Hero Highlight: IRON MAN

Iron ManGuess what I found? A posting schedule! Yeah, funny things, those pesky schedules, they actually tell you what you’re supposed to post and when. Never been a schedule fan so bear with me.

If you remember back a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we were, for the first and probably the last time, I was doing the A to Z Blog Challenge and we were looking at some heroes and what their true villains were. We’d looked at the Avengers as a group (still my favorite movie right now…until Superman comes out), at Batman’s crazy ass, Captain America and his relationship with time, Don Draper’s mad mad world, ET and his retarded self, Foghorn Leghorn—the big ass chicken, Carl MF Grimes from The Walking Dead, and Hawkeye, the most useless archer ever. Then life got in the way.

Now we’re back and we’re looking at the man and the suit, Tony Stark AKA “I am Iron Man.”

I should start by saying I’m a big Iron Man fan—I have comics from the 80s when people thought it was both sexy and wholly heterosexual for buff men to run around in mesh half shirts. I’ve been with ‘ol Shellhead during his depression, his alcoholism and his Armor Wars. I thought the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was genius. I own all the movies and have seen Iron Man 3 3 times (though I’m pissed about the Mandarin). Once I run the race, I’m gonna get an Iron Man tattoo (haven’t decided where). I’m an Iron Man fan.

But as a hero, the Iron Man suit (or prosthesis, as it formally called) is only as good as it’s pilot. And Tony? My man got problems.

In the comics, Tony Stark is plagued by a deep insecurity caused by his relationship with technology. In the movies and the comics, Tony is injured on a battlefield and depends on an electromagnet to keep a cluster of shrapnel from trying to burrow its way into his heart—the only thing that changes is the locale (in the comic, it’s Vietnam; in the movie, it’s Afghanistan). His very life depends on the reliability and efficacy of technology. After seeing the depravity of humanity and blah blah blah, Tony becomes something bigger than human—a technological superhuman.

Iron Man is different from other superheroes in that he’s manufactured. There’s no gamma radiation, no Super Soldier serum, no spider bite, no birth from an alien world with a red sun, no extensive martial arts training and seething revenge-based impetus to fight crime. Iron Man is a suit; Tony Stark is just a man. Anyone can wear the suit. James Rhodes can wear the suit and be Iron Man (and has). Pepper Potts wore the suit. Shit, even Happy wore the suit and he’s the chauffeur. Anyone can be Iron Man.

In The Avengers, Cap asks the most pertinent question of all: “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off and what are you?” See, this is where the insecurity sets in. While the quippy response was great for laughs and elicited a nice head nod from Scarlett Johanssen’s sexy tail, there is a whole lot of truth to this. And it’s the whole point of Iron Man 3: there has to be more to the man than the ability to make a suit. Otherwise, you have another Doctor Doom on your hands.

What it comes down to is a moral center. Spidey has the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing couple with Uncle Ben’s death. Superman has his middle America earthly father to guide him. Batman has the senseless murder of his parents burned into his psyche. But Tony Stark? This is what he’s lacking. In the comic, he has an unfortunate injury in an unfortunate war and capitalizes on his escape to become something bigger, something greater. The movies pick up on this and use both his imprisonment and his relationship with Pepper to give him that moral compass but, the truth is, Tony Stark is and remains a shallow guy. And he knows it. In fact, Iron Man 3 was about this very idea.

Like I said, I’m an Iron Man fan and the truest statement the movies ever made was in Iron Man 2 when he told Congress, “I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one.” For Tony Stark, the challenge is making the man measure up to the hero and becoming someone worthy of wearing the suit.

That’s my word. See ya on Tuesday for another installment. Next we’re gonna be talking the Justice League.

Day 8: HAWKEYE #atozchallenge

hawkeye-5One of my favorite exchanges in the Avengers comes when Tony Stark is talking to Captain America and he says, “Following’s not really my style.” Cap responds with, “And you’re all about style?” And Tony says, “Of the people in this room, which one of us is a) wearing a spangly outfit and b) not of use?” Classic material. However, when considering the most useless Avenger, that distinction must go to Hawkeye.

Yes, friends and foes, heroes and villains, there is actually one relatively worthless hero in our supersquad. I loved the Avengers movie (surprise surprise) and I like Jeremy Renner. I even like the Hawkeye character, though I think his costume could use a little work. In the movie, they call him a master assassin but I see him as a bow-wielding, there-are-twelve-enemies? I-only-brought-eleven-arrows jackass with no sleeves.

