Thursday, March 30, 2017

Joss Whedon MAY Direct Batgirl Flick

Joss Whedon and Warner are 'in talks' about a solo Barbara Gordon film. If this works out, I'm incredibly exited. We're can't be entirely sure how things are going to work out though. Cross your fingers with me.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Old Stuff on a Random Wallpaper Site

Ages ago, I made this thing:

It's a 'what if Tim Burton made Batman Forever' kind of thing. Mostly due to its age (uploaded in 2010 but made way earlier), it's not exactly the greatest poster I've ever made. In fact, the photoshopping is downright ugly at most places. However, it has somehow pulled in 4938 views thus far, so I'm not deleting that sucker.

Anyway, I was googleing Batman stuff (as I often do) when I suddenly came across this:

What the...

I assumed this site was somehow plucking random images with the right tags from the web, but this page mentioned a uploader. Who is downloading this monstrosity as a wallpaper? It makes no sense to me. If you're gonna steal my stuff, at least nick some of my better work, man.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Legends of the Dark Knight Issue 1 (2012) Review

DC Comics
Back in 1989 DC launched 'Legends of the Dark Knight'. The idea was to have a series with an ever rotating creative team and only a loose concern with continuity. It ran with varying degrees of success until it was discontinued in 2007 when it was replaced by Batman Confidential, which was the same when it comes to the creative teams, but followed a slightly different path story-wise. In 2012 DC relaunched the Legends of the Dark Knight series with an issue containing three stories. They are the following:

The Butler Did It.
Whoa man, I hate this story with a passion. That has nothing to do with Jeff Lemire's unconventional artwork, mind you. I only welcome artists that don't stick to the same old style. No, it's the story I can't stomach. The first plot point is actually clever, but everything takes a nosedive after that. As it turns out, everything that happens does so because of people acting way out of character. WAY out of character. It's hard to even read these people with the familiar names attached. They feel like completely different characters instead. As far as revamps go, this has to be one of the worsts starts anyone has ever made. It's a good thing the story is mercifully short, as opposed to tainting the whole issue.

All of the Above.
Don't let my negative review of the last story scare you away from the issue however, because 'All of the Above' is a really fun read that even has a bit of a classic feel to it, even though it takes place in space, which is not usually where Batman shines.The story showcases Batman's fast thinking skills and usefulness in the Justice League.

The Crime Never Committed.
Now, this. This is a Batman comic. This is the kind of stuff that makes me proud to be a fan. I know it's going to sound like a huge exaggeration when I say the story reminded me of Denny O'Neil, but it really did. The previous story was fun, but this one brought me back to reading back issues from the 70's. You owe it to yourself to read this. And the art isn't too shabby either. It's hitting all the stylistic marks, like Batman being shrouded in shadow most of the time, and I'm loving it.

And that was that. As you can see, there is a sharp increase in quality. If I were the editor, I'd scrap the first story, giving the other two more room.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dark Knight Universe (Formerly Earth 31) Timeline

Here's where I attempt to make an accurate as possible timeline based on the continuity kicked of by Frank Miller's  'The Dark Knight Returns'. This continuity was known as Earth 31 in the multiverse until New52 came around and changed everything. If this continuity exists at all in the new multiverse is unknown at the moment.

These are the comics the Dark Knight Universe is made of:

  • Batman: Year One (this was also in canon in the main continuity pre-New52)
  • All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder
  • Spawn/Batman
  • Countdown: Arena
  • The Dark Knight Returns, The Last Crusade (not out yet)
  • The Dark Knight Returns
  • The Dark Knight Strikes Again
  • The Dark Knight III, Master Race (being published now)
  • The Atom #1
  • Wonder Woman #1
  • Green Lantern #1 (not out yet)

(All comics in chronological order, continuity wise, except for the last three, which are inter cut with the plot of 'Master Race')

I've heard it said that 'Batman/Spawn: War Devil' is a sequel of 'Spawn/Batman' and should therefore also be considered in canon. However, I've found no solid confirmation of this online and I haven't read that comic yet, so I'm leaving it out for the time being. If you're reading this and you do have evidence that 'Batman/Spawn: War Devil' does indeed belong here, please comment so that I can adjust the timeline accordingly. Speaking of Spawn, in his confrontation with Batman his face gets scarred in a way that carries over into Spawn's regular comics. This might drive some to think the entire main continuity of Spawn is in canon with the Dark Knight universe. However, the cause of Spawn's scar has since been retconned as being brought on by somebody else (I forgot who), so we need not worry about that.

