Cultural Crossovers #21: Captain Marvel

As before.

  • Someone with blue blood? Finally! How natural!
  • The Kree homeworld, eh? Thought they were blue-skinned, too.
  • Well, that’s an interesting approach to warrior philosophy.
  • Oh, that kind of Supreme Intelligence.
  • Ah, shapeshifting infiltrators.
  • We do have to wonder about what is going on with the Skrulls, given that what we know so far about the Kree suggests that they are kinda dicks.
  • Empowering implant, or restraining bolt?
  • So, some of them are blue-skinned. Hm. Eumelanin-deficient subspecies. Seems oddly familiar.
  • Impressive shapeshifting. Terrible authentication codes.
  • See what I mean? Terrible authentication codes.
  • …wait, you’re a Terran?
  • No, the audience is at least as confused.
  • Interesting form of memory extraction.
  • Yeah, that’s pretty much the first thing they teach you to watch in espatier school.
  • Although they really should cover how not to make re-entry, too. That said, it takes one hell of a personal force-field not to have left a rather bigger crater than that.
  • Well, your night report is gonna be interesting.
  • Nice technical education, too.
  • Well, hello, young-looking Coulson and primordial Fury.
  • I love a subtle undercover mission.
  • Wait, so did you go back to not acronymizing yourselves at some point?
  • “Not on the periodic table?” Seriously?
  • Someone’s memory blocking techniques need work. See, this is why you don’t use that as a substitute for memory erasure, and preferably filling in the gaps.
  • Are you wondering yet where your stock of Terran lore comes from? I presume they didn’t cover that in Kree school?
  • You’re gonna have a very confusing family.
  • Aw, they’re bonding.
  • Nice kitty. Nice, not at all suspicious, kitty.
  • So, a Kree researcher building something on Earth. I wonder what the Kree is for “stone knives and bearskins”.
  • Oh, my. Now that’s an interesting picture, isn’t it?
  • See, cold, rational judgment at this point would also conclude that that guy’s lying like a weasel.
  • Always that good, huh, Coulson.
  • Ah, Ronan. Just popping in to remind us of the dick factor.
  • Always good to have a memory cascade in a box lying around.
  • With just a little deception, then.
  • That was actually an astonishingly nice landing.
  • Oh, of course it is. Who else would it be?
  • Wait. All you need to do to get your ridiculous quantities of mojo is blow up a drive core near yourself? Shit, we’d be blowing them up every week. (Insert chorus of “That’s Not How Any Of This Works.”)
  • Yeah, that sounds like the Accusers. Based on the example we’ve seen, anyway.
  • Kid, we like you. You’ve got a good future.
  • Ah, yes, the curse of the shapeshifter. Taking requests.
  • Always secure your cat before leaving the atmosphere.
  • Hello, spaceship. Miracle you didn’t run into anything up there.
  • Oh, that explains it. It’s that “core”… wait, is that where that’s supposed to be right now? Guess Howard Stark was behind that project at some level?
  • Awww.
  • That’s a cute name for brainwashing.
  • Hard to fight inside someone else’s virtuality.
  • Now that, on the other hand…
  • …especially since that is a restraining bolt…
  • …and the “Supreme Intelligence” appears to lack quite a lot by way of actual supremacy.
  • Well, that’s one way to encase an Infinity Stone. Damn lucky you didn’t accidentally a flerken’ god, though.
  • Yes, very good kitty.
  • Not so good kitty. Unless…
  • …damn, he’s good at that.
  • Nice flying!
  • Who needs a plane when you have incredible cosmic power, right?
  • Also: evidently the (yellow) mind stone in the scepter empowers people with blue-themed mojo, while the (blue) space stone empowers people with yellow-themed mojo. Does that seem right to you?
  • They’re not ballistic warheads if they have engines, guys. Sorry, but no.
  • And they’re severely outmatched. May I suggest the tactical maneuver known as Running The Fuck Away While You Still Have Ships Left?
  • “Or not.”
  • And that would be why Fury never tells the eye story.
  • So, one reversed-order pager incluing.
  • Ah, yes, the so-briefly “Protector Initiative”. Ha!
  • …meanwhile, back in the aftermath, and y’all really should have seen her coming.

Cultural Crossovers #20: Ant-Man and the Wasp

You know the drill.

