How Captain Marvel is empowering women ahead of International Women’s Day

Captain Marvel’s arrival in the MCU has been long overdue. The much-anticipated flick, which flies into cinemas on March 8, sees a Marvel movie debut a female-led film in its franchise for the first time, and serve up the beginning of a power shift in its movie-verse.

It’s fitting, then, that Captain Marvel should share its release with International Women’s day. The annual date that celebrates the global achievements of women has already inspired plenty to act, but Captain Marvel’s presence on this date is hard to understate. Hannah Cowton, lifestyle blogger for The London Geek, believes that Captain Marvel’s impact can already been seen first-hand, and thinks that International Women’s Day helps to showcase this point.

“I think that it (International Women’s Day) is a great day to leverage all of our important work,” she said. “Already the film has proven to have it’s young female audience in mind with the recent GoFundMe campaign, so I’m excited to see where else it will go.”

Captain Marvel International Women's Day

The GoFundMe campaign, that Hannah alludes to, recently raised over $60,000 to give underprivileged girls in LA the opportunity to see Captain Marvel on the big screen. A similar gesture that saw children in Harlem given the chance to see 2018’s Black Panther, certainly, but one that can be just as influential in giving girls a strong, female role model to emulate.

Shreya Shah agrees. The 13-year-old Londoner feels that a female Marvel superhero film is proof that there’s no limitations to what women can achieve. For Shreya, however, the cultural message that Captain Marvel sends to boys and men is just as important.

“I’d like to think that all girls believe that they can grow up and be and do anything, and aren’t limited by anything,” Shreya said. “I’d love to be able to change the world tomorrow and have more equality in everything, but I know change will take time. Everything starts with awareness, so I will make sure we celebrate International Women’s Day, and make sure my friends who are boys celebrate too!”

Captain Marvel Brie Larson Carol Danvers

Dr Shelley Cobb, Associate Professor of Film at Southampton University, also maintains that Captain Marvel’s social and cultural impact can help with gender disparity in the film industry. Using her global status, Captain Marvel star Brie Larson has called for greater representation of women, from those working in the film industry to journalists and critics, in a bid to promote equality throughout the film’s press tour. It’s a welcome boost that Dr Cobb believes can help usher in a sea change across the board.

“Films like this with several women behind screen can set a good example and, more importantly, give these women high-level experience that should get them more jobs,” she explained. “Many women will go see the film on that day as a way of celebrating women’s global progress, even if there is still so much more to do. It will still mean something possibly very special to a group of female friends, sisters, mother and daughter, mother and son, or father and daughter who go to see it together.”

The global reach of the MCU means that anyone – no matter their age, ethnicity, nationality, or sexual orientation – can be inspired by the themes that Captain Marvel explores. Barcelona-born Veronica Ramos Gonzalez, who plans to celebrate International Women’s Day with the most important woman in her life – her mother – believes that Captain Marvel’s universal appeal will help all women to feel confident in their own skin.

“We’re told from a very young age that there’s always going to be a man that’s going to save us,” she stated. “Well, not anymore. We may not have Carol’s powers, but we can be pilots and we can be funny and badass, and vulnerable and stoic. Being different is always a good thing, and I think Carol is going to show us girls and women exactly that.”

Captain Marvel MCU Avengers Endgam

Veronica’s view is one that Sophie Kerlin can relate to. Whilst she’s disappointed that women still have to appoint a specific day to acknowledge their achievements, Sophie thinks that Captain Marvel can help to provide a platform for more female-led movies across all genres.

“We’re already seeing that films with female leads are outperforming others in the box office, with films celebrating female power and trying to normalise the sight of a female heroine such as Wonder Woman or the rebooted Tomb Raider,” she said. “Hopefully this will be the start of a new wave of female-led films that accurately represent the achievements of women across the world.”

Captain Marvel has plenty riding on it, not least because of the MCU’s male-oriented film franchise. Negative online comments, that led to score aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes to change its policy that allowed users to rate unreleased films, have also tried to undermine its release.

And yet, despite this, it’s not difficult to recognise the impact that Captain Marvel is having. The film’s influence is there to see and, as International Women’s Day looms into view, it can help to bridge the gap between genders that, one day, may not need to be bridged any longer.

