Sunday, October 14, 2012

NYCC 2012: Superior Spider-Man Preview

Yes! What you've been waiting for! I attended the panel entitled: Marvel NOW!: Amazing Spider-Man and Beyond. What's Beyond you ask? Well, it's the Superior Spider-Man.

Yes, after Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the cataclysmic events within, the Amazing Spider-Man series will be cancelled, to be replaced by Superior Spider-Man next January. Oh, and the kicker, this Superior Spider-Man is not Peter Parker.

When I first heard this, I was livid! How could they kill off another Spider-Man?! Not another Death of Spider-Man! I couldn't take that. But, you know, after the panel, I think my fears are somewhat assuaged.

First of all, Dan Slott and Steve Wacker made it clear that Peter not being Spider-Man does NOT mean he is dying. What it does mean is still up in the air, but I think I can say with confidence that Peter Parker will still be with us in this Superior series.

Dan Slott also assured the people that this new Spider-Man will not be some random asshole (CoughMilesMoralescough) but instead someone with "Spider-Man pedigree." That alone makes me less apprehensive about the storyline.

See, with that, it can still be about continuing Peter's story, especially if the new Spider-Man is still connected to Peter. In Ultimate, Peter's story was simply aborted, ended without a solid conclusion, to be replaced by someone we've never seen before.

One criticism that seems common about Superior Spider-Man is that people seem to think it will be "grim and gritty" while in the press release, people like Slott said it would be "dark and weird". I can understand the jumping to conclusions, but in explaining what they meant by "dark and weird" they cited stories like The Death of Gwen Stacy, and Kraven's Last Hunt, which are quintessential Spidey stories.

All that, combined with the fact that I could tell that Dan Slott still really loves Spider-Man, puts me more at ease about this project. I'm eager to see what they're doing, and I only hope Dan Slott doesn't pull another New Ways to Die and make me sad.

In other news, Venom is moving to San Franc-- I mean, Philadelphia! Yes, home of the Liberty Bell and some other stuff I guess. I don't mind him moving from New York, but I really thought the Venom series would involve a lot more exciting locales, like Yopilistan or whatever. I'll have to see how the new writer, Cullen Bunn, does.

A new Morbius: The Living Vampire series is starting, as an exploration of the more occult or supernatural horror aspects of the Marvel Universe. I can get behind that, and Morbius seems like a good enough character to follow.

Oh, and SPECULATION TIME: At one point during the Q&A of the panel, one kid asked why they don't make Spider-Man 2099 stories anymore. Steve Wacker and Dan Slott answered in a strange way, "Oh, you like Miguel O'Hara? You think he's a good Spider-Man?" Yeah, see, I think Superior Spider-Man might be some version of Miguel O'Hara. For example, look at the cover, above. See his hands on the wall? They're more smashed in, like he's using claws to climb instead of sticky fingers. I mean, it's purely speculation at this point, but that's half the fun. Some people think it might be Kaine, but since the Scarlet Spider series will continue after ASM #700, I can safely say that's not a reasonable expectation. But who knows, maybe it's Alpha! Oh god, I hope not. Until next time, this is the W Defender!

Friday, October 12, 2012

New York Comic Con Day 1

It's time for W Defender's Comic Con Coverage! Yes, I am at New York Comic Con this year, and things are looking pretty hopping. Today wasn't that busy for me, but I'll just go over what I've seen.

A Look Inside The Batmobile:

This was the premier of a documentary on the Batmobile, all variations of it, which will be on the special Blu-ray of the Dark Knight Rises. It was pretty interesting, to see the design ethos' at work behind each new edition of the Batmobile, from the Adam West version to the Tumbler. Good stuff.

Marvel And DC:

I stopped by the Marvel and DC booths, rather than check out any of the panels they had. At DC they mostly showcased their new fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. It looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. They had a green screen where you could put yourself on a Justice League or DC Supervillains comic cover, and you got a print. I think mine turned out pretty well.

At Marvel, they mostly focused on their Marvel NOW series, particularly Uncanny Avengers and All-New X-Men. They had their usual Break Into Comics: The Marvel Way panel, which I went to because Mark Bagley and Dan Slott were going to be there.

Tomorrow is a panel on Marvel NOW, specifically the new series, Superior Spider-Man, and that's what I'm really interested in. I'm a bit afraid of what's going to happen with that, but more on that after the panel.

Also, Dan Slott recognized me by my T-shirt and the fact that I was tweeting #DanSlottProblems during the summer. It was fun.

Next time: More NYCC coverage! Hopefully more substantial.

UPDATE: Turns out the Spider-Man panel is on Sunday. Nothing happened on Saturday, we're ignoring that. Check back next time for almost definite bitching about Spider-Man. THIS IS THE W DEFENDER.

Monday, September 24, 2012

An Open Letter to Alan Moore

Dear Alan Moore,

Hey, how are you? So, just saw the announcement that you're writing another Lovecraft comic. I must say, I didn't expect another one of those to happen. See, I know you wrote the first one to pay off some bills so I can almost understand you making it.

Well, actually, no I cannot. See, Neonomicon was one the worst things I've ever read. It took the setting of cosmic horror invented by H.P. Lovecraft and perverted it into the most depraved forms of disgust I've seen. It has a ten page rape scene, for God's sake. That's not Lovecraft. That's not Lovecraftian. That's not even close.

Lovecraftian horror is about what lurks beyond human perception, it's about being unable to escape your heritage, it's about the things that lurk in the deepest oceans and the farthest reaches of space. It is not about watching a woman get raped by a bunch of depraved people and then a Deep One. Neonomicon was not enjoyable to read. It is not enjoyable to think about. It is not enjoyable to remember that such a thing exists in this world.

