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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Isis: Night of the Vampires Chapter 1

*NOTE* I have Jury Duty next week so blogs will be delayed until it's over or Saturday whichever comes first. Until then sample the first chapter in next the book in the Isis series, Isis: Night of the Vampires! Covers are not final; pondering a Kickstarter to pay for them!  

Time Magazine calls him the man who rules the world. I call him the man who’s ruining my life.

 Ever since the board made John Haynes the CEO here at Morris Phillips, more and more of our kind are being replaced by his kind. If things keep going like this not a single creature of the night is going to have a job here.

Over the past year I’ve said goodbye to so many friends it’s not funny. Older demons are putting in their retirement papers and younger ones are taking jobs at other companies in the Lord’s organization. I’d love to join them. Unfortunately it’s hard for our kind to get jobs in the Legion let alone keep them. In the Lord’s order we’re usually the last hired and the first fired. If I lost this job, it could be years before I found one that paid this well and allowed me to work these kinds of hours.

The time on my Smartphone is 8:56 when I get off the elevator. Moonlight shines down through the picture windows of the top floor of the Morris Phillips Tower as I push my cart towards the reception area of the executive suite. When I approach the reception desk, Mr. Haynes’ administrative aide Samantha greets me with a smile. “Hey Sam, you’re working late.” I say.

“Well, Mr. Haynes had a long meeting Lilith.” Samantha replies.

“So I guess I should come back later-”

“Things looked like they were wrapping up for the day. Let me see if you can go in there.”

Samantha picks up the receiver and punches in an extension. “John, one of the maintenance people is here. Is it okay for them to pick up the trash?”

“Yeah, we’re about done for the day. You can send them in.”

“You can go in.”

I push my cart past the reception area and towards the tall mahogany doors of the executive suite. When I open the doors of the CEO’s office Mr. Haynes is standing in front of his desk having a conversation with his assistant E’steem. The husky golden brown skinned man dressed in a tailored pinstripe suit breaks from his conversation to smile at me. I’d love to give him a piece of my mind. But his girlfriend is one of the most powerful demons in the entire Legion. I get in her man’s face and I’ll go from undead to deceased in less time than it takes to blink.
I head over to the wastepaper basket near E’steem’s desk. While I’m taking the plastic bag out of the bin and replacing it with a new one I overhear their conversation.

“I guess we better head upstairs.” John says. “I don’t feel like taking that long train ride uptown at this hour.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I could even muster up the energy to teleport us home after the day we had.” E’steem replies.  “How long have we been up?”

“Since about five A.M.”

“Let’s just hope no other crises come up during the night. Because I’m probably going to sleep through most of it.”

If he only knew about the crisis among the creatures of the night here like myself. Many of us undead are worried about our job security around here. I bet if I told him about how he’s making our lives miserable he wouldn’t be sleeping so soundly.

 “That’s saying a lot for someone with your enhanced stamina-”

“I feel like I’ve run a marathon with all the going back and forth from the copy room to the conference room.”

“But at least we made some inroads on Morris Phillips’ holiday plans. What’s on the schedule for tomorrow?”

I want to say something. Anything. Tell him about the issues of the working stiffs around here like myself. But my mouth remains shut. I look over at E’steem in her designer red dress and she looks more intimidating in person than she does online. Yeah, there’s all this talk on the Demons Anonymous Facebook Group about her crossing over to the other side. But knowing what a vicious killer she was in the past makes me afraid to say anything.

“Not much until the afternoon.” E’steem says brushing her long silken black hair out of her face to study the screen of her iPhone.  “Your schedule is pretty much open except for that meeting with the Craft Cheese execs at 1:30 tomorrow.”

Crap, he’s practically got a free day and I can’t capitalize on it. If sunlight wouldn’t turn me into a pile of ashes I’d ask him for an appointment to make a presentation. I know I could state my case now, but seeing E’steem standing right there scares the crap out of me. I know if I said anything about the issues of the undead she’d probably dismiss me. Compared to someone like her we’re second-class citizens in the Legion. 

“Then it’s a madhouse.”

“Yeah, after that meeting then we have to get ready for that Bachelor auction at the Roosevelt-”

“You have your paddle ready?”

“I’m always ready to spend my money for a good cause.”

“Since my morning is free, maybe we can take a trip up to my old neighborhood.”

E’steem’s face lights up “That sounds like fun.”

“Cool. There’s a place I’d love to show you that meant a lot to me as a kid.”

I frown on hearing their plans. They’re planning on having fun and I’m worrying about whether or not I’m going to have a job tomorrow. But if I say anything about my problems I may not remain alive. I huff a sigh as I head over to the wastepaper basket next to John’s desk. As I’m taking the garbage bag out of it and putting it into my bin, John grabs the phone on his desk and punches in an extension. “Hey Sam, you can get ready to go. Yeah, we’re done for the day.”

