I’ve got a backlog of writing that’s more esoteric than my usual rants. Since my neophyte blogging days, however, I’ve learned it’s better for site traffic to prioritize blogs that are newsworthy in the moment. (Even being well timed, however, isn’t a guarantee they’ll be popular upon posting.) Then when there isn’t anything trendy happening in a given week, I get confused over which ramble is most worth editing into something readable.
That was going to be the case last week, but then I heard D23 was happening. So after postponing to see if anything earthshaking was revealed, it was more of a
Loki lowkey affair aside from a Werewolf By Night trailer & Thunderbolts roster. So then I opted not to rush to publish my thoughts. Instead this is mostly rambling Marvel Cinematic Universe cold takes. I held back some stuff that’d be germane to She-Hulk: Attorney At Law & Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In addition to general MCU & adjacent Spider-Man, I’ll start off with hypothetical X-Men. Belated Marvel Comics rants will be a future blog.
Thank you for coming to my TED Talk on Barbara Minerva! Much like “Blue Monday,” her entrance theme inexplicably wound up on the cutting room floor. If WW84 was made as an excuse to increase the amount of Kristen Wiig merchandise, many licensees are not upholding their ends of the conspiracy. Keep a weather eye out for a companion piece on Doctor Domino.
Now we must venture back into SPOILER territory for the final season premiere of Black Lightning & a few episodes of Riverdale that would’ve been more momentous had the pandemic not shortened last season. As if that wasn’t enough, I have a tangible reason to hate Disney monopolization at the end.
October the Disrober is over. Now commences November the Ember. (The month is halfway over already, but this rhymes better.)
I’ve been remiss in posting new content this month. (I’ve since revised my posting schedule form weekly to semi-weekly in “About” to cover myself.) One of several unconvincing excuses is that according to WordPress, I was at 299 blog posts. One of those was just me reblogging Cain S. Latrani’s review of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose, so I don’t count that as one I’d written. (Cain has new novels & merchandise available! Go patronize him with your funds!) As far as I’m concerned, this is my real 299th blog. I became paralyzed trying to think of worthy content not only for post #300 but also sufficient for its immediate predecessor! Curse my modicum of integrity!
I carved Swamp Thing into a pumpkin to show my disrespect for The Green! You can tell it’s not a Man-Thing fire gourd because it’s got a wishbone shape on its face instead of a distended M. Fear doesn’t burn at its touch, unlike the existential angst within. It kind of resembles The Creature from The Black Lagoon (“Gillman” if you’re nasty). I have a long history with Jack-O-Lanterns not resembling what I envisioned them as.
In the spirit of Samhain not involving vampires staked with shilleaghs, here is a grab bag of bite-sized horror TV reviews. I also rant against the entities that provided such entertainment. Boo to the trend of diverse shows being cancelled in favor of reboots & spinoffs! Netflix didn’t even release the final chunk of CAOS in time for Halloween! There may be minor spoilers for assorted shows you would’ve watched by now if you really cared.
Now that SDCC 2020 is over, we can turn our gaze towards something originally intended for remote viewing: The Umbrella Academy season two! I did three different text manipulations of the same still. In upholding this blog’s tradition, none of them are funny! Can you stand the SPOILERS under my umbrella, Ella?
As a doctor (of not medicine), I prescribe listening to my latest collaboreview of Doctor Strange with The Wages of Cinema! It’s as the prophecy foretold!
Benedict “malapropism generator” Cumberbatch may be slightly overexposed, but he’s actually a great Doctor Strange! I didn’t need him to affect a American accent, but I guess he wanted to show he’s not just coasting on his Sherlock reputation. Sadly he never utters “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!” It’s a missed opportunity for Marvel to subvert the white savior trope by casting someone that’s not a WASP, yet Cumberbatch still knocks it out of the park. His Dr. Stephen Strange is Marvel’s cockiest protagonist since
Iron Man Thor Star-Lord. Despite or because of his supreme arrogance, he’s always compelling if not necessarily likable. Cumberbatch definitely earns his starring role.
