Tag Archives: comics

Movie Review: IRON MAN 3 (2013)

RACHEL HYLAND

Based on the comic character created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, Jack Kirby
Written by: Drew Pearce, Shane Black
Directed by: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Jon Favreau, Don Cheadle, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley, Ty Simpkins, the voice of Paul Bettany

In Short: Tony Stark faces his (and the country’s) demons.
Recommended: Hell, yes!

TONY: You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.

The Marvel Universe is one of my very favorite vacation spots, but after the mind-blowing awesome that was Joss Whedon’s The Avengers last year, I have to admit that I went into Iron Man 3 with a perhaps unfair cynicism and preemptive disdain. After all, how could anything possibly compare? This general feeling of malaise wasn’t helped by the fact that while I quite enjoyed Iron Man 2, it didn’t really set my world on fire (and certainly has not stood the test of time), and so while of course I would not for a second have contemplated not seeing this movie as soon as it hit theaters, I was in no way enthusiastic about the prospect.

Wow, what a difference 130 minutes makes.

In the hands of director Shane Black, who takes the reins here from previous Iron Man auteur Jon Favreau (and yet Favreau’s still in the movie – how awkward would that have been, the first few days on set?), Robert Downey Jr.’s already captivating Tony Stark becomes, without a doubt, the greatest onscreen incarnation of a comic book character ever – sorry Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Chris Evans, Edward Norton and Christopher Reeve – and his story is made both human and superhuman and both action-packed and though-provoking as well as very, very funny.

We open with a flashback to pre-arc reactor Tony: selfish, arrogant, casually cruel. Okay, so just like post-arc reactor Tony, except more so. It’s the eve of Y2K, and he’s at a conference where he’s about to hook up with a beautiful scientist named Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall) and where they encounter a homely idealist named Aldritch Killian (Guy Pearce). Bells will be ringing in the heads of comic book nerds (such as myself) at this point, as both appeared in Warren Ellis’s acclaimed “Extremis” arc in the Iron Man title, which does, as it turns out, somewhat form the basis of our tale. In this version of events, Tony treats both pretty shabbily… and then we cut to fourteen years later.

Tony and One True Love/corporate lackey Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are shacked up in a fabulous mansion in the Malibu hills, but there is friction between the beautiful pair, brought on mostly by the fact that Tony is still in shock over the harrowing events over the skies of New York in The Avengers. Not only is he grappling with the fact that there are aliens out there who want to invade our planet, but he also just barely made it back through a wormhole that was opened up to another galaxy (in a vacuum!), and that is kind of freaking him the hell out. Understandable, really. So he spends his time not sleeping and tinkering with his armored suits – he’s up to the Mark 42, and it really is pretty cool, all sensor-called and activated, kind of like an advanced version of Xbox Kinect. But there is a global terror menace mounting, known only as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), and when Tony’s best friend and former bodyguard Happy Hogan (Favreau) is caught up in the evildoer’s latest demonstration, Iron Man issues a challenge: come and get me.

And The Mandarin, uh, kind of does.

Meanwhile, both Maya and Killian have resurfaced, and it turns out that, hey – how’s this for happenstance? – Pepper used to be the object of the latter’s unwelcome workplace affection. We learn (though we’d already suspected it) that Maya’s work on repairing missing limbs has been dangerously corrupted, and the explosions for which The Mandarin is taking credit are actually the result of her genetic manipulation. But with Tony missing and presumed dead after a spectacular attack on his home (Spoiler Alert: he’s not), what else is he to do but go to a small rural town in Tennessee, where he meets perhaps the cutest, most precocious half-pint accomplice this side of Hit Girl – though with much less of a potty mouth – and sets his formidable intellect to the problems of The Mandarin, the bombings and the recharging of his AI helpmeet, JARVIS. And having the occasional panic attack.

Needless to say – I assume; you have seen a comic book movie or two, right? – the Day is Saved. Indeed, several days are saved, and in quite spectacular fashion. There are White House staffers plummeting through the air and seriously souped-up terrorists to contend with and nefarious politicos and cunning disguises and self-aggrandizing act-ohrs and so very much more. Tony’s other BFF, the stoic, sarcastic Rhodey (Don Cheadle), is back in suit-clad action, Paltrow reveals some damned impressive abs (and an impressive emotional range along with them), and even Downton Abbey gets a look in. But in the end, after all of the adrenaline surges and the hearty chuckles and the re-examining of deeply held convictions – so that’s how easily the War on Terror can be manipulated! – the success of this movie comes down to two things only: the writing is excellent, and Robert Downey Jr. is even more so.

Director Black also co-wrote the film, and considering his filmic history (I mean, dude wrote Lethal Weapon), the humor-driven dialogue and cleverly adapted comic-y goodness should perhaps come as no surprise. Black’s only other claim to directorial fame is the thoroughly delightful crime caper Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, in which Downey Jr. also stars. (Coincidence?) Clearly, this pair are cinematic gold, like Burton and Depp: The Early Years. Let’s hope for more such collaborations.

And let us also hope for more such outings from the Marvel stable as this sterling example. With Captain America 2 (yay!) and Thor 2 (um… less “yay!”) out later this year, and with The Avengers 2 on the distant horizon – not to mention the rebooted Spidey sequel, as well as Hugh Jackman’s return in The Wolverine (okay, maybe Downey Jr. is equal “greatest onscreen incarnation of a comic book character ever”) – this looks destined to be a banner year for the comic house, as long as something even approaching this level of quality can be maintained throughout all of its many franchises and across its array of production studios.

(Superman who?)

– Rachel Hyland

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Codex

HONORING THE GUILD — A Look Back at Six Seasons of Good Game

Earlier this year, geek goddess Felicia Day drew her hit webseries to a close… or did she?

by Kellie Sheridan

For anyone who has somehow not yet heard, The Guild is a geektastic webseries that follows the “real lives” of a guild of six socially awkward gamers as they interact both in and out of their favorite online video game. You can even argue it is the web series, as it was one of the very first to reach large scale popularity, and is even credited as being part of Joss Whedon’s inspiration for his Emmy-winning independent project, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Since 2007, Felicia Day and co. have been bringing gaming culture to life in nine-minute online installments in a way that’s both true to life and fantastically ridiculous all at once.

I am one of the many, many people who started taking an interest in web series after watching The Guild. Day first gained some traction in geek-o-sphere after showing up in Whedon projects, but quickly carved out a following all her own with this show, which she created, wrote and starred in throughout all six seasons.

Day stars at Codex, one of six members of The Knights of Good, dedicated players of “The Game” (a World of Warcraft-like MMORPG) who spend many hours together raiding for weaponry and defeating NPCs but who have never met in real life. The other members include a variety of characters who start out as gaming stereotypes but manage to develop into interesting individuals that still deliver laughs and insights six seasons later. Known largely by their gamer handles throughout the series, they are as ill-assorted a group as might be found in any show, anywhere, but what draws – and then keeps – them together is their shared passion for their favorite, very addictive, pasttime.

