After Earth Review

THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE.

With that out of the way, I'd like to warn you that I'm going to openly spoil the film (not that you can spoil something that's already rotten) and encourage you to not see it, and tell all of your friends how bad I said it was, so that they don't see it either.

This includes Netflixing it, Redboxing it, purchasing a DVD, pirating it, watching it online... etc. It's not a price thing. It's a time thing. Watching this film will do nothing but consume hours of your life and leave you hating the world (not in a gritty, soulful way that makes you feel important – but a way that makes you go “mother of Christ why did this movie have to be so horrible?”).

This movie also proves that M. Night Shyamalan's bad reputation does not soil the movies he does – it is in place with excellent reason. Going in to see this, I couldn't see past the Will Smith name, and had no clue that the dark mind truly behind this pile of filth was that of Mr. Shyamalan.

Now, there is a lot that is wrong with After Earth. Pretty much everything. I'm gonna try to glaze over the boring bits (of which there are many) and just flat-out bitch about the movie's highlights.

Jayden Smith: I hate this little bastard. He is utterly without worth as an actor – while I can go on a rant about how Will Smith seems to be violently thrusting his talentless spawn into every movie he can find, that is a topic for another day. The point of this is to say that, considering that he is the movie's star, he is a terrible actor with a stupid-sounding voice. His performance is utterly flat (a Shyamalan trademark I can't really fault him for), and then when he does finally get the umph to actually give acting a shot, he over-emotes with big fat crocodile tears and wild gesticulations. Will Smith's performance is... well, again, flat, but I blame Shyamalan for that, since Willy has shown that he's capable, even if his choices in films can be... questionable.

Adapted to Destroy Humans: The premise of the entire film is that mankind left Earth several thousand years ago (and don't even have cool phones, so much for technological development) – during the time we were gone, all of Earth has adapted to kill humans.

There are not one, but two problems with this.

1. Why?: We've been gone. We didn't destroy the Earth and then leave, Earth seemed pretty much fine when we left. So, why, after we've been gone for thousands of years, did everything on Earth specifically adapt to be lethal to humans? Why did they wait until we left if it was so important the entire planet had to adapt? You're a few thousand years behind, Earth. You should have started adapting to kill us several thousand years earlier if you actually wanted to accomplish anything. Now all of your millenia of specific adaptations seems silly and is really no more than a nuisance. Which brings me to my second issue with this.

2. It's All Crap: Beyond the brief exposition regarding Earth adapting to destroy all of mankind, it really doesn't show. They could have just as easily said “Earth has regressed to its natural progression and has evolved accordingly” and it would have made just as much, if not more, sense. Throughout the course of the movie (besides our lungs no longer being adapted to the atmosphere, which would have happened anyway), we get to see:

  • Totally normal baboons acting the way totally normal baboons should act.

  • A totally normal large condor-like bird, acting slightly more nurturing and peaceful than a totally normal large condor-like bird should act.

  • Totally normal large, unpleasant lions, acting exactly the way totally normal large, unpleasant lions should act (except that they can apparently scale mountains).

  • An evil slug that can kill you within minutes, apparently. More on this later.

And, ah, yeah. That's about it. I mean, there's also a giant horrible alien, but that's specifically not a native of Earth, and therefore does not count.

Also it gets really cold at night, which also effects all of the plants and animals and is in no way a strictly-human environmental hazard. So, yeah. None of this, in any way, equates to or even mildly suggests/hints that the planet has adapted to kill humans. Just seems more like we left and Earth got on with life.

Tired, Transparent Story: The film is loaded with foreseeable cliches. From the salute scene (and its end-of-the-film counterpart, which could have been heartfelt but was instead hamstrung by awkward writing), from the entire “no fear” premise, to the aliens, to the personal, familial conflict (“Blah blah blah, my sister was killed by aliens and you blamed me for it.”), to the magical telepathy.

Wait, magical telepathy?

The answer to that, my friend, is a loud, resounding, echoing, “...Maybe?” After his brat's radio breaks, Will Smith (or rather, Fatherfigure McBadassname) stares at the screen and gives orders to his son anyway, who proceeds to, within seconds, perform exactly as he had just been commanded without responding. Whether or not he came up with these ideas on his own (possible, since most of them are really stupid, along the lines of “I'll just head over to that active volcano, that will work and definitely not kill me”), or whether Fatherfigure McBadassname was able to somehow, without explanation, telepathically communicate with him, is left up to interpretation. I like to go with the latter option, since it further justifies how utterly, terribly written this pile of refuse is.

The Aliens: The aliens (which are called “ursas” – yay for originality, ursa means “bear”) can smell/sense fear, and that's how they hunt.

That already doesn't make sense, since in order for something to excrete fear pheromones at all, they have to already know something's after them. So what, do they wander out into the open and wait for people to be afraid of the awkwardly stumbling monsters that don't really seem to be much of a threat at all? I don't feel like they would have progressed that far along their evolutionary path if they couldn't hunt anything that wasn't already afraid.

However, that's the tip of the iceberg.

If you stop being afraid, the aliens (I'm just gonna call them aliens, since I refuse to call them ursas and they're the only aliens in the movie anyway) forget you exist. Sort of. Maybe. In the sense that they can have a direct physical hold on you and drop you once you “disappear”, but will then continue to look for you, really actively.

So, what is it? Do they forget where you are once they can't see you, but immediately remember that they were looking for something? When the little Smith kid falls down and “ghosts” for the first time, the alien goes berserk, smashing everything in the (very small) area except for the kid. He obviously knows he's looking for something, but can't just, y'know, find him? Using, I don't know, maybe, his hands? In Fatherfigure McBadassname's backstory, he “ghosts” while the alien is actively drowning him, and the alien immediately lets go and bolts. Rather than just continuing to drown him. Which would have made for a much better movie.

Gloves Would Have Totally Altered The Entire Storyline. Gloves.: Li'l Jayden Smith has a magical enviro-suit that can do anything!

As long as “anything” involves “changing colors”.

Or “not coming with gloves”.

In fact, it is the absence of gloves on this full bodysuit that results in the entire plotline unfolding (not that anyone in the film mentions it). The aforementioned evil, lethal slug manages to (impressively, as it appears to be quite immobile) attach to the kid's hand (the only part of his body, besides his face, that is exposed) and immediately inject him with a toxin that threatens to kill him within about, oh, three-to-four minutes. Industrious little fella. I wish the movie had just been about the slug, since he is obviously the baddest-ass in the film.

