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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Supergirl is fine. I don't know if they know what they want to do with most of these characters, though.  Kara seemingly has no character arc, and she doesn't seem to learn anything or grow at all.  Is she attracted to Lena?  Is William supposed to be a romantic lead?  I honestly have no idea what her character really is.  I think the writers seem to have a lot more fun with J'onn and Nia and Brainy and Alex.  Kara's really just there to do the fight scenes and go back and forth to check on how the characters are doing.  Am I wrong here?

I've enjoyed Melissa Benoist in every season of SUPERGIRL. I don't take any issue with her character in Season 5, but I don't disagree that she lacks an arc in Season 5. I'm not sure she needs one right now. The main thoroughline of Kara in Season 5 is that she has merged the two halves of her life, or she at thinks she has. From a plotting perspective, it makes sense to give her an 'arcless' period of stability before Lena overtly turns on her or Kara discovers that Lena considers her a treacherous enemy.

That said, I'm trying to be more open to different kinds of characterization. In Season 1, the writing for Kara Danvers was a mess: she was an entry-level intern at a news agency who was a top level secret agent employed by a government espionage agency who was struggling to keep a secret identity amidst a regular cast where everyone except Cat Grant knew all about it who had a close relationship with Superman although Superman never appeared in person.

Season 2 got its act together at last: Supergirl is the friendly superhero face of a covert spy agency; Kara Danvers is a nervous mess of a human being who has to get her act together when trying to mentor a shiftless layabout, Mon-El, in the superhero game. Supergirl was everything Kara could never be in civilian life.

Season 3, unfortunately, got confused again and this was a season where Kara's only real arc was her grief at Mon-El returning a married man. There was a lot of intrigue over Kara's Kryptonian heritage, but Kara didn't really have a strong direction this season, likely because sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was fired off the show halfway into the season and none of the writers wanted to use his planned material once they were rid of him.

Season 4 was good, exploring how Lena is Kara's most rewarding relationship and Lena can't stand Supergirl. The constant collisions between Kara's civilian and superhero life were played out beautifully as Kara discovers that Catco's reporting is at threat, as Supergirl finds that she's part of a discriminated minority, as Kara finds that the ordinary people she lived among for most of her life consider her the other, as Supergirl realizes that she's part of a government agency that is falling entirely in line with a xenophobic White House administration.

The most heartbreaking moment of Season 4 was when Alex is forced to have J'onn erase Alex's memories of Supergirl and Kara feels truly lost. There's another beautiful moment where Supergirl, unable to defeat a Kryptonite fuelled villain and in a jail full of people who hate her, switches to Kara Danvers and is astonished to be dismissed by Supergirl's attacker and embraced by an inmate who is a devoted reader of Kara's articles. And the season finale is where Kara and Supergirl are at last united: Kara exposes the President and Supergirl stops Agent Liberty. Season 5's premiere was, to Kara, the seeming conclusion to this storyline where she tells Lena who she really is and now we're dreading how Kara thinks all is well when she has no idea what she doesn't know.

... is Kara in love with Lena? I think Kara and Lena should be the romance of the show -- but I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think it was planned for Katie McGrath to have such chemistry with Melissa Benoist, but it happened and the writers have tried to steer into it as much as they can, they've made the Kara/Lena friendship the center of Season 5.

However, Supergirl is owned by a corporation that took over seven decades to concede that Wonder Woman is bisexual (and that's with Wonder Woman living on an island nation of immortal women and no men since 1942). The character of Supergirl as she's been portrayed since 1959 is a boy crazy teenaged girl; letting the Melissa Benoist Supergirl be bisexual implies that every version of the character is the same because Benoist is the most commonly known rendition. I don't see this slow, lumbering and heteronormative multinational finding the institutional will to make one of their iconic properties bisexual based on the specific chemistry between one performer playing the role with a specific scene partner.

That said, accidents happen and good shows capitalize on them. ARROW realized that, despite Black Canary and Green Arrow being a couple in the source material, the onscreen chemistry of Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards was the way to go whereas Katie Cassidy was better as Stephen Amell's friend. COMMUNITY planned for Troy and Pierce to be best friends; they soon realized the real bromance was between Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, just as they realized that Joel McHale's best scene partner was not Gillian Jacobs but Alison Brie. SUPERGIRL realized that Winn, despite being a Catco employee, worked better in the spyfi environment of the DEO and made the change for Season 2. MACGYVER started out with MacGyver a gunslinging, arrogant action hero but realized the actor was better as an unarmed innocent. SLIDERS meant for Quinn Mallory to be an unathletic, socially inept geek, but Jerry O'Connell transformed the character into a damaged, self-isolating athlete brainaic and Tracy Torme ran with it.

I doubt SUPERGIRL will capitalize on Supercorp any more than it's chosen to; SUPERGIRL has made Lena the most passionate friendship in Kara's life and I think that's all it can be. Institutionally. If SUPERGIRL were an original property and the showrunners could make decisions without worrying about whether or not they can use the Suicide Squad or get their content past DC Comics, I do think Kara would have been out and proud by the middle of Season 4.

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I thought Welling looked fine in the photo I saw of him with Tyler Hoechlin. Definitely not as sculpted as he could be, but he's lost some of the weight he gained (deliberately, I think) as Cain on LUCIFER. Welling is unshaven and wearing Clark's flannel and a worn golf shirt on top of his jeans and the clothes are very loosely fitted to Welling. In contrast, Hoechlin is wearing the Metropolis uniform for Clark: a very slim-fit business jacket, shirt and trousers. I wonder if the scene was shot to contrast Clark on the farm, relaxing and being a farmer, with Clark visiting from Metropolis and in reporter mode.

There is stuff Welling could have done to youthen up for the scene -- he could have shaved. Spent a week getting cucumber masks and retinol treatment on his face, especially the eyes, to plump some of the age lines. Or he could have worn a muscle suit under the long-sleeved flannel. Dyed the silver from his hair and grown it out as well to offset his face. But Welling has served the superhero genre with honour, so I say let him be.

I found a neat fanfic -- a virtual third season of SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES written in screenplay format.
http://tib.cjcs.com/terminator-the-conn … c-project/

I'm only on the fifth script and I'm depending on somewhat vague memories of the TV show, but these seem very solid, capturing both the screenplay format, the militaristic and somewhat defeatist tone of the TV show and the optimism of the characters within it. It's a very plausible rendition of a TV budgeted screenplay.

That said, despite maintaining the format of Sarah Connor's ruminations in voiceover and the troubled tone of the future resistance, there's a slight lack of emotion. By that, I mean I'm on the fifth script and John and Sarah only grieve for losing each other in brief moments. That's sort of the point; they have no time to really stop and process. But it's a little dissatisfying. I can't speak to whether or not this is a good pastiche because I haven't rewatched CHRONICLES, but it's working for me right now.

I'm also impressed with the writer's portrayal of Allison from Palmdale; Cameron is gone, but Summer Glau appears in every episode and the scripts have notes of Cameron except the writer shows how Cameron was in many ways a machine approximation of tiny facets of a much more complicated woman.

Admittedly, the SARAH CONNOR I would have preferred would have been a proper ending to Season 2 with a rewritten "Born to Run" where Catherine Weaver's entire plot is explained along with that three dots stuff, Cameron dies, Derek dies, Sarah sends John into a time bubble to escape certain death -- and he ends up seemingly alone only to be reunited with Derek, Kyle Reese and Allison Young, and John proves able to handle himself in the Skynet war thanks to Sarah's training, meaning that John is where he belongs and will be fine -- an ending that allowed the show to close out but still allowed for Season 3 should the Sci-Fi Channel have saved the show for two more years.

It's also interesting to look at what happened behind the scenes of T3, SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, T4 and T5.

With T3, there was no creative drive to make a third film, just a desire to cash in on the success of T2 with a new PG-13 product. The screenwriter of T3 and T4 has actually blogged about the process: despite T3 being a heartless money grab to exploit T2, the writer didn't even *like* the second TERMINATOR movie and deliberately wrote T3 to annoy the studio by presenting John Connor as a wealthy Silicon Valley supervillain now seeking to make money off a Skynet takeover. Naturally, the studio balked and the writer grudgingly stripped out his more offensive elements until what was left was an empty retread of T2.

There's a troubling attitude in franchise fandom that only certain creators can handle a franchise correctly whether it's Gene Roddenberry for STAR TREK or James Cameron for TERMINATOR. I think the more nuanced truth is that film and TV are in the business of selling tickets and ads with the content being a secondary concern, but the creators producing the content need to devote themselves to serving the content by identifying the story they want to tell and telling that story with commitment and craft. T3 was made entirely to serve a balance sheet.

With T3, the studio and the writers were completely uncommitted to telling any particular story with a third TERMINATOR; they just wanted to be paid for having brought one into being. Which is why THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES disproves the idea that only specific individuals can handle the TERMINATOR franchise: CHRONICLES didn't have James Cameron or Arnold or Linda Hamilton or Edward Furlong -- but it had Josh Friedman's complete devotion to telling his story. The dialogue was punchy and sharp; the action was gripping and had a human cost. Cameron was a fascinating Terminator whose Summer Glau appeal and loyalty to John masked a shocking inhumanity as she casually abandoned civilians to die if they weren't relevant to keeping John safe.

However, Friedman's devotion to telling his story was often in foolish defiance of ratings and format. CHRONICLES was hit by a writer's strike that cut the first season short, losing viewership. Friedman's second season was so alienating to new viewers that it couldn't grow its audience and was cancelled on the 13th episode -- only for Warner Bros. to save it by lowering their license fee. Friedman received nine more episodes, almost certainly the last nine of the series -- and his devotion to telling his story had him decide to end the show on a cliffhanger.

Which I think speaks to another part of putting out a good product: in addition to being committed to executing the chosen story well, there needs to be some thought to the audience that will be watching this material. Josh Friedman served his story, but he didn't serve his fans.

SALVATION is similar and different to T3: it actually had a story, but it backed away from telling it. The original plot of SALVATION: during the Skynet-human war, a human-Terminator hybrid named Marcus tries to help the human resistance by searching for and saving John Connor from a Skynet plot. Connor is a largely offscreen character and the story establishes him as a rising legend who inspires humanity to resist. When Marcus finds him, he fails to save him -- but a dying Connor begs Marcus to carry on for him. Marcus alters his face to look like John Connor and to assume his role in the resistance.

The script was pretty solid -- and then the creators asked Christian Bale to play Marcus and Bale refused and said he wanted to play John Connor and that he wanted more screentime and that he wanted his character to live. SALVATION was changed to meet these stipulations and the result was a pointless movie that didn't move the TERMINATOR story in any particular direction and featured a lead character in Bale's Connor who had no impact on the plot. SALVATION served Christian Bale instead of SALVATION.

Much of the drama regarding T3 and T4 is detailed in the writer's blog: https://johnbrancato.blogspot.com/2009/ … horse.html

And then GENISYS (2015). Setting aside the poor casting, I'd say the greatest problem of GENISYS is that it is designed all around time travelling back to the original 1984 movie and then changing the situation. It's a rebootquel and STAR TREK (2008) made it clear how this can work. However, at the midpoint, the action abruptly jumps from 1984 to 2017 and it makes no sense. In 1984, Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese have over three decades to work out Skynet's plan and stop it; in 2017, they have days. This nonsensical decision is inexplicable.

The reason this happened: it's pretty clear that even as GENISYS was being scripted, the studio and director and producers were unwilling to present a 2015 movie that was set in 1984. They didn't want to do a period piece. They didn't want to go to all the time and trouble and expense of maintaining the aesthetics and technology of 1984, so for simplicity of production, they detached themselves from serving the story they had in their hands.

DARK FATE is... certainly not the innovative, inventive cinematic event of T2 in 1991. It doesn't have anything all that new; it's not a visionary work. But it does care about the fans with the painstaking effects work to bring a 1992 era Linda Hamilton and Ed Furlong to the screen for a scene and giving a senior citizen incarnation of Hamilton a leading role. And it is absolutely committed to serving its chosen purpose as a female-driven chase movie.

Comic book businessman Rob Liefeld (terrible writer, awful artist, excellent salesman, in his 50s) had an interesting tweet; he said that he never showed his sons the TERMINATOR movies and he thinks TERMINATOR failed because the franchise's height was in 1991 and that the franchise is only meaningful to people his age.

Well, after T2, TERMINATOR was then absent from the cinema for 12 years before returning in 2003 with RISE, 2009 with SALVATION, 2015 with GENISYS -- and because there was an 12 year gap and then 12 years of forgettable films, families didn't pass TERMINATOR onto their children. Even SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, an admittedly unforgettable story, is best forgotten because it has no ending. Anyone who saw T2 in theatres in 1991 without sneaking into a screening is now at least 46 years old.

And TERMINATOR and T2 maybe haven't enjoyed a continued, rising audience in home viewing because the pedestrian RISE OF THE MACHINES and incoherent SALVATION and clumsy GENISYS have made the series a bad memory which meant DARK FATE was trying to capitalize on nostalgia that had been systematically destroyed. I wonder if TERMINATOR fans don't even really want to revisit TERMINATOR; outside of a wish to conclude SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, the feeling is that TERMINATOR is best seen as having ended with T2 and then left alone both by the creators and the viewers.

HALLOWEEN 2018 was in a similar situation, but HALLOWEEN 2018 only cost $10 million to make. Even if you adored SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, DARK FATE wasn't going to acknowledge it, so DARK FATE was aiming itself at an audience that didn't exist in sufficient numbers to justify a 145 million budget that needs to earn 450 million to break even. One might as well spend $145 million on producing SLIDERS REBORN for an audience of 23 people.

I am not a huge fan of TERMINATOR or James Cameron, but after Informant -- I mean, after some random dude with whom I have no prior association whatsoever declared DARK FATE to be a failure because it was political under the "get woke go broke" hashtag -- well, I quantum-leapt to the cineplex to see it. Anything that pisses off this person -- whom I absolutely do not know in any way, shape or form -- I absolutely have to see. :-D

**

I am not a huge fan of TERMINATOR or James Cameron, but I see the talent and craft even if the final product doesn't serve my personal obsessions. DARK FATE is a chase movie and Cameron/Tim Miller designed it to create characterization and relationships in shorthand and on the go.

We don't get a conversation where Grace and Dani share their values; we get a shot of Dani resting her head on Grace's lap. We don't get an arc where Dani shows her leadership skills; we get a quick moment of Dani shepherding her brother to work and protesting his replacement by a robot.

We don't see Sarah Connor staggering through life with alcoholism; we get Linda Hamilton wordlessly conveying that she exists to blow up robots and sleep before doing it again. Cameron's approach doesn't rely on dialogue or even necessarily action and decision to convey character; he depends on actors to sell you on it while often putting them in highly reactive roles as they deal with their ship hitting an iceberg or their being hunted by an AI.

In the original TERMINATOR, Kyle Reese is defined less by the script and more by the performance that Cameron and Michael Biehn produced: the performance wordlessly conveys to you that Reese is a starving soldier who has long lived without any kind of comfort or luxury, who is terrified of the Terminator and Skynet, who is traumatized by war and barely holding it together to perform his mission -- which is why Jai Courtney's blandly heroic performance was so offensive to fans. Courtney made Reese so confident, so at ease, so certain whereas Biehn's Kyle Reese was fundamentally broken but not letting it stop him from doing his job.

I am not a huge fan of this approach, but it is a perfectly valid approach.

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To be honest, I felt about Legion the way Slider_Quinn21 feels about the First Order and the Empire in STAR WARS; it's a re-branding. However, as someone who admires the first TERMINATOR (without enjoying it) and both admires AND enjoys TERMINATOR 2, I didn't feel DARK FATE besmirched John Connor or Edward Furlong. The amount of effort taken to put Furlong in DARK FATE was insane with Cameron reporting that most of the de-aged footage was unusably poor.

Ultimately, DARK FATE asserts that John succeeded; he stopped Skynet and it didn't come back, but other people kept creating AIs and one of them would inevitably turn against their creators. And DARK FATE declares that the future is always dark and that our heroes will forever have to delay, forestall and prevent it; they will keep pushing it backwards forever and ever. So I felt okay with that -- but narratively, Legion and Skynet are really about the same and I didn't think DARK FATE differentiated the two sufficiently.

I think that DARK FATE needed to present Legion as a more seductive or manipulative form of evil; rather than blowing up humanity, it creates situations to make them turn on each other. We see a bit of this, but as Temporal Flux points out, DARK FATE is ultimately following the T2 formula of a killer robot chasing down humans.

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I like all of Slider_Quinn21's ideas. That maybe Sarah could have been trying to change the past and save John from the Terminator. That maybe Dani could have been Danny to add a man to the mix since Arnold Schwarzenneger is barely in this movie. I think Cameron/Tim Miller just wanted to do a really intense chase movie without a lot of sentiment or conversation, largely driven by a distinctly feminine energy that's in contrast to RISE, SALVATION and GENISYS being driven by men. And they succeeded creatively and have crashed and burned financially.

I kind of feel the length thing, but... I just really enjoyed watching Mackenzie Davis beat people up. It's my thing. I also enjoy watching Sarah Michelle Gellar, Summer Glau, Ashley Scott, Ruby Rose, Melanie Scrofano, Jaimie Alexander, Brie Larson, Carrie Anne Moss, Lena Headey and Linda Hamilton beat people up. I think I enjoy that more than I enjoy watching or reading Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo snarking at each other.

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Oh my God! BATWOMAN hasn't dropped the voiceover! I just... stopped recognizing it as such and viewed it as Kate's letters to Bruce. Haha!