And now you're writing a new story set in the world of Lovecraft, starring the man himself. Apparently you're going to explore "Lovecraft's sympathies with Adolf Hitler." I wish you wouldn't do this. Like all people, Lovecraft was a man with flaws, and nobody who is familiar with Lovecraft is ignorant of this fact. He was an incredibly creative and talented writer, but that does not change the fact that he was a racist. You know this, and I know this. Is there any need to fictionalize any facet of that, to paint a little picture to show the world? It's possible it could be a cathartic experience, to see it confronted, but I know your works. I know Neonomicon. If you take the Deep Ones and create 10 of the most brutal pages of art I have ever seen, I know nothing good can come of it if you take Lovecraft's racism.

I know it's too late now to implore you not to write this. Contracts have been signed, you've likely written it already, and production is in order. I likely couldn't convince you not to, even if I had written this earlier. All I can say is, I wish you hadn't written it.


A Concerned Lovecraft Fan

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Ways To Die Parts 3 and 4

We're back, with the next part of our ongoing series of Oh God Anti-Venom Why Does He Exist. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the previous installment. (Also known as: I Told You That Story So I Could Tell You This Story)

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man #570 & #571

So yeah, Anti-Venom. That started. Venom and Anti-Venom just start beating the shit out of each other in the middle of the shelter, so Li leads May and the hobos to a safe room. Spider-Man swings in at that moment, but he really shouldn't have.

That was the dumbest panel I've ever seen. Until this one.

I... I don't... Why?

Okay, okay. Let's get back to Osborn. Maybe that won't be so dumb.

Somebody help me.

Oh look! Menace! I... I can't believe that's almost a ray of hope at this point. She blasts into Bill Hollister's office, knocking out a wall. She tries to tell Bill something, but he's unconscious. As she tries to rouse him, the police show up, so she flees. Wait no! Don't go! With you gone it's back to--

That panel got past a writer, an artist, and like, 4 editors. Let that sink in.

Anyway, Eddie throws a car which ends up flying towards some dude, who Spider-Man saves. Thus, we get a rehash of a thing that happened like, 200 issues ago, where Eddie Brock decided Spider-Man was a pretty okay guy when Spidey saved his ex-wife. That leads to a teamup between Spider-Man and Anti-Venom, then this:

Four editors. Four.

As a result of this, it looks like Anti-Venom destroyed the symbiote, which, when it comes to Gargan, is probably a good thing. But then he decides to "cure" Spider-Man.

We end with Menace meeting up with Osborn.

The next part starts with, in case we forgot, more of this.

The Feds show up to retrieve Gargan, and they try to kill Anti-Venom. They use a combination of fire and sonics, which ordinarily would take down a symbiote. Since Anti-Venom is a creature that comes only from my worst nightmares, he has no weaknesses. Great.

So Anti-Venom and Spider-Man fight the Thunderbolts, as Norman fights Menace.

Spider-Man figures out that being around Anti-Venom makes his powers cut out for some reason. I guess the invasion of personal space did that? While that's happening, Menace tries to beat up Osborn, but he just says some command code and blows up her glider. She gets past this and beats up Norman a bit, then leaves for bigger and better things. As Spider-Man flees, Norman finds something and calls a retreat for the Thunderbolts. Anti-Venom follows.

Peter shows back up at the mostly destroyed homeless shelter, and we see... wait, who are these guys again?

Oh wait, they're those Chinese people. I forgot about them because nothing but stupid has happened for the last two comics.

But we can't spend enough time for you to know what's going on there, we cut to Ben Urich, from Front Line, waiting for someone at a Diner. That someone turns out to be Harry Osborn, who has all the dirt on his dad. Apparently Osborn and Crowne have been working together to traffic slaves. I guess. I dunno, if Front Line is planning on publishing this to ruin Osborn's reputation, it's not gonna work. If people are dumb enough to love him now, what's a little slavery gonna do?

After that, Harry heads to the hospital to check on Bill Hollister, where Lily is all sad. (EVEN THOUGH SHE DID IT SHE'S MENACE)

Then we cut, again, to something completely different. More fake politics!

Okay, seriously? Another plot thread? So apparently Spider-tracers (Which, well, I didn't think people knew about) have been found on dead bodies, so naturally everyone thinks Spider-Man killed people. Crowne plans to use that to win the election.

With that, how much do we have going on right now? There's the Anti-Venom thing, Osborn trying to kill Spider-Man, the fake election, Menace attacking people for no reason, Martin Li and the homeless shelter, the Chinese people, whatever's going on with Harry and Norman, and now this! And they expected people to pick this up as a first issue!

Anyway, we see Anti-Venom has snuck in with Crowne's possie and he quickly changes to look like a guard. As Crowne's people leave, Norman reveals he got Peter's camera, which homes in on Spider-Man by tracking a chip in his chest. Now he can make guns that home in on Spider-Man. Bullseye counters that he could just throw stuff at him. There, the issue ends.

All I have to say is: Thank God there's only two parts left.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises is Bad, and You Should Feel Bad

So, it seems I am one of the few people I know that didn't like the Dark Knight Rises. It's not just that I didn't like it, it's that the more I think about it, the more I dislike it.

So in the beginning we learn Bruce hasn't been Batman or left his house for 8 years. Eight! That's more years than it took him to become Batman. Why would he do that? Because Rachel died? Well, what the hell. He never really became Batman then, he just sorta took on the role once or twice and gave it up later. He didn't act the way Batman is supposed to act! I mean, in that whole 8 years, I'm supposed to think there was not one instance of people getting mugged in a dirty alley? Hell, I bet there were quite a few instances where 8 year olds were orphaned! But no, he could just give it up for 8 years, then be Batman for like 2 months, then give up Batman forever to go live with No Personality Woman.

