Kinky Komic Book Review: Riverdale #2

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Set in the same universe as the hit CW series, Riverdale continues to reveal untold stories of the world’s most famous teenagers. When five students from different social cliques (Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jugghead, and Josie) end up in Saturday detention together — will they kill each other or come together against the forces of evil that brought them there?” (Archie Comics)

If you love the film The Breakfast Club, then you will love this book.  This is the comic book’s homage to that classic 80’s coming of age film.  Heck, the title of the film is the title of this  issue and there are at least three characters in the book who reference the film. Archie even mentions having never seen the film.  That’s the hardest part of this book to believe, that someone hasn’t seen The Breakfast Club.  The fact that the film is spoken by name, as well as social media such as twitter, sets Riverdale as existing in the real world.  I’m glad this is the case because these characters are your average teenagers, meaning there’s no need to create a alternate world for them to inhabit.  Narratively, the issue is bookended by present day and time scenes, but the bulk of the issue is a flashback to the food fight, that landed them in detention.  After Josie, of “Josie and the Pussycats” fame singles out relative new girl Veronica Lodge for starting the food fight, we get a look back at what everyone was doing during the food fight.

Archie tuned up his guitar and stood up on a table, ready to give an impromptu concert.  However, his crippling fear of performing in front of people prevents him from going through with it.  This is technically, the first mention of Archie’s desire to be a musician and sets up his rivalry with Josie. It also sets up the dichotomy of wanting to be a performer, yet being shy about performing in front of others. We see him battle and to a degree, overcome this fear in the back half of season 1 but here, it’s really fresh.  Also, a fear of public speaking/performing is a fear I’ve had back in high school, so I absolutely feel for him.  Veronica Lodge was helping her friend Kevin set up a Gay/Straight school alliance, to try and decipher all the gay students in the school, and get their numbers so Kevin could get a date.  Sure, setting up a school group just to get a date seems a little overboard.  Though I purposely wrote an essay filled with errors, as well as the backup one with suspected corrections I’d need to make, because I had  really hot teacher that I wanted to spend more time with before class. Of course, nothing happened, but she was hot, so the extra time was so worth it!  Anyway, the true take away from this scene, which continues on from issue #1, is that while Veronica has an attitude and a chip on her shoulder, she is intensely giving and fiercely protective of her friends.  She admits that she got involved in the food fight, when a football jock insulted her and Kevin but she didn’t start the fight.  As for Betty and Jugghead, Betty was doing research for an article she is writing for the school paper.  One of the books she is reading is The Story of O, an erotic novel.  When Jugghead discovers this, he playfully chastises Betty.  However, when Cheryl grabs the book and starts referring to Betty and her sister as freaks and outcasts.  The reference to Betty’s sister, is the first mention of Betty’s sister and Cheryl’s brother having dated and that it ending badly.  As Cheryl berates her, we can see darkness and anger building up and erupting in Betty, as she throws a piece of pie at the back of Cheryl.  Betty’s anger and darkness gets heightened in Season 1  but you see it in it’s infancy here.  Without spoiling anything, I hope Betty’s emotional state is explored more in this comic and in Season 2.  I like that the instigator of the food fight was Betty, the goody two shoes you’d lest expect.  The book ends with detention ending and the gang sans Josie, sharing a meal at Pop’s Dinner.

Joe Eisma is back on art but this time is joined by fellow artist Thomas Pitilli.  Their artwork looks so similar, that when one ends and the other begins, it is hardly noticeable.  Each artist has certain characters who they excel at drawing though.  Joe Eisma’s strength is Archie, Josie, and Jugghead, while Thomas Pitilli draws a great Veronica, Cheryl and Betty. The opening image of the gang sitting in detention continues the theme of homage for The Breakfast Club. The position of the characters, and the location being the school library, is an exact replica of the film.  If the cover didn’t say Riverdale, you might think this was a comic book adaptation of the film. The image of Archie about to perform his impromptu cafeteria concert is great.  The detail is so strong, that you can not only see, but almost feel his crippling anxiety.  The scene where Betty snaps at Cheryl before she starts the food fight is very evocative on several levels.  First, you can see Betty’s face scrunching and teeth gritting in anger.  Adding to it, is the temporary black and purple color scheme in this panel almost makes it seem like we’ve gone into Betty’s mind and are seeing her anger actual emerge from the recesses of her mind. Kudos to  colorist Andre Szymanowicz.  Without him, this effect doesn’t happen.  My favourite page is definitely the food fight.  It’s so messy and chaotic.  There are later panels that isolate the food fight, from our main characters perspective but the main splash page is so chaotic. Also, somehow artist Thomas Pitilli has made Cheryl Blossom even more bitchy looking.  In his hands, her natural resting look is “Bitchy Face.”

The second issue doesn’t move the story along, instead being more of a character study of sorts. Last issue, I said it worked as both a prequel and a continuation of the TV series.  This issue is clearly more of a prequel to the story told in season 1.  It’ll be interesting to see if the series tries to juggle telling prequel stories, or if it toggles between prequels and concurrent stories.  If you’re a fan or the show or the characters from the comic books, you’ll like this book.  Even if you don’t love Archie or Riverdale, you’ll still want to read this if you love The Breakfast Club. And who doesn’t!?

Kinky Komic Book Review: Army of Darkness Vs Re-Animator

(Submitted by Mr. Dr. Prince Adam of Themyscira…Thanks, Suoer Fiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“This Army of Darkness features the crossover no one ever expected to see: Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator! Ash Vs. West! The Ultimate Lovecraftian battle as Herbert West leaps from the literary page to fight Ash! Winner takes all! Ash finds himself committed to Arkham Asylum. It’s here that he runs afoul of a rather ghoulish and creepy Herbert West… and the battle of the century begins!” (Dynamite)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read anything by H.P. Lovecraft, nor do I have any knowledge of his work on the Re-Animator. What I have gotten used to is this Army of Darkness comic book.  The Deadites get free, chaos ensues and Ash has to defeat them, often haphazardly and leaving destruction and a bloody wake in the aftermath. This book has been able to keep this formula from getting repetitive twice over and does so a third time in this story.  Both stories since the movie adaptation has rejoined our hero shortly after the events of the film,  This story takes place literally minutes after “Shop Til You Drop Dead.”  Once again, before any of the present day action gets underway, Ash gives us a recap of the previous stories. What I like about this is that Ash pokes fun and acknowledges how ridiculous  and crazy the events that happen to him are.  This is the first time the book gets meta on us, When we get to present day story telling, Ash is surrounded in the S-Mart, by dead bodies and Detroit Police.  Ash is arrested and dubbed “The S-Mart Slasher”.  It makes sense that the police would blame him.  There is no evidence of Deadite presence, only dead shoppers, Ash covered in blood, with the only survivor being his girlfriend Sheila. A judge and jury deem him insane, and remand Ash to a mental facility for rehabilitation.  Things get interesting when the book shifts to the mental facility, named Arkham Asylum. Now either there’s a real mental hospital named Arkham Asylum in Detroit, Arkham Asylum was first created for Re-Animator, or this is a clever reference to Batman.  I’m going to assume it’s a Batman reference, so it remains cool and extremely awesome, which is what I thought when I first saw the reference.

Editor’s Note: Arkham is a fictional city that appears in many works by H.P. Lovecraft. Batman’s Arkham Asylum is a reference to Lovecraft.

What’s great about the Asylum setting is that new readers checking this out, will wonder if Ash is really crazy, only to discover he’s not as the story goes along.  Meanwhile,  long time fans know that he’s not crazy, the monsters are  real and things will get a lot worse.  This is where the Re-Animator comes in.  Herbert West is the head doctor, and in his spare time has been using the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to perfect his Re-Animator formula, in an effort to defeat death.  He makes a deal to release the Old Ones, aka the masters of the Deadites. In exchange for Eternal life and a mastery over death, he will free them.  In anticipation of the Old Ones arrival, Herbert West opens a portal, releasing Deadites into the world.  I loved this for two reasons. Herbert West in trying to reanimate the dead, is a fresh take on more recent takes of zombies, while being a throwback to Frankenstein.  Also, it was refreshing to see the Deadites brought to Earth on purpose, rather then Ash bumbling a spell again and accidentally releasing them again. Herbert West had a bit of a Hugo Strange flavor to him. It wouldn’t surprise me if Batman writers borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft, when creating Doctor Hugo Strange.

