Monthly Archives: November 2015

Carrion Comfort

Carrion Comfort

BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS

Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;

Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man

In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;

Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.

But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me

Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan

With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,

O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

                                                        –

Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.

Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,

Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.

Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród

Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year

Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

 

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Spotlight: Zoids – The Blade Liger

Here’s Spotlight! Once again, readers, I take you back to a planet “in the far reaches of the Milky Way.” That planet is Zi. The focus of this post is one of the living “mechanical combat units” that dwells there – The Blade Liger!

There is only one zoids series that truly gives the Blade Liger the attention it deserves, Zoids: Chaotic Century. The other zoids series – Zoids: New Century Zero, Zoids: Fuzors, and Zoids: Genesis – barely give the Blade Liger the time of day. This is because the heroes of these other zoids television shows pilot newer, more powerful Ligers. I think that that is somewhat unfortunate; though I love the Shield Liger, I also love the Blade Liger, and I hate to see it get so little attention in these later stories.

This leads us back to the topic of today’s post. What is a Blade Liger? A Blade Liger is the next step in the evolution of the Shield Liger. When a particular zoid and its pilot work together for a long time, they tend to develop a bond, kind of like a cowboy and his horse. Also, pilots whose skill grows with each battle get stronger and more powerful. The zoid typically keeps up with the pilot’s skill level – until it cannot go any farther.

For some pilots, this means they have to get another zoid. Their old partner just cannot keep up with them anymore, and if they want to keep fighting and increasing their skill, potential, and fighting prowess, they need to stay alive. Piloting a zoid that cannot keep up with you is a good way to get yourself killed.

However, in some cases, zoids can evolve to meet their pilot’s new skills. Usually, this is best achieved by an outside force, typically an Organoid. (I will be discussing these in the next Spotlight! post, so stay tuned!) The Organoid enhances a zoid’s and its pilot’s power. This helps both zoid and pilot to grow and achieve their “full potential.” A zoid could, conceivably, evolve on its own. But that would take time or special circumstances. Organoids speed up the process so that it takes a minimum of a few days, or a maximum of a month (give or take).

The Blade Liger is lion-type, just like the Shield Liger. But it is bigger, faster, and stronger than the Shield Liger. With larger paws, longer canines, and boosters to speed it on its way, the Blade Liger is an ideal close-combat zoid.

The Blade Liger shares two features with the Shield Liger. One is its energy shield. As with the Shield Liger, the Blade Liger can extend fins in its “mane.” These fins, in conjunction with the shield generator, put up an energy shield that protects the front half of the zoid. This shield, unlike the Shield Liger’s, can be made stronger. Despite this, the Blade Liger’s shield can be pierced. It just takes more work to pierce a Blade Liger’s shield than it would to break through a Shield Liger’s shield.

The second feature the Blade Liger shares with the Shield Liger is that it has a cannon between its forelegs, on its chest. But this cannon has two barrels and it fires rounds with a higher yield than the Shield Liger’s triple barrel cannon.

Now, you may be wondering, “Why is this zoid called a Blade Liger?” Before I answer that question, take a look at the video below:

Pretty cool, huh? Those gold blades are what give the Liger its distinctive name and trademark attack. While the Blade Liger is at rest or otherwise engaged, the blades fold up on its back. When the Liger’s pilot tires of playing games, he can end the battle swiftly by firing up the boosters and lowering the blades, which are then charged with energy. Coming against an opposing zoid at its maximum speed, a Blade Liger can literally slice an enemy zoid in two. (There was one episode in Chaotic Century where a pair of raptor-type zoids lost everything above their waistline to a Blade Liger, yet their legs kept on running!)

The Blade Liger’s speed is spectacularly high. It can outrun most land and air zoids. With a very few modifications, it can also keep pace with the two or three of the fastest zoids known to Zi. And the blades, when lowered and pointed forward, can be used to strengthen the Blade Liger’s energy shield. The energy used to charge the blades, combined with the power of an active shield, meshes both energies together. This strengthens the shield and, apparently, the blades as well.