Speaking of which, Catwoman. Well, the name's a misnomer, she's just Selina Kyle, normal thief who wears impractical clothing all the time. Her character was absolutely pointless. She knew where Bane was because the plot needed it. She helped Bruce because the plot needed it. She beat people up because the plot needed it. Bruce kept saying there was more to her, but really, his claim was the only evidence of that. The heels were stupid, she never needed to wear spandex because it served no function, and the movie would have gone on just fine without her.

Bane is easily the worst part of this movie. The whole time he rants on about Gothams reckoning, or gives some half-ass political commentary, like in the Stock Exchange when someone says, "There's no money for you to steal here!" and he replies, "Then what are you people doing here?" Oh Bane, do you need someone to explain stocks to you? I mean, there's no money to steal in an office, but a lot of people spend a lot of their time in one! He had no reason to say that anyway. His motivation wasn't political or philosophical or anything, he was just doing all this because Talia Al Ghul told him to! If you keep that in mind, nothing he says makes any sense. Take his big speech in front of Blackgate when he released the prisoners. Who was that for? The people of Gotham don't care, he's contradicting any talks of liberation by giving AK-47's to convicts. The prisoners are being given guns, I think any reasoning is pointless to them. It wasn't for Bruce, because Bane already told him he was just going to break Gotham. He just talked a big speech that had no point for anybody in the story. He said he was going to give Gotham hope before destroying it, but he didn't even do that! He just talked about redemption while having tanks roam around the city. All he did was confuse people!

Not to mention he was supposed to be League of Shadows, but if he never said anything about it, you would never know. He doesn't do anything ninjesque, he just punches people really hard and breaks their necks because he's a really big strong guy. Where did he even get his fanatically devoted henchmen? They can't be League of Shadows, because they were both dead and ninjas. None of these dudes were ninjas, they were beaten up by cops later! He couldn't have just hired them, because they were perfectly willing to die for him. It's never explained, at all. His whole plan with the bomb doesn't make sense either, how did the nuclear reactor become such an effective bomb in the span of a few minutes of Dr. Pavel working on it, and afterwards it had both a timer and trigger? It wasn't created to be a bomb, why did it serve that purpose so well if turning it into one was jury-rigging it?

Talia's motives didn't make much sense either. It just seemed really petty, what she was doing, trying to avenge her father or something even though apparently she never forgave him for forsaking Bane. She wasn't even needed in the story, if it was just Bane doing this for whatever reason it would have made a lot more sense, and then at least his long boring speeches would have given us some insight into his motivations.  Bane's voice was even worse. He sounded like Yoda and Sean Connery's lovechild wearing a Darth Vader mask. He would go through random changes in pitch, so his voice would go really high in the middle of a word and he just sounded goofy.

Does anyone even remember the last scene Bane was in? He was defeated in the most underwhelming way possible. He's shot by Selina and never seen again. Speaking of underwhelming scenes, when Bane breaks Batman. It takes a second and a little crack for Bane to do the bad wrestling move that we later learn broke Batman's back. I didn't even know it happened at first, I thought he just did a normal leg drop and the camera cut to Selina looking sad. It's supposed to be a big moment, but I barely knew it happened. Oh, and later some random asshole in the prison punches Bruce in the back and fixes it, so easy come easy go for that. I noticed the only way they could justify Bane beating Batman the first time was to have Batman not do shit for 8 years. Originally, Bane actually, you know, was better than Batman and planned to beat him. In this, Bane was pretty luckly Batman sucked at first.

The only redeeming parts of this movie were Commissioner Gordon and John Blake. At least their characters made sense and I didn't hate them. Of course, at the end, Bruce kinda screwed Blake over by pretty much making him become Batman. Let's think about what advantages Bruce had when he became Batman. Training by the League of Shadows, nearly unlimited financial resources, tech straight from Wayne Industries, and a whole lot of free time. What does Blake have? Oh, not even the free time because he still has to get a job to feed himself! The only reason we could believe Batman wouldn't just get shot and die was because of all these advantages, and Blake will have none of them, but it's okay, Bruce is happy and in Florence! Bruce didn't earn that ending, he just quit being Batman again like he did right after The Dark Knight! And why did he run off with Selina? The only thing they had in common was their costume fetish.

This movie was bad. So bad. Bane doesn't even slightly match up with the Joker from The Dark Knight, who had a well reasoned motivation and was scary as hell. He proved his idea that anybody could be as crazy as him, even the best person in Gotham, by turning Harvey Dent into a murderer. Batman was the opposite of this idea, because Batman refused to kill. Oh, DKR also nullified that because Batman totally killed the driver of the bomb-truck when he shot at it with the Bat.

That's probably not all that was wrong, if anyone brings up anything else I'm likely to add to this. But yeah, The Dark Knight Rises was not even close to the Dark Knight, or Batman Begins. It was bad, and you should feel bad.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man No Spoiler Review

As you probably all know, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man at the midnight showing, and I was sufficiently impressed! There was a lot I liked, a little I didn't, so let's get right into it.

Andrew Garfield as Peter was well established, though he was less of a science nerd and more of an engineer. It's a bit of a departure from the usual Peter Parker who's all science all the time, he seems less smart and more of just a normal guy. I was a little disappointed at that, especially since the trailers seemed to show that Peter actually used some smarts to do stuff.  Martin Sheen was an amazing Uncle Ben. He had a real, tangible presence on screen, and he actually seemed like the kind of guy who would raise Peter Parker. He didn't just go around giving speeches, he behaved like a real parent would. Rhys Ifans as Curt Conners/The Lizard... Well, we'll get back to him.