Like previous issues, Ash has some help in his battle with the Deadites and Herbert West’s Frankenstein creations. In past issues, Ash’s help came in the form of an ancient sorcerer, much wiser then him.  Often, this humorously made Ash look like an inexperienced buffoon,  Here though, Ash is aided by a fellow inmate/movie buff and a parapsychologist, who both believe him to be the chosen one to defeat the Deadites and prevent an apocalypse.  The tables are turned this time, as the inmate/film buff Deuce Bellcamp is the clueless simpleton, whereas Ash is the Deadite fighting veteran.  Ash pokes fun at the fact that Deuce is a bit on the rotund size and is casually dismissive of the parapsychologist nicknamed Sugarbaby.  Ash’s trademark snark and attitude are on display here, but he never becomes so obnoxious that you can’t stand him.  Good on writer Jim Kuhoric for finding that balance.  The book once again gets meta, when these two unlikely allies return Ash’s chainsaw and broomstick.  These aren’t the genuine article, but instead props from a movie called Army of Darkness based on him.  They also tell him “fictional novels”, and a Broadway play based on him exist.  Is this some kind of art imitating life, inside of art stuff happening here.  Someone call Christopher Nolan, there’s some Inception level shit happening here! As the trio tries to escape Arkham Asylum,  Ash notices Sheila’s reflection in a mirror and is pulled into a Mirror Dimension.  There he discovers the real Sheila, the real Dr. Herbert West and even H.P, Lovecraft.  Meanwhile, Deuce and Sugarbaby are captured by the evil version of Dr. West. I like that H.P. Lovecraft is put into the book. A great homage to the creator of the Re-Animator.  You can definitely see the reverence the writer has for Lovecraft, as he is the one who gives Ash a special magical necklace, which allows him, and only him to escape. Before Ash escapes, he tells Sheila he will reunite her spirit with her body, freeing her from the mirror dimension. Back in the “real world” Deuce has been experimented on and his body parts used as part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece, which is multiple body parts sewn together from different people.  This “Ultimate” Frankenstein includes parts of Sheila’s body. When Ash returns, he rescues Sugarbaby, defeats the Re-Animated Masterpiece monster and prevents the Deadite Doppelganger of Herbert West from finishing a spell that would bring the old ones to Earth.  The Supernatural energy from that disruption, causes Arkham Asylum to collapse. Ash, Sugarbaby and even Herbert West’s evil doppelganger, manage to escape, before the entire building collapses.  I love that this ended on a cliff-hanger.  I have so many questions? Did Sheila die because her body was part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece? Or is her spirit still trapped in the Mirror Dimension? There’s even more of a reason to read the next volume now, not that I wasn’t going to anyways.

Sanford Greene and Nick Bradshaw share art duties for this story.  I have to give credit to Sanford Greene for his work on that recap page. It’s crammed with imagery from all 3 previous volumes but never feels like it’s overcrowded or too much to look at.  It looks as though it’s popping off the page, as if it were 3D! I loved the monsters that Ash first sees in Arkham Asylum.  They’re unique and look like a mix of a fruit on steroids, a Teletubby and a Pokémon.  We actually see drawn full pages of the Necromicon Ex-Mortis.  The imagery on the page was more muted, which was unique because the only other book I’ve seen with even less color, in black and white in fact, is The Walking Dead.  The other reason this is unique is because muted or black and white, usually denotes flashbacks but in this case, the book shows the events that are currently happening to Ash.  The Mirror Dimension looks like a dreary swamp. There is a cavernous underground bunker Here we see the real Herbert West, Sheila, and H.P. Lovecraft all in costume, as Alice in Wonderland characters. The Alice theme is here, as a nod to the portal that leads both Ash and Alice into another dimension being a mirror. It’s a nice bit of unplanned synergy, adding even more weirdness to this already strange story.   As soon as I saw these pages, I thought, if they turn this story into a film, either Guillermo Del Toro or Tim Burton should direct it.  The most gory and violent scene is the Arkham Asylum hallway scene.  Picture Wolverine during one of his berserker rages, now replace Wolverine and his claws, with Ash and his chainsaw and you get the picture.  The Re-Animator Masterpiece is almost a snake like looking collage of all different bodies stitched together, Frankenstein style. It’s quite uniquely grotesque.

Last volume had a few stumbles but was still enjoyable.  This book is a return to greatness, on par with the first few volumes. I still haven’t watched any of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series, but this book led me to a resolution. After the next shortened season of Game of Thrones, I’m going to binge watch both seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead.  In the meantime, I’m going to read more Army of Darkness and so should you.

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

WARNING TO ALL YE WHO ENTERETH: This post contains #SPOILERS. Just scroll on down to the Marvel Universe Live stuffs if that sorta thing upsets ya. 🙂

(Review submitted with all the love by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.” (Sony/Marvel)

After his fantastically energetic extended cameo in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man gets his first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We get two prologues before hitting “present day”, which as stated, is several months after Civil War.  The first prologue is set shortly after the first Avengers film.  We see Adrian Toomes and his cleanup crew, removing debris and alien technology from the destruction sites. We see that he is so excited by landing this government job, because it puts food on the table for his wife and daughter, as well as providing for his whole crew.  However, they lose the contract when Tony Stark funds the government owned “Damage Control”, to clean up super heroic messes and such. We then see a flash forward to present day, where we learn and see that Adrian Toomes and crew have been stealing weaponry from superhero/supervillain skirmishes, propagating some for themselves, and selling other weaponry to criminals on the black market. Meanwhile, the flashback with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, actually ties into his appearance in Civil War.  The flashbacks are actually self-shot home movies, of his “trip” to Berlin.  You actually see him getting his upgraded suit from Tony Stark via Happy Hogan, as well as P.O.V. shots of the airport battle in Civil War.  These are a way to catch the audience up on where we last saw Peter, but done in an inventive and unique way. These flashbacks are great because they show us our villain’s motivations for what he is doing, and give us a glimpse into how much Peter Parker loves being Spider-Man.

Our main story picks up with Peter Parker being left back in Queen’s and dealing with being a high school student, while also dealing with being a Spider-Man that has to deal with more street level crime.  First of all, I love that this film really stayed in Queen’s as much as it could.  It gave this film a much more intimate feeling over previous installments.  Peter Parker being in high school felt like a naturalistic part of his daily routine, as opposed to being scenes that were shoehorned into the other films because the character was supposed to be 15.  I think it helps, that the actor playing our hero, as well as his classmates were actually teenaged, as opposed to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who both had Wellingitis.  That is to say, they were both 25, cast to play a 15 year old, just as Tom Welling was on Smallville.  I also appreciated that this iteration of Peter Parker wasn’t overtly geeky, or overly hipster, like our previous versions of Peter Parker.  Tom Holland plays an average teenager who takes his high school happenings and everyday situations to the extreme, and makes everything seem like the biggest deal and sometimes the end of the world.  Peter Parker’s best friend in this is Ned played by Jacob Batalon.  The character as played by the actor, is the quintessential best bud and sidekick.  The character is a gamer and total Star Wars fanboy.  Sure, the idea that the two friends spend their after school time building a LEGO Death Star, felt a little all too obvious and convenient, given the Marvel/Disney and Disney/Star Wars connection, but it felt like something two modern day teen fanboys would absolutely do.  There is no spider-bite or death of Uncle Ben in this film.  Instead, that sort of exposition, comes from Ned, once he accidentally discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  We learn of the spider bite and Peter’s abilities through Ned’s endless questions. The exchanges are so naturalistic yet humorous.  There’s a lot of humor in this film, yet never once does it go overboard like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or feel forced like in the Thor movies.  Liz Allen played by Laura Harrier is the object of Peter Parker’s affection in this film.  She is the popular girl, with a type A personality.  Sure, she and Peter admit that they both liked each other and went to the homecoming dance together but I never felt a spark, or connection between these characters.  No offence to the actress, she did okay with what was asked of her.  Story wise, once we learn that Liz Allen is really Liz Toomes, daughter of the Vulture, any chance the two had at a relationship was gone.  I really did like the character of Michelle played by Zendaya.  This character is very intellectual and is a bit of a loner, playing it off as if she doesn’t really care about hanging out, or being around her classmates. She’s a bit of an introvert, who is lost in her reading. The banter and animosity between she and Peter, gives off a vibe of a love/hate relationship, which definitely hints at something more later on.  Flash Thompson is played by Tony Revolori.  This Flash is not the big hulking jock of a bully like in previous installments, or the comic books.  Instead, he’s more of a verbal insulter, who tries to break Peter down emotionally, not physically.  He’s still a sleaze bag.  The young actor plays that well and you won’t be able to stand him over the course of the film.

Marisa Tomei, returns from her Civil War role of Aunt May.  This Aunt May is more active in the film and in Peter’s life.  We see very simple scenes of them sharing a family dinner.  You even see her helping him learn how to do a tie, teaching him how to dance, and giving him pointers how to treat Liz on their homecoming date.  Marisa Tomei seems to be playing this younger version of Aunt May as a big sister, which makes sense, given the smaller age gap between the two actors.  Though, Marisa Tomei does let the parental Aunt mode kick in, when Peter gets home late and hasn’t been answering his phone. She raises her voice at him, telling him he can’t do that and that between the two of them, that’s not okay.  Even though Uncle Ben isn’t mentioned by name, the tone in her voice and the pain in her face, clearly makes it know, this reaction is a reaction to Ben’s death.  It’s really powerful acting by Marisa Tomei.  As was known when this project was announced and as the trailers went out of their way to point out, Robert Downey Jr. is in this film as Tony Stark/Iron-Man.  He’s at his snarky, fast talking best in this film.  The trailers for this film had me worried that this film would turn into Iron-Man 4, featuring Spider-Man.  However, happily, that’s not the case at all.  We see Iron-Man as a mentor/father figure/ big brother to Peter Parker.  You can tell that Tony Stark has a love for Peter, but in typical Stark fashion, he’ll never outright admit it.  He gave Peter the costume upgrade, to make him a more effective hero but also to keep him safe. Yet still, he tells Peter to stay safe, by sticking close to home grown, street level issues.  The suit upgrades include different shapes and modes of webbing.  The spider symbol is actually a mini drone/ tracker.  There’s also an interrogation mode, which allows Peter to disguise his voice a la Batman, to intimidate his enemies.  There’s a lethal mode, to deal with the extremely dangerous villains and lest we forget, the web wings from the early comic books, which allow him to glide.  I thought all these enhancements by Tony to the costume would minimize Peter Parker’s intelligence but the way Robert Downey Jr. and the film itself handles it, is just Tony being overprotective.  In fact, the film makes a point to show Peter’s intelligence, by showing him secretly brewing his webbing in science class.  We also see Peter disabling the trackers and security measures Tony put into the Spider-Man costume.  Iron-Man does save and assists Spider-Man twice in the film but it never feels like belittling and minimizing the character to me.  His biggest contribution happens of screen, after he realizes that Peter is too reliant on the costume and its gadgets, so he takes it away.  This forces Peter to go back to his homemade costume and find the hero within, which he ultimately does. While this is a Spider-Man film, Tony Stark does seems to resolve some father issues he had in Civil War and there is even a progression of his relationship with Pepper Potts that carries over from that film, which I won’t spoil.

