Tag Archive: Arrow

I’m just going to toss them all together today. It’s a superhero gumbo! Or a salad, if you prefer leafy things.

There’s a reason why I’m doing that. Well, two reasons. The one that has nothing to do with laziness is that Arrow, The Flash, and Agents of SHIELD all had a few things in common this week. They all dealt with stakes that have less to do with saving the world, and everything to do with their own humanity.

It’s necessary to up the stakes for a serial story, since if your characters always deal with the same problems then everything is boring. (Or it’s an American soap opera. Or a political election cycle. Or both. Hey, I live just outside DC; you can’t tell me it’s not like a soap based on The Godfather or something.) On the other hand, if you’re constantly upping the external challenges, then your character quickly becomes so powerful that threats start becoming rather ridiculous. That’s even more important if you’re like Superman and you wind up leveling Manhattan in your origin story.

I don't care if you call it "Metropolis." Who thought that an audience would find a climax involving massive buildings collapsing in New York City to be endearing?

I don’t care if you call it “Metropolis.” Who thought that an audience would find a climax involving massive buildings collapsing in New York City to be endearing? I mean, other than Zach Snyder. Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? 

The best way to solve that issue is through exploring human bonds between characters (even if some of them might not be human). As I said yesterday in my post on superhero prose, it’s important to never lose sight of human wants, needs, desires, things that an audience can understand. A massive battle is fun (well, in fiction), but it will never carry the same weight as the betrayal of a loved one. Done right, and the audience can feel a punch in the gut too.

However, from here on out, hic sunt mortiferis. That’s Latin for “If you haven’t seen this week’s superhero shows, you might want to check back later.”

Spoiler Warning Continue reading

Flash Backward

What’s this? I haven’t done a dedicated blog post on The Flash yet? Well, after the latest episode, I think it’s time to fix that.

For me, despite the significant lack of Felicity Smoak (beauty, brains, and geeky quirky humor — yup), The Flash has been better than Arrow. That’s not because Arrow is grimdark, but more because teamwork and character interaction on that show is just slightly too soap opera for my taste, at least when there’s an alternative like Flash around. Flash is serious when appropriate, but its true strength is in how quickly it built a team for people to care about. Arrow is built around a loner, and that’s used as a source of conflict just a little too much.

(I also enjoy how the police are actually useful in Flash stories, which isn’t something you normally get in superhero fiction. My brother is a cop, so that’s something that stands out to me.)

The one major thing I don’t really like about the show is that, frankly, I don’t like Iris. From day one, she’s just not struck me as someone good for Barry. Plus, there’s the whole foster sister thing. That’s a bit of a squick factor for me. That meant I was really glad when Linda Park showed up. I knew they were just going to use her as a means to get Iris jealous (and bingo, I was right), but they work together far better than Barry and Iris. I don’t know how much of that is the actors, but Barry and Linda have been meshing so well, and think so much alike, that I was really hoping we’d just go for that rather than the comic book continuity.

Of course, before Linda showed up, I was rooting for Barry and Caitlin. Okay, I admit it. I have a thing for geek women. Shocker!

Mind you, I have to admit that Iris was feeling a little bit more natural in the most recent episode, “Out of Time.” Which brings me to the spoiler part of this post, so if you don’t want any, leave now.  Continue reading

agents-of-shield 3I was glancing at Hulu last night and noticed that Agents of SHIELD was back. I hadn’t been paying attention. Agents, which had started out with a huge ad blitz and big promises, hasn’t been delivering. The supposed “shocking mid-season finale” was so ho-hum I kept hitting pause to do other stuff, my mind wandering too much to pay attention.

Agents was promised as part of the MCU, but its interaction with the movies has amounted to very tentative fan-fiction. Our most clear connections, other than Coulson himself, has been one episode to deal with Asgardians and a couple of cameos from Nick Fury. Even the focus on SHIELD and Hydra has been lackluster, and I haven’t really been feeling like they were entirely the same as what we saw in the movies. I’d had some hope last year when they finally got out of the twiddling-thumbs episodes for the Captain America 2 tie-in, but the self-contained story has been so completely timid — as if the writers are unwilling, or not allowed, to do anything that can make changes with the MCU — that the show is still only reacting to the movies and not being a full-fledged member of the franchise.

Agent Carter was different in this regard. While it ought to have had the harder role, since it’s set in the past with no way to truly break new ground, it proved to be far more creative and bold with its events. What happened in that first season has to have an impact on the MCU as a whole; Carter can’t simply be ignored. Agents of SHIELD, on the other hand, is eminently ignoreable. They’re the clean-up crew — literally, in the case of the Thor 2 tie-in-that-wasn’t last year.

It’s been such a disappointment, that I really don’t have any effort left to give. I really only watched the episode in the hopes that I might find something interesting to blog about. I fully expected more of the same-old, same old. What I found, instead, was a departure from the typical fanfic style. If I my hopes hadn’t been dashed so many times so far, I’d actually be excited about the style change. As it is, I’m “cautiously not-quite-as-pessimistic.”

For once, Agents of SHIELD has something new to offer. For once, the show has become proactive. Whether this will in turn affect the rest of the MCU, I don’t know, but if not then it will be due to gross negligence, because suddenly we have a new story to tell.

Spoilers after the break.  Continue reading

The Reason for the Silence

So, another long period of no posts? Oh, I’ve been around. You just can’t see me . . .

Actually, a large part of the reason has been that I got an offer on a full-time job that has morphed from being simply a managing editor for a new journal to . . . well, a lot more. My skills as an editor are a large part of it, but my new company is also interested in using me in other ways. It’s really very exciting. I won’t be working with fiction, but it’s really surprising how many ways my creative writing experience is helping to move their project forward.

So what does that mean for this blog, and the Novel Ninja Freelance Editing business? Well, the blog is still going to continue, and I’m still going to accept manuscripts. Odds are, though, that I’m going to be even more picky about what I take on. The new job will mean that I won’t depend on income from NNFE, but I still want to continue with my passion for stories.  Continue reading

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