There is Vork (Jeff Lewis), a Warrior, the Guild’s self-declared leader and a parsimonious single forty-something, often seeming little more than a tin pot dictator (he’s a virgin). There is Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), a Warlock, an Indian-American college grad but still living at home who is smothered by his controlling mother (and also, is a virgin). There is Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda), an aggressive Ranger, who lacks any social niceties and thinks the fact she is hot and a girl makes her the queen of Gamer Land (she’s not a virgin – and not entirely wrong). There is the voluptuous Clara (Robin Thorsen), a Frost Mage, who neglects her children for the sake of the game and who is mostly in it to get her avatar cute outfits. Then there is Bladezz (Vincent Caso), a Rogue, who brings to life all the obnoxious teenaged gamers who can’t seem to stop the sexual innuendo and inappropriate comments during play (virgin). Codex herself is a Priest, and as the series begins we learn that she is unemployed and in therapy, finding solace for her depression and loneliness in the fantastical world of The Guild.

Despite playing together online for quite some time, the Knights of Good have never met in person… until, that is, Zaboo lands on Codex’s doorstep, reading into their in-game flirtation a real-life romance, and Codex convinces the rest of their guildies to come out from behind their computers and to meet in real life. This ensemble is what makes this show work, and all of the actors feed off of each other constantly, creating non-stop hilarity. It’s clear that the entire cast are friends outside of the show. The chemistry is undeniable.

While it’s tempting to give you a simple rundown of every season here, since each contained storyline is hilarious in its own right (and, given that most run to only 12 9-minute episodes, pretty easy to accomplish) that would spoil a lot of the fun for any of you who haven’t watched the whole series yet. Instead, here’s an idea of what you can expect, based entirely on official episode descriptions.

  • The Knights of Good finally meet face to face and… it’s awkward.
  • Zaboo continues his quest to become a man, while Tink tries to “help” Codex.
  • The Axis of Anarchy thwarts Codex’s attempt to counter their attacks with logic and reasonableness.
  • Codex takes desperate measures to save the Guild. She even goes outside!
  • Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Vork returns to rebuild the Guild. Not really that dramatic, but you get the idea.
  • The Guild infiltrates the convention’s costume contest in an effort to meet with Floyd and prevent the game from being ruined.
  • Vork stages a sit-down protest for gamers’ rights outside of the Game HQ while Zaboo falls in love with NPC bartender Sabina on the test server.

See, just regular ol’ gamer problems we’ve all had to face.

Each season deals mainly one element of gamer life, from travelling to conventions to romance with non-gamers (and one time, Codex’s computer broke!). In Season 6, Codex is working her dream job as a member of the team that produces the game she plays, always referred to as The Game. (It’s meant to be a proxy for numerous other online worlds with an obsessive fan base… okay, mostly World of Warcraft). Throughout its run the show managed to bring to life so many fantasies of the gaming experience in a way that was consistently funny. I mean, who hasn’t had guildies so close they felt like your “real” friends, or wanted to have the power to meet a game’s creator and shape elements of your virtual world?

A word also has to be said about the celebrity cameos and guest spots to be found in this series. Kicking off with Wil Weaton’s turn as the Axis of Anarchy’s dastardly, but strangely attractive, leader, the show has seen a number of geek favorites pop up, all leading to the greatest cameo-fest ever in Season 5’s convention green room, in which we saw internet meme Bladezz and his gamer friends rubbing shoulders with the likes of Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Dollhouse), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda) Zachary Levi (Chuck), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly). Also, Stan Lee judged the cosplay! That list of geek royalty – both minor and major – alone should make it clear that the series is more than worth your time.

The Guild has also spawned two limited-issue comic book series from Dark Horse, penned by Day (collected as The Guild and The Guild: Knights of Good), as well as three gamer themed music videos – “(Do You Want to Date My) Avatar?,” “Game On,” and “I’m the One That’s Cool” – which are as must-see as the show itself. Fair warning, though, it’s hard to get “I’m The One That’s Cool” out of your head once you hear it. All three are cheesy in all the right ways, while actually being pretty catchy. “Write Like the Wind (George R.R. Martin)” is also a must see even though it’s not technically related to The Guild, but it does feature Jeff Lewis! (Also unrelated but slightly less must-see is Felicia Day’s foray into LARPing, the webseries Dragon Age: Redemption, based on the RPG of the same name.)

When I watched the season six finale of The Guild this past January, I got the definite impression that it was absolutely the series finale as well. Entitled “End Game,” the story came to a nice solid close, the characters were in good places, and it offered up a little bit of everything. But then Felicia Day sent a tweet to her hundreds of thousands of followers: “Thank you for all of the wonderful comments on the Guild s6 finale, all. We will see what the future holds. <3” And the show is officially listed as “On-Hiatus.” Does that mean there might be more of Codex and the gang to come? While I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Day decides to focus on different projects from here on out, I definitely wouldn’t complain about just one more season of guild-y goodness. As online games like World of Warcraft continue to absorb much of our time and money, there will always be new territory that shows like this one can cover.

So, if you haven’t watched The Guild yet and you need something new to keep you entertained as our regular season shows go into summer hiatus, I can’t recommend this web series enough. Seasons 1-5 are available on DVD and Netflix, but you can find the whole series (including each season as one complete episode rather than twelve parts) on Felicia Day’s YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry, or at the official website, watchtheguild.com.

It’s also worth noting here, just in case you’re still unconvinced, that while all of the show’s characters are a little… eccentric, not one of them fits 100% into a typical gamer stereotype. These are just people who happen to like video games; one game, in particular. Yeah, sometimes they do the kinds of things that have the non-gaming community shaking their heads at freaks like us, but when it comes down to it the Knights of Good enjoy the game so much because of the people, the friends, they play it with, and that is really what makes The Guild worth watching.

– Kellie Sheridan

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TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “This Sorrowful Life” (03.15)

KELLIE SHERIDAN

Written by: Scott M. Gimple
Directed by: Greg Nicotero
US Airdate: Sunday, March 24, 2013
AMC

In Short: Merle tries to end the prison/Woodbury standoff on his own by delivering Michonne to The Governor.
Recommended: Hell yes!!!

DARYL: Not saying this was the wrong call, but this is definitely the right one.

This show hurts my soul in all the right ways. “This Sorrowful Life” cranked the tension up to ten right from the first scene, then took us on a ride that was equal parts zombie killing and character growth, before brutally killing off one of the show’s most controversial characters. It hurts so good.

The episode started out by backtracking a little. I had thought Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Hershel (Scott Wilson) had established that giving Michonne (Danai Gurira) to The Governor (David Morrissey) as a peace offering was not only a bad plan, but probably a bluff on Woodbury’s part. Well, apparently it’s the only option they have left, so Rick got his little gang together and filled them in on the plan: Michonne for the prison, because you know, letting The Governor call the shots is so totally going to work out well in the end. Not to mention that whole giving up one of your group to be tortured thing.

Quickly enough, Rick realized that Operation: Betray Michonne was basically the worst plan ever. Unfortunately, by then good ol’ Merle (Michael Rooker) had decided to take matters into his own hands and deliver the katana wielding badass to The Governor himself. Merle thinks he’s doing it for the good of the group, and as a result we get a decent sized peek into Merle’s not-so-straightforward mind. Michonne stays pretty steady throughout, taking her kidnapping and betrayal in stride.

Merle ultimately (and surprisingly) listens to what Michonne has to say about decisions and this brave new world they live in, and lets her go. But he doesn’t head back to the prison, no sir. He decides to try and take matters into his own hand/blade, bringing a swarm of walkers with him to greet the Woodbury gang. Merle even manages to take out a few henchmen and that annoying Ben (Tyler Chase) kid in the process. But, I’d try not to let that win you over, because Merle is eventually caught and it doesn’t end well.

That brings us to this week’s segment of “Let’s Talk About Daryl” (Norman Reedus). Not only has he somehow become that group’s new conscience, being the only one to point out that handing over Michonne wasn’t exactly the high ground, but he tried so hard to make things right between the group and his brother. After Merle took off with Michonne, Daryl decided to go alone to try and bring his brother back. He (and we) only learn it’s a lost cause when he stumbles upon a walker feeding ground, complete with one very special one-handed zombie. Merle has not only died, but turned. Daryl fighting off tears and his brother at the same time was a great scene and a top-notch performance by Reedus. It was powerful enough to actually make me care that scumbag Merle was no more. I’m sure there was some great symbolism behind Daryl being the one to permanently end his older brother, but for now I’m still reeling from his actually having to do it
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Meanwhile at the prison—Glenn and Maggie took a big step with their relationship, which was sweet at the time, but probably not a good sign. During that super awkward proposal, did anyone else think that either a) one of these two is going to die in the last episode or b) they’ll tie the knot after Maggie loses her father and sister in final showdown with Woodbury? If Merle has taught us anything, it’s that character growth and/or plot progression is not good for your health. The family prayer circle didn’t help their odds either.

Rick’s final pep talk was a good one, but while he was talking all I could see is how small the prison group is now. Also, the Ricktatorship is officially over, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like the newly democratic Team Prison is going to make the smart choice and give up their maximum security foxhole. Or if they do, it will be too little, too late.

In theory, this episode probably wasn’t pivotal to the plot, but it was the first in a while to do more than have me contemplating the inner workings of minor characters. “This Sorrowful Life” was written by Scott M. Gimple, who will be taking over as show runner for Season 4. He put forward an impressive effort, but what I’m really anxious to see is Glen Mazzara’s final hurrah in next week’s finale. I am now about twenty-seven kinds of nervous about how next week is going to go down. People will die. People I like. I’ve heard guesses that go as high as losing half the cast, which I can’t even wrap my brain around. Every time anyone so much as smiled, I had to wonder if it was the shows silent goodbye to that character before they’re unceremoniously cut down in the season finale.

– Kellie Sheridan

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TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “Prey” (03.14)

Written by: Glen Mazzara, Evan Reilly
Directed by: Stepfan Schwartz
US Airdate: Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Short: Rick, Michonne and Carl go on a supply run, where Rick runs into an old friend.
Recommended: Kind of.

MICHONNE: They deserved what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.

I ended up watching this episode a day late, which gave me plenty of time to hear other people’s opinions of “Prey”. Some people thought it was fantastic, and others were downright bored. Personally, I’d been hoping for an episode where bored wasn’t even a possibility, so I started up my DVR feeling more than a little wary. This episode tried to do for the Woodbury characters what “Clear” did for Rick and Michonne, but in the end it was somewhat disappointing.

After the events of last week and learning of the Governor’s (David Morrissey) plan for Michonne (Danai Gurira), Andrea (Laurie Holden) has finally had enough. For real this time, guys. No, seriously! After a chat with Milton (Dallas Roberts), she decides to head out of town to warn Rick about all of Woodbury’s evil schemes. The episode mainly focused on the Governor chasing her down, which was an odd choice seeing as neither Andrea nor Governor Phillip really has any place left to go as a character, at least until the final showdown. And really, sometimes the Governor (I’m really sick of writing his ‘name’ in these reviews) just needs to let things go.

The actual chase was a little ridiculous and drawn out. Andrea got caught by walkers, before the Governor caught up with her in a jeep that she still somehow managed to outrun, before hiding out in a building that he headed straight for? Really? I feel like any other character would have learned enough about evasion by this point in the apocalypse to hold their own. This was just poor writing which will once again hurt public opinion of Andrea. I’m trying so hard to root for this girl, but they aren’t making it easy.

In order to break up the storyline a bit, we also got to spend some time with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). Odds are at least one of these two will survive the season since they’re taking the time to build up some otherwise pretty minor characters. Tyreese took a stand against the idea of using biters against the people in the prison. It feels like they might be setting up Tyreese to help reset the main group’s moral compass once he joins up with them next season (fingers crossed). They’ve developed a pretty strong Us vs. Them mentality at this point and could definitely use some new blood to get the group looking like the good guys again. Ben (Tyler) and Allen (Daniel Thomas May) are probably both toast though, as these two fit right in with Woodbury’s more morally gray residents.

So, back to the cat and mouse game between Andrea and the Governor. The scene was actually pretty creepy, and there was some great character work from both Morrissey and Gold. Andrea managed to play things pretty smart, while her nemesis made it clear that getting caught by him was definitely not in her best interest. In the end, Andrea didn’t manage to avoid the Governor, and was caught just outside the prison fence. Bummer.

The end of the episode had a couple of non-Andrea moments worth mentioning. A mystery someone (they’re hinting that it’s Milton) set Woodbury’s collection of biters on fire, presumably so they couldn’t be used to attack the prison. Also, Tyreese and Sasha confronted(ish) the Governor about the idea of using them against the prison group, and he insisted they were just for show. Not sure if anyone’s buying that, but I really, really hope so. We’re still missing some mystery piece of the puzzle that will tip things in Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) favor so we don’t lose half the existing cast at the end of the season. Two more episodes to go, folks!

– Kellie Sheridan

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3.13 Arrow on the Doorpost

TV Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “Arrow on the Doorpost” (03.13)

KELLIE SHERIDAN

Written by: Ryan C. Coleman
Directed by: David Boyd
US Airdate: Sunday, March 10, 2013
AMC

In Short: Rick and The Governor meet for peace talks.
Recommended: Yes.

ANDREA: Save the bullets for the real threats.

That’s it! I’m officially sick of character building. Okay, maybe not, but at the very least I’m definitely craving a little more threat from the zombie menace the show is named after. In this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and The Governor (David Morrissey) met after Andrea (Laurie Holden) decided they needed a sit down to work out their issues. While it was important that these two characters actually have a face to face at some point, the fact is that very little actually happened in this episode. The alternating locale format of Season 3 has gotten a bit worn out as it continues to fail to build enough tension. I still enjoyed the episode, but it felt as though I was constantly waiting for a shocking moment that just never came.

The talks between Rick and The Governor went pretty much as expected. Neither man wanted to back down, and neither really trusted anything the other had to say. Good ol’ Governor Philip did at least try to put on a friendly face, offering Rick a drink and sharing the memory of losing his own wife. But I wasn’t buying it, and neither was Rick.

Each man also brought a few key players along with him as backup. Rick had Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), while Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Milton (Dallas Roberts) represented Woodbury. Andrea, in theory, was a neutral party. These scenes were probably the most valuable of the episode, offering some real insight into the characters.

Hershel and Milton had a sit down discussing Milton’s experiments, Hershel’s leg, and life after the apocalypse. There were some great moments from each character, and it made it that much harder for me to accept that they’re both natural choices for casualties before the end of the season. I also really enjoyed the relationship between the henchmen; Daryl and Martinez. They’d obviously get along pretty well if things were different, but odds are they’ll be going head to head sooner rather than later. Also, there was no question that of the two, Daryl was easily the bigger badass. Obviously.

For me, the most important character moment was Andrea’s long overdue breakthrough. Between being dismissed from her own peace talks and learning about The Governor’s treatment of Maggie (Lauren Cohan), she knows that she’s currently on the wrong side of the fence. Once again, Hershel was there to dole out the wisdom. If Andrea were to flip sides now, there would be no going back, and she’s probably going to be of more use to everyone if she continues to try and balance both sides. Not that it’s been going very well so far. I still think Andrea will redeem herself by the end of the season, and I think they’re setting up her character arc wonderfully. Who doesn’t love a comeback?

After a jab about Judith’s paternity and some posturing, Rick and The Governor’s peace talks were essentially over. David Morrisey did some fantastic acting throughout these scenes, and it’s never quite possible to tell when he’s bullshitting. He offered Rick the chance to end this, all Rick would have to do is hand over Michonne (Danai Gurira). Thankfully, we got a final Woodbury scene that confirmed he had absolutely no intention on following through, leaving even the ever-faithful Milton questioning how this is all going to play out. A slaughter is coming, that’s for sure.

Throughout the episode there were a few ‘back at the prison’ scenes that didn’t really go anywhere. A lot of “Arrow on the Doorpost’s” impact was lost by shining the spotlight on too many characters. So, here is a super condensed rundown of the rest of this week’s minor players.

Merle (Michael Rooker): The writers clearly don’t know what to do with him now. He hasn’t remotely adapted to being a good guy, and he isn’t going to, but I’d at least like to see him make an attempt. Also, he’s icky.
Michonne: Didn’t do much this episode besides become a bargaining chip, although it’s nice to see that she’d rather be part of the team than exact vengeance. Good thing she managed to become part of the team last episode.
Beth (Emily Kinney): Fired a weapon into the air. She’s basically the new T-Dogg.
Carol (Melissa McBride): Nodded sagely. Give this woman something to do.
Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie: Apologies abound, and these two are back on track.

Anyway, Rick went back to the prison and told his team that there would be no bargaining with The Governor. They’re going to war. Rick saw right through all the bull, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches the scheduled next meet up. Of course, this all leaves us basically where we were before the peace talks ever took place.

Since so many little things happened, it feels like nothing did. It was still good television, and I’m not about to suggest skipping this episode all together. But you could if you wanted to. I do think they’re building towards a finale that will be The Walking Dead at its very best, but it’s a finale that may be going up against Game of Thrones, so the show runners have two weeks left to turn TWD back into must-see TV.

– Kellie Sheridan

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3.12 Clear

Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “Clear” (03.12)

Written by: Scott M. Gimple
Directed by: Tricia Brock
US Airdate: Sunday, March 3, 2013
AMC

In Short: Rick, Michonne and Carl go on a supply run, where Rick runs into an old friend.
Recommended: Hell, yes.

RICK: Do you know who I am? Do you see who I am?
MORGAN: People wearing dead people’s faces.

Not too long ago, we heard the news that The Walking Dead’s current show runner Glen Mazzara would be leaving the show due to “differences of opinion” in where the show should go with AMC. Understandably, this made a lot of people nervous. Mazzara was the man who turned Season 2 around, and who adapted The Governor for the small screen. He’s got a lot of fans. So where does that leave everyone’s favorite zombie show?

Season 4 will be in the hands of Scott M. Gimple. This is the writer who brought us “Pretty Much Dead Already” (the barn/Sophia episode), the most memorable episode of the second season. This is pretty damn reassuring, so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. In “Clear,” Gimple shows us once again that he knows how to create great television, and delivers an episode that fixed a lot of the character issues the show has been developing this season.

In preparation for the inevitable showdown with Woodbury, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) decides to double back to his home town in order to try and find some much needed guns and ammo for Team Prison. He was the sheriff, and so he figured he’d have a pretty good idea of where to find supplies. Unfortunately, someone else beat him to the main weapons cache. Damn. This left the supply group with a quickly dwindling set of options, but they decided to check out the rest of the town anyways.

Of the main cast, the only people we got to hang out with this week were Rick, Carl (Chandler Riggs) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), and it was exactly what we needed. Michonne and Rick had both been floundering this season, but they each finally managed to take a few steps forward through solving the various issues this episode presented. It’s about time!

The person with the weapon stash is soon revealed to be Morgan Jones (Lennie James), the man who rescued Rick back in the very first episode, while our fearless leader was still figuring out the whole zombie-apocalypse thing. Unfortunately, Morgan had gone a little crazy since those early days. He was never able to kill his zombified wife, and that hesitation ultimately lead to the death of his son. That’s a lot of guilt to deal with, and signs of Morgan’s cracked sanity can be seen throughout the booby-trapped town. He’s not exactly welcoming to strangers, so Carl is forced to knock him out. Michonne votes for leaving him there on the street, but once Rick knows who the town wacko really is, he insists on doing the right thing.

While waiting for Morgan to wake up, Carl declares that he wants to go pick up a crib for Judith from the baby supply store. He insists on going alone (this episode was actually a bit of a step backwards for Carl), but ends up with Michonne as backup anyway. Only after trying to lose his bodyguard was it revealed that he actually had other plans. Carl wanted to rescue a picture of the Grimes family from a restaurant so that Judith would know what her mother looked like. Sweet in theory, incredibly stupid in practice.
Carl and Michonne plan a pretty cool distraction-based plan for getting the picture, which ultimately doesn’t work out. The two end up outside the restaurant empty handed, but Carl is all set to go back in despite the dozen or so angry walkers just waiting to welcome him back. Thankfully, this is where Michonne really steps up and tells Carl to cut the crap and stay put while she does her thing. Thank you! She returns a few minutes later with both the picture and a papier-mâché rainbow cat, earning Carl’s seal of approval.

It was great to see Michonne acting like a person. Even when surrounded by people, she has managed to remain isolated. She’s a product of her own experiences since the dead started walking and clearly has some trust issues. None of which was helped by Andrea (Laurie Holden) switching sides at the first hint of a warm bed. So, while we might be able to understand where her issues come from, there was no question she’d need to get past them if she was going to be accepted by either the group or the show’s audience. Operation: Grimes Photo was a step in the right direction for her.

Elsewhere, Morgan finally comes to but doesn’t initially recognize Rick. Morgan’s seen a lot of twisted things since they parted and he is seeing the world through zombie-colored glasses, set in the belief that Rick is just there to kill him. Then things get really heartbreaking. Not only does Morgan recognize Rick, but he feels all kind of abandoned by him. Once Morgan did get around to turning on the walkie-talkie, Rick was never there. Rick apologized profusely, but it’s too little, too late. It just doesn’t matter anymore.

Seeing what isolation did to this once kind man did a lot to show Rick the path he was on. This is what stalking around by yourself turns you into, Rick. It’s time to take notice. And I really think he did. He offers to take Morgan back with him to their camp, but Morgan has a new purpose in life now. Slowly but surely, he will continue to trap walkers, kill them and clear his town. It’s what Morgan lives for now that there are no people left to worry about. Rick still has quite a few of people to worry about, so he should be coming around any minute now to what it is he really needs to be focusing on. Hint: It’s not the imaginary ghost of his wife.

At the end of the episode, Michonne and Rick have a brief moment where they bond over hallucinations and their shared character growth. Okay, not actually on the last part, but it is a nice moment where you can actually take notice; these characters are now officially bearable again. Hurrah! It also marks Michonne’s official induction into the group. Assuming she survives the season (I vote yes), she likely won’t be booted out to survive on her own once it’s all said and done.

While this was a great episode for these three characters, I am starting to crave some action. And Daryl (Norman Reedus). Hopefully next week will start rebuilding the tension for the season’s final showdown while also offering up some redeeming moments for a few of the other characters. But overall, the most important thing we can bring away from “Clear” is that Scott Gimple knows what he’s doing. The Walking Dead is going to be a-okay people, so you can stand-down now.

– Kellie Sheridan

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Cosplay Oz Comic-Con

PROFESSIONAL GEEKDOM: CARISSA AVENHOUSE – Organizer of Oz Comic-Con

Now in its second year, the organizer of Australia’s latest large-scale “pop-culture event” explains how it all came to be…

by Rachel Hyland

For many fans of genre in all its many, many forms – sci-fi, fantasy, horror, anime, gaming, comics, TV, film, so very etc. – the highlight of any given social season will very often be some form of Convention. Even now, long after the advent of the internet and when members of even the most obscure fandoms can easily find a website or mailing list through which to connect with like-minded souls, it seems we still enjoy being surrounded by throngs of other eager adherents to our chosen cause – indeed, enjoy it more than ever, if attendances at such events are anything to go by.

In that spirit, Oz Comic-Con first opened its doors last year; there were already similar conventions, both large and small, running throughout Australia at the time, of course, but that didn’t stop genre fans and event organizers Carissa Avenhouse and Rand Ratinac from launching a two-city extravaganza of pop-culture in direct competition to established Cons such as the well-respected Supanova and Armageddon. Despite controversy at the use of the name “Comic-Con” (which some believed attempted to trade shamelessly on the success of the annual San Diego spectacular), and some disappointment (mostly as a result of unexpected, and overwhelming, demand), the 2012 events can still only be considered a triumph, with guests including such luminaries as Stan Lee, Patrick Stewart, Sean Astin and Ben Browder, and with combined attendances in both the Adelaide and Melbourne legs topping 50 000.

This year, Oz Comic-Con goes first to Perth (March 9-10), then to Adelaide (March 16-17), and finally, much later, to Melbourne (July 6-7). With Perth/Adelaide guests including William Shatner, J. August Richards, Richard Dean Anderson, Jason Momoa, Colin Ferguson and a host of other sci-fi (and, indeed, Syfy) stars, excitement among the geektelligentsia has long been building.

Here, organizer Carissa Avenhouse talks challenges, guests, fandom and Comic-Con etiquette…

Throngs of eager fans line up for the 2012 Melbourne event.

GS: First of all, can you tell us a little bit about Oz Comic-Con?

CA: Oz Comic-Con is the ultimate pop-culture and fan expo, featuring multi-genre content from across the spectrum; from film and television stars to comic book and anime artists, gaming demonstrations and cosplay competitions, to portfolio reviews and creative workshops and master classes.

Oz Comic-Con is more than just a gathering place for fans of the various arms of pop-culture. It celebrates and educates; it’s the place to come if you want to share your love of pop-culture, get up close and personal with celebrities, enter contests with fantastic prizes, or learn how to break into the industry.

GS: How did it come about?

CA: We have hosted intimate genre specific pop-culture events throughout Australia for years and worked at several expos, but found that Australian fans were still wanting something more.

GS: Whose idea was it, and how did the team come together?

CA: The event was a natural progression from that idea that grew between myself and Rand [Ratinac, husband and co-founder]. Our amazing team has been growing with us from our very first pop-culture event in 2004.

GS: What has been the biggest challenge in putting on such a large-scale undertaking?

CA: Managing the tiny details. There are thousands on them and missing just one can mean major issues down the line.

GS: You have William Shatner coming to the Perth and Adelaide events – how does such a thing come about?

CA: Simply put, we had the pleasure of hosting William at an intimate Star Trek event in 2011. William had such a great time that he expressed his interest in returning to Australia for us in the future.

GS: How do you decide whom to invite, and then how involved is the process of getting them on board?

CA: There is no secret formula to selecting guests. You have to know your pop-culture and have a lot of experience, listen to fans and retailers, research, research, research and make an educated selection based on availability. In Mr. Shatner’s case, we issued the invitation and he kindly accepted.

GS: Can you tell us any tales of joy or heartbreak to come out of that process?

CA: The joy is in landing an excellent guest. The heartbreak is losing them due to work commitments. [eg. Teryl Rothery in 2012, Amanda Tapping this year. – Ed.] Unfortunately it is the nature of these events. When this happens, most of the fans are very gracious and understanding but some can be less so. We just want people to understand that as much as a guest wants to come, sometimes something just comes up and it can’t happen. We’ll always try to bring them in the future.

