Tag Archive: review


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Spoilers ahead for Superman: Earth One, Batman: Earth One, and Wonder Woman: Earth One.

I was a major fan of Superman: Earth One when I first read it sometime in 2011. I was such a fan, that when Man of Steel came out in 2013, I immediately recognized the similarities between the two stories (Man of Steel was Based on Superman: Earth One). Much to my delight, DC announced they would be doing Earth One renditions of other DC Superheroes. They released Batman: Earth One, which is currently unfinished with two volumes, and Teen Titans: Earth One, also presently with two volumes. The most recent release was wonder Woman: Earth One (with Aquaman and Flash in production!). I was pretty excited to read Batman: Earth One, and after reading, just had to get my hands on Wonder Woman: Earth One.

I had heard that Wonder Woman was not as good as the other Earth One stories, but I wanted to make that judgement for myself. I ordered it from Amazon (which in itself is ironic) and it arrived this past Sunday with Volume 3 of Superman: Earth One. As I’d been dying to see Earth One Superman face off with Zod, I read that one Sunday night. Last night, when my internet decided to fight with me, I decided to read Wonder Woman.

I was not disappointed. Well, sort of. I was disappointed because, unlike Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman doesn’t really do much in her story. However, what I wasn’t disappointed about was the feminist, queer story that I read. Let me start with the bad of the story. Which really isn’t much, and really is only bad when related to other Earth One stories.

The BAD

Superman: Earth One focuses on Clark Kent, with his amazing abilities, trying to find his place in the world. He’s smarter than the smartest scientists, stronger than the toughest body builders, more deadly than the best trained military – yet he cannot find a place in this world. When an alien menace, Tyrell, arrives, searching for the last Son of Krypton, Clark Kent emerges as Superman to take down the menace (and, in turn, discover his true calling).

Batman: Earth One focuses on a fledgling Dark Knight who is trying to uncover the sleazy underworld of Gotham City and discover who put a hit out on his parents. He’s got his epically savage butler, Alfred, as his partner in crime, who continually urges him to bring guns to gun fights where Bruce Wayne insists on bringing flying razors, even when the guys with guns tend to wallop him. Bruce eventually uncovers who the criminal mastermind is and wins the day!

Wonder Woman: Earth One focuses on Princess Diana, who lives on the feminist island paradise of Paradise Island (was that exposition necessary?). The Amazonian society left “Man’s World” and created their paradise in the Bermuda Triangle after escaping from the slavery of the “man-god” Hercules. The story starts with Diana facing a trial before her mother and other Amazonian sisters. She tells her account of what she did, and the story takes place as each witness tells a part of the story in the trial. Each year, they have a three-day festival to commemorate their liberation from Man’s world. However, Diana is not like her Amazonian sisters and has a whole mess of special powers they do not, because her mother claimed she was a clay statue turned to life by the gods. Anyway, Diana always plays a special role in this ceremony, but this year she stumbled upon Steve Trevor and decided to take him home to help him, since the Amazonian healing technology only works on women. Diana defeats the strongest of her sisters in combat, being named the “Wonder Woman” and claims the invisible jet as her prize. When her mother smells the scent of man on her, she realizes what Diana is going to do and sends a hunting part after her. Diana escapes and manages to bring Steve Trevor to a hospital in the USA. She goes home after seeing how bad the men treat the women in Man’s World. But not before her mother sends Medusa the Gorgon, to turn Steve to Stone so he can never tell of what he knows of the Amazons. In her time in America, Diana saves a bus full of sorority women on their way to spring break and befriends them, eventually being named an “honorary sister.” They pretty much teach Diana all bout feminism in Man’s world. Then Steve gets turned into stone, before Diana even knows the gorgon is there. Then she surrenders to the Amazonian hunting party to stand trial.

 

Do you notice a difference between those three stories, other than the fact that I went into a lot more detail about Wonder Woman than the other stories? Well, the main difference is that while Superman and Batman start their stories taking on supervillains and crime bosses, Diana starts her story convincing her mother to let her go outside and play. Now, the way it is done is good, in my opinion, but it’s still important that Diana’s first step is nowhere near the first steps of her male counterparts. It’s ironic that a story with so much feminism in it fails to so much as show that Diana is a contender. Diana is part of the “Holy Trinity” of DC Comics and should be regarded as one of the ablest and most fearsome women in the world. It’s unfortunate that her first outing into the grittier world of Earth One is barely heroic and barely shows her skills. It’s ironic that it contains its titular character bound and chained for a good portion of the story.