As reference on the timeline I'll be using Bruce Wayne's age instead of dates. I'm doing this because the comics take place in the time they came out as opposed to in relation to each other. That's why people have modern mobile phones in the second year of Batman's existence but when he comes out of retirement Ronald Reagan is holding office.

Of course, I can't lay out the events of these comics without spoiling them. So be warned. If you haven't read Batman: Year One or any of the Dark Knight titles yet, I highly recommend you do that first.

While chasing a rabbit on the grounds surrounding Wayne manor, Bruce falls into the cave that would later become the batcave. There, he has a frightening encounter with a large bat, which hisses as it flies straight towards him.

As a doctor, Thomas Wayne's job description includes 'saving lives', something that gathers great admiration from Bruce.

June 26, 10:47 p.m.
Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered in Bruce Wayne's presence. It's Joe Chill, but it's hinted that Bruce never finds out who the killer is, making most criminals he faces suspect (this could be one of the reasons Miller's Batman is more violent than previous incarnations). The Waynes were just on their way home from having seen 'The Mark of Zorro' (Tyrone Power version), the film leaves a great impression on him.

18, presumably
Bruce leaves Gotham. Starts training at various locations around the world.

Early 20's
Bruce studies forensics.

Bruce is learning an array of martial arts in the far east while also mostly continuing his forensic studies.

(Start 'Batman: Year One')

Bruce returns to Gotham. Then Inspector James Gordon takes residence. His wife Barbara appears to be pregnant, but they're still waiting for the test results (but yeah, she's pregnant). This plot point kind of gets undercut when you include 'All Star Batman and Robin' (hence forward to be addressed as 'ASB&R') in the timeline. There, Barbara Gordon is fifteen (almost sixteen), meaning that she's already a teen during 'Year One'. Since she's obviously retroactively fitted in, there is no mention of her here.

Gordon gets beat up by his colleagues, led by Flass. Gordon in return beats up Flass. Bruce goes on his first night of crime fighting but is unsuccessful (runs into Selina Kyle, who is a prostitute. It's still Frank Miller we're talking about here). Back at Wayne manor he contemplates letting himself bleed out when a bat enters the room. This inspires Bruce to become Batman, he calls Alfred, who has experience as a medic.

Batman and Gordon are getting more successful in their respective fields. GCPD has officially started a hunt for Batman. Gordon has a nice chemistry with detective Sarah Essen.

Batman announces himself to the higher ups of Gotham crime, which includes politicians. The commissioner is not amused and ups the pressure on Gordon to capture Batman.

Gordon devises traps for Batman, but Bruce sees through them. Sarah Essen plays the bait, while Gordon admires her. Crime boss 'The Roman' (Carmine Falcone) is humiliated. Gordon visits Harvey Dent as he suspects him to be Batman.

Gordon and Essen have a moment. Batman and Gordon both try to prevent a runaway truck from hitting a pedestrian. Batman succeeds while Gordon gets knocked out briefly. Gordon and Essen try to arrest Batman which turns into a chase. A wounded Batman takes shelter in an abandoned building. The GCPD tries to burn Batman out by bombing the building, but only succeed in killing innocent homeless people. This excessive force is giving Gordon a crisis of x of sorts. The explosions are attracting the attention of Holly, Selina Kyle's roommate. They go and have a look at the building where an exiting chase is going on. Batman ultimately escapes using a sonar device to make the place swarm with bats.

Selina and Holly quite their job in prostitution by way of Selina knocking out their pimp. Selina exclaims to have a better idea.

