Fanfiction Fridays: Ambivalence by Ashley Rabbit

Avengers-Loki-Tony-starkAmbivalence was not the fic that I originally intended to recommend. However, in a recent conversation with Lady Geek Girl, the two of us complained a lot about the abuse-apologist rhetoric that seems to follow Loki’s character around on the internet. As much as I love Loki’s character and do feel for him, it’s always bothered me how many fanfic authors tend to write off and excuse his murderous actions due to his own internal turmoil. And no, that’s not all the Loki-redemption fics out there, but it is enough of them.

I really do love the Loki-redemption stories, but I dislike how many of them tend to minimalize the atrocities he committed in order to redeem him. Thankfully, Ambivalence does not follow that trend.

Tony had built his suit to protect himself and others. He should not have been caught again. He also shouldn’t have to depend on a certain green eyed individual, who happens to be his cellmate, for survival. Tony and Loki whump. No Slash. Rating for scenes of torture.
—summary of Ambivalence

When I first settled down to read this, I really did think that it was going to be a typical “Loki gets hurt badly so the Avengers save him and accept him as one of their own—New York Destruction? Who Cares?” fanfiction. I can say with all certainty that I am happy to have been wrong.

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Fanfiction Fridays: It’s Not Always About the Romance

Every Valentine’s Day, we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends vote on and compile a huge list of our favorite pairings to share with our readers. (This is not that post. Check back around noon.) However, we also always do a post that takes some of the emphasis off romantic love, because we are strong proponents of the idea that while having a significant other is cool, it isn’t the be-all end-all of life or this day in particular. We’ve listed our favorite platonic duos and our favorite unattached anime characters over the past two years, but since V-Day conveniently falls on a Friday this year, we’re taking the opportunity to share five awesome fanfics where the focus is not on romance. Enjoy!

Warning: some fics involve spoilers for their respective series, specifically Shingeki no Kyojin (and, like, Harry Potter and The Avengers if you somehow haven’t read/seen those).

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. the Female Character

tumblr_mqv1lnkgBR1qzvka7o1_500tumblr_mqv1lnkgBR1qzvka7o2_500Marvel: what are you doing? What, what, what are you doing?

I usually don’t pay attention to movie posters, but when these two posters kept popping up on my Tumblr dash I decided that I needed to address the issues I saw here. The blatant and utter sexism of these posters just makes me what to throw things and scream. Continue reading

Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Knows Two Gods, Still a Christian

After The Avengers came out, many people discussed Captain America’s famous line about God and Thor.

CapSome people were surprised that Joss Whedon, an atheist, included the line in the movie. Others were either pleasently surprised or dismayed at the inclusion of religion in the Marvel Movie Universe, but the most interesting response, and the one I’m going to address here, is: How can Captain America still be a monotheist when he knows two gods personally? People also pointed out that characters like Iron Man, who is typically written as atheist, would also have issues coming to terms meeting two gods.

In the comics in general, a variety of religions are often included or referenced. In the Marvel universe there are mentions of Christianity, Norse Mythology, Greek mythology, Judaism, Islam, and other forms of Paganism and Wicca. However, despite all these religions being referenced, it is usually the pagan religions that are “proven” when characters actually meet the gods they learned about. For today I will just address religion in the Marvel Universe since each comic book universe deals with religion a little differently.

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Fanfiction Fridays: A Villain State of Mind by Mikkeneko

LokiHey, have any of you wondered what would happen if, after the events in The Avengers, some sort of shenanigans ensued, in which Loki is somehow ejected from Asgard and left in the capable yet frustrated hands of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Well, considering just how many fics there are about Loki being taken in by the Avengers and becoming friends with them, chances are that some of you have.

I don’t want to say that those stories are bad—they’re more numerous than anything—so much as they’re a little repetitive. Though each of these fics give a different take on going about Loki’s reformation and can be very insightful, they can get old really fast. Because there’s just that many of them. Mikkeneko, however, puts a really different spin on it, and her story A Villain State of Mind is by far one of the best character studies I’ve read about Loki. The summary goes as follows:

To no one’s pleasure, Loki ends up stranded in SHIELD custody after the events of The Avengers. Wary of Loki’s dangerous abilities, Nick Fury calls in the favor of an old friend to help him keep this new threat under control—but can even the formidable Professor X save Loki from himself?

