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astridv: (facepalm hawk)
Thursday, May 1st, 2014 11:42 pm
People who know me know that I’ve in the past spoken up against the denigration of female characters. Actually I’ve lost a good chunk of my LJ friends list over that issue, and I stand behind every word I said. But I don’t think that denigrating male characters is the answer to that problem. In my opinion, the answer lies in promoting fanworks about female characters. Writing fic. Drawing fanart. Reccing those works. Commenting. Exchanges. In calling out unfair character bashing. But I’m not going to choose between fangirling female characters and fangirling male ones. I want both. I need both in a canon in order to get really pulled in.

Is fandom seriously just capable of thinking in binary terms? No nuance, no context? I get backlash but it makes no sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and there’s a lot of that going on. Has been for years. It’s so unproductive.
astridv: (Default)
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 11:58 am
At least a dozen times in the past few weeks I came across the tired argument that "female characters are all so crappily written and the male ones are always so much better developed and interesting and that's why they get all the attention." I really wish these people could just own up to preferring guy characters, instead of defending their preferences by dissing the women in the same breath.

In light of this, I updated my collage No Interesting Female Characters My Ass with Sophie Devereaux, Parker, and Black Widow. Been meaning to do that for ages. Fuck you, fandom, these chicks are awesome.

(This is not a discussion post so if anyone feels compelled to drop in and make a case why any of them don't meet some criteria for awesome: keep it out of my journal. I had that discussion, at length; I won't any more.)
astridv: by <lj user="inkvoices"/lj> (avengers-natasha)
Sunday, August 5th, 2012 11:51 pm
Today's rec is one of the actual Marvel comic books because it's just. So gorgeous.
Black Widow: The Name of the Rose, written by Majorie Liu, art by Daniel Acuña

First of all, the artwork is stunning. Stun-ning! Every other page I stopped to just stare. Everything is flawless: anatomy, faces, backgrounds, action scenes, coloring... the lineart is deft and bold and the coloring harmonizes with it completely. I think it really shows that it was all done by just one artist. (Mind that the teaser was drawn by a different artist; Acuña's part starts about 10 pages in.)

Here, just take a look at some of these:
This: www.herebegeeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/prv5439_pg2.jpg, and this, and one more. And this one.

And the story doesn't disappoint either: Natasha gets framed in a particularly nasty way, and finds herself cut off from her allies while she tries to clear her name. There's a bit of her relationship with the Winter Soldier which (as a card-carrying Nat/Clint shipper) I don't much care for, but it's only in the background and rather nicely done, in a way that showcases her character. Like everything in this comic, really. She's such a well-rounded individual... tough, capable, lethal, ruthless if necessary and still, so utterly human.

I mean, I'm very much in love with the movie version of Black Widow and part of why I love her is that she's just a regular human; but her comics counterpart here is so compelling that I had no problem connecting with this version of her, with the genetic modifications and the backstory dating back to WWII.

I wish I remember where I read the rec for this because I'd like to read more where this came from.
astridv: (Default)
Saturday, August 4th, 2012 12:41 am
Christmas in St. Petersburg by [archiveofourown.org profile] Amerou
Cint/Natasha; PG-13; backstory; 5449 words
Summary: Agent Clint Barton, codename Hawkeye, is sent to kill a target known only as the Black Widow - but Clint makes a different call.
I particularly like the atmosphere of this story. Snippet:
This is how Clint Barton ends up perched on the tar roof of a warehouse on Christmas Eve, huddled in his layers with an inadequate heating pad beneath him to keep off the frostbite, snow settling on his modified hunter's blind, his bow coated in resin to keep it from icing over as he listens to distant bells toll midnight out across the darkened city. The plaza of buildings beneath him is dark, snow sifting across the tile and concrete and lending the whole scene a sense of calm and waiting, as if the world itself expects Santa Claus to be flying over at any minute, and damned if the land won't be as picturesque as possible for a cityscape when he does.

