Posted in Television

Rob Watches Star Trek: Mary Sue Crusher

***What happens when I, a 30-something-year-old fanboy, decide to look at the Star Trek franchise for the first time with an open heart? You get “Rob Watches Star Trek.”***

SERIES: Star Trek: The Next Generation
TITLE: S1.E13. “Datalore”
STARRING: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Will Wheaton
WRITERS: Robert Lewin, Maurice Hurley, Gene Roddenberry
DIRECTOR:
Rob Bowman
ORIGINAL AIR DATE:
January 18, 1988
SYNOPSIS:
The Enterprise visits Data’s home planet, and discovers his lost “brother.”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So Data was found, not built? Huh. That’s interesting. Two decades of The Phantom Menace trained me to believe he’d been built by Wesley…

What we have here is essentially your standard evil twin story. The Enterprise travels to Data’s home planet, finds another robot like him, he turns out to be evil, the other crew members mix them up. Pretty paint-by-numbers stuff.

While Data is our central character, the young Wesley Crusher character is also front and center, and is ultimately responsible for saving the day. And not for the first time.

The term “Mary Sue” gets tossed around a lot in this day and age. In fact, Wesley Crusher is often cited as a textbook Mary Sue. But what the hell is a Mary Sue, anyway?

Urban Dictionary defines “Mary Sue” as, “a character who is so perfect that he or she warps the world around them to display their perfection,” and who “forcibly make the world and people around them defy logic to simply display how amazingly radiant they are.” In other words, a character that is illogically infallible. Go to the Wikipedia page for “Mary Sue,” and the cited characters (in addition to Wesley) include Arya Stark from Game of Thrones and Rey from the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Fittingly enough, the term dates back to a Star Trek fanzine published in the early ’70s.

Apparently, Gene Roddenberry was the one who pushed for the Wesley character. And as his involvement with the show decreased after season one, so too did Wesley’s relevance on the show. Personally, I don’t hate Wesley. Nor do I mind the inclusion of a younger character in general. It offers a different perspective on the Star Trek Universe that we never had on the old show. It might have even been interesting to watch Wesley grow and mature over the course of the series.

I do, however, find the role young Wesley often plays among the crew to be highly illogical. Indeed, Spock would not approve.

Though he secretly has a heart of gold, Captain Picard is strict to the point of coming off short-tempered. You don’t mess around on this guy’s ship. In “Encounter at Farpoint,” the guy was hard-pressed to even let Wesley set foot on the bridge. And yet now he’s an acting ensign who’s regularly performing duties on that same bridge? What gives?

The “Wesley problem,” as D.C. Fontana once put it, will seemingly be less and less prevalent as we get into subsequent seasons. But I’ll maintain that the character itself, despite becoming a Mary Sue, wasn’t bad from conception.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

WandaVision Episode 8: A Few Thoughts on Cars

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

You know what I came away from the latest WandaVision episode thinking about? It wasn’t about Agatha Harkness, Wanda’s past, or the mysterious white Vision…

It was Wanda’s car.

If I were a superhero whose parents, brother, and robot boyfriend had all been murdered over the course of my life, you know what I’d have invested in? A really nice car. The one she was driving in this episode looked so pedestrian.

I’m not even a car guy. But maybe get her something sleek. Like a sports car. Something in the Corvette family. And of course, make sure it’s red. Not just because of the whole red thing Wanda has going on. But I mean, who can be sad when they’re in a red Corvette?

Maybe if she’d splurged a little after Avengers: Endgame, maybe she wouldn’t have…y’know…abducted a bunch of people and created a big fantasy land with her dead robot boyfriend.

Just a thought.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Dark Detective #4

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Dark Detective #4
AUTHOR: Mariko Tamaki, Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Dan Mora, Giannis Milonogiannis
COLORIST: Jordie Bellaire
LETTERERS:
Aditya Bidikar, Troy Peteri
RELEASED: February 23, 2021

This one felt like it still had a lot of gas left in the tank. It’s always a good thing to leave your audience wanting more. But here’s hoping we more of Dark Detective Bruce Wayne somewhere down the line.

