Sorry to forego my usual introductory nonsense, but I wanted to let you know that today’s installment of “Postal Apocalypse” is one of my favorites. Partially because it asks why Batman doesn’t learn magic and if the Force is sexist, but also because it has the best damn Flash TV show idea I’ve ever seen. Seriously!


Sibling Rivalry

DameB:

Dear Postman —

Some years ago (for me, many many years ago for you), I showed my daughter Star Wars for the first time. She was very polite about it, but clearly found it dull. My GenX heart broke a little and I moved on. But I was talking about this the other day and had a moment of dawning confusion.

If the twins, Luke and Leia, had equal potential for amazing Force powers, "they" made some strange choices. Why did they put Luke on some backwater world, far away from danger, with one of the last remaining Jedis to watch over him (badly, from far away)? Why didn't Leia get anyone to watch over her? Why didn't she get tucked away, safely far from Vader's grasp? I've sort of justified this, mentally, as "not putting all your eggs in one basket."

But in choosing a hero to defeat Vader, they sent Luke to Dagobah, not Leia. They sent the whiny uneducated hick whose greatest ambition until very recently had been to *join the Empire* instead of the smart, sophisticated, and well-educated woman with the political connections and Rebel cred?

I *know* the reason — deeply entrenched sexism. But surely there's been some attempt at justifying this, in-universe, right?

There had been! Kind of! I’m not sure how satisfying these explanations will be for you, but here goes.

Advertisement

As for your first questions, you first need to realize that Obi-Wan and Yoda were terrible at their jobs. They let the Sith take over the entire Galactic Republic right under their noses and screwed up Anakin royally. It shouldn’t be a surprise that their idea of childcare is to send a baby to a desert planet and then make his babysitter live in a cave several miles away.

Really, Leia was probably safer than Luke. First of all, Leia had Bail Organa of Alderaan to look after her, as well as his planet’s armies. Anakin/Vader had no idea he had any kids at all, so putting her in the royal family of Alderaan is a decent place to hide — much better than the home of Anakin’s stepbrother.

As for Leia’s value versus Luke’s… in Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-wan and Yoda are distributing Skywalker babies willy-nilly across the galaxy, they never say Luke is more powerful than Leia, or that Leia will be any less important than Luke. When Obi-wan asks Yoda is the Lil’ Skywalkers will be able to defeat the Emperor, Yoda replies “Strong the Force runs, in the Skywalker line. Hope, we can...” The obvious inference is that both Luke and Leia have the ability to potentially save the galaxy, and they’re leaving it up to the Force to see who starts down the path first. Really, it seems like the only reason that Leia went with Bail Organa to Alderaan is because Bail’s infertile wife wanted a baby girl. Otherwise we could have gotten Prince Luke and Leia would have spent her childhood moisture farming.

Advertisement

If you look at the Revenge of the Sith novelization, this notion is made clearer.

"... Hidden, safe, the children must be kept. Foundation of the new Jedi Order, they will be [," Yoda said.]

"We should split them up," Obi-Wan said. "Even if the Sith find one, the other may survive. I can take the boy, Master Yoda, and you take the girl. We can hide them away, keep them safe— train them as Anakin should have been trained—"

... When right is the time for skills to be taught, to us the living Force will bring them. Until then, wait we will, and watch, and learn."

Basically, the Force forced the issue [HAW] when it had Leia get captured by the Empire, necessitating Obi-wan to activate Luke to rescue her. Now, whether the Force is itself kind of sexist has yet to be revealed.


Of Inhuman Bondage

Jon:

Dear Postman,

I have a hunch that Marvel is using The Inhumans film as a place holder for a possible X-Men film. The idea is fairly simple: If the MCU can negotiate rights with Fox, they'll replace all Inhumans work for X-Men. If not, then Inhumans it is. It's clear the comics have been shunning the rival studio properties and hyping their own MCU characters. I think by waiting for the A-list contracts attached to X-Men to expire, they'll have enough sway and time to replace the far off Inhuman spot. Why else would they relegate such an obscure title near the climax of their movie arc, especially after the proven success of introducing Guardians so early. Why not mention the word "Inhuman" in Agents of SHIELD? Hell, they were conspicuously dodgy about Peter Parker's fate in comics until they landed a deal with Sony. Then he was "always going to be around" in spite of him showing up in no promo material. What's your take? This seem credible?

