Tag Archives: DC Comics

The Road to Gotham is Paved With Good Intentions

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. If someone’s not remaking or rebooting something, they’ve gotta make a prequel or an origin story. Granted, it’s more satisfying to watch the latter two (except for the Star Wars prequels). In most cases it can be quite interesting to see how your favorite character(s) came to be.

I'm just wondering how Ben McKenzie is going to look with that sweet Jim Gordon mustache.

I’m just wondering how Ben McKenzie is going to look with that sweet Jim Gordon mustache.

This is definitely the case for Fox’s upcoming series, Gotham. Based in Batman’s hometown, the series follows everyone’s favorite Batman ally, Jim Gordon, as he begins his career with Gotham P.D. Long before he was Commissioner Gordon, he was just a rookie cop trying to keep Gotham City safe. Not the easiest thing to do in such a broken city, where the city officials and police officers are just as corrupt as the criminals, if not more.

Hopefully they'll focus less on Bruce going through puberty and more on him going through training.

Hopefully they’ll focus less on Bruce going through puberty and more on him going through training.

The show will also be focusing on an adolescent Bruce Wayne after the tragic death of his parents, following him throughout his youth and teenage years, as he gains all the worldly knowledge that he’ll need to become the Caped Crusader. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how entertaining all of that is going to be. The later years should be more interesting than the earlier but the writers are bound to find a way to make it all exciting. Something about Bruce Wayne attending private school and sitting through classes just makes me yawn. Might have to fast-forward through those scenes. Once he gets into his training and preparation, that’s where the fun will start.

A plus side to the show is that you’ll get to see how some of Batman’s greatest foes came to be. The Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, and many others will have their origins told but instead of fighting the Dark Knight, they’ll have to contend with the tough-as-nails Jim Gordon. It’ll be interesting to see if they use the “Red Hood” origin story to introduce the Joker or if they’ll find a brand new way. If they keep with the proper timeline of things, we probably won’t get to see Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, or Scarecrow, but you never know. We may get to see their pre-villainous forms, which could still be intriguing.

Can he be the tough, honest cop that Gotham needs?

Can he be the tough, honest cop that Gotham needs?

So far, there is a basic cast list for the show, just some of the main characters so far. Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon, which I’m all for because he’s actually a really good actor and can totally make it work. If you want proof, watch Southland. Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock, is another solid casting choice. He’s one of my favorite actors and will pull off the rough-around-the-edges cop role nicely. Sean Pertwee, son of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, will play the role of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s caregiver and protector. He’s got the “middle-aged, ex-marine Alfred” look to him. So far, only two villains have been cast: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin) and Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, a sadistic crime gangster and nightclub owner, as well as Oswald’s boss. Both very interesting choices and I’m excited to see what they do with the roles.

From the first announcement of it, I’ve gone back and forth with this show. I was okay with it when they said it was going to focus on Gordon and the Gotham P.D. Then there was a rumor that the show was going to be more like Smallville, with Bruce and the villains being in high school together, which I was completely against because it’s a ridiculous idea. But now with the confirmation of the way the show is actually going to be, I’m more excited than ever about Gotham. I shall remain skeptical however, as I have been let down before by comic-book-to-television adaptations (Birds of Prey). As I grow older, I learn with every new adaptation to reserve judgement until the final product is revealed. So until it premieres, I’ll will remain excited, yet reserved.

What are your thoughts on Gotham? Post your comments in the comments section.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Superheroes and the Small Screen

With Marvel and Netflix inking a deal to bring “Marvel’s Flawed Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen” to the small screen (Netflix being an internet version of television), there is the potential for even more heroes to follow the same path.

"The Man Without Fear"  [image property of Marvel Comics]

“The Man Without Fear”
[image property of Marvel Comics]

After regaining the rights to Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Blade, fans have been wondering what plans Marvel had for their darker properties. Now we (sort of) have an answer. Starting in 2015, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones will each have their own 13-episode runs on Netflix, culminating in a “The Defenders” mini-series. Depending on how successful this deal ends up being, it could open a lot of doors for other Marvel characters. And maybe even characters from other comic publishers.

