Monday, August 10, 2020

Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order

    STAR WAS: JEDI: FALLEN ORDER is a game that I have been hesitant to play because of how burned I felt on BATTLEFRONT II. I enjoyed the single player campaign of that guy but felt cheated for the short duration of it as well as the attempt to nickle and dime all of its players. Still, I'd heard good things about this game so I finally picked it up and when I hit a Star Wars mood, decided to play through it. I'm very glad that I did. Despite not being the most original story, it is a solid and entertaining game throughout.

    The premise is Cal Kestis is a Jedi Padawan who managed to survive Order 66 while his master did not. As such, he has been junking space ships the entire time. Unfortunately, in order to save his best friend, he has to use the Force and brings down the wrath of the Empire on his head. Barely escaping with his life, he teams up with a Jedi Master that has lost the Force and a professional gambler to try to rebuild the Jedi Order. The key to this is finding the list of all the remaining Force sensitives in the galaxy.
Mark Hamill went from Jedi to Joker.

Cameron Monaghan went from Joker to Jedi.

    The game is a weird combination of Dark Souls, Uncharted, and Metroid Prime that amounts to being an exploratory platformer and lightsaber game. I was expecting something like The Force Unleashed but it is much more about running along walls, jumping on things, and exploring every little corner in the game. Cal is constantly swinging over things and doubling back to expand his map by knocking down rocks or solving puzzles that he couldn't until he learned the right Force power.

    Generally, the game is very fun and while it can be daunting to explore the huge maps and it is very easy to get lost, I managed to get my money's worth many times over. Throwing stormtroopers over the sides of cliffs never gets old. I felt like the parries of the game were a little less than awesome but I had the difficulty turned down very low so I have only myself to blame. Still, I loved it when Cal fought AT-STs, bounty hunters, and the occassional giant monster. Indeed, I wish I'd fought more Imperials because killing the local wildlife made me feel guilty. Jedi are connected to all living things, Yoda-darnit!

I like the Purge Troopers as mini-bosses.
    When the game is good, it is very good. The opening section on Bracca is fantastic with some fantastic set pieces, a truly amazing train ride section, and the feel of the Star Wars universe down pat. When the game is bad, it feels like you're playing a Jedi themed Sonic the Hedgehog with the only thing missing being a bunch of rings you need to catch. It can get exhausting trying to find your way to the next part of the map when I really just want to fight some Dark Jedi.

    The characters are a somewhat mixed bag as Cal, Shera, Greez, and (later) Merrin are all awesome but we don't get enough of them. The Second Sister is a decent villain but I feel like we could have rounded this story out by including an Imperial General or something. We get a theatrical crime lord at one point but he's barely in it. The storytelling is good but could have been expanded, which is to say it's "mostly good."

I HATE wall-running. Parkour is not the Jedi way!
    There's also the not dismissable point that this feels like a plot that has already been done to death I can't count the number of times a survivor of Order 66 or the Jedi Purge in general has popped up out of nowhere to have their own adventures before Vader either kills them or they survive past Endor, Yoda be damned. The fact they're going after a list of children to train to be Jedi also is something that we know is doomed to failure.

    The game hints at something more interesting with the Zeffo, a race that seem to be like the Rakata in they were a pre-Republic force sensitive culture that fell to the Dark Side. However, they're just background dressing and I feel that's a missed opportunity. While it wouldn't be terribly original either, maybe looking for an ancient Zeffo superweapon to use against the Empire (or for the Empire in the Second Sister's case) would have been better. Basically, there's a very "been there, done that" feel to the game.

Sith officially have Goth girls. I'm in.
    I will give props to the game for being very integrated into the Disney Star Wars timeline. We get references and homages to just about every bit of Star Wars EU up until this point ranging from a Lasat Jedi Master (Star Wars: Rebels), Saw Gerrera (criminally underused), the Prequels, the OT, The Clone Wars cartoons, and even characters from the comics. There's even a call forward to Starkiller Base as we discover just what planet they used to create the First Order's ominous superweapon.