Nearly all of the action beats are tied to our villain, Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.  As hard as it is for me to see Michael Keaton as anything but Batman or Beetlejuice, he is absolutely fantastic as the Vulture.  He’s easily the best villain in the MCU since Loki and he might even be better than Loki.  As I mentioned earlier, the cleanup contract is so important to him, as he’s trying to provide for his family, as are his crew.  When he loses that contract to the joint venture of Stark Industries and the government, he feels pushed aside and stepped on by “the man.”  This is why he hates The Avengers and turns to the black market to sell stolen alien weaponry.  He’s not a one dimensional, over the top, mustache twirling villain, which has become the norm in the MCU. What the script and Michael Keaton convey so well, is that while Adrian Toomes motivations are relatable, his actions remain 100% wrong and the viewer never over sympathizes with him.  This is a mistake the Sam Raimi films made with Dock Ock and Sandman.  They became too sympathetic, to the point where I gave their actions a pass.  While Michael Keaton was great throughout, his best scene happens with Peter Parker when both men are out of costume.  I won’t spoil it but I guarantee it will make your spine tingle. Michael Keaton is particularly chilling in this scene.  The Vulture’s crew introduces other villains, namely the Shocker and the Prowler.  They’re not overly developed. They’re more in service to the Vulture, which I prefer.  The Prowler is of course the uncle of Miles Morales.  There is a small nod to him in the film, which could open the door for Ultimate Spider-Man in the future of the MCU.

In addition to Peter Parker, Tom Holland excels as his costumed alter-ego Spider-Man.  He’s got the inherent goodness and altruistic nature that Tobey Maguire had and he’s got the incessant quipping, which was present in Andrew Garfield’s take on the character.  Mixed in with Tom Holland’s youthful excitement and energy and what you have is the most screen accurate Spider-Man to his comic book counterpart, when it comes to live action portrayals.  The action scenes aren’t just randomly inserted into this film to fill an action quota, instead they service and enhance our hero’s journey.  What’s also unique is that Spider-Man is wearing his fancy superhero attire, in the first two acts, when he is more of an unpolished hero, while wearing his makeshift home-made costume for the third act, when he becomes the full-fledged hero. Usually, it’s the other way around in superhero films.  The early action beats are definitely smaller scale.  We see Spider-Man stopping a bike theft, bank robbery, and we even see him giving an elderly lady directions.  There’s situational humor present in the film when Spider – Man seemingly thwarts a car robbery but in fact, it was just a guy who’d been locked out of his car.  The way the onlookers yelled at Spidey and defended their neighbors innocence, really sold the tight knit community feel of this Queen’s neighborhood.  Also, Stan Lee gets a rare cameo where he speaks, which is nice.  When the Vulture first swoops in grabbing Spider-Man, preventing him from chasing down his crew, the frantic, up-close perspective of the scenes, looks like a brief moment that belongs in a horror film.  The Ferry sequence and the plane fight with The Vulture, as well as the Washington Monument Rescue are the 3 stars of this film, as far as action goes.  The Ferry Sequence has a moment were Spider-Man is trying to hold the Ferry together in one piece, His positioning, actions and pose are eerily similar to Spider-Man 2, when he tries to stop the train from crashing. The scene showcases how effective, yet inexperienced this Spider-Man is.  Seeing Spider-Man crawl up the Washington monument, leap from the top of it, using his web wings to clear a helicopter was so damn epic.  Not quite as epic as Superman’s first flight in Man of Steel, but a pretty close second.  The plane fight between Spider-Man and the Vulture was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man film.  Not only do they fight inside of the plane but on top of the plane as well.  It took eleven years, but we finally have a scene that surpasses the Superman Returns flight rescue. Kudos goes to the costume designer, who actually made the Vulture’s costume intimidating and menacing, as opposed to looking ridiculous like it does in the comic books.

Spider-Man: Homecoming just feels right.  For the first time in six films, Spider-Man feels like he’s right where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The plot and the reason why Spider-Man is taking on the Vulture is very straight forward.  Instead, this movie focuses on getting the characters right.  In this area, the film 100% succeeds.  My previous favourite Spider-Man film was Spider-Man 2, however, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming slightly surpasses it.  In terms of MCU solo films, this ranks 2nd, behind only the first Iron-Man.  In terms of my favourite summer movies, this ranks 2nd behind Wonder Woman and is definitely a MUST SEE film.

Ho-stess’s PS- I saw SMHC last night, and agree wholeblackheartedly with Mr. P’s review…Ho-wever, I saw Marvel Universe Live on Tour today, and have to say THAT is the Marvel production we should all be talking about. #GreatestShowInTheGalaXXXy!! 🙂 xoxo

Box Office Update: Wonder Woman Makes History & Muscles Her Way Past Man of Steel

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

Before we get to specific numbers, I’d like to congratulate director Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman on having and being the largest grossing live action film directed by a woman! I think it’s only fitting that Wonder Woman is the film to have this distinction. Now, onto the specifics. In its 4th weekend, facing competition from Cars 3 & Transformers: The Last Knight, Wonder Woman still managed to take in $25,175,000. That represents a minimal 39% decline from last weekends $41.2 Million intake. All of this means, that Wonder Woman now has a 24 day domestic haul of $318,380,158. Remember when early box office predictions had Wonder Woman’s entire domestic run finishing at $225 Million!? The moral of that story? NEVER underestimate the Princess of Themyscira! In North America, Wonder Woman has now surpassed the entire runs of Logan, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Incredibles, Doctor Strange, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider Man 1 & 2, Batman (1989) and Iron – Man 2. In terms of her DCEU counterparts, the 4th entry into the shared universe has surpassed Man of Steel, the film that started it all back in 2013. What’s just as impressive is that Wonder Woman is performing equally as well overseas. Internationally Wonder Woman added another $20.5 Million. . The new running total for the film starring this amazing Amazon, is $334,500,000. When added together, Wonder Woman has crossed the milestone of $600 Million. Specifically, she has soared passed that total with a wonderful World Wide cume of $652,880,158. Next weekend Wonder Woman is poised to do what many, even myself deemed impossible and I’ll be back next week to tell you what that is! Until then, continue experiencing the wonder.

Kinky Komic Review: Hellboy – The Corpse

(Submitted by my Wonder Twin, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, my hellishly heroic ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

The third volume of Hellboy consists of several short stories, so I decided to review them each on their own. This first story takes us to 1959 in Ireland, where Hellboy is brought in to investigate a child abduction case. However, when he arrives at the home, the child is in her crib. However, the child’s mother believes that the baby is not her daughter Alice Monaghan, citing that the baby says awful things and laughs at her, when her husband is away. Hellboy believes the mother and burns the child with a hot iron, forcing it to reveal it’s true form. Being a supernatural/horror book, that form is that of a fairy. This fairy named Gruagach instructs Hellboy that baby Alice is being held by other fairies. He confronts them and they offer him a deal; In exchange for burying one of their deceased brethren on the holy ground of one of three possible Christian churches, they will allow Hellboy to return the child to her parents. At two of the churches, the dead spirits rose up shouting; “No Room”, preventing Hellboy from burying the deceased skeleton. When they reach the ruins of a castle with a Christian cemetery, Hellboy is confronted by a disgruntled Gruagach who is furious over being burned with an iron and wants revenge. Things gets really weird when our angry fairy summons a Pig-Man to rise from deep underground, and battle Hellboy. Hellboy is able to defeat this strange adversary, while in the nick of time honoring his deal to bury the corpse the other farriers entrusted him with and returns Alice to the loving home of her parents.

After two volumes of Hellboy battling Rasputin and mystical Nazis, this was a weird and refreshing change of pace. When reading Hellboy, I’ve come to expect the unique and strange. Between his coworkers Abe Sapien, the mystical Nazi’s and the lizard creature in last volume, who knows what we’ll see our favorite horned paranormal investigator take on. Despite all this, I’ll be honest and say I did not expect we’d get a story with fairies. What Mignola does well, is once again balancing something as mystical as fairies, with a real world earth bound fear/predicament as child abduction. In the forward to this graphic novel, Mignola mentioned being influenced by Irish folktale for this story, which is something that definitely shines through in the work. The way the fairies spoke read like an Irish dialect. That, coupled with the fact that the fairies were little people, and that the corpse requested to be buried with gold had me thinking of them as leprechauns more than fairies. Once I made that connection, I instantly developed a craving for Lucky Charms cereal. The best parts of the story for me, was the banter between Hellboy and the corpse that he was tasked with burying, They argued about every possible detail along their journey, From everything to how Hellboy carried the corpse, to the road Hellboy took to eventually get to their destination. This reminded me of a relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild. As both get older, the little habits each have start to get on the other’s nerves, as they spend more time together. The Pig-Man creature cane across like a creepier more demonic version of lesser Batman villain Professor Pyg. I also couldn’t stop thinking of that Seinfeld episode where the gang were at the hospital, and Kramer was convinced he saw an actual man-pig hybrid.

