Archive for November, 2014

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Batman: Arkham City

Posted: November 24, 2014 in Video Game
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Much like all video game sequels, Arkham City takes what Asylum did, and blew it up. Think Rick Moranis and the movie with the giant toddler and less summer blockbuster.

Story goes, Gotham sectioned off part of the city to keep criminals in, like a giant jail under Doctor Hugo Strange’s authority. The district they quarantined off just so happened to have, a museum, theater, hospital, courthouse, bank, chemical plant, and a steel mill. Because when you’re putting cutting off a giant portion of city and converting it into a prison, the inmates are going to want to govern themselves and have some culture when they aren’t thieving? The position of Arkham City always got me wondering why there? I think I heard there might have been an earthquake or something sectioning off a convenient piece of land. That part wasn’t in the game so, that part could be false.

That’s really a non point article to point out anyway. The map is bigger than in Asylum, Batman has more moves such as being able to takedown multiple targets at once, more gadgets including a zip line so you can quickly launch yourself not the air and glide around for faster travel, more villains, and you get to play as Catwoman for certain story missions. Plus not only are those two included, but Robin and Nightwing are in the Riddler Challenges this go around. All four have different variations in combat maneuvers and weapons they use, but are all similar control-wise.

The main story is alright. Its got its twists and turns, never being as obvious as it is in others. The ending is alright, though the only major thing to happen at the end can be reversed with a simple sentence. Batman does fight Ra’s al Ghul in a fantastic boss duel, with swords. You also see one of the reasons Ra’s has been around so long.

Traversal wise, You go all over the map effectively enough, though the game does make you backtrack a couple of times. The worst parts aren’t that bad. However I do detest going back into the sewer to find those last few of Catwoman’s Riddler Trophies.

There are a lot of Riddler Trophies. Over two hundred in the main game added to the challenge mode medals you get in challenge mode. Some trophies are super simple to figure out, you stand at point A and throw a batarang at point B, and the trophy unlocks from its cage. Then there are those that, are trickier and I don’t know how to get, still. And I’ve been trying for a while. It’s not quite, “well goddamnit let me look at a FAQ” yet, but I know I’m being stubborn at a thing as soon as I get it I’m going to think, “How did I miss that.”

Overall Arkham City is a lot of fun, there are some unique boss fights. There is never that I am the Batman moment like in Asylum, butthat’s a feeling you only get once, then you just kick-ass as The Batman.

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Batman/Superman

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Comic
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The ultimate superhero team-up Batman and Superman. Early on, there was a comic called World’s Finest, but for whatever reason the comic was separate parts a Batman story, and a Superman story. They didn’t actually crossover and team-up until later on, which is crazy to think about, or I think so anyway.

Which Is why when I heard Jeph Loeb and Ed Mcguiness were doing a Batman/Superman team-up book I thought it was one of the better ideas.

Loeb had written Batman before with the Hush storyline, and I liked Mcguiness’ art when he was on the regular Superman comic, so my hopes were high.

The thing about Ed Mcguiness that I like is that, it looks fun to draw its bold and colorful. The line work is solid, and the characters seem to pop off the page.

Storyline wise, it starts off in Gotham city with Superman getting shot by a kryptonite bullet, and ends up in space with a giant one half Batman, one half Superman mech. It’s a far too outlandish story for just Batman, and some of the other characters in the book, like Atom, and Shazam, you don’t see Batman meeting on a regular basis, it shows Batman connected to a bigger world. I don’t think even as a businessman Bruce Wayne interacts with Lex Luthor that much, and when they do meet, Superman is definitely in the mix, including here.

I liked this fun read of a book, they even made it into a DC animated feature if you don’t want to read, but that’s just silly. Do both.

Cover Thursday 11/13/14

Posted: November 13, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Batception

Batman 1966

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Television
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Ok. I have alluded to, compared with and contrasted against this so many times by now, let me tell you about it.

First off, if you’ve never watched the show because you were too young, or missed the countless re-airings and repeats since then, at least watch the 1966 Batman movie this show is based on. If you never watched it because you thought it was too campy and had cheap special effects, all I can say is, think about it in a satirical sense. It’s not trying to be dark, or gritty. In fact, I’m positive the death of Bruce’s parents only gets mentioned in one of early episodes off-handed, then never again. And I don’t ever recall anything happening to the Grayson’s. The show is a light-hearted affair, nothing wrong with that.