Spider-Man himself was handled very well, I think. The webs were mechanical, as I pointed out in one of the trailer previews, which is what I prefer. One of the things I loved most about it, that other people have pointed out, is that he really moves like a spider. There's one scene where he crawls around a bad guy and covers him in a web cocoon. That's really cool. It's something we haven't really seen Spider-Man do, which is why I like this movie so much. It showcases so much of what we haven't seen Spider-Man do before. He quips only slightly more than in the Raimi films, but honestly at this point I'll take what I can get.

Storywise, I was pretty happy with it. Romance plays a fairly large role, but really, it's always been a pretty big part of Spider-Man. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy deviated from comic-Gwen in that she actually did stuff, instead of just being baggage Peter had to deal with. The love story was handled well, I'd say better than the original movie's romance plot.

As for the rest, you probably saw from trailers that Spider-Man clashes with the police, which I enjoyed. The main problem is with the main villain, The Lizard. I mean, it's Mad Scientist Lizard. I don't think there's a way you can do that where it's not a bit silly. You could tell Ifans was doing his best to keep it serious, but it's a humanoid scientist lizard. He had to work with what he had.

Some shots were familiar, like the usual swinging scenes, and the New York overhead shots.  The first-person effect wasn't used as much as I thought it would be, and it might be a good thing, since if it were overused, I think it just would've caused motion-sickness.

Overall, the movie just shows a different type of origin for our wall-crawling friend. He's not exactly the same Peter Parker we knew, and things don't go the same way. It had a darker tone with a lot of nailbiters, but some parts managed to have comedy, and of course you have the New Yorkers Unite scene that gives you the warm fuzzy feelings.

So the Amazing Spider-Man gets the W Defender seal of approval! I give it about an 8.5/10. If you want spoilers and the like, I'm planning on watching it again soon and writing a more in-depth review. I like it now, but if you had asked me what I thought of Spider-Man 3 after only seeing it at midnight, I would've said I liked that too, so my judgement at these showings may be skewed. So, grain of salt, at least until I've watched it again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spider-Man Can't Have a Sidekick

Welp. That's it. I quit. This happened. Spider-Man. Gets. A sidekick.

I cannot believe they are doing this. This is such a fundamental mistake, it never even occurred to me that they may make it. I thought they might give him a new costume or something. I thought you couldn't make a worse mistake than Spider-Men. And yet, here we are. Sidekick. I don't know where to start with this.

Spider-Man is not a hero to have a sidekick. He's not the hero that pals around with a kid, making that kid get in the path of bullets. Having a sidekick means willingly putting someone else into a dangerous situation that usually only you would have to deal with. Spider-Man would feel obligated to making sure said kid didn't get hurt during any of the fights or danger, and that would be a hamper to Spider-Man's effectiveness. If the kid definitely won't get hurt, why does he need Spider-Man? The Spider-Man I know wouldn't say, "Oh kid, you got superpowers? Well, time to put on some tights and get shot at!" He knows, himself, how shitty being a superhero is. He wouldn't wish it upon someone else. Yeah, it has its perks, but it ruins his civilian life immensely. If someone is intent upon becoming a vigilante, he's not going to tell them no, but he won't start a long working relationship with them. The minute Spider-Man gets a sidekick is the minute he becomes a father.

See, this is the worst part, it negates the only good part of Brand New Day! I'm not saying it was good, but at the very least it allowed him to start fresh and maybe seem a little younger. This ages him more than anything else could! He's now tethered to this kid like a ball and chain! A sidekick works for Batman because Batman is dark and gritty, so a little innocent kid around helps him see past that and embrace the warmer parts of his character, and the whole fatherhood angle fits in well with the way he protects Gotham City. Plus, Batman trains them like hell to be like him. Spider-Man is meant to be freelance. Look at Spider-Girl. The only reason he lets his daughter go out in spandex and fight crime is because he has no leg, so he can't.

I can understand making a new hero, but don't tie him inextricably with Spider-Man. Spider-Man wasn't about learning lessons because people told you. Spider-Man was about learning the lessons that couldn't be told by making mistakes, and improving, and trying harder each time to do the right thing. He didn't ask adults for help. In fact, most adults were actively trying to stop him or just didn't understand what he was doing. For Spider-Man to then turn around and start giving lessons to some kid who got superpowers is contrary to the point of Spider-Man.

This is why I didn't like the new Ultimate Spider-Man comic or cartoon. In it, Nick Fury is explicitly telling Spider-Man what to do, how to do it, and just giving him school lessons on how to be a superhero. Spider-Man is just handed things and and a lesson plan and he screws up a bit before finally he wins the lesson and Fury is happy with him. This is terrible, because it takes away the freedom of Spider-Man. It takes away his individualism, which is a fundamental part of the character. He made the suit himself, he made the webshooters himself, he fights by himself, he makes mistakes by himself. Spider-Man was never about him being taught how to do everything right. It was about Peter Parker learning how to do things the right way by screwing them up.

I can only hope this is just another character that they will happen to introduce in Spider-Man. It's happened before. If they have a little team-up like Spider-Man is wont to do, then I'll be fine with it. But if this is permanent, this may be even worse than One More Day.

EDIT: I just remembered, Stan Lee made Spider-Man originally as a counter to sidekicks of the day! In any other comic book, a kid that age would have been a sidekick to an older hero, but Stan Lee hated that idea, and so made Spider-Man with that in mind. This is a spit in the face of the original concept.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why Spider-Man Shouldn't Be in the Avengers

There's been a lot of buzz lately over the possibility of Spider-Man in the next Avengers film. As far as I can tell, everyone is excited and hopeful that he'll be in the next one, but I have a different opinion. Spider-Man shouldn't be in Avengers 2, or whatever they call it, for anything more than maybe a tiny cameo.

