well for me. The two-page splash on pages 2 and 3 of the first issue is a nice peice of work, showing Cave's progression from Eileen's funeral to his empty home. The movement of the action -Cave walking left to right across the top as he exits the cemetery to his car, then driving back to the left across a background of a map towards a highway. Then a panel moving down the page at the far left of Cave on that busy highway, with a couple of panels of him calling into a talk radio show. Then him walking into his house, then down into his basement lab, which takes us to the bottom of the page as he gradually reaches his chair. And the fact the dialogue balloons get fewer and farther between as we move through the page, signifying the loneliness he's descending into it (add in how disconnected he is from any of the stuff being said to him, there's no reaction shown at all.) Also, Oeming uses a much thinner line when Cave starts seeing Eileen through the cybernetic eye from the rest of the art in the issue.

Anyway, there's mysteries afoot, and I do enjoy the potential of a good mystery, so I'm on board for a little while, at least.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Japan 1941 - Eri Hotta

Japan 1941 is about Japan's bizarre, backwards shuffle into war with the United States, largely due to a complete failure of backbone among the political leaders. There are certainly factions who want to fight the U.S., but most of the people at the top, from Hirohito, to Prime Minister Konoe, to General (and Prime Minister after Konoe) Hideki Tojo, to Admiral Yamamoto, etc., recognize this is not a war they should really be fighting, but not one of them will fully commit to avoiding it through diplomacy. Nobody wants to be the guy that gets remembered as, "the one who kept Japan out of the war," because they're too afraid that backing down now will condemn Japan to life as a second-rate power.

So there are repeated cabinet meetings or war councils where the head of the Navy will admit the Navy is not really keen on this war, or the Foreign Secretary will press for an answer on how likely a victory is and receive a, "Well, it's not impossible we could win," and yet they keep pressing forward. They keep placing deadlines for their diplomats, while refusing to even entertain certain concessions, because for whatever reason, they don't recognize that showing a willingness to make those concessions is not the same as absolutely having to make those concessions.

To be fair, Japan has some legit grievances about how the U.S., and the West in general have treated them, even since their rise to the tanks of a modern power. Winning certain territories in past struggles, but then being leaned on to relinquish those by the West. And let's face it, the U.S. or Britain complaining about Japan trying to conquer China or to take over Indochina from the French rings a little hollow coming from two countries that had conquered any number of other peoples. Cordell Hull makes a demand that Japan needs to agree to allow for free trade in China, and when Japan replies they'll go along, just as soon as the U.S. helps bring about free trade everywhere else in the world, Hull replies the U.S. can't be trying to held responsible for things like that outside its sovereign jurisdiction, which makes me wonder what kind of jurisdiction the U.S. has in China. Considering FDR supposedly wants to focus on fighting Germany, it's kind of a bullheaded approach to take.

On the other hand, Japan had built up the strength of their military in the minds of their public so far out of proportion to reality that there was a lot of public pressure to not back down, to keep going, because final victory was almost certainly just moment's away in China, and then they could totally fight the U.S., and even the Soviets (assuming the Germans didn't take care of them). None of which is true, but it was the image the government had promoted, and it trapped them. The military couldn't bring itself to stop fighting, because they said it would make all the men lost up to that point a waste (Hotta notes a similar train of thought came into play with the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan). Still, at some point you need someone to step and being willing to be the unpopular guy, to save lives. Hirohito had serious concerns, and kept pressing his military chiefs, and all he needed to do was tell them, "No," and that should have been it. He's the Emperor, his word is sacrosanct. But he's also supposed to be above basic politics (ostensibly to keep him from receiving any backlash for political decisions if they went badly). And he can't bring himself to break with that to stop something he clearly isn't a fan of.

'Tanaka consistently promoted a hard-line stance in China. For him, total victory was the only option, and the willingness Japanese leaders had been showing of late to negotiate with the United States was a disgrace. Refraining from war equated to cowardly surrender and was worse than losing everything after having fought a proper war.'

Monday, November 28, 2016

February Could Be An Interesting Month

Lots to discuss in the solicits for February. On the DC side, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love will be wrapping up. I may still be buying Blue Beetle, or maybe not. There's another title I've just recently decided to add - you'll find out which one on Wednesday - I may or may not still be buying then as well. And then there's the new Justice League of America book, which is going to involve the Ray. I'm not sure what to expect from the book. I know several people enjoyed Steve Orlando's Midnighter series, but solo titles and team books aren't the same. Also, while making a cast of second-stringers seems reminiscent of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, describing them as the most rough-and-tumble League, and that they're assembled by Batman, just screams "Outsiders", doesn't it? I'd be more likely to try it if they weren't going to start off with a battle with the Extremists.

With Marvel, Monsters Unleashed continues, and Marvel has, in their usual idiocy, to have Greg Land draw one of the issues. The one possible saving grace is that Land presumably can't trace the monsters from porn stars or pro wrestlers, and when he actually has to draw, he's not terrible. Inhumans vs. X-Men continues, and I sure hope they do a better job with it than they did with Death of X. Going by what I've seen and read, that was a complete trash fire. They actually made me find Cyclops sympathetic, the incompetent bastards. Marvel's also going to try giving Elektra another ongoing, 'cause why not, as well as Kingpin and friggin' Black Bolt. I keep waiting for Marvel to give up on the Inhumans, but they will not do it. Just keep throwin' away paper and creative talent on that dead end.

On to things I will actually waste money on, Deadpool is back to double-shipping, and it looks a though Scott Hepburn will be the artist, for at least this next arc. I haven't seen his work since he did an issue of DeConnick's first Captain Marvel volume, but I liked it all right then. Squirrel Girl is getting herself a Flying Squirrel Suit, which I am reasonably excited for. I don't understand why the solicit for Nova only mentions Richard Rider being alive again, like that wasn't already established two issues ago (or several months ago in the previous volume). Gwenpool is going up against Arcade, which is making me consider picking that book up. Well, I was already starting to do that, but it's made me consider it more.

Outside of those two publishers, Boom! is going to publish a Steven Universe ongoing. I've been meaning to post about that, as it's one of the only two things I watch reliably on TV anymore (the other being the NBA), and maybe I will soon. I was going to that Thursday after the election, but well, Trump. Adam Warren is releasing another Empowered one-shot, which I will probably buy. And there's the Wynonna Earp: Sisters mini-series, which I'd swear IDW hasn't been reliably releasing solicits for, and will be concluding in February. I don't know if I'll buy that or not. No sign of Darkwing Duck in the Joe Books solicits, although I don't think issue 5 was listed, either, and it showed up.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Foyle's War 3.4 - War of Nerves

Plot: Jack and Derek are in the pub getting drunk, Jack especially. Jack's in bomb disposal and it's taking its toll, to the point he pulls a gun on Derek, only to have Sam talk him into giving her the gun, which she promptly accidentally shoots a light with. The next morning, Foyle receives an unwelcome visit from Assistant Commissioner Rose. Foyle is busy investigating the disappearance of materials from nearby shipyards, material vital to keeping the shipping going. The police have set up a small construction business as a lure from the thief, who might see them as someone interested in some illicit building materials. But Rose is more concerned with a 5th columnist named Raymond Carter who is coming to the area, and wants Foyle to arrest the man on any charge he can find or concoct. Foyle reluctantly leaves Milner in charge of the sting, and goes to meet Carter and his fiance, noted watercolorist Lucinda Sheridan, as they arrive at their hotel. They're both pleasant enough, and offer to have lunch with Foyle the next day.

In other threads, Milner is approached by an Ian Kimble with an offer of lumber. Milner goes to the agreed location, but when he tries to make the arrest, get shot in the arm. And the rest of the flatfoots are slow enough that Kimble, no track star, gets away. He was tailed earlier to the Talbot brothers' shipyard, but there's no sign of him among their 400 employees at the shipyard. Meanwhile, the testimony of Sam and Jack's commander, Captain Hammond, have managed to get him off with a warning. Good thing, too, since Jack is supposed to be marrying Gwen, the daughter of the desk sergeant at Foyle's precinct. Gwen even asks Sam to be maid of honor. And speaking of fortuitous happenstance, a bomb lands in an unused building in the Talbot's shipyard, and when Jack's unit arrives, they find a mysterious box. The bomb is safely dealt with and removed, but the Talbots are rather more concerned with house the thousands of pounds that were inside the box are now missing.

The search for Kimble continues, to both the Talbots' and Rose's consternation. Especially because Foyle doesn't seem inclined to lean on Carter, and Derek is pushing for more of the 200 employees at the shipyard to organize. Kimble is hiding at home, and his wife, who works as a welder at the shipyard, gets the bright idea to try and question Gwen about Kimble shooting a cop (since he has no idea if Milner's alive or not). This only succeeds in making Gwen suspicious enough to talk to Sam, who brings her to Foyle, and Kimble (Bill Mason, actually) is soon in custody.

In the midst of all this, one of Jack's bomb disposal group is abducted outside the pub one night. There was a witness, so the police know it happened, but Hammond is oddly sanguine about it. Jack, not so much, as he's decided taking the money was a mistake, and wants to postpone his wedding. Gwen tells Sam, but tries to swear her to secrecy. Not that Foyle needs any help knowing to question Jack, though he might need Gwen's help getting him to talk. And that's if he can finally get Rose off his back long enough to deal with the problem.

