Archive for December, 2014

The Penguin

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Character
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 Short, fat, and sometimes disfigured The Penguin is not only a nemesis of Batman, but to Bruce Wayne as well, as Oswald Cobblepot.

The Penguin has been pulling off bird inspired heists for decades at this point. Thwarted by Batman on the regular, however recently Penguin was promoted to a boss of crime of Gotham City. Which I think is great, it gives him more flavor in his character and opens him up for some new dimensions in stories, if that’s where they take it.

That aspect gives Batman more into to the seedy underbelly of Gotham, a place The Dark Knight is at his best. Busting lowlife thugs in back alleys. Now The Caped Crusader has a savage, ruthless foe that might not take the businessman like approach what a “regular” wannabe mobster boss might do.

There was also a push to have the man Oswald Cobblepot be a rival of Bruce Wayne in daylight society. Which was cool. The New 52 version of Penguin has him owning a legitimate night club,  a front to doing illegal things. Not a new idea, the animated series did something similar with Oswald,  but it’s an interesting alternative to just him being professional bird pun crimesman.

Recently, Cobblepot had some run-ins with Harvey Bullock breaking into his club and accusing Oswald of hiring The Scarecrow to kill some people.

The current television representation of The Penguin on Gotham might be the best thing about the show. Robert Lord Taylor’s characterization is spot on.

Of the many incarnations of the character, The Animated Series might be my favorite, Danny Devito in Batman Returns is the creepiest, and Burgess Meredith is fun and lighthearted.

Being one of Batman’s oldest foes The Penguin has been around for a long time, and will be there in the future to try to stop Batman.

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The Dark Knight

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Movie
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First time I saw the sequel to Batman Begins, I thought this was a pretty good movie. The second and third times I was more engrossed with it. Every other time since then I tend to pick up on things I hadn’t noticed before.

Christian Bale does another good job as Batman, except that stupid voice he does. Michael Cane as Alfred is a nice choice and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is great. Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face was no slouch either.

Let’s be real for a moment, the best thing in this movie is Heath Ledger’s Joker. Hands down most memorable character, best dialogue, and best scenes. There was plenty of good reason for giving Heath an Oscar the year it came out.

As I said, the more I watch the movie, the more these the tiny little things take place that make me go hmm.

For one the interrogation scene between Batman and Joker. Joker has Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes kidnapped and tied up in two different sections of Gotham and Batman wants to know where Rachel is. Because she’s just that important, and Batman knows Joker has two people tied up, and likes to play games. So when The Dark Knight beats the answer out of Joker, he gives Batman both addresses, but switches the names around. Bruce books it to save Rachel, but what really happens is The Caped Crusader ends up rescuing Harvey, barely, creating Two-Face in the process and Rachel doesn’t make it.

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Which should not happen. Batman should know what the Joker was doing, realizing his nemesis was trying to lead him astray. But no. Batman walks right into where The Joker wanted him.

You might say, well this is a newer less experienced Batman and he didn’t know. I might say Rachel is a stupid character and wasn’t going anywhere so they needed a way for her to make an exit, and try to have an impact somehow. I think what this did was plant a seed for something later.

Overall it’s a great movie you should see. Some things might get weird if you skip Batman Begins, like what’s Bruce’s deal with Rachel. Other than those small details, better question is why haven’t you seen this yet?

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Gotham City Imposters

Posted: December 15, 2014 in Video Game
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A Team Fortress 2 styled first person shooter is not the style a Batman game you might think of. Ever, I didn’t. Gotham City Impostors exists, and does an excellent job.

It takes its liberties with the license, such as you don’t play as any established characters, they’re more generic men and women in different classes a la TF2, and there are only two sides, Team Batman and Team Joker.

The gameplay is like any modern First Person Shooter on PC using keyboard and mouse. However, the thing that makes GCI stand out from, Team Fortress 2, is the implementation of gadgets.

There’s a grappling hook that lets you zip up to places otherwise unreachable, a cape gliding mechanic so you can swoop across the map, and rocket skates. Those are used to zip around on the ground. Combine the skates and a ramp, plus the cape glide and you can reach places that seem out of reach.

