Since the first Mortal Kombat game came out in arcades in the early 1990s, I’ve been a huge fan. The series had its bad moments, but in my opinion has redeemed itself and more with its last installment “Mortal Kombat (9)”. Though I enjoyed Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe a few years ago, I found it lacking that true darkness that this particular fighting franchise has had. Needless to say, when they announced the upcoming Injustice Gods Among Us game, I was ecstatic.
I did have questions however. What was going to make hero characters such as Superman become downright violent and in some cases evil? Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait until the April release of the game to discover this partially. DC comics and Midway teamed up and released a prequel comic, that had me grinning like a true fan of both DC comics and Mortal Kombatverse.
I am going to review the comic here, and it will have SPOILERS. Regardless of whether you actually read the spoilers or not, I recommend picking up the issue just for the fact that the cover art is downright amazing. I also won’t touch on some minor details in the issue, which are worth seeing. That being said, let’s begin.
The first page begins in Gotham City. Batman is watching this now crimeless town, but not how he had wanted it to be. This city is villain free because it is ruled by a regime created by Superman. To explain this better, the scene cuts to five years ago, where our issue truly begins. Clark and Lois discover that she is pregnant with his super child. There is some classic Lois and Clark banter here, which makes it feel “right.”
Parting ways, Lois goes to investigate a story, while Superman finds Batman in Metropolis. As the two meet on the rooftop, Batman being the world’s greatest detective figures out that Lois is pregnant. Superman also asks Batman something from the bottom of his heart that makes even the Dark Knight smile. This interaction was done perfectly. It truly showed the human sides of these characters, and that although they disagree at times, they are truly friends.
Switch scenes to where Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are following a supposed contact. The contact turns out to be the Joker (along with Harley Quinn). Joker pulls a gun out and literally puts a bullet in Jimmy Olsen’s head. Yes, that’s right. In this alternate universe, Joker kills Jimmy, and when Superman arrives, he is distraught. The blood and Jimmy’s body are enough to make him upset, but finding out that Lois has been kidnapped by the clown prince of crime and his sociopath girlfriend drives him into a panic. He begs Batman to help him find Lois.
Bats, realizing that this is not a situation checks out Star Labs, and discovers that a small trace of Kryptonite has been stolen. He then calls in the Justice League: Green Arrow, Cyborg, Wonderwoman, Green Lantern and Flash. Flash finds the body of Jonathan Crane (aka Scarecrow) with Joker’s grin on his face.
Superman and Wonderwoman find a submarine where Joker and Harley are holding Lois. As Superman enters, her sees that Doomsday is there as well. As he begins to struggle with the massive monster, Joker and Harley escape to the docks. The League stops the nefarious couple, and while Superman is in epic battle with Doomsday, Joker explains to Batman. He operated on Lois, and the nuclear warhead from the sub is now linked to her heartbeat. Oh, he also grins and says, “Did you know she was pregnant?” Batman punches him in the face and realizes the horror of what he said.
The fear serum from Scarecrow and Kryptonite combined could…. Yes, that’s right, Superman thinks he is fighting Doomsday. As he flies the creature in to outer space, Doomsday’s heart stops, and a nuke goes off. In that final second, Superman realizes he was beating Lois, and that Doomsday was never there. The issue ends with Joker smiling, the league distraught, Superman emotionally and mentally scarred for life, and a nuclear explosion.
End SPOILERS. My thoughts on this issue. 1) the artwork, though lacking in many areas is acceptable because of the redesigned characters. 2) dialogue and script for the pages are probably the best that they could be, and this is a good thing. 3) we now know why there would be a fighting game based on this story, and why superman would be a threat in the future. 4) It set the tone for the game, and though there are unanswered questions, I am now anticipating the game even more.
Sure, this is a different story altogether from the comics that we know, but that is what makes it interesting. No one is coming back from the dead here. People die and stay dead, so the stakes are raised. I give the comic 8 out of 10 stars. The only reason that I don’t give it 10 is because of the artwork. It isn’t bad art, but for some reason it screams too cartoony for me for such a dark issue. Call me “sold.”
So far, the list of characters released in game for Injustice Gods Among us includes: Aquaman, Bane, Batman, Catwoman, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Doomsday, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Joker, Nightwing, Shazam, Solomon Grundy, Superman, and Wonderwoman. There will also be more characters released as it comes closer, as well as 3 already announced DLC packs that will give new outfits and extra missions.
What are your thoughts on this franchise? I’d love to hear your input.
Where do I begin? I had the opportunity to see an early release of Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. If you have been with me for a few months, you may have caught my review of the first part. In that review, I gave it many compliments and more than my seal of approval. So what did I think of the second part? There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you want to judge for yourself, skip down to the last paragraph for my spoiler free rating.
I’m not sure what happened with this, but it is definitely a case of “the sequel didn’t stand up to the standards the first one set.” Voice casting was horrible. I still enjoyed Peter Weller as an older Batman, and even the Joker had his moments, but overall it was nothing to write home about.
Portrayal of the Joker was wonderful, aside from the fact that he barely laughed. He was a psychotic maniac killer with no remorse. Other than him though, everything was wrong (and like I said, the voice could have been better – he’s no Mark Hamill).
The story begins with Batman disguised as an old hag in a store. A thug boss named Bruno robs a convenience store. Bruno was drawn horribly. The design was terrible. She wore no shirt with only swastikas over her nipples, and looked like a man. In fact, every female in this cartoon looked transgendered. At the same time, most of the men could have been drag queens. I’m not sure why this was done, but it was annoying. So Batman as the old hag takes out the goons and Bruno, but for some reason never takes a second to remove his old lady disguise. hmmm. Wierd at that.
Then we get to a scene with Clark Kent meeting with Bruce Wayne. Of course Clark hasn’t aged because he is Superman, while Wayne is old. Anyway, Clark is standing on a hill with an eagle on his arm and his shirt unbuttoned. Hair blowing in the wind, this iconic pose makes him closely resemble Fabio more than the hero he is. It is so cheesy, it forced me to shake my head. At the same time, Clark is now working for the President of the United States. By the way, this story is taking place in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan as president. President Reagan’s portrayal is downright awful. From voice acting to design to seeming like a dimwit, it is off on all accounts and downright offensive for some viewers I’m sure.
Finally, we get to a great scene. When the Joker appears on a television talk show, he murders everyone there. I can’t express how great this scene was, and you really get the feel for who the Joker really is. On another note, Batman is a fugitive and facing off against the Gotham City Police Department. On the roof of the building where the murders are happening, the real heroes can’t work together for five minutes, and they just leave the scene without investigating below. Oh, did I mention that Gotham police department is terrible. They can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and never catch their targets.
Apparently Selina Kyle, who is old and obese at this point, is running an escort service. Her cameo here was a little misplaced, but nice to see. While the GCPD is more focused on taking down Batman, he is chasing Joker into a tunnel of love. The amusement park sees its share of death. Joker killing everyone by shooting everything that moves is awesome. Robin’s battle, though short lived, with Joker’s goon ends greatly as well.
Now we get to the battle between Joker and Bats. When Joker gets a batarang in his eyeball, he barely flinches. No pain at all for some reason, and he continues on as if he were wearing an eye patch. At the end of the battle, Batman breaks Joker’s neck, but it doesn’t kill him, it only paralyzes him. Somehow even though he can’t move, Joker manages to finish himself off by making his own neck break sideways. Batman burns his body and is losing his grip on who his is because Joker stabbed him a dozen times in the stomach.
BATMAN SHOULD BE DEAD! but somehow he is immortal and manages to live only to fight Superman a few days later. That’s right I said Superman. After being caught in a nuclear explosion (the animation here is amazing by the way), Superman has not fully recovered. Bats and Supes duke it out, and with a little help by Green Arrow (who now has one arm), Batman beats Superman.
There is a lot I’m leaving out here, because the build up to this moment is great, but I’m not sure how he can even stand against the man of steel since his guts are still sewn together. Ridiculous and useless fight that proved only that Batman is still a force with which to be reckoned.
What really gets me is that Alfred dies of a stroke, which makes sense, and the Wayne manor is burned to the ground. Oh, Bruce Wayne also dies of a heart attack, but at his funeral we find out he faked his death. Not sure how he did this cause it doesn’t explain it. In the end, Wayne, Robin, Oliver Queen and the leftover mutants from part one build a new hideout/cave underground as a Bat-army.
SPOILERS ENDED. Okay, so I skipped a lot of detail, but didn’t want to waste any more of my time talking about something that really disappointed me. Bruce Timm in my opinion is the king of superhero animation, but sadly this interpretation of the graphic novel is not worth the time. Granted, this is only my opinion, but I’m a HUGE fan of ALL the DC animation series and films, and this one has officially replaced “All Star Superman” as the worst one yet. So here I sit, disappointed in something I had very high hopes for. I still recommend checking out part one, but with my rating of 3 out of 10 stars, I can’t say many great things about part 2. Please chime in with your thoughts if you check this one out.
I’ll admit. My familiarity with the 2000 A.D. comic book character, Judge Dredd, is not a lot. Before watching this movie, I did a little research to try to get a feel for the characters themselves. When the movie Judge Dredd came out in the 90s, I went to see it because I’m a huge Stallone fan. That being said, other than some cheesy entertainment, that film was very subpar to what I felt a comic book movie should be.
When they announced Karl Urban would be playing the title character in a 2012 remake (completely unassociated with the Stallone movie) I was both excited and worried. I feel that Karl Urban is one of the best actors out there today, and I knew he could pull off the role. What had me worried was that people would remember the movie from the 90s and associate that with this new one. Apparently that happened in the U.S.. Overseas, Dredd made a decent amount of money for what it was. Here, in the States, it flopped. Unfortunately, that is sad, and after watching this movie, I realize that it didn’t get a fair shot.
To begin this review, I will warn that there WILL BE SPOILERS! If you want my thoughts without spoilers, scroll down to the last paragraph. When I saw the trailers, they honestly didn’t do much for me. Even up until the moment I went to watch this movie last night, I had concerns. I’m glad that I didn’t read too far into them.
Let’s begin with the casting. I’ve already mentioned Karl Urban and my thoughts on him. His performance was Judge Dredd, from what I know. Lena Headey as the villain Ma-Ma was completely believable. I enjoy Headey’s work, and don’t think that a better person could have been chosen for the role. Some minor castings that were notable were Wood Harris as Kay and Domhnall Gleeson as a computer techie. Harris was not very impressive in his performance, but there were a few moments where he was decent. Gleeson on the other hand was extremely creepy, and deserves credit for pulling off the role well.
The most impressive of performances, and one that I feel carried the movie was Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson. Maybe it was the fact that her character had psychic abilities, so she was forced to have more emotion, but the wave of positions she took in the movie was impressive. She had a compassionate side, a disturbed side, and definitely proved to be a badass when she needed to be.
Plot decisions: The story chosen for this movie was a smart move. Instead of going with an origin, they went with a typical day in the life story, which skipped all of the nonsense that we didn’t need to see. The voiceover by Karl Urban in the beginning is all of the back story we need for this film.
Having Dredd and Anderson in a locked down building with thousands of people targeting them (or having reason to) was an instant burst of adrenaline and palm sweating material. The whole time you had to wonder how the hell they were going to survive. My only real complaint is that when the four “bad” judges showed up toward the end, they didn’t seem like much competition for Anderson or Dredd. I also felt that when Dredd and Anderson both got shot, it was too easy of a repair. The blood lost didn’t even weaken our heroes.
Visual and Sound effects: Wow! That is all I really have to say. Mega City One was amazing. Not many movies can pull of 3D or slow motion. In fact, I feel that those two effects are way overused in movies as a gimmick. Most of the time, it doesn’t even work right. Dredd pulls it off. Of course, the slow mo was used more in the drug induced scenes, which made it have a purpose. The gore factor also gave it a realistic feel as well. You know Dredd is dealing with criminals with complete disregard for human life, and he is there to judge them appropriately. If this movie didn’t have the blood and guts, there would be no point in making it, because it wouldn’t be believable.
The sound was also notable in that I don’t think it could have been mixed any better or planned differently to make it more impressive.