So, anyway, before he gets the (very convenient) antidote that works perfectly, he falls down, smashing his doses of magic gel that lets him breathe without dying. Because it smashes his magic gel doses, he no longer has the time it will take to get from Point A to Point B (cutting it close, don't you think? He gets just enough?), and has to do a crazy flying squirrel routine that leads to him being kidnapped by a bird and a bunch of other boring, poorly-planned crap. Too bad he didn't have gloves on his enviro-suit... then, y'know, none of that would have happened. He would have just made it all the way.

Now, I have no problem with adding conflict to a story to make it more interesting. But make the conflict work within the parameters of the story. These highly-advanced, smartphone-less civilizations would never have created environment suits that could change color but didn't feature gloves as a part of the design.

All in all, After Earth is...

  • Badly acted.

  • Badly written.

  • Terribly directed.

  • And has the consistency and exposition skills of fan-fiction. Not good fan-fiction either.

Boycott this movie and mock it openly wherever you go. Tell your friends you got your information from the least reliable source – yours truly.

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For more reviews and articles that aren't comic-related, take a quick gander at my official blog, Chronicles of a Stoic Maniac.

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Caught On Film: Superman's Rogues

"Superman doesn't have any good villains!"

"A hero is only as good as their villains!"

"Why do all of Superman's villains suck?"

I get around. I hear stuff. And a lot of what I hear has some basis in truth. The sad fact is that certain mediums are just more... important than others. Superman's rogues gallery has gotten pretty big over the near-century he's existed, but only a fraction of his enemies have escaped the pages of comics.

Now, obviously, I am a big fan of comics, and I know a good few of these villains. What they're capable of, how they challenge Clark Kent, and why they are better, or at least equal, villains compared to... certain others.

But I digress, slightly. The point I'm trying to make is that, while Superman himself has had a great amount of films -- both live action and animated -- his rogues gallery has barely been dipped into. The Man of Steel has had more feature-length brawls with Batman than, say, Bizarro. Hell, he has had rumbles with characters who are not even his rogues gallery at all; for instance, Black Adam, or The Elite.

So, the purpose of this to put a bit of a spotlight on a few of Kal-El's foes that have not been in a feature-length film, live action or otherwise. The underdogs who, despite being awesome foes in the comics, have had little to no attention in any other medium.

1. LOBO

WHO?: At this rate, Lobo will get a movie of his own before he shows up as a Superman nemesis. He was skyrocketed into popularity when the baleful 1990's rolled around, to the surprise of absolutely nobody -- while Lobo started out as a Superman villain, he was a parody of Marvel's 'gritty' heroes, specifically Wolverine and the Punisher. Lobo used chains and hooks and guns, rode a motorcycle, smoked cigars, wore black leather, and had a cool Hulk Hogan mustache... so in the gloomy mindset of the 90's youth, obviously, nothing could be cooler.

Problem with Lobo is that he got... sorta too popular as time went on. He completely shed his status as a Superman rogue and, outside of the odd Action Comics appearance and his single episode spotlight during Superman: TAS, has pretty much left his days of battling the Man of Steel behind him. He had his own solo series for pretty much the entirety of the 90's, and nowadays he's even a part of Stormwatch (which seems a bit weird to me but hey, I haven't been reading the title).

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie Lobo could fill a lot of roles, though this film would likely have no choice to be a bit more light-hearted and comedic than some others. Lobo's funny at his core, and to quash that would make it more worthwhile to simply use another character.

However, not only is he a great source of humor, he's a great source of action. He's one of Supey's most powerful physical threats, and since he is nearly completely immortal this would lead to endlessly amazing brawls. Volleys of fully-automatic alien ammunition bouncing off of Clark's chest, gigantic planetary attacks that would seem devastating, but eventually leave their recipient striding (or riding) back out through the dust. The kind of brawls that these two could have in a film would be absolutely amazing and, done right, would leave audiences salivating.

Another thing Lobo brings to the table is SPACE. Superman is an alien, a space-hero, so why is he always grounded on Earth in his films? Even animated movies where new landscapes could be drawn just as easily as normal ones, he stays in Metropolis. And sure, that's his home city, and his humanity is a large theme of his core character. But honestly, besides the occasional glance at Krypton, why can't he get into some trouble on another planet? Lobo brings new planets as a necessity. Even if Czarnia is not used (and it shouldn't be, unless they are doing a lot of character-meddling), Lobo is an intergalactic bounty hunter. He has a motorcycle that is specifically designed for interstellar travel. A movie starring him will not be able to get away with staying in Metropolis, and it will benefit from it in a big way.

As I said though, this is wishful thinking. While Lobo very well may end up getting a movie of some sort, the chances of him starring as the lead villain in a Superman movie are approximately 0.15%... increased to 17.3% if you count animated films.

CASTING: I've already heard a few rumors milling around concerning Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being considered for the part, but I have absolutely no clue what may end up coming from that. Technically, I still feel like Dwayne would be better suited to play Black Adam – but I can't really think of anyone for Lobo right now, so I'll leave it at that.

2. MR. MXYZPTLK

WHO?: This one, I'm... well, not too sure about. He's goofy and awkward in his way, but there's no denying that he is an iconic enemy, especially among the older readership. Big in the Silver Age, Mr. Mxpshkdjfhak is a borderline-omnipotent, reality-warping, Fifth Dimensional Imp.

Oddly, considering how wacky and absurd the character seems in his futuristic orange jumpsuit and purple bowler hat, he is remarkably straightforward when you think about it. He's a trickster who comes in and wreaks havoc, which obviously only Superman can stop by tricking Mxy into saying his own name backwards (which is drastically less challenging than one may think). This sends the goofy little gnome back to his own world and prevents him from returning until, y'know, the next time he returns.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A FILM?: While an appearance from Mr. Mxyzpaodjlajdhkkll in a film would surely excite a lot of more oldschool fans, it would likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of newer readers who are expecting something more cerebral or action-packed. The only action that Mxy could bring about would likely be environmental, similar to what went on in Superman Returns – Supes would have to use his great power to repair constructs and rescue people before eventually using his amazing wits to trick the Fifth Dimensional Imp. This set-up would make for what would inevitably end up a flop, even in an animated film.

However, it isn't totally unheard of to see... um, 'revamps' done with certain characters. Turning Mxy into a more malicious creature who is more interested in doing evil than causing mischief may turn him into a more plausible villain, but at this point the essence of the character will be lost, and he may as well be replaced with a more popular and likable rogue. Sadly, I have to count this off as another loss as far as films go – Mr. Mxyzptlk (hey I got it right that time) may still be a lovable and popular rogue within the pages of Superman's comics, but his chances of getting into anything other than a low-budget animated film are all but nonexistent. He's simply too... silly, to use for a long and serious story arc that doesn't at least include another, more maliciously-minded supervillain.

CASTING: Wallace Shawn. Obviously.

3. MONGUL

WHO?: For The Man Who Has Everything.

Any comic reader who has even a cursory interest in Superman knows about it... Red Son, Kingdom Come, For The Man Who Has Everything – it's a huge story, written by Alan Moore.

Now, since it was written by Alan Moore, it wasn't entirely action-packed. It was steeped in emotion and the human condition and stuff like that, it was a deep look into the darker psychology of the Man of Steel, a story about loss and despair and hope and grief.

But a lot of people forget who was behind this story, for it starred a character besides Superman: it starred Mongul as the chief villain. Mongul hasn't been a huge threat to Superman since Crisis but then again, neither have a lot of people – it doesn't mean Mongul couldn't be used to great effect in a motion picture.

Now, a problem may be that Mongul Jr., the spawn of the original Mongul, has been tied deeply into the Green Lantern mythos for a while now, and that it is probably more likely that he'll end up there than in a Superman movie. Still, despite Junior being a star member of the Sinestro Corps, Daddy was an enemy of Kal-El, and boy did he lay a pounding on that poor little kryptonian farmboy.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Mongul, in his hey-day, was basically a more personal, less KNEEEEEEL-y version of Darkseid; he was big, he was beefy, he was yellow and the power of his punches alone were enough to make the Man of Steel feel pain.

He was also, however, an intellectual threat, which makes him an even more viable villain for a motion picture or other feature-length story. Mongul was a thinker, a planner, a warlord, and even on top of his great intellect and great strength he had another tool: Black Mercy.

This creates a full trifecta of villainy. Between Mongul's plotting and scheming, his ability to bring Superman to his knees, and his use of the alien Black Mercy plants to add a deep, painful, personal element to the conflict, he is very nearly ideal. Sprawling, city-destroying action, battles of wits (which can also show some of Superman's rarely-glimpsed intellect) and intense, aching storytelling makes for an obvious choice in a movie.

CASTING: Aw man. I'm bad at casting big guys like this. I don't want to range into pro wrestlers because it seems like a chump's way out, and there are just only so many gigantic lugs I know who are also decent actors. So I'll let the casting directors figure this one out, it is their job, after all.

4. BRAINIAC

WHO?: Brainiac is about as oldschool as it gets. In fact, when your neighbor asks if you need the kid down the street to fix your hard drive, and you say “Who, Mikey, that brainiac? He has pimples!” the word you are using (brainiac, not pimples or Mikey) is actually derived from this character... not the other way around.

Now, Brainiac has had... well, quite a few different origin stories, so I don't really feel like getting into all of those right now. The bottom line, however, is that he is a technological, artificial, robotic monster who can outclass Supes intellectually as well as take a good fight to him physically. He brings a lot to the table as a comic character and has shown up frequently – even far into the future, descendants of the same robotic intelligence are still alive (sometimes literally) and kicking.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie, Brainiac is another omni-villain, for several reasons. Given that he has multiple backstories and none of them are all that sturdy, a new canon can be created and nobody's really going to blink, since most people have already forgotten what his last origin story was. This will allow the filmmakers to take as many liberties as they feel is necessary with the character, which should lead to incredible success.

He's Tough: It wouldn't take any effort to make Brainiac an extreme physical threat. Whether he goes full-robot like in JLU, with tentacles and rockets and drones and whatnot, or whether he is merely an enormous, suited, artificial alien who can lay an old-school pounding to the man of steel, he will be scary and impressive.

He's Smart: Very smart, in fact, considering that he collects technology from pretty much everywhere and has a high-level synthetic intellect. If Clark's brains come into play in the film, they will be severely challenged by an enemy like Brainiac.

A Deeper Glance at Krypton: In most incarnations (and almost assuredly in a movie) Brainiac is based on kryptonian technology and culture. So, in a movie like the recent Man of Steel where they want to look more closely at Krypton than Metropolis, Brainiac is a perfect tool to expose more about the alien planet.

CASTING: Considering the fact that Brainiac is artificial, you could easily get away with a lot of CGI. The perfect excuse to get away with utilizing his quintessential voice actor... Corey Burton.

5. BIZARRO

WHO?: Who? WHO?! How could you even ask me a question like that?!

Bizarro is freaking BIZARRO. He is like, the Superman villain behind Luthor and Darkseid, a dark mirror of Kal-El, his opposite in every single way. Flame breath, freeze vision, all of that good stuff. Backwards talk. Yadda yadda yadda. You all know Bizarro, and if you don't, I need you to force your head through your computer screen and out mine so that I can give you the slapping you so obviously need.

Bizarro is disregarded by many, due to a series of very... well, terrible appearances. Like Aquaman and the Wonder Twins, Bizarro was ridiculously bad in the Justice Friends, and continued to have very mixed appearances. While he has been fun at times, such as in the Harley Quinn solo series and the Emperor Joker event, he has more often than not been the Rodney Dangerfield of supervillains – he gets no respect.

Despite the fact that he threw Solomon Grundy into the sun.

WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Potentially, everything. There isn't much more gripping in a comic book film than a sympathetic villain, and Bizarro has the potential to literally be the most sympathetic villain in history. Most people don't get this, don't see the potential, but one man has.

Paul Dini.

During Superman: The Animated Series, Bizarro made a few appearances. During these appearances he was destructive, chaotic, dangerous, and terrifying in his own way, attempting to destroy all of Metropolis and coming closer than anyone else had yet. But that wasn't what made him riveting... what made him a great character was that he believed he was doing the right thing. He thinks he's the hero and Superman is the villain, he believes that every outright damaged thing he does is actually what he should be doing to make the world a better place. A decent filmmaker can take this aspect and use it in a film, make you feel agonizingly sorry for the Thing of Steel as he goes about crushing the world before him – possibly trying to create a new Krypton, as he did in TAS, or some other reason (maybe to capture Lois, or to kill the “villain” Superman).

In addition to the fact that he can be sympathetic, a well-done Bizarro can be strangely “alien”. Whether by use of his backwards-talk or simply the way he acts, or perhaps the way his powers work, he will seem like a hulking, unusual, destructive mirror of the film's hero. He can also be hilarious and will assuredly be a great source of the film's humor (while not being sad or terrifying) – and then there's the action.

Flame breath vs. Ice breath, Freeze vision vs. Heat vision, equal-power beatdowns, destruction of cities and countrysides. Superman, here, can truly fight a foe who is his equal in every way, a monster who can use his powers in every awesome way we never get to see from Supes himself. He can throw people/things into the sun, lift buildings and whack Supes with them, punch things into the Earth's core, and all of that fun stuff.

CASTING: Whew boy, I dunno. Do we want him to look just like Supes? The idea of having the same actor play both the villain and the hero is kind of insane. I suppose it may be better to just go with a heavily-made-up beefcake in a gloomy, purplish Superman suit and make it look like he could be Superman if his face were a little different. That works, I suppose. Though I still don't know who we'd cast him as with Henry Cavill off the table. As I said, I'm bad at casting big guys.

6. HONORABLE MENTION – THE JOKER

WHO?: What?! Why the hell is Joker on this list? Joker is a Batman villain, not a Superman villain! He doesn't belong on this list! He'll never be in a Superman movie!”

No, he won't. Not unless Hell freezes over (or we get an awesome animated film – that's possible).

“Plus, he has already been in movies! He doesn't fit the point of this list!”

He's been in movies – lots of them – but he hasn't been in any Superman movies. Nice loophole huh?

Anyway, I wasn't sure who else to add to this list, and I needed someone with a purple banner, and, well... it hit me. Despite the fact that the Man of Steel and the Clown Prince of Crime rarely collide, when they do... things are devastating. Joker has proven multiple times (though usually in non-canon scenarios, sadly) that he can be more than a match for Superman.

Examples:

Emperor Joker: Hey, this one actually is canon! Joker steals Mr. Mxyzptlk's powers (or, at least, 99% of them) and proceeds to unmake reality. It is up to Superman to stop him, and honestly, he really never does. If it wasn't for Joker's own psychosis and need to have Batman, he would have unmade reality, and there was nothing the Big Blue Boyscout could have done about it.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: This is the most plausible scenario, and it's one I love. Joker uses a deadly combo of green kryptonite, Scarecrow's fear gas (murdering Scarecrow to get it), and a lead-lined Submarine, relying on the rest of the Justice League to speed things along and staying twelve steps ahead the entire time. When all is said and done, Lois Lane (and her unborn child) are both dead, killed by Clark's own hand. Things go downhill from there. There is no reason that Joker couldn't actually pull of something like that in a canon comic (or animated movie). Speaking of animated movies....

Superman/Batman: World's Finest: Written by Paul Dini and taking place in the DCAU, this one is pretty straightforward. Joker screws over Lex, and shows that he is a plenty sturdy threat to Superman, again in ways that are totally reasonable in a normal comic.

Justice League: Wild Cards: Another DCAU entry, in this one Joker takes on the entire Justice League. It isn't quite as much fun, or quite as believable as some of the other examples listed here, but it is another showing that, when he sets his mind to it, Joker is an immensely deadly threat to Superman. Without something truly world-breaking such as the death of Lois Lane, Superman is also going to keep on being a boyscout... and Joker is going to stay alive, keep breaking out of his sandbox, and keep coming back to play.

Now, I love Joker as a Batman villain, honestly. I just think it's time he cracked his knuckles and set to work on something he can have a bit more success with.

WHAT CAN HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: He can't. He will never be in a real Superman movie. This last entry is 100% wishful thinking.

CASTING: I'd like to see Troy Baker give it a shot. We already know that he can do the voice, and deliver the performance... but the creepy thing is that he also rather looks the part, doesn't he?

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So, honestly, who needs Luthor anyway?

Credit for my lovely banners goes to @nico4ever.

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Twin Faces of JoyaTazz: (Un)Necessary Dialogue Challenges

@joygirl and @razzatazz join forces in an article/debate regarding dialogue challenges in comics that may or may not be worth it.

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RazzaTazz:

"In terms of writing style the story is absolutely the most important thing. In my experience of talking to other writers, it is not the characters that they have trouble with, nor the setting. Those things come easy, it is usually that the story cannot be resolved in a way to provide a proper amount of inspiration to keep writing. In the terms of a character like Etrigan, where the rhyming is part of the story, this can serve as a hindrance in terms of story development. If the writer has to focus on how to work dialogue into a story while at the same time trying to develop the story, it is an unnecessary encumbrance to the overall development. So many times when I have been writing the choice of words at a key juncture has to be both realistic and powerful. If the framework of a different form of dialogue has to be worked into the story in addition to other developments it can add unnecessary complexity which might drive the story too far into the absurd. As an extension of the premise, imagine if characters instead of having to speak in rhyme had to speak in haiku or some other more advanced form of poetry. The end result would not justify the means and the writer's effort might be wasted as well as the character's development might be stunted."

Joygirl:

"Quite true. In the case of rhyming characters like Etrigan the Demon (or even Thor, who has to speak in ye-olde-butchered-norseish), it's a complete layer added to the difficulty of storytelling. However, I can think of a few reasons why it works.

1. As I've mentioned a few times before, sometimes when you're writing a character you aren't deeply familiar with, you can "fake it" by utilizing a gimmick. Using a character like Etrigan, you don't even have to have too solid a grasp on his actual character -- if you can consistently write in a sinister rhyme, the majority of readers won't know the difference.

2. While the challenge is blatantly apparent, the stakes are raised, and a lesser writer may stumble against the added difficulty, the reward can also be greater. You mentioned needing to have strong, punchy dialogue in dire moments, and that's a very serious concern. But imagine if you could still have that same kind of strong dialogue... but you also manage to make it rhyme, or fit whatever other gimmick the character you're working with uses. I get chills when I read stuff like that."

RazzaTazz:

"While the format might indeed challenge certain writers to raise the quality of their work and the same time it does not mean that it is a worthy extension of their craft. For whatever the writer may feel like writing, or for whatever their inspiration might be, the use of rhyming is likely not meant to be their main focus, and therefore it would have two effects. The end result will be affected by how the reader grasps it, and the creative process will be clouded by the need to adhere to the format. In my own writings I once had the characters interact over their favourite song lyrics, which I ended up writing. The process of writing the lyrics was not a normal one for me, the words could not easily flow out, instead I had to carefully consider what it was that I wanted the song to say and how to say it. If the same process needs to be repeated over and over in a fictional work, it is going to make a huge distraction for the writer.

Additionally I will point out that Etrigan and Thor are both fantasy based characters, which seems to be another limitation of the gimmick. There are never rhyming robots...."

Joygirl:

"No rhyming robots, no, but speech patterns are in no way restricted to fantasy characters. Consider, for instance, Bizarro. Bizarro has to use Bizarro-speak, which in itself is an enormous challenge that no writer can get completely right no matter how hard they try. You can only reverse things so much before they become incomprehensible.

However, some writers can make this work, such as the fellow who did Bizarro's origin story in the Countdown event (note that I'm not endorsing Countdown! It's still horrible! I only read it for the Harley bits!). That fella (wish I could remember his name, forgot to check) managed to make it work, by telling the story backwards and using just the correct amount of "bizarroization". You understood exactly what was supposed to be said, while still getting the perfect feel for it. And I was grinning like a maniac all the way through -- that effect would have been completely abandoned if Bizarro-speak hadn't been a part of the character. It would have just been any old mini-origin all over again -- boring, trite, and barely-informational."

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What are your thoughts on this possible writing handicap? Is it a hindrance, or merely a new possible reward? Post your ideas in the comments!

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Livewire Rising

Over the past few years I've been noticing a certain character showing up from time to time in comics, usually without any reason, or even a plotline of any sort of importance. She shows up, says a few quick lines, gets absolutely annihilated by whoever she's up against (regardless of whoever she's up against), and is then forgotten about completely.

Now, this happens from time to time with different characters. It's called “jobbing” by most and it's something that tends to be universally disliked and mocked. This phenomenon is most pronounced when the jobbing character is someone with no business being defeated by anyone at all.

This is about one of these characters, a Superman villain by the name of Livewire. It's about time someone spoke out for her.

Livewire is a tough nut to crack. She's one of those characters that gained enough popularity to jump ship from cartoons to comics (like the characters Harley Quinn and Firestar), even though it took her almost a decade to do so. However, during her time within the DC universe, she's fluctuated so wildly that it's difficult to tell whether or not we're even seeing the same character at all.

Leslie Willis, better known as Livewire, hit the scene on Superman: The Animated Series in 1997. She was a legitimate (and serious) threat to the Man of Steel, and while he obviously managed to use her single glaring weakness (water) against her by the end of the episode, she got an encore not long later, teaming up with Parasite and showing once again that not only was she powerful, she was cunning, ruthless, and just downright nasty. Even as a normal human, Leslie was a viciously sharp-tongued “shock jock”, a radio personality who thrived on slander so wicked it bordered on illegal. Now, in the cartoon, Livewire develops her powers after an encounter with a lighting storm that used Superman as a conductor to give Leslie some kind of vaguely-defined electrical abilities (if only Lex Luthor – already a big fan of her show – had found out about this! I have a feeling he'd make an army of kryptonian-conducted super lightning-people).

Being a generally bad person before getting superpowers, waking up with white skin, blue hair, and the ability to turn herself into an avatar of elemental electricity and magnetism drives Leslie to evil pretty instantly. She focuses on Superman right away (since it's his show), and things get ugly fast. Livewire has the ability to completely control anything and everything that runs off of electricity (all at once), can move at light-speed, become living energy, and most importantly, blast Superman to her heart's content. Unable to harm her in any way, they play a savage game of cat-and-mouse (with Leslie as the cat), until Supes finally manages to exploit her one and only weakness – water.

Now, in my personal opinion, this episode (along with the sequel that uses both her and Parasite), established a very cool character. In a world of increasingly-sympathetic or gray-shaded villains, Livewire was refreshingly awful. There was no motivation to her crimes, no rhyme or reason. She was bad to the bone and that was all there was to it. Superman accidentally gives you incredible electrical superpowers? Great! In that case, let's terrorize and kill him!

Now, I can't say exactly how she rose to popularity, but for me personally, it was this combination of bad attitude, cool design, and incredible voice-acting (hi, Lori Petty!) that made Livewire a quick star. She even eventually got a “bad girls” crossover episode where Supergirl and Batgirl take on Livewire, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy, which immediately established Leslie as the alpha-female even among these better-known and obviously deadly femme fatales.

Honestly, it wasn't until 2006 that the character got... a little funny. She made her comic debut in Action Comics #835, under the pen of the thoroughly-adored Gail Simone.

However, it was quickly apparent that things with Livewire aren't quite... the same, as they were before. Leslie still starts off as a shock jock and generally despicable human being, but she is also given a strong feminist angle right out the gate. Her origin is not only changed – it is removed. Leslie loses her job for being too volatile, but even before that she is simply shown... having these unusual abilities. Whether she always had them, or psychically anticipated the fact that she was about to be fired (this causing her to develop superpowers for no reason at all), is never explained.

This is where inconsistencies begin. Livewire has no origin story – she merely goes berserk after getting fired, and it's only a few panels before bodies start to hit the floor. While she is still shown using electrical control over a city-full of television screens, and making Supes say uncle, her speed now... no longer exists. Her ability to become living, intangible energy also vanishes, and even Superman acknowledges that she is no longer a force of energy – she's a normal, albeit powered, human.

This Livewire starts off her new career of being comically humiliated in her opening issue, by getting pegged by a hamburger....

...Not to mention shin-kicked by a small child. She threatens to incinerate him for it, but it still happens.

Eventually, she is defeated by Superman who, rather than simply flicking her (which seems that it would be quite effective, considering that she was hurt by a little boy), pulls her up into the atmosphere and beats her using lightning.

Yup.

Lightning.

He beats Livewire with lightning.

I mean... I guess that's the idea I'd come up with too if I was fighting against an electrical superhuman. Fry her with lightning, right? But hey, as long as it works for you, Supes.

Her humiliation does not end with her debut, however. She is later casually defeated by Stephanie Brown, and even Misfit – a teleporter with slightly-above-average stats.

What happened? I can understand a few weaker showings – everyone has some. But when did Livewire go from a nearly-unstoppable, bad-to-the-bone Superman villain, to a D-list pretender who can get one-shotted by Batgirl?

We haven't seen Leslie Willis or Livewire within the New 52 yet. I suppose we can always just wait and see what happens to her, but after her treatment turned her into a literal joke, it may be a while before DC Comics decides to give her a moment in the limelight again. Hopefully, when they finally do, we'll see a return to the implacable, omnipotent bad girl so many people loved in Superman: TAS.

35 Comments

TASTE MY RAGE AND HATE

Some of you know me already. Alternatively, some of you know or care about the Red Lantern Corps, or in particular, the character Bleez

In either case, you will have seen my past blog, and will know how I have been feeling about this situation. Otherwise, STOP READING THIS because you won't get it, go read this instead! Then come back here because I'm not DONE with you yet. You'll damn well sit down and you'll read this and you'll listen and you'd better CARE, or I'll find you.

*taps foot* Are you done yet? Good, now go onward.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

29 Comments

Bizarre Crack-Casting Idea

I was talking to someone who was playing Mass Effect, and they mentioned a quote by "Joker". Didn't sound very Jokerish so I asked if it was the Mass Effect Joker or the Bat-Joker.

This got me thinking, and my thoughts lead down a dark path.

What if Seth Green played the Joker?

He has the face for it. He has the hair for it. He has the figure for it. We all know he's good at doing voices and when he tries, he can be a solid actor. Now, he'd need a damn good director to pull off the horror and intellect of the Clown Prince of Crime, and he'd also need to stand on a box or two (or have everyone else walk in a trench).

This also got me thinking that it's... an eerie possibility.

What do you guys think? Utterly stupid? Or a shocking and underlooked possibility for a more comedic Joker?

7 Comments

Injustice: GAU is a Total Sausagefest

Seriously. I'm not much of an activist, but out of the twenty-four confirmed characters, a whopping SIX of them are girls. We get Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Raven, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Killer Frost. Seriously? While we are getting both Captain Marvel AND Black Adam, we can't get any more girls up in this? I generally like playing as female characters and my options are incredibly slim here.

I mean, seriously - Ares has a part in this. What about Cheetah or Circe? They would be awesome and they're much better WW villains than boring-ass Ares. What about Starfire? We already have Cyborg and Raven, why not an awesomely designed, flight-and-energy-attacks-based tamaranean princess? What about Mera?

Now, I'll admit, tossing in Killer Frost instead of someone like Mr. Freeze or Captain Cold was nice of them (anyone know if Jennifer Hale is portraying her? That would make my day). But c'mon guys. An 18-6 ratio is really not acceptable. And the DLC's all seem to be men so far too.

Again, I'm not much of an activist. And this is less of a "zomg women's rights" thing, and more of a "c'mon guys, female characters" kind of thing. I'd just really like a little variety.

29 Comments

Savior Harley -- INJUSTICE FOR ALL

So, I just finished Injustice: Gods Among Us #5. This is important because it marks the first time since... well, actually, since I cannot remember, that I have suddenly found myself with a wide, idiot grin on my face as I read a comic.

Harley has gone through a dark time over the past year. When Gotham City Sirens ended, fans threw up their hands as she turned back to the Joker. Now we have Suicide Squad, where her strength has become her undoing. She is independent, but she also isn't funny, cute, or really interesting at all. I had given up hope that I would ever see a well-written Harley Quinn again.

Then today happened. It started out with whispers... people know I am a big Harley fan.

"Hey, have you read the new Injustice?"

"It has Harley in it, you should check it out!"

"She is really cool!"

Unable to allow such gossip to go on without me knowing what was going on, I shelled out my dollah-dollah-billz and I caught up to #5, extremely reserved about what I was going to find within its electronic pages.

It starts strong, but I was still tentative. Harley being a total badass. That's fine, she has been badass before. She was badass in Suicide Squad, just not any fun. So I held tight to see how things panned out.

It was absolutely beautiful. It rolls from badass, to funny, back to badass, back to funny, to tragic, back to funny, with a strong streak of character and an underlying element of being simply adorable. Within this simple mini-issue, I believe the writer has the highest talent-to-character grasp ratio I have ever seen.

"What about Dini?!"

I love Dini, I really do. And he is still doing great stuff. But he was unwilling to let Harley ever move on. Now, we don't know what will happen with this newer Harley yet -- we know Injustice is finite, sure. But from the look of things? This is panning out to being the best-written rendition of the character since... well, ever. It has a perfect blend of everything that makes the character. It's a modern incarnation without being disfigured like the one in New 52. So, let's just hold on and hope for the best. Hope that maybe, sometime, someone will get a clue... that maybe this Injustice Harley can be the character's savior. That a difference can be made, and we can see a wonderful, hilarious, intelligent, adorable, strong, and romantic Harley Quinn once more.

14 Comments

Join Me -- And Together, We Can Rule The Galaxy! (re-opened)

You: Take off that shiny, clowngirl CV avatar, what are you?

Me: Genius, playgirl, psychopath.

----------------------------

So, as some of you know, I'm an author. This is fact. Technically, I'm even a professional – I've made over a hundred bucks so far on writing. Maybe not a lot, but hey, I'm starting out.

However, all of my tinkering with publishing novellas began with a much larger project – the oldest thing I've been working on that's still intact. It is, at the moment, a prose-comic-wannabe (edit: currently has scripted sections -- I have also developed more skill in scripting and will be working on reformatting the whole thing), featuring a young woman named Amy Tirouette....

Also known as Joygirl.

Yeahp, that's where the name came from. She's existed since before I was a ComicVine member. I took it so that, when her story finally got published and became a big-time comic, I'd be the first one with the handle. ^_^

But that's all backstory and nonsense that most of you likely don't much care about. The important part here is that the Joygirl character is about three years old – years of plotting, creation, writing, and editing.

Alright, so how much actual work did you get done in three years? Let's talk numbers.

I'm glad you asked, spectral italic voice. Let me check.

We're in the 110,000 words ballpark. For reference, the average smallish novel is 50-80k. 100K is respectably-sized, publishable novel. And I have a bit more than that.

Okay, I get it, you wrote a story. What do you want from me?

Goodness me, no need to be so coarse, spectral italic voice (I'll just call you Siv for short from now on, it's kind of catchy actually). What I want from you young, fresh, talented minds is artwork. I have arrived at the point in my career when I need to make something of this work. My plan is to submit it to Image Comics (reasons why in a few), and I'm not going to be able to do that with a prose story and a cute image. Let me go into some more detail.

Joygirl:

Amy Tirouette is a normal girl, more or less. She has the quirks that any normal person has that make her unique, such as the fact that she still more or less acts like a dorky college girl. She had a great job working as a security hacker at Orion Soft, she enjoys anime (even a few of the naughtier ones are a guilty pleasure), she has a collection of Luis Royo paintings, she goes for the “tall and dark” type, and she's shy.

All of that, however, began to change at a fast pace when she got into a car accident with a semi-truck on the highway. She got a great settlement out of the few injuries she sustained (mild bruises, and contact with some purple waste that burned like hell for a few days). Not a big deal.

But it turns out that Amy has always had a split personality, one she has suppressed since childhood. One that is eager to escape. As the chemicals from that accident strengthened her body, they slowly changed the pathways of her mind, altering her in a permanent way... and releasing a psychotic hedonist from the depths of her own mind. One who carries no christian name, and refers to herself simply as... Joygirl.

The above is official commissioned artwork, personally directed by me. I am open to suggestions but this is her current, official look.

The story, between dealing with heroes, villains, masterminds, and whatnot, features a constant struggle between the True Neutral Amy, trying to keep her life from falling about, and the Chaotic Neutral (bordering on Chaotic Evil) Joygirl, who wants to have fun and is willing to do anything to get it. She is, in effect, both the primary protagonist, and the primary antagonist, of the same story.

Oh hey, she also has a themesong. Almost forgot. Composed by the wonderful @feebadger.

Her powers are thus:

  • Enhanced strength (2-3 tons)

  • Enhanced speed (approx. 80-90mph.)

  • Enhanced reflexes/thought speed, about exactly on-par with her physical running speed.

  • Enhanced healing factor. This allows her to regenerate at an alarming rate (think Deadpool – she has healed from automatic weapons fire, having all of her internal organs liquified, and her head ripped in half). Unlike characters like Wolverine and Deadpool, however, excessive healing does take its toll on her. After so much punishment (e.g. Having her head destroyed repeatedly) she becomes greatly weakened. Her regeneration slows, and she won't be up to par again without a while of rest, and an even larger amount of food. She needs the nutrients to support her healing factor, and is thus a Big Eater at the best of times. If it goes several days without healing, her body will begin to break down, splitting open and starting to bleed from the inside out. As a result (as well as sadomasochistic tendencies), the Joygirl persona practices frequent self-harm. Every time she heals, scars are left behind, unless the entire limb is removed – it then grows back fresh.

  • Ultralibrium. This is a combination of subjective weight, and subjective gravity. She can walk on flower petals, water, the ceiling, gas particles, you name it. She is also learning how to use it more creatively in combat.

  • Empty Mind. The Joygirl persona “borrows” basic memories such as language and math from Amy's mind. As a result, her own mind does not have the burden of large information stores such as language. Her learning curve is incredibly short (allowing her to gain sufficient experience with multiple martial arts, as well as chemistry and demolitions, within a short time). As a result of her excessive insanity, she is also borderline-impossible to control with telepathy, drugs, or pheromones.

The Story:

There's a lot to the story. As I said, it's about novel length, and from those who have read it, once it is converted into a script it will be very, very bulky (essentially, each of my “chapters” will damn near be a story arc). I am closing in on #13 right now (and it is nearly finished), which will see the end of a massive story arc featuring the origin story of Joygirl, and a select few of her supporting cast (Suicide, Bile, and Dr. Toxic). I am also currently working on the beginnings of a “K'ryl: Origins” mini.

So, regarding its length, if you sign on we will end up having a lot to discuss. Make the entries graphic novels, split the entries into multiple issues, whatever. We can decide on that when/if you read it and sign on.

Speaking of reading it. It isn't public on any sites yet, but I have it in my laptop. PM me with your email, and I will gladly send it to you.

My plan for this was to create a very dark, realistic world, with a large amount of very dark, unrealistic characters. This is about human (or inhuman) goals in a human world, a world that just happens to be featuring a protagonist with every psychosis known to man. As such, no punches are pulled. Clothing damage happens. Beauty can be tarnished. And the heroine does not need to be a 5'9” D-cup with junk spilling out of her trunk and long, flowing locks. In fact, Joygirl may be the only superpowered adult female who is a 90-pound, horribly scarred, lesbian A-cup.

The Content:

Content is an important part of this. If you are easily offended or squeamish, stop reading right now – this pitch isn't (read: cannot be) aimed at you.

If it was a movie, it would be rated R (or possibly NC-17) for strong, sustained language; strong adult content; nudity; sexuality; strong, stylized violence; horror/gore, and psychological horror. As far as comic standards go, it would lie somewhere between Hack/Slash and Bomb Queen (hence my choice for Image as an ideal publisher – I know they can handle it. They can pick up what I'm puttin' down).

So, if you can't handle or can't portray any of that for any reason, this isn't for you. No, I can't just “tone it down” – toning it down would massively disrupt the style and mood of the story.

Side note: Amy is heterosexual (bi-curious, at times, as a result of Joygirl's influence), whereas the Joygirl persona is a lesbian. If you have problems with this, then again, this isn't your story.

The Art:

This is where you come in! Isn't that exciting?

Now, I want to say this right away, so that no misconceptions are had. I may be a beggar, but in this case I must also be a chooser. If I want to get a few pages made, pitch them to a company, and actually have a chance of being accepted, I need the artwork to be good. Thus, I must reserve the right to gracefully decline an audition, whether it's because I don't think you have what it takes, or simply because you are not the right style that I'm looking for. I'll need some bendy poses and explosive action scenes, distinct expressions and ample use of gore and abilities like Ultralibrium.

The Catch:

I'm poor.

I can try to pay you (though, as a self-respecting writer, it does irk me – I did years of work on the project for free), but it certainly won't be much. However, if you sign on with the project, and you are good, I will definitely put you on the contract and you will earn your fair share of whatever profits the story makes, until you are tired of it and feel the need to move on. I feel like that's fair – you may not. If you don't, there is little I can do to make you feel better about it. I just got the $6 footlong from Subway, and hitched a ride with someone else so that I can use the WiFi at a fast-food restaurant.

So, come one, come all, let's see what you can do. Who's interested and who's not, who thinks they have what it takes, who thinks I'm an ignorant hack. Come at me, bro.

EDITS

I am once again actively looking for an artist to take on the project who is dedicated and talented. I realize it's been a year since I made this... consider it a resurrection of sorts. So this is open for business and I am very much in need of someone to see the potential in this project. Only a pitch is necessary, not a full comic. Once that is finished, we can hopefully get ourselves a nice little contract.

Totally irrelevant little addendum that is sort of neat.

In a state of boredom some months ago, I created a list of TvTropes that are relevant to the series and its characters. Obviously, it is not complete (no TvTropes page is truly complete) but there's a good bit on there to browse.

