Holding out for a hero: Logan’s Run

This was originally going to be a five part series culminating with a story about why I’m so excited to live in an age where all my favorite heroes can now be realized on the big screen and beyond. Now it’s going to be an ongoing series crammed with as many superheroes/villains I can think of. I really limited myself when I thought five stories would do. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to do quite a bit more than that. Stay tuned.

I’m the best at what I do

The story of Wolverine is one without a true beginning. There have been many stories that try and nail down how it all started, but even those stories could be false. What I know is there is a man who calls himself Logan who is possibly the coolest comic book character of all time.

Despite all the stories telling us all about Logan’s past, many of those memories could be implanted from his days as a lab experiment. When Logan was recruited by Department K into the Weapon X program he’d spent the years before basically as a feral human. He came in and out of civilization as he needed to, but only when the opportunity presented itself.

To create the perfect weapon, he was given false memories to cloud out the truth of his real identity. Not only were his bones made indestructible, but his brain was washed of a previous life. By taking away his memories they created a living weapon that had no past and had no reason to question his future.

And what I do ain’t nice

For a wholesome teenage boy trying his best to fit in Wolverine was the antithesis of what I wanted to be like. For the most part he could care less what anyone thinks about him. He somehow ended up on the side of good, because, perhaps he’d been on the side of wrong for too long.

Logan made the wrong enemies and when those guys aligned themselves with what we consider the bad guys then he had no choice but to fight on the good guys side. It was less of a choice and more of a survival mechanism. I think, eventually, he decided he liked being a hero and stuck with it. There are moments when all of that’s thrown out the window and rage takes over and leads him on a path I don’t think a lot of people expect.

In the front of his mind is the idea that he doesn’t need anybody to live. He can be solitary if he chooses to be. It may not be the truth, it may not be the best idea, but it’s one he relies on more than he should. Mostly, he leaves when he doesn’t feel strong enough to fight back on his own. If he can’t take on the world by himself then he doesn’t want to do it with anyone’s help. He has to be the strongest and if he’s not then he goes away until he is

There’s things about myself I ain’t got clue one about

I think the most fascinating reveal I’ve ever been apart of comic book wise was when Wolverine learned his claws were made of bone. They took this character who had millions of secrets and still managed to shock and awe with one secret that should’ve been obvious to begin with. We all just assumed and played along with the origin story that somehow he was implanted with adamantium claws and that was that.

I remember reading the “Fatal Attractions” story arc with so much anticipation. That story had lasting effects on the X-Men for nearly a decade. As a 13-year-old boy at the height of my comic book phase there was nothing cooler and more pressing in my life.

The bone claws rounded out Wolverine so much and added an even denser mystery to him. How was the knowledge of his claws lost? How did the leaders of the Weapon X program know or did they just get lucky? So many freaking questions were now open with the closing of a single chapter. It was an amazing time and one I look back on fondly.

Wolverine is so much to me. His code is unlike any other hero. His passions are strong and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. I think the fact that Logan is so powerful is one of the main reasons he has so many enemies.

Logan is going to be the last one standing.

Whether you like it or not.

Holding out for a hero: The Eternal Crusader

Anyone can be a hero

A lot has been said about the origin of Batman. It’s one of the few origins that have an extremely violent beginning. A child witnesses his parents murdered and from that day on the idea of revenge grows so strong in his being that he trains to become more powerful and more cunning than any villain Gotham City dares to birth.

Bruce Wayne had to work to become the Batman. It wasn’t the happenstance of being an alien in a solar system with a sun that grants powers or the simple choice to become a super soldier. Instead, a child decided his life was going to be more than what it could have been. A child made the decision to become great on his terms. Luckily he had the fortune to back him up.

We know the beginning and we know the final result, the Dark Knight was able to train in hand to hand combat with masters all across the world. He had the time and ability to study the greatest detectives history has to offer and he did with the passion of a man who had nothing to lose. Bruce Wayne is rich, good looking and smart and seemingly normal. The Batman is a demon and makes a death wish every night he decides to defend Gotham City. The wealth allows him this chance because it gives him the freedom to create an advantage over less equipped opponents. Those wonderful toys define how Batman interacts with Gotham City’s criminals.

I don’t believe it would have mattered. So strong was Bruce Wayne’s desire for justice that even if he had been forced into an orphanage and his fortune lost he would still have become Batman or some kind of vigilante. Some paths in our lives are inevitable and becoming the Caped Crusader was the only path for Bruce Wayne.

And one day, I will win

The desire to better his city. The desire to see his life worth the sacrifice is the true sign of a hero. Batman/Bruce Wayne are not the same. One is billionaire playboy and philanthropist and the other is hell incarnate. The similarities end and begin with the fact that both of their names start with the letter “b.”