Thankfully, we will indeed see a continuation of the Red Hood back-up, via a new ongoing series. Reportedly, it involves Jason Todd hunting down his former cohorts. Throw in the romance between Jason and the Ravager, and it’ll definitely be worth a look.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: The Amazing Spider-Man #60

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: The Amazing Spider-Man #60
AUTHOR: Nick Spencer
ARTISTS: Mark Bagley, John Dell & Andrew Hennessy (Inkers), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Bagley, Dell, & Nathan Fairbairn.
RELEASED: February 24, 2021

Mark Bagley is drawing Spider-Man again?!? That’s awesome!

Obviously, I’ve been out of the loop on Spidey for awhile. But it looks like Nick Spencer, no stranger to controversy himself, is journeying into Mephisto/One More Day territory. If they’re not going to restore Spidey and Mary Jane’s marriage, I’d just as soon have them leave that stuff alone. Especially when this issue already has a lot of compelling stuff going for it. We’ve got Peter literally “acting” out his feelings on stage, and we’ve got the revelation of a shocking new alliance for MJ…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Power Rangers

Power Rangers Dino Fury: “Sporix Unleashed” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28:E2. “Sporix Unleashed”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Shavaughn Ruakere, Kira Josephson
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 27, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Ollie devises a plan to catch the Sporix monsters on the loose, and executes it without the knowledge of his teammates.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got a beef with modern day morphs: They’re way too wordy. It goes, “It’s morphin’ time! Dino Fury key, activate! Link to Morphing Grid!” C’mon, folks. We’ve only got about 22 minutes here. Let’s move things along…

Also, link to Morphing Grid? I suppose that’s practical. But much like “Activate Beast Power!” in Beast Morphers, it’s not very creative. What’s the deal? If you can’t think if something quick and catchy for them to say, just stick with “It’s morphin’ time!”

I suppose I’m just old, but the notion of drones being used on Power Rangers is quaint to me. It’s a good thing, though. The more this show can keep up with the times, the better.

When Zayto, who’s been asleep since prehistoric times, asks where all the dinosaurs are, Amelia says: “Well, they’re mostly in the movies.” Mostly. I love that. Nice subtle nod to…you know…28 years of continuity.

Power Rangers Operation Overdrive doesn’t get a lot of love. Simply put, it wasn’t very good. That being said, I did enjoy the small Overdrive reference in this episode. During the scene at Buzz Blast, “Hartford Robotics” is printed on the box the android comes in (shown left). That kind of thing is cute, harmless, presumably easy to do, and fans get a kick out of it.

So the henchgirl’s name is Mucus. Again, I’ve got to call them out for lack of creativity on this one. Was Phlegm taken? I do like that she can turn into green slime, though.

While I’m not a fan of the morphing call, the CGI portion of the morph sequence is pretty awesome. I can’t bring myself to complain about that.

Thus far the music, composed by Bert Selen, really adds a lot to Dino Fury. It’s heavily synthesized, which I’m sure isn’t for everybody. But it gives the show a particular flavor, and the heavy percussion adds a lot to the fight sequences.

The “toyification” of Power Rangers, which many see as the show’s entire purpose for existing, is in full effect here. The Rangers have swords with a t-rex head on the hilt, and can manipulate the jaw to do various super-powered stuff. Are they selling that sword at Wal-Mart yet? Even as an adult, I’ve got to admit it’s pretty cool.

I saw some fans on Twitter were happy to see the Rangers teleporting. Frankly, it’s hard to believe teleportation ever left Power Rangers. During the first several years of its existence, it was a big part of the show’s DNA.

You know what would be nice? If Ollie’s mom figured out he was a Power Ranger. Not because he told her, but because she…you know…recognized her own son’s voice and body language. I don’t expect characters on a kids show to be that competent. But this woman is supposed to be a brilliant scientist, right?

I hope kids get a kick out of the zords they see on Power Rangers. Because as an adult, they generally don’t do much for me. All the CGI that’s been integrated into zord sequences for the better part of 20 years now muddies them all together, making them less distinct.

That said, the T-Rex Champion Zord looked pretty good. The CGI and practical effects were blended together fairly well. By modern zord standards, it scores high.

Well how about that? The Rangers are, in essence, using crowdsourcing as their monster alert system. Civilians can call, text, or DM Sporix sightings to the Rangers. I like that a lot, and I don’t believe anything like it has been done before.