It was produced in a time when the Comics Code Authority was in place. Think of the CCA much like how the MPAA regulates film, except with comics for a long time there was no system of ratings, just a pass or fail. With strict guidelines. Such as good guys were good guys, villains were bad and you couldn’t establish reasons why the bad guys were against the law. Authority figures like the police and military were always on the right side of the law. No matter what. The Code threw away a lot of potentially interesting conflicts in stories. Even having giant monsters from outer space smash a police squad car was forbidden, because the inanimate vehicle was seen as a point of authority and the big alien could be interpreted as disrespecting it.

That explains a whole lot. Why is Batman walking around in broad daylight having a surfing contest with The Joker. Because the hero could not be seen to be anything less than being the most upstanding citizen setting an example for the youths, and only creeps and thugs stalk around in the dark. Why could we never see any major villain’s motivations? Because you might be able to relate to their strife and agree with what they’re doing. Which then would lead down to a path of going against authority, putting bad ideas into children’s heads. I’m sure these are the reasons why Robin was treated to be younger than college going age, even though in the run of the show it was brought up countless times he was going to a University. Catwoman was allowed to skirt some lines when she was flirting with Batman, but Batman never chose to do anything outside of the law in the end.

All that aside, the show itself is a weird television program. Early on the show relied on The Riddler and Penguin an awful lot, but staples of Batman’s army of villains made appearances, the aforementioned Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and Joker being chief among them. It was almost like they were on rotation. Oh sure, there were others, King Tut, Egghead, and The Cavalier were some of the off beat creeps thrown in to mix things up, and then rarely seen from again. But if you took a list of all the episodes and threw a dart into it, Burgess Meredith would have a high chance of appearing in the episode.

Episodes of the first two seasons were broken up into two parts, leaving a cliffhanger at the end of the first part. They usually involved the Dynamic Duo in a peril, like being on the business end of a giant mouse trap, or some such other crazy situation, one time Robin got eaten by a giant clam. All of them dangerous situations, some of them hilariously dangerous. All of them solved within five minutes of the second part.

With the release of the entire series on Blu-Ray tomorrow, you should think about taking a look. Maybe not a hundred and seventy-five dollar look, but look into maybe the 1966 movie is streaming on one of the services you subscribe to? Start there, that’s only a ninety minute commitment on something you already have. Just don’t watch it and think you’re getting a dark tale from Gotham. Have some fun with Batman for once.

Cover Thursday 11/06/14

Posted: November 6, 2014 in Cover Thursday
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Well. The last of the nineties Batman movies that started out so promising, and in the last showing, ends with a lame whimper. You know which one I’m talking about, because this is the one where they thought it was a good idea to put nipples on the Batsuit. Robin had them too, like he needed one more, hey I’m my own man too dammit Bruce things.

It’s not even like I can pin point the one thing wrong that takes the film down either. It looks like everyone was bored making the movie. EVERYONE. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze is full of uninspired ice type puns. A man who once played a cold uncaring piece of machinery, whose sole purpose was “death to humans” was more believable than “ICE to see you”.

Uma Thurman is incredible. She was great in Pulp Fiction and a force in Kill Bill. However her poison Ivy is about as clever as an actual plant. Like yes, of course you’re going to get Batman and Robin argue over who is going to “get” you. And yes, the older statelier George Clooney’s Batman figures it out first. Which the dynamic duo come to their senses OFF screen. So that reveal when Robin comes to her like he’s on Ivy’s side, but really not, because wax lips! Its like well, yeah, that is a solution. Not an interesting one, but it moved the plot along.

In the old television series, Batman would thwart a criminals poison because he knew ahead of time to drink a few glasses of buttermilk before going out. At least in the episode you saw Batman drink an awful lot of milk in the batcave before, marking that he had an actual plan. Not, well let’s just skip that part over for more ice related jokes, no one will notice.

Bane has his theatrical debut here as well. Acting like a brutish thug that doesn’t speak and protects Ivy. Not like he is in the comics, or anything. All the characterization in Batman & Robin is as if the writers looked at comic covers. Not actually read them or opened them up, just the covers, or maybe some poster art.

Sometimes I’ll get the idea of watching this again. Then Mister Freeze’s goons ice skate around that museum and Batman shows up and I just get disappointed. A quick scene or two passes and the Batman pulls out his BAt credit card for a charity auction and I don’t even know why anymore.

I’m not saying anything new. This movie is bad, unfunny, and poorly executed. Don’t watch it. Even George Clooney apologized for it.