Wednesday 27 July 2016

Supergirl first impressions

Last night I finally sat down and watched the first four episodes of Supergirl (or the first three and the fifth, since the DVD and Wikipedia disagree on episode order) and I am absolutely besotted by this series. Reasons for this, in no particular order:

It passes the Bechdel Test multiple times every episode. Now, I'm the first to say the BT gets used as a moral absolute far too often but its a useful critical measure in cases like this.

I love that Cat Grant (Kara's boss in this version) is shown to have a businesswoman persona and a family persona instead of being all business all the time. She's a nuanced character who could so easily just have been a cardboard cut out heartless capitalist. Oh, she has heartless moments, sure but there are moments of genuine affection she has for people and the look in her eyes the first time she meets Kara as Supergirl is an amazing insight into her character, kudos to Calista Flockheart for selling that moment.

Speaking of semi-evil capitalists it does my old heart good to see Max Lord in one of these things.

Kara's skirt is a decent length. I don't mean this in a prudish way, I mean it in a “I remember the pre-Sterling Gates Supergirl comics” way when artists couldn't help themselves from using the mini-skirt to draw panty shots. We don't want that, we don't want that even more than the 1980s costume with the headband that the pilot episode activitely mocks.

The series has a much better excuse for all these random villains running around in the immediate vicinity than The Flash managed. Plus, this is a world where Superman has been around for a decade so the writers don't have to waste time on origin stories if they don't need to.

Kara has multiple mentors: Cat at her job, James Olsen (yes, that one) in her superhero life and her sister in another aspect of her superhero life. Hell, just the fact that Kara has multiple emotional and professional support systems is amazing.

On the subject of James “Jimmy” Olsen, there's so much to say: I love that he's trying to make something of himself away from Metropolis and Superman; I love that he has some interesting anxiety issues based on being “Superman's pal”; I love that for a change he isn't portrayed as a completely witless stooge; and, um, well...
oh, will you just look at this cutie?

I like that they're using the DEO instead of ARGUS. I mean, I like Amanda Waller well enough but four live actions Amanda Wallers might be too many Wallers.

I don't even hate this version of Lucy Lane and I always hate Lucy Lane. I don't love her but she's tolerable. I will not be entirely disappointed if she never ends up blindfolded and in a fight with a kangaroo (long story...).

I absolutely love the way the series addresses the issues facing professional women through Kara/Cat scenes, both with Kara as Supergirl and Kara as Kara. Its does it in non-preachy ways that don't seem accusatory towards the male audience (which, sadly, is a problem for making the male audience empathise if they feel under attack at the same time they're being educated). Since they're generally conversations between two women it doesn't come off as a confrontation but as an older woman looking out for a younger one. That is a type of relationship, specifically of female friendship, we really need to see more of.

This is a damn fine show. 

Monday 18 July 2016

The WWE Women's Division should not split

The WWE brand split is happening this week and, overall, I think it stands to be a positive move for the company. Oh, the two pay-per-views a month plan is all kinds of over-saturated stupid but I concede that Raw and Smackdown need to offer unique experiences to get people to watch all five hours of weekly content instead of just defaulting to Raw as the older, longer and more prestigious show (or just giving in and watching NXT, which is better, shorter and stuffed with new talent).

One thing concerns me, though: the Women's Division.

The Women's Division is not big enough to split. I wish it were. I wish we were in a position where we could have multiple women's titles split across two brands and a strong enough division with enough talent to make that much programming.
Sad thing is they aren't there yet. They're bloody closer than they've been in years. The women's matches are the best they've been since the since the heyday of Trish and Lita only with substantially more than two women about the place who can pull out those sort of performances.

But at the end of the day the new, improved and amazing Women's Divison is still built around a core of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Yes, they could bring Bayley, Asuka and Nia Jax up to main roster (Bayley especially is overdue) but I still doubt you could get two shows out of the roster.

Frankly, and it sticks in my craw to say this, the Women's Division needs to stay on one show. If they're serious about keeping them absolutely separate the best thing would be to only have women's wrestling on Raw. I feel like a complete bastard saying it because for years I've wanted more women's wrestling, but...

I just... I have waited too long for this company to take its female talent seriously to see them squander it by spreading that talent too thin. 

Sunday 17 July 2016

Pokemon Go

My favourite and I want one.
Pokemon Go fascinates from a sociological standpoint. The game has been out here in the UK for a couple of days and it hit the US about a week ago and the reaction to it has been absolutely fascinating.

There have been genuinely uplifting stories to come out of this whole thing. People have been meeting their neighbours and really talking to them for the first time because of this game and discovering places they'd never known existed just around the corner. I've heard of people with depression and other neuro-divergent conditions using the game as a comfort mechanism to help them break out of their routines and comfort zones.

And the programming is fascinating, too, with the GPS data used to match the types of Pokemon you can catch to local geography and even weather. Water-types are more common when it rains or near bodies of water, Ghost-types are found in cemeteries and so on.

Also, apparently, Nintendo of America are trolling the (racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic) Westboro Baptist Church by... well, doing this to them:
Which is hilarious. They're scum and this is driving them mad. 

Saturday 16 July 2016

Kate Bishop IS Hawkeye

The next run of Hawkeye is going to be a Kate Bishop solo series!
There are few characters in comics I adore more than Kate Bishop. I always liked her, right back to her first appearance in Young Avengers. She had an interesting personality, she bounced well off the other members of the team (especially Eli), and I loved her design. Over the last couple of years, though, the character has really come into her own.
Mostly this can be credited to Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye run, which cast her first as Clint's long-suffering straight woman and then spun her off into her own storyline working solo in LA. Not to forget the maturing of the character in Kieron Gillen's Young Avengers which introduced her relationships with Noh Varr and America Chavez.

