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Wonder Woman

Superheroes vs the Cleveland Pops

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Summer is almost over and this weekend here in my hometown of Elyria there was a free concert by Cleveland Pops.

And a bunch of Superheroes.

The city coordinated the Orchestra’s visit with a local volunteer group called Superheroes to Kids in Ohio who work with kids in hospitals and terminally ill patients. They introduced sets and worked the crowd as the orchestra played selections from superhero films such as Avengers, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man. There was even a Frozen set.

This was a good time, in the middle of the city, surrounded by superheros, with the orchestral score playing in the background and fireworks in the sky. It’s also EXACTLY the sort of thing Elyria needs more of.

Happy Labor Day.

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By the way, even though it’s Labor Day there IS still a new Violent Blue up today!


Wonder Woman

This has been sitting on my shelf since I got it at Monster Bash in June. I probably could have located it myself with enough effort but sometimes it’s nice th just let the bootleggers do their work. They gave me a good deal on it too, and bundled it with the Spider-Man musical.

I’ve heard a couple of people tak about how much they wish this series would have gotten made. I certainly can see my following it for at least the frist couple of months and then checking in on it every now and then. I can see myself following it with my daughters (who really liked the scenes with Wonder Woman).

The story is okay, but not the really great kind of narrative you need for a pilot. It feels more like a mid season filler story. Definitely part of the series, but if you missed it, you wouldn’t get lost. I really like that it’s not an origin story. It starts the series with everyone and everything already established. This used to be standard (Star Trek, I’m looking at you.) and in a lot of ways works better. Too many origin stories slow things down instead of moving us into the story.

My biggest problem with this series is Adrianne Palicki herself. I’m not going to go down the tired old road of saying no one can compare to Lynda Carter. Though comparisons are unavoidable, it’s completely beside the point. Palicki ‘s greatest flaw is  that she lacks the strength and confidence to play this character. Her voice is too light…airy. When she gets quippy, it sounds like a 22 year old celebutant, not a strong amazon warrior. Watch the Justice League cartoons. The voice is just a touch deeper, but what it really resonates is gravitas. Even that 19-20 year old Lynda Carter stood and spoke with enough poise that I had no problem believing she was mature, immortal and strong. Palicki  just skews too young. She doesn’t look stable when she stands heroically and she shuffles when she walks, like she doesn’t know how to move in heels (not all women do, not all women need to. But if you’re going to play Wonder Woman, yeah, you really do). The contrast is at it’s most stark during the end confrontation with Elizabeth Hurley (possibly the best thing about this show.) who takes long confident strides and radiates feminity.

By the way, Palicki has a couple of beauty marks that drive me nuts too. One on her jaw and one in between her eyebrows. It’s completely shallow of me and I realize that they make Palicki unique and beautiful, but they don’t belong on Wonder Woman and I just can’t stop staring at them.  $1.00 worth of greaspaint could have solved that problem. Hmmm. That sounds like a good idea for a Violent Blue strip.

The costume is fine with me. It gives the necessary impression and color it needs too and by the way, if you really hate the pants, well they turn into the more familiar bikini bottoms for the final showdown. I think they might have gotten a lot less criticism for the look if they had leaked one of those pictures on the web ahead of time.  Really, the whole look for the series is slick and cool. The fight sequences are stunning. Better than anything even the animateds managed to do. The plane isn’t invisible, but looks cool enough that we forgive it. There’s a fleet of them and it works in the context.

So what’s the final verdict? It’s kind of like the current series of Doctor Who. I don’t hate Matt Smith. He is nowhere near one of my favorites, but I don’t mind him. I’ll watch the series and be happy it’s still on, even though I’d rather be watching David Tennent. That’s how I feel about this Wonder Woman. I would have watched it and been content, while wishing they’d chosen someone else for the role. I’m not happy it got passed on, but perhaps it’s for the best, especially if it results in a better product soon. I suspect it may. DC has seen the success with Marvels Avengers and they know they need to get their tails in gear. I suspect we’ll see Wonder Woman on a screen, either big or small, sooner than you may think.


I did finally manage to get out to the Avengers movie this weekend. I loaded up the girls and we hit the local Drive-in. Now if I wanted to be controversial or appear overly intellectual, I could say I didn’t like it. However, that’s not really true. It was a fun movie, and it was everything it promised to be. A big spectical  superhero action flick that finally combines different franchises in a huge mash-up. It was fun.

But that’s where it stops.

In spectical , it lives up to the hype. But there’s really no story there. There’s not much in the way of character development.  It’s just….meh. It’s a mindless action film – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ahhhnald made a career of that. Stallone isn’t far behind. I don’t object to the movie being a check-your-brain-at-the-door action flick. I object to people saying it’s the greatest film ever. My friend Jim mentioned that it ruined him for all other movies! That’s a GREAT line, but this film doesn’t deserve that kind of praise.

I think I get it. You see, this is the kind of film that most of us have waited our entire lives for. I’m not just taking about pop culture junkies or comic book fanboys either. Anyone who went to see Superman in the theatre and then came home and watched Wonder Woman and Batman on TV and wondered “Why can’t they put all of these guys in the same movie?”(and seriously, was there anyone who’s under forty right now that DIDN’T do that?)…this is the film you’ve been waiting your entire life for (possibly without even knowing it). Even if you grew up and haven’t thought about superheros in twenty or thirty years, a part of you remembers. That part of you is affected and we react on a visceral level.