    In any case, I played the video game until the end and that is its own endorsement. It corrected one of the big issues of The Force Unleashed with its handling of Vader. Cal never feels too powerful compared to the universe as a whole and is grossly overmatched by a true Dark Lord of the Sith. Also, when he faces an actual Jedi Master fallen to the Dark Side, he only wins because he has the help of another force user. I recommend playing this but with the caveat that there are some long boring sections. I hope in the next game it's not 90% exploration, 10% lightsaber combat but something closer to 50-50.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review

     STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is a movie that I don't want to hate on but I struggle to say something positive about. I had extremely strong feelings about THE LAST OF THE JEDI but it actually was a movie that had something to say. For all of the disagreements I had about its treatment of Luke Skywalker and other subjects, it had an emotional heart. This film is something that just feels like empty spectacle. It has some beautiful scenes and quite a lot of ideas but they jump around so much that I can't really say I'm affected by any of them. It is, in simple terms, a movie that I don't feel much about at all.

    I'm not going to spend the entire review dumping on the movie because that's a waste of good typing but will try to articulate why I think this feels like a mess. I will also talk about what I felt were the positive elements of the movie. Unfortunately, my overall impression of the film is that it felt very much like this: "What? Huh? How? Huh? Who? How did he do that? What? No wait, stop, I want to know more about this. No, hold on. Huh? Why are you doing this? How? Huh? Who are you? What? It's over?'

    The premise is that Emperor Palpatine has come back from the dead. This is something I think was a very good idea because Kylo Ren can't serve as the central bad guy for the new trilogy. Despite murdering Han Solo and his uncle Luke, Kylo Ren has been too successfully woobie-fied and shown to be a poor tortured soul to have any real emotional gravitas. There's also the fact we have yet to get a real reason why he has defected to the First Order and Dark Side other than he really liked the uniform. I don't blame Kylo Ren fangirls, like my wife, but he's also basically the Star Was equivalent of a vampire with Rey as his version of Bella.

    I don't actually need an explanation for why Palpatine has returned and this is a complaint I'm not behind but it could have been a bit more than what we're presented. The sequels lack of explanation for what the hell is going is one of its largest weaknesses. Who are the First Order? What happened to the New Republic? Why did Kylo Ren fall? How did Palpatine come back from the dead? These are things that would have made the movie better even if they're just a few lines. I'm actually satisfied with the fact, "Snoke was a clone created by Palpatine." That's about the only explanation we get, though.

   Anyway, Kylo Ren submits to the Emperor in exchange for a fleet of star destroyers and the First Order becomes the Final Order. Meanwhile, the Resistance spends a good deal of time trying to find a trail of breadcrumbs that will lead them to the Emperor's hideout of Exegol. Rey is training under Leia to be a Jedi Knight (okay, that's cool but when did she train?) while Finn as well as Poe are running around the galaxy to fight evil. There's some tension over this as Poe thinks Rey would be an asset as an agent but nothing comes of it.    
   Essentially, the rest of the movie consists of the heroes tracking down the thing that needs to be gotten to get the thing that needs to get the other thing. It feels a lot like Knights of the Old Republic's search for the Star Forge but less coherent. We find a party planet, a planet where the First Order stole everyone's children, and a planet which I thought was Endor but turned out not to be Endor. Then everyone eventually goes to the planet Exegol that is basically Space Mordor for the final confrontation with Palpatine.

    There's some decent moments spread throughout the movie that I wish had been expanded on. I was interested in Kylo Ren's decision to serve Palpatine versus being his own man. I liked Finn's brief encounter with another defecting stormtrooper. I liked Lando's appearance and wanted more (Lando for Supreme Chancellor!). Hell, I was really interested in the plotline where General Hux turns out to be a traitor to the First Order even if I felt that it was an unnecessary plot twist and all of General Pryde's scenes could have been given to him.

    However, the movie moves at a lightning pace with no time to dwell on character beats or revelations. At one point. Poe Damoren is revealed to have been a former spice smuggler. When the hell did this happen? There's nothing about him in the movies or the EU that implies he's not a Republic/Resistance lifer. Finn wants to proclaim his love for Rey but never gets a chance to and immediately backs out. The relationship between Rose and Finn is also abandoned, which just makes the entire film's worth of development for them feel pointless.
    The movie feels like it's gone through multiple rewrites. For example, the characters of Chewbacca and 3PO both have death scenes. Chewbacca dies due to Rey's dark side lightning and 3PO sacrifices his life to translate a Sith artifact's inscription. Both of these get reversed, though, and I can't help but think this is Disney knowing that both of them are characters that have a shelf-life over the living actors. After all, you can get anyone to wear the Chewbacca suit and 3PO could theoretically be dubbed by someone other than Anthony Daniels (blasphemy as that may be).