I'm reading Black Widow: The Name Of The Rose right now: it's really very good. The artwork is stunning. I have to make a proper post about it when I've finished it.
astridv: (Default)
Sunday, July 29th, 2012 03:21 pm
Mr. & Mrs. Barton (Or, Why Natasha Sends Jennifer Aniston an Annual Apologetic Fruit Basket) by [livejournal.com profile] kuhori_rei
Natasha/Clint; NC-17; AU/humor/romance/spy antics; 13763 words
Summary: Five years before they meet as Hawkeye and the Black Widow, they meet as Clint and Natasha. There is a romance, a marriage, and then, predictably, everything goes absolutely to hell, and Clint still thinks they should be getting royalty money from the DVD sales of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. (Or: boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get married. Boy and girl neglect to do background checks.)

This fic is totally delightful; charming and romantic (not to mention hot). The plot of Mr. and Mrs. Smith fits beautifully for these characters.
astridv: (Default)
Thursday, July 26th, 2012 10:58 pm
Amateur Theatrics by [archiveofourown.org profile] galaxysoup
Gen; PG-13; team & Loki; 26586 words
Summary: In which Thor’s primary problem-solving method (a mighty blow from Mjolnir) fails to have the desired effect on a magical artifact, and his secondary method (a mightier blow from Mjolnir) proves to be actively disastrous.

Bodyswap hijinks with fun team interaction and a cool plot. The ending veered a teensy bit close to Loki apologism for my taste but still, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, including kid!Loki.

with your progress stretched out for miles by [livejournal.com profile] abvj
Sophie/Nate; genre: backstory/character study/romance; PG-13; 30,353 words
Summary: Sophie Devereaux from age eleven onward. Some years were better to her than others. (Or, alternatively: my love letter to Sophie Devereaux.)

A beautiful character study that does these messed-up characters and their far-from-fairytale relationship justice.

MI4: Ghost Protocol
The Runner by [archiveofourown.org profile] x_art
Brandt/Ethan, Benji, Jane; Rating ~R; 15681 words
“As I was saying, I was just joking.”
Ethan gave him a long, searching look. “And I’m not. This is the mission, should you—”
He waved away the words. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” He knew his big mouth would get him into trouble sooner or later, but sooner seemed a hell of a lot, well, sooner.

Anybody got recs for humor team fic? I don't read Natasha or Clint paired with other characters or Loki/anyone - other than that I'm a happy multishipper, and Gen's of course great too. Also looking for Fury and Hill. (I can't wait till AO3 becomes tag-searchable.)
astridv: (Default)
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 12:09 am
Two fills from the Clint/Natasha Promptathon, which is made of rainbows and puppies and assassins with a dark and intertwined past.
Six Cities That Are Not Budapest by [archiveofourown.org profile] igrockspock
2356 words; PG-13
Summary: Natasha and Clint try to figure out what normal people do on vacation, with varying degress of success.

Slippery Slope by [livejournal.com profile] jacedesbff
Word Count: approx. 1800 + pictures; Rating: PG
Summary: Inspired by the prompt, “The psych department or person assigned to Natasha when she joins SHIELD complains a lot about stupid things in Natasha's opinion, like the fact that her room/s at SHIELD/the hellicarrier aren't 'personlised'. Clint tries to help her out by sticking a poster up, a movie poster or something, Natasha retaliates, and then The Great Wall Covering War is on. Their walls become covered with funny posters, rude ones, meaningful, postcards they bring back...then maybe ticket stubs, maps, scraps, memories... “

And a longer one... 'cause sometimes what you need is 10k words' worth of fluff, just saying. :)
The Observable Universe by [archiveofourown.org profile] sarea
9919 words; characters: Jane, Natasha/Clint and the rest of the team; PG-13
Summary: As an astrophysicist, Jane studies the observable universe for work, but in her free time what she likes to study is a bit closer to home. (Or: Jane has a low tolerance for stupidity. Clint and Natasha take exception to being called stupid.)
Author's Notes: Or... 5 times Jane saw Natasha do something mundane (and one time she saw her do something extraordinary). Or... the Avengers drink. A lot. Or... almost 10K words' worth of fluff, I do what I want.
astridv: (Default)
Monday, July 23rd, 2012 09:07 pm
the highest reaches of human endeavor by [livejournal.com profile] kuhori_rei
Natasha/Clint; NC-17; 2450 words
Summary: Clint and Natasha are never awkward. Except for when they are. (Or, five times Clint and Natasha screw up during sex, and one time they really just don’t care.)

