Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Why Superhero Secret Identities Are More Relevant Than Ever

Superman

You don’t have to be a lifelong fan of superheroes to know the role that secret identities play in their over-arching narrative. It’s one of those story elements that often goes hand-in-hand with a hero’s journey. Part of becoming a hero involves forging an identity and, more often than not, this identity can’t function alongside the one they start with.

It’s a story that has roots in the early days of modern superhero comics. It wasn’t just a common plot point. It was practically a given. It was as necessary as capes, colorful costumes, and punishing masked criminals.

From a practical standpoint, having a secret identity has some legitimate merit. There are things Bruce Wayne can do as Batman that he cannot do and vice versa. The same goes for Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and many other iconic heroes. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne set the stage for his secret identity by crafting Batman as a symbol, one that conveyed an idea that went beyond the person in the costume.

In recalling that scene, I think that idea was more prophetic than Christopher Nolan initially intended. When I look at how secret identities have come to define many characters, I believe they’re more important today than they have been in any other era.

I don’t just say that as a long-time fan of superhero comics who has used his knowledge of the genre to explore serious issues. I believe that we, as a society, are entering uncharted territory when it comes to how we manage our identities. The influence of the internet, social media, and an increasingly connected world is more powerful than any fictional hero. It’s already finding its way into superhero media.

This topic became especially relevant for Superman fans because back in late 2019, the release of “Superman #18” officially revealed Superman’s identity as Clark Kent. Now, it wasn’t not the first time Superman’s identity has been exposed, but this time it wasn’t a gimmick. Now, Superman had to learn how to be Superman without a secret identity.

Over the past decade, the value and vulnerabilities of secret identities have been under fire. One of the most jarring moments of the original “Iron Man” movie was the very end when Tony Stark didn’t attempt to hide the fact he was Iron Man. For those not familiar with the comics, it might not have seemed like a big issue. Trust me, it was a major shift.

While Tony Stark debuted as Iron Man in 1963, his identity didn’t become public until the early 2000s. That’s nearly four decades of him operating with a secret identity. In the context of his journey, this was not a trivial decision.

What happened to Spider-Man at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was even more jarring. While his secret identity has been revealed many times in the comics, it’s almost always retconned. Like Batman and Superman, he has to have a secret identity. He has to have a civilian life that’s separate from his superhero life.

There’s even a notable episode of “Superman: The Animated Series” in which Superman flat out admits that he’d go crazy if he couldn’t be Clark Kent. Think about that for a second. Superman, one of the most powerful and iconic superheroes of all time, admits that can’t handle a life without a secret identity. This is someone who can handle Lex Luthor, Darksied, and Brainiac. If he can’t handle it, then what hope do we have?

That question might not have been too relevant 20 years ago. Before the age of smartphones, broadband internet, and social media, a superhero might have been able to get away with having their identity exposed. You could say the same for anyone who happened to have a dirty secret or a double life. Whether it was an affair or a secret hobby, you didn’t have to work that hard to keep it secret.

Back then, not everyone had a fully-functional camera in their pocket or a means of sharing their media on a mass scale. Even if someone did manage to take a compromising picture or video, it wouldn’t be a huge revelation unless it was published by a major news source and even then there was no guarantee it would have staying power, especially if other major stories broke at the same time.

Now, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can capture compromising footage of anyone and share it with the world in seconds. In the world of superheroes, it makes keeping an identity harder than ever. Spider-Man found that out the hard way at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Ordinary people and major celebrities are finding that out as well in the real world.

The internet and social media has created an unusual, yet potent system that skews the dynamics of having an identity, secret or otherwise. On one hand, it’s easier than ever to create an anonymous persona on the internet. With that persona, people are unbound by the propriety of real-world interaction.

It’s part of why the comments section of any website or social media feed is full of deplorable rhetoric that highlights the worst in people. Ordinary people can use the anonymity of the internet to say thing they would never say to another human being face-to-face. At the same time, celebrities and people of influence have the opposite problem.