 

The Good

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This is a feminist masterpiece (other than what was mentioned above). It has everything you can think of. Hell, it even has man-hating radical feminists. It talks about body shaming, sexuality, and women’s roles. It puts sorority women in a loving and supportive light.

The most important conflict in this story is between Diana and her mother, Hippolyta. Hippolyta is the woman who killed Hercules and freed the Amazons from slavery. She was enslaved by men. She was used by men like an object. This created her hatred of Man’s World. We even learn that Hippolyta literally created Diana to be her weapon used to destroy Man’s World. Hippolyta is that rad fem most feminists despise being compared to. A lot of other subtle things lead me to identify Hippolyta as the radical feminist here.

Hippolyta has a magic mirror she uses to look at the world. At one point early on in the story, she shows Diana an image of a woman in underwear, wearing a collar and leash held by a clothed man, and sitting over a food dish. She tells Diana that that is how men treat women in Man’s World. Clearly, she is taking a snapshot of a situation and using it to fit her means. Is it possible that woman was actually enslaved into bondage? Yes. But most sex positive people know that sometimes women actively participate in role playing, S&M and bondage activities like that with their lovers. Was the woman Diana was shown a slave or a submissive? We won’t know, and I don’t think Hippolyta cares. Which is ironic, because Hippolyta and the Amazonian culture regularly say that willful submission is a sign of love.

When Diana uses the purple rays to restore Steve Trevor from his stony fate, Hippolyta is shocked that the purple rays worked on him. Diana tells her that she simply re-calibrated it, something Hippolyta never even cared to try doing. And it clearly only took Diana a few moments to do so, as she hadn’t had access to purple rays until just a moment before.

The main conflict between Diana and her mother is that of choice. Diana wishes to choose her role, rather than have it be assigned to her from her mother. Hippolyta believes that women have only one role, and that is to be better than men and to rule.

Diana meets Betty (Earth One’s Etta Candy), one of the sorority sisters she rescues, and Betty is a slightly overweight – but healthy – bisexual woman. Betty is a symbol of modern feminism. When brought before Hippolyta at the trial, Hippolyta and other amazons scorn her for her body. Even Diana makes a comment about it when first meeting her. Betty is always mature yet firm in her response that she loves her body, is healthy, and is happy. Diana accepts that, but Hippolyta does not.

Betty is more than just body positivity;  she is also sex positivity. She talks about her crushes on both men and women, and about how Paradise Island is a kinky lesbian sex island. I can foresee Betty’s character being the most sex positive of all the characters in future volumes.

But that’s not all Betty does. When Hippolyta is using Betty and other women as examples of why Man’s World is cruel to women, Betty fires back. Betty tells Hippolyta that the patriarchy may be bad, but they (women) are fighting against it and trying to make change. Betty uses actual feminist language to counter Hippolyta’s insults. Betty is probably the hero of this story, in terms of theme. (And well, Diana doesn’t really do anything except save Betty’s sorority sisters, so maybe Betty is the bigger hero after all).

Aside from all of that, this is a primarily female story. Steve Trevor and Hercules are the only men who actually have names in the story (there may be a named soldier somewhere but they play no real role in this volume). This story is about women of all different backgrounds. There is Diana, the social outcast who wants to leave home and see the world. There’s Hippolyta, the vengeful, bitter women with a chip on her shoulder. There’s Betty, the young, optimistic, positive and happy one. There is Nubia, Diana’s black Amazonian sister who struggled to understand her then defends her in the end. There are Betty’s sorority sisters who support Betty and Diana equally, even though they are pretty opposite people.

 

But that is not all. This story is also incredibly queer. First, we have both visual and verbal confirmation that Paradise Island is pretty much a lesbian paradise. In one scene, we see the Amazonian women asleep, at different levels of undress, after an insinuated orgy. Diana tells Steve that she left her lover on the island to save him. Betty tells us that she has crushes on men and women. This is such a queer book and I love it.

We have Diana, who at this point has shown no interest in men, and is therefore only confirmed Lesbian. We have the rest of the Amazons, who have had no contact with men for three thousand years and most likely do not lust after them. We have Betty, who is surely bisexual, and will hopefully use that language in the future volumes.

And again we get back to Betty. Betty is the one most interested in the sexual themes of the story. She is the one commenting about the Paradise Island kinky lesbian sex. She is the one talking about her crushes. She is the every-woman, and she is teaching Diana what it is like to be a woman in Man’s World.

