selenak: (Tony Stark by Gettingdrastic)
( May. 3rd, 2016 03:04 pm)
Some post Civil War tales have been written already, to my fannish relief, for I crave them. Mind you, most of what's written is not compatible with my interests in the MCU, to wit: Reader/Anyone - not interested. Steve/Bucky - not interested. Loki/Anyone (this is still going on?) - not interested. Actually, Bucky/Anyone - not interested. (Bucky centric gen I might be more open for now, but still, not what I'm primarily looking for.)

Meanwhile, post Civil War or Civil War inspired tales I am interested in include:

Spoilery Stuff )
Living in Europe and in a country where this was partially shot totally pays off (again): I've just watched Civil War, movieverse edition.

Generally speaking: the Russos did a great job serving their huge ensemble. Should this have been called Avengers III rather than Captain America? Probably. Not because Steve doesn't get enough screen time, I hasten to add, but not only is it an ensemble movie, but several key characters' motivations are dependent on Age of Ultron, and arguably the character who does the dramatic heavy lifting this time (i.e. who gets the moral dilemmas and the difficult choices to make) is Tony Stark, not Steve Rogers. Steve makes up his mind early on and doesn't change it throughout, which is in character, but means the movie did need a co-lead for whom this isn't the case.

On to spoilery details: )
Because US politics provide less angst for me than European politics: on twitter, JMS (i.e. J. Michael Straczkynski, for you non B5lers) has not only urged anyone who ever liked one of the shows he's worked on to vote for Bernie Sanders, but has enlisted fictional characters as well by pointing out that Peter Parker and Superman (he said Superman, not Clark Kent) , both of whom he wrote in comics, would most definitely vote for Bernie.

Great Maker, as Londo Mollari would say. Whose endorsement wasn't offered, undoubtedly because Londo's political choices are, err, not of the type that you'd want in rl. Anyway, I can't decide whether I'm more amused or more inclined to face palm. Not that I'm not prepared to believe Peter Parker would vote for Bernie Sanders, but I could be mean and point out Peter Parker (comics book edition) is canonically vulnerable to Daddy figures persuading him into endorsing major political decisions he later disagrees with. During JMS' run, no less. (And that's the first and last time anyone will compare Bernie Sanders to (comic book) Civil War era Tony Stark.) No, but seriously: I'm all for urging people to vote and for expressing one's beliefs about a candidate. Drafting comic book heroes into it, though, has to be a new one.

Though now I want the fanfic where Peter votes for Bernie while Aunt May votes for Hillary. Meanwhile, MJ (still married to Peter at the time of JMS writing him) is of the "anyone who can stop Trump or Cruz" persuasion and is amendable to either candidate, but that's not what Peter and May want to hear, who try to convince her she HAS TO MAKE A DECISION.

Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson is writing an article of how Spider-Man is stealthily supporting Trump. Why? Because he hates them both. Since when has he ever needed another reason?
I'm a bit wary of WIPs, not least because such a lot of them never get finished and are endlessly dragged out or lose quality. But every now and then, I come across one that's just so captivating I risk following it, and then, when it's satisfyingly completed, I'm one ecstatic reader. This is the case with this story:


An Early Thaw (129841 words) by ironychan
Chapters: 26/26
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Characters: Steve Rogers, Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, Tony Stark
Summary:

An alternate universe: the year is 1986. Ronald Reagan is president. Peggy Carter is director of SHIELD. Howard Stark is CEO of Stark Industries and father of a fifteen-year-old son. And a survey team in the arctic has just found Captain America





It has that rarity, a real plot, while at the same time being a great character piece (for several characters). It's a well executed AU that tackles an intriguing "what if?" without giving easy answers. (Peggy and Howard in the 80s aren't Peggy and Howard in the 40s, because decades of experience and compromises, and the way they relate to Steve and vice versa can't be what it was.) It avoids the clichés I've complained about in other posts. It has a strong sense of setting - the 1980s aren't chosen randomly, the fact this is Reagan era America, the last years of the Cold War, and that the space program is still a thing, all this is key to the plot. Teenage Tony is very convincing (again: avoidance of clichés complained about, see above). In conclusion, I love it, and you should read it immediately.
selenak: (Emma Swan by Hbics)
( Mar. 25th, 2016 11:58 am)
Which I finished marathoning. Unspoilery summation: acting good, new characters impressive, plots headscratchey, show continues to want to have it both ways re: violence and death, it did some of my least favourite tropes only to turn them around by the follow up, and I continue to like but not love parts of it while remaining unfannish about it.

