The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video about subverting expectations, but in a way that I hope won’t every fan of Star Wars or Game of Thones. A lot has been made of this narrative trope. It has gained a bad reputation and for good reason. However, I still feel it has merit and, as it just so happens, there’s one underrated movie that has show just how great it can be.
That movie is “Megamind,” a movie I’ve praised before and will likely praise again. This incredible animated gem once again shows it was ahead of its time in that it demonstrates how to properly subvert expectations. I hope this video makes the case that this tactic can still be done and done well. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s another entry in my ongoing Jack’s Comic Gems playlist. This one involves the She-Devil with a Sword herself, Red Sonja. That means it’s going to be full of magic, violence, and chain mail bikinis. However, this particular book offers something extra to that fanciful formula and it’s what helps make this latest adventure by the redheaded warrior a true gem. Enjoy!
The following is a video/mini-documentary that I made for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. I’ve actually been working on this video for quite some time now. I feel it’s finally ready for release. It’s a grand overview, as well as my own personal take, on the brief, but impactful rivalry between the Inhumans and the X-Men. It’s also me making the case that this was a case study in how not to develop a rivalry.
Please note that, while I tried to be fair and objective, I couldn’t help but go off-script in a few areas. Trust me. You’ll know it when you see it. I still try to tell the story of this rivalry in as fair a way I could. Enjoy!
I’ve been playing video games for most of my life. In that time, I’ve played many games that felt like a long, tedious grind. It’s not just about getting to the end of a level and beating the final boss. Some games are bigger, broader, and more complex. A lot of modern games are like that these days. They’re not something you can beat over the span of an afternoon or over a weekend.
As much a grind they are, it’s still so satisfying when you finally win. That’s a feeling that even casual gamers can appreciate. That’s also how I felt when I recently accomplished something amazing in a game I’ve been playing for years now, Marvel Strike Force. I’ve mentioned before that I started posting captured videos of me playing this game on my YouTube Channel, Jack’s World. Since then, I’ve refined that craft.
As a result, I’ve put together a lengthy playlist of me navigating the Dark Dimension IV levels of the game. If you’re at all familiar with Marvel Strike Force, you know it as one of the toughest runs of the game. I already completed the first run. Now, I’ve completed the timed run and it was quite a harrowing experience. I made sure to capture that experience from start to finish.
Again, it was a hell of a grind, but it was incredibly satisfying when I finished it. Enjoy!
I’m a simple man. Whenever a trailer of any kind, even a teaser, gets released by Marvel Studios, I take notice. I’m not the only one, either. A trailer release by Marvel Studios is almost always cause for celebration and excitement. It shows on how often these trailers rack up record-breaking hits in a short span of time.
Even a trailer for lesser-known characters is bound to draw interest. Marvel Studios has proven before that they can turn obscure characters like the “Guardians of the Galaxy” into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Now, they hope to do the same with the “Eternals.”
Given their unprecedentedtrack record of success, I wouldn’t bet against Kevin Feige and company. These visionaries have all more than earned our trust, as well as the benefit of the doubt. However, turning “Eternals” into a successful franchise will likely be even harder than “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
I say that as someone with a very shallow knowledge of Eternals. I like to think of myself as a pretty well-informed Marvel fan, but even I don’t know much about these characters. I’m aware of their basic history, but much of my interest is tied to how their story ties into that of mutants, albeit indirectly.
I suspect most causal fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are in a similar boat. They don’t know who these characters are. They’re nowhere near as iconic as Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor. However, they are showing up in the MCU, so we all take notice. We just have no idea what to expect, given the obscure nature of this franchise.
Well, a few days ago, we finally got our first glimpse when a teaser trailer for “Eternals” came out. Being a lifelong Marvel fan, it certainly made my day. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is.
Regardless of how you feel about the characters, it’s still a visual spectacle to behold. Marvel Studios always seems to fill their films with plenty of dazzling spectacles. It looks like “Eternals” is searching for a way to raise the bar once more and history says they will.
