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The Female Perspective: What Is Civil War?

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc

If you’re like me and you love superhero’s but haven’t fully delved into all the comics then you might also be a bit confused by the story of Captain America: Civil War. I’ve been asked a couple times what “side” I’m on and I have found myself struggling with an answer. When I did some research around the books, I realized that the answer is hard. It’s not as simple as picking one side and sitting comfortably with it. The sides of anti and pro-superhero registration are fraught with wrong and right. Good and bad.


The Beginning

Civil War starts simply enough (as all wars do, right?). After a series of events that cause world-wide damage there are those who seek to register all people with powers in order to keep them in check. To make sure that they receive proper training with their powers and how to fight in a more urban setting so as to minimize casualties. Understandably there are heroes who are for and against such registration and the sides begin to form. At the head of each side is Captain American (on the anti-registration side) and Iron Man (on the pro-registration side).

Iron Man, with Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym, argued that the changing political landscape meant that resisting the law was pointless, and that it is reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight, whereas Captain America, alongside Luke Cage and Falcon argued that heroes required secrecy in order to protect aspects of their ‘normal’ life, such as spouses and children, and to allow them to act in whatever means are needed against threats which the ordinary emergency services couldn’t cope with.  – Wikipedia

The War

Once the war began it seems as if it was fairly brutal in terms of backstabbing and subterfuge on both sides. You can learn more about it on the Wikipedia page I linked to above, but it appears that in the comics Captain American was eventually captured when it became apparent that not surrendering would cause more damage and loss of life and he was imprisoned by Iron Man and his cohorts in the Negative Zone.

It's super sad when your friends start fighting...
It’s super sad when your friends start fighting…

What Side Are You On?

It’s not easy for me to pick a side, on one hand I see what the pro-registration movement is trying to say. They want people with powers to be in control, not rampaging out in the world destroying property and accidentally killing those they are sworn to protect. On the other hand, it seems extremely discriminatory to make all those with powers register, it also seems like a lame attempt to try and control people who are ultimately uncontrollable. People with powers are scary to those of us without them because we cannot control them even if we do know they exist. Besides that, having a registry like that puts those that love and live with these heroes at risk for capture or worse.

It’s a tricky question and one that is extremely poignant in our politically hyper-charged climate right now. How do we pick a side? How do we make a choice when we have no idea what the repercussions of that choice will be until they actually occur? Do we force people to register, to be known, when being unknown is part of what keeps people safe? Do we let them run rampant, doing whatever they want without any consequences for their actions?

I definitely have to think on this one…It’s not so easy as, “hey I love Iron Man, let me choose him!” In truth, I do love Iron Man, but his lack of a moral compass and his insistence that the is always right make him extremely dangerous. One man does not know it all. On the other hand, Captain America is super cool and good and extremely moral, but he was frozen in ice for a few hundred years and therefore, does he really understand the current world and climate? It’s definitely a tough choice for me…

If you’re curious about what side I choose, check out the Trailer Snark blog this Thursday! I will reveal my choice then!

In the meantime…

What Side Are YOU On?


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The Female Perspective: Jessica Jones

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

Alright, it’s been a couple weeks since Jessica Jones was released on Netflix so hopefully this won’t be a spoiler blog post for those who haven’t watched it yet.  I try not to be a spoiler but if you haven’t seen it then maybe don’t read this yet! You can always save it for later, post-viewing.

"Jessica Jones" is a very different superhero show and I love it.
“Jessica Jones” is a very different superhero show and I love it.

That being said let’s talk about Jessica Jones and why it is so important to the television landscape. It’s not just because it’s centered around a female character (that, in and of itself is a miracle at a time when we have two other female-centered shows in Supergirl and Agent Carter), it’s about the fact that it’s not all lightness and humor. It’s about a woman who was kidnapped, raped and abused for years by a man and who came out the other side to try and live a normal life (well, within the confines of also being a superhero). As with all things, life has a different plan for Jessica and she quickly finds out that her abuser is alive and stalking her through other people.