  • Ah, flashback. And presumably the non-flashback part is taking place pre-Thanos, or we would probably have noticed.
  • A quantum tunnel. Oh, god, that’s a pun, isn’t it? Aargh.
  • Aww. The father-daughter heist is adorable.
  • And doing the right thing continues to suck.
  • The quantum realm is a real trippy place.
  • Antnapping. Nice.
  • We wonder what the mpg are like for tiny cars. Or we would, if we had to fuel ours more often than once a dodecade.
  • …couch ant. Ant couchant. Oookay.
  • Seriously, who’s going to say no to Captain America when he needs their help?
  • We always figured Hank’s new headquarters would be a dollhouse in his spare bedroom, or something.
  • Are those… enlarged batteries?
  • Entanglements. Heh.
  • Best. Garage. Ever.
  • …collapsible building. On wheels. No, that is the best thing ever, and we all want one.
  • Is Earth entirely devoid of honest smugglers and procurers? This is not how gentlesophs do business.
  • Wings and a sting, in fact.
  • Bullet surfing. We love it.
  • That’s a good question.
  • Okay, that’s a neat trick, but it wouldn’t work out well for you either if you phased back in.
  • We’re guessing that’s some sort of chamber that keeps you real. In a more literal sense than usual.
  • Ah, prototypes. Always a pleasure to deploy for early field testing.
  • Evidently interpenetration is real quiet.
  • Man, you just go through life making professional enemies, don’t you?
  • Presumably it’s not just your molecules that are disequilibriated.
  • Of course they did. Probably because they were HYDRA, but not necessarily so.
  • …nothing like a little tin of giant ants.
  • No, that would be a cognitive diuretic.
  • Actually, while that sounds like a cognitive diuretic, it could just be Luis being Luis. Mostly.
  • Baba Yaga!
  • The traditional big-ass switch of science enabling.
  • Quantum possession. Nifty.
  • Well, someone understands the important of building unnecessarily cool-looking displays for their science.
  • …what was that ant wearing in the tub?
  • Everything in that lab must be really well-secured. No loose coffee mugs.
  • Yay, Cassie!
  • Nicely arranged escape. And callback.
  • Okay, now that’s some crazy ant-fu. Wonder which species includes homing device among its talents?
  • It appears Pym effects nest very well. Which raises all sorts of interesting questions about the effects on Hank’s pod every time the van changes size…
  • Best way to throw a car.
  • Adorable tardigrades.
  • So many potential applications, watching this size-shifting fight, not to mention the phasing. The people who’ve been beating their heads against this one since the last movie are feeling all kinds of inspired.
  • Luis is having way too much fun with this.
  • Yeah, we probably wouldn’t believe Giant-Man on a truck-scooter either.
  • Damn seagulls.
  • We do like the field-like way the Quantum Realm is pulsing. It’s doing a very good impression of a simplified visual interpretation of extremely complex phenomena.
  • Of course, the audience think that Janet probably shouldn’t have aged. Time is a macroscopic phenomenon.
  • So much for avoiding notice.
  • Nice touch with the handle still sticking up.
  • See, this is why you wait for the brilliant scientist with extensive personal experience of all things quantum before going about your dumb-assed plan.
  • Here’s to CDs, and their occasional functioning as truth serum.
  • Well it’s about time he got away with one of these things, dammit.
  • Instant beach house. With a really clever foundation, one imagines. And utilities.
  • Seems like every adventure ends with a free cryptid.
  • Oh, gods, that is the worst timing ever. Beat all the odds in the worst way.

The crazy theorists, incidentally, have probably concluded that so-called Pym particles are actually some kind of Sufficiently Advanced attotechnology to pull off all the crazy stuff they do in the conveniently coherent manner that they have.

(So why particles? Well, given how determined Hank is not to let anyone else touch the tech, a bit of misdescription probably doesn’t hurt.)

Cultural Crossovers #19: Avengers: Infinity War

In which TF is thoroughly W’d.

