Late to the party: The Killing Joke – NO SPOILER – review

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I was ecstatic, when I heard The Killing Joke was going to be made into an animated feature. It is easily one of the best Batman stories ever written and one of my favorites. To say that I was happy when I heard that Mark Hamill was going to play The Joker would’ve been an understatement. The DVD/Blu-ray release is set for August 2nd . My excitement was increased exponentially when I found out that there would be a theatrical release of The Killing Joke and it would be a week earlier than its release. I invited a few friends to see the movie with me, but they didn’t see the point in spending the money when it would be out next week. Seeing The Killing Joke in the theatre while eating raisinettes added another level of enjoyment to the experience for me. Not to mention, The Killing Joke isn’t a kid friendly story, and as a nerd dad, I would have to wait until I could watch it without the kids.

The flick seemed to stick close to the source material. Without spoiling anything, there are some other story elements involving Batgirl that starts off the film. I purposely avoided the internet speak about The Killing Joke so I could watch it without any preconceived notions. I enjoyed the Batgirl “backstory”. It addressed an issue that was a loose end in the Batman mythos. Still, while some were shocked and others were hit with a touch of internet nerd rage, I viewed the story as it was. As far as I’m concerned, it is one version of events, simply an adaptation and/or interpretation of a good story.

The animation was good. There were a few points that it could’ve been a little sharper. I thought the translation of the story was handled honorably. The story is a dark one and it’s kept that way. Conversely, the colors reflect the themes of the story, for instance sometimes getting brighter when focusing on the Joker. Voice acting was flawless. I’m delighted that the legendary Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, and Kevin Conroy returned to the roles of The Joker, Batgirl, and Batman respectively. I think they were born to play these roles. The music fit the mood through the story. The score put me in the mind of the Tim Burton Batman film regarding the quality of the music. Hamill’s contribution to the score was eerie and frenzied. I felt the madness trickle through each verse.

There were two featurettes that were also including in the viewing. Before the flick, we got a short reflection from Mark Hamill about playing the Joker. He spoke about how it he first got the role and how it would play out against his identity as Luke Skywalker. This didn’t take long and I didn’t feel like unnecessary stalling before the main attraction began. After the story, there was another featurette about the music of the movie. It was also interesting and I enjoyed hearing from the different professionals that added their expertise to the production.

I give The Killing Joke a solid A. It is a necessary part of any Batman fans DVD/Blu-ray library. I believe that fans of the graphic novel will get a charge out of the movie.

5 reasons why you should be with Team IronMan for Civil War

In May, Captain America 3 is going to be war… Civil War. On one side you have Captain America and on the other you have Ironman.

Well if we’re going from what we know about the film so far, you should be with Team Ironman.
Let’s do a headcount:
There’s the King (Black Panther), the Master Assassin (Black Widow), the Robot (Vision), the Tin Soldier (War Machine), and the Shellhead (Iron Man).
.. and here’s five reasons why you should be with #TeamIronMan:
  1. TECHNOLOGICAL SUPERIORITY. Team Ironman has not only the Ironman and War Machine armors but then there’s Vision. The synthetic being who currently is sporting the bling known as the Mind Infinity Stone. Black Panther is also sporting a unique suit with untold technological advances from Wakanda.
  2.  MY GUNS ARE BIGGER THAN YOURS. Team Ironman has the most firepower! Between shoulder cannons, chest beams, wrist launchers, and many other devices hidden in the TWO armors, how is Team Cap going to match that? Vision has fired beams from the Mind Gem also.
  3. SHOW ME THE MONEY. Between having the resources of Tony Stark, the nation of Wakanda, and the United States government, Team Ironman has the biggest budget. This team isn’t hiding in some dive motel or eating scraps, we’re eatting good and sleeping well.
  4. I AM THE LAW. While rebellion is sometimes necessary (American Revolution, American Civil War, Star Wars), but in this case the law is on the side of Team Ironman. The US government, possibly the UN are supporting Team Ironman.
  5. ACE IN THE HOLE. We got the webhead! Spidey is a part of Team Ironman. With a great team, comes great responsibility.
These are only a few reasons, but there are many more.
So which team are you on #TeamIronman or TeamCap ? What are your reasons?