    The death of Carrie Fisher hangs over the movie and there's not really much that could have been done with that. There are some genuinely touching moments but it's easy to see what they originally planned for the movie from the novelization. Kudos to Billie Lourd for her willingness to help make a tribute to her mother. I also believe General Organa being Rey's Jedi Master is as important a thing for the reviving of the Jedi as Luke. It makes her, "There is another" in a way she wasn't in the Legends universe.

    In conclusion, this movie was not very good. There were a few bits that I truly appreciated like when the entirety of the galaxy threw their starfighters, capital ships, and presumably armed space freighters against the First Order. If you're going to say that democracy and the people are enemies of fascism (and why wouldn't you?) then this is the best visual way to show it. However, the majority of the movie seems just lacking in any real plot coherence. At one point Rey and the others find the thing they're looking for by going into quicksand that our heroes could get out of easily (because one of them has telekinesis). Yeesh.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Dick Tracy (1990) review

    Dick Tracy is one of those movies that I end up returning to every few years. It's a film that has never received a vast following and rarely tops anyone's favorites but I think of it as a film that everyone should watch. It is the very definition of a cult classic and it is a film that has aged remarkably well due to its unique visual style. Sadly, the behind-the-scenes politics and behavior of Warren Beatty means we probably won't see any more Dick Tracy content until he died but at least it was due to him loving the character "that" much.

    The premise is the inspiration for virtually all other police procedurals as well as at least part of Batman's world. Dick Tracy is a square-jawed police detective in an unnamed city (Homeville in the comic strip) that is overrun by grotesque gangsters. The comic strip has been running since 1931 and this is set somewhere during Prohibition, though it incorporates several World War 2 characters in the mix. It's a shame this movie never got a sequel because I'd love to see Tracy murder some Nazis.

The color pattern is eye-popping.
    The movie version of Tracy (Warren Beatty) doesn't deal with illegal liquor or foreign spies, though, but gambling. Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino) eliminates his chief rival in the city's underworld, Lips Malice, in order to take over his club as well as girl, Breathless Mahoney (Madonna). Big Boy intends to unite the city's underworld underneath him and unleash an unparalleled crime wave. Tracy thinks he can take down Big Boy if he gets either a young kid (Charlie Korsmo) or Mahoney to testify against Big Boy. Things get complicated when a literally faceless new enemy, the Blank, arrives and starts playing Tracy versus Big Boy.

    Dick Tracy is not a particularly complicated movie but it's surprisingly rich in detail. You get the impression this is a setting that has a fairly vast and deep history to it. Rather than just using one or two Tracy villains, virtually his entire Rogues Gallery appears in various scenes. It's like if Tim Burton's Batman had crowd scenes with the Legion of Doom. There's Pruneface, Flat Top, Itchy, and many other grotesques that usually only get one or two scenes but are memorable to fans while also hinting at a much richer universe. Unfortunately, most of them get knocked off without fanfare.

    Most modern viewers are not going to have any idea who any of these characters are, though, despite how memorable their appearances are. Villains in Dick Tracy, the men at least, wear their sins on their faces so all of them are deformed with fantastic prosthetics. It was a conscious stylistic choice along with the fact the world is painted in primary colors of greens, reds, yellows, and blues in order to look more like a comic strip. It certainly adds a unique look to the film and helps it stick in your mind.

Dick Tracy is a man of action not words.
    Indeed, the look of the film is hard to put into words because it doesn't look like anything else in film. Tim Burton's Batman was released the year before and is about the only movie I think that can compare for world-building. Matte paintings, models, and costuming all combine to make it jump alive. The use of practical effects means that this movie is every bit as gorgeous looking today as when it originally released. The action scenes aren't particularly great but there's truly memorable Tommy Gun fight at the end that sticks with me decades later.

    Dick Tracy's musical score also deserves to be talked about because it may be the only time in history that there were too many masters at work for a single film. The Dick Tracy score consists of work by Danny Elfman (Batman, Harry Potter), Madonna, and Stephen Sondheim (everything ever done by Meatloaf). There's some truly fantastic songs on this movie with the upbeat jazz tune, "Back in Business" being a particular favorite of mine. Good luck getting the complete soundtrack anywhere but Youtube, though, because no one apparently got along behind the scenes.