Temporal Flux is absolutely right to say that JUDGEMENT DAY, RISE OF THE MACHINES and GENISYS have all featured humans fleeing a cybernetic assassin who is just barely held off by a reprogrammed robot Arnold Schwarzenegger; SALVATION varied this a bit with Sam Worthington playing the robot(ish) protector. Perhaps DARK FATE, in addition to being the fourth installment in a role to be the first in a trilogy that could be left unfinished, was yet another chased-by-a-robot movie and the audience had seen enough of those. Also, DARK FATE tries to sell itself in ways that GENISYS already attempted to the disappointment of the audience. Maybe they weren't willing to take the chance of being fooled again.

I'd argue that every pre-DARK FATE sequel to JUDGEMENT DAY has suffered from being either inauthentic, incompetent or incomplete or some combination of all three. RISE OF THE MACHINES is, like Season 4 - 5 of SLIDERS, a cheap copy of the original content, in this case JUDGEMENT DAY.

JUDGEMENT DAY had grand and lavish action sequences from James Cameron who has an incredible grasp of geography, motion, location, editing, pacing and timing. It also had a grippingly troubled female protagonist in Linda Hamilton, a hilarious dynamic between the rascaly Edward Furlong and the taciturn Arnold Schwartzenegger.

In contrast, RISE has blandly pedestrian action and a blandly present Claire Danes. RISE also presents a John/Terminator relationship that rings false. Nick Stahl's John is ineffectual and weak, perpetually cowering and overwhelmed by simple acts like breaking and entering that the young John performed with confident ease, and Stahl performs John with a one-note nervousness. He reflects none of Furlong's wit, cunning, rebellion and daring and simply isn't John Connor. And Schwarzenneger is back as the Terminator, but this is a different machine with the same face; this Terminator never bonded with John in T2.

Despite RISE claiming to be the further adventures of John and the Terminator, this isn't the T2 John and this isn't the T2 Terminator. It's inauthentic. The best that can be said of RISE is that it dares to show (a fairly sanitized) rendition of Skynet's victory at the end (even though RISE had alternate footage filmed so that another Terminator would have shown up to defeat Skynet had the studio balked at the ending).

SALVATION is incompetent. The story is nonsensical with Skynet inexplicably augmenting a human, Marcus Wright, with Terminator powers to infiltrate the human resistance despite this human (inevitably) switching sides. John Connor has once again been recast as Christian Bale who exists to run around in various action sequences that don't affect the core plot for Marcus and Kyle Reese. The ending simply resets the movie to the beginning of the situation with Marcus Wright dead and John Connor continuing his leadership of the resistance.

The reason for all this: Connor was supposed to be a mostly off-camera character, but Christian Bale declined the role of Marcus and insisted that he play John and ordered that John have (superfluous) scenes added to the film for him to perform. In addition, the original script had Connor dying and Marcus Wright changing his appearance to look like Connor to maintain the legend of the man, something Bale also had altered. The ending was also changed: the original intention was that Skynet would reveal that it was enslaving humanity to save it from its own destruction, but this was also lost in shifting the film from Marcus to Christian Bale.

THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is, despite being an excellent TV show, somewhat inauthentic and incompetent. The recasting is actually pretty good with Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker doing a great job of performing new versions of Linda Hamilton and Ed Furlong and the scripts are also splendid. However, CHRONICLES seemed determined to create unresolved plot thread after unresolved plot thread and was dead set on creating a cliffhanger finale for Season 2 that had next to no chance of ever being resolved (and remains unresolved) when a more competent TV show would have crafted the final episode to work as both a season finale and a series finale in the likely event of cancellation.

And GENISYS is completely inauthentic, shockingly incompetent and again incomplete. The original TERMINATOR featured a troubled, war-scarred Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese. GENISYS recasts with Jai Courtney and Courtney is a charisma-free vacuum whose performance has no thought, no detail, no effort and no depth. Courtney's Reese is a bland hero; there is nothing of Biehn's rebel soldier, nothing of Biehn's madness or grief or loss or desperation as survivor of a borderline extinction. And then we have Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor except Clarke captures nothing of Linda Hamilton's 80s demeanor in TERMINATOR and also nothing of Hamilton's angry war veteran in JUDGEMENT DAY.

GENISYS claims to be returning to the roots of the original TERMINATOR and yet presents impostors once again. Furthermore, despite showing the original version of Reese being dispatched by John to save Sarah (which is why John meeting Kyle doesn't match the SALVATION depiction), GENISYS doesn't explain where the "Pops" Terminator came from to rewrite the events of the 1984 film. It's presented as a mystery to be explored later, but it comes off as sloppiness. And the film works in revisiting/remaking moments of the 1984 film -- except it then inexplicably has Sarah and Kyle time travel to 2015 on the eve of Skynet being activated. At no point does the movie explain WHY Sarah and Kyle would decide to throw away 31 years to find a way to stop Skynet other than the filmmakers not wanting to continue recreating the 1984 setting -- which also makes the 'mystery' of Pops look less like an ongoing question and more of a plothole -- one that will never be resolved as GENISYS will have no sequels. Inauthentic. Incompetent. Incomplete.

GENISYS sold itself as being a return to the series' roots (by returning to the 1984 movie to choose an alternate path) and advertised itself with James Cameron claiming he loved GENISYS, a claim he'd later withdraw. I suspect that Cameron was thrilled to see GENISYS refilming moments of his 1984 film and was so overwhelmed by these overtures that he only later came to see that outside of these recreations, the surrounding movie featured bland impostors of his creations in a clumsily plotted and unfinished story.

Fairly or unfairly, DARK FATE is part of a franchise that presents unfinished, confusing stories with stand-ins for the real characters.

DARK FATE, like GENISYS, it claims to return to the roots of the series, sidestep the sequels (but only after T2 whereas GENISYS replaced even the original TERMINATOR) and is endorsed by James Cameron once again -- except with GENISYS, all of that turned out to be utter BS. The fact that DARK FATE managed to recapture authenticity, competence and completion doesn't seem to matter because such things can only be appreciated by an audience that sees the actual film and as they'd been burned on three previous occasions, one can understand them not returning for a fourth. That's despite the authenticity being real this time: we have Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor; we have Ed Furlong as John Connor. These aren't recasts; these are the same faces we saw in TERMINATOR and T2.

And DARK FATE is a return to competence. While James Cameron did not direct this movie, I feel he might as well have much in the same way HALLOWEEN 2018 recaptured the style of the 1974 movie despite Carpenter neither filming it nor having final cut. DARK FATE is plainly a movie that Cameron had made on his behalf the way George Lucas directed RETURN OF THE JEDI through Richard Marquand. Despite never going to the set, Cameron managed its scripting and oversaw the editing and DARK FATE captures all of Cameron's strengths while also amending some of his weaknesses.

Where RISE, SALVATION and GENISYS were pedestrian in their action, Cameron's gift for pacing, shot sequencing, motion and geography are plainly present in Tim Miller's direction. DARK FATE is a relentless chase movie akin to a Season 2 episode of SLIDERS and Miller and Cameron ensure that each action sequence presents a new variation: a terrifying car chase, a battle in an auto factory, a battle within a crashing airplane, an underwater escape -- each sequence presenting a different form of physicality.

Also, Tim Miller infuses DARK FATE with a beautiful feminine energy. Mackenzie Davis' Grace can be unstoppable and indomitable, but she conveys the pain and shock of each blow and how near collapse she is as she performs another astonishing feat. There's a tenderness and tactile sense of identity to Grace in contrast to Schwarzenegger's implacable brutalism. And also, DARK FATE is complete. It doesn't end demanding a sequel, instead ending on a closing note that indicates that should there be a sequel, there'll be a great one, but if there isn't, the adventure continues. It's what SARAH CONNOR's finale so singularly wasn't.

It's a shame that GENISYS was made; had DARK FATE come in its place, it'd have been the first sequel to declare itself a return to authenticity, and had DARK FATE been on track to earn the same $440 million that GENISYS made, it would have been considered an adequate success. And looking at DARK FATE's sister movie, HALLOWEEN 2018 was also a 'deboot' that had the original leading lady reprising her role as a lead character -- except HALLOWEEN 2018 was a return to the original film's roots as a low budget indie movie made for 10 million dollars and earning 255 million at box office.

In contrast, DARK FATE is not a return to TERMINATOR (1984) being made for 6.4 million but instead yet another attempt at T2's blockbuster earnings with a blockbuster budget. Admittedly, a 12 million dollar version of DARK FATE would not have Linda Hamilton or Arnold Schwarzenagger and likely not have the computer generated deaging effects to recreate a young Linda Hamilton and Ed Furlong as Sarah and John, so maybe DARK FATE just came too late. It should have come out in 2015 before GENISYS poisoned the idea of going back to the original well.

Ever since Slider_Quinn21 posted FANTASTIC FOUR: Why did it fail? -- I've thought of that question regarding numerous interesting failures. I hadn't planned to go see the new TERMINATOR in theatres; I rarely go anywhere. But someone I wish I didn't know who annoys me -- well, I heard them snarking that DARK FATE failed because it had women leading the cast and a Mexican and that it was replacing white men in the key franchise roles and upon hearing that, I sped over to the cineplex, walked into an IMAX screening and came out having really enjoyed it.

Natalia Reyes is a terrific viewpoint character, Mackenzie Davis is an incredible action talent and Linda Hamilton anchors the franchise in the way that Nick Stahl, Christian Bale and Jai Courtney so singularly could not. Except clearly not because the audience is staying far, far away from DARK FATE.

I wonder if RISE OF THE MACHINES, SALVATION and GENISYS have cemented a popular view of TERMINATOR: that it produces incompetent action movies with inept scripting and incoherent plotting with each installment being the first film of a trilogy for which the sequels are never actually made, and only crazy people want to yet again watch the opening act of a story that once again won't be finished (although unlike RISE, SALVATION and GENISYS, DARK FATE does not demand or promise a sequel).

To be honest, the actresses I know aren't really NAMES. They star in commercials, one woman shows, short films, stageplays and they have civilian identities managing fast food restaurants or doing intake at psychiatric hospitals or performing dental cleanings. I'm having dinner with two next week, one of whom played a police station receptionist with two lines and was also in a wet wipe commercial, and the other one is focused on stage work.

That said, maybe I should get them to autograph some stuff now and hand over various personal artifacts so that if they hit it big, I can sell their stuff on eBay and then I can achieve my lifelong dream of writing a six part series of SLIDERS screenplays that resurrects Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo and gives them a happy ending with Slider_Quinn21 to edit all the script pages. Oh. Wait. That already happened. Well, I'll just relax a bit for now then.

11

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I maintain that Temporal Flux is completely correct in all of his ARROWVERSE theories and that the show just hasn't validated them YET.

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I sometimes fear that, like those ridiculous people who claimed that BATWOMAN was a disaster before it had even aired, I focus too much on the negative. I tend to post when something strikes me as wrong; I take it for granted when something is good.

I'd like to say that'll change, but I thought it was really weird that Regan the Bartender flirted with Kate Kane and then promised to call Kate having at no point in the episode exchanged any contact information with Kate. Was she going to use the Bat signal?

That said, I'm adoring BATWOMAN which has thankfully dropped the voiceover. Kate fighting crime in the shadow of Bruce Wayne is effective; the action sequences have a brutal physicality and the humour works, especially where Kate fails to catch a returning Batarang and Luke realizes he forgot to calibrate it for her height and arm span. That's funny.

I am fascinated by how Beth became Alice and wonder if the revelations the show will provide will in any way resemble what Greg Rucka and JH Williams III intended to offer in their abortive run in the comic.

I am also deeply amused by how we couldn't have Catwoman so we get Magpie, one of the lamest villains to ever feature in a comic and not even a BATMAN comic. She appeared in MAN OF STEEL #3 as the villain Superman and Batman teamed up to fight. Yes, that's right, Batman teamed up with Superman to catch a jewel thief. My God, MAN OF STEEL #3 was lame. Magpie worked for BATWOMAN, though.

**

THE FLASH is also starting out well. As a show, it's suffered from never finding a central metaphor for the superspeed. Seasons 1 - 2 were nominally about Barry running away from his past except he was investigating it quite thoroughly. Season 3 got too muddled with Flashpoint and wasn't about anything. Season 4 was about how the Thinker was too smart for Barry's speed, but then sexual harasser Andrew Kreisberg was fired off the show and his successors, unwilling to maintain his plans, fumbled the arc and turned a strong seasonal arc into the Flash fighting Sylar, as Slider_Quinn21 put it. Season 5 was slow with maybe a half-season arc of Nora secretly working with Thawne stretched out to a whole year and THE FLASH, while not being sure of what it is, shouldn't ever be slow.

Season 6 has found a way to focus on speed: the Flash is now racing against the clock before his time runs out. His death is inevitable, inescapable, unchangeable and it's entirely possible Season 6 could be the last year of the Flash. As a result, each episode of Season 6 has had a drive and passion and intensity that Season 5 so singularly didn't: Barry must train Killer Frost and teach Cisco because the annual crossover isn't coming any slower and he doesn't expect to survive it.

I'm also pleased that showrunner Eric Wallace has announced that he's treating Season 6 as two mini-seasons much like AGENTS OF SHIELD often had two arcs within one season. If it's a self-criticism of Season 5 and an effort to amend the problem, it would work.

**

SUPERGIRL has found a really compelling arc this season where friends are foes in secret and seeming foes are in fact friends. Kara's love for Lena has never seemed more romantic even as Lena is plotting against her; William Dey seems to be Kara's nemesis but turns out to be her ally; J'onn's loathsome brother turns out to be a villain of J'onn's own creation and Alex -- well, I dunno, but I liked the look of her poached eggs. It's good, although random remarks about voter turnout are a bit, well, random -- if the episodes' plots don't actually involve an election. There is nothing as sickening as people who throw out the term "virtue signalling" towards any expression of morality and responsibility and people like that are insufferable and tend to post transphobic rants on their Twitter accounts and support homophobic harassment -- but I'm grudgingly forced to concede that this would count. Damn it.

**

ARROW. Wow. I am really impressed by how propulsive this short season is. Every shot of every episode is like one of Oliver's arrows flying from his bow: there is intensity and purposeful drive. It's quite odd that a street crime vigilante is battling a cosmic crisis, but ARROW moves so fast it gives you no time to think about it. The season premiere was a touching revisitation of the first season. The second episode was a fascinating look back at Oliver's exploits in Hong Kong. The third was a gripping adventure that recalled the R'as Al Ghul season. By shifting the show out of Star City, Emily Bett Rickards' absence feels natural and it's interesting that she's been maintained in the recap sequence (and I see she's been booked for the series finale, very good).

The future sequences are also really strong and Katherine Macnamara really convinces as Mia, conveying both Felicity's intellectual ferocity and Oliver's heated aggression. I've never seen this actress play a role with such savagery and she's really gripping. Press reports seem to say that the spinoff she'd lead, GREEN ARROW AND THE CANARIES, is as good as sold, but I seem to recall a similar attitude for WAYWARD SISTERS and we all saw how that turned out. Regardless, nothing would make me happier than to see Mia Smoak fighting crime ever week next year other than a SLIDERS revival using Temporal Flux's REDUX concept.

**

LEGENDS is deeply frustrating for me right now on account of it not airing any new episodes.

Well, I feel I've done my part for queen and country.

However, as you may know, one of my quirks is to platonically befriend actresses, one of whom recently celebrated her 23rd birthday. She informed me that she'd been celebrating her 23rd birthday for over a decade and a half via a combination of diet, exercise and skin care and that she expected to continue celebrating her 23rd birthday until retirement or finding another line of work. (I think this is the part where Slider_Quinn21 tries to identify who I'm talking about and I tell him I've changed the details to obscure who I'm talking about.)

I expect that I shall celebrate the fifth anniversary of the twentieth anniversary of SLIDERS by finishing up a website for SLIDERS REBORN five years after it first came out.

13

(227 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I was reading the comic BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL (2015) and I was really struck by the character of Jason Todd. (WTF? What does this have to do with SUPERNATURAL?! I'll get there.)

Jason Todd was the second Robin in the 1980s, killed by the Joker, abortively resurrected in HUSH (2003) only for that to be shown as a fakeout only for writer Judd Winick to retroactively declare it hadn't been a fakeout after all in 2006 and Jason was back. Winick characterized Jason as the Gotham City equivalent of the Punisher, mowing down villains with handguns to Batman's dismay. Later writers, however, had varying characterizations. (WTF? Why is this relevant? Patience!)

In TEEN TITANS, Geoff Johns wrote Jason as unstable but non-lethal as he attacked Tim Drake (the third Robin) out of jealousy for how Bruce was proud of Tim but ashamed of Robin and beating up Tim Drake to best him and then walking away. Bruce Jones wrote him in NIGHTWING as a malicious prankster stealing Dick Grayson's Nightwing identity. Tony Daniel wrote Jason as outright psychotic in BATTLE FOR THE COWL towards the Bat Family after Bruce Wayne was thought dead: Jason attempts to shoot Dick Grayson to death and stab Tim Drake through the heart when they refuse to accept him as the new Batman. Grant Morrison subsequently wrote Jason as a hipster crime fighter who would document his crimefighting on social media and invite Gotham City citizens to vote on whether or not he'd execute criminals. (So WHAT?! What does this have to do with SUPERNATURAL?)

Judd Winick returned to the character after all this and had Jason confess that he'd been a little unstable after Bruce's death but he'd calmed down now. Ultimately, the character didn't seem to cohere until 2010 -- when there was an animated adaptation of Jason's resurrection story, BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD, in which Jensen Ackles (Dean on SUPERNATURAL) voiced the character of Jason Todd (I told you we'd get here).

Since then, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS (by Scott Lobdell) and BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL (by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV and others) have written a highly coherent take on Jason Todd -- Jason is written as a pastiche of Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester with Jason having gone from being defined by lethal instability to being defined by sardonic humour to give voice to his troubled mindset. At one point, Batman, on a leave of absence, allows the Bat Family to help themselves to whatever they want out of the Batcave to carry on fighting crime. "Dibs on the Batmobiles!" Jason crows. "Just two or three. I'm not greedy."