Void Knight and Mucus (shown above) are using an abandoned base called “Area 62” as their lair. I’ve got no issues with that. Obviously it’s a take-off of Area 51. It does, however, make me wonder what happened to Areas 52-61…

Dino Fury has come out of the gate strong. I’m mostly pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m legit looking forward to the next episode!

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 

Posted in Fatherhood, Toys

An Androgynous Potato (Head)

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Somebody in my Facebook feed this morning referred to people getting freaked out over “an androgynous potato,” and I knew something was up.

Turns out Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are rebranding. Hasbro is going to less prominently display the gender labels for the toy line. The brand will now simply be “Potato Head.” (See packaging below.)

This triggered some folks online, because that’s what the internet is and has always been for: Triggering people. How dare we cut Mr. Potato Head’s imaginary balls off! (What would you call Mr. Potato Head’s balls anyway? Spuds? Spudlings?)

My initial inclination was to say this is one of those things that’s been given way too much thought. Just how much will the world be improved by de-emphasizing the gender roles of toy potatoes? Is Hasbro fixing something that isn’t broken?

Then I read the AP story, in which Ali Mierzejewski, editor-in-chief at The Toy Insider says…

“It’s a potato. But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”

Okay. I’ll buy that. It makes sense.

The older I get, the more I understand the importance of representation in popular culture. It’s not just toys that kids project themselves on to. It’s all kinds of mass media and merchandise. Everyone deserves to feel seen, regardless of sexuality, race, or however you want to measure difference.

I find it usually helps to look at these things through the lens of fatherhood. Baby Primary Ignition has a pretty conventional family thus far. It’s mom/dad/baby. But I’d like to think that if it were mom/mom/baby, or dad/dad/baby, or if there were a gender-neutral “they” mixed in there somewhere, she’d still be able to look out into the world and not feel like she doesn’t belong. I’d want her to know her family is beautiful the way it is.

And if genderless plastic potatoes can move us further in that direction, I’m game.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekly Comic 100s: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: The Next Batman: Second Son #1
AUTHOR: John Ridley
ARTISTS: Tony Akins, Ryan Benjamin (Breakdowns), Mark Morales (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer). Cover by Doug Braithwaite.
RELEASED: February 23, 2021

Here’s something unexpected: We get Tim Fox in this issue, but not Batman. Meaning we see our lead character in action, but never in his superhero costume. That’s odd, but also kind of refreshing.

Tim is on a covert mission in Vietnam here, so he’s dressed in basic black attire. The story doesn’t call for the Batsuit. So we don’t get the Batsuit. This being a first issue, one might consider that a drawback. But I credit John Ridley for not illogically adding the costume to a sequence that didn’t call for it.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Television

Superman & Lois Season Premiere Review – Family Matters

SERIES: Superman & Lois
TITLE: S1:E1 – “Pilot”
STARRING: Tyler Hoechlin, Bitsie Tulloch, Jordan Elsass, Alexander Garfin, Emmanuelle Chriqui
WRITERS: Greg Berlanti, Todd Helbing
DIRECTOR:
Lee Toland Krieger
ORIGINAL AIR DATE:
February 23, 2021
SYNOPSIS:

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Looking at the Superman costume they used for his debut in Metropolis, my initial instinct was go shout: “They made it to match his original suit in Action Comics #1!” Because, of course, I’m a huge geek.

That’s not what they did, however. It took me a minute to realize where I’d seen that suit. It was Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier. The costume’s vintage look threw me off.

So the kid says to Superman, “Thanks. Cool Costume.” He replies, “Thanks. My mom made it for me.” That line is plucked directly from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Superman For All Seasons.

This show went out of its way to establish geek cred right away.

