Greetings my post-apocalyptic pen pals! Full disclosure: We have lost all pen technology in my dark future. However, I do know who the best supervillain on TV is, what Thanos’ evil plan in the MCU is, and more, so it all works out, more or less. Besides, we still have pencils, even if we mostly use them to stab tiny vampires.


Girl Power

J. Lex:

Postman,

What do you make of the criticism directed at the Supergirl trailer? I can’t help but think that a lot of the people who are criticizing it for being “light and breezy” are the same people who criticize Warner/DC for being so dark. Double standard much?

Trying to unpack the backlash to the release of the Supergirl TV show trailer, followed by the backlash to the backlash to the Supergirl TV show trailer, is a tall task. But I think it’s worth examining.

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Certainly there are some people who decry the dark grim grittatude of the WB/DC movies who were equally outraged by the apparent feather-light sensibilities of the new Supergirl show. That’s valid, because just because you hate Superman murdering people doesn’t mean you necessarily want Supergirl starring in a cheap version of The Devil Wears Prada. I also imagine there were some people who loved Man of Steel and the Dark Knight trilogy who were appalled at the idea of a TV superhero not being visibly miserable, too. So keep that in mind.

You should also remember we’re in a weird place in superhero entertainment where there’s a large segment of fans frustrated at companies’ inability to give us superhero entertainment starring female characters. Black Widow still doesn’t have her own movie, Wonder Woman is being crammed into a movie that doesn’t even have her name, Captain Marvel won’t come out until 2018 (and then there’s all the merchandising nonsense). So when superheroine-focused entertainment does come out, it comes under intense scrutiny and with a great many expectations, many of which are conflicting.

There’s always going to be some people — men and women alike — who feel like unless a female superhero is inflicting as much violence as a man, as brutally as a male superhero would, she’s being presented unequally. Then there are some people who feel that forcing female superheroes to adhere to that masculine ideal of physical aggression is actually inappropriate, and that female characters should strive to their own ideal. Both of these views are completely valid, and certainly the former group did not appreciate a show where this superheroine was battling a mean boss and cute boys instead of kicking bad guys’ asses.

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Let me stress again I think both viewpoints are valid, and I think it’s genuinely good to have this discussion. I think the problem is that we tend to voice our concerns and apprehension in the most vitriolic ways possible, trying to dismiss all discussion instead of fostering it. People make their judgments with what I believe my smarter friend Sean T. Collins calls “a minimum of good faith” — so that some people who didn’t like the Supergirl preview criticized it as if was created deliberately to shame the character and set back all superheroine-starring entertainment.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Maybe Supergirl sucks, and maybe it will have a horrible effect on the genre, but I’m pretty she he intended to make a superhero TV show for an audience that wasn’t being addressed. And I think there really is an audience for it — the backlash to the backlash showed us that. Hell, I am pretty damn sure I’m not the target audience at all, and yet I found myself completely charmed by it, mainly because it’s not like any other superhero show on TV.

Look, there are so many circumstances and factors going into this craziness (like the fact that David Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot kind of tried to do this exact same show, but failed horribly, while Supergirl actually looks good. But that’s another discussion entirely) and the fact that the trailer’s first two minutes were nothing but rom-com cliches, so it was real easy for people to get the wrong idea about the show. So I don’t know that I can find one hard and fast rule as a moral, and I’m sure if I did find one, I’d be a hypocrite for saying it, as a dude who gets paid to criticize things and tends to hyperbole. Sorry about that.


Romancing the Infinity Stones

Mythbri:

Dear Postman Bricken:

I hope everything’s going well post-apocalypse, and that the radioactive mutant rats have not yet successfully eaten away your feet.

I have a question about Age of Ultron, and what the hell Thanos is doing. I know he’s building an Infinity Gauntlet, which is fairly straightforward. You collect the Gems, you put them in the Gauntlet, you get Infinity. Or something.

But if that’s Thanos’ ultimate goal, then why did he let Loki have that scepter, when it’s incredibly unlikely that he didn’t know it contained the Mind Gem? We know he was behind loaning the Chitauri to Loki in order to conquer Earth, so why did he willingly let an Infinity Gem out of his custody? Was it a necessary move to “unlock” the power of the Gem? If so, does that mean that Loki was intended to fail? If Loki’s failure to take over the planet was intended, that might explain why Thanos hasn’t so much as sent a single, solitary assassin after him. But if Loki was intended to use the power of the scepter to retrieve the Tesseract (send a Gem to catch a Gem?), then how come we haven’t seen Thanos showing off his new Loki-skin shoes?

So what gives? How does this fit into Thanos’ endgame?

MCU Thanos wants to conquer Earth, and he’s not particularly concerned about how it gets done. He’s more than happy to subcontract it out to Loki in the first Avengers movie, giving him the resources of the staff with the Infinity Stone inside.

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It might seem like this is a terrible idea, but remember, when the Avengers came out, there were only two Infinity Stones in play. There was the Tessaract/Cosmic Cube that Red Skull had in Captain America but Nick Fury and SHIELD were holding on to. The other stone was given by Thanos to Loki, in the staff, so that Loki could steal the second stone and open the portal to let Thanos’ army in. I sincerely doubt that Thanos really intended to give Loki his single Infinity Stone permanently. But letting Loki borrow it for a bit, in order to bring his army to earth in a single afternoon and probably get his hands on a second Infinity Stone to boot? Well, I imagine Thanos thought it was worth the risk.