Quote of the Episode: Rose - 'They're talking about people's government, people's peace, dangerous fifth column nonsense.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam can do: Calmly talk down an inebriate with a gun. Give decent enough testimony to help exonerate said inebriate from consequences of his stupidity.

Other: The fact I say 400 employees in one sentence, and 200 in another, is not a typo.

Raymond Carter is played by Peter Capaldi, the current Doctor. I was sure I knew Peter Hugo-Daly, who plays Kimble, from somewhere, but there's nothing in his IMDb resume that rings any bells. No, I haven't seen Gangs of New York. Don't you start on me about that, I catch enough shit from seemingly everyone I know about that.

The end result of Gwen having to convince Jack to talk is, not only is Sam stripped of being maid of honor, she isn't even invited to the wedding. That's gratitude for ya. Well, Sam didn't want to go to your stupid wedding anyway. Your cake wasn't even going to have icing on it, and she was going to have a hell of a time finding a dress.

Hammond explains at one point that he's in bomb disposal because he's a pacifist, but still wanted to do his duty, and this was the option he felt fit best. Which is a contrast to Jack, who thought he'd be safe building bridges and the like, and winds up defusing explosives.

Rose is a dolt, someone who clearly failed upwards, so I enjoy him as someone for Foyle to punch up against. He has enough authority and protection he can be credible threat (or at least nuisance) to where it doesn't feel like Foyle's picking on some brain-damaged idiot manchild. SPOILERS from here on to the bottom, in this situation, Rose is actually trying to lean on Carter because Lucinda is his daughter, who has renounced his name in response to how he reacts to her fiance. As Foyle notes, if Carter is in jail, he can't marry Lucinda. Which is petty and dumb, but that's Rose. He probably could have done this anywhere, called in favors to any district Carter visited, but he chose Hastings, and Foyle. Even though he has to know Foyle will resent it, will question it, will buck Rose's orders at every opportunity. Because Foyle has done it in the past, and I think that's why Rose does it, because he wants to crack the whip on Foyle,and make him waste his time on what is ultimately a personal issue.

I could be giving Rose too much credit, now that I think of it. When Rose mentions they could charge Carter on sedition, Foyle points out it wasn't too long ago Rose was getting ready to charge Foyle with sedition. Rose acts as though he can't believe Foyle still remembers that, after all it happened a good 9 months ago! So maybe he's just so stupid he didn't think Foyle might not regard it as a priority, and might snoop around and figure out why he's really been assigned this.

Still, I enjoyed the reveal, because it plays with expectations. The whole time prior to that, it seems like the same old story: Government working hand-in-hand with big Bizness to keep the workers down. Strikes were apparently outlawed sometime earlier (we're up to June '41) by this point, which rather conveniently removes a lever labor has if management starts gouging them on wages, along with being able to charge people who try to organize with sedition. Foyle is busy trying to figure out who is stealing building supplies that are needed to keep ships bringing in vital supplies, and here's Rose, ordering him to harass some guy pushing for such radical ideas as self-determination for the colonies. Gasp! Oh no! When Foyle continues his own work, the Talbots complain to Rose that Foyle's not keeping his eye on the real problem, rise that old specter of Socialism. And then it turns out to all be a smokescreen. Whatever Rose's feelings on the subject, and it's clear he's pretty far right on the political spectrum, this is really just him not liking the guy his daughter is dating. Because he's a smelly hippie, basically.

As it turns out, the Talbots, who are receiving funding from the Admiralty and the Ministry of Shipping, are adding the names of dead kids to their employee rolls to get more money, which they were then embezzling into their secret slush fund. Had Hammond not taken them down with him (and I love that he made sure the specific goon who killed Ernie was also present), I have no doubt they'd have skated with a slap on the wrist. Let's hear it for revenge! Like alcohol, it is the solution to, and cause of, all our problems.

There's this one shot, when Foyle first meets Carter and Lucinda at the hotel, where Carter says something, and the camera does this extreme close-up on Foyle's face for a second or two. Way closer than normal when they want to show his reactions. It was kind of distracting. I don't know if they really wanted to emphasize Foyle feeling uncomfortable with this task, and Carter's comments exacerbating that or what.

The episode ends with the news that Germany has committed the massive blunder of invading the Soviet Union. Carter is ecstatic, claiming they're all in it together now, and Stalin has 7 million men. Yes, and he's going to get every single one of them killed, though that's no change from his everyday routine. How many would he have had available if not for all the purges, denouncing, and sending people to gulags?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Dragging Myself From The Food Coma For This

Pollock: This is ridiculous. You can't have a Thanksgiving get-together in such a small apartment!

Calvin: Nonsense. I've got four chairs, that's plenty with the futon -

Deadpool: [I'll just go ahead and eat lying down here.] *Deadpool leaps onto the futon. It breaks.*

Calvin: Crud.

Deadpool: [It's fine, I can comfortably eat like this. Thanks for pre-warming this by sitting here. Nice and toasty on ma buns.]

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Wade, what the heck?!

Deadpool: [What? This is shoddy construction!]

Clever Adolescent Panda: Or you're getting fat. maybe you better not have any food.

Deadpool: *outraged* [What?! I'm lean, yet muscular, thank you. Sinewy. Wiry. Like a panther. A sexy panther.]

Calvin: I don't know, you're looking pretty swollen. Maybe you're letting Ed McGuinness draw you too often.

Deadpool: [He is a superstar artist, how dare you! I'll show you I'm still in fighting trim!] *starts to remove clothes*

Everyone: No!

CAP: Forget we said anything Wade. I had completely forgotten you're actually really skinny when Koblish draws you in 2099. Where's Cassanee, didn't she come along?

Pollock: She's already tucking into the food.

*Cass is indeed piling a plate high with mashed potatoes and turkey*

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Did she already eat an entire pie?!

Calvin: Er no, I ate half of that this morning.

Pollock: *shakes head, tsks*

Calvin: Don't you start. I went running this morning!

Deadpool: [Trying to make it to the bathroom in time doesn't count.]

CAP: Let's just grab plates before it's all gone.

Pollock: And the lack of seating?

Calvin: I'll gladly sit on the floor if you'll shut the hell up about it.

*Eating commences*

CAP: Wade, why did you bring taquitos to Thanksgiving?

Calvin: I told him it was OK. I like taquitos.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Yeah, I'm fine with that.

Deadpool: [I also brought alcohol!]

Pollock: Yes, you've been spilling it on what's left of Calvin's futon for hours.

Calvin: She's right, do I need to buy a sippy cup for when you visit?

Deadpool: [I don't know, do you need a bullet hole in your head?]

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Dang man.

CAP: I know, right? I was worried we'd argue about politics.

Calvin: No thanks, Wade, I've already got one in my foot courtesy of you.

Cassanee: What?

Pollock: Oh, she speaks! Here I thought living in the woods had robbed you of human speech. Opossums aren't great conversationalists, are they?

*Cassanee throws an empty pie tin at Pollock, who deflects it with her fork. Wade shoots it out of the air without even looking.*

Calvin: Hey, don't badmouth opossums!

CAP: They aren't great conversationalists, though. They'll make small talk, if you're patient, but that's about it.

Deadpool: [They don't like to share dumpsters, either. Or, so I hear. I certainly didn't sleep in dumpsters.]

CAP: Yeah, Wade, we all know about you being a big, successful Avenger with your own hi-rise.

Cassanee: *incredulous* They let him on the Avengers?

Deadpool: [I was picked by Captain America himself?]

Calvin: He's a HYDRA agent now, you know. But he wasn't when he first picked you, so we'll just chalk that decision up to senility.

Cassanee: The Falcon is a HYDRA agent?

CAP: You know about that?

Cassanee: We do have the ability to communicate with the outside world. Guyamo wrecked destroyed most of the infrastructure, but we've had plenty of time to get it fixed. Three and a half years is enough time for a cable/Internet provider to come out.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Maybe with your provider.

Pollock: Agreed.

CAP: Is Guyamo behaving himself?

Deadpool: [Is no one worried about Captain America being a member of HYDRA?]

Cassanee: No one has seen Guyamo since shortly after you helped overthrow him. He was just gone. We turned his castle into a community center.

CAP: That's nice.

Calvin: Will someone pass me those baked beans?

Pollock: Why don't you have some of my deviled eggs?

Calvin: I can't stand deviled eggs and you know that.

Pollock: Indeed I do. Suffer, wretch.

Deadpool: [I'll eat them.]

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Me too. Cassanee?

Cassanee: Sure.

Calvin: That makes me give thanks for friends who will eat disgusting foods, while cursing the, whatever the hell Pollock is to me by now, who bring those awful foods.

Pollock: Drat. Well, at least people are enjoying them. Moreso than those biscuits you made, Calvin.

CAP: *looks up from a plate of pasta* There are biscuits?

Calvin: Yeah, they're over on the counter with the other food.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: He brought some of his mom's cornbread, too!

CAP: !!!!!! *leaps from seat onto the counter*

Deadpool: [That's right, fill up on bread. More taquitos and turkey for me!]

Calvin: Wade, quit hogging all the dark meat!

CAP: *now holding three biscuits and a piece of cornbread* Should we say what we're giving thanks for?

Calvin: I guess. I'm probably going to slip into a coma soon, and it is sort of a tradition.

Deadpool: [I'm grateful I know people who live in a reality where booze is cheaper than it is in mine. And that now I know Captain America is a HYDRA agent, so I can save the day and boost my flagging merchandise sales.]

