Archive for July 10th, 2012

Jul 10 2012

Learning Writing Skills from The Avengers

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

As always, please see the movie before reading this review.

 

1. The conflicts within the team and between the teammates and Fury/SHIELD were impeccable. One aspect which lends depth to the conflicts is that most of the character have intelligent reasons to disagree and the writers don’t push viewers to side with one protagonist or another. In contrast, the Fantastic Four’s squabbles are usually driven by someone (or everyone) being an idiot, which mainly leaves me wanting to punch everyone. The scene where the Avengers confront Nick Fury over what he’s been holding back from them is vastly superior to anything in the FF movies.

 

2. The writing was very fresh and clever. The arc where Loki allows himself to be taken prisoner in an attempt to provoke Bruce Banner into going crazy is a nice play on the (sort-of-tired) trope where a supervillain breaks out of captivity. Additionally, the scene where SHIELD tries to contact Black Widow (who is being interrogated by Russian smugglers) is hilarious.

  • BLACK WIDOW: “This is just like in Budapest.” *She stabs an alien in the head.* HAWKEYE: “You and I… remember Budapest very differently.”

 

3. I believe the main weak point of the movie was the selection of Loki as the main villain—he wasn’t as cost-effective as more limited, terrestrial villains like the Joker, Green Goblin or Obediah Stane. He got better characterization than, say, the alien antagonists in Green Lantern or FF: Silver Surfer, but I don’t believe the movie would have been much worse if all of his lines of dialogue had been cut out. In particular, a character that is based on deception and trickery should develop the plot and characters more with his dialogue than he actually did.

 

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Jul 10 2012

Real-Life Superpowers: Immunity to Poisons

The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins (a delightful concept for a scholarly publication, by the way) reported that American opossums produce a protein which leaves them immune to normally-lethal venoms, from sources such as:

  • Cobras, taipans and rattlesnakes, including species they have not encountered in the wild.
  • Ricin
  • Congress
  • Botulinum toxin

Since protein production is directed by genes, a capability like this might be interesting if you’re writing a genetically-engineered superhero or villain.

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