The cool  thing about all of this is that it’s a good payoff. You get elements from the Iron Man films, the Thor and Cap movies and it almost feels like a reunion. It definitely gets the flavor of each of those franchises right, without short-changing any of them. If anything, I think it’s the best Iron Man movie of all. Joss Whedon understands something that Jon Favreau does NOT. If your going to make a movie about superheros…SHOW THE SUPERHEROS! Iron Man spent probably half of the film in his armor as opposed to the ten minuets he was in the suit cumitivly over the two Iron Man movies. I like that, and didn’t feel shortchanged at all with less Tony and more Iron Man.

I want to say that you just can’t go wrong with Cap, but a history of terrible Cap films obviously proves me wrong. Nevertheless this was a GREAT outing for him. The current handling of him has been really well done and it actually sent chills down my spine when he was diving out of the plane and telling the pilot about Thor “There’s only one God, and he doesn’t dress like that.”. Speaking of Thor, he was used well, and not overused as I feared he might be. looking at the heroclix set, he’s the most powerful piece and I was a little afraid that might be represented too much in the movie. It wasn’t and I’m very happy with that.

I asked my girls what their favorite character in the movie was. Maddie immediately piped up “Silly Hulk! Smashing that bad guy!”. I’m not a huge Hulk fan, at least in the movies. I got to admit this was a great use of him. I was really surprised at how well they managed to use him and make him a more sympathetic character. He probably had the biggest laughs of the entire movie.

All in all, it’s a good movie. It shouldn’t win any awards and I would not consider it a contender for the top five best Superhero films of all time, but it absolutely kept it’s promises and was a true pay off to the other Marvel films. I’ll be looking forward to part two. I bet the guys over at Violent Blue are too.


Girly Clix

So the game was 400 points, and all pieces had to be female. I had a decent team set up except I had this little  21 points or so left over. I decided to throw in a figure I never thought i’d use…Mary Jane Watson. She’s 15 points and I figured …Meat sheild right? I didn’t expect them to take that so litirally…

So Pheonix…this 300 point figure unleashes an attack on my team, targeting Supergirl, Batgirl….and MJ (Wonder Woman was either out of line of sight or off the board…). Pheonix hits, but not enough to do any damage past Supergirls invunrability. Batgirl rolls Shapechange and evades the attack – can’t be targeted. So Phenoix dumps all six clix of damage on poor little 15 point three click Mary Jane. I could almost hear the civillian screaming. I’m also pretty sure I could hear Batgirl snicker.

This would never happen if they played Heroclix in Violent Blue. Hmmm. Taylor runs a comic shop. I wonder if they play there?


The new 52, and others

I don’t really want to dwell on “the New 52”. I’ve stated elsewhere that it feels like DC has been taking over by Image comics circa 1991. That feeling hasn’t changed…if anything, it’s only increased. However a couple of things do bear mentioning;
BATGIRL
It’s a pity that some fanboys/fangirls have never gotten over Barbra Gordon not being Batgirl – so much so that she’s been returned to the mantle. I personally think she was far more effective both in the scope of her activities and thematically as a story when she was the crippled Oracle. It’s worth noting as well, Barbra was Oracle for longer than she was Batgirl. She spent so much time under the shadow of batgirl that we sometimes forget that. The new series essentially erases Oracle from history, stating that Babs was paralyzed for about 3 months. I get the impression we’ll have an explanation for that in upcoming issues.
SUPERMAN
I didn’t expect to like this and I was right. We don’t need to make Clark Kent into Peter Parker. I don’t LIKE peter Parker, but Clark Kent is my hero. At least he used to be…
I’m not really a fan of the costume either, though I’ll grant this; it looks kryptonian. I just think it would look better on a different kryptonian. By the way, what’s all this rejoicing over him losing the red underwear on the outside of his pants? It’s still there, it’s just the same color as the pants. I understand it if you plan on eliminating the briefs, but if you aren’t getting rid of them, why bother just changing the color scheme? All in all, the costume just doesn’t WORK for me. In fact, it’s one of the few redesigns that doesn’t. I like the new Wonder Woman costume. I like the new Batman costume.  I don’t get all the armor on EVERYONE in the DCU, (back to the Image comics feel) but I can deal with it…at least for a while.
JLI
I like the idea of the JLI existing along side the JLA as a separate entity controlled by the UN. I just wish someone had this idea about ten years ago or so. Too late now, not funny enough and Dan Jurgans is heading up the title. Three strikes and you’re out.
I feel like I MIGHT just come around to liking a lot of this stuff if I just give it a chance…except that’s the problem. Why should I have to WORK at liking it? Why should I stick around and slog through the dreck that this reboot will be mired down in (for at least the next six months while everyone get’s their footing and establishes a tone) while waiting for something to MAYBE emerge? No, I think, for the foreseeable future, I’m done with DC. I’ll be back when everything reverts to original numbering.

As far as my other pulls this week, I though I’d give Dynamite’s new Robocop Terminator series a chance. Run. Run as far from this one as you can. interesting concept, but no story, and the art is almost cartoonish. It’s an embarrassment. A really dynamic artist could have save this and won points for the ain’t-it-cool factor, but this team they’ve got on the book belongs in the newspaper funny pages. ugh.
On the other hand, The Lone Ranger still hasn’t failed to thrill me. I grabbed the fourth Lone Ranger and Tonto special. They’re doing a piece I’ve seen done with Batman a couple of times (They just did an animated version of a 70’s story like this in Gotham Knight) where you take different accounts of the character and try to reconcile them, showing different facets of the hero. The Lone ranger comics are simply the best thing going right now. I know that I’ve said it before, but it just never stops being true.

Okay. Off to draw some Violent Blue. See you Wednesday.