That’s probably harsh, huh? Okay, I’ll give him his due.

In the comics, Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye is a little better than the bit part they gave him in the movie. He is an assassin of sorts, a superior marksman, and a former carny (for real). He starts out as a villain, crossing both the Black Widow and Iron Man before turning to the straight and narrow (because he got the cowboy shit kicked out of him). He gets sponsored to be an Avenger and becomes an integral part of the team.

Until his bow breaks.

Seriously, my man had his bow break in battle and adopted a whole new identity. Took somebody else’s powers and everything. And then he started going blind. Did I mention that he was deaf? What are you going to do with a deaf and blind archer? That’s like giving Helen Keller a weapon and a costume and calling her a superhero.  In the movie, they give him a little more: he shoots Sam Jackson and manages to take down the ENTIRE Floating Fortress with 2 arrows. He also sets up the best part of the movie: his exploding arrow tosses Loki into the hands of the Hulk.

In the movie, it’s worse. He ain’t deaf, just pointless. He was the first to switch teams when Loki arrived, got his ass handed to him by Scarlett Johannsen, and, rather than follow the fucking plan, got his plane shot out the sky while carrying the half of the Avengers that CAN’T FLY. I’m not a tactician but if a flying, bulletproof dude with a hammer forged in the heart of star is fighting another dude in a cape with a spear, perhaps you should let then do their thing and turn your air support on the invading aliens!

For all his snazzy arrowheads, my man has a limited supply of arrows. He’s forever going to be running out of ammo, sitting on the sidelines like he got hit first in dodgeball, leaving the heavy lifting to everybody else. In the end, there ain’t much use for Hawkeye (though he leads a couple iterations of the Avengers in the comics) and that’s his biggest villain: uselessness.

And if you’re wondering, I did the Hulk in last year’s A to Z Challenge. He was the villain.

Next up, Iron Man! Yeeaaaahhhh!

Day 7: Carl Grimes #atozchallenge

Carl-Grimes-Season-3I never do spoiler alerts. Ever. I figure if you don’t want to know what happens in a movie or TV show, don’t drop by somebody’s blog when they’re talking about it. Duh. However, this one time, I’m giving you fair warning: if you haven’t seen Season 3 of The Walking Dead or you might wanna catch up or you know somebody who knew somebody who talked once about watching The Walking Dead, you wanna move away real slow like. I’m gonna fuck it up.

Cuz today, I’m talking about Carl “Bad MF” Grimes. And I’m not talking about my usual put-a-hero-up-just-tear-him-down schtick either (I real wanted to use the word “schtick.” Don’t ask me why). This is real Carl-love. Well, as much love as a grown man can have for a fictional 12-year-old boy. Not like Arnold in the bike shop love–I mean…geez, that got awkward real fast, didn’t it?

How bout I have mad respect for Carl? How bout that?

So you know the premise of The Walking Dead, right? Zombie apocalypse. Gritty drama. Somebody’s gonna die every episode and they don’t give a shit about main characters. Yeah, that show. I’m not a zombie fan. I actually think this little genre’s been beat to death—by the time we have a zombie apocalypse romantic comedy, we have gone too far, people. Too far. But I like The Walking Dead for the human element. And for Rick Grimes, the police officer-turned leader of a rag tag bunch of people. I like Rick because, at the end of Season 2 and all of Season 3, Rick lost his muthafuckin mind! Like, seriously went crazy. I loved that about him, like Cuba Gooding Jr laughing at Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. I loved it!

Which brings me to Carl. Carl is Rick’s 12-year-old. In the span of months (I guess, I have no idea of time on this show), Carl has seen his father shot and put into a coma, THEN the zombies came and killed everybody, then he was on the run, then his daddy came back but his mama was shacking up with his dad’s best friend. You catch that? Talk about awkward—single moms, bring your new boyfriend to meet your kids for the first time. They show their asses, huh? Carl got a new stepdad who was his father’s police partner and best friend while his real dad was laid up in a hospital and zombies were running around eating everybody. But that ain’t it. Carl’s been through it: he got shot, saw the only other child on the show become a zombie (while he was looking for her), saw his father kill his own best friend TWICE (because people die and come back), delivered his own baby sister and then had to shoot his own mama because she was gonna become a zombie. Oh yeah, then his daddy went crazy.