  • This piece of history is really sucking for the Asgardians. Culled twice? (Or three times, by the end.)
  • EBONY MAW, YOU POMPOUS ASS!
  • Oh, Loki. Don’t ever change.
  • Well, that’s a new experience for the Hulk, and I don’t think he cares for it very much.
  • And Heimdall of Asgard dies well.
  • Well, shit. Loki might actually be really dead this time. Never expected to be saying that.
  • And that’s some nice targeting for a dying god.
  • Aw, those crazy kids got back together. Excellent. Shame about the interruption.
  • Man, it would be nice if our universe came with a bunch of convenient ontotech keys. As long as they were in the right hands. Namely, ours.
  • Good cape.
  • What the hell is that, a giant flying cyclotron?
  • Great distraction, kid. Completely indistinguishable from genuine panic. And great cameo.
  • Pompous ass and dumb muscle. Nice pair.
  • Damn, Thanos gave the big guy PTSD.
  • Now that’s some fancy suitage. Pretty sure you can’t actually make one even with our tech, but still. Unless that’s vibranium, maybe.
  • Spider-Man has evidently has time to get used to Starkplanations.
  • Best cape!
  • Ah, that new suit smell. Nice crazy-prep.
  • Light-lag: sucks.
  • Man, we love these guys.
  • Not sure you have god wipers.
  • Drax has quite the man-crush, there.
  • Well, that’s a hell of a thing to bond over. Such magnificent dysfunction.
  • He decimated Xandar? Damn. We liked that place.
  • Nidavellir sounds interesting. Let’s go there. The audience is very much with Rocket, here —
  • Well, okay, except that last bit.
  • It can speak! (Not the mind stone; that we were expecting. The one-man brute squad.)
  • You have a beard now.
  • And Team Freedom And The Right Thing continue to kick ass. Were we expecting any less? We were not.
  • This, presumably, is the culling of Gamora’s homeworld.
  • So, literally killing half the population.
  • That’s a hell of a thing to ask. Even more of one to have to ask.
  • Drax, the Destroyer of Moments.
  • Also, Tivan, what in the universe could you possibly sell an Infinity Stone for?
  • And there I was expecting Drax to play the role of Leroy Jenkins.
  • That was too quick.
  • The reality stone. Right.
  • Okay. That was both messy and awesome.
  • Damn. All that for nothing.
  • And this Ross continues to prioritize being an asshat over, well, reality. Fortunately, Rhodey knows that.
  • Thank you, Cap, for continuing to be the voice of ethics.
  • Shuri built you a new arm! Can’t wait to see how this one performs.
  • I’m guessing you missed hearing about the whole Dormammu incident?
  • Makes perfect sense to us. Also, you have the same chronic hero syndrome as your mentor, there.
  • Beautiful. And the perfect end for said pompous ass.
  • Well, it is a Strange name.
  • Welcome to the team. Everyone else’s induction was about that short, too.
  • Seriously, that’s your motivation? DO YOU KNOW HOW BIG THE UNIVERSE IS? AND WITH THE SIX STONES YOU’RE LOOKING FOR, COULDN’T YOU DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE UNIVERSE ANYWAY? OR AT LEAST THE AMOUNT OF RESOURCES?
  • AND YOU KNOW WITH POPULATION GROWTH YOU’LL HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN?
  • YOU’RE INSANE.
  • …and that looks really uncomfortable.
  • Thanos shows that he does know the one way to make torture work.
  • Nidavellir sounds like one hell of a forge.
  • We understand your motivation, Thor. Just hope you have something left when it runs out.
  • You collecting body parts again?
  • Well, okay, it was one hell of a forge.
  • 3/4 of a ship isn’t so bad.
  • “Blanket of death”.
  • Mr. Lord is his father…. oh, wait.
  • I’m guessing scrying gambit. Yep, scrying gambit.
  • Those are poor odds. Or a certainty, depending on how you look at it.
  • …okay, how did you get there?
  • Which raises the question: just how sapient/sophont are the stones? Other than mind, obviously.
  • So, the soul stone has a test that guarantees only deeply terrible people can take it. Seems poorly designed.
  • Well, shit.
  • Nice kinetic barrier. Couldn’t do better ourselves.
  • Well, I guess they probably would have some spares.
  • Jump-starting a neutron star. Impressive. Also, what the hell are the dwarves made of?
  • Put Banner in the Hulkbuster suit. Cute.
  • Nice to see T’Challa and M’Baku getting along so well now.
  • Ah, the infamous Inhuman Wave Attack.
  • A bold move, and did Thanos teach any of his minions tactical acumen?
  • (Guess he’s helping to reduce overpopulation by ensuring as many of his own armies die as possible.)
  • Okay, what the hell is Thor made of? Flesh-phase neutronium?
  • The axe is Groot.
  • The audience wonders how the Bifrost is still working when its generator presumably got all blowed up with Asgard.
  • Still a grand opening move.
  • This not-plan is going remarkably well.
  • …until then. Quill, dammit. We understand, but damn it.
  • You just threw a moon at them. A friggin’ moon.
  • Dual-wielding a raccoon. That should go on the resume. But watch your arm.
  • Heh.
  • And I shall call you Excessive Wheelbots.
  • Well, Okoye, that would be why.
  • Some of those armored war rhinos seem like they’d be useful about now.
  • You won’t like him when he’s angry, either.
  • …and now you’re throwing singularities.
  • That is probably the greatest honor a human has ever received.
  • This, presumably, is the one path out.
  • Okay, that’s a really nice starship-killing axe.
  • …did he just turn Bruce into a half-fossil?
  • How impressive is it that the Scarlet Witch is able to significantly hold back Thanos while simultaneously destroying an Infinity Stone? All of impressive, we say.
  • Horrible as it is for those people who have already had to make the worst possible heroic sacrifice and have it be for nothing, having it actually reversed right in front of your eyes manages to out-horrible it.
  • (Worse, in-‘verse, because this might actually be a possible kind of causal weapon.)
  • Oh, gods. So close.
  • And Peter dies thinking he failed. Thanos needs to die twice for that alone.
  • (Huh. How did Bruce get out of being half-phased into solid rock?)
  • Hope that pager calls someone… you might have been better off calling most of a movie ago. Did no-one keep Fury up to date?
  • “THANOS WILL RETURN”. Well he’d better. He’s got a hell of a lot of red in everyone’s ledger.

