muccamukk: Dot and Phryne looking at each other and smiling, pretty hats. (MFMM: Companions)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Forgot this last week, but I'd been doing fic deadlines and hadn't read much anyway. I'm including this week a couple books I read as research for [community profile] ssrconfidential, but didn't post at the time because I'm Trying To Get Better At Being Anon.

What I Just Finished Reading
Finally gave up on The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela, which just wasn't working for me. Back to the library it goes.

I reread all of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man and Marvel Adventures: Avengers, which is still my fandom happy place, especially MA:A. I hadn't read MA:IM in long enough that'd I'd forgotten how it has my favourite Dr. Yinsin of all time. You know, the one who never likes Tony, and builds his own suit, and dies to protect his country. But then it harshed my squee by having a frankly pretty racist Mandarin plot (aren't they all?), and a lot of bad science (obviously reading the wrong genre), and Pepper being not awesome (though that smoothed out later in). It rallied when we hit a hilariously awful Howard Stark, who would win the Howard Is a Dick contest if not for all the other versions of Howard.

Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald
I liked a lot of the ties between women here, the playfellows and adult friendships. I also liked that the book was sex positive even while the main character shaded a little grey (to my eyes). Her relationship with her parents was also cool.

The discussions of identity and shapes the main character toyed with (bisexual, celibate, feminine) and took on were well integrated, and didn't feel like lectures. The title red hair motif worked well.

I didn't get a lot out of the art, and because a lot of the characters were similarly-aged white women or girls, and the main character changed her hair constantly, I found myself confused as to who was who a lot of the time. I also wonder if I might have gotten more out of it having read the first one first.

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant, narrated by Simon Prebble
I feel like the author kept trying to fit in the larger social and political context, but mostly just got side tracked a lot. I would have liked a lot more BSC and a lot less DC gossip (though I realise there was a good deal of overlap). Though perhaps the problem is largely that Dahl's involvement in the BSC was not that interesting, and he and his cohort tended to be jerks, especially to women.

The book wasn't badly written on a prose level, and had several interesting stories and characters, but as a whole it didn't seem to be that coherent. I kept running into the edge of things that would probably be more interesting on their own, but weren't covered in any depth here.

Artifice by Alex Woolfson, art by Winona Nelson
From the Pride humble bundle.

This was really well done. I was genuinely worried about the outcome and totally rooting for the characters. I admit that bb gay boys in love despite the hellish corporate overlords is pretty well what I want to read all the time.

In fine tradition of tropey gay romances, the consent issues were... a little blurry, but I felt like it worked out pretty well on the whole. The romance was mostly very sweet and authentic, underlined by very lovely art. I also liked all the extras at the back.

Jews Without Money by Michael Gold
Really enjoyed this. There's not really a plot, but the cast of characters and scenes are vivid and interesting. I really liked Gold's animated language and intensity. For all its gloomy subject matter, it's very funny, and largely avoid cliché.

Unfortunately, the digital edition I had seemed to be missing some sections. Still worth a read though.

(I think my favourite review of this book said, in its entirety, "No wonder the author was a socialist!" Though interesting better than half the reviews are in Arabic, so I guess it's very popular in the middle east right now?)

The Hoods by Harry Grey
Oddly compelling and sometimes funny, but on the whole I read it quickly to get it over with.

I think this would have been a better book had there been some distance between the author and the narrator (rather than a man essentially writing about himself). As it was, we got a lot of self-aggrandizement, and very little reflection, and I was left with the feeling that almost everyone in the book was a psychopath. His constant refrain that everyone else was illegit, and therefore it was fine that he was a thief and a murderer wore pretty thin, and the prose itself wasn't good enough to make up for all that smugness. And nothing in the world would be enough to make up for all that homophobia and misogyny, or the rape attempt by the main character.

I'm interested to see if the movie falls for the glorification, or does something deeper with it.

(So then I watched the movie and... that was a cultural experience, so it was. I mean, I think it did undercut the glorification by making Our Hero even less sympathetic (completed rape instead of attempted, for example), and by cutting out a lot of the self-congratulation. It also cut almost all of the homophobia and made the women way more interesting, especially Carol was no longer the evil poly kinkster who drove a good man to ruin, but an actual person with opinions and shit. Which was nice. I was watching the standard director's cut, but not the super long one, incidentally. It was really long! Also, it cut almost all of the book except for the first few chapters and the last few chapters (which were the strongest parts anyway) and made up its own plot and pacing, which would have worked, except the interwoven future plot was just so completely bananapants that I firmly believe it was indeed an opium dream. Finally, young Robert was rather pretty, but young Elizabeth was STUNNING.)