Beyond the spectacle, the trailer offers some hints as to what kind of story we’ll be getting with “Eternals.” In short, they’re a race of immortal humanoid beings who arrive in the distant past aboard a massive ship. This detail is ripped straight from the pages of the comics, as originally penned by Jack Kirby.
Beyond that, we learn that they’ve been living amongst humans for millennia. However, they’ve kept their distance, refusing to interfere or significantly impact human affairs. Then, something changes. Now, they’re ready to make their presence known to a world that is still recovering from the events of Thanos’ infamous snap.
That’s all very intriguing. I’m certainly curious to learn more. The cast is full of well-known stars like Selma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. The history of the MCU has already proven quite rich through other movies, like “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Ant Man.” This promises to broaden that history even more.
That’s certainly good from a storytelling perspective. However, seeing this trailer still leaves me with one burning question, which in turn raises other similar questions.
Why did these powerful beings wait so long to reveal themselves to the world?
That’s a relevant question and one that mutants will also face once the X-Men come to the MCU, as I’ve covered before in one of my YouTube videos. However, it’s even more relevant for the Eternals.
These are powerful, immortal beings with abilities that are nothing short of god-like. If this trailer is any indication, they’ve been around for the entire breadth of human history. That means they’ve witnessed every war, every plague, every disaster, and every collapse, of which there have been plenty.
Even in the context of the MCU, they’ve witnessed some pretty terrible events.
They watched the Chitari invade New York City.
They saw Dormammu attempt to absorb the Earth into the Dark Dimension.
They watched Ultron nearly end the world.
They watched the Avenger try and fail to stop Thanos.
They may even be aware of a Skrull infiltration that began during the events of “Captain Marvel.”
They’re aware of all of this, but still chose not to get involved. Is it wrong to ask for a legitimate reason? Is it wrong to pre-judge them for having so much inherent power and not using it to stop terrible event?
Never mind the events that shaped world history. If they could’ve made a difference in the battle against Thanos and Ultron, then why didn’t that? What’s their reason for staying hidden? In the comics, their primary reason centers around protecting Earth from the nefarious Deviants. However, even the comics don’t offer much insight into why they just stand aside and let other catastrophic events occur.
It raises a larger question that the MCU will have to grapple with, which often gets overlooked in the comics. In a world where powerful beings like this exist, does their inaction constitute an egregious act? If they could’ve stopped Thanos, then does their decision to stay hidden warrant criticism?
It’s a difficult question and one that comes up much more frequently in DC Comics. On more than one occasion, Superman has been criticized for not helping humanity on a larger scale. It’s very much a common trope and one that gets increasingly difficult to address as a shared universe grows.
Like I said earlier, Marvel Studios has a stellar track record with telling great stories that at least partially address these questions. I sincerely hope that track record continues with “Eternals.” I also hope it’s more serious in asking the bigger questions about what it means to have power and be a respectable hero.
The Avengers who assembled to defeat Thanos were all powerful in their own right. Together, they are a force that can battle god-like threats and win. At the same time, they all have major limitations. The Eternals have limitations as well, but they’re unique in just how present they’ve been for the extent of human history.
In that sense, they have a greater responsibility than even someone like Spider-Man or Thor. If they’ve been present for so many terrible events, but chose to do nothing, then what do we make of them? How do they become heroes in that context? I don’t claim to know the answer. I just look forward to seeing this movie and finding out for myself.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my full review of season one of “Invincible,” an animated series based on a comic series by Robert Kirkman of the same name. In a year where comic fans have been spoiled by great shows like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” this show offers something different. At the same time, it offers a unique story that fits perfectly with the current cultural zeitgeist. I explain why in this video while also just celebrating my love for this show. Enjoy!
The following are a couple of new videos for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. These videos are actually an experiment, of sorts. Since I’ve started my channel, I’ve explored all sorts of topics to discuss. I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll focus on with this channel, but I do want that focus to be on something I love.
As it just so happens, I do love video games. One game, in particular, is a mobile game called “Marvel Strike Force.” I’ve been playing it for years and I really enjoy it. I’ve also seen a number of other channels stream themselves doing various types of gameplay. Having just recently learned the right kind of video editing software, I thought I’d give it a try.