…really, they’re not gonna want to make the audience wait too long for Endgame, ’cause the audience is all heated up and baying for ol’ purple-chin’s blood. Now it’s personal.

(Which is to say, they are a passionate race, and they have an understanding of the proper protocol for heroic sacrifices, which is to get together, hunt down whoever was responsible for ’em, and get medieval on their ass. And they’ve been following these folks through their triumphs and tragedies for eighteen movies now.

Damn right it’s personal.)

Cultural Crossovers #18: Black Panther

Okay. A quick preamble.

This is going to be a really hard one for the Imperial audience to understand. Not because it’s not an awesome movie, or anything, but simply because they have absolutely no cultural context for the background – and there’s only so much gnostic overlays can do.

(For those who are haven’t been keeping detailed track of the cultural background elements, here’s your quick summary of the main divergence points in their history:

  • Well, for one thing, there was considerably less phenotypic divergence to go from, because of the limited initial population, slowed divergence, and a couple of bottlenecks, so while people could talk about the six original eldrae races, the two that came later, and the further divergence of cladism, it was never quite so immediately apparent. Which I mention not to explain a lack of racism, but rather to point out why the racial distinctions we make are so non-obvious to them
  • …but even that isn’t particularly relevant, since no-one got around to inventing hierarchical moral racism. At least part of that is down to the various different sets of instincts we’ve addressed in a whole lot of places (starting here) and in particular being too individualist to really grok group identitarianism and associated status games; as for the rest —
  • — well, let’s just say that the civilization whose unofficial motto was always “slavers, die!” never found any particular need to develop copious justificatory bullshit for treating people as property.
  • Colony, and its derivatives, don’t have the same contextual meaning. (See here for more.) A colony is founded out of nothing; if there were people there already, it ain’t a colony, not in Eldraeic.
  • And even if you do get around that problem by translating “colonizer” into traän-rianqármoníë daráv (“conqueror”), you then face the secondary problem that Earth-style colonialism is not how the Consolidation worked. (You can tell that because, y’know, all Earth’s empires fell, and most of them – especially in the “colonial” era – didn’t work very well for the owners even when they were up and running.) There were no metropole-periphery distinctions, no subject peoples versus ruling ones, no mercantilist exploitation (free trade, rather, which enriches everyone – just as planned). Admissions were preferred to forcible annexations, and even forcible annexations became peers with all other constituent nations. And history, naturally, proceeded very differently…
  • The sort of ugly urban ghetto of poverty and its associated vices that Earth cultures like to shove people in to oppress them doesn’t exist there, either. Partly for reasons as given here, but also because of things like the Citizen’s Dividend, eleemosynary organizations, and because the Empire has a pretty firm grasp on its economics and the shit you don’t do if, like the Empire, you hate poor people and wish to solve this problem by enabling them to self-upgrade into rich people.