When Superman steps away from Clark Kent to save Metropolis it’s with the knowledge he is going to go home. He will fight and he will fight hard, but he isn’t truly in danger. Captain America has the power of superhuman strength and reaction time. He feels danger, and he knows there is a chance of something going wrong, but it’s not a normal chance. He’ll rest at the end of the day as well.

Batman is always on the cusp of death. He is human. A human that has honed his body and mind above any other human, but still human. He has a suit, a few gadgets, and years of hard work to back him up. I take caution when I walk down stairs while Batman leaps off skyscrapers to dive into an uncertain situation. He’s prepared for almost every situation, but he’s still more vulnerable than most superheroes. It’s a choice he makes, because he’s driven to win. Batman must succeed, because if he doesn’t he might die. Those are his options.

I am the night

The shadows are an asset few seek. Most of us seek shelter and lock ourselves behind wooden barricades to shield ourselves from what can lurk in the darkness. Batman chooses to live in that darkness. He’s made it his home.

Taking your fight directly to your enemy is not first on most superheroes lists. They wait for trouble and spring into action as needed. Batman uses the night as a weapon. When he began his campaign he was feared more for the idea of what he was then what he did. Criminals were horrified that a giant bat could swoop down at any moment and seal their fates. It’s an amazing way to create fear in those that need fear the most. Before he arrived Gotham City was run by the grotesque and disgusting and they ruled the night. Batman took back the night and took back Gotham at the same time.

I know pain. Sometimes I share it.

Batman doesn’t kill. He could kill. He probably should kill.

Superman takes the same stand. He feels justice is the right choice and it’s not up to him to decide how justice is served.

Both characters are haunted by their decisions not to take the lives of those who cause destruction and death and both make the decision anyway.

It’s the sign of a hero the world doesn’t deserve. Someone who believes the system still works even though they are shown daily what an utter failure it has become.

Batman leaves the real punishment to the proper authorities.

But he’s going to hit you a few times before he does.

My wife made me watch: The Godfather

I can sum up everything I felt about the Godfather in one gif.

I’m considering incorporating this blog back into my other blog: ryanrenfrow.wordpress.com.

I feel like this blog is too narrow in terms of content and I don’t want to have to write for more than one site because even though it’s only two sites it feels overwhelming. We’ll see though.

Holding out for a hero: A Captain’s Call

Live Free

When a country needs a hero they look inward. They find the best in themselves and then elevate those qualities to a higher plane. A plane that creates a new playing field. Steve Rogers just wanted to be part of any plane of existence. He was too small. He was too weak. He wanted to fight and would literally do anything to make that happen.

I see Steve Roger’s choice to risk his life for an untold future as an ideology the United States pushed hard in the buildup and fight of World War II. Here was an uncertain time in history. A clear line between good and evil was being drawn and the USA needed it’s citizens to fight back. To fight without questioning what was going to happen. Steve Rogers answered that call.

About the time I discovered Superman, I also discovered Captain American. Steve Rogers was a guy who wasn’t invincible, but took a chance to become that way. When he gained all he wanted he decided to spend the rest of his life proving we hadn’t made a mistake. He needed a world to know he would fight because of the chance he was given. I like that quality. Steve Rogers could have walked away, but instead he decided his new gift was something he was not going to squander.

Or Die

The captain had many epic battles during World War II and continued fighting until he new there was only once choice. He had to give his life to save the lives of others. All heroes are faced with choices that make them sacrifice for the greater good, but Captain America knew his sacrifice was a one way street. He wasn’t supposed to come back.

The great heroes see those moments and don’t flinch, at least not in the way you would expect. When Superman took on Doomsday he eventually realized the end was near. He realized he had only one choice. He had to fight so hard that he would die from it. Unless he gave every single breathe then he would fight in vain. He had to die so others may live.

Captain America came to the same realization and crashed a plane into a frozen wasteland to make sure others would survive. He watched his decent into the abyss just as Superman and stood tall while his fate was sealed. He died a hero, because that was his purpose to begin with. If he wasn’t going to fight, if he wasn’t willing to die, then it had all been a waste. His mission was centered around the possibility he wouldn’t finish it. Captain American wasn’t only our best chance at victory, he was our last hope at winning at all. He knew that and was willing to make the sacrifice.

Assembled

The captain gained a second chance. His gift of strength somehow gave him the ability to live on into a new generation. A generation that didn’t see eye to eye with a man who so proudly stood for the ideas of a country at the verge of losing everything it held dear. This new captain struggled to fit in and earn acceptance, but he never left his original mission of being the soldier he always wanted to be.

Steve Rogers soon realized his previous life was gone and his loved ones were passed away, but he stayed focused on his goal of improving those around him. He fought with more conviction, because it’s all he had left.