You can customize your character as well. There are a variety of different styled masks to choose from making it easy to be semi-unique, which is cool when you see someone flying around in a costume you haven’t gotten yet. Everything isn’t unlocked from the start though, and the sweet chest piece you want to roll around in might be several dozen hours away from earning, that can be a bummer. Also, you can get these weird familiars that follow you around when you play. I never figured out what exactly they did, if they do anything more than be a cosmetic little thing that buzzes around your head.

If you have a PC that can run a game decently, and have had some fun in TF2, check this out. It’s free-to-play.

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Harley Quinn

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Character
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Harley Quinn is a character I’ve never been able to fully understand. She was introduced in The Animated Series as Joker’s “special lady,” but he never seemed to keen on the idea. In the beginning The Joker just seemed like he was using her to get things he wanted.

Which in her back story, is true. Doctor Harlene Quinzell worked at Arkham Asylum as a psychiatrist talking to the patients there. Then Joker became one of her patients, and he told her things to manipulate her into sympathizing with him. Long story short, she eventually helped him break out and quit being a professional to be… arm candy for Gotham’s greatest villain?

When Harley is with The Joker it can feel that way. Sometimes she has some insight into what joker has planned, but for the most part is just another member in The Jokers gang.

Just when you think she’s all about her “Mister J”, Harley got some Quality time with the girls. In this case “the girls” are Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Harley takes on a one of the girls personality. As you could guess. The trio hasn’t happened that often as of late in the New 52, but I think it’s fun when they get together.

Then there’s a third side to Harley. Solo, she can be drastically different from either of those, or be an extreme case of either. Quinn’s ongoing series has been good and is something I try to keep up on, but I’m behind on most things.

It’s kind of hard to put your finger on why or why not you like something that can have such drastic swings in personality. Sure when she’s cuddling up to the joker can be a little one note, but her gallivanting in her own adventure is a lot more fun giving her a more rounded personality.

Harley Quinn was not only in her own book, but she also had a pretty major role in Suicide Squad. I think she was the leader at one point. However just like her solo series I’m so far behind that I don’t know what’s happening.

I would say that, if you like the unpredictability of what the joker has try Harley’s solo book. It’s different enough to not feel the same, but has a familiar root.

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Stylistically similar to the old Adam West Batman series and the Dick Sprang era of comics, Batman the Brave and the Bold is a lighter approach to The Dark Knight.

You might notice the bright vibrant colors the show uses. Batman’s cape and cowl are blue, not black, which not only goes theme wise to that old television show, it also shows that this series is not dark, and takes the lighter side of The Bat.

There is an astoundingly vast cast of characters in the show. From the opening Batman is usually finishing a case with Detective Chimp, or escapes a death-defying trap with Miracle Man. Just like if you started watching the Batman 66′ show on the second part of a two part episode with the dynamic duo in a perilous predicament, but get out of it with ease. Then Batman joins in the adventure with the likes of Aquaman, Blue Beetle, or The Green Lanterns, whether he likes it or not.

Much of the characters are styled like their golden age counter parts. Green Arrow looks like Robin Hood and drives an Arrow car, to compete with Batman and his Batmobile. But it also has the newer Blue Beetle Jaime, so Batman can mentor a young hero. Robin shows up in a few episodes, but this is more if the Golden Age style kept going with story lines from the eighties. Dick Grayson shows up, but Batman has traveled to Bludhaven where Robin is trying to establish himself as an adult hero. In a subsequent episode Robin becomes Nightwing. In full disco style get-up.

The two things you need to know before you start watching are, A) The show is primarily for kids, the stories aren’t that involved and most of them are half hour adventures, And B) All the episodes are special Batman team-ups. Those aren’t bad things, and if you’re not a stubborn jerk who thinks The Dark Knight Returns is the only type of Batman ever, you’ll find the show enjoyable.

Batman refers to his fists as The Hammers of Justice, and the Batmobile transforms into a mech at one point. Seriously. With legs and everything. Also a space adventure is had with Adam Strange and Aquaman. If there’s a character that belongs less in space than Batman it is Aquaman. That episode works way more than it should, because This Aquaman is the best version of him I’ve seen.

A swashbuckling adventurer who over embellishes his stories. Instead of The King of the Sea being all drab and boring, he’s quick to the punch, and boldly exclaims, “Have I ever told you about the time…” often. Arthur is my most favorite of all the team-ups in the show. I want to see a show with the Adventures of Aquaman in the same style.

There are three seasons and lots of episodes to jump in on. They are all super fun.