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Iron Fist Season 2: Everything You Need to Know

Iron Fist Season 2 is released on Netflix on Friday, September 7. If the teaser trailers are anything to go by, the upcoming sequel to season 1 promises to offer a much improved take on the Marvel character, with fight sequences, character development and a more refined plot than the initial 13-episode run.

With the first season coming out 18 months ago – and crossover series The Defenders having released over a year ago – it may be easy to have forgotten what went down, who the new antagonists are and other bits from the Iron Fist universe. Here’s a full rundown of everything you need to know ahead of Iron Fist Season 2:

What Happened in Iron Fist Season 1?

iron fist season 1

Quite a lot, despite the lack of glowing reviews. Danny Rand – heir to Rand Industries and the titular hero – returns to Hell’s Kitchen after being presumed dead for 15 years. Taken in by the K’un-Lun monks after a plane crash that killed his parents, he trains to become the latest in a long line of immortal Iron Fists – the protector of K’un-Lun. Able to summon and focus his “chi” energy into a powerful force in his hand, Rand is granted superhuman strength, agility, durability and reflexes when he does so, plus he’s a pretty handy close combat fighter to boot too.

Danny becomes embroiled in a battle to oust the Hand – an order of evil, mystical ninjas hell-bent on taking over the world – who have run amok in New York City. Alongside this, he must also retake his father’s billion dollar empire from his late dad’s associate Harold Meachum who, coincidentally, was resurrected by the Hand after he died from incurable cancer, and for whom he declares his supposed loyalty. Harold, who becomes a more violent representation of himself each time he is killed off – and resurrected – during season 1, is also the individual behind the plane crash that killed Danny’s parents.

Danny meets, and eventually falls in love with, Colleen Wing, the owner of a small dojo in Manhattan who is secretly the apprentice of one of the Hand’s leaders in Bakuto. He rekindles his childhood relationships with Harold’s children Ward and Joy to varying degrees of success too. Meanwhile, Danny’s close friend and rival from K’un-Lun, Davos, turns up in New York to force Danny to return to his second home after the latter breaks his Iron Fist oath and leaves to return to the US. Unable to persuade Danny to return, Davos becomes resentful and leaves to concoct a plan to overthrow Danny, which we’ll see in season 2.

Season 1 sees Danny and Colleen defeat the Hand to a degree, force Bakuto and fellow Hand founder Madame Gao into hiding, and see Ward kill Harold for the final time – shooting his own father before burning the body to prevent his return from the dead.

Iron Fist Season 2: How Does The Defenders Play into it?

the defenders

Danny and Colleen, alongside the other Marvel TV heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage – as well as their allies – work together to stop the Hand from achieving world domination through both the “Black Sky” – or the resurrected Elektra Natchios, former girlfriend of Daredevil/Matt Murdock – and the ability to bring people back from the dead.

They succeed, but not before Daredevil seemingly sacrifices himself to allow the others to escape. His heroic act causes Iron Fist to claim the mantle of New York’s protector-in-chief in his absence.

Where do the Main Cast Stand Heading into Iron Fist Season 2?

iron fist season 2

After swearing to protect New York City Iron Fist must deal with the added expectation of being the protector of Hell’s Kitchen, as well as dealing with his past coming back to haunt him.

Rand had a cameo in one of Luke Cage‘s season 2 episodes, but nothing was made of how the new series of Iron Fist would play out based on this. Judging by the trailers, he will have to deal with the return of the vengeful Davos, who seems set to give him a tough test as the so-called Steel Serpent.

Wing, meanwhile, is trying to find her place in the world following the collapse of The Hand and the death of Bakuto. Ward must overcome the reality that he ended up killing Harold and his apparent heroin addiction, while Joy will likely continue to do dealings with Davos in a bid to overthrow Danny.

Which Iron Fist Characters are Returning for Season 2?

colleen wing

Danny Rand/Iron Fist – played by Finn Jones – will obviously be returning. Alongside him will be Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), Harold and Joy (Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup respectively).

Davos (Sacha Dhawan) returns as the main antagonist for Iron Fist Season 2. Misty Knight (Simone Missick), the New York police detective who is a regular in Luke Cage, will also guest star at points.