In another issue of ETERNAL, Jason's immediate post-battle regime is to demand that Tim Drake accompany him to a bar to drink heavily despite Tim being underage. Later, someone remarks that Batman trained all the Robins well and Jason, regarded as the most unstable of all of them, snarks, "Yeah, every year in his Christmas card, Bruce tells me how proud he is of how perfect I turned out." At one point, Jason is fighting possessed college girls and remarks, "I dreamed about being smothered in college girls but it was more Drake video and less John Carpenter." These lines are plainly being written in the voice of Dean Winchester whether anyone will admit it or not and DC might owe Jensen Ackles some money here.

14

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

The CW and Warner Bros. TV are developing a SUPERMAN television series featuring Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch as Clark and Lois. Interestingly, they're aiming for adapting a recent run of comics, the post-SUPERMAN REBORN (hunnh) where Superman is married to Lois and together in Metropolis, Lois and Clark are raising a 10-year-old son named Jonathan Samuel Kent who has inherited Superman's powers, Clark Kent's hapless innocence and Lois' inability to stay out of danger.

This means one of two things: WB has given up on a new Henry Cavill movie or recasting him for now and is letting the CW do whatever or WB has really loosened up since the days when they ordered that the Suicide Squad on ARROW be killed off and blocked Harley Quinn from appearing on the show.

The post-SUPERMAN REBORN (hunnh) era of comics (2016 - 2017) is interesting too from a comic book narrative perspective because it resembles all those Season 6 fanfics that have Rembrandt meeting the original Professor who then helps him split the Quinns who then reveals that the Earth Prime in "Genesis" wasn't their home Earth followed by the discovery that the Wade in "Requiem" was a clone and rescuing the real Wade followed by by Logan St. Clair catching up to the sliders and holding Henry the Dog hostage followed by the sliders defeating the Kromaggs using a combination of the Slidewave, the "New Gods for Old" nanites and the Professor's slide rule followed by the FBI appearing to guide the sliders to their true home followed by world peace and global nuclear disarmament followed by -- well, you get the idea.

The New 52 had 'rebooted' the DC Universe in September 2011. In August 2011, Superman had been happily married to Lois and in his late 30s. Suddenly, SUPERMAN featured a single, mid-20s Clark Kent who'd never dated Lois and been Superman for five years. ACTION COMICS was set five years previous and had a new origin for Superman. The loss of Lois and Clark's friendship and the confusion over what had and hadn't happened between the origin story in ACTION and the present day stories in SUPERMAN led to multiple writers repeatedly quitting the books, unable to find a tone or a direction for their work.

The first writer, George Perez, said DC couldn't even tell him if Clark's parents were alive or not in the new continuity. Eventually, the books found their feet, but the muddled two years caused sales to crash despite the eventual excellence of arcs where Superman starts dating Wonder Woman and then the spectacular TRUTH where Superman's secret identity is exposed to the world. I wrote up quite a summary several years ago:

http://sliders.tv/bboard/viewtopic.php?pid=3288#p3288

The New 52 Superman would eventually find creative success, but it wasn't a financial success. The idea that a single, young Clark Kent would sell better had proven false. DC Editorial began laying groundwork to reverse the New 52: the LOIS AND CLARK mini series revealed that the original Superman found himself in the New 52 universe from the start along with Lois. They assumed new identities as Lois and Clark White and Clark observed his alternate's adventures and avoided interfering. In this peaceful retirement, Lois also gave birth to a son, Jon, who is now 10 years old.

At the end of the New 52 run, the New 52 Superman dies burning out his powers. In the DC REBIRTH relaunch, Clark White resumes the role of Superman and explains to the Justice League that he is from a parallel universe and he can't replace their lost friend, but he will serve them as best he can. Another complication occurs: a man who looks exactly like Clark Kent and is only human reappears, claiming that the New 52 Superman put him in witness protection and assumed his identity.

Telepathic scans reveal he has all of Clark's memories (but none of Superman's). This undoes the Clark/Superman identity being revealed. In addition, the New 52 Lois Lane absorbs the New 52 Superman's powers after his death, but then she promptly dies. To investigate, Lois assumes her double's identity and resumes work at the Daily Planet. There was a year of these stories: Lois Lane impersonating herself, Clark White carefully avoiding and investigating Clark Kent, little Jon confused by all of this.

In 2017, there was finally the climax, SUPERMAN REBORN (hunnh), where Kent is revealed as the fifth dimensional prankster, Mr. Mxyzptlk trying to help Superman regain his life in his mischievous way. The New 52 versions of Lois and Clark are shown to be alive after all but as disembodied energy that were split off from the original Lois and Clark due to the New 52 reboot. In REBORN (hunnh), both versions of the characters are merged, resulting in a combined timeline of 1985 reboot and the New 52 reboot.

The New 52 adventures are rewritten so that some of them happened, but during the past 10 years, Lois and Clark have mostly been away from the Daily Planet and Metropolis, taking some time off to raise their son. No one remembers there having been two Supermans; the Superman/Wonder Woman romance has been erased, the entire supporting cast has known Jon Kent all his life, and Clark White is able to resume his life as Clark Kent once again. Like I said, this is the SUPERMAN equivalent of all those Season 6 fanfics.

I grudgingly respect DC spending a whole year's worth of SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS having Lois and Clark White slowly regain their lives as Lois Lane and Clark Kent and merging the New 52 and 1985 timelines -- but Jesus. There's a reason why most readers and writers haven't been able to finish their Season 6 SLIDERS fanfics.

I assume that a CW Superman series will skip past all of that.

15

(291 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

On DC's attitude to timelines:

I've been catching up on my reading and enjoying the semi-recent run of BATMAN ETERNAL (a 52 issue weekly series in 2014), BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL (a 26 issue weekly in 2015) and then the 2016 - 2018 run of DETECTIVE COMICS. Much of this was written by James Tynion IV. These comics showcased Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, both of whom were introduced in the 90s and 2000s, both of whom became Batgirl, both of whom were cut from the character roster after the New 52 relaunch where DC sought to present the versions of Batman's sidekicks who would most commonly appear in movies and TV. Robin could remain Damian and while Dick remained Nightwing because their comics sold well.

However, BATGIRL featuring Cassandra Cain as the title character and BATGIRL featuring Stephanie as the lead had never been a big hit despite Bat-fans adoring her, so it seemed best to revert Batgirl to being the most prominent character in the role, Barbara Gordon. DC decreed that Stephanie and Cassandra were now erased from existence and relaunched BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT, NIGHTWING, RED HOOD and BATGIRL. Strategically, it made sense, but narratively, it was strange go from reading these comics in August 2011 where Bruce and Dick are two of hundreds of people wearing Batman costumes with Stephanie and Cassandra as Batman's agents -- and then go to September 2011 to find the August 2011 plots continuing -- except only Bruce is wearing the costume, the Batmen around the world are now Bat-derivatives instead (Batwing in Africa instead of the Batman of Africa) and everyone is now 10 years younger with Bruce in his early thirties and Gordon's hair has gone from white to red -- and there is no mention of Cassandra or Stephanie at all.

In 2014, the BATMAN ETERNAL series reintroduced Stephanie in her original costume as the Spoiler, but showed her meeting the Bat Family for the first time. 2015's BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL had Cassandra Cain meeting the Bat Family for the first time. On one level, it allowed for these new versions of Stephanie and Cassandra to belong within the relaunch continuity; Stephanie would be the Spoiler and Cassandra would be Orphan, never again to find themselves assuming a role that the original would take away from them, never again to be made redundant. On another, it was obnoxious to read a new version of a story that had already been told in the 90s and 2000s and to see the characters starting their journey all over again no matter how skillful the scripts and art were.

And there are other oddities as well. BATMAN ETERNAL has Alfred encountering Bane and both of them coming to an uneasy alliance; Alfred never refers to Bane having met Alfred and beaten him senseless before breaking Batman's back, so the KNIGHTFALL arc has been removed from Batman's history along with Bane's defining story -- while retaining Bane himself. There are flashbacks to Hush (Tommy Elliot) showing him being obsessed with an orphaned Bruce to the point where Tommy as a pre-teen murders his own parents by sabotaging their car and then hugging Bruce and saying, "We're the same now" -- contradicting the original HUSH story where Tommy's parents died before Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered and contradicting HEART OF HUSH where Tommy's mother repeatedly compares him to Bruce spawning Tommy's insane jealousy. Tommy's publication history is now a mix of flashbacks that don't fit with the original material with no coherent progression.

Under this DC approach of continually rebooting the past while maintaining the present, the result is that even when the writers and artists are good, the constant declaration that stories the reader saw in the past either didn't happen or happened differently is perpetually disorienting.

Stephanie and Cassandra would become part of a Bat Family team in the subsequent DETECTIVE COMICS which did a great job of acknowledging this, however: Cassandra fears that she can't overcome her upbringing as a child assassin and Stephanie feels inadequate. A villain tries to capitalize on this by showing them the previous timeline where they were Batgirls but are now mere shadows of themselves -- but Stephanie and Cassandra are instead inspired to know that they have what it takes to wear the Bat symbol. So that's something.

But under the Marvel style of continuity, I can't see much of this happening; instead, Marvel declares that all published stories are true, even the ones that contradict each other, folds them into a vague 10 - 20 year timeline and anything that doesn't fit, they just don't refer to. If Marvel had been handling the relaunch and needed to put Barbara Gordon back in the Batgirl suit, they wouldn't have erased Stephanie and Cassandra from reality: they would have just thrown in a line about Stephanie and Cassandra taking a break to go to university out of town and brought them back if someone were inclined to do so, much in the same way Spider-Man's clone, Ben Reilly, relocated to Las Vegas for two years.

If Marvel wanted Batman and his supporting cast younger, they would have simply started drawing them younger and referred to them as being younger, just as Tony Stark went from being in his late 40s to his early 30s. They wouldn't have had a cosmic event to justify Jim Gordon's hair going from white to red again; they'd have just changed it and made a joke about how Gordon quit drinking and started taking vitamins the way J. Jonah Jameson has been drawn a bit younger over the years. And if they wanted to change Barbara Gordon from being a mid-30s computer genius to a college aged Batgirl, they'd have just relaunched BATGIRL with Barbara younger and then made a joke as to how she'd been acting older than her age for years but now wanted to finish her education formally. And if Marvel wanted to re-do Cassandra and Stephanie's origins, they'd probably do an altered retelling in flashbacks much in the same way Iron Man's origin is retold every few years with the technological and topical references and locations updated.

16

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I re-read some of the BATWOMAN comics, specifically the opening arc in DETECTIVE COMICS by writer Greg Rucka and artist JH Williams III, and then BATWOMAN #1 - 24 by JH Williams III, W. Hayden Blackman III and some other artists.

The opening arc by Rucka is strong. It capitalizes on Batwoman having appeared in the 52 comic book, an anthology series of sorts, but it gives Batwoman much clearer definition as a daughter of two US army officers with a severely militaristic approach to crimefighting after being rejected from service for being gay. Williams III's art is hallucinogenic and eerie, Kate Kane is all punk defiance and rage while Batwoman contains Kate's fury in bright red hair and an elegant costume. Everything that makes the BATWOMAN TV show great is present: Kate feels duty, a compulsion to serve as a soldier. The mystery of Beth/Alice is also established with strength.

Then we go to the full fledged BATWOMAN series which Rucka didn't write and... things get weird. Williams III assumes responsibility for scripts and art (while other artists come in but clearly follow Williams' preferences for double-paged layouts and wide composition). And Williams III's interests define BATWOMAN #1 - 24 and his interests seem to be mythological monsters. Water deities. Giant serpents. Werewolves. That's what he wants to draw and he's great at it.

And while the book is well-scripted and a strong, rich reading experience, I just don't see how gorgons and water elementals bring out the Kate Kane character who is defined by her military background, whose abilities are in street level crimefighting, whose nerve strikes and tasers should be useless against smoke monsters. Kate regards the monsters with a certain calm stoicism, but never panics and instead runs away and comes back with Wonder Woman for help and I couldn't help but think that this was more a Wonder Woman story than a Batwoman story.

The subsequent arc involved Batman and Batwoman being manipulated against each other by dark forces and was unfinished by Williams III as he quit the book in frustration after DC approved his plot for Kate to marry Maggie Sawyer but then withdrew permission. It was wrapped up in a perfunctory, rushed BATWOMAN ANNUAL #1 written by another writer.

Ultimately, I'm not surprised that the BATWOMAN television series makes absolutely no effort to draw on Batwoman fighting water elementals and werewolves and Medusa and mystical tears in reality, all of which are unaffordable on a CW budget as rendered in the comic and none of which really speak to the Kate Kane character.

HUSH and BATWOMAN comics often seem a bit amateurish compared to the TV shows, although I can't pretend the TV shows don't have their failings.

17

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Having now reread HUSH by Jeph Loeb, HUSH RETURNS by AJ Lieberman and HEART OF HUSH by Paul Dini along with UNDER THE RED HOOD by Judd Winick, there's the odd sense of sequels trying to make contrary efforts to capitalize on the sales success of HUSH while repairing its flaws. HUSH RETURNS insists that Hush is an important villain because... the writer insists upon it, writer Lieberman can't explain why Thomas Elliot does anything or why he's constantly playing random mind games with Batman.

UNDER THE RED HOOD feels like an embarrassed cough after HUSH; Judd Winick's story has a mysterious Red Hood fighting crime in murderous fashion in Gotham and this Red Hood is revealed as Jason Todd alive after a cosmic reset and a Lazarus Pit, who also confirms that he was fighting Batman in the original HUSH storyline. The intent is clear: Winick acknowledges that HUSH would have worked better if Todd had been HUSH, but offers Jason Todd a different persona as a brutal, merciless crimefighter. He's like the Punisher and Batman created him, and Batman is forced to co-exist with his wayward pupil. In the stories that followed, Jason returned as an antagonist and eventually re-joined the Bat-Family and was accepted by Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, Damian and even Bruce himself, and it's probably the story that HUSH should have told in the first place.

Paul Dini in HEART OF HUSH, however, manages to cobble the disparate pieces of Hush into a coherent character. Why does Hush wear the bandages? He tears them off and we finally see underneath them at last -- and the face is Bruce Wayne's -- retroactively explaining why Tommy Elliot faked his life of wealth and success; he wanted to kill Batman and then live Bruce Wayne's life; he's been performing plastic surgery on himself to that end.

Why did a psycho kid trying to kill his parents to inherit money become a hardworking doctor? We see that Tommy's parents were insanely abusive and his mother constantly compared him to Bruce, leading to a psychotic obsession and hatred -- and that Dr. Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, was (before his life of crime) Tommy's psychiatrist and amused by Tommy's insanity which he fostered and encouraged; this is why Tommy become a doctor. Why is Tommy so fixated on Bruce? He is fuelled by a mad jealousy towards him. None of this characterization was in HUSH, and it feels like THE HEART OF HUSH should have been part of the original HUSH and Dini makes it feel like it's been there all along, weaving all the disparate details together.

I think I have to take it back -- Hush is an A-list villain, albeit one not currently being used in the film adaptations and so fair game for BATWOMAN. However, Hush is weakened by how either UNDER THE RED HOOD or HEART OF HUSH should really have been contained in his original debut.

18

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Hmm. I've been re-reading the original BATMAN: HUSH issues and I think I may have been overly hard on Jeph Loeb and HUSH. HUSH features Batman being attacked on all sides by friends and foes, manipulated by a mysterious stranger in a trenchcoat, his face and body swathed in bandages. Throughout the initial issues, there are hints: Batman suffers an injury when the mystery man severs Batman's jump line with a Batarang, blows out the Batmobile's tires, leaves residue of a Lazarus Pit at the scene of a crime -- all of which adds up to the revelation where Hush rips off his bandages to reveal that he's Jason Todd, the second Robin whom Bruce failed to save from being murdered by the Joker. The Batarang was Jason's; Batman’s severed line landed him on the street where he first encountered Jason trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile.

However, the story abruptly declares this a fakeout, Jason Todd is actually Clayface impersonating Todd, and Hush is actually Bruce's childhood friend, Tommy Elliott -- except Hush's bandages are never taken off to reveal Tommy's face underneath. In addition, it's unclear how Tommy knew Batman's true identity and knew the details of Jason Todd's relationship with Bruce or how he was able to engineer and motivate all of Batman's enemies -- which then requires another reveal that the Riddler was behind it all and Hush was his pawn -- except the Riddler was defeated and imprisoned by Batman in a throwaway action sequence earlier in the arc and makes this revelation from Arkham Asylum, hardly the position of the mastermind behind the HUSH arc.

The explanation for how the Riddler knows Batman's true identity is nonsensical with the Riddler claiming that he gained enlightenment from being resurrected by a Lazarus Pit. And how did the Riddler acquire all the intimate details of Jason Todd's story with Bruce Wayne?

Reading it now, it seems very clear to me that Jeph Loeb's intention was that Hush was indeed Jason Todd -- because the structure of the story makes no sense without it. Without Jason Todd being the villain behind the bandages, the only justification for Hush's knowledge of Batman is to attribute it to another villain which makes the titular villain of the story nothing but a figurehead for someone else. The clues that hinted at Jason Todd make no sense as misdirection because they could have only been planted by Jason Todd himself.

It seems like DC editorial got cold feet around the last three issues of the 12 issue HUSH arc and mandated that Hush could not be Jason Todd after all. That's why why Tommy Elliott's motivations make so little sense and feel like they've been written without regard for the rest of the story. It's probably why Loeb never unmasks Hush as Elliott -- Loeb didn't know how to write Hush without Hush being Jason Todd. And indeed, a later story, UNDER THE HOOD, reveals that it was Jason Todd in this story after all, although Hush as Tommy Elliott remained a separate character.

