Posted in Monday Mayhem

Alien Invasion: Shifters

The best aliens are the ones we don’t know who they are. Does anyone remember The X-Files? Remember how this grand conspiracy swept the show, yet the audience didn’t have a clue as to what was going on? We know, but we don’t know. We think we have it figured out, but it changes. Maybe.

The X-Files' Scully and Mulder
The X-Files’ Scully and Mulder

Monday Mayhem has always been about zombies and aliens. From the beginning, I outlined the focus right from the first few posts. There is a plan at work here. Have you figure it out yet?

All right, as I’d mentioned, the best aliens are the ones who we haven’t a clue who they are, what they want, and their motives for doing what they do. Let’s talk about The Thing. A story that scares the sweet nothings out of me, the 1982 film introduces us to an alien that changes forms as it kills its prey. To make this real, imagine your best friend suddenly behaving strangely, turning into someone you no longer recognize. Apart from the fact that in real life we do have friends like that, my tongue is firmly planted in cheek as I write this, it would be a devastating thing to live through.

Those aliens who take our form are far worse to fight than those who you see coming.

Another example is the symbiont alien that affects Peter Parker in the 2007 movie Spider-Man 3. Amplifying Peter’s negative attitudes, the alien changes him into someone who is an exact opposite of who he is. Again, this is a far worse enemy than those detestable aliens from Independence Day. Because we can’t see their real form, we have our imaginations to rely on, pondering what happened to our friends in the interim.

It doesn’t end there. The 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of the scariest movies to watch on a cold Friday night. It presents as its stage a small town overrun by alien duplicates of its citizens—another opportunity for aliens to show their ingenious and devilish ways when assimilating a nation. What makes this story unique is its reference to communism, but I won’t get into that.

The last, but best of all examples of aliens attempt at taking over the world in human form is the TV miniseries V. The gist of the story goes like this: alien ships appear in the sky and by all accounts, they come in peace, wanting to share their technology with humans and their advancements. Little does anyone know that beneath their skin lies a monster so incredible that I can’t bear to spoil the story for you. You’ll just have to watch it to find out what I mean. This is must viewing for alien aficionados.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if shape-shifting aliens do exist? The world would make a whole lot more sense given how people change once they receive money and power. I won’t use example here, but I’m sure you can come up with your own.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you think? Are we living in a world already filled with aliens impersonating humans?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Gwen Stacy

Everyone knows Mary Jane Watson. She’s Spidey’s girl in the original Spider-Man trilogy of the early 2000’s. She’s also the redhead who set Peter Parker’s heart aflutter. A decade later the web slinger’s at it again, but this time he has Gwen Stacy on his mind. Unlike Mary Jane, who Peter fell for in an emotional whirlwind, Gwen’s intellect far supersedes even that of Spider-Man’s for her to become Peter’s one-and-only.

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

For today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday, let’s have a look at this gorgeous blonde, and her talent for helping Spider-Man, spoiler-free.

In the two The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) grabs Peter’s attention from the first time the audience sees them together. The daughter of George Stacy, the city’s police chief, she doesn’t give bullies a choice when she defuses a situation. As opposed to threatening or cajoling, she uses psychology. The crowd disperses and she becomes a quiet hero.

Her strong ability to use her mind and remain focused makes her the perfect girl for Spider-Man. His wild lifestyle, staying up all hours of the night, coming home smelling like something the cat dragged in dictates his need for someone to match his extrovert existence. Gwen’s cool demeanor calms the superhero.

Gwen Stacy
Gwen Stacy

That’s not to say their conversations lean toward boredom. On the contrary, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) loses himself around the heart-stopping beauty. They want to communicate, but most of the time, he jams up his tongue so bad against the roof of his mouth that he rattles off nonsense. Gwen understands him, though. In his incoherent babble, she still knows what he’s saying.