Also, laser rifles can be attached to the backs of the blades. Raised and aimed over the Liger’s head, or “fired from the hip” when the blades are folded forward against the Liger’s sides, the lasers on these blades can be accurately fired at an opposing zoid. On a lightly armored zoid, these laser shots are dangerous and will cause serious damage. Zoids with heavier armor can shrug off the shots, but they better hope the Liger does not keep shooting at the exact same spot. The laser shots are very effective in any battle; they simply take more time to cut through thicker armor than through the “skin” of lighter zoids.

Finally, there are the Blade Liger’s teeth and claws. Those teeth are as deadly as they look, and the claws can at the least scratch the armor on the heavier combat zoids. Lighter armored zoids do not stand a chance against a Blade Liger’s claws.

The Blade Liger has two seats in its cockpit, just like the Shield Liger. The forward seat is for the pilot, the rear seat is for his co-pilot or “RIO” – Radar Intercept Officer. Though the Blade Liger of Chaotic Century is blue, it has been shown in a variety of other colors in subsequent series. New Century Zero featured a red Blade Liger, Zoids: Fuzors showed silver/gray Blade Ligers, and Zoids: Genesis at least mentioned a black Blade Liger. The toys come in several other colors – including white trimmed with pink! (Blah!)

All in all, the Blade Liger is a beautiful zoid. Specially adapted for close-combat fighting, with blinding speed and agility, the Blade Liger is one of the best zoids around. Anyone can pilot a Blade Liger. But it takes a champion to bring out the zoid’s full potential. And in Chaotic Century, that is just what we get!

See you on the battlefield!

The Mithril Guardian

If (for Boys) by Rudyard Kipling

Kipling If (Doubleday 1910).jpg
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
  –
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
   –
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
  –
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

“If” for Girls

If you can hear the whispering about you,

And never yield to deal in whispers, too;

If you can bravely smile when loved ones doubt you,

And never doubt, in turn, what loved ones do;

If you can keep a sweet and gentle spirit

In spite of fame or fortune, rank, or place,

And though you win your goal or only near it,

Can win with poise and lose with equal grace;

If you can meet with Unbelief, believing,

And hallow in your heart a simple Creed,

If you can meet Deception, undeceiving,

And learn to look to God for all you need;

If you can be what girls should be to mothers:

Chums in joy and comrades in distress,

And be unto others as you’d have the others

Be unto you – no more, and yet no less;

If you can keep within your heart the power

To say that firm, unconquerable “No”;

If you can brave a present shadowed hour,

Rather than yield to build a future woe;

If you can love, yet not let loving master,

But keep yourself within your own self’s clasp,

And not let Dreaming lead you to disaster,

Nor Pity’s fascination loose your grasp;

If you can lock your heart on confidences,

Nor ever needlessly in turn confide;

If you can put behind you all pretenses

Of mock humility or foolish pride;

If you can keep the simple, homely virtue of

Of walking right with God – then have no fear

That anything in all the world can hurt you –

And – which is more – you’ll be a Woman, dear.

 

by J. P. McEvoy

Suggested by Kipling’s “If”

The Neverending Story

The Never Ending Story began life as a number of films have; it was originally a book, written and printed in Germany. I have not read the book, only the description. From that, I know I prefer the film.

Speaking of which, the movie The Never Ending Story begins by showing us Bastian (short for Sebastian), as he has breakfast with his father. Bastian’s mother died some time ago, and Bastian’s father has been doing his best to take care of him ever since.

Lately, Bastian’s been tardy in getting to school. Not only that, but his grades have been falling. In fact, his teacher has called Bastian’s father to report that when Bastian was supposed to be writing out math equations, he was instead drawing “horses” in his notebook.

“Unicorns,” Bastian mutters dejectedly, “They were unicorns.”