It’s a brutal premise and it’s beautifully executed by the folks at Netflix. Jessica isn’t treated like a damaged, fragile creature. She’s treated as a human being who has been through absolute Hell and who just wants to move on. Jessica has flaws, lots of them. She’s snarky, has a bad drinking habit and she distances herself from other people because she fears what might happen to them because of her past pain. She’s messed up and I absolutely love her for it.

So I get understandably frustrated when I see people comparing Jessica Jones to Daredevil. These are not the same shows folks. These are VERY different shows. Just because they live in the same Marvelverse as one another does not mean they are the same thing. Where Daredevil was more carefree and action-oriented, Jessica Jones is a character study about living with abuse. Where Daredevil is the origin of a superhero in the making, Jessica Jones is about a woman who doesn’t want anyone to know about her abilities and even more than that, she doesn’t even really want to be a hero to anyone. She simply wants to do her job, drink her booze and get through each day.

Kilgrave makes my skin crawl.
Kilgrave makes my skin crawl.

On the other hand, I get it, of course you’re going to compare one superhero show to another. We do it all the time with the Avengers movies versus the Superman movies and things like that because they do exists in the same Marvelverse with one another but I am hard-pressed to say that one is better than the other simply because they are both so very different from one another. They share a common darkness but where Daredevil goes around saving people and beating up the bad guys, Jessica Jones turns her back and wants to run away from the man who abused her for so long. In fact, we aren’t even sure if she is going to go after him until, ultimately, she has no other choice.

Let’s talk about her abuser, her captor, Kilgrave. A name that gets some fun jokes near the end of the season but those jokes do not lesson the horrific nature of Kilgrave’s power. The man can literally make you do things you don’t want to do. Add to that that he is played by the fantastic David Tennant and you have a match made in villain heaven. When he’s on screen (and even when you only hear him obsessively saying Jessica Jones over and over again) he oozes creepy vibes. He makes your skin crawl and you want Jessica to beat him to a pulp so badly it hurts! This man cannot be trusted and he must be stopped but it’s also totally understandable as to why Jessica has such a hard time being near him. Wouldn’t you if this man kidnapped you and forced you to do horrible, demeaning things? Forced you to have sex against your will? He makes my skin crawl even as I type this. This is the kind of superpower that should never exist.


Now, I’m a fan of the gritty superhero movie. I have loved all of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and am enjoying the world Zach Snyder has created in Superman, but I also enjoy the lighter flicks like the Joss Whedon-helmed Avengers movies. I can go either way as long as the show or movie is well written and directed and acted. Jessica Jones is all these things and more. It’s gritty and has dark humor, it’s got sex and violence and a lot of heart to it. What I love most about it is the fact that it’s not about someone trying to do right, it’s simply about a woman trying to survive her trauma and make some kind of a life for herself.

I sure hope that Jessica Jones gets a Season 2 and I look forward to all the other superhero shows helmed by female characters that will be coming our way and that exist in our world today. It may be baby steps, but we are making progress people. Now, if only we can get those Black Widow, Princess Leia, etc action figures things will really be smoking!

What did you think of Jessica Jones? Good, bad, ugly?

Tell me YOUR thoughts in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Rhode Island Comic Con & More (Aka, Shameless Self-Promotion)

Welcome! This is the weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

This month there is A LOT happening for your intrepid blog writer. First off is Rhode Island Comic Con which, if you haven’t heard, is the biggest show in the smallest state and it’s AWESOME. This year I have an artist table next to my collaborator Frankie B. Washington. To say I am stoked is an understatement. I’ll be hawking my books, photographs and my new (and first) comic book, “The Rapture: The Final Battle” based on characters from my short story, “The Rapture,” which is in my book, “Menagerie Of The Weird.” You’ll want to read it, trust me.

The Final Battle, art by Frankie B. Washington. Story by FBW and JL Metcalf. 2015.
The Final Battle, art by Frankie B. Washington. Story by FBW and JL Metcalf. 2015.

Today’s blog is going to be a short one because I have lots to do to prepare for RICC and I want to ask you all, if you are in the Providence, RI area, to come say HELLO and help support some of us “starving” artists. We love to chat so even if you don’t want to purchase anything, come say hello, snag a free goodie bag or some candy and enjoy the fun that is to be had at RICC. I’ve been 2-years in a row now and I can tell you, it’s a freakin’ blast and a half.