It's quite hilarious to read the GOTHAM KNIGHTS arc from #55 - 74 where another writer tries to pick up from where Loeb left off by having Hush return to menace Batman. Hush is portrayed as a gripping visual; a flowing trenchcoat, his bandages billowing in the wind, his dual-pistols firing -- but now it's just baffling. Why is Dr. Thomas Elliott, famous and wealthy neurosurgeon, wearing bandages? Why is he using a gun? Why is this man, so jealous of Bruce Wayne's wealth, running around Gotham beating up various supervillains and saying they work for him now? Why did he fake his own death and throw away a life of success and appreciation to get into street brawls?

It's tragically obvious that without the Todd identity, Hush is merely empty imagery without any real characterization and it's only later that Paul Dini gives him some.

Anyway. I excuse Jeph Loeb for the misbegotten mess of Hush.

Ah, good.

**

So, it looks like the separation between Marvel Television and Marvel Film is at an end as Marvel Film producer Kevin Feige is assuming control of the TV and publishing divisions of Marvel while retaining control of the film division. Before the original separation, Ike Perlmutter ran both divisions and was Feige's boss until he tried to fire Robert Downey Jr. off of CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR. Feige threatened to quit over Perlmutter's interference with CIVIL WAR and Perlmutter was reduced/reassigned to only overseeing TV and publishing with no authority over Feige and the film department.

But as a result, AGENTS OF SHIELD lost the ability to tie in to Marvel movies as Marvel Film and Marvel TV were now coldly at odds. That's no longer the case: Perlmutter is no longer running Marvel TV and his top lieutenant, Jeph Loeb (who created Hush/Tommy Elliott over in BATWOMAN!) is leaving Marvel TV. https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/kevin … 203377802/

Creatively, I feel that the individual TV projects had a lot of success. DAREDEVIL's first and third seasons were excellent, LUKE CAGE did well for half of its first season and all of its second, JESSICA JONES was terrific throughout, THE PUNISHER was good if never great and IRON FIST had a good second season. AGENTS OF SHIELD has been a very well-written, well-produced show. AGENT CARTER was brilliant. However, financially and in terms of viewership, AGENTS OF SHIELD is at best a sleeper hit, AGENT CARTER was cancelled on a cliffhanger (that AOS Season 7 may resolve) and the Netflix shows all saw dramatic audience drop off that saw them cancelled. It seems to me that good TV shows weren't produced at Marvel TV as much as they escaped from Marvel TV and Perlmutter, who is not interested in creativity and was more concerned with being spiteful and selling content.

The main reason for the cancellations of all the Netflix shows: Netflix wanted to order fewer episodes per season. Marvel TV (and Perlmutter) balked at making less money despite the fact that every season of the Netflix shows suffered from overstretched plots, some handled gracefully (like DAREDEVIL Season 3) and some not (like DEFENDERS). It wasn't about making a good show; it was about getting hours sold to streaming.

And then there's the inability to effectively market TV shows about Marvel characters as being part of the same universe as the Marvel movies -- because the head of Marvel TV was adversarial and belittling towards Marvel Film. Without being able to tie into a feature film, AGENTS OF SHIELD lost a massive promotional push, lost ratings ground and has stayed on the air through budget cuts and reduced licensing fees.

That belittlement is best demonstrated in INHUMANS, a film project Perlmutter pushed forward as an effort to replace the X-MEN property in Marvel Films as FOX owned the rights. After Perlmutter was removed from Marvel Film, Kevin Feige rightly cancelled the INHUMANS movie as trying to replace a culturally iconic property like X-MEN with a non-entity like INHUMANS was insane. In response, Perlmutter ordered a cheap, rushed, slapdash TV production of INHUMANS to be filmed and had the first two episodes of this substandard product shown in IMAX theatres. The damage to the Marvel brand and to the IMAX brand was astonishing, declaring that Marvel and IMAX would peddle a cheap TV movie as a cinematic experience and it was a financial catastrophe not to mention a ratings failure when the rest of the episodes aired on ABC.

And with this kind of relationship between Marvel TV and Marvel Film, there was no way for the TV shows to sell themselves as being in the same world as the Avengers. The Marvel TV shows don't seem like a product extending from the Marvel brand. They seem like STAR TREK novels because the TV head can't and won't coordinate with the film division.

There has been no stated reason for why Kevin Feige has been promoted to take over Perlmutter's stewardship of the TV and publishing wings of Marvel, but INHUMANS was a clear sign that Perlmutter's way of doing business for Marvel was not yielding positive results financially or creatively. Meanwhile, Feige was the hero of INFINITY WAR, ENDGAME, HOMECOMING, FAR FROM HOME, CAPTAIN MARVEL, THOR RAGNAROK and the ANT MAN films. And with Marvel starting a streaming service for TV shows, it no longer made sense to keep Feige removed from TV projects or to leave Perlmutter in charge of them when he ran the Netflix shows and INHUMANS and AGENTS OF SHIELD and AGENT CARTER into the ground, any quality existing in spite of Perlmutter.

TemporalFlux wrote:

And that rumor of a Spidey appearance in Captain Marvel 2 persists.  The previous (seemingly slanted) rumor had Spidey appearing only as a screw-up that Captain Marvel constantly has to save.  The slant of the rumor was that she would also be very emasculating to Spidey during all of this to make herself and female empowerment look better.

https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainmen … -mcu.html/

It is a shame, really.  People should be laughing with Spidey and not laughing at Spidey.  Maybe Sony does need to just take full control and cut Marvel out.

Sony should cut Marvel out because... there are rumours? Wouldn’t there be rumours regardless?

The last Kevin Feige spoke of CAPTAIN MARVEL II, he said he wanted to explore Carol’s adventures in space between her first film and ENDGAME. Unless Tom Holland’s Peter gets the Captain Universe powers, I don’t think Spider-Man would have a role. We’ll see, but given the overwhelmingly positive reaction to HOMECOMING and FAR FROM HOME, why should a rumour suddenly have people who’ve enjoyed the Feige/Holland era suddenly declare Feige doesn’t know the character? You’ve lost me on this one, although your SPIDER-MAN TEAM UP point is certainly irrefutable.

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Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Yeah, I think this version of Malcolm is just a businessman.

So are we sure that the CW doesn't have more Batman rights than we thought?  Tommy Elliot (Hush) appeared on the show, and they name-dropped the Riddler.  They've also said that Kate was worried that some of Batman's old villains would show up if they thought Batman was back - that might not happen because of the Batwoman reveal, but between what we've seen and what was teased in Elseworlds, I'm interested to see if they'll actually use Batman villains in this show.

I'm also curious how the world of Batwoman works in the comics.  Does she fight Batman's rogues gallery as well as her own?  Does Batman fight her rogues gallery?  Because, like with all the Marvel heroes in New York, it's crazy to me to have separate worlds in the same city.  They'd be crossing each other all the time.

Well, Batman has been cast for CRISIS. He will be played by Kevin Conroy, veteran Batman voice actor of the BATMAN animated series. But because Tom Welling and Tyler Hoechlin and Brandon Routh are each playing Superman and Routh is also playing Ray Palmer, it's unclear if Conroy's Batman is BATWOMAN's Batman. But even without that, the situation is peculiar to be sure.

There is really no reason why TV and film versions can't co-exist, but Warner Bros. seems to frown upon it. THE FLASH TV deal came together well before Zack Snyder wanted the Flash for his JUSTICE LEAGUE film and the subsequent spinoff and was grandfathered past the films getting first pick. However, ARROW introduced the Suicide Squad, introduced Deadshot, introduced Deathstroke, setting them up as semi-regular cast members -- and then WB ordered that these characters be removed as the Suicide Squad and Deadshot would be in SUICIDE SQUAD and Deathstroke was planned to be the central villain in a Ben Affleck-directed BATMAN film.

SUPERGIRL and BATWOMAN strike me as shows made by a TV wing that can't get Superman and Batman on TV. During Season 1 of SUPERGIRL, the show was barred from showing Superman's face on camera and in TVLine, the BATWOMAN showrunner has shared how BATWOMAN was not permitted to make Batman a regular cast member. https://tvline.com/2018/12/10/arrowvers … no-batman/

The situation seems to be that if a character is headlining a feature film, WB doesn't want a competing version of them to appear as a regular or semi-regular character in a TV show. However, on a case-by-case basis, they have permitted Batman, Superman, Lois Lane, Deadshot and Deathstroke to appear or return -- as guest-stars who won't appear so regularly that they seem like they're replacing Robert Pattinson or Henry Cavill in advance of the movie franchise. Bruce Wayne has appeared on TITANS, but he's a 58-year-old version of Bruce played by Iain Glen, clearly not competing with Pattinson. Tyler Hoechlin has to date only appeared in six episodes of SUPERGIRL.

Also, I consider Hush to be a D-list villain.

Hush is one of the lamest characters ever to appear in a BATMAN comic book, memorable only because he was drawn by superstar artist Jim Lee in a 12-issue BATMAN arc written by Jeph Loeb where Hush was supposedly masterminding attacks from all of Batman as he was attacked by Catwoman, Superman (both mind-controlled), Poison Ivy, the Joker, the League of Assassins, Clayface. The imagery of Hush as a trenchcoat clad man in bandages and two guns was a red herring to indicate he might be Two Face, but beyond that, Hush had no real character or rationale -- until he unmasked as Jason Todd. But the next issue immediately dismissed this, revealing that Todd was actually Clayface and Hush went unrevealed for awhile longer.

The half-explanation given for his motives at the end of his opening arc: Hush claimed to be Tommy Elliot, a childhood friend of Bruce's who became a brain surgeon. Hush says that as a boy, he caused a car accident to kill his parents, but Dr. Thomas Wayne saved Mrs. Elliot, enraging Tommy who wanted his inheritance -- and so, the money-seeking Tommy decided to become a hardworking brain surgeon (?) to get revenge on Bruce Wayne and Batman. The story arc was so inept that Hush is never unmasked to confirm or deny this story, and then the resolution has the Riddler taking full credit for Hush's plot, meaning Hush was a pointless poseur who wasn't responsible for anything at all.

Because the HUSH arc featured all of Batman's greatest villains drawn by a popular artist and because the Marvel Comics editor in chief enthusiastically promoted this 12 issue arc from his competitor (for some reason), HUSH was a sales smash but one of the most-mocked publications of the year. And there were sequels. A later arc by Judd Winick in BATMAN revealed that the Jason Todd that Batman fought had indeed been Jason (who switched places with Clayface later in the fight) -- although Jason was not Hush.

Another arc in GOTHAM KNIGHTS had Hush trouncing various Batman villains to consolidate the Gotham underworld and framing Alfred for murder and suggesting that he wasn't really Tommy Elliot after all -- only for it to be confirmed that he was actually Tommy. It was a clumsy mess.

However, for some strange reason, this misbegotten character struck a chord in DETECTIVE COMICS writer Paul Dini (showrunner of the BATMAN animated series). Dini brought Hush back in an arc called THE HEART OF HUSH where flashbacks reveal that Tommy as a boy was an obsessive, driven child who loathed his abusive mother and was psychotically jealous of Bruce Wayne's wealth and freedom as a rich orphan (which justifies why he went to med school after his failed murder attempt).

Dini also wrote Hush with something Hush never demonstrated in his previous arcs: Hush now had an innate understanding of Bruce Wayne and Batman in his new plan where he kidnaps Catwoman, puts her on comic book scifi life support machines and then rips out her heart. "It doesn't matter what socialite or reporter you're dating," Hush snarls at Batman. "There's only one woman who's ever held your heart and now I'm holding HERS!" Later, Hush incapacitates Batman and reveals that Hush has altered his face via plastic surgery: Hush now looks like Bruce Wayne and intends to assume the role of Bruce and Batman and become the very man he hates and of whom he's nursed a lifelong jealousy.

The fight goes into the Batcave where Hush remarks upon the bay of Batmobiles with, "Bruce! You magnificent bastard! A car for every mood swing!" Hush is defeated and Catwoman is restored, but when Batman is thought dead after FINAL CRISIS, Dini presented THE HOUSE OF HUSH: Hush attempts to assume Bruce Wayne's identity only for the Justice League to let him and then have him under constant guard, letting them control Bruce's ongoing legacy with Hush as their puppet. Hush escapes just as Bruce Wayne returns from the dead and Hush then reveals to the world that Bruce Wayne is Batman -- except Bruce has started Batman Incorporated, a global army of Batmans, and has already revealed that Batman has been many different people over the years and he was only ever one of them, rendering Hush's revelation meaningless.

I concede that Paul Dini has told some excellent Hush stories, but that is because Paul Dini is an A-list talent. Hush remains D-list. He has a deeply uninteresting visualization, a clumsy motivation from an inept writer that was ironed out later by a better one, and he's ultimately a reflection of Batman and Bruce Wayne rather than being a strong character in his own right. But I reserve the right to change my mind on that at any time.

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Well, Deathstroke survived the island. Anything Deathstroke survived, Batman could as well. Also, given that Deathstroke overcame his insanity, if Batman went insane, he could have recovered from that as well and become (or remained) Barry-2's friend.

The only thing I'm unsure of: why was Malcolm Merlyn unable to defend himself against the Dark Archer/Tommy? I suppose on Earth-2, Malcolm never joined the League of Assassins, never trained to become the Dark Archer, and his timeline diverged from Earth-1 well before Oliver and Robert went missing.

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Episodes of THE FLASH established that on Earth 2, Robert Queen, Oliver's father, was the Hood who tried to stop the Undertaking and was exposed on TV in a background news report in Season 2 of THE FLASH. Presumably, Oliver-2 was killed but Robert survived and, on the island, was trained by a stranded Bruce Wayne who performed the same role that Deathstroke did for Oliver. It seems that Robert-2 either went into hiding or was killed after his identity was exposed, but also trained Adrian Chase to carry on for him.

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Really enjoying SUPERGIRL's second episode with some great fight scenes and terrific interpersonal drama and I even liked Alex noting that she barely knows Kelly while Nia realizes that Brainiac is a troublingly obsessive boyfriend. But...

At one point, Lena needs some of the technology within the VR contact lenses, so she... tries to take apart a set to steal the internals and breaches the security and Andrea Rojas proceeds to strip Lena of her lenses and her access to the VR network. Uh.

If Lena needed the tech in the lenses, why didn't she license it? And why is Andrea personally enforcing end-user agreement breaches and punishments? Is Tim Cook going to come to my door if I take apart my iPad? And furthermore, how exactly can Andrea 'ban' Lena from using the VR lenses?

Even if Netflix cancelled my account and took my TV, could they really stop me from creating a new email, opening a new account and buying a new television from Best Buy? Certainly, social media networks have banned alt-right personalities, but that's specific to public figures who depend on their names and notoriety to go about their business on a social media platform. Lena's work was in private.

I don't get it, and SUPERGIRL seems to grant Andrea Rojas a lot of power in-universe -- stipulating that Catco employees can't find journalism jobs elsewhere, declaring that her accessible-to-any-subscriber VR network is now off limits to Lena -- and I don't see how, even in a superhero universe, her power is feasible.

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I assume that in some terrible battle, Batman was poisoned with his heart or brain no longer able to cope with the stress of being Batman, and he set off to travel the world, hoping to find a cure. The intention for BIRDS OF PREY, another show where Batman seemingly abandoned Gotham, was to leave it open to later explain that Batman was injured and incapacitated as opposed to having walked out.

What I find really interesting is that the TV show is adapting and, I imagine, seeking to complete a story -- the story of Alice's origins and what happened to her between her supposed death and her reappearance as a terrorist -- that was left unfinished in the comic books. Usually, it's the comic books (or the fan fiction or the novels) that complete the unfinished story in the TV show.

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I didn't see it. I imagine it's good; Todd Phillips is a great director. JOKER just isn't what I look for in superheroes or even spinoffs. To me, what I want in a superhero show is best represented in BATWOMAN with Ruby Rose beating up thugs with her bare hands and representing empowerment in the face of social and institutional discrimination and rejection. That said, I have read the script for JOKER, so I can discuss the screenplay.

I think the story is effective. It explores how a socially awkward, isolated man decides that the only way he can relate to society and affect the world is through cruelty, violence, savagery in order to achieve the dominance and control he couldn't find in his day job or relationships. It's a well-told story. I would have liked for the JOKER screenplay to show how Arthur Fleck had the option of choosing another path instead of becoming a serial killer -- but that wouldn't be a JOKER story.

Slider_Quinn21 is right to say that the Joker in most media adaptations and comics has a genius-level intellect for sadism and plotting and manipulation. Arthur Fleck is incompetent. Phillips, in interviews, suggested that Fleck isn't even THE Joker -- merely the progenitor of the aesthetic which the actual Joker would adopt as his own.

I don't really know what else to say about that except to change the subject. My story of choice for addressing sociopathy and rejection is closer to BATMAN titles from 2001 - 2006.

Mark Waid wrote a JUSTICE LEAGUE story where it's revealed that Batman has developed methods of killing Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man and anyone else who's ever been on the team. The files are stolen by R'as Al Ghul who proceeds to use them all and while the team survive, the League kicks Batman out.

Subsequent writers doubled-down on this characterization with Batman as a cruel, manipulative, distant figure with nothing but disdainful, contemptuous comments towards Tim Drake (Robin at the time), Spoiler (Tim's partner and girlfriend), Huntress, Nightwing -- and at one point, when Bruce feels he's getting too close to his girlfriend Vesper Fairchild, he stages a scene where she finds him in Wayne Manor naked with various prostitutes and models -- specifically so that she'll dump him and he can spend more time fighting crime.

Bruce becomes so unbearable that Alfred quits and moves in with Robin, and then it's later revealed that Batman developed a global surveillance system to monitor all superheroes, a system that the villains gain control of leading to the 2005 INFINITE CRISIS storyline. Batman tries to save his friends, but he's turned all of them against him and no one trusts him anymore. He collapses with grief in the Batcave only for Superman to appear -- but it's not the Superman whom Bruce knows.

