Aftermath Pt.9

The world looked strange being this bright. It was somehow worse than the constant cloud cover that had been the reality for most of Jareth’s life. There was enough son to raise crops for his family to eat, but from autumn to winter the world was colored grey by the overhanging clouds.

Jareth was taking a more scenic route to the HQ this time. Needing time to figure out what is going on with his eye and with him in general. He has never used this ability as much as he has recently and it seems that pain is the trigger. He pondered and pondered as to why he was half in the state that he hated going into. 

Could it be that because my shoulder is in pain I never fully left the state? He thought to himself, but remembered that when he woke up after killing the Hammerfist his stomach was still throbbing. That couldn’t be it. Maybe he was losing control over the state and it would eventually become him. He would lose all the aspects of himself that he liked. 

The HQ came into view and he quickened his pace hoping his last thought was not what was going to happen to him.

Even the lobby that was already well-lit was washed out by the ever present brightness of the sun. He folded his collar down as he went to see Red and what she would tell him to do today. 

The room was dark except for red light bulbs. It was an odd change of pace but the dark was a welcome break on Jareth’s eyes. He scanned the room but found nothing and no one. He removed the eyepatch and closed his right and rescanned the room. Again he saw no one but heard the doors close behind him. He turned quickly, and there standing in front of him dressed in a more revealing dress, that Jareth did not think was possible, was Red.

Her smile caught him off guard. It was not the murderous smile he usually saw on her face. This one had something else behind it and seemed more innocent and wanting. 

“Ah, Jareth, there you are. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to show up today. I know your shoulder must be giving you problems.” Her voice was sing-songy again, but did not have malice at the seems. 

“I took a longer route. Wanted to enjoy the scenery. It isn’t often that the sun is out during the winter.” He said placing the patch back over his eye.

“Is there something wrong? Why are you wearing the patch?” She asked a similar question that his wife had asked him this morning.

Jareth sighed and began, “I have it on so I can see in the dark more easily. An old trick that my father taught me.”

Red chuckled and moved towards him. “So since it’s dark in here why did you put it back on?” She reached for the patch but was stopped short by Jareth’s left arm.

“I have it on a different eye now. Resets it so I can see in the dark a different time.” He looked down and was amazed that he caught her eye and was still holding it there with very little issue. “Did you need me to do anything today?”

“Yes, I did.” She took her arm back and moved past him letting her arm linger around the front of his pants. She placed herself on her throne and looked down. “I need you to take tribute from the people in our territory. If you are met with excuses or empty hands kill them and take it from them.” 

Her demeanor changed and she was back to her normal homicidal self. Jareth was taken aback from her demand and he fumbled for words.

“W-what? You want me to kill the people in the territory if they don’t give me anyhting?” Jareth stammered out.

“I did not stutter. Do as your told. Your family does not need to give anything. Your work is tribute enough.” Red said and waved him away. 

“Red I can’t extort these people. They are my neighbors and friends!” Jareth exclaimed not sure what to do.

“Lieutenant I did not stutter. Would you prefer I kill you precious Maria and you children in front of your eyes and then make you collect tribute?” Red was bearing down on him from her throne.

“No, I would not.” Jareth said and then turned around and moved towards the door. He stopped in front of door and thought about saying something, but thought better of it and went through and headed back out into the blinding light.

Aftermath Part 8

Jareth awoke to bright light coming in through the windows. Looking outside he saw that it had snowed and the sun was bouncing off and doubling the brightness outside. He squinted and turned to the inside of his room, his left shoulder throbbed with every movement and he tried to remember what happened. 

It was foggy but the last thing he remembered was feeling a bolt hit him in the shoulder and then everything got dark. As he walked around his bedroom something felt off. Jareth reached to his face and felt the left side, fearing the worst. Everything was intact, he had not lost his eye. Closing the right eye and focusing on the left everything was sharper and more in focus.

The way to the bathroom made his shoulder pulse in agony. Grabbing the doorway he braced himself and grit his teeth through the pain. The only solace was the promise of something to relieve pain.