 

And if that isn’t enough, Steve Trevor takes the cake. After being saved from stone by Diana, Steve is wrapped in the lasso of truth and asked questions by Hippolyta. When he tells them he lied to his superiors to protect them, Hippolyta assumes it is because he lusts after Diana. He tells her, under the truth of the lasso, that he did it because his ancestors were slaves (Btw, Steve is a pretty badass Black Man) to men who thought they were better than others; men with too much power. And all of a sudden you realize that this story is about so much more than just feminism. Steve says he hid their secret because he understands why they don’t trust man’s world, since he doesn’t, either.

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So the story may not be too epic, but it is still powerful. It makes powerful social commentary – commentary you don’t need to make with a superpowered fight or badass moves. Commentary that I hope we get to see metaphorically in the future of this series, hopefully introducing Cheetah with her own idea of feminism.

This story brings you back to the golden Age Wonder Woman, but takes the terrible tropes and flips them on their head. I strongly recommend it! (even after all these spoilers!)

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Things That Annoyed me About Daredevil

 

So I, like many people, binge watched Daredevil season 2 this weekend. It was entertaining, but it was certainly not as good as the first season, or as good as Jessica Jones. There were a lot of loose ends and forgotten subplots. Some of these issues may be due to me missing something or forgetting things from the first season (which I didn’t rewatch in anticipation). Also, there are HELLA spoilers here, so if you haven’t watched it and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read! The first few are pretty spoiler light, but it gets more intense. Let me know if there are any explanations or if you agree or disagree!

 

  1. How long has passed?

It isn’t clear how much time has passed from the end of season 1 to the beginning of season 2. It’s also unclear how much time has passed over the course of the season. I know that the court case was only a week after Castle was caught, but how long did the case go for? How long before castle got put in jail? How long before he escaped? Claire says that she was assigned 6 months of night shift after helping Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, so we know it’s been at least 6 months since then, but Jessica Jones isn’t very clear about how long after Daredevil season 1 it was, we just know Daredevil exists. It’s very unclear, and I would like an explanation.

 

  1. Where does this fit in to the MCU?

What has or has not happened so far in the MCU? Did the Civil War happen already? Is it building up to that? Where does Spiderman fit in to this world? He’s another NYC hero, and evidently he’s going to be important in Civil War, so where’s he been? They keep talking about vigilantes but don’t mention the web slinger? Perhaps its rights, but it still annoys me.

 

  1. I really don’t understand the dirt, or the hole.

I realize that it’s very possible that these things were left ambiguous intentionally. But at the very least I want an explanation of the dirt. If they are digging supermassive holes in the city, why are they importing one box car of dirt, and why is that dirt so super secret? I would be completely ok with this being an unresolved issue for the future, but literally once DD and Elektra discover the dirt, they never mention it again. I’m also annoyed that DD could sense the dirt in the boxcar, but couldn’t tell that it was dirt? He’s all like “It’s completely full, filled with uniform items packed tight” but he can’t tell that they’re freaking dirt? That just seems unlikely.

 

  1. Why did the Hand mask their heartbeats?

This could be me forgetting things from season 1, but I’m not quite sure why the Hand would mask their heartbeats. Unless this is a specific countermeasure to Daredevil, this seems like a huge waste of energy and resources. I don’t recall if Nobu knew that Daredevil was blind, but that’s the only reason I would think to do that. Clearly, the understanding was that the Hand knew DD was blind, but I don’t really remember how they knew that. I also think that if they knew he was blind and he tracked sounds, that they’d be smart enough to not use weapons that were so loud. Also, I’m confused as to how the Hand actually masked their heartbeats. They repeatedly say it, so we as an audience just accept it, but how do they do that?

 

  1. What happened to the Hand ninjas who were chasing them from down the stairs?

In the season finale, Elektra and DD are getting chased by a shit-ton of hand members. “Too many to count” in fact. They are in a stairwell and they know that there are a bunch of guys on the roof and a bunch more chasing after them from down below. But when they go onto the roof, there are about 20 hands guys plus Nobu, and the ones from downstairs never arrive. What happened to them?