What I'm Reading Now
Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, which is set in Chicago just after the civil war. Just getting into it, but the characters are very interesting.

What I'm Reading Next
I want to do some research for [community profile] femmeremix so probably that.

Electra is next on my library list. I don't have an audiobook on the go yet, and am considering my options.

Oh, so movies, since I'm doing reviews of things. Nenya and I watched Spy which we loved and thought was the best. We also rewatched Michael Collins which had Liam Neeson yelling at people, so I was happy, also being slashy with young!Aidan Quinn, though the love triangle was silly. Also historical accuracy, not so much with this film. Anyway, Liam Neeson!

We also watched a pretty decent cam rip of Captain America: Civil War, which is certainly a movie that exists. Or four or five movies jammed into one movie, one of those. Please count me as the only person on earth who genuinely liked AoU, including the het ships, and mostly felt annoyed by CW. I did like T'Challa, but mostly wanted more Wanda and Sam, and less... everyone else, especially everyone else being a stupid jerk. The big battle was a fun use of powers, I guess? Maybe I've just expended all the Civil War feelings I'm ever going to have.

Date: 2016-06-22 09:26 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
Please count me as the only person on earth who genuinely liked AoU, including the het ships, and mostly felt annoyed by CW.

Nope, not just you - same! (Well, with the exception of one het ship in AoU, but I made peace with it later, and loved the other one.) CW, on the other hand, was an incoherent mess in which most of the characters spent most of the movie making me actively root against them.

It wasn't the worst superhero movie I've seen (I saw Wolverine! heck, I saw at least one of the early Hulk movies in the theater, which was two hours of my life I'll never get back) and possibly not even the worst MCU movie, because they'd have to almost try to make something worse than Thor: Dark World, but it was definitely ... well ... a movie. I was sort of hoping it would reignite my feelings for the fandom and it ended up doing the exact opposite (though admittedly I do find the idea of half the characters on the run and Natasha acting as a double agent and go-between rather nifty; I just don't really feel like writing about it).

Spy, on the other hand, was great. :D I hope it becomes a franchise because I would happily watch another half dozen of those.

Date: 2016-06-23 01:29 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I would totally watch a movie about every one of the missions in the credits.


Date: 2016-06-23 01:28 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I was sort of hoping it would reignite my feelings for the fandom and it ended up doing the exact opposite

Yeah, same. I actually didn't like AoU (sorry Mucca!) but hell, compared to CW, I suddenly didn't-like it a lot less.

Date: 2016-06-23 07:58 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
....aaaaaand then after Surprise Hydra!Cap, suddenly CW also bothered me a lot less. //facepalm

Date: 2016-06-23 07:14 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Wonder Woman poster (kneeling with sword) (Default)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
Yep, I would be here for the Wanda movie with T'Challa and Sam in it. Spidey and Cap can guest star or something. Oh and Natasha was fine, there just wasn't enough of her.

The plot....meh. I don't care WHAT happens to these people. *hands*

Date: 2016-06-23 08:30 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Captain America shield with text "Son, just don't" (MCU Capt America son just don't)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
Exactly. The movie didn't really convince me that either Steve or Tony cared that much about the A-plot either, which didn't increase my investment.

Shamefully perhaps, about the only thing I ship is Wanda/Vision When He's Not Being Patronizing. Which...

T'Challa/more screen time and maaaybe Steve/Sam if forced to care about Steve ships. I sort of care slightly about Bucky this time out, as in he was actually in it and I'm like, Dude yeah, your life sucks, man. But not enough to read fic.

Sharon as a person I quite liked, but then I liked her during the fall of SHIELD too.

Needs more Wanda. Maybe Carol can steal her for her movie.

Date: 2016-06-23 09:31 pm (UTC)
kore: (Black Widow - Red Room movie poster)
From: [personal profile] kore
Vision was one of the few things I really liked about AoU...and then I couldn't stand him in CW. Argh! Noooo!

I also really wanted Sharon and Nat to TALK. They both got off OK in this movie (except for That Kiss maybe, poor Sharon, she looked so not into it), altho I liked their roles in TWS a lot more.

Date: 2016-06-23 09:38 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore

I also wanted Sharon and Nat to talk! I REALLY wanted Nat and Wanda to talk -- again, if they'd been shown to be really on opposite sides, after building up a relationship, that would've been something. But no, we get this drippy faux romance with Vision and then Wanda's basically rescued by one of her daddy figures. SIGH. (Altho I did actually sort of like Clint in this movie, all five or six lines or whatever. They did sound to me like recognizable Clint, unlike most of AoU.)