It's the Superman of the 1930s from an alternate timeline. This Superman tells Bruce that what's happened is not his fault: the DC Universe has become a dark, cruel, unforgiving world and Batman is merely a symptom, and Superman asks for Batman's help to reboot and overwrite this reality with a kinder, better one.

But Batman refuses, saying that what's happened is his fault, not anyone else's -- because the Dick Grayson of this universe isn't an abrasive monstrosity who's turned on his friends because the world around him got dark. Batman is responsible for his actions.

At the climax of the story, the world is saved, but Batman is so broken that he holds a gun on Alexander Luthor and has to be talked down. Truly ashamed, Bruce apologizes to the Justice League for his behaviour and asks for their forgiveness. He declares that he is taking a leave of absence as Batman and decides to revisit the travels around the world that he took in his youth to acquire his original training. He asks Tim and Dick to accompany him.

In the 52 comic book co-written by Mark Waid, Bruce realizes that he has been experiencing a psychological breakdown due to the death of Professor Arturo -- I mean, the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. It is a grief and guilt that he buried but eventually emerged in his need to both dominate his friends and keep them distant.

"He lost it," Dick Grayson observes. "In the end, he just lost it." Mark Waid would later apologize for the impact of his original JLA story, observing that he started the path where Batman had become "a dick" and that it was his solemn mission to fix that. The post-52 Batman appeared in BATMAN #655, a re-energized and much more positive character who adored crimefighting and working with partners and was tactically obsessive as ever, but without the depression and contempt for others.

I feel this is what superheroes are for. This is the story about sociopathy that I'd want to see. But I recognize that the JOKER is not a superhero and this is not his story.

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I really liked EXCALIBUR during a massive re-read of all X-MEN comics several years ago. EXCALIBUR stood out because the core X-MEN titles had gotten deeply muddled and confused. Writer Chris Claremont had sought to evolve the X-Men team by having Cyclops get married and retire, Professor Xavier leave the team and choose a redeemed Magneto as the new headmaster of the school. But due to editorial interference and crossovers and mandated resets, Claremont was unable to explore the ramifications of Magneto as the team leader. EXCALIBUR, set in England and featuring some X-Men characters (Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Shadowcat) allowed Chris Claremont to tell X-Men adventures without the obnoxious convolutions of the other titles.

Later, Alan Davis took over both writing and illustrating the title and added a new lightness to Claremont's 80s style superheroics. In a SLIDERS Season 6 fanfic type twist, Davis also took issue with the EXCALIBUR SPECIAL EDITION comic which had mis-drawn and mis-characterized various cast members and devoted #47 to explaining it away. https://www.cbr.com/the-abandoned-an-fo … excalibur/

Alas, it was too good last; with #68, EXCALIBUR saw a truly bizarre retool/reboot akin to "Genesis" and "The Unstuck Man" with cast and story changes so abrupt that the editors put in a note trying to assure readers that they hadn't missed an issue. However, I felt things improved with #83 when the brilliant Warren Ellis took over and introduced the character of Pete Wisdom, a hilariously cynical protagonist. Ellis left with #103 and the book would be cancelled with #125, but Ellis later took over X-FORCE with #102 and was able to continue some of his Pete Wisdom stories there until that too was cancelled with #115.

Warren Ellis also once remarked, "I don't know how a bunch of cultural rejects manage to get an abortion like SLIDERS renewed every fucking year." :-D

**

Another X-MEN comic that reflects SLIDERS is EXILES in which the characters visit alternate Marvel timelines. At one point, Wizard Comics Magazine said that the EXILES writer, Judd Winick, should write a SLIDERS comic and the SLIDERS fanbase protested on the grounds that Winick introduces gay characters to every property he writes and would likely make Wade bisexual.

Personally, I would love for Judd Winick to write a SLIDERS comic because he introduces gay characters to every property he writes, properties often devoid of LGBTQ individuals and people of colour until his arrival, and he would likely make Wade bisexual which I think would fit in well with Wade.

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FLASH opened Season 6 well with the return of the chinstrap to the Flash's suit. The giant head look was very awkward in Season 5 and I'm relieved that an absurd design choice has been amended. What took them so long?

Despite the misfire of the Season 5 Nora, I thought the premiere did a great job of playing Nora's loss for grief and balancing it with a new season of threats and dangers. Cecile pointing out to Iris that she can't skip over the grief of losing a daughter was quite beautiful.

The use of the FLASH GORDON song rankled much in the same way the use of other songs in THE FLASH's musical episode irked Informant. Once again, a song made for a completely different narrative and for a completely different character has been foolishly repurposed to content that doesn't offer the right fit.

**

In contrast, SUPERGIRL using the song "Supermassive Black Hole" was oddly fitting in its season premiere. I continue to adore SUPERGIRL and Informant had, in his inappropriate gatekeeping form of criticism, certain grains of truth. SUPERGIRL assumed a direct corellation between immigrants to the United States in our world and alien immigrants arriving on Earth except SUPERGIRL's immigrants could read minds and blow up buildings with a hard stare. SUPERGIRL would have been better off exploring its fictional issues and letting the audience make the connections or fail to.

Temporal Flux once noted that shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE (or SLIDERS) would tell stories about the forces of prejudice and fear rather than transplanting "Nevertheless, she persisted" into a script and calling it a day. Because these shows focused on human nature and allegory instead of photocopying catchphrases from reality, the stories had greater meaning and timelessness. I would merely argue that ripping material from the headlines is just as valid as indirect allegory and metaphor -- it isn't as universal and it certainly won't age well, but it makes sense for SUPERGIRL given the greater visibility of gender inequality in our world today. But it puts SUPERGIRL is in an awkward place with Season 5: it wants to continue criticizing the Trump administration while preserving the victory over President Baker in Season 4.

The situation is confusing: Catco's new owner sees that Kara Danvers TOOK DOWN THE PRESIDENT with an article last year -- and wants to make sure Catco doesn't engage in any of the journalism that made it a contender. The new owner is immediately adversarial towards the staff who inexplicably signed non-compete agreements with Catco during Lena Luthor's stewardship.

Obviously, Lena deliberately sold Catco to someone whom she knew would be hostile towards it specifically to antagonize Kara. But why would anyone take a job that would prevent them from finding other work in the event of layoffs, firing or resignation? Why would Catco staff, riding the high of TAKING DOWN THE PRESIDENT, agree to such an absurd contract? And legally, it's not remotely enforceable. Once again, this is relevant to journalism where investigative reporting is proving unaffordable and reporters are competing with clickbait farms.

However, there is a lot of strain to force real-world dilemmas into a superhero reality or even a TV reality when in the fictional universe of SUPERGIRL, it's hard to believe such problems would exist.

But despite that, SUPERGIRL is doing a great job of bringing Kara's most rewarding friendship from and center, presenting it with importance and gravity, and exploring Lena's dark side beautifully.

**

I really liked BATWOMAN and thought, despite the clumsy use of voiceover to speed through exposition, it was effective and sets up a great first season. Ruby Rose embodies Kate Kane's defiance, superiority and feelings of inadequacy well and she performs the sardonic lines and the fight scenes beautifully. She's just as capable as Ashley Scott with the physicality but has the acting skill for the characterization as well. I really enjoyed it, but I did notice that BATWOMAN is clearly edging around a lack of access to specific Batman rights.

Specifically, BATWOMAN doesn't seem to have dispensation to use Batman, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon or even Alfred. Much like BIRDS OF PREY, BATWOMAN seems to have a fraction of the TV rights to unused segments of the Batman license. As a result, BATWOMAN is using characters and concepts that even within the comics were seen as throwaway discards, much like Batwoman herself.

The Batwoman that Ruby Rose plays made her comic book debut in 2006 under strange circumstances. DC had hired prominent LGBTQ writer Devin K. Grayson to develop a BATWOMAN title with a lesbian lead named Kate Kane -- but when the media caught wind of DC premiering a gay female lead, the company responded with a frenzied denial that there was any BATWOMAN title in the works. This was news to Grayson who was in the middle of writing BATWOMAN #2 and she says that DC never contacted her to tell her to stop working and actually never contacted her again and she moved into the video game industry.

Batwoman appeared in various backup stories and was introduced as Kate Kane, a former girlfriend of Renee Montoya. However, Batwoman only truly came into focus in 2009 when she became the lead of DETECTIVE COMICS from #854 - #863 as written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by the astonishing JH Williams III whose amazing sense of design and artistry gave Kate Kane vivid definition. Williams III's work permeates the BATWOMAN live action rendition even though as of the premiere, Kate has get to gain the vivid red wig and crimson insignia. Kate's backstory is largely the same as the TV show, and this led into 2010's BATWOMAN series written by Williams III and co-writer W. Haden Blackman.

BATWOMAN delved deeper into exploring the conflict between Batwoman and the mysterious origin of her archenemy Alice, an origin that was clearly intrinsic to Kate Kane's own origin story. Whatever Alice's secret, it was clearly Kate's secret as well and one Kate was trying to uncover.

In addition, Kate's new girlfriend was Maggie Sawyer (Alex's girlfriend from Season 2 of SUPERGIRL).

However, Williams III and Blackman abruptly quit the book with #24 and on a cliffhanger with Kate in mortal peril. They had submitted a plot for Kate and Maggie to be married. DC approved it -- but then unapproved it. Outraged that a scripted and partially drawn story was now unapproved and that the marriage was now prevented after being agreed upon, Williams III and Blackman refused to continue writing the title.

#25 was written by a new writer, Marc Andreyko, who didn't address the cliffhanger and wouldn't until BATWOMAN ANNUAL #1 which resolved the immediate threat to Kate's life from #24. However, the Alice arc by Williams III and Blackman had been structured to gradually reveal her origin story, the reasons for her psychosis, her connection to Kate Kane, her reasons for antagonizing her -- and the two writers took those stories with them when they left.

Alice never received her origin or a climax to her opening arc. Her story was left unfinished much in the same way Marc Scott Zicree's Kromagg arc was left incomplete and unaddressed.

Another castoff element that BATWOMAN has received: Luke Fox. In the comic book BATWING, Bruce Wayne was shown to be franchising Batman all over the world. BATWING was about the Batman of Central Africa, a police officer named David Zavimbe who took on the name Batwing. Despite some excellent writing from Judd Winick, BATWING sold poorly and in BATWING #19, new writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray abruptly took over, shut down the plotlines of #1 - 18, had David quit -- and the plot switched to the newly introduced Luke Fox, son of Lucius Fox, a boxer who took over the role of Batwing.

From #19 - 34, BATWING was now set in Gotham City with a character who had some (tenuous) connection to the Bat-Family while completely discarding the Central Africa setting. While the retool was understandable, it was also jarring and the series only lasted another 16 issues before cancellation. But Luke Fox has staggered into BATWOMAN, presumably because the Alfred character is being withheld from the CW.

Anyway. I look forward to seeing Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet instead of Dick himself, the Puzzler instead of the Riddler, Marsha Queen of Diamonds instead of Catwoman, Egghead instead of R'as Al Ghul, Tweedledum and Tweedledee instead of the Joker and other D-list villains. Ultimately, it's not the stature of the characters but what the writers do with them -- however, it's pretty clear that the writers have been given the bottom of the barrel for now.

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For reasons I can't remember relating to Razor Gillette from "The Young and the Relentless," the Gillette commercial about toxic masculinity, and the hilarious outcry against it, I wrote up a cost assessment of various shaving products I've tried, then forgot all about it until I was going through my scratchpad app today. The response to the Gillette commercial from various angry men feeling threatened by the idea that bullying and sexual harassment are bad led to the hashtag #getwokegobroke, a complaint that Gillette products are too expensive.

I think I wrote the below to sort out how much Gillette products cost each year, but I can't recall how it relates to the Razor character at all.

Rotary Electric Razor (Philips)
I've found that rotary razors with their rounded, rotating blades, provide at best a perfunctory shave. They leave the face with a low level of stubble and the results are that the user goes from unshaven to slightly less unshaven. The only point on which I can recommend them: they don't irritate sensitive skin and as their ineffectual nature makes them exceedingly gentle. I keep a cheap $10 in my desk at work, though, so that if I need to go from my office to an evening event and want to look morning-fresh, I quickly can go from unshaven to slightly less unshaven.

You'd spend about $40 a year on replacing the shaving head annually plus the $60 - $140 for a long lasting shaving unit itself.

Gillette Disposable Sensor Dual Blade Razors
These manual cartridge razors are an adequate single use product. Most of these lack modern razor technology: lubrication strips, pivoting razor heads to adjust to the contours of the face or microfins to press the skin down smooth for the blades. They provide one shave, but after that, the blades are dull and shouldn't be used again or they'll tug at facial hair and cut up the skin.

You'd spend about $365 a year on this as these single use blades amount to about $1 each.

Gillette Fusion5 ProShield Power Razor
This manual cartridge razor is the pinnacle of shaving technology: detachable razor heads for easy replacement. Dual lubrication strips. A pivoting shaving head that goes left/right and up/down for all contours of the face. A comb to catch hair and direct it into the blades. A motor in the handle that creates soft pulses in the razor head to increase cutting and sooth the face. And five blades, allowing an initial blade to catch the hair, the subsequent blade to cut it, and for the process to repeated three times where a dual blade razor does it once.

It's too big. I shave best by raking the razor against the grain of my facial hair, creating the smoothest results. But a five blade razor is so large that I can't use it to shave the skin between my mouth and nose; the head occupies the entire surface area of the space I'm trying to shave. I have no space to move it.

The Fusion5 includes a "precision trimmer," a single blade on the edge, but it keeps giving me shaving cuts because the trimmer has no lubricating strip or microfins. The micropulses ensure a gentle touch to the razor, but unless I want to grow a mustache (and I don't), the Fusion5 is too big.

You'd spend about $45 a year on replacement blades plus $15 for the handle (which comes with one blade).

Gillette Triple Blade Safety Razor
The company actually sells a wide range of disposable and cartridge-detachable triple bladed razors. The gentlest is the disposable Sensor 3 Sensitive. The sharpest is the cartridge-replaceable Mach 3. The Sensor 3 Sensitive has a stronger lubricration strip; the Mach 3 lasts longer and has sharper blades, and three blade razors work best for me in being small enough to maneuver in smaller spots on my face and offering a close shave.

However, in order to make the best use of these triple blades, it requires small, precise blade strokes to produce a stubble free face. The Sensor 3 stays sharp for about 10 shaves per blade and the Mach 3 for 15, so it's important to have a regular supply as continuing to use dulled razors leads to cuts. The sharpness of the blades and the lubricating strips allow shavers to use cheap shaving foam instead of pricier lubricating gels; the skin needs a protective layer of foam, but the blades don't need much extra layering to glide across the face.

You'd spend about $45 a year on the Sensor 3 Sensitive razors or about $40 a year on the Mach 3 refill cartridges plus $8 for the handle (which comes with three blades).

Gillette Shaving Foam
It works great with manual razors, it's super inexpensive at $3 -5 a can every three months (so, $20 a year) and it's very reliable.

Braun Series 3 Electric Foil Shaver
A foil shaver has motorized blades going left and right instead of in the circles of a rotary shaver. The Series 3 is one of the cheapest, and it's pleasingly effective, especially when combined with shaving gel. It provides a very close shave that's just as clean as triple blade manual shaving and the shaving head is advertised to last for a year and a half. It's much faster than manual shaving, but it's harsher on the skin than manual and rotary razors. To avoid skin irritation, it needs to be combined with high lubrication shaving gel; the light and inexpensive foam that works fine with manual blades don't provide enough protection. Definitely the most convenient option.

You'd spend $17 a year on a replacement head (really $25 - $26 over eighteen months) and $40 for the shaving unit.

Gillette Fusion5 Shaving Gel
This gel is thicker than Gillette's foam and it adds a high level of cushioning that Gillette's blades don't really need, but Braun's electric foil shavers definitely do. There's a great cooling effect to offset any irritation from an electric razor. It's $4 a can for about a two month supply, so that's $24 a year.

I prefer to use triple bladed razors and foam, but I generally can't. I'm always in a hurry on weekday mornings, so I use the electric foil (not Gillette) and depend on the gel (Gillette) to protect my skin from the foil blades. Spending two minutes on shaving instead of five gets me out the door sooner and helps me beat the traffic.

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(291 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I have two sets of thoughts on this.

a) Replacing Clark, Bruce and the others long term has never and will never worked: the original myth inevitably reasserts itself. However, Marvel has been experimenting with short-term replacements: Bucky became Captain America, Dr. Octopus became Spider-Man -- but those stories were still all about Steve Rogers/Peter Parker and their characters and legacies and eventually, Steve and Peter returned while Bucky spun off into WINTER SOLDIER and the Octopus-Spider-Man got his own SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN title that co-existed with Peter in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and Miles Morales in SPIDER-MAN. If this new CRISIS is that sort of story -- where the writer who kills/replaces the original is also the writer to restore them -- I think that's fine.

b) They're replacing their heroes again and acting like only the names and costumes matter? AGAIN?! When will people learn that you can't replace the leads and expect to carry on like only the title and the concept matter? Fans tuned into SLIDERS to watch Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo, not Captain Margaret Allison Beckett and Colin Mallory and Dr. Diana Davis and whoever the hell "Mallory" is and throwing in Maggie, Colin, Diana and whatshisface is jarring, abrupt and rude. When I invite Jerry, Sabrina, Cleavant and John into my living room, I am not going to open my door to strangers I didn't welcome and never asked to come over.

(That said, I'm sure SLIDERS could have at some point used a spy girl played by Kari Wuhrer, a naive engineer played by Charlie O'Connell, a lady doctor played by Tembi Locke and a cunning cousin of Quinn's played by Robert Floyd.)

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Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

I did hear that they're doing a Spider-Man story done in "real time" where he actually ages appropriately.