The light was in the bathroom as well, illuminating the entire room it an eerie white light. He needed to see what his shoulder looked like and if it had been infected. Before he could turn he caught sight of his eye.

It was white, there was no iris or pupil, just pure white and seemingly glowing. He inspected it further looking closer, trying to find veins, his pupil, or his iris, but he found nothing. Just an abyss of glowing white.

He left the bathroom and got dressed in his normal attire but now with the hole in it to leave him vulnerable to the elements. He added and eye patch to cover up his left eye in hopes that Maria wouldn’t be worried about what was wrong with him.

Maria was busy in the kitchen and his children, Gregory and Stephanie were at the table eagerly eating their breakfast in heavy clothes ready to go out and be in the snow.

“Don’t eat too fast now our you’ll upset your stomach. I know you want to get out there and play, but savor your food.” Jareth said patting each of their backs. Gregory was 14 and Stephanie 12, but they never lost their excitement for snow on the ground.

Their response was each a muffled grunt of agreement as they chewed and hurriedly tried to swallow. Jareth turned to Maria and hugged her from behind.

“I’m sorry that I have been out so late recently. Making sure you guys stay safe is keeping me out late.” Jareth whispered in her ear.

“I know I tried to stay up for you, but I was so tired form keeping the house running I must have just nodded off.” Maria responded giving hima  quick peck on the cheek.

The children got up and ran out the door turning back before the door shut behind them and shouting a quick “We’ll be outside!”

The house was quiet, it was just Jareth and Maria standing there embraced. She removed her self from his hug and turned around. She saw the eyepatch and gasped.

“What happened?!”

“It’s nothing, just trying to make sure that when I head out today the I can still see in buildings.” He gave her a smile. He didn’t like lying to her, but how could he explain that the version of him that she hated was halfway out this morning.

“Well then try and be careful, you know that can mess with your vision.” She said and patted his shoulder and found the hole in his coat and shirt. “Who did this to you? Was it those Blood Skulls? What happened?” She was firing off questions left and right and Jareth barely had enough time to catch them all.

“It wasn’t the Blood Skulls. I had a meeting with another group and things got heated. I caught a bolt in my shoulder before I could get out.” Not exactly as he remembered it, but he didn’t remember leaving the church either.

“Has the wound been treated?” She asked.

“No, I looked at it this morning but I didn’t get to treat it.” He said looking down at the ground.

“Sit.” It was a command from her and he did what he was told.

Jareth took off his coat and shirt so that Maria could get a better look at the wound on his shoulder.

She clanged around and eventually came out with a liquid and salve. Poking and prodding the wound to find the worst part she poured the liquid in and Jareth winced. She then placed the salve over top to seal the liquid inside and placed a bandage around his shoulder.

“There, now you won’t have to worry about any infection and it won’t be as cold on you.” She said and Jareth could feel her smile. She kissed his cheek again then moved away to let him don his clothes.

He stood up and his shoulder no longer hurt. Whatever Maria had done was close to a miracle.

“I’d better get going. Can’t keep Red waiting too long or her gang will be on our doorstep.” He said sullenly.

“I know, I wish you could stay a bit longer the kids miss having you around.” She said then hugged him and kissed him deeply.

They stood there a while Jareth not wanting to leave and Maria not wanting to let him go. When they broke Jareth turned to the door and headed to the ruined hotel that served as the headquarters for the Blood Skulls.

Aftermath Pt 7

He flung the body of the Father down onto the ground in front of Red. It flopped unceremoniously at the base of her throne and she stared at it intently, taking in everything about the being on the ground in front of her and the fact that Jareth’s eyes were a bright white. So bright that they nearly shone like flashlights. She tried to look directly into them but it burned her eyes.

“How was it?” She asked her tone more sing-songy than ever, “I trust they weren’t too much trouble for you and all your news toys.” Her grin widened and she giggled. Not a cute giggle that would have been heard from a woman her age before the conflict, she had the sort of giggle that a killer had after a kill.

“There were more than I expected but this one was the only one that gave me any trouble.” Jareth said pointing down to the body of the Father. “He was powered. Seemed more like a snake than a man.”

