It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.

-Wonder Woman

  • I might plan on seeing Wonder Woman at least one more time.  Definitely worth more viewing.  Have a vacation next week, so that will probably happen then.
  • I am right on track with where I was hoping to be as far as comics are concerned.  Inking is moving right along and I’ve got a good number of sketch cards/tiles drawn up.  Thinking about giving away a bunch of the tiles I did for practice.  Characters like Batman, Superman, Doctor Strange, Chandra from MTG, etc.  Noticed my Instagram has shifted pretty heavily to artwork–mostly my original projects too–and I’m pretty pleased with that.  Not that I’m not going to post the occasional Flex Friday selfie or cat pic, but I’m pleased to be using it mostly for art.
  • Funny story.  Last Friday I was getting Jeep worked on and I was walking down the street.  I come to an intersection and this car is coming across in front of me as I approach.  Somebody in the car shouts something, couldn’t quite make it out.  I look up and it looks like a group of young women in the car and as it goes by, the girl in the front passenger seat sticks her head out and makes a gesture for oral sex at me.  I just kind of stood there stupidly thinking, “Wait… What… Come back!  I want a BJ!”  Kind of silly, douchy response, but it was a bit of a silly situation.
  • A friend of mine was suggesting I look at jobs in Wisconsin.  I’m just generally like, “Wisconsin?  Seriously?”  I heard it’s a lot like Vermont, but you know what’s a lot like Vermont?  Vermont.  I like Vermont.  I like New England.  I’m not convinced I don’t have opportunities here.  And beyond farming itself–if only because it might have more of the diversity I am looking for–I’m not really that interested in Dairy Processing.  I’d like to learn something new.  Maybe there’s an observation about LMCBW’s sister and their dynamic on a level as well.  One of the things about that I think people ignored in that was the unsustainable nature of their move to Nevada and I saw a questionable pattern forming.  Her parents visit one week, a cousin the next.  Another cousin a few weeks later,  LMCBW a week or two later.  Aunts and uncles after that.  The sister comes back to VT for a few weeks in August and around Christmas.  That was kind of the reason I never expressed a strong desire to visit them at the time.  While I acknowledge my family operates differently, I would have little interest in starting a regular criss-crossing of the country.  It would get exhausting and does little good for anyone involved.  Plus, I’m in the middle of getting off my ass about making comics.  Moving across the country would just be one more distraction.
  • I talked about human sexuality the other day, and I’ve been thinking on that some more.  Probably because it is Pride Month.  Like most of the structures of our lives, we’re conditioned into thinking a certain way about things.  Sexual Orientation is no different.  If our tastes and preferences in what we look for in relationships can shift, if we can fall in and out of love like we do, it only makes sense that orientation and our views on it has the potential to shift as well.  We’re conditioned by centuries of ideology to believe that monogamous heterosexual relationships are the ideal.  Which makes it harder to question the truth of that.  I am straight, but I admit that isn’t nearly as simple of a statement as it seems.  I think the important thing to remember is that love and life are change.  Love people for what they could be as much as what they are.
Advertisements

Wonder Woman Review

June 8, 2017

Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as Diana and follows her journey off of Paradise Island into World War I.  Chris Pine portrays Steve Trevor as she pursues Ares and seeks to end the war.

Overall, this movie was fantastic.  It got a lot right.  It just looked right.  The Amazons looked right.  Everything felt right.  I especially liked the World War I angle, choosing not to go to the World War II where she actually debuted.  It made a lot of sense to have her involved in the “War to End All Wars” and learn about humanity through that than the Second World War.  Having the decades to follow the events that unfolded in this movie would explain her general disconnection from the world that we saw in Batman V. Superman.  And I do think this added a bit more depth to the character that we saw in that movie.

I did like the way her birth/heritage was addressed, as it added one of the elements of the New 52 I found more interesting.  I know the current story arch is retconning that out a bit, but I personally liked it.

Right now, I’m feeling like this has been the best DC movie in their DCEU.  Man of Steel was solid and did a good job of establishing Superman as an outsider trying to find his place in the world.  Batman V. Superman continued that, but tried to do too much in one movie.  Suicide Squad was a fun concept they just did not figure out how to have fun with.  Wonder Woman did a myriad of things and accomplished them effectively.

