Batman & Bill (2017)

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for helping spread the good word, Bat Buddy! 😉 xoxo)

Who created Batman?  Well, if you scroll the reprints of old comic books or watch any Batman animated, or live action film prior to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it will tell you that Bob Kane is solely responsible for the creation of this enduring and much loved character.  However, in the documentary film Batman & Bill presented by Hulu,  Marc Tyler Nobleman uncovers a secret and exposes the truth.  Shortly after the success of Superman, National Comics, which eventually became DC Comics, went to Bob Kane and asked if he could create a second superhero for them.  At that Friday meeting, he assured them he would have their next superhero on their desk by Monday.  Over the course of that weekend, Bob came up with an idea and then showed his friend and collaborator on other books what he had.  That friend helped Bob tweak his ideas, implementing several suggestions, which improved and fleshed out the character. With both men happy, Bob Kane took the meeting, the publisher loved it and bought the character.  Bob and Bill had a verbal handshake agreement, where Bob promised to split some of whatever he earns.  However, during the meeting, Bob Kane never mentions that another person was involved in the creation of the character and negotiated a sole creator credit on The Bat-Man and eventually worked out getting a “piece of the pie”, as he put it.  I don’t know, nor was it stated in the film, whether Bob Kane shared any money from that sale with Bill Finger. It was stated that Bill Finger was hired as a writer/ghostwriter on Batman later on.  Some will say. “Well, at least he got paid for his work later on.” Well that’s all well and good, until you realize just how much of a hand in creating Batman Bill Finger actually had.  First, it’s worth noting that Bob Kane came up with the name The-Batman.  His version of the character was blonde, wore a red leotard and had a domino mask, akin to something Robin would eventually wear.  Marc Tyler Nobleman, consults archives and comic book writers and artists past and present, to reveal that Bill Finger was responsible for the following concepts; the origin, the costume, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Robin, The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin, Catwoman, the Batcave, Gotham City and the Batmobile.  So, basically, Bill Finger created all the parts of Batman that are cool and make Batman…well Batman!  Even when DC Comics discovered the truth, years later, they didn’t do anything about it, for fear of opening up a legal can of worms with Bob Kane.  Bill Finger didn’t have funds to fight for his rights legally.

The truth was made public to fans at an early comic con in the 60’s, when a DC Comics editor introduced Bill Finger as the creator of Batman.  When he was questioned about it, he clarified what he was responsible for, which is all of the stuff l listed above.  What’s great about this document, is that you hear the rare audio clip from this convention.  You’re hearing Batman history, as you watch this documentary.   A contributor to a Batman fanzine publicized the quote in one of the issues.  This was Bob Kane’s first opportunity to set the record straight, finally giving Bill Finger the credit he deserves. Instead, he writes a letter absolutely, flat out denying Bill Finger’s comments, asserting that he was the sole creator of Batman and asks for it to be published in the magazine.  As years passed, while Bill Finger struggled to make ends meet and ultimately died alone, Bob Kane enjoyed the fame and part of the fortune Batman brought with it. This miscarriage of justice, is what led Marc Tyler Noble to write this book. To give notoriety and a voice for the often forgotten Bill Finger. Our writer/narrator in this film becomes a detective out for justice for Bill Finger.  He essentially becomes a real life Batman for Bill Finger.   The detective work Mr. Nobleman does would make Batman proud.  First, he goes to wear Bill Finger used to live and from there, discovers Bill Finger had a second wife who was still alive.  From her info, he was told that Bill Finger had a niece and nephew.  From there, he literally called every Finger in the phonebook until he found Bill’s nephew and niece.  Here we learned that Bill Finger had a son.  Marc Tyler Nobleman in the documentary excitedly perks up, as this relative could be one of the few that could challenge for creator rights for his father. Sadly, we learned that Bill’s son died of AIDS.  Just when it seemed like legal recognition was lost for Bill Ginger, the discovery of his granddaughter is made.  This was like an AH HA moment from the Batman ’66 TV show, when Batman and Robin would discover one of Riddler’s clues, or foil one of the Joker’s plots.  Marc Tyler Nobleman urges Athena Finger to meet with Warner Brothers to discuss getting a creator credit for her grandfather.  The film reveals that WB & DC acknowledged Bill Finger’s contributions but once again, didn’t want to open the can of worms in dealing with Bob Kane’s estate and trying to alter that credit. The documentary features an interview and quotes from the man who co-wrote Bob Kane’s biography, where Bob Kane produced a fake drawing of Batman dated in 1933 where he allegedly formed the concept of Batman.  The reason this is known to be fake, is because it looked like the core modern drawing of Batman, with the insignia in the yellow oval etc.  The first design, which was crafted by Finger, looked significantly different. In the same interview, recorded on tape and made available for the documentary, Bob Kane admits that Bill Finger was involved with 50-75% of the conception and creation of Batman. Armed with this recording, a lawyer and national attention, thanks to Marc Tyler Nobleman’s book and taking Athena Finger to conventions and spreading this story, Athena meets with Warner Brothers and DC Comics once more.  This time. she is awarded with a credit byline, for her grandfather.  Starting with episodes of GOTHAM & the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman’s credit line will read; Created By Bob Kane with Bill Finger.

