April Staff Picks: Batman, Cozy YouTube, Godzilla, and more!
Words By F(r)iction Staff
With spring FINALLY showing itself, and winter slowly withdrawing, I’ve found myself watching a lot of peaceful, spring-aesthetic YouTube videos. In particular, I really enjoy watching organizing and decorating videos; there’s something so refreshing about seeing a space DIY’ed and reorganized into something new. (Not to mention motivating—I have definitely adopted a few methods I’ve seen for my own living space, and keep coming back for more inspiration!)
One of my favourite YouTube accounts that offers these videos is cloudyhills. These videos are so calming and wholesome, from videos about redecorating kitchens and bedrooms to upcycling thrift store finds and DIY-ing décor. I love playing these videos when I need a break from work, or when I’d like to have some peaceful background noise as I go about my day. I highly recommend the channel for any time you need some low-stakes, cozy entertainment!
C. E. Janecek
What show is brave enough to ask: What if Dr. Manhattan was a dinosaur?
Godzilla: Singular Point, a Netflix original anime that adapts the cult classic kaiju with the 4D spacetime concepts in Interstellar and futuristic AI technology. Mei Kamino is a genius student researcher studying the molecular biology of mythical creatures (which don’t even exist in her world before the kaijus’ grand entrance). Yun Arikawa is an engineer working for a quirky company, Otaki Factory, whose owner invested all assets into building a monster-fighting mech. They come in contact when a mysterious radio signal coincides with the first Rodan emerging from the sea.
This Godzilla adaptation leans in to the various kaiju slowly overtaking Japan—and then the world—in a mythical plague. Classic literature and folklore meld with Interstellar-esque spacetime distortions to create a suspenseful and visually stunning apocalypse. Much of the show pays homage to classic Godzilla films—Singular Point’s main mecha has humble origins and the even humbler design of the original Jet Jaguar. The soundtrack sent chills down my spine when there’s an opening in the red fog and we see our first glimpse of Godzilla. There’s even easter eggs in the closing credits. The interdisciplinary meeting of myth and science create a universe that—for the most part—tries to stay consistent with its own laws of physics and their limitations. I really enjoyed the hard science fiction aspect of this show, as well as the imaginative examples of how intra-dimensional creatures may adapt and grow in various environments. While the final arc of the first season has to rely on visual metaphors to express the theoretical fourth dimension that only quantum physicists can really understand, I still appreciated the imaginative leaps the writers made to bring these theories to life (along with some sick kaiju designs).
The new BatMan/Superman: World’s Finest is set in the DC Universe Silver Age. Since it is before the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans, Dick Grayson is not yet Nightwing but still Robin and part of the Dynamic Duo. He is also an integral part of the World’s Finest team just like he was back when the original series debuted as World’s Best Comics in 1941, before the name changed to World’s Finest Comics.
One of the best issues of the series centers on a time-displaced Robin stuck in the late 19th century. Til BatMan and Superman come to retrieve him from 1892, he falls back on his years in the circus as one of the Flying Graysons by finding a surrogate family in Stratford’s World-Famous American Circus. While with the traveling circus, Dick solves a mystery with the modern detective knowledge learned from BatMan but needs to keep the explanation relevant to the times. This book shows the type of beacon of joy comics can be as Robin is first reunited with BatMan & Superman undercover in the late 1800s as circus performers and how Bruce and Clark have both become father figures and family to Dick since the death of the Graysons.
Both writer and artist keep fringe characters fresh in this series while drawing definitive lines on the core characters. Mark Waid writes classic DC characters with the watchful eye and keen sensibility of a childhood friend who has helped you find solid footing through the years on the way to adulthood. Artist Dan Mora’s clean line work and body composition lets these characters tell us their physical stance on the philosophy of Truth and Justice.
Truth and Justice come to play in the most heartfelt and heartbreaking storyline of the series Strange Visitor, about Boy Thunder, Superman’s Sidekick. First, there is the truth of Boy Thunder and how this story ties into one of the most groundbreaking DC comic books of all time. Then, the Truth of Superman and the fact that the character never lies. How writer Mark Waid ties these two truths together shows his understanding of DC history from the Silver Age to the current Heroic Age.
BatMan/Superman: World’s Finest is ongoing from DC Comics.
The world is a lot right now. Dedicated to “anybody who could use a break,” A Psalm for The Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is a wholesome, thought-provoking hug. Dex’s journey of discovery, the gorgeous world-building, Chamber’s stunning sentences and the soul-warmth of the growing friendship between Sibling Dex and Moss have lingered since I finished it.
Just like another beautiful novella (This is How You Lose The Time War), I started this in the bath and then the bath went cold and I couldn’t get out until I’d finished it.
A Psalm for The Wild-Built follows Sibling Dex on their journey through what I would equate to a quarter-life crisis.
In this solarpunk world of Panga, centuries after humans and robots peacefully parted ways with a Promise, humanity lives in harmony, both as a society and abutting the natural world. Nobody wants for anything; oh, friction still exists, in the form of human needs like tiredness and needing somebody to listen, and for that, they have tea monks who will offer a quiet moment to just be, a steaming cup of perfectly-brewed warmth,and a shoulder to cry on.
In this perfection, in this wanting-for-nothing, Sibling Dex feels entirely alone with their discomfort, in wanting more. Attributing it to a desire to hear crickets, Sibling Dex becomes first a tea monk and then, startlingly, the first human to make contact with a robot, Moss, since the robots disappeared into the wilderness. Moss has arrived with one question: what do people need?
The answer for me was “this series.”