Date: 2016-06-23 10:51 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I gather about 60% of Sharon's scenes were cut in favour of... Spider-man, probably.

GAH. I surprised myself by enjoying Spider-Man during the big fight scene (he was snarkily fun, at least) but he felt SO shoehorned in and extraneous to the movie. You know that thing where TV shows will do blatantly obvious backdoor pilots for spinoffs around the time they jump the shark? That is EXACTLY what his presence in this movie felt like.

Date: 2016-06-23 01:27 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore

I did like T'Challa, but mostly wanted more Wanda and Sam, and less... everyone else, especially everyone else being a stupid jerk.

Heh, you know my feelings on CW, so I will spare you, except yeah, I wanted a lot more T'Challa and Sam and I was pretty unhappy at what happened with Rhodey (especially his being a prop for Tony and all "What you did was right" at the very end. I know it was cast as His Decision, but I still really disliked it).

Date: 2016-06-23 08:02 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Rhodey's having a difficult year! It's like a toss up who the multiverse screwed over more, him or Peggy.


I thought Cheadle sold it (he always does), but I was also annoyed that it seemed to be in service of the -- not return to status quo at the end of the movie, certainly, but Setup For the Infinity Wars (the phone, the letter, etc.). It was like, here was the one character who'd really suffered a grave injury if we don't count Vision suddenly losing his personality and he was basically support for Tony. -- But anyway, POOR RHODEY is the main thing really.

Date: 2016-06-23 08:40 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Captain Marvel with glowing hands (Marvel Captain Marvel)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I probably would have been more upset about the "you were right" Tony support thing if it was a Tony movie so Rhodey was the only black hero in it. Still kind of rolled my eyes at it but by that time I had well and truly checked out of the plot, heh.

Poor Rhodey though. My investment in comics CW mk II went way up when I found out it was Carol vs Tony this time, but back down a good bit over Rhodey. Though I have to say the Captain Marvel cover of her crushing Tony's (empty) helmet is amusing me to no end.

Don't be dead, Rhodey!
Edited (typoez) Date: 2016-06-23 08:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-06-23 08:48 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
(I so promise I will not go on yet another Jag of Bitterness about That Movie here) Yeah, I felt Sam and Rhodey had much more....supporting roles, than in TWS or the IM movies. (I am also still the girl with a splinter of ice in her heart because all the Sam-Bucky goofing just left me cold, and it seemed like actor bleedthrough to the max.) At least my beautiful cat warrior prince T'Challa had his own plotline.

NOOOO RHODEY DON'T BE DEAD. He looks pretty dead tho:

Bonus Bendis:

"And then we came to the conclusion that by diversifying the line as much as [Marvel has], one of the traps would be to not put any of these characters in a situation that would be dangerous, right?"


Date: 2016-06-23 09:15 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah, it IS interesting how both of the black sidekicks ended up on the same side as their partners. They actually both stated better personal reasons than either Steve or Tony did, but STILL.

YEAH SERIOUSLY, I mean I expected more actual....conflict in that movie? But it felt like it mostly built off "He killed my mom" and that was about it. (And come on, writers, MCU Tony is a TOTAL daddy's boy.) If Sam had clashed with Steve, or Rhodey with Tony, now that would have been pretty devastating.

This from Bendis who killed of Jericho Drumm, the only Haitian hero, the year of the Haitian earthquake.

//face in hands

I read the comments (I KNOW, I KNOW) and people are going "Wow it was so awful of Homer to kill off Achilleus' gay friend to make him mad!" ARGH.

Bendis to me at this point is like Whedon, they both did some actual good work and made real strides but they are both so, so much less Super-Liberated than they (and their fans) think they are.

Date: 2016-06-23 09:33 pm (UTC)
kore: (BADLY WRITTEN - GalaxyQuest)
From: [personal profile] kore
Zemo's entire plan depended on everyone in Europe and the US being both stupid and a jerk

It was this total Rube Goldberg machine! If one little thing here or there had gone wrong, he would've been totally blocked. But then again this movie apparently wanted us to believe that he waltzed into the highest of high-security places without being required to do a retinal or fingerprint or even FACIAL RECOGNITION check, so. ("That could have happened offscreen! In fact clearly it did because he got through!" one person told me. God I am so tired of that kind of argument.) I mean, I cut my teeth on Claremont, I can go with out-there stories, just....WORK with me here, MCU.

Date: 2016-06-23 10:23 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
True Story: My Own Private Captain America apparently thought Zemo was ZOLA for a whole lot of the movie. "So when Zola...." "Zola?!" "Yeah, the guy in Siberia." "That was ZEMO!" "Oh. So who's Zemo?" "Uh, I think he was a Nazi. And he wore a purple....veil....thing."