SPOILERS END HERE with final thoughts. Dredd is FAR underrated. The way it ended made me want more, and I hope that a sequel is greenlit. If you haven’t seen it, and are a comic book or action film fan, then check it out. If you still are unsure, then let me put it this way. ROBOCOP + THE PUNISHER + MAD MAX + better plot = DREDD. I definitely believe that in 2012 it ranks right up there with The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, and in fact surpassing the latter in some aspects. For 2013, I’m redoing my ratings, so instead of a scale of 1-10, I’ll rate things on a five scale. Dredd gets 4 out of 5 sCrypt seals of approval in my opinion. Chime in with your thoughts below!
At the end of every year, the media plays a montage of famous people who have died that year. I decided to put together a little list of characters in comics that died this year. Of course, with comic books, characters often never stay dead, but they still deserve mention. Unless of course it is sCrypt Comics, because whoever we kill STAYS Dead… :) Here is the list. If you have any others that you can think of, please list them below. (information aqcuired through wikipedia)
In DC Comics:
Boodikka was killed by the corrupted Alpha Lantern, Varix, in Green Lantern Corps Vol 3 #12
In Marvel Comics:
Black Talon was shot in the chest by The Punisher in The Punisher vol 8 #11
Daken was killed by his father, Wolverine, in Uncanny X-Force #34
Death Adder had his neck broken by Venom in Venom Vol 2 #20
Demolition Man was killed by a brainwashed Sharon Carter in Captain America vol 6 #14
Echo was killed by Count Nefaria in Moon Knight vol 4 #9
Fantomex had his heart ripped out by Skinless Man in Uncanny X-Force #27
Gateway had his neck broken by Ultimaton in Uncanny X-Force #27
Hybrid was shot by Eddie Brock in Venom vol 2 #15
Mandarin was killed by Zeke Stane in Invincible Ironman #526
Master Of The World had been killed by Alpha Flight in Alpha Flight vol 4 #8
Megatak was killed by Toxin in Venom vol 2 #21
Professor X was killed by a Phoenix Force possessed Cyclops in Avengers vs Xmen #11
Scream was stabbed in the head by Eddie Brock in Venom vol 2 #15
Ultimate William Stryker was killed when Kitty Pryde phased through his organs in Ultimate Comics X-Men #6
In the sCrypt Comics Universe (includes the novels):
S.H.A.N.E. 2.0 had his body destroyed in Souls 4 Supper the novel
Fox, Liz Powers, & Snake were all killed by terrorists in Souls 4 Supper the novel
Detective Hwong committed suicide in Souls 4 Supper the novel
The Lycan Queen was killed in an alternate future story called “What If…” in Bones At Breakfast: In Case Of Werewolf
Hector Alvarez died of starvation in the short story “Salty Dog” in Bones At Breakfast: In Case Of Werewolf
Pandora, Gilgamesh, Simeon and Miriam had their souls devoured by Cain in Souls 4 Supper the novel
Djinn was crushed out of existence in Souls 4 Supper the novel
Zed was destroyed by a house fire in Souls 4 Supper the novel
The moment in Smallville history that I’ve waited eleven years to see has finally arrived. So the question is, was it worth it? Here is a breakdown and review of issues #5-8 of the Smallville Season 11 comic, that make up episode 2. This review will be FILLED WITH SPOILERS. Here we go.
The episode begins with Lois and Clark in a playful bedroom setting in the Fortress of Solitude. As I mentioned in the previous review, I love how they captured Lois’ personality, and Clark’s slightly more serious side. He is so focused on his work as Superman, that he sometimes doesn’t realize how vacant toward their relationship he can sometimes be.
Meanwhile in Gotham city, a group of thugs is in negotiations with Intergang. While waiting for their meeting, they get their asses handed to them by Nightwing. The hero takes down the whole high tech weapon armed group single handedly, but as one man flees, he is stopped by The Batman himself, and Bats wants answers. Here is what I think. Gotham city is drawn the way it should be. It’s rainy and dark, and looks like scumbags would be running the streets. When Batman speaks, I can hear Christian Bale’s barking voice. The way the artists made the word bubbles show that he is growling in his darker tone. It works very well for this comic too. The action and way that Batman and Nightwing take down the group feels just like Batman. Here are the differences… Batman and Nightwing are wearing slightly different attire than what we are used to seeing, but it is close enough to the source material to still be true and exciting. At first I had an issue with Nightwing not being Dick Grayson or Robin not being Batman’s sidekick, but I actually don’t mind it now. Barbara Gordon is the one behind the Nightwing mask. I like this for the mere fact that it gives Batman a counterpart, and adds to the variety of interactions he has to deal with.
After a brief showing of Lex and Otis speaking at Luthorcorp, and Lois at the Daily Planet, Superman discovers that a thug’s laser weaponry was manufactured by Luthorcorp. The writers brought back Detective Dan Turpin for a few frames, and then we are brought to a lunch meeting between Lex and Bruce Wayne. The wealthy business men are discussing Waynetech’s building of a Supercollider in Antarctica, which he is looking for partners. When Lex declines, they are both relieved. Barbara and Otis sit at an adjacent table eavesdropping on the conversation. I love the business meeting, as it was necessary to explain why Bats would be in Metropolis, even though he was there to track intergang’s weapons to the same source Superman found. What I don’t know about is how they portray Barbara here. We know Otis is a loof, but they almost have Barbara as a little quirky and goofy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just seemed off in this setting. Not to mention, they don’t explain who she is to Mr. Wayne. Is she just another woman he is using as arm candy? We don’t get to find out because Superman interrupts the lunch to discuss his findings with Luthor.
A small cameo by another Smallville/DC character in his jail cell is shown, and then Batman is interrogating Bruno Manheim in a different jail altogether. Superman appears to show his distaste for Batman’s methods, but Batman is prepared with a defense. Yes, his chest emblem is harnessing red sun energy. The Dark Knight won’t have interference, and cracks the Man of Steel in his jaw, sending him sprawling on the floor. —-end part 1
Begin part 2—–The cover for this comic is definiely world’s finest at its best, but what is inside is better. Chloe and Oliver briefly discuss the Earth 2 issue, and are still trying to figure out what is coming. I have to say, this is killing me. They are talking about this Crisis, and I know I will have to wait for months to find out the answer. As long as they keep teasing it little by little, I’m fine, but I really wish they would just publish the whole episode in 1 large part instead of 4 that lasts for months.
Batman and Superman are still duking it out, but it seems to be more of a test on both their parts as they don’t really try to hurt each other. Batman uses kryptonite centered batarangs and his red sun effect to even the odds. As the battle escalates to the rooftop, Superman discovers what the fight really is about. Batman uses it as a distraction. He wanted Manheim to escape, so that Nightwing could pursue. A quick reference to Checkmate in a few frames, and the Batwing overhead get the fanboy in me going, but even better than the World’s finest duel is when Oliver shows up to take on Nightwing. I won’t spoil how that battle goes, but it is worth seeing.
When Superman successfully interrogates Manheim, where Batman could not, the Bat is impressed. He is shown here in the batwing with nightwing, and apparently when he has his mask off, Batman paints the lower half of his face with black makeup in this version. It makes his cowl appear all the darker. I’m not sure how I feel about this either. I get it, but what if Wayne had to show up really quick after a battle. Does Batman really have time to put on makeup and take it off during transitions? I doubt it.
We get a few pages of non costumed interaction, which fills in the minor plotlines nicely. This is probably one of the best parts of this issue as far as story goes. Okay, well that is until Superman and Batman meet again on a rooftop (I won’t spoil how Bats knows to meet there). When the two agree that their methods are different, but they will work together, an epic handshake seals the deal.
Oliver further investigates Lex for some harassing emails that he is getting from him. Little does he know that Tess is still in Lex’s subconscious attempting these methods of communications.
As Joe Chill, who is old, in a wheelchair and needs an oxygen tank, is confronted by Batman, the Dark Knight keeps his temper in check. After all, this is the man who killed his parents. I love the flashback frame here. They made the young Joe Chill really look like Jack Nicholson in the frame where he aims at Mr. and Mrs. Wayne. I don’t know if this is coincidence, but it is really interesting to think of an easter egg like that. As the heroes discuss happenings with Joe Chill, a pair of villains shows up. It was the perfect way to end an issue, but killed me to wait another month. —-end of issue #2
Beginning of part 3—— Lois Lane, drawn in the sexiest way with Erica Durance’s likeness confronts the Toyman, Winslow Schott, in his jail cell. She believes he is behind some of the criminal activity, but he points her in a new direction. The man he accuses is Oswald Loomis, who goes by the name Prankster. So, Smallville changed his costume, but this is one of the cases where I think it works for the better.
As Prankster and Mr. Freeze (who looks awesome) attack Batman and Superman, their partenering appears to be too much. Chill is taken out, Batman is frozen solid, and Superman is shot with kryptonite bullets. Oliver and Nightwing help the two to get away from the authorities, but now the police believe that Batman is the one who killed Superman. I just need to say, that I missed what the Batmobile is supposed to be. While I enjoyed Nolan’s version, the badass car is always my preference. This entire issue is dedicated to showing how Batman is able to get away from the authorities in order to save Superman’s life. It is action packed, and in my opinion is the best of the four parts. The final frame reveal is Loomis and Victor Fries in a sub zero room, where the Prankster informs Mr. Freeze that his kryptonite bullets have tracking devices in them. Sure, Bats and Supes may have escaped, while hanging onto life’s thread, but with the villains knowing their location, we are left to wonder how they could possibly succeed. —–end part 3
Begin part 4—– Lex and his subconscious conversation with Tess is entertaining, but I wonder how long they can keep this up. It seems like it is going in circles a bit. The only real progress we’ve made at this point is that Lex tells Tess that since she is in HIS mind, he plans to find a way to access her memories, and anything he used to know before losing his own. This would mean that he’d know EVERYTHING about Superman and his past with Clark, Oliver and everyone else. Bad News, but good for the suspense.
Superman has had successful recovery thanks to Batman, and when he awakens, he is approached by Barbara and Lois. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention in the previous part. Superman did figure out who Batman is just by hearing his voice. He distinguished the vibrations of his vocals and remembered hearing Bruce Wayne’s vocals in their brief meeting during the billionaire lunch. This was a unique way to do it, and yet careless in a way on Clark’s end. Why? Well Lois is there, because Clark just flat out told Batman and Nightwing who he was and who Lois was. Its good on the trust factor, but a little risky in my opinion.
During Clark’s recovery, Batman was hard at work. He built 2 suits of armor, and tracked the villains to their hideout. How much time has passed here? It doesn’t say, and I wonder how he could possibly do something in so little amount of time. I’d only assume that weeks have gone by. Superman’s new suit is a golden colored lead suit with his “S” on the front. This is to protect him from Kryptonite, while Batman’s new armor will shield and keep him warm from frigid temperatures. Neither suit has a cape either. I do enjoy the designs and variety too.
Green Arrow is questioned by police in the meantime, and Prankster betrays Mr. Freeze. Now, Freeze is being controlled by Loomis, and is literally a walking nuclear freeze bomb that will detonate and kill everyone within a mile radius. There is also a very creative and cool “toy” here that is a Captain Carrot action figure. Another geek out moment on my end.
Now for the final showdown. Superman takes on Prankster in a giant robot that sort of resembles an oversized Megaman likeness. I’m not for the look, but the battle is pretty cool. Of course, Supes’ new suit is destroyed, but he bests the Prankster. In the meantime, Batman works to save Mr. Freeze’s life and those lives of the people in the city. We get to see a real quick use of Green Arrow’s Boxing glove arrow. It had been mentioned earlier in the series as a joke, but has since come to fruition. Batman of course makes fun of Arrow’s new toy, but it was effective.
And what about Nightwing and Lois? Well, they team up to kick some armed bad guy butt, and boy do they hold their own. Well, that is until there is an explosion, that literally rocks the boat. Superman lifting the whole yacht out of the water was nice because we got to see Batman’s reaction to such an amazing sight.
At the end, Bruce is shown in Crime Alley. Superman finds him, and there is a brief mention of Alfred. They basically thank each other here and Bruce offers his assistance whenever Superman might need him. Clark says he’d offer the same, but knows Batman would never ask. They shake one final time and part ways.
Oliver thinks about training Mia Dearden to be his full time sidekick, Speedy, but as he talks about this with Chloe it begins to snow. This is all courtesy of Mr. Freeze’s gun which Clark is flying high over the city. It is implied that this happens around Christmas time (and perfect because it was released in December). As the perfect final Christmas gift, Chloe announces to Oliver that she is pregnant.
