Lurky McLurklurk (ionlylurkhere) wrote,
Lurky McLurklurk

Recently-imbibed cultural product brain dump: Bond and comics and Campaign

There are some major spoilers here.

Quantum of Solace New Bond movie, but I don't think I have seen anyone talking about it. It is OK. It does that noughties thing of making absolutely no concessions to people who didn't watch their DVD of the previous film the night before they went to the cinema (it's the filmic equivalent of writing comics for the trade, of which more anon), and it's very much continuing in the vein of trying to be all psychologically realistic and stuff. The Brosnan movies did this for like five minutes at a time, but normally not on purpose (let's do product placement for Smirnoff by making him look like an alcoholic! etc.). The biggest problem it had for me is a ridiculous differential in Bullet Deadliness Quotient between the good guys and the bad guys. For example, in that opening chase, Bond's car gets completely shot to pieces and he's fine, but he shoots just a couple of times and manages to kill them so that they drive off the road. This continues throughout the rest of the movie and does a lot of damage to the "realism" thing. I am not sure what I make of The Girl. She doesn't sleep with him (though he does seduce a fellow agent), which in some ways is a nice change but also makes me wonder if we're supposed to be OTPing him with Vesper, and Bond is someone who strikes me as about as OTPable as the Doctor (and I say this as a huge Diana Rigg fan, and thus predisposed to think he should be all about Tracy even now). Her revenge motivation seems terribly dull and obvious, but the ending works better for her than it does for Bond. Overall, the plot feels like a middle book of a trilogy, all setup and exposition, and the ending feels like an underwhelming case of dealing with a couple of Little Bads and working out some psychological trauma. I continue to like Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, and I'm sure the whole ongoing soft reboot of the franchise will work beautifully as a DVD marathon in ten years' time, but I paid to go into a cinema and see it and on that level I am not sure I got my money's worth.

Spike: After the Fall #4 I don't know what to make of this one; I think I was expecting it to be slightly more than "the story of how Spike got to where he was when we met him in A:AtF", but I'm not sure why. I was hoping for some sort of revelation -- not necessarily a twist but maybe more on what's going on in the hell dimension (I did like the thing about Connor's watch, and the Spike/Connor stuff at the end generally). londonkds said a while back that the IDW Angel comics feel like the series, and I tend to agree, but what I've realised is that by watching the series in big half-a-season-in-a-week chunks on the VHS box sets from Buffy S4/Angel S2 on, I was doing the equivalent of reading the trade then, and I am not used to Angel's big long complex arcs where everyone's at odds with each other playing out over long periods. The ones I rewatch are the ones where they're all relatively happy, or if not happy at least unhappy for external reasons rather than because of the mess they've made of their relationships with each other. The Pylea eps, for example, I watch an awful lot. In conclusion: I should dig out all my After the Fall comics and read them in one go.

Rage of the Red Lanterns Right. OK. There's a LOT going on here, and lots of development of the Rainbow Lanterns stuff. But it is a bit doing what I feared, and moving everything along very quickly, so that we've suddenly gone from one corps to two (with Sinestro) to OMG loads. It fits with the idea that something is happening with the emotional spectrum, but I would have liked it if more stuff had been happening outside the Guardians' notice earlier on (which is one reason I like the Star Sapphire side of it, because that's exactly what has been happening). As of the end of this, we've only got the Indigo Compassion Lanterns yet to appear anywhere. (We haven't seen any Agent Oranges yet, but the Controllers [the resemblance to the Watchers in Marvel is intentional, right? I get it's a legacy thing, but it is distracting if they're going to become significant] are clearly well on the way now. The greed theme seems more promising than I've been thinking.) Ah, who am I kidding? This was great, and I loved loads of it -- imprisoned poison-in-your-ears Sinestro continues to be fantastic, I liked Hal and Cowgirl vs Carol as people to talk to, and the appearance of Hope at the end was nice (crack fic idea: Blue Ring finds Obama volunteer). On the minus side, the Red Lanterns are gorier than seems strictly necessary to me, but I can live with it. And I am a bit annoyed that Unclear-of-motivation Scarred Guardian sent someone who wasn't Rot Lop Fan to the OMGIncrediblyDarkPlace because it kind of implies that Rot Lop Fan is not still kicking around as he would be the clear choice for that mission if he was, whereas the Lantern who does get sent is described as such. But maybe Rot Lop Fan is too clever to fall for Scarred Guardian's nonsense. Yeah, that's a satisfying bit of denial.