CAP: But you won't remember when you go home. This works like your old recap page in Cable/Deadpool.

Deadpool: [Damn, there goes my plan for a "battlin' bots" game with me and HYDRA-Cap.]

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: I'm grateful for this cornbread. And that I'm not trying to drive home, so I can drink some of Deadpool's cheap booze.

Calvin: I'm grateful you missed my mailbox when your brakes failed.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: I only smashed a few of that lady's lawn ornaments!

CAP: I'm grateful that I helped Lufonz finish his new body and he's hopefully safe from vengeful robots and wizards. Also that Wade hasn't forgotten us now that he's a big celebrity.

Deadpool: [I didn't really have any other place to go since I'm on the outs with my wife and my daughter's adopted family.]

CAP: Oh.

Deadpool: [But I like you guys, too. Let's help Pollock destroy her company so she can retake it soon!]

Pollock: Agreed.

CAP: *indignant* You never called me to tell me we were doing that!

Cassanee: I wanted to do that years ago.

Pollock: It didn't need destroying then!

Cassanee: Sez you.

Deadpool: [Ladies, perhaps you could settle your differences in a really cool extended fight scene in some windswept field or a on top of a skyscraper?]

Calvin: I figured you were going to suggest mud wrestling.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: So did I.

CAP: Yeah, me too.

Pollock: I was getting ready to hit you for it.

Deadpool: [I would never! Well, sometimes. But only when it's funny. And there wouldn't be any hard feelings, just hard places. Because that kind of action can be pretty stimulating-]

Calvin: Yeah, that's enough of that. Cass?

Cassanee: *thinks for a moment* I have a nice home. I have a good pair of boots. We've mostly driven back the bandits.

CAP: Bandits?

Cassanee: They're big, and hairy, and they walk funny. They all have big noses, and wear handkerchiefs over their faces. They steal food and camping equipment mostly.

CAP: Huh.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Weird. Calvin?

Calvin: Ha ha, I sure don't know anything about that!

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: I meant, what are you thankful for?

Calvin: Oh, uh, you know, got a real boy job. That was pretty OK. Can't shake the feeling I'm actually in that Twilight Zone episode where the guy dies and thinks he's in Heaven when he's in Hell. They didn't try very hard to sell me on it being Heaven, but the Cubs won the World Series and the Dallas Cowboys are good again, so yeah, starting to look a lot like Hell.

CAP: That was an awful giving of thanks. Soooo, Pollock?

Pollock: I'm thankful for the chance for revenge against the people who took what's mine that looms in the future. Vicious, brutal revenge.

*Everyone stares at her blankly. Except Deadpool, who gives a big thumbs up.*

Pollock: And I'm pretty great. I'm thankful for that, too.

CAP: I'm a lot less enthusiastic about helping you now, for some reason. And that even worse than Calvin's. Can anyone be thankful for a nice thing?

Deadpool: [Oooh, ooh, me, pick me! I remembered something else!]

Calvin: Don't do it.

Cassanee: He's an idiot, you'll regret it.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: Aw, I want to hear what he says.

CAP: *sighs* OK Wade, let's hear it.

Deadpool: [I'm thankful that my incredible popularity hasn't made Marvel put me in books with more Inhumans. I, too, am pretty great, but even I can't make anyone actually care about those guys. Better to just let them sink, like those bodies I hide in tar pits.]

CAP: That is a good thing, but still kind of mean.

Calvin: Well, sometimes being thankful out of spite is all we've got and- *a sound from his pocket causes Calvin to leap to his feet, grab a camera and dash outside. He returns in less than a minute*

Calvin: All right, an osprey! And I even got a decent photo, I think! *It's not actually a very good photo*

CAP: What the heck?

Calvin: *holds up smart phone* It's this app I got, Osprey Alert. It tells you when there are ospreys nearby. They're so cool looking! *gestures at Pollock* I'm thankful your company made this app!

Pollock: You're the one person who bought that app?!

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: You actually bought a smart phone?

CAP: Yeah, I'm not sure I can believe that. Are you also Pollock somehow?

Pollock: Now how would that work? I'm sitting right here!

Deadpool: [Your powers are mutating and you can split into multiple versions of yourself, who can also shapeshift.]

CAP: Or you learned a spell.

Calvin: Or you're a hologram.

Pollock: Why are you helping them?

Calvin: *shrugs* I dunno, I just felt like throwing out ideas.

Pollock: well stop it. You are you, and I am me, and you're an idiot, but did you leave feedback about your purchase?

Calvin: I did one of those online surveys about the seller, because your company wouldn't stop sending me e-mails asking me to. And still hasn't even after I did the survey.

Makes Brakes Fail Lass: I hate when they do that.

Deadpool: [Yeah, harassing customers with annoying mail is an awful thing!]

CAP: Why did I just get five e-mails encouraging me to take advantage of the great online deals on your "Deadpool's Sweatin' to the Oldies" workout videos then?

Cassanee: Ech.

Deadpool: [Uh, my site was hacked by the Russians?]

Thursday, November 24, 2016

400 Days With Dane Cook Would Drive Anyone Mad

As always here at Reporting on Marvels and Legends, we strive to bring you posts that have nothing to do with whatever holiday they happen to be falling on. Because we know some of you also hate solid blocks of holiday-themed programming.

So how about 400 Days, a movie about four prospective astronauts put inside a simulator in preparation for a trip to another planet. Part way through, something happens which makes the power and oxygen levels fluctuate erratically. Then an emaciated, freaky looking human crawls in through an air vent, before fleeing the next morning. The team, which is rapidly cracking under the strain, eventually leave and find a wasteland. Dvorak (Cook) is convinced the whole thing is just a test, while the others aren't so sure. Well, Bug is losing any grip on reality so he probably doesn't care much one way or the other. The ending provides no certain answer one way or the other, as it occurs right as the 400 days end and a possibly automated message plays in the simulator, followed by the sound of pounding on the hatch above.

If it was all part of the test, Theo (Brandon Routh) is going to feel awful silly about killing those three guys. Assuming they aren't faking masterfully. The film does just enough I can't dismiss the possibility the whole thing is is a set-up outright. There's always the chance the other two members are OK the way that guy said back at the town. That the someone watching Theo and Emily (Caity Lotz) retreat to the simulator through night vision goggles were members of NASA or whatever. Dvorak was convinced all the people in the town were at their press conference, but it had been over 13 months so you could question his memory.

It wasn't what I expected. I figured it would be more about the four gradually turning on each other, and NASA lets it go too long because they need to see what will happen. Probably because I expected Cook to be playing an extremely irritating guy who the audience would want to see murdered. I wouldn't say that's how it played out. His character was a bit of a jerk, but of course there are Reasons, and he was under a lot of strain. But the film is more focused on how knowing they were being watched and subjected to stress as a test, combined with their isolation, makes them suspicious. They can't trust what they see and hear, and they're smart enough to concoct possible explanations that fit into the "it's a test" narrative.

So it wasn't great or anything, but I was expecting terrible, and got "readily watchable". I'll take that as a win, even if it's partially due to lowered expectations. I feel like I've watched a lot of just disappointing, shitty films this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Film Can Always Use A Good Villain

I've seen a refrain that Marvel's movies lack for interesting villains. In some cases I would agree. I thought movie Malekith was a pretty dull guy compared to the gleeful, malevolent trickster I've seen in the comics, but maybe they thought there'd be too much overlap with Loki. Although I feel Malekith is not so concerned with settling scores with Thor or Odin, he's got bigger aspirations. It probably doesn't help that so many of them die at the end, though.

I'm glad they let Nebula (Karen Gillan) survive Guardians of the Galaxy, and are bringing her back for the sequel. I like the first one alright, it's not my favorite by any stretch, but her character is one of the more intriguing parts. I think what I like is she's pissed at EVERYONE. Pissed at Thanos for what he's done to her, and the fact nothing she's done for him is ever enough. Pissed at being handed off to Ronan the way you lend your neighbor your leaf blower, who also doesn't appreciate her. Pissed at Gamora for being the favorite, even after she defects, and probably pissed at her for defecting, abandoning Nebula to deal with this alone.

There's an element of unpredictability it adds to her. She's capable of throwing in with anyone if it gives her a chance to strike back at someone else she hates, unless she hates that person even more. Which is why she's not helping Gamora fight Ronan, but she'd help Ronan if he'd kill Thanos. At the same time, I don't think she has any real loyalty to anyone else, not surprising since no one has ever shown any to her. She doesn't seem to have any overarching goal. Not interested in conquest or glory, like Loki, the Red Skull, Thanos (probably). Not out to prove her strength or superiority like Ultron or the Abomination. She just hates, and what's maybe critical is she doesn't seem terribly concerned with her own well-being. The others, except maybe Zemo, all wanted to live to see tomorrow, enjoy the fruits of their hoped-for successes. I'd imagine her attitude has something to do with her body's ability to self-repair, and possibly also all the modifications Thanos did to her that brought that about.