For starters, an unrated Punisher series, made in the same vein of the Marvel MAX imprint, would be phenomenal. An unrelenting, bloody, violent, carnage-filled series showcase how truly badass the Punisher is, is exactly what Marvel needs. The same goes for Blade. It needs to be uncensored, violent and bloody. It’s a story about a half human/half vampire that hunts and kills other vampires. But it should definitely not star Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones. I don’t think Wesley Snipes should reprise the role either. We need a fresh perspective for both Blade and The Punisher.

Marc Spector/Moon Knight [image property of Marvel Comics]

Marc Spector/Moon Knight
[image property of Marvel Comics]

From there they could venture into the realm of a character like Moon Knight. He’s essentially Marvel’s version of Batman but with a few differences. He believes he’s the avatar for the Egyptian god of vengeance, so he might be just a tad bit crazy. Where Batman fights crime to avenge the murder of his parents, Moon Knight will kick the crap out of anyone he thinks deserves a butt-kicking because it makes him feel better about all the people he killed as a mercenary. He’s rich and uses gadgets like Batman, but he fights with a different code of ethics, so that could make for some interesting story arcs. After that they could even branch out to Cloak and Dagger, Black Panther, or Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

Other comic publishers could take notes from this and bring characters from Hellblazer, The Sandman, B.P.R.D., Preacher, 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, and so on to life. DC Comics might have some success with this venture, even though they’ve had some recent success with Arrow and possibly even more success with a Flash spin-off, they still had shows for Aquaman and Wonder Woman that never made it past their pilot episodes. This might be the perfect way to set up their Justice League movie. Characters like Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter might not have what it takes to hold their own on the big screen like Batman (and to a lesser extent, Superman) but they would probably do very well (if written, acted, and directed properly) on the small screen. They shouldn’t be discourage by their previous failures, but be encouraged by the success of Smallville and Arrow.

The big screen has been good for Marvel, and I think the small screen will too. They have been able to dominate the competition quite easily and, from the looks of things, will continue to do so. But in order to stay in the game, the other comic book companies need to step up their game and start trying to make things happen in new outlets. Netflix, HULU Plus, iTunes, Amazon Video…something. The fans want to see their favorite characters brought to life, as long as it’s done well. A season or more of one-hour episodes gives you more time to fully develop a characters story than a few two-hour films would.  A leap to the small screen could be just the way to give them what they want.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Superheroes Dating Each Other Makes Sense

When it was announced that Superman and Wonder Woman were getting it on, I got really excited. I’m not a huge fan of the Superman/Lois Lane dynamic, so I thought it was a good idea for the two powerhouse heroes to be dating. Yesterday on io9, however, Charlie Jane Anders had a different idea. While I don’t totally disagree with her on some of her points (the article is excellent), I do think that, at least in the Superman situation, dating regular people is unwise.

1. Superman and Lois Lane aren’t equals.

She is the world’s foremost reporter. He is the world’s foremost superhero. That doesn’t make them equal, unfortunately. Superman is essentially a god able to fly through space, run faster than the speed of sound, destroy things with his eyes, and punch Venus out of orbit.  Like I said, a god.

How can Lois Lane ever really understand what that is like? How could Superman ever really understand what it is like to be Lois Lane? She could get hit by a car and die going to work… that would never happen to Superman. She will age and die. He won’t (at least for a long time).

Wonder Woman, at least in the new 52 continuity is the daughter of Zeus (as we learned from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, he’s the all-powerful king of the gods!!) and has inherited many of his powers. As a goddess (or at least demigoddess, herself), Diana is able to understand many of the things that are going on in Superman’s head. She is able to understand his strength, his speed, how much restraint he has to put on himself not to accidentally kill someone, and is able to bond with him through that. She is also immortal, like our boy, Supes.

