Trailer Park: Wonder Woman and Justice League

One of the best things about San Diego Comic Con is that we get a ton of great trailers over the weekend, and this year is no exception. DC and Warner Bros. have given us first looks at both Wonder Woman and Justice League.

Normally I’m a pretty solid Marvel fan, but Wonder Woman looks awesome, and I’d probably go see Justice League just for Flash. (Although Cyborg was one of my favorite characters from Teen Titans, and seeing him in live action form fills me with glee. I just wish he’d been in the trailer a little more.)

Take a look at the trailers!

Wonder Woman

Justice League

What do you think?

Stories Matter: The Critic’s Thoughts on Captain America

If you were on the Internet yesterday, you probably saw the news that, in the new comic run that just came out, Captain America is really an undercover Hydra agent.

Just typing that sentence makes me vaguely sick to my stomach for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that Captain America was created by two Jewish guys during World War II specifically because they were “morally repulsed” by the actions of Nazi Germany. But there are so many more reasons I am angry than just that.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

This is something we forget sometimes, I think.

Everything we choose to create, everything we bring into this world comes with myriad connections we may never have considered. And as responsible human beings, it is our JOB to consider all the implications we possibly can and to be aware of how our art can hurt people.

Because it can, and it does. And unfortunately, the people it hurts are usually the people who have been hurt time and again already.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Others have explained why this particular gimmick (it’s a gimmick; I don’t care what the PTB says) is tone-deaf and ignorant at best and downright hurtful and frankly enraging at worst, and they’ve explained it better than I can. (I would encourage you to read all of those links, especially the Twitter threads and the article.)

Suffice it to say it doesn’t matter if this is a clone or an impostor or Evil Steve from a parallel universe or he’s being mind-controlled or if Marvel will retcon it at the end of the year (or, hell, even in the next issue). This “narrative twist” goes against everything Captain America has ever stood for, it spits in the face of his original creators and the Jewish community at large, and it does so at a time when we, as a global community, need real, good heroes more than ever. Even if the run finishes and it turns out Cap isn’t REALLY Hydra (and honestly, the editors are pushing the idea that he is SUPER HARD), the damage is done.

I am just so TIRED of this bullshit. I’m so tired of creators pushing the idea that morally gray antiheroes or actual villains are more interesting than people who try their best to do what’s right, no matter how hard it is. I’m so tired of ~edgy~ and ~gritty~. I’m so tired of evil characters being glorified, of good characters being gruesomely murdered or turned into evil characters for shock, publicity, and sales.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. Stories matter.

Right now, Marvel has forgotten both of those things.

Quickie Book Reviews: M/M and Historical Romance!

I’ve been burning through a lot of books this past month (I’m currently in the midst of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I am LOVING), so here are a few quick reviews of some of the books I’ve been reading! There’s a contemporary m/m romance, a science fiction m/m romance, and a historical m/f romance. All links are Amazon links, but they’re not affiliate links.

thebonesofyouThe Bones of You by Laura Stone

The Bones of You is a pleasant reconciliation story about Oliver, a grad student finishing up his master’s degree in Cambridge, unexpectedly reconnecting with his high school boyfriend, Seth, who has gone on to make it big on Broadway.

It’s been five years since they broke up, and when they run into each other again, it’s pretty clear their feelings haven’t gone away. But the same things that broke them up are still issues, and the big question is whether Oliver and Seth will be able to make it work.

It was very, very sweet, though I was never terribly worried about whether Oliver and Seth would figure their shit out. They just worked too well together not to.

My favorite character, though, was Big Mike, Seth’s gigantic motorcycle-riding father. He was so genuinely kind and loving and proud of his son that it brought tears to my eyes. My favorite scene in the whole novel was the New Year’s party at his house.

There wasn’t much conflict, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I did wish it had been a little harder to figure out how things would shake out at the end. You just knew everything was going to be all right. Overall, though, it was an enjoyable story.

thestarhostThe Star Host by F.T. Lukens

The Star Host is a fast-paced science fiction story that reminded me of Firefly at times. Ren is a duster, someone who was born on a planet, even though he dreams of seeing the stars. Those dreams are dashed pretty quickly when he, and several of the other teenagers and children in his village, are conscripted into service for the villainous baron, who’s trying his level best to take over the entire planet.

It’s while he’s in captivity that Ren meets Asher, a drifter who’s been held captive for over a year, and they realize they’ll have to get out together to thwart the baron’s plans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the worldbuilding in this story and the legends of the star hosts (people who have special powers granted by the stars), and I really liked Ren dealing with his newfound powers. His relationship with Asher starts out antagonistic before they each come to rely on the other, and I liked how believably it was built. Even though there is a romance between them, it’s not really as large a part of the story as the “stop the baron” plot, and that worked very well for me.

I really loved it once they got off the planet and started hopping between space stations. I wished we could have seen more of how the larger universe was set up, because what we did see was really cool. I’m really, really looking forward to the rest of the series.

thedukeandiThe Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn is one of the mainstays of historical romance, and I’ve heard so much about her Bridgerton series–of which this is the first–that I was very much looking forward to The Duke and I. Ultimately, despite the witty writing and hijinks that made me laugh out loud at times, the book had some issues that made it difficult for me to totally enjoy.

The biggest of these was the head-hopping, the way she drifted between Simon’s and Daphne’s viewpoints in such a way that it made it difficult for me to remember whose head I was in. I can’t count the number of times I had to go back and reread, trying to identify where the switch happened. And while I liked Simon and Daphne together overall, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the resolution of their relationship for a number of reasons.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the overprotective older brothers in Anthony, Benedict, and Colin, although thankfully they did get told off numerous times by both Daphne and her mother.

However, I can see why people enjoy the Bridgerton family; their family dinners and outings were hilarious and I really did like the messy, loving family dynamic between all of them. When the older brothers WEREN’T being overprotective nitwits, I really liked them as well.

So it was good, but I don’t think I’ll go hunting up the rest of the Bridgerton series just yet.

What have you all been reading lately? Any books I should add to my list?