This is the fourth DCEU movie to come out and by my count the MCU has come out with thirteen movies.  The DCEU had its fourth film centered their top female character and are already planning another centered around Batgirl.  Marvel… I think the upcoming Captain Marvel is the first that will be their first of that nature, so we’re talking film eighteen or nineteen.  Even without a female title character, has the MCU really kept up?  Let’s break it down.

DCEU

Man of Steel:  Lois Lane and Martha Kent.  Essentially they guide Clark on how to be human and do so effectively.  Lois encapsulates this sentiment perfectly at the end of the film when Perry is telling her to show Clark the ropes and she says “Welcome to the Planet.”  The Kryptonian woman seen in the film–Faora-Ul and Lara Lor-Van–while only minor characters at best, are used effectively for the most part in their time on screen.  More so Faora-Ul.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Lois and Martha continue in much the same role, although Lois does have a more proactive role in searching out the truth of what is unfolding–seen more in the extended version of the film–before having a part in the battle with Doomsday.  Wonder Woman’s presence could have been utilized more, I won’t deny that, but I do think her solo movie has changed my perspective on how that came across.

Suicide Squad:  Ensemble movies are weird.  This movie was weird in that it essentially didn’t know what the hell it wanted to be.  The women?  Enchantress was a fairly generic villain.  Katana was not nearly utilized enough in that she really could have done a lot as a straight character for others to joke off of.  Amanda Waller was kind of uninteresting.  Harley Quinn was someone they did a lot with and effectively so, but seemed afraid to go some of those places with.

MCU

Iron Man:  For the most the Iron Man movies had one primary female lead in Pepper Potts.  Fairly generic love interest.  Black Widow debuted in Iron Man 2, had an effective supporting role.  The potential female villain of Iron Man 3 was kind of a missed opportunity in my mind.

Captain America:  Peggy Carter could have been used more, given more than a handful of episodes of a TV series.  Despite the build up, Sharon Carter really has not become much of anything.  Black Widow played an effective supporting role again.

Avengers:  Black Widow and Maria Hill were the primary female leads here, but there wasn’t really time for them to do much of anything in ensemble movies like this.  The first one did lay out a load of backstory for Black Widow though.  Enough for a movie or two.

Thor:  Jane Foster was a fairly generic love interest.  Sif is barely more than eye candy.  Queen Friggia had a couple of key scenes though.

Guardians of the Galaxy:  Gamora and Nebula provide an interesting subplot, but these movies are really more about Star Lord than anybody.  Gamora really is there to roll her eyes at the rest of the group more often than not.  Mantis was a wasted opportunity and Ayesha was kind of disappointing.

Ant-Man:  I actually liked the way Hope Van Dyne came across.  Glad she’ll get a larger role next time around.

Marvel TV:  Between Agents of SHIELD, Jessica Jones and the Agent Carter series, it feels like Marvel has made more effort with female characters here than with the big screen.

 

Overall, I just think by now we should have had a Black Widow movie.  Fifteen plus movies is kind of ridiculous when the other guys had a female led movie before their fifth one.  So the DCEU hasn’t necessarily done as much as they could have, but Wonder Woman has been a leap ahead.

Those cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-George Santayana

  • Plugging away with the comics.  I feel I’ve made a lot of progress and I can really do some stuff with it now.  Looking into some Print on Demand/Self-publishing options for when I’ve gotten to that point.  Doing a lot of sketch cards and tiles for later use.
  • Hear very good things about the Wonder Woman movie.  Planning to go see it on Thursday or Friday.  If I really cared much for the DC vs. Marvel debate, I would say that DC has taken a bit of a lead if only because I feel they’ve done more with their female characters over four movies than Marvel has over twelve.
  • So I never really thought Kathy Griffin was all that funny or relevant to much of anything.  The picture of her the other day with the bloody Trump head was kind of weird.  I mean, I get that it bothered Barron Trump to see that type of thing.  However, did anyone think about Obama’s two daughters the myriad of times that he was lynched in effigy?  It was kind of glorified by various individuals and dismissed.  Now that its Trump, we’re supposed to be outraged?  No.  If Griffin is going to go through all this, drag Ted Nugent and all those tea party jackasses into it too.  They got a free pass and Trump signed up for this.
  • Shockingly enough, Bill Maher said something outrageous.  That’s never happened before.  Although this time he did go to an extreme with the “N” word.  A lot of people calling for HBO to fire him.  I’ve liked his show and thought he made a variety of good points.  The thing is, I feel that a lot of what he does is done by the Daily Show and the various off-shoots of that.  And they tend to do it better if only because they keep their egos more under control.
  • So apparently Jeff Sessions has offered to resign recently.  Or at least that’s what an article I saw indicated.  I don’t know how true that is.  It does raise I have pondered lately.  How stable are Trump’s appointees?  Especially if he continues to display his lack of stability?  People are all worried about Mike Pence becoming President, but we won’t know how many dominos will fall until the first one does or how many will.
  • It is important to remember that experiences can still teach long after they have occurred.  I feel I can say with certainty I won’t fuck up the same way twice.  The next job, the next relationship, the adventure… will all be better than ever.