As is usual with Mike Mignola, he also does the art. Superman’s signature pose is his hands on his hips, Batman’s is being crouched on a gargoyle and we all know Wonder Woman is a badass no matter what pose she assumes. Hellboy’s signature pose appears to be carrying a skeletal corpse on his back, as it’s happened in two of three graphic novels. While there are fairies, they aren’t your traditional fairies. In fact, the fairies look like the progeny of Golem and a Leprechaun. Try and get that image out of your head. Mignola’s art isn’t as hyper detailed as more current comic book artists, yet his rendition of Ireland, especially the castle ruins really looks great and makes me want to visit there. Well, that and the fact that Game of Thrones films there. Mike Mignola’s art looking so good is dependent on the work of the colorist. Matthew Hollingsworth was responsible for that aspect of this particular story. I loved the use of black, and then highlighting certain traits of Hellboy, while most of a panel is shrouded in darkness. Specifically in this book I liked how the orange/yellow of Hellboy’s eyes became more vibrant and noticeable when he was angered or frustrated. Even in comic books, the eyes can be the window to the soul.

This story was a quieter, more intimate story featuring Hellboy. I also liked that it was a Hellboy standalone story, in the truest sense of the word, as it solely focused on Hellboy, leaving out his associates in the BPRD. This story is by no means a game changer in the grand scheme of the stories relating to Volume 1 & 2, but it’s a nice little respite, while still giving you a Hellboy fix, as the next epic scale story surely approaches. Definitely worth a read.

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 & 2

(Submitted by our Superhero Scifi buddy, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo

In Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2′ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. (Marvel Studios)

When I saw the teaser trailer for the first Guardians of the Galaxy, I wasn’t all that into it. I fully blame the Thor franchise for this, as the forced humor in those films, seemed to be rearing its ugly head here. However, to be fair, I knew very little about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead of getting on the internet to bitch and moan about what I wasn’t liking, I hopped on to Amazon and bought two trade paperbacks of the newest comics. In truth, the humor was perfectly appropriate for the odd ball bunch of characters that make up the team. After finally seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I absolutely loved it. It quickly became one of my favourite MCU films and ranks in my top 5 from Marvel Studios. Yes, there’s a lot of comedy throughout but what James Gunn does, is make you care about the characters and shows you their tragedies, so that the humor has greater effect when it finally happens. This film starts with young Peter Quill by his mother’s bedside, as she gives him one last parting gift and words of wisdom, before succumbing to brain cancer. He then runs out of the hospital, only to get abducted by an alien space ship. That is a harrowing but heartbreaking way to open a film. While the rest of the story also hinges on Peter Quill, the other Guardians have their own issues. Most of these aren’t brought to bear visually like Star Lord, however they’re all discussed. Gamora has familial issues, being the adopted daughter of Thanos and having a sibling rivalry with her sister Nebula. Not to mention, she’s acting as a double agent of sorts, in the process of double crossing Thanos. The family drama is very real world, just like Peter’s mothers death from cancer is, it just takes place on an intergalactic scale. I love that no matter how odd these character are, their emotional baggage is very relatable. Rocket Racoon and Groot are more unique from the rest of the humanoid looking group. Rocket is a creation, a genetically altered talking racoon, while Groot is the last of his kind, a talking tree, with a speech impediment, where everything he says is heard as “I am Groot.” While both characters are adorable, they are outcasts amongst a team of misfits. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin, or you feel misunderstood, you will gravitate towards these characters beyond their cuteness. Drax is the only character that’s hard to relate to. After all, when we first meet him, he’s in prison for going on a murderous revenge tour. However, he is trying to avenge the deaths of his family and has killed or is going after, Thanos and or those connected to him, or took part in the murder of his family. So while you might not identify with him, you will sympathize with him.

In several trailers and promotions, the Guardians of the Galaxy were classified as criminals and outlaws and technically they are, but that’s a misrepresentation. They don’t do anything in the film to make you second guess them, or root against them. As you discover their backstories throughout the film and watch them interact with each other, they’re nothing but lovable characters. This is an ensemble film but as I said, Star Lord is the main character and the team all meet through him. That occurs when the film picks up with the adult Star Lord stealing an orb contain an infinity stone and attempting to sell it to a dealer. The dealer reneges on the arrangement when he learns Thanos is after the stone. Speaking of Thanos, not only does he send Gamora after Peter Quill, he sends out a bounty for the capture of the self-proclaimed Star Lord. This gets Groot and Rocket on his trail, as well as his old partner/father figure Yondu. Yondu is the alien who kidnapped Peter at the behest of Peter’s mysterious celestial father, who Yondu describes as an asshole. He decided not to take Peter to his father and groomed him as a Ravager. However, he feels betrayed by Peter and wants to get in on that bounty cash. As Gamora, Rocket and Groot try and apprehend Peter, they are all caught by Nova Corps officers and are thrown in the Kylm, a prison in a trading post called Knowhere. It is here where the characters truly meet. They decided to team up to not only break out of prison, as well as selling the orb/gem to Gamora’s contact, the Collector. Drax comes into the equation because he wants to kill Gamora, in his quest for revenge on Thanos. However, Peter Quill talks him down, suggesting that if he joins them, he will get his revenge on Thanos, so he acquiesces. Speaking of Thanos, displeased with Gamora’s efforts, he sends Ronan, essentially his overpowered henchmen to take them out and retrieve the infinity stone. After they escape prison, they eventually strike an accord with the Nova Corps and Yondu, to join forces and bring down Ronan, which they obviously do. As for the infinity stone, even though Star Lord promised to give it to Yondu, he double crosses him and entrusts it to the Nova Corps. I mentioned the humor throughout the film and it comes in the characters interactions. I loved all of Peter Quill’s 80’ references, including Patrick Swayze in dirty dancing, and Tony Danza in Who’s the Boss. Not to mention, Peter’s ship being named after Alyssa Milano. Gamora’s naiveté mixed in with her overall badassery made the character a good addition. As I said Groot and Rocket were the most adorable characters but having Rocket be the only one to understand Groot is hilarious. It’s like a one sided version of broken telephone, where based on Rocket’s response, we the audience can piece together what Groot says. Also, Rocket being a sarcastic jackass and asking the group to steal another inmates prosthetic leg to assist in his escape plan just to see if they’d do it, made me laugh.. Drax’s humor came from his bluntness and lack of understanding of sarcasm. For example, when Star Lord says a pun went over Drax’s head, Drax responds; “Nothing goes over my head. If it did, my reflexes are so fast, I’d reach out and catch it. “Or when he refers to Gamora as a “Green Skinned Slut”, when he admits he has gotten over his grudge against her . He’s so straight faced and honest about it, I couldn’t help but laugh at the dichotomy of calling someone a slut and your friend in the same breath.

Two aspects of the first film I didn’t like were the villain and the third act finale. Ronan is another terrible villain. He’s a glorified lackey for Thanos, and the character is so over the top. It’s mustache twirl level. The film tells us that he wants to use the infinity gem to put an end to the Kree/Xandar treaty, which he feels has wronged his people the Kree, but the story never delves further into that. His antagonism to the Guardians of the Galaxy is nothing more than them being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well as being in position of the Infinity Gem. The other thing that I didn’t care for was that Star Lord challenges Ronan to a dance off to distract him, while the others get the Infinity Gem away from him. As noted, I’ve loved every bit of humor in this film up to this point, but this dance off was out of place. The fate of Xandar and potentially the universe is at stake, and that’s the first thing you come up with. Does Marvel have a “1 Joke per Script Page” rule for their films or what? Not only did this gag pull me out of the film, but it lessened the severity of the situation and the impact of Groot’s death to spare his teammates. Don’t worry, in typical Marvel fashion, Groot didn’t really die, Rocket was able to collect pieces of him and plant him in a pot, so he could regrow.

The sequel for my money is a step up from the original in my opinion. Make no mistake, in terms of story, and story structure it’s pretty much the same. Characters and situations change, but the story structure doesn’t break the mold. This time around, the Guardians of the Galaxy are hired by the leader of the Sovereign nation to retrieve special batteries from a monstrous alien. In exchange for returning the batteries, the group is granted custody of Nebula who was captured for stealing the batteries in the first place. As they are dismissed, Rocket can’t help but steal a few batteries. Upon discovery of this the Sovereign leader sends of fleet of ships to attack the group and retrieve the batteries. When that fails, she hires Yondu and his Ravagers to retrieve the batters and capture the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians of the Galaxy eventually team up with Yondu and his crew, not only to defeat the Sovereign army, but defeat the much larger threat of the film. A Guardian of the Galaxy even sacrifices themselves for another team member. Sounds a lot like the first film doesn’t it!? Despite this, there’s enough fresh elements that make this sequel better than the original.

