( more spoilery talk beneath the cut )
( more spoilery talk beneath the cut )
The dreams in which I'm dying (3348 words) by Selena
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
Past, present, future: fourteen memories Howard Stark experiences in the minutes before his death.
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.
( Inevitable Spoilers for season 2 and 3.02. in the story description )
( Still under a spoiler for Civil War cut to be safe )
( 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."
Meanwhile, post Civil War or Civil War inspired tales I am interested in include:
( Spoilery Stuff )
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: )
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?
An Early Thaw (129841 words) by ironychan
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
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.
( More detailed impressions )
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.)
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
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:
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.)
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. )
Queer and diverse, Black Sails is qietly TV's most revolutionary show: I'll say.
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.
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).
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
( 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.
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.
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.
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. )
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.
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.)
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.)
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!
Accomodation: lovely Capheus pov, exploring him processing what happened in the show's finale.