Joy Reviewz -- Frozen

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before this moment. Frozen is Disney's current golden child – even after the massive success of Tangled and the slightly-less-massive (but still massive) success of Brave, this movie has blown everyone's expectations out of the water. People absolutely love this movie, in an almost creepy way. I've never heard an unkind word spoken about it. So it was only a matter of time before I got off my lazy ass and actually watched the damn thing. I did that last night.

My feelings were immediately mixed, and I decided to give myself some time to chew on it. I thought and talked about it all night, annoying family members with my proto-review of the film and, inevitably, humming “Let It Go” as I went to sleep. Waking up refreshed and with my coffee in hand, I'm ready to give this film a proper review and tell the world what I think.

But where do I start? I realized a few hours after watching it that this film has a lot going on, even if it isn't apparent at first. Unless I'm overthinking it, there are actually a lot of highly conceptual ideas lurking in this movie, complete with subversions and little tricks.

I'll start, I suppose, with the music. The music was... admittedly, underwhelming to me. I went into this after hearing the hype for it, so I figured that, twenty seconds in, this thing would rock my socks off. It really didn't. Most of the songs felt recycled from other Disney flicks (The Little Mermaid, specifically), even if they were very well-sung. At points there were songs that were barely even songs, but simply characters holding a conversation that consisted of normal sentences that they decided to sing (normally I don't have an issue with this, but it felt... forced, to me).

The film makes up for this weakness in a small way, with a single song – “Let It Go,” which pops up around the twenty-minute mark and is also played during the ending credits. I actually was immediately blown away by this (both the song and the singer) and got chills a couple times. This song was powerful, and conveyed a specific message very strongly, and very well (more on that a little later).

So, overall, the music didn't impress me. The singing was good, but of course it was. The songs themselves just... didn't grab me.

Next is the characters, of which there are a good few. Some are amazing. Some are less amazing.

Elsa is the film's antiprotagonist (I made that up! Yayyy) and I'll have a lot to say about her later in this review. For a quick, superficial summation of her character – she's okay. She starts off as a total ice queen, but she has her reasons. That's cool. She then becomes more of a tragic figure, also with good reason. She's more of a plot device than anything, though she brings the largest amount of heavy emotion to the production.

Anna is the real protagonist, which isn't obvious right off the bat, but becomes moreso in a short time. I have to say, I was really impressed with her – Kristen Bell puts out a genuinely spectacular performance in this, and Anna was my favorite part about the movie before I start getting into the contextual stuff. Anna is innocent, vulnerable, and lonely. She's awkward and real in a way that is actually befitting of a Disney movie, in that she's just over-the-top enough to stand out, but not so over-the-top that she loses her organic quality. She performs her “everyman” purpose perfectly, while still having enough character to stand out and be worth having an actual name of her own (not every everyman can pull that off).

Kristoff is, um... Kristoff shows up. He also has a reindeer. And while I really want to say something about him, I just don't have anything to say. He never really felt like more than a stock character to me, and while he has his “talks to himself/his reindeer” thing going on, it never really felt like enough to give him a personality. His dialogue didn't stand out in any specific way, his design was bland, and overall he felt like a void in the film that could have been replaced by pretty much anything else. Maybe I'm just not appreciating him properly, but Kristoff just never felt like any more than another plot device/stock companion.

Then there's Olaf.

Oh, Olaf.

I'll admit it right now – when Olaf (the little snowman guy) came onto the screen, I outright groaned. Here comes the token slapstick comic relief character, who will show up, act stupid, talk stupid, and look stupid. He will do stupid things to make children guffaw but he will subsequently cause my brains to melt out my ear.

Only that's not what he did, at all. I mean, a little bit. He did look stupid. And his voice was a little goofy, but it wasn't that goofy. The thing is that Olaf actually carried jokes, real jokes. With punchlines and stuff. And, though I hate to admit it, he was... well, funny. He didn't rely on slapstick or goofiness to get a laugh, he said and did things that were actually worth laughing at. Now, while the humor wasn't this film's strong point, Olaf alone did his part in turning that around. The kicker is, not only was he funny... he knew when to get lost. When he wasn't needed, or comic relief was otherwise not wanted, he either found a way to disappear or he toned himself down. A lot of movies can't boast a comic relief character who's handled this well.

All together, the dynamic between characters is adequate, but not amazing. The majority of characters don't interact with anyone but Anna beyond a few words, so she has to carry the film's relationships on her own. She does alright, but it's a big job – character dynamics beside Elsa/Anna are generally lacking in depth.

Did you notice that, while mulling over the cast, I never mentioned the core villain? I didn't, did I? That's because I... really can't. This brings me to my central point of this film – the morality.

The morality in this is actually interesting, in that a lot of the characters fluctuate and change over time. Check it out:

  • We have the Lawful Neutral Elsa. By the time the events of the intro have passed, we get “Let It Go,” which is entirely about her shift from Lawful Neutral to Chaotic Neutral, all in one go. After the events of the movie progress some more, she eventually shifts to a warm, cozy Neutral Good. These changes make her an absolutely fascinating character from a moral standpoint. She fills the role of the villain for much of the film, but she is obviously never actually evil, and getting to watch her fluctuate and grow as a person is really amazing.

  • We have the Chaotic Good Anna. Technically she doesn't really change her views, but that's because she's, y'know, the hero.

  • Kristoff starts off as a very firm True Neutral, outright stating that he doesn't give a damn whether or not Anna lives or dies. Of course, by the end of the film he also progresses into more of a Neutral Good role.

  • Olaf is a silly snowman and doesn't count. But while I'm at it, I'll peg him as Chaotic Good too.

  • The Duke of Weselton is a very brutal kind of Neutral Evil and it shows pretty quickly. But I didn't list him as the villain, did I? That's because he's not.

  • The true villain is so devious, so cunning, so vile, and so utterly, adeptly, masterfully well-hidden that he shall remain a mystery. For those who have seen the film, you know who I'm talking about. For those who haven't, I won't ruin the twist.

Now, how many films (let alone Disney films) can boast that amount of moral ambiguity and subtlety? Sure, none of this is really going to flip you upside down, but for a kids' movie the actual depth and organic development that goes into these characters is pretty amazing. “Let It Go” is the catalyst here, as the herald of Elsa's initial change, and it was when I started to realize that there was more to this movie than met the eye.

Though, there were other hints. The film is self-aware in a small way, such as its quick and brutal subversion of twenty-minute-marriage Disney love, and the concept that romantic love is not the only (or most powerful) kind of love out there.

Though, that reminds me of something else.

What the hell, movie?! When are you going to get it through your head that if you're trying to establish a platonic, familial relationship, it has to look and feel different from a romantic one? There were at least three (I think four) points during the film where I was compelled to say “...Now kiss.” The sisters would wait until the most tender and emotional moments, the music would soften, they would grow close together... and then it would jarringly break to something else. It really feels like the sisters could make out at any moment (though obviously we know that they can't do that; society would crumble and fall apart) and even the culmination of the film leads up to a “true love's kiss” that doesn't end up happening because the true love is Elsa, so it has to be a “true love's hug” instead. Now, I'm not a filmmaker, so I'm not going to suggest any alternatives. But seriously, Disney, figure out what you want, because the amount of femslash out there is in no way unfounded (not that it would need to be founded to exist anyway, but still).

Now, at this point it probably sounds like I really liked this movie (I certainly have a lot to say about it, don't I?) yet at the beginning I mentioned mixed feelings on it. Well, yeah – the movie was fine. It was good, and I can see how people liked it. Honest.

