Archive for September, 2014

The Riddler

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Character
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Edward Nigma is the most clever of all Batman’s rogues. Most people do the bad comparison and put him up against Joker and think they’re the same. They aren’t. The Joker character is a clown, chaotic and with an off sense of humor. Riddler is a thinking man, preparing riddles to perplex The Dark Knight to his endeavors, trying to out think the Great Detective.

A good Riddler story keeps Batman and Robin on their toes trying to solve the clues left behind and see the bigger puzzle, while not having the Dynamic Duo have a tremendous logic leap that makes you feel like you missed a step.

I like when The Riddler is involved. It give a chance at their being some good riddles that end up in some crazy over arching scheme.

Riddler has been a part of some big events in Batman, he was the one behind the Hush and Zero Year story lines. I’m sure the only villain with more appearances in the Adam West Batman television show other than The Riddler was Penguin.

Not every time Mr. Nigma showed his face it was because he was behind some large scheme. Their was a time, about a year or two before DC decided to reboot the whole universe, that Edward went as straight as he could. The Riddler started being a private detective. That little twist opens up a whole other side of Nigma rarely, if seen at all. He became a puzzle solver not a puzzle maker.

Now, of course, comics being what they are The Riddler is back to his old tricks.

All in all, I like The Riddler, he brings some fun stories.

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Cover Thursday 9/25/14

Posted: September 25, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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The Genesis and Super Nintendo had their fair share of Dark Knight related games. Since those bat-movies were coming out when those game systems were popular, and there were a couple of movie based games. This is one such title.

Looking back on it, other than Mortal Kombat, the digitize your actors style graphics never appealed to me. The actors they had portray their parts in this game were passable. At the time there was no High Definition anything, despite what the Genesis had written on its top.

I’ve found the best way to describe Batman Forever the game, is it wanted to be a side scrolling Mortal Kombat. Seriously. There are high and low punches and kicks to attack, and a block button. Only difference was, Batman had a grappling hook. A very bad, awkward, clumsy grappling hook. I remember the grapple animation looking weird for Robin, like he was extending his staff from his lower region.

So, the game itself plays just like you would think a Mortal Kombat II style side scrolling action game would. Slow and lumbering, not how anyone would begin to describe Batman. The thing MkII has, is because it’s a fighting game the farthest you travel is maybe a few screen lengths. It gets real messy when your trying to travel around whole platforming levels. Plus, add in that grappling hook mechanic and you’re going to have a bad time.

Not that the idea of giving Batman something to get around faster, or find secret areas with is a bad one. It just doesn’t work. I got this game for christmas one year, and probably spent the better portion of a good month futzing around with that damned hook. Trying all sorts of button combinations and not having success, and then maybe having some and not knowing what just happened. I got a strategy guide, that didn’t help with uncovering the mystic ways of the grapple.

It is possible to beat the game, I have. It’s not what I would call an enjoyable experience by any means. The Circus level is when it goes downhill fast, and that’s the fourth of about eight levels.

Lastly, this game has so much in common with the before mentioned Mortal Kombat, that this has a two player mode, where you can fight in the Batcave. You can choose the plethora of characters throughout the game, but if it isn’t Batman, or Robin its a “holographic projection” or something of the bad guys, which are all blue. If you don’t have a better fighting game available it’s alright, at best for a few rounds. There are Batman video games that are magnitudes better than this, play them, not this.

 

Cover Thursday 9/18/14

Posted: September 18, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Batman Forever

Posted: September 15, 2014 in Movie
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Sometimes, the third time is not a charm. This isn’t the worst batman movie, but it did follow the better of the two Tim Burton directed films. New director, new direction, news Gotham, and new Batman was well, different. And hey, let’s throw in a Robin origin, and let’s skip his time being a young ward and make him eighteen so we can have that unearned student-mentor conflict right off the bat.

Individually, there’s nothing wrong with the main actors. Val Kilmer Is an okay Bruce Wayne/ Batman, Chris O’Donnell’s Robin is mediocre, and feels forced. Nicole Kidman as the psychologist love interest to Bruce is never as good as it could be. Then there are the villains. Jim Carey did what mid nineties Jim Carey was gonna do with the Riddler. He’s over the top and maniacal, and try’s to steal every scene he’s in with that green suit and red hair. To this day, I still don’t understand the red hair. No other Riddler is portrayed like that, not that I’ve seen anyway. It’s mind bogglin’. Finally Tommy Lee jones is an awesome actor, I like him I other things, but he’s not what the previous two movies were leading up to. That being a Billie dee Williams Two-Face. Jones acting against the monster that was Jim Carey he has to become this ever approaching beast that comes close to going over, but just kind of ends up acting silly.