Jordan, one of Clark and Lois’ twin sons, has Social Anxiety Disorder. As someone who’s struggled with social anxiety, that hits home for me. I’m sure it hits home for a lot of the people watching a comic-book-inspired TV show like this. From that standpoint, it has the potential to be a very smart move. But as with anything, it’s all about how they execute it…

I’m a staunch Superman defender. But watching this episode’s expository opening sequence, I can understand why some people don’t like him. Especially when he talks about being married to the most famous journalist in the world, raising two teenage boys, and then we see him on TV doing Superman stuff. As he’s presented here he has, in many ways, the perfect American life and family. In that moment, he comes off like the most popular football player in high school who grew up to become president of the United States. Personally, I love that Rockwellian Superman. But I can see the drawback. The hard truth is that when he’s at his truest and best form, Superman isn’t for everybody.

Question: I know that as comic book characters Superman and Lois Lane don’t age. But how old are they supposed to be in this show? Late 30s? Early to mid 40s? For what it’s worth, Tyler Hoechlin is 33 and Bitsie Tulloch is 40. Mrs. Primary Ignition, by the way, thinks that age difference makes them look weird. I’ll admit, it is a little weird. But I imagine that’s one of those things that’ll wear off with time.

After discovering the rocket in the barn, Jonathan (Can we just call him Jon?) and Jordan come right out and accuse Clark of lying.  I like that. Superman supposedly never lies. But as a parent, Clark Kent does. What that says about being parent is up for interpretation.

“Your life falling apart doesn’t mean you’re special. It means you’re human.” That’s a good line from Lois.

Fun fact: Alexander Garfin, who plays Jordan, was the voice of Linus in The Peanuts Movie. Am I weird for thinking that’s kind of perfect, considering Jordan has social anxiety? It matches up with the whole Linus and the blanket thing, right?

On the subject of Jordan, for me it’s always a fine line with how moody and angsty certain teenage characters are. At what point does it cross the line and get too moody or angsty? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to that. It just depends on the character and the story…

Clark Kent’s signature glasses disguise always requires a huge leap in terms of suspending disbelief. It’s comic book science at its least practical. But disbelief really stretches thin when you try to sell us that Clark’s own children didn’t recognize him without his glasses on.

Simply put, when we get to the scene where Clark takes his glasses off and it’s this big revelation, Jonathan and Jordan look like idiots. It’s just that simple.

What are the odds that as the series progresses we get a good twin/bad twin situation? Does one become a superhero, and the other a supervillain, thus tearing the Kent family apart? Seems like the probable way to go…

So the bad guy in this episode turns out to be someone named “Captain Luthor.” I can only assume this isn’t Lex Luthor, as the CWverse Lex is played by Jon Cryer. (Right? It’s been awhile since I’ve been plugged into the CWverse.) But apparently it’s not a Superman show unless you have a bad guy named Luthor. So…cousin? Someone unrelated who adopted the name?

Overall, not a bad premiere. I can’t say I was blown away. But Superman & Lois shows a lot of promise. Tyler Hoechlin was, and is, a great Superman. Possibly the best performance in the role since Christopher Reeve, and I don’t say that lightly.

If you’re into the concept of Clark and Lois as parents, there are two book’s I’d highly recommend. The first is Superman: Lois and Clark (which has nothing to do with the ’90s TV show). The second is Son of Superman by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, and all the subsequent books in that series. For my money, this series owes a debt to these creators and those titles.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Star Wars #11

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Star Wars #11
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Jan Bazaldua, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Rain Beredo.
RELEASED: February 3, 2021

As we open this issue, Leia and the Rebellion are about to forcefully sacrifice Lobot’s life in service to the Alliance. Naturally, Lando isn’t happy.

I like that we’re not only seeing a more cold and ruthless side of Leia, but we’re exploring Lando’s loyalty to his friends. It’s that same loyalty that prompted him to help Leia and the others escape Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back.

Throw in a pretty cool sequence where Rebel pilots forcefully board a Star Destroyer, and it’s safe to say this series has officially hit its stride.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Mighty Morphin #4

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Mighty Morphin #4
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Marco Renna, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Katia Ranalli (Color Assists), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Variant cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: February 10, 2021

We find out who the mysterious new Green Ranger is this month. As someone who read Parrott’s work on Go Go Power Rangers, the choice he goes with was rather obvious. But that’s not necessarily bad thing. It opens up some interesting story opportunities. Especially when it comes to the character’s apparent relationship with the news media…

The Dragonzord returns this month with a tweaked design courtesy of Promethea. I like it. But of course, the original can’t be topped.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.