John hangs up the phone and peers down at me. When his dark eyes meet mine I get startled. “Are you finished Miss?” He inquires. 

Finished? I wish I could have gotten started. “Er…Yeah.” I mumble.

John and E’steem head out of the office suite. I follow behind them pushing my cart angry at myself for missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. 

Isis: Night of the Vampires will be available on Kindle and in paperback Summer 2015!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Isis/E’steem Series crossover 2015

The next story I’m planning to write in the Isis series will feature John Haynes and be John Haynes related. John made his first appearance in the Isis series in Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess. While he’s been a supporting character in E’steem series books and mentioned in earlier Isis series books, he hasn’t established much of a presence in the SJS DIRECT Universe since The Temptation of John Haynes a few years ago.

I’m building towards the sequel to The Temptation of John Haynes, and I’m trying to get a feel for the character again and his “voice” before I tackle him in a second full novel. Before I write that book, I want to reintroduce readers to him.

Following some advice I read on Chuck Dixon’s official website, I’m giving John a more active role in an established character’s books before presenting him in another novel. Dixon has a good point, when a character is out of rotation for a while like John, it’s best to reintroduce them in an established characters’ book first and get the audience reacquainted with them. Hopefully this approach will build anticipation for the sequel to The Temptation of John Haynes.

Isis: Night of the Vampires will pick up on a plot point left at the end of Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess and tie directly into E’steem: Undercover. In that E’steem story E’steem will be going undercover as an IT Technician as she investigates a smuggling ring involving Morris Phillips products.

E’steem has been growing in her role as John’s helpmeet. She’s ready to take on more responsibility. And John is ready to give it to her.

E’steem’s investigation has her learning more about herself and how to work without her powers. While readers are used to her using hocus pocus and hellfire to get out of jams, in this story I want to show her using her world-famous brain to solve the case of the Snack smugglers.

And while she’s working at the warehouse on her case, E’steem needs someone to fill in for her. That’s where Isis comes in. In Isis: Night of the Vampires, Isis gets to walk a mile in E’steem’s high heeled sandals helping John do his work at Morris Phillips. During her time there she’ll learn about the corporate Hell John deals with and the threats from the evil spirits and principalities in Lucifer’s Legion.

Essential Reading! 
And she’ll also get to know John a little better. In Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess Isis met John. And they didn’t get along too well in the beginning. Towards the end of the story she began to warm to John, but I left the door open for her to come back. Isis wants to get back in the penthouse. And here’s her opportunity to go where she’s needed.

In Isis: Night of the Vampires, Isis will learn what makes John great. And she’ll see why E’steem loves him so much. And she’ll grow closer to and come to be fond of him for who he is as they overcome whatever threat they have to face together.

The challenge for Isis: Night of the Vampires and E’steem: Undercover will be keeping the continuity straight between both stories. In this cross-over, both Esteem: Undercover and Isis: Night of the Vampires both take place at exactly the same time. While both stories are self-contained in their own volumes, events in both stories overlap over the same period of days give or take a sequence.

While I’ve done crossovers last year such as Esteem: Deadly D’lilah and Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy, this time I’m experimenting with a different type of story model. Two different stories, same characters and both going on at the exact same time running parallel with each other. It’s out of the box, but it’s a lot of fun doing something different.

Right now the first draft of E’steem Undercover and Isis: Night of the Vampires are finished. No telling when both books will be out, but I’m shooting for before the summer of 2015. 

Why Fox’s Gotham Needs to be Retooled

Hey, it's the only Batman Pic
I have on my computer!
I tried a few episodes of Fox’s Gotham. It just didn’t work for me. I mean, no tights, no flights works for a young Clark Kent in Smallville because he’s a teenager. But when it comes to the world of 8-year-old Bruce Wayne…It’s just not a story I care about. I’d rather have a proper Batman: Year One series instead.

Gotham’s supposed appeal is seeing the rise of many of Batman’s villains before they became villains. And Bruce’s growth into Batman. But what we get is a mediocre cop show where Detective James Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock go out and fight second and third tier Batman villains before they become Batman’s villains.


It’s like Jim Gordon is doing all of Batman’s work for him.  There’s supposed to be some mystery about the Wayne Murder case, and Cat (Selina Kyle as a kid) is a witness. But we comic fans know all this is a whole bunch of expository crap to pad out a series to go five years. Comic fans who know Batman’s origin will tell you Joe Chill Killed Bruce’s parents. And the case is supposed to be COLD for 25 or so years until Bruce becomes Batman and solves it HIMSELF. So the main story for this series is USELESS.