You better not never bitch about ANYTHING that happens in your life again. Car broke down? Fuck that, you ain’t Carl. Had a bad day at the office? Carl’s day was worse. Somebody forgot your birthday? Ask Carl what he got his birthday: a fucking gun so he could shoot his mama in the head with it.

But that ain’t even my point: this kid is just taking it. Yeah he has his own 12-year-old bullshit but he’s rising to the occasion. He’s learning right and wrong and life and death in a new environment and making new rules. And he’s just rolling with it.

What I like about this character is actually what he’s becoming. I think about this character and what he’s going to be like as an adult, having grown up in this world, knowing what it was and seeing what it’s become. He’ll be jaded for sure, have a respect for life and a respect for death, and be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his survival. Rick and the Governor and the zombies aside, I feel like I’m watching the most compelling character I’ve seen in a long time every time that kid is onscreen. And that, folks, is damn good television.

Day 6: FOGHORN LEGHORN #atozchallenge

foghorn_leghorn-5227I admit that I struggled with a likely subject for F. I only know a few heroes that start with the mighty 6th letter—I went over the Flash (whose comic I never read. I mean he only ran fast. LAME), then to ol’ Twinkle Toes himself, Fred Flintstone but I was never a Flintstones fan. I even considered Swiper the Fox but he’s only a villain and wouldn’t be appropriate. Then I thought about one character I love but never really talk about: Foghorn Leghorn, the big ass chicken from Looney Tunes.

I think I was in my 20s by the time I realized Foghorn even had a name—for me, he was always the big chicken. Then I had kids and had to distinguish between the big chicken on Bugs Bunny cartoons (because that’s what kids call them) and the Big Red Chicken on Dora. Anyway, I think it’s time to give the chicken his due.

If you don’t know him, just stop, go out to Wal-Mart or Target or freaking YouTube and just watch a couple cartoons with this big MF. His shit is HILARIOUS!! He’s the king of the yard but is disrespected by every other farm animal: the other chickens hate him, the dog keeps trying to kill him, and he’s hunted every other episode by a 3 inch high chicken hawk. He’s full of himself, arrogant, exceptionally proud—I can’t decide if this is his greatest flaw or the fact that he’s stupid!

Let me give you an example: the dog is working with the chicken hawk to fuck up the big ass chicken (I went back and looked at that sentence—grammatical travesties aside, you understood it, didn’t you?). We hear the dog say, “Chickens are naturally curious so…” Next thing we see is the chicken hawk building this huge contraption that has a pumpkin tied on to a catapult. Problem is, the chicken hawk can’t tie down the pumpkin. My man (the big ass chicken) comes by and says, “Now hold on, son, whatcha doin there? Step aside!” He ties down the pumpkin, walks away but has mad commentary: “I don’t know what’s wrong with kids these days, can’t tie down their own punkins. Back in my day, we didn’t need no help tying down our punkins, we just—hey, we never tied down no punkins. Hey Boy,” and WHAM! Face full of pumpkin! Cracks me up every time.

A few years ago, the Boy came strutting through the house, shirtless, like he owned the place and my wife said, “Hey Chicken-Chest, put a shirt on!” That’s what I think about whenever I think about Foghorn Leghorn. He’s both hero and villain, a victim of his own pride and arrogance. You like him because he’s funny, because he genuinely tries to do the right thing, but you cheer when he gets knocked down a peg. Getting his just desserts is what makes him endearing and tolerable.

Next, Carl Grimes from Walking Dead.

Day 5: ET #atozchallenge

ETI’ve missed a lot of things in my day. Trains. Planes. Taxis. Recitals (only a couple). TV Shows. Dinner. Plenty of things. I, however, have never missed my ride off an entire freaking planet because I was fucking with a flower.

When I was a kid, ET was an awesome, touching, magical experience about a boy and big-eyed alien. I felt for ET, so lost and alone, left behind by his compatriots, having subsist off the Reese’s Pieces generosity of an 11-year-old boy and building an interstellar cellphone out of a Speak-N-Spell and an umbrella. He was funny, his long neck was “interesting,” and I cried when they found him all ashy down by the river. ET was amazing. When I was kid.

