Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017)

Let's talk about the Wonder Woman movie, shall we?

Obviously, there be SPOILERS here. So, if you haven't seen the movie for some reason, get off your hinders and go see it now, because it's pretty damn good. You can come back and read these pathetic ramblings later.

SPOILERS commence after the 5 pictures of Diana...

I come not to praise Wonder Woman, because I don't have much to add to all the superlatives that have been (deservedly) heaped upon the film.

But it's not a perfect movie, and there are a couple of things that really bugged me.

**THE LASSO--I have to be honest, the ability of Wonder Woman's magic rope to compel honestly has always sat a bit uneasily with me. It comes just a tiny bit too close to robbing people of their free wills, not unlike the "Jedi mind tricks" that force people to act against their interests in the Star Wars movies.

But this movie goes one step farther, and makes the lasso an actual torture device.

Now, the lasso doesn't merely compel you to tell the truth--according to the film, it causes actual physical pain if you don't tell the truth. And that is the literal definition of torture.

Yeah, it's just one scene, and some clumsily-written dialogue that perhaps doesn't accurately present what the creators intended.

But when Steve Trevor was burning up because he refused to divulge classified information to the Amazons, some in the audience actually laughed. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have been so amused had a bad guy been doing the exact same thing to one to of our heroes. So we probably shouldn't be comfortable with it when the "good guys" do it.

**HIPPOLYTA--Man, she is a terrible mother, and a terrible queen.

Hippolyta joins a growing list of recent movie parents who believe that their children should hide their lights beneath a bushel. See Man Of Steel and Frozen for other examples. What the hell is going on with movie parents?

At least in those earlier movies, the children already knew about their origins and powers. But Diana did not, and was not given the choice whether or not to keep the secret herself. And Hippolyta's hiding the truth from Diana not only didn't help her (Ares found her about 5 minutes after she entered man's world), it actually endangered her! Leaving it to Ares to reveal the truth to her was pretty, well, stupid (see Empire Strikes Back for another example of how stupidly lying about true origins backfires...)

Meanwhile, the Amazons had one job, and Hippolyta pretty much refused to do it. Amazons trained hard, but she wouldn't allow their potentially greatest warrior be trained, until being forced/shamed into it. When their island was actually invaded, and they knew for certainty that the world was engulfed in war, again she refused to act, even though their mission was to protect mankind and prevent war. Hippolyta would thank the gods for their gifts, but denied the duties that the Amazons had been given in exchange for them. She's committed to sitting on the sidelines and letting the world burn.

Obviously, Hippolyta loved her daughter, and wanted to protect her. But at the price of endangering the rest of the Amazons, and the world? Almost letting Ares wipe out humanity, because she didn't want to risk sending any Amazons? A ruler has to be better than that.

In fairness, I get the feeling some stuff may have been left on the cutting room floor. During her bedtime story to Diana, Hippolyta goes from Amazons being created to rescue man to freeing themselves from slavery in the very next sentence! It sure seems something is missing there, right? Explaining how the Amazons had been enslaved, and by whom, might have gone a long way towards explaining Hippolyta's actions (or lack thereof).

Still, Hippolyta--bad ruler, bad mom.

**TOO DAMN POWERFUL--I dig the need for a big confrontation at the end. And I grok that Diana was fighting an actual god.

But at the end of the film, she's literally projecting force fields to prevent projectiles from even reaching her, moving as fast as the Flash, projecting exploding energy bubbles, and putting out enough watts to fry a god.

Which, c'mon, you have too admit, is too damn powerful. How could the Cheetah or Angle Man last even three seconds against her?

It's the same problem that we had with Batman Vs. Superman--a Bruce Wayne who can invent exo-skeletons powerful enough to take out a Kryptonian should not have to work up the tiniest sweat against Killer Croc or the Penguin. When you have your hero go to maximum impossible power in the first movie, where do you go from there? How do you make any future threat credible?

Of course, in BvS, Diana didn't show anywhere near this level of power, so maybe over the intervening century she lost some of those powers? With Ares, the last of the Olympian gods dead, maybe she's somehow cut off from the power source? Maybe staying away from Themyscira weakens her? Something else? Is she still (or even actually) a god, or not?

So next movie, they either have to explain why Diana's not that powerful anymore, or come up with someone tougher than Aries to fight. that's why you don't turn it up to 11 in the very first movie.

**WHERE THE HELL IS THE DAMN BOAT?!?--In the invasion of Themyscira, the German ship accompanied it's boats through the "cloak"--we saw it there, in sunshine and glorious color, no longer in Snyder's Diluted-Palette-Vision. There were what looked like a couple of explosions on the beach during the fight, as if the ship had been launching shells.

But at the end of the battle, the ship was nowhere to be seen.

Did it escape back through the cloak? So now everyone knows about Paradise Island? Or did the Amazons take it and scuttle it after the battle? What about the crew that had been left behind--surely the Germans didn't send every single crewman onto the shore...what happened to the engineer and cook and whatever officer was left in charge?!? Did the Amazons capture them? kill them?!?!

Yes, a tiny point, but it shows a certain carelessness in filmmaking...

**ARES WAS WHO NOW?--Wait a minute. Was there ever a real Sir Patrick? Was he replaced by Ares at some point? If so, is he dead? Or did Ares simply create an entirely fictitious personna who rose to relative power in the British government over years, knowing there would be a Great War in a few decades? That's playing the long game...How would Sir Patrick's sudden absence be explained after the war?

That's pretty much all I've got. Tiny, nitpicky things. Great movie. No, not the best super-hero movie ever. But pretty damn good.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I, For One, Welcome Our New Overlords!!

If we're to believe this cover...