Fox wants a superhero series. But this ain’t the one they need. The sad part about Gotham is that it has PROMISE. It could be a breakout hit if they just retooled it.  There’s some good writing, and some great acting, especially from Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock and the actor who plays the Penguin. Both steals every scene they’re in. But the concept is ALL WRONG and POORLY EXECUTED. I believe all of these stories would work TEN TIMES better in a Batman: Year One television series.

Warner already has a strong foundation for a Gotham retool. You have a Young Jim Gordon. A great Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya. A great Penguin, Riddler and Harvey Dent. A strong Alfred. Great sets of Wayne Manor and Gotham police headquarters. All this show needs is an aged-up Catwoman, aged up Ivy an aged up Bruce and a Batmobile to make it a rock solid adaptation Batman: Year One.

Oh and the Batsuit doesn’t have to be fancy: The one used in Batman: Dead End would work beautifully on this show and fit right in with the costumes on CW’s Arrow and The Flash.

The way I see it, In a Batman: Year one TV series we could see young twentysomething Bruce Wayne returning to Gotham after receiving all his training and starting out as Batman. While taking on the bad guys and mobsters he’d be working on the Wayne Murder case, starting his relationship with Lt. James Gordon, and tracking down Joe Chill, while learning more about the Falcones and the mob families that run Gotham.

I believe people would get a lot more excited seeing a real Penguin, Riddler, Poision Ivy and Catwoman taking on Batman every week in Gotham. They’d get more excited seeing Matches Malone coming to Fish Mooney’s spot. Hell, throw in a Vicki Vale too to cover the craziness for the Gotham gazette and have her in a rivalry with Summer Gleason. Even better Bring in Jack Napier on the first Season Finale and make him into the Joker in the Season 2 Finale. The ratings would be through the roof on that.  

 Anything would be better than watching Detective Jim Gordon Fight Batman’s villains like the Black Mask and the Electrocutioner before Bruce even gets a chance to put on the cowl. If Jim Gordon can beat these guys with basic police training, then what really makes them a threat to Batman? Who needs a Dark Knight to be the Guardian of Gotham and strike fear and terror in the hearts of superstitious and cowardly criminals if Jim Gordon can do this already?

And a Batman: Year One TV series would work way better into an expanded DC TV universe. I know the show is on Fox but it could be used to do something crazy like y’know Cross over into CW’s Arrow and The Flash for a team-up. Maybe even be used to build into a proper Justice League movie. DC’s TV division is giving Warner the content that allows them to compete with Marvel Studios. The build to a Justice League should be done on Television, not in individual movies. People need a reason to go to the theater, and seeing the Justice League form slowly on various TV shows will persuade them to pay for the tickets.

Warner’s superhero properties are on a roll on Television and Gotham has all the potential to be a breakout hit for Fox. With a little retooling into a proper Batman show based on: Year One it would definitely do a lot better in the ratings and win over more casual viewers. But as it stands now I just pass on Gotham. Nothing on the show really grabs me. I don’t want to see an 8-year-old Bruce and Jim Gordon taking on third-tier Bat villians, I want to see Batman taking on his entire rogues gallery. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why I’m starting to NOT be A Fan of The CW’s Arrow

I’m starting to NOT be a fan of CW’s Arrow. Season 3 is where I’m watching our favorite Emerald Archer put on a pair of waterskis while John Diggle revs up the Queen Consolidated speedboat for a shark jump…In between the excessively moral and ethical gray areas and the meandering storylines, lame villains like Ra’s Al Ghul (I’m sorry he just doesn’t work for the screen in movies or TV) and a horribly out of character super douchebag Ray Palmer I’m just getting turned off with Arrow.

And on Felicity and Ollie in love…NO…Just NO. HELL NO.

The Felicity/Oliver romance just feels FORCED and convoluted. There’s no chemistry between Felicity and Ollie the way there was between Sara and Ollie. Felicity is a great character and she deserves better than the lame love triangle storyline she’s been shoehorned in. With her being an IT expert I’d rather see her in a mystery revolving around the web, the Dwarf star tech, or anything that allows her to use her intelligence. Ollie has enough to be angsty over and Felicity is too good a character to be involved in some lame romance storyline that goes nowhere.

It’s bad enough we had to sit through Diggle becoming a baby daddy in Season 2; this Felicity love triangle is just….Good Gravy.

Arrow is turning into Batman Lite, and that’s what made the character SUCK in the Golden Age and the early parts of the Silver Age before Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams revamped him into the gruff hard travelin’ Left-winger we all new and loved for a generation. If Oliver gets rid of his Arrowbike and starts driving around in a big golden Arrowcar we’ll have the Bow Knight, not the prickly Longbow Hunter everyone knows and loves.