The two videos below are me making my way through the Dark Dimension IV levels of Marvel Strike Force. These are some of the hardest parts of the game and it took a long time, just to develop my team to a point where I could manage. I do plan on sharing the gameplay from other nodes. I didn’t include any commentary, but if you’d like me to add that in future videos, please let me know.
Here is me completing Node 11. This one was trickier and I forgot to turn off notifications, so you’ll see some graphics here and there. To those playing this game at this level, I hope it helps!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It is my full review and reaction to “Falcon And The Winter Soldier,” which just finished its first season on Disney Plus. I know reviewed multiple episodes of “WandaVision,” but I had a hard time stopping myself from speculating after every episode. I didn’t want to do that with this one, so I waited until the series was complete.
Overall, I’m glad I did. This show was really something. It also got me plenty excited for the future of the MCU and yes, that means more wild speculating in this video, as well as plenty others. Enjoy!
Whenever there’s an alternate version of an iconic character, writers often try to give them their own unique twist. Most of the time, it’s distinct, but still subtle. They try not to veer too far from the established canon of the character. Unless they’re writing weird fan fiction, writers stick to whatever is most prominent version of the character within the cultural zeitgeist.
However, Grant Morrison is not like most writers.
He doesn’t follow along with the cultural zeitgeist. Instead, he reverses it. When he writes iconic characters, he reshapes and reimagines them in big ways. All the cultural zeitgeist can do is try and keep up.
These stories didn’t simply tell new stories with DC Comics’ most iconic characters. They channeled every element from every era to mold a unique narrative. That’s difficult enough for Superman, given his 80-year history. With Wonder Woman, the challenge is even greater.
Before I get too heavy into spoiler territory, I’ll just say this. Morrison successfully rose to the challenge when reimagining Wonder Woman in the first volume of “Wonder Woman: Earth One.” He succeeds even more in completing that story in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3.”
It’s challenging because most Wonder Woman fans, including older fans more familiar with her lengthy history, know her mostly as a proud warrior woman. They think Wonder Woman and they see Lynda Carter in the classic 70s show, Gal Gadot in the recent movies, and even the animated version in “Justice League Unlimited” that was voiced by Susan Eisenberg.
These are all great versions of this iconic character. That warrior spirit that makes her one of the fiercest fighters in the DC Universe is a major part of her persona. However, there are other aspects of that persona that have been either retconned or ignored. Morrison makes it a point to embrace those aspects in “Wonder Woman: Earth One.”
Yes, that does include some of the kinkier aspects of Wonder Woman’s origins, which I’ve highlighted before. Namely, it embraces some of the BDSM elements that were woven into the early lore of Wonder Woman by her creator, William Marston.
However, it would be wrong, shallow, and short-sighted to call this aspect of Wonder Woman’s character too crude for modern tastes. These elements aren’t just for sex appeal and titillation. They reflect an important element to Wonder Woman’s philosophy, as defined by Marston.
To use power to dominate over others is inherently cruel and repressive.
To willingly submit with love and compassion is the truth path to peace and justice.
This is the core philosophy that Grant Morrison spends the first two volumes of “Wonder Woman: Earth One” exploring. That philosophy faces its ultimate test in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3.” I’ll spoil another detail here. It passes with flying colors and in a way that makes for a satisfying conclusion to such a uniquely wonderful story.
The story isn’t just about Wonder Woman facing the worst elements of domination at the hands of arrogant men and powerful gods. It’s about how this unique philosophy ultimately wins.
Now, contrary to what a bunch of whiny trolls may say, this effort is not about “smashing the patriarchy.” Seriously, don’t give these trolls any attention. They’ll say that about any comic that doesn’t cater exclusively to their narrow tastes, which usually involve Wonder Woman being a glorified warrior/stripper.
The story in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” is more ambitious. It also has an unusual structure, although not too unusual for Morrison. His writing style often takes advantage of different time periods, using future events to give context to the past. It’s what he did in the first volume of “Wonder Woman: Earth One.” He uses it again, but to tell a very different story.