Why I’m collecting comics again

Two words… Rebirth! Okay, maybe its not two words, but its been awesome and worth saying two times! DC’s Rebirth may seem like just another comic “reboot” for DC. This isn’t the first time something like this was done, i.e. “The New 52”. Still, the writing has been impressive and the direction that they’re taking is interesting. Without giving too many spoilers, in the wake of the Darkseid War that happened in Justice League we find out that something has been wrong. Something before “The New 52” going back to “Flashpoint”. Some entity is messing with the DC universe’s continunity and I like where it’s going.

I haven’t COLLECTED comics in a while. I still bought books from time to time, but I stopped trying to preserve them. I was burned out since the comic market became so saturated with alternative covers and such during the 90’s. After I finished reading a comic, I’d just roll them up or throw them in a sack. Rebirth has got me putting books in bags with backboards and going to the comic shop once a week instead of once in two months.

The Rebirth special had a $2.99 cover price and is already selling for between $9 and $15 online and in the comic stores…if they have any copies at all.

My buddy Loose and I were talking about this story arc and how Marvel got the press going crazy with the controversy surrounding the new Captain America (I haven’t read it yet, something about Cap being a Hydra agent). he thought that Marvel did that on purpose to try to steal DCs thunder away from REBIRTH. I laughed about that idea…but who knows, maybe he’s right. What do you think?

Are you reading REBIRTH? What do you think? If you like DC comics like Batman or Justice League, I suggestion reading the REBIRTH story arc.

 

Walking Dead season 6 finale “Who got Lucille’d?”

Season six of The Walking Dead ended on a cliffhanger that has caused mixed fan reaction. Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead creator, was seen on Talking Dead talking about that the point of the finale wasn’t who died, but the fact that Rick was powerless. And the season 7 opener will be about who died and the repercusions.

The episode also started a host of theories as to who Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan) beats to death with his barbed wire wrapped bat “Lucille”.  Out of the list of potential victims:

Rick Michonne Carl
Abraham Glenn Aaron
Daryl Rosita Eugene
Maggie Sasha

Everyone has their theories, allow me to share mine.

We know that Kirkman has said before that Rick and Michonne are the only two charcaters that are safe…as far as the comic goes. I don’t see them changing that at this point in the series. So let’s assume they’re safe.

Of the nine remaining, Glenn was the character who Negan beat to a pulp in the comics. After the “Glenn is dead..no he’s not” moment in the series eariler in episode “Heads Up”, I don’t see the writers killing Glenn now.

That said, Eugene has been doing more and coming into his own as a character. And as proof by Beth, and Denise both dying , it seems as though a character growing is a red flag that the character is going to die. Eugene caused the distraction allowing Daryl, Rosita and Abraham to escape when Dwight and a group of Saviors ambushed them. He also gave the “receipe” for making bullets to Rick. So I’m almost sad to say that my money is on him for the chopping block.

As for Aaron and Rosita, I think they’re both safe. Their death at this point would be pointless. The writers haven’t given us enough to chew on with Rosita. Her death wouldn’t stir much emotion with fans. It wouldn’t make us love to hate Negan the way the writers need us to. The same is true for Aaron. Aaron is our last big connection to the old Alexandria. I don’t see the show letting that go yet.

Maggie is pregnant and her character has been developing rather interestingly. SO that would put her on the chopping block according to the Walking Dead formula I’ve been using. I don’t see Glenn and Maggie being broken up just yet though. They represent the hope for the future in the zombie apocolypse. Besides we already dealt with a pregnancy going badly during the zombie apocolypse. I doubt we’ll revist that anytime soon.
Sasha and Abraham have something growing together and at this point needs more exploring. Cutting either of them down now would seem almost pointless.

Daryl could be it. He has at least one other project lined up that might be cause for him to leave the show. His death would give fans ample reason to hate Negan. If this was true, was he shot by Dwight to throw us off? Who’s to say? Highest probablity as far as I’m concerned is with Eugene.

What do you think? Do you have any theories?

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Pros & Cons: Marvel Miniature Game by Knight Models

Avengers starter
Avengers starter

This week Knight Models released its first run of Marvel Universe Miniature Game. As this game involves superheroes, I rushed to check it out. Actually, as a nerd dad, I had to ask my wife’s permission to get it. After a lengthy bargaining process, I rushed out to get the game. Because I’m a nerd dad, I plan to play the game in a day or so as the models that come in the started are not painted and need to be assembled. I did however read the rule book and look over the figures and their associated cards. Here are my first impressions for Knight Models’ Marvel game from those observations.