Many episodes in Season 2 did a GREAT job of showing the flaws of Oliver Queen and all the things that made him distinct in his feud with DeathStroke. Season 2 Oliver had great chemistry with Slade, and they did a great job of bringing out the best in each other.

Season 3 on the other hand has been SUPER DUPER LAME with the meandering plots around Ra’s Al Ghul, Malcolm Merlyn, The Society of Assassins and the mystery revolving around the death of Sarah Lance. The Amanda Waller flashbacks have been super grating and again, I can’t stand all the moral ambiguity. There’s no good or evil on this show and it’s making it impossible to watch. Arrow is starting to become everything I HATED about post Identity Crisis DC, a world without good or evil, a big gray area with no direction or focus. Dark works because the light of the hero contrasts the evil, but gray…is just confusing and hard to watch.

The Brave and the Bold episode is the best thing to come out of Season 3. Oh, and the Boxing glove arrow. That was AWESOME. Arrow needs to give us more stories like this, not all of this damn angst. The 1980s ended 30 years ago, let’s make things a bit more 21st Century in terms of story models. See what Marvel Studios did with superheroes? Do that.  

On the acting side, Stephen Amell and the cast of Arrow are doing KICKASS work. Amell is to Green Arrow and Oliver Queen what the late Christopher Reeve was to Superman. It’s the little things that he does that make that character come to life and capture his spirit. The acting on this show is some of the best I’ve seen in the superhero genre.

Amell and the cast of Arrow deserve MUCH BETTER WRITING than they’ve gotten in some of these episodes. Much of the dialogue really feels FORCED at times. I know the writers are adapting comic books, but from my twenty years of writing experience novels, YA stories and screenplays I know there’s a better way to make the dialogue sound natural and still maintain the feel of a comic.

Arrow’s scripts are the main reason the show really has not had that breakout season. Season 2 started showing promise then quickly broke down around the time DeathStroke killed Oliver’s mother. Season 3 has been falling apart from the start. The series really feels directionless, especially with Ray Palmer in the mix. I could see Hal Jordan coming to Starling city, Jack Knight or even Ted Kord, but Ray Palmer? WTF?

And speaking of Ray Palmer he’s so out of character it’s not funny. Ray in the comics has always been a bit of a Bob Newhart-esque kind of guy. Soft-spoken, kind of quiet, milquetoast, and a little deadpan. He’s mellow and easygoing. Unfortunately the writers of Arrow have turned him into a douchebag with an extra long nozzle.

I mean, Jean Loring usually was the bitch in the Atom comics, but Ray Palmer has brought out his inner asshole on Arrow. And I’m still scratching my head on how is the Atom gonna be a badass in a grim n’ gritty city? Seriously, I just don’t see how a guy whose power set is shrinking is going to be a hero for a city filled with street criminals. Just shows me how the writers have painted themselves into a corner.

Now Ted Kord I could see popping into Starling back when he had Kord Enterprises to buy Queen Consolidated. With his agility, fighting skills, and flash gun the Blue Beetle would be a great compliment to Oliver and his team of archers, and maybe even a contrast to him in terms of heroics. And his bug hovering over the sky would be a reason to give super villains pause. He would even be a better fit romantically for Felicity since he knows tech so well. Plus he’d fit right into a Justice League movie if Warner planned to adapt the TV shows to the big screen.

But the writers have just not done a good job on this show lately. Yeah, they have flashes of greatness in individual episodes, but their long game for the season just falls apart. They managed to pull shit together for a pretty solid Second season finale after the midseason writing meltdown, but season 3 feels more like odds n’ ends cut and pasted from leftover scripts, not a smooth flowing storyline with a defined beginning, middle and end.

I want to keep watching Arrow. I do. But the writing as it stands right now is turning me off. Arrow has a great cast of really strong actors who are KILLING IT onscreen, but it’s like NO ONE can write a decent script for them. I don’t want a Batman lite, nor do I want to watch a Brave and the Bold show. I want a Green Arrow show where Oliver Queen is the primary focus and he’s taking on HIS bad guys. As it stands now he’s getting LOST in his own show, overshadowed by supporting cast members and numerous plot threads that go nowhere because his writers just keep missing the target.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shawn’s Review of CW’s The Flash So far…

The CW’s new Flash series is usually must see TV for me. I have not missed an episode outside of Plastique. But I got caught up at the library a month or so ago I’m good to go after the midseason finale. With The Flash continuing it’s Season 1 run I thought I’d write about what I liked and didn’t like about the series so far.

Story wise CW seems to be making their adaptation of The Flash a mix of DC’s The New 52 and Goeff John’s Flash: Rebirth. Neither is my favorite version of the character, but I did like what I saw with Barry’s origin sequence on Arrow and when I heard about the new series I decided to give it a chance, judging it as an adaptation of the comics where slight liberties can be taken here and there. So far this TV series has been making great efforts to try to fit some Pre-New 52 elements in its stories and when they do it works far better than the Nu N’ improved stuff. 