All in all, it was what I would expect from Smallville. They created their own versions and story based on what we all know and love. There were some down moments, but for the most part, it was everything I wanted it to be. I’m not sure if they modeled Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon after any specific actors, but they fit right in with the CW “pretty person” syndrome, if you know what I mean. I recommend picking up these issues, but do it as all 4 parts. You will want to read straight through instead of waiting for the next issue.
Episode # 3 review of “Haunted” will come in 4 months.
Kurt Belcher, writer and an artist from Earthbound Comics, was gracious enough to send me the first two issues of their new “The Stars” comics for review. I will do my best to keep spoilers to the minimum, but as with any review I have to warn that there are a few ahead.
Let’s begin with issue #1. There are two covers for this comic. The first is very colorful and eyecatching, but for me, I prefer the second cover. It just appeals to my darker tastes. Those statements alone convey where this comic goes in tones of color and art form. The vibrant colors within the pages are done tastefully. The story begins telling a flashback origin of sorts of their main character, John Century. The flashback is done with old western monochrome tones to show that a flashback is what it is. This is brilliant in my mind. I was drawn in to this John Century immediately. The down side is that when I expected more of his story, I was left hanging on.
As a writer, I understand the need to do this because it is often used to bring people back for more, but as a first time reader of Earthbound lore, I desired a little more. From there, we are introduced to a colorful team of heroes who are thrown into action against a Middle Eastern terrorist organization. At first I wondered if the characters were just wearing superhero like costumes or if they really had abilities. I was more than happy to find out the latter was the case. It makes the costumes work hand in hand. By the way… the character designs are for the most part outstanding. There are a few of them that might stir a bit of “cheap knock off” thoughts in your head, but the writers made sure that the personalities and abilities of those FEW characters distanced themselves enough from better known characters from other companies.
The story then briefly introduces another team who we are left to assume are heroes as well with a different agenda, but that may not be the case, and I am eager to find out what their deal truly is. From there, we travel to Japan, where a third team is taking down a giant breakdancing robot. Sound silly? Even the characters think so, as one of them points it out. When it is revealed who the person controlling the robot really is, then it all makes sense. This child who has claimed he is a supervillain gives more originality to the plot.
At the end of the issue, we see a small group of villains attack a hero called “Panzermannen,” in Germany. I won’t say why they did it, but their reason is evil enough. The hero is literally torn limb from limb, and inside his armor is a limbless body left to die in an alley. Being as we never see him perish, I am holding hopes that we get an explanation in a future issue. Panzermannen seems like a hero with a jock’s mentality, and though that douchiness may be conveyed, his heart is true, from what I can gather. We are then shown John Century entering a strip club to attempt another recruit for his “Stars” team.
Bring in issue #2. The cover on this one gives no hints as to what the story inside will be. Is this a good thing? Yes and No. Yes because it is eye catching enough for me to be curious about it. No because it may not draw in enough readers with the lack of telling designs. The artwork is very good however.
This volume does a better job of conveying a fluid plot. The prior issue had jumped around a bit, but that is to be expected in an origin edition. Here we pick up where the end of the previous issue left off, but are also introduced to “The Three.” These would be earth conquering villains are shown with an origin story that dates back to the 1970s in Russia. Again, the artists used colors to convey the flashback. As they discuss their plans, it skips around with brief introductions, and in the background it shows that The Stars are being watched.
What is great here is that in the next few pages is content that the reader can relate. The Stars have disagreement and conflict within their ranks. They have love and relationships. They have family. They are doubtful of their own abilities, but in the end they will do what it takes to be true heroes. The President of the United States is also featured within the pages, and even though they never claim that it is Barack Obama, the art is a dead on likeness. Now here is something that is extremely intelligent of the writers. You might think that a political side might be taken here, but in fact, it is shown that the characters are quite neutral, and that the only reason the President is there is because the heroes work for his country, and he is necessary in such a situation. Also it is revealed that one of the characters is homosexual. This shows that the writers are not biased to any particular group, and they can use ALL people equally in their material.
Once the proverbial “$#!+ hits the fan,” all hell breaks loose. Suddenly the earth is under attack, as well as The Stars live in satellite in space. My question is where did the funding for this massive and star shaped satellite come from, and how does it stay in orbit at that size? Another question is what the heroes use to deflect the villainous UFO attack led by The three. They refer to something called Red Mercury, and one of the heroes looks to be dying from her saving efforts. The impact of the attack is shown in a few frames from different places in the world, so that the reader can once again relate to the aftermath of the events. In no way is the story over, but the issue ends here, making me want more.
All in all, my most critical point would be that I really do not like the pages where the frames are turned sideways. I thought this was the case throughout the actual whole issue, but apparently it is an Adobe issue. The digital reader views the pages this way, but I have been reassured that the print versions are not shown like this. I read them in a digital file and was forced to turn my head sideways 90 degrees. It got old fast, but I didn’t want to miss what was there. Because of this, I recommend it in print over digital.
The Stars is intruiging, action packed, thoughtful, and mysterious all in one. Earthbound Comics even offers information at the end of their issues on free digital downloads of some of their other works. I recommend checking them out at www.earthboundcomics.com . I personally will continue to keep an eye on their releases, and who knows… maybe one day their will be a crossover event between Earthbound and sCrypt. Here’s to hoping.
Ah, where do I begin? Ridley Scott promised us answers with Prometheus. He delivered. What he failed to tell us was that a whole new batch of questions have come about. If you don’t want to know any spoilers, then you should probably scroll down to the last paragraph now. Otherwise, spoilers will be discussed.
First off, let’s talk about what this movie does to the existing universe of movies. Because of the revelation of where the xenomorphs from the Alien movies originate, this story discredits both Alien Vs Predator movies. Not that they were really considered canon, but they take place in modern day, whereas Prometheus takes place in 2092. Of course this could be explained further in another Prometheus movie as to it happening before. This also makes Alien Ressurection a much better movie. The thought of the crossbred human/xenomorph was considered ridiculous by some, but now it would make more sense.
Another thing this movie does is really bring an origin to Alien. This planet is obviously the planet that Ellen Ripley visits with her crew in Alien. It also would explain a lot more about what happened, and we see a dead engineer in a chair.
Some people might be confused by the genetics questions. Here is a little cheat sheet I came up with: Engineers created the black ooze as a biological warfare weapon. Engineers + Ooze = human; Human + ooze = giant squid thing; Giant squid thing + Engineer = Alien xenomorph; Xenomorph + Human = hybrid from Alien Ressurection.
That being said I have drawn a conclusion. The squid thing, when it first came out, made me think of the face hugger from the Alien movies. In Alien 1, the face hugger hatches from an egg, which starts it all. Perhaps the squid thing laid the egg before these events.
What about the Weylands? Take into account that Alien vs Predator happened. Charles Bishop Weyland was in that movie as a human, and it is indicated that the android “Bishop” from the Alien movies was designed on his likeness. That would give some credibility to the events in AVP then. Confused? It gets even worse. We have to assume that Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce) in Prometheus is a descendant of Charles Weyland. Since we know the fate of Bishop in the movies, then we have to ask about David’s (Michael Fassbender) fate. He and Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) are seen flying to the Engineer’s homeworld in the end. What happens to them? This needs to be explained in another movie, or else what is the point?
Why did the Engineer commit suicide to create us in the beginning of the movie? This is not explained, but what we can conclude is that they were dying as a race, and knew that to preserve their own legacy, they could create a new race of beings (human) on Earth.
So, if they created us, then why would they be planning to destroy us with the black ooze? This is another moment where we have to wait for a potential sequel in the hopes of an answer. In the same vein, why would the last Engineer try to kill us? It is unclear as there are no subtitles as to what David says to the Engineer that makes him go berzerk. By doing a little research online, I found a quote by Dr. Anil Biltoo, of the language center in London. He claims that the language is based on a proto-Indo European dialect.
In Prometheus, David says: /ida hman?m a? kja nam?tuh zd?:taha/…/gh??vah-pjorn-?ttham sas da:t? kredah/
The serviceable translation to this is: ‘This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life’.
Okay, so I gathered that the Engineer became angry at this statement. Why? Humans were created by the Engineers. They gave us life, and yet we ask for more. Even worse is that we get our own creation (The android David) to ask for us, instead of doing it ourselves. To the Engineer, this could be like a slap in the face. It would be equivelant to us asking God for immortality.
Since I mentioned God, would extremely Religious people be pissed off about this movie? Possibly, but they shouldn’t because Elizabeth Shaw has a moment where she is speaking about the crucifix she wears around her neck. She is asked why she would still believe in God if they discovered otherwise. Her response is the simple statement, “Well someone created the Engineers.”
One more issue I had was that the guy with the mohawk who owned the mapping orbs, was unable to make it back to the ship because he got lost. It really makes no sense at all for this to happen.
In the end, what is my overall review of this movie? I need more. Sure, I’d welcome Alien 5 or even another AVP movie, but we NEED Prometheus 2. There were just too many plot holes to leave it be. Ridley Scott claims that he designed it as a two parter prequel, so hopefully it is in the works. All in all, it was a really fun and interesting movie, that I give a 7 out of 10.
As a fan of the often criticized CW show Smallville, I was still left disappointed by many things in that series. When Arrow debuted last week, my expectatuons were Neutral. I knew it could go for better or worse. It did that on both ends, but I was pleased with the way the show looks to be headed. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
The action sequences were outstanding. Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/(Green) Arrow, really portrays the part well. He’s cocky and badass with a cause. Thea, his younger sister seems to have the nickname “Speedy”. Whether this is a nod or a possible setup, her drug addiction and attitude could eventually lead to her being his sidekick. Tommy Merlyn is a nice add as well. Overall, the suspense, action, and the way the plot is revealed in pieces really drew me in. I have to do further research into Oliver’s list of names, because I’m sure there are a few on there that are related to the comics.
Katie Cassidy fits well in the role as Dinah “Laurel” Lance. That being said, I’m not sure I like her being called Laurel. The take of the no superpowers world and change of Star city into Starling city is ridiculous in my opinion. Why is it so unbelievable to have a city named “Star”? Of all the things, the name changes aren’t too serious, but really annoying. I only hope that the “Arrow” name is upgraded to “Green Arrow” as the series goes on. Who knows, maybe once Merlyn decides to take up a bow and arrow, they will need the color to distinguish the two. I can’t imagine Dinah Lance being a great part of the show without having her vocal abilities like in the comics. Black Canary is Black Canary. Take that away from her, and we just have a woman who can handle herself in a fist fight. They could have made up a role for that. There were also moments that felt like it was a CW show. Bad dialogue, and trying to fit in that soap opera esque feel at times. They are going for a darker feel, but to me I only saw that with Oliver’s first kill. Yes, he only killed once, but was it justified? Would Green Arrow kill? I’d say in that situation he did what he had to do, but I really hope the series doesn’t continue on making him out to be the Punisher with a bow and arrow.
All in all, it was really decent and fun to watch. The inclusion of the Deathstroke mask and what I’ve seen online as trailer material so far really has me thinking this will be a great, fun watch. Bottom line is, don’t knock it until you see it. I won’t review every episode, but I will make sure to do a post season report once the first season is over.
What did you think of the show? Let’s get a Green Arrow discussion going.
It’s the month of October, and that means we are all gearing up for some Halloween fun. So, what horrifying stories in comics should you include in your collection? Here are the top 23 horror based comics that I own, and of course I highly recommend the top 3 for your collection immediately! Enjoy.
#23: THE SHADOW OF THE TORTURER #2 (Innovation Comics). This is based off of the novel by Gene Wolfe, and although it was cancelled after only 3 of 6 planned issues, the artwork within is outstanding. It has a very gothic feel, and is very plot based. Dialogue is intellegently written, and the frames laid out accordingly.
#22: THE FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #12 (DC Comics). When Firestorm is affected by the same thing as the Hyena, he finds himself fighting off a horrific transformation. As he races to stop the Hyena, he doesn’t know whether he will make it in time, or turn into a beast before he stops her path of infection. This is a great werewolf story for this time of year.
#21: TALES FROM THE CRYPT VOLUME 1: Six classic horror stories from the Crypt keeper himself round out this must own issue. Whether a fan of the series from years back or the comic, you are sure to get a fright or delight. Witches and ghouls are just a few of the terrors within these pages.