In this hyper-connected world, every word and every action is permanently archived and subject to greater scrutiny. Every mistake or misstep is amplified and blown out of proportion. Every bit of subtext and nuance is completely lost in the various biases and agendas of the public. In essence, public figures have little to no control of their identity. They are very much at the mercy of how others perceive them.

That kind of scrutiny can have benefits and drawbacks. You could argue that the added scrutiny of social media has held celebrities and people of influence to a higher standard. They can no longer operate in the shadows with impunity. Dirty secrets will come out. Bad behavior will be documented. The O.J. Simpsons and Bill Cosbys of yesteryear could not get away with their deplorable behavior in today’s environment.

That may be a good thing on some levels, but it comes at a cost and not just for those who have had their lives ruined by the internet. In a world where anonymous identities are easily created and valued identities are easily ruined, how can anyone hope to maintain a balanced perspective? Whether you’re an accomplished celebrity or just some random blogger, don’t you still need a persona that feels true?

For people who are stuck in difficult situations, such as those belonging to racial, religious, or LGBTQ minorities, having that secret identity might be the only one that feels true or genuine. If that gets exposed, then those individuals could be in legitimate danger. There are parts of the world who will punish these individuals in ways far more serious than online trolling.

In the past, these kinds of people didn’t have an outlet or a means of connecting with others who share their struggles. They either had to organize in secret or set up their own communities, which often meant making themselves real-life targets. The ability to create an identity, secret or otherwise, can be a powerful mechanism for helping people forge an identity that feels true to who they are.

To some extent, superheroes embody the importance of these identities. They can’t do what they do without them. They can’t remain connected to the people and the world they’re trying to protect if they’re always in costume, trying to maintain this persona they’ve created. Without it, they become disconnected and overwhelmed. As a result, they can’t be the heroes they need to be.

For people in the real world, having these identities is more important than ever. You don’t have to be a superhero to appreciate their value, but as our world becomes more connected, it’s become a lot easier to understand why Spider-Man and Batman work so hard to preserve their secret identities.

The fact they still struggle, despite having super-powers and billions of dollars, is a testament to just how difficult it can be. As the world becomes increasingly connected and increasingly tribal, it’s only going to get harder.

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My Top 5 Date Night (Superhero) Movies

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When we have two things we love, it’s only natural to look for a way to combine them. Without that inclination, we wouldn’t have such wonderful combinations like chocolate and peanut butter or beer and buffalo wings. It’s almost an instinct, mixing the things we cherish in hopes of compounding the joy.

As a fan of romance and superhero movies, I’ve certainly had this inclination before. I’ve built dates around going to a superhero movie. When I was with my ex-girlfriend, we would organize our evenings around a particular superhero movie or TV show that we both loved. It made for more than a few memorable moments, the details of which I’ll save for my novels and sexy short stories.

I know I’m not the only one who enjoys mixing date nights with superhero movies. The massive box office haul generated by superhero movies essentially guarantees that at least one couple has built their date night around them. I have friends and relatives who have used superhero movies, both in the theaters and at homes, to supplement their date night.

With this being a thing in our current cultural landscape, I thought I’d craft my own short-list for the best superhero movies to see on date night. Keep in mind, this list isn’t about which superhero movies are the best or most entertaining. These are the movies that evoke just the right combination of emotions that help make a romantic evening more intimate.

It doesn’t have to involve a major romantic sub-plot, although that helps. It also can’t be all spectacle and flare. There’s a time and a place for those kinds of movies, superhero or otherwise. For date night, the goal is to stir up passion and inspire romantic moments. Having seen pretty much every superhero movie multiple times, and also being a fan of romance, I feel uniquely qualified to craft such a list.

What follows are my top 5 superhero movies for date night. I imagine others will have a different list. I’m sure plenty will strongly disagree with my choice and ranking. That’s perfectly fine. This is just my assessment on which superhero movies are best suited for a fun, romantic date night. Enjoy!


Number 5: Captain America: The First Avenger

For those who cheered Captain America on in the final battle against Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame,” it’s easy to forget that he had a long journey to becoming the living legend we known and love. That journey began in “Captain America: The First Avenger” and while it didn’t gross $2 billion at the box office, it gave everyone a reason to root for Steve Rogers.