As an adult, I really think ET was the dee-da-dee of the aliens. Seriously. Perhaps he should have had a helmet. And, to be honest, maybe none of the aliens were all that smart. OK, let’s say, this is a recon mission. The aliens come down into a Pacific Northwest forest to get some…plants? Plants? OK fine. Not as awesome as I would have expected but whatever. They get discovered by the human authorities and make a plan to leave. Now, when they sound the alarm because the police are coming, everybody manages to make it back to the flying Christmas ornament except one. AND THEY LEFT HIM!

And not just left him like, “Hey, we’ll be right back tomorrow. Meet us at the rendezvous point.” They left LEFT. These cats went home. Deuces. Sucks to be you, pal. Just left him.

I think it was intentional. And I think the other aliens are the real villains in ET.

When the military engages in clandestine operations behind enemy lines, there are some procedures they follow. It’s either “No man left behind” or, if you’re captured, we have protocols to get you back. Or, everybody goes on the mission with the understanding that, if you’re you’re caught, you are SOL. But those are military missions. Those involve us doing things we have no business doing in places we have no business. This is about plants. Trees. Dandelions. Shit, they could have called ahead. “Hey, we’re gonna swing by and grab some evergreens. Should be a couple hours tops.”

Instead, we’re supposed to believe this is a black ops mission behind some pinecones? Nah. I think our beloved character was voted off the island and left behind on purpose. “Don’t you hate, Gary? Yeah, I hate him too. I say next time we go out, let’s just leave him. Maybe some kid will find him.” Imagine how surprised they were when the Speak-N-Spell call came in: “Godammit! It’s Gary. How’d he get this number? We gotta go back!”

My point here is maybe ET was awesome to us as humans because he’s more advanced than us. But maybe he was the kid on the short bus on his own world. Maybe he wasn’t that fantastic and maybe they were trying to get rid of him. Maybe the other aliens are just jackasses. Maybe, just maybe, we sent back the weakest link. Just sayin…

That’s it for this one. Catch ya in F land!

Day 3 (sorta): Captain America #atozblogchallenge

captain_americaAs much as I love the Avengers, I’ve never really been a Cap fan. He’s too much of a Boy Scout for me, he didn’t really have any powers, and he just had that damn shield. Throwing it never seemed that awesome to me. And he had wings on his head. Little bitty ones. It’s kinda tough to act like you’re all raw and you have little hummingbird wings on your head. I’m surprised no one ever brought it up.

Then I saw the movie. And what Captain America didn’t have in powers, Steve Rogers had in heart. He was a good guy who was willing to do what it took to make the right things happen. He lied to join the Army for the opportunity to die for his country, underwent a chemical transformation, fought the Nazis hand to hand, and got trapped in an iceberg trying to do the right thing. Problem is, he tried to do the right thing at the wrong time.

And time is, for Cap, his greatest villain.

Loki said it best when he called Captain America the “man out of time.” My man was frozen for 40 years in the comics, 70 years in the movies. He wakes up and the world he was fighting to save—and the morals he was trying to uphold—were gone. Think about this, think about those parents or grandparents who saw their entire adulthood defined by World War II and imagine if they weren’t around for what happened next. Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn, gets frozen before WWII is over—he never gets to see the Nazis surrender, never sees the US drop the atomic bomb, never gets to come home to a hero’s parade. Never sees any James Bond movies so he has no idea of how awesome he could have been.

It doesn’t really matter who Captain America fights. In fact, the only villains I know that belong to him are as chronologically misplaced as he is: Baron Zemo, the Red Skull, the Winter Soldier. More often then not, Cap was fighting the very nation he swore to uphold. For a while he rejected being Captain America because he had a problem with what the United States did. Then, during Marvel’s Civil War series, he sided AGAINST the US government (and half the Avengers, including Tony Stark) in having superhumans register themselves and that stance culminated in his assassination. In the movie, he’s distrustful of SHIELD even though he’s the one meta-human that actually works for them.

Captain America is the right man in the wrong time. I don’t know what that says about him or us. Is his ignorance bliss? Is he better off for having missed what we’ve become? Did we stray too far away from what we should be? Is he the ultimate American, a physical embodiment of our nation’s values and purpose? Even with the wings? We’re having a love affair with Tony Stark right now, with his shiny new armor and witty disdain for structures and teams and monogamy. Tony Stark is us now. Steve Rogers is who we were supposed to be. And if that’s who we’re supposed to be, if he’s what it means to be an American, who’s really out of time?

OK, that’s too deep for me. We’re going to lighten it up with my favorite animated bird, Daffy Duck!