#20: GHOSTRIDER WOLVERINE PUNISHER HEARTS OF DARKNESS (Marvel Comics). I did a review of this one a few months ago, and still find that it holds up to a horrifying story. Blackheart calling out three of the most violent anti-heroes in the Marvel universe becomes thrilling as the battle goes to hell and back.
#19: CLIVE BARKER’S THE HARROWERS RAIDERS OF THE ABYSS #2 (Epic Comics). Anything by Clive Barker is pretty much established in the horror world. As our group of heroes attempt to rescue some lost souls, they are met with possible failure. Classic artwork, creepy designs, and Pinhead himself (from the Hellraiser movies) are all included.
#18: ALIENS #1-6 (Dark Horse Comics). This is a direct spinoff sequel to the second Alien movie. Xenomorphs are at it again, trying to replicate and dine on humans. There is no color inside the covers of these issues but that lends to the horror feel. Keeping it a simple black and white portrays the darkness of the movies into the pages of a great comic.
#17: CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED EDGAR ALLAN POE THE RAVEN AND OTHER STORIES. This reads more like a storybook as the text is written that way and you get approximately one piece of art per page, but it is worth it. The character designs are creepy, yet childish in a way, yet give that awkward feel that you need as you read some of Poe’s greatest works.
#16: MIDNIGHT SONS UNLIMITED #4 (Marvel Comics). Blade really shines in these issues for the first time. Dr. Strange, Johnny Blaze, Morbius, Ghost Rider and Blade form the Midnight Sons. From their base in a cemetary, they attempt to track down the demons Lilith and Zarathos, but doing so will prove to be a difficult task. The cover art drew me in to buy this when it came out twenty years ago, and I’m glad I did. The interior art is notably colorful for a horror comic, but it is the story that really is the strongpoint.
#15: SUPERMAN AND BATMAN VS VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES (DC Comics). I purchased this a few years ago as I couldn’t believe seeing it on a shelf. The thought of vampires and werewolves is horrifying itself, but add the Batman who is a master of instilling fear, and Superman being weak to the magic that caused the horrors. Then you get a fun, not to be taken too seriously issue. Story lacks, but the action here is really where its at.
#14: THE WALKING DEAD VOLUME 1 DAYS GONE BY. By now, most of you are familiar with The Walking Dead from Television, but the comics are where it all began. Zombies, zombies and more zombies litter these pages as their victims attempt to escape and survive.
#13: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT #1 (IDW). Maybe the movie didn’t quite live up to what fans of this comic expected, but that shouldn’t keep you from checking out this issue. If the cover itself doesn’t send a chill down your spine, then just open it up. If you are looking for a good vampire story, then this is one to go for.
#12: HELLBOY DARKNESS CALLS (Dark Horse). Until the movies with Ron Perlman, I had only been familiar with Hellboy by name. After my brother gave me this issue, I immediately knew why he was so popular. Sure his actual look is a bit silly and cartoony, but everything else is pure gothic. Loaded with action, suspense and a gripping story, it is worth a look.
#11: RUNE #1 (Malibu comics). What? An alien vampire that not only drinks his victims blood but eats his victims entirely? Cursed with the deformity of what made him what he is, Rune seeks out superpowered teens in this issue only to be confronted by the government and more. I chose this issue because of how unique the character is as well as the plot.
#10: BATMAN #524 (DC Comics). Batman facing off against the Scarecrow. Hmm. Okay we’ve seen it before, but what if just about every frame in the issue made it feel as if you are the one infected by Jonathan Crane’s fear serum? Each one is drawn slightly different so that character design continually changes making this story’s art much more interesting than its actual text.
#9: THE VICTORIAN HORRORS OF OLD MAUCH CHUNK. If you don’t know about Mauch Chunk, then you need to do a search right now… Okay, did you do it? Well, anyway, living in Philadelphia and having an uncle who owns a bed and breakfast in Jim Thorpe, PA, this comic hits close to home. Knowing the history of haunted lore from both locales, the author of this comic created a world that makes you want more. The art is black and white, and compliments the story perfectly. By the end of the issue you will be hoping that the author will continue making further issues.
#8: RESIDENT EVIL COLLECTION ONE (Capcom). This is the first incarnation of comics dedicated to the Resident Evil Series. Not much in the way of plot as compared to the games, but there is some noncanon fill in material here, that is fun for any fan. Familar characters in dire situations escalates further as even a werewolf is brought into the mix. Complete with lickers and more of the flesh eating undead.
#7: MARVEL ZOMBIES VS ARMY OF DARKNESS. (Marvel/Dynamite). This is a crossover comic that got my inner geek excited. Ash from the evil dead movies (complete with Bruce Campbell likeness) battles the entire Marvel universe as they turn into the undead. Complete with his cheesy one liners and constant attempt to sleep with every hot female he comes into contact with, I only wish for a sequel. Why? Well, after Ash escapes he ends up in a new marvel universe. Only this new universe contains a new horror that should be expanded upon.
#6: SPIDERMAN UNLIMITED #1 THE MAXIMUM CARNAGE SAGA. (Marvel). Possibly the most popular story in the early nineties, this shows the origin of Carnage. With Demogoblin and the doppleganger assisting in the massacre, Spidey teams up with many allies within this storyline. Some may not consider this horror, but Carnage is the ultimate violent villain who personifies terror. Nothing about this story happening in real life would fall short of creating mass panic and slaughter.
#5: BLACKEST NIGHT #1 (DC Comics). Imagine all the dead heroes and villains of the universe rising again only to be controlled by the most evil force in the universe. Sure it’s got a similar feel to Marvel Zombies, but Blackest night goes to the very ends of the universe and back as the Black Lantern corp reanimates bodies into its collective. The decayed faces and morbid look within these pages is just as the cover depicts.
#4: ANNE RICE’S THE VAMPIRE LESTAT (Innovation Comics)Whether or not you are a fan of Anne Rice novels or not, there is no denying their popularity. The Vampire Lestat may have been one of her weaker books, but this comic makes up for it. The artwork is VERY detailed and interpreted well. You have to look to believe it.
#3: LEGENDS OF VAMPIRE (sCrypt Comics). The spinoff of my novel “Blood, The Second Helping” is complete with ten vampire stories illustrated by 8 different artists. The variety of artwork, and additional fill in details from the novel stories, make this the single best vampire graphic novel to ever exist.
#2: ZOMBIE INCIDENTS (sCrypt Comics). The spinoff of my novel “Flesh And Leftovers” contains ten zombie stories drawn by 9 artists. Not only does it expand upon the universe established by the novels, but it is sCrypt Comics’ very first issue. If you claim to be a zombie fan, and do not own a copy of this graphic novel, then you do not have a complete arsenal, as this is the best zombie comic to ever be sold.
#1: IN CASE OF WEREWOLF (sCrypt Comics). In just under two weeks from now, this spinoff from my novel “Bones At Breakfast” will be available for purchase. Complete with ten stories from ten different artists, and an amazing concept art page, this is the most unique and interesting werewolf graphic novel ever.
And there you have it folks. My top 23 comics for Halloween time. Sure, I’m a bit biased about the top three, but that goes without saying. Hope you enjoyed the post, and if you have any of your own top comics, you should comment below. I’m interested in seeing recommendations or what you have in your collection. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
I have had the pleasure of watching one of the most unique Batman stories come to life in animation. Some die hard fans may criticize me for reviewing this movie or even think about watching it without reading the original comic that it was based upon, but I did so because I know how things often don’t translate well from page to screen. Now that I’ve seen it, I can go back and find the miniseries and read it to see the similarities and differences. Warning SPOILERS AHEAD!
First, I’ll list the things I didn’t like:
1) Without a shirt on, I’d think Bruce Wayne should have visible scarring. This isn’t there or even implied.
2) When the Mutant leader calls him out of the safety of his Batmobile Tank, Batman doesn’t hesitate when he is clearly outmatched. This isn’t very Batman like to not use his brains, but since he is much older (55 years old), I can understand his wanting to prove himself to his inner thoughts.
3) Robin / Carrie Kelley suddenly decides she wants to put on a cape and save the day with Batman. She’s naive and young, I get that, but that is not my issue. The problem I have is that her acrobatic and medical skills are not really addressed. I guess they will leave this for part two since, Batman did flat out ask her. Still it would have been nice to know.
4) IF we were to assume that this story is in modern day, then it would make Commisioner Gordon around 90 years old. I know this because he referenced World War Two and his old war stories. A 90 year old Commisioner would not still be active.
Okay, that’s it. There was nothing else that I didn’t like about this feature. So here is where I really enjoyed the movie:
1) Peter Weller was a welcome addition for Bruce Wayne/Batman’s voice. He sounded older, and his lack of emotion rounds out the feel of who Batman is. I admit, I was skeptical at first, but for an OLD Batman, he was perfect.
2) Gordon sitting with Wayne in the diner in the beginning established their relationship. It was obvious that Gordon knew Wayne used to be (Batman), and addresses that he couldn’t believe he was fooled by Bruce Wayne who acted drunk while drinking Ginger Ale, even though everyone thought it was Champagne.
3) Wayne drinking actual alcohol was interesting. This showed his human side. Without Batman, he didn’t know how else to cope.
4) The status of his relationship with Dick Grayson was mentioned as being nonexistent, and references to Jason Todd’s death were nice as well. (Continuity wise with the comics, this wouldn’t gel however, as Jason is now alive in print).
5) The way that Bruce decides to be Batman again is a great buildup. His dreams, memories, newspaper headlines, two muggers trying to mug him (which he scares away, as he begs them to try to mug him), and a drunken stupor that he drank himself into were really great story points.
6) Harvey Dent. That is all I have to say. Two-Face still existing even after his face was surgically altered to make him look presentable again was good, but when they showed a brief glimpse of what he’d look like with his entire face mangled, that was downright frightening.
7) Batman’s age shows. He has to use a brace to repair his broken bones, but he also hits his victims repetetively. A younger Batman could have taken them out in half the punches. His willingness to use guns, and his rifle grapple gun are just another point to show that he knows he’s no longer in his prime. Climbing a rope was too much for him at one point, yet he managed. All of this combined made it that much more interesting.
8) At one point, I really though Gordon was dead. I was shocked, but it worked well.
9) The easter egg in the convenience store was particularly for comic fans as a copy of “Sandman,” “V For Vendetta,” and “Swamp Thing” were on the magazine racks.
10) Batman still instilled fear in his old age. One person even committed suicide after a brief confrontation. That is how intimidating he remained.
11) The Batmobile/Battank reminded me of the Tumbler from the Chris Nolan trilogy, only cooler. He took on an entire army of mutants with this vehicle and although I thought he was killing everyone, it seems he still kept true to his own morals by using rubber bullets.
12) The second battle between the mutant leader and Batman redeems Batman from his first. This really shows that Bats fights with his brain. The whole battle is strategically planned, and he takes his enemy down one limb at a time. In my opinion, it was the most entertaining animated or live action fight I’ve ever seen in a Batman toon or movie.
Other notes of interest.
1) Lana Lang apparently has eaten way too much (not that I have a problem with overweight people because I don’t). Lana was just known as this smallville girl who later did some journalism and fashion work. She was shown here as the acting editor of the Daily Planet. This is definitely a setup for Superman to appear in part 2. (he did in the comic)
2) James “Jimmy” Olsen was mentioned briefly. (just another hint at part 2 I guess)
3) Before the bat signal was reactivated, Gordon got ahold of Batman on an old, red rotary phone. This HAD to be a tribute to the Adam West Batman series, as that was how Gordon used to call him.
4) Batman wears 2 outfits. The first is his classic Blue and gray when he first comes back. After being beaten by the Mutant leader the first time, Batman dons a darker (black and gray) outfit that is more modern.
My review? Bruce Timm continues to bring us genius work. I’m going all out and giving it a 10 out of 10. Even with the things I slightly disliked, I can’t say they bother me that much. I also have to hope that those things will be addressed in part 2.
