Batman: Assault on Arkham

Assault_on_Arkham_-_BatmanDC Animated Original Movies has put out some fairly decent flicks in recent years, especially when it comes to the Batman universe. These include Batman: Gotham KnightBatman: Under the Red Hood, Batman: Year One, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. And in this latest installment, which is based on the popular Batman: Arkham video game franchise, we see Batman and the Suicide Squad team up to take down the Joker and stop him from blowing up the asylum and Gotham City.

In anticipation of its upcoming release, which is scheduled for August 12, 2014, DC Entertainment released the following teaser trailer a few weeks ago. I just stumbled onto it myself, and so I pass it on to all those fellow fans who – if they are like me – would not dare miss this! Enjoy!

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Superman vs. Batman Anyone?

superman-vs-batmanWord around the comic book community of late is that the sequel to The Man of Steel will involve a bit of a crossover. Apparently, an aged Batman will be making an appearance in this movie, and the story may very well focus on a rivalry between the two. The news came earlier this month at Comic Con when director Zack Snyder announced that he had something of this nature in mind, taking many by surprise.

One such person was Frank Miller, the man who brought us The Dark Knight Returns, the classic graphic novel where Batman and Superman have a climactic showdown. with uber-freaking awesome results! For fans who were thinking this means that Snyder is looking to create a live-action version of TDKR, this is certainly good news indeed.

Sure, the animated version was certainly good, and the graphic novel itself is a wonderful standalone piece that really needs no adaptation. But I’m thinking few fans of either franchise would pass up an opportunity to see the big showdown between the two superheroes in Crime Alley on the big screen!

tdkr_batman_superman1And as if wanting to throw some gasoline on those flames ahead of time, Snyder even had actor Harry Lennix, who played General Swanwick in The Man of Steel, read a passage from TDKR. The line comes from the very climax of the fight scene between the two, where a victorious Batman is standing over a weakened Superman and is ready to deliver the coup de grace:

I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come… In your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you.

After the reading, Superman’s big S appeared on the screen behind the interview panel while the Batman symbol quietly superimposed itself. Fans were naturally excited and expressed themselves accordingly!

superman-vs-batman1Well, according to the latest industry gossip, a live-action version of TDKR is not quite had Snyder and the studio had in mind. David S Goyer, who co-wrote The Dark Knight trilogy with Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, recently revealed the Superman and Batman film may use a ‘versus’ in the title. But he was explicit about the fact that the film will not be adapted from Miller’s work.

At the same time, however, sources close to Miller confirmed that Snyder asked for a sit down to discuss what this crossover movie would involve. The source made a statement of this impending meeting, claiming that:

Frank had no idea the announcement in San Diego was going to happen so it did come as a surprise. He’s going to be meeting up with Zach in the next few days to go over the plans for the Superman film so things should be clearer after that.

batman_baleSet to be released in 2015, the Superman vs. Batman movie is likely to be a loose adaptation, from the sounds of things. And the very latest in industry gossip says that Christian Bale may be coming back to reprise the role of Batman, to the tune of $60 million! No indication has been given if he has chomped at the bit yet, but Bale did indicate that he might not be finished with the role.

As Bale said in a recent interview, when referring to the price tag, “Let’s not get greedy”. But at the same time, he didn’t rule out the possibility, claiming that “it all comes down to Chris [Nolan].”

Personally, I think this “loose adaptation” talk should be ditched in favor of a full-on TDKR adaptation. There’s plenty of potential to update the story, which was written in the late 80’s and featured a very Reagan-era Cold War-esque story, but with a few tweeks, it could easily be adapted to fit in the current era.

the-dark-knight-returnsAnd it might even tie the two franchises together nicely, with a supposedly dead Batman coming out of retirement, and a Superman who has been enlisted to serve the government finding themselves at odds. And since the storyline involves the Joker, it could be a fitting tribute to Heath to have him brought back for one final dance with the Batman.

It’s a tall order, I know, and like I said, it was already done. But if you’re gonna go big, Snyder, go REALLY BIG. Or just go the hell the home! You’re making some tall promises, and fans are expecting better from you after that bit of a letdown known as The Man of Steel. You got Batman and Superman in your hands now. Don’t screw it up!

Sources: indepedent.co.uk, badassdigest.com

2012 In Review!

fireworks1The end of the year, in review, as provided by the nice folks at WordPress.com! I have to say, 2012 was pretty good to this little blog o’ mine! In addition to me getting the bulk of my current followers, I also received the vast (and I mean VAST) majority of my views in this one year. Consider… of the a grand total of 186,878 hits, over 180,000 took place between Jan. 1st 2012 and today.

