4thofeleven: (Default)
So, Rush Limbaugh believes the Batman villain Bane – created in 1993 - is a reference to Mitt Romney’s job at Bain Capital.

I can only say that this is really all Romney’s fault for choosing to work for a company that sounds like a comic book supervillain already. I mean, come on, ‘CEO of Bain Capital’? That’s some sub-Captain Planet wordplay. Were the names ‘Malice Industries’ or ‘Nemesis Finance’ already taken?
4thofeleven: (Default)
So here’s an interesting thing: the new DC comics reboot of Wonder Woman has made some… changes to the Amazons. Normally an idealistic utopia of immortals focused to a greater or lesser degree on consensual bondage, the Amazons now...

…go to sea every once in a while to force men to procreate with them. When they are done with the unsuspecting sailors, they murder them and dump their bodies overboard. Nine months later, some have daughters and are very happy while the rest give up their sons to be sold into slavery…(link)

So, yeah, bit of a change in theme there.


What’s interesting is that this is, apparently, part of a storyline that tries to bring the elements of Greek mythology that have always vaguely been in the background of the comic back to the forefront. Except.

Well, except that’s not how the Amazons reproduced in mythology. In Greek mythology, traditionally the Amazons had a deal worked out with an all-male tribe, the Gargareans. Every year or so, they met up, had lots of sex, and any male children from the last year would be turned over to their fathers to be raised by them. That’s it. No murder, no rape, nothing like that at all.

I find it faintly astonishing that the ancient Greeks – the ancient Greeks – could conceive of an all-female society existing that wasn’t determined to go out and kill all the menz, but that a twenty-first century western comic writer apparently can’t.
4thofeleven: (Default)
I was sorting through my bookshelves and I found my battered old copy of Dark Empire. It’s practically falling apart; the binding’s completely gone. I used to read it all the time as a kid – even then I realised that it wasn’t actually that good, but damnit, it’s a Star Wars comic book – with big battle scenes and world devastators and Dark Side Luke! Clearly, if I just re-read it enough, it would become as awesome as it ought to be!

Reading it today, I can’t help but wonder if Dark Empire shouldn’t have been placed in its own continuity, separate from the novels. According to the dedication page, the story was first conceived in 1988 – before Heir to the Empire. It seems to have ended up rather ham-fistedly jammed into a spare slot in the Bantam continuity with very little effort to make it fit properly; a lot of the story makes far more sense if you assume it takes place very shortly after Return of the Jedi. There’s no indication within the story that the Alliance has ever held Coruscant or been the recognised government of the galaxy; the rebels are still hiding in isolated secret bases. Mara Jade is conspicuously absent. The novels don’t really help tie things back together either; The Jedi Academy trilogy makes only the most token effort to mention that only a few months before the Empire had reoccupied Coruscant and the Alliance was on the verge of total destruction…

The real problem with Dark Empire, of course, is that it has a lot of big events, but seems curiously unwilling to actually do anything with them. So Luke turns to the Dark Side… off panel. And then basically stands around behind the Emperor doing very little. I’m going to give Veitch credit here – Luke says that “I had to know my father… I had to know why he chose the dark side.”, and that’s probably as close to a plausible motivation as you can get for having Luke think it’s a good idea to study the ways of the Dark Side under Palpatine – it does kind of make sense that once he found out Palpatine was alive, Luke would want to try and learn something about his father from one of the few people who knew him well, especially if he could convince himself he was just staying with Palpatine to undermine the Empire from within… there’s a good story there. Except we don’t get to see it; we see Luke agree to work with the Emperor – and then cut to an unrelated storyline! We see Luke try to destroy the Emperor’s clones, only to end up with the reborn Emperor standing over him, a lightsaber at his throat, telling him that the Dark Side will break him – and then cut to an unrelated storyline! Seriously, if you’re going to tackle a story as big as the Emperor’s resurrection and Luke’s fall to the dark side, tackle it! Don’t get distracted by Boba Fett!

Boba Fett’s return ended up being one of the few events that ended up having a larger impact on the EU. In this story, Fett managed to ineffectually pursue Han for a few pages, then ends up nearly destroying his ship when he tries to fly through Byss’s security shields, while his co-pilot calls him an idiot. So, well in line with his characterisation in the movies.

I have to say, I do like the World Devastators. They strike me as the sort of thing the Empire would build; they’re running low on resources, but they’re sure as hell not going to stop building superweapons! No, they’ll compromise; they’ll build more efficient superweapons! Plus, the World Devastators are one of the few times when Qwi Xux’s naivety seems plausible – they really would make great mining tools! Lando should have ended up buying their remains for his next project…

In general, the art is pretty terrible; if I didn’t know better, I’d have assumed the comic was originally published in black and white; there are entire pages which are ‘coloured’ entirely in shades of green. As a result, Han appears to be blond for much for the story. The artist seems to have a real problem with faces; Han, Luke, and Mon Mothma (!) are all barely distinguishable. Leia spends a decent chunk of the story in what appears to be a baseball cap and really baggy pants, for no discernable reason. I do like the two-page spread of the battle raging on Coruscant, with Imperial factions battling each other. The TIE-style tank is a neat design… Not sure why the artist felt the need to have a bunch of Ewoks as part of the stranded Rebel crew, though. I mean, I kinda like the idea that Ewoks quickly became full participants in the New Republic army and navy after the Battle of Endor, but it’s still a kind of surreal detail…

The copy I have comes with an introduction by Kevin J. Anderson, in which his mostly talks about how Dark Empire fits in seamlessly with the upcoming Bantam Star Wars novels (The Courtship of Princess Leia! The Truce at Bakura! The Jedi Academy Trilogy! Whee!), and about the trouble he had replotting his own novels to take into account the events of Dark Empire. Specifically, he mentions that he and Veitch had planned their stories with different assumptions of how many children Leia had… I’m going to assume then that it was Veitch’s idea that Leia had had another kid after the twins, since her pregnancy is a fairly major plot point in Dark Empire, while Anakin is largely irrelevant in Jedi Academy – but then, practically everything ended up being largely irrelevant there, yes?

Anderson also mentions while discussing then-upcoming books that “Kenneth C. Flynt brings Luke back to Tatooine in search of an artefact that once belonged to Obi-Wan”. Anyone know what happened to that novel? “Kenneth Flynt” doesn’t seem to have any published novels when I searched for him on Amazon; I’m going to assume that Bantam ended up deciding against letting an unpublished author write a Star Wars novel…

In the end, Dark Empire isn’t that bad – but it’s also not worth tracking down if you haven’t read it. I’m glad I do have a copy, but mainly because otherwise my twelve-year old self would have been totally baffled by the occasional references to Luke turning to the dark side and a reborn Emperor in the Bantam novels… *grin*
4thofeleven: (Default)
The Marvel comic adaptation of Star Wars was, for the most part, a fairly accurate adaptation of the film's story and visuals. The artists ocassionally added their own... creative touches, which ocassionally subtly alter the feel of certain scenes. For example:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Yes, that's right - that's Darth Vader choking Admiral Motti for his lack of faith... while holding a coffee cup.

Note that in the first panel, he's levitating it into his hand!

Man, why wasn't that detail in the movie?

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