You’re high, sorry. As long as Fox makes an X-Men movie once every few years, their rights will never expire. As long as X-Men movies make money, Fox will make X-Men movies. Other than Disney paying Fox a preposterous sum to get the rights back — which won’t happen because this would also have to include potential future profits, which would be upwards of several billion dollars — Marvel is not getting the X-Men movie rights any time soon, if ever.

So there’s no need for Marvel to hedge their bets. They’re making an Inhumans movie mainly because they can’t make an X-Men movie, and they’re saving it for the end of Phase 3 because it’s likely the least connected to the other Phase 3 plans. Plus, Marvel only has so much time and capital, and thus can only make so many movies a year. It’s a balancing act of sorts.

If Marvel somehow did get the X-Men movie rights back, they still wouldn’t turn Inhumans to an X-film. They’d postpone Black Panther, Captain Marvel and more in order to get an X-Men film out a.s.a.p., because an X-film would almost certainly make more money than the other stand-alone superhero flicks.

Also, Marvel had two plans — one with Spider-Man involved, in case he became available to them, and one without. They were covered either way. But the only reason Spider-Man was potentially available to them was because Sony screwed up the franchise so badly. Fox is doing just fine with the X-Men for the time being.


Pull a Rabbit Out of the Bat

S. Sneakthief:

Greetings Mr. Postman,

Can you explain Batman doesn't use magic? It's a prominent force in the DCU and it's been established that he's trained in damn near every fighting style imaginable. He's a master of languages (a scene from Maid of Honor, an episode of Justice League where he spoke Kaznian to a terrorist comes to mind) and we know that he trained under Giovanni Zatara with Zatanna. He has an excellent memory and an aptitude for figuring things out almost superhumanly quick, so why hasn't he added magic to his arsenal of talents? He could solve many crimes in an instant. I can't think of any reason he wouldn't add this study/craft to his areas of expertise.

There’s no definite answer. Apparently Batman has been on record as hating and distrusting magic at a point or two, mainly because it isn’t reliable. But there’s also the fact that magic is, more or less, a superpower in the DC universe — it’s not something anyone on the street can learn, it has to be bequeathed or you have to have an affinity for it. Batman presumably doesn’t have an affinity for it — but there’s the more important fact that Batman’s whole deal is that he doesn’t have superpowers, and giving him magic powers would wreck his character, as he’d be effectively stronger than Superman at that point. (From a certain point of view; Superman would obviously still be physically stronger, but Batman’s intelligence plus magic would mean he’d be able to hand superman his ass anytime, pretty much instantly.)

Advertisement

As for Zatara: Batman trained with the magician in a Batman: The Animated Series episode where he learned ventriloquism and the art of escape, not magic. If you want to count this as Bat-canon, then you can assume that Batman either didn’t want to learn magic, or couldn’t. Besides, on the rare occasions that Batman does fight a magical foe, he has plenty of magic friends to call on, including Zatara’s daughter Zatanna. He makes it work.


Slick and/or Tired

apotheos1s:

Dear Mr. Postman,

Ugh! I’m getting really tired of hearing people claim that the “comic book” movie genre is on it’s way out due to audience fatigue! So can you set the record straight?

Before the fall of society (and presumably, the megaplexes with it) will we eventually suffer this presumed comic movie fatigue any time soon?

“Fatigue” is bullshit. People will stop watching comic movies if they start getting bad. That’s it. As long as Marvel and DC keep making exciting movies, people will still go to see them. If an audience gets bored during your comic book movie, it’s not because there’s some kind of problem with comic book movies; it’s because your comic book movie is boring. Do that too often and people will stop showing up for them.

Advertisement

If you’re thinking about asking a follow-up question like “When will comic book movies start sucking?” I can’t give you an answer. I’m worried DC movies will be problematic right out of the gate, and the DC cinematic universe will stall before it even gets started. I’d be delighted to be wrong.