A big part of that journey involved a romantic sub-plot that was simple, basic, and inherently lovable. Before he became a Captain, Steve Rogers was just a lanky soldier who set his patriotic eyes on the beautiful, charismatic Peggy Carter. She wasn’t just a pretty face, either. She played an integral part in helping Steve become the hero he sought to be. It’s a beautiful story that just happens to have romantic undertones.

There’s plenty of action. There’s plenty of intrigue as well, in that this movie helped set the stage for the first “Avengers” movie. However, the heart and depth of Steve’s love for Peggy strikes all the right chords. It makes Captain America’s journey more personal. He’s not just this paragon of American ideals. He’s a man who seeks to serve his country and love a good woman.

It’s a simple story with lovable characters. That’s an essential combination for any successful date night movie.


Number 4: Wonder Woman

There are a lot of things that “Wonder Woman” did well. For a movie that had so much riding on it, both for the superhero genre and for female superheroes, the success it achieved at the box office is nothing short of remarkable. It’s only fitting that it checks most of the boxes for a good date night movie.

It’s an epic story full of gods, monsters, war, and humanity. Yes, there’s a great romantic sub-plot mixed in with Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, but that sub-plot works because everything around it works. They both navigate unfamiliar territory together, sharing both the journey and the drama. Along the way, they help one another. They learn from one another. They make each other stronger.

At its core is the sheer heart it conveys. It has always been Wonder Woman’s greatest strength and this movie does everything necessary to capture it. Any couple seeing this movie will find moments that will make them smile and fill them with the urge to cuddle. The epic battles that Wonder Woman leads, along with Gal Gadot’s wonderful performance, is a nice bonus as well.


Number 3: Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix ending was too similar to 'another superhero movie': James  McAvoy

As big an X-Men fan as I am, I’ll be the first to concede that the movies have been hit or miss over the years. Some have been great. Some have been nauseatingly awful. However, even the most acclaimed X-Men movies rarely have the attributes of a good date night movie. That changed with “Dark Phoenix.” Of all the X-Men movies not associated with Deadpool, this one has all the traits of quality date night movie.

It’s not just a superhero movie. It’s not just a re-telling of one of the X-Men’s most iconic stories in the Phoenix Saga. This is a movie built on high drama and powerful emotions. Much like the Phoenix Force itself, the strength of the story and the characters involved stem from emotions. There’s love, loss, anguish, and sacrifice. Tears are shed, anger is shared, and the pain is palpable.

These are all core aspects of what made the original story in the comics so endearing. They’re also the sentiments that make a great date movie. The story isn’t all world-ending spectacle. It’s personal and emotional. What happens to Jean Grey and her friends in “Dark Phoenix” is both dramatic and powerful. It evokes the kinds of feelings you want to share.

There are plenty of other elements in this movie that are worth praising. I covered many of them in the review I wrote for this movie. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call “Dark Phoenix” the best X-Men movie, I’m comfortable saying it’s the best X-Men movie to share with a date.


Number 2: Deadpool

This is one of those movies that caught a lot of people by surprise in the best possible way. Without a doubt, the first “Deadpool” wildly exceeded everyone’s expectations, from X-Men fans to romance fans to fans of anything associated with Ryan Reynolds. Between the box office it generated and the praise it earned, it’s easy to forget that this movie is built around a love story.

That’s not just the musings of a self-professed romantic. That’s exactly what the movie says through Ryan Reynolds’ uncanny charm. Even the marketing for this movie teased its romantic undertones and for good reason. As funny, crude, and violent as Deadpool was, the movie was still built around romance and it was built well.

The love between Wade Wilson and Vanessa was genuine, sexy, and sweet. A lot of Deadpool’s motivations and antics were a direct result of his love for Vanessa. It’s the kind of love story that will make you smile, laugh, and even gag a bit. For any couple looking for a little of everything in a date night movie, “Deadpool” delivers all that and then some.

It’s the kind of romance that’s genuinely fun. No matter how serious you are with your lover, it’s important to have a little fun and “Deadpool” never misses an opportunity to have fun. That kind of spirit can only help anyone’s date night.