What's funny is that, while everyone loves Bruce as Batman, I think there's a really reasonable and organic timeline that allows Bruce to age and move on.  Bruce is Batman.  Bruce takes in Dick Grayson.  Dick becomes Robin.  Batman and Robin work together.  Dick grows out of Robin and becomes Nightwing.  Bruce takes in Jason Todd.  Jason becomes Robin.  Jason dies.  Bruce goes solo for a while.  Bruce meets Tim Drake and takes him in.  Tim becomes Robin.  Bruce eventually gets hurt or retires, and Dick becomes Batman.  Tim stays on as Robin and Bruce acts as a mentor.  Eventually, Dick retires.  Tim becomes Batman.  Eventually Tim retires and there is no Batman.  Bruce finds Terry McGinnis.  And so on and so on.

At that point, you can keep Bruce around with either something from the Lazarus Pits or as some sort of AI mentor/guide/helper.  I didn't think Bruce was as less compelling person on Batman Beyond because he was old.  It was just the next move for that character.

That was SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY and it might work for one mini-series, and it works well in film and TV. But Batman comics have been coming out for 80 years and the reason they've sold well enough to justify eight decades of continued publication: during the bulk of this time, Batman remained recognizable as Bruce Wayne and reflected the most commonly known version of the myth.

A version of Batman who retires and passes on his mantle eventually becomes so detached from the common perception of the character that it becomes false advertising to have BATMAN or DETECTIVE COMICS on the cover. This has been proven, not with Batman, but with efforts to turn Green Lantern, Green Arrow, the Flash and other cultural icons into generational heroes.

In the 80s and 90s, DC took the view that only the name and costume really mattered and attempted to replace lower-selling heroes. Green Lantern became Kyle Rayner, Green Arrow become Connor Hawke, the Flash became Wally West -- and it wasn't a sales disaster. However, DC soon found that every proposed film and TV adaptation of these properties inevitably used Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen. Kyle, Connor and Wally had origin stories too complicated to present to a general audience.

As a result, hundreds of millions of viewers would see Hal, Oliver and Barry -- but go to comics and find Kyle, Connor and Wally. DC Comics found that it was at risk of publishing GREEN LANTERN, GREEN ARROW and FLASH comics that would be out of sync with the most commonly known, general audience version of these properties. They made a determined effort to repair the situation and made sure to get it done before any of these film and TV products were released.

BATMAN comics were spared a lot of this because that line of comics sold too well to justify replacing Batman long term. But if DC had, as Slider_Quinn21 suggests, allowed Bruce Wayne to age to retirement and become a mentor to Terry McGinnis as the new Batman, the best case scenario would have been what happened with Barry Allen. The books would likely sell well, the stories would be well-written, Terry would be well-liked -- but inevitably, a film adaptation would feature Bruce Wayne as Batman and DC would wonder why the hell they were presenting Terry as Batman to the world at large.

TemporalFlux wrote:

I liked the explanation Marvel gave a few years ago - their timeline is reset every 10 years or so, and usually nobody in the Marvel Universe even notices.  The only way to really tell is by looking at the molecules of a cosmic cube. Like the rings on a tree, they gain an electron for every reset.  Currently they’re at 8.

I think it's a funny revelation in ULTIMATES from Al Ewing that the Marvel Universe has been rebooted eight times, once every ten years, and no one noticed until SECRET WARS melted down and rebuilt the multiverse. But... I don't think it really tracks with the actual content of the stories (and it's not supposed to; it's just a joke).

It works to explain how Tony Stark, Frank Castle and the Fantastic Four have been detached from their real-world war histories, and shifted to subsequent conflicts before being moved to fictional countries. But it doesn't explain why Spider-Man and the X-Men have not been rebooted.

Under Paul Jenkins and Dan Slott's writing, Peter Parker thinks back to his childhood, he sees the 1960s and Peter makes a joke about how Aunt May dressed him in old fashioned clothes -- but when J. Michael Straczynski shows Peter's high school years, it's the 2000s. When the X-Men of 10 years ago were sent to the present (2013), Brian Michael Bendis wrote them as shocked by all the giant screen advertisements in Times Square -- except Times Square in 2013 didn't look that different in 2003.

The implication from these 2000 era X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN stories, intentional or not, is that the Marvel Universe in the 1990s had a 1960s level of technology and also a 1960s style of fashion and design -- and within ten years, the Marvel Universe Earth has experienced what took 60 years on our Earth. This actually makes sense if you consider that the Fantastic Four and Iron Man are making astonishing technological advancements and sharing them with the world.

However, when Tony Stark thinks back to his life before he became Iron Man, he remembers selling Stark branded cell phones which definitely didn't exist in the 60s. A tech driven character like this doesn't benefit from presenting his past as the 1960s; a reboot every 10 years (which only changes his origin story) works for him. In contrast, Captain America and Magneto absolutely need a WWII origin story, so it's best to maintain that and update the means by which they're still young today. Cap's time frozen in ice gets longer and longer; Magneto being turned into a baby and restored to youth must be retained with an added explanation that his powers somehow have him aging slowly but that he burnt them out during his initial battles with the X-Men.

There was a story with the Punisher where he was killed, revived as a Frankenstein type monster, then restored to a younger version of his human body -- which explained how he could be young in the 2000s and still be a Vietnam veteran. Subsequent stories elected to avoid any direct reference to Vietnam and then replaced Vietnam with the fictional Siancong.

Ultimately, my protest against set timelines in the DC Universe and my mild concern with Al Ewing's revelation: I think every character benefits from a different, tailored approach to comic book time and allowing the individual writer to make that judgement based on the story at hand. DC insists that every character be half-rebooted every ten years whether that works for them or not.

Anyway. When I was a kid, I was introduced to Spider-Man via the 90s animated series. I eagerly went to the comic store for more adventures of geeky scientist-superhero Peter Parker only to find that Spider-Man was a cool, sauve, blond coffee barista named Ben Reilly. ?!!?!

(I also got whiplash when a month later, Ben Reilly was speared through the heart and melted and Peter became Spider-Man again.)

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(291 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I appreciate that comic book timelines can be important to some fans who want to know how all of Superman and Batman's adventures fit into a clear chronology. But... personally, I don't see how a set timeline for comic books can ever work for numerous practical and creative reasons. And I find DC's attitude to timelines bizarre.

Monthly Comics: A single issue of a comic book will depict maybe a day or two's worth of events at the most. Even when AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was shipping 36 issues a year, one year's worth of comics didn't correlate to one year's worth of time. The entire Dan Slott era took place over 11 years of comics, but I'd see it as two to three years in-universe. And naturally, there's a desire to keep the characters at an age where they're most marketable and likely to be presented in film and TV. This leads to oddities: Superman is often regarded as the first superhero in the DC Universe except his floating timeline calls for him to arrive after all the other superheroes and he keeps meeting General Zod for the 'first' time. Robin went from age 10 to his mid 20s but Batman stayed the same age.

Out of Sync: DC's constant efforts at a set timeline have also created glaring anomalies without the real world passage of time. In 2012, the New 52 declared that Bruce Wayne had only been active as Batman for five years, except he had a TEN YEAR OLD son named Damian after a brief affair with Talia during one of his previous adventures as Batman -- in addition to having seen Dick Grayson go from age 10 to his mid-20s and mentoring Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake and others during this absurd five year window.

It was later declared that Dr. Geiger had caused this by ripping Quinn out of reality and creating continuity errors across all five seasons of SLIDERS -- I mean, that Dr. Manhattan had caused this by ripping Superman's origin story out of reality and putting it back in at later dates.

Constant Half-Reboots: DC's publishing strategy is also odd: they only ever seem to half-reboot. By this, I mean that after they supposedly restart the DC Universe, DC then features stories with Batman and Superman already established and referring to a new origin story that has often yet to be written. There have been situations such as George Perez writing SUPERMAN and not knowing if Clark's parents were alive or dead, Scott Lobdell writing TEEN TITANS and not knowing if this was the first iteration of the team or the latest in a long line, Gail Simone writing BATGIRL and being unsure if Barbara Gordon had ever been Oracle. Writers would often refer to a pre-reboot story only to later be informed that it was no longer part of the current timeline.

For people who don't normally read comics, imagine if in the middle of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's fifth season, STAR TREK's rebootquel is released and now all TNG episodes have to exist within the rebootquel timeline while maintaining the same cast and following up on current storylines as they may or may not exist in the new continuity. That's how DC handles 'reboots' and the confusion invariably calls for another reboot and then another and then another and then another.

With REBIRTH, however, DC seemed to take a different tactic of declaring all past stories canonical and indicating that all contradictions are due to Dr. Manhattan altering history and the original history was reasserting itself -- although this new attitude of yet another timeline seems to run counter to that.

Marvel Method: In contrast, Marvel doesn't seem to worry too much about sorting out its past. It has the exact same problems as DC Comics, but Marvel has declined to reboot and instead addressed the issues with self-awareness, humour, subtlety and charm.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN perpetually implies that all of Spider-Man's adventures between 1963 to 2019 (and onward) happened inside 10 years, but it avoids explicitly declaring how many years each story occupied and doesn't refer to certain stories without necessarily erasing them. For example, Peter and Aunt May rarely discuss how Peter's parents returned and explained that they'd faked their deaths only to be revealed as robot impostors, but that story remains in continuity. Peter says he's been Spider-Man since he was 15 and it's established that he's finished college. Aside from that, time is kept vague.

Retcons Over Reboots: Also, Marvel writers are allowed to reinterpret and alter the past without a cosmic, reality warping explanation. Captain America originally transitioned from WWII into the 1950s with stories of him fighting Communists. The 50s stories were later ignored in favour of the 60s comics showing that Cap had been frozen in ice -- but a 70s comic book revisited the 50s issues by showing that the Cap of the 1950s had been an insane-with-paranoia impostor, acknowledging the 50s comics even as it blatantly wrote them out of the Marvel Universe.

Since then, Cap's backstory has been further reinterpreted: Ed Brubaker wrote flashbacks to WWII where Bucky, once a child sidekick, is now an older assassin. The original comics where Bucky is a little boy? They're referred to as the US Army releasing CAPTAIN AMERICA comic books which offered a kid-friendlier version.

This attitude of writers rewriting certain elements of each character's past is found in nearly every Marvel character. Iron Man, originally injured in World War II, had his origin relocated to Vietnam, then Afghanistan, then Iraq. Recently, the Punisher's backstory was altered so that instead of being a Vietnam veteran, his war was now in a fictitious Asian country. Cap originally defrosted in the 60s; a recent mini-series had him reawakening in the early 2000s.

Immortality: Marvel is also aware of character ages and has some fun with that. Black Widow's debut story shows her as a Cold War era Russian spy who encounters Iron Man. Eventually, it was established that the Black Widow had been genetically engineered to age slow -- which doesn't address how she could have met Iron Man during the 60s if it's 2019 and Tony has only aged 5 - 10 years. Magneto was, at one point in the 70s, was turned into a baby and then restored to adulthood; later stories have indicated that he was left significantly younger than his actual age in order to justify his current youth while being a Holocaust survivor.

Flashbacks: Spider-Man comics also show different attitudes to addressing the past. When stories set during Peter's teens are done, some writers show the late 2000s while others like UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN are plainly set in the 1960s with 15-year-old Peter wearing a blue suit, tie and vest to high school classes, and readers are encouraged to enjoy the absurdity of that. Marvel writers are free to choose what works best for them and their story and accept that all this is part of the joy of superhero comics. In contrast, DC often seems embarrassed by how comics can't and won't ever sync up to the passage of time the way film and TV can.

All True: Grant Morrison, when writing BATMAN and BATMAN & ROBIN, took the attitude that every Batman story was canon and happily referred to Ace the Bathound and the like. How to reconcile the radically different characterizations? Morrison had Batman observe that he'd had lighthearted periods in his life, that villains had periods of being less psychotic -- although when flashing back to early stories where Batman executed criminals, Morrison removed such story elements. Sadly, DC opted to curtail this with yet another reboot (the NEW 52) and will likely reboot again.

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

https://www.comixology.com/Smallville-2 … FkY3J1bWJz

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=smallville+b … -desc-rank

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Producer Marc Guggenheim says that the SMALLVILLE: SEASON 11 comics are canon.

https://mobile.twitter.com/mguggenheim/ … 8838796289

Guess Slider_Quinn21 is now obligated to read them!

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I've rewatched a bunch of episodes of BIRDS OF PREY and... I really enjoy it, but there are a lot of problems here. The major problem is the budget. The original plan was to film in Toronto, but for some reason, production was relocated to Burbank but the budget wasn't increased. As a result, the show is trying to present superheroes with the same budget that the Sci-Fi Channel would assign to a season of SLIDERS. And the lack of money hits everything: the fight scenes depend on stunt doubles and sped-up footage because the money isn't there to choreograph with the actors. The same set dressings are reused constantly in different interiors. There is no location filming and every city street and rooftop is clearly an indoor set. The show reuses the same two shots of the Huntress running across rooftops and scaling a building throughout the entire 13 episode run.

And this undoubtedly affects the performances. Ashley Scott (Huntress) and Rachel Skarsten (Black Canary) are terrific with quips and wisecracks, but any time they're called upon to be emotional or pained or sad, they become strained and awkward. It looks like the episodes have been filmed with a very limited crew with extremely truncated opportunities for setups, meaning all the actors are filmed in extreme closeups (to avoid having to deal with extras or background action or any chance for retakes) and the directors are clearly working without much time or resources.

The lack of money becomes shocking later in the season when episodes start using what are obviously deleted scenes from previous episodes. Near the end of the season, a scene of Barbara and her boyfriend shows Barbara with the hairstyle that she had in the pilot episode; it's clearly an unused sequence being used to pad out an episode. Episode 3 has Barbara describing how her boyfriend's parents looked down upon her for her disability at a family dinner; near the end of the season, we see this family dinner and it's not a flashback but presented in the body of the episode, clearly another unused scene pressed into service.

Still, a number of the BIRDS OF PREY staffers went on to do ONCE UPON A TIME and I love ONCE UPON A TIME, so there's that.

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(16 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

pilight wrote:

Ireactions is right. His vision of what Sliders was/is/should be is clear and specific.  It's beautiful, really.

It is not what any potential revival or reboot will look like.

It is very kind of you to say that SLIDERS REBORN is clear, specific and beautiful. I would argue that SLIDERS REBORN is exactly what a revival and reboot of SLIDERS would be -- for the superhero comic book market to be sold in quantities of 25 - 30 thousand copies a month. The 90s were a weird time for comics: I remember Spider-Man being a blonde coffee barista named Ben Reilly, Green Lantern being a coffee shop dwelling hipster named Kyle Rayner, Green Arrow being a twentysomething monk named Connor Hawke drinking coffee with Kyle Rayner, Superman being electric blue and made of energy, Iron Man being an angsty teenager from an alternate timeline, Captain America wearing robot armour -- and in all these comic books, there were ads with Jerry O'Connell's face advertising Season 3 of SLIDERS on FOX. https://transmodiar.com/sliders/wp-cont … ents/5.jpg

Since then, I've often imagined IREACTIONS' SLIDERS to be a comic book with that poster as the cover to the first issue and it'd be written by, well, me, and drawn by Tom Fowler (artist of the comedic superhero series QUANTUM AND WOODY).

Next! A mild defense of Robert Floyd's acting.

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Is Kate Bosworth going to be Lois to Routh's Superman... ?

**

It's hard for me to say whether BIRDS OF PREY is worth your time. I eagerly bought the DVD when it first came out and watched all of it happily with my niece, but...

IB: "Ooooh! I love watching Ashley Scott leap across rooftops! Amazing."

LAUREN: "That is not even Ashley Scott; that's some shitty computer generated animation and it looks like a PS2 graphic. Oh my God, they used that same computer generated shot in the LAST EPISODE!"

IB: "I wish you wouldn't overanalyze it so."

LAUREN: "Is that building supposed to be on fire? Those flames look like pixelated orange tissue paper!"

IB: "Lauren! Why can't you see the appeal of this?"

LAUREN: "WHAT appeal?"

IB: "We are watching 13 episodes featuring the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, the former Batgirl and the offspring of Black Canary fighting crime in hand to hand combat!"

LAUREN: "Oh, right -- that dark haired girl is Catwoman's spawn. I forgot, they only mention it EVERY OTHER SCENE and IN THE CREDITS."

IB: "I'm probably overexplaining this. The women are superheroes and the villains are the people they beat up! I'm still probably overexplaining this. Women! Punching! Evil!"

LAUREN: "The ENTIRE SHOW is overexplained and underbudgeted. They can't even afford to buy stock footage of generic cities!"

IB: "But don't Ashley Scott and Dina Meyer have amazing chemistry as Huntress and Batgirl?"

LAUREN: "Ashley Scott can't even act!"

IB: "But she... inhabits! She personifies! I just love low budget 90s shows with female leads battling supervillains. They're not for everyone."

LAUREN: "I can't take another episode of this. You're only watching this because you like watching cute girls; we might as well be watching BAYWATCH."

IB: "I've never seen BAYWATCH, but if it has Batman's hellraising offspring fighting crime, I'd check it out."

Hans Tobeason, one of BIRDS OF PREY producers, did a lengthy Q&A with the fans after the cancellation where he didn't seem very happy with the show. https://web.archive.org/web/20070902105 … eadid=4052

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(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I rewatched BIRDS OF PREY recently with my niece because she adores Rob Benedict (God in SUPERNATURAL) and he's a recurring cast member across the 13 episodes.

I love Ashley Scott as the Huntress in BIRDS OF PREY. Paradoxically, I think she's terrible. It's weird: when I look at Ashley Scott, I instantly think that she's Helena Kyle, clearly the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She has a wonderfully defiant, feline abrasiveness in her body language. She both invites the male gaze while dismissing it with an animalistic yet playful savagery in her fight scenes. Her costume both in the original pilot and the simplified leather of the subsequent episodes speaks to an open flaunting of social norms, both refusing to dress conservatively but also refusing to dress for the edification of men.