“What’s that?” Bastian’s father asks, having missed what his son muttered.

“Nothing,” Bastian mumbles, but in a tone his father can hear this time.

Bastian’s father extracts a promise from his son to “keep [his] feet on the ground and [his] head out of the clouds.” Bastian is unexcited by this promise, but he makes it anyway, knowing it will please his father.

Bastian’s dad then heads out to work while Bastian goes to school. Halfway there, Bastian meets three boys who go to his school. The boys enjoy throwing Bastian in the dumpster, and though he fights hard, he ends up in the trash. This is the main reason Bastian has been late to school: the three bullies.

Upset that he has been plunked in the garbage yet again, Bastian climbs out of the dumpster and starts on his way to school. But the bullies are waiting for him. They chase Bastian down the streets, trying to catch and grab him so they can throw him in the dumpster again.

Bastian, for once, is faster than they are. He ducks into a store and hides behind the door. The three bullies rush on past, thinking Bastian has continued down the street. Bastian sighs in relief and, as he is getting his breath back, takes a good look at the store he has entered.

It is a book store, filled with volumes of all sizes and ages. Mesmerized, Bastian wanders into the store further, where he meets the owner. The store owner angrily tells Bastian that only book-lovers are allowed in the store. He will find no video games here. Bastian tries to peak at the book in the owner’s lap. It is a large, worn volume, with a crest on the cover that shows two intertwined snakes.

Once again the owner says, “Be off with you!”

“But I like books!” Bastian says, furious in his turn. “I’ve read Treasure Island, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Lord of the Rings, the –“

“Yes,” the owner interrupts. “But those are safe books. Were you ever those characters? Were you ever Captain Nemo, watching the dreaded Giant Squid tearing up the Nautilus?”

“Yes,” breathes Bastian. “Yes, I was!”

The owner nods. “I thought so. But those were safe books. This,” he holds up the book he was reading, “This isn’t.”

Suddenly, the store phone rings. The owner lays down the book, stands up, and goes to answer the phone. While he is carrying on his conversation, Bastian carefully writes a note on a scrap of paper. Then he picks up the book, The Never Ending Story, puts the paper down in its place, and hightails it out of the shop.

The owner returns to find his book gone. He reads Bastian’s note: I’ll return it as soon as I’ve read it, the writing promises. The owner goes to the door of the shop and peers through the glass. Strangely, he smiles in a very satisfied manner after Bastian’s disappearing figure.

Bastian makes it to school and heads for his math class – only to find that there is a test in progress. Thanks to the bullies, he is late for a test he is not prepared for. Knowing he cannot enter the classroom in the middle of the test, Bastian escapes to the school’s attic (since when did schools have attics?). There, he pulls up a pad, lies on his stomach, and opens the book.

There he begins reading the story of the land of Fantasia, where all kinds of fantasy creatures live. The peoples of Fantasia are greatly disturbed. It seems a mysterious void known only as “The Nothing” is destroying their world. For instance, a Rock Biter describes how a lake in his people’s country was there one day, and then simply gone the next. It did not dry up or turn murky, and no one drank it dry. One day it was there – the next it was gone, as if it had never been!

An envoy from each of Fantasia’s people has gone to the Ivory Tower at the center of Fantasia to seek help from the Child-Empress. If anyone can stop The Nothing, then surely she can!

Except that the Child-Empress has fallen ill. No one knows why. No one has a cure. So the Empress’s councilor has sent for a great warrior from the Plains People, one who has killed many of the Purple Buffalo and who is renowned for his fighting skill. His name is Atreyu.

The ambassadors and the Empress’s councilor are expecting a grown man. But what they get is a boy no older than Bastian!

However, the boy-warrior is their only hope. So the Empress’s councilor sends Atreyu and his faithful steed, Artax, to the Swamps of Sadness to seek counsel from a wise creature who lives there. Atreyu sets out at once.

