Comic Meta · media commentary

Does the New Black Canary Fix All Arrows Problems?

Firstly, as an almost disclaimer of sorts, I’ve never been a fan of Arrow. Even in the shows hayday of seasons one and two when it was praised and lauded as a great show and comic book adaption. Though it bares moderate similarities to Green Arrow: Year One overall it just wasn’t for me.

However I can look back on the shows beginning seasons and see a clear pattern of storytelling including character arcs that were leading to a greater picture. A picture that would create an adapted vision of the classic Green Arrow comics mythology. Needless to say, that from season three onward, Arrow did not only continuously strive away from that proposed picture, but did so almost gleefully. It often felt at times that the show was more interested in using the brand names of Green Arrow and the original materials (or should I say Batman’s original materials) for the sake of hallowed out Easter eggs, than truly adapting them in interesting and creative ways. One of the best examples of this is the shows depiction and mishandling of the Black Canary aka Dinah Laurel Lance.

See I can handle change; when it comes to adaptions you have to be able to handle some level of change and flexibility towards the source material.

I could handle Oliver being moody, because he was suffering from PTSD. I could handle Mia Dearden being changed to Thea Queen because it was a play on the name and they operated in a similar manner as Oliver’s little sister whether foster or blood related. As much as I didn’t like Laurel’s origin as a lawyer (clearly more of an inspiration off Rachel in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga than Dinah Laurel Lance’s comic history) I did feel that Laurel embodied key aspects of her comic counterpart; namely her compassion and strong sense of justice.

So while not particularly a fan of the changes, or the show itself, I could ultimately see where it was all going.

Oliver would eventually learn to live with both his failures as a vigilante, friend, and romantic partner, cope – note not “fix” but cope – with his PTSD, and rise up as a people’s champion. Slowly coming to embody more of the fun and righteous characteristics of his comic counterpart. Thea would become Speedy, Roy would become Red Arrow, and Laurel would become the Black Canary. The writing was on the wall but the point was watching how everyone would get there.

I was ready for the long haul.

Continue reading “Does the New Black Canary Fix All Arrows Problems?”

media commentary

What I Watched This Week: One Day at a Time, Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine

After beginning to readjust myself to non-holiday hours and get up before 10:00AM and back to 8:30AM like I’m suppose to I’m beginning to hash out an after work schedule. This mainly means writing article ideas in my notebook, or catching up on movies and television I’ve missed. Or playing on my 3DS and beating Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (I will win!). Or catching up on comics; see why I need an after work schedule?

Anyway, this week I watched three shows mainly: Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine, and One Day at a Time. I’ll break them down into parts.

Constantine – Episodes 1 – 3

Property of DC Comics and NBC
Property of DC Comics and NBC – this cover alone is grossly cheesy

Okay so I know I’m a year or two late for this show but I was given this as an assignment for a project happening next week (more details to come I’m just a huge tease). So I finally sat down, and began watching the season on Amazon.

Boy was the first episode awful. I mean there’s rough-around-the-edges and then there’s just sloppiness. The Constantine Pilot was outright sloppy. The opening scene was hard to get through given the choppy cuts, and exposition dumping they did on the audience off the bat. The rest of the episode wasn’t as bad but it didn’t get much better either.

The lead female character was boring and predictable which is why I guess the reason they wrote her out. That was one of the episodes main issues, the very obvious rewrites. The original female lead was written out in such a sloppy way it was near laughable. The action was poorly done, with little scares and cliched horror elements. Overall it felt neutered in a lot of ways. The best part of the episode was the ending. It had a completely different feel than the rest of the episode. Constantine walking down a dark alley, setting his hands on fire ready to spit and punch demons in the face, transposed into an image of a lone woman drawing iconic images of Hellblazer? That was fantastic. It felt comic book-y without being forced or campy.

That being said, the next two episodes were an improvement on the Pilot. Zed is a much more interesting and engaging leading lady than the Pilot’s character. She’s also Latina which is always a win for me. Matt Ryan felt much more at home in his role than in the Pilot and I like Charles Halford as Chas so much more than the film version (I actually don’t loathe the film it’s just a terrible adaption of Hellblazer). I also really enjoyed Harold Perrineau as Manny the Angel. I hope he plays a bigger role in future episodes.