Who are the New Cast Members of Iron Fist Season 2?

iron fist season 2 typhoid mary

The main new cast member is “Typhoid Mary” Walker, who will be played by Alice Eve. Taking inspiration from the Marvel villain of the same name, Typhoid Mary is usually depicted as a Daredevil arch enemy, who has also crossed paths with Spider-Man and Deadpool.

A sufferer of personality disorder, Typhoid Mary has three separate identities vying for control – Mary, the normal personality, Typhoid Mary, the ambitious type, and Bloody Mary, the darkest of the trio. Possessing martial arts sword fighting skills, telekinesis and pyrokinesis, she could prove to be a formidable foe – or ally – for Iron Fist.

Another new addition to the cast is Sam Chung (James Chen). In the comics, Chung is Daredevil’s sidekick Blindspot but it is not yet known what his role in proceedings will actually be.

When and Where can I Watch Iron Fist Season 2?

iron fist season 2 watch

Iron Fist Season 2 will be available worldwide on Netflix from Friday, September 7. It consists of a 10-episode series instead of the usual 13-episode run, and will be available to watch in 4K Ultra HD and high dynamic range.

E3 2018: Eight of the Biggest Surprises That Could be on Show

E3 2018 is set for its annual ‘take the video game industry by storm’ event when the biggest names in gaming descend on Los Angeles between 11th and 15th June.

The juggernauts of the industry – Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo – will all be on hand to show off the latest titles and updates to their consoles, while other notable names such as Bethesda, Square Enix, EA and Ubisoft will be showcasing some keenly anticipated games too.

As ever, E3 won’t be without its surprise announcements or demos to set tongues wagging  – but which upcoming or rumoured titles can we expect to hear about this time around?

Here’s eight who could be huge waves at the L.A Convention Center:


Halo 6 (Microsoft)

halo6

Microsoft needs a big win from its biggest video game franchise, particularly with the lacklustre reception to the fifth installment – Guardians – over three years ago now.

What better way to bring the house down at their press briefing, then, than to announce the next chapter in Master Chief’s story?

A job posting on Microsoft’s site on 19th March for a Lead Graphics Designer hinted that something could be in the works, while Brian Jarrard – Community Director at 343 Industries – tweeted that work had begun on Halo’s “next console game” as recently as 17th May.

Further news about a new Halo game – apparently labelled Halo: Infinity – is reportedly set to be announced by Microsoft during their briefing according to Twitter user Brad Sams, but whether it’s the next installment in Master Chief’s story or a standalone – possibly an MMO type game? – title remains to be seen.

Could a small teaser for Halo 6 be done in time to show off at E3? It would give Microsoft something to up the hype levels at their conference.


Fable 4 (Microsoft)

fable

Could a former Xbox stalwart be about to be revived in the shape of Fable?

A January report from Eurogamer suggested that a new Fable game was in the works, and Playground Games – the guys behind Xbox’s Forza Horizon series – are believed to be silently developing it.

Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer tweeted recently that he had “nothing” to announce regards a new Fable game – but is that merely smoke and mirrors ahead of a possible tease?


Bloodborne 2 (Sony)

bloodborne

This one is a huge left field rumour, but it’s been three years since the original was released and fans of FromSoftware want their next fill of the Dark Souls-esque series.

A teaser trailer at last December’s Game Awards hinted at what FromSoftware were working on, but there have been mixed reports over whether their next game is a follow up to Bloodborne 1 or a new IP.

With nothing else in the works – Dark Souls Remastered launched on 24th May – it could be that Bloodborne 2 is FromSoftware’s next video game venture and may be teased at E3.


Metroid Prime 4 (Nintendo)

mp4

Not one word has been uttered by Nintendo about Samus Aran’s next adventure since they shockingly teased Metroid Prime 4 last summer, and we could be about to see some early gameplay footage if quotes from Nintendo’s Norway affiliate is anything to go by.

They alleged, back in January 2018, that Nintendo were “looking forward to 2018, including games like… Metroid Prime 4“.

Coupled with Eurogamer’s February report that Bandai Namco were helming MP4, we could be treated to actual gameplay this month.


Splinter Cell (Ubisoft)

splintercell

It’s been five years since Sam Fisher donned his famous goggles for the last addition to the SC franchise – Blacklist – but leaks aplenty have seemingly let the cat out of the bag over a new installment to the series.