All of which makes her sound like a mad dog, berserker type. The thing that adds a twist to it is how smart and in control she seems. She's not a bad commander at all. Ronan is all threats and intimidation, vague orders to "kill everyone" or whatever. Nebula is the one who, when the Ravagers and Guardians make their combined assault, recognizes their smoke screen for what it is and gets Ronan's forces in position to prepare for the attack. She's an effective leader, while still being extremely angry all the time. The scene when she storms out of the command room while gesturing angrily and shouting for the soldiers to follow her sticks in my memory. It's the impatient anger evident in her stalk, the "I don't have time for this," combined with a straightforward determination to get things done. She wants Ronan to kill Thanos, and he won't do that until after he destroys Xandar. So she has to get rid of these pests if she wants those things to happen, and she knows what has to be done for that to happen. It just so happens her troops aren't up to the challenge.

That all encompassing fury, plus the ability to still focus and lead minions, makes for an intriguing mixture. I wouldn't expect people to flock to her banner, if she'd even bother, but she can be a ruthless lone agent, or she has the flexibility to work for someone with the resources she needs. And there's always the possibility she can unite a bunch of people who feel alone, used and discarded, or just generally angry. Seeing plenty of that here in the U.S., and in story it would make a contrast to the Guardians. They were alone, but found a family with each other and a purpose in (mostly) helping people. Nebula is alone, but doesn't feel like forming bonds in an deeper way, and is fixated on hurting people. Then she pulls together a bunch of like-minded sorts for the same purpose. She's probably more organized and has the numbers, but the Guardians are more tightly knit and creative.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Luke Cage

In brief, I enjoyed Luke Cage a lot more than the first season of Daredevil (I haven't watched Season 2 yet.) So that's my extremely quick review.

To get more expansive, I loved the music. Especially the opening credits theme. It's a frequent refrain that Marvel's movies lack memorable songs or soundtracks. This isn't a problem that really bothers me, because music is frequently background for me. Hearing problems cause me to concentrate on not missing things that are important to the story. I'm trying to focus on what I can see, or dialogue (it's why I will watch most everything with captions or subtitles on if I can). But Luke Cage really had some great stuff, that made it fun to watch some of the slower sequences and just let things sink in.

But there were a lot of slow sequences. It felt as though the series could have been two episodes shorter. There were so many instances where I was muttering, "get on with it." And there wasn't any particular plotline that was consistently that. Sometimes I was frustrated by Willis Stryker's "I'm crazy, ooh" posturing. Other times it was Mariah, because yeah, she's a sleazy politician, I get it. And sometimes I wanted either Luke or Misty to get the hell on with it. The whole thing with Luke getting shot, he and Stryker kind of hunting each other, Luke looking for help, the trip to Georgia, that seemed to go on forever.

It was that sense at times that, because the series couldn't end yet, certain things were happening because of that. The part where Misty confronts Stryker in the office at the club, gun drawn, and he somehow draws two guns, wounds her, and escapes unscathed. Oh, come on. It just felt as though it occurred because they need him unharmed for a big showdown with Luke two episodes from now.

I liked Mike Colter as Luke. I was surprised people kept referring to him as "corny". I had always pegged Luke as being very cool, but those aren't mutually exclusive, I guess. He can say things people think are corny, but the fact he's genuine, and the way he carries himself while saying corny things, make him cool. Luke seems like a good guy, one trying to live a life under circumstances outside his control, who still feels a responsibility to act, as much as he might try to deny it. He starts out trying to avoid getting involved, then he's in it for revenge. Then it seems like it's almost a macho thing, that he drew a line in the sand, and he can't tolerate Cottonmouth challenging him. And somewhere along the line, he starts actually wanting to just help people, protect them, even if they're criminals, he'll try to keep them from getting killed.

I did identify with Luke in the episode that ends with Pops' memorial. Cottonmouth's goons are beating and robbing people, and telling them to ask Luke about it. So Luke, reluctantly, keeps going and taking their stuff back. He doesn't want to keep getting dragged into this, he's wearing a nice suit, he just wants to attend the service, but he has to help. That, "I'll do this if it'll make you shut up and quit bothering me," attitude resonates with me.

Shades (Theo Rossi) annoyed the hell out of me. I'm not sure precisely what it was. The way he carried himself, like he's a big deal, when he's never anything more than a second fiddle, or someone else's water carrier. Ooh, you wear sunglasses all the time. So did Tony LaRussa, didn't make him cool. Watching Claire and Misty beat him up was pretty satisfying, although I was really wanting to see Luke slap him through a window. (I like how much they emphasize Luke's strength by his restraint. How often he casually tosses someone across a room, or barely taps them and they're knocked out). Anyway, Shades, the yapping dog nipping at your ankles, always darting away before you can punt him.

Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey) I went back and forth on. Some times I really liked his act, and sometimes it felt too over the top. When he first shows up and wounds Luke, and is mockingly calling out, "Caaarl," I dug that. He has a rasp to his voice that works. Get the feeling he's been calling that name for a long time, even when Luke was nowhere around. I wasn't thrilled with the, "I'm your half-brother!" revelation, but I the level of obsession worked. Like, none of what Stryker is pissed about is Luke's fault. He didn't know his dad was fooling around. He didn't know that was why Stryker set him up to take the fall. That comes up a lot in the series. Luke is frequently the victim of things outside his control. He's judged for being a big, African-American man. That almost certainly played into the prison sentence he got, it certainly played into how that crooked guard treated him (not that he treated any prisoners well, but he's clearly a racist). It plays into how the cops see him. He starts trying to take action, and he's got Mariah, the press, the cops, other people in the neighborhood distorting his actions, blaming things on him he didn't do or expecting him to do x, y, or z, and he just has to deal with it.

I ended up feeling bad for Misty (Simone Missick) a lot. I like Misty; she's clever, she's funny sometimes, sarcastic frequently, dedicated, trying to do her best, but frustrated by limitations. The series really likes kicking her in the teeth, between her partner being crooked, her boss being too friendly with Mariah, and her attempts to protect her witness failing. That one was a real kicker, because I really thought Misty was going to get a win there. Candace had reconsidered, been inspired by Luke's kindness, and Mariah was at least going to have to skate fast to get off that thin ice. Then that fucker Shades wrecked everything, and Misty ends up chewed out by her boss for not trusting the system. The system that treated Misty as suspect because of her partner, that tried to take her badge, that kept letting Cottonmouth skate. Gee, can't imagine why she might lack trust.

That the police response to finding their weapons can't kill Luke was to go buy some weapons that could was sadly unsurprising. Misty tried to point out previously the best was to bring Luke in was to reason with him, and they only accepted that grudgingly, like it was a bizarre concept to them. It kind of operates as a low-rent Sentinel program, which was a superhero universe version of attempts to single out and terrorize minority groups. That Mariah pushes for the armament program is no surprise, since Stryker will help fund her campaigns with some of the proceeds. That she's able to play on the fears of a segment of the community and get them backing, is kind of a surprise. Like, once the cops have these exploding bullets, what's to stop them from using them whenever they like (besides the possibly prohibitive cost)? Just claim, "I thought my life was in danger from a superhuman," and that'll be accepted by the higher-ups, right? Especially considering most of the superhumans in the Marvel movie/television Universe could walk down the street without you knowing they were superhumans. How many men are there in New York City that fit Luke's general description? But I suppose all the supporters are thinking that certainly won't happen to them or anyone they care about, so there's no harm in it.

It's kind of a companion to Captain America: Civil War, which seemed focus on the response of world governments and militaries to the presence and impact of the Avengers, the efforts to curb them, or bring them in line with the goals of those groups. There's still a bit of that in Luke Cage, obviously the cops are freaked out by someone who can defy them if he so chooses, and Mariah sees Luke as someone who might undercut her influence, but the series looks more at how the public reacts. We hear people debating him on the radio. We see people coming out to cheer for him when he fights Stryker, or supporting Mariah, or blaming Luke when goons do something to them on Cottonmouth's orders. People aren't sure what to make of him or what he'll do, because he isn't necessarily following any strict rules or laws like cops are supposed to be doing. Luke acts as he thinks is right, but a) he doesn't always make the right choice, and b) other people don't know that, because it's his thoughts. So to some people he's frightening, and a sign Something Needs to be Done. Scapegoat, lash out, even when they have no clear idea of who they'd be lashing out at. To others he's an inspirational figure, someone to rally behind. And to others he's just a tool to use to accomplish what they want, good or bad.

And that cat is out of the bag. Even if it's revealed where the Judas bullets came from, I doubt the cops are going to relinquish them. Which is sort of a depressing thought hanging over the ending. The evidence to exonerate Luke is available, so he'll get out of prison, hopefully soon. Mariah and Shades are free, but Misty is still there, pursuing them. She may not get them, but they'll have eyes on them, ready to pounce. But those bullets are out there, and probably going to encourage more people to come up with similar ideas. Iron Man 2, among others, showed what happens if someone can get their hands on the resources to construct their ideas. But that requires either extreme brilliance, or shitloads of money. Here, it's starting to trickle down to levels where people not quite on that level can get it. Some mob boss, maybe Wilson Fisk if he didn't die in Daredevil season 2, is going to convince a cop to slip him some of those bullets. That stuff will be out there, going forward.

Anyway, pacing issues aside, Luke Cage was pretty good. And I enjoyed the randomness of the Method man appearance. I saw someone who didn't like it, but I liked it coming out of nowhere (and the robber trying to chat him up while robbing the place).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fixing One Problem But Creating Another

So there was bit in the sorta recently released Mockingbird #8 where writer Chelsea Cain tries to rewrite the history between Bobbi Morse and the Phantom Rider a bit, but I'm not sure if it's a net positive. Trigger Warning for discussing rape.