There were some actual genuine scares in these two episodes even if they follow a rather formulaic process. I hate to say Constantine is similar to Supernatural but you can tell Supernatural took a lot of cues from Hellblazer comics than just Castiel’s coat. What’s a shame is I think Constantine could be a fantastic horror film, but only if it’s rated R. Constantine just seems like the type of character that works best and pushes the boundaries when restrictions are lifted off his canon.

Still, the show isn’t terrible (except for that god awful Pilot). I like Ryan in the role of Constantine, I can see why he’s such a fan favorite and I’m glad to see he has such an attachment to the character.

Things that bothered me were some standard sexism, and racism in the show. I thought the Evil Mystical Romani (or in the show G**sy woman cause “there’s nothing darker than g**sy magic” really show?) was unnecessary. Especially when earlier in the episode the character had some clear coding as a domestic violence victim. I wasn’t in love with how Papa Midnite was portrayed either. I didn’t like how the show demonized voodoo and of course Papa Midnite is a drug dealer with no morals? And his two henchmen are also moral-less thugs? That all was really bothersome and unneeded.

Hoping the rest of the season avoids these aspects and continues to improve in quality.

Continue reading “What I Watched This Week: One Day at a Time, Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine”

Fandom Commentary · media commentary

Step Aside Spirk, It’s Hikaru Sulu’s Time to Shine

Hikaru Sulu is officially gay, a reveal we’ll see incorporated in the upcoming Star Trek: Beyond film. Given the overall lack of Asian representation in film (both movies and television) and the lack of queer characters of color on the big and small screen this is a huge step forward in regards to queer representation. Especially since science fiction is often bone dry genre when it comes to diversity. Yet, dispute this step forward for queer fans of color there’s already fans who are derailing the conversation in order to advocate for Kirk and Spock (both separate and apart) being queer over Sulu. There’s a key difference here, in that, fans are attempting to marginalize Sulu to build up Kirk/Spock (or “Spirk”) as the “better” form of queer representation. All while ignoring the racial aspects of the conversation and how white cis male characters already dominate the conversation of queer media. By pushing out a prominent man of color who is now canonically queer in order to prop up a popular white male/male fanon ship contributes to the continued diminishing of characters of color and queer characters of color.

The overwhelming whiteness of slash shipping culture has been discussed in detail before by fans of color. Spirk, despite being the original slash ship for many, is no different. If the source material has marginalized characters of color, that’s a criticism on the media itself and should be acknowledged not used as an excuse to further marginalize them by ignoring their importance or status in canon.

Which is exactly what some Reboot (or Alternate Original Series) Star Trek fans (both Spirk shippers and non-Spirk specific shippers) have begun to argue about Sulu. That him being gay in the upcoming film isn’t progressive enough because he’s a minor character, where as Kirk being bisexual or pansexual, and in a relationship with Spock in particular, would be. Derailing the conversation about the importance of having a canonically queer Asian character in a major science fiction franchise, to a conversation about white men. This argument also ignores the reasons why Sulu isn’t the lead character in the same way Kirk or Spock is – which is classic Hollywood racism that prioritizes white characters stories over characters of color.

Personally I disagree that Sulu is a minor character; he’s been apart of the fabric of Star Trek for decades and is a cultural icon in his own right as a character. As a character, Sulu is hugely important to the history of positive representation of Asian characters in film. To erase that erases one of the handful of positive representations Asian fans and other fans of color have (a similar aspect seen in how poorly AoS fans and Spirk shippers have treated Uhura since the beginning of the reboot).

sulu-5Bottom line, stop removing race from the conversation. If Sulu was a “safe choice” for Paramount to allow being queer, that’s a cause of racism in Hollywood. Instead of advocating, “Well Kirk should be bi or pansexual and get with Spock because there’s history there and their both leads” you could be advocating for Sulu to get more prominence in the franchise. Instead of pushing for the spotlight to be continuously on the white male characters.

Continue reading “Step Aside Spirk, It’s Hikaru Sulu’s Time to Shine”