Amazon’s Canada section accidentally listed ‘Splinter Cell 2018‘ on its website back in March, while a massive leak earlier in May from Walmart listed a placeholder for the game too.

It’s high time Sam Fisher made his debut on Xbox One and Playstation 4, and it’s only a matter of time until we get to see a trailer or gameplay based on the above.


Elder Scrolls VI (Bethesda)

skyrim

With sequels to Doom, Fallout and Rage supposedly set to play a major part in Bethesda’s E3 conference, the chances of anything ES6 related are extremely slim.

Back in September 2017 Peter Hines stated that it would “eventually be made”, and not before time given that Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released almost seven years ago.

What gives us hope of some form of announcement or teaser then? The fact that Bethesda have said that “big announcements” will be made and that Todd Howard was quoted as saying “Even my son doesn’t know what’s coming” during an interview in March.

Let’s cross our fingers for something come E3.


Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 3 (EA)

pvz

With previous entries in this humorous franchise launching in February 2014 and 2016, it was surprising to see the third iteration not even announced by February this year.

However, an IGN report in March suggested that a leak over a comic book – that would bridge the gap between the second and unannounced third game – was around the corner.

That’s a good indication that work is being conducted on the next PvZ game, and it wouldn’t be remiss of EA to reveal it at their briefing.


Marvel Avengers Project (Square Enix)

avengers

Despite the announcement of a Marvel-Square Enix collaboration over the Avengers franchise coming in January 2017, not much has been spoken about it since.

All we know is that Crystal Dynamics – the boffins behind the Tomb Raider reboot – are developing it and, with Avengers: Infinity War hitting cinema screens earlier this year and Avengers 4 to come next spring, it would be a good idea to capitalise on this hype in the next 12 months with the release of the game.

IGN reported last September that job postings for Lead Level and Combat Designers were listed on Crystal Dynamics’ website, and that the game would be an online third-person action adventure game set in a universe separate to that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With Square Enix set to hold their first E3 briefing for three years – likely with plenty of Final Fantasy VII remake footage to show too – now would be a good time to update gamers on their Avengers title too.


What major announcements or surprise reveals would you want to see at E3 2018?

Farhad Moshiri Needs Marco Silva Appointment to be the Right One for Everton

Farhad Moshiri strolled into Everton Football Club in February 2016 to the sound of the cheering masses who believed that their club had finally found the wealthy benefactor to make them a force in football once more.

Over two years on from his arrival and things haven’t panned out the way many had hoped – yet – if you discount the news concerning a potential world-class stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

The past 12 months have seen the Toffees go backwards on the pitch, with last summer’s scatter-gun transfer approach failing to pay off, unrest among the fanbase and the playing squad and the chop-change nature of having three bosses all try to implement their ideas on the first team to no avail.

Moshiri, rightly, will continue to be backed by the Goodison Park faithful as he looks to bankroll their rise back into trophy contention – but there cannot be any denying that the pressure may begin to build if 63-year-old’s latest managerial appointment doesn’t adapt to life on Merseyside like his predecessors.

Marco Silva was the man that Moshiri wanted to bring to the club upon Ronald Koeman’s sacking last October and, while it’s taken time to get the Portuguese gaffer through the door, the 40-year-old is here now hopefully for the long haul.

The ex-Sporting, Estoril, Watford and Olympiakos boss heads to L4 with silverware success on his CV and an impressive number of backers – mostly players he was worked with – and should be given every opportunity to prove he is the man to usher in this speculated new era at Everton.

silva

Of course, Moshiri won’t be the only individual who had a hand in bringing Silva to Everton. Newly appointed Director of Football Marcel Brands will have had a huge say in drafting him in on the reported three-year deal, so any blame that would be pointed at the duo – providing Silva doesn’t hit the ground running – would be doled out in equal measure.

It will seem baffling to many to even consider Silva potentially failing when he hasn’t got his feet under the table at Finch Farm, but Moshiri needs this appointment to work if he wants to keep Evertonians onside after the below-par nature of the past year.

Moshiri will want Silva to provide, well, a silver lining to his era at Goodison and the pair – along with Brands – will be given time to see how they fare. Anything else and the pressure may start to tell on the British-Iranian businessman’s footballing acumen.

How Tacoma Proves That Not All Adventure Games Need to be Action-Packed Affairs

It takes something special for a video game to explore the relationships between humans in such a succinct way, particularly if that game is itself fairly brief in nature.