Gordon and Essen let the sexual tension between them build up until one night they share a kiss.

Selina becomes Catwoman. Gordon, meanwhile, is going through all kinds of crisis.

Gordon breaks up with Essen. Essen moves to New York.

Commissioner Loeb has photographic evidence with his romantic involvement with Essen, tries to blackmail Gordon. Gordon visits Bruce Wayne, another main suspect in the Batman case. He takes his wife along. On their way back he confesses to his romance with Essen.

James Gordon Jr. is born.

Batman further loosens the Falcone family's grip on the city.

James Gordon Jr. is kidnapped. Bruce Wayne goes after the culprit, who tosses the baby from a bridge. Bruce catches him. "You know, without my glasses, I'm practically blind." Gordon tells Bruce. Complete truth or plausible deniability?

Commissioner Loeb finds himself in hot water.

Gordon becomes commissioner.

The Gordons work on their marriage via therapy.

The first time Gordon and Batman work together is the first appearance of the Joker. He threatens to poison the water supply.

(End 'Year One')

Meets Joker for the first time. Joker poisons Gotham's water supply. This is approximately one year before Dick Grayson first gets training to become Robin.

Bruce uses Gotham sewers as first batcave. To prove to himself he doesn't need wealth for this venture and to practice being Batman in poverty, just in case the day ever comes Bruce Wayne loses his fortune somehow.

Discovers Selina Kyle is Catwoman.

Fictional interpretations of Batman pop up in various media. Including the Adam West television series and a Frank Miller style comic.

Though Gordon and Batman remain friends, Batman's relationship with the GCPD gets worse and has reached a point of being unusually violent by the time of 'ASB&R'.

(Start 'ASB&R')

Inspired by Batman, a fifteen year old Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl. As discussed before, her sudden appearance on the timeline thoroughly messes with 'Year One'.

Batman's relationship with Gordon takes a hit on account of Batman inspiring copycats. Though Gordon still defends Batman's actions in general.

Gordon's marriage is slipping again and he has resumed his romance with Sarah Essen. Barbara Gordon Sr. is also implied to be in an extramarital affair of sorts.

Batman gets romantically involved with Selina Kyle.

Inspired by Batman, an unnamed Irish lass (she looks like Dinah Lance) becomes Black Canary. Ends up having sex with Batman. Batman dislikes having inspired other vigilantes.

Six months later. While on a date with Vicky Vale, Bruce witnesses the death of the twelve year old Dick Grayson's parents. The murderer, in a direct sense, is a thug named Jocko-boy Vanzetti. Yet the orders ultimately come from the Joker. Bruce takes in Dick Grayson.

The recently formed Justice disagrees with Batman's methods and discuss how to deal with him. Wonder Woman proposes to kill him while Superman thinks he should be taken to the police (which, in Gotham, isn't that much different from Wonder Woman's proposal).

Bruce trains Dick Grayon to become Robin. Dick can choose his own persona and decides to become 'Hood', after Robin Hood. However, Batman doesn't like the actual hood on Dick's costume, as it is ill suited for fights, and declares "Loose the hood, you're Robin".

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) visits Gotham and tries to reason with Batman, but ends up fighting both him and Robin, who is on his first assignment as such. Robin loses control over his rage and nearly kills Green Lantern. Bruce takes this as a sign that he had been too rough and that Dick should have been given the time to grieve. They visit the Grayson grave.

Gordon meets Batman at the docks, further cementing in the fact that Batman is on really bad terms with the rest of the force. Considering the violent behavior Batman and Gotham police have shown towards each other, I'd say avoiding the famous rooftop for now is a good call.

Batgirl starts a riot, but she's in way over her head. She ends up getting arrested and Gordon now knows of her secret identity. Barbara Gordon Sr. meanwhile gets into a car crash caused by her excessive drinking. Basically, Gordon is having a pretty shitty night. Barbara Jr. says he should call Sarah Essen, and he does.

