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Kate kate_nepveu
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pop culture miscellany

This baby is refusing to be put down and I am very tired, so while I wait for a reasonable next-feeding time, some pop culture miscellany.

The AV Club had an interview with Mark Waid about various comics projects of his, which reminded me "oh yeah, he and John Rogers (Leverage) were working on this digital comics thing, I should take a look."

So far it has two titles up, an apparent one-shot about zombie roadkill which is not something I want to look at, and a serial called Insufferable which has the tagline, What happens when you’re a crimefighter and your sidekick grows up to be an arrogant, ungrateful douchebag? What on Earth could draw the two of you back together again?

Well, okay, I'll give that a try. The physical experience of reading is nice, but the story . . . in the first week, we learn that the crimefighter and sidekick are father and son. I'll give you three guesses whose death precipitates their final break from each other, and the first two don't count.

I don't remember what week of the comic that was—it was early, but our Internet is being grindingly slow right now so I can't check—but whichever it was, was when I closed the browser tab. Because, even if it's a soft launch, starting your "let's broaden readership!" project with another fridged woman does not impress.

(Speaking of which, the essay Natasha Walks Out of a Refrigerator may spoil the plot of Marjorie Liu's run on Black Widow, but it does so in a way that made me put the collection in my Amazon cart.)

Anyway. I was reminded of this by the first ten minutes of The Losers, which starts out as all banter-y action, silly but engaging and with an actual majority of non-white characters on the team, and then the fucking thing blows twenty-five just-rescued brown children out of the sky to motivate our heroes. At which point I carefully closed VLC and decided to write this, because seriously, fuck all of that sideways with a chainsaw.

Finally, in less egregious movie-dom, I half-watched The Incredible Hulk (the prior Marvel movie with the Hulk, the one with Edward Norton and Liv Tyler). I say "half" because I mostly skipped the smashing-things-up sequences and most of the General Ross stuff as boring.

Spoilers.

This did not get off to a good start, because I did not believe in the least that Bruce wouldn't check all the surrounding bottles for his blood (which stray drop is how the plot gets kicked off). And I find Tim Roth a really odd choice as the Abomination. (Tim Blake Nelson, on the other hand, was nicely creepy as creepy lab guy, though if he was being set up as a future villain by getting contaminated with Bruce's blood products, that feels oddly repetitive.)

The first time the pulse-counting appeared I was immediately glad that The Avengers dropped it, because it felt very boring and mechanistic. On the other hand, there's something to be said for specific defined limits to shape stories around, otherwise things can get very hand-wavy and plot-convenient. I think on balance I prefer the idea of the Hulk as triggered by emotional states rather than (or in addition to) simple physical conditions, because of the stories it makes possible, but I'm not sure it is as clear-cut as I thought at first.

A thing I am still thinking about: from Bruce's POV, the Hulk being triggered by a particular pulse rate seems akin to a physical illness or disability; making the trigger emotional moves it more into the realm of mental illness. Literalizing either of these things into an enormous green rage monster obviously has the potential to go lots of bad places; how I think the movies handled this is a step I haven't gotten to yet. (The Hulk himself probably has a boatload of non-metaphorical DSM diagnoses. Also I don't know what the various comics have done with his intelligence level; I think in both Marvel movies he is pretty intelligent.)

Sleep dep makes me ramble and it's about time for me to poke this baby awake. Anyway: the movie did body horror very effectively with Bruce's transformation while strapped down on creepy-guy's table, and stepping off the helicopter was a great moment. Edward Norton was fine. Liv Tyler . . . probably doesn't deserve my knee-jerk "oh no it's breathy Arwen!" reaction. The Avengers really felt like a re-set of the entire situation while the same time being perfectly consistent with this movie (I think), which is really odd.

I presume they're going to re-cast Betty Ross, since I just can't see Liv Tyler and Mark Ruffalo in the same movie (she looks a lot younger than him, just for one thing). Who do you all think they should cast as Betty?

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