 CW’s The Flash picks up from TV Barry Allen’s appearance on last year’s Arrow and focuses on what happened a few months after Barry was hit by the lightning.

Since his recovery Barry has discovered new powers and has been taking on the bad guys with the help of his team including STAR Labs head scientist Professor Wells. There’s a big focus on a mystery of Barry trying to prove that his father did not kill his mother. Again, I truly hate that they the fact that Warner Brothers adapted the Rebirth storyline, because it SUCKS. While Barry tries to solve the case of his murdered mother, he dons an experimental firefighting suit and fights crime as The Flash. Unbeknownst to him his mentor Professor Wells is actually his nemesis The Reverse-Flash from the future and is secretly plotting against him. Maybe he’s even the one behind him becoming The Flash.

Like a Flash comic book the series is building into one big storyline about Barry trying to find the evidence to clear the name of his father who was framed for killing his mother. In each episode where he beats a bad guy the characters get closer and closer to solving the mystery even though we comic fans may have a hint on who dunnit. (Professor Zoom, duh.) Again, I’m not much a fan of the Professor Zoom going back in time story to kill Barry’s mom, I’d have much rather seen a buildup to a proper Rogues team-up for the finale like in Flash and Substance and save Zoom for Season 2. But Goeff Johns is one of the producers and a big wheel in Time Warner’s DC Comics Division. Hence such a focus on his storyline over other legendary Flash writers’ like Mark Waid or Bill Messner-Loebs.

There’s a lot I like about this series so far. The acting is solid and the visual effects are amazing. Most of the action sequences are on par with anything in a Marvel studios’ big-budget action picture like Iron man or The Avengers; it’s literally like a comic book come to life onscreen.

I like Flash’s team. It’s a nice contrast to team Arrow. Sisko is just…AWESOME. I kinda like how he names all the villains. In some was I’m not happy about Wells being the Reverse Flash, he has good chemistry with Barry and it’s kind of like the Bruce/Terry relationship in Batman Beyond. There’s something to build on there, but Detective Joe West wouldn’t have much to do if they built on the relationship.

And I like all the Easter eggs regarding the DC Universe Such as Ferris Aircraft, Cameron Scott (Captain Atom). The only Easter egg I take exception with is an adult Linda Park reporting the news in the first episode of Barry’s story. But this is adaptation, so I begrudgingly let that one slide.

The acting is very solid from the entire cast. But out of all the villains I enjoy watching Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold. I’d have to say he’s OWNS the role. In fact, he’s redefined the character. Miller makes the character his own and while keeping the spirit of the Captain from the comics alive.

The other Flash rogue I enjoyed seeing was Captain Boomerang- An absolute PERFECT adaptation of the character appeared on the Arrow part of the Flash/Arrow crossover. The right amount of Aussie cockiness and sleaze Digger Harkness is known for. I do like that they even put him in the Suicide Squad! I wonder if he’s going to get into it with Bronze Tiger like in the old post Crisis Suicide Squad comics.

A fun surprise was seeing Firestorm in this series. I’d have to say Firestorm’s adaptation from comic to screen has been done very well. Yeah it’s been modified from his comic origin, but the changes work onscreen. Ronnie’s been shown being a hero before getting his powers and that makes for great storytelling. I’d say the new origin stays true to the spirit of Ronnie Raymond’s origin and I’m liking all the scenes of him. The visual effects used to create The Nuclear Man were SPECTACULAR in the mid-season finale. I’m eager to see what kind of costume he’ll wear if he ever gets one. Now if they could find a way to fit in Professor Martin Stein I’d be happy. Everything regarding Ronnie could have been a pilot in and of itself for his own series.

*Unfortunately I just watched last night’s episode and I saw Jason Rusch.* Damn. Just Damn. Another DC Diversity hire shoehorned where he doesn’t belong overcomplicating things.

Detective Eddie Thawne- For all you old school Flash fans Eobard Thawne was the original Reverse Flash from the future. So the big mystery is if Wells is Professor Zoom or if Thawne is the descendant of the Reverse Flash. Or if Thawne himself is the Reverse Flash. I have a feeling there are some red herrings in these early episodes that will be revealed later on in May.

I also like how they fit the cast from the 1990’s TV show into the modern one. It was great to see John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays in roles on the new show. It shows the producers have great respect for the history of the character and the material. Now I wish they could find a role for Alex Dessert, (Joe’s brother would be nice) the entire cast would be back for a reunion.

