Saturday, 30 June 2012

Wanted: More Believable Action

So I just finished the limited series of Wanted by Mark Millar (Kick Ass)  and enjoyed his fresh look at comics once again.  Millar seems determined to create comics that question the meaning, purpose, and stories of a typical comic.  In Kick Ass he tries to show a kid becoming a superhero with no special attributes.  It was a satire of the typical spandex wearing vigilante.  In Red Son he envisioned Superman growing up in the USSR and falling in line with the ideology.  He loves to take the typical story and turn it around allowing the reader to see the archetypes of a normal comic.  Millar is brilliant at this, and from the comics of his I have read this seems to be his thing, deconstructing the superhero.

In Wanted he starts with a 24 year old loser who has a terrible job, a cheating girlfriend, and nothing much going for him and turns him into a supervillain like his old man.  This is how the villains are created, through inheritance.  And our protagonist is a fairly bad/evil person that shoots just about anybody.  He is drawn to look like Eminem and his sidekick looks like Halle Berry.  So you get to see Eminem going around killing innocents and kissing Halle Berry.  But more than that this world all of the superheroes are dead so there is no one to stop him, except other villains who disagree with him.  There is a lot here in such a short space and I have barely scratched the surface.  I will have to read more Millar to better assess his style.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Devil's Law Case

Not much to say about this John Webster play.  What do you say when you are constantly questioning if the play is a non-funny comedy, a drama, or a tragedy?  I could not place this play, and it turns out it was a comedy because everyone ended up happily ever after with some punishments that were more of a passing shot against Catholicism.  So in Protestant England this was probably a pretty funny play at the end.  This was definitely not in the same league as The Duchess of Malfi, which has got to be in my top five plays from this era.

The best scene was a long scene taking place in a Jacobean courtroom which feels amazingly similar to our current courtrooms.  I enjoyed reading this farcical episode of Law and Order in a Webster play.  I will have to re-read this scene and neglect the rest of the play.

Monday, 18 June 2012

No Wit Like a Woman's

Here again is Middleton and another comedy with the main character being a strong woman.  It involves the regular devices of dressing as a man and having a woman fall in love with this "boyish" man and then marrying said man.  This play, as many had two plots going on, had another plot where a brother, having never met his sister, coincidentally marries her.  The two plots involved a sister marrying a brother and two women marrying each other.  Though this lay couldn't end with such taboos going on, so the sister wasn't really a sister but a child switched at birth, and the woman dressed as a man reveals herself.

I must admit that I wasn't really impressed with this play, and maybe it is because I have been reading too many Jacobean comedies, and I am not really a fan of reading comedies and more of a fan of watching them.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

60: Some Gallantry

And Middleton once again in Your Five Gallants.  This play is as close as you come to Jacobean sketch comedy with a thin plot to hold it all together.  Most scenes the plot is forgot altogether so the audience can laugh at the gallants robbing, hitting, insulting, and betraying each other.  Some scenes are quite funny and others I guess you had to be there for.

I think I am ready again for some tragedy.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

1618-1648 The Pointless Years

At 507 pages C.V Wedgewood goes at length to give reasons for the actions of the wars main protagonists, and at the end has to concede that this war ranks up at the top of the list as one of the most unnecessary.  But her knowledge and understanding of the politics is breathtaking.  She will explain why Frederick would act in a certain way, and then why Ferdinand would respond.  This depth of knowledge is absolutely beautiful.  Furthermore her understanding of military strategy is also something to be enjoyed.  She knew the formations and tactics for the major battles.  She has first hand accounts for the ravages of war.  This was a well researched book that left me in awe of her knowledge of the main characters and the various political/religious/power/regional/national struggles all vying for their own goals during this confusing war.

If I have a chance I must try another of her histories.  She is in the same league as Karen Armstrong, who is another historian/theologian? that will leave a reader amazed.