More detailed impressions )
selenak: (Clone Wars by Jade Blue Eyes)
( Mar. 7th, 2016 07:32 am)
I. Having rewatched some Revenge of the Sith scenes to refresh my canon knowledge for , um, reasons (and also because it's been many years, and sometimes you tend to misremember things), it strikes me again how Yoda and Mace Windu have a close competition of how to be more clueless re: Anakin (at every age), but Mace wins that competition, barely, in a way that's perfectly reflected in <>The Clone Wars by both how Mace Windu deals with Boba Fett and by what he says to Ahsoka in The Wrong Jedi, the s5 finale. Obvious disclaimer: none of this excuses Anakin's own actions (as Ahsoka demonstrates, y ou can deal with the Council being dicks without becoming the Evil Overlord's chief executioner and committing massacres). But still. I'm thinking of these two gems of Council Jedi behavior in particular:
Anakin: Master Yoda, I'm having visions of someone I'm close to dying. As I had when my mother was tortured to death.

Yoda: eh, chill out, be zen about it, attachment's bad, death is natural, rejoice in them joining the Force. ("Rejoice" is an actual quote.)


competing with:

Anakin: I've just found out my friend the Chancellor whom you've told me to spy on against my strong objections is really the Sith Overlord.
Mace Windu: If that's true, then you'll have earned my trust.
(Actual quote.) Just in case you were under the delusion I ever trusted you before. But stay here, because it's not like I trust you enough to make the arrest with me in any case.

Yep, same old Mace Windu who tells Ahsoka in the s5 finale that something spoilery for The Clone Wars ).


II. Having also rewatched some of the relevant scenes in Iron Man II (haven't seen that one for ages because it's my least favourite of the IM movies) to refresh my hazy memory of what the fanon of Howard Stark having been the worst father of the MCU (unless the writer is a Loki fan, in which case Howard is competing with Odin) is actually built on (in terms of movieverse canon only, not comics which are a different continuity and characterisation), I concluded it's a single scene, Tony's conversation with Nick Fury mid movie where he says that Howard was "cold, calculating and the best day of his life was when he shipped me off to boarding school" (which is why he won't believe Howard was complimentary to him to Nick Fury, whereupon Fury comments that actually he did know Howard better than Tony did because of SHIELD and their shared work there, which is the first time the MCU mentions Howard was one of the co-founders). Which is certainly standard US media Daddy issues providing Neglectful Dad (though definitely not the Worst Father of the MCU, because I'd like to enter Banner Sr. for that competition), which is why I found it a boring cliché to use at the time. (It certainly did not inspire me to write endless hurt/comfort stories about Tony's daddy issues, which it seems to have done for the rest of fandom; especially since the movie itself provides Tony with the paternal praise via recorded message.) It gets more interesting with the Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter reveal that Howard and Tony are/were actually incredibly alike, which made me conclude the one fanfiction story which took its cue from Howard's Agent Carter s1 finale remark to Peggy that everything he created but Steve turned bad/a weapon, and concluded that he had as little contact with Tony as possible because of course he could see the similarities and didn't want Tony to model himself on him, was on to something.

Speaking of Peggy, there's a lot "Aunt Peggy being there in Tony's childhood" fanon now, which has its charm, but the more I think about it, the less likely it is. During Tony's childhood, Peggy not only was the Director of SHIELD (which made her at least as busy as Howard, of not more so), she also had a family of her own (if the photos on the shelves Steve sees when visiting her in The Winter Soldier are anything to go by). I very much doubt she had time to babysit Tony in between. Or even the inclination (if you already had Howard Stark in your life and were Peggy, would you want a second mini edition of same to deal with?). Otoh of course both Jarvises did, hence A.I. JARVIS in the movies, which begs the question: when did they die? Because of the role Obediah Stane played in Tony's life, my guess is before the Starks, Howard and Maria, did.


III. Black Sails links of the article and review kind:

Why Black Sails is officially better than Game of Thrones: I don't go for "better/worse" comparisons between shows myself, but the article certainly has a point in how both shows deal with certain tropes.

Review of episode 3.07.


Eleanor Guthrie meta

More Eleanor Guthrie meta
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
( Mar. 3rd, 2016 10:31 am)
Ian McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in Bryan Fuller's tv version of American Gods. This is a gift from the casting heavens, and I'm now at the "I WANT IT NOW WHY ISN'T IT 2017 ALREADY" stage about this show.