MI4: Ghost Protocol:
Countdown by [archiveofourown.org profile] Desdemon
William Brandt/Ethan Hunt and team; spy antics with kissing; 2761 words
The mission is not just politically sensitive, or personally dangerous - it also sounds so crazy that Brandt would suspect a practical joke if Ethan didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would just murder whoever he was irritated with instead. There’s an Iranian prince’s body double, one half of the recipe for a chemical weapon, a train hand-off in Kazakhstan, and a Dutch contact of Ethan's whom Brandt is expected to meet with in fourteen hours. In the Netherlands. Oh, and a guaranteed international incident should any of them get caught.

But it doesn’t matter. Brandt said yes, and he knows that if Ethan asks him for anything else, he’ll say yes to that, too.

Laid Bare by [archiveofourown.org profile] Zinnith
Gen; PG-13; characters: Casey & Jason; genre: Partnership, h/c; 2236 words
Summary: "Look, Beaumont, it's just the flu and he's a grown man--I don't think you need someone to watch him during your shift."
"Casey--just get over here. I'll explain when you get here."
astridv: (Default)
Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 11:21 am
Near-Death Experience with a Side of Shawarma by [archiveofourown.org profile] Zinnith
Gen; PG-13; characters: Tony, Bruce and team; 2549 words
Summary: The battle is over and Tony is fine. Really, he is.

The Blood On Her Hands by [archiveofourown.org profile] Maxiekat
Gen; characters: Natasha, Clint and Fury; 2951 words
Summary: Agent Barton was sent to Russia to take out an assassin known as The Black Widow. When he starts to question his orders, he offers her an option to come with him instead, but before she can make up her mind, all hell breaks loose and they're fighting for their lives.

The Unusuals
dinner plans by [archiveofourown.org profile] handyhunter
Gen; rated G; ensemble fic; 2352 words
Summary: Eddie Alvarez knew better, he really did. He told himself to count to ten, to ignore it, take the high road... “Where is my desk?” he demanded.

Hee. This is spot on, feels like the show... only way shorter. (If I found a fic just like this one, but as long as an actual episode - I might spontaneously combust with happiness.)
astridv: (Default)
Friday, July 20th, 2012 12:19 pm
can't carve a whistle by [archiveofourown.org profile] irnan
Gen; Maria Hill & team; smidgeon of Maria/Steve; 3564 words
Summary: Maria Hill's never found it easy to explain why she became a SHIELD agent, but she knows why she stays one.

Very intriguing character dynamics; I dig Maria's perspective on the Avengers and her neverending arguments with Steve.
(I heard rumors that in movies to come Maria Hill will take Coulson's place as liaison to the Avengers - I so hope that's true!)

Give A Girl A Moment And She'll Take You For All You've Got by [archiveofourown.org profile] tielan
Gen; Rated M (for violence maybe?); characters: Maria, Natasha, Pepper, Jane, Darcy. Also Clint, Tony, Steve, Bruce
Summary: Coulson had once made the observation that Darcy Lewis’ ability to beg, bribe, or bully people into her plans was almost a superpower in and of itself.
Considering she was walking down a tattered Tribeca street with four women she either barely knew or didn’t socialise with for drinks on a Friday night, Maria could well believe it.

Girls Night Out...

The Unusuals:
Stays a Secret Between Me and Me by [archiveofourown.org profile] BlackEyedGirl, 1675 words
It’s not that Casey is jealous of Beaumont, or that she’s ever seriously thought about Walsh that way. He’s her partner and Casey knows too many of his bad habits to ever think about him romantically. She’s tried his experimental cookery, for one thing. But before Beaumont, there was always a possibility that one night the two of them might get drunk and stupid in the diner after work, and Casey is just a little curious to know what that would go like. It seems like it might have been fun.
And, if you haven't watched the show yet but are curious what it's like: here are two clips I found on Youtube that give an idea of the quirkiness factor. The second one comes with extended Jeremy Renner shirtlessness. You're welcome. :)
"This" conversation , Walsh-Eddie scene
astridv: (Default)
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 06:56 pm
Apophasis by [archiveofourown.org profile] workerbee73 (Avengers)
Natasha/Clint; PG-13; romance/friendship/partnership with backstory; 4364 words
Summary: Past and present collide in a village outside Novgorod. A story of endings and beginnings.

