selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
( Jul. 5th, 2016 09:04 pm)
Black Sails:

The Prince in the High Tower: charming fairy tale AU. I can so see everyone mentioned in these roles.

MCU:

Who only stand and wait: Edwin Jarvis, as summarized by Vision. There are a very few stories who make use of the Jarvis - JARVIS - Vision connection, and this one does so in a unique way.

Deep Space 9:

War Songs: lovely DS9 ensemble story; aw, DS9.
One more day to sign up for the History Exchange! Come on, fellow history loving readers, you know you want to. 500 words is really low pressure and can be easily done.

Babylon 5:

Every now and then you need a story that's a break from the angst and is just hilarious. Like this one.

Perception: in which it turns out that Refa had an, err, somewhat mistaken impression about what the Londo and Morden relationship was all about. This has lasting consequences. :)

Avengers

If running's a plan: Natasha-centric story that takes her, and the team, from the end of Avengers to the end of Age of Ultron, showing the growth and change of the Natasha/Bruce relationship and the team coming together. As opposed to majority of the fandom, I actually liked Natasha/Bruce in AoU, but still, fleshing out how they got there really good to read about, as was the Avengers going from almost strangers (except for Natasha and Clint, of course) allied by necessity to a team working together. While Natasha/Bruce is the main relationship of the story, I really appreciate it also gives storytime to Natasha's other relationships (Clint, Nick Fury, Tony, Steve) - so often fanfiction focuses only on one and lets the characters live in isolation.
Because apparantly I can go through years of only writing Yuletide stories, but once the muses start yapping again... Anyway: this isn't the story I've written for the Agent Carter ficathon mentioned in the last post. It's the one I wrote after writing both my ficathon story and the one before that. Personally, I blame Civil War.



Funeral Games (5693 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV), Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter & Howard Stark, Joseph Manfredi & Howard Stark
Characters: Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Joseph Manfredi, Whitney Frost, Tony Stark, Nick Fury, Peggy Carter's Son, Peggy Carter's Daughter
Additional Tags: Captain America: Civil War (Movie) Spoilers, Male-Female Friendship, Relationship Study, Grief/Mourning
Summary:

A chance encounter with a face from the past at Howard Stark's funeral causes Peggy Carter to look for the truth - about Howard's death, and about their relationship.

Goofiest fannish thing of the month I did: going to the Star Wars: Identies exhibition which is currently here in Munich and taking pictures of the Ahsoka Tano part of it.

Under the cut )

Re: the exhibition itself, costumes, models and props from all eras. (I.e. from early storyboards for A New Hope to BB8.) The infamous slave girl costume for Leia from Return of the Jedi brought it home that poor Carrie Fisher must have hungered and/or drugged herself to a painfully thin state for that movie - those sizes are tiny!

It's very much aimed at a young audience, with educational mini lectures (I don't mean this in a deragotorily) all over the place, like in a science museum. One of them, however, awoke protective feelings about Shmi Skywalker I didn't know I had. The subject was different methods of parenting, and the speaker, using clips from A New Hope (Toshi Power Station!) and The Phantom Menace (Shmi tells Anakin only he can decide whether or not to go with Qui-Gon to become a Jedi), tells us that while both Owen & Beru and Shmi were loving parents, Owen and Beru gave Luke discipline and boundaries whereas Shmi basically let Anakin do what he wanted and hardly gave him any rules at all. (Implication: and thus a future dark sider was made.)

Now look here, Star Wars: Identies. I'm all for defending and giving the two Lars' credit, not least because Uncle Owen was vilified in some older SW fanfiction. However, you really can't compare these situations. "Hardly any rules" doesn't apply when both Shmi and her son are slaves, and their entire existence is ruled by someone else. And how was Shmi supposed to react once Qui-Gon's offer was on the table? "No, Anakin, remain on Tatoine and stay a slave with me. Maybe you won't die on the next pod race Watto puts you in, either." Sure.

And that's leaving aside that you can speculate about reasons for the way Anakin's personality developed endlessly, but "lack of rules to obey" certainly wasn't one of them. He went from spending the first nine years of his life as a slave to spending the next fourteen as a Jedi, in an order where you address your mentor as "Master", are expected to feel benevolently for all species in general but must not get overly attached to any particular individual, something practically everyone else takes for granted, and where you go where they tell you to go. And then he spent the remaining 20 plus years of his life as a Sith, in a situation where while a great many people feared him (with reason) he still was expected to unquestioningly and absolutely obey the Emperor, who between Watto and the Jedi Council certainly wins the price for "most obvious tyrant ever in charge of Anakin Skywalker".