Now, do I believe it lived up to its hype? Was it the best thing I've ever seen? Even the best Disney movie?

...Nope.

It was good, but it wasn't great. The music needed to stand out a bit more. A lot of the humor was just not that funny. A good deal of the ending just didn't really hit home, and the touching parts were only so touching – they lacked that raw moment of “holy crap is this actually happening” usually exhibited by animated tear-jerkers, and there was never really the serious moment of fear that is needed to elicit a sensation of sorrow/hope/happiness. Even the moment where it looks like Olaf is about to melt could have gone a lot further – he starts getting a little soggy, says he'll risk it and stay anyway, but then ends up just leaving with Anna and being totally fine. The saddest point is in the very beginning (where Elsa starts avoiding her sister full-time), and the rest of the film fails to live up to that brief spark early in the beginning.

That said, it wasn't bad by any means. Even its worst parts were only mediocre, and it was mostly good as a whole. But is Frozen the divine's gift to Disney, a miracle that will revolutionize animation, filmmaking, and storytelling as a whole?

Nah.

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Find this review, along with some pictures of kittens, on my Tumblr page, Ravencourt Asylum.

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Other Viners have reviewed this movie! Check 'em out:

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Joy Reviewz -- Carrie (2013)

In 1974, a horror novel by legendary author Stephen King was officially published. The book was called Carrie. The book was set five years in the future (1979) and was about an awkward teenage girl who discovered that she had telekinetic powers. Pushed to the brink by teasing classmates, Carrie White snaps and uses her new-found abilities to wreak complete and utter devastation.

The book was raw and ended up being a success. A film, starring Sissy Spacek was released two years later, in 1976. In 1999, a non-canon sequel was released. In 2002, a made-for-TV film of the exact same name was released. And finally, in 2013, we got yet another feature-length film, this one once again titled, simply, “Carrie.”

The big difference in this last film, was that it was actually good. And that's the one I'm going to be reviewing today.

I'm not sure where to start, to be totally honest. I really enjoyed everything about this movie – it was a refreshing, realistic, and modern take on a done-to-death classic. The high school girls that taunt and torment Carrie (played by the staggeringly talented Chloë Grace Moretz) actually act like high school girls. Carrie's mother (played by Julianne Moore, who I usually don't like – in this role, however, she's admittedly in her element) is a convincing zealot with obvious and realistic signs of mental damage (she reminds of my older sister, a little bit!).

And, perhaps, most importantly, we have Carrie herself. Now, let me set something straight – I enjoy Moretz's performances as a whole. I've always thought she was good, I've never really thought she was great, and I've never been one to gush over how amazing she is. That said, she steals the show here, in a big way. She finds a spectacular balance to her character, and she also allows that character a chance to evolve from previous performances without “ruining” her. Moretz's take on the 40-year-old character is an awkward, but otherwise intelligent and together young girl. She's been sheltered and she knows it, she doesn't want people to know about her home life so she doesn't make it common knowledge. This makes her come off as a very realistic “weirdo”, acting the way an actual teen in her position most likely would. She questions her mother's continuous indoctrination with reasonable protestations, shows spectacular degrees of conflict when confronted with challenging situations, and is, all around, one of the most well fleshed-out and real characters I've seen this decade.

The performances, however, are not where this movie's strengths end. The cinematography is fantastic. The dialogue is amazing. The script is excellent. The movie teases the mind at every turn. It guides you to where it wants you to go and then firmly places you there, like a virgin being allowed to touch a breast for the first time.

What must also be considered is the challenge that this film was presented with. It was tasked with telling a story that everyone already knows, not changing the story in any way, but nonetheless making it a thrilling and engaging experience. We, as an audience, wait eagerly for the inevitable finale – and it isn't just foreshadowed, it's outright made clear. If, at the beginning of the film, a man walked onto the screen and clearly stated “at the end of this movie, Carrie will slaughter an entire school with her telekinetic powers in a fit of rage,” it wouldn't be any more obvious that this is how the film will inevitably end. We all know it. We're all waiting for it. And when it happens....

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IT. IS. AWESOME.

Chloë Grace Moretz holds herself like some sort of goddess of rage, drenched in blood and directing her crippling frenzy against those who had tormented her. The kills are creative and powerful. There is no conflict, no shame, no holding back. Carrie becomes the spirit of vengeance and uses her ability to crush everything beneath her, eventually using her power to lift herself from the ground, floating as she brings the school to rubble. The extra climax with Carrie's mother is equally intense, even emotional.

So, with everything said and done, 2013's Carrie doesn't leave you hungry for more – it leaves you satisfied, like you just sprang for the $30 feast at Red Lobster. Highly recommended.

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This review, as well as lots of pictures of kittens, can be found on my Tumblr page!

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Joy Castz -- Icewind Dale

HEY GUYS I HAD SOME THOUGHTS IN MY BRAINYTHINK-HEADPARTS. THEY SAID, "HEY JOI, WHAT IF HBO MADE A FORGOTTEN REALMS TV SHOW?"

Then my other brainythink-headparts went "Hey, that would actually be extremely sweet. I would have intercourse with that show. But who would they cast?"

This is who they should cast.

Note: This is not a complete cast. Some characters I don't necessarily care about.

Drizzt Do'Urden -- Pana Hema Taylor

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Yup, Agron's boyfriend from Spartacus.

WHY, JOY, WHY?: Don't freak out. Think about it. As a Forgotten Realms elf, Drizzt has very specific features that we have to keep in mind -- narrow features, slim figure, short stature, soft hair, etc. This little guy has all of that stuff, and while his nose is a little bit funny I'm pretty sure you'd all be satisfied with how he looked once the studio finished his make-up.

But can he even act the part?: Probably. Drizzt is only so challenging a part, he's just a big blend of friendly, noble, and sometimes emo. Not too tough and we already saw Nasir do his part to be fierce, vulnerable, courageous, and wounded. He can also do action scenes, meaning that his training time will be minimized. And obviously Drizzt is gonna have to do some serious action scenes.

Artemis Entreri -- Stephen Amell

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Yup, Arrow.

WHY, JOY, WHY?: Why not? Let's be honest here, this isn't crack-casting in the slightest. Amell looks uncannily like Entreri, and can do amazing action scenes.

But can he even act the part?: For his failings as Green Arrow (not being funny or upbeat enough), he's perfect as Entreri. His cold, dead eyes; his superficial, empty charm; his tortured demeanor. All of this is exactly what we need in an Enteri character. I'd love to see Amell wielding the jeweled dagger -- a lot more than with a bow and arrow.

Wulfgar, Son of Beornegar -- Alexander Skarsgård

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Yup, the vampire dude from True Blood.

WHY, JOY, WHY?: While I hate to be redundant, why not? He's a tall, buff, blond viking, and while he's a little too old for the part makeup can age him pretty easily.

But can he even act the part?: Again, the part isn't that hard. Wulfgar has two points in his life -- boisterous warrior out to prove himself, and sulking, brooding, angsty jackass. Pretty sure this guy can do both of these things. The action scenes won't be anything amazingly hard since it's just swingin' a hammer around, too.

Catti-brie Battlehammer -- Rose Leslie

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Yup, the wildling chick from Game of Thrones.

WHY, JOY, WHY?: Dammit, why do you keep asking that? This isn't out-of-the-box here. I'm firmly in the box. Who would you cast as a young, spunky redhead who is good with a bow and was literally raised by dwarves? This is a clear choice.

But can she even act the part?: ...Do you watch Game of Thrones?

Jarlaxle Baenre -- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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Yeah, I'm borrowing from GoT again. You know this guy.

