superheroes

Wonder Woman is DC's Finest but Still Can't Touch Marvel by Ryan Hill

 

In the time it took to get a Wonder Woman film on the screen, we’ve seen:

  • Five Spider-Man movies, including a hard reboot after Spider-Man 3
  • Nine Batman entries, including Batman v Superman and one version done entirely in LEGO
  • Six X-Men’s
  • Three Wolverine’s
  • Deadpool
  • Doctor Strange
  • Ant-Man
  • Two Guardians of the Galaxy's
  • Suicide Squad
  • Two Kick-Ass’s
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • Three misbegotten Fantastic Four flicks

And that isn’t including the terrible Green Lantern experiment with Ryan Reynolds or Jonah Hex, which clocks in at about 80 minutes – including credits.

What the heck took so long? Was it fear? Wonder Woman is one of the most recognizable properties in comics, and arguably the most popular female property. Maybe sexism? The thought that a woman couldn’t open a film like Wonder Woman? I don’t know, but it’s ridiculous it took this long for the world to finally – finally – get a Wonder Woman film. Maybe duds like the Halle Berry starrer Catwoman and Elektra scared off the studio, despite having a pre-Avengers Joss Whedon ready to make a Wonder Woman film (he’s now doing a live-action Batgirl).

But I digress.

Gal Gadot reprises her role of Diana Prince, first introduced in the mess known as Batman v Superman. Instead of moving the DC Universe timeline closer to the next potential mess, Justice League, Wonder Woman moves the action back 100 years to World War I to tell Prince’s origin story. Believing Ares, the God of War, to be responsible for the War to End All Wars, Prince travels to London with superspy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to take him down and end WWI.

Wonder Woman is far and away the best of the new, interconnected DC Universe films. For starters, it’s competent. That’s a huge step up. There are some truly entertaining sequences in the film, and the chemistry between Gadot and Pine is fantastic. But, it’s also painfully predictable – even character twists are obvious within two minutes of them appearing – and suffers from a third act riddled with bloated CG effects and weak storytelling, like most superhero films. Factoring in the Marvel films, Wonder Woman ranks in the lower half of the recent superhero films to come out.

Wonder Woman almost feels like a moment more than a film. It can truly open the door for not only female-led superhero films, but more women at the helm of these big blockbusters. Director Patty Jenkins is only the second female director to have a budget of more than $100 million to work with, the other being Kathryn Bigelow on K-19: The Widowmaker back in… 2002. The film itself may be hit and miss, but hopefully Wonder Woman will open the door for more unique voices in Hollywood today.

Drew Hayes talks villains, FORGING HEPHAESTUS in the Authordome by Ryan Hill

 

Drew Hayes is pretty awesome. His novels are fun as hell, he's wearing a beer can helmet in his author photo, and he's a really nice guy.

Does that sound like a man crush? Nah...

Does it, though?

Just kidding. Drew is a great guy/author/friend, though.

Drew does have a new novel out, Forging Hephaestus, which is all about villains. It's also rated 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon after 68 reviews, which is stupid impressive. For contrast, my novel, The Book of Bart, is rated 4 out of 5 after 77 reviews.

* = Yes, this is a shameless plug

 

That said, Drew has strapped on the armor, chosen his weapon of choice (a bachelorette party straw), and is ready to step into the Authordome for a record FOURTH TIME. 

Will he survive? Absolutely. This is all virtual/not in the real world.

Two authors enter.

Two authors leave.

Welcome back to the Authordome, Drew! This is your fourth time entering the infamous arena. Do you think this time will be more Fury Road or Batman & Robin?

I'd say more Kung Fury than anything else.

You have plenty of experience writing superheroes with your Super Powered series, but Forging Hephaestus is a bit of a new direction for you, focusing on the villains instead of heroes. What made you want to look at the "darker" side of superheroes?

I’d say it was less about wanting out and out darkness, though the nature of the tale does lead to a more violent tone than some of my other works, than it was just wanting to try something really different. Villains get to have more fun, take the pragmatic path over the moral one, and generally get away with things no superhero ever could, which made the idea of writing about them really interesting. Plus, there was no way I’d get away with a superhero named Johnny Three Dicks, that’s solely villain territory.

Ryan note: Johnny Three Dicks is one of the best superhero names EVER

First thing that comes to mind. Favorite superhero movie/TV show. GO!

For movies, it’s either Deadpool or Batman Begins, both were great films overall. TV shows… if we’re being really loose with the term “superhero” then I’d go with the short-lived show Limitless, which was way more charming and fun than it had any right to be. If we’re sticking with classic superhero properties though, then I’d say Justice League Unlimited.

Villains always have the most fun, but they can be difficult main characters because you need something to anchor the story. How did you approach that in Hephaestus? Just make the main character boring? How do you go about writing a story about a villain with other villains there?

I think the book, and the series as a whole, are anchored on the basic idea of survival. That’s why the villains even have a code (the series is titled Villains’ Code after all) and why they enforce it. Because none of them want to die or be sent to jail, they have to do their villainy with intelligence and care, hence why they’re able to function around other villains and not launch stupid schemes every week. Those villains do exist in the world, mind you, and they are another source of potential antagonists for the main character villains. Lots of potential enemies!

Who is your favorite villain? If you say the Joker, you must use 150 words or more to explain why. I'll also laugh and point at your answer as I'm posting it on my site.

Right rogue’s gallery, wrong villain. I think Mr. Freeze (the version from the '90s Batman Animated Series) is one of the best villains ever written for one simple fact: he isn’t even really a villain. Victor Fries is a brilliant scientist trying to save his wife, only to be betrayed and mutated by the head of the company he worked for. Rather than go on a straight-up murder spree, he focuses on robbing people to get enough money to continue research on curing his wife. And what stops him? A billionaire with ultra-tech protecting his wealthy corporate buddies.

Dumb question of the interview: Is Forging Hephaestus set in the same world as Super Powereds?

No, it is not. This story was about playing with the worlds and tropes of classic comic books, which are more reality-removed than the Super Powereds world. Rather than messing with my existing property to fit a new mold, it made more sense to build this world from the ground up and make it exactly the way it needed to be.

What's next for you? Another entry in your awesome Fred the Vampire Accountant series?

If all goes as expected, that should indeed be next on the docket. Fred No. 4 is written and in REUTS hands, so ideally it should be out in summer as usual.

Last but not least, sell us Forging Hephaestus in haiku format.

A guild of villains
Capes, mechs, mutants, and lies
What more do you need?

Thanks again to Drew for being a good sport in the Authordome. You can read more about him and his works at his site, which is chock full o' goodness.