Not only that, but of the 769 posts I’ve made since the sight went up, 670 were put up in this last year. Wow… I do love to go on, apparently. To top all that off, 2012 was the year that I published my highest articles of all time. The first was “A Tribute to the Joker” (which remains my top grosser) which currently holds the top spot at 27,974 views. Second place went to “Bath Salts and the Zombie Apocalypse” with 25,697, and rounding up third was “Zombie Guns or How to Prepare for World War Z” at 6,049. Fourth place went to “Dystopian Science Fiction” which earned 4,775 views and is the only article on this site to have been “Freshly Pressed”.

Yeah, its good to see all this stuff in review. It helps you take stock. It also lets you know what you’re doing right and what people seem to like the most. Judging from these hit counters though, I’d say people like sociopathic clowns, zombies, and guns way more than they do classic literature. Hmm… Should I be worried?

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Batman – Under the Red Hood

Hey all. My apologies for not cluttering you’re inbox’s lately with my usual slew of posts. But I’ve been away for the weekend and beyond the reach of a keyboard and/or PDA with internet access. But I’m back now, and back to my usual, manic output! And in honor of that, here’s a clip from an animated movie I saw awhile back and think is deserving of a review.

Entitled Batman: Under the Red Hood, this animated movie adapts some key material from the Batman comics, specifically the death and resurrection of Jason Todd, the second Robin to ever serve as sidekick to the Dark Knight. After being murdered by the Joker, he returns a few years later in the form of a vigilante who seems intent of killing criminals and getting under the skin of Gotham’s “Caped Crusader”. His disguised is especially significant because it used to be the very thing that the Joker wore before the accident that left him a scarred and brutalized freak.

The clip here is of the reunion between Todd, the Joker and Batman once the Red Hood’s true identity has been revealed. I picked it because it’s just so damn well scripted and chock full of classic Batmanesque themes. And check it out, the Joker is voiced by John Di Maggio, the voice actor who does Bender on Futurama. I look forward to reviewing it in full, as it was pretty badass!

The Superhero Challenge Part II: Backstory!

I got to say, I was impressed with the response my “Superhero Challenge” got. I knew that the topic was a fertile one, hence why my wife and I started talking about it. But I wasn’t sure how much thought other people were likely to put it into it. I’m so happy there are plenty of geeks like me out there! For those of you who came in and selected your powers and a name for your character, kudos! Now we just need to get to work on your backstory.

Every superhero and villain has one. They give them depth, motivation, and an origin story that makes their actions and purpose seem relatable. After all, a hero who does heroic things just because is no hero at all! He’s just a cardboard stand in whom no one can relate to. But a hero who helps others because of personal tragedy or to bring meaning to their own life is something we can all get behind.

Heck, the same is true for a super villain isn’t it? No one believes that a bad guy could kill, maim and plot the destruction of the world simply because he’s Evil the Cat. He too needs a history to explain how he became the way he was. It’s simply the way people work. We desire explanations and love a good origin story!

So I’ve prepared the following list of motivation/creation factors. I’d say pick one, but since there are some obvious places where overlap occurs, feel free to pick a second if it’s appropriate. And just to be creative, I’ll include a list of possible factions/forces that could have been involved. Circumstances are one thing, but going from that to the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) is a different matter. Read on and select:

  1. Tragedy – this can be the death of one’s parents, a wife, a husband, a sibling, or even a child. The loss effected you deeply, and led you to resolve that you would never let that happen to anyone else. Or maybe you just want some payback on the bastards who did it! Either way, the tragedy has become your weapon, and those who would harm innocents fear you now!
  2. Vendetta – a slight variation on Tragedy, this involves a purposeful attack on you which left you scarred, angry, and motivated to seek vengeance on the ones who did it. Whereas the loss of family is a tragedy that would have hurt you deeply, this is a wound that has left you pissed and determined to see the people who did it suffer horribly!
  3. Accident – maybe you fell into a vat of chemicals, got bombarded by some high-energy gamma rays, survived an atomic blast, had a brush with near death, or just stumbled onto something you weren’t supposed to. However it happened, the experience left you scarred and forever changed. Fighting crime or doing evil is now your outlet over the pain of the life you lost, and a means to put your freaky new abilities to work!
  4. Mutation – similar to option two, this could be your mother having been bitten by a vampire (a la Blade), the result of evolution (a la X-Men), or again exposure to some process that isn’t exactly scientifically possible. But it’s left you with powers and there must be a reason for it, or at least a positive (or selfish) way to use them.
  5. Alien Influence – alien technology came to Earth and picked you as its beneficiary. Or maybe you just accidentally found it and decided it was mighty cool and useful. Hell, maybe you ARE an alien who fell to Earth (i.e. Superman), and being one gives you strange and awesome powers that no one else has access to. How will you use it though is up to you. Will you be a savior, or a terrible force to be reckoned with?