First of all, let's look at the comics themselves. Spider-Man was not a founding member of the Avengers. Of course, Ant-Man and Wasp were also founding members, but they aren't popular enough to have movies. He doesn't fit naturally with the Avengers, at least not the ones portrayed in the movie. All of Spider-Man's possible roles are already taken. Iron Man is snarky, Iron Man knows technology, and Bruce Banner knows science. Not to mention both Stark and Banner are experts in their fields while Peter Parker is a high school student. Spider-Man would be relegated to either making the jokes rejected from Iron Man, or yelling "My Spider-sense is tingling!" every time something bad happens. In combat, he can't do much more than Captain America, just with more webs.

"But Spider-Man is in the Avengers now!" You say, correctly. But look at the Avengers now. No Bruce Banner, first of all. Spider-Man's whole science thing has gotten more proficient as of late, so he's actually valuable in that sense. Second, the time when he really fit was around Dark Reign. In that, Captain America was dead and replaced by Bucky, who dressed in black and carried a gun. Hawkeye was instead Ronin, and most of the team had no compunction against killing Norman Osborn. Spider-Man was the heart and soul of the team who reminded them that they were the good guys. Look, however, at the movie universe. You have Captain America, the paragon of good, and Iron Man, having reformed as a weapon's maker, is almost as spotless in his record now. There's no dark and gritty there for Spider-Man to counteract. He's just another justice loving guy among too many.

Also, there's the omnipresent issue of movie rights being split between Marvel and Sony. No way Sony is going to completely let go of the Spider-Man movie license, but I'm sure they want a piece of that Avengers money, so they'd be willing to broker a deal. However, any such deal would be bound to come with a lot of stipulations. Either a minimum screentime or minimum number of lines, that would certainly mess with the writers, especially Joss Whedon, who tends to get all flustered by meddling. Second, there's no good way to introduce him into the series. Either he jumps in with little explanation just to be there, or they waste Avengers time making shit about him. All the films before the Avengers were written to make Avengers possible. Spider-Man is written just about Spider-Man, without the interconnectedness the other films share. Including Spider-Man would bring up far too many plot holes if he isn't part of the Marvel Movie Universe from the start. Where was he when Abomination destroyed Harlem? Was he just hiding when aliens tried to invade? So much revolves around New York in Marvel, and you can't shoehorn these events in at the last second.

Spider-Man, as his movie is made now, should not be in the Avengers, as they are now. He just doesn't fit in, character-wise or plot-wise. If a lot were to change I would be warmer to the idea, but at this point I'm against it. Now all it would bring is a pointless cash-in that cheapens both the Avengers and Spider-Man.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man: Twilight In Spandex

Welp, the reviews are in. Well, okay, just one review. Said review, if you're too lazy to read, favorably compares the new Spider-Man flick to the Twilight series. If you aren't already pulling out your hair, let me tell you why that's bad news.

Let's look at the facts, Twilight was a terrible movie series, with terrible people that enjoyed it. Really, I don't think anyone has a dissenting opinion on that fact. It was a shallow, pandering series for preteens that showcased a "romance" nobody cared about. I don't need to get into all the reasons, some people have internet careers discussing why Twilight is so bad. The problem isn't that it's bad, it's that apparently it was popular enough that other producers/directors feel the need to appeal to the "Twilight Generation" in other movies. And that's terrible.

Particularly when any production team sets their sights to pander to a certain demographic, things aren't going to be good. Pander to comic fans, and the movie seems too dense and newcomers aren't interested. Looking at Spider-Man 3, it attempted to pander to far too many people at the same time, becoming so coagulated with shit that it collapsed in upon itself. However, if we look at The Dark Knight, purportedly one of the most successful comic movies at all time, it just looks like he was trying to make a good movie about Batman. In no way did it try to appeal exclusively to comic book fans or preteens, it was just a movie that explored Batman's darker themes in a great way.

Some people retort that it's compared to Twilight simply because it has romance and is appealing to women, and do I hate women or something? Well, I hate movies made for women, at least, especially if they are in the same vein at Twilight. Sure, romance has always been an aspect of Spider-Man, but only because it was just another thing that clashed with his superheroics in a dramatic way. Spider-Man was never solely about who he was going out with (Yet another reason why Brand New Day sucked) but instead it was about how he was going to juggle the two pasttimes. Back in the day, the comics didn't detail every little date between Peter and Gwen, but it showed enough how they were close and how Peter cared, so it was truly heartbreaking when she died.

Let's look at this quote from the article:

"Raimi’s films were for the teenage boys who used to dress up in Spider-Man pyjamas; Webb’s is for girls whose other halves may soon be dressing up in Spider-Man pyjamas for their benefit.

See, that's the problem. Spider-Man, at its core, is not about being a hot guy with smoldering eyes that happens to have a secret life fighting crime so he has deep, complex emotions. It's really a nerd fantasy. He has fantastic powers and adventures that set him apart from the kid he used to be, but still has problems so we understand where he's coming from. The core of the character is a good person who has a lot more power than he's used to, stuck in situations where he has to do the right thing, at the cost to himself. Spider-Man punches bad guys, but at the end of the day he sits down and realizes the cost of doing that.

Should I be worried? I'll answer that with a definite yes. Will I still see the movie?

...Yes. I can't help it! I even saw Spider-Man 3! My devotion knows no bounds. Plus, it would be kinda nice to be really angry about something again, and I'm sure all of you can reap the benefits.

P.S. On odd chance it's not a horrible movie, here's some speculation on the costume. From the Amazing Spider-Man game, there's this page, showing 2 alternate costumes for the game, one with a belt and one without. My question: Is the belt a game-only addition to the costume? If it shows up late in the movie, that would give me hope for a Spider-Signal, because I love that thing. The Spider-Signal rocks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Superhero Music

So recently I found a song by nerd-band Kirby Krackles called Web-Slinger/Hope-Bringer. Being as crazy about Spider-Man as I am, I loved it. It also got me thinking about superhero songs.