Switching fandoms, since I'm in a complaining mood: yesterday, my suspension of disbelief snapped again in an otherwise not half bad post Civil War story where the author declared that Tony Stark was incredibly awkward around children. Look, author, I don't care how much you're attached to the fanon of Tony incapable of most social interactions, but we actually have screen canon on this. (I.e. how Tony Stark acts with children.) He's not awkward at all. Now you can argue he treats children like adults and whether or not that's a good idea, but he hits it off with Harley in Iron Man 3 almost instantly. There's no moment of "oh God, a child? What do I say?"; instead, Tony draws the correct conclusion that Harley is a mini nerd who gets bullied at school and bribes him with something to use against a bully, and has a wry, amused rapport with the kid throughout the rest of the movie. And in addition to Harley, there's the scene early on when Tony is having lunch with Rhodey and a couple of kids come to them because they want Tony to sign their pictures for them. Which he does without hesitation and with a friendly joke (that he then gets into a panic attack isn't because they're kids but because one of them mentions New York). Hell, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as far as I call, one official tells Nick Fury he wants Iron Man to come to his niece's birthday party, and it's not phrased like this is something unprecedented. In conclusion: MCU Tony Stark not only isn't awkward around kids, he seems to be well practiced in dealing with them. In fact, you could say he's got a talent for it.

For that matter, he's good with teenagers, too, if Peter Parker is anything to go by. Before anyone of the "recruiting Peter was unforgivable" persuasion strikes, I'd like to point out that by "good" I don't mean "morally upstanding". I mean "knowing how to interact with a teenager he's never met before and whom he wants something from". Which isn't something most adults can pull off.
selenak: (First Class by Hidden Colours)
( May. 28th, 2016 12:32 pm)
There's a scene in this movie where young Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Kurt Wagner have just watched Return of the Jedi and are discussing the Star Wars movies (I thought of [personal profile] penknife and [profile] amenirdis's old X-Men stories!), Kurt being pro Empire Strikes Back while Scott champions A New Hope, and Jean then concludes that at least they can agree that "the third one always is the worst". It's an obvious meta moment that just about gets away with it, and its charm embodies why despite this not really being a good movie I was entertained and glad as to where it left the characters.

more spoilery talk beneath the cut )
Not the Agent Carter story I'm supposed to be working on, but it wanted to be written, not least due to a certain movie. Also, it's another of my meta-disguised-as-fanfiction efforts, this time on Howard Stark.

The dreams in which I'm dying (3348 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV), Captain America (Movies), Iron Man (Movies), The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Howard Stark & Maria Stark & Tony Stark, Peggy Carter & Howard Stark, Steve Rogers & Howard Stark, Howard Stark & Tony Stark, Nick Fury & Howard Stark, Howard Stark/Maria Stark, Howard Stark & Joey Manfredi
Characters: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, Maria Stark, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Joey Manfredi, Nick Fury, Edwin Jarvis, James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Backstory, Character Study, Non-Chronological, Non-Linear Narrative, Bisexual Male Character
Summary:

Past, present, future: fourteen memories Howard Stark experiences in the minutes before his death.

Just because I've currently two mega fandoms (MCU and Star Wars) on the brain, and am trying to stop myself from writing what would basically be a bad issues fic (consisting of Rhodey venting at Steve; self: character A giving character B a "The reasons you suck" speech is just the type of fanfiction you don't like as a reader! Don't do it!), doesn't mean I love my tiny fandoms less.

Black Sails:


Time covers everything: This is the Miranda story I wanted to have for Yuletide, and which someone just happened to write completely unrelatedly, describing her entire adult life. I loved reading it.

The Windmill Knight and the Meditating Emperor: in which tiny Abigail Ashe comes across Lt. James McGraw when he and the Hamiltons visit her father. Funny and touching at the same time, with great glimpses at James, Thomas and Miranda in ye olde days.

Penny Dreadful.

Inevitable Spoilers for season 2 and 3.02. in the story description )
selenak: (Tony Stark by Gettingdrastic)
( May. 8th, 2016 09:47 pm)
Spent the weekend at home to be with the APs for Mother's Day, was otherwise very RL busy as well, so, just a few Iron Man fanfiction links. Both featuring Pepper because she's still on my mind, so I was looking for her in fanfic. (Neither of them has to do with the subject of my recent post, though, I hasten to add.):

Still under a spoiler for Civil War cut to be safe )
More Civil War triggered thoughts, this time about someone who isn't in it (with a good reason), Pepper Potts. Because the explanation for her absence reminded me of a couple of things, and made some thoughts about Pepper and her characterisation in the movies versus fanon come together.

Pepper ramblings ensue; no Civil War spoilers beyond an early scene dealing with Pepper's whereabouts and the reasons )

On another note, here is a Rolling Stone profile of Chris Evans, in which Steve's actor has this to say about the central conflict of Civil War:

" It's a nice role reversal," says Evans. "You have a company man like Steve who always believed in the hierarchy of the military, but in the last couple of movies has seen the people he was loyal to misuse their power. Whereas Tony, who's always danced to the beat of his own drum, is feeling guilt for the collateral damage they've left. But that's why I like this movie: There's no clear villain in terms of right and wrong. And the truth is, I actually think Tony is right. To see Steve prioritize himself over what other people need is selfish. That's what makes it interesting."
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.
.

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