Now, since the Avengers movie, we’ve had the Reality Stone show up in Thor: the Dark World as the Aether, and the Power Stone pop up in Guardians of the Galaxy as the Orb. At this point, Thanos realizes all the Infinity Stones are in play (or will be very shortly), and by the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, getting all the Stones is now his job #1.

(Actually, I’m pretty sure getting on movie screens before WB/DC got their act together and could put Darkseid in a movie was his job #1, but with that done, now he can multi-task.)


Stuck in Reverse

Dmind:

Are you trolling us or are you just an idiot? In what world is the Reverse Flash better than Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin?

The world I live in, a post-apocalyptic nightmare though it is. Look, Vincent D’Onofrio is a great actor, and by drawing so many parallels between the Kingpin and Daredevil he absolutely made Daredevil’s biggest foe the most compelling he’s ever been. He portrayed both sides of Kingin’s nature — his desire to actually improve his city and his inner demons — amazingly well, and was fantastic at showing the turmoil that his dual nature caused him. And his vulnerability with Vanessa (who, for my money, might be the most unique creation of the Daredevil TV series — a supervillain’s love interest who genuinely sees him a hero? I can’t think of another) gave him a depth most on-screen bad guys can’t match.

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But at the end of the day, D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was just another villain who thought he was a good guy while doing unequivocally evil. It’s a kind of obliviousness that we’ve all seen before, and it detracts from Fisk’s “I want to save this city!” when his big plan is just building hi-rises, lining his bank account, and murdering innocent old ladies.

Short version: Fisk is delusional, but his delusion never wavers. He’s one-note in that regard. It’s a very complex note, but Fisk never really changes over the course of Daredevil.

Meanwhile, Tom Cavanaugh’s Harrison Wells — a.k.a. Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash, a.k.a. Barry Allen’s archenemy from the future — is an enigma that only got more fascinating as the first season of The Flash went on. He tried to be the best mentor he could be to Barry Allen, all while wanting to murder him. He genuinely cared for the SuperSTARS, while being completely willing to murder them if it became necessary. He maintained a mask so long that it’s difficult to tell where his performance and his actual being separated — and most importantly, it was practically impossible to tell what Wells or Thawne would do next. Maybe Wells didn’t have a character arc, but his character kept expanding, revealing new depths, new facets of his personality each week. Plus, Cavanaugh could be funny, scary, inspiring, furious, sarcastic, enigmatic, etc. D’Onofrio’s Fisk was mainly just psychotic.


Eyes on the Prize

Amanda I.:

I had a thought after I rewatched Agents of Shield some weeks ago; If cybernetic-eye-prosthetics work so successfully that they are in use by various spy agencies why haven´t Daredevil tried to get “visual aides” some for himself? Maybe this could be a “only top spy organizations have access” but still; if the technology exists there should be a big demand from visual disabled folks, at least in the Cinematic Universe.

Switching perspective to the comics; Have Murdock ever tried out cybernetic eye replacements or something similar? I don´t remember if the mythos explained his loss of sight as some kind of damage to his optic nerves (Which I guess would be quite hard to fix)?

Weirdly, I think Daredevil was recently given “cyber eyes” of a sort when he was infected by the Extremis virus, courtesy of the Superior Iron Man. I don’t have many more details on that, but I do know that Daredevil has regained his sight a few times in the comics in a variety of non-cyber ways, and most of the time the sensory overload from adding vision to his super-hearing, super-smell, super-touch, radar and everything else basically freaks him out. He can’t even stand upright, let alone fight a bad guy.

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However, The Other Murdock Papers reminded me of the time the Beyonder came to Earth and gave Matt Murdock his sight and kept it from blowing his mind. Matt enjoyed a day of looking at things until he realized he loved it too much, and would probably stop being Daredevil to make sure he kept it. So he asked the Beyonder to take it away, so he wouldn’t be distracted from his fight for evil.

As for the TV series, right now Daredevil is a poor lawyer. He has no ability to contact people who could give him cyber-eyes, and no money to buy them if he did. Maybe SHIELD could and would outfit him with new eyes, but at the moment they don’t know he exists. If/when TV Daredevil is presented with the chance of restoring his eyesight, I’m guessing it’ll probably screw up his other powers, too, forcing him to forgo eyesight for good.


Balls of Fury

Mike F.:

I’ve heard that men’s rights activitists hate Mad Max Fury Road because it Furiosa is more a main character than Max. But Fury Road is like the greatest action movie made since the 80’s. If these “men” don’t like an action movie this kickass, doesn’t this make them huge pussies?

I might not approve of your vernacular, but I appreciate your sentiment!

I wouldn’t call them “pussies” because it’s rude to women, and many women love Mad Max: Fury Road, and justly so. But the point remains that anyone man who feels threatened by Fury Road — or really, any action movie— is, by their own absurd sensibilities, obviously not a man.

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Is it a lack of testosterone that leads these so-called “men” into being worried a Mad Max film is some kind of feminist propaganda that will literally cause women to herd men into breeding camps? Are they so immature and childish that they believe an action movie has that much power over them and society? Are they so aware of their own pitiful weakness that they feel emasculated by a fictional woman kicking ass?

I don’t know the reason, but I do know there is nothing more pathetic than a man who feels threatened by an action movie. An action movie! It’s like a man being threatened by a steak because it was made by a woman! Or a beer, because the company is owned by a woman! Or being afraid of having sex with women because they’d have to come in contact with a vagina!

Okay, that last one is almost certainly true. But you get my point.


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!