And one more Unusuals fic. I'm down to one unwatched ep. Why did they have to cancel this show? I wish there was more fic.
Five Pranks and One Time Walsh had Feelings by [archiveofourown.org profile] prettyasadiagram (The Unusuals)
gen; Casey, Jason and ensemble; 1715 words
Summary: The first time Casey met Jason Walsh, she was still in her hooker garb, tottering around on spindly heels. To her surprise, there was no leering, no “accidental” groping, just Walsh throwing her his jacket—New York nights are cold, but there was no way she’d wear that fur coat monstrosity around other cops—with a sardonic, “You always dress like that?” And that was that.
astridv: (Default)
Monday, July 16th, 2012 10:58 am
To stay on theme with yesterday's post, I have The Unusuals fic recs. :o) Talk about a tiny target group... but well, I read this one last night and it's so amazing, I gotta rec it:

Lies to Buy Myself Some Time by [archiveofourown.org profile] k8andrewz (The Unusuals)
Jason/Casey; NC-17; friendship/romance, post-canon; 17703 words
Summary: Crime happens. The perps are strange. He's got a thing for his partner. He keeps it a secret.

and this one's very cute and friendshippy:
the delicate art of partnercare by topaz
Casey/Davis, Jason/Beaumont; PG-13; humor/friendship; 1839 words
Summary: "Wait, wait," Casey says into her cell. "Say what you just said again."
"Come on, Schraeger, keep up here," Walsh answers. "I said, I need you to do me a favor and go by that high-end sex shop over in Soho and buy me a vibrator."
astridv: (Default)
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 07:06 pm
Fearful Passage by [archiveofourown.org profile] rayruz
Clint/Natasha (and background team); PG-13; genre: mission fic; 13636 words
Summary: When Clint and Natasha are sent on a mission in South America, things take a tragic turn for the worst. But is everything exactly as it seems or is there more to the story?

Hard to find the words to describe this one. Like... this story punched me in the gut and then took my heart to stomp on it, and I mean that in the best possible way. It felt incredibly intense, I couldn't tear my eyes off the page.
astridv: by <lj user="inkvoices"/lj> (avengers-natasha)
Monday, July 9th, 2012 11:34 am
"The costumes and characters of The Avengers" has been updated with a section on Black Widow and Hawkeye.

With a side order of commentary on the sexism in the reactions to Johansson's character. It makes me sad (and angry) that her character needs to be defended, again, but what do you wanna do. Anyway, yesterday I read that ScarJo has been offered a decent amount of cash to return for Avengers II and I so hope it's more than a rumor. And the haters can kindly slink off to the left.
astridv: (Default)
Thursday, July 5th, 2012 11:38 pm
Another take on Widow and Hawk's backstory that I particularly liked: Ashes, a series of three fics by [archiveofourown.org profile] SugarFey. Natasha-centric but Clint plays a significant part.

Gen; PG-13; 1030 words
Summary: She's been turned upside down and inside out so often she doesn't know who she is anymore, but she knows who she wants to be.

A Walk On Part in the War
PG-13; hint of N/C subtext; 2050 words
Summary: She's stopped running for now, but past sins always catch up.

World On Fire
PG-13; Natasha/Clint; Warnings: allusions to child abuse and rape; 2171 words
Summary: He first sees her from a rooftop in St Petersburg in the light of an inferno.

Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] be_compromised*: Why I Ship Hawkwidow - A Powerpoint Presentation
Heeh :)
*actually quite a few of my recs are snagged from that comm. Great place for all your Hawk&Black Widow needs

In other news, I now have a tumblr. Actually, turns out I already had a tumblr and forgot I'd made it. Facepalming a little, here. My name over there is astrid-v but if you're following me here there's probably nothing interesting to see over there. I just plan to use it to crosspost some of my fanart.
astridv: (Default)
Saturday, June 30th, 2012 02:42 pm
Indebted by [archiveofourown.org profile] sablier_bloque
Clint/Natasha; NC-17; origin/action/friendship/romance; 14312 words
Author's warnings: mentions of underage rape, and there is a scene where an underaged Natasha uses a sexual act for an ulterior motive, but there is no underage sex between Clint and Natasha
Summary: Clint Barton is sent to kill a young girl named Natalia Romanova. He makes a different call.