For The Fullbright Company it’s become a norm though, with their Bioshock 2 DLC ‘Minerva’s Den’ and first major title Gone Home receiving critical acclaim in 2010 and 2014 respectively despite the ability to complete both in a single sitting.

Suffice to say, then, that their follow up – Tacoma – was keenly anticipated upon both its unveiling and subsequent release last summer.

Tacoma2Though it may not have hit the heady heights of its predecessor, Tacoma does a valiant job at once again at exploring the connections that make humans, well, human.

It should take just five hours for a player to complete the entire game – achievements and trophies included – but, considering its short-lived affair, it’s easy to be drawn into the survival of the six-person crew on board the Tacoma Lunar Transfer Station.

A key aspect of the gameplay is the ability to rewind time via the use of the game’s ARDware – an augmented reality device that allows Amy, the protagonist, to review past conversations and actions between the crew to determine what went wrong onboard the space station.

It’s from this that Amy is able to delve into both the story itself and the interactions between the crew, and helps each personality to be expressed so eloquently despite the shortness of the game’s run time.

In an adventure game with nothing in the way of first-person action to deal with, atmosphere, story and humanitarian elements are required to fill the gap and Fullbright have certainly capitalised on the last of that trio.

There are clear bonds between the Tacoma’s crew, and it’s hard not to will them on in their quest to a) get to the bottom of what happens to them, and b) to fight back against the fallout from the incident that puts them in grave danger.

Tacoma3

It’s a determination to survive, to find a solution to the problem and inquisitive mindset that helps you feel empathy towards the crew – foundations which are all laid as we learn more about them individually and collectively.

Rooting for those onboard becomes second nature all thanks to Fullbright’s ability to write and design characters that we eventually care for greatly, and proves again that not all adventure games need to be action-packed, blockbuster affairs.

Who Won’t Die in Avengers: Infinity War?

It’s all been leading to this, or so Avengers: Infinity War’s tagline has suggested.

The culmination of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) will see the Mad Titan Thanos take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes when Infinity War is released this week, and many fans all over the globe on eagerly anticipating the third installment of the Avengers arc.

Lots are also crossing all of their digits in the hope that their favourite superhero won’t perish at Thanos’ hand, with the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Vision.

Much has been written about who is expected to give their life to defend Earth, but what about those who should – and almost certainly will – survive to fight another day?

Let’s take a look at the contenders who are pretty much nailed on to take residence in the post-Infinity War MCU:

[NB: Potential spoilers follow on from this point!]


Black Panther

bpMarvel’s biggest money maker after it raked in more cash at the worldwide box office than the first Avengers film, Black Panther – aka King T’Challa – will definitely live.

Chadwick Boseman’s awesome portrayal of the King of fictional African nation Wakanda, and subsequent triumph of the overall film, means a sequel or two are destined to be on Marvel’s Phase 4 and 5 list.

One who should have no worries about making it through.


Spider Man

spidermanPlenty have become a fan of Holland’s Peter Parker in his two MCU outings to date but, judging by footage in one of the trailers, he could come up a cropper against Thanos.

Holland’s Spider Man, though, is another big hit for Marvel and has a six-film deal. Miles Morales’ iteration of the character won’t be too far away from hitting the big screen, but for now expect Spider Man to live to tell the tale.


Bucky Barnes

buckybarnesLabelled the ‘White Wolf’ after seemingly being cured of his Winter Soldier indoctrination at the end of Black Panther, Bucky Barnes should have a big role to play in Infinity War.

Actor Sebastian Stan penned a ludicrous nine-film contract when he signed on for the first Cap film, and has only featured in three flicks to date.

With Avengers 3 and 4 only taking him up to five, he’s a dead cert to make it out alive.


The Guardians of the Galaxy

guardiansYou could expect Marvel to finish off one of their cinematic original Guardians – Star Lord, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora and Mantis – in Infinity War, but there’s not really a reason to do so.

With a third film already slated for release in Phase 4 of the MCU, and with all of the Guardians’ actors and actresses signed on for a couple more films, there’s no reason to suspect they won’t survive and jet off to do some more galaxy defending.