In the past, Wonder Woman is still sharing her philosophy with man’s world. She continues her fight against what she sees as an endless cycle of domination by the powerful. To her, it’s no different than how the old Greek Gods attempted to dominate the Amazons. It just leads to more conflict and suffering for men and women alike.
This ideology of power domination isn’t exclusive to men, either. Early in the story, it’s established there are women who still fall into this trap, namely Artemis. She doesn’t care for Wonder Woman’s more compassionate approach to dealing with men. She sees them as extensions of Hercules, the man who once brutalized her sisters.
It’s a not-so-subtle nod to the more radical elements of feminism that tend to espouse the same hatred as their anti-feminist counterparts. It’s ironic, but one that Wonder Woman confronts with a unique blend of love, understanding, and warrior spirit.
That’s a potent, but critical combination. It’s very much in line with the persona that William Marston created for her in the early years of her story. While she is certainly capable of fighting with the tenacity of an Amazon warrior, she doesn’t approach conflict the same way as her male counterparts.
For her, fighting isn’t about dominating or subduing an opponent. It’s a way of countering and subsequently tempering their misguided passions. Whether it’s Artemis or Ares, she doesn’t win the battle by knocking them out. She wins it by convincing them to willingly submit. When they do, she embraces them with love and compassion.
This works well for Artemis, but the men outside her homeland are a lot harder to persuade. In both the past and the future, we see male characters trying to cling to or re-establish the domination that they once enjoyed.
In the past, it’s Ares trying to continue his war machine with help from the American military. In the future, it’s a member of an extremist faction of angry men who long for the days when they could dominate women. Given the atrocities committed by angry, misguided men in the real world, this struggle is more relevant now than ever before.
I won’t spoil all the details of how that conflict is confronted and resolved. Those simply looking for Wonder Woman to fight her way through the conflict are only going to get half of what they seek. There is plenty of fighting, courtesy of Ares, but the way those fights end don’t follow the same script as your standard superhero slugfest.
There’s always a larger conversation at play.
There’s always an effort by Wonder Woman and those who support her to confront these misguided passions.
It’s never with force, contempt, or scorn. They all listen with compassion, even to those who spew hate. They let angry men and angry gods voice their grievances, even while fighting back. However, they always counter with love. They understand that you can’t counter anger with more anger or hate with more hate.
Again, that’s a very relevant principle. Anyone who has visited 4chan or a Reddit comments thread understands that.
There’s also a larger story about this world’s version of Steve Trevor. He may not look like Chris Pine from the “Wonder Woman” movie, but the role he plays is just as critical. What he does and what he chooses is instrumental in helping Wonder Woman win the day.
Again, winning in this world doesn’t mean blowing up the bad guys or their weapons. It means winning the argument about which philosophy is more just. More than anything else, “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” makes the case that a philosophy of loving submission is more palatable than one of angry domination.
Morrison even refines some of Marston ideas from the early Wonder Woman comics. In this world, it’s not men or masculinity that’s the problem. It’s the domineering ideology they’ve embraced and relied on for so long. Letting it go isn’t easy, but convincing men to do so cannot be done with force. That realization must come from within.
In many respects, the philosophy in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” transcends gender. Whether you’re a warrior woman or just some normal man with a family, there’s something to be gained by these insights. Loving submission offers something that angry domination does not. Embracing it comes with sacrifices, but Wonder Woman demonstrates that they’re worth making.
It makes for a powerful combination to a power story. Morrison really makes the extra effort to flesh out these ideas that Marston first established while artist, Yanick Paquette, crafts a beautifully colorful world that does justice to all its wonders.
It’ll challenge you perceptions while providing plenty of classic Wonder Woman type entertainment. It’ll also present a different kind of Wonder Woman, one that embraces both her modern iterations and the those of her past. The end result is a true wonder that does justice to this iconic character in a very unique way. If, by the end, you aren’t willing to submit to the loving authority of Wonder Woman, then you’re missing the point.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video I never thought I’d get to make. In it, I review Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” a movie that legions of fans, as well as the cast, fought for. I didn’t think it would succeed, but after years of advocacy, it came out on HBO Max. I made it a point to build my Saturday night around watching it and I’m glad I did. Watch this video to see why. Enjoy!