Last week began inauspiciously enough.
I was immersed as usual in a bubble of science fiction and fantasy, my personal s.h.i.e.l.d against the tedium of the working week.
As Monday closed I continued to watch the second series of Daredevil on Netflix. I enjoyed series one immensely and admired the maturing of Marvel on this channel. Was it difficult for them to set their universe in an uber-violent adult modern world or has it been evolving into this for years?
I don't read comics anymore so I don't know but the tectonic shift from children's comic-books to an 18 rated TV series was not lost on me. I only have to compare the Ben Affleck 2003 Daredevil movie with this new Netflix affair to see that the violence dial has been turned right up. Is this a good thing for Marvel?
Tuesday closed with more Daredevil, who was now battling with the Punisher, an anti-hero with all the subtlety of a steamhammer. Where Daredevil uses his escrima sticks to pummel hoodlums into unconsciousness, the Punisher shows zero mercy as he mows down crooks with every pistol ever made.
As uncompromising as a canon, the Punisher must have raised a few eyebrows when he first appeared decades ago in comics, when some of Marvel's heroes picked up a gun. I suppose Marvel were simply reflecting the uncompromising world we live in when they tooled up their characters for war.
Thomas Jane's gutsy 2004 Punisher movie must have been a stepping stone towards Netflixing. I dunno, I suppose I still prefer plain old Spandex and weird super-powers even now. How about you readers?
Wednesday I dabbled with a new Marvel character for me, a complete unknown by the name of Luke Cage. I had to look him up on Wikipedia. I was amazed to find that his first appearance [ I wonder if Marvel have ever considered copyrighting that phrase!] was back in 1972, when I was 11! But it wasn't his age that intrigued me, it was his other name, Power Man and his 'unbreakable skin' that did that.
The Netflixed Luke Cage is very much set in a world like their Daredevil/ Punisher Hell's Kitchen, a bleak New York corrupted by vice and infested with brutal villains [ a strange word that, villain, it comes from the word village! ].
Luke Cage's Harlem is equally as grim, where vicious crime bosses mark their turf and innocents suffer in the crossfire. The kingpin of the Daredevil serial Wilson Fisk is even mentioned, adding that pepper of continuity for hooked viewers like me!
I watched two episodes of Cage on Tuesday, introducing his love interest Detective Misty Knight [ whom Wiki informs me has a bionic arm fitted by Iron Man no less!] and both his super skin, which can deflect bullets and his superhuman strength.
Wednesday came Episode 3 in which unfolds a fateful cocktail of personal tragedy and furious awakening for Cage and unleashes the character onto Harlem's gangland proper. The caged man has been released and I looked forward to the next bullet-stopping installment.
Thursday, the day of Thor, brought thunderous news of our own! Our Mum-to-be daughter was rushed into hospital in severe pain. Missus Moonbase, a super hero in our own house, was there to land a hand and as I waited watching over our daughter's dog I distracted myself with a film.
The film was a DVD of The Werewolf of Washington, which I had rented as part of my years old membership of LoveFilm, a birthday gift from Missus Moonbase in the days before streaming when DVD was king.
Made in 1973, Washington's Werewolf was wholly new to me and I had rented it largely because I love lycanthropes. The name intrigued me as well, a monster heading towards the White House, whatever next! The film joins those other capitals London and Paris, where wolfmen ran amok among national landmarks.
The howling star of the movie, a young Dean Stockwell, will be well known to fans of TV's Quantum Leap. Less well-known, certainly to me, Dean was a friend of Neil Young, designed the album cover for American Stars 'n' Bars [one of my faves] and inspired the title After The Gold Rush, the very best of Neil Young album's in my humble opinion.
Released by VIPCO for home consumption, a video label notorious for schlock and gore, the film was surprisingly without exsanguination, focusing its fangs more on the bared neck of the Nixon administration and Watergate. This unexpectedly thoughtful flick ended with 'Nixon' addressing the nation as he himself transformed into a wolf, a political metaphor relevant both then and today I would say as dubious forces rally once more to rule Capital Hill.
Early Friday morning at 3 am came the news that young Miss Moonbase had actually gone into labour so we drove through the night to her home. Missus Moonbase's super powers had been requested at hospital so once again I settled down with Krypto on the sofa awaiting developments.
At 7.40 am I had a grandson! He was nine weeks early and at just under 4 pounds a very small but feisty bundle of joy. A real super-hero for sure, he's endured much already and faces a long road to full strength. Together with his loving parents and the help of the amazing hospital staff, I wish him the very best of human journeys in this beautiful world, of which he is now a part.
Thanks for all the messages of support I received from everyone too. Much appreciated.