 

  1. Why bother having the Punisher show up at the end?

It was obvious that Frank was going to come and help them. The whole time I was wondering at what point he would show up to save them, because the last thing we saw him do was turn on his police radio. It was obvious. However, when he finally did show up, he was pretty useless. DD and Elekrtra had just fought the aforementioned 20ish ninjas plus Nobu, and though Elektra died, there were only 4 ninjas left by the time Frank showed up. If DD and Elektra could take on 20 plus Nobu, DD could easily have taken on 4 plus Nobu. It seems that Frank only showed up to remind the audience that he is, indeed a “good guy” in terms of everything.

 

  1. Why did Daredevil stop caring about killing people?

For the entire Punisher situation, DD was adamant about him not killing people. He knocked guns out of his hand and stopped him when he was trying to kill people with his bare hands. When Elektra came on board, he was adamant about her not being allowed to kill anyone. When the Hand attacks them at the pit, she almost dies because he doesn’t want her to kill anyone. Then she leaves after killing the ninja in DD’s house. However, immediately after this, he makes no more mention of killing the Hand. While he and Elektra are fighting them she repeatedly stabs and kills them and he doesn’t even acknowledge it. Then at the end Frank shoots the Hand guys and he just kind of rolls with it. He even throws Nobu off of the building. I know he has some understanding that Nobu has some sort of resilience, but you don’t throw someone off a roof by their neck without expecting them to die. This would all make sense if it was premised with something, but there’s no explanation.

 

  1. What was Elektra’s mission, exactly?

Matt asks Elektra if their meeting was chance, or a mission, and she tells him he was her mission. But what exactly was the point of the mission? Intuitively, it seems she intended to teach him to kill, but that’s never really explicitly stated. And then once he refuses to kill Sweeney she just gives up? He constantly asks her where she goes, and she never answers. We can assume she returns to Stick to tell him about her failure, but we don’t know. It’s not clear, and once she talks about him being a mission, that’s all we see. There’s no further discussion on the topic.

 

  1. Why does Karen never get her conflict resolved?

It is clear to me why Karen identifies with the Punisher so much. It’s because she killed the guy who kidnapped her in season 1, and she want sot feel justified. This is alluded to heavily in the beginning of the season. She feels guilty, and like a bad person for doing so. She thinks that if they can prove the Punisher’s killings were justified, that they also prove that her killing was justified. However, this subplot quickly vanishes into obscurity, never getting fulfilled.

 

  1. Who were the suits that Castle’s nurse mentions?

The nurse mentions that some men in suits came by Castle’s room and he didn’t know who they were. He also said the District Attorney ordered the DNR. Now, it’s possible these “suits” were just the DA’s people, however, when Karen sets off the motion detector in Castle’s house, men in suits arrive. This leads me to believe the suits are more than just the DA’s people. It’s not very clear. It could easily be the DA’s people, but I’d like a little finality to that assertion.

 

  1. Why was nobody watching the Punisher’s house?

So Frank gets arrested, sent to jail, and then escapes. And the first thing he does is return to his house. I’m pretty sure that if a person convicted of 30 murders breaks out of prison, they would have someone watching his house. It’s not like nobody knew about his house. Karen was able to find it pretty easily, and the DA had vast files on Castle. Someone would have known his house was there and checked it out as a possible place he would go. But he just goes back there and settles in nicely, with no issue. We don’t even get a visit from the men in suits that came when Karen set off the motion detector. Why is that? What is the deal with that house?

 

  1. What exactly do the Hand want with Elektra?

We know that Elektra is the Black Sky, this super obscure super weapon that the Hand wants to use to rule the world. However, we never see anything in Elektra that would suggests she is that powerful. It is clear at the end that they didn’t need her alive, and I can only assume that she will be resurrected by the hand to be the Black Sky. However, this leaves me a bit confused. It was clear that in her current iteration she had no special abilities other than combat prowess. Did the Hand need her to die in order to use her as the Black Sky? If so, why did they not kill her when they had her surrounded? Why did they instead bow to her? Perhaps she would be more powerful if she joined them while living, rather than being resurrected, but it’s unclear. We don’t even know what the Black Sky is meant to do. We can assume that whatever they were doing to those people was meant to possibly bring out the Black Sky powers in Elektra by putting her in that pod, but we don’t know. This is certainly something that will probably be clarified in the next season, since it’s so wide open and intentionally unclear.

 

  1. Why did the Blacksmith target Karen, but not Foggy and Matt?

We know that after Punisher escapes, the Blacksmith starts killing people involved in the case. The DA goes down first, and Foggy gets hit, but he clearly wasn’t a target. Then next we see Karen’s apartment get shot up and Punisher saves her. But it’s really not clear why the Blacksmith would target Karen before Matt and Foggy. Perhaps it was due to ease, since Matt was hard to find and Foggy was in the hospital, but it seems pretty odd to me. Karen was a legal assistant and there was no real way for the Blacksmith to know she was important until she showed up to his house.