Oh, I do hope we get to see more of America Chavez in this ongoing. As much as I like her as the Ultimates' heavy hitter there's something delightful about how she bounces off Kate's... slightly reserved poshness.
Yes, I'm hoping for pay-off on the whole “Princess, you're not that straight” thing. Can you blame me? They're adorable together.

I am very much looking forward to this. 

Friday 15 July 2016

Path to Glory: "Rotbeast" Chariot work in progress

Surprisingly, the yoke of the Gorebeast Chariot lines up with the Beast of Nurgle pretty well. I just have to use a little green stuff to link up the yoke and the beast a little more convincingly.

Yet, as well as this came out, my plans have changed. Originally this was to be the mount for my Chaos Lord but the Charioteers proved a little too hard to customise. Turns out Putrid Blightking parts do not marry up well with this kit and that's where practically all of my “Nurgley” parts come from. So, rather than have an uninteresting Lord model I'll just count this as a normal Gorebeast Chariot with the Mark of Nurgle.

That said, Matt and I have been discussing using it as an actual “Beast of Nurgle Chariot” whilst paying about the same points as the Gorebeast Chariot. The way we reckon it, at least right now, is by dropping the Daemon and Regeneration saves but keeping the Slime Trail and ability to call challenges will make up for the lack of Killing Blow. 

Thursday 14 July 2016

The only problem I will ever have with homosexuality


Goddamn pronouns! It drives you mad. You're taught at school to establish who's speaking and present with names and then move on to “he”, “her” and so on so as not to test your reader's patience.

Then you write a scene with a gay couple and suddenly there's all this bloody ambiguity about which partner is doing what. You can't even do the physical characteristics thing like “the redhead did this”, “the brunette did that” because that's so impersonal and doesn't suit an intimate scene and is even more, even longer bloody words.

So instead you end up naming people every other line.

I know there's a lot of debate about language and sexuality and gender these days and maybe we don't need to add another layer to the whole thing but maybe we should, as a society, get on this.

You know, not just for my own selfish needs, just mainly. 

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Path to Glory: Marauder Horseman work in progress

A quick little kitbash to start my Nurgle army off on the right note. Dead simple, as you can see, just chopped the chains off the flail and replaced them with the scythe blade from the Vampire Counts Zombie kit. Just something simple to work on whilst I wait for the parts I ordered to build my Beast Of Nurgle Chariot.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

No, Capaldi will not "un-regenerate" into Matt Smith

I don't even mean this in a canon sort of way. The canon and continuity of regeneration is nonsense and always has been. The idea that any sort of consistent rules exist that preclude Matt Smith coming back as the Thirteenth Doctor is just mad. I'm taking this from a more practical yet seemingly less discussed avenue.

We've been here before, of course. When Smith was leaving the rumour did the rounds that Tennant would be coming back to “save the series”. It was piffle then and it is piffle now which, as I say, this has nothing to do with anything as involved as canon or continuity...

No, it is because Tennant and Smith are actual human beings with actual careers.

They've moved on. They aren't coming back. I don't care if Smith says he regrets leaving when he did. He's not going to take a massive pay cut compared to his current work and lock down nine months of his schedule to go back to an old role. Actors who do that, let's be brutally honest, tend to be ones who haven't got much else going on.

And even beyond those practicalities, I'm not certain who it would actually benefits. Certainly not Smith, who gets to experience a pay cut and a significant step back in his career. Definitely not Chibnall, who gets to write someone else's version of the Doctor instead of his own because bringing Smith back is a nostalgia move so he'd have to be ultra-faithful to the character as written by Moffat. Not the BBC, either, who get to market the big relaunch of their flagship sci-fi series by admitting they have no better idea than call a mulligan on the last three seasons which'll look great to both the general audience and overseas buyers alike.

And not the fans who want it, either, because they get a showrunner shackled to his predecessor's creative vision which is a recipe for success every time I've seen it happen, let me tell you.

Monday 11 July 2016

First step on the Path To Glory

Of all the Chaos Gods, Nurgle is the one that has always held a perverse fascination for me. The visuals of corruption; the cheerful, almost whimsical fatalism of the characters; and, the fantastic character models the range has always had... it all adds up to an army I've wanted to do for years.

The problem, at least in the old days, was that I could never find enough to do with the army to make it interesting. I've never found Chaos Warriors themselves all that interesting to paint and the Marauders kit has aged very badly. Given my love of rank-and-file this was a pretty insurmountable problem. Once upon a time there were the Carnival of Chaos miniatures but then Mordheim went out of production and took them with it.

Times have changed, though. There are the Putrid Blightkings, which are both fantastic models and a fantastic parts farm for conversions. There are the Avatars of War “Corrupters of the Apocalypse” range, which gives me not only great Nurglesque rank-and-file Warriors but also yet more fantastic character models. Plus, I'm pretty sure I can build the Gorebeast Chariot to be pulled by a Beast Of Nurgle, which should make a good General conversion. Not to mention a whole plastic Nurgle Daemons range that my friends are plenty happy for me to include in the army in nostalgic Hordes Of Chaos style.
Image courtesy GW webstore
My starting point, of course, is the plastic Nurgle Lord (Rotbringer Lord of Plague in the new money) the one model no miniature collection seems to be complete without. Hell, I'll practically be bucking the trend by using him in a Nurgle army! I've seen him used as the basis of gun servitors, Inquisitorial henchmen and even an Empire General. It's a beautiful miniature (in a horrid sort of way) and I look forward to painting it especially as there's lots of flesh and that's something my recent dabbling with Wood Elves have taught me I need to practice.