Probably one of the reasons A Villain State of Mind is so insightful is because it’s literally about a telepath helping Loki deal with his issues. My biggest complaint about this is that because Loki doesn’t consent to Xavier reading his mind, the story does have mind rape. At the very least, Loki is not happy about such a violation, but that’s all the more credit I can give the fic on that issue.

Throughout the course of the nine chapters, Loki starts to form a bond with Xavier and even begins to regard him as a father figure, going so far to wish that Xavier had been the one to First_Class_Mystiquefind him as an infant. Xavier, in turn, is reminded by his own failings with Mystique when confronted with Loki’s issues. This comes to light when Xavier sees Loki in his true Frost Giant form and remarks on how similar the two look. Xavier tells Loki about how it was wrong that he acted ashamed of Mystique’s true form and that she is beautiful. He uses this analogy to tell Loki that he doesn’t think being a Frost Giant automatically makes Loki a monster.

Xavier only has around a week or so of helping Loki overcome his internal conflict and attempt to rehabilitate him. As such, when the story concludes, we never find out whether or not Loki changes his ways. It ends with a very possible chance of redemption for Loki, but as Xavier says, he and the Trickster only knew each other for about a week and that the threat of a relapse is nowhere near gone.

While the story does have a plot and many subplots going on, the majority of it is just Loki and Xavier sitting in a room talking to each other. That said, it is still a fascinating read. Be sure to check it out on ff.net here or on AO3 here.

Fanfiction Fridays: Ironsides

“Are you always going to be this way?” Daddy asks her, when she’s five.

Antonia, dangling off the barrel of a cannon Daddy’s working on, considers it. “What way?”

“This way. Here, getting underfoot, playing with guns.”

She pauses, and then with a toss of curly hair, says, “Probably. A child’s personality and inclinations are set by the age of five.”

She read that in a book Mommy had and didn’t want her to read. Mommy doesn’t want Antonia to know that she’s worried about her. Antonia’s not upset; Mommy will see she doesn’t have to worry. (Tony will figure out in about two decades that the book was wrong, anyhow.)

Her father looks down at her, shoves a wrench in his pocket, and says, “Well, then you might as well learn something useful.”
–from Ironsides by Copperbadge

I’ve written about genderbending before, and the fic that I’m reccing today is an excellent example of genderbending done well. Copperbadge’s Ironsides asks the question: What would have happened if Howard Stark had married Peggy Carter and Tony Stark had been born a girl instead of a guy?

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Sexualized Saturdays: Badass Ladies Can’t Have Romance?

We do a lot of complaining about the way women’s roles in action movies are typically that of the romantic interest. And hell, it’s justified. There are far too many films where the lady, however interesting she is, is nothing less than window dressing or the arm candy.

However, on the other side of this coin, it’s important to remember that having a romantic interest does not inherently lessen the worth of a female character. It’s only when her role boils down to ‘my only motivation is my love for my amazing prince charming dudebro’ that it becomes a problem.

Consider The Avengers. Does it matter if Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff have a thing? I’m not necessarily arguing that they do, but if they did, would it make Nat any less kickass? No. In this case, the Black Widow is a well-rounded, complex character with various motivations, and romantic feelings are just one part of those motivations.

Seriously this was the corniest thing.

On the other hand, let’s look at Sherlock. Irene Adler is also an arguably badass lady. But over the course of her part in “A Scandal in Belgravia”, all of her actions are motivated by her romantic attachment to Sherlock, and it makes her character unpleasantly two-dimensional.

The problem with boiling women down to just their romantic motivations is that it essentially removes their agency, and forces us to define their characters in relation to their romantic partner. But at the same time it’s important to remember that the basic fact of having a male romantic partner does not immediately make a lady less kickass.

Top 10 Fictional Geek Presidents

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the day after a long and arduous election year. We are all tired and maybe upset about who won or maybe not (depending on your preference), but we are least glad it’s over.

So my geeky friends, no matter who won or lost, did you ever look back at the candidates and think “God, these guys suck—I wish this character from my comic book was real and running for President!”?

Well, we decided to have our own election! These are Lady Geek Girl and Friends‘ Top 10 Fictional Geek Presidents!