In the original story, written by Steve Engelhart during his stint on West Coast Avengers, the "Whackos" get suckered onto a partially functional one of Doom's time machines that can only go backwards in time and are sent to 1886. They have a brief team-up with Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt, and Phantom Rider before deciding to try going back to Ancient Egypt to see if Rama-Tut will fix their time machine. Phantom Rider becomes obsessed with Mockingbird, and just as they're about to depart, sucker punches and kidnaps her. Then he drugs her to forget Hawkeye and fall in love with him. Eventually Two-Gun Kid snaps her out of it by dressing up as Hawkeye, Bobbi hunts down the Rider, during the fight he stumbles off a cliff, and Bobbi declines to pull him up (he doesn't help matters by demanding she do so, rather than asking politely or pleading). She and Clint are reunited, but Bobbi holds back about a lot of what happened, at first not wanting to burden Clint (and probably not dwell on it herself), and then later because she hadn't realized how strongly Clint felt about "Avengers don't kill". Which leaves an opening for the ghost of the Rider to appear and tell Clint Bobbi actually killed him. Which Clint, who had sensed she was keeping something from him, believes. It leads to him divorcing her like a total dipshit.

That's a lot of recapping, but I figured we might as well lay out the original parameters. What we get now is Bobbi telling the Rider Clint divorced her because she cheated on him. That the Rider could never have controlled her, and she made the decision to have a fling with him. And Clint, whether he would admit it out loud or not, knows this. {Edit: Now with the page in question from the comic that I totally forgot to include the first time!}

Now, there is a possibility this was all a ruse by her to shatter any illusions the Rider had of being in control. In story, it seems to make him realize he's always been a schmuck she used and discarded, and there's no hope of them being together. So he abandons the relative he's possessing. But Cain did say on Twitter (before she was driven off it by abusive jackasses in an uproar over Bobbi being drawn wearing an "Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda" shirt, because some people are stupid assholes) that maybe the drugged/raped story didn't need to be canon, and that yes, Bobbi is saying she had given consent and Clint just didn't want to accept it. So I don't think the intent is for it to be a ploy Bobbi's using, but rather, the new interpretation of the story. It gets a rape out of a female character's backstory that didn't really need it, seems like a good thing. Except. . .

I mean, as a side issue, it makes Clint look better. He didn't divorce his wife who had just recently been drugged and raped (I don't know how physical the two had gotten, but I don't think it matters much since the Rider had clearly removed her consent) because her attacker said she murdered him and Clint believed it. Pretty shitty. Instead, he divorces her because she cheated on him and (maybe) had a hand in killing the guy she fooled around with. That's more understandable. I've made my feelings on infidelity pretty clear in the past, so if we're going with "Bobbi was unfaithful", I am fully on Clint's side in this, whereas before I had basically no sympathy for him whatsoever.

From Bobbi's perspective though, it's kind of hard to square her actions in that story with this retcon. Like, the last she sees of her team, they're going further back in time to try and parlay with a potentially dangerous time-traveling despot to get back home. She has no idea how that's going, but she should be able to reasonably conclude they're worried about her (and Clint is probably frantic), which is going to make them desperate and cause them to maybe take risks they shouldn't so they can get back to her. But there's no indication she thinks about that at all*. What's more, Two-Gun Kid and Kid Colt are trying to track her down and rescue her through all this, and the first time they catch up, she helps the Rider beat their asses. Which is one thing if she's drugged, but quite another if she's not. That's going a little far for an affair, no?

Then there's the whole issue of the Phantom Rider's death. In the original story, Bobbi shakes off the effects of the drugs, is rightly pissed, and hunts down the Rider in a fury, telling Two-Gun and Colt to stay out of it. She's clear-headed enough to be ready for all his tricks, but her emotional state could be questioned in terms of how much she's thought this out. In the new version, she was toying with the Rider the whole time, and when it's over she attacks him until he falls over the cliff. Then she watches him die. Which makes it seem like her trying to cover her tracks. She got what she wanted, time to get rid of the evidence. How inconvenient he didn't stay dead. There's a greater argument for premeditation on her part. Slade is no innocent, he still kidnapped and tried to drug her, even if it didn't work. But the fact Bobbi played along with it, rather than kicking his ass the moment she regained consciousness - or the first moment he dropped his guard, or the first time Two-Gun and Colt caught up - doesn't look too good**.

The original story didn't really do Bobbi any favors, in terms of adding or illuminating aspects of her character. I think there were probably stories in her SHIELD years that could have handled pointing out how her attitude towards killing differs from Hawkeye's, without adding rape to her backstory. The new version takes that out, but I'm not sure it puts back in anything good. One answer might be that the story had to play out differently from how we've seen it, but there's only so far you can stretch it. Phantom Rider still has to die, and Bobbi still has to be present. Hawkeye still has to lost somewhere in time during all this. It still isn't going to be great for her, any way you slice it. So I don't know. Not so much turning a negative into a positive as it is turning a big negative into a little one? You could do something probably with exploring why she made that decision, how it fits into her personality as a whole.

{Edit: Something that came to mind after I posted this originally is this retcon does sort of explain why Clint and Bobbi have had an on-again, off-again thing since her return in Secret Invasion. Based on how the story played out originally, it's hard to understand why Bobbi would want anything to do with a jerk who abandoned her at a traumatic moment and basically blamed her for it. I'm sure Clint regretted it (and it certainly fed into him venturing into Hell to rescue her soul that time Daimon Hellstrom tricked him into rescuing Patsy Walker, a story which is probably not in continuity anymore, but whatever),  but I'd expect Bobbi to feel a lot of resentment towards him. But if he divorced her because he was hurt she cheated on him, but he still cares for her, and despite the affair, she still cares for him, then the fact the mutual attraction persisted makes more sense. For what that's worth.}

* Cain also made a point we've only seen the story from male POVs which if she means the writers, yes, I imagine that's correct. But in-story, we did see Bobbi's thoughts, via the magic of thought balloons.

** There's also the question of Phantom Rider's mental health. Even setting aside his unhealthy obsession with Bobbi, which has persisted beyond death, he was clearly having problems. Struggling to uphold the law, dealing with the guilt of his brother's death and trying to carry this mantle of the Phantom Rider, which left him feeling isolated. I mean, he's so ecstatic when he thinks the drugs worked, because he isn't alone. It doesn't excuse his actions, but the guy needed treatment (treatment he would almost certainly have not received in the 1880s, but that's another matter). At the minimum, he probably needed to get out of law enforcement and vigilantism entirely. That's not relevant, it's just something I noticed a little more thinking back over the story recently.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Foyle's War 3.3 - They Fought In The Fields

Plot: A German bomber is shot down over England. Typically crewed with three, this one had a crew of four. One who died in the plane, and one who died because the cord on his parachute was cut. Nearby, there's trouble on the farm. Old Hugh Jackson just got his new tractor, so things should be good, but they aren't. His neighbor, Curling, feels Jackson used his position on the agricultural board to cut in line for that tractor. One of the two ladies from the women's labor group helping on the farm, Joan, is sweet on Hugh's son Tom, and Hugh doesn't approve. And something is going on with Hugh and Rose, the other young woman.

That night, while Curling hunts rabbits, and the girls get an early start on the day, Hugh Jackson sits in an unplanted meadow and drinks. Possibly he thinks of his wife, who ran off with one of his laborers a decade ago. Or perhaps not. Either way, he's dead the next morning, seemingly having chosen to shoot himself in the chest with a shotgun. Seemingly, because Foyle and Milner immediately find evidence someone shot him in the chest with a pistol first, then tried using the shotgun to cover it up. But once again, suspects abound. And there's another German pilot to deal with, found dangling, stunned, from a tree by his parachute. And his pistol is missing. Foyle would love to question him, but Major Cornwall, the commander of the nearby of the prison camp, is remarkably obstructionist, in addition to not being very bright. Cornwall might want to reconsider, considering the first two Germans, Schimmel and Sarbatovski, are both very apprehensive about the arrival of Lt. Weiser at the camp.

In other plot developments, Foyle tries to untangle the hostility of a woman named Barbara towards him and all men. And Sam gets goaded into helping Joan and Rose plant potatoes after they suggest she's found herself a cushy position for the duration of the war. Lt. Weiser, when Foyle can finally interview him, implicates Barbara in the loss of his gun, and Sarbatovski and Schimmel try unsuccessfully to escape. There's also a mysterious drifter who appears in the woods near the farm shortly after Jackson's death.

Quote of the Episode: Milner - 'Spring, and the smell of cordite in the air.'

Does Foyle go fishing? No.

Things Sam Can Do: Fix a tractor, plant potatoes, resist the urge to slug a mouthy girl.

Other: I do wish Sam had slugged Joan, though. Joan was so irritating. Just insolent and mouthy, and she pretty much dared Sam to take a swing at her. Sam should have done it, just floored her.

That said, Joan is clearly the brains between her and Tom. Which isn't saying a whole lot. Some of those potatoes they planted are smarter than Tom. Milner picked Tom's story about when he arrived at his father's farm the morning of the murder apart in about three seconds. The best Tom could do was stammer and offer weak explanations. Joan's not a clever liar, but she's bold enough to tell them with a straight face while looking someone square in the eye. Very much the sort who bluffs harder when her hand is weaker.