The film does pick up on several open ended threads left open from the first film. One of which is Peter Quill’s celestial father. The character is first introduced in a flashback to his courtship and mating with Peter’s Mother. For this scene, the filmmakers used the de-aging CGI on Kurt Russell and you know what, it looks really good. I thought I was watching actual footage of 1980’s Kurt Russell. We first see him in earnest in the film, when he mysteriously provides an escape route for the Guardians as they evade the Sovereign Fleet. After a rough landing by the Milano, Star Lord finally meets his father Ego. Ego invites his son and crew to his planet. Once there, we get plenty of exposition detailing that Ego is a Celestial that manipulated matter to form a planet and placed itself at the planet’s core. After hundreds of years, he got lonely, so he formed a human body and traveled the universe, which ultimately led him to Earth and the love of his life Meredith Quill. When Peter asks why he didn’t return to Earth when she got ill and died, he intimated that a world without Meredith was a world he didn’t want to be on. He reiterates that he sent Yondu to retrieve him after Meredith’s death and blames Yondu for their delayed reunion. We get scenes of the newly acquainted father/son do bonding over shared taste in Earth music and Ego teaching Peter how to use his celestial power and manipulate energy and matter. This leads to a celestial game of catch. I got so swept up emotion of these scenes, that I didn’t see the twist coming. That twist being that this is all a ruse and Ego is the true villain of the film. He’s been looking for his son all this time, to use his son Peter’s celestial power, combined with his, to activate the seedling he planted on Earth to terraform it into an extension of himself. If that isn’t bad enough, he reveals he planted the tumor in Meredith’s brain, so she would die, allowing him to be left alone and easy for the taking. Even worse still, he’s attempted to do this on other planets he’s visited, but failed because his other progeny died when trying to harness their celestial powers. To use a wrestling term, I did not see that heel turn coming. One of the main reason I like this film a bit more than the first, is because Ego is a much better villain than Ronan. Part of that is the familial connection between Star Lord and Ego and part of it is the acting of Kurt Russell. The way both he and Chris Prat switch between being best of friends, to mortal enemies is emotional, raw and flawless. I could feel both the love and hate between the two characters through the course of the film. This plot point also gave us more info and more screen time for Yondu.

In the first film, you saw that Yondu and Peter Quill had an admiration for each other but the relationship was fractured. From Peter’s perspective, he believed that the only reason Yondu took him and kept him around, was because he was someone who could help him steal, getting into places where Yondu and his team couldn’t fit into. In this film, Yondu reveals that the main reason he kept him around, was because he didn’t want Ego to get his hands on Peter. Yondu taught Peter how to be self-sufficient and fend for himself. In a revealing dialogue with Rocket, Yondu reveals that he grew to love Peter and considers him his son. His action of taking Peter as a child got him in trouble with The Ravagers higher up personnel. Child trafficking is a no-no amongst The Ravagers. This plot point gives a cameo by Sylvester Stallone, who plays Stakar Ogord, and Michael Rosembaum as his right hand man, who exile Yondu and his crew from the Ravagers. Yay to James Gunn for including a cameo from Sly and Rosembaum. Boo to James Gunn for not putting Stallone and Russell in a scene together, for a mini Tango and Cash reunion. Anyways, back to Yondu. The moment where he sacrifices his life, to save Peter from dying in an explosion in a fight with Ego, was epically tragic. The moment before his death, where he says; “He may be your father, but I’m your daddy”, brought me to tears. This death does have a finality to it as well. Earlier in the film, Yondu makes a Marry Poppins reference that is quite funny. I won’t spoil it but keep an eye out for it. Michael Rooker is known as a character actor but he steals the film. By far my favourite character in the film, with Ego coming in second.

Three of my favourite characters from the first film left me with a mixed reaction. Groot was even better than last time, while Rocket and Drax left me wishing they would just shut up and had me rolling my eyes. Groot had only one way to go and that was up. As much as I loved Groot the first time around, how can you not love Baby Groot? The cutest part was how at every chance he got, he cuddled every member of his Guardians teammates. You will “aww” every time you see it. The funny part is when Rocket tries to explain to him about not touching the button to set off the bomb. He understands the words coming out of Rocket’s mouth, but he can’t truly comprehend them, which is why he wanted to push the button that set off the bomb. Essentially he has the mind of a two year old. Every time he appeared in a scene, that dynamic when mixed with what the rest of the group was going through, added the perfect amount of levity and fun to the situation. Rocket’s attitude in the first film was bold, brash and justified given his characters circumstances. However in this film, his attitude was amplified, to the point where he actively tried to push his crew members away. I understand that he felt that getting close to people hasn’t worked out in the past, so why go through that again, however, he got through those issues by the end of the first film. So this behaviour felt like retreading old ground from volume one. Speaking of retreading, Drax was a huge step backwards in volume 2. In the first film, his bluntness and naïveté was a driving force of humor. So James Gunn decided to ratchet that up ten notches, to where it became forced. This resulted in Drax becoming a cackling misogynistic brute, who besmirched and insulted Ego’s assistant Mantis, just to deflect his apparent growing feelings for her throughout the film. He flat out calls her ugly, I believe the word he uses is hideous. Then there’s the barrage of dick jokes he makes. He literally stops Ego in a piece of important, character building dialogue, to ask Ego if he created a dick for himself and how big it is. Then he and Star Lord make suggestive comments about the sizes of their package, I’m good with a raunchy penis joke now and again, but I think the four or five in this film were a bit excessive. Also, seeing as the Guardians of the Galaxy is the most kid friendly franchise to date in the MCU, you should be mindful that there are youngsters in the audience. There may have been more dick jokes in this film then Deadpool and for me, that’s problematic.

Much like the rest of both films, I am overall extremely satisfied with the visual effects in the films. The entire VFX team should be commended for making two entirely CGI characters Rocket Racoon and Groot look so real. Not going to lie, there were so many times in the first film, I wanted to reach out and pet Rocket or swing from Groot. Yes the performances are what connect you to characters, however, the first visual impressions makes you believe these characters exist, and these visuals succeed in that aspect in spades. Considering his background in smaller, low budget films I was impressed with several action scenes he crafted. Both films feature a space battle, between The Milano and Ronan’s warship in the first film, and the Sovereign fleet in the sequel. The space battles are epic in these particular scenes, almost Star Wars level worthy. Notice I said almost, so no one freak out. During the fight with the Sovereign fleet battle, when looking at the space battle from a POV shot of inside the Sovereign’s ships is a visual nod to an 80’s video game, which is in keeping with the fun tone of these films. The opening scenes of both films, are some of the most enjoyably interactive I’ve ever seen. Seeing Star Lord dance his way through an alien landscape, using dead fish like creatures as a microphone, dancing his way to stealing the orb, is like a hilarious absurd melding of So You Think You Can Dance and Indiana Jones. That shouldn’t work, but it does, making for an incredibly fun opening montage. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 starts with The Guardians fighting an alien monster, while Groot has music blaring in a stereo and is dancing, oblivious to the fight in the foreground. I love this opening because as a viewer, you’re totally transfixed, wanting to watch the battle, but at the same time, hooting and hollering over Groot’s adorably hilarious dancing. The third act featured Ego the living planet being destroyed. We almost got a firsthand look at a planet crumbling to its extinction. I’ve never seen it done quite like this. Ego transforms into a disembodied head at one point, which normally I don’t like, but it forces Peter to manipulating matter into Pac Man. Any time I can get Pac-Man references in a film is a positive. There were two instances where the CGI looked terrible. In the first film, when the Guardians join hands, trying to grab the infinity stone, the scene is engulfed in purple, as the team is literally being torn apart. This had to be one of the lamest looking third act finales in a comic book film. A clear sign that the filmmaker had exhausted his budget. In the second film, during the aforementioned fight with the alien monster, said monster looks rather rubbery and obviously CGI. Not as rubbery as the shark in Batman ’66 but considering we’re in 2017, this shouldn’t be an issue.

As I mentioned, when this film franchise first began, I had no idea who The Guardians of the Galaxy even were. As I said, the first trailer for the film didn’t even get me excited for the film. Yet, here we are two films into the franchise and their two of the best of the Marvel brand. One of the best things about these movies is, while they’re part of the MCU, they are standalone films in their own right. While I seem to have more issues with the second film, there was enough positive elements in Volume 2, that I still put it ahead of the first film. No matter which film you enjoy more, you’re guaranteed a sci-fi space opera full of emotion, humor and action featuring instantaneously lovable characters. Revisit the first one and most definitely see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, if you haven’t already.