2. Superman always has to save Lois.

Let me describe a certain relationship to you. One party in the relationship is curious and is always getting into all sorts of trouble. No matter how bad things look, that person is ready to charge in and find out what is going on. Because of this, the other person in the relationship is constantly having to save the other’s life, fix that person’s problems, etc.

Want to know what I just described?

The relationship between me and my son. But, I bet you were thinking that I was describing the Lois Lane/Superman relationship. How independent of a person can you truly be if you know that someone is always going to scoop you up and save you from nearly every situation?

With Wonder Woman, he’ll almost never have the same problem. She is able to take care of herself, whether it be addressing the UN or fighting your major super-powered baddie of the month. In fact, I find that Wonder Woman often has a confidence that Superman sometimes lacks.

Really, if Superman needs to be grounded in humanity, perhaps it is best if he does it through family and friends. He doesn’t need to date a human.

3. Wonder Woman provides for some really interesting story opportunities.

How does the power base in the Justice League shift is two of the founding members are now dating? How are things resolved if they disagree? Will the Hall of Justice be destroyed if they have sex in it? If Wonder Woman kills someone, how does that affect the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman? Will Batman go absolutely insane when he realizes that the two (arguably) most powerful members of the Justice League are hooking up?

Let’s face it, relationship spats are interesting. A relationship spat while the fate of the world is at stake? More interesting. And it doesn’t have to be your cliched “should I save him or should I save the world?” story. Give the writers a little credit. They can come up with something awesome. Some of the most interesting “discussions” my wife and I have are over our differences of belief or opinion. Because of these discussions, I often find out more about my wife, and I love her more because of it.

Now imagine this on a cosmic scale. Pretty interesting, I’d say.

4. It’s time for something a little more new.

I know that Superman and Wonder Woman have been explored as a couple before, but never in a long-term way. I don’t think that Superman and Wonder Woman can worm their way past nearly 75 years of people being used to Supes/Lois, so give them a little time to make things interesting.

Superman has been pining for or dating or married to Lois Lane for a long, long time. Let’s try something new. Comic book characters are constantly in danger of becoming overly stagnant, so anything that injects a little newness into the story is more than welcome in my book.

5. Super couples can work.

Sue and Reed Richards show what a relationship of equals can offer comic book stories. Cyclops and Jean Grey are also a good example of a superpowered couple fighting the good fight together. It can most definitely work storywise. I’d love to see it work with two of the most powerful beings on Earth.

From a DC universe standpoint, it could be awesome. It could be frightening. It could end up like Antony and Cleopatra. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out where it goes.

Tagged , , , , ,

The (Late) Week in Geek: Aug. 24, 2012

Ok, so this is really “Last Week in Geek.”

Believe Wonder Woman by Kerrith Johnson

Artist Kerrith Johnson has a series of these “Believe” posters on his DeviantArt page. They’re quite worth the looksie. Image courtesy of Kerrith Johnson.

It’s late mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving Kiphart World Headquarters across the state. I’m sorry I left you without conversation topics all weekend, but I’m here to make sure you’re twice as interesting this week!

The world mourned astronaut Neil Armstrong. He voyaged further than any of his predecessors, set foot on the shores of the moon, but still returned to his homeport.

Comic artist, writer, letterer, and inker Karl Kesel is selling his personal collection to help cover adoption fees and medical bills for his new son, Isaac. I’m not tearing up; it’s just really dusty. I told you, I’ve been moving.

The new “Borderlands” game will feature a “Best Friends Forever” skill tree, or as the lead designer calls it, “Girlfriend Mode.” Causal Girl Gamer Gabrielle wonders if it’s really worth all the hubbub.

Only days away from seeing the good Doctor, the BBC gives us a look at “Pond Life.”

Nic Cage and his hairline are starring in a taken ripoff called….wait for it….oh crap, you already guessed it! Stolen. Thank you, gods of the Internet and cocaine-fueled movie executives for this gift.

superman_x_wonderwoman_by_zuthell-d42r1xc

Do not think he saw that coming. Image courtesy of Zuthell on DeviantArt.

