Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I saw the Wonder Woman TV Pilot

Title says it all.
So, yeah, I saw the pilot episode of the not-picked-up Wonder Woman TV series. It had unfinished special effects and some questionable editing, but it was maybe 95% there.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first:
-It's not comics-accurate. It has Diana at the head of a company which merchandises Wonder Woman in order to pay for all of her crimefighting gear and forensics labs for crime-solving.
-The costume is really oversexed. Diana herself doesn't act slutty, but her outfit is extremely revealing. It's low-cut at the top and rides high on her hips when it doesn't need to. It just feels awkward. Also, there are three versions of the suit that are seen: "shiny pants/blue boots," "normal pants/red boots," and "briefs/red boots (the original costume but shinier)." She changes in-between these three costumes with no reasoning, once in-between shots of the same scene.
-Diana kills. In her quest for justice against evil drug-people, she tortures one thug for information, uses another as a human shield in a hallway (causing him to get shot and presumably die), and throws a metal pipe into another thug's throat, killing him instantly. It feels very, very odd. It's not just inconsistent with the comics, it feels inconsistent with the rest of the show.
-Going along with the last point, there's a select few elements of the show that feel a bit too "mature." There's one point where Diana angrily uses crude terms to refer to her overly-voluptuous likeness as a toy doll, and a few scenes with a bit of extreme violence that contrasts bizarrely with the relatively light tone of the show.
-The dialogue isn't that well-done. It's rather bland, in matter of fact. No brilliance whatsoever.
-There's nothing really truly remarkable about the show at all. It just doesn't feel quite important or epic enough to deserve the name Wonder Woman. The pilot episode of Smallville did an amazing job of rooting that show in deep, family-driven drama while staying true to the core of the comics and crafting a story that was perhaps low-scale (being set in a small Kansas town), but felt extremely important. Wonder Woman's pilot does none of this. It just feels like the show is being run by children playing with makeup and action figures.

Now, the positives:
-Diana is presented as a real, human person. It's acknowledged that she's an Amazon from Themyscira (they even pronounce Themyscira correctly), but she's not the stiff-worded, alienated character that she's shown to be in most modern interpretations. She's a twentysomething young woman who manages to feel like an extraordinary yet still normal person. It feels somewhat like the interpretation of Clark Kent in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. She might go out and "kick dudes in the head" (she actually says that to her cat at one point), but she ultimately goes back to her apartment and relaxes in front of the TV like anybody else.
-There's a lengthy fight scene, that, up until the killing at the end, is actually really cool. It's a bit cheesy, but it  works, and it's a lot of fun.
-She's got decently well-done romantic tension with her (at this point, former) love interest, Steve Trevor. It's vaguely implied that they have the same comics history of him having been a pilot that crashed on Themyscira, but now he's become an FBI lawyer. Maybe it's the fact that I grew up watching J.A.G. and therefore like the idea of fighter pilot lawyers, but I'm okay with this.
-The whole idea of Diana owning a company, as stupid as it is, does make sense from a certain point of view. The Batman comics recently had a similar idea, where Wayne Enterprises publicly funded crime labs for the local P.D. as well as providing crimefighting tech for individuals acting as Batman-themed crimefighters across the globe. Also, in the pilot, Diana is shown to be almost dismissive of her company, as though it's merely the means to an end—that end being bringing criminals to justice.
-Adrianne Palicki definitely looks and acts the part. She's a bit of a younger Wonder Woman (even though she's a good bit older than Lynda Carter was when she played the character), but that works. She's got the exact kind of statuesque elegance that Diana needs.
-She's really really hot.
I couldn't find another way to say that.
-The show might be mostly unremarkable, but it's at least fun.

So, in the end, I think this actually might have worked. It definitely needed a few changes (make the costume less shiny and revealing, remove the killing and torture, and maybe tighten up the dialogue a bit), but it would have been a fun show.
At the same time, it definitely would have been nothing more than a guilty pleasure show. I'd much, much rather have a show that took itself a bit more seriously. It's clear that the crew behind this show really didn't know what they were doing, other than crafting a story that basically boils down to excuses to put Adrianne Palicki in tight-fitting outfits with a mildly interesting plot.