On top of that awesome sauce (and I plan on doing a blog after RICC next week to update y’all on the fun that was had!) it is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo 2015. If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo then let me tell you a little bit about it. Basically, it’s a challenge to write a complete novel (75,000 words) in the month of November. I participated and was a winner last year with my 2nd novel, “Coming Undone: Musings on Life, Love and Hobbits.” This year it is my goal to complete the sequel to my first book, “The Last Daughter of Lilith,” and I’ve got a pretty good start on things. No title or cover art yet but you can bet your fine behind that it’s going to be awesome. If you are interested in participating in NaNoWriMo you can still sign up!

Then to top off all the goodness of November we have Thanksgiving and then in December I have my final show of the season, the yearly writers Expo sponsored by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, ARIA on December 5th at the Lincoln Mall. More on that later this month!

Finally, I pose this question for my readers, do you attend Comic Conventions? Do you cosplay?

Share your stories/pictures/etc and let’s chat! 

Hope to see you at RICC!
Hope to see you at RICC!
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The Female Perspective: The Twitter Hissy Fit Of Josh Trank

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

The Not So Fantastic Four.
The Not So Fantastic Four.

DISCLAIMER: I have not seen Fantastic Four yet and to be honest, with all the terrible reviews, I am not rushing out to spend my hard-earned money on what sounds like total crap. I’ll wait for the DVD most likely. Which stinks because I was really excited to see this “reboot” (God how I detest that term) of a story I find enjoyable. I’ll admit that I actually enjoyed the other two, with Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, I thought they were campy, sure, but in a way that was fun. Either way, I was okay with a studio doing a harder-edged, dark version of the Fantastic Four. It seems like it was a monumental failure, only taking in 26 million at the box office this past weekend (I never thought in my life I’d use failure and 26 million dollars in the same sentence).

So what am  I writing a blog about if I haven’t seen the movie? I’m writing it about the director, Josh Trank. He published  a tweet this week that caused a fair amount of controversy.

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s the reality, though.” – Josh Trank

Seriously dude? Are you 12 or something? I read that tweet and shook my head. Here’s a young guy making his first really big studio movie and because people don’t like it, he feels the need to publish a Tweet that makes him sound like a petulant child. Totally unprofessional. He removed the Tweet as fast as he could (I imagine someone like his dad told him he sounded like a baby) but the damage is done. The fact is Trank, directors make lousy movies once in awhile, it happens. I actually read a pretty okay review of the movie from a friend of mine who said it was … good. That’s nice to hear but still, not a rave review.

"Batman & Robin"
“Batman & Robin”

I read something today about Joel Schumacher and his thoughts on his failed (and often mocked) Batman & Robin film. He recently said;

“They immediately wanted a sequel, but I said yes. There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’

“Val [Kilmer] left at eleventh hour to do The Island of Dr. Moreau. It changed everything. George [Clooney] made a noble effort. I was the problem with Batman& Robin. I never did a sequel to any of my movies, and sequels are only made for one reason: to make more money and sell more toys. I did my job. But I never got my ass in the seat right.

“I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.” – Geek Tyrant

Now this guy is a class act. Not only does he not blame his actors, he openly blames himself for the failure of the movie.  That is how you gracefully accept blame. Then again, Shumacher has been around for awhile and he knows the Hollywood machine. Not to mention, it’s been years since the debacle that was Batman & Robin. I should also add that Twitter and all this “glorious” social media also did not exist during the time of Batman & Robin so who knows how things would have played out had Twitter existed back then.


The fact remains that Trank is a talented guy, I recently saw his movie Chronicle, a small budget flick about kids who accidentally gain superpowers and what then happens. It’s a great, simple story, low budget and a lot of fun. It’s real world superhero stuff, which I adore. It’s well-directed, well acted and all around really good. So what went wrong with Fantastic Four? I can’t say for sure since I haven’t yet seen the movie but I can guess, Fox Studios. And maybe, just maybe, Josh Trank acted like a baby over some things. Maybe he didn’t speak up when changes were made. Maybe he folded under the pressure that is the superhero genre. Hard to say and it’s not really my job to discover the answer to the mystery.

