Topography of the Alien City

Reading the most recent issue of Dejah Thoris, a particular panel got me to thinking about alien cities. To be put in proper reference I have been watching a lot of movies recently (a lot of a lot) and it has brought me across a number of movies which use what can be colloquially called tourism porn. This term refers to using the cinematography to appeal to the viewer as much as the story (or more). In terms of how this applies to alien cities though, it is kind of related. Alien cities often are depicted of having one of only a few necessary aspects necessary for survival. There is sometimes a palace, and sometimes a spaceport, and usually a place where the less savoury peoples find themselves. This is maybe best displayed in the port town of Mos Eisley from Star Wars episode IV, where the only thing seen in the city is the somewhat dangerous cantina and little else to make this a functional town. In the most recent Dejah Thoris the following is shown:

The avenue of pleasures is similar in name at least to the red light district of Amsterdam, a place which is sufficiently touristic and not dangerous (I stayed there in a hostel once for a couple of nights) but which still conjures for many visitors a sort of edginess. For those that don't travel, the tourism as seen in movies is sometimes a substitute, and not a very convincing or real one, but then maybe too it is time for some realistic alien cities?

Start the Conversation

Escape the Halls

The following is not a claim that is necessarily easy to back up, but it is one which occurred to me while reading a recent issue of Dejah Thoris. Since the introduction of animated movies under Walt Disney, one of the main themes has been that of fairy tales, and one of the main themes of fairy tales is that of a damsel-in-distress often simply personified by a princess in a castle awaiting freedom. This issue of Dejah is relevant though as it highlights what might be a subtle change away from this, while at the same time remaining. With the introduction of stronger female characters it would seem that the tendency is not to cast female characters into such passive roles, but at the same time, being princesses, they don't have many other roles to serve. Because of this, one of their main tasks now seems to be escaping the palace or castle.

The above is maybe not the best example of this, rather just what got the thought started. It did highlight one of the more interesting movies that I have seen in the past year, Frozen, which has two female protagonists, both of whom have some flaws, but are nonetheless still heroes. In this case it is Elsa who strives to be free from the castle, having lived their under a form of imprisonment her whole life.


Martian Stilettos

I know that this is a fairly common topic of complaint on this blog, but as I am catching up on a bit of comic reading I found this picture on the cover of Dejah Thoris #35:

There are cases where high heels are impractical but could still theoretically be functional (something with a 3 inch heel) or cases where I have seen heels in comics that had to be at least 6 or 7 inches, but in these cases the heels were not being worn into battle. That being the case, this might be one of the worst combinations that I have seen.


Creepy She-Joker

As per a previous recent blog related, I was somewhat curious to see the new Batman line from Black Milk, though as I anticipated I was somewhat let down by what they had on offer (as maybe only the slumber party is interesting to me.) On the other hand they included a picture of a model made up extremely creepily for their promo:

The model's actual appearance combined with one of the more horrific pictures of the Joker captures the overall tone of the character I think. The collection was a letdown, but for me this picture was not.


Brings a gun to a laser fight

In the past the topic of Batman has come up in relation to his ability to dodge lasers, and specifically how this might work in a real world context (though people generally dislike that approach). I should stress at the beginning of this analysis that Batman is completely fictional, and therefore how he is shown in any one issue therefore becomes true (even if it should otherwise be forgotten.) With that warning in place, the ability of Batman to dodge lasers is indicative of one of two things, in that to do so would be equivalent to a super ability (actually dodging bullets is similar, but that's for another day.) That being the case, one of two things needs to be observed, either that he is a superhuman, or that such cases of laser dodging should be forgotten forever.

She didn't survive the laser test

A bullet can travel about 320 meters per second, and while it is unlikely that Batman can dodge bullets (an argument made from him judging the reactions of the shooter) that is comparable very slow to that of a laser. Lasers are made out of light after (laser is an acronym for light amplification by the stimulated emissions of radiation) and light travels 299,792,458 meters per second. As I have pointed out before, in the time that it take for a bullet to travel the length of its trajectory, a laser could easily go to the moon. There are no simple terms as related to people being able to dodge bullets, as most people are not crazy enough to try it, but it stands within reason that the world's most successful martial artist, might be able to dodge a few bullets, though keeping it up against a machine gun might be difficult. Regardless that being an accepted fact among street level characters in comics, the upgrade to lasers is quite ridiculous. In fact, any super villain worth their criminal pedigree would fight with lasers not bullets. Deathdtroke would never miss with a laser against the street level characters, even while he can miss occasionally with bullets.


Epic Flash Battles of History - Flash versus Gravity

Once again this year I have undertaken the epic task of trying to see as many Oscar nominated movies as possible (so far 34 out of 57), and in the course of the movies one of the ones which I have come across is Gravity. While it was visually impressive numerous of the astronomical and physical abnormalities bothered me a little bit. One of the major ones is that while there is such thing as true weightlessness in outer space, it is not the same as being in orbit around the Earth. What happens in Earth's orbit is that the speed of the orbital overcomes that of the gravity so as to make the latter a negligible factor in the overall speed of the orbiting craft (though overtime even these have degrading orbits ... and I realize that this is a generalization, I am not a physicist). This causes a number of profound problems in relation to the movie, if it were to happen in real life, but it is fiction so this is fine.

To tie this into the Flash though, there is something which has always sort of bothered me about a specific instance in the character's history. I can't remember who, but a Flash fan once told me that their favourite ever issue was #54 from the 1980s run where the Flash jumps out of an airplane to save a stewardess even though he can't fly himself. While I never have actually read this issue (as I am prone to do with issues that came out before I was born), the challenge is not that challenging for me, at least as a true physics problem. The Flash can run at the speed of light, which is far beyond that of the speed of orbiting objects, and therefore the Flash falling any distance would be not an issue provided as soon as his foot touched the ground that he ran as fast as possible. As for taking someone along with him (the stewardess in this case) as approached from a physics problem, yes she would die if that were the case, but the Flash has been shown to carry numerous people with him (even into the Speed Force) without risk to killing them with the acceleration. Essentially if he could catch the stewardess, saving her would be easy, just hold on to her and run.