This documentary fascinated me as it revealed a mystery about Batman’s creation that I and many other fans, weren’t aware of.  It made me sad, that for so long, Bill Finger wasn’t credited for his work.  Sadder still, that Bill Finger died alone, his son suffered and died from aids and Athena Finger raised her son as a single mom and for so long had to struggle to make ends meet, while another man reaped the rewards both public and monetarily, based on a good portion of someone else’s hard work.  Ultimately, I felt uplifted and happy that justice had been done, for Batman’s most influential founding father.  This documentary is also unique to watch because it breaks the mold of normal documentaries, by having some scenes drawn as a motion comic book. These scenes had the classic pulpy but noir look of the early Batman comic books.  I will always appreciate Bob Kane for his 25-50% contribution, whatever that actually was, to Batman. However, I’m glad justice was done for Bill Finger and I am thankful to him, for creating many of the aspects of Batman I gravitate to and love.  For the Finger family, Marc Tyler Nobleman was the hero they deserved and the one they needed.  For Marc Tyler Nobleman, the truth wasn’t good enough. He deserved to have his faith rewarded, and it was.  If you consider yourself a Batman fan of any kind, it is your absolute duty to watch and spread the word about this documentary.

BoXXX Office Awesomeness: Wonder Woman Decapitates Deadpool

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Kinky Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

In the last couple of weeks, Wonder Woman has been getting more and more competition for box office dollars. Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Despicable Me 3 have all entered the marketplace, yet Wonder Woman has remained a steady earner. Its biggest competition has arrived in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming. The film is great and there was no doubt it would be #1 this weekend. To give you an idea of how good it’s doing, the second Spider-Man reboot in 15 years webbed up $117 Million, which is second among Spider- Man films. Worldwide, the film has garnered a total of over $250 Million after just 3 day. Again, the film deserves every bit of money it’s making and you can read my review to see why. However, despite the arrival of the web slinger and losing 313 theatre screens, Wonder Woman is still kicking box office ass! In her 6th weekend of release, Wonder Woman made another $10,135,000 in North America. That brings its domestic total to $368,786,191 after 38 days of release! Wonder Woman has decapitated Deadpool’s entire domestic box office run and sits 2nd on the list of superhero origin films, behind only Sam Raimi’s original Spider- Man film. That amount also means that domestically, Wonder Woman is the second highest grossing superhero film of all time that doesn’t feature Batman, Superman or Spider-Man. Exact foreign figures for the weekend aren’t available, however, internationally the film made another $17,000,000 in the last week, to bring the foreign totals to $377,000,000. Worldwide, the film has secured a grand total of $745,786,191. While Wonder Woman passed Suicide Squad domestically about a week and a half ago, it has now passed it worldwide as well. Wonder Woman now sits 4th on the list of all time box office earners in Warner Brothers history behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  Wonder Woman looks like she will hit at least one more domestic milestone and one more worldwide accolade, which I will report on as it happens, there is no stopping DC Comics’ Amazonian Princess and Queen of the Superheroes!