Kinky Komic Review: Van Helsing Vs Frankenstein

(Submitted by our Superheroscifi Guru, Mr. Prince Adam. Thanks, Super friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Liesel Van Helsing has dedicated her life to keeping the streets of New York City safe from the otherworldly threats that lurk in the night. However, when she teams up with a hunter who is every bit as cunning as she is, the very nature of the hunt is thrown into question. With the tables turned, and Helsing now on the run from an unstoppable foe, she must unite with the creatures of darkness if she wishes to survive.” (Zenescope)

After reading the first Van Helsing mini-series, I was eager to get back to her world and stories.  After fighting and beating Dracula, where do you go from there?  Well, wrier Pat Shand decided our vampire hunter’s next hunt would be Frankenstein, the most famous living dead man-monster.  Before we get to that, let me be clear, that I skipped several stories in the Grimm Fairy Tales line of stories to get to this one.  So the opening scenes where Liesel is at a bar hanging with her fellow monster hunters. The only one I recognized was Robyn Hood.  It wasn’t two confusing though, as Mr. Shand gives you enough information on the others that are pertinent for this story.  I do love that the bar scene is included though because it put extra ordinary people, in ordinary everyday situations that colleagues and friends would engage in. It gives another layer of humanity to a story full of monsters.  While Van Helsing’s lover Hades, the Greek god of hell is present, he’s only in the story briefly.  However, I do like that Pat Shand deals with the main hurdle in this relationship. Liesel is concerned because she is a mortal, and he is immortal. She worries how their relationship could last when she will get old and he will not. I love that this is an issue, because in such a relationship, this would be a concern. It also reminded me of a similar story arc in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  Truthfully, anything that calls to mind the Lois Lane/Superman relationship is a win for me.  Come to think of it, that’s a conundrum the Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike relationship faced, which makes it even more prevalent for me.  She is so worried about this, that while Hades is away at a family meeting on mount Olympus, Liesel believes she has discovered an experiment and formula, which would allow her to transfer her memories and consciousness to another body.  This plot point transitions the story into Frankenstein territory.

To keep her mind off of her relationship worries she teams with two members of her bar friends for a hunt.  Those characters are Franklin and Taylor Shelley.  Taylor is a cryptozoologist and she provides all the info on the monsters they fight, what their weaknesses are etc. Her husband Franklin, is the legit monster hunter of the group, although, Taylor does her fair share.  What I love most about this couple is their last name.  It’s a great nod by Pat Shand to the creator and writer of Frankenstein.  The monster they are hunting is Mothman, a giant sized monster that is exactly what his name implies.  It very much comes off as a B horror movie villain, which is by no means an insult.  What I also loved about this book is the origin of Frankenstein. It all starts when Franklin is killed by the Mothman.  He is brought back to the Shelley lab where Taylor creates a temporary body for Franklin’s mind, which is actually preserved by Moth Man’s venom.  The cool thing for me, is that Taylor creates the body from discarded monster parts they’ve hunted.  However, in addition to preserving his brain, it’s also making Franklin incoherent and crazy.  What I notice is that this Frankenstein monster was created out of necessity, from a place of love.  In the original and in most variations, the creation of the monster is done out of hubris, because the doctor felt like he could play God.  I love how powerful this new take on Frankenstein is. He went on a destructive murderous rampage and beat Van Helsing within an inch of her life, Liesel even makes mention of that fact in their final confrontation.  The last time I’ve seen comic book villains this imposing were Bane in Knightfall, Doomsday in The Death of Superman, or The Joker in The Killing Joke.  The fact that I actually feared for the main characters life, albeit briefly, is a testament to the intriguing and intense storytelling.  Given what unfolds and the death and destruction that has occurred, it’s understandable that Liesel deems it necessary to kill Franklin. I also understand Taylor’s opposition to Liesel’s decision.  Love makes you do crazy thing sometimes, so I completely understood Taylor physically trying to stop Liesel from committing the act.  The ending was a little iffy for me.  Without spoiling anything, the ending was very weighty, with significant loss, which was somewhat lessened by what I thought to be a forced “happily ever after” moment.  However, I’ll give the ending credit for tying back in to Van Helsing’s concerns about her relationship with Van Helsing and putting them into perspective.

The artwork for this story is done by Leonardo Colapietro, His style is very current with comic book trends.  It’s actually quite similar to the artist of the previous volume.  I loved the Mothman design, it reminded me a little bit of the movie The Fly. Especially, the eyes and even the mouth area a bit. The most gruesome scene was seeing the Mothman rip out Franklin’s throat.  The design of Frankenstein really stands out in his first splash page reveal.  He’s got the trademark stitching. He’s got bolts on his body but he has metal attached to his arms and hands, his jaw is even metallic, and he is connected with wires and such.  It’s a nice mix of classic yet new.  In fact, he’s’ got a little Incredible Hulk mixed in with Cyborg Superman… To quote Aquaman in the Justice League trailer… I dig it. What I don’t dig is the look of Van Helsing’s costume, Gone is the top hat, the steampunk goggles, bustier tops, shorts and fishnet stockings.  In its place are leather pants, a leather Harley Quinn colored crop top and a black trench coat.  Her original look made her stand out and was unique. This design was not.  It reminded me of when DC put Wonder Woman in a leather jacket and pants, to appease more sensitive folks…and I hated that!

This story certainly took Liesel Van Helsing in a bigger and bolder direction. It had far more action, yet never forgot to keep things personal.  With her father dead, the personal connection came in the form of her relationship with Hades, as well as her interplay with her fellow hunter colleagues.  Not only am I interested to delve deeper into the world of Van Helsing but I’m more convinced to back track and read about the other Grimm Fairy Tale characters too. If you liked the first mini-series, this is a MUST READ!  

Comic Book Review: Grimm Tales of Terror #2

(Submitted in the spirit of all that is nerdy on this, our New Comic Book Day by Prince Adam...Eternal gratitude, my esteemed Eternian. 😉 xoxo)

“When a group of treasure hunters head to the Amazon to search for the priceless Spider King relic, they will find that their greed has put them in a horrifying predicament!” (Zenescope)

A different writer takes the reigns of this book, in the form of Shane McKenzie. As I suspected, this book feels like it’s going more of an anthology route, with single issue complete stories. Yet it seems as though these individual stories will have a connecting through line. That connecting thread is the mysterious red headed woman from the first issue. Not having read spoilers, or read ahead, the fact that death earmarks those she comes in contact with and the fact that music accompanies her, I am assuming she is either the Angel of death, or a siren of the devil. It’s intriguing to see her pop up in every issue. However, I hope we start learning details about who she is, what her motivations are and what her ultimate end game is. I trust the creative team behind this book, that they will indeed do so but if they don’t it will be a wasted opportunity and I’ll be quite disappointed. I love the hook of this story. That it centers on an antique collector and two treasure hunters searching for The Spider Queen Statue. Firstly, I like this plot point because cursed ancient artifacts serve as the perfect McGuffin for a horror story. Add to that, the fact that the artifact has ties to spiders, a critter that can be creepy and many have a pre-existing fear of. You’ve got all the ingredients for a great horror tale. The mythology around the statue, is that the Spider Queen, the mother queen of all spiders, lures men into her cave with gold and treasure and then utilizes the men to fertilize her eggs. The visual manifestation of that is rather quite unique, which I’ll get into when discussing the art. In the midst of all this, there is a theme, as well as a personal nature to this story. The theme is greed. The mysterious red-headed woman at the beginning of the issue warned that; “greed is an insatiable beast that grows hungrier the more you feed it.” She warns that sometimes you must put it down, no matter how much you’ve grown to love it. Greed is present throughout this book, from the collector, Thomas Tessier and the two archaeologists, Tyson and Chip Mayer. Despite being filthy rich and having a mansion full of ancient artifacts, he’s obsessed with this statue of the golden Spider Queen. So obsessed that this is the second expedition for it. The first cost a whole crew, save for a tour guide their lives. For the two treasure hunter brothers, their greed comes into play because they each want to be the only treasure hunter on their job. That greed over their work led to their estrangement. Things get personal for the brothers when they realize their father was the leader of the crew that first went out to search for the statue. While they blame Thomas Tessier, they go on the mission in the hopes of finding their father for closure. So the three head to the Amazon Rain Forest! Once there, they find the cave and the relic. However, when the brothers clutch the statue, they are swarmed by spiders and eaten alive. As they call for Tessler’s help, he tries to escape the cave. He is swarmed by spiders before fading into unconsciousness. When he wakes, he is seemingly pregnant, and burst to death as he gives birth to a giant spider. What I find fascinating, is the fact that both issues end with the main characters of each story dying. This book is essentially the horror genre equivalent of Game of Thrones in that sense and I’m cool with that. This book is the only comic I’ve read that has killed off EVERY main character. So I give it morbid kudo’s for that.

Artistic duties for this issue were the responsibility of Klosin Przemyslaw. I’ve never heard of this artist or seen any of his work. I had the same scenario play put in issue #1 and just like in that issue, the art is very strong. In fact, the art in issue two looks extremely similar to the art in issue #1. So while the format is more of an anthology, the similar art, reminds us that there is a continuity to these issues. The Amazon Rain Forest serves as a great setting. On the one hand, the lush, vibrant green colors give off a sense of calmness and freedom of being in the great outdoors. However, the tall trees and long thick bushes, make it seem incredibly confined and give it a sense of the unknown. The snakes slithering in the trees also make it pretty foreboding and dangerous. The scene where our three protagonists are flying to/landing in the Amazon Rainforest look like a travel montage right out of an Indiana Jones film. Speaking of Indiana Jones, Chip and Tyson’s deceased father looked like Indiana Jones, with a little bit of Crocodile Dundee thrown in. That’s just fine by me, as I adore both those film franchises. The two Texas Millionaires. Thomas Tessler, and the horribly used, throw away character of Mr. Volk fit pop culture stereo types of Texas and their inhabitants perfectly. Mr. Volk looks like a sleazy Oil tycoon, the likes of which you’d find on the show Dallas, while Thomas Tessler looks like a combination between Colonel Sanders and Yosemite Sam for the moustache. These are not knocks on the art by the way, just the first observations that came to mind. I’m not afraid of spiders, but seeing Chip and Tyson covered in red welts from spider bites was slightly traumatizing. Reason being, as someone who has an allergic reaction to mosquito bites, I sympathize and feel their pain. I was getting itchy just looking at them. The most disturbing and fantastic art of the whole issue was the splash page of a spider impregnated Thomas Tessler, literally bursting to death as he gave birth to a spider that looked to be on steroids. It was truly gross. Also, that’d make a fantastic addition on the show 1000 Ways to Die!