The biggest positive I like about The Flash is that it looks like it’s part of a foundation for a larger DC live-action universe. In between Arrow and The Flash it looks like there’s a build to a pretty solid Justice League. We’ve got Firestorm on Flash and The Atom getting ready to debut on Arrow, along with Black Canary. And Most of the heroes on TV are more true to the spirit of their comic book counterparts than say those in DC’s the big budget movies like Man of Stool-I mean Man of Steel or Chris Nolan’s dull Dark Knight Trilogy (Just couldn’t get into it).

The way I see it if DC really wants to build to a Justice League theatrical movie, they need to do it on TV, not in theatres. The medium seems to work better for DC’s characters than the big screen movies. The creative team for DC’s TV shows seems to be MUCH better at adapting DC’s properties than the people working at their movie division. Now if Warner would just retool Gotham into a proper Batman: Year one series maybe there’s a chance to build to a GOOD Justice League theatrical movie in a few years.

Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin MUST to reprise their roles for the big screen; there’s no need to recast like Warner is planning for The Flash. Find a good actor to play Batman on TV for a retooled Gotham (Let’s face it, a live action Batman TV show would do better in the ratings than Gotham EVER would in its current state) and the Justice League is partially on its way to forming. Over the course of a season or two, Warner Brothers could build anticipation for a theatrical Justice League movie with hints left throughout the episodes of each TV show like Marvel Studios did with the Avengers.  

Artistically, I like the style and tone of the Flash. It’s bright upbeat and fun. Sort of like DC’s version Sam Raimi’s 2002 version of Spider-Man. The world is realistic, but not super real like Man of Steel or Nolan’s Dull Knight Trilogy. The fantasy elements feel natural and organic like they belong there.

However, The writing is a little inconsistent. When the Flash is a straight action series it’s great. But the romance subplots just slows the series down.  And not in a good way. Human elements are a great contrast to the superheroic action when they’re done well, and the whole Barry pining for Iris thing is just as grating as those meandering Arrow flashback sequences have become. Barry needs to be a good guy, not a “nice” guy.  I just wish the producers of the show would tone down the angst because it falls into the Spider-Man 2 zone of lameness sometimes (man, I HATE that movie). This is supposed to be Barry Allen, not Peter Parker. Barry in the comics was never the Simp the way Barry is in the TV show over Iris. I just want to see him move on because the romance storylines in both The Flash and Arrow are just so forced. CW needs to find a writer who can keep them from being soapy or just tone them down.

The series works well when it stays sunny and straight laced like oldschool Barry, but in a few episodes it’s been trying to march into the “dark” Batman-esque territory like in the Blackout episode. I urge the creators to PLEASE stay on the light side. The Flash works best as a contrast to CW’s Arrow being the light to his dark and taking the moral high road over Arrow’s moral ambiguity. When the Flash ushered in the Silver Age he was the hero who clearly stayed in a Black and white world. Shades of gray do not work for him, and this is why his character has been creatively lost ever since Identity Crisis.

I do have my issues with the New 52-Flash Rebirth origin being the primary source material for The Flash. Yeah, I know this is a new TV series for the new millennium. But the definitive runs of Flash were the ones with Carmine Infantino’s art and Bill Loebs/Mark Waid/Greg Larocque/and the late Mike Winergo on the creative team for many comic fans including myself. And those stories should have been given a bit more priority by the creators in this adaptation. To me, Goeff Johns has been given way too much creative control over The Flash and his vision is starting to be the only one for the character.

Johns is to the Flash today what Chris Claremont was to the X-men in 1986. Yeah in 1975 Chris Claremont was a good thing on the X-men, especially when he had a good writer and artist like John Byrne to bounce ideas off of. But later on during Claremont’s solo run on the X-men without Byrne, his storytelling became a burden to read as the series got bogged down in unfinished plot threads, underdeveloped new characters and overdone crossover events like Inferno. Around the Mutant Massacre in 1986, Claremont had clearly run out of gas, and by the time the Reavers were about to take out the X-men in 1989 most comic fans like myself had grown tired of him. That’s how I’m feeling about Goeff Johns these days when it comes to comics and comic properties. Having him on this show as a writer and producer is a hindrance, not a help.

And I’m not a fan of the Flash’s New 52 styled costume. It looks a lot better in action on TV than I thought it would, but I still find it to be a bit busy and overstyled. I know things are adapted for real life and media, but I just don’t see The Flash when I see this costume. In most cases Marvel superhero costumes automatically tell you who the characters are in spite of the modifications. When you look at a picture Iron Man is still Iron man. Thor is still Thor. Captain America is still Captain America and Spider-man looks just like his comic book counterpart. It’s hard to look at this costume and say it’s the FLASH. With all the dull colors and piping it still looks like a fan cosplay, not a real costume. I’m hoping The CW fixes things for season 2. Barry needs a new suit ASAP. Something with cleaner lines and brighter colors. Something that more fits his bright personality.