 

  1. Why would the Punisher slam a pickup truck into a sedan with someone he believed to be innocent in it?

When the Blacksmith takes Karen, The Punisher saves her by ramming the car they are in. This has got to be the biggest mistake of the whole series. They were pulling over. They were getting out of the car, most likely to go into that shed where the Blacksmith kept his stuff. There was no reason that the Punisher should have slammed into the car, risking Karen’s life. It is just counter to his characterization at this point.

 

  1. Why do we never see or hear about Matt working out?

There is only one reference to exercise in the whole show, and that is when Elektra says something about Matt having been working out. But has he been? Sure, he is a vigilante who prowls the streets at night, climbing things and such, but that won’t make him stronger. I suppose you can say that he gets all his exercise from his vigilantism but fighting and climbing things won’t necessarily make someone stronger, just more toned. Not that he’s supposed to be super strong, but it would be more realistic to me if they mentioned him exercising, maybe showed him doing some sit ups or push ups or something. It’s a small thing, but I think would add to his character. At least even a mention of someone asking him how he stays so fit or something.

 

  1. Does injury mean nothing to anyone in this universe?

A lot of people get hurt in this season. First we have Frank, a.k.a. the Punisher. When the Irish mob leader “captures” Frank, he drills a hole in his left foot. With a drill. And electric drill. But the next week he’s walking totally fine. He still has the bruises on his face, but his foot is totally fine. Next we have Elektra, who gets sliced with an acidic blade. Luckily, stick shows up to put together a remedy of common household items that… rapidly heals her? Then Matt gets shot in the shoulder with an arrow and Elektra gives him that same magical remedy. And the next day they are fighting the Hand army. And Foggy also gets shot in the shoulder, but evidently his bullet wound was not that bad and he was only in the hospital overnight. Let’s also not forget that Karen was in a vicious car crash and then the next day seemed totally fine. Injury and trauma seem to have no long term effects on these characters.

 

  1. How does Punisher find out who the Blacksmith is?

Karen goes to the Blacksmiths house and has no idea he is the Blacksmith, but quickly discover it when he… tells her, I guess. He kidnaps her and tries to take her to his cabin thing for some reason, but then Frank shows up. How did he know to do that? I could have completely missed it, but I just don’t remember.

 

  1. Why did Stick kill the Black Sky in season 1, but not Elektra?

In season 1, another Black sky arrives to New York in the form of a young boy. Stick kills this Black Sky and Matt sends him away. In season 2, we discover that Elektra was a Black Sky, and that Stick decided against killing her when she was a child, instead sending her to live with the Nacios family. I’m wondering what prompted Stick to kill the new black sky but not Elektra? This isn’t really a huge issue, as I can see a few different options. Firstly, he was much closer with Elektra by the time he was asked to kill her. However, they knew the whole time she was the Black Sky, so I’m not sure why he bothered doing that at all. Also, Stick didn’t like when people called Elektra it, yet he called the new Black Sky it. Since there was about 15-20 years since Stick and Elektra parted ways, he could have changed much since then, but he is still protective of her. Stick’s characterization is all over the place

 

  1. What information did the Hand want from Stick?

When the Hand it torturing Stick with sticks, they want information. What did they need to know? What were they asking him? Were they looking for Elektra? It’s not really clear.

 

  1. Why didn’t Fisk just kill Matt?

Matt goes to the prison to threaten Fisk, and Fisk grabs him and roughs him up a little bit. I don’t get why Fisk didn’t just kill him. Fisk has the whole entire prison under his control, and it’s not really in his character to let someone who threatens Vanessa live. It would be very easy for all record of Matt’s visit to disappear and Matt to disappear with it. Now, Matt would be able to fight his way out of the prison, most likely, and survive, but Fisk doesn’t know that. All Fisk knows is that this blind lawyer is trying to threaten the woman he loves.

 

  1. Why would Hogarth want to make Foggy a partner?

I know that Foggy is a great lawyer, and I know that Hogarth’s firm is very high profile. I also know that Foggy doesn’t have all that much legal experience. I could understand Hogarth offering Foggy a good position, due to the high profile nature of both his major cases, but Partner?