Day 2 (Kinda): The Batman #atozchallenge

batman-wallpaper-034So nothing says commitment like failing to post on the SECOND DAY OF A 30 DAY CONTEST! But I have excuses. First, it’s hot. Second, I’m on vacation. At Disneyland. Trying not to break it. Again. I’m here with the family—you remember this cast of characters, right? The Wife, the Honey Badger and the Boy. This year, we have the Boy’s girlfriend, Pollyanna (*sniff my lil knucklehead is growing up) joining us on the trip and she hasn’t been to Disneyland since she was 8. So you have this wide-eyed girl and the Boy in his full DMFRH gear and the next thing I know, I’m trapped on Teenage Drama Island for 2 days.

Then my battery died.

I’ve discovered that power is an essential component in the successful operation of modern-day electronics. And no sooner do I show up on vacation then the $10,000 battery in my expensive-ass Macbook decides to kick the bucket. I can charge this bitch for an hour and have 15 minutes of mobility. Godammit!

Anyway, I go to Apple to get a new battery and these fuckers say a) yes, I need a new battery BUT they won’t sell it to me; and b) I can’t get a Genius appointment for 2 goddamn days. For something that takes 10 fucking minutes to replace. I have 10 minutes. I can do it. When I question them about it, the Blue Shirt Hipster with the iPad and bad breath says, “Yeah, it’s connected to the logic board. We don’t sell it to customers.”

“But it’s my Mac!” I say. “I can switch it out.”

“Nope, the version of Macbook you have has to be unscrewed. We have to do that.”

“Apple didn’t invent screws. I can figure this out.”



So here I am, back to reality and talking about Batman. And Captain America. And somebody else that starts with D today.

If you remember, in this little blog series, we are looking at our favorite heroes and tearing them apart to find the real villains behind them. Today’s selection is Brice Wayne AKA Batman AKA the Dark Knight AKA the Productive End of the Dynamic Duo.

You know my man has problems, right? Given that Christopher Nolan just made $147 Billion dollars on the Batman franchise and garnered Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar award and destroyed an entire football stadium on film, I don’t feel the need to rehash the Batman mythos. What I will say is, despite Batman’s bevy of unbalanced miscreants and murderers in his rogue’s gallery (seriously, a murderous clown who thinks death is funny, a Jigsaw-like killer who creates complicated puzzles and riddles for his victims, and a psychotic psychotherapist—and that’s just a couple), the biggest villain in the Batman story is…Batman.


Ok so lemme explain: I am terrified of guns. I’ve had a girl get shot next to me, saw the bloody aftermath of two suicides, had a friend’s child shoot himself when he found the gun, and I’ve been shot at. Twice. I realize the damage guns can do. Despite those jarring experiences, at no point did I say, “You know what? I’m gonna get a cape and a Kevlar vest and get all MacGruff on em!” Never. Did you? Have you ever decided to take the law into your own hands and dive into the fray, armed with a boomerang and a grappling hook? No? Know why? Because you’re not insane.

Revenge is one thing. Revenge makes sense. This isn’t revenge. These are the antics of a disturbed mind who happens to have the resources to support his insanity. And nobody questions it! Not Alfred, not Malcolm Fox. They just roll with it. Oh, you want a car? Cool. And it needs to shoot lasers and have jet engines? No problem! How about a tank? At best, Bruce Wayne is schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder. At worst, he’s experiencing severe post-traumatic stress, suffering from a psychotic break at the murder of his parents, and is schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder. My man needs meds and a straightjacket not a mask and a cape.

Not only this, Batman actively thwarts the law. Like shits in its face. He’s a vigilante (which is wholly illegal), routinely destroys personal property to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, is a consistent perpetrator of assault, denies people due process, and constantly engages in torture. Batman dedicates his life to fighting crime but is a criminal himself. There is little that separates him from the people he hunts.

In the end, Batman is a force of escalation: he pushes everything forward and, in my opinion, does more harm than good. The movies attest to this idea as well. The whole point of the trilogy was to show the logical conclusion of his actions. He wants to learn about criminals to better fight them, so he effectively becomes one of them. What starts as local vigilantism eventually spreads to an open mob war with horrible consequences, the release of chemical weapons, international events, and ends with the siege of an entire city. Batman’s very nature is escalation: he raises the bar and his enemies continue to rise to the occasion until the populace is held hostage by the combined depravity of a man of who a villain trying to act like a hero.