Who hurt /changed and/or effected you? In short, what was the motivation behind the thing that made you what you are today? The list of possible candidates is potentially long, so I’ll try to break it down to as few possibilities as I can. And off the top of my head, and calling to mind all the examples that I can think of, I have come up with a list of seven different kinds of people/organizations who usually have a hand in the creation of superheroes and villains. Select one and proceed to the end:

  1. Crime Kingpin – every city has its share of crooks and criminal masterminds. Did you, your family, or someone else you care about run afoul of these villains? Did you, they, owe them some money, protection fees, a debt of blood which they exacted, thus leaving you hurt, bitter and angry?
  2. Negligent Superhero – let’s face it. Sometimes superheroes do bad things. Whether its collateral damage from their crime-fighting antics, the result of too much force, or maybe they were just having an off day, sometimes they hurt people without intending to. This is sure to leave some people angry, scarred, and looking for payback. After all, the Joker was either a hapless victim or a petty thug (depending on which back story you believe) before Batman sent him into that vat of toxic chemicals. And you got to figure a lot of victims get caught in the crossfire whenever there’s a big showdown between the good guys and bad. And in some cases, the victims blame the heroes…
  3. The Government – yeah, we all know they’re up to some clandestine stuff, or at least they used to be! And whether they decided to quietly bury the outcomes of their ugly projects and black ops, or simply don’t know about them anymore, you were the end result and now the truth must be brought to light. Expose their crimes, and if the ones who did are still around, make them pay! Otherwise, they might do it to someone else!
  4. The Corporation  – and when it’s not the government doing dirty, crooked things and then trying to cover it up, it’s usually the private sector! We all know there are plenty of corporate magnates out there who love to experiment with weapons, chemicals, radiation, and risky ventures that will leave people dead, mutated, or just plain altered. And you know they won’t be held accountable for it. No sir, not by the courts and not by the law! It’s up to you to bring these bastards to justice, or perhaps they are after you because you are now in possession of something they want. Doesn’t matter, as far as you’re concerned, the initials CEO stand for Chief Enemy Officer!
  5. Aliens – sure, there are plenty of nice aliens out there. ET, Alf, and the Predator people can be pretty stand up if you know how to stay on their good side. But alas, there are plenty of aliens out there that are just like us humans. Cruel, manipulative, and irresponsible when it comes to how they treat other people and dispose of their technology. Maybe you came into something powerful by accident, or maybe it was the result of something they purposefully did to you. Either way, you gotta follow this up and figure out who they are. And while you’re at it, show off whatever it is they gave you!
  6. Vampires/Paranormals far be it from me to discriminate against folks on a count of their background or supernatural affiliations. But when Vampires, Werewolves and other paranormal creatures start hurting people, it’s on! Was it you they hurt, your family, your friends, or do they just have it in their heads that “your kind” needs to be destroyed or pushed out of the way? Doesn’t much matter, because the end result is the same. Death to (fill in the blank)!
  7. International Villains sometimes, its not our own governments or their secretive agents that we need fear. Sometimes, the threat comes from aboard, either in the form of renowned terrorists, spies, or assorted Bond-like villains. And when they crossed you, your family, your friends, etc, they went too far! Now it’s up to you to make them pay for their crimes. This may be a fight you pursue alone, or as part of a team or a government agency. But in the end, you will bring the fight to their doorstep!

Okay! That’s it, that’s all on my end. Once again, the challenge is to make your selection and combine them with your characters powers and name to come up with a profile that is all your own! And please feel free to comment and include a small bio blurb which I will then include in a list of superheroes in my third and final installment. I plan to call it, “The New New Justice League”! Okay, that name is negotiable, but the intent is pretty clear right? Let’s make some new and interesting comic book icons!

The Superhero Challenge

Earlier today, my wife and I started having a conversation. It was one of those moments where an idea pops into your head, totally irrelevant and unimportant, but fun nonetheless. I asked her, if she could be a superhero and have her choice of three superhero abilities, what would they be. Come to think of it, it doesn’t seem that irrelevant does it? I mean, let’s face it. We’ve all dreamed about being superheroes at one time or another, haven’t we? To have superhuman abilities that would allow us to fight crime, save the world, or just beat people up and make us feel big.

So based on the assumption that there are other people out there who think like I do and have actually dedicated some thought to this question, I have prepared the following list. The goal here is to pick the three abilities that you think would make an ideal, well-rounded, or at least interesting superhero. Remember, you only get three, so choose wisely (and please note that the following list is merely the product of superheroes that I can recall and is by no means complete):

  1. Ability to Fly
  2. Acrobatics
  3. Advanced Technology (i.e. Ironman suit)
  4. Alien Technology (i.e. Green Lantern)
  5. Animal Control
  6. Babel Ear (understand any language)
  7. Camouflage
  8. Cybernetics
  9. Elasticity
  10. Elemental Control (weather)
  11. Energy Absorption
  12. Energy Emission (i.e. shoot energy from your body)
  13. External Shell
  14. Fire control
  15. Gadgets
  16. Godhood (i.e. Thor, Loki)
  17. Guns (i.e. Punisher)
  18. Gills
  19. Healing (others)
  20. Heat vision
  21. High-tech vehicles (i.e. Batmobile, Batjet, etc)
  22. Inertia (i.e. Juggernaut)
  23. Invincibility
  24. Invisible means of conveyance
  25. Invisibility
  26. Mad Fighting Skills
  27. Magnetism
  28. Multiplication (ability to make many of you)
  29. Precognitive
  30. Regeneration (self)
  31. Suggestion (i.e. mind control)
  32. Super Smarts
  33. Super Speed
  34. Super Strength
  35. Telepathy
  36. Teleportation
  37. Telekinesis
  38. Transmutation (shape shifting)
  39. Vampirism
  40. X-ray vision

Good! Now that you’ve selected your three abilities, it’s time to pick a name. What monicker best represents your hero, your abilities, and your particular manifesto. Is it truth, justice and the American Way (holy cliche, Batman!), fighting crime and protecting the citizens of your city (now that’s Batman!), or terrorizing the piddly folk and making them piss your pants at the sheer sight of your face (that sounds like the Joker)? Once again, be sure to choose wisely. The right kind of name can make your career, the wrong kind of name can make you a pariah!

The Walking Dead, Season 3 Episode 2

Welcome back to The Walking Dead, Season Three! I tell ya, one can wait so long for a show to premier again that by the time it gets going, they find themselves falling behind on their watching and reviewing. Would you believe I didn’t get to watching the latest episode til this morning? Yeah, it’s crazy I know. But I hope this review makes up for that and piques the interest of anyone who has yet to watch it.

Now rumor had it that this episode was the best one yet. That’s a pretty tall order considering that the show has set some pretty high standards thus far for action, suspense, and good old fashion gory kill fests! But I went in with an open mind and tried not to expect too much. Mainly, I just wanted to see what they would choose to reveal and what other cliffhangers we could expect.

Last, I should mention that thanks to a friend (hi, Khaalidah!) I’ve taken it upon myself to learn all I can about the comic books and how this show relates and deviates from them. Thanks to my initial research – still looking to get a comprehensive volume of the first 90 or so issues – I noticed a few things in this episode that were pretty significant as far as the overall storyline goes. But more on that later. Here’s what happened this week on The Walking Dead:

Sick:
The show picks up where the premiere left off, with Hershel bleeding on the floor from an impromptu amputation and Daryl discovering that there are inmates still alive and uninfected inside. After hurrying Hershel back to a cell where they try to stop the bleeding, Daryl, T-Dog and Rick have a strained chat with the inmates. Eventually, they come to an accommodation. In exchange for helping them clear out a new cell block for them to occupy, the inmates agree to share what’s left of the food supply with them.

At first, this doesn’t go so well as it is clear that the inmates are not used to fighting as a single, disciplined force. They make a mess of things as they come upon their first group of Walkers and begin stabbing them in the stomach and rioting on them. However, things improve with subsequent encounters, and slowly the group begins to get the hang of Rick and his group’s tactics. Namely, go for the head, stay together, and don’t let them get around you!

However, the biggest man, ironically named Tiny, disobeys these rules and slips off in the middle of an encounter, causing him to get scratched. The groups begins to debate what to do with him, but that ends when the inmates de facto leader (the only one with a gun) bashes his head in and they move on.

When they reach the cell block, a pitch battle ensues to the take out the last guarding the doors. During this fight, the same prisoner tries to take Rick’s head off, accidentally-on-purpose, and tosses a Walker on him when that doesn’t work. As soon as they kill off the last of them, he pretends it was all an accident. To this, Rick responds, “Yeah, I get it… Shit happens.” And then plunges his machete into the mans’ skull!

Another runs, and ends up getting locked out by Rick, to be eaten shortly thereafter. Of the last two, Rick and the others try to decide what to do with them. The one insists that unlike their companion, he is no killer and just wants to live. The other refuses to plead, and tells Rick to do what he will. Rick decides to spare them, and they enter the new cell block. They find that the former inmates were all shot in the head, execution style.

Meanwhile, Hershel goes from bad to better as Carl manages to slip off and find the infirmary. Coming back with gauze, bandages and peroxide, he even boasts that he killed two walkers. Naturally, his mother is incensed, but he insists he’s just looking out for the group. And the medical supplies help, as Carol gives Hershel’s stump a proper wrapping that will ward off infection. They also cuff him to his bunk, as a precaution…

What follows is on the most touching scenes as Maggie has some time alone with Hershel and tells him its okay for him to let go. Unlike her little sister Beth who hopes her father will recover, Maggie is convinced that they must be prepared for the worst, and tells her unconscious father that she and Beth will carry on as best they can. They have a close call when Hershel stops breathing and becomes suddenly reanimated after Lori gives him CPR, but everyone calms as they realize he’s still alive. He even comes out of his coma shortly thereafter to the relief and delight of everyone.

However, Carol has impending woes as she knows that Lori’s baby is due soon and may have to be removed by C-section. She doesn’t know how to do this, and at the time it seems as though Hershel will not be on hand to do it himself. Hence, she asks Glenn to help her procure a female Walker so she can practice on it. After finding and killing one in the yard, she gets to work on slicing open its stomach. As she does, she is watched from the treeline by someone… or something!

Things come together in the end as Rick and Lori have a private chat. They commend each other for their quick actions and being cool in the crisis. All in all, they agree that it was a good day. However, Rick still can’t talk about all that’s happened between them. The episode ends with him telling her how thankful they all are for saving Hershel’s life, and then leaving her alone.

Summary:
Hm, best episode yet? Not in my humble opinion, but definitely a good one! Personally, I am waiting on next week’s which the previews have indicated is where Michonne and Andrea will meet “The Governor” and be brought to his little town. What’s more, hints are given that Merle Dixon, Daryl’s crazy-ass brother from season one, will be making an appearance. If this episode had some people thinking it was the best yet, I’d tell them to wait on next week’s. Promises to be revelatory!

But of course, this weeks episode still needs a little play by play. For starters, it was damn good because of the way it juxtaposed the group’s fight to save one of his own members alongside the rather ruthless display Rick made with the prisoners. After cutting a deal with them but realizing he couldn’t trust them, he quickly dealt with their ringleader by splitting his head in cold blood! Then he even trapped another one outside where he was eaten by Walkers. As the Joker would say, “See, even to a guy like me, that’s cold!”

What’s more, hints are given that Carl is heading down the dark path as well. After running off to fetch supplies, he had absolutely no patience for his mother telling him that he took an unnecessary risk. In addition, the scene when Hershel is revived and they suspect he might be a Walker ends with Carl holding his pistol whooped out and at the ready. This, along with last weeks episode shows how Carl has progressed from little kid to dedicated killer. And when it comes to his parents, he’s showing some clear signs of identifying with his father at the expense of his mother. You might say he’s picking up on the conflict between them and picking sides.

Also, there was a little revelation that put me in mind of something I read about from the comic books. During this episode, Rick tells the prison inmates that they all have the virus, and that as soon as any of them die, they will be reanimated as Walkers. To my memory, this is the first instance of this being mentioned in the series, though I could be wrong.But if it is, it means they have now tackled an important part of the comic book series, which was the grand revelation that any one of them, including people who die while still human, has a strong chance of coming back as a Walker. Remember Shane? Well, if they choose to follow the comics on this point, Rick will have to travel back to where they buried him, unearth him, and put a bullet between his eyes.

Like I said… cold!