Monthly Archives: March 2016

Avenging The Fantastic, Part 11: Behold … The Vision!

Continuing the read-through of as many Avengers and Fantastic Four–related Marvel comics as possible!

Books Read

Captain America #106-113; Iron Man #5-14; Avengers #57-63; Fantastic Four #80-81, Annual #6; Captain Marvel #6-14; Incredible Hulk #104-115, Annual #1; years: 1968-69.

Avengers_Vol_1_57The Revolving Door of Avengers Mansion

The Vision joins! More on that below.

Otherwise, the membership stays relatively stable in this set, aside from a couple of identity adjustments. Hank Pym, already on his third superhero persona in less than a decade of stories, switches out his Goliath identity for a fourth persona, Yellowjacket. Maybe this one will stick for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Hawkeye realizes the flaw in being an archer superhero—if your bowstring breaks, you’re kind of useless—so he uses Pym’s growth serum to become the new Goliath.

visionavengers13The Best of This Bunch – Avengers #57-58

As the Vision arrives, The Avengers finally starts getting good. The Vision is the team’s first recruit who didn’t first appear in another book…unless you count Wonder Man’s one-issue stint way back in #9. Artist John Buscema creates a memorable appearance and suitably moody atmosphere while writer Roy Thomas crafts a compelling backstory that gives the Avengers their very own family tree of sorts.

The Vision is what they call a synthezoid, a being who is basically human-like but composed of synthetic parts. He was created by Ultron to attack the Avengers, and Ultron was created by Hank Pym, because what biochemist doesn’t dabble in robotics? (Scientists don’t specialize in the Marvel Universe—they all know all the science.) Ultron implanted the brainwave patterns of the late Wonder Man into the Vision’s artificial mind. Those brainwaves were conveniently lying around because the original Avengers decided to record the dying man’s brains way back when…because that’s a thing you do? Sure.

So, for those keeping score, Pym is the “father” of Ultron, who Oedipally wants to kill him. Ultron created his own “son” in the Vision. The Wasp, as Pym’s girlfriend, winds up as the mother figure here. Wonder Man, who will be back again someday, is sort of the Vision’s “brother.” This tree shall grow as time goes on.

In the Avengers: Age of Ultron film, however, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner create Ultron and the Vision. That makes more sense. On the other hand, creating Ultron is the most interesting thing comic book Hank Pym has done so far, and as we’ll see, the guilt will give him some internal conflict (too much, actually). Continue reading

A ‘Terrific’ Prologue

Prologues are tricky. They must abide by a certain set of rules: be concise, don’t drown the reader in tedious information, make sure something happens, and adopt a viewpoint other than your protagonist’s. Basically, a prologue must act like the teaser before a television show’s opening credits.

I wasn’t originally planning on using a prologue in Terrific, my upcoming novel featuring the world’s greatest superhero — Mighty Woman! But then I realized it could provide an effective way of introducing the villain and laying the foundation for her arc.

The results are below. It’s still rough, unedited, and very much a work in progress, and you may well spot a typo or five. But it is evidence that, yes, I do remain hard at work on this thing. Plus, I feel like sharing something. So here we go…

*****

Copyright 2016 Daniel R. Sherrier

Terrific

Prologue

Doctor Death Junior was a cackler. This child who had barely entered her teens deigned herself worthy of succeeding the greatest genius who ever lived. Dumb luck alone granted her the opportunity.

Graffiti was her hobby, and a police officer had caught her in the act of “painting” beneath a highway bridge. While eluding arrest, she stumbled upon Doctor Death’s subterranean lair, where an unavoidable lack of maintenance had degraded the security system, granting the juvenile delinquent access to the arsenal of a superior intellect. But acquiring his tools did not mean she acquired a sufficient understanding of his mission. Therefore, Doctor Death Junior became one of the ridiculous ones, yet another narcissistic super-villain who wreaked pointless havoc for no grander purpose than her own inane entertainment. She purloined the infamous name of Doctor Death for escapist fantasy.

Clarissa needed to kill the pretender. Her father would have wanted it that way. Continue reading

A Qualified Defense of Fuller House

Originally posted at Smash Cut Culture.

I intended to watch only the first episode of Fuller House, treat it as a reunion special, and stop there. But the unexpected happened—whenever one episode finished, I found myself clicking on the next one.

Why? It’s not good. Critically speaking, this Full House sequel/spinoff is a bad show. It’s cheesy and predictable, loaded with unsubtle “wink wink, nudge nudge” references to its late ‘80s/early ‘90s heyday, not loaded with any kind of original comedic style, and occasionally downright dumb. (There’s a wrestling episode whose climax is the height of ridiculous stupidity, or perhaps “nadir” is the more appropriate term.) The show’s 31 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes comes as no surprise…and yet, neither does its 81 percent audience approval rating on the same website.

fuller-house-01Despite Fuller House’s legion of faults, it’s actually kind of nice. It’s the television equivalent of catching up with old friends you haven’t seen since grade school. Sure, on the surface level, you’ve grown apart during the intervening decades, but you’re still peers with a shared history that leads to a sort of unconditional acceptance. A new show with new characters could never get away with all these flaws.

If the show chose to focus on the original adults, then this probably would have felt like nothing more than a cheap rehash, and it would have gotten old very quickly. From what we see, none of them have changed since the ‘90s. Danny’s still got a clean streak. Jesse’s still vain. And Joey’s still clinging to his man-childness.

But the focus wisely shifts to the girls who have grown up since the original series. Yes, it’s absolutely contrived that the premise is a gender-reversed version of the original show, with recent widow D.J. raising three boys with the help of sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy, and yet it feels appropriate, even without youngest sister Michelle. (I certainly can’t blame the Olsen twins for not wanting to re-utter their old catchphrases that pre-date their memories. The show has a little too much fun picking on them about it, though.) Continue reading