But unknown to Atreyu, a creature called Gmork is hunting him and Artax. Sent by The Nothing to kill the hero, Gmork will not rest until he has Atreyu in his jaws!

If I have whetted your curiosity, readers, then I will leave my description of the story here. I saw The Never Ending Story when I was very young, and I loved it. I saw it again not too long ago, and found that I still love it. If you watch the film – or have already seen it – odds are good that you can understand why. I highly recommend this movie to “kids from one to ninety-two.” It is applicable to people of all ages everywhere!

Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian

Avengers: Age of Ultron – Hawkeye/Clint Barton

Here we go again, readers. I am back in the world of Marvel movies, thanks in no small part to seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron in theaters after a four month waiting period. And, yes, as you can see by the title, this post is about the only normal human in the Avengers: Hawkeye a.k.a. Clint Barton. So what? He is one of my favorite Marvel characters. I could no more forget him than I could let go of Captain America, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine, or any other character I like.

Now strap in, sit tight, and hold the eye-rolls for after you have read the fan-rant written by this truly wicked blogger! 🙂

Hawkeye

Hawkeye has a whole lot more to do in Age of Ultron, and as a fan of this character, I thought it was great to see more of him this time around! I was really impressed by how much he got to do in Ultron, as opposed to The Avengers. Whedon handled Hawkeye well in both films, but had to write the World’s Greatest Marksman a fairly small part in The Avengers. Otherwise, he would not have been able to properly introduce the audience to the Avengers as a team coalescing under pressure.

This is not the case in Ultron. Hawkeye gets a lot more screen time and many more opportunities to show off, such as the time he hits a dart board dead center, when Tony has been plying the thing for a few minutes and only hitting the inner ring. The glare Tony throws him and the “what do you expect?” shrug Hawkeye returns is wonderfully true to form – for both characters.

Another scene where he gets to show off is in the Avengers’ first battle with Ultron. When Cap needs his shield, it is Hawkeye who sends the vibranium “Frisbee” flying toward America’s ultimate superhero, who catches it and uses it to cut an Iron Legionnaire in half.

For those of you who have not read Hawkeye’s profile or followed the Avenger for a long time in the comics, in Marvel’s “mainstream” comics, Clint Barton did time as Captain America after Steve Rogers’ “death” in the Civil War story arc. He was in the role for a few days, tops, before deciding that he did not like “replacing” Steve Rogers. But the reason Iron Man handed him the First Avenger’s uniform and shield is because Clint Barton is one of the very few people on the planet who can handle the shield the same way that Steve Rogers does.

This is not simply because Cap trained him after he joined the team. Doubtless, that training helped, but Hawkeye is skilled in throwing things accurately as well as in shooting precisely. When he throws an item, he often throws it in such a way that it ricochets/rebounds to hit his real target. Thus, he could throw a baseball at someone, who manages to dodge the ball, thinking they have outsmarted Hawkeye. Except that the ball hits a wall or some other object behind them, and rebounds to strike them in the head, knocking them out. Cap’s shield works on a similar principle in battle, which is why Clint can handle it at all.

Hawkeye practices all the time to keep his accuracy this exact, and seeing him toss Steve the shield was an unexpected treat and a half for me! I would like to see him actually use the shield for a couple of throws in Captain America: Civil War, but we will have to wait and see what happens there.

And did I mention that he gets to do some fancy flying in this movie? Clint is a great pilot, and watching him swing the Aveng-jet around in complicated, dizzying maneuvers was fun! As opposed to the scene where his quinjet is shot down in The Avengers, in Age of Ultron we get to see him display his true piloting skills.

Also, remember how Clint flew the quinjet while Natasha shot at Loki using the plane’s mini-gun in The Avengers? Well, in the battle against HYDRA at the beginning of Age of Ultron, this scenario is properly up-ended. Natasha is driving a jeep toward the HYDRA base the team has set out to destroy, while Clint gets to do what he does best: shoot down everything that gets in the jeep’s way.