Scott gives the Huntress a very rough sexuality: she clearly has a sex drive and is ridiculously flirtatious, but also deliberately distant -- her flirtiness is ultimately to teasingly hold others at bay. She doesn't trust; she tolerates. She comes off as emotionally unavailable yet totally unreserved. That's all Scott's body language and physicality.

However, when Ashley Scott starts talking -- that's when the character falls apart. I'm not sure if it's the direction or a lack of experience or training, but Scott simply doesn't deliver her lines with conviction or naturalism and she can't seize upon the emotions or arcs. She can't carry a scene. When furious at Barbara Gordon for taking risks, Scott doesn't convey concern or grief or exasperation, just a generic, petulant anger. When hesitantly trusting a police officer with her secret identity, Scott presents this with the same flirtiness as the Huntress holding the same man at bay. She's fine when playful and flirty, but when the Huntress needs to be vulnerable, scared, angry, embarrassed, lonely, overwhelmed, defeated or triumphant, Scott plays the scene with indecisive ineptitude. When saying she doesn't want to emulate her parents by wearing a mask, Scott delivers the line with a whiny childishness that even Wil Wheaton wouldn't hit on his worst day.

There are times when Scott is brilliant. One episode has a hilarious moment where she informally high fives the dapper and prim butler, Alfred, and actor Ian Abercrombie later told me that Scott improvised that. Scott clearly understands the character but lacks the technical skill to handle any scene requiring dialogue or emotion. Ashley Scott comes off as an understudy, a cosplayer, a photo double who's standing in for a real actress. That said, I haven't seen Ashley Scott in anything since BIRDS OF PREY and I'm sure she's gotten a lot more training and experience since then.

Another subsequent CLONE SAGA sequel story is THE CLONE CONSPIRACY (2016). In this tale, numerous Spider-Man allies and villains are recruited by the Jackal, the mad scientist who orginally cloned Peter. The Jackal offers them a price they can't refuse: the resurrection of loved ones they've lost.

Common Ground: Electro accidentally electrocuted his girlfriend; she is restored. J. Jonah Jameson is reunited with his dead wife Marla and his foster daughter Mattie. There's also the Lizard's dead son, Rhino's wife, just about everyone Spider-Man ever failed to save is returned. The Jackal then starts resurrecting dead Spider-Man foes and explains that no one is a clone; all these reanimated people have been restored from their original remains with their full memories, with a cloning process merely restoring their bodies.

And each reanimated individual must regularly take a pill or their body will degrade, allowing the Jackal to control them. Spider-Man confronts the Jackal, certain that this is another plot to end the world with another genetic bomb or cloning apocalypse or a virus.

The Other Slide of Darkness: But the Jackal unmasks to reveal that this isn't the Jackal at all -- it's Ben Reilly. Reilly reveals that the Jackal took his remains (back in 1997) and has been experimenting on reviving the dead. The Jackal killed and revived Reilly 24 times, making Reilly relive the trauma until Reilly broke out of his cell and overpowered the Jackal -- and Reilly has now taken control of the Jackal's technology and is seeking to conquer death.

Reilly offers Peter a price to for Peter's loyalty: Colin offers to resurrect Michael Mallory so that Quinn can apologize to his father for the terrible things he said before Mr. Mallory died in that car accident. I mean -- Reilly offers to resurrect Uncle Ben for Peter and absolve him of his guilt.

Dead Man Sliding: Reilly is obsessed with conquering death. He wants to save the world by redeeming every supervillain by bringing back all their victims, restoring hope by reuniting everyone with their loved ones, and to offer everyone a chance to be reborn (yes, he says "reborn"). But then it turns out that Reilly's plan is specifically to kill everyone and reanimate them, partially to heal them of all illnesses physical and mental, but also to control them through their dependency upon his pills.

The trauma of his 24 resurrections has left Reilly mentally scarred and Peter points out that Reilly has held off from resurrecting Uncle Ben specifically because Uncle Ben would tell Reilly that he's wrong.

My Brother's Keeper: In the ensuing fight, Spider-Man succeeds in stopping Reilly, most of Reilly's reanimated degrade and dissipate into dust, and Quinn is forced to deal with knowing that his clone -- his brother -- is now out there and his enemy. I mean. Spider-Man is forced to confront that his clone -- his brother -- is still out there and has been driven mad by his ordeals.

It makes me wonder -- if Colin came back and encountered a restored Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo, what would his role be now? I suppose he'd be an inverted mirror of Quinn the way Ben Reilly has become a twisted reflection of Peter Parker.

Net Worth: Ben Reilly and Colin Mallory are two characters that SPIDER-MAN and SLIDERS fans seem inordinately fond of. Not sure why, but I accept that this is the case. In various test audience screenings, Colin consistently scored well with women to whom the character appealed whereas Quinn was considered bland, much as Reilly was well-liked despite the catastrophes of his stories.

Ben and Colin are literally clones of the lead character and, within the narrative, they're younger variants who (needlessly?) duplicate what the original already provides. That said, affection for characters goes well beyond utility.

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Slider_Quinn21 wrote:
ireactions wrote:

If you didn't look forward to it, why did you watch it? I have to ask myself the same question about 13 REASONS WHY. My niece once noted that after every season of the show, I become oddly vindictive and vengeful.

I hate-watch a lot of shows.  But I never really hate-watched Preacher - I just was like "oh there's an episode of Preacher that recorded" and I'd watch it when it was time to watch it.  But usually I'd enjoy it and then I'd be like "I'd watch another one of those"

It's kinda like Legends of Tomorrow.  I think it's my least favorite of the Arrowverse shows, but I enjoy it every time I watch it.

I probably didn't communicate my point well. I am of the unpopular opinion that 13 REASONS WHY is a good show that deals with difficult subject matter well. However, I find that it makes me angry towards every single person in my life who ever behaved like the bullies on 13 REASONS WHY. 13 REASONS WHY doesn't make me happy. It triggers me severely. BROOKLYN NINE NINE, in contrast, makes me a lot more patient and tolerant of others because Captain Holt's superhuman tolerance for Jake Peralta's antics is to be admired.

But I do think 13 REASONS WHY is really, really good and I keep watching it because the craft of its writing, performances and production are compelling.

It's interesting to see how comics mine bad stories for good ones and draw on a publishing history that isn't always a point of pride -- something that SLIDERS fanfic has always done as well. The fascinating thing is how modern Spider-Man comic books resemble SLIDERS fanfic because modern Spider-Man comics are fan fiction -- written decades after the original Spider-Man stories, produced by fans who grew up with this character and now want to imitate, update and expand his world.

Professional Fanfic: The goal isn't to offer an original vision but instead to subsume one's own style and interests into the framework of a Spider-Man story while making the old formula relevant to the present day. And because it's fan fiction, Spider-Man comics will inevitably draw on fan familiarity with the past even if there may be periods of avoiding it.

Colin Mallory is a strangely popular character in SLIDERS fandom. I don't get it, and I have the same polite confusion towards another inordinately popular character in Spider-Man stories -- the character of Ben Reilly.

The Exodus - Part I: SPIDER-MAN: THE CLONE SAGA (1994 - 1997) is one of the worst and most-reviled stories in Spider-Man's publishing history, the SLIDERS equivalent of having Earth Prime invaded by Kromaggs and turning Quinn into Kal-El of Kromagg Prime while Wade is sent to a rape camp.

Back in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #149 (1975), a mad scientist cloned Peter Parker. The story ended with the clone dead. 1994's CLONE SAGA revealed that the clone had actually survived, gone travelling across America and taken on the name Ben Reilly. In this 1994 story, Ben returns with a shocking discovery: he is the original and Peter was the clone. In addition, Mary Jane is pregnant.

Peter Parker decides to retire as Spider-Man, move to Portland, and he gives Ben Reilly his costume and asks him to continue as the real Spider-Man in New York City.

2002 era Marvel President Bill Jemas would look back at THE CLONE SAGA and describe as the story where Spider-Man's sales went from 400,000 copies a month to 48,000 a month.

The Exodus - Part II: Fans were furious that almost 20 years of stories were with a clone. That Peter was being presented as an imposter. That he was being replaced in his own book with all the ceremony of Kari Wuhrer taking John Rhys-Davies' spot and with an incredibly convoluted explanation to validate Ben akin to Robert Floyd playing Jerry O'Connell's role.

Marvel Publishing had been attempting to re-present a single, young, unmarried Spider-Man and thought Ben could serve while the married Peter was moved offstage, turning Spider-Man into a legacy hero like the Flash and Green Lantern.

However, Marvel soon found that star writers and artists they'd hired to write SPIDER-MAN titles were now seeking to leave, not wanting to write and draw Ben Reilly. Fans accepted Ben Reilly as a fun alternative to the increasingly serious and dour Peter Parker, but they didn't accept Reilly AS Peter Parker and certainly not as Spider-Man.

In addition, the storyline was severely overstretched with all the 'intrigue' over whether Peter or Ben was the clone going from 1994 - 1997 with at least one SPIDER-MAN comic a week. It was as if Bill Dial had written all of these comics with his trademark approach of padding out scripts with characters repeating information already established.

Revelations: Eventually, Marvel elected to undo the entire storyline in 1997. Peter and Mary Jane returned to New York City. Mary Jane miscarried the baby. Peter and Ben developed a close, brotherly bond. Norman Osborn revealed that he had tricked Ben into thinking himself the original so that Peter, thinking himself the clone, might go insane. Osborn was furious that Peter hadn't fallen apart and then killed Ben. Peter threw a bag of pumpkin bombs into Osborn and didn't hear from Osborn for a few months.

Peter resumed his role as Spider-Man. And since then, THE CLONE SAGA has been largely avoided: writers did their best not to mention Ben Reilly and tried not to refer to the storyline at all. Ben was referred to once in 2004 as one of Osborn's victims with no specifics. Aside from that, it was like he'd never existed.

Oh Brother: Which made a 2009 storyline quite a shock where Peter is attacked by a villain called Velociraptor. Peter changes to Spider-Man, demands to know why Velociraptor is hunting Peter. Velociraptor says that Peter Parker is an alias for the man named Ben Reilly. Spider-Man freezes in the middle of this fight, shocked, thinking on how he hasn't heard Ben's name in years. "You moron!" Spider-Man shouts at Velociraptor who is seeking to settle a score with Ben after encountering him during Ben's wanderings across America. "Ben Reilly's dead!"

Applied Physics: A full page of flashbacks unfolds, showing panels from the CLONE SAGA, stories that hadn't been spoken of in 12 years. There was a shocking sense of sentimentality as for the first time in over a decade, Spider-Man is permitted to remember Ben Reilly and how much his clone brother meant to him and how they were good friends and allies and how much Peter mourned Ben's loss (silently, I guess).

And it meant a lot to fans who missed Ben even if they hated the four year (!!!) CLONE SAGA arc. It acknowledged the positive memories of the CLONE SAGA, specifically Ben, and focused on his legacy while not delving into the who's the clone/who's the original conflict.

This is something you can only do in comic books where characters barely age despite the passage of decades. Stories that happened during the Ford US presidency can be treated like they happened a couple years ago. In contrast, I can't imagine the 2020 season of STAR TREK featuring Captain Kirk following up on the death of his brother back in 1967.

To Catch a Slider: It makes me wonder how a present day Quinn would think of Colin. Colin was a clone. A clone of Quinn. There was never a real Colin Mallory, just an altered Kromagg spy brainwashed into thinking himself Quinn Mallory's brother. Assuming that Quinn was recovered from quantum limbo after "The Seer" and learned the truth, what would he do? Would he attempt to recover the unstuck Colin? Or would he leave him unstuck, unable to be certain that the Kromagg sleeper programming wouldn't reassert itself once Colin were recovered?

42

(291 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

If you didn't look forward to it, why did you watch it? I have to ask myself the same question about 13 REASONS WHY. My niece once noted that after every season of the show, I become oddly vindictive and vengeful.

These days, if it's not as lighthearted as FAR FROM HOME or AQUAMAN, I tend not to go for it which unfortunately causes me to miss out on some of the most groundbreaking and important TV and film productions. Temporal Flux quite correctly protested the idea of a SLIDERS reboot going to the NBC and its light comedy house style, and yet, I must confess that NBC style light comedy like BROOKLYN NINE NINE is as dark as I ever want to go. I have real life for grimdark. (Sorry, Informant. I shall dedicate my life to finding another word.)

Instead of talking about THE CLONE CONSPIRACY and how it relates to SLIDERS, I am instead talking about VARIETY which reports that Marvel TV is likely to be shut down with Marvel Studios (the film division) taking over all TV projects.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/marvel … 203349869/

Signs of this have already appeared with Marvel Entertainment developing BLADE and GHOST RIDER only for Kevin Feige's division to step in and withdraw those characters from becoming Hulu shows. If TV is absorbed into Marvel Studios, the rest of Marvel Entertainment could carry on as the merchandising and publishing wing -- but I can't help but think it's time for Marvel Entertainment to come fully under the Disney banner. It was absurd to see them split off in the first place and it only happened because Feige refused to continue working for Marvel under his old boss who owned too much stock to be fired but could be reassigned to TV and the comics and trading cards and video games and whatnot.

AGENTS OF SHIELD has done well. DAREDEVIL's first and third seasons were great. LUKE CAGE was very strong. JESSICA JONES was terrific. IRON FIST had a good second year. THE PUNISHER series was professional and watchable. DEFENDERS had a very good episode set in a restaurant. But it's clear that the TV shows exist at a remove from the films and it's silly, counter-productive and self-sabotaging for Marvel to compete with Marvel. Marvel already has Sony for that. Okay, this was a good use of a lunch break. Back to my workstation!

My GOD. I'm finishing off the last run of Dan Slott's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and the villain of the big story turns out to be BEN REILLY from the CLONE SAGA. This SPIDER-MAN plot twist is the SLIDERS equivalent of having a 2020 era Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo picking up the timer for a new round of adventures while trying to figure out who's been restoring Kromagg manta ships and using them to attack Earths and the villain turns out to be Colin Mallory.

This is some goofball geekery that may be a better fit for the RANDOM THOUGHTS thread. But I've been re-reading Spider-Man comics on my tablet on the treadmill and I was typing all this up Saturday night as part of my reading journal. The Spider-Man comic books once found themselves in a state of being unsure of how to refer to the past and how much of it had happened (or not happened).

New Avengers: In 2006, Peter was on top of the world. His marriage had Mary Jane working with him as an equal in his Spider-Man career. Spidey had joined the Avengers and was being mentored by Tony Stark. His job as a high school science teacher was fulfilling. He'd let Aunt May in on the secret and she had been a source of strength and support. And he joined the Pro-Registration side in CIVIL WAR, unmasking on live TV to support the new law and gaining the respect he'd always lacked from law enforcement and the government. In addition, due to a mystical event where Peter embraced his inner spider, he now had organic webshooters, acidic stingers he could use to stab enemies, the ability to communicate with spiders and night vision. Peter was happy. And he barely ever thought about Harry Osborn, his old college friend who had died of a drug overdose.

Back in Black: In 2007, Peter was in a dark time. In the aftermath of CIVIL WAR, Peter was a fugitive as an unlicensed superhero who chose Captain America's (losing) side. Also, Peter had unmasked and was now a target on all sides. When Peter joined Captain America, his wife Mary Jane and Aunt May escaped Avengers Tower with him and then Aunt May got shot and was dying in a hospital.

All of this also made it hard for Peter to handle his day job as a high school science teacher.

This led into BACK IN BLACK, a half-a-year branding title across all the SPIDER-MAN titles. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN by J. Michael Straczynski (BABYLON 5), Peter identifies Aunt May's would-be assassin as a Kingpin thug and puts on the black costume to take revenge. He beats the Kingpin to an inch of his life and vows to execute him if Aunt May dies.

In FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD SPIDER-MAN by comics veteran Peter David, Peter impersonates his own cousin, Ben Reilly (a clone of Peter who dyed his hair blonde and then died), and resumes his teaching job as his own substitute. And in SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (RIVERDALE), Peter attempts to continue fighting crime while being hunted by the police and the official Avengers and while Aunt May is dying.

The AMAZING issues end with Aunt May's identity about to be exposed which will summon the police as she is an accomplice to Peter's crimes against the Superhero Registration Act. Peter and Mary Jane fake paperwork, impersonate paramedics, steal an ambulance and transfer Aunt May to another hospital. Afterwards, Peter realizes that he has committed fraud, grand theft auto, stolen paperwork, resisted arrest, and become the very thing he became Spider-Man to fight. He has become a criminal.

One More Day: BACK IN BLACK leads into ONE MORE DAY (by Straczynski) where Aunt May is deemed terminal. Desperate to save her, Spider-Man asks for Dr. Strange's help and Strange casts a spell allowing Peter to manifest at multiple points in the Marvel Universe to ask everyone he can for help -- Dr. Doom, Beast, every magician and scientist -- and they all tell him that Aunt May is too far gone to help.

The Source: Leaving Dr. Strange's house in distress, Peter is approached by Mephisto, the Marvel version of the devil. Mephisto tells Peter that he can save Aunt May at a price. The price is the source of Peter's strength and joy, the core of not only his power, but his will, the very thing that gives him light in the darkest moments, the force that sustains him against all odds. Mephisto tells Peter that he wants his marriage. After much deliberation between Peter and Mary Jane, Mary Jane stipulates that in addition to saving Aunt May, Mephisto must also erase all public knowledge of Spider-Man's true identity. Mephisto agrees and Peter and Mary Jane embrace for the final hours before their reality is rewritten.