Bruce Banner/The Hulk

brucebannerWith almost all of the original Avengers lineup’s contracts ending after Avengers 4, not many are expected to help usher in Phase 4 of the MCU.

One who should be in line to feature, however, is Mark Ruffalo. The actor has a six-film contract with Marvel and would have one film left to feature in post-Avengers 4, so he must surely fight on.


Hawkeye

hawkeyeHe’s nowhere to be seen in any of the Infinity War trailers, but directors Joe and Anthony Russo have claimed that all will be revealed about Jeremy Renner’s character during the movie.

Renner apparently has a Hawkeye standalone film in his Marvel contract too and, while it’s highly unlikely that’ll ever happen, the fact that it’s there gives leeway to him remaining part of the MCU moving forward.


War Machine & Falcon

wmfalconThe lieutenants of Iron Man and Captain America respectively, James Rhodes and Sam Wilson may be surprise inclusions on this list.

With neither being a full-scale Avenger, it could be easy for Marvel to kill them off without too much backlash – but spots may open up for them in the Avengers lineup after Infinity War.

If Tony Stark or Steve Rogers make it – extremely likely at this point – then the duo could be in line for the mantles of Iron Man or Cap, providing the latter isn’t given to Bucky Barnes.

Alternatively, they just remain as characters in the MCU to help aid the newcomers moving forward.


Ant-Man

antmanA bit of a given due to Ant-Man and the Wasp being the next Marvel film to be released.

Like Hawkeye he’s been absent from any Infinity War promotional material, but with the sequel to the first Ant-Man set to release in the summer it’s obvious that Scott Lang will feature in some capacity past Avengers 3.

It’s unclear where Ant-Man’s sequel lies in relation to Infinity War, but we can expect to see Paul Rudd play some part in Avengers 4.


Anybody else?

widowwitchQuite a lot of the main Avengers and supporting cast are up for the chopping block from Infinity War onwards with a number of A-listers’ contracts set to end after Avengers 4.

Who might be back after that? Black Widow – who may perish – could be brought back if a standalone movie is green-lit, Shuri and Okoye must be dead certs with Black Panther sequels in the works, Dr. Strange if a second film is quietly in the works and Scarlet Witch could be if she doesn’t lose it if/when Vision bites the dust.

Every other bit hitter though? It might be best to have a box of tissues at the ready.


Avengers: Infinity War opens in UK cinemas at midnight on Thursday 26th April

Opinion: Jessica Jones Should Be Applauded for Showing Why it’s ‘Okay Not to Be Okay’

There’s a lot to be said about the topics that Marvel’s and Netflix’s Jessica Jones forces the viewer to confront.

The objectification of women, rape, murder, invasion of privacy and addiction were all covered superbly during the TV show’s first season, and built upon during its 13-episode long season two run as well.

As much as the writing, acting and musical score have been lauded, it is the issues above that will have been debated for days and weeks on end – and anything that helps to raise such issues and get them in the public domain is good in whatever form of media it takes.

[SPOILER WARNING]: Spoilers for Jessica Jones Season Two may follow from this point onwards!

JJ2One theme that wasn’t truly touched upon – or, rather, was given a much broader and wider scope this time around – was something that has become its own hot topic in the real world with the rise of the #MeToo movement borne out of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Jessica Jones‘ portrayal of strong, confident and badass women has helped to bring feminism and equal rights regarding gender back to the forefront of conversations and, alongside the mass movements and demonstrations that have emerged in the past six months, should be applauded.

But what season two of Jessica Jones also shows is that, regardless of how strong or broad-shouldered or heroic someone appears, internal struggles are never too far away.

JJ3The characters in Jessica Jones all display their own insecurities and vulnerable sides throughout the show – male and female it should be noted – and those badges of self-doubt help to shape each individual and flesh out their personalities and ideologies.

Jessica – wonderfully portrayed by Krysten Ritter – fears letting anyone get close to her again after the death of her family. Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), meanwhile, rails against not being a superhero herself and longs to be ‘the good’ that she sees in Jessica, even if the latter doesn’t.

Even lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) sheds her tough exterior as she comes to terms with her amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease – going through the whole five stages of grief as she’s reduced to tears during one particularly emotional moment.

Marvel's Jessica JonesIt’s proof that even the hardiest of souls can be beset by negative thoughts and feelings, and shows that anyone, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, creed or race can be afflicted by uncertainty.