“I can see that.” Red said walking around the body inspecting it. “His skin is greener than it should be and if you look close enough you can see scales instead of skin.” She squat down next to the body and pulled the collar down to reveal textured skin with the pattern of scales.

“If that is all you needed I am heading back home.” Jareth said and began to turn around to leave.

“Actually, I have something for you.” Red said and stood up raising her bottom first and rolling her spin until she was upright. She approached Jareth and handed him a knife. “For the work you have done.”

Jareth inspected it and saw that it was a Bowie knife not unlike his own but more suited for combat. Its handle was at an angle to the blade and the guard curved down at the fingers and up at the back where the hand would go. The pommel curved up at the fingers as well creating a faux hang guard. The blade had a deeper fuller ground into it and made it lighter than his own. He took it and attached it to his belt on the opposite side of his family knife. He moved the axe to the back of his belt and then met gazes with Red.

She had been eyeing him hungrily as he maneuvered the weapons around his belt, and had moved closer than he would like even in the state he was in now.

“I’ll be taking my leave now. I will return tomorrow, let me know what I need to do then.” Jareth said staring into Red’s eyes with his glowing white ones.

“Very well.” Red said and moved in swiftly and placed a kiss on his cheek and letting her hands linger around his groin for longer than she should have. “I will see you tomorrow.”

Jareth turned and left with haste. He felt like he had been violated but knew if he brought it up to his wife, Maria, or Red, his boss, then he would have more to deal with than he wanted to.

On the walk home he inspected his surroundings. The air had started to get warmer and it would soon be the end of winter and the beginnings of spring. Planting would have to start soon which meant raids on farming homes. He saw the old paths of the raiders and the ashen look of the worn dirt. They led in criss-cross directions but led to one singular point, home and the other farms. Now that he felt he had more control over himself in this state he thought he could repel the raiders on his own should they try.

he arrived home and opened the worn wooden door to his small cabin. His children were asleep, as they should be for how late it was. Maria was in a chair in the front room and book on her lap and a blanket covering her. She had fallen asleep waiting on him to return. Jareth moved over quietly as not to disturb hr and kissed her on the forehead and made his way to the back and the room where he and his wife slept together on nights he was not out as late as he had been.

His head hit he pillow and he fell asleep fast. It was not a restful sleep. He was plagued by nightmares the entire night…

Venom the Movie: Is It Good?

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Weirdly yes and no. As someone who grew up in a household that encouraged comic reading and being immersed in the lore of those worlds I was let down by the movie. I liked the subtle nods to the comics that there were, but it is hard to have Venom in a universe where there is no Spider-Man. Venom’s entire arc through the comics is how much they hate Spider-Man. This is because the Symbiote hates Spidey as well as Eddie Brock. That hatred fuels them and is literally their only motivation through the beginning stories they are in. Recently Marvel has fleshed out the character more with a great solo title out now that I highly recommend picking up and reading. The movie takes the idea of Venom and plays with it.

Riot is not a Klyntar. Riot does have a lot to do with the LIFE foundation, but it was synthetically made in the comic books. Riot was made as a part of a team that eventually all fuse together to make another symbiote names Hybrid. Riot was never a pure blooded Klyntar and never had the powers that were show cased in the movie. Riot in the movie is more Carnage than anything. This brings up another questionable decision from the movie that I am still trying to wrap my head around.

Why in God’s is Woody Harrelson cast as Cletus Kasady? It sets up the next movie as Venom versus Carnage I get that, but the casting seems off. The wig is terrible, and Harrelson’s body type is far and away from what Cletus’ body type is. Cletus(Carnage) is scrawny. It seems like a bad choice, but I will give Harrelson credit that even in the few seconds that are the post credits scene he is in he does convey a very convincing psychopath that would make a great host for the Carnage symbiote.

How are they going to make Carnage a bigger threat than Riot was? I don’t know, Riot seemed to be able to do everything that Carnage can do so the sequel may just feel like a rehash of the same story line but with different stakes. I’m interested to see what they do but not hopeful for the franchise as a whole.