PROS

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    • The figure sculpts are well done and are free of the unnecessary flash you see on inferior models. Details like the individual plates of Thor’s armor or the disks in Black Widow’s belt confirm the quality of the models is impressive.

 

    • The rulebook looked to be well edited and concise. I liked the format of the rulebook.

 

    • As far as the rules go, the use of colors, symbols, keywords as well as numbered stats allow for thought-provoking ways to bring a superhero to life.

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    • The folding character cards hold a lot of information and give an interesting take on keeping track of your character.

 

    • The price-point of $55 – $60 dollars is acceptable for 4 figures, 4 character stat cards, and a rulebook.

 

    • You can customize your battlefield scenery with ready-made objects or make your own.

CONS



    • 20160404_222314It’s nice to have a miniature rulebook with a miniature game, but the small print made it hard to read. There were several times I had to read a section twice.







    • cap cardThe character card uses a color scheme that might be hard to read.
    • I was planning to purchase a DEADPOOL and a BLACK PANTHER figure along with the Avengers starter, but the $25 price tag for a single figure made me reconsider.  

 

    • This first run only included hero figures. There aren’t any villains to purchase.20160403_163814

 

    • Scenery is an added expense.




 

The game seems similar to Warhammer or Hordes. What are your thoughts? Are you enthusiastic about a new tabletop version of superhero warfare? Leave a comment. Watch for my upcoming full review of the game.

My minute with comic legends

 I was fortunate enough to spend a day at Fantasticon in Lansing, Michigan. Fantasticon is a pop culture and comic experience that spans several locations throughout the year. These show locations include cities in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. This is the first of my articles on my time as Fantasticon. While there, I had the awesome opportunity to sit at the Comic Legends of the Bronze Age paned.  The panel consisted of Keith Pollard, Mike Grell, Arvell Jones, and Kurt Lehner. Each of these talented gentlemen have over a decade of experience in the comic industry. It was fascinating listening to their stories of how they “broke in” to the industry, who they worked with, and what they worked on.



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Keith Pollard and Arvell Jones, two artists from the Detroit area, told a story of how they worked together in comics. Apparently the legendary John Romita Sr. looked at both of their work and had issues. He said that Pollard’s work was good but lacked excitement. He said that Jones work was also good but lacked consistancy. THe faces Jones drew from panel to panel looked like different characters. So Mr. Romita did what any forward thinking Marvelite would do…he teamed both Pollard and Jones together. I suppose he figured that both these talented guys together would equal a great artist.

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Both Pollard and Jones had a hand in creating two of Marvel Comics baddest ladies. Jones co-created the bionic armed Misty Knight. Pollard brought  Felicia Hardy aka The Black Cat to life in the pages of the Amazing Spider-Man. Pollard and Jones also did various work for DC.




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Mike Grell, creator of the DC character Warlord has served as both artist and writer. Not only has he done work for DC but Grell has done several creator owned works for various companies.  This includes the series Shamans’ Tears. Among many of Grell’s accomplishments in comics was the Green Arrow limited series Longbow Hunters. This led to an 80 issue Green Arrow run for Grell. He is credited for changing the direction of Green Arrow making him an ‘urban hunter’ and focusing Green Arrow on more street level threats. During the panel, Grell said that his influences on the character earned him a small nod in the current CW television series Arrow. In the first season of Arrow Laurel stands before a Judge Grell. He also mentioned how he had to explain to his nephew that he didn’t get paid for that. I told Grell that I would check out the Longbow Hunters series. I’ll post a review after I’ve finished it.

kurt-lehner-webKurt Lehner said that he grew up following and emulating the other panelsts. He feels that where he developed his “modern-retro” comic art style. While he’s been involved for almost two decades in comics, he didn’t feel he technically was a legend of the Bronze age. Many of Lehner’s work involved design work for animated features and films including Disney and Marvel. Lehner shared an interesting story that he said was the one thing that he was most proud of. At the time Lehner was working with the legendary Stan Lee on The Marvel Action Hour; Stan the man told Lehner (after looking at some of his work) that if he had walked into (Stan’s) office in the 70’s, he would’ve hired him on the spot.

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I had a chance to sit down and talk one on one with both Arvell Jones and Keith Pollard. Look for those follow up articles soon. It was awesome meeting these gentlemen and I hope to see them again.