Al Pacino is barely recognizable.
    Despite the many good qualities about Dick Tracy, the film has some serious flaws. Some of it dates back to the original material and others are issues unique to the film. Tonally, a lot of the scenes are off-kilter. Al Pacino is incredibly entertaining as Big Boy Caprice, providing a lot of the movie's energy but definitely went for a much more cartoonish take than Beatty or Madonna's understated performance. Beatty at 52 still looks like a man in his early thirties because God gave him some spectacular genes but isn't really suited for an action hero's role. The Kid and Tess Trueheart (Glenn Headly) are written so terribly that you can't imagine why Tracy wouldn't run screaming into Madonna's arms.

She'll leave you breathless.
     Speaking of Madonna, she is absolutely fabulous in this. I've never been a really huge fan of the Material Girl, let alone her acting, but I unironically state this is her best role aside from Evita. Also, Breathless is fantastically sexy with the film incredibly aware of this. Beatty and Madonna both have enormous chemistry, understandable given their RL relationship at the time, and it makes their scenes onscreen sizzle. The fact we're not meant to root for Breathless and Tracy kind of hurts the movie overall, even if it makes the ending stronger.

     Warren Beatty was the last of the Golden Age of Hollywood movie stars alongside Robert Redford and he apparently called in every single favor he had for the cast. In addition to Al Pacino and Madonna, the movie has Dustin Hoffman, Mandy Patinkin, Paul Sorvino, and Dick fricking Van Dyke spread throughout the cast. Apparently, Dustin Hoffman actually took the role as a joke because his character is utterly incomprehensible for 99% of his acting.

    Oddly, I think this movie being rated PG was a great mistake as it's definitely PG-13 and if they had the slightest trace of blood would have been a decent R-rated movie despite its binary good vs. evil. People are routinely gunned down, one guy gets drowned in cement, the sexual double entendres are off the chart, and the body count probably matches several Bond movies. The Dick Tracy comic strips were equally violent but it's kind of surprising to see Madonna in see-through negligee in the same sort of movie rating as Star Wars.

    In conclusion, this is a fascinating movie and wonderful experience but it does have some serious issues. I feel like there could have been a lot more from this franchise if it had been allowed to have a sequel or reboot. Unfortunately, Warren Beatty has effectively sat on the rights for thirty years and still owns them to this day. He absolutely loves the character and his experience playing him but doesn't want anyone else to play with "his" toys.


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Star Wars: Shadow Fall by Alexander Freed review

      SHADOW FALL by Alexander Freed is the sequel to ALPHABET SQUADRON. Alexander Freed has a history of writing Star Wars novels in the new canon that take a remarkably unglamorous look at the Galactic Civil War. His heroes are frequently cynical, full of trauma, and often confused at meeting people who really believe it is a battle of Good vs. Evil. Alexander Freed also tends to right very sympathetic Imperial characters with one of his books being a prequel to Inferno Squad.

    The premise of Alphabet Squadron as a series is Yrica (pronounced "Erica" in Jacen Solo fashion) Quell is a defecting Imperial starfighter pilot who has been sent to head up a ragtag band of misfits with varying starfighter types. Their goal is to bring down Shadow Wing, an elite Imperial combat unit that has been reigning hell on various groups during the Imperial retreat after Endor. It is something of a quixotic quest as the war effort is far bigger than the hunt for any individual group of Imperials, even as dangerous as Shadow Squadron.

    In a perhaps deliberate deconstruction of the original Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron novels, Alphabet Squadron is not a group that comes together as a family. Indeed, its members become even more divided and shaken up by getting to know one another. Worse, their effectiveness is frequently questionable as they are carrying around enough baggage that they never know if the other members have their backs (or even if they want them).

    There was a good scene in the previous novel where Hera Syndulla (Star Wars: Rebels) decides to mentor Yrica because she doesn't trust Intelligence officer Adal. This proves to be wasted effort because Yrica is a spectacularly awful leader and has no real loyalty to the Rebellion. Indeed, her Imperial war crimes are severe but she can't really seem to recant of them either and just wants to pretend she wasn't involved in them.

    Opposing Alphabet Squadron is the forces of Shadow Squadron. The Empire is in full retreat and scrambling for supplies, reinforcements, and equipment. They have since been taken over by Soran Keize, a pilot dedicated to protecting them as well as giving them purpose. Soran knows the war is lost and pointless but has a passionate devotion to the people he leads, even if it gets countless innocent people killed.

    The novel follows Alphabet Squadron as they are stationed over a Deep Core world called Cerberon. Ceberon is a planet with remaining Imperial sympathies that is mostly pacified by the time events spiral out of control for both sides. Both sides wish to destroy the other for morale purposes and indirectly cause massive collateral damage. Friendships are destroyed, lives lost, and perspectives changed in a surprisingly dark as well as deep storyline.