)

So as you read through the point-by-point below, the thing you need to remember is that – with the possible exception of anyone who’s taken the official Exploratory Service “Barbarians Gonna Barbar: Here’s How” course – while the audience may love this movie, they don’t really get this movie. Earth-style racism doesn’t have anywhere to fit within their cultural context. It just reads like humans decided to arbitrarily pick a subset of themselves to be giant dicks to just because, and who the hell does that?

Who, indeed.

So, anyway, here we go:

  • Vibranium has lots of interesting properties, evidently. But, hey, so does our orichalcium.
  • This, we presume, is not Wakanda.
  • Is that a… glowy lip barcode? Interesting ID mechanism.
  • The Third Directorate approves of your spying on your spies.
  • One of the poorest countries in the world? Oh, this is quite the cover-up, we can tell already.
  • How to get an Imperial audience to stand, cheer, and root for you from then on: introduce yourselves by whacking a bunch of slaving assholes while being awesome.
  • And now we go straight from “my, that’s a gorgeous landscape” to “ah, this is where Earth has been hiding its real advanced civilization all along”.
  • Given the interesting properties of vibranium, one would think someone would have noticed what that was made of. Or at least that it was made of something unusual.
  • Between the post-poisoning conversation and the “spreading out the crime scene”, these guys are into some cold shit.
  • Ooh, cyborg.
  • (For anyone who might have the wrong idea of what the hyper-civilized Imperials might think of the ritual-combat succession and so forth, they have a great deal of respect for a culture that preserves its traditions and authenticity during its advancement, rather than getting all bland as many less respectable cultures do. And they have some interesting succession mechanisms of their own. And, y’know, it’s easily interpreted as a kind of consensual governance mechanism.)
  • ((I’m just going to take a moment to add to my preamble that this was something the Empire positively encouraged during the Consolidation, because having many diverse parts and cultures to draw from was one of the major factors that made the whole effort worthwhile.))
  • Can’t say they’re going to think much of M’Baku’s ideas, but they certainly respect his willingness to put himself on the line for them. And both his and T’Challa’s actions at the end of the fight.
  • There is going to be, I foresee, much speculation about the Ancestral Plane and its relationship with vibranium’s other properties. And that sky. (Comparisons to the Ocean of Souls included.)
  • T’Chaka delivers very good advice. Very hard, indeed.
  • Case in point: both Nakia and W’Kabi are making exceptionally good points.
  • Presumably someone like Klaue is where Howard Stark got the vibranium for Cap’s shield? That seems like something that’ll come back to bite later.
  • Shuri has best lab. And terrible best taste in puns.
  • Nanofabric, bead-tech, a sand table based on utility sand, vector control (!). Awesomeness.
  • It’s a little early in the movie to contemplate sequels, but honestly, at this point the audience is hoping for an entire movie titled Shuri, Tony, and Bruce Do Science To Things. Throw in Hank too, maybe.
  • Oh, gods, it’s a Ross.
  • Well, aren’t you charmingly eccentric.
  • Kicking that much ass in a formal dress, it’s easy to see how Okoye got to the top of the Dora Milaje.
  • Oh, that’s what’s in the arm.
  • A vibranium car. With, presumably, vibranium-infused glass windows. And with that remote-driving system — hell, you could just remote-drive it through anything you didn’t want to be there.
  • Guessing that arm-tool is Wakandan in origin, since it seems able to blast vibranium (a presumably specialized task). And picking up all the pieces of the vibranium ex-car is going to be a hell of a job for some Wakandan-on-the-ground.