(End 'ASB&R')

Cautiously starts friendship with Superman. Ultimately even teams up with him in the style of the 'World's Finest' comics.

Has a battle and then a team up with Spawn. There's no mention of Dick, perhaps things are already getting sour by this point (see next paragraph)?

Fires Dick Grayson. They have a falling out. Whatever happened to cause this has caused Bruce to call Dick a coward and incompetent.

Bruce takes on a second Robin, Jason Todd.

Large riots occur in Gotham. Bruce modifies Batmobile to resemble tank.

Becomes member of the JLA, develops friendship with Hal Jordan.

Two Face's last crime before getting locked in Arkham for a decade involves the kidnapping of Siamese twins.

JLA is pressured into disbanding. Most members of the JLA retire. Superman goes to work for the government, and Batman continues to fight crime in Gotham. Hal Jordan, by then Batman's best friend in the superhero community, retires to space. Batman unsuccessfully pleads for him to stay.

Joker kills Jason Todd, Batman Retires. Many superheroes are relieved, as they disagree with Batman's modus operandi. The upcoming 'The Dark Knight Returns, The Last Crusade' delves deeper into this story.

Joker finds little joy in his crimes without having Batman to duel with, falls into catatonic state. He gets imprisoned in Arkham.

Bruce meets Dick, but old wounds have not healed. They part ways on bad terms.

(Start 'The Dark Knight Returns')

Somewhere in between 'ASB&R' and this comic Jim Gordon has divorced Barbara and Wed Sarah.

Bruce meets up with Gordon to (herdenk) the tenth anniversary of Batman's retirement. Gordon is fully aware if Batman's identity by then and the two reminisce. Following the event Bruce runs into two teen members of a new gang called 'the Mutants'. He is attacked, but wards it off. Bruce begins to sleepwalk, ending up in the batcave and even goes as far as unknowingly shave off his moustache. When he watches television one night he comes across a network that is airing 'The Mark of Zorro', which makes him relive the night of his parent's murder. In inner monologues he speaks of Batman as a separate entity, waiting ever more impatiently to come out. Then, on the first rainy night following a heat wave, the Dark Knight returns.

Two Face is released from Arkham, as he is considered fully rehabilitated. Sadly, he falls victim to his alter ego once again and must face of against Batman.

Joker, upon seeing the return of Batman play out on the news, awakes from his catatonic state and with the help of a questionable x, gets released too. Once out, he kills hundreds and in the final confrontation with Batman, kills himself, framing Batman.

Bruce reluctantly takes on a new Robin; Carrie Kelly.

The Mutant Gangs gets disbanded and reformed by Batman. A large portion of them decide to become Batman-inspired vigilantes, calling themselves the Sons of Batman.

The government (Ronald Reagan personally, in fact) sends Superman to stop Batman. Superman tries to reason, but Bruce won't budge. They fight (Green Arrow aides Bruce) and Bruce appears to die. This was just a trick, however.

Together with Green Arrow, Bruce decides to train the Sons of Batman and Carrie Kelly. The new generation of vigilantes.

(End 'The Dark Knight Returns')

Secretly training the Sons of Batman and Carrie Kelly.

(Start 'The Dark Knight Strikes Back')

From Wikipedia:
"After going underground, Bruce Wayne and his young sidekick Carrie Kelly, now Catgirl, train an army of "batboys" to save the world from a "police-state" dictatorship led by Lex Luthor. In a series of raids on government facilities, Batman's soldiers release from captivity other superheroes including: the Atom (trapped for years in a petri dish), Flash (forced to run on a treadmill to provide America with free power), and Plastic Man (now insane and trapped in Arkham). Elongated Man is recruited from his job as a commercial spokesman and Green Arrow is working with Batman. Luthor responds by sending a genetically-superpowered man who resembles the Joker to kill as many superheroes as possible. Batman, with help from his allies, manages to take Luthor down, and Luthor is killed by the son of Hawkman, who had been killed earlier on by Luthor.

