Tag Archives: superheroes

Luke Cage

One good thing that came out of Hurricane Matthew was that I got caught up on a couple of TV shows.

Periscopes up – spoilers ahead.

I really wanted to love this show, but it just couldn’t quite bring me there.

mistyWhat I liked: The women (with the exception of Claire). They’re strong, dynamic, interesting, sexual, proud and don’t shy away from their mission be it good (Misty – can she have her own show now?), evil (Mariah), or something in between (Reva). Claire tried to be all that, but fell short when the writers pigeonholed her into the cheerleader/potential love interest role. I did like Claire’s mother though.

mariah-shadesI also adored the relationship between Mariah and Shades. Granted, I did not see Mariah becoming the dark horse villain of the group, BUT oh man does Alfre Woodard know how to chew scenery. Her story arc makes this show work. Her descent from crooked politician with a heart of gold to Cottonmouth’s heir was a thing of beauty marred only by the tired rape-backstory trope. When Mariah kissed Shades, I almost cried because he really does love and respect her. No games, no tricks. I want these two to have a happy ending, which is horrible because if there are two characters who should die in a fire its these two.

What I disliked: Luke Cage. What the heck happened to the guy from Jessica Jones? He’s turned into this wishy-washy part-time bad ass. He whines about not wanting to be hero, and even after his mentor shoves him out the door into the real world, he reverts right back to wishy-washiness. Bring back Jessica’s Luke Cage and maybe he’ll become interesting.

Diamondback: After the complexity of Cottonmouth, Diamondback is a huge disappointment. He’s backstory is stereotypical and boring, which makes his motivation for all the hell he puts Luke through fall flat.

The pacing: Even the fight scenes are slow and cumbersome. Everyone’s story arc stalls around episode 7 and doesn’t come back to life until episode 11(ish). I’ll echo what others are saying elsewhere – maybe these stories should only be eight episodes long. The Agent Carter team made it work, so there’s no reason why it couldn’t work for Netflix.

Favorite Heroines

Favorite Heroines

Rita/Edge of Tomorrow

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Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

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Zoë Washburne/Firefly

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Buffy Summers/Vampire Slayer

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Peggy Carter (Agent Carter/MCU)

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Ellen Ripley

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Sarah Connor

Lena Headey as Sarah Connor

 

Princess/General Leia

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I know, I know, it’s supposed to be a top five list. What good does it do me to own a list and be able to break the rules if I want? I’ve talked about Edge of Tomorrow before. Buffy & Zoë are Joss Whedon creations. Black Widow was awesome even before Joss got hold of her and continues to inspire. Peggy Carter is the new woman on the block, taking names and knocking the men senseless with all the wit & style of James Bond. I’ve loved Ellen, Sarah, and Ripley since I was a kid. Who are your favorites?

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v. SupermanTL;DR version – don’t waste your money. Long version includes spoilers. Lots of spoilers because this movie sucked my brain out one ear and spit shot it across the street.

Okay, ready? This is going to be a long vent.

First, some redeeming features to the movie:

  1. Ben Affleck doesn’t suck at Batman. I’m ambivalent to Batman in general, but Affleck worked for me here.

  2. Gal Godot didn’t suck as Wonder Woman. Then again, she didn’t have to do much except look sexy, flirt with Bats, and growl during the battle. Still, she’s  pretty good at growling.

  3. Henry Cavill is still pretty, even with a scar.

  4. Nod to Robin existing in this universe. Or formerly existing since we don’t know if it was Dick Grayson or Jason Todd who was killed. I’m voting for Jason because I would love to see Under the Red Hood live action.

  5. Jeremy Irons as Alfred. Cranky without pontificating.

  6. The Clark/Lois love scene at the beginning. Nice touch.

  7. The Martha and Batman exchange when he rescues her. Also, nice touch.

Non-redeeming features. While the plot in and of itself wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t brilliant, and the whole film was dragged down by bloated waste of stuff the audience didn’t need to know and/or didn’t need to see. It reminded of how I felt about the Dark Knight, an okay film that could have left 45 minutes on the cutting room floor. Specifically:

  1. Why did we need to waste so much time rewatching the death of Martha & Thomas Wayne? Everyone who’s going to see this movie knows Batman’s backstory.  It would have been so much better if they’d handled that with the same deft touch that they handled Robin’s demise.

  2. Wonder Woman served no purpose. They used her as a funnel for a product placement sequence advertising the Justice League movie. Yes, she fights at the end, protects Batman while Superman is distracted by rescuing Lois (again), but there was no real reason for her to be there.