I would have watched every single episode had it aired, but it also probably wouldn't have been that great. Like if you gave me an unlimited supply of cheap store-brand soda. Sure, I'd drink it all the time, but I'd be under no illusions that it was anything special.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friends My Age

So, this is kind of a funny thing. You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal, but it kind of is.
I don't actually have that many friends my own age.

Most of my friends are, at closest, about ten months younger than me. Most of them are actually a good several years younger or older on average. It's a weirdly alienating thing. I'm usually either a big brother or a younger one; rarely an equal. It's actually hard to relate to people who are farther away in age, even if it's only a matter of months.

It's not like I'm ungrateful for the friends I've got, it's just kind of hard not to feel alone sometimes.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Halo is amazing.
It seriously is.

I'm not really sure why I didn't see it before. I'm guessing it was because all these years before, I'd been trying to play Halo like it was a different game. I grew up on PC first-person shooters predominantly based on the Quake III and Unreal Tournament engines, so I had no idea how to play a game that only let you carry two weapons at a time or didn't involve you merely running at enemies with guns blazing. Halo has a sort of ultra-simplistic chess-like quality. You've got a limited amount of ammo for only two weapons (plus grenades) and you have to decide how best to use your skills. Prioritization is the key; dividing up your various skills between your opponents all while paying attention to your recharging shield meter.

It struck me last year that Halo isn't a shooter in the normal sense of the word; it has an ultra-refined simplicity that one sees generally only in classic games like Mario, Zelda, and the like. Once I understood that, I went back to Halo: Combat Evolved (the first game, for people who live under rocks) and played it through. It's now one of my favorite games of all time. It's like it finally clicked in my head, and now I understand what the rest of the world saw that I didn't. I absolutely love it.

Concurrently with my Halo game-playing, I've been reading a ton of the side material for the series, mostly consisting of novels and comics.
The novels are wonderful. They take characters that seem shallow in the games and give them depth. They give the universe detail and texture. They just make everything better. The comics are less consistent. It's like no one is really doing any quality control or trying to make everything in the comics congruous with the rest of the universe.

Halo is a kind of special event. Its fans treat it with the same kind of reverence and love usually bequeathed upon movies like Star Wars. Playing Halo with friends is like playing a backyard sport. It's just for fun, but there's definitely a degree of skill to be gained and utilized effectively. It's got a perfectly-balanced focus on casual fun and competition, so no matter who you are or what you want to do with the game, you can enjoy it. That's something that other games can't seem to get quite right. Call of Duty seems to lean way too far towards the competitive side, while some other games just aren't fun for more skilled players.

There's one more facet of Halo that truly makes it special: the music. Martin "Marty" O'Donnell does much the same for Halo that John Williams did for Star Wars decades ago. His music breathes life into the universe and stands alongside the greatest soundtracks of all time—gaming or otherwise.

(skip to 0:53 and turn your sound WAY up)

To your ears:
You are most welcome.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

DC: The New 52

As I mentioned before, DC Comics is rebooting their universe in September with 52 all-new #1 issues. It's not a "hard reboot" in that a lot of the major events from the comics' history will remain intact (mostly in the cases of Batman and Green Lantern), but everything is now up for grabs and most of the DCU probably won't be the same again.

I plan on actually reading every single #1 issue. I probably won't keep reading them all, but I'm definitely going to give each of them a try. I figured I'd list them all, along with my preliminary thoughts. I don't expect anyone else to understand anything I'm saying, so don't feel bad if you just want to stop reading.

Anyway, here's the list.
(visit for story info)

The books are divided into 7 "families:"

The Superman books are completely being redone, with very little continuity staying at all.

Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
Grant Morrison is pretty much the undisputed master of Superman writing at the moment. This is probably the book I'm looking forward to the most.

Superman #1 by George PĂ©rez and Jesus Merino
Definitely interested to see where this goes. They're definitely shaking up the current Superman status quo, while also returning to the classic Superman/Lois/Clark love triangle, which should be interesting.