But this farm was about the most unfriendly place Foyle and Co. have gone yet. Hugh Jackson was rude, Joan was rude, Barbara was hostile, Curling wasn't friendly. Just a surly bunch of farmers. Not to mention Major Cornwall, who is extremely genial towards the Germans, and rude and dismissive to everyone else. He mistakes Foyle for a farmer initially, and brushes him off with some comment about not engaing in amateur sleuthing (to Foyle and Milner's repeated amusement). Then, when Foyle comes to visit and explains who he is, Cornwall claims Foyle said he was a farmer, which is an outright lie. What a dope.

I had forgotten parachutes were made of silk, so the phrase 'hit the silk" makes a lot more sense now.

I think Foyle's German is better than he let on in "Fifty Ships". He definitely understood Schimmel and Sabartovski's back and forth when they were first captured, and I'm pretty sure he didn't need Cornwall to translate Weiser's answers, either. He certainly recognized Weiser understood one of his questions without it being translated, despite allegedly knowing no English.

There's a bit at the end, where Foyle and Cornwall discuss their opposing views on the Germans. Cornwall explains how he lived there for awhile between wars, and found the Germans gracious and civilized. Foyle counters with a story about being part of a police soccer team, who played some Germans, who got the Brits royally hammered the night before, and it turned out the guys they drank with weren't actually the German team. The point being, don't underestimate the Germans, they aren't playing by the same rules as the British. Although that sounds like the sort of scam any number of folks might try. Really, anyone who wants to win too much. Probably half the college football coaches in America who try that if they could. And yes, college football coaches are mostly assholes who care too much about winning, and Foyle's pointing out the Germans are in it to win it, but I'm not sure the story is valid as some greater insight into the German psyche. But it fits with Weiser's explanation for why he did what he did, I suppose.

Friday, November 18, 2016

What I Bought 11/18/2016

My plan to pick up this week's books partially foundered on the rocks of not being able to find 3 out of 4 I was looking for. Minor consolation that I didn't even realize the latest Darkwing Duck was out, but I found a copy. That's two books.

Deadpool #22, by Gerry Duggan (writer), Matteo Lolli (artist), Guru-eFX (colorist), Joe Sabino (letterer) - I know some people are a fan of Tradd Moore's work, but it's just a little off in ways that bother me. Like Deadpool's thighs are strangely proportioned compared to everything else.

I skipped the previous issue because it was another of those $10 ones, and most of that was "Deadpool doing Shakespeare", so I missed the first part of Wade vs. Madcap. Wade lost, and wakes up partway through his own autopsy. Makes his way back to his HQ, finds he's got bills to pay, goes and robs a racetrack while wearing a Spider-Man costume. But things are looking up, Ellie manages to invite him to dinner. Then things look down, because it turns out Madcap is using Wade as a carrier for some hemorrhagic disease and Wade's just infected his daughter and Preston's family.

So Wade got booted off the Avengers, but the "unity squad" is sticking together to stop the Red Skull? So just Wade, or Johnny and Rogue and the rest got the boot? And on whose authority? Hydra Steve Rogers? I hate that's a thing. Can not wait for it to be erased, along with a lot of things in the current Marvel Universe.

Lolli's artwork is solid, if not spectacular. I can't decide if I wish he had gone a little more gruesome with the autopsy scene. It feels like that should be horrifying, waking up to people dissecting you, but then again, for Wade it's probably not that unusual. Still, I feel like it would have provided a better contrast to his blase response if things were a little more visceral. On the positive side, I got to see Deadpool (dressed as Spidey in a suit with the tag still on it) smack a horse with a sack full of money. That was funny. Not quite "Punisher punches a polar bear," but not bad.

Darkwing Duck #6, Aaron Sparrow and James Silvani (storytellers), Paul Little (colorists), Greyson Orlando (digital art on page 14), DC Hopkins (letterer) - I think it's because they did a black and white variant, but there's a white outline around Drake and Gosalyn, which makes them seem like they aren't part of the whole mess. Or like a sticker book. "What is Drake trying to keep from corrupting his daughter? A bazaar? The awful work conditions in Santa's workshop?"

The crew attend a comic-convention, in a bizarre universe where people revere comic creators as gods and they correspondingly make tons o' cash. Drake is horrified by all the people dressed as villains, and almost grateful when one of the artists (which I assume is Silvani in duck form) does a sketch with ink that turns out to be the angry artist, Splatter Phoenix. Which leads to Darkwing chasing her through a series of different comic books, giving Silvani a chance to draw in other styles (as well as scenes parodying various stuff). The fact that several of them last for one panel kind of mutes it, makes it feel like they did it out of some sense of obligation. "Better do a Batman v. Superman gag, I guess." I'd have preferred more of Silvani doing a sort of Frank Miller than the sort of Rob Liefeld.

That part was OK, you've undoubtedly seen other comics doing that same bit, so not much new there.  But the recurring gag about Darkwing being angry Launchpad cosplayed as Gizmoduck (and his distaste for Gizmoduck in general) worked for me, and forcing Darkwing to pair up with Honker (because Goslayn and Launchpad are busy trying to win the costume contest) was a nice change of pace. Honker is around a lot, but he's usually interacting with Gosalyn, who gets Darkwing to pay attention to whatever he's trying to say. And Darkwing is used to having a kid tagging along he has to hold back from getting involved, not one who can barely keep up and is trying to stay out of the fray.

All that said, the scene where we get to see who Gosalyn dressed up as was sweet. Sparrow and Silvani seem to be really emphasizing how important Gosalyn and Darkwing are to each other, as people who don't seem to have any family other than what they've cobbled together. Which makes me suspect there's something bad waiting for Gosalyn in the near future. And it's not a possible grounding for hiding one of Bushroot's plant raptors.

Some issues of Darkwing Duck are stronger than others, but every issue has at least a few genuinely funny or touching bits, and I appreciate they're mixing in some done-in-one issues with the larger arcs.

All that said,

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Neither of These Deserved Their Own Post

Alex' housemate rented two other movies last weekend. I didn't have any interest in Sausage Party, but circumstances left me stuck in the house for several hours on Saturday, so I couldn't avoid overhearing the movie.

The question is whether you think the idea that hot dogs and buns can be presented as a metaphor for sex is funny or not. If you do, here you go. If you don't, this could get old fast. To be fair, there was one thing I laughed at. In the scene where Frank learns the truth about the origin of the song all the food sings each morning, its creators explain how disturbed they are by how the song has been distorted over time. One of the creators says, 'I heard something in there this morning about, 'God hates Juice?' I love Juice. Always have.' I laughed at that, because jokes about how awful organized religions can be are my speed. No surprise there.

But a lot of the characters are set up as stereotypes of the cultures they're associated with. So the bagel is the Woody Allen-style Jewish character. There's a bottle of whiskey from a brand called Firewater, which is some Native American shaman/wise man type. Lotta stuff like that, if that makes a difference to you. Wasn't really my thing.

Then there was The Monster. Which is supposed to be a horror film, except the real monster is alcoholism. A woman is taking her daughter to her ex-husband's when their car gets broken in the middle of nowhere at night. Eventually other people start showing up, and the monster emerges to start killing them. In between, there's plenty of time for flashbacks to how terrible of a mother she's been, and oh, she tries, but she doesn't have any support for dealing with her problems, and she lashes out, and keeps fucking and. . . Look, I wanted to see a horror movie, this is boring as hell. You want me to stay awake at 4 in the morning, you have to be interesting.

And the monster looks like some reject from a '50s horror film. I think they were trying for on par with some of the stuff in John Carpenter's The Thing, but instead wound up closer to the "actor in foam rubber" look. I don't understand what it was up to. It kept killing things, but it was really inefficient about eating them. It tears a tow truck driver's arm off, then lobs it out of the woods onto the hood of their car, but lets the driver drag himself all the way back to his truck before grabbing him from underneath the truck? And it could have eaten the little girl at one point, but didn't even touch her?

It was a mess, and we gave up on it shortly after the attempt to escape in the ambulance was thwarted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What I Bought 11/11/2016

As I'm typing this, I don't have this week's books. Hopefully by tonight I will, and I can review some of them Friday. But for now, this book. Because I really dig the Kooky Quartet.

Avengers #1.1, by Mark Waid (writer), Barry Kitson (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Jordan Boyd (colorist), Ferran Delgado (letterer) - Nice try, Pietro. You're not fooling us into thinking there are five people on your team.

Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp, and Giant Man need a break from Avengering, which leaves Cap leading a team of three former criminals. And this is not Seasoned Leader Captain America, so he's struggling to keep them together. Then the Wizard decides to come and kick their asses with his Frightful Four, and that's pretty embarrassing.

It's nice to see these characters in this form, for me. This is the closest to the way I see Hawkeye I've seen in a Marvel comic in years. I like that not only does Clint decide to start the press conference without Cap, but he also does pretty good at getting the crowd with them, initially. That carnival experience of working the crowd. Wanda expressing a moment of doubt in what they're doing, and Pietro immediately deciding they need to ditch the whole idea because he's got to protect her. And then Wanda having to talk him down. A Steve Rogers that is still relatively new to this time. He doesn't have any knowledge of the people he's working with, or the people they're fighting.