The serious tone of the first two films are almost all gone, and what little dark the Dark Knight had before now has weird neon lighting. Instead of letting Gotham have this eerie sense of delusion, seclusion, and corruption. It’s now looks like a cartoon version of the Las Vegas strip.

The story is lame. Batman is an established character, so the Robin origin is kind of thrown in there because that character wasn’t there, but instead of having Robin as a young teenager, he’s an adult. Like, they could have just made him Nightwing, it would have made just as much sense. And they try an origin story with The Riddler, but he comes off as less than fantastic, and borrows some of the same details as the previous movie’s Catwoman. Edward Nigma’s boss doesn’t like him, and Bruce Wayne is less than thrilled with his invention, so Edward wind up going crazy.

With those to sub-plots intertwining each other Two-Face’s origin gets demoted to a video on a t.v. screen, a bit uninvolved in anything. Two-Face has no place in the movie, except he hates Batman, because he didn’t save his face from acid, and Harvey is the one that kills Dick’s parents, because Robin needs a reason to join Batman.

Plus, don’t forget, the super forgettable love interest to Bruce. Dr. Chase Meridian, who has Bruce as a patient. inevitably goes and dates Bruce. Because their needs to be a love story angle somewhere.

Batman Forever is the point where the nineties Batman movies went from being worthy comic book movies, to terrible hollywood movies based on a television show someone took the wrong impression from. Watch it, only if you have a weird curiosity for this. Also, this is the movie where the nipples on the batsuite started, so yeah.

Cover Thursday 9/11/14

Posted: September 11, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Barbara Gordon

Posted: September 8, 2014 in Character
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Batgirl. Introduced in the ’66 Batman television series as Barbara Gordon, commissioner James Gordon’s daughter. She crossed into the comicsuniverse and has been a staple in the Bat-universe ever since

Barbara was a college student who was inspired by Batman to help her father out. I’m mostly positive Commissioner Gordon knows who everyone in that circle is, especially Batgirl. Considering she only shows up when Barbara is around and they both have shockingly similar red hair. Which flows out of the original Batgirl’s cowl.

 

I like the design of Barbara’s Batgirl outfit. She’s not as dark and brooding as Bruce Wayne, so she gets some yellow highlights in places to liven her up a bit.

Of course, Barbara went through some dark times. Getting shot point-blank by The Joker put her into the wheelchair she was in for decades. Before DC decided to restart their whole universe (not one hundred percent completely, and not at all flawless) and made it so Barbara was paralyzed, but she got better somehow.

However, that time when she couldn’t go out and fight alongside her friends didn’t stop her. Barbara Gordon became Oracle, became a computer hacker and monitored Gotham from her base off operations contacting and aiding Batman when he, or someone like Robin or Nightwing needed her.

To be honest, I more like Barbara as this upper level behind the scenes person, getting everyone where they need to be rather than Batman’s girl sidekick.

Cover Thursday 9/4/14

Posted: September 4, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Batman and Robin, crime fighting cannonballs.

Batman and Robin, crime fighting cannonballs.

Hey, remember that time a few years ago now where Darkseid shot his omega beams and hit Batman and he died? Well. That happened, but Batman didn’t die, he just got sent back through time and made his way back over the course of about year. Maybe it’s just me, but that plot sounds vaguely familiar. Anyway.

During that time the mantle of Batman was fought over by a few people. I thought it would have been more interesting if they had gone and made three Batmen, one for each former Robins at the time, highlighting their individual strengths. DC Comics had other plans, made Dick Grayson Batman for a while, teamed him up with Damian Wayne as Robin, after being trained to be an assassin Damian was a good choice.

Then, and here comes the best part, DC Comics decides to have Grant Morrison write a book featuring a book with Dick Grayson as Batman and Young Damian as Robin. With Frank Quitely art.

Story is good, although you are reading Grant Morrison, so read it reads better as a collection rather than piece by piece. Don’t get me wrong, there are great little scenes. After Gordon calls Batman with the Batlight, Jim can tell there is a different man in the suit and remarks, “Didn’t you used to be taller”. It also has this fantastic turning point for Damian. he gets kidnapped and tied up by this new Batvillain Professor Pyg. when he comes to Damian doesn’t show signs of being afraid, or worry about whether Dick can come and save him. The young Robin simply asks who tied him up so that they are the first ones he punches in the face. It’s a transformation from being a jerk punk of a kid, to someone who can handle the pressure of being in that position and not freak out because there is a man wearing a pig mask, who might want to cut off his face.

Graphically, Frank Quitely is an artist you either like, or can’t stand, and he has grown on me over some years, I liked his run on New X-Men, it’s full of little details that get overlooked if your too fast.
Overall the story is alright. It mostly sets up for Bruce’s inevitable return and Damian’s introduction. It’s far from anything I would call necessary Batman reading at this point, but it is a satisfactory part of Bat-history.