    So why the comparatively low score? Well, honestly, almost every character in this book is deeply unlikable. Yrica is a war criminal, Nath is a corrupt glory hound, Chass' harsh cruel exterior hides a harsh cruel interior, and Wyl--okay Wyl is nice. There's even a lengthy section of the book where Chass spends it hating on the religious commune that rescued her from certain death. It may be interesting but it's not exactly fun to read.

    In conclusion, I recommend this book but I have to say its not the kind of read that I really go to Star Wars for. Given the awful things on in the world today, I'm pretty much for a book that reinforces that the shooting of Space Nazis in the face is a good thing. No one here really seems to have any ideological commitment to the shooting of Space Nazis. If not for Wyl, I wouldn't want any of these people on my team.

Available here

Friday, July 31, 2020

Star Quest: All That Remains by Patricia Macomber review

    STAR QUEST: ALL THAT REMAINS is the second book in the STAR QUEST series by Patricia Lee Macomber. The Star Quest series is a idealized Star Trek-esque space opera about the first human interstellar starship. It is sent out into the Great Beyond after mankind barely manages to repel an alien invasion. It has a ANOTHER LIFE and STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE-esque feel, though far more entertaining than both are for me.

    Captain Hunter and the crew of the Endeavor are really good Federation-esque citizens, which contributes to its Star Trek pastiche-esque flabor. This isn't an insult but a compliment as Star Trek is one of the most influential series of all time but very few science fiction series really "get it." Too often, they get it only superficially similar or outright invert its themes to something more cynical.

    Star Quest really is an homage the way THE ORVILLE is but lacking Seth MacFarland's toilet humor. Instead, this is coming from a place of love and really shows with every page. It's about a bunch of scientists and explorers treading into the unknown in order to see what is out there. They're also just really nice people and that has a lot of merit to it by itself.

    They may not be the most dynamic or flawed bunch but I could easily imagine myself watching a Amazon or Netflix show about them. After having watched endless parades of antiheroes, its nice to have a bunch of people without overwhelming amounts of baggage.

    This book deals with the crew coming across a space vessel where the entire crew has seemingly died for no reason. It's a classic sci-fi TV plot and Patricia Macomber gives her own spin on the ghost vessel storyline. It also climaxed in a way that I felt was very true to the setting and themes that the Star Quest series is apparently working on.

    If I had one small complaint about the book, it feels more like the next episode of the Star Quest television series than the next book in an ongoing literature series. That's not necessarily a bad thing as I love Peter David's NEW FRONTIERS books that were similarly self-contained science fiction adventures. I wouldn't mind a bit more character development, though. Either way, this was a solid and entertaining story.


Available here

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Skald's Black Verse by Jordan Loyal Short review

     THE SKALD'S BLACK VERSE by Jordan Loyal Short is a science-fiction fantasy novel that takes place on an isolated world at the heart of a vast interstellar empire. The planet was conquered long ago and has been ground down to a Medieval subsistence. However, with a looming natural disaster, the seeds of rebellion are planted that are aided by mysterious supernatural forces.

    The world-building of this book is something that I really enjoyed. The village of Skolja is a Viking-themed Medieval sort of place but it is dominated by foreign forces that came from the sky and conquered the place three generations ago. There's hints of Braveheart, Warhammer 40K, and Skyrim in the world-building. The book walks a fine line between justifying the anachronistic mixture of technology as even the invading humans from space are a crude theocratic organization halfway Roman and half-way Catholic.

    The take on colonialism is an interesting one as while the Empire is depicted as arrogant and oppressive, the reaction to this oppression is handled in different ways. The mayor of Skolja cooperates with them and attempts to mediate any problems, believing peace is the ideal.

    Unfortunately, the local Prefect could not care less about these efforts and just wants to be reassigned. His son is ambivalent about all of it, not realizing how important his father's role as a collaborator is. Contrasting this is Brohr, a local half-breed citizen who has just lost his girlfriend due to savagely beating a man in front of her. Brohr is possessed by his dead brother's ghost and it gives him vast supernatural powers that are just bubbling under the surface. Brohr's grandfather wants to avenge his fallen people and is willing to use his own blood as a weapon to do so, no matter the cost. The fact his grandfather is obsessed with racial purity, long ago wrongs, and vengeance makes him a less sympathetic rebel than usually is the case in these kind of stories.