Perfect! 😀

Now, no fan-rant about Hawkeye’s part in Ultron would be complete if it did not mention his family. If you check out Prognostications for Age of Ultron, Part 4 on this blog and make it all the way to prognostication number six, then you will see that I openly suspected the house in the teaser scene where Cap and Tony were chopping wood was Hawkeye’s house.

Beneath that are a number of theories about what is in the house, and I would never, ever, have believed that the second hypothesis would pan out. I had no idea whatsoever that Whedon would add Hawkeye’s family from the Ultimate comics to the film. And if you had told me at the time that that supposition would come true, I would have said something like, “Yeah, I wish.”

So when a friend told me that Hawkeye had a family in the film, I was flabbergasted, but not in a bad way. I have always thought he would be a good father and husband. When I learned that he is both in the film, I was even more eager to see the movie.

The hints given in the movie about the Barton family’s existence are good, too. When getting treated for an injury sustained while fighting HYDRA, Hawkeye jokes about being made of plastic. Dr. Cho corrects him and says his own girlfriend will not be able to tell where he was hit when she is done with him. Hawkeye quickly mutters, “I don’t have a girlfriend.” But he does not look anyone in the face when he says it, instead gazing at the wall.

Later on, Cap catches Clint on the phone with someone. He says the team has a lead, then asks who Clint was talking to on the phone. It takes Clint a total of five seconds to come up with a suitably evasive but partly true answer. “My girlfriend,” he says quickly. Cap does a double-take, knowing that Clint has professed to not have a girlfriend in the past. For his part, Clint does not seem to enjoy the fib he has just fed Cap. He will not look him directly in the eye and it took him too long to formulate an answer.

Speaking of which, has anyone else ever noticed that Clint seems to have a problem with lying to his teammates? Telling them an outright lie seems to be pretty hard for him. I guess he could flatly lie to HYDRA or some other bad guy if he wanted to, but he seems to be very bad at even fibbing to the Avengers.

Now, because of some early, scathing comments about Age of Ultron, I was worried that I would not like Hawkeye’s wife, Laura. Turns out, I actually think she was really impressive. The comments on the Internet made her sound like an airhead, but that is not the way that she struck me at all. Her husband goes up against modern day Nazis, aliens, robots, and the occasional arms dealer, not to mention brings the rest of the Avengers home without so much as calling ahead, and she takes it all in stride. She supports him all the way around and has his back. That was more than those comments on the Internet led me to believe, I can tell you!

On top of that, it was nice to see Hawkeye showing his softer side when dealing with his children. As I said above, I have often thought he would make a great dad, and seeing him in the role was fan-tastic. If anything, it was the icing on the cake! I can see why Whedon had fun writing for Hawkeye in this movie. I would have had fun writing for him – here or in other stories/mediums!

Interestingly, the family Clint has in the film is not the same as the family he has in the Ultimate comics. Laura is his wife in both mediums, but in the Ultimate comics he has two sons and a younger daughter. The Barton children’s names also do not match their names from the comics. Callum was the oldest Barton boy in the Ultimate comics, and Nicole was his daughter’s name. In the movie, Clint’s oldest son is named Cooper, his second child is a daughter named Lila, and his youngest is Nathaniel Pietro Barton.

I do not know what possessed Whedon to change Clint’s family line up for Age of Ultron, but I am hardly complaining. It is possible that he rearranged the Barton children’s line-up so that they would have a better shot at surviving in the films, as Clint’s wife and children were all killed in the Ultimate comics. I thought the Barton family was just fine in Age of Ultron, and I have my fingers crossed that we get to see them all again – hopefully not as casualties of War or any other subsequent Marvel movie conflict!

Speaking of Whedon, it bears mentioning that the scenes at Hawkeye’s farm were very nearly cut from Age of Ultron. Whedon told Marvel Studios’ executives that he wanted to expand Thor’s vision in the dream well.  They said he could if he cut the “farm scene.”

