Sidebar: Everyday Evil and the Visions of 616 Hickory Branch Lane

Virginia, The Vision #5

“…mental illness in general is the price we have to pay for being human…” Anton Boisen, Religion in Crisis and Custom

“Am I normal?” Vin, The Vision

I’m a comics guy, but not a huge comics guy.  When I first read that Marvel was creating a limited series focusing solely on one of their more B-list heroes, the android synthezoid Avenger known as the Vision, I was puzzled. When it was regarded as one of 2016’s best, I still didn’t pay it much attention. After finally reading it through, I can attest to how wrong I was. Continue reading

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Sidebar: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Titan (or, Infinity War and God the “Moral Monster”)

Thanos and Gamora: original art by firasd/Reddit

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to surprise me. The fact that it has, for the past 10 years, created not just a series of blockbuster movies that are often fun and occasionally downright compelling is pretty darn impressive. The fact that these movies actually all join together in serial form culminating with Infinity War is even more impressive. The fact that Infinity War itself manages to tell a coherent story across multiple simultaneous arcs and over a dozen primary characters is amazing.

To me, the biggest surprise was Thanos.

Marvel has not always done well with its cinematic villains. The worst (Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 for example) come off as fairly standard tropes. Their motivations are standard – power, glory, revenge, etcetera. Even the better villains such as Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron) I found somewhat disappointing, as came off to me as another take on the monster who destroys its creators as well as everything else.

Thanos, however was quite different. I’ll say why ahead, but if you haven’t watched the film yet what follows may spoil some of the film for you. I’m also going by memory (and Google), so bear with me if I make storyline errors. Continue reading

Sidebar: The Power of Narrative Preaching (or, The Preacher as Dungeon Master)

One of the side things I enjoy is playing fantasy roleplaying games with a group of friends online. Destroying giant bees ridden by bow-wielding goblins from the comfort of my office chair is always fun. However they can be very exciting not merely for the fun of fighting but the chance to create stories in imaginary worlds where choices are hard and have consequences. Continue reading