  3. The reason Wonder Woman shouldn’t have been there is because there was no reason they couldn’t have blocked the final battle with Superman and Batman teaming up and still have the same outcome.

  4. Superman has to save Lois no less than three times during the movie. Batman then has to save Martha Kent. Really people? So much saving of women just to avoid fridging them?

  5. Batman, the world’s greatest detective, has been emotionally manipulated by Lex Luthor for over two years? Seriously?

  6. Lex’s security is so bad, no one notices Bruce Wayne or Diana Prince wandering down to the computer servers in Lex’s house all three times.

  7. Lex is the new Joker. For someone who finds the Joker boring on a good day, this didn’t help. Joker is psychopathic, Luthor is sociopathic – learn the difference people.

  8. They had to make Lex psychopathic because he has no motivation. He makes vague references to getting beaten by Daddy and Daddy’s childhood during the Third Reich, but Lex himself has no personal reason to want Superman dead.

  9. Batman decides to bring Doomsday from the uninhabited island BACK TO METROPOLIS so Bats can find the kryptonian spear to stop him? Why couldn’t Bats just go to Metropolis, get the spear, then return to the island where no one was getting hurt? (And this is a guy who based his whole anti-Superman vendetta based on Superman supposedly not caring about the thousands killed during his battle with Zod).

  10. Batman’s crossfit training montage. Yes, he’s sexy, but for a movie already bloated to 2 1/2 hours, it was unnecessary and didn’t move the story forward.

  11. Useless Bat-dreams/nightmares that tells the audience what we already know: Batman fears Superman’s god-like powers.

  12. Batman decides not to kill Superman because their moms share the same first name. Ummmm, okay.

I could go on but this blog post is going the way of the movie – bloated to the point of useless. Just wait for it to come on TV at some point and make sure you have something else to keep yourself busy while you watch it.

Deadpool: A F*&^%ing Great Movie!

Pity the poor bastards who thought I could write a Deadpool review without spoilers. There you have your f*&^%ing warning.

I’ve avoided the Deadpool comic precisely because of the character’s reputation as an obnoxious, misogynistic son-of-a-bitch. I’m no prude, but I usually find writers who think they’re pushing-the-envelope with foul language and aggressive sexuality are just unimaginative bores. When the first trailer for Deadpool dropped, it caught my attention, but really… an R-rating is not a selling point for me. Deadpool was going to have to walk into Mordor to make a me a believer.

He went there and back again. The opening credits alone are worth the price of admission. Once I saw “Written By The Real Heroes Here”, Deadpool had me hooked.

Don’t panic. Deadpool is still a crass, sarcastic beast, but by the time the audience meets him, his heart has already grown three sizes and continues to grow — at least for a few choice characters we’re introduced throughout the movie. The rest get theirs in a bloody, spectacular fashion. There really isn’t anything new or groundbreaking about the story: Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds out for vengeance against the guy who turned him from a handsome mercenary into a gruesome mutant. Morena Baccarin plays the prize (albeit brilliantly). Along they way, Deadpool meets up with X-Men Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (someone please make a NTW movie – soon!) for a showdown that manages to not destroy an entire city.

Despite the same old, same old storyline, I bought into it. The love story between Wade and Vanessa works because they have the same kind of crazy.  The story structure cut between past and present without losing the the main plot thread. And then there’s Leslie Uggams in the creepiest hurt/comfort scene ever. Ewwww.

Deadpool works in the way a movie is supposed to work: it got my attention, held it, and made me very happy at the end (and yes, there is an Easter Egg after the credits).

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Release Day! Slow Burn

SLOW-BURN-Draft1Slow Burn is the second short story in my Thunder City series. These  short stories give readers a peek into the background and private lives of some of the alternative humans you’ll read about in Blood Surfer.

Valley of the Blind was the first story in the series, featuring fan favorite Seeker.

Slow Burn delves into the life of Spritz, a water manipulator admired by Hannah in Blood Surfer.

Still Life, a short story about Claire, an artist who receives messages from angels, will be released in March.

Here’s an excerpt from Slow Burn. Enjoy!

Three months before the events in Blood Surfer.
 
Heat seared Spritz’s lungs as she sprayed water from her hands over the fire  hell-bent on scorching her and her partner. On the other side of the ferry terminal, Cobalt created fire retardant foam from the elements found in her body and shot the thick mixture along the flaming north wall.
 
Not today, you son-of-a-bitch. You’re not killing anyone today.
 