Want to know what happened in the season five finale of “True Blood?” Here you go.

Rob can barely contain his excitement for anything Quentin Tatantino touches.

Because at their core comics are sort of like high school, the quarterback is totally taking the head cheerleader to Make Out Point. Superman and Wonder Woman are all up in each other’s business.

Speaking of doing personal things in public (They’re up in the sky! Anyone can see them! Get an ice cave, you two!), today is Read Comics in Public Day.

No big secret or surprise, I am both liberal and in possession of lady parts. Which is why I just fawn over the President’s response to Sen. Todd Atkins’ insanity.

TJ has found neat stuff lurking on Kickstarter, behind the motivational tapes for cats.

Seth Green’s long-promised “Star Wars” comedy show may turn out to be the least-disappointing “Star Wars”-related production since the “Clone Wars” cartoon.

Felicity wonders when the presidential election went from a campaign to a competition in stupidity.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

DC Comics Reviews — Red Hood and The Outlaws

Alright boys and girls, it’s time for another DC comic review. I’m still playing catch up, so let’s get straight to my ratings on the number 2 issues.

DC’s “New 52” Issue 2

Green Lantern – 4/5
Green Lantern Corps -4/5
Green Lantern: The New Guardians -4/5
Red Lantern -4/5
Batman -4/5
Batman And Robin -5/5
Batman: The Dark Knight- 3/5
Detective Comics – 4/5
Superman – 4/5
Action Comics -5/5
Wonder Woman -2/5
The Flash – 4/5
Aquaman -5/5
Justice League -5/5
Nightwing – 4/5
Suicide Squad -5/5
Red Hood And The Outlaws -4/5

Now that the ratings are out of the way, I’m going to do something different and review a comic that has not gotten my “Best Of” criteria.  It’s one of the brand new titles, Red Hood And The Outlaws.

Image courtesy of ing.com

Sidekicks going anti-heros…how cool is that?  I say it’s pretty amazing.  Since the release of the animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood, Jason Todd has been gaining a following of fans.  That’s kind of surprising for a guy that was voted by the fans to be killed a few years ago.  But thanks to a retconned DC universe, the former Robin is back, armed to the teeth with a take-no-prisoner attitude and a few deadly weapons.

He’s not alone. Joining him are two former teen heroes: Arsenal(Formally Speedy/ Red Arrow) and Starfire.

The whole first issue is introduction and serves to establish each character’s personality; Jason is the detached brooding protagonist, Arsenal is the clingy wannabe best friend/ comic relief, and Starfire is the alien that views us from an outside perspective.  All in all, a fun team.

This issue focuses on their relationships with each other.  But, of course, it shows how The Outlaws fight crime. They make sure that when crime goes down, it stays down…with a few bullet holes…and maybe an arrow through the throat for good measure.

I love this team.

You have two former sidekicks who had a hard past: one with heroin and the other with…you know, death. You also have
an alien princess who has no idea about human morality.

I wasn’t around when Arsenal was addicted to drugs or when DC set up a 1-800 number to vote whether or not Jason Todd would die, but I’m with them now and loving the anti-hero perspective.  And yes they all live up to their anti-hero label. There has not been an issue when a “bad guy” hasn’t died.

Also, I’m going to say that this is a title for a more mature audience.  First, you have the violence that is in each issue. Then, you have Starfire, who basically stays half naked throughout both issues.

Adult.

The second issue sets up the story arc, following Jason Todd as he retraces his steps from the beginning to figure out why he was resurrected. A few witty remarks and a flashback later, the team is surrounded by zombie warrior monks. Violent showdown time, with Red Hood chopping through people like they were butter alongside Arsenal shooting arrows and Starfire blasting…I guess…fire.

Violence sells and I’m buying.