I think Marvel’s built up enough good will that even if they have a few flops, audiences will stick around through Phase 3 at least. After that, it’s really up to what Marvel does. If they continue to build off the foundation they’ve laid, then I see no reason why audiences wouldn’t continue buying tickets. But if they do some sort of reset that somehow turns the heroes they’ve enjoyed into new characters played by new actors? That could be a problem. Just like regular comics, superhero movie fans have invested a lot of time in the MCU. Change too much and people decide it’s too different and stay away.


Signed of the Times

Dwayne S.:

This post on Observation Deck got me thinking, what's the easiest way to attempt getting autographs from comic book talent? I have an older issue of Uncanny X-Men (from 1969) currently framed and think it would look better with a couple signatures on it as well.

Is it only acceptable to make the trip to a convention to try and get a signature? Or is emailing the talent (if an email address is available) to ask if they would be interested in helping acceptable?

The convention circuit is your best bet. That’s a time when writers and artists specifically set out to interact with fans, so your request isn’t weird or a burden. If someone is going to attend a con you can’t attend, try to have a friend get the autograph for you. If that’s impossible, then you can check out the writer/artist’s personal website; they may have instructions on how to request an autograph, or art, or even just the best way to contact them. If they don’t give out contact information, don’t go crazy trying to hunt it down. They clearly don’t want to be contacted for a reason, and you online-stalking them won’t get you an autograph, it’ll only piss them off.

Advertisement

If/when you do contact then, be brief and polite. Ask them if an autograph is possible. Ask if they charge a fee (don’t be surprised if they do; you’re asking them for a service). Be sure to explain that you’re willing to meet whatever conditions they have.

One of those conditions will inevitably be either paying to ship your comic/art/book/etc back to yourself (possible in addition to a fee). Even if you’re paying them for their autograph, you don’t want to make it difficult for them to give you back your stuff — partially because it’s rude, and partially because they may not want to deal with it. You may need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or other pre-done packaging. I assure you that if these people are going to take the time to give you something you want, they don’t want to pay for the privilege of giving you back your junk.

If they decline, thank them for their time. If they ask for too much money, don’t argue or haggle — politely explain it’s beyond your financial capabilities at the moment, and then thank them for their time.

In general, be nice, be polite, don’t be weird, and don’t be a burden.


Flash Drive

Not A Monster:

Dear Mr. Postman,

As far as I’m concerned the recent episode of The Flash in which Mark Hamill reprised the role of The Trickster completely sealed the deal: The Flash (2014) is an alternate timeline version of The Flash (1991) which exists in the same multiverse.

The Flash (2014) already has time travel and alternate timelines; combine that with the fact that John Wesley Shipp plays Mr. Allen the senior and Mark Hamill is the exact same character in both shows, complete with the existence of his original costume.

There are only a very few, butterfly-effect difference between a reality in which John Wesley Shipp was named Barry and became the Flash, and a reality in which he was named Henry but had a son named Barry who became the Flash. We’re even shown that without the 1990s Flash to stop him, The Trickster was one of the most deadly terrorists on American soil before he was eventually stopped by conventional forces.

Do you agree? Can we all make this official head-canon? And later pressure the producers to make it official-official canon (sometime in season 6, perhaps, when they start to run out of ideas)?

I am 100% down with this. And I while I can’t imagine The Flash pulling this anytime in the near future, I think you’re exactly right that around season five or six, when they’re looking a bit harder for ideas, this will almost certainly occur to them.

Advertisement

Honestly, it’s probably already occurred to them — there’s no way it wasn’t discussed when they brought back the original Trickster. It might even be part of The Flash’s grand plan at some point down the line. But it’s such a weird, insane twist that exists mainly for fans that I know they’ll wait until they get a few seasons in and feel certain they won’t estrange their audience with it.

I can genuinely see The Flash writers pulling this off, I really can. So yes, this is 100% official. I decree it! Let’s just hope The Flash writers get their chance to prove us right.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!