What does this tell us overall? That being strong and independent are perfectly sound qualities to possess. But, in equal measure, that it’s okay to take off the mask or break down the walls and allow people to be vulnerable. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of for letting others in and expressing emotion.

Jessica Jones does plenty right through its medium, but it is perhaps its willingness to bring these difficult discussions to the fore that stands it out from the crowd and makes it a must watch for any TV fanatic – no matter what your knowledge of comic book lore is.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 7

With 2017 fading into the sunset and 2018 showing itself in via the back door, there was little let up in the fixture list for Everton.

A daunting December had offered up a mixture of results and, whilst most were positive, we needed to bounce back from two expected losses against two elite sides.

Our first game of the New Year saw West Ham host us at that there London Stadium with the opportunity to put that Chelsea defeat behind us:

everton38Well stalemates are always likely, and neither side could break the other down in a even contest. I guess our upcoming FA Cup third round game would be the game to end our mini goal drought.

Fleetwood Town were the opposition we’d be facing on home soil and the prospect of a giant killing at Goodison Park didn’t bear thinking about:everton39It’s a good job we did a decent enough job to prevent that then. Sandro and Gylfi Sigurdsson bagged first-half goals to put us into the hat for the next round, though it would’ve been nice to score more.

But we must plow on, and another long trip down to the south coast is in order to face recently promoted Brighton at the Amex. We hadn’t been playing well but I still expected a win:everton40And a win is what we got, albeit in late fashion. They were the better side but, like any good Manchester United knock-off team, we grabbed the decisive goal to leg it back up the north west with three points in the bag.

Speaking of United, how about we host them next in the Premier League? I’d prefer not to either, but we might as well get the formality that is a loss to them out of the way:everton41I was joking, lads, we can end this run you know. Not this time around evidently as the Red Devils’ class told once more. We’ll find a way to beat you one day, Jose…

Croydon called next and the chance to move on swiftly from that Goodison defeat was in order. Would we reign supreme against royalty in the form of Crystal Palace (see what I did there? No? Oh blow you then…):everton42Hmph. I don’t know what was more baffling. That both of our goals were own goals from the same guy or that we drew because our nemesis Christian Benteke nabbed himself a brace. Curses and what have you.

No matter. A fourth round FA Cup encounter with Championship side Wolves would get us back to winning ways, even if it is at Molineux:everton43Double hmph. It seems we just can’t hold a lead of late and, even more annoyingly, they outplayed us for much of the contest. We’ll have to do the deeds at Goodison instead.

I’m not tempting fate by saying “Blah blah we’ll beat Spurs blah” as I’m starting to learn that not everything is rosy in our camp… but I remain hopeful. We’re at home after all and beat them in north London back in October. What could possibly go wrong?everton44That. That’s what could go wrong. Uuuuurrrggggh.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 6

There’s an old Christmas carol – ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ – which may have been an apt song of choice as Everton thundered into the month of December.

Some decent form in the Premier League and on the continent had set us up nicely as the halfway stage of the season approached fast, but whether we could maintain that moving forward would determine if it would be a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays for all involved.

A monster trip down to the south coast lay in store with Bournemouth the first team who had the chance to make us want to consume all of our advent calendar chocolate in one go:everton30We’ll stick to the ‘one piece a day’ principle then. An even contest punctuated by two classy goals from two of our more senior attackers did the deeds and had us dreaming of continental football next term.

But that would have to wait as our final Europa League group game was next in line. An away day in the Russian capital would determine if we’d finish top and have a good draw in the last-32:everton31Good lads! A very, very promising away display and top spot in Group C was ours despite the fitting wintry weather. It’s a good job we won for those 425 hardy fans who made the journey, wasn’t it?

With European football done and dusted until February, our league position could be handed a mighty boost heading into the New Year. First up was a home clash with West Brom:everton32You know, I’m starting to enjoy these winning runs. We were handed all three points by some laughable Baggies defending – two own goals, really? – before Cenk Tosun put the gloss on a routine win at Goodison but we’ll take it.

Could Watford do what West Brom couldn’t and halt the Blue juggernaut in its quest for a top four berth? Magic ‘8’ ball says ‘not likely’, and it was proven right:everton33Again, it wasn’t vintage but we were doing enough. Second half strikes from Nikola Vlasic and Davy Klaassen ensuring we continued our stunning form of late and even pushed us into the heady Champions League qualification spots.