"Chronicle" the tag line reads, "Boys will be boys," and boy will they ever...
“Chronicle” the tag line reads, “Boys will be boys,” and boy will they ever…

Social media is both a blessing and a curse these days, so many people take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites to show off what they ate for dinner, talk about their latest read, or completely barf out their emotions/feelings/thoughts/etc. I’ll admit that up until a few years ago, I was guilty of expressing my innermost thoughts and feelings online but I’ve started to realize a couple of things.

1. I do not want everyone on my friends list to know my every issue, problem, etc. If I need to talk to someone about something private, I email, text message or call the people I love and trust more than anything else. I do not tweet about it.

2. Vaguebooking is annoying as Hell. Don’t post something on Facebook that says, “Life Sucks” or “I think I’m dying” or “Squirrels have attacked, run for the bunkers,” without giving some kind of context or explanation. Social media is NOT therapy people. Trank thought it would be a good idea to explain himself using 140 characters or less and guess what, everyone took it the wrong way and he’s gotten a lot of crap for it this week.

I sincerely hope that Trank learned his lesson on this. If he wants to work in Hollywood, he’s going to have to get tougher skin and he’s also going to have to learn to make a movie he likes within the constraints of a studio. Otherwise, he’s not going to be getting much work.

For the rest of us, let’s hope that Fantastic Four dies a quick death and we can move on to being excited about other things, like cotton candy grapes (yeah, they’re a real thing).

Did you see Fantastic Four? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Wonder Woman 2011

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman.
Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I am a big fan of Wonder Woman. I am nervous, yet excited for the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie that will include Wonder Woman. Well, today I was made aware of a 2011 Wonder Woman TV pilot episode. Now, this may not be news to many of you but I had no idea it existed. I thought, cool, I’ll give it a watch and see how they did WW in 2011! It starred Adrianne Palicki (who I very much enjoy on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D amongst other stuff) along with Cary Elwes and Elizabeth Hurley, I thought, cool, they have some decent star power.

Then I got into the show and I was struck dumb because…what? Where was my Island of Amazon Women? Where was my awesome WW mythology? Her first experiences with our world? Where was all that really great stuff?!?!?

It was gone. Gone like it never even happened.

Instead, we are shown a WW who is the head of a multi-million dollar company called, Themyscira, and she not only goes by WW, she also goes by Diane Themyscira (the head of her company) and Diana Price? WTF? I’m sorry but why does she have to have so many personas? To confuse people? Because that is all I got out of it. Not to mention Diane Themyscira is known by the world to be Wonder Woman so yeah, there’s that too. Also, her “secret-secret” identity, Diana Price wears glasses and a ponytail. Well, I’d never recognize her, not with glasses and a ponytail!

Who is this person? Oh why, it's Diana Prince! Clearly she is not Wonder Woman because of the glasses and ponytail.
Who is this person? Oh why, it’s Diana Prince! Clearly she is not Wonder Woman because of the glasses and ponytail.

OK. OK…I’m taking deep breaths and remembering two things, this was never picked up because, yeah, it stinks and it was made way back in 2011 before we had shows like Arrow, The Flash, Constantine and even Gotham. We had only just seen Scarlett Johansson kick butt as Black Widow in Iron Man 2, so we were only beginning to love and obsess over the Marvel Cinematic Universe and all the awesome they would soon delivery in terms of fight scenes, strong women characters, etc.

The fact is, watching even twenty minutes of this show makes you see how awful it is. The music is campy, the dialogue is worse than anything even George Lucas could write and the fight scenes are…well, boring. I have high standards for Wonder Woman specifically and action scenes in general. After watching a show like Arrow really rock the fight scenes, I expect all TV shows to follow suit. Not to mention, this show seems to suffer with an identity crises. It didn’t seem to know if it wanted to be like a comic book or a TV drama, leaving the viewers confused.