Maybe it’s because I really don’t know much of the backstories of all these characters, but I have no idea where the current story is going. That excites me.  It’s been too long since I’ve read a story that I haven’t been able to predict the ending.  I’m usually pretty good about guessing what is going to happen, but with Red Hood I have no idea.  All I can say is that this is shaping up to be one of my new favorite comic books.  Sex, violence and adventure: what more do you
need out of an anti-hero type comic?

My favorite thing is the artwork.  It has a roughness about it that I absolutely adore.  It’s mostly in the gritty inkwork of Kenneth Rocafort that makes this book stand out amongst the rest of your average super-team book.  It makes it look like the world is dirty and pockmarked.  And something about Arsenal wearing a domino mask and a truckers hat just tickles me pink.

Nothing makes me happier than new material and not the same regurgitated stories that we all know.  I know I’m beating a dead horse since I’m rooting for the underdog, but old sidekicks getting their own book? Fantastic. Characters that were thrown to the wayside by their former audience have a chance to shine in this new series.

Plus, if you’re a Batman reader, I suggest buying this book because it deals heavily in the Batman/Gotham story.  That  should be expected with a former Robin leading the way.

Do you think that these sidekicks turned vigilantes deserve their own book?  Do those of you that have read it have any predictions?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DC Comics Reviews – Aquaman Focus

Welcome to my first comic review. Here is how it’s  going to work. Each week I will read the comics that I get and rate each one on a scale of 1-5, then pick one to review in depth. Most times the comic I will review will be what I think is best that week, other times it will be the worst. Additionally, any comic that gets a rating of 4/5 should be considered on par. Ratings of 5/5 will be given to books that I think are going above and beyond the expected story. If anybody disagrees with my ratings, I am open for discussion at most times. I am always willing to voice my opinions and debate. Also, you may notice that I concentrate on DC Comics.

For this first article, I will rate all of the issues 1’s of “The New 52” that I am currently getting. Since both issues 1 and 2 are out for all my titles the next article will rate number 2’s. After that it will be a weekly thing with only a few issues on each list. For now though I’ve got a lot of ground to cover!

This ain't your daddy's Aquaman. Image courtesy Toledo Free Press

“Green Lantern”- 3/5
“Green Lantern Corps” – 4/5
“Green Lantern: The New Guardians”- 4/5
“Red Lantern”- 3/5
“Batman”-4/5
“Batman And Robin”-5/5
“Batman: The Dark Knight”- 3/5
“Detective Comics”- 3/5
“Superman”- 4/5
“Action Comics”-5/5
“Wonder Woman”- 4/5
“The Flash”- 4/5
“Aquaman”- 5/5
“Justice League”- 5/5
“Teen Titans”-4/5
“Nightwing”- 4/5
“Red Hood And The Outlaws”- 4/5
“Suicide Squad”-5/5

As you can see a few issues earned a perfect score. When “The New 52” came out I had no idea what to expect, but I went in with an open mind.

The one that exceeded all of my hopes was Aquaman. Maybe being written by Geoff Johns has this effects on superheroes who aren’t as popular.

Years ago, I was one of the masses that considered Aquaman to be a useless superhero, all he could do was swim well and talk to fish. I hadn’t really read that much Aquaman, but after reading this first issue, it made me realize that I was missing out on one of the better stories in the DC universe.

It’s people like me that Geoff Johns was obviously trying to prove wrong in this issue. The first half of the book shows Aquaman interacting with the world and the world looking on in confusion. He stops an armored car robbery, kicks the crap out of the robbers and gets shot all in the first few pages. The whole time he has to listen to people’s misconceptions about him. They ask him if he talks to fish, and wonder why he is so far away from the water. Basically think of a group of people that only know about Aquaman from watching “Super Friends.”  It’s almost as they expect him to come riding in on a giant seahorse. There is even a guy that asks Aquaman while he is sitting in a restaurant, “How’s it feel to be nobody’s favorite superhero?” To which Aquaman quietly picks up his trident and leaves. And all throughout the book you see these creatures that look like humanoid angler fish rising up from what they call the “Trench.” I don’t know about you but those kind of fish with the huge eyes and uneven teeth creep me out to no end.

