Interlude: Marvel, DC and the Lonely God

Day 40. 130 pages, 58,108 words.

Recently, Mrs. Hatboy and I have been working our way through some Netflix offerings. We just watched the first season of Gotham, and are now starting the Netflix Original Series Jessica Jones. DC, and Marvel respectively.

I’m still not entirely clear on how they all link up together continuity-wise. The Marvel stuff, at least, seems to connect. Jessica Jones is a person in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, just like the Daredevil character from the Marvel series of the same name. Furthermore, both shows reference the Avengers franchise, at least in passing. Jones has superpowers, as does the scary-as-fuck antagonist Kilgrave and the character I will – for want of a less charmingly-naïve term – call Jones’s love interest. This sort of fits with the “age of inhumans” stuff that has been emerging in the movies and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. Superpowered humans are showing up, and human civilisation is adjusting the way human civilisation always does: like a bunch of howling, poop-throwing monkeys.

Gotham, on the other hand … I don’t know. DC seems to reboot its shit even more regularly and dramatically than Sony’s Spiderman or the X-Men series. This is a prequel series set in the present day, so Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle are adolescents – which puts Batman and Catwoman somewhere in Gotham’s future. Probably at least ten years in Gotham’s future, but who knows? It’s cool, and I really like the Penguin’s story arc and character[1] and a lot of the other side-characters, but I just don’t see how it can connect to either the old continuity (as represented by the Christian Bale Batmans, let alone the Michael Keaton ones) or whatever continuity they’re trying to create for the Batman / Superman / Wonder Woman / Aquaman / Justice League set.

[1] I’m one of those people who hasn’t really liked a Batman movie since Batman Returns, and I thought Danny DeVito’s Penguin was hilarious. Gotham’s Penguin isn’t exactly like him, but damn it he’s close enough.

Gotham is also fun for the veritable galaxy of DC heroes, anti-heroes and villains they’ve thrown into the mix. Joker, Scarecrow, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the whole Arkham sideshow … and, obviously, Commissioner Gordon. DC seems to work better when their characters don’t have superpowers, which makes them interesting for their own sakes. So far, there only seemed to be fleeting-and-open-to-interpretation references to anyone with any sort of special powers. The rest is just … people being people. Sometimes good, usually bad.

A huge surprise-upset notwithstanding, obviously we know Jim Gordon is going to make it to Police Commissioner and Bruce Wayne is going to survive to become Batman … but do we even know that? Guess I’ll have to wait for Netflix to deign to bestow season two upon our humble and unworthy heads.

I was left with this final thought:

Jessica Jones becomes infinitely more horrible when you pretend that Kilgrave (played by David Tennant) is the Doctor. Think about it.

This would come after the events of The Waters of Mars, when he was smacked down for thinking he could change fixed points in time and become the Time Lord Victorious. He took off and went a bit nuts for a while, deciding he really was the Lonely God and that all of the universe should bend to his will. Later on, one of his companions – in fact I think it was Rose, when she returns briefly – asks him how long he’s been travelling alone. The obvious answer is “too long”, and that he really shouldn’t travel by himself. I may be mixing this up with some of the Matt Smith arc, so sorry about that. He was pretty crazy too. Anyway, the point remains.

What if the Doctor went off the rails, went to Hell’s Kitchen, and began a spree of sociopathic meddling with the feeble humans? He’s clearly a better bad guy than the Daleks or the Master ever were (Missy, perhaps, included – but that will have to wait for a later post). Later on, he gets it out of his system and seems to be fine again … and yet …

Kilgrave’s relationship with Jones (and I admit I’m only a few episodes in, so this is open to amendment) is very like the dark side of a Doctor / Companion recruitment.

And the less said about blonde, too-young Hope *cough-cough-Rose-cough-cough* Shlottman, the better.

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17 Responses to Interlude: Marvel, DC and the Lonely God

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Very interesting! Of the mentioned shows and even the latest Avengers movie, I have only seen Doctor Who, of course. And no, I don’t think you got it mixed up, that was all Tennant. And it was amazing. Such an empathetic story arc, realizing how much the fans didn’t want a new Doctor, wanted Tennant for all time. I was right with them. And then the show convinced me, with that set of episodes, that I was wrong. That the Doctor HAD to change. That he MUST have companions. That I had to let…it…go. Damn, the end of Tennant’s run was a sequence of amazing episodes that could only have been equaled by The Impossible Astronaut. Fortunately for us, it was. LOL

    I’m back to watching, by the way. I blinked. And I’m sorry, Capaldi. I’m back. I’ll try to remember not to blink again.