Veteran sCrypt Comics artist, Joe Parisi, just sent over some posters he did in his spare time. Ironman, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor & Nick Fury inspired art from the Marvel cinematic universe phase 1 are all here. Make sure to click on his name for his info and other work. Now to complete the art, Joe, we want to see the whole phase 1 completed. (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Loki, Red Skull, Abomination, IronMonger, Whiplash, and of course the son of coul.) :)
To start off, let me say that I’m a HUGE Resident Evil fan. I have loved every game since the first one, collected the comics and some figures back in the day, own the novels by S.D. Perry, Own all of the movies (even though they are not part of the canon), and am eager for each new release. Resident Evil: Degeneration was an amazing CGI movie, but its sequel Damnation falls short. There are SPOILERS AHEAD.
For any RE fan, this is a must see, but don’t expect much. There are some good things, but for the most part it was a let down. Let’s begin with the GOOD:
Leon Kennedy has come a long way since his debut in Resident Evil 2. This movie really shows off his expertise and professionalism. I’m pretty sure he could give Rambo a run for his money.
The animation was outstanding. The detail when their was and wasn’t gore, was phenomenal.
Ada Wong remains the mystery that she is. She is sexy and deadly, and is always the villain that you want to survive. Her and Leon’s relationship is much akin to the likes of Batman & Catwoman or Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.
The camera work (or angles of animation) were brilliant. Words weren’t needed to describe what each character was focused upon or where they were going, as the view subtley shifted to certain points of interest.
The darkness and scenes were often creepy, and at one point I’ll admit I jumped and my heart skipped a beat.
Parasite zombies were back, and there was a brief scene showing one of the zombies removing a parasite and forcing it down a human’s throat. It was sickening to watch, and really captured the horror aspect.
Ada vs the Russian President was a very action packed scene, that was probably the highlight of the movie.
A new version of Mr. X tyrants and the lickers being controllable were a very welcome part of the film.
But Now for the BAD:
J.D., a new character, is probably the most annoying character in the series to date. I think I would have rather have seen the secret character from Resident Evil 2, Tofu, instead. If I were Russian, I might be offended at how dumb he is. Not only is he stupid, but he tries to be “cool” so bad that he fails horribly. There is only one moment when I actually liked the character, but by then it didn’t matter.
You can tell it was made in a foreign country. Not that this is a bad thing, but the problem was with the voices being out of sync with the mouth movements. Again, not a problem, but it was a slight annoyance.
There were too many inner monologue moments. Leon especially would say things he was thinking out loud. If he were really the professional he is, then he wouldn’t have made a peep, which could often lead to being discovered.
The gun play was horrible. I grew up watching 80s movies where the main characters could avoid a whole slew of bullets being fired at them, but this was ridiculous. An entire Russian military unit stands mere feet away from Leon with automatic rifles. Even though cover is ten yards away, he still manages to dodge every single bullet fired upon him. I guess the Russians were blind.
Leon was immortal. Seemingly anyway. He didn’t even bleed. After surviving the military onslaught he takes on a dozen lickers and then a handful of Mr. X Tyrants. One of the tyrants has him cornered and slammed against a wall, and even after being thrown into a pillar, he is still capable of moving at full speed without the wind so much as being knocked out of him.
The United States coming at the end with a squadron of A-10 Thunderbolt’s kicked ass, but at the same time, where were they moments prior?
There were things such as the Russian president’s scar on her back, and Sasha’s stories that were left open.
Credits were filled with not only a bonus scene, but a HUGE preview of Resident Evil 6. There was gameplay I have not yet seen in trailers, but also I had to turn away in fear of finding out too much.
If you are a Resident Evil fan as I am, then you definitely need to watch this movie. Unfortunately, if you are not a huge fan, then it might be a waste of time, though you may enjoy it as a popcorn flick. On a scale of 1 to 10, I have to give this a 5. The good elements are REALLY REALLY good. But the bad elements are equally as bad. I only hope that it is redeemed with a future CG film.
A blog that I follow has extended the courtesy of mentioning sCrypt comics, and I’d like to do the same. If you are looking for great comic book related reviews, insights and more, check out The Daily P.O.P. I recommend following the blog their for their straight forward reviews and articles.
As I was sipping on a cup of coffee, my mind was astray. I began thinking about the comic book movies coming out in the next few years and realized one thing. This is only the beginning. Some people have predicted that comic book movies will die out and become old, but I think otherwise, and this is why… The phrase “Comic Book Movie” will become a genre of its own. (my prediction of course)
The Avengers has set a standard, but what can it be categorized as? Thor was a fantasy movie, Ironman was Science Fiction, Captain America was an action film, The Incredible Hulk was horror in a sense, and all of the post credits scenes were drama build ups. So if The Avengers is all of these in one, then what is it? That’s right, it is a Comic Book Movie, and there is no other way to say it.
So what do future CBMs have to do? They don’t need to follow what the Avengers did. That is when it will become old. We don’t need a Justice League movie that is built up in the same manner (which it won’t be, because the JL movie in the works will have solo films from it as planned, but it is an example). What we need is something fresh. With the CW network using its Television angle, they are producing live action events with Green Arrow and Wonder Woman. Those should cross over into the planned movie.
Whether it is on the big screen or small screen, it doesn’t matter. The universes established by the comic book companies are huge. They should utilize that to their advantages, instead of relying on 1 or 2 mainstream characters.
Since Spiderman 2 people have been saying comic book movies will die out. Prove it. The list of characters out there says that we have only scraped the surface, and we can appease to all genres of film lovers. So bring on more CBM’s and lets learn from our past mistakes.
And just to show that I’m not a biased comic book movie person, I’ll say this. I know plenty of people (my wife included) who wouldn’t have given comic movies the time of day with a few minor exceptions on who the character was. Now those same people are eager to see these characters and more in major motion pictures. Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhorse, IDW… all of these companies and more have lots of room to work… Now if only sCrypt would get picked up, so we could get that going as well.
What are your thoughts? Which characters or stories would you like to see? Personally I’d love to see an amalgamation (the pic attached to this article should tell you what I mean)
I’ve been a fan of Robot Chicken since its debut six seasons ago. It’s also no secret that I’m a DC comics fan. When I heard that season 6 of the stop motion comedy serial was headed to single out and make fun of the DC universe, I was eager with anticipation.
Although it wasn’t the BEST Robot Chicken work I’ve seen, it did not disappoint. For twenty three minutes I was smiling or laughing out loud. The episode had a voiceover in parts and an opening sequence reminiscent of the old superpowers SuperFriends cartoons from the late 70s early 80s.
Complete with quite an array of superheroes and villains, they cracked jokes from making fun of two face’s inability to make a decision without his coin, to Aquaman being a useless hero, to Batman getting his butt kicked by Bane. One of my favorite scenes involves a few of the DC universe Ice powered villains, and one hero. It addressess the redundancy of many of the characters.
The riddler is made out to be the villain’s equivelant of Aquaman, and a cameo from RC’s humping Robot made Cyborg wish that he wasn’t in the episode. The REAL CHARACTER segments were funny as well. Steven Tyler even provided vocals for the parody song, “I don’t wanna kiss your thing.”
So, what did I learn from this episode? Absolutely nothing. But it was worth taking the less than half hour to watch it for a good laugh. If you are a DC fan, then I’d say this would rank at an 8 out of 10. If you aren’t a DC fan or aren’t familiar with many of the characters, then it would still be funny, but it probably wouldn’t make it past 5 out of 10 for a rank.
As I browsed through the discount comics, I came across an interesting looking cover. What can I say, I’m a sucker for comic book promotionals. This textured and single colored cover of Fantastic Four #371 (December 1992) features The Human Torch flying toward the reader as the remainder of the cover seemingly melts. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Right from the first page this issue had my interest. Alicia Masters had been kidnapped by a rogue Watcher, and to get her back, The Thing and Mr. Fantastic are working with their long time foe The Puppetmaster. Why you ask? The Puppetmaster, for those of you who don’t know, is Alicia’s father. It is interesting to see the team up to say the least.
To add to the drama aspect of this issue (which is really what I feel is the strongsuit) is Sharon Ventura. Sharon wants Ben Grimm’s love and attention, but at the same time, The Thing is really only interested in the love of Alicia. When Sharon agrees to join the two members of the FF, in her full Ms. Marvel attire, on their quest to find her, it doesn’t bode well with the Puppetmaster. He feels that it is a conflict of interest because of her feelings.
Not enough of an emotional rollercoaster for you? Okay, so Susan Storm is not joining them because her and Reed are arguing. Over what? Sue once again tries to get his attention with a new costume that shows off plenty of her perfect body. While us readers are drooling over the look of the costume, her husband barely notices. Franklin, their son, also sees them arguing, and as a child, it bothers him.
On the other side of town, Johnny introduces himself to Bridget O’Neil, a fellow college student (and love interest). The introductions don’t last long though as he is attacked by Lyja, Paibok, and Devos. With Bridget frozen by Paibok, Johnny has to race to free her before it is too late. Succeeding in her rescue, The Human Torch is forced into a standoff on Empire State University’s campus. His only chance at survival is to go nova. By doing this, he has set fire to the entire campus.
Across town, Invisible Woman races toward her brother’s distress call, as Agatha Harkness (the old witch) remains to watch Franklin.
When Reed, Ben and Sharon finally find Alicia, she appears to be in some sort of coma induced by Aron the rogue Watcher. Uatu knows about Reed’s attempts to contact him, but his vows as a Watcher prevent him from doing anything, regardless of the fact that he wants to help. Aron has the three heroes right where he wants them, and intends on imprisoning them in a micro universe that he created.
The suspense, drama and revelations in this issue just keep coming, and that is what I really liked about it. The downside? Well, on page 16 there is something that got by the editor. The word “equipment” is spelled wrong (written as “equiptment). I know, this is nit picky, but as a writer, I noticed it quickly. I also was disappointed with the To BE CONTINUED on the last page.
I should have seen it coming, but now my curiosity has me wanting more. Sure it is a 20 year old issue, but it holds its status. I recommend it ONLY if you can find the issue/issues following it. Does anyone know how long this story goes on for? Please comment if you do. Otherwise, as an issue, I give it a 7 out of 10, that goes by WAY too quickly.
Review by Rick Pipito
When Smallville was on TV, I used to tune in every week to watch the new episodes. The show had its flaws, one in particular that I won’t go into and cant forgive, but overall it was enjoyable. When the series ended I almost shed a tear to see something that had grown on me for 10 years. Clark had finally become Superman, and saved Earth from the threat of Darkseid and Apokolips. After that finale, I wanted to know what could have happened in the Smallville version of Superman. Hopelessly wishing for a new series that would be more about the Man of Steel and less about the growth of Clark Kent into what he had become, I had my prayers soon answered.
No, it wasn’t exactly how I had envisioned it, but the announcement of Season 11 being continued in the comics gave me hope. No longer did they have to worry about budget issues, and the stories could go on. Here is my review of the first 4 print issues of Smallville Season 11. Each issue comes with 3 chapters (which are all availabe for digital download as well). Twelve chapters make up an episode. Be warned, that there are spoilers ahead. If you want to see what rating I gave it, scroll down to the last paragraph. That being said, here it is… my review of Episode 1 “Guardian”.
The story picks up 6 months after the season 10 finale. The world knows that it has a savior. People are glad to have such a marvel amongst them, and even the Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and his wife, Chloe Sullivan are up to watch Superman’s morning streak through the sky. People feel safe. There are of course people who view Superman as a threat. Lex Luthor is one of these people. His reasoning is that if a man is powerful enough to move a planet out of orbit (Apokolips) then he is too dangerous to be living among them. While trying to piece together memories of his past, his new assistant, Otis (yes, the same Otis from the Christopher Reeve Superman movies) listens to his boss. Luthor makes an observation as Superman zips across the sky, that the Man of Steel has changed his costume.
Here are some things I’ve noticed about this issue right off the bat. The artwork really is fantastic for the most part. Each character looks to be drawn almost exactly the way the actor who portrayed them looks. There are certain angles that look off in certain frames however.
In space, a Russian station is hit by some kind of wave. I am a little upset that there was no explanation as to what this damaging wave was, but it is soon forgotten as we get our first glimpse of Superman’s new suit. It’s not a bad design, though at first I was looking for the original outfit. No big deal. It grew on me.
Superman’s ego is portrayed well in the next few frames. He knows people look up to him as an icon, and he loves every bit of it. Then we get a glimpse of the homelife of Lois and Clark. This is what I believe the comics have so far done perfectly. The humor, sarcasm, and issues that they have to deal with everyday are addressed well. The chemistry of the couple is dead on the way I picture it to be.