Overall, I think I enjoyed issue two more than I did the first installment. This is a good thing though, as the goal of every comic book story should be to improve on its previous issue. After issue #1 the hook for me to continuing this title was to learn more about the red-headed woman! While I still want to know more of her story, now I’m coming back to see how different each issues horror story is. If you haven’t read this yet, pickup Volume 1 and follow along with the reviews.

Comic Book Review: Lucifer Vol. 1 : Cold Hell

(Submitted by our Superheroic SciFi guru, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Duper friend!! PS- Canada, am I right?? 😉 xoxo)

“Lucifer is back—wounded and weakened, but suave and savvy as ever. And he’s about to be handed the biggest mystery in the history of Creation: God has been found dead, and the Lightbringer is the prime suspect in His murder. To clear his name and reclaim his throne, Lucifer must solve the Deicide himself. But even with help from the disgraced archangel Gabriel, the task is daunting. To maintain the status quo in both Heaven and Hell, angels and demons alike are determined to pin the crime upon the First of the Fallen—but it will be a cold day in either realm before the Devil fails to get his due. “ (DC Entertainment)

The character of Lucifer is getting his time in the spotlight. First, a television series inspired by the Vertigo comic book and now a new ongoing title. This may lead you to believe that this comic is a tie-in, merely serving as promotion to the television show.  This is actually not the case. Although, the show and the book do share commonalities. In both iterations Lucifer has left hell, owns a nightclub named Lux, and the character of Mazikeen is present. In the show, Lucifer has left hell and moved to LA as he’s fed up with God, and needs a vacation from running the biblical underworld. Mazikeen serves as his right hand woman, helping him run Lux, while he consults with the L.A.P.D. in solving crimes and capturing the worst of the worst criminals.  Near the back half of the first season and for much of the second season to date, God send’s Lucifer’s angelic brothers to Earth, in an attempt to return Lucifer to hell, a place he has no intention of revisiting. The comic sees Lucifer leave hell because of his ongoing tension and frustration with God, but also because he’s fed up with being blamed for everything that goes wrong in both heaven and hell.  Unlike the show, in the comic when leaving hell, Lucifer had to relinquish his angelic abilities and also different from the show, Lucifer hand picks Mazikeen to preside over hell in his absence.

The book starts out with a bang, as we are introduced to a wounded and powerless Lucifer, who’s wound mysteriously is spreading to his heart. We are also introduced to the angel Gabriel,   who has been banished from heaven and stripped of his powers, after failing to kill Lucifer. We then cut to heaven, where archangel Metatron discovers that  God has been killed. He instantly blames Lucifer. When Lucifer and Gabriel discover the news, they set out on a journey to clear Lucifer’s name and find the real killer . I liked the dynamic of Gabriel and Lucifer working together even with an antagonistic relationship in place. The back and forth between the two brothers definitely called to mind Sam and Dean Winchester on Supernatural.  Although, there is far more hatred between Gabriel and Lucifer given the fact that they both tried to willingly and consensually kill each other.   Writer Holly Black fully embraces religion and mythology by taking our characters and the readers on a journey through hell and the dream world to solve the mystery. They did mention and show a flashback to Morpheus in the dream world, which is a nice nod and call back to the Lucifer characters origin in The Sandman series. In fact, this series doesn’t negate the previous Lucifer or Sandman series.  Instead, this is part of that continuity. This little tidbit got me curious to finally bite the bullet and start reading some Sandman. Having our two characters traverse the dream realm almost gave us  second story in this book. During this segment of the sojourn, we learn of Azazel, an angel who was responsible for consuming people’s sin’s. He eventually got overwhelmed by the lure of sin and craved more. However, survivors of a village Azazel has over run with sin are fed up and coerce him into having a child.  That child is groomed to hate his father, eventually killing him. In a bizarre sci-fi twist, the son eventually becomes his father. Lucifer remembers that Azazel is the one who stabbed him. In modern day, Lucifer and Gabriel track Azazel to Earth, where he is possessing humans, and forcing them to comitt terrible sin.  Lucifer forces Azazel to heal him.  I must admit, writer Holly Black had me convinced that Azazel was the killer, however, in a clever off-panel twist back in the dream world, Lucifer learns that it was Gabriel all along that had killed God.  Like the reader, Gabriel had no inclination that he had done this. He had been manipulated into doing so and then wiped of his memory. So appalled with himself, Gabriel storms down to hell, asking Mazikeen to tell her who put him up to killing God. In exchange, he will become one of her servants, a curse upon heaven. The two strike an accord and armed with his full set of powers and brand new black wings, he heads off in search of who wronged him. As for who that was and what’s next for Lucifer Morningstar, we have to wait and see.

The art was  drawn by Lee Garbett with colors handled by Antonio Fabela.  The art style is a mix of animation with some grit to it. I’m reminded a bit of Eduardo Rizzo. There’s a great image of Lucifer in his car, arriving in L.A. and overlooking the city. Having that as the first page of the story allows the reader to enter the story with the main character, making me feel as though I was part of the proceedings.  The story sequence where Lucifer and Gabriel enter the dream space had two great moments in it. One was seeing Lucifer confront the dream sequence version of himself, which looked like the more monstrous version of himself, complete with red skin, horns and hooves.  The other is the scene where we see Lucifer leaving the dream world wearing a trench coat and a fedora. It felt appropriate because at times this book had a film noir look to it. The flashbacks featuring Azazel’s origin’s made him look like evil incarnate. He looked so evil in fact, that you almost forget that Lucifer is the lord of hell.  There’s a great splash page of Lucifer and Gabriel flying high in the sky as the sun rises to start the day. The scenery and colour here was absolutely perfect. If you like that classical depiction of angels, this image is definitely one for you. Hell looked appropriately dank, desolate, and scorching hot. Mazikeen sitting on the throne of hell looked powerful, dominant and looked perfectly at home reigning in hell. If the character’s personality wasn’t enough, these images tell you exactly why Lucifer chose her as his replacement. It’s worth noting that both male and female exposed nipple is featured in this book.

This book has been getting a lot of praise from both my inner circles and mainstream comics press and rightfully so.  This graphic novel succeeds at appealing both to fans of the TV show as well as fans of the original comic book run.  If you aren’t familiar with either, you don’t have to be. It’s easy for new readers too! This book is definitely finding a place on my permanent rotation.  This book proves, that no matter morning or night, this version of Lucifer is a star!

Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for this write up, Heroic Ho-mie. I’ve been wondering whether or not this lived up to your Bat-spectations! 😉 xoxo)

“In the irreverent spirit of fun that made ‘The LEGO (R) Movie’ a worldwide phenomenon, the self-described leading man of that ensemble – LEGO Batman – stars in his own big-screen adventure: ‘The LEGO (R) Batman Movie.’ But there are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.” (Warner Brothers)

While this is a follow up to The LEGO Movie, in that if features the same Batman and voice actor playing him, other than that, there are no real callback’s or references to that movie.I look at this movie as a Batman film that is set in the multiverse. Specifically on a DC Universe made entirely of LEGO’s. The plot is simple, yet isn’t very far off from your typical Batman Vs Joker encounter. Joker tries to destroy Gotham City in an effort to finally one up and get victory over Batman.In his first attempt The Joker loads a plane with bombs and grenades, and plans to detonate it, unless the mayor is handed over to him. Little does he know, Batman is disguised as the Mayor and intercedes. During their standoff Joker demands Batman admit that Joker is his greatest enemy. When Batman insinuates repeatedly that the Joker doesn’t mean enough to him to make that declaration, the Joker ignites the timer on the bombs forcing him to choose between capturing him, or rescuing Gotham. Of course, Batman chooses Gotham. The Joker laughs with maniacal glee as he escapes, while Batman is cheered and given a heroes salute for defusing the bomb. While our hero emerged to accolades and praise and our villain escaped free, their euphoria is shown to be a façade. Batman returns home to an empty Batcave, spending his night eating alone, watching a movie in his home theater alone, and brooding over the picture of Thomas and Martha Wayne, wondering if they’d be proud of his Batmaning accomplishments. In these moments, Alfred reveals that Bruce Wayne’s greatest fear, is being part of a family again. Batman is also struggling with devoting all of his time to being Batman. Meanwhile, the Joker sits in his lair with a who’s who of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, miserable that Batman didn’t validate the specialness of their hero/villain dynamic. In a room full of his villain brothers and sisters, who look to him to lead, there’s a moment where Joker feels utterly useless and alone. This movie is flashy fun and funny, but there are deeper themes and messages they’re trying to get across, especially to their younger audience. These include the importance of family, being aware of your self-worth, but also placing your trust in others. The importance of being strong and independent, yet knowing when to work with others to achieve something greater. This is as story of relationships. Different types of relationships, both functional and dysfunctional.