Really, if that's what you're looking for, nerd-bands are probably your best bet, but once in a while it breaks into something close to mainstream. For example, there's Five For Fighting's song Superman and the lesser known Ballad of Barry Allen by Jim's Big Ego. The first thing I notice about these two is that they're about DC heroes who traditionally are not written in the same vein as the song. Superman is the perfect superhuman who saves lives, and actually thinks flying is pretty fun. Barry Allen, the Flash, can experience time just as slow as the rest of us, and has a very successful relationship with his wife, Iris. I notice people tend to give DC heroes these character flaws that are more inherent in Marvel heroes. Spider-Man was written as poor in the first place, nobody needed a song to elucidate that. In a way, these songs present depth for an alternate interpretation of the character that serves to make the original more interesting. With the Flash, you're left wondering if this is how he feels in-between the comic book storylines, or if Superman is really digging for Kryptonite.

For that reason, the songs don't usually work for Marvel heroes, because the problem is already exposited. Ben Grimm is a horrifying rock thing, Iron Man is an alcoholic, it's all there without much need for further exposition. Of course, sometimes a band can bring to light more obscure facts about one of them.

In a way, I like it better when it's not just a nerd band making a song about a hero they really like. That way we all get a new look at things, instead of a song whose main point narrows down to "Batman is the best". I mean, I already knew that. Bringing music into your life, this is the W Defender!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Encounter (Prologue)

She had known this was the bad part of town. She had known that, of course, only after wandering in and noticing the faltering streetlights, the dilapidated buildings, and shady looking men lingering about. It was a little too late for those kinds of revelations though, due to the fact that she had gotten trapped in a dead-end alley with three men closing in on her. The dim streetlight behind the men silhouetted their figures, making their faces indistinguishable. One of the shadows whispered something to the others. She tried offering them money, her purse, but they pressed on. They got closer as her heart raced and she could hear the blood pounding in her ears. She was determined to run, to fight, to not go down quietly.
A barely perceptible tink, a sort of metallic sound, caught just a fraction of her attention.
She thought she saw something move out of the top of her vision, but she again fixated on the dark shapes inching forward.

Out of nowhere, something slammed into the men, knocking them over. It took her a few seconds to recognize this as another man. As the first shadow pulled himself to his feet, the newcomer positioned himself between her and the men. The thug threw a punch at the new person, who shifted his chest, redirecting the fist. Before the thug could regain his composure, the newcomer landed a blow in the thug’s stomach, making him crumple to the ground. The others lunged towards the strange man, who jumped to the right, and caught one of the shaded figures square in the jaw with his right fist. She knew it would've been a perfect time to escape, if this new guy wasn't blocking the way. As he turned, she noticed something seemed off, something was billowing behind him. Was it a trenchcoat? The man who had been hit in the stomach crouched, and in standing up, his foot splashed a puddle. Instinctively, the coated figure spun around with his leg low to the ground, felling the thug like a tree. She decided there was nothing to do but watch at this point, and get ready to fight this newcomer in case he had any ideas. One of the assailants pulled something from his back, a blade that glinted in the streetlight. The coated figure put his hand on his belt, and flung something with a whoosh at the knife. It clattered to the ground, where the man kicked it out of sight. At least she wasn't the center of attention anymore, she figured.
One of the shadows turned his head at the distant, but approaching, sound of a siren. He yelled something at the other dark figures, pulling one to his feet, and cast a dark look back at the newcomer, before beating a hasty retreat. After watching them go, the figure turned towards her. She tensed up. She knew whatever was going on with this man, it didn't add up. He was able to handle fighting three street thugs at once, and for what? She would run when she had an opening. He took a step toward her. She bent her legs, ready to move.
"You okay?" He asked in a soft, oddly familiar voice that sounded out of place. She nodded weakly, confounded by the situation.
"I've, uh, I've called the police, so you should be okay." He cleared his throat. "You probably shouldn't be here alone at night. I mean, you know, for safety."
She had no idea how to respond to that. He looked around and fidgeted with something on his belt, until he saw flashing red and blue lights nearing the alley.

"Well, have a good night." He waved, pulled something off his belt, and pointed it at the roof of an adjacent building. POF! There was a sound like a paintball gun firing and suddenly the guy was being pulled upwards. She ran towards where he had been, and watched, stunned, as he scrambled onto roof of the building. As a police car pulled into the opening of the alley, she realized something; he was wearing a cape.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm the One That's Cool, and Nerd Bitterness

I don't want to end my streak of random rambling here, so I'll just assume you've all seen Felicia Day's new music video. It's called I'm The One That's Cool.

No, no you're not.

Okay, let me expand a bit more on that. See, from my experience, the lessons nerds are supposed to learn in high school are:

1. High School doesn't really matter and
2. Being cool never mattered

The thing is, that's not what happens. When someone is a geek or nerd or what have you in high school, people don't seem to stress that being cool is actually a pretty stupid goal and you should just do what you enjoy. Instead they keep telling you that all the cool kids are going to have shitty jobs and you're probably going to be their boss. What kind of moral is that?!

It all comes down to Nerd Bitterness. Yeah, high school sucked. High school sucks for everyone. I think too many people who focused on nerdy things back then are just looking around for the chance to turn around and make faces at the "cool kids" because somehow they're better now. Even though the geeks are free from the jocks, they still let jocks who don't even exist anymore define what they do.