Start the Conversation

Yellow Bat

An interesting moment of the Forever Evil #5 from the past week was the following one between Sinestro and Batman:

In the previous issue Batman used a yellow ring acquired during a previous crossover (I can't remember if it was Sinestro Corps War or Blackest Night). The ring was almost drained of power but it was the thing that drew Sinestro to the group and to the aid of the others, specifically to fight Power Ring (no spoilers on that one, but the ending was pretty good.). Despite this being a good moment it would seem to contradict another somewhat famous one as depicted below:

In this one Batman is sought out as a recipient of a yellow ring, some time before the Sinestro Corps War. He had other reasons which allowed him to resist it and went back to being Batman after a couple of frames, but it was still a popular moment for the character, so much so that it shows up in a lot of comic related memes on the internet. Despite its popularity, it would seem that the below page never happened in the new 52 anymore, at least judged by Sinestro's reaction (unless he somehow forgot that he once tried to recruit Batman to his Corps.) The timeline of the Green Lantern Corps related stories has been confusing since the new 52, with some of the main characters getting a chance to start over, while others picked up where they had left off. I guess for the first time that this is a small official change to the timeline of those stories, and while not a very important one, relevant enough to the fans I think.


Robotic Abs

I have a secret obsession recently and that is board games. The list of games in my house grows weekly and for every one that I take off the list, three seem to its place. Among my most sought after games is the expansion of the DC Comics Deck Building game. The game is based on controlling one main super hero, and using that to build a deck. In the first game the superheroes are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg (with a promotional card for Martian Manhunter as well.). The newer version is going to have heroes Booster Gold, Nightwing, Batgirl, Black Canary, Shazam, Hawkman and Red Tornado. My local game store has told me that the best way to keep up to date on when it will be released (it is already several months delayed) is to check the website. I did this yesterday, and while doing so I checked out some pictures of the hero cards, one of which is Red Tornado

Something occurred to me though when I looked at it yesterday and that is the ridiculousness of the abs on a character that is a robot. In the history of science-fiction one of the main themes has been that of artificial intelligence whether that be in Blade Runner, 2001 or Data from Star Trek. The yearning of most forms of artificial intelligence is to want to strive to be human, but in this case the desire is a little convoluted in the case of having "washboard abs." This would mean that one of the first things that the artificial minds reached out for was a form of human vanity, in that abs serve no purpose beyond being something to show off, for something that is otherwise a machine. This reminds me a little bit about going to art galleries and seeing pictures of Jesus from the Middle Ages where he is depicted as being in somewhat amazing shape. The addition of this aspect to the character speaks more to our own vanity, how we make our gods or artificial men into perfect versions of ourselves, despite beginnings suggesting otherwise.


Razz Threeboot

The topic for the previous two year end retrospectives for my activity on this site has been focused around the prequel style telling of heroes stories through Year One and occasionally Year Two kind of stories. While this is a nice theme it is not really possible for a Year Three, because I have never heard of such a thing. Instead I could focus this third year more like on the concept of the Legion of Super Heroes Threeboot, as my activity this year has felt somewhat like a reboot of sorts. After putting more and more time into my writing, I have changed how I interact with this site. While I still partake in moderator abilities, it is not to the degree which I once did, nor do I review nearly as much as I used to. While my activity has dropped in several regards, what has surprised me is that for the past year that my blog output actually increased over the previous year. I somehow managed 157 blog entries in the past year, which is about 30 more than the second year (though nowhere close to my average of one per day in my first year.) It is fitting though in a sense as blogging is what got me into this site and it is what I have always enjoyed most about this site. My blogs in the past year have been a lot more focused on what many might be considered to the be the periphera of comics - with a focus on Wonder Woman, Dejah Thoris, and the characters from Danger Girl and Zenescope. In terms of content, there are not as many blogs which stand out as in the first year, but that is perhaps to be expected, as the past year has been a more introspective look into comics from my vantage point, and even a lot of the blogs which I wrote this year I didn't even bother to post to the forums.

So once again as on every anniversary, I would like to thank all of those that supported me, from staff to regular users. It has been another fun and entertaining year and I look forward to another.

Token LOSH picture

What to Wear - Alba

In reference to my blog from yesterday, it was actually another picture that got me started on thinking about Black Widow's uniform for the new Captain America movie. Instead it was Jessica Alba's appearance in the original Fantastic Four movie:

Again I will break it down with the original critique, from my first blog on this site:

No pantyhose or fishnets - This uniform probably deserves more praise than that for Black Widow as the latter has a military inspiration, which tends to make uniforms more functional. This one ties in better with the theme of the character though, as it is science inspired, but still very practical (as are generally most of the FF costumes, both in comics and in film)

Cleavage - There is essentially none, except for a little fan service at the beginning before they got their powers.

No colour - Pretty good here too, though it should also be noted that her power is invisibility, she is the one exception to such a rule, as she could be wearing bright pink and never be noticed.

High Heels - Only half credit as the character is shown wearing high heels in the second movie, though really not much of high heels, and they are anyway wedges built into the footwear. Still unnecessary though.

Loose Hair - This seems to be a common problem with most, and the one thing which movies tends to never give up on.

Jewelry - Another pass

Sexualized attire - Same as with ScarJo though this uniform is a lot sleeker and looks better on Alba than the Black Widow one.

Start the Conversation