And that’s my word. I’ll be back later today with Cap. Until then, I’m going to Disneyland!

Day 1: The Avengers #atozblogchallenge

The-AvengersHello boys and girls! Today on our wonderful little show, we’re going to try and experiment. Now, we both know that I LOVE villains and, quiet as it’s kept, you do too—that’s why you keep coming back, isn’t it? But it’s a brand new year, guys! We’ve done the villain is bad, look at how bad the villain is thing. So this year I’m going to look at villains from the heroes point of view. And we start with the Avengers.

I was gonna start with one of those “If you don’t know who the Avengers are, you’ve been living under a rock,” but the last time I did it, it was about Voldemort and I got a comment from the one person on the planet who didn’t know who Voldemort or Harry Potter were. I’ll suffice to say that if you haven’t seen it yet, you weren’t going to so you haven’t lost anything. For the rest of hep cats, you know the Avengers are the stars of 2012’s most popular films, a comic book supergroup (like Wings or Velvet Revolver). Their story is simple: they exist on their own, do their own stuff, somebody recruits them individually, they can’t play nice until somebody decides to blow up the planet. Then it’s all “We should work together!” and hugs and explosions and awesomeness. And yes, that is EXACTLY the verbiage on the back of the DVD.

In the film, you have 6 dominant personalities (or 7 if you count the Bruce Banner and the Hulk separately), and each one has their own motivations. They are pulled together by a super-secret agency that answers to a nondescript group of people to do unspecified stuff (that is my introduction to SHIELD, brought to you by Captain Specific Productions). Why do they come together? Because some nut job named Loki stole something powerful and really wants to be king. Of Earth. We’re going ignore the part about there really isn’t a king of earth position open at this time and just keep his resume on file. Anyway he wants to start a war. So you have these people who don’t play nice and a dude with an army from outer space and they are supposed to save everything, right?

To the untrained eye, we would see the central conflict in this little motion picture around the inability for the group form cohesiveness, thus wasting valuable time and resources until they are forced, by a tragic loss, to come together. But we aren’t the untrained eye, are we? We don’t buy that Loki is, for all his manipulative machinations and exquisite hair gel, the movie’s true villain. And we don’t even care that we a 12 second teaser at the end of the movie showing us Thanos, like he really is the super-secret villain of the movie. Nope, we’ve studied damn near 70 villains on this site and we know better.

We know that the real villain is SHIELD itself.

(This is where you insert the “Whachootalkinboutwillis?” face).

Sam Jackson plays the one-eyed bandit Nick Fury in all the movies leading up to the Avengers (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America) and in the Avengers itself. He’s running the show. When we see that Tony Stark has built himself a shiny suit of armor, who shows up? SHIELD? When the Hulk has broken Harlem, who’s running around behind the scenes? SHIE—well, no, actually that was Tony Stark. But he was working for SHIELD. And when Scarlett Johannsen slides her sexy tail in that black jumpsuit, who paid for the boots? SHIELD. You get where I’m going with this? SHIELD fooled with the Cube, SHIELD tried to steal Thor’s hammer (which DID NOT go over well), SHIELD tried to snatch Iron Man’s suit. SHIELD even lied to Captain America! You don’t lie to Cap, dammit.

The movie is based on an ulterior motive and everyone has one: Loki, most definitely; Thanos, most likely; and Nick Fury. All of them using the Avengers to get what they want. In the movie, it’s all about what Loki could or would do with the Tesseract if he had it. The truth is, Loki is only a symptom: the SHIELD folks have already abused it, building weapons and opening portals and shit.

My point here is the good guys weren’t necessarily good in this movie and the villain—the billed villain—was a patsy to hide you from the real bad guy. And the problem in this case is that the real bad guy is the one behind the good guy. You catch that? This is the epitome of “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Tomorrow, tomorrow is Day 2 of the A to Z Blog Challenge and we’ll be looking at the Batman! Na na na na na na Batman!!

The A to Z Blog Challenge…Again? #atozchallenge

It’s that time of year again where bloggers of all shapes, colors and hues shake off our wintery cloaks of Snuggies and Forever Lazies, grab those new recyclable Starbucks cups (which are realls just lids!) and start blogging in earnest. For 30 days. Then we go back in our dark holes.

