Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Penultimate Post - And Why Not To Panic About The News From DC Comics Today.

I had been hoping to avoid posting here for a while longer. But current events demand comment.

SOURCE:DC UNIVERSE Reboots in September, Same Day Digital Linewide

DC Comics Rebooting their universe again? That's hardly news. Given recent events in the comics, most figured it was inevitable. Still, as a fan I'm excited about the prospect of a Geoff Johns written/Jim Lee drawn Justice League book. And I'm cautiously optimistic about what this could mean given that what we've seen so far is suggesting the "back to basics" approach to the characters that the fans have been demanding for several years now. Just don't put Judd Winick on Green Arrow or Birds of Prey...

DC moving toward Same-Day Digital downloads of new comics? It's about bloody time someone started trying to make some progress on this issue. The market has been demanding digital comic distribution for a while now and with the increasing sales of Nooks and other full-color e-reader devices, it just makes sense. I doubt this is going to effect the FLCS too much - they're already catering to a niche market and most of the people who patronize local comic shops prefer the feel of a book in their hands anyway. Besides, I think most of those businesses make their money off the sales of older comics - not newer ones.

In short, the sky is not falling. We have to hope that this will be a change for the better. Given the state of DC Comics as a whole in the last few years, it could hardly be worse and many of the titles (I'm thinking Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) could benefit by being taken back to basics.

Thank you.

Now, as for why I'd been avoiding posting here lately...

It occurred to me recently that this blog has changed a bit over the last few years. It used to be entirely about comics but - as time has passed - it's become a little more about all of my geeky interests. Cosplaying. Gaming. Shadowcasting. All of this has come up at one time or another, with only a nebulous link to the original intent of this blog.

So I am closing this blog down. Looking To The Stars is going back into the aether from which it was spawned... so that I may bring you an entirely new blog about everything I am interested in and hope you are, in part if not in full, interested in too.

Will there be comic reviews? Yes, but I'd like to try and do more reviews of Trade Paperbacks and full storylines rather than single issues. It was tactfully pointed out to me that I'm at my best when I'm discussing whole stories rather than parts of that whole.

Will the Doctor Who reviews keep going? Yes, I will continue to review the current series of Doctor Who. I might even be persuaded to go back and review some of the episodes from the classic series.

What else can we expect? Reviews of movies I liked. Discussions of bad movies I made fun of. All of the same snark and sarcasm you've come to expect from me here.

You can also expect a complete archive of darn near everything I've ever written for every comics magazine I've ever worked for.

I'll come back here and post the link once everything is ready.

Until then, good night, stay frosty and call your mother! She's worried about you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doctor Who, Series 6 - Episode 4- The Doctor's Wife



While in mid-flight, there is a knocking from outside The TARDIS. This confuses The Doctor as there shouldn't be any way that anything should be able to come in contact with The TARDIS while it is traveling... except for another TARDIS or something created by a Time Lord.

Cue the entrance of a strange little cube, exactly like the one that The Doctor once used to send an emergency message to the Time Lords (As seen in the 2nd Doctor story The War Games!) It turns out the message is from The Corsair - a Time Lord and old friend of The Doctor's - and that it was sent from a pocket universe outside the normal flow of space and time. Excited by the prospect of another Time Lord being alive, The Doctor charges forth, jettisoning spare rooms from the TARDIS to get the extra push needed to dimension jump.

Upon landing, The TARDIS console suddenly powers down completely. Further investigation reveals this pocket dimension to be a giant scrap yard, populated only by two strange humanoids called Uncle and Aunt and an Ood Servant they call Nephew. There's also a madwoman named Idris, who kisses and assaults The Doctor, saying many confusing things. And the whole place is ruled over by a sentient force called House. All of which is fascinating to The Doctor but not nearly as pressing as the issue as where The Corsair is... or the dozens of other Time Lords he swears he can hear the voices of in the air around him.

It is only when The Doctor finds a chest full of message cubes that the answer becomes clear... and only then that he notices that the scrap around him is made primarily of TARDIS parts. House takes possession of the now-empty TARDIS, while Amy and Rory are still inside it, and makes a break for the other universe... leaving The Doctor trapped on the quickly cooling asteroid with the woman Idris, who is now housing the soul of The TARDIS!


1. All The Questions We Get Answered!

It's amazing how many long-debated questions Neil Gaiman answers so matter-of-factly in this episode. For instance, Wholigans have long debated whether or not it is possible for a Time Lord to become a Time Lady or vice versa - that is to say if regeneration can cross gender lines and if there is a chance that - someday - we might have a female Doctor. With an off-hand remark about The Corsair being a nice man - and a nice lady a few times - The Doctor confirmed that there's a chance he could become a she. Someday.

There's also been a suggestion among the The Fandom that The TARDIS - which we've known to be independently intelligent to some degree since the third First Doctor story Edge of Destruction - was taking The Doctor who where he needed to go to help people, thus explaining away why The Doctor always seems to find trouble no matter where he goes.

2. All The Questions We DON'T Get Answered!

The idea of The TARDIS (or indeed, all TARDISes) having souls has been a part of the show mythology for sometime - and for all that this episode does to explore the concept, we get surprisingly little explanation for just... how? How does a machine develop a soul? Are Time Lords themselves placed into the machinery? Answers are not forthcoming... nor should they be. Doctor Who works best when there are still mysteries to explore and The Doctor (and his technology) should be a part of that mystery as well.

3. Running Up And Down The Same Corridor Over And Over

The bits with Amy and Rory trapped inside the TARDIS halls are very effective - both for the horror involved - and as a neat twist on the cliche that all Doctor Who stories that do not feature a bunch of people running around a rock quarry consist of endless scenes of people running up and down the same corridor over and over.

4. No Annoying Amy/Rory "Do They Really Love Me?" Sub-Plot

Well, okay... there is a bit where Amy stumbles across the body of an apparently dead Rory, who took the time as he was going mad from loneliness to scrawl several thousand variants of "I HATE AMY! DIE POND!" over and over on the walls of a hallway in his own blood. But that doesn't count and it's a neat way to illustrate how much Amy is in love with Rory... that the fear of being hated by him is such a crippling thing to her.

5. The Doctor and His "Wife"

Really, the whole conceit of The Doctor and The TARDIS finally getting a chance to talk... really talk... is a brilliant one. And the Interplay between Matt Smith and Suranne Jones is perfectly executed.


1. Why So Surprised, Doctor?

Granting that the exact circumstances are different, The Doctor probably shouldn't be as surprised as he is by The TARDIS being depowered after leaving The Universe. After all, the same thing happened in the Second Series episode Rise Of The Cybermen.

2. Not To Be That Guy, But...

... as original and wonderful as the idea of The Doctor and The TARDIS being able to communicate directly is, I'm afraid it's been done before and done recently. And irony of ironies, it was in the Doctor Who comics.

Doctor Who: The Forgotten has an Amnesiac Doctor being guided out of a trap by the soul of The TARDIS, who manifests itself as various ex-companions of The Doctor as needed. The two are able to communicate for quite a while, with The TARDIS calling itself The Doctor's first and oldest companion and - in one touching scene - manifesting it's soul as Susan, The Doctor's Granddaughter, so that he could - in some fashion - say goodbye to her.

I don't think Neil Gaiman read the comic in question before hand and I'm not accusing him of plagiarism. I just had to note this before all the other Wholigans start singing about how original the conceit of this episode was and give a shout out to one of the best Doctor Who comics in recent memory.

The Final Verdict: Hopes were high going into this Neil Gaiman penned episode and he did not disappoint. The mythology of the show is referenced and enhanced, but we're left with more questions than we are given answers. And that is all too right. A well-paced script is backed by some excellent performances, leaving us with the best episode of the Series thus far.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wonder Woman Pilot Not Picked Up : Fans Receive News With Mixture Of Relief And Disappointment

SOURCE: It’s Official: NBC Has Passed On Wonder Woman

My hopes weren't high but it is sad to know the show won't even be given a chance after all the publicity it received. The worst part is that we'll have to endure another round of taunts about how this is proof that nobody cares about Wonder Woman and/or female superheroes in general.

Doctor Who Series 6 - One More Mystery: Who Is The Eye-Patch Lady?

What's up with the lady in the eye-patch who keeps peeking in on Amy?

She first showed up in Day of The Moon, when Amy was exploring the orphanage. She appeared through a hatch in the door, which later disappeared. Amy was startled by the woman and asked who she was, but the woman ignored her and said "No, I think she's just dreaming" to someone else inside the room. When Amy opened the door, there was nobody there...

She showed up again in Curse of The Black Spot, as Amy was waking up. This time she seemed to make eye-contact with Amy and said "It's fine. You're doing fine. Just stay calm.".

Thoughts? Theories? Let's discuss it below.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doctor Who, Series 6 - Episodes 3 - The Curse Of The Black Spot



The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves aboard a becalmed pirate vessel. After a misunderstanding involving the proper treatment of guests on a pirate ship and a demonstration as to why real pirates kept their weapons locked up when they weren't at hand (vis a vis Amy being thrown into the hold where the weapons are kept in an unlocked chest) our heroes find that the pirates are deathly afraid of even minor injuries.

Why? Because of a mysterious black spot that appears on the hand of any man who is injured and a green-glowing Siren, whose song draws the cursed men to her, only for them to disappear at the touch of her hand. With the TARDIS becalmed as well and the Captain's sickly son on-deck, it will be up to The Doctor to unravel the mystery of the Siren and save the day.


1. The New Introduction. Specifically, What Is Missing From It.

Go ahead and watch this intro again. See if you notice something important that Pond forgets to mention in her summation of who she is and how she came to be with The Doctor.

By 'we' you are including Rory, right? The man you didn't mention in all of the flowery talk about your imaginary friend who came back for you and took you away to have adventures all around time and space? The man you are, presumably sharing a bed with as husband and wife in one of the spare rooms on the TARDIS?

Just checking.

2. How The Heck Did The Captain's Son Go So Long Without Getting Nabbed By The Siren Or Spotted By The Crew?

He had The Black Spot on his hand because of his illness and he quickly became a target for the Siren once he was discovered. Thing is, he really should have been claimed much earlier. Think about it - even if the Powder Room where he hid was dark and dry with no reflective surfaces at all, he'd still have to come out for water sooner or later. And the minute he got near a reflective surface... WHAM!

3. The Siren Being A Computerized Medic Just Doesn't Make Sense!

Okay - the idea of a holographic doctor that can instantly teleport its' patients to the hospital with a touch is a novel ideal. Very useful that. Could be a wonder in search and rescue missions were it not for one small problem. Namely, that The Siren is totally dependent upon its' patients being able to reach out and touch it.

It never moves to the injured men! It always gets in close, sings a soothing song and then draws them out to touch it. While that's not bad for a man with a cut finger, I can't imagine it doing much to help the men with a broken leg or somebody pinned under a ton of rubble.

For that matter, what if someone gets trapped under something and there's no light to create a reflection nearby?

4. Where Did The First Mate Go?

He just disappears halfway through the episode! Maybe there was a cut scene where the Siren got him that wasn't in the American broadcast?

5. Deja Vu - The Sensation That You Are Doing Something You Have Done Before.

There's a lot of ideas here that may seem repetitive - not just to long-time Doctor Who fans, but to fans of the more recent series as well.

6. Deja Vu - The Sensation That You Are Doing Something You Have Done Before.

There's a lot of ideas here that may seem repetitive - not just to long-time Doctor Who fans, but to fans of the more recent series as well.

(Yes, I know that is a terrible, awful, cliche joke. And yet, I'm still making it because an episode this uninspired and repetitive doesn't deserve original material. XP )

In all seriousness, this episode doesn't have much that hasn't been done in other Doctor Who stories and been done better. The Doctor Dances explored the idea of a mechanical alien doctor that proves unable to treat humans properly much more effectively with a mystery that didn't feel so anti-climactic. And the idea of a computer-based intelligence manipulating more primitive beings due to a programming error is such a Doctor Who cliche I shouldn't even have to mention it having already been used last season in The Lodger. To say nothing of the numerous classic Doctor Who episodes like Stones of Blood and The Face of Evil that are based around the same premise. Even the idea of a story where The Doctor gets menaced by pirates isn't original (i.e. The Smugglers)

7. The Doctor Doesn't Know CPR?

This one is kind of nit-picky. And I know that it would take away from the scene where Rory has to tell Amy how to save his life and the romance as she literally has to breathe the life back into him. But it did bother me that The Doctor didn't take a hand in things.

And yes long-time Wholigans, I'm well aware that The Doctor's medical knowledge as depicted across the whole of the series has been erratic at best and that any medical training he has with humans is probably outdated and incorrect. Even allowing that some knowledge may be lost in the regeneration process, I still can't believe that we can go from Ten reverse engineering a cure for Dalek genetic modifications to being completely unable to do CPR.

If nothing else, you'd think it's something he would have learned "just in case" what with the large number of humans he travels with and the amount of danger he gets into.


1. This Episode Had Pirates. Cause Pirates Are Cool!

Really! It had Pirates! And Karen Gillian dressed as a pirate... sort of!

2. At Least ONE Writer Is Trying To Keep Amy Pond From Being A Total Mary Sue

She does get her awesome moment with the pirate outfit and the sword and the swinging around... but proves to be somewhat rubbish at it. You can tell she's just barely managing to protect herself when she fights with the sword and she winds up injuring people as she's swinging on the rope as much by accident as on purpose. And as much as I hate the continual Rory/Amy "Do They Really Love Me?" Subplot that should have been resolved forever last Series, it was novel to see Amy being the one worrying about a stray comment and her husband's feelings for her.

3. Matt Smith's Great Performance?

Much as I disliked this episode, one of the few things I did like was Matt Smith's turn as The Doctor this time around. It isn't unusual for The Doctor to not have all the answers but it's very rare for him to jump to the wrong conclusions. And while Matt Smith is never going to he my favorite Doctor, I do think he did a great job with The Doctor here and that he perfectly captured the emotions conveyed by a very intelligent man who hates being proven wrong nearly as much as he hates seeing people being vaporized by a monster he can't explain.

The Final Verdict: Not the worst episode of New Who by a long-shot but still possibly the worst episode of the Matt Smith era. The whole affair feels very rushed, cobbled together out of several reliable stock plot concepts that were utilized to better effect in other stories.

Weekly Comic Reviews On Hold... For Now.

Due to a sudden unexpected car problem and my comic book store of choice closing down, I'm going to stop doing the regular "Good Thing/Bad Thing" reviews for the foreseeable future.

Doctor Who reviews and reports on the latest comic news will continue, as warranted.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Red Sonja #56

GOOD THING: The front page gives us a wonderful summary of the series so far, making this a good issue for new readers to jump in on.

BAD THING: The blocking in the artwork is somewhat cartoonish and better suited towards a Xena story than to the more gritty tone demanded of a story set in Hyboria.

The Final Verdict: A good issue for new readers to jump in on, with a wonderful summary of the story so far on the very first page! Sadly, the art is not representative of your typical Red Sonja story, with physics straight out of Looney Tunes.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #33

GOOD THING: It's hard to narrow down to just one thing, what with the picture-perfect images of personal hells that Simone creates for most of the Six. But I'd have to say my favorite part is the ironic hell that Catman's dad is trapped in... and Etrigan's rhyme regarding the thin line between Heaven and Hell.

BAD THING: It's looking more and more like Liana is going the way of a thousand other comic book girlfriends. It's a credit to Simone that such a minor character can inspire such emotion. Still doesn't make me feel any better about it... even if the odds are equally good that Scandal might choose to save her over Knockout.

The Final Verdict: Secret Six is not the best villain book on the market today - it's the best villain book ever!

A Real Cry For Justice: Help The Cheerleader Who Refused To Cheer For Her Rapist

SOURCE: Help the Cheerleader Who Refused To Cheer Her Rapist!

This girl was raped at the age of 16 by the star player for her high school basketball team. She reported him to the authorities. He plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor assault charge and was let go with a suspended sentence. The school made their support clear, refusing to even consider booting the athlete from the team while the matter was under investigation.

She had to deal with constant harassment from her fellow students and the community after. The administration’s way of coping with this treatment was to suggest she avoid the cafeteria and not go to Homecoming. Her rape counselor encouraged her to continue all the activities she did before the rape... to refused to act like she had done something wrong.

So she stayed on the cheerleading squad - an activity she loved. She went to the games and cheered for the entire team, but when it came time to cheer her rapist’s name individually as he shot a free throw, she simply crossed her arms and stayed silent. She was summarily, and publicly, kicked off the squad.

The girl and her parents sued school officials and the district, arguing that she was being punished for exercising her right to free expression. But the Federal Appeals court that ruled against her did not see it that way, and in a cruel twist ordered that she and her parents reimburse the district for more than $45,000 in legal fees for what they called a frivolous suit. And the Supreme Court refused to even hear the appeal of that ruling.

I don't usually get political on here or plug specific causes. But I don't want to live in a world where a convicted rapist is allowed to stay in a normal public school, having the time of his life and probably getting more money than most of us will ever see in a lifetime to go play ball for some college while the girl he raped is stuck footing the legal bills for the district that just wanted her to keep her mouth shut unless she was shouting "Go Team!"

So please... click the above link. Give a dollar. Give more if you can.

We can't change what happened but we can keep this girl and her parents for having to pay blood money for standing up for justice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel # 3

GOOD THING: This issue is truly faithful to the original Robert E. Howard text.

BAD THING: That being said, this issue is being painfully faithful to the slowest part of the original story. It all goes downhill from Conan freeing the wizard, with the rest of the issue being an info dump of just how bad things have gotten in Conan's absence.

The Final Verdict: It's a faithful adaptation of the slowest part of the story it is based on. The art is good but that doesn't disguise or excuse the fact that there's not a lot of action to be had. Still, the Howard purists will be happy and it is a wonderful set-up for the big finale next time.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Conan: The Road Of Kings #4

BAD THING: As before, the art is the weakest link in this book. There is little consistency from panel to panel and the female characters frequently look... odd.

GOOD THING: The writing is, as before, top notch, with Roy Thomas managing to deliver the goods, even as he retreads familiar territory. Honestly, if i had a dollar for every comic I've read where Conan is taken before a corrupt ruler in chains... I could probably afford all the Savage Sword of Conan TPs I don't already own.

The Final Verdict: As with the previous issues, there's a classic-style Conan story which is ill-served by inconsistent artwork. For Roy Thomas fans and Conan purists only. Art snobs probably won't enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Green Lantern Trailer! Looking even better.

I think this coming out three days before my birthday may be the best birthday present I get this year.

New Conan Trailer Released! By Crom, August cannot come soon enough!

All You Need To Know About The Neil Gaiman Speaking Fee Controversy

1. Last year, Neil Gaiman was asked to speak at the Stillwater Public Library in Stillwater, Minnesota. The library had received several thousand dollars through a grant from The Legacy Fund - a Minnesota state program designed to, among other things, encourage the arts. The grant money was intended to bring several big-name authors to speak at their library. As is typical with this kind of grant, the money could not be spent on anything else and they were desperate to find another author who could speak within a certain point of time, lest the money disappear into the ether and the library face criticism for not spending all of their allocated funds.

2. Mr. Gaiman, ever a champion of public libraries, agreed to appear for $40,000. The actual amount he got after taxes was $33,600. Gaiman donated all of this money to two separate charities - one doing social work, the other library/book based.

3. This is, it should be noted, much lower than Mr. Gaiman's standard speaking fee. He does not do many public speaking events and what few he does are usually done for free at library conferences, charity fundraisers and other public libraries.

4. Mr. Gaiman became a target for the editorial board of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who wrote an article citing Mr. Gaiman's speaking fee as the height of government waste perpetuated by The Legacy Fund - all while demanding to know why this sort of money wasn't being spent on a much more sensible $800 million dollar football stadium.

5. Today, Mr. Gaiman once again became the target of conservative forces in Minnesota - specifically Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean, who said that Gaiman, "who I hate," was a "pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota."

6. No one is sure just where the $45,000 number came from since the original price Gaiman was quoted was $40,000.

7. Apparently called out on his language by his own mother, Rep. Dean apologized later for calling Gaiman a "pencil-necked little weasel" but said that his comments on his being a thief still stood. He further commented that "I'm sure he has a lot of fans but also a lot of those fans would agree that he's extremely financially successful," Dean said. "He could probably donate a few hours of his time for some kids who follow him and like his books."

8. With this, Rep. Dean made it blatantly clear that he did not know the first thing about Neil Gaiman as a writer or a person.

9. As has been noted before, Mr. Gaiman worked below his usual rate in order to help out a library that was in a jam. He then donated his speaking fee in order to do further good.

10. As has also been noted before, Mr. Gaiman is unusually generous with his time as a public speaker and is famed for his kindness in doing what he can with his celebrity to help First Amendment causes and public libraries... free of charge.

11. Despite the clear implication that Mr. Gaiman - as an author beloved by children - is somehow unworthy of being paid a fair rate for his time, Rep. Dean once again shows his ignorance. While Gaiman is perhaps best known to the public as a Newbery Award winner, this is but ONE of the many honors that he has earned in his time as a writer. Mr. Gaiman is a polyglot among authors, unlimited by form and genre. He writes picture books, fairy tales, storybooks, young adult literature, science-fiction, urban fantasy and graphic novels with equal ease and to equal acclaim. Among his other honors are The Hugo Award, The Eisner Award and The World Fantasy Award.

12. Rep. Dean has made himself at least one enemy today. I don't mean Neil Gaiman, who I don't believe to have a mean-spirited bone in his body. I mean every single librarian, graphic novel fan and lover of good literature who Rep. Matt Dean just insulted by suggesting that our favorite author wasn't worth $45,000... let alone the $33,600 he actually received. And I predict that come election time, whoever chooses to take to the political field of battle against Rep. Dean will find their war chest bolstered by several million contributions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Update On The Boob-Punching Boobs at Synthesis Magazine

Originally, the article in question had a photo of two geek girl models - Jennifer Wenger and Michelle Prenez - who were dressed as Supergirl and Wonder Woman, with a caption regarding how the editor "would have sex with them while listening to them talk about how different they are for playing Halo" even though "The above girls aren’t super hot, per se."


After friends of the two models called Synthesis out on the insulting commentary and using the picture without permission (to say nothing of the irony of objectifying women in an article that was meant to be calling out this kind of behavior), they replaced the picture with a generic close-up on a woman's chest clad in a "talk nerdy to me" t-shirt with the text "(Ed. Note: The above girl isn’t super hot, per se, but yes, I would have sex with her while listening to her talk about how different she is for liking Star Wars.)"

Google Cache Reveals All! The spelling errors! The sexism!

At first I thought the writer was an idiot. I'm beginning to suspect that everyone associated with this magazine might be similarly lacking in mental faculties.

Still, that's no reason why you can't write to the management of Synthesis and make your opinions known. Again.

Doctor Who Series 6 - The Mysteries Thus Far

Spoilers Behind The Cut! You were warned...

Right. All safe behind the zero-balance dwarf star alloy walls? Good.

So... here's the big questions we have so far.

Who Was Amy Really Thinking Of When She Was A Prisoner Of The Silence?

Any was taken prisoner but her nano-recorder was left behind, allowing Rory to hear her thoughts as she wishes for rescue. She later said that she was thinking of Rory when confronted about it but - as Rory pointed out - the person she was describing as wishing they would come to rescue her sounded like The Doctor, what with the "falling out of the sky and into her life" line.

Of course one could argue that Amy made her choice last season, making her feelings for Rory quite clear even before she finally married "stupid face". But is Amy being entirely honest with herself? She was certainly willing to run off with her childhood crush on her wedding day before AND tried to force The Doctor into some a most compromising position.

Rory seems to have taken her at her word. On the other hand...

What's Up With Rory And Amy's Memories?

Rory and The Doctor briefly discussed the burning of Rome - an incident they were both present for. The Doctor was there in his first incarnation and was indirectly responsible for starting the Great Roman Fire whereas Rory, as an Auton, was guarding The Pandorica. It is then that Rory reveals that while he has knowledge of what he did during the 2000 years he was guarding the Pandorica, the memories feel incomplete... like something he was told about rather than something he actually lived through.

Amy has a different problem, having lost several days of memory while being held by The Silence. Actually, given that her memory would have blanked every time she saw one and looked away, she could have been there much longer. Which raises the question of...

What's Up With Amy's Pregnancy?

At the end of The Impossible Astronaut, Amy told The Doctor that she was pregnant. Later, when he confronts her on the statement, she backtracks, saying that she was just worried about whether or not traveling in the TARDIS while pregnant might have negative side-effects. The Doctor then runs the TARDIS scanner... which keeps jumping between YES and NO on the pregnancy issue.

It's worth noting that, when Amy was investigating the orphanage earlier in the episode, she found a room with several pictures of a girl - the same girl that was in the space suit earlier. One of the pictures depicts Amy holding a baby and the picture makes Amy truly afraid and nervous even before The Silence show up and take her.

This brings us, naturally to...

Who Is The Impossible Astronaut/Little Girl?

With all the invoking of the standard tropes regarding American urban legends of Men In Black and Alien Abductions - particularly the legends regarding women being impregnated to create alien hybrid babies, it's no small wonder that the most popular theory thus far is that The Silence took Amy's baby and experimented on her for their own nefarious reasons. And yet... that's just one idea. So in no particular order, here's every idea I've had and heard.

1. The Little Girl is Amy and Rory's daughter, augmented by the technology of The Silence.
2. The Little Girl is Amy and The Doctor's daughter, who has inherited her fathers superhuman strength and regenerative powers.
3. The Little Girl is a young River Song.
4. The Little Girl is the daughter of River Song and The Doctor from THE FUTURE!
5. The Little Girl is a clone created by The Silence in an attempt to create their own Time Lords.
6. The Little Girl is just some random orphan who was kidnapped and experimented on by The Silence.
7. The Little Girl is a Time Lord child kidnapped by The Silence before the Time War, kept hidden from The Doctor all this time.
8. The Little Girl is The Lindbergh Baby.

Any questions? Any answers? Post them below.

A Call To Action - For The Boobs Of Jill Pantozzi And All Geek GirlsEverywhere!

SOURCE: Having Tits and Liking Spider-Man Isn’t Shocking Anymore
(Do a Google Search for the title if you want to read the whole thing. I refuse to give them any more traffic.)

Earlier today, a writer by the name of Zooey Mae - a self professed employee of TWO comic book stores - ranted about how the idea of women enjoying comic books, role-playing games and other geeky hobbies should not be nearly as shocking as the mainstream media treats it.

On this point, I think we can all agree.

She then went on to rally against women who are the geek equivalent of gay-for-pay: i.e. they only pretend to be interested in geeky things or bat their eyelashes about how embarrassed they are by their geeky hobby.

Again, I can sympathize. I personally find geek shame - male or female - to be incredibly annoying.

The problem is that Zooey then went after a specific target. A specific target who is probably the last person in the world to deserve the charge of being a faux-geek grrl. I am speaking of Jill Pantozzi - the author of Has Boobs, Reads Comics. If you read my little blog, odds are you know who Jill is. And if you don't, you should go read her stuff right now.

Don't worry. I'll wait.

All done? Awesome, right?

Now, I'm probably the last person in the world who should be leading the charge against someone for venting their spleen on the Internet. God knows that if I had $100 for every poorly-spelled, profanity-filled e-mail I got from a Scott Kurtz fan, I could pay off my student loans. And yet, here I am. Because if a lifetime of reading superhero comics has given me nothing else, it has given me a highly developed sense of justice.

I don't think Jill needs my protection. I don't need to play the White Knight for her or anybody else. She's a tough lady who can take care of herself. And a whole lot of people - more prominent than me - have already come to her defense.

That's not what this is about, though I do find myself deeply disturbed by anyone whose response to not liking the name of someone's blog is to "punch her in her stupid boobs". Even if the someone in question isn't an MD patient with limited mobility!

No, I'm calling attention to this because I believe in a higher standard of criticism. A standard that demands that you write more than a paragraph when you're trying to make a complicated point. A standard that requires you to run the spell-check BEFORE people start complaining about your article and how amateurish it looks. A standard that demands you not end your rants with a sudden, unexpected and totally unrelated complaint about Joss Whedon fans.

If you agree with me - that poorly-written and poorly-edited rants have no place on a so-called professional website - I urge you to write to the management of Synthesis and make your opinions known in a nice, respectful and polite manner.

Thank you.

(Man, what is it with me and posts about how Nerdy Girls Exist lately?)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doctor Who, Series 6 - Episodes 1 & 2 - The Impossible Astronaut & Day Of The Moon

In the past, I've always tried to avoid giving away the whole story of each episode when summarizing the plot. For several reasons, this is... difficult with this pair of episodes. So I've given a bare bones plot summary - such as it is - below under the cut labeled "The Plot". There will be SOME spoilers but probably nothing that you haven't guessed at if you've seen the trailers for the start of this Series.

If you don't wish to receive any spoilers at all, skip ahead to The Final Thoughts.

I will be writing more about the specific mysteries that are being set up to be explored throughout the season in a later post.



Summoned from across time and space, three of The Doctor's companions (Amy Pond, Rory Pond and Dr. River Song) meet in the Nevada desert in 2011... just in time to see a future version of The Doctor's 11th Incarnation be gunned down by an American astronaut. After meeting a fourth former companion of The Doctor (Canton Everette Delaware III), who helps with disposing of the body before disappearing, the trio meet up with a younger version of The Doctor they just saw die.

Following the only lead they have (the name of the mysterious 4th companion), they all travel to The White House in the year 1969, where Canton is an FBI agent investigating the mysterious phone calls of a young girl who keeps calling President Nixon's private line, warning of a menace from space. From there the trail leads to a horrifying discovery and mysteries upon mysteries as Amy Pond continues to see terrifying things that aren't there and discovers that she may have a connection to the odd girl. In the end, The Doctor and company learn they must save the Earth... not from an alien invasion...but from an alien occupation!


1. The Silence Are Golden.

I didn't think Steven Moffat could possibly create any creature more menacing than The Weeping Angels.

I was wrong. So wrong.

Because what is worse than a monster that, the second you stop looking at it, will get you? A monster that, the second you stop looking at it, you'll completely forget was there in the first place!

Like most of Moffat's monsters, The Silence are born of a childish fear and the idea that there are things out there... WRONG things... things that only we notice that are just waiting for a chance to slip through the shadows into our reality. The only other writer I can think of who explored this theme as extensively is H. P. Lovecraft. And yet, grounded as it is in the wonder of childhood, Moffat's creatures are all the scarier.

Yes, the concept of great, indifferent squid gods sleeping on the ocean floor are terrifying... but who hasn't had worries about a creepy statue coming to life or the crack in the wall of their bedroom being a gateway to someplace sinister? That realization and ability to build a menace out of a feeling that we all remember from childhood is what makes Steven Moffat's tales of horror all the more effective.

2. A Likeable Nixon?

Moffat has done the impossible and given us a Richard Nixon that is actually a likeable character, while still remaining true to what we know about the man historically. Given that Nixon rarely comes off well in alternative history tales, it's a nice twist to have one of the most infamous American Presidents being portrayed as an amiable sort who is all too willing to go joy-riding across the country, just to tell some soldiers to stand down and enjoy the look of surprise on their face as they see The President himself has shown up to explain who this "Doctor" fellow is.

3. Arthur Darvill: The Most Underrated Actor On This Show.

Seriously, I have not seen anyone praise Arthur Darvill's performance as Rory in everything I've read about this show. Is it just me? Am I the only one thinks he is utterly amazing and has managed to flesh Rory out into one of the best supporting characters the show has ever had?

Don't believe me? Take a look at his face in the scene in which he tries to speak to Amy through a device that is broadcasting her thoughts to him. The Doctor says that it won't work and Rory insists that she'll know he's coming to help her... as she begins broadcasting how much she wants The Doctor to come save her.

I can't recall a better example of non-verbal acting than this moment in which Rory, who had some fairly reasonable issues last year regarding whether or not Amy was really in love with him anymore, seemingly has his worst nightmares confirmed.

4. Excellent Pacing.

Until recently, Doctor Who rarely engaged in Back To The Future/Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure-style shenanigans with characters crossing one another's time lines and sending back instructions to their past selves. Moffat throws in ever trick involving Time Travel that science fiction has to offer and then some into this story. And yet somehow it avoids confusion because the whole story moves too quickly for the viewer to stop and think about why what just happened shouldn't have happened.


1. It's Not Newbie Friendly.

The thing that makes this such a great episode to long-time fans is also the thing that makes it a damnable nuisance to newcomers - it violates the Stan Lee rule of serial writing, which demands that writers consider that every episode in a serial is potentially somebody's first episode.

I don't think this means we need to have a recap of who is who and who is fighting who and why at the start of every single episode. But Doctor Who has been quite good, since its return in 2005, in making the first episode of each series a good jumping-on point for newbies with simple stories like Rose and The Christmas Invasion standing out as particularly great stories for showcasing what your average Doctor Who story is like to a newbie.

Whatever else you may say about these two episodes, they are NOT simple.

2. The Whole Human Race Is Party To Genocide Now.

The Doctor pretty much proved Davros' charge back in Journey's End that The Doctor was a hypocrite because while he'll refuse to use a gun but that he has no problem with turning people into weapons if it will keep his hands clean.

Granting that he did try and get The Silence to surrender and leave Earth before turning their own powers of hypnotic suggestion against them and that this does fit in with the Tenth Doctor's rule of "No Second Chances", I'm still not entirely comfortable with The Doctor - ANY version of The Doctor - utilizing a plan that requires every person on Earth in 1969 to become a murderer... even if they're killing off a race that has enslaved humanity for millennium.

3. Not Everyone Had A TV Back In 1969.

Granting that there are a probably a LOT more of The Silence in the urban areas and there are certainly more in The States than there are in other parts of the world... The Doctor's plan does rather hinge on all of The Silence being within range of someone with a TV set when they get the order to kill their oppressors.

I'm just wondering if there are Silence agents in Africa, hiding among the poorest villages who are getting out of this situation scott free. Just wondering...

4. Doctor Who is NOT The X-Files.

Effective as the cinematography was in these two episodes, between the story and the scenes depicting Amy Pond wandering around a spooky building and being abducted by The Silence, I couldn't help but feel like I was watching a British version of the X-Files for most of the second episode. I like X-Files but Doctor Who should never leave me feeling like I'm watching The X-Files, if you get my meaning. It's an entirely different kind of science fiction.

The Final Verdict: An effective opening that leaves us with more questions than we have answers about the new alien menace that is threatening Earth and more mysteries than we have clues. Steven Moffat has created another masterpiece.

The only real flaw is that unlike previous Series Openers, this is one not very friendly to new viewers. If you have a friend who is new to Who, loan them your copy of Series 5. Or start them off with Series 1 and Rose. Let them work up to this one.

Rise of Arsenal Wins Award For Accurate Depiction of Drug Addiction. There's No (Cry For ) JUSTICE!

SOURCE: 'Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal' Wins Award For Accurate Depiction of Substance Abuse.

The comic where a strung-out one-armed heroin addict manages to beat six hobos up using a dead cat as a weapon? Seriously?!

There are no words...