Superboy #1 by Scott Lobdell and R.B. Silva and Rob Lean
No idea if this is going to be any good, but a similar concept appeared on the Young Justice TV series not too long ago, and it seems to be working pretty well. 

Supergirl #1 by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
It's basically an "alien girl lost on Earth" story, which sounds interesting. The art looks pretty amazing.

The Batman books are mostly retaining their recent continuity, so it looks like I'll need to brush up on my Batman book-reading a bit before starting this up.

Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
Scott Snyder is a master at telling dark, deep, and disturbing detective stories. This is definitely one of my top five.

Batgirl #1 by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes.
I am SO EXCITED that Barbara Gordon (the original Batgirl; the redheaded one from the 60s show and the animated series) is back in her original role. Another of my top five.

Batman And Robin #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
This is one of the rare books that actually is continuing somewhat from the story before, and I'm not up-to-date on my B&R comics. Still, though, I think I might do my best to catch up on B&R just so I can read this.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 by David Finch
Before this reboot, Batman: The Dark Knight was supposed to be a book centering on Batman fighting magical and supernatural threats, which isn't at all something he's used to or comfortable with. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be based on the same concept, but either way I'll give it a read.

Batwing #1 by Judd Winick and Ben Oliver
An African Batman-type hero fighting threats unique to Africa? Sounds cool.

Batwoman #1 by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder
I haven't read any of the Batwoman comics before, but I hear they're great, so I'll eventually check them out. Hopefully in time to read this issue at its release.

Birds Of Prey #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz
I don't really know much about this series, and what I've heard hasn't hooked me. But Birds of Prey has been a critically-lauded series in the past, so I'll see if this one is good.

Catwoman #1 by Judd Winick and Guillem March
Totally reading this.

Detective Comics #1 by Tony Daniel
More Batman! Yay?

Nightwing #1 by Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows
As my username might suggest, I looooooove Nightwing. But this new red costume makes him look more like Nightwing's evil twin. Oh well; I'm still hopeful the book will be good.

Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort
I hear this is supposed to be a more comedic take on gunslinging anti-heroics. Sounds pretty awesome.

Green Lantern
This one might actually be keeping every bit of its continuity from its recent 6-year run. Fortunately, I've read that entire run, so I'm good to go on these!

Green Lantern #1 by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Definitely reading this. I'm very interested to see how the recent mega-twist in the story plays out.

Green Lantern Corps #1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna
GLC has always been a great book. Looking forward to reading it more.

Green Lanterns: New Guardians #1 by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt
I'm glad that they've finally put the rainbow of various-colored lanterns in their own separate book so they don't dominate the main books anymore. And a GL book with Kyle Rayner as the lead character? Awesome.

Red Lanterns #1 by Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.
The Red Lanterns are mostly people who just snarl and vomit space acid. So I'm not really sure how a book focusing exclusively on them will work.

Justice League

Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
Top 5. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee might be the two best creators DC has (alongside Grant Morrison), so the fact that they're collaborating on DC's flagship book is perfect. It looks to be a little more popcorn-blockbustery than Action Comics, but this will probably be the best-looking book out of the 52.

Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti
I'm not real familiar with the JLI, but I'm interested to read this. If anything, its ongoing story connections with the main Justice League book will be cool to see.

Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
Geoff Johns has a way of making Aquaman awesome, and Ivan Reis is up there with Jim Lee as one of the best artists in the industry. This is a definite read.

Wonder Woman #1 by Brian Azzarello #1 and Cliff Chiang
I know very little about the specific story for this book, but I really hope it's good. I've been waiting for a great, definitive Wonder Woman story for years now.

Flash #1 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
Francis Manapul is an artistic genius, and one of my favorites. His recent run on Flash was extremely fun, and this looks to be much the same.

Captain Atom #1 by JT Krul and Freddie Williams II
I've always found Captain Atom rather interesting. I'll be interested to see how they do this.

Fury Of Firestorm #1 by Brian Clevinger Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar.
No idea what this is, but it's Gail Simone co-writing, so it's gotta be funny at least.