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Trailer Tuesdays: Iron Man 3

Okay, so not that I’m not excited to see Iron Man again, because I am, but I have a lot of questions for Marvel and most of those questions tend to be—why?

Why are we doing Iron Man 3?

Well, I pretty much know the answer to this. Out of all the Avengers characters Iron Man is the one who started their movie franchise, and I believe, despite the popularity of the other characters, Iron Man is still the one that makes Marvel the most money. So he gets a third movie right out the gate.

I understand wanting to start with a movie you know is going to do well, especially after The Avengers, but Tony already has two movies under his belt. So Iron Man, a straight white guy, gets a third movie, but Black Widow isn’t going to get her own movie until after the second Avengers movie. Excuse me! Let’s give all the guys second and third movies before the next Avengers, but one movie for our only current female Avenger? No, that can’t happen. Let’s not be ridiculous here. Other movies like the one based on the Runaways series, which would include several minority characters, lesbian characters, a transgender character, and a Marvel team mostly comprised of women, keep getting pushed back. Casting started for Runaways ages ago, but got delayed because of The Avengers. Which is understandable, but after Marvel’s Comic Con announcements didn’t even mention that they were going to continue to work on Runaways I am starting to worry that the movie is doomed to never be made. And other comic book heroes that would add some diversity to our Avengers cast, like Black Panther, the first black superhero, aren’t even being talked about.

Of course! No movies with women, LGBTQ characters, or racially diverse characters, because Marvel has to make some more movies about rich white guys.

Speaking of racially diverse characters, this next question brings me to our trailer. Why Mandarin?

The Mandarin is kind of racist… if not a lot racist. So, we are going to have a movie where the whole time a rich white guy is going to fight a rich Chinese guy who is trying to take over the world. Wow, talk about lack of tact. And really, let’s be honest, there is going to be another Avengers movie, so clearly Tony Stark comes out of this okay. So basically, I am going to watch a movie where a rich white guy beats up a Chinese terrorist the whole time.

Ha, take that, China. Our economic policies are totally going to beat yours. Watch as Iron Man demonstrates.

In my personal opinion, Mandarin is one of those characters that should been left in the vaults of comic-book history. He’s a character whose personality and villainy is largely built based on his race. Everything about being very stereotypically Chinese defines him. Why are we still using this character? And just from a money standpoint, isn’t Marvel really isolating Asian audiences, especially when The Avengers had such a large market in China?

Then there is the fact that Ben Kingsley is going to play Mandarin. Ben Kingsley, originally named, Krishna Pandit Bhanji, is an amazing actor (watch Gandhi), but should he even be playing Mandarin? Ben Kingsley’s mother is British and his father is a Gujarati Indian from Kenya. So… not Chinese, which is weird, considering that there are many Asian actors who could have played this role. The only thing I can think is that Marvel is trying to make his race ambiguous to avoid the yellow peril stereotypes in the character’s history, but the character’s name is the Mandarin. It’s kind of hard to avoid that.

Other than that (which is a lot), the trailer looks great. It appears that the movie is following Batman‘s lead to have the third movie really destroy the lead character so that it is all the more impressive when he does succeed. Either way, this movie looks like it is going to be tough on Tony.

Despite my criticisms, I am excited for this movie and do plan on seeing it, but I am worried that the choice of villain is ultimately going to hurt the movie and its fanbase. And after this, Marvel, let’s give Iron Man a bit of a rest so you can take care of some other characters.

The Road So Far: “What’s Up Tiger Mommy” Review

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, IDJIT!

Wow, just wow, I was so impressed with yesterday’s episode that I thought Ben Edlund wrote it. Edlund is my favorite Supernatural writer and usually if after I watch an episode I say, “That was amazing,” and then check who the writer is, it’s him, but this time it surprisingly wasn’t.

It was actually written by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin, who are usually hit or miss for me lately. They have written awesome episodes like, “Yellow Fever,” “Dark Side of the Moon,” and “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie.” But then they wrote two of my least favorite episodes of season seven, namely, “The Girl Next Door,” which killed yet another interesting female character for the hell of it, and “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding,” which forever ruined Becky for me. Surprisingly, the thing I hate about those episodes–their portrayal of female characters–is what I loved about this one.
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