The special effects are superb. There’s plenty of Inception geography tessellation on steroids. Applying gravity to these shifts leads to some fun sight gag action. Other spells look generated from firecrackers & shards of molten glass. There’s a fight across the Astral Plane while both participant’s bodies are unconscious. The best scene is a psychedelic tour across dimensions. The plot may be cookie cutter, but the visuals are a feast for the eyes.
Now journey with me beyond the veil of the page break for movie spoilers, source material nitpicks, & social commentary!
For a spell during season two of Gotham, Riddler & Penguin were rooming together & singing show tunes adorably as best friends are wont to do. This season upped the queerbait ante by having these two ex-Arkham inmates (DC would make a killing selling Arkham Asylum certificates of sanity signed by Hugo Strange!) be incredibly supportive & tender to each other during Coblepot’s successful mayoral campaign. The ambiguous bromance turned romance when Penguin realized he loves Riddler. I was surprised Gotham made the subtextual homoeroticism text since hooking up two of Batman’s top rogues on prime time TV would be the hugest deal since Korrasami. (I can count who isn’t a murdery bastard in this series on one hand, so another gay villain couple doesn’t seem homophobic in context.) It even looked like Riddler would reciprocate Penguin’s affections … until he stood up the Mayor’s candlelit dinner for a stranger that looks exactly like the ex-girlfriend he killed. GRODD DAMN IT, GOTHAM!
Arkham’s Razor says Kristen Kringle’s dead ringer is Clayface hired by Tabitha to break up Oswald & Ed. Or this Isabella is Kristen’s long lost twin who is going to be the show’s quasi-suicidal take on Bookworm. Wait … Bella & Edward? This is a Twilight riff too?
Hopefully this will just be a short road-bump in Penguin & Riddler being happy together. This show could use a romance that’s healthy, stable, & Gordon-free. Unlike Hannibal Lecter & Will Graham, Penguin & Riddler would be a mainstream gay pairing that’s not toxic as Hell. (Hannibal was fantastic show, but that relationship was monstrously abusive.) I am worried they’ll use a woman-shaped plot contrivance to turn these best buddies into bitter enemies. Don’t you dare ruin this, Gotham!
Snow White & the Huntsman is I movie enjoy aside from Snow White, which is problematic given that she’s half the title. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is even more fun because it corrects this oversight by only showing Snow White’s back for a few frames.
Normally I’d object to removing the lead heroine from her own franchise, but all the women in this are so much better than Snow White. There’s even a kickass lady dwarf named Mrs. Bromwyn played by Princess Jubilee! Queen Ravenna’s incesty brother from the first movie has mysteriously vanished & been replaced by new sister Queen Freya. At first it seems completely mercenary to graft a thermokinetic queen onto Snow White’s backstory, but Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen did begin with a magic mirror turning the title character frigid. Of course this movie spends even less time as an adaptation of that classic feminist fairy tale than Frozen. But who cares about continuity or faithful adaptation when Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt are glamorous magical monarchs feasting upon all the scenery? (One of them really ought to be Amora the Enchantress in Thor: Ragnarok if Cate Blanchett is Hela.) This is a gorgeous movie because Colleen Atwood makes the best costume porn. Blunt controls snowy Bubo spies by wearing a mask evoking Princes of Power action figures & Michael Whelan’s The Snow Queen cover.
Remember back when I showed you the painting that would part of the cover? Well now i can finally reveal the finished front! Click below to see it unveiled in all its splendor! Of course if you’ve been directed here via social media, you’ve probably already been spoiled. But click onward anyway because I wrote some more stuff afterwards.
After weeks of merely telling you The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose will be published by Booktrope, I now have something to show for it. Feast your eyes on the brand new painting I made for its cover: