Marvel MCU at #SDCC, with Captain Marvel, Thor, and Infinity War

This may not be strictly superversive, but as we have a surfeit of geeks and nerds in our readership (assuming we’re not the entire readership), I thought we should take a quick look at some of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe had at San Diego Comic Con this year.This is “some,” in part, because they dropped an Avengers trailer during SDCC … and not to the public. It was leaked and taken down in short order.

To start with, it seems to have been confirmed that the Punisher will be in The Defenders. Meaning there will be a fourth person I will actually care about in The Defenders (The other three being Stick, Daredevil, and possibly Luke Cage).

And if the Punisher isn’t in Defenders, then they’ve got some explaining to do. (At the 60 second mark)

Other than the Punisher, the trailer didn’t add much … except show us that Stan Lee is still alive. Good for him.

And then, we’ve got Thor: Ragnarok

Early on, I had been a little worried that they were going to be focused on the wrong things in this film. I like that Bruce Banner appears in the trailer as Bruce Banner. It could have been all too easy for them to have the not so jolly green giant have all the screen time. But seeing Mark Ruffalo is reassuring. And …

Is that Hulk versus the wolf Fenris? Really? And Thor, with Loki, with fully automatic blasters, mowing people down like Arnold in Commando. And Valkyrie riding a winged horse. Again, we’ve got more of a humor vibe here, with our opening to the trailer, and even the conversation — actual whole sentences from Hulk, huh — at the end. And I’m still getting more and more of a Guardians, over the top vibe. Gee, I think someone’s been taking notes on what audiences actually like. (If only Sony would do the same.)

Though I’m amused that Jeff Goldblum is even in the franchise now. And it sounds like he’s stopped with the Jurassic Park stutter.

I especially like how Loki is revealed here. I was wondering how they were going to handle it.

But, dang it, I want to see how Doctor Strange shows up in the film. I’d rather it would be more than just a glance at the end.

Though, I’m a little curious about how much Ragnarok is going to act as a direct lead in to Infinity War. Why? because the Infinity War trailer opened with the Guardians running into space debris … an unconscious, beaten up Thor. Which makes me wonder if Ragnarok is actually well-titled.

Speaking of Avengers Infinity War, it’s also got some poster art.

infinity-war-poster

In other news, SDCC discussed the Captain Marvel film. In the comics, Carol Danvers, air force fighter pilot, was kidnapped by aliens called the Skrulls, experimented on, and turned into a flying juggernaut who shoots lasers out of her hands, and is build like Marilyn Monroe.

In the Cinematic universe … Captain Marvel will be set in the 1990s.

… What?

Sigh. Okay. Let’s dig down into this a bit.
It’s been confirmed that the Skrulls will actually show up in the film, despite the half dozen missed opportunities for them to have shown up earlier. In the comics, the Skrulls are the long-running foe of the Kree … yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, they were at war was Xandar? It’s almost like they were cautious about showing another alien race that wasn’t tall and blue. But I suppose that legal issues have been settled.
Captain Marvel will apparently feature the Kree-Skrull war. Unless Captain Marvel  will feature an actual end to said war. Eh. Who knows?

The film will also star Samuel L. Jackson with two eyes. Because the 90s.

Yeah, I have no idea why they’d set it in the 90s. The actress they have for Captain Marvel, Brie Larson, looks like she’s 12. Unless they’re going to say that her powers have slowed down her aging, this would make her a middle aged superheroine today … but if that’s the case, where the bleep has she been through: three alien invasions, a robot army, and a SHIELD meltdown?The answer is probably … IN SSSSSPPPPPPAAAAAAAAAACCCCCEEEE.

But we’ll see. They may have the balls to actually kill off a superhero… No, I don’t think so either.
All in all, it looks like Marvel is going to stay on top for another year or so. As long as you don’t count their network TV shows. Those still look like they merely suck.

Science Blast: Every Window a Power Supply!

Vladimir Bulović of electrical engineering and computer science (left), Miles Barr PhD ’12 (right), and Richard Lunt (below) are making transparent solar cells that could one day be deposited on everyday objects from mobile devices to windows, turning surfaces everywhere into low-cost energy-harvesting systems. This research was supported by the MIT Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy. Photo: Justin Knight

Overview

MIT researchers are making transparent solar cells that could turn everyday products such as windows and electronic devices into power generators—without altering how they look or function today. How? Their new solar cells absorb only infrared and ultraviolet light. Visible light passes through the cells unimpeded, so our eyes don’t know they’re there. Using simple room-temperature methods, the researchers have deposited coatings of their solar cells on various materials and have used them to run electronic displays using ambient light. They estimate that using coated windows in a skyscraper could provide more than a quarter of the building’s energy needs without changing its look. They’re now beginning to integrate their solar cells into consumer products, including mobile device displays.

Read more….

The Superversive in Film: Char’s Counterattack

Today, I direct your attention once more across the Pacific to Japan. While I can–and do–recommend Hayao Miyazaki’s classic Studio Ghibli films, that’s not the man behind this film. The film is Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack, and the man is Yoshiyuki “Kill ’em All” Tomino.

The protagonist and antagonist are, once more, Amuro Rey and Char Aznable. This movie is the end of their story, which began with the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, and it brings their conflict to its conclusion. However, that doesn’t mean you need to watch that series (or Zeta Gundam, or ZZ Gundam) to appreciate this film; you’ll be fine going in cold.

The reason for me marking this out as Superversive is due to the root of the conflict: Despair-fueled egotism, expressed as fanatical terrorism. Char does what he does out of a deep-seated obsession with Amuro, whereas Amuro had moved on and began to–at last–find the possibility of happiness in a future of family and fatherhood as he serves Mankind as part of an autonomous elite unit. (This is mirrored in Bright Noa, the unit’s commander. He is married and a father, happily so, and has only gotten stronger as a character because of that.)

It is also because of that root of conflict that you need not see the previous series to appreciate this film; the root reveals itself early to the audience, as shown by Char’s behavior before executing the big villainous plot to force Mankind off Earth entirely. That root comes full circle in the end as everyone sees through to that root and Char gets his comeuppance in spectacular fashion in the climax.

The film’s theme of Hope v. Despair shapes everyone in the cast, for good or ill, and while the villain’s plot is ended it comes as a high cost. (Another regular Gundam trope.) You can see how each character’s embrace of hope, or succumbing to despair, leads to that character’s fate. Tomino has his status as a master for a reason, and you see it in action here.

Thus the ending is bittersweet, but overall a positive one, but not without leaving some matters unfinished and exposing others heretofore buried. (This would set the stage for Gundam Unicorn, which takes place three years after this film.)

And, for all the men-with-screwdriver sorts out there, yes there’s plenty of science in this fiction- the plot (as it often does for a Gundam title) revolves around dropping very big things on to very populated places on the surface of Earth. (Remember that this is the franchise that destroyed Sidney, Australia by dropping a space colony bigger than Babylon 5 on it.) The robots, even the psychic powers, are consistent if unreal (and have other purposes for their presence).

Recommended. It’s the final chapter of a classic saga of Japanese science fiction for a reason.

Signal Boost: Victorian Venus

Victorian Venus
(Terraformed Interplanetary Book 2)

Travis PerryAdam David CollingsKat Heckenbach,
Cindy KoeppL. Jagi Lamplighter, Kristin Stieffel

In a future one thousand years from now, an echo of the Victorian past thrives. A future terraformed Venus sees our era of high technology as one of innumerable dangers. Dominated by the most advanced technological society on the planet, New Berlin, the nation and city-states of Venus deliberately imitate both the technology and culture of the Victorian Era. As nations chafe under the yoke of New Berlin, war breaks out–driving this culture so much like our past into a future entirely unlike our own. 

This short-story anthology explores the regions and cultures of Victorian Venus, from the metropolis of New Berlin, to the tropics, to the Arctic Circle. The war between New Berlin and two rebelling nations forms the backdrop of most of the tales.

Second in a series. The first anthology is Medieval Mars

See on  Amazon

Signal Boost: A Fistful of Credits

A Fistful of Credits: Stories from the Four Horsemen Universe (The Revelations Cycle) (Volume 5)

Authors include: Chris Kennedy, Mark Wandrey, Terry Mixon, Jason Cordova, Jon R. Osborne, Kevin Ikenberry, Jon Del Arroz, Kacey Ezell, Christopher Woods, Christopher G. Nuttall, PP Corcoran, Doug Dandridge, Charity Ayres, Brad R. Torgersen, Charles E. Gannon

Mercenary science fiction in the same vein as David Drake’s “Hammer’s Slammers!”                     
                                                                          
Fourteen outstanding authors. Fourteen extraordinary stories. One bestselling universe.
It’s the Twenty-Second Century. The galaxy has opened up to humanity as a hyperactive beehive of stargates and new technologies, and we suddenly find ourselves in a vast playground of different races, environments, and cultures. There’s just one catch: we are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.
Enter the Four Horsemen universe, where only a willingness to fight and die for money separates Humans from the majority of the other races. Enter a galaxy not only of mercenaries, but also of Peacemakers, bounty hunters, and even a strung out junkie in the way of a hired assassin.
Edited by bestselling authors and universe creators Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy, “A Fistful of Credits” includes all-new stories in the Four Horsemen universe by a variety of bestselling authors–and some you may not have heard of…yet. The fourteen authors take on various aspects of the universe, giving you additional insight into a galaxy that isn’t at war…but definitely isn’t at peace. There’s only one thing for sure–anything’s possible for a fistful of credits!
Inside you’ll find:
Foreword by Dr. Charles E. Gannon
“The Last Alpha” by Mark Wandrey
“Breach of Contract” by Terry Mixon
“Paint the Sky” by Jason Cordova
“Surf and Turf” by Jon R. Osborne
“Stand on It” by Kevin Ikenberry
“Lost and Found” by Jon Del Arroz
“Gilded Cage” by Kacey Ezell
“Legends” by Christopher Woods
“With the Eagles” by Doug Dandridge
“Dead or Alive” by Paul Corcoran
“Hide and Seek” by Christopher Nuttall
“Information Overload” by Charity Ayres
“Enough” by Chris Kennedy
“CASPer’s Ghost” by Brad R. Torgersen

Find on Amazon

Signal Boost: July CLFA Booknado is Here!

This month’s New Releases include  Astounding Frontiers #1, Doctor to Dragons by G. Scott Huggins (both from Superversive Press), Love’s Highway by Forbidden Thoughts contributor Jane Lebak, a new and improved edition of Declan Finn’s Catholic thriller A Pius Man and many more. Check out the link below for the full list and more details. Happy Reading!

https://conservativelibertarianfictionalliance.com/2017/07/21/july-booknado/

“Spider-Man: Homecoming”, A Bullet Point Review

– I cannot praise Tom Holland’s Spider-Man enough. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. It was honestly my favorite live action portrayal of a superhero EVER, even more than Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. What an incredible performance.

– The score is absolutely awesome. Michael Giacchinno actually reworks the original, iconic Spider-Man theme as the main theme of the movie, to fantastic effect.

– “Homecoming” sort of feels like two movies smushed together, one very, very awesome movie and one that’s kind of “meh”. There’s the superhero movie about a young Peter Parker who wants to gain the respect of Tony Stark and become an Avenger, but who still hasn’t really gotten this whole “hero” thing yet, and makes a lot of mistakes. That movie is fantastic! It’s the best Spider-Man movie yet, even better than the awesome Toby McGuire starring “Spider-Man 2”!

…And then there was the sort of meh teen drama going on with Peter. It was…adequate. Okay. A thing. It did the job in humanizing Peter, but beyond that it didn’t really add anything. For a few reasons…

– This was a movie that had Spider-Man surrounded by a bunch of characters who never appeared in the comics before but shared the same names. We had Flash Thompson, who looked and acted nothing like Flash but shared his name, Ned, who was apparently an Ultimate Spider-Man character who never actually had anything to do with Peter Parker, Aunt May as Marisa Tomei, who, what, Liz Allen, a minor character that like 5 people remembered from a short-lived television show, and MJ, a character who is actually a character about as close to the polar opposite of comic book MJ as you could possibly get. Even the Vulture isn’t anything like comic Vulture, but as he’s much more awesome I’ll let it slide.

There is something very, very weird about somebody making an adaptation of something and then not just not using the source material but perverting it into something completely different. SJW’s seem prone to this, leading me to…

– I stand by something I said on this site previously. “Homecoming” was not itself an SJW movie, but it was an envelope pusher. Marvel is testing its limits. Expect the movies to trend more and more leftward the years to come.

– Zendaya’s character is the absolute worst, and that she is supposed to be MJ is a travesty. Just throwing that one out there. Spit in John Romita Jr.’s eye, why don’t you.

– ALL OF THIS SAID – When “Homecoming” is good, it is really, REALLY good. The best thing about the MCU, that the DCEU was missing up until “Wonder Woman”, is that it understands why people love superheroes, and why people love these characters, and it gives people what they want. This movie is packed with insanely cool imagery – Spider-Man climbing up the Washington Monument, Spider-Man rising from the rubble through sheer willpower to rejoin the fight, Spider-Man running into towering flames to rescue a man, Spider-Man attempting to hold a cruise ship together singlehandedly. The Vulture, one of comics’ lamest villains, gets a huge and awesome upgrade here.

And it has those stand-up-and-cheer moments that the MCU is so good at, too. Spider-Man’s character development is expertly handled and immensely satisfying to watch. And even that “meh” half of the film is anchored by Tom Holland’s outstanding performance as Peter Parker.

– Did I mention how great Tom Holland was? So, so great. What a terrific performance, and a terrific portrayal of the character.

OVERALL: Recommended. Probably not up with the very best of the MCU, but it was money very well spent to see it in theaters.