    • stchucky says:

      I’m glad and I hope you’re enjoying it! Well, obviously you’d go back to not watching if you weren’t, so.

      I can’t comment much, only two episodes into the next season but loving it. Watching some more tomorrow.

      And Jessica Jones is some dark shit, man. Not to spoil (this is in the trailer anyway), but Tennant plays a superpowered villain who can make people do what he says just by talking to them. And he uses it to do fucking unspeakable, horrible things.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Holy shit, I’m going to have to watch that, then. We love Tennant in my house.

        Only 2 episodes in myself, as well. Davros…that was some cool stuff. And Missy…is this the female timelord we get as a compromise against a female Doctor? I’m enjoying her.

  2. dreameling says:

    I finished binging through Jessica Jones a little over a week ago, and I liked it a lot, really a lot. Between Jessica Jones and Daredevil, Marvel’s entry into dark and gritty Netflix stuff has been freakishly strong. Also, between Tennant’s Kilgrave and D’Onofrio’s Fisk, Marvel has probably their best on-screen villains to date.

    Btw., I can totally see you as a Burton-Batman person rather than a Nolan-Batman person. Me, I’m a Nolan-Batman person.

    • stchucky says:

      I’ve got no beef with the Nolan Batman folks. They were fun movies. But yeah, Batman and Spiderman and Superman (to name randomly) have been difficult heroes for me to get invested in. Too many reboots.

      Oh, and we have also been watching The Flash, and Arrow. They were surprisingly good. The latter, of course, being something of an angsty DC attempt at making grimdark. Gotham was better.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      If Nolan was the Bain, Dark Knight stuff, I’m definitely a Nolan Batman guy. In case anyone was asking. I am interested in Affleck’s version, if only because I anticipate being able to mock it. Maybe I’ll call it “gross and racist”. LOL

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      I apologize in advance for doing what I do and coming late to a discussion, but fuck, I hadn’t watched the series yet (still not done), my time is REALLY limited for TV watching, and now I’d really like to just discuss it a little. Hope you guys can.

      I’ve seen this elsewhere, and not from MRAs, so I know this is a thing…don’t the fight scenes bother you guys? I mean, I can get past the contrived rescue of Kilgrave after the first capture (I can accept that makes for a better plot and they get him later, fine, fine….). But her fighting scenes are just irritating as hell to me. She didn’t knock a single one of those guards out, with her super strength? All she can do is push and throw, and it takes many attacks to stop a single enemy? (thinking of the fight defending Malcolm, too)

      Did that annoy you guys? I was obviously incredibly frustrated at the Kilgrave rescue…the weed factory was a little better but Luke was using the same tactics, ARGH[1]…even though I can accept he needed to be rescued there to make the story better. As I said, she didn’t knock out a single one of those guards, I thought it was absurd and bad “filmmaking” as well.

      [1] Luke was going to kill a poor bus driver but is holding back against these hardened criminals? You kidding me?[2]

      [2] Yes. I understand Jessica is holding back because of her strength and how she’s already killed with it, under compulsion from Kilgrave. Doesn’t excuse holding back when the fight is OVER capturing Kilgrave. No?

      • dreameling says:

        Jessica failing to knock people out did bother me occasionally, and the Kilgrave rescue struck me as something that should’ve failed, but mostly I was fine with it. She did successfully knock people out, too. Also, she’s a brawler, not a trained martial artist, and certainly not somebody who wants to use lethal force, so that could also explain some of it.

        What bothered me more was how inconsistently her strength manifested from fight to fight. She should’ve been more consistently strong and also just stronger. Maybe it was the TV budget, but she often seemed weaker than, say, Captain America in the movies, when she should’ve been way more powerful. “Holding back” maybe explains some of it, but it still felt inconsistent and underpowered.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Well said, and I completely agree…just noting that Superman also didn’t have martial arts training, but had no trouble conking baddies out in one move. I have nothing more to add, though, you are hitting the nail on the head.

        Damn, I probably should have told you to sit down first XD

      • stchucky says:

        I agree, I was really frustrated in a lot of the fight scenes.

        I sort of get what they were trying to do, which was a variant of the fight scenes in Daredevil which were brutal and bloody and no-holds-barred, but involving a super-strong person with (as you mentioned, and I hadn’t actually considered) guilt issues at having been brainwashed to kill, and at least a couple of times also another super-strong person who is also functionally invincible.