And I love it; this looks like the making of a horror/action arc that will hopefully introduce a new group of enemies to DC. It’s almost if Geoff Johns was using this first issue to dispel all of the stereotypes that have surrounded Aquaman for the last 30 years or so. For that he has my thanks.

Aquaman shows his worth. Image courtesy Comic books, Movies, Comic Book Movies

I think it is good for DC to try to promote what we would consider their “B List” heroes. For too long the Dark Knight and the Big Blue Boyscout have had center stage. Green Lantern had his revival and so has The Flashl it’s about time that we start to focus on heroes that have never been offered a movie deal. Get Aquaman’s name out there, give him a crossover series like “Blackest Night”.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m sick of Batman. Maybe I’m still resentful that the “Green Lantern” live action movie didn’t do that well. All I know that it’s refreshing to see a hero take his criticism in stride and still go on to save the day. Every person reading this article should go out and buy “Aquaman” number 1. It only costs $2.99 (thank you DC). I’m just saying give the issue a chance, and you will be surprised at how much you enjoy a guy in a fish scale shirt and green pants flipping an armored car like it was a tinker toy.

Disagree? Agree? Sound off in the comments. Or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comic Book Wednesday – Distribution

I’m going to generate some controversy today.

I was originally going to just publish a list of comic book releases, but I realized that other places did it better than I could, and I didn’t think a list would be very interesting.

So, instead, let’s have a discussion. You and me. You love comics. I love comics. Maybe you love them more. Maybe less. However, I think that you and I can both agree that the industry has problems. Some big, some small. Some require tweaks, some require a complete change in how the comics business is run.

Let me get this out of the way. I love comic shops. I LOVE THEM.

See that? I used capitals to show you how much I love them. However, I’m not convinced that they are entirely good for the industry.

When I was a kid (really, I’m not that old), comic books could be found in grocery stores, drugstores, and, sometimes, gas stations. Comics are a great impulse buy, but many people aren’t going to buy on impulse if the comics aren’t visible. If I saw comic books in the checkout lane at the grocery store, I would totally pick up one while I was buying milk. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

I don’t want comic shops to go away, but I want comics to expand into other stores. I really don’t think that it would hurt comic shops all that much. Although, it might make some of them work on customer service more…that might be a plus. I’ve been in some unfriendly comic stores (until you prove yourself as “one of them,” anyway).

Next problem: Diamond Comic Distributors. That name shakes every comic publisher to the core. The current business model is that the publishers write, pencil, ink, color, and print the comics, and Diamond is basically the only company that distributes comics. They have had exclusive rights with all major publishers since 1997.  The Justice Department investigated and concluded that Diamond has a monopoly on comic books, but (and here’s where it gets tricky) nothing could be done because the monopoly didn’t include books. See, Diamond is officially a book distributor, not a comics distributor. Bada-bing, bada-boom. The Justice Department couldn’t do anything.

Diamond is the Dr. Doom of comic books.

Diamond charges 60 percent of the cover price for their part in distributing comics. The retailers charge 25 percent to stock. This leaves the publisher with 15 percent of the cover price to pay its creative people and print costs. Do you wonder why comics are up to $4 now? Diamond is effectively driving the prices up. This also makes it nearly impossible for small start-up publishers to recoup their costs.

Unfortunately, I think the only thing that is going to break Diamond’s grip on the comics industry is digital distribution.

Seriously, though. Diamond’s logo looks like a LexCorp reject.

I love books; I love the feel, the smell, the turning of the pages. But, let’s face it, books are probably on the way out. E-readers are becoming too affordable, publishers don’t have to pay for printing and shipping costs, and it’s becoming more economically and environmentally sound. Comic publishers have already signed deals with Amazon and Barnes & Noble for exclusive rights on their tablet devices.

I really don’t think this is change that comic book shops deserve. I don’t want them to go away. Unfortunately, this might be the change that the comic industry needs.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,