    Really, this is a book that thrives on its characters and the fact that it mostly relates to a single village on a remote planet gives it a very interesting feel. I'd argue this is a kind of blackish space age steampunk but it also possesses quite a bit of magic to go along with its weird tech. The skalds of the world knew many forms of magic that have since been outlawed by the empire but are slowly making a return. Magic is dark and twisted, dealing with alien entities, that enhances the feel of sorcery. It is an evil and unnatural thing but perhaps the only advantage the native peoples have.

    This is a book full of moral ambiguities that I enjoyed. The colonizers are a bunch of selfish jerks but the majority of them are just doing their jobs, the initial atrocities having happened a long time ago. The resistance to them is ambivalent and bordering on banditry with the ideologues having mostly aged out. The typical Skolja citizens has adapted to the new way of life and are more concerned about where their next meal is coming from rather than the occupiers of their planet. The residents of Skolja feels like a combination of a Scot, Norseman, and various fishing peoples that help them feel familiar without feeling identical to these cultures.

    Practicality also dictates that this tiny resource-poor world with no technology is unable to do squat against the empire anyway. The empire won against the locals because they had better numbers, technology, and magic. This is an unsympathetic and uncaring world that doesn't have any real natural sense of justice. If they successfully revolt, they'll just get crushed with the next wave but that doesn't mean much to people who want blood more than victory. All of the ideologies competing here mean nothing to the comet that's about to hit the neighboring moon and shower the planet in debris, too. In the face of an uncaring natural disaster, all the talk about freedom and oppression may be secondary to survival.

    In conclusion, this is a solid and entertaining piece of fantasy science fiction. I'm a big fan of Warhammer 40K and this is very similar with a "ground's eye" view of what being the subject of a vast interstellar civilization would be like for the average citizen. The depiction of brutality from colonizer to colonized, the inhumanity of man, generation grudges, poverty, and religious fanaticism are all intriguing to read as well. This is extremely well-written grimdark and if you like your fantasy and sci-fi gritty as well as depressing then this is a book you should pick up.

Available here

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Watchmen HBO vs. Watchmen the comic regarding race

Warning - This post will contain spoilers for the Watchmen HBO series.

    I'm presently tinkering with a blog post about the WATCHMEN series vs. the original. Unfortunately, my inner academic is interfering. Rather than talk about the show its ending up discussing the fact Alan Moore created a world where superheroes and vigilantism is fundamentally silly thing that white people engage in.

    There's not many black people in Watchmen (aside from the psychologist) because Alan Moore draws associations between superheroes and Radical Right ideologies (the Comedian, Rorshach). The exceptions are rich millionaires and fame seekers (plus one blue god). Partially this is due to the time period but the fact Captain Metropolis puts "black unrest" on his list of enemies means that he sees superheroes as dogged protectors of the status quo.

    Hooded Justice, for example, is the first superhero and he's inspired by KKK imagery and a Nazi sympathizer. This is because Alan Moore series vigilantism as something that has a very nasty history in the United States and was just an excuse for organized murder on racial lines. It's not an uncommon view. Black Americans and other minorities are simply not welcome in the fame-hungry conservative world of superheroes. They barely tolerate women and certainly did not with Silhouette despite her wartime heroism.

    Damon Lindelof, however, makes Hooded Justice an ironic superhero. He's a black man wearing a Klan outfit to terrify them and subject racists to the same unaccounted justice. He also recognizes minorities can't trust cops at various times in history and must make their own justice. Therefore, Will Reeves (The HBO Hooded Justice's real identity), must take matters into his own hands. He has a far better justification for this than, say, Bruce Wayne.

    I wonder if this is because Alan Moore is not an American because the reason this works versus other Watchmen adaptations is because it is also based in RL history. Black Americans have their own history of vigilante justice and groups organizing outside the law for community protection. Often called criminals (and sometimes were).

    The series isn't 100% perfect on its handling of racial matters as the primary conflict during the early part of the series is the police vs. white supremacists. This is possible and happens in my area (the white supremacists are the criminals in Appalachia) but is a conflict most people would say doesn't reflect reality across America. There's also the fact that Lady Trieu is dismissed as nothing more than a monster when her homeland has been forcibly annexed into the United States.

    Fundamentally, I see the television series having a completely opposite view of superheroes/vigilantes than the comic. Ironically, it's perhaps the reason why its the only Watchmen spin-off with any value.