How Wondrous Was Wonder Woman?

It used to be a recurring joke that any comic book character would get a movie before Wonder Woman. At a 2013 NYCC afterparty hosted by The Mary Sue, one of the cocktail specials was called Wonder Woman Movie so guests could demand “Give me a Wonder Woman Movie!” This would’ve been effective more promptly if the bartenders were WB executives. (I slightly preferred the Strong Female Protagonist cocktail because it was green like She-Hulk.) A Wonder Woman movie has even been a recurring part of her comics mythos since the 1940’s, so it’s about time Hollywood caught up. Now it’s finally her turn!  I was concerned by all the positive press the movie was receiving because I feared I’d be the lone weirdo that didn’t love it. Fortunately it lived up to the hype, even incorporating some of my ranty demands!  That’ll teach Marvel Studios to cheap out on bribing me! I’m collaboreviewing Wonder Woman with The Wages of Cinema! (They’ve just done a podcast where they responded to my comments!) It’s a wonderful film!

Although she was still as wooden as the surrounding film, Gal Gadot was the best part of Batman v. Superman: Yawn Dawn of Justice because she was a cedar in a forest of larches. Here Ms. Gadot shows she can actually act! Her expressive face conveys childlike wonder at the world outside of Themyscira. She’s a DC protagonist allowed to smile without being a baddie! She’s violent without being dour! They convey her strength through compassion perfectly!

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Americans offended by the lack of white stars on her skirt should take solace in WB nixing the red star on her tiara to alienate her Communist fans too.

Hereafter come the SPOILERS. If you’ve yet to purchase a ticket to see this film, please stop reading here & watch this Nerdist medley featuring Ciara “Hawkgirl” Renee!

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Agents of SHIELD In The High Castle

Agents of SHIELD has been on fire this fourth season, which I shall SPOIL for you. One of its strengths has been splitting its narrative into discrete yet interlocking thirds to keep the momentum wound tight. I’ve complained that the show feels like the MCU’s redheaded stepchild, but ironically this season may be its strongest for having the least direct interconnectivity with Marvel’s movies. The series has built itself up enough that it can now stand on its own.

Remember when Captain America: The Winter Soldier excitingly set-up HYDRA as a major force of modern day villainy? Then how disappointing, albeit believable, it was that the Avengers flattened them out like tortillas under a steamroller in the prologue to Avengers: Age of Ultron? Then recall how HYDRA’s leftovers were somehow even more pathetic in the third season of Agents of SHIELD? Well the Framework’s VR simulation has HYDRA back to being a formidable foe. Not only is this a clever way to reintroduce HYDRA without rolling back the MCU’s stance that it’s been utterly destroyed for real this time, having them in charge feels eerily topical.  The HYDRA propaganda posters are a nice touch.  I love how the start this arc was named “What If…?” just like the comic series. This is the closest the MCU has come to doing an alternate reality since they’re not ready to dip their toes into an official multiverse like The Flash. It had plenty of callbacks to past seasons including a Bill Paxton tribute. Quit teasing us about Griffin!

Remember when I asked them not to make AIDA evil or seduce Fitz? Well the writers did both! Thankfully it’s executed much more deftly than I’d feared. Then this LMD 3-D prints herself a real human body to acquire free will & unsimulated sensations. She wisely gave herself all the inhuman powers because not only is she Madame HYDRA (unlike AIDA, it’s not actually an acronym), she’s also Super-Adaptoid! After being repressed all season, Mallory Jansen let out all the emotions like a fire hydrant! She honestly deserves an Emmy for doing the most acting!

AIDA as Ophelia as Madame Hydra may be the show’s first costumed supervillain. (That’s kind of sad, albeit less so than giving that honor to Deathlok.) Just like Dr. Strange’s training outfit, her shirt has weird elbow gaps before the cuffs. She even wears a cape in one scene like Veronica Lodge! While far superior to Polaris’s hair in the generic The Gifted, it’s too bad they didn’t dye her hair completely green like Fire Green Fury on Powerless. (Please get Natalie Morales to reprise that role on a CW show!) Sadly the color grading makes her outfit look practically gray most of the time. Of course she’s also not really Viper as Madame Hydra, but she’s closer than The Wolverine’s version. Whatever her name is, she’s one of the most compelling foes in the MCU.

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Remember, droid isn’t really gender neutral because it’s short for android. Male shouldn’t always be the linguistic default.

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Triple Toy Threat!

This week, I was invited to two advance movie screenings. One starred Scarlet Witch, Shadow King, & Mantis. The other starred Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, & Punisher. So I went to the first. Not only did I enjoy it very much, it’s tangentially in the nerdy wheelhouse. Unfortunately I’m not supposed to tell you about it because of a stupid NDA which prevents me from building advance buzz for the movie without being subject to legal action.  Unless the point of that clause is reverse psychology. Even with the astronomical odds of the studio reading my blog, I’ll err on the side of paranoia & talk toys today.