        That must have been a difficult thing to choreograph.

        But overall, it was just excriciatingly frustrating, as I think I yelled JUST PUNCH HIM INTO THE FUCKING CONCRETE at least a couple of times through the series.

        And yeah, her strength was completely inconsistent. Sometimes she could “fly”, other times she was basically a normal person. I thought they were going somewhere with that, like it was variable according to different environmental factors or it was still developing in a weird way because why should all superpowers be the same? But no. It was just variable because the plot demanded it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Cheers. Glad I was far from alone in this! Yeah, I had to come up with the “holding back” theory because I couldn’t explain other than “these writers suck” and I very much didn’t want that to be the case.

        Speaking of holding back, here’s another issue for debate but not one I have a problem with: Kilgrave holding back when buying Jessica’s house.

        I thought I had it figured out the moment I noticed it, that he didn’t want to be traceable. I mean, she had that support group etc., and I thought he wanted a “safe space” (hehe) where he wouldn’t be easily traceable.

        Now, in retrospect I think part of it was he wanted to win her without using his powers, this time, and that was part of it. But still, getting her house with his powers doesn’t seem to me like it would interfere with that. I think he wanted to be undetected until he was ready.

        I did love the “Get out” command at the end of that sequence, to the former homeowner. Hilarious. And the coffee shop scene, making them all shut up so he could enjoy Jessica’s mug. Not of coffee. LOL

      • stchucky says:

        I did like the cases where he had to get what he wanted without using his power, although yeah – the hiring of the bodyguard detail made a lot more sense than the house thing. Maybe if he was drugged, he needed the original house owner to remain satisfied just as he needed the bodyguards to show up?

        Or maybe he thought (in his weird, twisted way) that Jessica might disapprove of him getting her house in a “dirty” way, so went with the “clean” alternative even though he didn’t really understand why?

        I really liked his explanations of why he did the things he did, it was absolutely chilling to see the effect of normalised God-power. He had almost no idea how to react like a normal person, because he’d never had to.

        Although, in all those years since he was a kid, surely he would have needed a few cases where people wouldn’t turn on him when he was drugged. So he would be reasonable at it … on the other hand, though, he got kidney transplant surgery under a local. So maybe there just weren’t that many cases where he was put under.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        It was great to have him explain his actions, a complex evil character is always interesting. Good point about not wanting the homeowner to reverse his decision, I hadn’t thought about that. But when it comes to reversible, tangible things, that might be the motivation. The kidney donor was almost a vegetable, right? So it wasn’t necessary. But what about those rich guys, for example? He didn’t do anything to prevent their coming after him…aside from the intimidation.

      • dreameling says:

        [Aaron]

        Now, in retrospect I think part of it was he wanted to win her without using his powers, this time, and that was part of it. But still, getting her house with his powers doesn’t seem to me like it would interfere with that. I think he wanted to be undetected until he was ready.

        [Chucky]

        Or maybe he thought (in his weird, twisted way) that Jessica might disapprove of him getting her house in a “dirty” way, so went with the “clean” alternative even though he didn’t really understand why?

        I thought it made perfect sense that he wanted everything about re-possessing Jessica to be “clean”, including of course possessing Jessica herself. “Real love.” No cheating with his powers. That was a bad guy stepping out of his comfort zone [1], which was just great to watch.

        [1] Ultimately for selfish reasons, but still.

        I really liked his explanations of why he did the things he did, it was absolutely chilling to see the effect of normalised God-power. He had almost no idea how to react like a normal person, because he’d never had to.

        Agreed. Plus he’d basically never grown up (emotionally/psychologically).

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Yeah, sounds good to me, dreameling. I think part of my stake in this is that I’m watching a review program cover this show, and they’re only now assessing it in hindsight of the police station scene with Kilgrave. In contrast, I was evaluating during the episode where he bought the house, and I thought my untraceable theory was da bomb.

      • dreameling says:

        Btw., how far along are you? Need to be carefully with spoilery stuff here.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Not sure but the last episode I saw, they had Kilgrave and he got the dad of that girl to stab himself. I think that’s the last one I saw, but I had been drinking, LOL.

        Oh, by the way, why didn’t she have those needles on her at all time? They never showed her searched before meeting Kilgrave, but obviously she never had them or else she would have used one!

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