Only three days had passed yet again before a visit to the Liberty Stadium to take on struggling Swansea. Could we finally make it two wins out of two on the road?everton34Yes. The answer, finally is yes. A lacklustre first 45 – how many times have we said that? – made way for a terrific second period that led to a late triumph thanks to young attacking duo Sandro and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. We were up to third. Bloody third, lads!

But not for long. After an easy run of fixtures we were sent to the Etihad to endure our toughest league test for some time. And it didn’t exactly pan out well:everton35We really did our best but Manchester City completely blew us away. In truth they should have won by more and our attacking forays were about as regular as a bus replacement service when the train strikes are on.

Still, the chance to bounce back against Middlesbrough at home came on Boxing Day and might prove to be a lovely belated Christmas present for us all:everton36That’ll do nicely. Tosun and Theo Walcott back among the goals, a clean sheet and putting that City result to bed was definitely needed.

Before we saw 2017 out we faced a daunting game against Chelsea.. We weren’t at the races against City but, on home soil, I suspected we’d give a better account of ourselves:everton37We certainly give it a good go, but ultimately Willian’s first-half strike proved to be the difference. Still, fourth in the standings and in the next round of the Europa League and Christmas had indeed come at the right time.

Everton Football Manager 2018 Series: Episode 5

After an outstanding October, the bitter winds of November could have heralded something of a downturn in Everton’s fortunes.

The wind was certainly behind us and, with a Merseyside derby win fresh in the minds, it was time to take advantage of our confidence levels and continue to perform above expectations.

A trip to Sparta Prague was first up as we looked to book passage to the next round of the Europa League:everton24And the disappointment of failing to hold a lead away from home continues. We weren’t bad as the stats show but, ultimately, a goal on the stroke of half-time for our Czech opponents did enough to throw us off our game. Qualification for the last-32 would have to wait.

A draw away from home is never particularly a bad result, especially on the continent. Or when compared to this absolutely out-of-nowhere scoreline as we travelled to face a Leicester side struggling in the Premier League:everton25Go on, laugh it up. I certainly did. Once I’d stopped crying into my coffee and resisted the urge to launch my laptop from my bedroom window.

I’m still at a loss to explain why we were so bad. We genuinely couldn’t handle Kelechi Iheanacho or Jamie Vardy. I’m still having nightmares about them now.

We couldn’t out-battle the Foxes, but maybe we’d have more look against the Magpies. They’re much more squishable, right?everton26Right. The perfect response after a drab first half with super-sub Cenk Tosun showing his class against a team we should be beating – and did beat – on home turf.

Back to Europe and another chance to throw our name in the hat for the last-32 stage. Rosenborg secured an unlikely draw in our first encounter but, with a strong team out there, I had every expectation of securing a vital victory to all-but-confirm our progression:everton27Bish, bash and bosh. A stunning display of attacking verve, unrelenting tempo and clinical finishing -let’s not talk about our lack of clean sheet again eh? – ensured we’d at least finish runners-up in the group.

And still the games come. Another journey away from Merseyside, and this time our team bus trundled up to surprise top flight package Stoke City, who were lying in fourth at the time. Could we ‘do a Spurs’ and secure a priceless three points?everton28This is starting to smart. They weren’t lethal but we were second best throughout the game and deserved to fall to defeat. It’s not as if we were resting players either. A return to the drawing board for our away tactics was long overdue.

But that would have to wait as, a mere 72 hours later, Arsenal rolled into town. This would be a true test of our mettle. Beating the Gunners would surely send out a massive message to everyone else, despite our terrible record on the road:everton29What. The. Absolute. F*ck. Just take that screenshot. Take in all of its majesty, its awe and realism.

A quite amazing 25-minute hat-trick from Sandro blew the visitors away as we scored our first three main goalscoring opportunities and, in spite of the north Londoners’ valiant fightback – which did make me bite a few nails down to nothingness – a fourth for my Spanish hero and one for Gylfi Sigurdsson handed us the points.

A rollercoaster of a month brought to a close, it was time to draw breath before heading into the madness that was December. Though how much more crazy could it get? Wait, don’t answer that.