Green Arrow #1 by JT Krul and Dan Jurgens
Really interested in this one. Green Arrow's new ultra-cool costume design is awesome, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the character is reinvented.

Savage Hawkman #1 by James Robinson Tony Daniel and Philip Tan

Mr Terrific #1 by Eric Wallace and Roger Robinson
Mr. Terrific is supposed to be one of those characters that no one realizes is actually amazing, so this should be good.

DC Universe Presents #1 by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang
An anthology series focusing on random minor characters from the DCU? Awesome!

The Dark
The mystical, darker side of the DC heroes.

Justice League Dark #1 by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin
Zatanna, Deadman, and John Constantine on the same team? Aw, yeah. Bring it.

Animal Man #1 by Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman and Dan Green
I don't actually know that much about Animal Man, but I hear that he's actually a really great character. And apparently this is an almost straight-up horror book? Sounds cool.

Demon Knights #1 by Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert
A medieval-era book featuring Etrigan the Demon fighting evil magical threats. VERY excited to read this.

Swamp Thing #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
I actually know very little about Swamp Thing, but apparently he's one of the best comic characters of all time? I'm gonna have to read up on his history before reading this. It certainly looks different enough to be worth reading, and Scott Snyder is a perfect for the dark tones this book is supposed to have.

Frankenstein: Agent Of SHADE #1 by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli
This sounds so bizarre that it has to be worth reading. Looks like it might have a Hellboy vibe.

Resurrection Man #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino
I've only ever read one story with Resurrection Man, but he was totally interesting. This definitely has a shot at being cool.

I, Vampire #1 by Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino
I literally know nothing about this book.

The Edge
DC's villains, anti-heroes, and general non-Justice League heroes

Stormwatch #1 by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda.
I don't really know any of the characters aside from one, but I hear in the first story arc they FIGHT THE MOON. Yeah. The moon.

Voodoo #1 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri.
No idea what this is supposed to be about.

Blackhawks #1 by Mike Costa and Ken Lashley
The Blackhawks are one of my favorite parts of the WWII-era DC universe, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how they're reinvented as a modern team.

All-Star Western #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Meridat.
Jonah Hex is already an interesting character. Throw in the fact that this first story is going to intersect with Old West Gotham City and the Batman history, and this is looking awesome.

Deathstroke #1 by Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert.
Deathstroke is one of the most entertaining villains in the DCU. I really hope this series is good.

Grifter #1 by Nathan Edmondson
I seriously don't know anything about this character.

OMAC #1 by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen
I don't think I really have any faith in either this book's concept or its writer.

Men Of War #1 by Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick.
Much like the Blackhawks, this is a WWII concept (Sgt. Rock) revived for the modern age. So, basically, it's Sgt. Rock: Modern Warfare. I heartily approve.

Suicide Squad #1 by Adam Glass and Marco Rudy
I like the idea of the Suicide Squad. But why are Harley Quinn and King Shark on the team? Oh well. Might as well be happy that Deadshot's on the team.

Young Justice
The teenage heroes

Teen Titans #1 by Fabian Nicieza Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
I really, really want this to be good. I love Tim Drake, Conner Kent, and Bart Allen. I want them to be done justice.

Blue Beetle #1 by Tony Bedard and Ig Guara
Blue Beetle is a really fun character. Looking forward to seeing what happens with him.

Static Shock #1 by John Rozum, Scott McDaniel
Static is long overdue for his own series in the main DCU. Super-happy to see this.

Hawk And Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
I've been wanting to read a good Hawk and Dove series for a while. Definitely interested.

Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Chris Batista? Pete Woods
I'm not familiar with any of these characters, but the story sounds interesting.

Legion of Superheroes #1 by Paul Levitz
The LoS is one of my favorite elements of the DC universe. This book isn't supposed to be touched by the reboot, but I haven't been able to get into any Legion comic stories, so hope it'll still be put at a place where new readers can jump in.

I need a break now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Saw a pretty girl with her boyfriend at church today. Made me depressed.