WHY, JOY, WHY?: Okay, this one is a little trickier, as it's a natural challenge with casting fantasy races such as elves. Nikolaj (let's call him "Jaime Lannister" for short) has a slightly leaner body type and an angular face that seems healthy but experienced, which is what we need for Jarlaxle. Overall, though, what matters for this character is less action scenes, and more attitude. Which brings me to....

But can he even act the part?: I think he can. In Game of Thrones he is frequently talkative and cunning, confident to the end, and even a little playful. For those who have read the books, this is exactly what we need for the Jarlaxle character -- if he alters his character a bit (as an actor, I should hope he can), he'll be able to portray an excellent Jarlaxle.

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And that's it! Before you say "what about Bruenor/Regis/Harkle/etc./etc./etc." the answer is "I don't care enough about those characters to cast them, I'll leave that to the casting directors who will never make this".

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The Theik2 Library of Ultimate Excellence

Over the years and the many phases of ComicVine's Fan-Fic board, one writer has tantalized our senses, enticing laughter, vague interest, polite advice, and occasionally cruel mockery.

This writer was Theik2.

Known for his complete lack of proper formatting, seemingly wandering and pointless story, small word count, shameless femslash, and overall sub-par writing, he -- despite a total lack of support -- continued to churn out work week after week for the sheer love of doing so.

Now that he's gone, and has started to fade from memory, I intend to honor that passion for his craft with the Theik2 Library of Ultimate Excellence -- where I will personally reformat, proofread, and edit each Theik2 story into a masterpiece.

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Batgirl and Batwoman

Batgirl and Batwoman, by Theik2 (original story)

Theik2's Batgirl and Batwoman (Remastered) -- Chapter One, by Joygirl
Theik2's Batgirl and Batwoman (Remastered) -- Chapter Two, by Joygirl

Original: 362 words
Remastered: 4,062 words

Batgirl and Batwoman, Vol. 2 -- Revenge of the Riddler (Original) by Joygirl

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Note: If you share my dream of acknowledging Theik2 as the best writer to ever live, feel free to edit stories and link them to me! Be sure to post links to the original story in your remastered version!

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Evolution of Power

When exactly do a new set of feats take hold?

When, exactly, do new powers and abilities get firmly considered, despite evidence to the fact that they shouldn't be?

When do inconsistencies become consistent?

...When is it time to move on?

A lot of people can't decide on these, as it seems to fluctuate from character to character how hard fans will hold on to a certain set of feats and abilities. From time to time, we get something like a reboot that firmly establishes a new power level – other times, the change is gradual, yet not pointed, or just seems to come out of the blue. These latter types are a lot more likely to get called out as stupidity on the writers' ends... but when does inconsistent become consistent?

Let me skim over a few characters that have had... issues... with fluctuating power levels.

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AQUAMAN: Aquaman is this article's poster child. He's gone from being mediocre-yet-superfluous, to sucking really badly, to being overly edgy yet still unimpressive, to being extremely powerful yet uninteresting, and has finally settled on being immensely tough in addition to being a very flavorful character.

And you know what happened? Everyone loved it. The newest, most physically badass Aquaman has gotten more love from fans than ever before, launching him to the status of one of DC's most popular mainline characters. Almost enough to bring a tear to your eye, isn't it? Yet it raises some questions – Aquaman's look hasn't changed. His attitude hasn't changed. His backstory hasn't changed. Is power level really that important to the popularity of a character? If so, how do characters like the Punisher ever achieve any sort of fanbase? How about...

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WOLVERINE: Wolverine's power level has been absurd since his conception, yet everyone seems to pretty much accept that a Wolverine is a Wolverine is a Wolverine, except when it isn't a Wolverine (which is totally intolerable).

From the get-go, and consistently after that, Wolverine has been able to tussle with people like Hulk and Thing, every brick in between, energy-users, telekinetics, and everyone else ever and usually come out on top, or at least not looking too bad. The only exception to this rule is his own villains – if Sabretooth, Omega Red, or other specific Wolvie-centric villains get involved, suddenly everything's different and he actually plays to his pre-established power set.

Yet people tend to not overly care whether Wolverine can jump eighty feet straight up, or whether he can get ripped to pieces by a guy with swords. Wolverine's Wolverine... we've all acclimated by now. If he can fight Hulk – let him fight Hulk.

Which reminds me.

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HULK: Hulk doesn't need explanations for wild fluctuations in power level! Hulk can get knocked out by Captain America if Hulk want! Hulk only have small majority of Wolverine – Hulk no mind, Hulk get him better next time! What? Hulk not afraid of Namor! Namor not been able to beat Hulk since the 1970's!

Thing is, Hulk goes from having relatively close bouts with Benjamin Grimm to thunderclapping planets out of existence. He goes from tussling with Wendigo to beating Thor's face in. Whenever he's in close proximity with Juggernaut, go ahead and flip a coin to see what happens. Not that that'll stop Hulk from pummeling Silver Surfer to goop.

Yet... because his power “increases as he gets angrier”, people tend to not much notice the fact that he's grown to a silly level of strength, they just dig it 'cause hey, he's Hulk, and Hulk is badass. Pay no heed to the fact that his level of potential anger has increased exponentially since 1962 (hey, Hulk just turned 50 not long ago – congrats Hulk!).

Though, if someone else had such a radical power increase all of a sudden, it may not necessarily be as well-received. Someone such as...

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BLACK ADAM: Since he broke out of the constant struggle with Billy Batson and started establishing himself as a noble anti-hero and a part of the JSA, Teth-Adam's power level has increased exponentially. While Captain Marvel (do people really expect me to call him Shazam now? I'm not sure) and those of his ilk have always been tough cookies, they've never been anywhere near the level that Black Adam's been at over the past ten or so years.

This, however, has been received with... mixed results. While some people, fans of the character, have been “Hell yeah! Adam kicks righteous ass!”, others have found Adam's propensity for defeating seemingly everyone who comes within ten feet of him to be distasteful. Apparently doing things like blitzing Superman, backhanding a Flash, flat-out dominating the entire Justice Society, and during WW3, taking on all of DC Earth, is a bit too much of a stretch in too short an amount of time. Many people still refuse to accept that certain things he's done should even be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they occurred or are consistent with themselves – despite not being consistent with the things Black Adam had done in the seventy years before them.

Mayhaps DC's reboot will give him a chance to re-establish himself in the image he has been attempting to establish for the past decade. We've seen that the reboot can be very helpful for that, like it was for Aquaman, and like it was for...

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CHEETAH: WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO CHEETAH?!

Now I'll be the first to admit that Cheetah is a very tough lady. She's always been able to hang with Wonder Woman (impressive on its own) and she's even shown that she's quick enough to give a challenge to Flashes. That was before the reboot.

After the reboot she became an outright beast, a Leaguebuster capable of easily taking down Superman and the rest of the team. Not only was this totally out of left field, it was her first appearance of the reboot – right off the bat they established her as a very high-tier character, not one to be taken lightly. Wonder Woman herself doesn't even seem to be a suitable adversary for her anymore, which in a way, circumvents the whole nature of the character.

And yet, what's funny, is nobody really... minded. There were no calls of Cheetah being too powerful, barely even a brief gasp of awe at the changes. It was just accepted. “Hey, Cheetah's tough as hell now – cool.” While it was not met with the abundant joy of Aquaman's change, nor the disgust of Black Adam's apparent amp, it just seemed to fizzle away as something unimportant and not worth acknowledging. Much like when the opposite happened to...

