Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Captain Universe: The Hero You Don't Deserve To Be

bbwhitestacheheadWow, is this late! It's all Jeremy's fault. He saw "Dreamgirls" last night and he kept me up 'til 4 AM talking about it. I learned a lot about "Dreamgirls!" Did you know that Dreamgirls will help you to survive? That's what Jeremy says. They'll also, apparently, keep your fantasies alive. I take it they're some sort of elite search-and-rescue team. Also, according to Jeremy, Jennifer Hudson's big show-stopping number "And I Am Telling You" is about fourteen hours long and may have been guest-directed by Peter Jackson. Not everybody in the theater made it to the end of "Dreamgirls." Several of the older patrons collapsed, and had to be treated for exposure and malnutrition. Jeremy recommends that if you want to see "Dreamgirls" that you take along a thermal "space blanket," water purification tablets, high-protein foods like peanut butter and beef jerky, and a change of underwear.

Great planets, where was I? What? "Captain Universe?"

Aw, Christ.

Captain Universe -- "The Hero Who Could Be You" (But Probably Isn't) -- is the casual slacks of superheroes: good-looking, somewhat durable, and suitable for any occasion, but also really, really boring. I know the silhouette is a lot like the Silver Age Atom's costume, which a lot of intelligent, tasteful folks adore, but I personally can't stand it. So sue me. (And yet I like the Ryan Choi Atom costume. Why? Three words: big shiny backpack! Whee!) The Captain Universe costume is actually worse, because there's so much white space, and the molecular connect-the-dots pattern gives me a migraine.

That said, Captain Universe's creator, Bill Mantlo, really brought his "A" game for "Marvel Spotlight" #10. In this issue, the cosmic "Uni-Power" energy bestows the Captain Universe powers upon twin sisters -- one a kick-ass (yet sexy) private eye and the other a "meek housewife." It's the kind of dual role Donna Mills or Stephanie Powers would have played back in the day.

Let me take you through it. Clare Dodgson is the crime-busting detective (prone to dropping handguns out of her sleeves) and Ann Dodgson Stanford is a homemaker with two kids. Ann's husband Edward is a crusading D.A. on the trail of the crime boss known as "Nemesis." After Edward helps convict two of Nemesis' associates, some gangsterish types grab him and hustle him into a car. Clare, meanwhile, heads to Ann's house for dinner but spies a mysterious hand through the window. Just then, Ann sends her twin an extremely vague telepathic warning. So Clare busts through the window and starts shooting the gangsters to death. ("That dame's a crack shot!") So Ann sends the kids to the neighbor's house alone and goes to help her sister. Uh-oh! There's another gangster outside! I hope the kids are okay! Because Ann, a.k.a. their mother, isn't thinking about them at all by this point. Y'see, the gangster on the lawn is pointing his gun at Clare!


How do you like that "B-but I'm just a housewife!" line? You don't like it? Me neither. But that's too bad, since there's way more where that came from. There's also:

  • "Is this my meek housewife sister?" - Clare
  • "Despite my super-powers, I can't help thinking and acting like an ordinary housewife!" - Ann
  • "I-I'm only a housewife, a mother! I don't know what to do!" - Ann
Yikes. On the plus side, the comic ends with Ann realizing she'd depended far too strongly on her husband, and she resolves to be a stronger person.


Also, it looks like the Uni-Power is into stiletto heels. Who knew? (And wouldn't it have been kind of awesome if it had put those heels on the Captain Universe costume it gave to its previous beneficiary, teenager Steve Coffin? Finally, he would have had something to discuss with the school counselor!)

Tomorrow: Ann cleans house!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you even more for mentioning Donna Mills. Did you see her playing a grandma trying to seduce her grandson on a recent episode of Cold Case?