GS: What is the threshold for Special Guest? Because in addition to Shatner, and other big SFF names the likes of Colin Ferguson, Eddie McClintock and – wow! – Richard Dean Anderson, you also have some more, shall we say, supporting actors, whose names and faces might not be quite so recognizable to the majority of fans. Would you accept the inclusion of, say, that guy who was in that episode of the original Battlestar Galactica that one time (as with some other conventions), or do your guests need to be of a certain caliber to be invited?

CA: We try to select guests that have multiple credits or have a very strong fanbase. Each guest has a cost associated with bringing them into Australia so it also has to work with the budget for the event.

Australian comic artist Nicola Scott.

CA: Comic artists differ a little to actors. They always have new books being released and new prints and art pages available. Further, as many people order commissioned pieces, artists are forever popular even if they have visited a city before. Also Nicola in particular is one of Australia’s best known artists and one of our priorities and duties is to support the local Australian industry as much as possible.

GS: Are you hoping to develop a list of regulars from year to year, or do you feel you’re more likely to always pursue new faces/names?

CA: There will always be repeat guests at events due to popular demand, however we are always focused on ensuring a large number of fresh faces and high profile guests to headline our events.

GS: Is there a dream guest for a future event you have your eye on? If so, who and why?

CA: Spoilers, sweetie.

GS: Speaking of guests, an FAQ on your website offers a chiding list of things NOT to do when speaking to, or even just bumping into, them. Is this born out of last year’s experiences, or experiences at Cons in general?

CA: This comes from a lifetime of experience as an attendee, exhibitor and event director. Whilst most attendees are brilliant ambassadors of Australian fandom, unfortunately a few people forget themselves and basic polite behavior. Sadly, it takes just one person to ruin it for everyone.

GS: As this is your second year of Oz Comic-Con, what do you think is the most valuable lesson learned from last time that you can apply – or have applied – this time out?

CA: Bigger venues. Our biggest issue that we experienced last year was the overwhelming numbers of people wanting to attend the events, double or triple as many as had attended any similar event preceding it. We have amended that with an increase in venue size, staff and a change of front of house procedure.

GS: One of the highlights of any convention for many fans is the signed photos they purchase at the various actors’ booths. Do you have such a collection yourself?

CA: Having started off attending my very first event as a fan at 15, I have a massive collection of autographs, memorabilia, collectibles and original art.

GS: Which is your most prized?

CA: My favourite is not actually an autograph. Dark Horse editor and writer Scott Allie made me a Slayer in a story he wrote for the Tales of the Slayer novel and we have various paintings and art pieces at home, from different artists.

GS: On the comic side of things, you have some major artists and writers in attendance: what do you think this says about the current state of the comic industry, and of the Australian comic industry in particular?

CA: The comic industry as a whole rises and falls, though currently it seems to be enjoying a surge in popularity in the collective consciousness, as evidenced by the mainstream appeal and success that publishers are experiencing with various comic brands. However as always it is difficult as a writer and an artist to be seen and heard. That said there is always a glut of Australian talent and we feel privileged to assist them in reaching their audience and to provide opportunities with publishers and editors.

GS: But for all that it is called a “Comic-Con”, a lot of focus at your event will undoubtedly be on the TV and film stars you have making appearances. Is this at all troubling? Or does this just mean the event is misnamed? (Much like San Diego Comic-Con, nowadays.)

CA: Not at all. We focus on four areas with the event; Publishing, Film and TV, Gaming and Animation. The reason we chose the term Comic-Con, which is used by at least 35 other similar events around the world, is so that Australians who may not be so familiar with the current available expos would hear about the event and instantly understand what it entails.

GS: What has surprised you most about this venture?

CA: How many fans really are out there. We always knew there was a lot, but never imagined that this many would come through the doors.

GS: What has surprised you least?

CA: The hard work.

GS: On the scale of geekdom, where 1 is “Have seen Star Wars” and 10 is “I purchased a lock of Anthony Daniels’ hair on eBay”, where do you fall?

CA: Depends which genre you refer to; in one I may be considered a 3, but in another a 9 (I don’t own part of a person though). I am a fan. I like some things and not others, everyone has their own extremes.

GS: Does this help or hinder you in organizing an event such as this?

CA: I don’t believe so; we focus on the greater good of the event rather than satisfying our own fandoms. But we are also firm believers in liking what you do.

GS: And what has been your highlight (so far) of organizing this convention, on both the personal and professional sides – or is that the same thing?

CA: This is a very personal industry because fandom in itself is so personal. The highlight is working in a field I love with my husband.

THE FINAL FIVE WITH CARISSA AVENHOUSE

Trek or Wars? You left off Gate.
Marvel or DC? Hybrid of both.
Vampires or Werewolves? Zombies.
Dragons or Unicorns? Dragons.
Time Travel: Pro or Con? I like my time travel more Back to the Future less 12 Monkeys.

– Rachel Hyland

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The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “Home” (03.10)

Written by: Nichole Beattie
Directed By: Seith Mann
US Airdate: Sunday, February 17, 2013

In Short: The Governor kick-starts the prison vs. Woodbury war, while the group tries to find a new balance without Rick or Daryl to take the lead.
Recommended: Yes!

BETH: Why are we so sure he is going to attack? Maybe you scared him off?
MICHONNE: He had fish tanks full of heads; walkers and human… trophies. He’s coming.

Just what the doctor ordered, an unexpected character death. While this week’s episode may have started off with a lot more talking, and moving characters to where they needed to be, it ended in a way that assures us that the best is yet to come. Seriously guys, The Governor (David Morrissey) is freakin’ crazy.

With Daryl (Normal Reedus) and Merle (Michael Rooker) having split off from the group last week, “Home” has to deal with three different sets of characters, all of whom have some stuff to deal with before the show can really start to move forward. Once again, Woodbury is essentially just dull with a touch of insanity, but at least Andrea (Laurie Holden) is finally catching on to how things are as The Governor’s charms fall away. Where she ultimately ends up has yet to be decided, but I think there is a reunion in our future.

The Dixon brothers are already struggling on their own, both to find food and to figure out their dynamic now that they’ve been reunited. This is the first time we’ve really gotten to see Merle and Daryl together, and their trek into the Georgia wilderness makes it clear that things have changed between these two brothers, despite Merle remaining the same old S.O.B. he’s always been. Daryl is a pro now, and not someone to push around. The line is truly drawn in the sand when Daryl insists on rescuing a cornered family, which Merle just cannot seem to wrap his head around. Thankfully, this is all it takes for Daryl to realize who his family is now and we’re on our way back to a cohesive group, although the Dixon brothers are in for a bit of a hot mess once they get back to the prison.

I’m really not looking forward to the horrible end that is clearly coming for Hershel (Scott Wilson), since a one-legged man can really only last so long in this cruel, cruel world. “Home” shows him to be the only person thinking clearly in a prison full of quickly unraveling nut jobs, and I love him for it. He knows what the group needs, but he also knows he’s not the man to give it to them. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has completely lost it, as he chases ghost-Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) around the prison grounds, and even Glenn (Steven Yeun) is having trouble pulling himself together. The group is drowning, and poor Hershel is just trying to show everyone which way is up. Seriously, Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and company should count themselves lucky that they were kicked out when they were, although it’s probably only a matter of time before they come knocking on the prison door again.