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ETRIGAN: Even less of a burp (as if that were possible) occurred when Demon Knights came out, starring the Demon himself, Etrigan. Now, before the reboot, Etrigan was a force to be reckoned with, a man who could make Lobo look like he needed to work a little harder.

Yet, in Demon Knights, Etrigan was wholly... unimpressive. Now, he looked a lot cooler. His attitude was awesome. And hey, now he has wings – sweet! But what happened to his teleportation? His off-the-cuff spellcasting? Strength the likes of which can knock Superman out of orbit? Telepathy? ANYTHING?

Nope. Now Etrigan has very standard abilities... flight, fire breath, basic enhanced stats befitting his status. But he's nowhere near the demon he once was... and nobody cares.

At the beginning of this article I wondered how important power level is when applied to a character's popularity. With Aquaman it seemed to be a game-changer. Yet Etrigan's popularity didn't waver (in fact, it may have increased) when he took a severe dip in his mojo. So... what was the difference?

So, while I can go on and on with characters that seem to be a smidge inconsistent (such as Black Panther, Thor, Batman, and a heap of others) I'm going to cut this short and ask you the question. When should new feats take hold? How much does power level change a character? When do feats override on-paper abilities?

Give it a ponder.

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Joy Reviewz -- Legend of the Seeker

Hey everyone! It's me again, with an exciting new installment of... well, my usual reviews. But this one's slightly different! Rather than reviewing a movie, movie series, band, or comic, this time I'm going to be reviewing a TV show! Specifically, my favorite TV show to date.

Now, I know what you're thinking. “Positive reviews are boring! Do something vitriolic like your After Earth review!”

Well, I agree. Negative reviews are funnier. But, as I said, this is my favorite show, even after being canceled after two seasons. And dammit, I'm gonna review it. And, while not everyone enjoyed the show (how, I don't know), I'm still going to talk about how completely fantastic and flawless it is, because I'm extremely biased and don't care about what's wrong with it. Well, actually, maybe I will point out a few small flaws, just to be fair – but know now that despite the fact that I'm going to acknowledge them, I'm still not going to attest to the show being anything other than perfect.

The show is Legend of the Seeker, directed by Sam Raimi and very loosely based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books.

Very. Loosely. Based.

When the show was actually noticed (it had TERRIBLE advertisement), it got a lot of flak for many different reasons.

  1. People thought the books it was based on were stupid.

  2. People didn't think it mirrored the source material closely enough (six of one, half dozen of the other, huh?)

  3. People thought it was trying to rip off Star Wars

  4. People have no taste

So, between all of those deciding factors, LotS was nowhere near a commercial success and was canceled after the tidy ending of Season Two. I have yet to emotionally recover from this catastrophic event, and the cancellation has forever left a gaping hole where my soul used to be.

Anyway, where do I start? Why don't I start from the beginning, the first few episodes that made everyone immediately dismiss it as utterly ridiculous.

IT'S STAR WARS!

You heard right, folks! It's Star Wars. Specifically Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The story opens with Luke Skywalker-- I mean, Richard Cypher-- as a totally normal (yet suspiciously awesome) guy, farming moisture-- I mean, chopping wood and building bridges and all that fun stuff. Evil storm troopers-- I mean, uh, evil D'Haran soldiers suddenly come barging in from this unknown world that's been sealed away for centuries, and adventure begins to ensue. We also get a glimpse at Darth Vader-- I mean, Darken Rahl, who is the main villain of the first season and a recurring character of the second.

As events start to unfold, Richard meets a remarkably badass and extraordinarily hot Princess Leia-- I mean, Kahlan, who is a Confessor. She can mind-control people into loveslaves, detect lies, kick ass with a pair of daggers, and telekinetically hold her bodice together while it shows off as much cleavage as she can manage.

Richard gets increasingly confused by the supernatural events around him, and finally confronts his uncle-- I mean, father, about it. His dad tells him to go find the old man who lives in a shack not far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi-- I mean, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, who ends up being a jedi knight-- I mean, wizard.

You still with me? Cool.

Anyway, Zedd and Kahlan tell Richard that he is the prophesied one, the Seeker of Truth, destined to bring peace to the world and destroy Rahl. He tells them to shove it and goes home, only to find that the D'Haran soldiers (specifically one soldier, who is a real piece of work) has killed his dad (gasp, spoilers!) and framed Richard for the crime. In light of the death of his parental figure, he goes back to Zedd and Kahlan and decides that he would like to be a jedi-- I mean, the Seeker, after all.

A lot of people, I think, didn't get past this. It's simply too strikingly resemblant to the plot of the first Star Wars movie (or at least the beginning of it), and nobody took the show seriously despite solid acting, gorgeous scenery, amazing costuming, fun action, and good special effects. Pity.

Now that we've established that – the show is actually fantastic.

THE CHARACTERS:

The characters totally rock. It has a focused cast that never stretches beyond five central characters, and they're pretty friggin' loveable.

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Richard: (Neutral Good) – Richard seems like he's gonna be your standard reluctant everyman hero at first, and for a little bit he is. However, it doesn't really take him all that long to embrace his role as the Seeker, and his personal moral code starts to take hold. Turns out, Richard has a heart of gold and never compromises his own ethics, almost to the point of stupidity. If he wasn't such a badass, his wide-eyed perspective on life would have gotten him killed many times over. However, he is that badass, fair and square, and he manages to struggle past the obstacles in his path (taking his licks when he has to) and never compromises what he believes in.

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Kahlan: (Lawful Neutral w/ Good Tendencies) – While she is personally my least favorite character on the show, other fans love Kahlan, and for good reason. She has cool abilities, such as the power to discern lies and the ability to “confess”, which permanently binds people to her and makes them her thralls. She isn't exactly crazy about doing this but she does it a lot anyway, usually against D'Haran soldiers, officers, or other people that are going to get killed anyway if she doesn't confess 'em. She's no-nonsense yet caring, but she does have a traditionalist facet that is intriguing if not endearing – her belief in what must be too often overrides her feelings of what should be, leading to her occasionally making some really distasteful decisions. Still, she's affectionate and compassionate, along with being fierce and strong.

Also cleavage. Sorry, sorry. But seriously: cleavage.

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Zedd: (Chaotic Good) – Why hello, Zedd, what do you have in store for today's episode? What do you mean, 'look at the script'? Oooh... I see.

This guy is a wizard of absurd power, which they often try to excuse with the fact that he is also super old and therefore liable to forget some stuff from time to time. This leads to Zedd's abilities fluctuating by the episode, generally being dependent on whether or not the plot demands them. His magical abilities range from the ability to cast massive ritual spells and even stop time, to just tossing firebolts. However, no matter how useful stopping time might be, when it'd be too convenient for him to do so he seemingly forgets how.

Besides that, however, he's funny, smart, and cool, and he always seems to be the guy who finds the third option when both of the obvious choices seem to really suck.

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Darken Rahl: (Lawful Evil to the bone) – Lord Rahl is like, the ultimate villain. He's sinister, intelligent, powerful, skilled, ruthless, and well-groomed, and you can even relate to him in a sort of crazy way (particularly in the second season, where we see more of his human side now that he's not the main baddy). I'll kinda lay off talking about him too much, because spoilers, but seriously, he rules.

Like, a lot.