Batman gets his chance to be Bruce Wayne, during the announcement of the New Commissioner of Police for Gotham City. Jim Gordon is exiting the position and the reason being is he is retiring. Taking his place is his daughter, Barbara Gordon. In most comic book incarnations, she’s a librarian. Here she is a well-established officer of the law, who transferred over from Bludhaven. Sure they changed things from her comic book background, her being a police officer to start and having fighting training from the “Harvard of Police,” made her becoming Batgirl palpable in this version. Especially since Batman is adamant about working alone. While Batman may not want partners, Bruce Wayne is infatuated with Barbara Gordon. So much so, that the song “Died in Your Arms” played the first time, and several times after he sees her. While there is romance inferred between Barbara and Bruce, it is in its beginning stages. I definitely don’t see this iteration of the relationship pissing fans off like The Killing Joke animated film did. We also see the first meeting of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. While Dick Grayson’s comic book origin is kept intact, some changes are made. His parents are killed in the trapeze accident, he’s sent to an orphanage and eventually adopted by Bruce Wayne, before becoming Batman’s partner Robin. However, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson meet at the party announcing the new Commissioner Gordon. Bruce Wayne was so enamoured by Barbara that he was randomly saying yes to whatever Dick asked him. One of those things he said yes to, was adopting Dick Grayson. Given the arrogant, narcissistic nature of this version of Batman, this outcome is picture perfect. Meanwhile, the Joker has hatched his next plan. He and the rest of Batman’s rogues will turn themselves into the GCPD, thus being sent to Arkham Asylum. This leaves Batman without any supervillains to fight and in a way, proves that without Joker Batman would be rendered moot. Batman is left lonely, and rather than admit he desires a family and spend time getting to know Dick or even Barbara, he gets fixated on putting the Joker in the Phantom Zone, to get rid of him once and for all. Dick Grayson is brought into Batman’s world and the identity of Robin is created. Batman enlists his help to steal the Phantom Zone projector from the Fortress of Solitude. They manage to get the Phantom Zone projector, but when they make their way to Arkham Asylum, the Joker and his crew make an escape stealing the phantom zone projector, and releasing the worst criminals, not only of DC, but many in the Warner Brothers film library. It was great seeing the likes of Lord Voldemort, the Eye of Sauron, King Kong, and Godzilla. Even some non-WB IP make cameos, including Dracula and the Daleks from Doctor Who. Those two aren’t mentioned by name because of legal reasons. With these new villains unleashed, Gotham City is ravaged, burned, broken and nearly torn apart. It is here where Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl. Even Alfred joins the fray. The finale involves, everyone from Team Batman, the rogues, and even the citizens of Gotham joining together to save the city. I won’t tell you how exactly. For that you must see the film.

 

I’m literally amazed at the character growth our hero goes through. Batman starts out, as I’ve mentioned, an arrogant loner, who thinks he’s the best at everything he does. He is, but we as the viewer see that this behavior is part of an act to hide his pain of losing his parents and being alone. I actually teared up, when he was looking at the image of his parents and having a conversation with them. Yes, a LEGO movie made me cry. Don’t judge. When he meets Robin that characters youth and hopeful outlook begins to break down Batman’s walls. You see when he’s training Robin that he’s feigning sarcasm to keep up his “persona.” Barbara Gordon further changes Batman’s opinion on working with a team. You really sees how much he cares, when he programs his vehicle the bat scutter to take Batgirl, Robin and Alfred away from Gotham, while he dealt with the Phantom Zone escapees. They think he’s doing it so he can have all the glory for saving the day, when in reality, he does it out of fear of potentially losing his new Bat family, the way he did his parents. He further shows them how much he truly cares, by giving them their own personal Bat-Signals and then reveals himself to Dick Grayson to be Bruce Wayne In case you’re wondering, yes, I got emotional during both these scenes. What can I say, I’m an emotional fanboy when it comes to Batman.

Yes there’s character evolution and emotion but make no mistake, there is a Batcave full of humor here. It starts right in the opening credits. Batman comments on the fact that all great movies start with a black screen and terrifying music that make studios and parental groups nervous. He then comments on the company logos. He mistakenly calls Warner Brother’s Warner Bra’s. When the DC comics logo appears, he refers to DC as the house that Batman built. He then tells Superman; “Come at me bro”. When the Rat Pac logo appears, Batman wonders what exactly they do, but remarks how cool their logo looks. This intro reminded me of Deadpool’s intro. Granted this one was PG. It was also better because it featured Batman and Batman will always be better than Rob Liefeld’s rip-off Deathstroke character. 😉 In its humor, the film finds ways to make nods to past Batman incarnations. In the scene where Batman stares at his parents portraits, Alfred mentions that Bruce is going through one of his brooding fazes, like he has in 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Not only was Alfred name dropping years that Batman films were released, but a montage of Lego posters of those films were shown. Except for Batman and Robin and Batman ’66. For Batman and Robin, they flashed a picture of Clooney’s Bat-Nipples. Yes, that still scares the piss out of me. Adam West got much more respect and deservedly so. The film actually showed a clip of him doing the Batusi. When the Joker tries to blow up the Gotham City airport, the air traffic controller remarks that Batman will stop him; just like he did that time with the balloons and the Prince music, as well as that other time with the two boats. These are obvious callback’s to both Batman ’89 and The Dark Knight. At her announcement ceremony, Barbara Gordon shows a video for how long Batman’s been cleaning up Gotham City’s crime ridden streets. Here, the animations on the monitors reflect imagery from the Superfriends, Batman the Animated Series, even the black and white film series from the 40’s are featured. This film is very much a love letter to every Batman era. It continues to make fun of itself. For instance, when the Joker proclaims himself to be Batman’s greatest adversary, Batman responds by saying Superman is! Joker then retorts that Superman isn’t a villain. Barbara suggests to Batman, that they use his rogue’s gallery to battle the Phantom Zone escapee’s. Batman responds; “You want me to use a team of bad guys, to fight bad guys? That’s stupid!” This funny Suicide Squad dig wasn’t my favourite though. That distinction belongs to two nods in particular. The first is when Batman visits the Fortress of Solitude. He rings the doorbell of the giant door and the John Williams Superman theme begins playing. As a Superman fan that had me laughing and smiling joyously. The line that had me in stitches, was the password to enter the Bat Cave. That phrase being; “Iron Man Sucks.” As a lifelong fan of DC Comics, and someone who feels that while the Marvel films are good but many are highly over-rated, I can’t express in enough detail how much joy this line of dialogue brought me.

The voice acting was very strong by all but one of our lead actors. Will Arnett once again gives Batman a gravely, cocky arrogance that, while it would be annoyingly frustrating from any other character, is positively endearing and adorable coming from LEGO Batman. Michael Cera’s Robin was higher pitched and had a more youthful tone then I’m used to for Robin. Shockingly I wasn’t annoyed by it, even when the character was singing. For the story being told, Robin’s role in it and the fact that the character is clearly appealing to a younger audience, having him sound younger makes absolute sense. Ralph Fiennes sounded great as Alfred. He brought a great mix of compassion and classic English droll that is synonymous with the character. Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is a standout. She has a commanding authoritative presence in her voice as the police commissioner, but is kinder and gentler when dealing with Batman and Robin. She sounded somewhat like a big sister with them. Zach Galifianakis was just okay as the Joker. Neither his voice nor his laugh really stood out or made me take notice. Far more disappointing then that was Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn. There was no distinct accent and she didn’t utter the word “Puddin’” once. It was just Jenny Slate reading her lines.  As a super fan of Batman ’89, it was great to have the look and voice of Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face. However, it was such a letdown that he only had one line. Zoe Kravits was wasted as Catwoman, only uttering the word “Meow” twice in the film. The only supporting rogue whose voice entertained me was Doug Benson as Bane, who sounded exactly like Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. Also, Superman sounded like a douchebag in this movie. Then again he was played by Channing Tatum, so that explains it. No wonder I was hoping Batman would kick his ass! Visually, the animation looked great! The opening action sequence stopping the bomb at the Gotham City airport was so action packed it felt like it belonged in a live action film. There was so much detail and so many levels to the Batcave. You see the various Batmobile’s as well as the Dinosaur and giant penny. I just wish we got more close up shots of these things, so I could inspect the details of each. Oh well, guess that’s what freeze framing the Blu-ray will be for. Seeing the crystak Fortress of Solitude was a great bit of nostalgia, as was the word effects popping up during the third act fight, to evoke Batman 66. The fight was even framed, positioned and shot, like a fight sequence on that show. I never thought I’d see Godzilla or King Kong in a Batman film. The fact that I saw both in this film, makes this film visually breathtaking. Also, those Lego recreations of the Burton/Schumacher and Nolan era Batman film posters were so incredible. I didn’t know that I wanted them, but now that I have them, they will soon be a profile picture or banner, on every one of my social media outlets.

Given all the drama surrounding The Batman live action movie, specifically who will direct it and if Ben Affleck will star in it, The LEGO Batman Movie is exactly what we need right now. A fun, entertaining love letter to this incredible character and his history. I don’t think it would be fair to rate this amongst live action Batman movies. They’re vastly different entities. I will say it’s the Batman movie I’ve had the most unadulterated fun watching. As far as animated Batman films, it’s definitely one of the best. It stands right alongside Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Under the Red Hood and Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker. I loved The LEGO Batman Movie. It’s fun for Batman fans of all ages and an absolute treat no matter what era of Batman you may be partial to!