I did enjoy her outfit in this version. Though, inexplicably, she busted out the full leotard at the end...
I did enjoy her outfit in this version. Though, inexplicably, she busted out the full leotard at the end…

The other thing that really bugged me was how they showed WW trying to have a normal life (in her glasses and ponytail) by hanging at home alone with her cat and learning Facebook and watching The Notebook. Really? That was disappointing to see her acting so…normal (superhero don’t act so normal at night, they do…superhero stuff!). By ignoring the WW mythos we give her no depth, no real personality. All we see is this empty shell of a woman who also happens to fight crime and argue with her staff. She’s tall, beautiful and smart but she’s also all alone in the world. I get why she broke things off with Steve, yeah, she didn’t want him to be in danger but in all that time, she has made no real connections? No friends? Even Batman had friends!

Overall, I was clearly disappointed in this pilot and have hopes that since there have been major leaps in portraying super hero on film that not only will Gal Gadot be better at WW, she will be treated as hero, not as some otherworldly creature without a soul.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman...looking pretty fierce...
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman…looking pretty fierce…

Oh yeah, please make sure she does not have a group of girls who run around after her calling “We Love You Wonder Woman!” It also really bothered me that when she finally took down the baddies, she goes back to her office and the ENTIRE OFFICE is waiting to applaud her efforts. It seemed off, wrong, the antithesis of what a super hero is. They don’t do it for the glory, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. With the exception of a few hero’s who love the glory (Tony Stark comes to mind) it seems like the exact opposite of what I would expect WW to do. I would expect her sneak back in to change and talk with staff, not march through the office!

One last thing, what’s up with her saying, “Do you like my outfit? This outfit opens doors for me…” Seriously?

Anyway, have you seen it? Click the link below to check it out and tell me what you think in the comments!

Wonder Woman 2011 Pilot Episode

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The Female Perspective: Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

Agent Carter = Awesome
Agent Carter = Awesome

Yes Please, Agent Carter!

Yesterday I wrote about why we need a Wonder Woman movie, today, it seemed appropriate to write a short review about the premier of the seven week mini-series “Agent Carter” on ABC. Here we have a woman carrying an entire show and she does it with grace and dignity. While also kicking lots and lots of bad man butt.

This mini-series is a big gamble for Marvel (and for those of us who pine for a Wonder Woman movie). The success of Agent Carter will tell the studio mucky-mucks that maybe, just maybe a woman can, in fact, hold the attention of an audience while also showing the world that a woman can kick butt and still retain her femininity and humanity. You can bet that the studio heads are paying close attention to the reviews and viewership of this mini-series.

Agent Carter herself is played by actress Hayley Atwell, who also played Agent Carter in “Captain America: The First Avenger” along with a short film on the “Iron Man 3” DVD extras. She gives Agent Carter the grace and dignity that the character needs to make her likable. Not to mention, she is not the usual blond, stick-thin starlet we see in so many movies and televisions shows these days. She’s a normal sized, curvy woman who manages to beautifully toe the line between being sexy and being tough. Everything she does is with great style and poise.

The fight scenes during “Agent Carter” are beautifully choreographed. Especially the one when they flash back and forth between the “Captain America” radio program and Agent Carter’s fight scene. That was a work of pure genius, the silly dialogue and inventive sound effects interspersed with “real life” fighting was fun to watch and wildly inventive.

What I also enjoyed was that the show didn’t shy away from showing Agent Carter as having emotions. She cried at the death of her friend and she is clearly still grieving the loss of Steve Rogers. Not to mention, she is very careful about allowing anyone to get close to her for fear of them dying as well. It takes a stern talking to from Jarvis to remind her that even Steve Rogers needed her to keep him grounded.

She is a human superhero. An unusual, complex and delightful character. She can kick serious butt when she needs to (there is nothing quite like watching a woman slug a guy, knocking him to the floor. I’m not a violent woman but I have to say that was quite a bit of fun when she first meets Jarvis) but she also uses her brain and her feminine wiles when needed. The scene were she excuses herself from work for “lady issues” was wonderfully comic (because even to this day, women can still do this and fill men with fear that they’ll start telling them what their “women issues” are!).

All-in-all, I am quite excited for the next few episodes of “Agent Carter”, I think she has the potential to move the studio execs in the right direction, that direction being a full-length movie about a female superhero. Until then, I am excited to have five more episodes of Agent Carter to watch!

She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.
She is stylish, beautiful and tough as nails. Love me some Agent Carter.

Did you watch “Agent Carter”?  What did you think? Tell me in your comments!