Let's assume for a minute it is "cool" to be a nerd now. Well, now everyone's complaining about "fake geek girls". To be honest, I'm not even sure what that really means. I have never met one, but people get really pissed off about it. Does that even happen with anything else? Are there enough people who fake being into football that real football fans start getting angry? Again, we have that Nerd Bitterness here. Instead of just focusing on doing the things they enjoy, nerds are busy policing the bounds of nerdity. "She's not a real geek! She didn't get teased in high school! Let me go ridicule her!” For the longest time, it wasn’t as socially acceptible to be into any of this geeky stuff. Now geeks feel like others have to pay their dues in order to be accepted into the higher echelon of nerdery.

Inside jokes about sci-fi or RPGs used to be ways to feel part of a group, now we’re using them to exclude others from the group. Just like it never mattered who is cool, it does not matter who’s a “real geek”. If anything, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just keep doing what you enjoy and sharing it with others. Trying desperately to make sure everyone’s had a terrible experience being a nerd before you’ll accept them just ruins things for everyone. Besides, if a girl’s willing to fake being into comics for me, I’ll take it. Breaking down the barriers, this is the W Defender.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ultimate Spider-Man Animated Series Review

Hey guys. Since I have nothing going on in my life, I decided to wake up early, watch the premier of the new Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and liveblog it, or whatever the hell it's called. Or just a review. I don't know. This is more than likely to just be a lot of angry words typed with capslock.

Starting out:

We got J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, which is just amazing. That is ruined by Drake Bell's Spider-Man. Ow. Spider-Man just keeps bitching about being a super hero. Great. Oh god, they have cutaway gags. I really hope that's not a running thing.

He starts narrating to the audience about how Spider-sense works. Aaaand now Nick Fury's in the picture. Nick Fury explains that Spider-Man needs SHIELD training, because otherwise he will suck and that will cause problems for everyone. Uh oh.

I am so sick of these cutaway gags, and Spider-Man talking to the camera. I am being insulted here. He just starts mentioning Uncle Ben over and over. Compared to everything else, THIS is what I find heavyhanded.

Oh great, they gave him a new webshooter. That's what I needed in my Spider-Man, for them to take away everything he earned himself.

Now we get an obvious Evil Norman Osborn scene. He wants to make an army of Spider-Men, right off the bat he explains this to the audience. We don't see him as a businessman, philanthropist, anything, just him in a dark room talking about how much money he can make if he made super soldiers.

Okay, so it looks like Mary Jane is based on the Ultimate comics, Wanting to be a journalist and whatnot. Harry looks to be Ultimate-based too. I guess I have no problems with that.



Oh hey a Stan Lee cameo. That helps my aching heart.

This narration is the laziest narrative device I've ever seen. Instead of finding ways for us to find out who different villains are, we get a goddamn school lesson from Peter. It might not be so bad if I didn't find Drake Bell's voice so annoying.

So the Frightful Four attack, trying to find Spider-Man in the school, hired by Doc Ock who is ordered by Norman. Norman calls off the attack when he realizes the school being attacked is the same one Harry goes to.

Oh god, his banter is so bad. No, no no no no. Okay, so the fight scene itself isn't so bad. There's a villain teamup and he's using their strengths against one another, so that's good. This is just one of the times I wish Spider-Man would just STOP TALKING.

Woah, Aunt May is waaaay young. She looks like a 30 year old with white hair.


And now a Spider-Man is talking to Peter through the mirror. Is that okay? It just seems to me that he's getting a little crazy. Of course, that thing outlines every problem he has right now, in the most obvious fashion. With that, Peter decides he needs SHIELD training, for some reason.

He gets onto the Helicarrier, or Triskelion or what have you, but only by using the webshooter Nick Fury gave him.

Oh, the next episode. Might as well keep going here.

Spider-Man is fighting some robots for training, because that's not the most cliched thing I've ever seen. All the while mentioning things that lead to cutaway gags.

Hey, you know what, Aunt May is kind hot in this show. No, really guys.

Oh god. Oh god, a super team. Why the hell is there a team of kid heroes. So there's a kid version of Iron Fist, a Kid Nova, and two other people I don't care about. They talk about how much Spider-Man sucks, and how he can't be on the team. Good! I don't want him to join your stupid team! But I know he will because this show is determined to show how any trace of individualism is futile and will always make you fail. What you need is a super-team and backing from a government agency.

I HATE DRAKE BELL'S STUPID VOICE. I HATE IT SO MUCH. I WISH I COULD HATE IT TO DEATH. He screams and screeches and it never ends.

And now Peter's recapping the last episode, by talking to the camera. He's looking at it.

Mary Jane wants to find Spider-Man, so she can interview him I guess. At least Peter realizes his voice might give him away if he talked to MJ dressed as Spider-Man.

Back on the Helicarrier, we get my favorite thing, Spider-Man taking orders.

Now Curt Conners is apparently an engineer, not biologist. And he has two arms. They talk about a bunch of new "Spider-gadgets" and Spider-Man asks what happens if he refuses the new tech. Fury tells him he doesn't have a choice. That's juuust great. Does anyone else find this to be a bit contrary to the usual essense of Spider-Man? Spider-Man's whole shtick is that he's just one dude who's more or less self-made, doesn't take orders from people, and has the smarts to make it on his own.


Oh god, why would they do this to me. He rides the motorcycle out of the Helicarrier, and we get yet another cut of Spider-Man falling down while screeching like a goddamn banshee. Why do they make him scream so much.


So there's a giant pointless "action sequence" where he runs around on his motorcycle a while and screams the whole time. The new team saves him and introduces themselves. Iron Fist, White Tiger, Power Man, and Nova.

Spider-Man, stop talking about responsibility. I get it, that's your thing, stop talking about it. Auuugh, he doesn't want to join a team because other people might get hurt? No, he shouldn't want to join a team because SPIDER-MAN IS FREELANCE.

So he gets captured, which will only go to show how much he obviously needs to be on a team. Yeah, the Frightful Four mention that's there's more of them than there is of him, and proceed to beat the crap out of him. So he screams more. Then the super-team shows up and we all learn about the power of teamwork.

Then, because the plot demands it, Spider-Man joins the team and everyone's happy. Uh oh. The super team is now his classmates. And Agent Coulson of SHIELD is the new principle. So Nick Fury can "Keep an eye" on Peter. Then the episode ends.

So let's go over what's wrong with this show: Talking to the audience, a complete lack of subtlety in any form, the horrible cutaway gags that make this worse than Family Guy, the lack of any good banter from Spider-Man, and the general themes of the show. Usually with Spider-Man, the fact that he's self-made, that he's a loner more or less are main themes. Sure, there'll be a teamup now and then, but nobody trained him, nobody tells him what to do. He didn't work for the government, he worked for the people, just trying to save people when he could. The new show seems to be about how Spider-Man can get all his training, technology, and orders from SHIELD. The whole direction of the show is one I'm not comfortable with.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mark of the Spider-Man: New York City

UPDATE: The MTV video is out, and my interview is in it! Woo!

Okay guys, I just went to one of the most exciting things I've ever been a part of! I managed to make it down to NYC for the mission this weekend, and I gotta say, it was worth it!

Firstly, we met at a toy shop specified in a phone call to that cell phone I mentioned in my last post. It was also specified that we wear the hoodies. Once there, we were assigned roles in the mission to come, that mission being to spread the word of Spider-Man by spreading the mark, as seen on the hoodies, and at this point, around New York.

So we all piled into a van, which brought us to 4 different locations. At each one, we used a stencil to spraypaint a giant spider symbol onto the wall, while other people handed out little cards with a QR code that points to Mark of the Spider-Man

The people running the event were really awesome, making sure we got the job done and took tons of pictures and whatnot. Everyone who showed up was really nice, and we all had a fun time posting for pictures and yelling about Spider-Man.

An online journalist (Josh Wigler) for the MTV Splash Page got a lot of footage, including interviews with a few of us.

At the end, we all got t-shirts with the same logo as the hoodies, and little painted things signed by Mark Webb, the director of Amazing Spider-Man.

I know I'm hanging that on my wall when I get home.

At any rate, I know I had fun, and if there's any further viral marketing type things with this movie, I'd be very likely to be a part of it again. I mean, really, they made me doing a bunch of work for them seem like a fun rebellious time. If any videos pop up, I'll be sure to post them here. So until next time, this is the W Defender!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man ARG Campaign

Well guys, the ARG-type thing for the new Amazing Spider-Man, called Mark of the Spider-Man, is in high gear. First a site was released, then a twitter, which sent people to coordinates of hidden backpacks full of goodies.

Now each major city has a twitter feed, sending out the locations of different packages, that must be retrieved with a password.  My sister got herself one of the 5 packages in NYC, so let's see what's inside.

First we have the backpack itself, which really doesn't have much to it.

Inside were two Spider-Man hoodies, inside one of which was a secret message, giving further instructions.

And last but not least, a phone, which also seems pretty low key, but it's probably the most important part of them all, because that's how one can get instructions as to the operation at hand.

This whole thing is really exciting, and I'm glad to at least have a spectator seat in the proceedings! I'll update my twitter, to the left over there with any important updates. Keeping you posted, this is the W Defender!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man: New Trailer

Holy shit guys I just saw the newest Amazing Spider-Man trailer.

It looks amazing. And I mean that sincerely. Let's look at it play-by-play.

0:22-0:24; Yes, that is a mechanical webshooter. YES A MECHANICAL WEBSHOOTER!! Things are looking up already.

0:33-0:40; This is probably the brightest spot in the trailer for me. He quips! He actually quips! I mean, there's no evidence that he keeps this up for the rest of the movie, but dammit, I want to believe! That's the only way to keep this movie from being too Grimdark.

After that, we get general clips of his parents and something hidden from him, which looks to me to be Ultimate influenced. Honestly, I'm all for that, as long as it doesn't bog the movie down too much and it's still about Peter. You can see Curt Conners and his transformation into the Lizard, from what looks like Peter's contribution to the formula. This will really help the "Responsibility" theme that's sure to be present, since Peter actually will be, in a sense, responsible.

Then we cut to scenes of cops trying to take down Spider-Man. This, although it might seem like too dark a turn, I am actually for. Again, it's Ultimate influenced, but as far back as the Stan Lee written stuff, the cops have been trying to arrest Spider-Man. The situation can be dire like that, as long as Peter still has a light at the end of that tunnel. I wrote about this earlier in my Spider-Man tribute post, that it's not about how dark things get around him, it's how he doesn't succumb to it. If the filmmakers had that in mind, then this storyline is sure to pay off well.

What I really like is that we see physical evidence of Peter being smart. In the other movies, it was really just implied that he was smart, what with the college and all. In this one though, we've got the webshooters he actually creates, and that cliche big chalkboard scene. This is indicative of his character, I hope, and assuages some fears I had from earlier trailers. Before, it looked like he was just a loser skateboarder, instead of a loser nerd. Now, from this we can see he's not the stereotypical pocket-protector nerd, but he's still got intelligence that actually helps him as he goes into superheroics.

Also, though this is more technical than story-oriented, the film is in 3D, but they filmed it in 3D, so we won't get the usual washed out colors you get with films that were post-translated into 3D. Compare: Cameron's Avatar to Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. So I don't expect any detriments caused by the 3D.

All in all, I am excited. This trailer did was it was supposed to do, and make me really want to see this movie. Of course, I must note that I've been fooled by a trailer before. Specifically, the one from Spider-Man 3. I'm sure if they made the same movie that trailer portrayed, it actually would've been good. So though I'm a bit cautious, most of what I feel for this movie right now is excited enthusiasm.