As he returns home, Batman receives a communication from Carrie, who is being attacked by the new Joker. Batman rushes to her aid and recognises the man as Dick, who has been genetically manipulated to possess a powerful healing factor, but has been driven insane. Batman shows nothing but contempt for his former sidekick and plans his death the moment they face each other. Batman hurls himself and Dick into a miles-deep crevasse filled with lava and blows up the entire cave, igniting an underground volcano and destroying everything. Dick falls into the lava and is killed, but Batman is saved by Superman at the last moment and brought to Carrie in the Batmobile."

(End 'The Dark Knight Strikes Back'')

Sometime in these years Superman becomes encapsuled in Ice inside the frozen over fortress of solitude, or Superman dies, after which the fortress freezes over at some point. It's not entirely clear at the moment. Not to me anyway.

(Start 'The Dark Knight III, The Master Race')

Reports of Batman are causing a stir in the media and political landscape. When arrested, it turns out to be Carrie Kelly in the suit.

Superman's daughter. Lara, visits Superman's body in the fortress of solitude. There, she finds the bottled city of Kandor, which has the words 'help us' written on the side. She takes the city to Dr. Palmer,  the Atom, explaining that they no longer wish to be small. Dr. Palmer helps in getting the city's inhabitants to full size. After accomplishing this, he finds a large portion of the Kryptonians to be massacred. Dr. Palmer has been dubbel crossed. Baal, on of the two Kryptonians Dr. Palmer has been communicating with throughout the process, kills him.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Romancing the Stone Review

©  Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

In the cinematic age of de-saturated colouring and self important, brooding protagonists, it's always nice and refreshing to sit down and watch something from the time when films were allowed to actually be fun (an era that appears to be making a comeback *crosses fingers*). One of the more prominent examples of such times is Robert Zemeckis' classic period (start to mid nineties). The first of his films to be successful enough to cement itself in the public consciousness is the adventurous Romancing the Stone, made in the vain of Allan Quatermain and Indiana Jones. One notable difference being that it takes place in modern times (well, 'modern times' being 1984). Starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, the latter of whom has the sexiest voice in Hollywood.

Turner plays Joan Wilder, an everyday woman who has written a successful line of romance novels. She has a nice enough apartment in a big city, which is more than enough to make most writers seething with jealousy. Yet she yearns for a more adventurous life and a dashing significant other, both of which preferably to be as much like her works of wish fulfillment fiction as possible. The first of her wishes seems to be taken care of in a troubling matter when she finds her apartment being turned upside down while her sister calls her from Colombia, informing her that she is in big trouble. Kidnapped, in fact. Joan goes to Colombia completely unprepared and predictably isn't met with much luck. She immediately ends up somewhere she shouldn't be. It's a good thing Michael Douglas' character Jack T. Colton shows up, otherwise Joan would have been dead in hours. This is where the movie really picks up. It hurries in throwing all the best clichés our way. Sliding down the ravine, the lady not having practical footwear, there's even a rigidity bridge! And swinging on vines! I love it.

Don't let the use of clichés fool you though, the film itself feels classic rather than cliched. For example, the main villain has a pit of alligators. Sounds cartoony, right? Well it is, but it doesn't matter because it fits the film. One of the things this film handles best is tonal shifts. It can have a moustache twirling villain and still have him come off as a genuine threat. And although this movie draws clear inspiration from the movie serials from the first half of the 20th century, it's not a carbon copy of them. Joan, for example, is not portrayed as a typical damsel in distress. Sure, she's pretty useless at the beginning of her adventure, but she grows. Learning to stand her own. Likewise, Jack isn't a one dimensional character either. Sure, his initial motivations are usually selfish, but he's not a complete ass. Hell, all things considered, you could argue he's a stand up guy.

Most of the scenes have a seamless way of flowing into each other. Props to the editor here. The same goes for the score, which fits so well you'd swear it spontaneously came to be during shooting. The climactic scene has some odd pacing, but its conclusion is fun as hell. All in all I'd say I can casually recommend the film to general movie goers and strongly recommend it to fans of the genre.