Whedon told the Marvel Studios executives that he did not want to cut the “farm scene.” The Marvel Execs insisted that if Whedon wanted to expand Thor’s vision, he would have to cut the “farm scene.”  Whedon would not budge, though, and things apparently got nasty.  So Whedon cut a good part of Thor’s visit to the dream well out of the film.

I would guess that this may be one of the reasons he has removed himself from Marvel Studios (however temporary it may prove to be), aside from the fact that he was directing a great deal more people in this movie than he ever has previously.

I admit, I am going to miss having Joss Whedon behind the Avengers’ films – although it may mean that fewer Avengers are killed off in later movies! 🙂 In all honesty, though, without Whedon helming or having input on the Avengers’ films, I fear we may not have Hawkeye’s family in the movies for very much longer.

And if that happens, I am going to be VERY angry at Marvel Studios’ executives. They may lose a viewer for their films if they decide to make good on the argument they had with Whedon over adding Hawkeye’s family to the movie.

 

Something else I thought was great, and I have touched on this before, is the relationship between Clint and the Maximoff twins. You can find more about that in the post Avengers: Age of Ultron – Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, at least as it relates to the twins themselves. As it relates to Hawkeye, I thought it showed a lot about him.

Clint does not like the twins, really and truly, until the final battle against Ultron in Nova Grad, Sokovia. There, he gets the chance to give Wanda a great pep talk. And, even though it occurs when Pietro dies, he settles for a genuine respect for the male Maximoff twin.

If anything, the reason he warmed up to the two might be due to the fact that he himself has children. And the Maximoffs are still children. They have been since their parents’ deaths; they know how to take care of themselves, but their understanding of the world around them is badly skewed due to a lack of genuine parental guidance.

When Wanda started to fall apart, I think Clint sensed how young she was, mentally, more than he had before. So he responded to her in almost – almost – the same way that he would if it was his own daughter losing herself to panic. Plus, he has been in her shoes in the past. Loki mind-controlled him into being part of his “take over the world” scheme. He knows how being used as a part in something that evil feels, and so when Wanda started down the “this is all my fault” path, he stopped her before she had a chance to become a whimpering wreck. Way to go, Hawkeye!

I think Clint may have seen a little of himself in Pietro as well. The brash, abrasive manner Quicksilver demonstrates throughout the movie is similar to Clint’s own scrappy attitude. Not to mention the two both have a tendency to come up with witty wisecracks and quips in moments of calm as well as battle. And they have been good friends in the comics for a very long time.

Of course, Clint’s friendship with Natasha is better shown in this movie than it has been previously. The two dig at each other good-naturedly and show more of their battle brother-sister habits throughout the movie. This is clearly proved when it is shown that Natasha alone, out of all the Avengers, is the person Clint trusted with the knowledge of his family. He has also apparently prepared everyone in his family to meet his team in case he ever had to bring the Avengers home one day. Why else would they all be so calm about meeting four superheroes – Bruce Banner, Thor, Captain America, and Tony Stark – who otherwise would have startled and frightened most other children and wives?

It is additionally demonstrated that Clint gets along well with the two “science brothers” on the team. I cannot recall anything extremely specific with regard to Banner, but the friendly taunts and jibes Clint and Tony exchange show they have gotten to know each other fairly well, and they have come to trust each other a lot since they started working together.

Thor tends to get “poked” by Clint more than the others, it seems. I am guessing this is because of Clint’s taunt about Mjolnir’s worthiness enchantment. Since Thor is the only alien they have on the team, he is open to a lot of teasing. He has become more familiar with Earth’s cultures since he came to Midgard, but in some ways Cap has had less trouble assimilating to the 21st century than Thor has.

Also, he is a prince, and he can fly. Clint is going to want to make sure Thor keeps his head out of the clouds even more than he watches Tony’s penchant for getting big headed. Still, since Thor was willing to abandon the battle at the HYDRA base halfway through to get Clint back to the Aveng-jet for preliminary medical treatment, and stayed with him while the others went on fighting, he does not seem to resent Clint’s ribbing much, if at all.

