31 Horrifying Days- Day 5: Odd Thomas (2013)

This one isn’t a horror movie so much as a action/comedy/mystery/love story with horror elements (including ghosts, clairvoyants, demon-like apparitions and murder). 

Odd Thomas is based on a series of novels by Dean Koontz. They’re books I’ve never read because reviews and press releases left me with the impression that the novels were more serious mysteries and for an older crowd. Of course, I am getting to be an older crowd. But really I can’t imagine anyone who can stomach the bile regurgitating corpses wouldn’t enjoy the film.

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Odd Thomas (who may or may not have supposed to have been named “Todd Thomas”) can see the dead, and he uses his capabilities to help track down their murderers. The police chief, played by Willem Dafoe, knows about Odd’s powers but it’s a secret from most. In terms of personality, Odd is incredibly quirky, but not to the extent where it makes him a misfit. He’s employed, not gainfully- but employed, as a short order cook and he has a wonderful girlfriend with a weird name, Stormy, who works at an ice cream shoppe, she knows about his powers and helps him out with fighting evil. Part of their love story is that a fortune telling machine told them they’d be together for eternity, they got for a single quarter what most people could never buy. Other ladies flirt with him as well, but Odd never reaches Harry Dresden style lecherousness. 

Odd (played by Anton Yelchin, Star Trek, Terminator Salvation) and Stormy (Addison Timlin, “Californication”) uncover a conspiracy to commit a bombing and race to stop the deadly attack.

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Along the way they have a run in with a weird haired man in a pink suit surrounded by bodachs (paranormal predators that feed on pain) that leads them too a grander conspiracy. Odd races against time to save the other townspeople while dealing with a human mystery, paranormal hauntings and bodachs that might be smarter than he thinks. The grosser portions of the movie are still done up with cartoonish humor. If I had to compare this film to anything it would probably be BeetleJuice. The cinematography is bright, colorful, playful and very unique for such a tale. The chemistry between actors is phenomenal. I might be naive on this one, but the ending caught me entirely by surprise. This film made me feel so many different ways which is really rare for and Urban fantasy, love story/mystery.

Was it scary? Nah, I told you that though. It’s not really a horror film. It just has horror elements. This does come highly recommended regardless.

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These are the bodachs who prophecize upcoming carnage.

5/5

The film had a limited released in February 2014 and is out on DVD and on Netflix currently. The Odd Thomas book series is 12 books long, while this film leaves options open, there is no current plan to release a sequel.

Princeless #3 + a commentary about female heroes’ costumes

Princess Adrienne is trying to find her sister. She’s now being pursued by the king’s guards. She stops at a local blacksmith and meets the string bean, pixie cut rocking, Bedelia is the real craftsman behind the armor. Adrienne finds that Bedelia only has a selection for women based on- well, what we’ve seen in the media for women warriors. 

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So we’ve got the Red Sonja get up

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which was recently addressed in Legends of Red Sonja #3 as a method of distraction. As in the mens will be distracted by your curves. As someone who loves Red Sonja, I also think there’s some level of cockiness that shows through that get-up, not just about her curves, but as a “yeah right, you’re not going to make it within a stone’s throw from me anyway.” Sonja’s also presented as a very sexual being and being flashy is her thing.

As is true with Xena.

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Her get up is not too gaudy, protective leather and minimal armor plating is not unreasonable for a traveller who can’t be weighted down. Besides, her male contemporary, Hercules, walked around with no armor and his shirt open all the time. Like Sonja, she is a grown woman who hooks up with Gods (for Sonja, recently a forest god, for Xena it was Aries).

I’m not innately anti-sexy-costumes. In fact, here’s a picture of me at Rhode Island Comic-Con rocking some spandex. (With Rory and Amy and fellow Radio Of Horror host dressed as Indiana Jones)

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I like showing off my body, and I’m a grown woman and I do what I want.

But this bugs me out:

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Batman and Superman look gruff and …like adults. Diana looks maybe 16, like she has an E cup, no rib cage and is wearing undies. The men are big and huge and Wonder Woman has zero muscle definition. That’s absurd. But mainly, what I’m mad about is the infantilization. Say it with me, Wonder WOMAN. It’s also absurdly out of character. In Justice League War Wonder Woman’s costume was skin tight, under scrutiny by anti-supes she says that her outfit makes her feel powerful. And there’s nothing wrong with showing off what you’ve got. Of course her JL War costume is “modest” compared to the photo above:

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And there’s a duality where woman are made to feel vulgar for liking to show themselves off while being bombarded with sexy women. sexy women are presented as fierce and confident, but is “The Sexy Woman” really empowered?

Back in the comic, Princess Adrienne runs around dressed as the Amazonian and experiences street harassment and learns how to work a lasso. Bedelia finishes up her armor and its spectacular. 

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Legends of Red Sonja #4

The Grey Riders continue on their mission to get revenge against Red Sonja. They head into a village where they ask around.

Subscription cover by Frank Thorne

Subscription cover by Frank Thorne

Jenny’s Story: Parallax by Mercedes Lackey is told by a young woman who recalls being taken by perverts. Nei Ruffino creates images that show both what happened: On one side, panels lined with glitzy metallic accents show the girl in a tiara accosted by men with demon horns, the panel on the right shows scrappy dirty thieves and a messy haired boyish kid. Them becoming “sisters in arms” vs Sonja making Jenny haul the dead bodies. Nei Ruffino killed it on this one, the glittering memory vs the gritty truth, the art perfectly conveys this in a unique way.

The town considers Red Sonja an ally. And the Grey Riders are not amused. They continue into a forest. But the forest is home to a powerful being.

We see that Sonja has met this creature, this GOD before. God of the green, forest god, she rescued him and they shared a night of passion, after which he created a child in her image (actually, she looks like Poison Ivy, but whatever).

Little Red and her dad.

Little Red and her dad.

 

Very cool sort of gender role reversal. Sonja’s all “what the heck, why not have sex with a god” and he’s all “I want to have her babies”

Very rad. Marjorie M Liu, author of (among other things) urban fantasy series Dirk and Steele as well as Marvel’s X-23 series, circa 2010-2012. (I have a thing for X-23 right now, so I might have to find these), Phil Noto -who also teamed up with Liu on X-23- provided the art here and we get a more sultry and stunning Sonja, light and shadows bounce off characters and lush backgrounds beautifully and provide an ethereal feel.

Next month’s issue is the conclusion of this 40th anniversary celebration on our favorite chainmail bikini clad ginger, Legends of Fiction’s Legends of Red Sonja. At the very end of this one we see Red Sonja protecting the forest still taking out the Riders one by one. Will her daughter help chew them up? Or something else? I think that’s the most fun part of this series, you really never knew what you were getting next. Something serious, something funny, cartoon-y or gritty, magical, a treasure hunt, a scorned lover, a story told through the lens of jealousy or admiration.

Legends of Red Sonja #3 + Red Sonja #7

Red Sonja double review special:

With Legends of Red Sonja #3, we jump right in to “The Palace of the Necromancer” which was written by Leah Moore. Writing comic books is in Leah Moore’s DNA, Alan Moore is her father, and she has written for the Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes comic book series; proving that she’s no stranger to writing strong lead characters. In this tale a traveler has joined up with the Grey Riders to hunt Sonja because long ago Sonja offered to destroy Zaul. Zaul is a necromancer caught in stasis, draining the life from nearby crops, who is guarding a vast treasure. The man breaks the spell and a hoarde of zombies rises. He blames it on Sonja, of course. Not on the fact that he’s a greedy hog who couldn’t resist the treasure. Nicola Scott’s Gertrelle’s Lament finds a witch women who scapegoats Sonja as well. The old woman was piecing together an old and powerful ritual, only to have the sacrifice made into Sonja’s supper. This story was my fave in the issue, the art by Doug Holgate was quirky and cartoony and fit well with the attitude of that particular ‘legend’. In “Gerd’s Story: What lies beneath” written by Rhianna Pratchett, art by Naniiebim, Sonja is in her alternate costume: full sleeve chainmail and red hotpants. This was long ago, when Sonja was new to being a warrior. Gerd made Sonja her chainmail bikini: diversion tactic. Anyway, Red Sonja infiltrates the Grey Riders while they are deciding whether or not to keep hunting her, and she kills the leader with an arrow through the eye she didn’t take.

Red Sonja #7, Gail Simone and Walter Geovani triumphantly return with a new story arc and new mission for Sonja. She’s sent to recruit to world’s 6 greatest artisans for a shindig for a dying ruler, Samala. The utilitarian Sonja doesn’t care for such festivities, but Samala says that if she is successful, he will set over 1000 slaves free. So she goes to a swamped area inhabited by cannibal foodies in search of the world’s greatest chef. They have him captive. Red Sonja gets followed by the bogmen who criticize her dinner of rabbit on a stick, which she kills one with, and through a series of events she gets captured and put on the menu. She meets the cook, Gribaldi, and finds that the cook has been deceiving the bogmen and feeding them infant reptiles and setting the captured free. All hell breaks loose when the giant gator people get wind of their cooked young. “There’s the problem with exotic cuisine, sometimes, it simply refuses to be eaten.” Sonja keeps herself and the cook on the top of the food chain!

Comicbook Catch-up Extravaganza!

Featuring: Guardians of The Galaxy 11, PrinceLess #2 & Deadpool: The Gauntlet

Guardians of the Galaxy #11 AKA the Trial of Jean Grey #1

(even though the last issue of All-New X-Men was also the Trial of Jean Grey #1) 

I have never read Guardians of the Galaxy and I’m not usually a bandwagon jumper, even when there’s a movie, but this is a crossover with my 2nd favorite X-Men title, so there you go. Also by Brian Michael Bendis. Art by Sara Pichelli. Quill and Gamora have a chance run in at a bar, they’re both Wanted, yet Quill is at his usual spot and he cleverly quips; “Because it’s the first place anyone would look for me. So they probably already looked for me here and moved on.” But the woman is not Gamora! They’re a really a bounty hunting Skrull! Ohh snap. I really dig it, it reminds me of all the Space Western Anime that I like. Gladiator of Shi’ar attempts to explain Jean Grey’s very complicated history in 140 characters or less. There’s argument about whether Jeannie should face trial for crimes she TECHNICALLY hasn’t committed yet (also, she already helped kill that version of herself). The real Gamora and Angela are having a girls day shopping trip -for weapons- when they run into imposter Gamora and Quill. Gamora tries to figure out what the heck is going on, but Angela decapitates her. Angela loots the body and Quill wakes up in one piece. All together all the Guardians find out what the Shi’ar are planning with Jean Grey and they decide to interfere. The last page makes it.

The space-time continuum tremor doesn’t explain why the original X-Men can’t go home, does it explain Marvels funky numbering?

Also, I hate Groot. I hate any character that only says their name!

PrinceLess #2

Princess Adrienne’s brother is getting his lesson on how to be a proper man and swing his sword around. His father makes all manner of emasculating comments to him because he’s the sole air to the throne. None of his sisters have been rescued yet. All of a sudden someone brings news about one of the girls! But it’s not good news, the tower was burned to the ground. No sign of Adrienne. The King swears vengeance! Just then they see her dragon flying around the castle, the King tells everyone to get armed. It’s Devin who notices the rider on the dragon, and sees that they are going for Appalonia’s balcony. Devin fears for her safety and sets out to prove himself a dragonslayer. Adrienne and Devin predictably swordfight, after Devin relocates Appalonia. Adrienne easily wins and reveals herself. They have a heart to heart and Devin reveals that he left the sword in her room. Devin said he wouldn’t let Appalonia be locked away so his father hid her far away with the meanest guards so she’s not there anymore.

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First mission didn’t go smoothly, but Adrienne stays true to her quest to save her sisters!

The art is a little plain in this one, light on background details but the cover is fierce!

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Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1

This is part one of a thirteen part comic that comes out every week until the end of April?! Whaaat? So I’m already super behind. Greaat. And it’s only being further released digitally. It’s out right now up to issue 6 (can be purchased here). Get with the times and save trees.Deadpool is England fighting a man over a girl. He gets shot, expels the bullet which ricochets of the other man’s jet pack and turns it on, sending him off of the airplane they were fighting on. Epic entrance. Then he realizes his katana is in the pilot’s head, and like all cartoons it doesn’t take effect til you see it. He saves the girl from drowning, gives her CPR, she sees what’s under the hood and runs away. 70s style art interlude with theme song and chimichangas. He gets shot in the head and wakes up on a park bench to a vampire! “At least you’re not twinkling and have a shirt on!” Vampire makes a dash, and Deadpool proves we’re soul mates by saying “Don’t make me run! You wouldn’t like me after you make me run!” The encounter gets physical, and the vamp disappears, Deadpool doesn’t know what the vampire rules are here and asks if british Vampires can turn invisible. He catches the vamps trail and follows him back to his master: Dracula. 

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People really either love or hate Deadpool, I’m gonna say it… I love Deadpool. 

PrinceLESS #1

I was light on comics to pick up, so I decided to just grab some stuff. And I was sifting through NES cartridges when out of the corner of my eye I see this bright pink comic on the All-Ages shelf. I don’t usually read “all ages comics”, or “girl comics” or “fairytale comics.” 

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So in this story we have a Fairytale Princess. And this fairytale princess is of color. Unfortunately this is so notable because of representations of Princesses including but not limited to those by Disney whose single foray into having a black/African American princess left the heroine as a swamp animal for most of the movie without any princess privileges. And spare me the “but Tiana worked hard” or “it was realistic” because No. It wasn’t. And frankly it doesn’t matter: There were so many discussions about whether or not Disney could have used an African folktale for the story or if they made the right move by setting it this way and the correct answer is that they could have done both or neither: EverAfter/StoryLand worlds are make believe and everyone should be included. No one living in 2014 America recognizes themselves culturally with dragons or castles or birthright. And yet for some reason these movies repeatedly come out with white characters as if this is something logical because it’s realistic or historical because it has an origin in some Northern European country. And writers, artists, animators, marketing execs and whoever else can handle that movie/comic/TV fans can suspend disbelief for talking snowmen, fairy godmothers, magic spells, etc., but do not think the masses can handle a princess being a different race than the one in the original literature written hundreds of years ago? OH Spare me. People who actually have a problem with it should be banished to 1280 AD. 

Plotwise: We start off with a story within a story: a fair maiden with arms like pipecleaners getting saved from a tall tower guarded by a dragon by her one true prince. And they live happily ever after. Oh Joy! Princess Adrienne doesn’t buy it. And she tells her mother so. Her mother is nonplussed. The practice of locking Princesses in towers to be saved by the most valiant of knights who will prove himself brave and worthy enough to rule is accepted. She figures Adrienne will get over it (she doesn’t) and she gets locked in a tower when she turns 16 (after being drugged by her parents). 

While stuck in her tower, she writes so she doesn’t “go stupid” and scolds both the dragon and princes below. One such prince shows up and says he seeks a “fair maiden.” She tells him that “fair” means “white.” She calls him a moron, then says, “You’re so anxious to take a wife! Why don’t you take a book first? Work your way up.” 

Through a series of events she ends up teaming up with the dragon that ‘s guarding her tower (by telling him that he’s part of a system that is detrimental to him!), gearing up, and setting out to free princess from towers! 

The real gem in this feminist dream? 

The end of the comic has a mini story that features a Prince, forced to go through Charm School to learn how to save princesses who finds out that it’s not all he hoped it would be. 

Because patriarchy is bad for everyone. HOLY GUACAMOLE!

I picked up the $1 reissue of this and I cannot wait to find the rest because it is both fun and insightful. And Adrienne is dressed like Princess Peach which has nothing to do with anything really, I just thought that was cool. I know I focussed in on all the social justice stuff. But really the overall plot is a spunky action-chick who teams up with a dragon (to rebel against society). Come on. that is so rad.

I don’t even give stars for comicbooks and this gets 5 Stars

Red Sonja #6

After the big review in #5 that Bazrat was behind bringing Sonja and Annisia together as combatants, the two women are still in the arena. Bazrat, with a woman at his side, one whose husband was killed by Bazrat; reveals that he spread “the plague” to destroy armies that stood in his way. Worse, he assembled Annisia’s army without her knowledge, so she has killed for him. Again.

Annisia, haunted by those she killed in battle, and now those that she has murdered, loses her already weak grip on reality. She lashes out at Red Sonja. Then at Bazrat. Generals Ayla and Nias corner Annisia’s soldiers and threaten them with flaming arrows.

It happens quickly, alliances made and broken, curses, threats, avenging those long gone and recently deceased.  The last issue of the first story arc ends both in sadness and celebration for Sonja.

Red Sonja gets her vengeance against the one who killed Dimath. Ayla and Nias become full grown bad-asses. Annisia gets some peace. The Taverns get reopened.

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Dar Annisia was certainly a complicated “villain” (I’m using the term loosely). She thought she was doing the right thing, she couldn’t live with what she had done and it drove her crazy. Real crazy. Massive survivors guilty, PTSD. And she was furious with Sonja for being able to move on. But how much has Sonja “moved on”? Sonja drinks too much and can’t stay in one place too long, she has trouble relating to other people. She deals with her past better than Annisia, but that’s all.

The ending of this issue was such a surprise that I don’t even want to explain too much, it’s just better in color.

Certainly a great wrap up for the first story arc. Sonja’s past is behind her now. Enemies vanquished. I wonder what’s up next for our red haired warrior. And I do hope that Nias and Ayla make an appearance again soon.

This came out on my BDay, Gail Simone tweeted HBD to me!

This came out on my BDay, Gail Simone tweeted HBD to me!