That’s right, folks, Spring is here! And with it comes the A to Z blog Challenge—a blogging delight where thousands of people with random ideas and access to WiFi present our wares to you, the people (I say this with a Bane accent) to showcase our talent and cleverness with 26 topics, delivered alphabetically. I am one of those cave-dwelling, blog-writing denizens. If you recall, I did this challenge last year, during my 30 Days of Madness phase (we’re not doing that nonsense again) and begat my focus on villains. I’m back again, and like any good sequel, I’m gonna give you a twist.

I can’t hit you the same ole same old look-at-this-villain’s-villainy-isn’t he/she/it-villainous? schtick anymore. You’re hip to my jive now. I have to change it up. So I’m gonna give you heroes. Kinda. You really thought I was doing heroes, didn’t ya? Thought I got all soft, huh? Not a chance! We’re gonna take some heroes and look at their real villains, what really dogs them day in and day out. You might be surprised at the outcome.

Now, because I like to plan ahead (Sike! I joined the Blog Challenge like 37 minutes ago) and because I’m on vacation (I’m writing this from my tent outside Disneyland—I guess the Mouse is still bitter about that Peter Pan stunt at Disney World last year), I haven’t worked out all the kinks. What that means is, we both get to be surprised at what shows up on this blog. I can tell you this, the Avengers are first (because I watched the movie on the plane) and tomorrow, or later today, we’ll look at what really sticks in their craw. It’s a little more than Loki.

Catch ya tomorrow!

Celebration of Wickedness Day 30B: GENERAL ZOD

I already told you that I’m no fan of DC Comics (they have continuity issues I cannot wrap my head around) and everybody is named Something-Man, This-Power-Girl. There’s even a Something-Lad—Lad? Seriously? In 2012? Can’t do it. But that’s beside the point. I am a fan of General Zod as portrayed in the magnificent Superman II by Terence MF Stamp.

No matter how you slice it, Zod’s been pissed for a while: whether you go with the comic version of him leading Krypton’s military and committing atrocities; or him having issues with how the Council did Non…and then committing atrocities; or Smallville’s genetically engineered, then sent back in time nonsensical portrayal—it all ends with Zod doing foul stuff on Krypton, getting imprisoned in the Phantom Zone (which is like the cornfield for you Twilight Zone aficionados—ha! I got to use the word aficionado), escaping the Phantom Zone, making his way to Earth where he gets Superman’s powers with none of the truth, justice and American Way jazz. And then he wrecks shop.

Now, I already told you, I’m looking at the Zod who screamed at Marlon Brando, “You will bow down before me! Both you, and one day, your heirs!” and then made good on it. I’m talking about the Zod who came to Earth and walked on water in front of Buford T. Justice (“Did that son’bitch just give me an order?”) I’m talking about the Zod who got on the news and called Superman out and then proceeded to whoop his ass through downtown Metropolis—which looks an awful lot like Gotham City. And New York. That Zod. He was an awesome Zod.

Here’s why he’s impressive: Zod is the most horrid version of Superman we can consider. He was even too bad for Lex Luthor—and Lex wants to kill Superman. He’s a direct affront to everything that makes us love Superman: Zod has all the powers with none of the humanity. See, that’s what Zod is really about: taking away that thing that makes Kal-El into Clark Kent, into one of us. Because beneath the cape, behind the S, is an individual who was orphaned, different and alone. Alone. There’s nothing else like Superman, not on Earth. Not in the universe. His planet is gone. His people are gone. He clings to the closest thing he can: us. And then only vestige of who he might be, what he could be, is a bulletproof megalomaniac clad in deep V’s and puffy sleeves. It’s only a matter of time before people—human beings—put two and two together and turn on Superman.

Zod isn’t about power (but he uses his so effectively); he’s about alienation. He’s about attacking the core of the Man of Steel. Think about it. He brings out the worst in Superman. Zod makes the world think Superman has abandoned them (when he was just getting some nookie); he beats the living shit outta Superman with powers humans worship him for having; there are instances in the comics where Superman has killed Zod (and the movie implies it). Zod takes this superhero and shows him a horrible mirror—turns a savior into a killer at worst, an apathetic god at best. Anything but human. Anything but one of us. When the dust settles, Superman is still different and alone. And now we all know it.

And one more thing, Zod had this amazing line: “Why do you say these things to me, when you know I will kill you for it?” That’s always been my favorite.

That’s it for the Celebration, at least for this volume. Its been a blast, ladies and gents, Sith and Jedi, wizards and muggles.

Catch ya later!