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Cara: (Does Not Compute – Lawful Chaotic – GACK) – Cara Mason doesn't show up until the end of the first season, and she doesn't join the core team until the beginning of the second. However, she is far and away my favorite character on the show. She's one of the Mord-Sith – an ancient order of leather-clad, anti-magic, bisexual dominatrix badasses who are sworn to serve Lord Rahl. For [INSERT REASONS HERE] she breaks away from the other Mord-Sith and joins up with Seeker & Co., where she proceeds to be absolutely fantastic. Not only does she bring a whole new meaning to the word 'badass' (with her pain-resistance, anti-magic, and dual-wielded Agony Dildos), she is tragic while having a lot of really endearing character moments, and even has some of the funniest lines and moments in the show. She is also thoughtful enough to modify the traditional Mord-Sith uniform to show off more cleavage.

THE SHOW:

Obviously I can't do an in-depth review on the entire storyline of a 44-episode television series, but I can glance over some of the highlights.

Scenery: Holy crap. I mean, it's set in New Zealand, so that pretty much explains its own self. The scenery is absolutely fabulous.

Costuming: This is kind of a weird thing to touch down on but I need to make mention of it. The costuming in this show is really fantastic – like really fantastic. You already get a glimpse from the core cast, but honestly, every lowly henchman or soldier or map-maker or garden-variety Mord-Sith just has truly amazing outfits, be it cool fantasy armor, robes, skintight leather BDSM-suits, or anything in between.

Plot: The overarcing plotline is standard enough – hero fight bad guy, hero save world – with minimal twists along the way, but it's the individual episodes that give the show flavor. Each episode has its own mini-story, its own little quest, its own problem that has to be solved, and each time we get to see how Seeker & Co. handles things. Each new episode shows more personality and more cool abilities, shows more of each character's moral code and shows more of the world around them, and the people in it.

Then, in season two, Hell opens up and zombies start to pour out! YAY!

Relationships: Whether it's the romance between Richard and Kahlan, the devotion of Cara to Richard, the mentor-figure relationship of Zedd to Richard, the tense, subtexty rivalry of Kahlan and Cara, or the “I can save you” relationship between Richard and Darken Rahl, each relationship is driven home with fantastic execution. The dialogue is consistently vibrant and each passing episode cements the characters in your heart – it doesn't scramble for shock value by destroying characters, but instead constantly builds on them by testing, tempering, and rewarding them.

THE VERDICT:

I've probably said enough as is, and there's no way I've held your attention for this long. So, without further ado, I'd just love to recommend the show and tell you that I really love it – it has a special place in my heart, a special enough place to warrant a nearly two thousand word review. The whole thing is even on Netflix's instant watch, so if you are ever looking for something new to sink your teeth into, something with finite size but a satisfying climax, try taking a risk on Legend of the Seeker.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Unless it's morning where you are.

In which case, just... goodbye I guess.

Anyway, remember that you heard it here first (unless you didn't)! Be more like me, and do things I do, because I'm cool!

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For more of my non-comic reviews and other assorted articles, come visit me at Chronicles of a Stoic Maniac!

18 Comments

Joy Reviewz -- The Vincent Black Shadow

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a music review, right?

Yes, yes indeed it has. The first and last music review I did was on The Scarlet Ending, and while music may not exactly be my area of expertise I had a blast writing the article, since music is very much something I love.

Now, over the past couple years I’ve been spending the majority of my time in an establishment with a continuously looping soundtrack that doesn’t change. How anyone is capable of surviving this is beyond me, but it quickly became apparent that earbuds were soon to be my best friend. This experience has vastly improved my appreciation of music.

You see, you can fill your head with the stuff you’d rather be listening to, and that assuages the pain of having to listen to Michael Jackson and Ace of Base on the radio. But the thing is, back in those dark days, I only really had so much music I listened to. Once you've played out the ten or so bands you know, a few hundred times, they quickly become just as intolerable as the tripe I’d been avoiding.

This lead to a musical renaissance for me, a time where I was forced to adapt or die. I had to find new music that I enjoyed, a lot of it, and fast. This lead to a lot of experimentation, and lead to me exposing myself to a ton of new artists.

Among the new bands that I found during that Dark Age was a fairly unknown group known as The Vincent Black Shadow, named after the motorcycle of the same name.

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The Genre!: A standard glance at Wikipedia tells me that the group is ‘Alt Rock’ which is… well, frustrating. The term ‘alt’ means nearly nothing, since it just means “y’know, it’s a li’l different” without actually saying how.

However, my own efforts to describe the group’s distinct style meet with equal futility. They manage to be dark, yet upbeat — but upbeat without being particularly cheery. On a scale of hardness, they are… firm? While they have a catchy and intense sound that you can tap your foot (or in my case, bob your head) to, they don’t have the ‘noisy’ aspect of metal, nor do they have the consistent speed of punk, or the gloomy pace of gothic music, which puts them in a strange gray area.

On top of that, they have no specific gimmicks (such as trumpet) to auto-slap a new genre into the mix, yet lyrically they deal with some very dark topics such as trauma, surgery, insanity, and possibly rape (depending on your interpretation of the song “Surgery”).

So, when all is said and done, and I’ve attacked this from every angle my limited pool of knowledge allows, I come to… well, alt rock.

The Voice!: My favorite part about this band is its lead singer, originally Cassandra Ford (more on this later). She has a power that is not too frequently seen in female rock vocalists, along with being outright competent. She hits all the notes she can be expected to, is vocally fluid without doing that annoying wiggly thing, and is even able to hold her own with non-lyrical sounds (moans and whatnot — not entirely sure how to describe that; once again, my musical knowledge is limited at best and I speak the words of a simpleton).

Though, with their latest album, Cassie Ford decided to take a hike and work on something else. As a result, the band’s keyboardist, Nikki Hurst, took one for the team and stepped up to the plate.

We haven’t gotten to see a lot from Nikki yet (currently, only a single EP features her voice), but reception has been mixed, as are my own feelings on her. On one hand, I have to give her props — she stepped into a very long shadow by filling Ford’s role in the band, and she does not have the forceful presence of the band’s last vocalist. However, her voice does have… personality, and has been described as “downright funky”. My only real complaint about her is that her voice doesn’t always manage to stand out against the backing music.

The Verdict!: I enjoy the hell out of the band, honestly, and while not every song is a hit I really enjoy listening to them. The roster-change was an unneeded burp in the works but now that I have adjusted, I don’t think it really harmed the band. They’re dark, yet catchy, lighter than some more hardcore stuff but in no way fluffy, and songs bring their own individual melodies to get caught and tumble around in your head. I recommend them — so be more like me, and do things I do, since I am cool!

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Recommended Listening!:

Metro (Cassie Ford)

In A Row (Cassie Ford)

El Monstruo (Cassie Ford)

Surgery (Cassie Ford)

Stupid Intruders (Cassie Ford)

The House of Tasteful Men (Cassie Ford)

Head In A Box (Cassie Ford)

Watch Out! (Nikki Hurst)

Welcome Home (Nikki Hurst)

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For more of my reviews and non-comic-related articles and blogs, come visit me over at Chronicles of a Stoic Maniac, and maybe I'll give you a cookie!

...Maybe.

14 Comments

Respect Pre-Flashpoint Harley Quinn

(I've learned a bit more about uploading images and making pretty threads, so here ya go. ^_^)

(Will repeat certain feats if they fit into more than one category)

Strength

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Left to right:

- Stands on one finger.

- Smushes Bruce Wayne

- Smushes Black Lantern Roman Sionis.

- Brings a grown man to his knees with a handshake.

- Throws a grown man several stories straight up.

Bullet Timing

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Misc. Speed/Agility

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Left to right:

- Stands on one finger.

- Flips over the Arkham gate (while dodging bullets)

- Doing flips while firing accurately.

- (The rest) A fight with Batman where she is nearly untouchable and barely fighting back.