Now that I am done bitching about the weird things I will say, if you go into this movie with very little knowledge of who Venom is and the comics as a whole it is an enjoyable movie. It isn’t weirdly paced and there are only a few parts of it that don’t really make any sense that I assume can just be blamed on poor editing. The action sequences are good and Venom looks like a beast. They are tall, jacked out of their mind, and teeth and tongue were spot on. I don’t think it was an over all poor movie, but it was not a great movie.

Overall I think it is mediocre and a refreshing departure for the Superhero genre. Just the right amount of dark, grit, and gore with some scenes that were genuinely funny because they were written that way. I would give it 3 Spider-Men out of an X-Men.

Looking at the Spider-Man “Back to Basics” Story

Wow, I’ve been gone a while. Let’s get back into it talking about something that I have loved in my time away from the blog. Spider-Man specifically the new comic run that started after the events of “Going Down Swinging” and the fight with the Red Goblin.

“Back to Basics” is a great Spider-Man story line. While it is only in it’s beginning stage on the 4th issues of a twice monthly release comic. It started the story by undoing what I have called the “Peter Parker Success Story”. Without getting too spoil-y, Peter has left Parker Industries and is the science editor for the Bugle. An AI finds out the Doctor Octopus wrote his Doctoral thesis(during the events of the Superior Spider-Man comic) and Peter is subsequently fired from the Bugle after being accused of plagiarism and has his doctorate taken from him because the work was not his own. This sets the ground work for Peter being more of an average guy than being a baby Tony Stark.

The story plays with the idea of Parker not being able to be in two places at once and the age old situation of can he have a girlfriend, job, go to school to re-earn his degree, and be the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man. The writer introduces a fresh take on the concept by having the classroom in the basement of the University. As the story progresses Peter and Spider-Man are split because of a lab accident and that is where the meat of the story is taking place. The reader gets to see how Peter’s life is without the Spider-Man part of it and what Spider-Man would be like if he was a full time superhero. In all honesty this irks me a little. It is written well and works with story elements but for my personal taste Spidey is written a bit too much like a G/PG-13 rated Deadpool. In movie terms take Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. It serves a purpose but the Spider-Man is a bit too over the top for me.

Since issue 5 and later are not out it is impossible to know where the story is headed but I am very excited to read it and find out.

I’m going to try and get back the weekly posts about fantasy and story structure and should soon be posting the rest of the Aftermath parts. I hope you enjoyed the review!

The DCEU’s Main Problem When it Comes to Movies

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Zack Snyder. Article done, we can all go home.

Honestly I wish it were that easy. We can all agree that Snyder has never read a single comic book or seen a single good DC cartoon and he makes a mockery of the characters. But, the main blame lies somewhere else.

Honestly, as much as I dislike Snyder for what he has done to DC more of the blame rests on the shoulder of the DC/WB executives that are so desperate to have a movie compete with a Marvel film/show they take everything good about the characters in the comics and ruin it by changing them dramatically. WB doesn’t care about the characters or what makes them great characters.

They don’t care if the fact that Superman is not an unfeeling god but really just a chill guy that loves burritos who was raised in Kansas. They don’t care to show that even though Superman is from Krypton he is a human first and Superman second. His character is so much more than his powers, but all mainstream media has really seen him fir is the powers first and Clark Kent second. Just look at the image below and tell me you see an unfeeling god character.

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Superman is a good man first and Superman second. Always.

They don’t care that Batman isn’t some gun toting badass à la Red Hood(who is a better character than angry Batman). BvS makes a mockery of the character that I knew and loved when I grew up and read when I was in college. Batman puts life first and this can be seen in the comics. It’s why he raises Dick to not become him. (We’re not going to touch Titans and what Dick Grayson has become.) Like in the Justice League show when he talks to Ace while she is dying and makes sure that she is comforted when she dies. Just watch below and you can get the real sense of the character.

Or recently when he is trying to groom his son, the newest Robin, Damian into not an unfeeling killing machine the Ra’s al Ghul wanted when he trained the boy from birth. Batman may be the most detached because of childhood trauma but that doesn’t mean that his view on humanity is as grim-dark as the DC movies would want you to believe.