Problems are just opportunities that haven’t presented themselves.

-Wilson Fisk, Daredevil

  • Hear good things about the Wonder Woman movie.  Gal Gadot looks fantastic.  Early reviews are positive, which is a nice change for a DC movie.  And controversial.  This whole thing about a “female only” showings is amusing to me.  You have groups made exclusively of men deciding what is legal and illegal to do with a woman’s body and people are going to get worked up over women only showings of Wonder Woman?  Shove it up your ass.
  • Also finally started watching the Netflix Marvel shows.  Only about halfway through Daredevil Season One, but it’s been good so far.
  • Inking away on Order of the Dragon #1 while drawing out issue #2.  Loving where the art has gone.  Actually feel like I’m getting somewhere with this.  Trying to focus more on inking as I prepare to make an attempt at getting an actual comic published, but also want to make sure I pencil a page a day.  Trying to find balance..  Starting to revisit the storyline I talked about for a superhero story where the hero and villain are the same person.  It’s a story that’s evolved a lot since I first thought it out, one I feel I’m more ready to delve into than I had been.  There was a lot of complexity that I only just now feel like I can really parlay into a page.
  • Doing a new  version of that Skyrim/Dragonborn drawing I’ve toyed around with in the past.  Was never 100% happy with the version I did, so I’ve been revisiting the concept.  Felt too cluttered and complicated, stepping back and simplifying it a bit.
  • Between what I’ve been doing with eBay and simply just being smarter with my money, I think I can actually follow through my plan to pay off a loan or card each month for the foreseeable future.  I’m going to post a couple more things on eBay tomorrow after work, try to post four or five things each week.  For the most part I’m going to repost the books I’ve posted already, maybe switching to a Buy It Now option instead.  Basically just trying to create flexibility and opportunities later on.  I’m still waiting to hear back about the jobs I’ve applied for, so the plan will be to continue with building up my financial cushion a bit more.
  • Read an article or two about relationships that were interesting.  This one was particularly interesting to me in that I keep hearing people say not to change who you are.  Got news for you:  Life is change, Love is change.  Make sure the person you’re with is somebody you want to change for and willing to make an effort to change yourself.  You want to stay the same for the rest of your life, there’s a probably a nice little rock out there for you to hide under.
  • This one also caught my attention in that it covers a lot of the primary reasons why relationships don’t work.  As much as life is change, we should understand the true reasons why things don’t work out.  I will admit one of the biggest things I’ve disagreed about was really the reasons why things didn’t work out.  Unraveling and truly understanding those reasons can be difficult but vital.

For if one is remembered by a friend, one is never truly gone.