Number 1: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

The Marvel Movies Debrief: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Recap, Legacy,  and MCU Connections - Den of Geek

Finding the perfect date night movie isn’t easy. Finding one that has just the right amount of fun, entertainment, and dramatic impact can test any couple’s patience. Sometimes, a movie is too serious and ceases to be entertaining. Sometimes, a movie is too theatrical, so to speak, and the drama just feels flat. Striking that balance is very challenging, but “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” proves it’s not impossible.

Of all the superhero movies I’ve seen, few hit me with as many feels as this one and it did so without going too heavy on the romance. While there were plenty of romantic elements throughout the story, the greatest strength of this movie was how it gets you to care about these characters. The fact that they include a talking tree, a rocket with a machine gun, and a guy named Taserface is secondary.

This movie had plenty of colorful moments that were funny and quirky. Like its predecessor, it dared to have fun with the genre. However, the fun never got in the way of the drama or the characters. There were elements of family, including parents and sibling rivalries. There were secrets and revelations that hit you in all the right ways. Even when you re-watch the movie, it still has an impact.

It evokes a wide range of feelings, more so than a typical romance movie. The sheer breadth of those feelings is what makes “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” an experience worth sharing. If you’re with someone who appreciates those feelings, then this movie will do plenty to satisfy. It’s the kind of movie that you can still enjoy by yourself, but it’s best when shared with someone special.


As I noted earlier, this is just my personal list. If you think there are other quality date night superhero movies, please make your case in the comments. I’d love to hear them. Given the rich slate of superhero movies planned for the coming years, this list is sure to change.

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Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Deadpool, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies, romance, superhero comics, superhero movies, X-men

New Comic Book Day July 21, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

It’s New Comic Book Day and it’s the middle of summer. I may not be in school anymore, but that doesn’t make me any less fond of this time of year. As a kid, the middle of summer was a magical time. Being out of school and having plenty of time to just lounge about and read comics made for some of the most enjoyable times of the year. While it sucked that I often had to wait for the mail to get my comics, I always found ways to enjoy myself.

These days, I may not enjoy the same summer break I got while I was in school, but being able to enjoy New Comic Book Day at the crack of dawn every week definitely makes up for. As I write this, the morning is clear and crisp. The sky is clear and the sun is rising. All I need to make it better is a cup of coffee and an iPad loaded with new comics, courtesy of Comixology.

It’s one of the best parts of my week. Being able to enjoy it on a nice summer morning, knowing the pools are open and I can lounge about in my underwear, just makes it even better. I can only imagine how my summers would’ve been growing up if I could access new comics like this. I might very well have overdosed on joy.

I hope kids and comic fans alike appreciate how great it is enjoy comics these days. It has never been easier and cheaper to get into. It being the middle of summer only makes New Comic Book Day that much sweeter. If you’re still new to it, I assure you that it gets better. Here is my pull list and pick of the week to help in that process. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Captain Marvel #30

Catwoman #33

Extreme Carnage: Phage #1

The Flash #772

Gamma Flight #2

Grimm Fairy Tales #50

Guardians Of The Galaxy #16

Justice League #65

Marauders #22

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #28

Moon Knight #1

New Mutants #20

Nightwing #82

Power Rangers #9

Savage Avengers #22

Shazam! #1

Star Wars: Darth Vader #14

Superman and the Authority #1

Thor Annual #1

X-Men Legends #5


My Pick Of The Week
Superman And The Authority #1

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New Comic Book Day May 12, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

I don’t claim to know more than your typical comic book fan. Hell, I don’t claim to know more than any average person with an internet connection. I just know what I like, what makes me happy, and how I prefer to go about life. Reading new comics on Wednesday mornings is just one of those things I know will make every week feel complete and fulfilled.

It also helps that this is the time of year when many major publishers are gearing up for their big summer events. Around this time last year, evens like “X Of Swords” was just starting and, given the circumstances of last year, it really helped boost my spirits.

This year being less dire, the major summer comic events are back on schedule. Marvel and DC Comics have both teased and hinted at what’s to come over the next couple of months. Marvel has it’s big “Heroes Reborn” event that just started and DC Comics has it’s big Justice League: Last Ride event beginning this week.

Now, some fans see these summer events as gimmicks. In many cases, that’s exactly what they are. They’re the big budget blockbuster movies meant to cause a lot of noise and there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re still fun. They’re still enjoyable. Some may see them as a guilty pleasure, but I feel no guilt in enjoying these events, nor should you.

These are exciting times for the world of comics. As the real world nears the end of the pandemic that upended so many lives last year, now is as good a time as any to dive head-first into big, fun mindless spectacles. If you want, it can start to today. Here’s my pull list and pick to guide you. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Batman: The Detective #2

Batman: Urban Legends #3

Black Cat #6

Children Of The Atom #3

Fantastic Four #32

Giant Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1

Grimm Fairy Tales #48

Guardians Of The Galaxy #14

Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn: Peter Parker, The Amazing Shutterbug #1

Justice League: Last Ride #1

Mighty Morphin #7

Silk #3

Spider-Man: The Spider’s Shadow #2

Spider-Woman #12

Superman #31

X-Corp #1


My Pick Of The Week
Justice League: Last Ride #1

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Wonder Woman Earth One Volume 3: Triumph Of A (Loving) Philosophy

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.

He did it for Superman in his critically acclaimed run on “All-Star Superman.”

He did it again with “Wonder Woman: Earth One.”

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.

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Filed under comic book reviews, DC Comics, superhero comics, Wonder Woman

Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Celebrating An (Overdue) Vision

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!

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New Comic Book Day January 20, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Today is New Comic Book Day. I’m always up for celebrating that. Here in the United States, though, it’s also Inauguration Day. It’s not a regular holiday. It hardly qualifies as a holiday. We only have it every four or eight years. It’s only purpose is to celebrate the swearing in of a new President and ushering in the peaceful transfer of power.

That’s how it usually happens. Most of the time, it’s just a formality and it’s hardly a never a major controversy. This time is different. I never thought I would say this, but I genuinely miss the good old days and it’s not like those days were that long ago.

Now, I don’t want to get political, especially on New Comic Book Day. There’s a time and place to talk about that sort of thing and in any other year, I might not even mention it. Like I said, though, these are not normal times.

We just had an attempted insurrection. We have a large segment of the population who genuinely believe they are patriots, despite checking every box for fascism. If this were a comic book, they wouldn’t be heroes. They’d be Hydra minions, at best. I’ve read enough comics in my life to see the signs.

With Inauguration Day, it’s a time of transition. We can finally move forward with a new President and a new agenda, but make no mistake. The story isn’t over. Like in comics, the villains are never truly defeated. If anything, the villains start to think they’re the heroes and fight harder. That’s why we have to keep fighting.

I’ll try to avoid politics as much as I can today. For that reason, a stack of new comics has never been more critical. I encourage all my fellow comic fans to maximize their potential on what is sure to be a long, stressful day. To assist, here’s my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy and God Bless America!


My Pull List

Avengers #41

Batman/Catwoman #2

Black Cat #2

Cable #7

DCeased: Dead Planet #7

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

King In Black #3

Power Rangers #3

Rick and Morty #4: Ever After

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #7

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #113

X-Force #16


My Pick Of The Week
Future State: Wonder Woman #1

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New Comic Book Day January 13, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

We all have our things that put us in this special zen-like state. One of my old college friends got into that state by listening to heavy metal music at nearly full volume. I don’t know why that relaxed him as much as it did, but it worked. I’m not sure how good it was for his ears, but I don’t aruge with results.

For me, comics are that special thing that puts me in that special state of serenity. I download all my new books onto my iPad. I put my feet up and then I proceed to partake in the weekly joy that is New Comic Book Day. I challenge anyone to find someone as content and focused.

It’s a great feeling. No matter how my week is going, reading new comics puts me in that special state where everything seems balanced. It’s my shortcut to inner peace and contentment within a world that has been increasingly stressful over the past year.

Since that world doesn’t seem to want to settle, my weekly trips to comic book Zen will be all the more important. Even in the middle of winter, it’s easy to find something from the vast library that is Comixology that will warm your body and soul. This week is no exception.

Here is my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Amazing Spider-Man #57

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1

Future State: Justice League #1

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Immortal Hulk #42

King In Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #1

Marauders #17

Mighty Morphin #3

S.W.O.R.D #2

Star Wars: Darth Vader #9


My Pick Of The Week
Future State: Justice League #1

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Jack’s World: How “Wonder Woman” Celebrates Love And Humanity

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video essay/celebration of the first “Wonder Woman” movie, a film that will always be near and dear to my heart. I know I recently did a review of “Wonder Woman 1984” and I was tempted to do a video about that, but I wanted to first pay tribute to the movie that started Diana’s wondrous journey into film. Enjoy!

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My “Wonder Woman 1984” Review: An (Imperfect) Emotionally Charged Wonder

We’re at a point with superhero movies where the bar has been raised to such a degree that we can’t just call them a passing fad anymore. Love them or hate them, superhero movies have evolved. They’ve developed a complexity and nuance that few genres ever gain, regardless of medium.

Plus, they make billions at the box office. Let’s not forget that. It’s why the Bill Mahers of the world won’t stop whining about superhero movies anytime soon.

Forgetting the whiners and petty nit-pickers of the genre, superhero movies have a higher threshold to achieve to be considered successful. It’s not enough anymore than to just put a famous actor or actress in an iconic costume and replay famous scenes from comics. The story, characters, and themes have to be refined and compelling.

That’s a challenge for any movie, but one that felt far more daunting for “Wonder Woman 1984.” After the success of the first “Wonder Woman” movie, which did a masterful job of establishing Diana’s origin and building her superhero persona, this sequel is tasked with building on that foundation.

As someone who loved the first movie and made it a point to watch “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max with my mom on Christmas day, I had high hopes for this movie. I wasn’t expecting “The Dark Knight” level of quality, but I was hoping for a worthy follow-up.

Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll say without hesitation that it succeeded. This movie was a beautiful, emotionally driven cinematic experience and a worthy successor to the first “Wonder Woman.”

I say that knowing that some reviews were quite scathing in their assessment of the film. As is my general rule, I never read reviews before I see a movie. As I saw withNew Mutants,” that can wrongly color your perspective. As was also the case with that movie, I was genuinely surprised by the criticisms levied against “Wonder Woman 1984.”

However, I’m not going to waste my time responding to those criticisms. I’m just going to offer my take on why I thought this movie was a worthy follow-up to the first. Like any sequel, its primary goal was building on what the first movie established. In that sense, this movie did succeed.

The setup for the movie is a dazzling spectacle. Like the first, we get a brief glimpse of Diana’s youth on Themysicra. We see her living and growing amongst her Amazon sisters, showing the kind of power and potential that lies within her. It’s a true sight to behold and one director Patty Jenkins fleshes out meticulously.

Within that setup, though, is an important theme. It highlights the importance of truth and doing things the right way for the right reasons. You cannot and should not take shortcuts to achieve your goal. Doing so will always come at a price and incur consequences. It’s a simple, but necessary lesson that kids and adults alike often learn the hard way.

That leads us directly to the main antagonist of the movie, Maxwell Lord. Played by Pedro Pascal, he comes off as the very antithesis of this lesson. He’s a con-man and a huckster, always looking for a shortcut to get what he wants. That includes tampering with the forces of the gods, which puts him in direct conflict with Diana.

At the same time, this conflict ties closely to another unfolding with Diana’s new friend, Barbara Minerva. Played by Kristen Wiig, she comes off at first as the very antithesis of Diana. She’s a nobody. She has none of Diana’s power, grace, or skill. She’s basically invisible, only ever getting attention from people she doesn’t like.

This is very much in line with the characterization of Barbara Minerva in the comics. She’s Wonder Woman’s chief rival, but she started out as a friend. She’s even sympathetic to some extent. She’s not looking to become a villain, like Maxwell Lord. She just wants a taste of the power and prestige that she sees in Wonder Woman.

She ultimately gets her chance, as does Maxwell Lord. When Barbara stumbles upon the Dreamstone, a relic imbued with the power from Dolos, the god of lies, that can grant wishes to those who wield it. However, like a typical monkey’s paw narrative, every wish comes at a price.

It closely mirrors the lesson young Diana learned in her youth, as depicted in the movie’s opening scenes. Taking any shortcut to get what you desire will come at a price. You can try to avoid the consequences all you want, but it eventually compounds. The more you try, the worse it’ll get.

Maxwell Lord thinks he has a way to avoid this. He thinks he can get everything he wants by simply making the right kind of wish. That ultimately causes a great deal of destruction. I’d go into detail, but I’d rather not reveal too much. All you need to know is that it’s not the kind of destruction Wonder Woman can stop with her fists and her sword.

What happens with Barbara Minerva is even more impactful. Like Maxwell Lord, she’s unwilling to give up any power she gains. Unlike Lord, however, she’s willing to pay any price to keep it. That’s what sends her down a dark path. It’s also what turns her from one of Diana’s friends into a truly tenacious foe.

These conflicts become very personal to Diana because she too is unable to resist the temptation. She may give so much of herself to others, but she also has desires and wishes of her own. That’s where Steve Trevor, played again by Chris Pine, enters the picture.

His death and heroic sacrifice in the first “Wonder Woman” movie was so powerful. That whole movie really sold the love that blossomed between him and Diana. Even as the years go by, his death still burdens Diana. She cannot let go of that love. She wants nothing more than to have it back.

It’s sad, but understandable. If ever someone deserved a consequence-free wish from all her heroic acts, it’s Diana. Unfortunately, there’s no getting around it. She still tries. She gets her chance to be with the love of her life again. As with everything else, though, it comes at a price.

That’s the biggest theme of this movie. Getting what you want by breaking the rules or cheating will always come at a price. Even if you’re willing to pay that price, it does cause damage to yourself and others. It’s a painful lesson and one that gives “Wonder Woman 1984” so many emotional overtones.

It’s because of those overtones that this movie works so well. Wonder Woman, by her nature, is a very emotionally driven character. Her love, compassion, and heart are among her greatest traits. They’re as strong as her fighting spirit. The first movie revealed this and “Wonder Woman 1984” builds on that.

Her greatest struggles always have an emotional weight to them. It’s not just a matter of her beating up the bad guy to save the day. One of those foes was once her friend. Another is someone she can’t defeat simply by beating him up. She has to use that uncanny compassion and heart to win the day. That’s what makes her Wonder Woman.

I would argue that’s the most important aspect of her character and this movie captured it perfectly. I really did feel for Diana as she went through these emotional upheavals throughout the story. It brought out her greatest strengths, as well as her greatest weaknesses.

Now, speaking of weaknesses, this is where I also have to levy some criticisms of my own against “Wonder Woman 1984.” I promise they’re not nearly as petty or overblown as some of the other reviews to this movie. Some have complained about the length and tone of the movie. I honestly think that sort of criticism is misguided.

I’ll still say outright that this movie was not as good as the first “Wonder Woman.” This movie was not as concise and polished, in terms of story. There were a number of “and then this happened” moments that made the story seem a bit jumbled at times. In some cases, it relied too heavily on contrivances and suspension of disbelief to move things along.

I get the sense this was done to keep things moving forward from a plot standpoint. I also think there were some difficulties in revealing the ins and outs of godly magic, which is considerably harder to do in a movie when compared to a comic.

None of these shortcomings kept the movie from working overall. Gal Gadot once again carried her role as Wonder Woman with grace and grit. She, Steve Trevor, and Cheetah all had well-developed characters that played their roles well throughout the story. In terms of the most important elements to a good Wonder Woman movie, “Wonder Woman 1984” got them right.

If I had to score this movie, I’d give it a 4 out of 5. It has some noticeable flaws, more so than its predecessor. However, Gal Gadot is still an amazing Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins is still a great director, and this world they explored together was full of dazzling wonder.

For a year that has been so bleak and dire, it’s just what we needed. For that, I thank “Wonder Woman 1984” and all those who helped make it happen.

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