Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wrestling Masks: The Rey Mysterio-Cody Rhodes feud

The Rey Mysterio-Cody Rhodes rivalry is getting more interesting.

In the last WWE Smackdown match between the two wrestlers, we got a taste of a feud with a potential for longevity and intensity. A building tension reaches its climax which ends in a post-match beatdown outside the ring. It was an amazing exchange of moves and maneuvers. But the beauty of it lies in the reason for the animosity.

When he started, Rhodes’ gimmick is that he is extremely narcissistic, even claiming that he is the best-looking wrestler in WWE. In fact, he demands to be called “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.

But in one of his fights with the quick Rey Mysterio, his face was hit by Mysterio's leg brace. Rhodes was very devastated by this happening. He undergoes reconstructive surgery for his face. He was no longer dashing.

This created a very interesting storyline. Rhodes began to be ashamed of his appearance. When he returned to WWE after months of recovery, he was wearing a clear protective mask. That is in addition to his cowl.

Rhodes develops a deep anger to Mysterio for breaking his face. Interestingly, Rhodes has lost his ‘face’ and becomes a ‘heel’ entirely. Mysterio has no grudge with Rhodes but he needs to fight for his life as Rhodes’ fury will never make him safe. It now becomes a personal feud between two wrestlers in masks. It is a nice theme in itself. Almost poetic.

This theme was established more concretely during the April 22 match. During the match, Rhodes brings masks made from paperbags and made a speech to the audience. Rhodes says that his mask is for protection while Rey Mysterio’s is for hiding his fears and loathing thoughts for the WWE Universe. Rhodes says everyone is wearing a mask but he can see through them. He says everyone is envious of him. He says everyone hopes it is worse for their neighbor, friends and family more than themselves. Cody then offers a remedy at his expense, he presents a paper bag with holes for eyes, nose and mouth. He wants everyone to put them on to cover everyone’s flaws. He says to keep them on until he defeats Rey Mysterio.

Rey Mysterio won the match. But after the match Cody Rhodes attack him and the two fights outside the ring. In the end, Rhodes was able to subdue Mysterio and forcedly wears a paper mask to his head. Rhodes exits victoriously. He has established himself. Surely, he will have many fans after that. Many will surely come to the arena in paper masks.

But this is just a start of a good story in the making. His personal grudge against Mysterio is just a start. One angle that WWE can play is that Rhodes can now become a heel to all those wrestlers that are good-looking. Rhodes can be developed into a demented wrestler with a deep hatred for beauty. Or a wrestler who wants everyone to show who they really are behind their masks, as in Rey Mysterio’s case.

Either way, the mask theme is getting interesting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Superheroes’ Moral Code

Written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Jesus Saiz, issue #28 of DC’s The Brave and The Bold entitled “Firing Line” features the team-up of the Flash with the Blackhawk. In the story, both were effectively removed from their ‘territory’; Blackhawk was grounded from flight while the Flash was slowed down by a leg injury.
One of the best moments in this Eisner-nominated story is when the Flash picks up a gun and wears an army uniform determined to fight for his country even if it means that he has to kill along the way.
This presents a case on how important it is to establish the real life character of a superhero in comics. A superhero is bounded by many rules just as there are rules of war. It’s just like how there are more strict instructions that guide soldiers because they are considered deadly weapons by themselves. It’s been said that a superhero’s great power also brings with it great responsibility (cf. Spiderman).
But remove the superhero’s costume and powers and you are left with a human being. And from there you have free rein to every human instinct and emotion that one is capable of. Hence, Clark Kent can make fun of Steve Lombardi’s hairpiece in return of Lombardi’s making fun of him (see All Star Superman). Peter Parker can NOT do his homework when he is feeling lazy. Bruce Wayne can get all the women he wants. These are things that Superman, Spiderman or Batman, in character, are morally prohibited from doing.

But sometimes, being in this non-superhero character without all these moral codes can do good. The Flash is the best example of this. In the panel above, The Flash is in a moral dilemma. He has to uphold his ethos: “The Flash doesn’t kill. The Flash doesn't carry a gun.” This he resolved simply by removing The Flash’s ethics from the equation and unleashing Barry Allen.
“…But Barry Allen, American, can do those things in the uniform of his country, which is at war.”
(As an antithesis to this proposition, one can say that it is the real life character’s principles that are holding the chains of the superhero alter-ego, preventing him/her from abusing his/her power. Best example is Grant Morrison’s Batman of Zurr-en-Arrh in the Batman RIP arc, which is the Batman without Bruce Wayne. But that is a topic for another post.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Just found the following info from wikipedia.

Rene Requiestas was a Filipino comedian who was born on January 22, 1957. The last movie that he completed was "Alyas Batman en Robin" where he played the villain Joker. His other movies include the western comedy, "Long Ranger and Tonton" where he partnered with a cowboy played by Joey De Leon.

Heath Ledger was an Australian actor who died on January 22, 2008. The last movie he completed was "The Dark Knight" where he played the villain Joker. His other movies include the western drama, "Brokeback Mountain" where he partnered with a cowboy played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Nothing to see here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

War Heroes

“Filipino guerillas make do with any head covering.”
This caption is displayed on a head gear woven from the leaves of a coconut tree. The head gear, picture below, was used as a helmet during the World War II and is now displayed as part of an exhibit to commemorate Philippine Veterans Week.

The World War II Traveling Exhibit at Glorietta 5 in Ayala Center, Makati City ran from April 9 to 15 and showcased various photos, videos and memorabilia of the war such as the coconut head gear.
Talk about courage and innovation, the Filipino way.
Consider this scenario:
Manila, Philippines 1946-The Japanese battleship has docked. An attack is imminent. One can hear the humming of a multitude of tora-tora swarming the Manila skies like flies on a dead carabao.
From afar, a big explosion was heard. It has began. The Japanese soldiers started advancing. Armed with long, powerful guns, the Japanese army swept the land like locusts. No stone was left unturned. The tanks began to roll. Each lumbering piece of war machinery exuded control over those it surveyed.
The attackers unleashed every power they could muster. Bullets were loaded. Guns were cocked. Canons were charged. Missiles were engaged.
The planes continue to circle above like vultures. There was no escape – by land or by air. Manila is under siege.
I only know these through movies.
I can not fathom and I won’t pretend to understand the gravity of being alive during the World War II. How much more if you have to hold a gun and fight–something which you never thought you’d do in your lifetime. The Filipino veterans are admirable even just for the fact that even without proper training, they never hesitated to answer the call of the country.
The World War II Traveling Exhibit did not attempt to show the horrors and atrocities of the war. Instead, it showed the beauty and glamour that radiates from exceptional individuals during those times of tribulations.
On one side of the photo exhibit, a photo shows a nun smiling, while on the background only the smoking remains of a bombed building is seen. On another, a list of military units with corresponding numbers is posted – but the numbers do not indicate casualties but the number of individuals who heed the call of duty. Yet on another area, it displayed various tools that the Filipino soldiers used during hard-pressed times, clearly showcasing their adept ability to innovate.
What is perhaps most amazing is the memory board, a blank wall where everyone is free to write anything they want. It is amazing to know how proud and grateful people are to the veterans.
“I’m the wife of Cpl. This” says one of the comments signed with the commenters full name. “I’m proud to be the daughter of Cpl. That” says another also signed with a full name. “You are the real heroes” another commenter says. Throughout the exhibit’s one-week display, the memory board was filled with these kinds of salutations.
I never lived through a war, and I pray I never have to. But it wouldn’t take a war survivor to know that these soldiers should be honored for what they did. They are all heroes.


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