I’m a little bummed for Glenn. He’s grown up a lot over the past few seasons, and is a fantastically dynamic character with the ability to do what it takes to protect his group. Unfortunately, his chance to shine is stamped out by his own lingering rage towards The Governor. Sure, it all comes from how much he cares for Maggie, but the group needed street-savvy Glenn, not vengeful maniac Glenn.
I’m really hoping that the final event of this episode, plus Daryl’s return, will jolt Rick awake. I’m bored of crazy-Rick, and that’s all I’m going to say on the issue. For now.

So, what will this episode be remembered for? Definitely not any of the above nonsense. Nope, it’s The Governor’s sneak attack, which was meant to be little more than a show of power that got people talking. Poor Axel (Lew Temple) was finally making progress with Carol (Melissa McBride) when he was promptly ended with a headshot, leaving poor Carol to use him as a human shield. After that, it was pure chaos as the rest of the group just tried to keep from getting shot as a van full of walkers crashed through the prison gates.

I was seriously worried that Hershel would meet his end right there, but thankfully Michonne (Danai Gurira) finally made herself useful and did some serious decapitation work so Hershel could hobble to safety. Phew. Daryl and Merle also managed to reintroduce themselves to the group at the best possible time, as Rick was only seconds away from being zombie chow. Can we just make Daryl the leader now? Please?

– Kellie Sheridan

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Review: THE WALKING DEAD – “The Suicide King” (03.09)

Written by: Evan Reilly
Directed By: Lesli Linka Glatter
US Airdate: Sunday, February 10, 2013

In Short: The dust settles after Rick’s group invades Woodbury as Daryl and Merle are finally reunited, and Rick must decide how to proceed.
Recommended: Yes

TYREESE: I must be the first brother in history to break into prison.

The Walking Dead is back! Unfortunately, it looks like the fan base may have been over-hyping this show’s triumphant return. “The Suicide King” ushered in the second half of the season but with none of the flair or dramatics we’d been expecting. Perhaps the board just needed some time to reset after the Woodbury invasion of episode eight, but this episode will still leave you feeling like something is missing. And that something is action.

Now, let’s talk about our feelings, because apparently that’s what we’re all about round these parts.
Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Merle (Michael Rooker), together again. Hooray? Not really. Even if their reunion hadn’t been tainted by The Governor’s (David Morrissey) ring of brawling, zombies and death-matches, I’m still not excited to see these two back together. Daryl is a changed man, and I just can’t see how his obnoxious older brother is going to fit with Daryl’s new persona. After escaping Woodbury, the two decided to go off on their own and survive the apocalypse Dixon-style, which may have been the only thing that happened this episode to actually rile the viewers. We can’t lose Daryl now, not when Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is becoming so much less fun to root for.

Annnd, it looks like Rick’s losing it again. Or is it still? Right as he most needs to show that he’s still capable of leading the group, Rick’s ever so delicate mental state took a nosedive. A vision of a wedding-dress clad Lori (Sarag Wayne Callies) appeared to him in the prison, making it clear to absolutely everyone that this isn’t a guy you want at the helm of your zombie-fighting ship. How this plays out for next week should be… interesting? Daryl’s gone, but I doubt Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) in any shape to take on a leadership role yet, as he’s still got some serious rage issues. Trouble is a-brewin.

Let’s take a second to talk about this show’s infuriating female characters. Not Maggie (Lauren Cohan), she’s still awesome. Even Beth (Emily Kinney) and Carol (Melissa McBride) have taken an upturn. But Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) both have me mentally slamming my head into a brick wall. Woodbury was rioting, because that is clearly a town full of idiots. Somehow this promoted Andrea to give an awful speech, but I’m more than prepared to blame the writers for this. When it comes to Andrea, I pretty much always blame the writers. She could be an awesome character but she keeps getting put into moronic situations.

And Michonne. Terse and stoic has become just plain unhelpful. She refuses to speak up, just because that’s her character. She’s not adapting to the new group at all, and really isn’t bringing much to the table yet. This girl needs to grow some layers, and quickly. Andrea rejoining the group might be what she needs to get her character rolling, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards quite yet.

Looking back, I’m not exactly sure why I’d been expecting The Walking Dead to come back swinging, as these types of episodes are needed from time to time so we never lose sight of what exactly these characters are fighting for. I get it. I still don’t like it. I would absolutely still recommend watching this episode, as this is still one of the best shows currently on TV, but “The Suicide King” just didn’t quite live up to our self-inflicted expectations. Odds are next week will be more of the same, but all it will take is one untimely character death, and we’re back on track.

– Kellie Sheridan

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Blackest Night Wonder Woman

GEEK VS GEEK: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN – SUPER-COUPLE

Love is in the air and we here at Geek Speak are celebrating with a very special Geek VS Geek about my favorite comic book pairing of all time: Batman and Wonder Woman. Throughout their incarnations (Wonder Woman was first introduced in 1941, Batman in 1939) the two have been teammates, friends, antagonists, and love interests. Many writers have explored, or a better word might be hinted at, their relationship across the DC Universe. Their relationship has also been hinted at on the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons that ran from 2001-2006.

In preparation for this Geek VS Geek I did some searching about the World’s Greatest Detective and the Amazon Princess and much like my fellow nerds at my local comic book store, the internet is just as divided about these two and their love lives. When it comes to Batman there is of course a very pro Batman/Talia al Ghul fanbase, arising out of the main DC Batman title. I respect their opinions and will acquiesce that those two have a deep connection. The two fell in love while Batman was trained by/working with Ras al Ghul. Batman and Talia have a child together, Damian Wayne, who, as the newest Robin, who may have more issues than any other Boy Wonder save Jason Todd. I can understand Batman falling for Talia, she’s intelligent, worldly, a master assassin, and a deep complex character. However, she is also crazy, evil, a terrible mother, and not the best woman for Batman.

There is also of course another pairing for Batman that people love and that is with Catwoman/Selina Kyle. In several incarnations there has been a relationship of some sorts between Batman/Catwoman (such as in Burton’s Batman Returns, in Nolan’s abysmal – in my opinion – The Dark Knight Rises and of course in the comics). In the Golden Age Batman comics, Batman and Catwoman fell in love, got married and had a daughter who also became a superhero. Again I get it, but this was the Golden Age of comics and characters weren’t as deeply complex or written as they are now. When it comes to modern-day Batman, the pairing of Batman/Catwoman is completely senseless. A) Batman doesn’t allow himself to have romantic relationships. B) Batman would not fall for Catwoman. Bruce Wayne is a brilliant billionaire globe travelling superhero. If he was going to fall in love it isn’t going to be with some idiotic cat burglar whose greatest weapon is a slutty costume. Yes, I know it’s not her fault, it is mostly men who are doing the art. The only reason this relationship still exists or is hinted at is because of its history.