During defeats, Gwen comforts him, tends to his wounds, and provides him moral support when everyone else seems to have left him. And why not? What drives her is her outlook. She’s hopeful, always looking to the future. In a speech to the graduating body, she says:

“It’s easy to feel hopeful on a beautiful day like today, but there will be dark days ahead of us too. There will be days where you feel all alone, and that’s when hope is needed most. No matter how buried it gets, or how lost you feel, you must promise me that you will hold on to hope. Keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope; people need that. And even if we fail, what better way is there to live? As we look around here today, at all of the people who helped make us who we are, I know it feels like we’re saying goodbye, but we will carry a piece of each other into everything that we do next, to remind us of who we are, and of who we’re meant to be.” ~Gwen Stacy

Like she said, it’s easy to be happy during sunny days. It’s during those dark days that hope tends to flee. Gwen figured that out early in life. If only everyone else could, too.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you find compelling about Gwen Stacy? How does she differ from Mary Jane Watson?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Mary Jane Watson

Did Spider-Man really come out in 2002? I can’t believe how fast time has passed since I saw this in the theater. I remember one of my kids toddling their way to the 32-inch Sony Wega and plopping their hands on the screen in hopes of catching the man in red. But to no avail, the webslinger got away.

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson

Women Who Wow Wednesday is about women of valor, women of strength, women filled with hope. That’s why today I want to talk a bit about Mary Jane WatsonPeter Parker’s girl.

Mary Jane’s the redhead who sets Peter’s heart aflutter. She’s known him forever. As next-door neighbors, they’ve share stories while finishing their chores. She comes from a broken home with little hope of ever making it in the real world if she had to rely on her parents to survive. Luckily, she has Peter’s friendship to pull her through the rough patches.

Every hero has an Achilles’ heel. In Spider-Man’s case, it’s Mary Jane Watson or MJ for short. One of the first things we learn about Peter Parker, besides his growing powers as a mutant human spider, is his love for MJ. He’ll do anything for her. He’ll even get in a cage match with an oversized beast of a man in order to earn enough money to buy a car so he can take MJ out on a date. Have I said MJ makes Peter do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with his powers? She does. She drives him crazy.

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst

What does this redhead got that other girls don’t have? In the movie version with Kirsten Dunst, after a near-fall in the school cafeteria and Peter (Tobey Maguire) quickly jumping to save her, she notices his eyes for the first time. He’d taken his glasses off that day since the spider bite gave him perfect vision. She notices. Her stare lingers a bit too long causing him to smile with one of the biggest, goofiest smiles he could muster.

But the thing with MJ is her heart belongs to Spider-Man and not Peter Parker.

How does it all play out? Let’s eavesdrop on MJ and Peter’s conversation after she asks if he’s ever talked to Spider-Man about her:

Mary Jane: Has he mentioned me?
Peter Parker: Yeah.
Mary Jane: What’d he say?
Peter Parker: Uh… I said… he asked me what I thought about you.
Mary Jane: And what did you say?
Peter Parker: I said… uh… Spider-Man, I said uh… The great thing about MJ is… when you look in her eyes and she’s looking back in yours… everything… feels… not quite normal. Because you feel stronger and weaker at the same time. You feel excited and at the same time, terrified. The truth is… you don’t know what you feel except you know what kind of man you want to be. It’s as if you’ve reached the unreachable and you weren’t ready for it.”
Mary Jane: You said that?
Peter Parker: Well, something like that.

Oh, boy. Poor Peter. If only MJ knew who he really was. If only MJ would give him a chance to explain. He’d tell her why he had to keep his identity a secret. If only MJ would love him back.

Yet MJ is complicated. She loves Spider-Man. She also loves Peter, but she doesn’t know it.

Peter doesn’t know either. How could he? He has yet to hear how she feels about him.

I won’t give away the ending, nor will I talk about Green Goblin’s fascination with Mary Jane. No. Suffice it to know Mary Jane Watson has a little something extra that makes Peter’s day complete. Dare I use the clichéd words that she is the sunshine of his life? I dare say so.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What do you think of Mary Jane’s relationship with Peter Parker? Had MJ known of Peter’s identity would she have fallen for him anyway?