How Telltale Games Plays with Expectations in Their Superhero Series

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*80s pop music playing in the distance* (via Den of Geek)

I don’t have to tell anyone reading this site that we’re living in a world saturated by superhero media. Between the hundreds of movies, TV shows, Netflix originals, video games, and of course comics, how does one stand out from the crowd? Especially when you’re one of many adapting/rebooting something as ridiculously overdone as Batman? Well, you do what Telltale Games does: you acknowledge that media saturation and the fact that your title character is a pop culture icon, and you decide to use that to do something different. You accept that your players will be bringing some knowledge of the superhero franchise—be it Batman or, more recently, Guardians of the Galaxy—you’re adapting to the table. And you use that knowledge as a foundation to play on audience expectations and take the opportunity to toy, fanfiction-style, with some “what if?” scenarios to create innovative and intriguing new takes on the familiar stories. And you do it all while exploring and giving agency to sidelined women characters, too!

Spoilers (mostly minor, but major ones are tagged) for both Batman: The Telltale Series and Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series beyond the jump! Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: Martyred Moms and Dastardly Dads in the MCU

My friend and I came out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 convinced that the Infinity Wars movies, and the big Avengers/Guardians crossover therein, were mostly going to consist of Tony Stark and Peter Quill trying to out-Daddy-Issue each other. As well as both having facial hair and a penchant for roguish one-liners, the two heroes have a few things in common, most notably their parental situation: like Tony, Peter Quill has a complicated and at times antagonistic relationship with his father that forms the emotional core of a whole movie, and a sense of wistful mourning for his mother, who was sweet, kind, and only shows up in a few scenes. She’s also dead due to circumstances that were in no way her fault, so they can bond over that as well. At this point, maybe Thor can chime in too, perhaps initiating a group hug, since he also has a complicated relationship with his main-character dad and grieves over his good and nurturing dead mum. Jeez, is Infinity Wars just going to be one big session of father-related angst and mother-related mourning?

Fridge a kind mother and elevate a father to main character status once, Marvel, and that’s shame on you. Fridge a kind mother and elevate a father twice, still shame on you. Do this three times for three different superheroes and it’s officially a pattern. What exactly is going on here, and why does it annoy me so much?

GOTG Ego and Starlord

Complicated Father-Son Dynamic: Space Edition (Via Comic Book Movie)

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My Mom Doesn’t Know “Mr. Blue Sky” and Other Things I Had Feelings About During Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Well, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sure was a thing I watched.

I should start with a positive, right? It had a great soundtrack. (Although I was shocked to discover that I recognized some of the songs and my music aficionado mom did not.)

Also, I’d definitely argue that it was better than its predecessor. If you’ll recall my review, I left Vol. 1 deeply disappointed, and I felt like this movie offered a lot of the character beats and emotional high notes that I wished the first film had hit. It also improved the representation on the team by giving us the first MCU team-up with some semblance of gender parity.

That said, I’m not sure what this story adds to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe worldbuilding, and being a band-aid for the previous film’s issues isn’t necessarily a good look for a sequel.

Spoilers after the jump!

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Trailer Tuesdays: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

So I have this problem.

This is the problem: a younger, more naïve Saika was so, so excited for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The trailers were so good; it was a different and new premise from the typical Marvel formula… and then she was massively disappointed by the movie itself.

An older, wiser Saika then sat down to watch this trailer. And found, to her great surprise, that she was once again interested in the shenanigans of these space-faring assholes. Is it too much to ask for that this movie will be the GotG we deserve and not the fratsplosion we got last time?

My fingers are Pollyanna-optimistically crossed.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Avengers: Age of Ultron

It’s been nearly three weeks since the Age of Ultron trailer was leaked to the public. I was on vacation at the time, so, while I did get to watch first the grainy leak footage (and then the HD damage-control release from Marvel) in my condo while jumping up and down with excitement, I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet. I’m here to remedy that right now.

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Fanfiction Fridays: A Sure Thing by thingswithwings

Nebula leaves gifts for Gamora to find.

The first is a bomb, the big, impressive kind of bomb that Nebula tends to favour, slick polished metal, beautiful in the way that Nebula is beautiful. It is sitting obtrusively in the prison cell with the Selenian diplomat that she and Quill and the others are trying to rescue, wired so that they will have to disarm it in order to free hir.

“What the fuck,” Rocket says, delving into the machinery. “I don’t even know what this is.”

Gamora glances down, but only for a moment; she’s charged herself with keeping watch over Rocket while he works, and it’s a responsibility she takes seriously. She’s never known anyone except Nebula who built explosives like this, and if Nebula is trying to kill them, there may yet be more to her plan.

“Don’t touch it,” she hisses, right before Rocket’s wicked little claw comes in contact with the glass. He freezes, listening to instructions for once. “It’s vibration-sensitive, it’ll set the whole bomb off.”

“Your sister’s a real prize, you know that?”

“I do,” Gamora says. It’s not an untrue statement, in its way.

As anyone who’s been in my vicinity since the Guardians of the Galaxy movie premiered knows, I think it could have been so much better than it was. One of my biggest peeves about the movie was that it totally wasted the massive potential present in Gamora and Nebula. They had so much going for them—codependent rivals, adopted sisters and daughters of a dog-eat-dog father, cybernetically enhanced child soldiers all grown up—and yet none of that was really developed on-screen.

Nebula_and_Gamora_(Earth-199999)

Apparently there was a movie prequel comic, though.

Thankfully, there is such a thing as fanfiction. And while A Sure Thing is not the novel-length movie prequel about Gamora and Nebula growing up together in Thanos’s court that’s at the top of my Christmas list, it’s still totally awesome in its own right.

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Not So Hooked on Guardians of the Galaxy

When I got my work schedule for last week, the first and most important thing I had to figure out was this: when was I going to be able to see Guardians of the Galaxy? I’ve been stoked for this movie for months, despite my serious initial concerns, and I was even more excited this week after I discovered that this was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first film with a female screenwriter.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-bannerHappily, I was able to get to the midnight showing on Thursday after my shift ended. Sadly, I didn’t think the movie delivered on its, well, galactic potential. Spoilers below the jump.

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