Oh, and I spotted an easter egg. Lois’ laptop computer says “Waynetech” on it. This is the first real mention of Bruce Wayne or Batman in the entire series. A foreshadowing of events I guess. After a quick change into his Clark Kent persona, we are taken from that scene to where Lex luthor is chatting up General Sam Lane (Lois’ father.) Luthor wants Lane to take action against Superman. Finally during this discussion it is mentioned that the Russians were putting weapons in space. That is what caused the accident a few pages prior. Plothole filled, but reader still not that happy. I want to know WHY the accident happened. I’m left to believe that it may have been Lex who somehow sabotaged the space station. The reason I think this is that he is trying to get the General to place his Guardian satellites in space, as a protection against Superman.
I love that every sinister word being said by Lex Luthor continues on with what I missed of him once he “died” in the series. Now that he is back, there seems to be no good left. Everything he does has a purpose, and he is the center of it all. I hope Michael Rosenbaum is reading these issues to see the greatness that was left behind and that he could have continued.
Next I found another hidden nod to comic fans. Clark is reading a newspaper, and the headline is about Superman saving the Russians in space. The headline reads “Russia’s Red Son”. This is of course a tribute to the Red Son story in the comics.
As he is checking out this paper, he bumps into Luthor. Just as Clark’s ego swells when he’s Superman, Lex’s ego is all about money. He is portrayed as a rich snob who basically doesn’t see how he and Clark could ever have hung around in the same circles. Clark is nervous that Lex might remember something, but it looks like Luthor is only knowledgeable of his past through paperwork, and not memories. I’m glad too. The last thing I want is for Lex to know who supes is again. Then it would get too predicatable.
Here comes a Smallville twist on the next page. Tess Mercer (aka Lutessa Luthor) is dead, buuuut they still managed to work her in. Lex is seeing visions of her. It makes the reader believe that he is losing his mind. Don’t worry, this is soon corrected as they explain in the next issue that a part of her consiousness lives in his brain. How? I am not sure, but they most definitely have to answer this at some point.
Finally, we get to see Green Arrow kick some butt too. He takes out a whole gang, but is almost killed until Clark arrives to save him. Oliver and Clark have a quick “brotherly” conversation, and Queen mentions about him heading off to Star City as soon as Chloe is finished with one last task. Well my suspicions were wrong, because it wasn’t Lex who sabotaged the station. Chloe finds out that some sort of space ship came down in that explosion. This is why I love Smallville. The suspense keeps me going, and the comic continues to bring that.
End issue 1, begin issue 2… It begins with Lex being checked out by a doctor. The doc explains that he is puzzled because while Lex’s brain is whole, it appears to be brand new (this is of course because he has been cloned from his original DNA.) He also explains that the neurotoxin that made him forget everything actually left his brain operating at beyond normal potential. Here is my problem. If Lex were to really be hit by a neurotoxin that has the capability to completely wipe his memories clean, wouldn’t he forget how to talk, do business, etc? Or is it more like a permanent amnesia? Either way, it is a slight loop hole.
Next problem? well Superman is in space scanning for any source of the ship or trail. He scans using his multiple spectrum visions which is cool, but he is speaking to Chloe over the head com. Noise is absent in space, so for him to create a sound would be impossible even for him.
Now we get to the good stuff. Lex holds a press conference to announce a shuttle mission led by commander Hank Henshaw. If you are familiar with Superman characters, then this should excite you. Lois is in attendance and attempts to rile Lex with some snide questions. While he is clearly agitated, he handles it well, and even manages to deal with Oliver Queen’s intrution too.
When the shuttle launches, Superman is there to save the day. As yet another accident occurs, Superman grabs the astronauts one by one and flys them back to Earth. Henshaw is his last save, but not at a cost. The Commander is exposed to deadly levels of radiation outside of our ozone layer. Superman gets him home alive, but he is scarred at this point (to say the least). Oh, and remember that unknown ship that came down to earth? Well, it landed in Smallville of course. Whoever was in it emerges, and knows quite a bit about Superman to say the least. I don’t know why she is wearing armor though that looks as if she is straight out of a Halo video game.
On the las page, it is clearly stated too that Lex set this whole accident up. There is a purpose, but at this point we don’t know what it is. End issue 2… begin issue 3.
Oliver and Chloe head to Smallville to investigate the downed craft. This scene seems a little forced, but what we do find out is that to their surprises, the craft is not alien at all. In fact, it says Queen Industries on the side of it. Now they are just as puzzled as us.
We also find out the status of Commander Henshaw, which is not good. I like how they put the emotion of having his wife in there. It is relatable to a lot of us to see someone that we love sick or dying. Because of this, there is an audience connection. While his wife blames Superman, the Last Son of Krypton races to see Lex Luthor. He claps and blows in the windows in Luthor’s office. I love how he is shown that he has to control his temper here. Between the outburst and the closeup of the clenched fist, it portrays how dangerous Superman really can be. Perhaps Luthor is right? At least he’s got witnesses and some of the public may begin to agree with him.
General Lane, despite his daughter’s safety, puts Superman to the test with a few missile launches. After more Tess and Lex interaction, Luthor goes to STAR Labs and talks to Henshaw’s wife. He says that he can place Hank Henshaw’s mind in one of the High Density robots to at least save his consciousness. Of course, Luthor always has an ulterior motive. If it works, he may have a way of getting rid of Tess from his own mind.
Back to Smallville where Oliver and Chloe are being stalked by a mysterious figure. They are following the “Halo” like woman, while they are being watched by from what I can tell a bald man with earrings in one ear and a few lines on his head. I’m dying to know who this is, because he only shows up once later as well, and we are left guessing.
Otis finally gets a little page time in a scene where Lex was talking to Tess. Of course, he is the only one who can actually see and hear Tess, so Otis acts like the bumbling lackey that he is. They check back in with Hamilton and see how the transfer of Henshaw is going. (Oh, and you do get to see Lex’s gloved hand ungloved. The scarring is very detailed and depicted gruesomely awesome. Henshaw is transferred and wakes up. Immediately he grabs Luthor by the throat. I’m not sure I like what they did here with Cyborg Superman, but it is their interpretation, and while the design is not what I’d expect for that character, I do like the idea and design as a whole (if it were for another character). BTW you can see the design I’m talking about on the cover of issue 4 in this post.
End of issue 3… begin issue 4. The one cool thing though is when Cyborg Superman is angry, his digital face turns red. When he’s calm, he is has a blue face. The lights that run across his body also sort of form the crest Superman has on his chest, only there is no “S”. It is also explained that the body was made for deep sea and space exploration, and has lasers for mining as well as a jet propulsion unit. Okay, so it has heat vision, has a nearly invulnerable body, super strength, and can fly. Yep, sounds like Superman’s cybernetic counterpart to me.
The real Superman soon shows up and saves Lex from the robot. The bot and the Kryptonian battle and throw each other around, but after the long build up, Cyborg Superman doesn’t prove to be much of a challenge in the end. I felt that it ended much too soon, and was upset at how it all went down. Afterwards, Hank Henshaw is shown as just the cyborg’s head attached to electrical wires in the lab. I’m confused too. At one point, he is completely ripped apart and basically system repairs himself, but then when he is a head he can’t do the same? I’m skeptical to say the least.
In Smallville we find out that the Halo figure is in reality, Chloe Sullivan from Earth 2. She explains that the parallel world has been destroyed, and that she came to give them a warning… that the “Crisis” is coming. Could this be a foreshadowing to Crisis on infinite earths storyline from the comics? Or perhaps one of the other crisis stories. Only time will tell, but this was a setup to something coming down the line, that I can’t wait to see.
Earth 2 Chloe dies and we also find out that when Superman saved the shuttle, Lex knew he’d be exposed to radiation. Now, no matter where Superman goes, Lex will be able to find him via satellite. This does not bode well for Lois and Clark, because now Superman cannot return home until they figure out how to get the radioactive marker out of him. Clark tried to see the good in Luthor, but it is definite that he is a fool to think anything of the sort.
end of issue 4.
So where are we? This was a fun reintroduction to the Smallville universe. I’m happy to see the characters again, and am left wanting more. The questions remain: Who is the man who was stalking Chloe and Oliver, and killed Chloe from Earth 2? What will happen with Hank Henshaw (Cyborg Superman)? How will Lois and Clark get out of Lex tracking Superman’s every move? What is the Crisis that is coming? So many possibilities and new questions to come about, I’m sure.
My opinion of the series stands. There are always things that I feel could have been done better, but overall, I love this universe. Episode 2 comes up next, and it will involve the first Smallville meeting of Superman and Batman. I can’t wait to see where this goes, and will post a review up at the end of the episode (in 4 months). I’m glad to see new characters being constantly introduced. Cyborg Superman may not have been the best design in my eyes, but I loved having him as part of Smallville continuity. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this episode a 7. It effectively continues the feel of the show, and I hope that it continues on for a long while.
It has taken me a few hours, but now I can breathe and tell you what I thought about The Dark Knight Rises. My rating right off the “bat” (pun intended) is a 9 out of 10. There were a couple problems I had, but I got over them quickly, and I’ll explain below. I am going to go in depth about quite a few of the MAJOR SPOILERS, to perhaps open a discussion. If you’d like a review without spoilers, check out my brother’s review. Again, I will have to warn you that there will be Spoilers after this paragraph.
“And here we go,”… again. Christopher Nolan has given us an epic work of art. This whole trilogy as individual installments was outstanding, but as a whole, they are EPIC! That being said, he has stayed true (for the most part) to the fans of the Batman universe and for one final time, he has pulled no punches. I noticed three things that stood out to me. Elements of this story were taken from four major plots from the 1990s and early 2000s. (Knightfall, Tim Drake, No Man’s Land, and the Talia/Bane relationship.)
It has been 8 years since the death of Harvey Dent, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse. Batman is no longer needed by the city, and Wayne is basically considered Howard Hughes at this point. Here was my first issue with this point. Could Batman really stay out of it for that long? It seemed like too long of a gap for me. Batman became obsessed in the comics with protecting Gotham. So why can I ignore this? Because he didn’t need to be the bat anymore. The Harvey Dent act made organized crime extinct.
From the explosive opening on the plane, Tom Hardy really shows how menacing Bane is. Okay, so my second problem with the movie was that there was nothing called “Venom” running through tubes to beef up Bane into a monstrosity. Then I saw the movie, and accepted the changes greatfully. Though I would have loved to see that, I think the choice to alter his story slightly was a wise one. His background of being born and raised in prison was kept true to the comics, with the added part of him needing the mask. The mask could have been talked about more, but it was highlighted to the point of knowing that it kept him from feeling any pain.
Still not convinced? Okay, let me put it this way. Say you get into a fight with someone who is visibly a lot stronger than you. There have been plenty of times when the smaller person wins because of speed and size. A smaller person can maneuver around someone and manage to land more hits to take down his/her larger opponent. Now, take the same situation, but substitute someone that can experience no pain for the muscle bound one. Now its a whole different battle. How the hell do you take down someone who you can’t even hurt?
The Camera angles and vicious fight sequences between Bane and Batman made Tom Hardy really look monstrous anyway, so there was no need for the steroid compound. He even punched a chunk of concrete off of a pillar at one point. Oh, and as a fan, I will admit, I had a tear in my eye when he lifted Batman over his head and literally Broke The Bat! It was the exact same scene from the comics, and replayed nicely. I couldn’t believe it.
Christian Bale also did an amazing job as usual. I still want to giggle a little when I hear his Batman Bark, but overall, his performance was great. Bruce Wayne had nothing left to live for, and the emotional scene between him and Alfred, where he tells Alfred “goodbye,” had half the people in the theater choked up. The battle Batman deals with in this movie isn’t just Bane either. He is dealing with his own self managment. He has shut himself out from the world, and has to realize at his deepest darkest hour, what he needed to do. Bane made the Joker look like a joke. He was a terrorist mastermind that even fooled the world’s greatest detective.
Speaking of detectives, John Blake was an unexpected surprise. Joseph Gordon Levitt was probably the highlight of the movie for me. I knew something was up, and from the second he told the background story of his parents and the foster care by Bruce Wayne’s donations, I turned to my wife and said, “Holy $#!+. That’s Robin.” Yes, his name may have been changed, but he literally was Tim Drake from the comics. My suspicions were placed in concrete when Bruce told him that he needed a mask to protect his loved ones, and gave him the coordinates to the batcave. And yes, his first name was revealed to be Robin.
