On Tapestries

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't read Avengers World #16 yet and care about knowledge of twists ruining your enjoyment of stories, I'd recommend not reading any further.

I want to talk about Ant-man. Specifically, Scott Lang, the second Ant-man who is going to be played by Paul Rudd in a few months time. I want to talk about how his story has gone for the last decade or so and why it is the epitome of the reason I love comics as a medium.

Scott Lang is an interesting character in comics because he has been allowed to change. A-list, big name superheroes tend to be fairly static. They have a status quo that the will revert back to sooner or later. Spiderman is always going to be a down on his luck character even if he runs a business right now. Clark Kent tends to be a journalist, even though he spent time as a news anchor. Bruce Wayne will be a wealthy playboy with a big house, even though right now stately Wayne Manor has been taken over to house Arkham Asylum inmates. The A-listers get the illusion of change. Scott Lang is not an A-lister.

Scott Lang is divorced, a genius, an ex-con and a father of one. This is pretty unusual in comics. Ask a Spider-man fan sometime about Mary Jane or a Superman fan about Lois. Ask them "Weren't they married? I remember hearing about them being married." Bring a book and some earplugs. Basically there is a belief among some people in comics that marriage ages superheroes, makes them less relatable. A-list superheroes have to be relatable to as many people as possible to sell. That's the belief.

I got into comics about 14 years ago. I first encountered Scott Lang reading Avengers Disassembled. I'd heard that there was going to be a new team of Avengers and wanted to read the story that set that off. So when I first read a comic with Scott Lang in it, he gets blown up.

Boom

You see for a while, a good while, all Scott Lang was to me was an origin story. Scott's daughter Cassie becomes a teenaged superhero in his memory and joins a team called the Young Avengers as Stature (she preferred using the powers to grow instead of shrink).

Stature. Not pictured: anything to give a sense of scale to her current height.

Young Avengers in all its incarnations is a great comic about dealing with authority and growing up. It also features one of the best couples in comics, Hulkling and Wiccan, and Kate Bishop the Hawkeye so good she got to keep being Hawkeye when Clint Barton came back from the dead. She doesn't go by Lady Hawkeye or anything like that. There's just two Hawkeyes now and one is a woman.

Cassie was the voice of experience on the team because her dad was an Avenger and she grew up around Avengers. She was also the moral compass. The Young Avengers sided with Captain America in the Civil War but she left after a huge battle between the two sides seeing the reality of what was happening and saying she didn't want to fight superheroes and cops anymore. She was probably my favourite member of the team.

And then she died.

In The Children's Crusade, the team is worried about Wiccan's powers and are afraid he's going to lose control, like the Scarlet Witch did in Avengers Disassembled. So they go looking for the Scarlet Witch. Not a great plan as it turns out. The Scarlet Witch is in Latveria, amnesiac and engaged to Doctor Doom. They escape using Iron Lad to go back in time, back to the first time I met Scott Lang. Iron Lad says they're out of phase and the can't change what happened. Cassie has other plans.

To hell with causality. I want my Dad back.

They end up back in the present, Scott included. Scott is naturally shocked that he was dead but, hey, he's not and it turns out his daughter is a hero. Not a bad day, overall. But the Scarlet Witch got her memories back. They end up back in Latveria and Doom steals Wanda's powers and does what he always does when he gains omnipotence, heals himself.

Poor predictable Doom. Always chooses Rock of Salvation

Of course, he's still Doom, vain and arrogant, so he decides to rule the world. Naturally the heroes of the world don't take to well to benevolent dictatorships and they fight. In the fray Doom crushes Scott between his hands like ... an insect. Cassie, having lost her dad, dealt with it, took on his mantle, regained her dad and now lost him again, sucker punches a giant-sized, omnipotent Doctor Doom right in the jaw!

This is how you know you're a good parent.

And then Doom kills her.

chilcru8_2.jpg

Doom loses control of his godhood and the day gets saved but a price has been paid. Scott Lang wasn't dead, he shrank in Doom's hands. He comes back just in time to see his daughter die. This kind of stuff doesn't happen to Peter Parker. If you think marriage makes a character unrelatable try divorced with a dead teenage daughter.

I realise I said I wanted to talk about Scott Lang and then spent a good while talking about Cassie instead but I wanted to give some context. Here's what happened next. Scott coped, slowly and not always well but he coped. When Reed Richards needed a replacement Fantastic Four to look after Earth and the kids of the Future Foundation he picked Scott Lang to replace him, not just for Scott's brains but because he needed the company of the Future Foundation kids to help him cope. That Reed Richards can be a smart cookie.

Scott wasn't an origin story to me anymore. He had become about grief and how we deal with it. Scott meets a girl, Darla Deering (it helps that they're on the same team) and they start dating. Scott also manages to stop Doctor Doom from gaining ultimate power again. Before you ask, yes Doom did fix his face.

ff16.jpg

So Scott got a happy ending. He hasn't really been in comics since. Until today. Today I got a gift I didn't know I wanted because I never thought it would happen. Right now in Marvel comics there's a big crossover event called Axis. The gimmick is that some heroes and villains have had their personalities inverted, like a D&D character alignment sheet. Doctor Doom is a good guy, Scarlet Witch isn't and she's been attacking Latveria. In Avengers World #16 Doom assembles his own team of Avengers to fight Wanda and steal her power. Once again, Doom is omnipotent. But now... now he's different. Doom takes ultimate power and doesn't fix his face, doesn't conquer the world. He reflects on what he's done and gives a father his daughter back.

This is why I read comics. Because nowhere else can you have a story that spans a decade, told by dozens of people that twists and turns like that and hits me with such an emotional whallop as this. I haven't finished reading this week's books yet. While reading them I figured the one I'd be raving about would be Spider-man & the X-Men #1. In fact I already raved about that to my brother earlier. But I didn't know that today I would read the culmination of a story ten years in the making and be compelled to spend the next three hours writing a blog about it. I might be raving about this for years.

The Insert Witty Name Show #25 - "The World's Weakest Hydrogen Bomb"

Recorded live on Thanksgiving and uploaded on Cyber Monday it's the new episode of the Insert Witty Name show! We celebrate a holiday with little relevance to our country by wathcing th Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Gorgo" (because of Turkey Day).

Gorgo is pretty much a perfect storm for us because it's a giant monster movie (turns out you can call it a kaiju movie even if it wasn't made in Japan), it was filmed partly in Ireland, in Dalkey apparently, it has characters speaking Irish, and there was a comic drawn by Spider-man co-creator Steve Ditko! The only way this could have been more suited to us would be if a pro wrestler played Gorgo.

Catching up with The Insert Witty Name Show

I kinda ignored this for a while so there are a few new episodes of the podcast I do with Patrick.
Here's what we've been up to:

Episode #21: "I Like Your Damn Movie, Okay!?" - Topic: The works of Kevin Smith. We mainly talk about his movies but also his work in comics and give a brief mention to his podcating career. We're not jealous or anything. Patrick is a minor internet celebrity. Also, have a reminder that Jersey Girl was not for critics.

Episode #22: "One Track Lover" - Topic: Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. The bizarre short run parody of cheap 1980's horror. It's like if Look Around You mixed with Kingdom Hospital. The title comes from this amazing song. I deliver another dramatic reading and I'm somewhat excited about upcoming Marvel movies. #PrincessSparklefists

Episode #23: "There's Plenty Of Meat On Geese" - Topic: John Layman and Rob Guillory's Chew. This is part one of our cultural exchange where I, a nerdy guy from a small town in Ireland, get Patrick, a nerdy guy from the same small town in Ireland, to read his first comic. Patrick surprises me by not liking it much.

Episode #24: "Weird Farming" - Topic: Bonnie "Prince" Billy's I See A Darkness. In the second part of the cultural exchange Patrick takes me out of my comfort zone with a folk album. I surprise Patrick by not hating it.

The Insert Witty Name Show #20 - "Pre-Fight Doughnut!?"

In the newest episode of the Insert Witty Name Show we are joined by my cousin and resident TMNT expert Darran Smyth to talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze, which must be a contender for the longest movie title ever. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: the legacy of Vanilla Ice, love for David Warner, a lack of thematic resonance, acrobatics on the radio and the unbearable absence of Bebob and Rocksteady.

While you're over there you can listen to the other episodes of the show that I haven't linked to because I haven't been using my blog:

Also for the sake of completionism:

Wow, that's a lot of podcasts. That should teach me to blog more regularly in the future. It probably won't though.

 

Blogging for the Sake of It - May 14th 2014

There's not much to be writing about today. I was in work. Mum and Dad are preparing for a trip to China to see Sarah, who's over there teaching English. Luckily Sarah's present has arrived so that can go out to her. She'll love it, I'm sure.

Also I recorded another episode of the podcast with Patrick. That will be coming to headphones near you when he has it edited. It may take a while. He's in the middle of exams.

Beyond that I've nothing to talk about except the Proclaimer count. It's a bit better today because I was working. Still below the target though. That's disappointing. I get a fanfare when I hit the target.


Proclaimer Count

 

Today's Distance: 7,112 steps     5.5 km      3.41 miles

Total Distance: 21,896 steps      17 km     10.56 miles

Number of Days Elapsed: 3            Percentage complete: 1.056%

Sports and Fake Internet Radio

I've been trying to get more active. This is quite a task for me because I am naturally a lazy person. I hate having to get up and actually exert myself but I need to change before my metabolism gives up and says "Now you're fat!"

To stop this I've taken up walking. There's an app on my phone that counts my steps and the goal is 10,000 steps a day. Yesterday I managed 12,881 steps (10km or 6.2 miles) but yesterday was an exceptional day. I went up town a lot and also walked around Navan shopping. Today was more average, mainly because my legs hurt. The app say 1,903 steps (1.5km or 0.93 miles) but I also went up town and forgot to start the app so that's a little off. Not a lot though.

Long story short, every blog post will have what I'm calling the Proclaimer count. I'm going to see how long it takes me to walk 1,000 miles (or 1,609.4km). [1]
In completly seperate news my oldest friend Patrick [2] and I have started a podcast. It's called The Insert Witty Name Show because we couldn't come up with anything better. It's a pop culture podcast like so many others but the difference is, we're Irish. [3] There are two episodes so far and we talked about our favourite and least favourite sitcoms and the Original Series Star Trek movies.

You can find it here and subscribe on iTunes here.


Proclaimer Count

 

Today's Distance: 1,903 steps     1.5 km      0.93 miles

Total Distance: 14,784 steps      11.5km     7.13 miles

Number of Days Elapsed: 2            Percentage complete: 0.71%


[1] I know the song is called I'm Gonna Be (500 miles). I will walk 500 more.
[2]In that I've know him longer than my other friends. He's not Methusela.
[3] And do stuff like refer to old Dunnes Stores slogans.

Starting from Scratch

It's been a while since I've used my blog. It's a bit of a problem. I keep meaning to post but then I think I have nothing interesting to say. But the only way I can find something to say is to start writing. So...

Allow myself to introduce ... myself. I'm Alan. I'm in my late 20's and I almost had a degree in Computer Applications.

I read. Compulsively. Everything.

I try to watch movies but often surprise people with the movies I've missed out on.

I've been a member of Macra na Feirme for about 7 years. It's probably done more to make me who I am today than anything else.

I'm going to use this blog. I should do it anyway. I'm paying for the hosting.