Ho-stess’s Note: Even Deadpool had to give the Goddess props. 🙂 xo

Comic Book Review – Vampirella #8-10: A murder of Crows

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for the Vampi goodness, Superfriend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Vampirella’s back and on the hunt! Dynamite Entertainment’s acclaimed mistress of the dark continues her supernatural adventures, running a gauntlet of murder and despair across an increasingly imperiled globe. A trio of demoness assassins – the Kerasu Shimei (the ‘Crow Sisters’) – have clawed their into our world, and are intent on building a bloody monument to murder, sin and mayhem, and it will take all of Vampirella’s considerable skill to send them screaming back to Hell…” (Dynamite)

This book continues shortly after the one shot from last issue, where Vampirella was recuperating from her wounds from the battle with Dracula and Le Fanu. The book picks up with Vampirella and Sofia on a stakeout, tracking a trio of gruesome murders where three people of shady character have been crucified, with Japanese Kanji drawn in their blood beside them.  Vampirella has been contracted by a mysterious benefactor, who she has yet to reveal to Sofia, Through Vampirella’s inner musing, she reveals that she is keeping her benefactor a secret from Sofia, to not bring her deeper into Vampirella’s world.  Vampirella reveals that as much as she enjoys having a human partner, she wants to get Sofia out of this life because the last time she had a human partner, it didn’t end well for either of them.  In these quieter introspective moments, we start getting a sense of how attached and how much Vampirella cares for Sofia.  As nice as that is, the best parts of these scenes are the insinuation of the mysterious benefactor’s and former human partner.  I’m assuming her ex-partner was Adam Van Helsing, who she had a nightmare about in the previous issues.  As for who her benefactor is, I have no idea.  However, writer Eric Trautmann has me hooked liked a caught fish, waiting to see how both those plot threads play out.  In the first seven issues, Sofia is thrust into this monstrous world. She’s intrigued and captivated by it all.  Now that she’s had time to process it a little more fully, as a reader, you can see her fear and so can Vampirella, even though Sofia tries to hide it.  I love how the writer hasn’t thrust her forward so quickly, to the point where she’s okay with all the weird crap she’s witnessing.  She tries to cope by referencing that everything Vampirella does in this volume fulfills every trope from the horror movie genre.  She uses smart ass commentary to mask her fears.  That’s something I would do.  I hope the writers keep using Sofia as a conduit for the audience.  The other reason I absolutely loved this volume of issues, is due to the fact that the villains of this issue spring directly out of the first volume.  The Three Crow Sisters are Hell-Spawn, who were able to escape hell, when Vampirella’s battle with the Yag-Ath Vermellus, softened the barrier between hell and Earth.  The reason why they have killed those 3 people is because they represent cowardice, the immoral and the deceitful.  This coupled with killing Vampirella, who represents insolence, dishonors her fellow Vampires and is disloyal to them, will serve as a monument to corruption. These acts will tether them firmly to Earth, preventing them from being dragged back to hell. We also learn that the masks they currently wear are temporary tethers to Earth and amplify their strength and speed.  They are very formidable opponents, but she ultimately kills them.  However, not before the big revelation that the Crow sisters know of Vampirella’s true origins, whereas, she herself does not.  She has memories from different origins, which in actuality are different incarnations of the character in the comics, through the years.  In the book continuity, she is not sure what her real past is.  This is similar to what Wonder Woman is experiencing post Rebirth. I like this story hook, as it allows new readers to familiarize themselves with multiple possibilities, without doing too much extra “homework.”