-Star Wars: Thrawn

  • Finally broke the hour mark in Overwatch with Orisa.  In some ways she can be annoying, but her abilities can be useful.  I probably will play as her more often than I play as some others.
  • Weekend off coming up.  Hopefully going to power through some reading, writing and drawing that I’ve been putting off.  Getting closer to Comic Con season, so I stepping that up is a priority.  Might also start the process of selling off my comics.  That is a bit of a trickier thing, as I want to have a steady flow of books getting signed and graded as I sell them.  Maximize and extend my profit window.
  • I saw recently that Greg Rucka’s run as writer of Wonder Woman will be coming to an end relatively soon.  Part of me is kind of glad about that.  It’s not that he’s a bad writer, but I just get tired of him working with lesbian characters all of the time–I could argue Wonder Woman as more bisexual, but in the current storyline she has not necessarily shown an overwhelming interest in men.  Regardless, Rucka’s work–thinking of Rene Montoya, Kate Kane, Carrie Stetko–tends to focus on lesbian heroines.  I’m all for diversity, but I think there could be a bit more variation to the diversity.  Kind of goes along with my biggest complaint about Tracer from Overwatch.  I thought there were more powerful statements to be made with the character and the game in general.
  • Finished reading the new Star Wars: Thrawn novel.  Pretty solid stuff.  Think Timothy Zahn did a good job building up the characters and showing the functioning of the Empire at that time.  I was a bit taken aback when Disney announced that the novels and comics and video games from the last couple of decades were no longer canon, but I understood the need to declutter.  A lot of the material was clutter and detracted from the better stories of the Expanded Universe.  I’m glad they brought back Thrawn though.  The Thrawn books were some of my favorites from the novels, probably the most well written.  Makes me wonder if Thrawn or Eli Vanto will appear in Last Jedi or Episode IX.  In some form, maybe the character portrayed by Benicio Del Toro?

Been thinking about doing a recurring thing about comics lately.  I still get my newstands mailed to me every month, so might as well do some review type stuff.  Right now I’m collecting the following titles:

Marvel: Thor, Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, Hulk, Star Wars, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, and Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.  I’ve been cutting back on the Marvel a bit, mostly keeping the Star Wars titles.  I’ve really liked what Thor is doing lately and the first issue of Hulk was actually pretty decent.

DC: Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Scooby: Apocalypse, All-Star Batman, Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and the Flash.   I’d collect more DC titles like Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Superman, but there have been some need to keep to a budget.  Scooby: Apocalypse is fascinating if only for the reimagining of the gang in a post-apocalyptic hell-scape.

Others (Image, Dynamite, IDW, Titan, etc.):  East of West, Sex Criminals, Doctor Who (4th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors), My Little Pony, My Little Pony: Friends Forever, Insexts, and James Bond.  Kinda kicking myself for not collecting the Torchwood series, but probably should cut back the number of books.  A lot of these are just odd ball series I collect because I’m intrigued by the creative teams, etc.  I used to get the MLP stuff for my ex, but I actually do like reading them and it is one of better all ages books out there.  Might try to complete the run and collect the series at some point.

 

I’ve collected others but there have been a few cuts of late.  Some were series that just came to their own conclusions–Darth Vader, Han Solo, A-Force, etc.–and others that just have lost me or had to be dropped for budget reasons.

The biggest one that’s lost me is Captain America.  I collected that book for a long time.  First there was Ed Brubakers run with the character and his spin-off work with the Winter Soldier, which was fantastic.  He did an amazing job of bringing the spy noir quality back to the character and much of his influence has been felt in the Winter Soldier and Civil War movies.  After that, the title was followed up with Rick Remender taking over as writer.  He brought it more to a traditional superhero story and played a lot more with the “Man Out of Time” aspect of the character.  That period also featured Sam Wilson becoming Captain America and a more team dynamic.

Which brings us to the present.  After the “Secret Wars” event, Remender concluded his work at Marvel and the Captain America title was turned over to a new writer, Nick Spencer.  Sam Wilson was still Cap, as Steve Rogers had been aged after his encounter with a supervillain called the Nail.  This led to a more interesting take on the character that started out with Sam Wilson trying to take a more socially aware approach.  This involved intervening when a number of illegal immigrants were being abducted by members of a terrorist group called Sons of Serpent.  His actions put him at odds with Steve Rogers who is a high ranking member of SHIELD and he finds himself a bit more on his own.  Then the events of Avengers: Standoff! unfold and Steve Rogers is restored to his younger self and we go straight into the secret agent of Hydra nonsense.

The basic premise of Avengers: Standoff! was that somebody leaked the existence of a SHIELD black site, called Pleasant Hill.  At work there was a sentient cosmic cube in the form of a little girl calling itself Kobik who is essentially brainwashing and altering villains to live peacefully in the idyllic little town.  When all the heroes go to investigate she loses control and the villains revolt, led by Baron Zemo.  As events unfold, elderly Steve Rogers finds himself face to face with Crossbones who begins to beat him to death.  At this point Kobik intervenes and restores Rogers’ youth and strength.  Later it is revealed that the Red Skull has made contact with Kobik and when she restored his youth, he is altered to believe he has always been a Hydra operative in service of the Red Skull.