  • Diplomacy, I believe, is not her business.
  • Called it!
  • Okay, this Ross may be all right. Also, those kimoyo beads are even cooler than we thought.
  • W’Kabi, you know there’s a difference between “not trying” and “not succeeding”, right?
  • So, between your collection of kill-scars and your expendable girlfriend, we’re guessing you’re a serial asshole. And with that ring, that’s some bad news.
  • Oh, gods, you’re the kid. Who your father just abandoned there. In a “civilization” which is starting to sound like a very unpleasant place. Although we’re guessing “your people” doesn’t mean Wakandan expatriates for assorted reasons, and this is where we’re failing to grok, per preamble…
  • And now we know what Everett Ross’s “have I just been abducted by aliens?” face looks like.
  • Look at all the pretty maglevs!
  • So, the CIA took someone whose “people” – at least on the maternal side – their parent civilization was oppressing the hell out of, and trained them in breaking civilizations. How did that possibly seem like a good idea?
  • Wait, this idiot planet is oppressing people based on melanin levels!? What the hell!? (There are probably not enough emphasis italics in the world to express the strength of this reaction, given that despite all the really dumb-assed things in the galaxy that they’re aware of, this one is even dumber.)
  • …and assuming the facts are as presented, N’Jadaka does have a point. A very good point. But even if his strategy would succeed perfectly, he’s about the least suited person in the world to carry it out.
  • Oh, shit. There is no limit to how badly this could go.
  • One also has to wonder what N’Jobu would have thought of his son’s actions, given how destructive they seem likely to be for Wakanda.
  • …yeah, you’re definitely going to work out as king. Guess that civ-breaking training stuck. On the other hand, especially given how easily the keepers gave in, we frankly disbelieve that that was all of the Heart-Shaped Herb.
  • “And their children”. Oh, the irony. Real seeker of justice you are.
  • M’Baku, you enormous troll!
  • With the note that his subsequent actions only increase our respect for his strength and honor, as well as his enormous trollishness.
  • Assuming, that is, that you want the world to think of you as the architects of a bloodbath everlasting.
  • Really, W’Kabi? Really?
  • …although those shield-cloaks are really cool. Paging a kinetic barrier designer to the engineering courtesy phone.
  • Is that… an armored war-rhino?
  • (On a personal note I really want that sand table.)
  • One day people may figure out that beating on the Black Panther only makes him stronger, but it is not this day.
  • Yeah, that’s your motivations made plain, all right, pretty words notwithstanding.
  • We think that is called battle trolling.
  • Everett is best Ross.
  • Although despite his brokenness, his crimes, and his plan to unleash horrors in revenge, the audience does feel sympathy for N’Jadaka’s tragedy in the end, especially after those dying words. (And, it is very fair to say, considerably less for the entire rest of the planet which allowed the horrors that broke him to happen.) And for the greatness that could have been, had they not thrown him away as a child.
  • And is thus cheering for T’Challa’s new outreach policy.
  • (The similarities here with their own difficulties with trying to do good in the rest of the Worlds, and the problems of trying to do it by force, do not escape anyone.)
  • Ooh, you’re going to feel really dumb for asking that, French guy. As is only right and proper, because as questions go, it was neither courteous nor wise.
  • …and evidently they figured out how to fix Bucky a lot faster than anyone thought. Cover-up wins again!