Fabiano Neves returns on art and once again does great work.  This is going to be odd to say of a Vampirella book but the car chase scene looked good.  The art really captures the close quarters and break neck speed of the chase.  Also, the exploded car flip diversion Vampirella creates with the car, looked straight out of a Fast & Furious movie, minus Vin Diesel’s monotone acting, while still keeping the beautiful women.  The female villains wearing Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta esque masks, looked creepy as hell.  And because the masks aren’t literally V for Vendetta masks, it never feels derivative. Since we essentially had hot vampire vs hot vampire in volume 1, they had to change things up a bit.  This is definitely visually striking.  I loved the visual of the crucified murder victims being on one hand being a darkly colored page, with his blood being the most colored object, while the other two were shown in black and white.  It gave the crime scenes a more mysterious, cold and frightening look and feel to them.  The page where Vampirella and Sofia are scouring around the abandoned farmhouse which is pitch black, and their backs are facing the “camera”/reader, is a quintessential horror moment.  It leaves you expecting and waiting for something bad or scary to happen.  That’s hard for a comic book to pull off, but to be fair, I may have cheated by playing a horror soundtrack as I read this book,

The more I read of Vampirella, the more I like the character and this book.  If you thought the story blew its load too early by using Dracula write off the bat, you’d be wrong.  I’m constantly impressed with every scroll of the digital page.  This character is under appreciated in the comic book world. If you haven’t read this book, or given this character a try, you simply must.  If you don’t, you’re truly doing a disservice to yourself and the genre!

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

Kinky Komic Book Review: Spawn #8

(Submitted by the illustrious Mr.Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

Billy Kincaid, killed by Spawn, finds himself in Hell with other new arrivals. As they travel toward the Tower, they fall one by one to the horrors of the demonic realm. (Image)


This one-shot is written by comic book legend Alan Moore. Most people love him and think everything he touches is gold. I’m 50/50 on him. I both love his work, and hate some of his work. This book is essentially 22 pages of Billy Kincaid, child killer, traversing his way through hell. He’s joined by three other characters, two of which aren’t important at all, yet are only there for exposition purposes. In the Spawn mythology, or at least this issue written by Alan Moore, hell is composed of 10 different spheres. The characters in the book all have to climb up a tower and are randomly taken to their respective sphere. While I like this idea, some of it is too much of an obvious rip-off of Dante’s Inferno! We don’t get an explanation for all the spheres of hell, just the ones important to this book. The Sixth Sphere of Hell is the soul stealer sphere, which keeps souls as pets. The Tenth Sphere is the Prime Monad. Here, souls are picked to use a circuitry in hell’s macro computer. Then there’s the Eighth Sphere, where Billy Kincaid resides. In this sphere, the inhabitants basically are employees of the devil the same way the Violator was in the first four issues. The way that Billy Kincaid found out about his lot in hell is a fascinating twists. One of the inhabitants of hell travelling with Billy is a little girl. Of course, Mr. Kincaid being a murderous bastard attempts to kill the little girl. However, before he can choke the life out of her, the girl transforms into The Vindicator. The Vindicator introduces Billy Kincaid to this universes version of the devil, who we’ve seen in issues #1-4 of this book. The devil outfits Billy with the K3 – Myrlu, a neural parasite that morphs onto his body and forms a Spawn costume. Why does it do this? Ever since Billy Kincaid arrived in hell, he’s been having recurring nightmares of the way Spawn killed him. I love that even though he is living in hell, his personal hell is reliving his death at Spawn’s hands. After his crimes, he deserves such mental anguish. However, this parasite represents another blatant rip-off by Alan Moore. It’s the Venom symbiote. The other negative of this aspect of the story, aside from Billy Kincaid’s nightmare, we don’t actually get bonafide Al Simmons/Spawn scenes or for that matter, character development.


Once again, Todd McFarlane’s art is fantastic. I really liked the depiction of hell and its different spheres. The first sphere absolutely looked somewhat like classic depictions of the Garden of Eden. If it wasn’t for the drab colour palette and a lack of sunlight, you could almost confuse it for heaven. There’s also a metallic looking sphere of hell and a sphere that looks like the Himalayan Mountains. The striking image of a cold/freezing segment of hell is ironic and intriguing to look at. Despite these different depictions of hell, there’s a spectacular splash page featuring a vintage looking fire and brimstone version of hell, which happens to be the sphere Billy Kincaid resides in. The large tower, dead centre with the winding stairs looks daunting and physically strenuous for the souls to have to climb. This splash page was my favourite piece of art in the book. There’s also a demonic representation of Elvis, complete with devil horns, but it was a relatively small part of a panel, so it isn’t my standout piece of art for this issue. Although, a devilishly looking King of Rock & Roll is always a highlight, no matter how big or small the image. I was pleased to see the continuity in look between the monstrous looks of The Violator and the Vindicator. They look to be part of the same demonic family. Though, the eyes of the Vindicator look a little more bug like, making them slightly creepier. Billy Kincaid in a Spawn costume, looked like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons cosplaying as Spawn. I don’t know if they’re going to try and make this character menacing but at this early point, he looks laughable, in a good way.