Durability

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Left to right:

- Tanks being shot off in a rocket and crashing. No visible wounds.

- Regenerates from a bullet wound.

- Word of mouth -- is flattened by a mechanical mallet, bounces right back.

Vs. Joker

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Speedblitzes, immune to joker venom, flat-out dominates him.

Vs. Two-Face

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He thinks he's tough -- she tosses him off a balcony.

Vs. Killer Croc

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Croc gets the jump. Harley wins anyway (then passes out).

Vs. Batman (1)

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Blocks his punch, gets lost in the chaos, comes back, squashes him.

Vs. Batman (2)

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Tanks his hits, creates havoc with minions, catches his rope and drives him through the floor.

Vs. Batman (3)

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Missing a few scans from this. He actually does hit her with a batarang once (while she is making faces at him), and another time bashes her into a jukebox. The entire rest of the fight goes like this... she humiliates him.

Vs. Cass Cain and Tim Drake

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She's dressed as Babs in this but she handles Cass and Tim pretty easily. Nightwing shows up later as well but they don't interact really. Segues into a chase scene, Harley escapes.

Gadgetry/Marksmanship

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Left to right:

- Her little poprocks manage to distract/blind Big Barda rather effectively.

- Shooting accurately while doing flips.

- Quickdraws her popgun out of hammerspace to shoot Jimmy Olsen out of the way before a Joker-thug can pull the trigger.

- The rubber bullet bounces all over the place, she easily dodges it.

- Turns out that rubber bullet is deadly...

- ...Able to break ribs and whatnot, though again she evades it easily.

- Her Extend-O boxing glove shoots straight through a wall.

Ninja Stuff

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Men with guns vs. Harley tied to a chair -- Harley owns, with just shuriken and kunai.

Misc. Badassery

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Left to right:

- Threatens Bruce Wayne, who admits she'll probably beat him.

- Kicks Hush in the nerts.

- Out-flips and almost kills Catwoman.

- Underwater, in metal armor, with a spear, BEHEADS that giant shark, while surrounded by others. Is unscathed. Just holding that head up is a strength feat.

- Solos an entire henchmen-bar.

- Reacts to Nix before he can fire.

- Punks Penguin.

- The origin and explanation of her powers.

57 Comments

Fury of Joy

I'm back, and it's time to throw another fit. Ready? Good!

So, I'm angry again. Really quite angry. It took a good 20 hours or so for me to even get calm enough to write this in a reasonable way.

If you know me well, you'll know that I am a big fan of the Red Lantern Corps, specifically the character Bleez and, to a slightly lesser extent, Atrocitus. In fact, if you've known me for a while (or are also a fan of the RL's), you'll know that I have blogged on this topic a few times in the past. I tend to get pretty angry about everything that's happened since Red Lanterns #13, at which time the entire series and the entire mythos took a serious nosedive. There've been issues since the reboot, but they were ones I tried to overlook since I genuinely enjoyed the series from #0 to #12, along with the characters' appearances in titles like "Green Lantern: New Guardians", "Rage of the Red Lanterns", and "Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors".

For the sake of consistency, I've briefly edited my past two rants on the topic and am inserting them into this "article", along with an all-new third chapter discussing my feelings on Red Lanterns #19 through #22.

Note: These rants deal largely with the mistreatment of the character Bleez.

Chapter One -- Joy Gets Pissed

This article (read: RANT) includes spoilers for Red Lanterns #16. If you haven't read it yet, and actually care about it, go read it before moving onward. If you don't care about it, or have already read it, read on.

So, people who know me and follow my posts know that I am a Red Lantern fan – a big Red Lantern fan.

Maybe the biggest Red Lantern fan.

Or the only Red Lantern fan, it's hard to tell sometimes.

I have defended the title from the very beginning against overwhelmingly negative reviews. Cast aside accusations about the title being wayward and poorly written. I have genuinely enjoyed it since #1, I love Atrocitus and Dex-Starr, and I ADORE Bleez. I have (as far as I can tell) read her every single significant appearance. As can be seen in my lists, she is my second-favorite character, behind only Harley Quinn (who has seen enough abuse in the last two years).

So what if the title is wayward? It's using some very new characters, and has up until this point been doing so nicely. Atrocitus is the brooding, sullen, tortured, savage mastermind. Bleez is the cold, haughty, imperious, sarcastic second-in-command. Rankorr is the privileged nancy-boy.

But, more and more, I am starting to suspect that Peter Milligan's first dog's name was “Jack”, and that his mother's maiden name is “Moore”, because Rankorr has become the biggest Mary Sue I have ever seen in my life.

Reasonings? I have many.

Intelligence: Rankorr became the first human Red Lantern a while back, Milligan's only actual addition to the roster. Now, generally, the instant a RL gains the ring, they lose their mind. Become mindless, raging maniacs – or at least, until they get dipped into the Blood Ocean. The only character besides Atrocitus to show sentience before the Blood Ocean dip was Bleez, who, while still borderline-mindless, had enough intelligence left over to retain her ambition and arrogance.

Rankorr, on the other hand, has none of these problems. He attracts a red ring but pretends he doesn't have it, he retains full human intelligence without assistance from Atrocitus or anyone else. He's just better, because why not?

No reason has ever been given for him retaining his intelligence.

Constructs: Rankorr can make constructs. Magically.

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Now, he isn't the first RL to make constructs – before the reboot, Bleez was clearly shown being able to make simple constructs and use them to great effect.

But not anymore. Milligan has specifically retconned that because nobody is allowed to make constructs besides Rankorr. Only he can, because he's the best, and if anyone else could do things Rankorr can he wouldn't be as super-duper-special as he obviously has to be.

This has also led to him being 'special' among Atrocitus and the corps. Big Red offers him special tasks because of his constructs, which are strange, foreign things to him, apparently. He gets to be the golden boy... just because.

No reason has ever been given for Rankorr being able to create constructs. Apparently, the secret is in his blood, however. Or at least Bleez guesses.

Too Sexy For His Ring: Rankorr's sexiness and coveted constructs are so powerful that they can easily destroy years of character development and personality. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, here – he has been acting like a Mary Sue since he first appeared, and I found it distasteful but I tolerated it. Now, he is bringing other characters down so that he can look better than them.

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Most recently, in Red Lanterns #16, Bleez utterly subjugates herself before him, willing to desperately whore herself out to him in order to get some of Rankorr's blood, which will magically give her the ability to make the constructs she could already make before the reboot.

This was a moment I was waiting for as Jack Moore became a more and more insufferable author avatar who was perfect at everything. The moment when Milligan uses one of my favorite characters to become his personal sex-pet.

It was worse than I had even expected.

I was waiting for Bleez and Rankorr to bump uglies --- it was an absolute inevitability that I knew was coming. But it was worse. So much worse. Bleez tries to buddy up to Jack, saying she knows he wants “what she's selling” and doing a few sexy poses to entice him.

A little history on Bleez first, for those who are unfamiliar with her. Bleez's backstory involves being savagely (and really creepily) gangraped and tortured. Before that, she refused to take a suitor, being too proud to be itemized purely for her beauty. After becoming a Red Lantern, she was sensual – but not sexual. The mask she uses is to hide her face, and her sensuality is more closely tied with her intense, sadistic bloodlust. The closest she has come to a meaningful relationship was with the Star Sapphire Fatality, who offered to convert her to the Violet Corps and show her the way of Love. Despite being close to Fatality, Bleez ultimately declined in a violent fashion, showing that she is still tortured after her subjugation by the Sinestro Corps. She is an interesting character because she is both cold and fiery at once – this inaccessibility is part of her charm.