The Bradford Exchange of Canada is producing a talking 12″ Justin Trudeau doll! Several articles are reporting that this is a bizarre product, seemingly oblivious to the fact that replicas of prominent political leaders are quite common in the high end 1/6 scale doll world. What’s actually bizarre is that the Bradford Exchange & its international affiliate websites refuse to sell this Prime Minister effigy outside of Canada!

Speaking of dreamy world leaders, here’s T’Challa!

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Includes authentic Wakandan jungle diorama!

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Thor: Ragnarok Trailer Looks Hela Good!

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BREAK IT DOWN NOW!

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’s trailer isn’t being unveiled until Friday.  It matters not, for Disney let slip the hounds of awesome with the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok! It looks Hela good! (Look forward to me recycling this pun for my review of the whole movie!) Wardrobe committed to Hela’s insane antlers! She had better be getting a Marvel Legends toy unlike most MCU villains! The fact that Loki’s got his horns back instantly makes this a superior film to The Dark World. And instead of focusing on a floating truck, this one’s stuffed to the gills with stuff that fans actually want to see in a Thor adaptation including Jack Kirby wall murals! My concern now is how they’re going to have enough time to introduce Hela, Valkyrie, Executioner, Grandmaster, & maybe Surtur (but no Enchantress or Balder) since Marvel Studios’ master plan didn’t have the foresight to set up any of them previously.  I preemptively resent “Planet Hulk” being grafted onto Thor’s final solo movie when so much Asgardian mythos needs fleshing out, but Thor is just so adorable when he sees his friend from work! Please subvert the superheroes  pointlessly battling each other trope! The colors are so pretty! The important thing is Taika Waititi’s movie looks like oodles of fun!

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What Is Dead May Never Die On TV?

Gotham is committed to pitting the Riddler against Penguin. This is a huge bummer since I really enjoyed them being murder besties even if they didn’t hook up. I sympathize with shippers feeling betrayed, but I also understand the writers going with this for maximum drama since it’s the relationship viewers actually care about.  At least it’s making Babs & Tabs more pivotal & finding work for Clayface. You can tell the psychological warfare taking it’s toll because Oswald didn’t even eat the birthday cake of Nygma’s replacement after killing him! Will Riddler cause Disco Vampire to wear a monocle via gratuitous eye violence ala Arkham City? Then they can let eyegones be bygones. Or will they go for the “Penguin doesn’t need a reason to wear a monocle” explanation that nobody had a problem with for decades?

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Unexpected fun fact: Dr. Leslie Thompkins is most effective at violating perps’ rights to get intel.

The way that they’re addressing reanimation as simultaneously bonkers & mundane is perfect. I appreciate that they turned the Joker’s face removal in the New 52 from edgy horror into a joke about poseurs. It’s only just returned & already announcing a winter break after next week? You can’t have two winter finales in the same season, Gotham! That’s madness!

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2016’s Final Casualty Will Be Itself

Welcome to the first blog after our one hundredth! It’s also the last I’ll be writing this year. We’re almost out of 2016! At first I thought people were overreacting about how bad 2016 was, but the year wore me down too. Even my first publisher went belly up. This is specifically not a retrospective post, however, because the year hasn’t finished yet.

To the future we must point our gaze! The big question is now whether 2016 will be slain by the greenery of 2017 or will this year snuff itself out?  Good riddance to 2016! Welcome, 2017!* Now I’ll use the metaphor of annual death & rebirth to segue into an iZombie & X-Men mashup that loses its mirth if you analyze it within the bounds of either fandom.

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Both Anna Paquin & Rose McIver were in The Piano!

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This Custom Is A Rogue One

Yes, you read the headline right. This custom is a Rogue one. It’s just not a Rogue One custom. Now that I’ve lured all you Star Wars fans in, gaze upon my custom X-Men: Evolution Rogue action figure! (Now with moderately improved photographs! Who would’ve thunk daylight would’ve been the missing ingredient?)

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This custom began its life as an X-Treme Rogue, unfortunately afflicted with some broken joints.  Once I got a replacement, I made this one into goth Rogue from X-Men: Evolution since Toy Biz never made one. The first was fortuitously misassembled with the sleeveless arms of her long-haired variant to make this easier. Her pallid complexion gets washed out in photographs, but I assure you she’s the spitting image of legitimutant vampire Kate Beckinsale.

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I’m a bit disappointed this look never made it into mainline continuity like Logan’s lame second suit, inferior to the orange original. The closest it got was this Julie Bell cover where the the green has sadly been replaced by icky yellow. Even with model sheets, promo images, & clips, matching the cartoon colors proved tricky because animators hate consistency. It took me until recently to get the shoulder pads right. In violation of cartoon accuracy, I gave her the collar she only wore in civilian attire.  I extended the green down her sleeves since it’s Rogue’s signature color. Part of me wants to repaint her boots & gloves green too for color unity. The other part of me likes that this costume has so many colors in it to reflect Rogue absorbing various powers. So tell me whether or not I should keep tinkering with it. My easily malleable mind might even be swayed by you.

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0112If you prefer this mutie belle when she leeches all the alien-augmented muscle mass out of Ms. Marvel, check out my other Rogue custom. Continue reading