It was a so-so month for geek pop culture. Here are thumbnail reviews of some of the main events in television and comics (skip to the end for my Pick of the Month).
TV: The X-Files, Fox, Season 10, Episodes 1 & 2
The one-word description I have for Episode 1 of season 10 is “Mess.” The episode is edited to death resulting in a choppy, disjointed story, if you can call it that. About a third of the way through Episode 2, the Mulder/Scully investigation team finds its groove but it is inexplicable to me how they got there. Duchovny seems like he’s always ready for a nap and Anderson is playing a character who hasn’t evolved as much as she has.
TV: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, CW, Pilot
The pilot episode of DC’s Legend of Tomorrow was best described by husband, “This has every cliché in the book.” It almost seems as if DC is completely out of ideas. The show isn’t “lazy” – Legends obviously has a tremendous amount of work behind it. The cast is stellar and they are playing it all-in. It just seems like it was created by committee instead of a talented team of writers.
TV: The Magicians, SyFy, Pilot
The Magicians is playing pretty closely to the novel by Lev Grossman. The art, set, and costume design is rich and creative without being fantastical. The entire cast is too old to be playing grad students. This is a bad representation to young adults in their early 20s to be more mature than they are.
The closing scene of the pilot was really well done. Creepy, scary, and raised the bar for the rest of the series.
TV: You, Me, and the Apocalypse, NBC, Pilot
This new dramedy about the 34 days until the end of the world has great potential. Like the success of The Walking Dead and Firefly, it’s taken on a huge cast which means it should be a character-driven/story-driven show.
And haven’t we all been waiting to see Jenna Fischer again?
COMIC: The Legend of Wonder Woman, DC Comics
This Wonder Woman story is a nine part series telling the origin of Paradise Island, Hippolyta, and what Diana’s childhood was like. The artwork by Renae De Liz is modern and strong. The coloring and lettering by Ray Dillon is bold and has a young adult vibe. But the entirety of De Liz’s story is ruined by one word: “the.”
Once given eternal life by Zeus, Hippolyta “felt a new sorrow” because this would mean she would be “denied the greatest of joys.” She can’t have children.
Saying “the” greatest of joys means, for men and women alike, above anything else, having a baby is the ultimate achievement.
Hippolyta has built a kingdom free of greed and hatred, trained powerful warriors, and established a reputation of great honor. But the implied epitath is, “alas, she didn’t have a baby.”
Instead of the tired stereotype that giving birth is a woman’s greatest achievement, the entire thing could have been made personal for Hippolyta by changing “the” to “her” and all would have been well.
COMIC: Faith, Valiant
Although beautifully drawn and colored, Faith suffers from the “One-to-One” treatment.
Some think creating a “strong female character” means just changing the male protagonist into a female. With Faith, you have a plus-sized, confident female swapped into the most vanilla, generic superhero story ever. Modernizing the details (blogger instead of journalist) isn’t creativity. You can’t just say, “Now we have a non-stereotypical female character,” when she doesn’t have her own agency.
Maybe the whole first issue simply suffered from a poor choice of direction. The entire series is only four issues and the first issue is almost entirely “the story thus far.”
COMIC: Slash & Burn, Vertigo
The art by Andre Parks, Max Dunbar, and Tula Lotay (one of my favorites) is beautiful but the story needs more mortar. Where Faith suffers from tedious detail, Slash & Burn could use a little more to tighten the story.
Rosheen, the female protagonist, is a fire fighter… and an arsonist. The criminal-hero, along the lines of Dexter, hasn’t worn out its welcome yet. I love how she discusses the chemistry of fire. More science!
Pick of the Month
COMIC: Captain Marvel, Marvel
The same apprehension came over me when I picked up the new Captain Marvel. The cover art by Kris Anka is absolutely stunning. Anka, please make these into posters immediately! And the interior did meet the big sell of the cover.
Captain Marvel, written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, is beautiful, witty, and personable. Carol Danvers feels like a real person, having real conversations, and she’s so darn cool she makes me smile. You want her for your best friend. Kudos Fazekas and Butters.