...the patriarchy is going to get its ass kicked in a few years!

I blame the misuse of Pym Particles...

Cover by Robert Swanson.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Night Fights--Isn't It Ironic Style!!

It's Friday Night Fights time again, and all fights must contain "a summertime reference or imagery."

Well, it's definitely summer, as Warren Worthington chills at his summer crib...

...and Bobby Drake wants in on some of that lounging action!!

Unfortunately, when he gets there, a menacing stranger makes himself known...


Ah, but you shouldn't count your chickens before they're hatched, Booby!


Ironic, indeed!!

Spacebooger reminds you that the Hulk took care of the Sentinel later that issue!!

Iceman beaten by ice in Incredible Hulk Annual #7 (1978), by Roger Stern (plot/script), John Byrne (plot/pencils) and Bob Layton (inks)

Now is the time for you to go and vote for my fight. Why?!? I have no idea whatsoever!! Just go vote!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Best Cover You've Never Seen--The Witching Hour #70 (1977)!

"Time to make the donuts!"

OK, I thought it was funny...

P.S. This scene actually occurs in the comic (except for the scary face on the bee-hive).

P.P.S. No, the guy hasn't been shrunken--those are giant, man-sized bees!! This is what happens when you let the Red Bee train  these guys...

Cover by Luis Dominguez.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You Got Romance In My Cowboy Comics!!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

There's no love like Cowboy Love!!

Actually, there were two separate runs of Cowboy Love, at two separate companies...

Issues #1-11 were by Fawcett, and ran from 1949-1951.

Later, Charlton, having purchased the rights to many Fawcett titles, took up the concept, including the same title font, for issues #28-31 in 1955 (it took over the numbering from Romantic Story, another series Charlton had continued from Fawcett. And after Charlton's Cowboy Love was cancelled, it resumed as Romantic Love again, at issue #28, and ran until 1973!! Because comic numbering has never made sense...)

Nope, there's nothing better than cowboy love...

Unless it's...Cowgirl Romances!!

 Marvel had 1 issue of Cowgirl Romances in 1950 (#28!! WTF, 1950s numbering!)...

 ...while Fiction House had their own Cowgirl Romances series, also starting in 1950!

 It's tempting to read too much into these covers... while Cowboy Love usually relies on images of Western couples in romantic bliss (and often with guitars!)...

 ...Cowgirl Romances was much more likely to have a cover with the woman in danger, or locked in a passionate kiss, or gazing on as her man does her wrong with another lady...

A statement on the perceived preferences of the books' intended audiences?

Still, there's only one genre-mashing Western romance that I need:

Oh, Mary...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why 1970s Spider-Man Is The Best Spider-Man--Keeping Peter Busy!

Within the span of a very few issues, Spider-Man stuck it to the Comics Code...

...fought the Green Goblin...

...grew 4 extra arms and faced off against Morbius and the Lizard...

...and teamed up with Ka-Zar against Kraven in the Savage Land.

So, yeah, not a lot of decompression back then.

Now You Understand Why We Wanted Our MTV!

I know, some of you young whipper-snappers are asking, "How did you old folks survive prior to MTV? How did you get your recommended daily allowance of music videos, live performances, and rock star news, without a 24/7 cable channel?"

The answer, my friends, is: pay $8 apiece (or more) for reels of film to play on your 8mm home projector!!

Sure, it was hella expensive, and the selection wasn't too great, but it beat waiting around for American Bandstand or Ed Sullivan or Top Of The Pops or whatever to show what you wanted!!

I have to ask, great as the Beatles were--35 films of them, and only 2 of Bowie? Only one of The Who? Shameful!!

Ad from Betty & Veronica #216 (1973)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Morgan Edge Is A Dickweed!!

Time for Morgan Edge to make everyone thinks he's still an evil clone working for Darkseid:

And now, he gets personal:

Oh, silly Lois...collaborating like that, when you should know that he's going to turn on you next!

Just for the record, from the very same story, here is exactly how "soft" Lois Lane is:

Yup, real soft, all right. She really needs "firming up." Uh-huh.

Morgan Edge, go frak yourself.

[BTW, Lois goes to investigate the "health farm," and she discovers that it's run by an insane millionaire who has her android staff hypnotize patients into leaving their fortune to the clinic and then kill themselves. But she defeats the evil death factory, thanks to klurkor and solar reflectors. Just so you know]

From Superman Family #196 (1979)

Manic Monday Double Bonus--Recidivist!

I hope that New York newspapers saved the template for this headline:

Even in 1940, the Sub-Mariner taking Manhattan was old news!

Seriously, Namor, have you ever tried invading other cities? Just fot the sake of variety?

From The Human Torch #2 (1940)

Manic Monday--Elvis On Ed Sullivan, But 10 Years Earlier And With Captain Marvel!!

Ahh, nothing is so fine as to find a prescient comic book...

See, it's 1946, and station WHIZ is ready to enter the crazy mixed up world of television!

But they have a bit of a problem...

Ah, but one of Billy Batson's teeny adventures winds up with Captain Marvel on camera, and:

But what can he do besides stand around and look pretty?



(What, early TV comedians wore top hats?!?!)

Hey--how about singing?

Oh, dear!

And so...

Even poor Billy is getting the short end of the fascination of American women for the Big Red Cheese's singing!

It's a disturbing nationwide phenomenon!!

Fortunately, a jealous rival crooner (!!) slip Cap a vocal mickey, and gives him laryngitis!

Oh, man, Marvel completely choked his first TV appearance! I guess he's no Elvis!!

At least he has his crime-fighting career to fall back on...or did, until DC decided to abandon him again...

From Captain Marvel Adventures #54 (1946)