(And then an Actual Comics Fan informed me later in only a slightly pained tone that O.G. Zemo was responsible for killing Bucky and freezing Steve. So it's a callback thing? idk. Daniel Brühl seemed kind of....bored for most of the movie.)

Date: 2016-06-23 11:25 pm (UTC)
kore: (Captain America - not a straight man)
From: [personal profile] kore
Zemo chained Steve to a wall and threatened to murder all the other Avengers, mwahahaha (Steve obligingly pretended to believe him, while he awaited rescue)

OMG, that's hilarious. Did Zemo's purple thing really get superglued to his face?

I'm looking at the Cap Sam book UM ELSEWHERE and omg, it's still Spencer.

- I love Sam
- I don't like Grumpy Old Man Steve WTF is this
- why is Maria Hill always written as such a bitch? It's like she's stereotyped into being Bad Mommy
- Kobik reality warping blahblah oh this is where Hydra Cap comes from I guess
- why is Steve still strong when he's old
- Misty is adorable
- Redwing is always popular, this is as it should be (I know people thought turning Redwing into a DRONE in the movie was cute, it just kinda made me wince) (esp since Wanda's fuckup was also clearly a callback to drone warfare)
- Misty telling Sam she is not his sidekick or secretary, OMG YES, also the art for her is really nice
- Steve "We Don't Get To Put Ourselves Above the Law" Rogers? WTF HE IS CLEARLY A SKRULL
- "Steve always thinks his country will do right" //facepalm (even if I do like the contrast between that and Sam, a black male superhero, saying he can only hope it will. But man, that's not Steve)

Date: 2016-06-24 12:01 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
"Finding Zemo," OMG

(also wow, nice colouring!)

Date: 2016-06-24 01:59 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I can see why it is your happy place! The writing's v fun, the artwork's clear and gorgeous, and it's just got this neat sort of sunlit feeling about it -- not sappy, it's just such a big change from the way the comics are (just finished reading the Sam Wilson Cap so far, 1-10) now, just, wow. I loved how meta it is, with them all watching a film about Cap (like we're reading a comic about Cap) and then Zemo Jr is trying to replicate Zemo Sr, not very well. The colours really pop, I imagine the actual hard copy's even better.

Also, Jews Without Money looks really interesting.

Date: 2016-06-24 02:02 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Misty really does have a pretty good role in the Sam Cap comics, except she kind of gets slotted into Love Interest anyway (SPOILER). But she's definitely not Just the Girlfriend.

Then I looked at the end of O.G. Civil War just out of curiosity and WAUUUGH Confession is as upsetting as it ever was. Man, just imagine if they had put that on the big screen with RDJ emoting away.

Date: 2016-06-23 08:52 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
OMG, the poor interviewer:

Then I was faced with the idea if I don’t go down this road with this story, that at this moment is telling itself, if I don’t do that, then isn’t it kind of the opposite of the right thing to do? Are we not now treating characters equally? Isn’t diversity about equality? If this was a white character, we wouldn’t think twice about it.


Bendis: In this instance. I’m not talking about all the incidents, which obviously, I have no control over. But this story, this character, this moment, it was thought about a great deal. I’m online. I’m available. I’m aware of the world. I have kids of color. I’m not looking you know what I mean?

No. I get it and I know that about, yeah.

Bendis: I just want you to know that a lot of thought went into it and, at the end of the day, the short answer is it’s bullshit not to kill the character only for that reason. I know not everyone reading this will agree. I’m with you on that. It wasn’t done sloppily or colorblind at all.

I appreciate that. So as a bit of a segue....

ACTUAL BENDIS QUOTE: "I’m not colorblind and please understand, I’m not whitesplaining or mansplaining." //facedesk

Date: 2016-06-23 09:21 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore

Someone else in the comments also suggested Parker v Stark. Or other possible combinations! But Bendis is all "ONLY Rhodey, ONLY Rhodey would do, it was purely plot motivated, but then whoopsie I realized it looked bad and Ta-Nehisi Coates said 'Do you really want to do this dude' and I felt bad would be WORSE of me NOT to kill Rhodey! I'm such an ally!" and it's just so much arrrrrrgh.

And then people are going "Rhodey had TWO titular titles!" (sic) Yeah, NOT THAT RECENTLY THO

Date: 2016-06-23 09:36 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I used to mostly just ignore them, but man, I dread events now. The solo books get all fucked up and then we typically get a reset button at the end anyway. SECRET WARS 2015, WTF WAS THAT.
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