I've been lukewarm on Barry Kitson. I've just always found his artwork kind of flat, technically sound but lacking in something. This is probably among his better work from my perspective. The action sequence at the end works pretty well. There's nothing flashy about it, but he does a good job of showing the progression of the fight, as it rapidly goes into the dumpster for our heroes. Captain America getting manhandled by Sandman, but in the background we can see Pietro's been incapacitated by Paste-Pot Pete, Hawkeye's in trouble, and Wanda's squaring off with the Wizard, and then in the next panel, Pete blindsides Wanda, as Hawkeye gets dumped like a sack of potatoes.

What's interesting to me is the contrast between that fight and the one at the beginning with the previous roster. Not just because the earlier roster won their fight, but how it's presented. That sense of progression, of the fight flowing isn't really there. Most of the panels are of one hero trouncing one villain, then a different pairing in the next, and so on. They're winning, but there's no real teamwork. Whereas the Kooky Quartet is getting trounced as a group. They're all in this together, but they aren't working together, so they get their asses beat.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Small Rabbit Cop In a Big Ferocious City

I only intended to spend Friday hanging out with Alex, and wound up not getting back home until Sunday afternoon. It did give me the chance to see some movies, although the majority of them weren't very good. The high point was probably Zootopia, which I'd been meaning to watch on Netflix.

I really noticed the structure of the plot really clearly. Plucky young character has dream, pursues dream, meets setbacks. Then the young character begins to pull things together and seems to have everything she wanted, including a friend, but then screws things up with the friend and retreats, depressed, to her previous life. And then she gets a spark of inspiration, goes back and fixes her mistakes and saves the day.

I don't mean it as a criticism, since a lot of movies have the same basic plot structure, and it's the details, the characterization, the jokes (if there are any) that distinguish a lot of films. For whatever reason, it stood out particularly here, but whatever. The story is fine, the whole message about recognizing prejudices and confronting them is nice. Although we only see one weasel, and he's a thief and bootleg DVD retailer, so the film doesn't exactly paint a positive portrayal of them.

I was pleasantly surprised at how often I laughed. The ideas behind all the accommodations for the different species, the opportunities that offered for sequences set in different locations. Like, I really enjoyed Officer Hopps chasing the weasel thief into the shrews section of town. Trying to keep buildings from toppling, using a train like a skateboard. The water buffalo police chief's delivery of lines, especially when he talks about how he doesn't care about whatever it is he doesn't care about. It's such a deadpan delivery, I can't tell if it amuses him, or he really doesn't care. And I just got around to looking up the cast, that was Idris Elba, OK, makes sense, he's a good actor. A decent ratio of the jokes playing off what we perceive as the personality traits of the different animals landed.

The antagonism between Judy and Nick early in the film was good for a lot of laughs. Each character trying to get one over on the other constantly. Judy's able to get Nick in a bind where he has to help her, so Nick then does whatever he can to waste her time and make her suffer (which is where the scene with the sloths that run the DMV comes in. That ran too long for my tastes.) So then Judy uses Nick's need to get that recording of him admitting to crimes to give her a pretext to enter a locked facility.

The way the carrot pen recorder keeps coming back into play over the course of the film was a nice touch. It's the Chekov's Gun of the movie, but it keeps getting used throughout, rather than getting shown once, then vanishing until the climax. I don't know if that was done with a younger audience in mind, where they wanted the kids to remember it, or if they were thinking that by showing it repeatedly, it would lose significance in the audience's mind. It can almost drift into the background, while we focus on the can of fox repellent spray Judy's mom gave, and which Judy had been carrying throughout. The film has hinted towards it a couple of times, even gave Judy a bad run-in with a bully where she could have used it as a kid in her backstory, and it doesn't wind up being used. Instead it's the more nondescript tool that turns the tide.

So, yes, Zootopia was more entertaining than I expected. Hooray!

Monday, November 14, 2016

What I Bought 11/1/2016 - Part 4

Today we're looking at two books where the heroes' brilliant plans are suffering a few setbacks. Mostly because they're underestimating their opponents.

Atomic Robo: The Temple of Od #3, by Brian Clevinger (writer), Scott Wegener (artist), Anthony Clark (colorist), Jeff Powell (letterer) - Poor Chen Zhen, saddled with carrying all the pouches.

Speaking of Zhen, he was an assistant of Dr. Lu, who had tried to keep him out of the Japanese clutches back in the day, without success. Back in the (relative) present, Helen and Robo have recovered Dr. Lu, but it isn't all peaches and cream. The doctor insists they must return to the base and destroy his work, and given the Lieutenant Matsuda has his men nearly killing themselves to fix the hyperfield tower, the doctor is probably right. On top of that, the Japanese Army knows where they are and is preparing to attack. On top of that, the Ghost Bandits are trying to extort them. On the plus side, they figured out the super-soldiers have to be thinking about using the zero-point energy to harness it. Taking them by surprise is easier said than done.

It felt as though it was Clevinger's gift for funny dialogue that carried this issue for me. The explanation for zero-point energy was kind of interesting, and I'm curious to see if the Russian soldiers that showed up to party will play a role later, but otherwise I didn't feel terribly drawn into it. The relationship between Helen and Zhen, and Robo's, envy, jealousy, awkwardness, doesn't do much for me. The fight scene was brief, and didn't seem as well-drawn as the one in the previous issue. Wegener's linework seemed more jagged and thick than normal, lacking some of the lighter touch he normally has.

But there were a lot of snappy one-liners and exchanges I liked. The Ghost Bandits get several, since they are unrepentant amoral capitalists, but their boss is smart enough to try and pretend he has some scruples. So there's some good stuff there. I liked, 'We lost good men on that raid! Also my hat.' Hats are important.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Anthony Clark and Hannah Blumenreich (trading card artists), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - It's probably a sign of my poor life choices that more of my problems can't be solved by throwing my friends at said problems.

Squirrel Girl, Nancy, and Doreen's mother escape the Enigmos, and find out he's conquered the world. Brain Drain kidnaps Scott Lang to help save the day. Scott is less than pleased, and even less pleased when their attempt to sneak back into the U.S. is quickly snuffed out by the Enigmos. But don't worry, Doreen as another plan, for them to pull a heist! In this case, stealing control of the world back from the Enigmos! Who overheard the plan. So unless that particular Enigmo is the one who believes totalitarianism is no way to ensure world peace, they're still boned.

OK, I need to yell at Ryan North for a moment. Because he has Scott Lang say he doesn't talk to the ants, he just controls them, which, no. Scott Lang is the Ant-Man who cares about his ants. He talks to them, he gives them names. He believes in positive reinforcement for them, which is not something you give a crap about if you're just going to mind control them. C'mon man, don't do the, "make the guest star look bad to make the title character look good," thing.

That said, Scott having no clue how to use a canoe was pretty funny. The three panels of Nancy side-eyeing Doreen for being excited about being able to get text messages, then deciding she'd like to check the Internet were well done. For some reason I really like how someone drew in the police siren sound effect. The red and blue coloring is a nice, if obvious, touch, but the rough lettering for the effect as it drifts across the panel (and the horde of cop cars) just really appeals. I guess it reinforces the panel just before, where the Engimo says our heroes definitely stand no chance. Also, the effect ends just above the panel where Doreen first registers it, which is some nice work in layout.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Foyle's War 3.2 - Enemy Fire

Plot: Sir Michael is being evicted from his manor, so it can be converted into a hospital for injured pilots. He's moving into one of the cottages on the estate and seems lost. So lost, his housekeeper Mrs. Roecastle fears he may take his own life. The doctor running the hospital, mr. jamieson, has his own problems, with Group Captain Smythe, a stuffy RAF officer, inspecting the set-up to decide whether its viable or not. He's certainly not in favor of there being beer in the wards, or the patients not being in dress uniforms. And Jamieson's assistant, Dr. Wrenn, seems to be having problems at home, as his wife is having an affair with Gordon Drake, a mechanic at the airfield Andrew flies from. Not a good mechanic mind you, he's a lazy, thieving, wife-beating, blackmailing, adulterous sack of crap who won't fix the canopy latch on Andrew's Spitfire. Which leads to Andrew chewing Gordon out on the tarmac. Which leads to Andrew being ordered to take a couple of days off by his commander. Which also leads to Andrew being passed over for a dangerous night mission, which is passed on to his wingman Greville Woods, who has to use Andrew's plane because his isn't ready.

Greville crashes on the way back in, can't get out of the cockpit (because the latch still doesn't work), and is burned all over his hands and face.

Foyle was already investigating the manor house because of some repeated acts of minor sabotage (and one close call when someone almost levered a gargoyle off the roof onto Group Captain Smythe's head), and now he's got a murder to deal with. Because Gordon Drake, who lives with his wife in a cottage on the grounds, is found dead on his front lawn, drowned. No lack of suspects this time. As an additional problem, Andrew goes AWOL after Gordon's murder, and Sam is stuck trying to help him through his increasingly desperate emotional and mental trauma.

Quote of the Episode: Foyle - 'Well, it seems half of Hastings had decided to do away with him at more or less the same time. You just happened to get there first.'

Does Foyle Go Fishing: Yes, but is dumping several pounds of morphine in the river the British version of chucking hand grenades or dynamite? Equally effective, but quieter?

Things Sam can do: Pull a vanishing act straight outta Batman's playbook.

Other: I laughed pretty hard when Sam used Foyle being distracted momentarily to disappear like that. She had mentioned she knew about Gordon, but said it was because she knew Greville and his girlfriend, Anne. Foyle had begun questioning her about whether she saw Andrew, and Sam decided it was time to get the hell out of Dodge.