Once again, a hero from a lost era is forced to come to grips with a world that doesn’t want to hear his message. He stared into the barrel of the gun and dared anyone to pull the trigger because he wasn’t going to budge. He knew what we could become if we fought for the side of right. He wasn’t weighed down by politics or the idea that someone was better than another. Captain America fought for the little guy and the big guy at the same time, because he had been both. He knows the downsides of both and never gave up on either side.

Captain America is the embodiment of the United States and that’s not a easy thing to be anymore. Here’s a guy who refuses to waiver and I respect that. His calling is to his country and despite our feelings towards patriotism, it’s not lost on me that tomorrow we may all need someone just like him.

Holding out for a hero: A Super Beginning

Truth

It had to have started with Superman. I know it’s obvious, but he flies. He’s bulletproof. He’s good looking. He has heat vision. His alter ego is a simple guy and a goof. Most importantly, he has that cape.

That cape transports any child from their firm footing on the ground and bounds them into the clouds where they soar without equal.

I had my own cape. It wasn’t a towel, even though those are perfectly fine. I don’t know when I got it. I just remember I had one. My cape had velcro on it which allowed me to attach it to almost any shirt. In one motion I became a hero. I left my world behind, balled my fingers into a fist, stuck my arms out and headed into the sky. I was watching out for our world against evil doers and nothing else mattered.

Without Superman I can honestly say I wouldn’t care about other heroes as much. Anytime I see a movie or read a comic my brain will compare that story to my first glimpse at heroism. Maybe it’s because I’m adopted and I hoped in some way I was a hero sent from another galaxy to redeem an entire world. I can attest to the fact a child’s fantasy is able to have a true and long-lasting effect on the adult they become.

Superman is from an era that didn’t know it needed a hero. He was thrown into our world with a purpose only he could create. He showed up to a party early and began dancing all by himself because he didn’t have any other choice. He’s guided by a philosophy that allows him to be better than us in almost every aspect of his life, but he still has a major flaw. He lies to us. He lies to us on a daily basis. It’s a lie of omission though. It wasn’t until DC rebooted their entire line of comics that I noticed someone actually suspecting that Superman may try and blend in with the rest of us.

His lie is his greatest weakness, because he has to be something he’s not. He has to be human. He has to have flaws that don’t exist until he’s able to become something else. He wears clothes to hide his truth from a world that can barely handle it’s own problems, let alone deal with the fact that an alien is in charge of their well-being. Superman is human because he chooses to be human. We didn’t pick him.

Justice

Most people would say that good and evil are black and white. There is gray area there, but I bet I could find a good amount of folks who would agree with them being wholly separate.

Superman always fights with a clear definition of good and evil and I think that’s what has outdated him. His views on ethics are written in stone. He’s the guy that will stop fighting a villain to remind a citizen it’s not right to throw their litter on the ground. It’s a style that doesn’t fit in with our new world, but I miss it. I miss the guy who stands for right no matter how sad or silly it seems. You could argue that out political world is full of people who fight for right and stand up for really bad ideas, but none of them do it because of true conviction. They do it for votes and because someone said they needed to tow a line to get reelected.

Superman is closer to a soldier. A soldier for any country. He fights because it’s his job to fight.

The American Way

I should probably put Texan Way, but that’s a story for another day. I’m oddly patriotic. I love my country. I love the freedoms I’ve been given because I was lucky enough to be born in a certain part of the world at a certain time in history.

Superman was created during a monumental shift of the world’s landscape. A world war was recent memory and another one was about to tear a hole across our planet. Our country had finished fighting a pointless war on morality, and prohibition still probably riled up a few people even though their cups had been quite full for many years. Men stood in lines hoping to find a few hours of work and women stood in lines hoping to find a few morsels of food.

Then this guy came along and he sided with everyone. He was going to fight for everyone. He grew up in a tiny town. His parents were farmers. He left for the big city and even though he had the power to conquer, Superman decided staying Clark Kent was the best choice. It wasn’t until we forced him to become something more did he decide his destiny needed to change. He had the suit and the cape, but he only wore them because he was asked to, not because he wanted to.

Americans view the world as a place that needs help, but we aren’t going to give it just because. We want to be asked and we most certainly want to be thanked. We keep our cape and suit on us at all times, and wait to be needed. We want to be needed so desperately.

Superman never wanted it. When he’s done he puts his regular clothes back on. He goes to work and waits until he’s needed again. That’s what makes him better than us. He doesn’t have to show you his power after he’s done. He doesn’t have to hit you over the head with his righteousness even if does he remind that you shouldn’t throw your trash on the ground.

Superman lives in our world as a citizen when he could easily subjugate us all.

His way is better than ours.

You’ve never seen “The Notebook” until you’ve seen it through my eyes

They edited out Ryan Gosling’s beard in this photo. Has anyone else ever noticed? Do you even care?!

I can’t even describe how unexcited I am to watch this movie.

Steph picked it and I screamed with pain and she smiled with joy. She really thinks I’ll like it, so I’m already trying 50% harder to hate it.

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