I’m also not a fan of killing so many rogues early on in the series. Flash’s rogues are a core component of his series. And the unique relationship between him and his rogues is integral to his stories. So far Weather Wizard, Multiplex, Blackout, and Girder and have all wound up dead at the end of an episode of this series. The best part about bad guys are the follow-up stories; and sadly a lot of these bad guys won’t get a second chance to take on Barry, Ronnie Ollie or Ray in future seasons. As a lot of Flash fans know The Rogues have a very close relationship and a code of conduct about how they operate. It’s kind of hard for them to form that relationship with each other when everyone’s dead.

Then there’s the use of Firestorm’s rogues. The Flash has a rock-solid rogues gallery of at least a dozen characters. And the rogues adapted on this show have been strong. There’s no need to bring in Mulitiplex and Plastique or Killer Frost. If CW wants to build into a Firestorm series or Firestorm episodes who’s he gonna take on?

And I’m not a fan of Dr. Wells killing Simon Stagg at the end of the Multiplex episode. For all you oldschool DC fans like me, Simon Stagg was one of the bigger bads, THE corporate baddie before Lex went all corporate suit and tie in John Byrne’s Man of Steel. And he had a significant impact on the DC Universe, especially regarding the Justice League, the Metal men, and Batman and the Outsiders. With his death there can’t be any Metamorpho. Some may say I’m nitpicking, but y’know these are the kinds of obscure characters Marvel Studios uses to build larger storylines with in the future in their movies.

My biggest issue with The Flash is the casting of a Black Iris West. Yeah, I’m all for diversity. Except when it’s shoehorned into places where it doesn’t need to be. In the comics Iris West was a White woman. And I believe she should have remained a White woman. As a creator I believe in do unto other as they would do unto you. If a character was created to be a certain race or ethnicity, then that character should remain that way. No one producer has a right to change a character’s core elements if the original creator made them a certain way!

Like the Simon Stagg death, Black Iris West has a ripple effect on the adaptation of the DC Universe. Wally West was Iris’ nephew, and if Iris is Black, then Wally won’t be the redheaded kid from the Midwest everyone knows will grow up to become Kid Flash when he’s 10 years old, join the Teen Titans, and eventually take up the mantle of his uncle when he dies in the Crisis. If anything, we’re headed on a road to the Diff’rent Strokes version of Wally. And that would be the Jump the Shark for me.  As a Wally West fan who saw him grow up in the New Teen Titans and grow through his grieving process after the Crisis in his own book in the1980s and 1990s, I won’t keep watching this series if I see WB butcher his character.

Overall I like CW’s The Flash. Half a season in it’s still got a long way to go, but it’s definitely on the right track. I feel the series could be a lot stronger if it incorporated more pre-52 elements into it and focused a little more on the stories of its past creators like Mark Waid and not just focused on just Goeff John’s vision of the character. Maybe with the second half of the season the series will start picking up on its momentum and take the storytelling into overdrive. The Flash has the promise to be a great series on the level of Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If the writers can just find their groove and really tell great stories this series can have one of the strongest runs for a TV superhero series.

Monday’s blog will be about why CW’s Arrow is starting to SUCK. I used to schedule my Wednesday nights around that show, but if Hell’s Kitchen were to start another season NOW I’d be watching that instead of finishing the season.  Felicity/Ollie/Ray Palmer love triangle…NO…Just HELL NO!  

Yes Means Yes Rape Laws…What Happened to My Body, My Choice?

Governor Andrew Cuomo is making plans to pass a Yes Means Yes Law here in New York just like the one on the books in the State of California. Under this kind of law a man can be charged with rape even if a woman consents to having sex with her.

Er…Whatever happened personal responsibility in this country?

Many of the White Feminists and Liberal Manginas like Andrew Cuomo who support these kinds of laws love to talk about it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice. However this kind of legislation shows the hypocrisy of all those who support them.

So under the terms of this law a woman who chooses to hook up with a guy at a rave or a bar, have sex with him of her own volition one night and the next morning go to the police and file rape charges against him.


In feminist Susan Brownmiller’s classic Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape it’s clearly stated that rape is a violent act where a woman is forced to have sex with a man against their will. If a woman of sound mind consents to having sex with a man willfully, then how is it rape?

This Yes means Yes law makes absolutely no sense. All it does is enable dysfunctional women to continue participating in irresponsible behavior with no sense of accountability for their actions, their own bodies, and the poor choices they make with them. Women who want to participate in sexually promiscuous behavior but don’t want to deal with the social consequences from it or the shame from the social stigmas as a result of it.