However, it occurs to me that I should employ spoiler cuts when raving about how this is perfect, because not everyone has read Neil Gaiman's novel. Spoilers for American Gods, the book, ensue. )

Something else the casting reminded me off: someone really needs to write that crossover where Jimmy McGill meets Mr. Wednesday, for all the obvious reasons.

And now for a couple of fanfiction recs:

Doctor Who:

once upon a time in nazi-occupied france:

"He's sitting in a cafe in Vichy France (he was aiming for 2042) and waiting for his lunch when Missy plops down in the chair opposite him." This is a conversation they've had before, it's just the first time they've both been able to consider it.


In which the Twelfth Doctor, post Clara, meets Missy again. This is one of those stories which manages to do justice to the long history between the Doctor and the Master, and to write them specifically in these particular regenerations, not interchangable with earlier ones. It's perfect. (BTW, my favourite details is that Twelve got himself the flame throwing guitar from Mad Max, because he so would.)

Black Sails

Both recs are spoilery for 3.06, so with due deference to those friends on my list whom I've managed to convert into watching the show but who haven't arrived there yet, I shall hide them beneath a cut. )
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
( Feb. 17th, 2016 06:17 am)
Off to a train, thus in haste a few links:

Black Sails:


Queer and diverse, Black Sails is qietly TV's most revolutionary show: I'll say.

Marvel:

After the day's work is done Nick Fury character study in vid form, reminding me that morally ambiguous middle aged spies are my catnip and that canon Fury is way more interesting than the irate boss version of him usually found in fanfiction.

Tolkien:

How many miles did Frodo and Sam have to walk to get to Mordor?: not as many as today's refugees do, but pretty close (Serbia to London, or Texas to Los Angeles in US terms).
selenak: (Flint by Violateraindrop)
( Feb. 9th, 2016 10:36 am)
So The Good Wife is finally coming to an end? Two seasons too late for me to care, but it was once an amazing show.

New Civil War trailer: so I was hoping that movie would resolve my Bucky problem, to whit, that I'm indifferent to the character beyond a mild "gosh, what an awful brainwashed life", and indeed I'm starting to have Bucky feelings, but unfortunately, they're all negative ones. I'm completely invested in the wrong sidekick in this movie, because when I watched the trailer and spoilers ensued )

(It helps that I do think superheroes should be accountable to someone who aren't other superheroes. Not insane military generals, obviously, but definitely some institution.)

Black Sails not having much of a fandom on lj or dw, I'm driven to check out the dark side tumblr now and then, and predictably, this irritates me into the need to vent:

which I shall do in a spoilery fashion )

Lastly, trying to find good Clone Wars inspired stories reminds me how many badly spelled and/or badly written fanfiction is out there. Good lord. Thankfully, there are a few bright lights.
In some of the Jessica Jones reviews and comments that I've spotted, I've seen the complaint re: our main villain's lack of ambition. Which to me was one of the refreshing elements of the show. And in this particular case, it made so much sense. After all, why should Kilgrave want to take over the city/country/planet? What could he possibly gain that he doesn't already have?

We're so used to supervillains wanting to rule that we've stopped questioning why they should want to. Jessica Jones has a villain with an ability that already ensures his every whim is catered to. He's not lacking in any material thing he could want, he can use people in any way he wants to, and seriously, governing the city/country/world is work, even if you're doing it badly.

Villains who want to take over usually want to change something. No matter whether they're Evil McEvil villains who want to create a wasteland or Utopians gone wrong who want to create a new, better society with casualties, they're not content with the world as it is. Whereas Kilgrave is fine with the world as it is, minus the part where spoiler for second half of the season ) which isn't something domination of a territory would change.

Part of what makes this series so good to me is that this doesn't make Kilgrave any less damaging than villains who sic superweapons on people. Throughout the season, we see the lives he's harmed or taken, and that's what's at stake in Jessica's quest to defeat him. It's not solely a matter of Jessica's own life, or that of her immediate circle; we've seen both in cameos and supporting characters taking up more narrative space the wreckage Kilgrave leaves after him. And to me, this meant the emotional stakes as a viewer were higher, not lower, than if the show had presented a conventionally ambitious villain intent on becoming Lord Mcoverlord the Third.
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
( Nov. 25th, 2015 09:41 am)
Aaand we have another Marvel trailer, this for for Captain America: Civil War.