I can't quite decide when he figured out she and Andrew were seeing each other. By the time he's heard from Wing Commander Turner that Andrew's missing, he seems to know, based on the look he gives Sam. He'd seen Sam dressed up for a night out early, and he noticed Andrew with lipstick on his cheek that evening. So maybe asking Sam about her social circle was a polite way of trying to get her to fess up.

Dr. Wrenn is the one who operated on Milner, and the one who encouraged him to take the job as Foyle's sergeant. That's good. Unfortunately, Wrenn decides to repeatedly try to use that as a lever, either to get Milner to investigate the sabotage, or when he gets indignant that Milner would question him as a suspect in Gordon's murder. Which is a shitty, if predictable response.

There's a whole thing about Wrenn's wife feeling neglected by him, but Wrenn being really intense about how important she is to him. I don't know if it ties into what Milner told Anne when he questioned her about Gordon's death and she admitted she didn't want to see Greville all burned up. Milner explained his situation, and insisted to her that Greville was still the same man as before, but not if she left him. Did Mrs. Wrenn think her husband had changed, when that wasn't the case? Or maybe it's the closest we'll get to an explanation for Jane Milner leaving. She thought Paul wasn't the same minus his leg. Which means he isn't the same since she left.

Or maybe Wrenn ties into the whole theme of people not understanding the strain the soldiers are operating under. That ties into Sir Michael's past, decisions he made which gave Gordon leverage over him. Obviously it ties into Andrew, who by the end of the episode has been transferred to a training unit to teach new young pilots. His commander, at least, recognizes the strain he's under, and rather than punish him for "lack of moral fiber", he gives him the maximum amount of time he can to get back to the airfield, then transfers him to a position where he can still be useful, but not be in frontline combat. And that comes up again with Jamieson and Smythe, where Smythe seems very of the old-school, criticizing a pilot for not sitting at attention (what the hell does that even mean? Sitting at attention), wanting to know why the patients aren't in dress pajamas. But when it's all said and done, when Jamieson explains his reasons, like that the dress pjs made the patients feel like prisoners, and had buttons some patients found impossible to manage, Smythe listens and accepts.

When we first see Foyle, he's visiting his wife's grave, and waiting for Andrew, who doesn't appear since he was on a mission. Foyle mentions to Sam that is wife has been gone 9 years now, which jibes with what we've heard previously. But definitely doesn't line up with Andrew telling Sam he was 8 when she passed. He'd have to be at least 13.

I did find it strange when they keep describing the acts of sabotage around the hospital as pranks. Some of it, sure, but someone putting disinfectant in milk doesn't sound like a prank. Seems like that would be something to avoid ingesting.

Friday, November 11, 2016

What I Bought 11/1/2016 - Part 3

I hate these flashing yellow left turn lights. Especially since lately, I seem to be stuck at a lot of lights that automatically go to it. I'm sitting right there, give me the goddamn green arrow! Also, not a fan of Marvel putting that #1 in the left corner of the cover for the first issue of a new story like it's the first issue of the book. Feels like a cheap bullshit bait-n-switch, though I'm hardly surprised they'd try something like that..

Ms. Marvel #12, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Mike Andolfo (artist), Ian Herring (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - I'm up for a "Fightin' Crime Around the World with Ms. Marvel" storyline. Not what we're going to get, but I'd enjoy seeing it.

Kamala goes to visit family in Pakistan to try and clear her thoughts (or get away from them). There she gets to experience the joy of people treating her like an outsider because she's too American, instead of too Pakistani. She tries to stop some guys running a water extortion racket essentially, and gets chided by a local hero for not doing a better job because she doesn't understand all the dynamics. Which makes her a stand-in for the U.S. government, I guess. Except she's actually trying to help others, not just herself. I'm not clear on how Red Dagger was going to stop the villains without wrecking the truck, though. His shtick is he throws daggers. I assume he's going to try popping a tire, which seems like a good way to wreck a truck being driven on a questionable mountain road by some dumb thug.

Kamala seems resolved to return home and fight for her home and deal with her problems. We'll see how that works out for her. I expect things are going to be fairly hostile, but presumably Ms. Marvel hasn't lost everyone that was on her side. I am, now that I think of it, surprised we never saw her mother's reaction to what she was up to during Civil War II. It doesn't seem as though Wilson has done much with the fact she knows her daughter is a costumed crimefighter since that big reveal last year.

Mike Andolfo steps in as the artist this month. He does a fine job of working in a style generally similar to the other artists the book's had, although Ian Herring's colors do a lot to maintain that common thread. The yellows he uses in particular, both the solid golden yellow he uses as a background sometimes, and the softer one that stands in for natural light in a lot of the scenes of Kamala with her family, create a strong link with earlier issues. For whatever reason, his use of that color sticks strongly in my memories of the book, so it helps maintain that visual even with different pencilers.

Andolfo's characters are expressive, as he has a style just simplified enough to allow for some exaggerated expression where it fits, but detailed when needed. Although, there are a few scenes where Kamala is, I'd almost describing as sarcastically drawling at someone - the TSA agent on page 1, or Kareem on page 7 - where the expression seems appropriate for the dialogue and scene, but wrong for the character. Like, I can see myself making that face with that passive-aggressive comment, but not so much Kamala Khan doing so, if that makes sense. The surprised and awkward expressions she makes when meeting her relatives, her sleepy look on the last page, those fit the character, it's just those few other pieces felt off.

As a standalone issue, this felt slight to me. Well done, but slight. I think as part of the larger arc for her, the moment to stop and take stock between the recent disasters and whatever comes next, it'll work better.

Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat #11, by Kate Leth (writer), Brittney L. Williams (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (color artist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - My boss recently described a confrontation we saw on the job as a bit of a catfight, which the rest of us found rather awkward. It prompted much discussion about whether he really understands what he's saying or not. I tend to lean towards "no". I certainly hope that's right.

Felicia recruits a gang of young ne'er do wells to help her get rid of Hellcat, 'cause reasons. First though, they want to get rid of all the people she could call on for help, and since Felicia is able to get ahold of Bailey's magical Bag of Infinite Holding, that might be pretty easy. Or maybe not, because one of the gang is Ian's abusive ex-girlfriend, who is letting the cat out of the bag about Felicia's plans. Look, the creative team started it with the cat puns, blame them.

I still don't really understand Felicia's reasoning for this. Fine, Patsy isn't getting distracted by Big Event nonsense. But she also isn't actively fighting crime. She's pretty much dealt with threats she just stumbled along (Arcade), or that came after her first (Casiolena). If Felicia is meant to be a halfway intelligent, sigh, crime boss, she ought to be able to work around Patsy. Like, if you wanted to avoid Daredevil, staying out of Hell's Kitchen was historically not a bad first step. It wasn't an ironclad guarantee (not to mention the 11 million other heroes in NYC), but it was a start.

But I continue to think the idea of Felicia Hardy as a crimelord is dumb, and misses the point of what makes the character fun, so Leth and Williams were already starting on an uphill slope.

I appreciate the fact that Patsy and Ian having a disagreement over whether he's going to us his powers to fight evil or not did not turn into some big break in their friendship. They each took some time to cool down, thought it over, then discussed what was really bugging them. Adults handling things with discussion, and saving the punching for stuff that needs punching.

I assume it's Rosenberg adding what I'd call "gloom lines" in some darker moments. It might be Williams' using them as a shorthand for shadows, though. They pop up in the corners of rooms in some panels, but I mostly notice them overlaid on characters, like Ian when he walks away after being frustrated by Patsy. They remind me of something I see in manga, usually right after a character has received some extremely depressing or insufficient advice. Although it's usually accompanied by that giant sweat drop next to the head there. So maybe I'm entirely misreading it, but I noticed it in the previous issue, and I associated it with scenes where the character's mood is worsening, a dark cloud is settling over them, and I like that. And I think there's a chance I'm right about it. When Jubilee leaves the sparring session, the shadows on her face don't have the lines, because she's in a good mood. When Patsy leaves Bailey, she does, because she's bothered by what went down with Ian.

Anyway, I'm half looking forward to, half dreading a showdown between my second and third most favorite (by some metrics) Marvel characters. Should be fun, but someone (Felicia) is going to come off looking bad, which will be a little disappointing I'm sure. Oh well.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Found This Necessary

I had originally planned to write about something else for today, but my mind won't stop going in circles over the election.

I'm too much of a pessimist to be entirely surprised by the result, but I'm still disappointed. I had hoped Trump would lose, but was bracing in case he didn't. Pessimism is a good defense against unwelcome outcomes, normally. This one actually put me in a bit of a haze, the kind where I feel like I must be in the middle of an elaborate prank or soap opera. The last time I recall feeling it this strong was seeing my uncle in a coma in the hospital over a decade ago. But it's reality, unfortunately. So I'll do what I usually do when presented with setbacks and obstacles: Curse about it a lot while putting my head down and pushing ahead.

My major concern, beyond how bad things are likely to get for people in practically every minority group, is we may not get the chance to fix this. The Republicans are quite fond of making sure people who don't agree with them can't get their votes in. Gerrymandering districts, bullshit voter ID laws, intimidating voters at the polls. Now they control two of the three branches, and will undoubtedly shove a conservative judge into Scalia's vacated seat as soon as they can. I'm not sure how much more damage they can do, but I expect they do as much as they can get away with.