Queen Latifah Doesn’t Hate Cephalopods As Much As She Ought

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Change-Bots and Sea Heroes

I’m struggling with allergies or a cold or something today, so if it’s all the same, instead of a real post today I’ll send you to Robot 6 where you can read my review of Jeffrey Brown’s Incredible Change-Bots graphic novels.

Or if you’d rather, there’s my article from a couple of weeks ago about my Seven Favorite Sea-Based Superheroes (That Aren’t Aquaman or Sub-Mariner). I forgot to link to that one at the time, but people seemed to like it.

Thanks for letting me take the night off. *cough cough*

Mysta, Agent of M.O.O.N.

Continuing to catch up with Sleestak’s Mysta Mondays.

This is one of my favorites so far, mostly because Matt Baker drew it, but also because it has a strong secret agent vibe. Mysta’s “vacationing” undercover at a resort when she gets word that a scientist acquaintance of hers (who’s been experimenting with some weird stuff called Electro-Ions that Mysta’s loaned him) sends word that he’s in trouble. I put “vacationing” in quotes because – as Sleestak points out – it’s suspicious that she just happens to have chosen a resort very close to where Dr. Svord is conducting his tests.

There’s a pretty assistant, tragic murders, secret call signs, a sinister villain, and a brutal henchman, all of which remind me of Bond films. There’s even the “gadget” of the Invisibility Cloak (predating Harry Potter by almost 50 years), which Mysta seems more interested in than the Electro-Ions that created it. Curious to see if she uses it in future adventures. It sure sounds like she wants to.

Land of the Lost (2009)

My plan worked. Extremely low expectations married with a view of the movie as a film-within-the-show allowed me to make it all the way through without ripping out my eyes and ears. It would be an exaggeration to say that I enjoyed it, but I was at least able to enjoy parts of it without despairing over What Have They Done to the Show?

I knew I was going to have problems with Land of the Lost as soon as Will Ferrell was announced as the star. I don’t much like Will Ferrell’s work. Not even Anchorman, the movie everyone reminds me about as soon as I tell them I don’t think Will Ferrell’s funny. I tolerate him in Elf because I love Christmas movies, but I can’t make myself watch it every holiday season. Haven’t yet seen him in Stranger Than Fiction, though my resistance to it is weakening. At any rate, Land of the Lost did nothing to change my mind about Ferrell’s style of comedy.

I did however like Danny McBride and Anna Friel. This is where it came in handy to see the movie as something that the Marshalls might have had to endure once they got home. Otherwise, I would’ve been extremely frustrated that Rick Marshall’s kids have been transformed into a love interest and an idiotic guide.As it was, I laughed at McBride a lot and Friel was less annoying than she was in Pushing Daisies.

Yes, I know Pushing Daisies was a critical darling and I liked it for the most part, but not for the part where Ned and Chuck couldn’t touch and it was Rogue all over again. Or the constant reminder that Ned was keeping a huge, horrible secret from her. Friel was fun and likable in the part, I just didn’t dig the uglier side of the show that her character represented.

Holly of course has none of that. Instead, she has the unenviable job of having to admire and respect a character played by Will Ferrell. A character – I’m quick to add – that is designed specifically to be unworthy of admiration or respect. This isn’t an Anna Friel flaw, it’s a fundamentally ridiculous problem in the script. Nice job by Friel for making Holly attractive and charming in spite of that.

Cha-Ka was stupid though. The less said about him the better.

What I was most curious about – and the reason I wanted to see the movie at all – was what they did with the show’s mythology. How much would they include? How much would they change? I like that Grumpy was there (and that Holly named him) and that Enik’s an important part of the story (though his motivation has completely changed from the show). I was elated to hear someone mention the Zarn until I saw what they actually did with him. I liked that he had Leonard Nimoy’s voice, but he’s the Zarn in name only, having nothing in common with the inter-dimensional traveler from the show.

But you know, if I’m a person living in the world of the TV series and this movie is all I know about the Marshalls’ adventures, I don’t hate it. It’s not Good in any sense of the word and parts of it are downright horrible, but other parts are enjoyable and even funny. As a whole, like so many other movies, it’s mundane and ultimately forgettable, but that’s a blessing and a vast improvement over what I expected going into it.

Bonnie Lass #2

Last month, I checked out Red 5’s inaugural digital-first comic, Bonnie Lass and wrote about it for Robot 6:

[It’s] surprising in a couple of ways. For one thing, it’s bawdier and sillier than the other Red 5 books I’ve read. Bonnie Lass isn’t just a description of the main character, it’s also her name. So, as you can tell from the pun, the humor is pretty low-brow. There are jokes about Bonnie’s breast size and plenty of physical slapstick; not really what I’m used to from the company that publishes Atomic Robo and Neozoic.

But just as I was ready to write it off as a disappointing gag-book, it clicked in with an exciting action sequence and finished the first issue with an interesting villain. It also revealed that the story doesn’t just take place in a fantastic version of seventeenth-century Earth. It’s an amalgamation of that and Westerns with a bit of Film Noir and some modern technology thrown into the mix as well. The result is a light-hearted adventure story that owes as much to Indiana Jones as Pirates of the Caribbean. Which, now that I think of it, is exactly the kind of thing that Red 5 publishes.

Now that I’ve read the second issue, I like the series even more. I’m used to the light-hearted, slightly naughty tone now and appreciate even more a world in which better pirate ships are equipped with GPS. I also like that co-writers Michael Mayne (no relation) and Tyler Fluharty have dedicated a substantial part of the issue to rounding out Bonnie’s motivation for wanting to one-up her famous pirate father. That doesn’t mean that there’s no forward movement on the treasure-hunt plot, but it’s nice that Bonnie has good reasons for feeling the way she does and that she’s a deeper character than just Cute Pirate Girl.

Mayne and Fluharty have some hard work ahead of them to make Bonnie’s slacker friends and brother as sympathetic as she is, but they’ve already started laying some of that foundation. Bonnie Lass holds a lot of promise.

Mysta of the Moon vs the Plant-Monsters of Vitan

I’ve gotten way behind on Sleestak’s Mysta series, so I’m going to spend some time catching up. I’ve moved most of the comics linking to the Annex, but Mysta’s different because – like Sleestak – I enjoy reading between the panels and trying to figure out the subtext. Since I want to keep on doing that, I’m keeping Mysta here.

One of the coolest things about deciphering the story-behind-the-story is that Sleestak and I have come up with different takes on Mysta’s tactics. We agree that she’s benevolent in her intentions, but passionately protective of what she considers to be dangerous knowledge. Where we differ though is in how far her influence extends and to what lengths she goes to control power. I see Mysta as a mostly benign gatekeeper of knowledge who – with the support of Earth’s government – sometimes has to act violently to protect the galaxy at large. I hope I’m not misrepresenting Sleestak, but his Mysta is harsher and controls the government.

In Part 18a, Mysta travels through time and fights killer plants. From which we learn a couple of things: 1) that future bio-chemists wear awesome helmets, orange-scaled Speedos, and little else, and 2) that history seems to remember Mysta kindly. When she goes to the future and visits a school, she overhears a lecture about her in which the professor calls her, “our beloved idol.”

That seems to support my view of Mysta, but I can’t ignore the possibility that she had a really excellent PR firm spinning her legacy in a positive direction. Even if I’m right though, I can’t argue with Sleestak’s interpretation of that last panel. Mysta’s clearly been kissed. Hard.