Thoughts, based on the trailer but no MCU spoilers (other than what is in the trailer), since I'm actively trying to avoid those, though I will discuss the comics Civil War storyline (which by necessity was different anyway): we used to be friends. )



In another fandom entirely: while I no longer watch Once upon a Time, I still care about the characters, so I was delighted to find this "life and times" story for Milah, fleshing her out and giving us her pov: Ship in a Bottle.
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
( Nov. 23rd, 2015 10:57 am)
Reader, I binge watched. Of course I did.

Non-spoilery summation for comic book readers familiar with Alias: matches the noir detective tone perfectly (they even kept the first person narration, which in this case I think is crucial for said tone), uses elements from the comics but remixes them plus adds new elements, so even if you've read Alias, you won't know how it all goes down (other than Jessica's backstory with the main villain). The credits sequence echoes the covers from the comics, and there's the occasional panel recreation (like in the second scene, which is the opening panel from the first Alias comics recreated), but not often. The comic books characters making it into the tv series directly are Jessica herself, Luke Cage, Kilgrave, and with a gender twist Jeryn/Jeri Hogarth. Everyone else is either unique to to the tv series or while roughly fulfilling similar narrative roles to comic book characters so different individuals that I wouldn't call them analogues, i.e. in the trailer and pilot you think that Carol Danvers' role as initially estranged best friend for Jessica in the comics seems to be taken by Trish Walker, but in fact Trish and Jessica have a very different backstory and a different type of relationship as the result of it, so I wouldn't call Trish the equivalent of Carol, she's too different. (But awesome!)

Non-spoilery (except for the premise already shown in the trailers) summation for people who never read a single line of the comics and may or may not be roughly familiar with the MCU: excellent female centric (and not just because of a female main character) series using hard boiled/film noir tropes - the cynical, hard drinking private eye with a backstory trauma and bad attitude but drive to help people beneath it, most of all - more often than not in a genderflipped way. The connections to the rest of the MCU mostly happen through the very occasional dialogue reference, and one crossover character from the Daredevil series whose role, however, can be understood without having watched either Daredevil or anything else. Which means you can watch this whether or not you're into other areas of the MCU. The physical violence level is a bit less Tarantino-esque than Daredevil, though there are some nasty deaths; it's the emotional violence that makes for the true horror element. In connection with that: the only on screen sex we see is consensual, and there's no female nudity at all. (Even during said sex scenes, the female characters remains clothed.) However, because one major theme is mind control, the backstory most definitely includes rape on every imaginable level, and the series explores the consequences of this to several characters (both female and male), including our heroine. It's very much a survivors story. It has a seasonal arc with a main storyline that concludes in the finale and some ongoing subplot threads setting up a second season, which I definitely hope the show will get.

On to spoilery talk beneath the cut. )
Unspoilery review of the earliest Jessica Jones episodes. That is, unless you consider the stuff the trailer already gave away as spoilery. Curse it, I want to watch this show NOW!


Rome:

In other news, I brushed up on more recent Rome fanfiction (more recent meaning: younger than a year or two), and lo, there's this bit of goodness:


Simple as Falling: Mark Antony/Lucius Vorenus, perfect voices for both men. Also, it's hot. Because in recent years I went "eh, can't see it" about a few juggernaut slash pairings in a few fandoms, I was starting to worry that my slashdar might be broke, which makes me check out a few older m/m pairings that I totally could (and still can) see, and yes, works every time.
selenak: (LondoGkar)
( Nov. 7th, 2015 08:41 am)
Babylon 5:

A Good Death: G'Kar and Londo, after. It reminds me how much I love the two of them in the best way. (Time shall not wither, etc.; just because I don't talk much about B5 these days doesn't mean I adore it and its characters any less.)


MCU:

Wolf Like Me: Natasha character vid using all her appearances in the MCU to draw a fantastic portrait.


And to finish this round of links with something hilarious:

The Hunger Games:

The Hunger Games Trilogy if Percy Jackson had named the chapters: you don't have to be familiar with the Percy Jackson series (I wasn't) to find this a riot. (Hunger Games movie only people, otoh, should probably stay away from the last third of chapter titles, since even in their parodied form, they contain spoilers.)
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
( Jul. 26th, 2015 07:41 am)
Marvel:

Brian Bendis seems to be in ecstasy about the Jessica Jones tv show. (And has as hard a crush on Luke Cage as ever, which cracks me up. Seriously, if there was ever a creator in love with his creation's love interest...) There's also the first photo of Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. I'm so looking forward to this show!