A snap louder than a flashbang broke her concentration. A ceiling support beam snapped. The jagged end, still on fire, tumbled down toward her partner’s head.
 
“Cover! Cover! Cover!” Spritz shouted into her com unit.
 
Cobalt crouched, covering her hands with her body as Spritz aimed a cannonball of water at the falling beam, slamming the wood into what was left of the ticket counter. Cobalt kept herself curled as water rained on her back.
 
“Clear!” Spritz shouted, turning back to the fire on her side of the terminal. Cobalt would have to wait until she was sure her hands wouldn’t get wet. In order to create fire retardant, Cobalt needed to pull and multiply the potassium from her own body. Raw potassium and water should never mix.

You can find Slow Burn for just $1.99 at your favorite online bookstores:

Amazon | BN | iBooks | Kobo

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Release Day! Valley of the Blind

Valley of the Blind
Valley of the Blind

Do you remember Seeker from Blood Surfer? The cute guy with the solid black eyes who chats up Hannah in the Arena and later helps Scott find Hannah with his super vision? InValley of the Blind, you find out how Seeker became a hero before he joined T-CASS. Valley of the Blind is the first short story in the Tales from Thunder City series. Here’s a teaser for you:

“I have a brother.” He scrolled through the report too numb to think, to wonder. His throat closed over his words. “A younger brother. They kept him but tossed me.”

“I know it’s not the answer you wanted.” Mister E had said, coming around to sit on the corner of the desk, his fingers stroking his goatee. “Is there anything I can do?”

Asher read the words, but he couldn’t think through the punch of bitterness. “Is he like me? Is he an Alt?”

“I doubt it,” Mister E had said. “He has albinism like you. If they put you up for adoption because of your Alt ability, it’s more than likely the would have done the same with him.”

“But you can’t be sure.”

Mister E hesitated. “No — but Asher, he’s fifteen. Almost three years younger than you. If he were an alternative human, his power would have manifested by now. Someone would have noticed.”

“Maybe, maybe not.” Asher slammed closed his laptop. He was one of the few Alts who couldn’t hide his differences as easily as the others. Without his special glasses, everyone could see the black ichor in his eye sockets instead of normal human eyes. Other Alts could hide their ability. Mr. E could turn invisible, but how would anyone know unless they actually saw him do it? “We need to find out before the Alt-ban goes into effect.”

“Don’t use your brother as an excuse to cross the Bay.” The investigator’s sympathetic gaze turned hard. “If you’re caught in Star Haven after midnight, T-CASS and Thunder City won’t save you. They won’t break Star Haven’s law because you had to satisfy a hunch.”

You can find Valley of the Blind at your favorite book stores:
KindleKoboiTunes, and Nook.

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Drinking with Superheroes

Steal the SkyMegan E. O’Keefe, Writer of the Future winner and author of Steal the Sky, is doing a blog series called “Drinks with Characters”.

This is the sort of prompt I love. Who wouldn’t want to speculate about what your favorite superheroes drink at the end of a long day of rescuing cats out of trees and stopping the devilish antics of their super villains.

So hop on over the Megan’s website and find out what Captain Spectacular and the rest of Blackwood family drink when they’re not patrolling Thunder City.

Click here: http://meganokeefe.com/2015/10/08/drinks-with-characters-debra-jess-is-drinking-with-superheroes/

Cover Reveal: Valley of the Blind

Remember Seeker from Blood Surfer? Well, he has his own story. Actually, Valley of the Blind is Seeker’s back story. It seems that before he joined T-CASS, Seeker became a hero. Who knew? Well, now you do and you can learn more about Seeker before he became Seeker. This short story is a fast-paced thriller you will enjoy just as much as Blood Surfer and it’ll be available on November 10th.

3dBelow the surface, wishes become nightmares.

Seeker’s extraordinary vision allows him to see the world layer by layer. When he peels back the layers of his own family however, he discovers secrets he wished he’d never learned. Soon after, he’s kidnapped by terrorists hell-bent on starting a war with Thunder City. They plan to use Seeker as the catalyst, the fall guy for a political assassination.  Can Seeker use his vision to save Thunder City and himself before it’s too late?

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Pre-order links coming soon!

 

The Fantastic Four Movie Review

The Fantastic Four. I really wanted to love this film. I really want to at least like this film. There are elements of possibilities here, but in the end, this was a mess of missed opportunities. Where to begin…

Fantastic FourA long list of spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

The main problem with this film is that it never tells you why. Which “why?” Any why.