What many of the Feminists, Manginas, and liberals don’t understand is that most American women today have had over 80 sexual partners by the time they reach the age of 30. And all of those sexual partners they got involved with were consensual. So if a woman decides willfully to sleep with over 80 men over 12-18 years how can YES mean NO that many times?

The dangers of these kinds of dysfunctional laws are that they can be used to falsely imprison innocent men for crimes they did not commit. During Jim Crow many a White woman used an accusation of rape to cover up an adulterous affair she was having with another White man. And as a result of her lies many Black men were imprisoned, lynched, and towns like Rosewood and Black Wall Street were burned down to the ground.

And today these kinds of laws can be used to destroy the life of a man of any race in an equally devastating fashion. When a man is charged with a sex crime his career is over. His reputation is ruined. No one wants to hire an alleged sex offender in most professional settings even after the allegations are proven to be unsubstantiated weeks and even months later. Most men won’t socialize with him and most women won’t even date him. He is practically made into a pariah for the rest of his life.

The way I see it a man should not risk his freedom and his career over a choice both that man and that woman made with their own bodies. If both parties chose to willfully have sex with each other then both parties need to deal with the consequences of their decisions and their actions. That’s part of being a responsible adult.

There’s a serious slippery slope being made with these YES means YES laws. What’s to stop a married woman participating in an affair with a man to call it rape when she gets caught by her husband? Or a woman cheating on her boyfriend from charging that man with rape when she gets caught by her boyfriend? Or a woman who gets involved with a casual hook-up with multiple sex partners at a club or a bar from having a moment of regret and calling it rape? Or a college student who decides to hook up with a guy or two or three at a frat party and then realizes she made a poor choice with her body the morning after from calling it rape?

I’ve read about American women willfully consenting to having sex with two and three and even four men at a time. I’ve listened to women on talk shows, YouTube videos, Facebook statuses and on the bus boast about having sex with two and three men at the same time. In each case they clearly consented to this type of sexual conduct. It was their body and they made the choice to participate in this debaucherous sexual behavior with it.

American Women today love to boast about how it’s their body and their choice. If that’s the standard they wish to establish then women have be made to take responsibility for the choices they made with their own bodies under that standard. When a woman makes poor choices with her body then she has to take ownership for it. And part of taking ownership for a poor choice means a woman has to deal with all the hurt feelings, regret and shame from that choice she makes. A woman’s hurt feelings, insecurities, regrets, and feelings of guilt and personal shame about her bad choices does not mean a man has committed a crime. 

It also means a woman has to deal with whatever social stigmas and social shame that are a consequence of her sexual choices and her sexual behavior. If men and women are calling her a slut, a ho, or just laughing at her as a result of her sexual behavior, then she has to look inward and realize it’s her actions that are causing her to mocked, ridiculed and humiliated by her peers.  Again, a woman’s hurt feelings insecurities and regrets about her bad choices do not mean a man has committed a crime.

In order to get equal protection under the law women have to take equal responsibility for their actions just like men do. If a woman says YES to having sex with numerous random men then she has to deal with all the consequences of having sex with all those partners. And all the hurt feelings, regret and guilt she has are part of dealing with an irresponsible or reckless choice she made.

All these Yes means Yes laws do is diminish the credibility of real rape victims. Rape is an act of violence that’s about power and control. It’s perpetrated by cowards who want to hurt and humiliate women, not have sex with them. A Yes means Yes law hurts those women by making victims out of women who haven’t been victimized. 

The whole concept of Yes means Yes clearly comes from the dysfunctional perspective about sex most Manginas have. In the Mangina’s mind men who rape women just want sex. And men are forced to rape women because women won’t have sex with them. It’s a Straw Man argument based in complete ignorance about how men and women are attracted to each other. What most Manginas don’t understand that if a man wants sex he does not have to rape a woman. A healthy man can get his sexual needs met by pornography, cybersex, prostitutes, dildos, or even his own hand.

Liberals like Andrew Cuomo and those governing the State of California try to look like they’re supporting women’s rights by promoting these feminist Yes Means Yes laws. But they’re actually just slapping women in the face in a backhanded passive-aggressive way. Behind the concept of Yes means Yes is an insult to women rooted in sexism and misogyny. What a Yes means Yes law really says about women is that a woman is incapable of making decisions about her body and her own sexual behavior and that the government has to legislate policy on her behalf because she’s not responsible enough to make those choices for herself. Basically, these “nice guys” in government are calling women stupid without using the word itself.

When one reads between the lines of a Yes means Yes law it’s truly an insult and an affront to anyone who truly believes in equal rights for men and women. If a woman says it’s her body and it’s her choice, when she says yes to sex she has to take responsibility for whatever consequences come form her actions during and after that intercourse with a man.