Time Jump: Peter wakes up to find himself in Aunt May's house, in his bedroom as she wakes him up (which is weird because the house was burned down in a previous storyline). It seems to be several months after the previous scene and Peter doesn't seem concerned; the abrupt time jump is experienced by the reader but not Peter. It's established: Spider-Man is an unregistered fugitive from the law and Peter is unmarried, jobless and borderline homeless. Aunt May once again doesn't know that Peter is Spider-Man.

Peter gets on his bike, saying he has an event. He visits a massive penthouse apartment for a reunion party -- welcoming back Harry Osborn (who is somehow alive again). Everyone applauds Harry who says he has been in rehab facilities in Europe for a long time and is now celebrating his sobriety with a glass of water. Peter spots Mary Jane at the party who abruptly leaves.

Confusion: The next storyline, BRAND NEW DAY (2008), had Peter fighting crime. He was using mechanical web shooters. He made no reference to the stingers or the night vision or talking to spiders. When he ran out of web fluid, he didn't switch to organics. It was unclear what had happened: how much had removing Peter and Mary Jane's marriage altered their history? Why had they broken up? Why was Harry alive again? How long had he been alive? How was Aunt May's house restored after the second Molten Man had burned it down? It also wasn't clear: how far did the erasure of Peter's unmasking extend? How much of Spider-Man's continuity had been altered?

Gradual Answers: These questions remained until 2009. Harry and Peter go on a roadtrip and Peter notes that since SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #200 (published in 1993), Harry was thought dead. Harry explains that his father faked his death to get him into rehab in Europe and a flashback shows Harry returning to New York City, surprising Peter and Aunt May with a return gift: he paid for Aunt May's home to be rebuilt.

Later, Spider-Man has a battle with the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, who knew Peter's identity). Osborn is furious: he somehow cannot remember who Spider-Man used to be and Spider-Man taunts him, saying that things are different now: Osborn has no idea who Spider-Man is and Spider-Man knows everything about him.

Then, in an adventure with the Fantastic Four, the Human Torch (one of Spider-Man's very good friends) realizes that he remembers Spider-Man unmasking to him and befriending him -- but he can no longer remember who the face was beneath the mask. That memory has been wiped away. In fact, all written and digital record of Spider-Man's unmasking has been strangely altered to obscure Spider-Man's real name and face. Spider-Man explains that with help from a "friend," a psychic blindspot has been created around the Peter Parker identity.

Details: In 2010, we get a detailed flashback finally to explain the memory situation. ONE MOMENT IN TIME flashes back to the wedding day for Peter and Mary Jane: in this altered version of events, a criminal that Spidey captured is released by a magical red bird (Mephisto). This criminal later knocks Spider-Man unconscious with a lucky shot on Peter's wedding day. Mary Jane waits at the altar and Peter, lying in an alley, never arrives. Later, Mary Jane forgives Peter but tells him she doesn't want to marry Spider-Man and asks him not to ask for her hand again or to have children with her unless he is ready to give up the mask.

All subsequent stories seem to take place as originally published -- except Peter and Mary Jane were dating/living together but unmarried. (This does raise an issue: during the CLONE SAGA of 1994, Mary Jane got pregnant and was overjoyed and was devastated when she lost the baby in 1996. But ONE MOMENT declares she wouldn't have wanted to have a child. In an interview, writer Joe Quesada said that in his mind, Mary Jane's pregnancy was removed from continuity, but everything else remains, although this is not explicit in the comics themselves.)

Let's Do This One More Time: We then get an alternate version of ONE MORE DAY in flashback. This time, a dying Aunt May's heart stops beating, but then she miraculously revives. It seems to be a miracle (or the intervention of Mephisto). Peter once again leaves the hospital to visit Dr. Strange, but this time, instead of asking for Dr. Strange to save Aunt May, he asks Strange to erase all knowledge of his secret identity. Strange consults with Reed Richards and Tony Stark who agree that Peter deserves a second chance; they also describe how they have in the past unrevealed secret identities with repurposed mind control machines and magic.

Reed and Tony create a biotechnological virus augmented by Dr. Strange's magic that erases all records and memories of Peter as Spider-Man while keeping Peter in a magic bubble so only he will retain his memory of Spider-Man's true name and face. Peter grabs Mary Jane and yanks her into the bubble as well. Afterwards, Peter tells Mary Jane they're now safe, but Mary Jane is furious with him -- after the traumatizing events of BACK IN BLACK, Mary Jane wishes that Peter had allowed her to forget Spider-Man's identity along with the rest of the world or at least asked her what she wanted. She breaks up with him and leaves New York. Continuity was indeed altered only in small, isolated ways. All is explained...

Except for why the organic web shooters disappeared and why Peter doesn't have the additional spider-powers. During this storyline, however, the lettercolumn has an editor's response asking about this and the editor replied: "Those other powers really only exhibited themselves under certain circumstances. They weren't extra powers Peter could call up whenever he wanted, so whether or not they've disappeared for good is a story waiting to be told."

Throwaway: That's a strange response because in the 2011 SPIDER-ISLAND story, the entire population of Manhattan gets spider-powers and they all get organic web shooters. At one point, Peter tells a friend who has run out of organic webbing to fire that she needs to eat starchy foods to replenish -- but he doesn't have the organics himself. That said, nobody during SPIDER-ISLAND manifests stingers or talking to spiders or night vision or whatnot. In 2013, there's finally a throwaway explanation in SCARLET SPIDER #14, a title focused on a clone of Peter Parker named Kaine. Kaine was a serial killer in a decaying clone body, but the SPIDER-ISLAND storyline restored his body and sanity and took away his homicidal behaviour.

Kaine encounters a mystical spider entity, the same one that gave Peter those extra powers. The entity tells Kaine that it originally chose Peter Parker as its avatar, hence all those extra powers, but that Peter rejected 'the spider' in time and embraced 'the man,' thus losing those powers -- powers which Kaine could now claim if he wanted. It's two lines of dialogue to resolve an outstanding question from five years ago and Peter Parker doesn't even appear in this issue. At last, in 2013, we finally have all the answers to questions raised in 2008.

I guess we don't have to worry about it now, but I wondered if a Sony, de-Marvelized Tom Holland could have ended up in a similar situation of excellent stories and artistry being marred by confusion over what did or didn't happen in the past.

I finally got around to watching FAR FROM HOME today. It's a fun movie. Tom Holland and Zendaya are cute together. And FAR FROM HOME completely entangles Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from exploring his successorship to Tony Stark to intertwining Happy Hogan into the Parker family and creating a cliffhanger that demands the involvement of Stark's company and the Avengers. So, I think it's for the best that Sony and Marvel came to an arrangement.

I don't think Spider-Man needs to exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Tom Holland's Spider-Man was made specifically to function as part of the Avengers and the narrative distance that allows Daredevil and Daisy Johnson to steer clear of the Marvel movies wouldn't work for a version of Peter Parker who's constantly being directed by Nick Fury.

47

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Comic books are an illustrated and therefore impressionistic medium. TF's page scan is from 1994 and shows three versions of Batman drawn to be reminiscent of Bob Kane and Frank Miller. The 90s Batman is following the Neal Adams style as originated in 1970. When three artists' versions of Batman show up on a single page, the art explains itself even if the dialogue doesn't acknowledge it.

Bob Kane's Batman comes not only from an alternate timeline, but from an alternate reality as envisioned by a different artist, as does Neal Adams' Batman. And that works in an illustrative medium. 'God' used different pencils, brushes and printing techniques to build each world.

It's really interesting to look back at Batman's design over the years. I notice that Neal Adams' streamlined superhero look remained until 1995 when artist Kelley Jones stripped out the trunks, made the head horns more like blades and the colourists turned gloves and mask from blue to black and the rest of the body to a darker gray while the cape expanded widely. Jones made Batman look supernatural and demonic, but it was hard to see this as something a human being could wear and one imagined Batman having to crawl through doorways or crouch under low ceilings because of the ears.

In 2000, the costume was reworked again by Dave Johnson with the same colours but shortened horns, a pouch belt instead of Adams' capsules, a wide bat-emblem with no yellow. Batman looked like Neal Adams' superhero again but with a darker palette, wearing Miller's costume with Jones' colours.

In 2011, the costume was redesigned by Jim Lee to suggest the outfit was assembled from molded plates of body fitted armour with a belt of larger capsules that created a very technological texture that really fit the non-lethal, street level sci-fi version of Batman. And if you saw all these Batmans in the same frame of a comic book or an animated film, I think it would be perfectly self-explanatory as pastiches of different artists. But live action's elements are neither impressionistic nor illustrative.

To make this attitude work in live action -- I'd want to see Tyler Hoechlin's Superman visit the SMALLVILLE Earth and notice that 2000s-era pop music seems to play constantly in the background and that at 8:50 PM, there is always a slow, hearfelt conversation between two romantic partners. When Hoechlin tries to fly, he discovers that the gravity on SMALLVILLE's Earth is stronger and it's harder for him to get off the ground and also causes tights to chafe more severely than on Earth-38. He also notes that the fashion styles of this world prize street clothes over costumes.

And then I'd want Tom Welling's Clark to visit Brandon Routh's Earth and see that despite modern technology, the primary design style is that of metropolitan 1940s art deco in all the buildings and that the culture prizes silent, sustained, longing gazes over actual conversations and for Routh's Superman to discover that time runs at a slower tempo on his Earth and he doesn't have the red-blue-blurring speed of Tom Welling. And I'd want Bitsie Tulloch and Erica Durance's Loises to meet and observe that they aren't twins but might be sisters. But what happens when Ray Palmer and Brandon Routh's Superman meet?

Why does a Kryptonian-born refugee look like he's the identical twin brother of a human man?

RAY: "Wowser! It's like looking into a living mirror. Are we related?"

BRANDON ROUTH's SUPERMAN: "Are you a Kryptonian?"

RAY: "I cut myself shaving this morning so probably not. WHY are we twins?"

MICK RORY: "You're not twins, Haircut. You just look similar because square jawed types like you always gravitate to your line of work."

SUPERMAN: "Superheroes?"

MICK RORY: "Idiots."

However... I have always liked TF's explanation for why SLIDERS went from alternate histories into the supernatural and paranormal. Paradoxically, I also hate it because I don't really approve of monsters, magic and other paranormal elements in SLIDERS -- at least not as Seasons 3 - 5 presented them.

I do not dispute Temporal Flux's validity in noting that what we perceive as universal constants of reality may not be consistent across the multiverse. However, from a perspective of storytelling technique and style, I feel that this route is a mistake for SLIDERS.

The first two seasons established that SLIDERS operates on rules based in the variability of decisions. Each parallel Earth is the result of individuals making choices. Each chosen path and each potential outcome creates a world. There is no course of decision that leads to rock star vampires. Or amusement parks that feed on negative emotions. Or dragons. Or Dream Masters. Or radioactive worms that excrete immortality-granting serums. Or magic walls of fog.

While TF's system allows for these elements, they undermine the moral and functional foundation of SLIDERS stories: that people matter, that their choices have impact, that the sliders -- four homeless people with troubled pasts and fractured psyches and deep-set insecurities -- can make a difference. Magic and paranormal elements in SLIDERS, at least as they were presented in the show, create a multiverse where humans are helpless beings against forces outside their comprehension and grasped only by a select few who deal in Dream Mastering and voodoo curses and shapeshifting with brain fluid.

In addition, the solutions to these threats is never in terms of understanding the rules by which these concepts function and devising a solution via Quinn and Arturo's cleverness. Furthermore, the magic and monsters are never representative of human nature or society or any social or psychological force; it's not even symbolism, merely imagery defeated by wielding alternate imagery -- a magic sword slays the dragon, a big bomb blows up the dinosaur.

Force and violence should not be the sole means of resolving SLIDERS stories; the power that the sliders employ should be the power of imagination and decision. To me, a SLIDERS story is an adventure emerging from and being about the choices that people make.

48

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I wonder if the explanation might partially be found in the "Flashpoint" arc. At the end of Season 2 of THE FLASH, Barry goes back in time and stops Thawne from killing his mother, creating the Flashpoint timeline where his parents never died. But when Wally is injured, Barry realizes he didn't make the world better, just delegated his pain to someone else, so he stops his past self from preventing the murder. But he returns to the present to find it altered: Cisco's brother is dead, Caitlin has the metahuman gene when she didn't in the previous reality, Diggle's daughter Sara is now a son named John, Thawne survived his Season 1 erasure by shifting into the Speed Force to menace the cast of LEGENDS, Iris and Joe are estranged, Doc Brown has been institutionalized, Marty's mother is now married to Biff Tannen and so on.

Jay Garrick later explains: when you change the timeline, you can never put it back exactly as it used to be. He vibrates a coffee cup, breaking it into shards, then forces the broken shards back into place, but the cup's structure is now unstable and unsound. Temporal Flux said it suggested a butterfly effect theory; that Nora Allen living a few seconds longer would cause subatomi variations that would reverberate through the whole of reality in ways small and large.

To me, it suggested that every instance of time being reset to an earlier version, any instance of random chance and multiple outcome is also reset to allow for another outcome. In the original timeline, the chance of Cisco losing his brother to a random car accident is now open to another outcome, an X-chromosome is now a Y, a chance genetic variation that made Caitlin a normal human is now varied to make her Killer Frost.

It's also been established in Season 2: the timeline we saw in Season 1 is not the original timeline. The 1990s FLASH TV show is the original timeline, but when Thawne travelled backwards to integrate himself into the life of his favourite superhero, the Flash, Thawne discovered that history would record Thawne as the Flash's greatest villain. Their cross temporal battles altered the timeline and erased Thawne's own origin; as a result, Thawne had to restage the accident that gave the Flash his powers. All these resets must have produced multiple timelines with random chance and multiple outcomes splintering repeatedly, resulting in genetic variabilities like Caitlin going from human to metahuman -- or perhaps making Superman look like Tom Welling, then Brandon Routh, then Tyler Hoechlin with each version co-existing within the ever-expanding multiverse.

Maybe?

**

One of my favourite SPIDER-MAN comic stories is SPIDER-VERSE where Spider-Man discovers that an interdimensional group of predators is hunting doubles of Spider-Man across the multiverse. These include the mainstream comic book version, the 60s and 90s animated version, the Disney ULTIMATE version, Spider-Ham, Spider-Gwen and pretty much every version except for the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield versions as Sony owned the rights.

When Spider-Man visits the 1960s cartoon universe, he's drawn normally, but the environment around him and all the characters are rendered in the blocky, dated art style of the era. When Spider-Man visits the Disney cartoon universe, he finds the art style of the TV show. When characters from these universes visit the mainstream universe, they continue to appear in their design styles, at odds with the artwork that surrounds them. At one point, two Spider-Men note that they encountered a Spider-Man who looked like the guy from SEABISCUIT and another whose face was seen in THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

I wonder if there's some aspect of that to Superman of three different Earths being played by three actors.

49

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Rosenbaum has to be exaggerating slightly. There is absolutely no way a production company could offer "no money"; the actor's union requires a base level salary no matter what. The pay probably wasn't specified which pissed Rosenbaum off. It makes a degree of sense, however, that the production would not divulge story details until the actor was locked in with an NDA.

It could be that production didn't know if they could come up with a role for Rosenbaum when they're already juggling a lot, but then they found one at the last minute. In addition, they weren't able to speak to him directly; they went through his agent as Rosenbaum was unavailable for a direct meeting and communication can often get garbled. People are only human and there's no need to assume malice or even incompetence as much as people being rushed, distracted and busy. That's how the very talented, very gifted Season 10 SMALLVILLE writers forgot whether or not Clark was wearing glasses.

When SMALLVILLE's final season was airing, I kept saying that Michael Rosenbaum wasn't essential to the finale; they could use Lucas Grabeel who played the young Lex in flashbacks and as a clone. Slider_Quinn21 said that it would never be satisfying for the Pilot to have started with Jerry O'Connell versus Jerry O'Connell and for the finale to feature Zoe McLellan versus Robert Floyd -- I mean, for the Pilot to have started with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum and for "Finale" to end with Tom Welling and Lucas Grabeel.

Then the finale came and it had Michael Rosenbaum for two scenes and some footage of him as President and no Lucas Grabeel at all. I grumbled that Grabeel should have played Lex throughout the episode but then aged/morphed into Rosenbaum for those two scenes and Slider_Quinn21 asked if I were Grabeel's agent. I later found out: the plan had been to use Grabeel for every Lex scene and then pull a Season 7 shot of Rosenbaum's face and graft it onto Grabeel to show the young Lex growing into the adult version.

If Rosenbaum came back, they would have Grabeel age into the adult Lex earlier. But the finale lost Grabeel when he got a regular role on SWITCHED AT BIRTH and then got Rosenbaum but only for two scenes. Anyway. Perhaps it's time to revive the campaign and have Lucas Grabeel play Lex in CRISIS.

But honestly -- I cannot even wrap my head around Superman being played by Tyler Hoechlin AND Brandon Routh AND Tom Welling while having Lois played by Bitsie Tulloch AND Erica Durance and to have Routh playing Ray Palmer AND Superman. There was a certain TV logic to John Wesley Shipp playing Grant Gustin's father and also playing the older Barry Allen of Earth 90; Barry will look like Gustin when young and like Shipp when middle aged. But why the hell would a double of Clark Kent have Hoechlin's face while another has Routh's and another has Welling's?

Why does Erica Durance's Lois Lane share a face with Clark Kent's aunt, Alura? Ray Palmer noted in "Invasion!" that Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) looked like his cousin, but I suspect this may be one of those things best not thought about such as why no one ever seems to hand over money for coffee at Jitters and Central City's citizens never panic over seeing Sherloque wandering the streets with the face of self-confessed murderer Harrison Well or how Oliver is paying rent when he lost his company.

Maybe I'll just have to dismiss the strangeness here or ask Temporal Flux to explain it to me.

50

(1,163 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Anyone want to place bets on Rosenbaum changing his mind half a week before filming and showing up for two days of filming which translates to two scenes and some second unit b-roll? I bet against that last time and lost.