Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Mr. Incredible

Mild mannered. Father of four. Husband to a flexible wife. The muscle-packed Bob seems out of place working for an insurance company. His forearm alone is about the size of his boss’ head. So what is this hulk of a man doing working in one of the most low-key positions the corporate world has to offer?

Bob Parr is Mr. Incredible
Bob Parr is Mr. Incredible

Wednesday Warriors presents Mr. Incredible (a.k.a. Bob Parr), the animated superhero who makes fighting an archenemy look easy.

[Spoilers lie therein.]

Mr. Incredible was once a daily headline. He, along with the rest of the other supers, protected the country from criminals hell-bent on robbing, pillaging and killing innocent bystanders. But with great power comes great lawsuits. Eventually, the supers couldn’t come up with the cash to pay the judgments for the massive damage they had caused to the nation’s infrastructure and had to go into hiding.

Bob is one of those supers.

Mr. Incredible
Mr. Incredible

Dressed in a white shirt, black pants and sporting a tie tucked tightly around his neck, Bob can imagine a better place than sitting in an office watching a mugging take place just outside his boss’ window. Suffice it to say, once his boss gives him an ultimatum, Bob doesn’t work there anymore. Neither does his boss, considering a trip to the hospital reveals that almost every bone in his body is broken.

Bob’s life from drab insurance adjuster takes a turn for the better when someone contacts the former superhero with a special mission. The mission isn’t exactly what he expected though. He finds himself the target of a sinister plan—a plan dedicated to eliminating supers everywhere.

What becomes his escape from the real world suddenly throws Bob wanting to escape from a nefarious genius. It doesn’t help him in the least that his wife and children are supers as well. If anything, they all become targets to the evil menace who wants to see his arch-rival dead.

The film The Incredibles highlights what happens when good intentions yield bad results. Among the hilarious jokes resides a powerful story built on the simple premise that good overcomes evil. Within the smart dialog comes the character Mr. Incredible. He’s strong, resilient and difficult to get rid of. His power though, does not come from his sheer physical strength but his willpower to do good, even if it means dying for what’s right.

That is what it means to be a true hero.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
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Have you seen The Incredibles? What did you think of Bob?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Calhoun

A few weeks ago, I celebrated Women Who Wow Wednesday with my tribute to Incredible Women, three females from Pixar’s film The Incredibles. It was the first time I shined a spotlight on animated characters that epitomize true heroism. This week, having recently seen Wreck-It Ralph, I want to concentrate my efforts on Calhoun, the tougher-than-nails soldier of death who can burn a hole through any alien that comes her way.

Sergeant Calhoun
Sergeant Calhoun

Rather than take the traditional route of describing Calhoun in all her glory as a brazen warrior and defender of Hero’s Duty, I thought I’d take a different approach.

What is a true hero?

A true hero is someone who goes beyond themselves to fulfill a role they never intended on fulfilling. We can recognize these people by their humility in what they do. They do the job never expecting anything in return. The satisfaction they gain comes from making the world a better place to live. Sometimes they have to make decisions that will hurt those they love. This is necessary for the greater good, even if it may harm a few of those who they’re trying to protect.

On the other side of the coin lies the enemy. They’re slick, smooth talking, and always ready with an answer as to why things are the way they are. Their oily tongues pay tribute to the eloquent words they speak. They reassure those in peril all will be well. All will change. All will be better—if—no one disrupts the status quo. Their countenance is that of light, but in their hearts lies darkness. They are snakes ready to pounce on the innocent.

In the center of it all rests a virtual Utopia. A city no one would suspect as having any problems. On the outside things seem to run smoothly. The citizens receive their meager allotment of resources in exchange for their forced labor, although they don’t know its forced. The city runs without difficulty as long as everyone completes their assigned duties.

Sergeant Calhoun Portrait
Sergeant Calhoun Portrait

If everything’s running smoothly, why ruin it?

The hero usually is the first one to recognize something in the Utopian garden is just not right. Sometimes, it’s the hint of how the enemy answers questions without ever revealing anything. Sometimes, it has to do with how superficial things look. It could be anything, really. But in the midst of it all is the hero, knowing something needs fixing.

In the movie Wreck-It Ralph, Calhoun is that hero. A golden-haired character with a dark backstory, she recognizes something bad’s happening to the world she inhabits and needs to fix it—fast. As opposed to a diplomatic solution, she opts for proactive engagement. With Calhoun, there’s no such thing as aggressive negotiations because with Calhoun there’s no such thing as negotiating. She slaps on her weapon and fires. No 20 Questions. No sob stories of how she feels neglected and unloved, blah, blah, blah. She just fires.

Now, wouldn’t life be easier if everyone follows her example? I’ll leave you with that thought.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen Wreck-It Ralph? What did you think of Calhoun?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Incredible Women

When I first saw the movie The Incredibles, it was down the street from us at my friend’s house. I fell in love with the film. The charm, wit and sense of humor captured my imagination making me want to be a kid again. I thought, if I ever could have been part of a movie so wonderful, The Incredibles would have been that movie.

Today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday salutes the women of The Incredibles. Not only is this the first time an animated character made the cut, but also, much like the post I had written about Charlie’s Angels, I will feature three women who wow!

Elastigirl
Elastigirl

Elastigirl—Married to Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible), Helen Parr maintains her illusive identity as a middle-aged housewife (sorry—homemaker, uh, stay-at-home-mom) in an inconspicuous suburban neighborhood. True to fact, though, she’s a super. Years ago, she and her husband had to go into hiding because of the lawsuits. They destroyed half the city. The ungrateful citizens whose lives they saved turned around and sued them for all sorts damages. Okay, so maybe the supers went a little overboard, destroying a few buildings in the process of their heroic escapades, but that shouldn’t be a reason to litigate.

What is the big deal with Elastigirl? She can stretch. As far as her body will allow. She can also become objects such as parachutes in order to save those who hang on for dear life when a plane explodes. If someone needs a boat, she can become one. Hop aboard! Elastigirl wows with her awesome, stretchy skill sets.

Violet
Violet

Violet—Daughter to Elastigirl, Violet Parr may just as well remain invisible. The boys at her school don’t notice the teen. Her shyness keeps her from having friends. Self-confidence? Next to nothing. But why is she so special? The one cool thing Elastigirl or any of the other supers can’t do is create a force field. I’m talking about force fields that can wrap everyone in its grasp and protect them from screaming bullets. Violet can do that.

Is there more? Of course. Remember how I said she might just as well consider remaining invisible? Well, guess what. She can become invisible. One of her superpowers gives her the ability to disappear and reappear at will, anywhere. The other supers may have super strength, speed and flexibility, but the most important abilities Violet possesses. How’s that for irony. The introvert gets the cool stuff. Who doesn’t want to become invisible to listen in on what people really think of others?

Kari
Kari

Kari McKeen—The baby sitter. It’s like Carrie, only with a K instead of a C, and an “ah” instead of an “a”, only one R, and an I instead of an I-E. Kari. Featured in The Incredibles’ short film Jack-Jack Attack, Kari has all she can do to keep the Parr’s baby from getting into all sorts of trouble. For one thing, she saves the baby from falling off an ornament ledge. This is when the little tike’s supposedly primed for some neurological stimulation. Then there’s the cognitive development phase, Kari saves him after he bursts into flames, igniting the whole house on his way to toddle from room to room.

The greatest respect I have is in her ability to stay up all night battling the boy’s accidental spontaneous combustion episodes and laser-eyed hiccup sessions. It takes a true hero to look after a little one and remain sane the next day. That’s Kari with a K.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen The Incredibles? What do you think of the women in the movie?