Meanwhile, the internet, like the DC Universe, isn’t quite sure what to do with the Amazing Amazon. There are some that think that she should be with Steve Trevor, her original love interest. In the Golden Age of comics, Diana and Steve Trevor had a Lois Lane/Clark Kent relationship and eventually got married, had a daughter who became the superhero Fury and during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths (when DC rebooted the universe) they were allowed to live on Mount Olympus. The next time Steve Trevor showed up in comics he was not Mr. Wonder Woman; as it should be. Their relationship is just too clichéd. All the writers did was copy Superman’s love story with Lois Lane and swapped genders. It’s not interesting.

There is also a very strong case for Superman/Wonder Woman. On the surface it makes sense. They are the two most powerful people in the DC Universe. Both are gorgeous people. They are both outsiders, he’s an alien, she’s a mystical being from Paradise Island. The only thing wrong with this pairing is that it is too predictable. Something Diana herself has said. Clark and Diana are just friends and the only reason a relationship between the two of them exists in alternate stories (Kingdom Come, The Dark Knight Strikes Again) is because Lois Lane is dead. Clark Kent’s soul mate is Lois Lane—even if you don’t read comics you know that. Diana is not going to be with someone when she knows that they love someone else

This brings us to the main point of this debate: Batman and Wonder Woman. I’ll admit the last superhero one might expect to be a good match for Wonder Woman is the dark, grim and unlucky-in-love Batman, which is perhaps why Joe Kelly decided to explore such a relationship during his 2003-2004 run on JLA. During the storyline “The Obsidian Age,” the Justice League journeyed into the ancient past in order to save a time-lost Aquaman. While there, Batman and Wonder Woman prepared to fight their enemies to the death and, before doing so, they surprised one another (and a lot of readers) by sharing a kiss. Once all the resurrection, time-travel, villain-fighting and day-saving was out the way, the two put off having to talk about their kiss for awhile, with Batman being the more reluctant of the two, even standing Wonder Woman up on at least one occasion. (Which, yes, kind of dick move on his part.)

Eventually in JLA #90 there was a resolution to the twosome’s kiss during the Obsidian Age storyline. Wonder Woman puts herself into Martian Manhunter’s Martian Transconsciousness Articulator, a doohickey that plays out various possible futures in dream-like fashion for the user (it is a comic book). Some of which include her fighting crime alongside Batman in Gotham as Batwoman, her killing the Joker after he has killed Bruce—and perhaps one of the sweetest moments with Diana and a very, very old Bruce on Paradise Island right before his death. However, because writers love to tease and not give fans what they want the relationship never really started, even though it is clear that neither one of them are happy about it.

In 2003 Matt Wagner also showed his support for Batman/Wonder Woman in his mini-series Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity. The three issue run is a re-imagining of the big three coming together for the first time. It also includes a great moment when Batman sees Wonder Woman bathing on Themyscira and is apparently overwhelmed by her beauty so rushes to her and kisses her. Mind you, she then punches him, but it’s awesome none the less.

The Justice League cartoon also hints at the feelings/tension between Diana and Bruce. In the episode “The Brave and the Bold” (01.14/15) Diana is crushed under a missile and Bruce, looking distraught, begins to dig when all of a sudden Diana throws the missile off of her and is right as rain. She notices the dirt/mud on Batman’s costume and kisses his cheek. In the episode “This Little Piggy” (01.05) Wonder Woman is transformed into a pig by Circe (apparently her magic resistance doesn’t exist on the cartoon) and Batman admits his feelings about Diana to Zatanna while requesting her help to change Diana back. He also sings to Circe in order to change her back and that’s good television. Batman and Wonder Woman also kissed in the episode “Starcrossed” (02.51) while trying to hide their faces from Thanagarians. In an episode when the Justice League were turned into children (yeah, it’s a kids’ cartoon) Wonder Woman constantly flirts with Batman and youngster Green Lantern John Stewart tells young Batman: “Your girlfriend sure is bossy.”

After the events in JLA, the relationship between the two pretty much was non-existent in DC Canon, though it appeared in some alternate storylines. Then in the 2009-2010 mega story Blackest Night was published and Diana’s love for Bruce was finally confirmed. In Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Wonder Woman is possessed by an evil black lantern ring (it’s complicated) and has killed Cassie Sandsmark/Wonder Girl, her also-possessed sister Donna Troy, and is about to kill her mother when a batarang hits her in the face. She looks up and sees Batman who tells her to stop, but Black Lantern Wonder Woman attacks him. He grabs her by the throat and tells her that this is not her. Her inner voice stammers that this cannot be real, that Bruce is dead. The two then kiss while Diana’s inner voice says “Bruce” and breaks the connection between Wonder Woman and the black lantern ring. Now, all of this was in a place that Aphrodite created so Diana didn’t actually kill anyone but it is such a beautifully sweet scene to see how evil Diana was and the only thing that could save her was her love for The Dark Knight.

There was also one issue of The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold in 2011 in which Batman and Wonder Woman had been hit by Eros’s arrows and he asks her to marry him, and she says yes. Though it was a single issue and I don’t really care for the campiness of the comic, it is still really sweet and quite funny. Especially when Robin doesn’t understand why Bruce is getting married until he sees Diana in a wedding dress and quickly shuts his mouth. Of course they don’t get married, but it’s such a cute little tease.

With the DC New 52 horrible Justice League title, Superman and Wonder Woman have started a relationship, even though if you read Superman it is obvious that the Man of Steel is still very much in love with Lois Lane. The only hint of any kind of feelings between Wonder Woman and Batman was in the pages of Justice League when Batman is watching a monitor in the Batcave that shows Superman and Wonder Woman kissing. On the plus side, he does not look happy about it so there is still hope something could happen.

Batman and Wonder Woman are my favorite relationship, even though they have never really gotten together in a canonical timeline. Their relationship is such an interesting study in contrasts. You have the ultimate human in Bruce Wayne, who is the very embodiment of the human spirit and potential. Then you have Wonder Woman who is a creature of myth and magic. It is interesting to see the man of science who has become, quite literally, a god-killer (he killed Darkseid) being paired with a woman created by the gods from clay. Batman is a warrior, more so than any other Wonder Woman love interest. Wonder Woman is the ultimate warrior. They work together because of how they are simultaneously similar and complete opposites. They work because of how well an immortal warrior with amazing powers can humanize the bravest and darkest human male in the DC universe. If only the writers would realize that.

– Kim Sorensen

READ THE OPPOSING ARGUMENT
BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN: SUPER-CREEPY
BY RACHEL HYLAND

 

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