Captain America 

I was, I must say, most impressed by the friendship between Clint and Cap in the film. I was watching this in particular because I learned the World’s Greatest Marksman would be siding with Captain America in Civil War. And I was also studying it closely because, in the original “mainstream” comics, Clint and Steve had a tendency to butt heads on almost everything. Clint was Pietro’s age when he first joined the team in the comics and because of that he occasionally felt that he would be a better leader for the Avengers than Cap was.

Well, obviously, this is not the case in the movies. Clint is much more mature in the films, and his friendship with Steve shows that. Mostly it is in little scenes. His saying, “C’mon, Cap!” when Steve goes to pick up Mjolnir was hint number one. When he watched Tony try the hammer, his manner was more sarcastic and disbelieving. He had an idea that Tony would not be able to lift the hammer, and Tony’s declaration that physics would help him do so did not increase Clint’s confidence in him a whit.

But when he encourages Cap, he sounds more convinced. It is as if, were the team to be placing bets on which one of them could lift Mjolnir, he would put his money on Steve. Cap does not lift the hammer, however; probably to avoid embarrassing Thor at what is supposed to be his going-away party. So it is a good thing no one put money on anybody else, because otherwise they would all have lost.

Hint number two is the fact that it takes Clint five seconds to decide to lie to Cap about the call he was caught making to his wife. He has been keeping the secret for so long that telling even Cap about it is a daunting idea. Cap does not like it when things are kept from him, though Clint’s keeping his family under wraps is more sensible than all the secrets SHIELD was hiding from Steve. I think Cap was more than willing to let Clint slide on that one.

But Clint still did not like lying to him. It was written all over his face. And he knew that Cap had realized there was a disconnect between this explanation he had just given and his earlier declarations of not having a girlfriend. But telling Cap about his family in the Tower, when Ultron is all over the Internet and in the surveillance systems, not to mention in every other computer system on the planet, is not a good idea. So, sensibly, Clint told Cap as much of the truth as he safely could.

The third hint comes in Seoul. Cap is hanging off the back door of a truck trailer when he says that he is going after Ultron. Interestingly, it is not Natasha who warns him how dangerous this plan is. Instead it is Clint who says, “You’re no match for him, Cap.”

“Thanks, Barton,” Cap mutters, being quite well aware of that fact himself.

The fourth hint is also in Seoul. Clint lost Natasha when he picked up the Cradle, and for a few seconds, we are once again looking at the original comics. Clint repeatedly asks Cap if he knows where Natasha is, and Cap continually orders him back to Avengers Tower. Then time and space re-converge and Clint does as he is told – though he hits the consoles in front of him to show his frustration and anger.

Last but not least, for all his seeming “impartiality” in the arguments among the Avengers, I was certainly under the impression that Clint was always silently siding with Cap, even when the First Avenger brought the twins to the Tower. Though he says that Wanda’s seal of approval on the Vision will mean nothing to him, his statement is directed toward her, not Steve. Cap’s decision he will follow, but not hers – yet.

I was glad to see that Clint and Steve got along so well in the film. I had been hoping they would, since they have become better friends over time in the comics. They are a lot alike, though getting Clint to admit that takes some serious work.

They are cut from similar cloth and almost always fight on the same side. I do not know for sure, but I do not think they have ever come to blows in the same manner and spirit that Steve and Tony went after each other in Civil War. No matter how angry they have become with each other in the past, they have remained great friends. If anything, their arguments actually appear to strengthen their friendship instead of tearing it down!

Considering how well Clint got off in Age of Ultron, I am hoping he does as well in Captain America: Civil War. If he does better, then you will again be reading a glowing fan-rant about him on this blog, readers. You can put money on that! So, until I write again –

Excelsior!

The Mithril Guardian