Sense8:

Accomodation: lovely Capheus pov, exploring him processing what happened in the show's finale.
selenak: (Darla by Kathyh)
( Jul. 1st, 2015 06:50 am)
I'm currently in Prague again (as enchanting as in April, though as then, I'm not here for sightseeing), so have little time, but did manage to browse throught this year's remixes. Here are some I especially enjoyed:

Buffy:

Letters never sent (The Crumbled Sheets Remix

Xander, trying to tell Jesse's parents what happened in the BTVS pilot. It's a story entirely composed of letter attempts, terse, gutwrenching and all too likely.

Fairy Tales:

Feathers and Nettles (The Sibling Remix)

Based on Anderson's tale of the six swans, a story about the youngest brother and his sister. Bittersweet.

Galaxy Quest:

Like no business I know (The Climbing Uphill Remix)

How Gwen experienced the show. Loved it.

MCU:

Magic Boxes (The What Remains Remix):

Howard builds magic boxes and out of them come weapons. Tony is his greatest creation and his worst nightmare.

Takes the various versions of Howard movies and Agent Carter have presented and creates a coherent whole. It also includes the encounter between Peggy and Vision I never knew I wanted until I read it!
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
( Jun. 24th, 2015 11:53 am)
I just read that as of the new Captain Marvel, S.W.O.R.D will no longer exist in the Marvelverse. No word yet whether they'll simply dissolve the situation or retcon it as never having existed at all.

This makes me profoundly unhappy and upset because of Abigail Brand, head of S.W.O.R.D.. Now I haven't been following the comics for a while (read: years), but ever after Joss Whedon's run of Astonishing X-Men had finished and the following comics also used Abigail Brand, whom he had invented (for a while, she even got her own series, which meant TPTB liked her, too), I took it for granted she would remain in the Marvelverse. I loved many things about Astonishing X-Men, but the abrasive, morally ambiguous Agent Brand was one of the elements I loved most. (Which is why I wrote some stories about her.) And it was one of the few times where I predicted and wanted a pairing and then it happened. (And kept happening in Brand's and Hank McCoy's post-Whedon appearances.) In conclusion: I love Abigail Brand.

If they retcon her out of existence I'll, I'll...

....do nothing at all, in all likelihood, except for shaking my first at the Marvellian sky and consider a career as a supervillain. With green hair. It'll be all your fault, Marvel. *starts to plot ridiculous plan to take over the world, just in case*
And in today's entry of "Links for people who didn't hate Age of Ultron":



Earth's Mightiest Monsters: thoughtful meta on the movie.



Fanfiction:

on second thought, better to use a spoilers for the movie cut )
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
( May. 9th, 2015 08:53 am)
Briefly, as conference duties call:

Black Sails:

At last a collection of beautiful icons! The lack of Black Sails icons has been depressing. I used this bunch to rectify the situation immediately. Oh, I should add there's male nudity in some, I suppose, so if your employer frowns on that sort of thing, beware, etc. (The same icon post also has Daredevil icons, btw.)


Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Two positive reviews not despite but because of Natasha's part in the movie, praising it:

Here and here.

And lastly.

Sense 8:

Trailer for a new Netflix show which is of fannish interest because JMS (that's J. Michael Straczynski for non Babylon 5 people) wrote it. Oh, and those Wachowski guys are producing. It does look interesting. Caveat: JMS obviously is very interested in mutants/superpowered people and the way they're intrumentalized and/or persecuted by societies, since he's been dealing with that subject not just with the Telepath arc on B5 but repeatedly in comics - Supreme Power, The Twelve, Rising Star (not sure about the last title, I may misremember it). This had results ranging from the fascinating to the Byron, and I am not thinking of the poet. And then there's the part where Supreme Power petered out after a strong start because he lost interest, and we never got the Telepath War, and, well, I want my complete story, is what I'm saying, he's spoiled me on B5. All this said? I'll definitely tune in.
Met [personal profile] kangeiko and [personal profile] naraht yesterday, which was lovely and included a brunch and a lengthy walk along the Thames respectively. I also watched Avengers: Age of Ultron. Non-spoilery version: I liked, though didn't love it the way i did the first movie. (Perhaps inevitable because getting-together-tales are a soft spot of mine.) Was tickled (by which I mean very amused) by some stuff that literally Josses lots of fanon, due to the fact that I wasn't keen or neutral towards said fanon. Rolled my eyes at one bit of dialogue, enjoyed lots of others (not surprisingly.) Because I watched it in close proximity to the Oppenheimer play , there were inevitable thematic overlaps for me. Was sad about SOMETHING which wasn't the something I expected. Do have a favourite among the new characters.

Spoilery version )
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