So Batman had a sidekick, and so did catwoman… well, sort of. To my knowledge, they never said what Selina Kyle’s roommate/thief friend’s name was, but she most definitely was Holly Robinson from the comics. A short and fun role that was worked in well. But the highlight here isn’t the sidekick, it’s the main act. Anne Hathaway was the best Selina Kyle/Catwoman I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. Michelle Pfeiffer was excellent, but I feel that Anne really made the performance top. The head piece and hair could have been done differently for the cat look, and I missed the nails and whip, but she kicked major ass. Both the good guys and the bad guys, really weren’t ready for the beating that she could dish out.
So other than the three main performances, what else can be said? Well, all of the supporting characters (Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox, and Michael Caine’s Alfred Pennyworth) were a pleasure to watch. Speaking of pleasure, there was also Marion Cottilard as Miranda Tate. I figured it out, from the second that Ra’s Al Ghul was mentioned and Wayne and Tate slept together, that this wasn’t who it appeared to be. I knew she was Talia Al Ghul, but wasn’t expecting the twist (quite literally) that happened when she revealed her true colors. I only wish that if the series were to go on from here, that Talia would have survived with child of Bruce Wayne. Afterall, Damien Wayne (their child) is now the current Robin in the comics, so it would have been something extra, but not needed.
Liam Neeson is another one. He showed up in a brief cameo as Ra’s Al Ghul. I loved how he explained that he was immortal in more ways than one, and that it was just left that way. On the same note, Cillian Murphy reprised his role as Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. This time he was judge at blackgate prison. I only have this to say… I think that if Heath Ledger was still alive, this role would have been given to him as the Joker. It would have made more sense to have the joker carrying out these sentences in the way they were portrayed, and had Murphy do something else to complete it, but still, it brought a smile to my face, regardless of who was sitting on the judge’s chair.
One final role that I wasn’t expecting was Roland Daggett. In the animated series from the nineties, I recall the one episode with Daggett. How do I remember this? Because in that episode, he was the man directly responsible for the creation of Clayface. He didn’t have a large role and there was no clayface, but it showed that he could be brought in at some point. Another quick throw out was when the police laughed at Gordon’s claim that there was an army of mercenaries in the sewers. Someone said something along the lines of “Sure, and I guess you want me to believe there is a giant alligator down there too.” This was an obvious reference to Killer Croc.
Look, for those of you who might have a problem with the ending, tell me why… I mean, it is obvious that Batman is not dead. He was seen in Florence with Selena Kyle, Gordon had a repaired batlight, and he had a new protege (adopted son) to keep an eye on. It wasn’t Batman that died, it was Bruce Wayne. Don’t you see? This was a potential setup by Chris Nolan so that someone can take these loose ends and run with them. This trilogy was all about Batman beginning. Now he is established. Bruce Wayne doesn’t need to be anymore. Batman is the key. He always was. It was that way in the comics as well. Who knows, maybe a little Helena Kyle (Huntress) could be on their way as well somewhere down the line.
From the number of days it took Wayne to heal his back to the severing of Bane’s tubes, this movie may have altered a few things, but stayed true all around. My brother mentioned the vehicles in his review. I disagree with his view. The Tumbler and Batpod were damn cool, and though I wasn’t too happy about the Bat, it definitely gave me a temporary satisfaction for the batwing.
My final thoughts are this. Please PLEASE PLEASE… whoever is in charge at Warner Brothers/DC, do NOT start this franchise over! Everyone wants to see what happens next. You now have a Justice League movie in the works. This is your first step. Batman exists in a universe. Use that universe. Perhaps Wayne will come off of his sabatical/fake death once the world needs heroes. You can recast him if you need to, but keep Nolan’s universe alive. I will be sad to hear if this truly is the end of such an epic era of Batman.
The Dark Knight has risen to the challenge of what The Avengers has brought to the table. DC has hit as hard as Marvel, now let’s watch each side continue to bring us the most entertaining films of all time! Please, if you have any comments, make them. I’d love to get a discussion going on everyone’s thoughts.
Let me start by saying, that this is really my first review. Sure, I’ve chimed in on some of Rick’s past reviews, but this is really my first solo article. For comic continuity I run everything by Rick. See, I recognize story lines, and the names of the masked and unmasked, but I’m not close to knowing who or what should and shouldn’t be. I do get excited when I see something on screen that I can relate to, and think “wow is what I think going to happen really going to happen?”
At 4:30 this AM I was pretty much all smiles. I love Batman and as a character I want this vigilante in my city to clean up the filth on the streets. Chris Nolan on the past three films has put a dark, realistic spin on Bats and his comic world, and I give a thumbs up to him on his trilogy. His character designs for the enemies are everything I wanted: A mysterious and magical, but lethal Ra’s Al Ghul; A Scarecrow that literally made me cringe and feel as if I was poisoned by his twisted vision; A criminal and scarred up cameo of Mr. Zsasz; The Joker, a dark, sadistic and menacing smile that wouldn’t hesitate to off any “schemer” that steps on his line; Harvey Dent “Two Face” that was driven mad only to show his true black and white colors; And now… The Dark Knight Rises.
I’m going to start this review and try to keep it short. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone, since in these Nolan films the first time is the absolute best. This stays true, I feel, to this trilogy rap up. (If you would like spoilers, check out my brother’s review in a day or two after he sees this.) I wasn’t sure where the story would go, but going into the movie I knew Bane was the one who would “break the Batman.” In the comic book story arc I believe the Batman did make it back into the field, after having someone else take up the cape and cowl. He was crippled. Bruce Wayne later began to take on an apprentice who would become a Batman “Beyond the Dark Knight”. See what I did there? Batman Beyond? Anyway, I digress.
The cinema takes this all in a new direction but uses characters and villains from the same universe. As for design and I look at comic book movies with visual critique. I know what my eye likes to see; from costuming, to special effects and practical effects. Here I feel that Nolan truly shines. The use of digital effects is warranted and I, as an artist from a traditional background, respect this. His set design and and props make for a believable universe that may indeed exist in our neighboring city. Mass amounts of extras used to fill the rioting streets, rather that a programmed mob of A.I. bots leaves Gotham City a living breathing city.
I really enjoy all of the iterations of Batman; from classic blue and gray, to the Burtonesque Dark Knight, and I feel that this Dark knight had a great concept. It used found applied sciences of Wayne tech to develop an armor that could protect and help instill fear into his enemy. However something with the cape and cowl just doesn’t quite flow well, shouldn’t this be one piece and shouldn’t Batman’s head not look like a bobble head ( a bit over exaggerated I know )? In the performance of Mr. Wayne I like this version, but Christian Bale makes Batman a scratchy, growley out of breath weirdo dressed in Halloween costume. Really? did we have to continue this? I did vote on Scrypt comics’ post that Kevin Conroy was the only real Batman. Check that post out here: http://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/who-is-the-real-dark-knight/
Overall batman is still kick ass. And Sexy…Catwoman… Right? That goes together. Well in my not so eagerness to see Anne Hathaway play a seductive comic icon, I feel she did a great job. I loved her character in that she was always Catwoman, whether in tights or as Selina Kyle. She kicked bad guy and good guy butt and it’s always great to see the Batman and Catwoman’s unique relationship. As for her costume design, tight tights are always great, and so is being a cat burglar in high heels. Her headdress was to tech’d out for me though. In my mind you can’t beat the Arkham City Catwoman, they could’ve shot for a closer resemblance in my book.
Bane.. Well he’s no puffy, yellow, venom filled Shuemaker suit, but really for Nolan’s world, his design was great. He was believable. He was strong. And he had a mask, that they really didn’t get into, but I would assume could lead to his need for the super juice venom that pulsed through him. As for his Jeremy Irons like voice, sure I can get buy that. It made him intelligent, and not some thug that was just all muscle. He had a voice and made him a solid character that you wanted to watch Destroy Batman.
There are some other characters, but I’ll let you decide on their presence. (Again, read Rick’s coming review, as I’m sure he’ll mention some spoilers.) Next are the vehicles. I’ve never really cared for these supe’d up, future military, clunky Batmobile/wing/motorcycle. In my eyes, these are really the only things that take from the Gotham that Nolan built. You’ll see. I kinda felt like I was watching Matrix sequels for a second and maybe I’m being harsh, but what ever happened to the cool sleek designs of Bat vehicles?
Over all this movie was a blast. Nolan and his team do well to tell a story, and to produce a film even. I feel that unlike other comic book films they really think out a plot, and whether it be directly from the comics or not, the liberties taken just help make the universe of the Dark Knight live on. I will be seeing it again down the road, and hope that it breaks the trend of very little re-watchability. On closing, go watch The Dark Knight Rises. I wouldn’t bother if it’s presented in 3D but it was shot in IMAX; so give that a whirl and enjoy. Here’s to the end of a Nolan trilogy. I thank him, the cast, and crew for giving us a fun ride.
Not sure why this didn’t post the first time, but I apologize.
Here it is! Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman made a short film to pay tribute to the Punisher.
Jane, who played the character in the 2004 film of the same name, said, “I wanted to make a fan film for a character I’ve always loved and believed in – a love letter to Frank Castle & his fans. It was an incredible experience with everyone on the project throwing in their time just for the fun of it. It’s been a blast to be a part of from start to finish — we hope the friends of Frank enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.”
Does this mean that he is trying to get a push to reprise interest in the character after all the success of comic book movies lately? Here is the video (Be warned, it is very VERY violent) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWpK0wsnitc
Personally, I love the character, and think that if they took the best of the 2004 version and combined it with the violence of the Punisher War Zone follow up, you would have a great Punisher movie. What are your thoughts?
Last week I posted my review of the previous Spiderman Trilogy. Now I bring my thoughts about the reboot. First off, there will be some spoiler material, so please scroll down to the last paragraph if you just want my rating. Here is the breakdown.
The casting was outstanding. Not once did I feel that any of these actors didn’t do their jobs. My only concern was the role of Peter Parker. I think Andrew Garfield played the part well, but I’m not sure if I totally buy him as Parker. He’s a bit over the top with cockiness. Emma Stone would have made a perfect Mary Jane Watson in a future movie, but her portrayal of Gwenn Stacey was perfect. All of the other actors (and I don’t need to list the names) I can say were just well done for casting. Aunt May could have been a little older, but I like where they are going with Sally Field in that role.
The Plot. This is where the movie fails in my opinion. Was the plot good? Yes, in fact it was great. It was even better than the first Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie. So why does this fail? Well, it WAS the first Tobey Maguire movie. We really didn’t need the origin story again. The villain was scripted out in almost the same way, and the new elements that they included seemed to be shadowed by the “Damn, I already saw this movie” feeling. IF Spiderman hadn’t been done before, then this movie would have been great! They should have made it a sequel, not a reboot. Here’s to hoping they correct that mistake in the future.
Visual effects were amazing. I didn’t get to see it in 3D, but I could see where parts of the film would have been cool in that format. The web swinging and action felt more natural than the previous trilogy. I would have liked it to be a little less dark and more daytime, but I can’t complain about how it looked otherwise, because that was the directors call.
Continuity with the comics. I don’t know much about the Ultimate Spiderman comics, as I was a huge fan of the original growing up. That being said, I am familiar with certain aspects. Web shooters being in this movie were a fanboy’s dream come true. How and where he was bitten by the spider, eh… I can get past that. After all it is someone else’s interpretation. Most of the elements were done in the same way. The only REAL problem I had with the continuity was the Lizard’s look. I don’t mind the way he looked, but wish that by the third time he injected himself, some kind of snout would have formed. In fact, my wife turned to me mid movie and said, “If he is a lizard, they should have given him a snout.” Okay, my wife never knew what the Lizard looked like in the comics, but she knows her animals. Therefore, common sense would tell anyone that the decision might have been slightly subpar.
Direction and use of characters: Marc Webb really did bring the Amazing into the title. As I said earlier, this would have been the best spiderman movie to date IF IF IF it hadn’t been done already. I wanted to see a new story. All I got was a new villain and a too cocky peter parker. I DO love that we didn’t get a repeat villain though, and I hope it remains this way. The addition of the mid credits scene was cool too. My thoughts on who that was? Well Webb announced who it wasn’t, so I will narrow it down to two villains who could appear and disappear like that. Villain for TASM2 will be either Electro or Mysterio based on that scene.
Acting as I said was superb, and worked on every level. My criticism of Andrew Garfield wasn’t on his acting ability. He just had to work with the script he was given. His emotional scenes felt real, he looked as though he was in pain, and you really felt for him in his time of struggles.
The music was perfect for the picking too. The only scene where music didn’t feel right to me was when he was skating through the halls of his school. Even that wasn’t too out of place.
The audience could relate to what the protagonists had to endure emotionally, and there was enough in there to set up other stories. I really want to see what happened to Richard and Mary Parker in this version. I hope they don’t forget that either. When I was a kid, I remember when he found out his parents were alive. It was an emotional roller coaster, and I think they could play this out well for the next endeavor and the following one. The genetics stuff and hints at Norman Osborn, really make me think that he wasn’t “sick” as they said. I think he is building an army to do his bidding. Perhaps there are six of them and quite sinister at that… (sorry, always wanted to see that on the screen). I could see it now. The Amazing Spiderman vs. The Sinister Six.
All in all, I have to give this movie two ratings. The first rating is what the movie is worth in my book. For that I give it a 9 out of 10. My second rating is because it was the same stuff seen on a different day. and for that I give it a 7 out of 10. Just as a reference, the original Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie was given my 8 of 10 rating, so I guess this incarnation tied for that spot. I think we are in for a good ride to come, and can’t wait until the next chapter.
There are no words that can describe this live action battle, other than awesome! I think the battle ended too quickly, but it is amazing. Thanks to geeksyndicate for bringing it to our attention. http://geeksyndicate.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/web-cinema-batman-vs-wolverine-live-action-battle/
Sam Raimi created the Spiderman movie universe as we know it today, and although The Amazing Spiderman is an entire reboot, the man deserves a round of applause (in most cases). Let’s take a look at all three Spiderman films by Raimi, and assess them as a whole.
I’ve come up with a new grading system for my movie ratings, and will apply it here.
1. CASTING: Tobey Maguire IS Spiderman/Peter Parker. I’m not knocking Andrew Garfield at all, but I don’t think you could pick a more fitting actor than Maguire. The second he was cast in the roll, I said, “This is going to be epic.” and he proved that thought.
Kirsten Dunst on the other hand was not in my opinion Mary Jane Watson. She is a great actress don’t get me wrong, and she is attractive, but MJ was the girl I grew up with in the comics. She was drawn to be a very sexy model and was womanly in every aspect of her look. Dunst did not make my childhood fantasies come real, as I didn’t see her that way. Still, she did a fine job acting, I just wish they would have thought about this casting.
Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborne/Green Goblin. As the Goblin, I thought he was perfect when it came to voice and him playing the part (I really like the test mask they did and wish they would have used that instead of the power ranger we got, but I got used to it). He didn’t have much screen time as a sane Norman Osborne, so that one is hard to judge.
James Franco as Harry Osborne / The New Goblin. No, no and no. Look, he’s a great actor and I have immense respect for his talent, but as Harry? No. His Goblin portrayal didn’t even fit the comic part.
Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto “Octopus” Octavius was perfect. Other than Elton John looking the part, Molina was a great selection.
Thomas Hayden Church as Flint Marko aka Sandman. Perfect Casting. I was excited about this as much as about Tobey/Spidey.
Other roles: J Jonah Jameson, Robbie Robertson, Betty Brant, Bone Saw McGraw, Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Curt Connors, Gwenn Stacey and Captain Stacey were all excellent choices in my mind. Flash Thompson not so much. He didn’t do a bad job, I just didn’t think he looked the part, and wasn’t as dumb as he seemed in comics.
2. The PLOTs:
Spiderman 1′s plot was an origin story. They did everything they could to fit in what needed to be, and it worked well. Spiderman 2′s plot in my opinion was the best of the three. It was original and felt like Peter really had challenges ahead of him, and really spoke of originality. Spiderman 3 started out great and then somehow joined my previous night’s dinner in the crap filled sewers. They had potential, but jammed way too much in there. It was rushed, and because of this, they strayed too far from the comics.
3. VISUAL EFFECTS:
All three movies really shine here. I have no complaints at all about any of these.
4: CONTINUITY WITH THE COMICS:
Every fan wants their favorite stories to be interpreted correctly. Where most of the following complaints are outweighed by everything else, there are some problems I had. Green Goblin looked like a power ranger, and the New Goblin was downright awful looking. Uncle Ben’s killer being revealed in the third one as the Sandman was terrible. Organic web shooters? I hated it, but realized why they did it and learned to accept it. Genetically altered spider instead of radioactive? Not a bad change. Venom speaking normally instead of in the third person, and having too much of Topher face time was a disappointment. Not to mention that they killed him too quickly and he should have gotten another movie. Oh, and Sandman does NOT fly!!!! The end of the first movie with Goblin on the bridge was a great tribute to the comics, but brings in my next point… MJ should not have been the first girlfriend. What about Betty Brant? She was in the movie. What about Gwenn Stacey who didn’t show up til the third and should have been on the bridge in the first? What about Felicia Hardy? Too much skipped over to have a whiney Peter Parker sulk in his spandex by the middle of the third movie. The Venom symbiote would have been easily done with Jameson’s son returning from space, but for some reason they didn’t do that. When Peter became violent with the Black suit though, they got that right.
5. DIRECTION AND USE OF CHARACTERS:
Direction wise, Sam Raimi did a great job overall. He made some vital errors in the third one, but I blame that on Sony for rushing what he wanted to do, and insisting that he make Venom a main character instead of setup for the next movie. Also, Peter Parker’s little mood swing and dance scene was ridiculous. Look, I love ridiculous humor, but Spidey is already sarcastic. Why make him annoying? Some of it was a bit over the top, but acceptable, and I’d have liked Betty Brant played by Elizabeth Banks to have a bigger role. Despite costume changes, I think he captured the essence of the characters. EXCEPT for Venom not speaking in the third person. Did I mention that already? Yes I did. It bothered me too. Other than that, he updated the stories to fit well in current society at the time.
All of the acting was done well. My only two problems were with James Franco and Tobey Maguire. Franco seemed a little too dry in his portrayal of Harry. His emotions were often unbelievable. And speaking of emotions, Tobey played a little too much of a cry baby. Sure both of these can be blamed on the director, but the actors are at fault as well.
From Danny Elfman’s musical compositions to the selection of songs in the movies, there could not have been better soundtracks.
8. HOW THE AUDIENCE CAN RELATE:
Look, the bottom line is that in order to have a great movie, the audience needs to relate to it in some way. They need to like the characters or hate them and understand to some extent what is going on at an emotional level. The death of Uncle Ben, Peter’s Financial troubles, juggling school work and a job, having a boss that is ungrateful and being bullied are all things that the audience could sympathize with. You really do feel bad for Peter Parker at times throughout these movies. Then there is that award winning upside down kiss in the rain. It’s probably the best movie kiss in history, and melts all the ladies’ hearts. At an even other level, in Spiderman 3, Peter is an emotional wreck with the black suit. That is when the audience feels like screaming, “Stop being a sissy!” It is almost laughable, yet on all fronts, the emotion was present, and people could relate.
9. EASTER EGGS:
For any of you who might not know, an Easter egg in a movie is a hidden item, reference or inside joke between the director and the fans. The Spidey movies have plenty of them. Let’s begin with Bruce Campbell. He is a longtime friend of Sam Raimi’s, and the star of his Evil dead series. He has had plenty of other work with the director as well and is considered the king of B movies. “The Chin” as his fans call him, can be seen as the referee, the guard at the door to MJ’s play, and the French Maitre d in Spiderman 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
Stan Lee, who created most of the Marvel Comics universe, cameos as a guy who saves a girl from falling debris in Spiderman one. He also had a cameo that was cut involving him selling a pair of sunglasses to a kid and saying, “It’s like the one they used in the X-men movies.” In the third movie, Stan the Man is reading a newspaper and turns to Peter to say, “You know, I guess one man really can make a difference… Nuff Said.”
Other actors make cameos, but Lucy Lawless, who played Xena, in Sam Raimi’s series, appears as a punkrocker. And the guy who has his pizza webbed away by Spiderman is also the guy who cowrote evil dead 2 with Raimi.
These easter eggs are mostly more for the Raimi fans, but they are there nonetheless and amusing.
10. OVERALL THOUGHTS
At first, when I saw Spiderman 1 I was a little disappointed. I’m not sure why. I think the changes like the webshooters and green goblin’s look bothered me and I initially couldn’t overlook that. Or maybe it was the company I had. At a second watching, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. SPIDERMAN WAS REAL! Sure, I may have said a lot of negative things about Spiderman 3, but I enjoyed it more than most people. The second film for me was the best.
I wish that Raimi would have been able to redeem himself in a fourth entry, but Sony chose to reboot instead. I am eager to see The Amazing Spiderman, and post a review soon. So what are my ratings for the existing trilogy? I give Spiderman 8 points out of 10. For Spiderman 2 I’ll give it a 9 out of 10, and Spiderman 3 gets my rating of 4 out of 10. Overall, I believe Sam Raimi gave us a 7 out of 10 trilogy. It was worthy of redemption instead of reboot, but hopefully since we aren’t getting that, the new take keeps bringing in new baddies and fan pleasing things. Sorry, Tobey. No Spiderman 4 for you…
I figured since it is Independence Day, here in the United States, what better comic would there be to review than “A real American Hero.” Growing up with the original animated series, I loved the whole premise of the cartoon. My problem with it was that no one ever got shot, and if they did, it wasn’t life threatening. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see people get hurt, but GI Joe should have been about real life type situations.
The comic book had done this. Issue #1 has its flaws, but it certainly separates itself from its animated counterpart. The issue begins with the hijacking of a train and kidnapping of one of its heavily guarded occupants. It opens with a bang and you immediately realize how deadly The Baroness can be. She stops at nothing to kidnap the woman on board. Why has she done this? The woman has inadvertantly created a doomsday device.
Let me say this. There is a slight flaw here. They never really emphasize what the device is or what it can do. It was something that had my curiosity peaked, but it is easily forgotten with the whole plot setup. The military figures out that Cobra is behind the terror attack, and enlist the help of their elite task force, G.I. Joe. This is a “Pre-Duke” team, consisting of: General Hawk, Zap, Grand Slam, Short-Fuse, Scarlett, Steeler, Flash, Grunt, Clutch, Stalker, Breaker, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Snake Eyes, and Shooter.
While they are devising a plan to infiltrate Cobra Command island, Baroness and Cobra Commander set up a counter strike force. When the actual invasion happens, I found another problem. The time is constantly listed on every few frames. This is great to have, but at the same time is a little frustrating. Cobra seems to have the upper hand, yet all of this time goes by with Cobra commander just assuming it is all going according to plan. He doesn’t try to escape until the very last minute, and even then it seems he wants to be stopped.
The only point where Cobra actually seemed to be winning was when the hero team arrives on the island and realizes that its civilian population has all been victims of mass murder by the terrorist group. It was left as a distraction, and amidst all of this they believe that they are saving the hostage, when it turns out she was really the baroness in disguise.
Cobra commander exchanges his hood for his mirrored combat helmet, and ends up shooting his hostage. Okay, like the cartoon, she was barely wounded, but it felt realistic here. Scarlett tries to stop the enemy leader, but in the end he and the Baroness escape. Hmmm. How they could get out of a room full of elite military soldiers blows my mind. Nevertheless, all of that is forgotten when the Joes barely get away themselves as the island is exploding.
Okay, so the heroes save the hostage and mission is accomplished. Here is my overall assesment. I realize that they touched on this in later issues, but more of a back story on the Joe team would have been nice; as well as Cobra. It seemed too rushed for one issue. The good part about it is that you really do get a feel for what GI Joe and Cobra are all about.
In the Treasury edition there is a bonus story in the back that involves the Joe team in the Middle East. This doesn’t involve Cobra, which I really enjoyed because it shows that they are not just there to stop one criminal empire. The Joes are fighting for freedom against any threat.
In the end, I give this issue a 6 out of 10. I do believe that with a team of characters it is entirely too difficult to fit everything into one issue as far as background info. With that in mind, they did a good job of establishing what they could. For nostalgia and origin type purposes, it is an issue that you should check out in your spare time.