So. Yes. The audience loved the movie, and Wakanda, and our protagonists, very much.

But, by damn, has their opinion of the rest of Earth (formed, you will recall, essentially from the previous MCU movies) dropped more’n a few points.

Cultural Crossovers #17: Thor: Ragnarok

In which there is an apocalypse.

  • Man, that’s a lot of chains.
  • Well, you’re an unlikely flaming chap. But I guess if there are ice giants, there should be fire giants.
  • Thor, you’ve been hanging out with Tony Snark too much.
  • Oh, you shouldn’t have said that. Keep your special hat secret.
  • We approve this music choice.
  • Well, Asgard’s standards in gatekeepers have gone all to hell.
  • …even by ontotech standards, Mjolnir is hax.
  • Don’t think their standards in Viking-inspiring women are doing so well, either.
  • Oh, Loki. Evidently you gave up completely on subtlety and subtlety-adjacent things when you kinged yourself.
  • Awwww. But you two were so cute! And no Jane means no more Darcy, Best Intern Ever!
  • Well, isn’t that… Strange.
  • Implication: Asgard also has wizards. Of course, Earth also had wizards all along.
  • Loki is having a really bad day.
  • And Odin seems to be enjoying his retirement.
  • Well, this introduction is going well.
  • Mew-mew! Noooo!
  • Hm. Bifrost is also a place. Interesting. And one you can be thrown out of mid-transit.
  • Well, shit. We’ve seen those guys fight, and so… implications unpleasant.
  • Is that… a planet-sized landfill? With wormholes dropping garbage out of the sky? But… but… (economists have meltdown)
  • (I mean, I suppose it could be natural, but there had to be something better to use it for.)
  • Guessing these folks got landfilled too, at some point.
  • A very drunk Asgardian?
  • Not bad “going through them” for someone that drunk. “Blowing through them”, one might say.
  • And so passes the last of the Warriors Three. (Hm. I wonder where Sif is right now.)
  • Ah. So, they have a sideline in slave gladiators. Delightful planet, this Sakaar.
  • (Oh, right, where the paper people come from.)
  • Of course Loki would turn up there.
  • This one is laid back for a gladiator. Insert obligatory stoned pun here.
  • One might think slaughtering the entirety of Asgard’s military forces would be something of a self-own for the new queen…
  • (And this is why historical revisionism is problematic.)
  • …oh. A giant army of the mostly dead. And giant wolf!
  • (Awww, puppy.)
  • The hammer is his… hammer. Yep. Just his hammer.
  • Okay, so if there was this elite force of women warriors, what was that whole deal back in Thor about Sif being one?
  • Tough crowd.
  • Oh, that’s where you ended up.
  • Not sure he likes that name.
  • Like he said, god of thunder…
  • puny god of thunder. And Loki gloats, of course…
  • …or not. Someone’s feeling their elemental associations today.
  • Es. 10 says Heimdall is running the resista —
  • — thank you.
  • Evidently extended runtime is good for Hulk. And he’s got himself a life now.
  • And a robust sense of humor. And, ooh, a statue.
  • Ah, Heimdall has an exit. Guess when you can see everything in the universe, you pick up on all the back doors.
  • Nice escape. Well, right up until the Quinjet got Hulked, and the Hulk got dehulked.
  • Man, how bad must two years worth of Hulk-hangover be.
  • “Melt-stick,” seriously?
  • The Valkyrie rode pegasai. Okay, let’s revise the mythologae recreation list.
  • “You’ve been on a planet before.” Heh.
  • And soon it will be three.
  • Well, except for Hulkfest Carnivale whatever-local-year-this-is.
  • Worst impromptu name ever.
  • The “Devil’s Anus”? Apt. And dreadfully entendric.
  • You have a terrible job, Grand Master’s chief minion.
  • That is a terrible strategy, but that’s a really nice ship.
  • That, on the other hand, was a very nice strategy. If a mite dickish.
  • …something about a black light…
  • That would be a fairly odd thing to have a doctorate in.
  • Maybe not a gun, but it’ll do.
  • Awwww, puppy.
  • One would think they’d have better methods of interrogation on Asgard, but maybe Hela gets her kicks this way.
  • A very convenient wormhole, indeed.
  • And Thor teaches us all how to do provoke and confront.
  • DON’T SHOOT THE — well, okay, guess you have to.
  • Well, that wasn’t the plan.
  • Just you and your undead slaves, eh, Hela?
  • Welp, Loki and an opportunity to be theatrical. Should’ve called it.
  • Big-ass lightning bolts speak louder than words.
  • This is the best fightin’ music ever.
  • Alas, poor Fenris. You deserved a better mistress.
  • (But, hell, no-one else even wounded the Hulk. Ever.)
  • Even unavoidable sacrifices suck.
  • And Skurge of Asgard, at the last, dies well.
  • Bloody hell. He wasn’t kidding about being mountain-sized.
  • The audience also hates this prophecy. Civilizations should not fall. That is literally the opposite of the proper course of events.
  • Hulk is disappoint. Biggest challenge yet.
  • Korg, your timing is just the worst.
  • Well, won’t Earth be surprised to receive a sudden shipful of Asgardians? (Especially those Asatru whose worldview wasn’t already beaten all to hell in the last few years.)
  • …assuming that leaves anyone alive, that is.
  • And what’s about to couldn’t happen to a nicer planetary slavemaster.

They Fear Neither Death Nor Pain

It has been asked in various places what scares Imperial sophonts the most. Herewith is the answer:

As a side-note, you will observed that the answers here are mostly existential, not physical. Physical fear never had much hold on the eldraeic psyche in the first place (none at all, for those with access to battletrance or other high-order counterphobotics), so it doesn’t rank high enough to make it onto the list.

In roughly ascending order, then:

  • Ignorance
  • Loss of control (minor)
  • Permadeath
  • Wilful ignorance (i.e., becoming the sort of person who would indulge that)
  • Loss of control (major); submission
  • An end to ambition
  • Loss or corruption of identity, or of will

Of course, in a very real sense, and speaking for the culture as a whole, the correct answer is not a damn thing. It’s year N of a long, long Golden Age for the Empire, great and glorious beyond all greatness and glory, the future is brighter still, and nothing seems beyond their grasp.

(This is not a culture, shall we say, lacking in self-confidence.)

Cultural Crossovers #16: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Does whatever a spider can…

  • Guess we’re going to have to assume some sort of introductory foo, here. Otherwise no-one’ll know who Spider-Man is, in medias res and all. Apart from what we saw in Civil War.
  • Well, lady, you just lost all our sympathy. You don’t stiff someone on a contract.
  • Yeah, those are some pretty nice things.
  • Ah, quick recap.
  • Nice self-awareness there, Tony.
  • Yeah, waiting on the call sure does suck.
  • Seriously, a dick pun is the best you can do?
  • You need some sort of changing room. Really.
  • Also, more work, maybe.
  • Nice toys, boys. We can’t exactly approve of what y’all opening guys are doing, but still, you don’t stiff people on contracts.
  • Man, you broke the Death Star.
  • LARB.
  • Free pudding, yay! Hopefully not made from larb.
  • Although those would all be really cool powers. And they’re good questions. Should work on those.
  • Okay, how did they get Cap to make those videos?
  • Ah, the perks of Avenger-hood.
  • Okay, score one for the stunner-fist.
  • Oh, your boss is not going to be happy you lost that.
  • Your power-set is really very poorly adapted to suburbia.
  • Nice parachute feature. Needs some beta-testing.
  • Ooh, remote-control suits. Nice.
  • Also nice reference. Shame no-one has the background knowledge to get it.
  • “The Shocker”? Well, I suppose it’s slightly better than Taserface…
  • Seriously, you’ve got to remember which gun is which.
  • I applaud your lair-logic.
  • So, what do strontium, barium, and vibranium have in common?
  • “Training Wheels Protocol”? Seriously, Tony, that’s a name that almost demands that someone turn it off, and you had to know that Peter’d go looking. Maybe “Prevent Your Head From Exploding Protocol; Do Not Disable”? At least then he’d have to read the code first.
  • Really, ammo selection should be her job, or what’s a suit AI for?
  • I’ll take one of those portable doors.
  • At least it’s not a radioactive energy core.
  • Dear lift-lady: Less reassurance, more action.
  • Now that’s an awesome drone.
  • Someone throw that guy out of the elevator and let the reasonable people be rescued.
  • Well, that kinda-sorta worked.
  • “Man-Spider”? Come on, guys, get it together.
  • Seriously, WHO GOT CAP TO MAKE THESE VIDEOS?
  • …these protocol names really aren’t getting any better.
  • And seriously, Peter, get Karen to read you the instructions first.
  • Okay, someone needs to have a word or two with you about collateral budgets.
  • And, oh yeah, how even not fancy space guns can fire through wrapping.
  • …so close.
  • Ooh, a swarm of shovebots. We like.
  • Desperation. It’s a hell of a drug.
  • Man, harsh. Although it’s not like Tony doesn’t have a good point. Several of them. From experience.
  • Ah, young love. At least you’re getting good advice on this one.
  • …oh, my. This will work out badly.
  • Although credit to him, offering a life for a life.
  • At least he didn’t ask for your pants, dude.
  • Glad someone’s having a good time. In the chair.
  • Although Peter is definitely right that y’all should do more listening.
  • Is that self-repairing? I don’t think that’s self-repairing.
  • Good strategy. Much overkill. Smart. Not good enough, certainly, but still smart.
  • And there it is. (We were noticing your heroic quality all along. Glad you caught up with us.)
  • Pretty sure ‘retroreflector’ is not the term, there.
  • Is that really a case of arc reactors?
  • You can’t believe that worked?
  • …now that. Damn. That was an awesome landing.
  • It’s over. You know it, you know there’s nothing to be gained, and you’ve been an honorable enemy thus far. Don’t —
  • — do that.
  • Nice note.
  • Yeah, you’ve got to secure the bathroom first.
  • No, that may be your worst analogy ever, and it’s up against some damn stiff competition.
  • ..we hope you’re going to give him Karen back. They were really bonding.
  • Awwww. We’re all so happy for you crazy kids.
  • Ah, you did! Excellent.
  • Oops. (And, man, are we going to be disappointed not to see how that conversation ended before we see Spider-Man again in Infinity War.)
  • Well done, sir.
  • …you’re just trolling us now, aren’t you?