Personally, I didn’t need another issue about Billy Kincaid, featuring his travels in hell. Furthermore, this book has little to no Spawn at all. Still, there is plenty of world building of hell and this mythologies concepts of demons! Even without Spawn, this issues was far and away better than anything I’ve read in the last two issues of this series.

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.

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Injustice Gods Among Us #7-9

(Submitted by out freaky friend, Mr. Dr. Prince Adam III…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

This trilogy of issues starts with a U.S. Missile strike in Bialya, on a stronghold of a Rebel Leader.  Before the missile could hit its target Superman intercepts it, destroying the missile.  While Superman was determined to stop the loss of any more life, after the tragedy that killed Lois and his unborn baby, the U.S. Military and government, all the way up to the President are furious that Superman’s actions have compromised their efforts in the region.  Fearing that Superman is on a dangerous road to totalitarian rule, the government puts off the books military personal in the charge of Mirror Master, in the hope of reigning Superman in.  Their plan is to kidnap the Kent’s, trapping them in a mirror dimension.  They then blackmail Superman, that if he doesn’t end this “My Way or the High Way” war on crime, his parents will be killed and pieces of their bodies will be sent to him. This only enrages Superman further, who quickly turns to Flash to learn more about Mirror Master.  Meanwhile, at the Justice League watchtower, Wonder Woman requests the help of the rest of the Justice League’s help in the search for Mirror Master and Clark’s parents. While the rest of the Superfriends, sans Batman and Green Arrow, who have defected, go on supervillain shakedown duty. Wonder Woman goes to another war torn area of the Middle East, Kandaq. There she literally gets right in the middle of a battle between fighter jets and tanks.  After decimating the heavy artillery, she urges the soldiers on foot to lay down their weapons, in a cease fire, while a peaceful dialogue can put an end to the conflict.  As this is unfolding, the God of War, Ares appears on the battlefield. After revelling in Diana’s handy work, he questions her about a potential romantic relationship with Superman. The snark in his comments offends Wonder Woman, they fight, so she cuts off his hand and impales him with her sword, leaving him alive, but pinned to the ground.  She then leaves the warzone with Superman in toe.  The book ends with Batman waiting for the President in the White House. He tells the President that he knows he ordered the kidnapping of the Kent’s.  While Batman, doesn’t agree with that tactic, he tells the President that Superman does need to be held in check, and that he is forming a resistance.

There are two reasons I came back to this book now. The first is that I wanted another book featuring Wonder Woman to read. Second, the sequel game and comic book for this franchise is out. The sooner I read this, the faster I get to play the new game.  I’m now 9 issues into this book and while I know where Superman ultimately gets to, as of this moment in the story, I don’t disagree with his stance or more aggressive tactics.  I don’t hold killing the Joker against Superman.  Now I’m not saying every superhero should start picking off their villains.  However, had Batman killed the Joker long ago, Jason Todd wouldn’t have been beaten to death and Barbara Gordon wouldn’t have been raped or killed.  Comic books like this raise a question about our heroes.  In scenario’s like this, with exceptionally vile villains like The Joker, is it okay for our heroes to cross that line and kill?  Secondly, he what I just realised about this book is that it is the Bizarro Dark Knight Returns.  In that book, the government is worried about Batman going over the edge, with Superman having to step in and reign him in.  Here, it is the exact opposit.  It’s kind of sad that it took me so long to put that together, but it seems extra awesome now that I have.  In the scene where Wonder Woman rallies the Justice League around Superman’s cause.  Even though some of his teammates find his actions towards the Joker questionable. They all rally because of Wonder Woman’s call to arms.  It speaks to what a respected leader she is amongst the group. She is no 1B leader. She’s every bit the leader of the JLA as Superman is.  Wonder Woman has always been a character that preached peace and love first and foremost, with fighting always being a last resort. For now, at this juncture of the story, that character tenant is upheld.  When she does let loose in the Kandaq warzone, the way she just dismantles the armed and air weaponry and gets those soldiers to stand down is impressive. It will give added presence to the name Wonder Woman.  Ares’ presence in these issues is definitely the highlight for me.  His concern over a romantic union between Superman and Diana is genius.  The idea that their union could bring about a true end to conflict and war, thereby rendering him useless and moot. Tom Taylor writes the fierce and all powerful Ares, as worried and emotionally distraught over this scenario. By the end of the last issue, Ares is very different then the brash, authoritative and condescending Olympian God, when he first entered the story.

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Jheremy Raapack is back on art for these issues and these three stories are his best work in my opinion.  I’m almost certain that Zack Snyder used this artwork as a reference image for the Africa sequence in Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Edition. The way Superman defuse that missile and the look on his face as he approaches it, looks identical in the film as it does in this book.    This artist has done great things for Mirror Master’s visual credibility.  I’ll take the supped up rogue SWAT guy with a mask, over the traditional green looking long johns, any day of the week.  His mirror dimension is described and looks like 10 square kilometers of reflective sky.  That’s fantastic because it doesn’t just look like a household mirror, while also being difficult to locate for Superman, and metahuman’s like The Flash.  It’s also tricky for readers to spot, as it could be literally anywhere on the page.  The best imagery of these three books is Wonder Woman slicing the tail end of a fighter jet with her sword and head butting a tank. Yes, I said head butting a tank.   I’m not all that fond of Wonder Woman wearing pants though. Partially because I love her film costume and have it stuck in my head.  Also though, because putting pants on her was often done to appease complaints that her outfit was to scantily clad.  I think that’s the type of censorship her creator would have been against.  As for Ares, he looks like a cross between Savatar from season 3 of The Flash and a Spartan soldier, in black armor.  I had hoped hope he looked even more similar to this in the movie.

Every time I read this book, I end up kicking myself for leaving it alone for so long.  The first nine issues are so good, some of the best comics I’ve read.  So good, that I’m curious to know if the rest of Volume 1 and the current sequel are as good as this. I’ll definitely find out more quickly, as I plan on making this book a frequent habit. First though, it’s time for a few more theater screenings of Wonder Woman.

 

Wonder Woman Leaves The Mummy In Her Dust Retaining #1 Spot at the Box Office!

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xo)

Over the weekend, Universal Studio’s launched its connected series of classic Monster Films with a reboot of The Mummy, While I enjoyed what turned out to be a flawed, yet entertaining film and hope it’s worldwide box office is good enough for the Dark Universe to continue, the North American box office was still fixated on the power and grace of Wonder Woman. In the U.S. and Canada, the superhero origin story collected another $58,520,627.  This coupled with strong weekday performances has led the Patty Jenkins directed film to a 10 day domestic total of $206,343,175. That number means Wonder Woman has surpassed the lifetime domestic output of Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men, X-Men First Class, and Superman Returns.  As I write this, it is likely surpassing the total domestic gross of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.  Other Batman films, whose total Wonder Woman has absolutely eclipsed are Batman Returns and Batman Forever. As far as second weekend grosses go, Wonder Woman ranks third amongst all DC Comics films, behind only The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  However, against her fellow DCEU Films Wonder Woman’s second weekend haul, outperformed Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.  The reason this was possible is due to the fact that Wonder Woman only suffered a miniscule 43. 3% decline in business.  The only other superhero film able to hold that well during its second weekend, after opening on a traditional Friday was Sam Raimi’s Spider- Man in 2002. Internationally, Wonder Woman dipped a normal $58.1 Million.  This represents a 54% decline from last week. Therefore, Wonder Woman’s international intake stands at, 230,200,000. Added together Wonder Woman has ricocheted a total of $436,543,175 off of her bracelets and into Warner Brother’s bank vault.  I’ll be back next week to see how Wonder Woman fares against another new release, that being the animated threequel Cars 3.  No matter what happens, there’s no doubt that when it comes to box office, Wonder Woman has got legs and she knows how to use them.

 

#SuperheroSaturday Movie Review: Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (Submitted with all the love by our Heroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“An Amazon princess (Gal Gadot) finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when a pilot (Chris Pine) crash-lands nearby. After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace. Directed by Patty Jenkins” (DC Entertainment)

Wonder Woman is an iconic character of the DC library.  She is part of the famed Trinity, along with Batman and Superman. She certainly holds her own place in popular culture.  However, despite appearing in a popular live action TV series, and a slew of animated series including Super Friends and Justice League, when it comes to live action film, Wonder Woman hasn’t enjoyed the spotlight as her Trinity counterparts have.  She made her feature film debut in a fantastic extended cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, 75 years after her inception, Themyscira’s favourite daughter is finally headlining her own live action film.  While this is obviously part of DCEU cannon, the references and nods were thankfully kept to a minimum.  Those references actually bookend the film, featuring the World War 1 photo we saw in BvS. The film starts with a delivery of the original photo in a frame, courtesy of a Wayne Enterprises delivery truck. In it, Bruce Wayne sends a letter saying; “Maybe one day, you’ll tell me your story.” This gets Diana thinking about her past and is our entry way into her origin story.  From there the story takes us to Themyscira, eventually to “Man’s World”. Specifically London, and ultimately to the front lines of World War 1.  Much like with Man of Steel’s depiction of Krypton, the scene’s set on Themyscira made me want an entire movie set there.  If you though Baby Groot was the cutest character, you’d see in a superhero film this year, little Diana will prove you wrong.  Seeing her watch the other Amazon’s train and she is mimicking their movements and also when she bargain with her mother to let her train, even if she doesn’t use the weapons with the sharp edges is just too damn cute.  Her mother says she is not meant to be a warrior and tells her the story of her people.   Ares corrupted humanity with evil and hatred and tries to overthrow the gods by killing his brothers and father.  Before his death, Zeus uses all of his power to create the Amazon’s and the private island of Themyscira for the Amazon’s to live away from the now corrupt Mankind.  Zeus creates an invisible barrier on Themyscira to keep men and Ares from finding it.  Despite Hippolyta’s protesting, young Diana begins secretly training with her Aunt Antiope.  After finding out, Hippolyta reluctantly agrees for Diana to train, in case Ares should ever return again. Diana is trained harder than the other women on the island and there is a great training montage that takes you from little Diana training, transitions to teenage Diana, and ultimately ending with Gal Gadot.  I loved this training montage, because it shows you how skilled and intense the Amazon’s are and how exceptionally gifted Diana is throughout her training.  Also, the film gives you her training, without wasting too much time on it.  These sequences are all phenomenal. When Hippolyta tells Diana the story of their people, the books images actually move. It is so inventive and unique. Almost as if a renaissance painting had been turned into a motion comic book. The idea of Diana sneaking off to train comes right from “The Lend of Wonder Woman.”  Difference being the film has Antiope train her, while in the book it was Alicippe. During her training, we find out why Hippolyta was fearful of letting Diana train.  While Diana was told that she was formed in clay and brought to life by Zeus, we later learn Hippolyta had sex with Zeus and Diana is their daughter. During her training, her natural enhanced ability when funneled through the gauntlets creates a blast after deflecting Antiope’s sword, which hurls her aunt backwards.  The film respects the history of the character by acknowledging the clay origin and the demi-God origin.  Though, I’m glad they went with the daughter of Zeus, New 52 origin, as that one is my personal preference.

