Monday, April 9, 2012

In Defense of AEMH's Maria Hill

She may be being irate and ....ahem... (w)itchy, but she is also coming off as sincere and honestly concerned.

SHIELD, like any other government agency, is probably caught between a rock - the expectations of the politicians and the public - and a hard place - budget cuts, no more access to Stark technology for weapons, and a rising tide of both powered and non-powered threats. A.I.M. and Hydra have better tech, because they can steal from everyone (SHIELD included - after all, the Black Widow never did find the traitor(s) that Fury set her upon). The bad guys get better, and hire other super-powered bad guys because the other super-powered bad guys value money over ideology, for the most part, whereas SHIELD can't counter with their own super-powered operatives and only have their own resources for tech development. I can only imagine how hard it is to run an organization like SHIELD, be constrained by the law and limited resources, while watching Hydra use your cutting edge tech, knowing that A.I.M. is out there building and stealing what they can't build, and having the geniuses on your side - T'Challa and Wakanda, Hank Pym, Tony Stark - constantly telling you they won't help you.

Meanwhile, you know in your gut that even the vigilantes who are ostensibly on your side are a ticking time bomb waiting to happen, undisciplined, and with no backup, no Emergency response teams, and little ability to limit the scope of conflict away from civilians.

Then you have Stark twit you that he's helping, even if he's helping his own way, and sometimes in ways that hinder SHIELD as much as they help.

She needs the Avengers' help, but she can't demand it, or direct it - she can only point them at a problem, and pray that they'll fix it without too much collateral damage or civilian casualties, and if the Avengers out-perform expectations, you know the next SHIELD budget defense in front of politicians will highlight that success and remind you that they fund SHIELD with taxpayer dollars, and it should be able to out-perform Tony Stark's personally-funded Avengers - the politicians are busy showboating for the cameras and the press, unconcerned that the comparison is downright unfair and misleading.

So, whilst I may poke fun about her character, I do also understand the depth that the writers here (et al) have given her! She may be our resident PITA, but she's our resident PITA!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rumor Mill

There is a rumor going around the web which says something to the effect that Loeb's plan for the "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" franchise is to let Season Two run out, and then reboot the franchise to be in continuity with the new "Ultimate Spider-Man" show, changing the line-up and direction of the series.  The rumor basically says if a Marvel Studios show doesn't have Loeb's creative input embedded in it somewhere, then "its going nowhere", so to speak.

Bear in mind, I don't know the man, so I am speaking from my 35 years in business, not from personal experience with Loeb, but that "not invented here" mentality is extremely prevalent in the high-tech industry. When someone comes in at a mid-management or higher position, they are pushing for things to increase dramatically under their tenure, to prove that they're adding value. Old things which are successful get credit for the original creators/owners of the project, decision, or property -- nobody gets any credit for being a successful caretaker of someone else's thing.  This is especially true in brand marketing, where (for example) the more Red Hulk is pushed, the more value his brand has as it gains recognizability and popularity. Eventually one might even see "Red Hulk: The Motion Picture", and Loeb would greatly benefit from that, both in terms of his reputation and his personal economy.  Its not petty, its not ego - its enhancing your career and renumeration.

Now, that said, lets look at the facts, and not rumor.  The first 40 or so episodes of AEMH (all of Season One, and the first half of Season Two) were done by the same creative team, and much of the work of the rest of Season Two was already well-underway as well - and mostly, this stuff was done before the end of 2011, whereas Season Two didn't air until 2012.  If we were to get a Season Three, the people involved in the original Season One and Two have already moved on and are working on other creative works.  I am not sure that a third season done by others wouldn't "jump the shark" - and to be honest, I'd rather have two seasons of excellent episodes than have a third season which was the creative equivalent of "The Goliath Chronicles".

If all I get of my AEMH is 52 solid episodes with a quality equivalent to what we've gotten so far, with excellent writing and characterizations, I will count myself grateful and more-or-less content.  Its far better for a series to go out on creative high notes than to keep running until the quality so egregiously degrades that cancellation becomes more of a mercy killing, right?