Even before the obnoxius Deus Ex Machina aspects of Kobik and the Red Skull having Professor X’s mental abilities–a completely different storyline that annoys me–the storyline has fallen off the rails.  Steve Rogers would trust Sam Wilson.  He would trust his friend.  This is before Kobik and the Red Skull did their thing.  Rogers would trust the judgement of his friend.  He would not come down on his friend in the ways he did.  Not even Old Man Rogers would do that.  If he was not going to trust his friend and back him up, why give him the Shield?

So yeah, that’s why I stopped reading Captain America.  For something trying to be socially conscious in its own way, it does not seem will to push things like it should.

Also got my second round of CGC signature series books back  They are as follows:

Fantastic Four #46: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 5.0.  Came back a bit higher of a grade than I thought it would.  First appearance of Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four #66: signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.5.  Hoped for a wee bit higher.  First part of the two part story that Adam Warlock appears in.  Gives his origin.

Fantastic Four #67: Signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 6.5.  Hoped for a bit higher here too, but still a nice book.  Second part of the first Adam Warlock story and his first brief appearance.

Thor #165:  signed by Stan Lee, graded at a 7.0.  First full appearance of Adam Warlock.

Thor #193:  I had gotten this signed at NYCC in 2015, by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr.  Last issue of Thor that Stan Lee worked on in his original run on the character.  In 2016, I got Stan Lee to sign it.  Came back at a 9.4.

Keeping the spoilers minimal.

Just got back from seeing Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  The plot focuses on the response to world’s response to Superman’s emergence in the first movie, dealing with the aftermath.  The film opens on the murder and funeral of Thomas and Martha Wayne before advancing to the battle between Zod and Superman over Metropolis from Bruce Wayne’s perspective.  From there it advances to the main action of the film, centered around the aftermath of Superman’s emergence into the public eye and the response.  Batman has reemerged in Gotham while Superman struggles to come to peace with the role he has been forced into.

Overall, I thought this movie was fantastic.  I do actually enjoy the way Zack Snyder has brought Superman to the big screen.  Realistically, does anyone really believe a being of Superman’s capabilities would be universally embraced?  That his arrival as a figure of prominence would not be met with a heavy skepticism and fear?  Over the years, the Superman comics have developed the concept of Superman being a Christ figure, sent to bring hope for a better world–which was the central message Jor-El gave in Man of Steel.  Like Christ, he would have to learn how to do that and a lot of this film dealt with that struggle while reminding how human he actually is.  Amy Adams as Lois Lane does a masterful job of keeping him in touch with humanity.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was exactly what it needed to be.  Dark, weary, but determined.  His past as Batman was touched on–really only hinted in dialog and the appearance of the vandalized Robin costume–while a bit of heavy focus was given to the death of his parents.  Makes me wonder what Jena Malone’s Barbara Gordon would have added to the story.

The main villain is essentially Lex Luthor, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg.  His performance was actually fairly entertaining and a good source of some comedic relief.  The manic xenophobia came across effectively as an individual who actually believed he was confronting a threat that needed to be eliminated by any means necessary.

The last big hero to appear was Wonder Woman, portrayed by Gal Gadot.  In a lot ways she came across as a half-way point between Batman and Superman–battle-weary and looking for something to hope for.  I would say the main drawback of the character was that there really wasn’t enough movie for there to be more of her.  Despite the limited screen time, this gave me cause to look forward to her upcoming solo film.

The story itself was a bit problematic.  It got a bit too dependent on dream sequences and visions.  I won’t go into detail about it, but the one that really bothered me just dragged on for too long and really did nothing for the story.  It was cool to see the Parademons though.  The actual cameos for the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg were actually well done and served a good purpose in the course of the story.

Overall, I liked this movie.  I think Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment have a good thing going here.  Like I said about the dream sequence that ran on too long, I think there was maybe a bit too much effort to set up a Justice League movie.  I think that was going to be the biggest obstacle in making this movie, trying not to go beyond telling a good story and setting up a franchise.  I think the story would have meshed better and there would have been plenty of set up without relying on visions.  Looking forward to seeing where Suicide Squad goes with building on the foundation established here.

%d bloggers like this: