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.