Why do Ben and Reed become friends? You see Reed as an over the top, misunderstood geek getting ridiculed by his own teacher at school. Ben looks like the kid who’s going to be the one who shoves Reed’s head into a toilet. He doesn’t. Why? What does Ben see in Reed that makes him stand by Reed’s side all through school. (Take note: the younger actors who play Ben and Reed had more chemistry together than any of the adult actors in this film. Kudos to their acting coaches).

Why does Dr. Storm proclaim his son can build anything, yet Johnny can’t even build a working street racer?

Why does the Baxter group leave four teenagers alone in a lab with a working interdimensional transport with no guards?

Why can Reed get Ben into a facility with a working interdimensional transport without going through five hundred layers of security?

Why did they delete all of the cool action beats from the trailers? The few action scenes in the movie are so out of context you have to wonder why they were filmed at all. The only exception was Reed fighting in the forest. That one was actually pretty cool to watch, but there wasn’t enough there to keep me interested.

Why did they skip a year? Why did the cut out everything about the team getting used to their powers?

Why does Grimm forgive Reed so easily? They were best friends, then Reed abandons Grimm to his fate for a year. It doesn’t matter than Reed was trying to help from a distance.

Why does Johnny welcome Reed back so readily? Those two hardly know each other.

Why wasn’t Sue allowed to join the boys in their drunken transport to the other dimension? This pisses me off the most. If she’s supposed to be part of this team, she should have been allowed to join the drinking party and make the same mistakes as the boys. Stupid mistake or not, Sue is now the pretty princess stands apart from the the others, who always has to take the moral high ground. Boring, boring, boring. The writers and the director had no balls when it came to giving Sue her powers.

What the hell happened to Doom pre-transport? He’s set up as this anti-government rebel without a cause with a huge crush on Sue that goes absolutely nowhere. There seems to be a wink and a nod that he’s actually working for someone else, but he does nothing to make us believe he’s about to betray the team. There’s no sense of his growing rage. We left to assume that he joined the project so he could be close to Sue especially when gets all jealous when he sees Reed and Sue flirting, but in the same scene Reed incorporates Doom even deeper into the project. They become drinking buddies for crying out loud.

What the hell happened to Doom post-transport? He wants to destroy Earth because ::mumble mumble:: REASONS. Nothing about being torn away from Sue. Nothing about wanting anything more than to go back to the primordial existence on this other planet because ::mumble mumble:: REASONS. He has no motivation to be doing what he’s doing. He’s pissed and he’s powerful and he’s boring as hell.

I’ve read the rumors about studio interference on this project, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. All I have to work with is what’s up on the screen and what’s up on the screen is terrible.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot
I am Groot

I love Groot, so let’s just get that out of the way first and foremost. For a big CGI brute, he had me falling in love with him as if he were a kitten playing with a ball of yarn. I knew nothing of the GotG characters or the storyline before going to the movies last night and expected nothing more than a campy romp through the galaxy with a thick dollop of schmalz spread on top for good measure.

My God, it’s full of spoilers!

What amazes me is the quality of the camp and schmaltz. I mean this movie hits all the tropes I love: a group of misfits coming together to save the galaxy, hardened hearts softening under the pressure of reliance of others, evil for the sake of evil with no ironic twists or sympathy for the devil, pretty space battles with lasers and explosions. Oh, yeah, this is my kind of space opera enhanced with a seventies music soundtrack.

What made it all work is script delivered just the right amount of ingredients. Too much camp and the humor would come across as tacky and dated, too much sentiment and the characters would have been reduced to wusses with anger management issues. Rocket could have gone so wrong, but I love that his anger is neither over the top nor overbearing. His sense of humor offsets the anger is a very twisted way. When Drax pets him and he doesn’t react with rage, it’s such a perfect moment. Even the “thing” between Quill and Gamora had just the right balance. For all of her kick-ass assassin training, she doesn’t rebuff his clumsy attempt at romance the way you might expect of someone less confident in her right to deserve better than what she’s gotten from her “father” and from Quill.

Its also worth noting that this movie passes both the Bechdel Test and the Mako Mori Test, just in case anyone is keeping score: Both Gamora and Nebula talk to each other about something other than a man. They both have their own character arcs (though I do wish those arcs had been more fully realized). I don’t recall if GotG  passes the Bechdel test for people of color. I’m not familiar with all of the actors and with all of the blue, green, and magenta aliens running around, it was hard to tell. I’ll have to see the movie again, but if anyone wants to chime in below, they are welcome to.