Nova #18 OK, so mostly I am going to talk about the twist at the end there. The Nova Centurions are such a rip off of the GLC, it's untrue. But I don't mind. I like my space cops. Surviving Centurions who've avoided Richard and Worldmind's notice for a while are a good twist but I hope they're used properly. The rest of the comic was good fun too, especially Worldmind snarking at the humans.

Campaign I am eight years late to the party with this one, but OMG this book is amazing. For those not in the know, it's a rejected One PDA from around the Cole/Richards switchover that was self-published by its author, Jim Mortimore (who is also responsible for the awesomest BF of all time, The Natural History of Fear), for charity. He recently did another edition, so I got one. It's also now online, thanks to the lovely New Zealand people. It's astonishingly good, though I don't think it would be everyone's cup of tea, and I can see why the BBC would fight shy of publishing it given the horrendous conservatism of PDA-reading fandom{*}, quite apart from the delivery issues which are detailed in length in the "extras". It's wonderfully batshit and hard to describe without being mega-spoilery, so be warned. You get a paragraph break, but that's it.

Basically, the Original TARDIS Crew get involved with Alexander the Great and seem to have destroyed the universe by accidentally changing history. The story is then them stuck in the TARDIS, as the only thing to have survived, while trying to wrok out what went wrong. But it's so much more than that. At almost every single chapter break, things change around so that we have a different alternate version of the TARDIS team. At first the changes are minor, but they quickly escalate. Once the Ian and Barbara of David Whitaker's Dalek novelisation have appeared all bets are off. There's multiple iterations of Susan, working off different early notes for the character (some of them brilliantly alien-teenager-ish). Then the names start changing -- Cliff and Lola remember being in the original pilot-version of Planet of Giants, and so on. And then we're off into the 17th century family from one of the annuals who fled into the TARDIS during the Great Fire of London, and John and Gillian and all sorts of other stuff. The Doctor stays fairly constant, but is also very distant.

There's some fantastic Ian (and his analogues)/Barbara (and her analogues) bits (there's one bit of them after being trapped in the TARDIS for a very long time which is tragic and heartbreaking and lovely all at once), though there's also some very disturbing stuff, including multiple character-iteration deaths. There's also massive amounts of textual trickery. It starts off relatively minor, with diary sections in handwriting fonts, goes weirder (there's a brilliant Great Fire bit that has the words in the shape of buildings on fire with smoke above them) and at the end goes completely insane, with multiple image-y bits leading into four pages of comics.

The ending generally seems to be glossed by people (including Mortimore himself in his copious notes) as "a copout, but not as bad a one as it might sound". I'd actually disagree: the book ends up revealing that they're all playing a "Better Than Life" style full-immersion VR game. But there's a bit in the middle where it seems to me that the universe has shrunk down to just the TARDIS, all its inhabitants dead, and the TARDIS somehow restarts the universe by putting all these iterations of its crew through their paces and the game is actually necessary to recreate the universe. They think it's a game once they've finished, but that's because once the universe is back it has to be. Or something. I'm going way off the deep end here, about a book that's already way off the deep end itself. But never mind. It's a great book; you should read it if you're at least vaguely familiar with all the weird versions of One's time that are involved and you can cope with nasty things happening to lovely Ian and Barbara. I haven't even mentioned the gorgeousness of some of the prose, particularly in the flashbacky sections.

{*} There is a part of me that is forever stuck in rad v trad debates that I didn't actually ever participate in. Sad, I know.

Spooks Is it just me or is everyone on the team damaged goods in some way or another now? It's getting beyond the point of "of course it is all v traumatic for them, spying is hard and we are better at portraying that than Bond" to "something is going to go seriously wrong because of their trauma and they should be on desk duty or pensioned off or something". Judging by that episode, it was very lucky it wasn't raining while Al Qaida were carrying out their bomb plot or Lucas would have started flashbacking and lost Ben and his mate. I am very worried that the man Harry shouldn't be trusting is going to contrive to bring them all down and stuff. 'Cos he can already prove that Harry has snuck documents off the Grid. I love Spooks, but it puts you through the wringer on a regular basis.
Tags: bond james bond, comics, doctor who, rainbow lanterns

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