This story is amazing. Slightly different take from what I've read before, in that Natasha is 14 when Clint is sent to kill her. Someone else compared her to Hanna from the movie, and yeah, it's a bit like that (only a lot better handled IMO). The way the story deals with Natasha's young age (and the age difference between her and Clint) always feels credible and realistic and I love her growth as a person and the progression of her relationship with Clint, the growth of trust and loyalty between them.

Seriously, if you're not in love with the character already, you will be after this.
astridv: (Default)
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 11:51 pm
another great take on the Budapest scenario:
Two Truths and a Lie by [archiveofourown.org profile] hannasus
Natasha/Clint; PG-13; budapest, backstory; 11572 words
Summary: Clint and Natasha remember Budapest very differently.

This fic has a shorter prequel of sorts, Clemency, which is also really good:
Gen; origin fic; 1672 words
Summary: "Agent Barton was sent to kill me. He made a different call."
“The target just flipped me off, sir.”
“I think that means she likes you,” was Coulson’s deadpan reply.

vid rec: The Avengers Intro - Firefly Style
astridv: (Default)
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 09:20 pm
Five Dates Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff Absolutely Positively Did Not Go On (and One They Did) by [livejournal.com profile] workerbee73
Natasha/Clint; 6 chapters, complete
Summary: The banter-laden, UST-filled adventures of two assassins in love. And denial.

This put me in a happy mood. :) I love the UST and the banter, the spy mission backdrops, and the slow build-up of their epic friendship/bromance/relationship. The pacing is just right. Perfect.

vid rec: The Avengers | Remember the Name
team; 1:19 min
This makes a cool trailer/recruiter vid.
astridv: (Default)
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 11:28 pm
Five Times Pepper Took Care of the Avengers and One Time They Took Care of Her [archiveofourown.org profile] SidheRa
Gen with canon pairings; Pepper & team; 4319 words
Bruce and the Amazing Technicolor Snot Wad or, In Which the Hulk Gets Sick. After which the virus takes down the rest of the team one by one. Quite adorable teamfic with an awesome Pepper.

Four Times Pepper Considered Quitting and the One Time She Actually Said It by [livejournal.com profile] seren_ccd (Iron Man movieverse)
Gen; PG; 4520 words
“No one would blame you if you quit,” a little voice in her head told her.
She turned on the computer and clicked on the Inbox. 853 unread messages received in the last 48 hours.
“Really. It would be a totally okay thing to quit,” the little voice continued. “He thought you were a hooker!”

vid rec: Avengers (Multi-Fandom) - Run This Town
Love this song, love the editing.
astridv: by <lj user="inkvoices"/lj> (avengers-natasha)
Sunday, June 24th, 2012 01:43 pm
Congratulations on Your Birthday by [archiveofourown.org profile] ashen_key
Gen; Natasha backstory; 3100 words
Summary: Between an ordinary little Russian girl living with her parents and an ex-Soviet assassin-turned-Avenger living in America are thirty-one birthdays, each celebrated (or not) a different way.

The Bad Job by [archiveofourown.org profile] marlowe78
Gen; Rated M for mature/triggery themes; Eliot-centric teamfic with Nate POV; genre: casefic/character study; 29309 words
Warnings (highlight to read): mentions of child pornografie and child abuse; rape (of an adult, non-graphic, chapter in question has trigger warning.)
Summary: Sometimes, bad guys make the best good guys. And sometimes, the path they tread is dirty and wrong. Sometimes, you have to wonder how far you are prepared to go...

This is a gripping, well-plotted casefic that could have been an episode except it goes darker than the show would be willing or able to go, I think. It's an exploration of Eliot's character that they so far haven't done, and I'd been wondering before if they haven't done it yet because it can't easily be done honestly and still be in tune with the general more lighthearted mood of the show. Nate says in the story: The thing is, we all like him. We all try to ignore the big, deadly tiger in the room. But we all know it's a tiger, we just like to pretend it's a tabby.