Absurdly Sharp Blade – Styx Obsidian
Anti-Hero – Ghostrunner is Type IV, Joygirl herself is Type V when she's feeling nice. Amy is Type I.
Anti-Villain – Joygirl
Author Appeal – Joygirl's slim build and piercings.
Ax Crazy – Joygirl, Suicide
Badass – Most characters. Notably Joygirl, Ghostrunner, and Blaze.
Bandage Babe – Dr. Toxic
Bare Your Midriff – Joygirl
Big Bad – The Jamaican
Bifauxnen – Amy, to an extent. Wearing baggy clothes and little makeup, on top of her shortish hair and thin figure, makes her somewhat androgynous.
Black and Gray Morality – The JGverse as a whole.
Breaking the Fourth Wall – Joygirl, frequently.
But For Me It Was Tuesday – Joygirl is honestly unconcerned with most horrible things that happen.
Call Back – Joygirl frequently references past issues, mocking the reader for forgetting what happened.
Chaotic Neutral – While it can be argued that she is Chaotic Evil, Joygirl falls firmly under this, as her only true motivation is fun.
Chessmaster – The Jamaican, The Skinless Man, JoJo, all fall into this in varying degrees.
Cluster F Bomb – Joygirl, continuously.
Collared By Fashion – Joygirl
Combat Pragmatist – Suicide uses whatever weapon is laying around, or no weapon. Whatever. Joygirl will improvise but prefers her own stylized gear.
Complete Monster – Suicide
Covered With Scars – Joygirl/Amy
Crazy Awesome – Joygirl
Dark Action Girl – Joygirl, Ghostrunner
Depraved Bisexual – Rose, possibly K'ryl
Designated Hero – Joygirl
Didn't We Use This Joke Already? – Joygirl occasionally berates herself for telling the same jokes.
Don't Explain the Joke – Joygirl often explains her jokes, usually in an inflammatory manner, when she feels that the audience or another character does not get them.
The Dragon – Suicide
Driven to Suicide – Amy, once. It doesn't stick, as a result of her healing factor regrowing her head.
Enemy Within – Joygirl, to Amy
Even Evil Has Standards – Joygirl tries really hard not to kill random civilians, and some of the more severe acts of evil she finds gross. Suicide, for example, she is utterly creeped out by.
Evil is Cool – Joygirl thinks so.
Evil is Sexy – Again, Joygirl is of this opinion.
Evil Laugh – Joygirl
Fanservice – Hey look, Joygirl is naked and having sex with girls!
Fan Disservice – Hey look, Joygirl got cut in half and it sliced her top off!
Fingerless Gloves – Joygirl
For The Evulz – Suicide is bad to the bone.
Genki Girl – Joygirl when she's in a friendlier mood.
Giggling Villain – Joygirl
Girlish Pigtails – Joygirl. Suicide's are shorter and a little more like horns.
Good Is Not Nice – Nobody in the series is 'nice', regardless of whether or not they are good.
Good Is Not Light – The only two genuinely good heroes, Agent Blaze and Ghostrunner, both wear black and use lethal force.
Good Scars, Evil Scars – Joygirl/Amy is littered with Evil Scars.
Gorn – Prevalent throughout the series.
Hand Cannon – Talon
Handicapped Badass – The Jamaican, though he is more of a Chessmaster.
Hell-Bent For Leather – Joygirl, Suicide
Highly Visible Ninja – Despite often referring to herself as a ninja, Joygirl is almost never stealthy. Averted with Ghostunner.
I Call Her “Vera” – Talon is a .600 magnum revolver with nine chambers, gas vents, and a 12 gauge underbarrel.
Idiot Hero – Joygirl at times.
I'm A Humanitarian – SuicideImpossibly Cool Weapon – All of Joygirl's weaponry. Rose's mechanical whip. Most of K'ryl's exotic tech.
It Amused Me – Joygirl's main motivation is her hedonism.
Jekyll and Hyde – Amy and Joygirl, respectively.
Knife Nut – Joygirl
Ladette – When Joygirl isn't beheading mobsters, she's eating pizza, drinking beer, and watching porn.
Laughing Mad – Joygirl
Mad Scientist – The Jamaican. Joygirl wishes she was, but her knowledge is rudimentary at best.
Male Gaze – Surprisingly, averted so far. None of the male characters seem to show any interest in Joygirl.
The Mirror Shows Your True Self – When Amy or Joygirl looks into a reflective surface, they see their other half.
Monster Clown – Joygirl, Suicide.
Mood Whiplash – Goes from light-hearted and comedic to extremely dark regularly.
Obviously Evil – Suicide is covered in buckled black leather, has sharpened fangs, smeared white and black facepaint, and pale staring eyes. She's also usually covered in blood.
Painting the Fourth Wall – A common occurrence.
Perky Goth – Joygirl
Perverse Sexual Lust – Joygirl, towards most things with an even slightly fetishistic nature.
Petite Pride – Joygirl again.
Pet the Dog – Joygirl's behavior towards Amanda is always pleasant and caring.
Pretty Little Headshots – Averted completely. No gore is ever spared.
Psycho Lesbian – Joygirl, Alyssa.
Psycho Serum – Pandemonium-9X makes everyone who touches it absolutely nuts.
Rape Is A Special Kind Of Evil – So far, the only person to truly force themselves on someone is Suicide.
Sexy Jester – Joygirl
Ship Tease – Joygirl/Rose, Joygirl/Ghostrunner, K'ryl/Rose.
Slasher Smile – 90% of Joygirl's facial expressions.
Small Girl, Big Gun – Joygirl and Talon.
Split Personality – Amy/Joygirl
Split Personality Makeover – Even without the facepaint, Joygirl is clearly recognizable by her strained, manic facial features and bloodshot eyes.
Split Personality Takeover – Subverted so far. Amy lives in constant dread of it, but has thus far managed to avoid being consumed.
Superpowered Evil Side – Joygirl to Amy, Suicide to Joygirl. All participants have some kind of powers, but on the sliding scale of Amy to Suicide, evilness = strength.
Take That, Audience! – She likes to mock her own readers for not keeping up with her jokes and continuity.
This is for Emphasis, Bitch! – Joygirl
Too Funny To Be Evil – Joygirl wishes.
The Unfettered – Joygirl, Suicide
Weapon Of Choice – Joygirl's knives, gun, and chain. Rose's whip. K'ryl and firearms.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity – Played with. It isn't the power itself that drives Amy mad, but the way the chemicals actually affect her mind.
Our Vampires Are Different – The JGverse vamps are separated into “vampires” (Stoker-esque, low-powered predators who can eat food and are powerless in sunlight) and “vampyres” (bloodthirsty monsters that can transform into beasts, turn into smoke, and burn in sunlight).
Villainous Harlequin – Joygirl again.
Villain Protagonist – Guess.
You No Take Candle – Whatever made Bile the way he is rotted his grasp of the English Language.

For a family-friendly sample of writing, try checking out the Joygirl Holiday Special, posted here on CV.

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Bleez Respect Thread

Hot on the heels of a few other RL and Bleez-related threads, here is the third one -- a respect thread that will help me keep track of her feats.

Creates a construct, uses it to kill all the perimeter guards on a planet:

A powerful telepath (who had been controlling hordes of Green Lanterns) finds Bleez's mind clouded to him.

With her ring nearly dead, breaks through rock and chain. Fatality's construct is helpless to stop her.

Bleez tanks a blast from Kilowog and Arisia simultaneously. It sends her flying back, and into the water. She then flies through the mountain to get back at them. Besides being knocked back, she appears totally unharmed. (Sorry for crappy scan, the DC Comics reader thingy makes scanning hard.)

Part 1: Guy catches Bleez in a construct bubble, and starts bragging about how, "when I make a construct, it's built to last".

Part 2: That doesn't stop Bleez from shattering it.

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