Let’s look at the shows and the other problems that comes from them. Everyone is a Batman Dominatrix. Take Arrow for example, Oliver Queen is the most removed from his comic counter part. Green Arrow is more Iron Man in his personality than Batman, but because of Smallville he had to become Batman for legal reasons. He disappears, is dark and moody, and even his costume is dingy and dark. GREEN ARROW IS BASED OF ROBIN HOOD. He is not supposed to be in dark green and sneaking around. Arrow wearing leather is fine it slightly fits the base character, but there is another show in the Arrow-verse that puts the characters in leather that makes no sense.

Flash. Flash runs faster than light. Leather cannot stand up to that kind of friction, very few materials can. In the comics his suit is specially crafted to reduce the amount of friction so that it doesn’t burst into flames at a moments notice. When the first images of Wally West from the Flash show were released my first thought was: “Why is he in leather?” Then I did research and found everyone is in leather so it’s ok? Credit where it is due though Flash and honestly Super Girl give the most care to the characters out of all of the DCEU. This may change before SHAZAM releases because it looks promising.

Where did the problems come from? Christopher Nolan is where. His Batman movies were some of the best comic films to be released during that time. They were different from anything else with the dark tone and realistic portrayals of the characters, but as Marvel started to mature with their movies and crank out great film after great film the things that made the Nolan films great became what made them not stand up and the poison to the DCEU as a whole. WB made everyone Batman after those movies came out. Hell, everyone wanted to be Batman (or the Joker) after the films came out but it was based on the edgy 1980’s Batman and not the one that was currently in the comics.

WB wants to be on top of the Superhero movie genre and they don’t understand that having people that know the characters and that will take the care to show the true character underneath will make the movies better. Look at Wonder Woman, the director took great care with the character and made a great movie despite having that DC tag on it.

DC comics along with Marvel were the things I was raised on. I grew up with these stories and learned all about them their origins and what makes them so great. DC isn’t bad it just wants to compete and the studio doesn’t care about its.

Also, Tim Drake is the best Robin and Red Hood makes more sense than Batman.

The MCU and the Ever Present Power Struggle Between Spider-Man and Captain America

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photo credit

I love the MCU and I love comics, but recently I re-watched Civil War and with Infinity War out as well I feel like this needs t be touched on. The MCU is trying to make Captain America the strongest hero in the MCU when that unfortunately is not true.

I understand that for Marvel, at least in the movies, Cap is their Superman. This is all well and good except for the fact that if it’s broken down Spider-Man is really more the Superman mirror in the comics. Let me explain, Superman and Spidey both work for a Newspaper, they both have a multitude of super powers, and probably the biggest is that they both wear the iconic red and blue outfit. Captain America is like Superman in the fact that they both stand for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But, more to my point Spider-Man is more powerful than Captain America.

I will back up these claims with facts. Captain America has super strength there is no doubt about it. He is on the same level as Black Panther and Bucky. Spider-Man is much stronger than him. The only members of the Avenger that is truly stronger than him are Thor and Hulk(I’m not counting Iron Man because his strength is not form him or an accident but a suit). They have the abilities of a god and a giant green rage monster that only gets stronger the angrier he gets. Spider-Man has the proportionate strength of a spider but for a human. His base strength is approximately 10 tons, his muscles are dense not large making him quick and strong.

Cap is another animal all together. The best way his power can be described is that he has the strength of 10 men. His base strength with a bench press is around 1200 pounds. Still a lot, but not close to Spidey. He is the cream of the crop compared to other humans, but as far as super strong he is not.

Why did I go on a tangent about this? Because the MCU has a problem where Captain America is the strongest possible when it helps the narrative, and I get that I really do. All I want is a little more continuity with the comics. Just make Spider-Man strong, keep Cap as the symbol, but when he over powers Sider-Man is Civil war it’s just not possible Unless, Peter’s heart wasn’t in the fight and he let himself lose just like in the comics.

Let me know your opinions, I’m sure there are going to be many. Keep it civil and I eagerly await the responses of anyone and the discussion to follow.