However, it did nothing to prevent her from trying to spread her legs for Rankorr.

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Instead of taking her up on the deal, however, Rankorr says he “can't trust her with constructs” and flies off in disgust, leaving her screaming out in spite like a spoiled child.

This entire affair is nauseatingly out of character for her, and cements firmly in my mind that the writer of this title is willing to do anything – ANYTHING – to make Rankorr the best ever, even if it means destroying the characters Milligan didn't create.

And the more he does it, the more I hate Rankorr.

I'll keep reading until #18, which the solicits claim will have a “fight to the death between Bleez and Rankorr”. After that, we'll see if I keep reading this, now that my favorite character has become a spoiled sex-doll with no shame. I'm sure Rankorr will be leading the Red Lantern Corps by #20 at this rate.

Unless either Milligan gets a clue, or we get a new writer on the Red Lanterns title.

Chapter Two -- Joy Has Had Enough

So as you know, Bleez has been reduced to arm-candy levels by DC, when she isn't being outright EVIL. Yeah, that's right -- since my rant on #16, #17-#18 have been giving Bleez about a single panel per issue. What is she using those panels to do? THREATEN THE LIVES OF INNOCENT PEOPLE OUT OF SPITE.

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Yeah, that's right. The vengeance-driven, bloodthirsty, but generally decent Red Lantern and rape victim isn't doing anything helpful to the plot. All she's doing is terrorizing Rankorr by stalking him and hunting down a DEFENSELESS WOMAN.

Yeah. A defenseless, innocent woman.

So far, this will sound like I don't like Bleez. I don't want to give that impression.

I HATE HER. I CAN'T STAND HER. Or more specifically, I can't stand the hateful doppleganger that has taken the place of one of my very favorite characters, who, while previously very angry and hurt, had a sense of pride and dignity, and served the cause of the Corps by hunting down the guilty and keeping the other Red Lanterns in order.

NOT BY TERRORIZING INNOCENT HUMANS, in an attempt to SEDUCE Rankorr into giving her the powers she ALWAYS HAD BEFORE THE REBOOT TOOK THEM AWAY.

So, I've been constantly on the fence with this. Hoping that the genuinely enjoyable and satisfying story that was taking place within Red Lanterns #0-12 would someday return, I held out, suffered through the Third Army. Now I've been suffering through the First Lantern, and good God it's been absolutely terrible in every respect.

But look! A light in the distance! Could it be... a new writer? Taking over the project at #20? Why, it's everything I've always asked for, always hoped for since Milligan suddenly went bonkers and started making the entire title a big Rankorr wank-off in addition to some suddenly horribly-written Atrocitus (yay for tired plot points -- yes, his planet was destroyed!).

I was excited. I was so excited. Some rumors of Guy Gardner joining (or, from the sounds of it, usurping) the corps had me a little bit uneasy but I kept high hopes.

Until this morning, when I saw this.

Ladies and gentlemen, the solicit for Red Lanterns #22.

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"Guy Gardner has suddenly found himself at the top of the Red Lantern food chain—but in a pack of bloodthirsty animals like these, everyone’s a predator! If he wants their respect, he’s gonna need the nastiest piece of work in the Corps on his side… but Bleez has her own ideas about what Guy Gardner’s got coming to him!"

Where do I begin?

Let's start with constructs. Bleez has had a major hard-on for Rankorr's constructs (WHICH SHE ALWAYS HAD BEFORE THEY WERE TAKEN AWAY, AND GIVEN ONLY TO RANKORR), and was more than willing to spread her legs to get them (WHICH IS STUPID AND OUT OF CHARACTER. It says horrible things about rape victims and women in general, it's crude and awful and distasteful and just... just... TERRIBLE). From that cover, considering by the oh-so-creative hardlight combat knife in her hand (that's the brutal combat tactician I've come to love! A knife!), it looks like, whether by hook, crook, or orifice, she's managed to get them.

Despite having always had them in the past.

Yay.

How about the fact that now she's kissing Guy Gardner? Now, they actually kissed once before, in Emerald Warriors -- SORT OF. They mashed lips so that he could drink some of her blood-vomit and therefore go full-Red so he could save the day. That's story-telling, I have no problem with that. None at all.

This, on the other hand, is STUPID.

The solicit clearly states that he needs to "get her on his side" (by having sex with her, apparently -- I know that always works for me), and yet she has "her own ideas". Not that it's stopping her from going for a frenchie on the cover. Yay, yet another instance of a badass female character being nothing more than arm candy for the male hero, and/or using sex to get what she wants.

Because that's the only power women actually have, right? Screw power rings, they have vaginas and can make (much stronger and more efficient) men do whatever they want FOR them, so they don't need to do anything.

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Yeah, Bleez has always been a cold-hearted, ambitious, and capricious character. It's what I love about her. But part of that cold-heartedness includes her not going down like an asthmatic 12-year-old at a Black Friday sale. She's better than that. She turned down a chance to join the Star Sapphires because, and I quote, "stick your love"

So, stick your love, literally? Stick it right up in her if it gets her what she wants? What does she even want in this scenario?

I'm done with this title, possibly forever. I held out hope for a new writer and this is what DC gave me, after a continuous stream of rapid, unending kicks to my shins, baby-toes, and other sensitive areas. So I'm out. They can take their character-ruining and misogynistic ways and keep them. Unless things seriously change with the title and DC in general, I will never buy another issue of this book.

Chapter Three -- Joy Gets Really, Really Pissed

Well, I did technically keep my word on that last thing. I didn't buy another issue of the title but, when I started hearing an increasing amount of talk about how "amazing" the new run on the title was, I decided to... otherwise acquire them. A straight injection of four issues directly into my veins created a very, very large amount of rage, and I keenly await the Red Ring that is assuredly rocketing through space towards me as I type this. When I get it, I'm going straight to Milligan's and Soule's houses to exact my righteous vengeance, and use their unworthy blood to feed the power battery.

Since 18, there have been a number of... developments. Big developments. I'll do my best to calmly list them.

Bleez Offers the Red Lantern Corps to Rankorr

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Remember how much Bleez wanted to be the leader of the RLC? And y'know how she basically leads and acts in the Kilowog/Arkillo role whenever Atros isn't around? The way she torments and drills the lesser members, causing them to be terrified of her? And leading to scenes like this one? ^^^

Well, that corps that she was willing to fight to the death with Atrocitus over? Skallox offers it to her when Atros seems to be totally off the rails. It leads to this scene. <----------------------

"Tempting, but I'm not the only candidate. Rankorr has shown himself to possess the cunning that humans are renowned for. What do you say, Rankorr? Would you wish to wear the red crown?"

Now I could be a little confused here, but is she talking about that Rankorr, the one who stole Sweet Tooth's hairstyle? The one who's been a lantern for like... a week? The one who has accomplished absolutely nothing of note? The one whose only impressive ability is the power to make constructs that everyone else could make before the reboot -- that ability that he was given for absolutely no reason?

Surely she doesn't mean that Rankorr.

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Nope, she does. She offers it to him and he says there's nothing he'd want less, and she doesn't step up to lead the corps. As soon as Atros actually returns, we get to see this. ------->

Mhm. Happy to serve. As always.

Because Bleez has always been happy to serve in the past and DEFINITELY didn't try to murder Atrocitus and steal the corps out from under him. Nope, that wasn't Bleez.

...

WHO THE F*** IS WRITING THIS?!

Why Peter Milligan of course, the same guy who's been writing it since #1. He just apparently totally forgot anything he had ever written prior to this.

"No, Lord Atrocitus."

I'll let one scan speak for this entire section.

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That. Just. Happened.

Rankorr Solos the Corps -- Including Atrocitus

First I want to point out that Atrocitus already solo'd the entire RLC, sans Rankorr and Bleez. In addition, Bleez is (was) a feared leader and officer of the corps, and as stated above, the other reds fear her.

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Well, when Atrocitus decides that, in order to become stronger, the RL's will have to drink Rankorr's blood, he's not impressed with the idea. In fact, he decides that he and he alone should be allowed to have constructs (wow, Milligan and Soule agree on something, that's odd). So, despite the fact that in one scene we can restore the Red Corps to its glory days when everyone that was actually lucid could use constructs, we, instead... get this scene. ------->

Sooo yeah. Apparently the fact that Rankorr, who has been a Lantern for like twenty minutes in-universe and has done nothing of note, is able to easily solo the entire Red Lantern Corps.

Because of, y'know, the constructs.

I think it's kind of funny, however, that those constructs give him such a gigantic advantage... seeing as Red Lanterns have always had an enormous advantage against, and in fact specialize in killing, construct-users. Much like Rankorr.

But nope. The ability to create constructs obviously means that he can defeat anyone, including the man who one-shotted Abin Sur.

Guy Gardner Kills Atrocitus

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Most of you have already heard about this. He kills Atros and is immediately elected leader of the Corps. Just in case you haven't heard about it already, here's the scan where he does the deed... enjoy. <-----------------

Yeah. Atrocitus. The guy who nearly destroyed both the green and yellow corps. The guy who had his heart ripped out of his chest and didn't stop fighting. The guy who held his own against Larfleeze. That exact same Atrocitus was killed by the guy who got decked by Hal Jordan's statutory rape victim.

Bleez Comes On To Guy

If you've read the past two chapters you understand what's wrong with this already. But here's the scan, have fun.

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Bleez Backs Down to Rankorr

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We've already come so far, why stop now? While the Corps tries to decide what to do with a Red-ified Guy Gardner, Rankorr holds him in a construct above the blood ocean.

Then, making up his mind without the Corps having come to a real decision, he just drops him in, causing Guy to regain his intelligence and therefore become a serious threat once again. After this, Guy is pretty much instantly elected the new leader (since he killed Atrocitus, after all).

So yeah, what you're seeing in this scan is Bleez getting pissed off (hah, that's funny, because she's fuelled by rage), shouting at Rankorr, and Rankorr going "hahaha whatever, I've already owned you before because I'm the most powerful creature on earth and could easily solo the Justice League if I felt like it" and proceeding to dominate her and make her look like an idiot. More later on why this should absolutely never ever ever have happened.

But it still happened.

Bleez Submits to Guy Gardner

Ready for more?! Well you're about to get it, so have fun.

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Yup. Guy grab's her wing and makes her submit with it, with the addition of the world's most childish taunt ("You wanna keep this?"). She submits fully and doesn't cause any more problems.

Beside the obvious, here are some problems with this:

1. Bleez's bone-wings are not actual bone. They're constructs, and they always have been. If either of the writers ever actually bothered to read her origin story (written by a much better person than they), they would see that Bleez's wings were completely removed by the Sinestro Corps, before she became a Red Lantern. She used constructs to recreate the bone wings we know now -- and yeah, I realize that their constructs were retconned. But it's still stupid. Because it's still not a real wing. Note the fact that it's red and glows.

2. Bleez has killed hordes of Green Lanterns and has slaughtered so many Sinestro Corpsmen she had to stand atop piles of them. In addition, she is (was, before Rankorr) by far the most powerful Red Lantern besides Atrocitus. "But Guy has a green ring too!" you shout. "That makes him doubly powerful!"

No, I'm afraid he doesn't. His green ring is empty. He is a full Red Lantern, and doesn't have constructs like Rankorr.

3. Bleez has beaten Guy before. She's shown that she's more powerful, more durable, and even more intelligent/efficient than he is (and this was before her Blood Ocean dip).

So this entire scene is just a blend of sick power fantasy and terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE writing.

Just like this entire series has been ever since Milligan stopped taking his meds, somewhere around #13.

Chapter Four -- Joy Can't Even

Alright, I'm through evening. No more evens to be had here. I'm done with the pretty fonts and the links and the pictures because by now you know that all the ridiculous ****ing **** in this title is actually happening. Just read #23 and #24 because apparently I am a masochist and I love suffering.

Here are some highlights.

1. It sucks really bad.

2. Bleez catches Guy spying, threatens to expose him. He says some stuff that doesn't make any sense and calls her a dumb bitch and she's all like okay. Then he taunts and teases her and she just backs off because why not, Bleez is not good for anything at all except existing and she isn't any good at that either.

3. Guy states clearly that Green > Red even though they're not.

4. Skallox uses a gun because guns.

5. Zilius Zox turned gray because brown is stupid.

6. Ratchet increased to 8 times his original size because clearly he should be a Hanar instead of whatever Ratchet already is.

7. Guy confirms the events of Emerald Warriors even though the new continuity has made it abundantly clear that nothing in that arc could have actually ever happened, since in Emerald Warriors Bleez is tougher than a group of high-tier green lanterns and could use constructs and now she is a coward with no special abilities.

8. Reds vs. Greens yay. A single green shield can block a full stream of red plasma from multiple lanterns without cracking. Back in the day one Red was worth multiple Greens.

9. Dex-Starr has constructs and yaaay it makes sense because hasty flashback.

10. Atrocitus gets the Butcher only so Kyle can come take it and leave.

11. Atros without a ring can barely function and is not badass at all, despite being > Abin Sur with no ring at all.

12. Guy mentions that the Blood Ocean keeps the Red Central Battery alive even though it doesn't.

Okay that's it. Bye. Gonna go get my guillotine so that I can remove my head. Seeya next time.

P.S. Everyone who writes novel-length blogs about how Superior Spider-Man is the worst thing any human being has ever done in all of history should be forced to shut up, sit down, and read Red Lanterns from 1 to 24. Then they can decide what the worst thing ever done in all of history actually is.

So there you have it folks. Just read all of that. Look at the scans. And taste my pain and fury. Know why my heart is beating so hard, understand why my blood burns with rage.

I want you to fully comprehend why this is so wrong, and I want you...

To f***ing...

Acknowledge it.

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Nuts, the Great Lie

So essentially, there’s no such thing as nuts.

Earlier today I was thinking, “hey, aren’t certain nuts like, beans or whatever?” and I decided that it may be helpful to me, and maybe other people, if I were to do a little research and comprehensibly list what nuts were “true nuts”, and which were not, and categorize the others as well.

Categorizing each different thing that is, in culinary terms, considered a nut? Is like drawing a map of Cedar Point by memory. From what I can tell, about 20% of what we consider nuts are actually nuts, and the others are… different things.

The myth had it that these fabled non-nuts were essentially legumes (beans) but that doesn’t actually seem to be true. They are just… seeds. Seeds from different things. Fruits, flowers, bulbs, beans, pretty much whatever. If any given plant has a little hard nasty thing inside of it, and people eat it, it’s a nut.

What I propose is that we collectively do away with the word “nut” altogether — since nuts, as well, are seeds. They are all seeds, every last thing we call a nut. Peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios… only a few of them are actually nuts, but all of them are seeds.

So, allow us to reduce the word “nut” to the same state as legumes, drupes, pods, and all of the other things seeds come from.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat a white chocolate and macadamia seed cookie!

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