The invisible barrier of Themyscira gets breached of course to allow Steve Trevor onto Paradise Island.  However, along with Steve Trevor comes a boat load of German soldiers chasing him. Since I didn’t see an explanation as to how Steve Trevor breached the barrier, or I was too mesmerized by the beauty of Themyscira itself, I’ll just assume it’s like some kind of Bermuda Triangle incident.  The arrival of Steve Trevor and his would be assailant’s, leads to one of the many great action sequences of the film.  The beach battle between the Amazons and the German’s is an incredible sequence. It looks like a hybrid between battles in 300 mixed with Gladiator. I loved how the Amazon’s fought. There was a lot of areal movement and spinning. The battle wasn’t always taking place in an upright position. The parkour aspects of the fight, combined with Zack Snyder style slow-mo, really made this fight look extra special. There’s juxtaposition of the beauty of Themyscira and the brutality of war. You could see the influence of “Man’s World” instantly tarnishing Themyscira a little bit. In addition to a cool action sequence, this scene offers up a huge moment in Diana’s development that furthers her character. During the fight, Diana’s aunt and mentor, Antiope takes a bullet to save her life. This is the first time in her life she has experienced death. Not only that but death at the hands of war. This event shakes Diana at her core. This, plus Steve telling the Amazon’s his whole story, when under the influence of the Lasso of Hestia.  He tells her, that before his plane got stranded, he was on his way back to his British General to hand over the secret plans of the Germans, who are concocting mustard gas and other poisons to prevent German surrender and turn the tide of the war. The two people spearheading this endeavour are General Ludendorff and his chief scientist Dr. Maru, aka Doctor Poison. Diana no longer glorifies or welcomes battle and warfare.  She believes Ludendorff is Ares and implores the Amazon’s to head to “Man’s World” and defeat Ares. Hippolyta emphatically says no and forbids Diana to go. Much like with her training, Diana takes the lasso of truth and the Godkiller sword, adorns the famous Wonder Woman “costume” and plans to head off to London with Steve Trevor.  The superhero costume was never explained, except for the tiara, lasso, and the Godkiller sword.  The tiara was given to Diana following Antiope’s death. Almost a rite of passage if you will.  It was already discussed that the lasso is from Hestia, and its ability is pretty straight forward, it compels those in its grasp to be honest, pure of heart and tell the truth. The Godkiller is said to be a gift from Zeus that can kill Ares, However, as we discover, that gift from Zeus, the Godkiller, is in fact Wonder Woman herself.  Much like with her training, Hippolyta, gives into Diana, allowing her to leave with Steve.  There’s a touching moment where mother and daughter build farewell to each other. This is also the first two shining example of Diana’s compassion.  That she is willing to sacrifice all she knows and those she loves, to save humanity, shows her inherent inclination for heroism, before she starts truly kicking ass! This was the first time I teared up in the film. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright were excellent in their limited screen time! Can’t wait to see them back in the prologue for Justice League.

One of the reason this film works is because of the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.  He being her conduit to man’s world and she being so naïve and innocent, makes for some real heartfelt and humorous moments.  This interaction starts on Themyscira after the beach fight when Steve Trevor is bathing in what essentially is the Themyscira grotto.  As he’s getting out, Diana walks in on him! She looks at him and asks; “What’s that?” Steve believes she is asking about his package, while she is curious about his watch. There’s another scene on the boat where Diana asks Steve if he is going to sleep with her or not.  She innocently and literally is thinking about sleeping, while Steve is apprehensive because of the sexual connotations “sleeping with someone” has in “Man’s World.”  When Diana senses Steve’s apprehension, she tells him she’s read books about sex and that while men are needed for reproduction, they aren’t needed for pleasure. There’s more to these scenes but I don’t want to ruin the moment.  I thought the sexual innuendo was handled tastefully.  Adults would get the jokes, but they’d go over younger kid’s heads.  This is a sharp contrast to Guardians of the Galaxy’s overuse and overt dick jokes in the span of one scene.  Gal Gadot sells that innocence and naiveté because that’s how she comes off in interviews.  It’s so endearing.  The way Chris Pine conveys male cockiness, but awkwardness over his sexual tension towards Diana, is among one of his best performances. There are two scenes where Diana is completely awestruck by the newness and wonders of “Man’s World,” Along their travels, Steve and Diana come across a mother and her baby.  Diana immediately runs towards the baby jubilantly screaming “BABY!”, as it was the first time she had ever seen a baby.  That jubilation felt so justified and honest, which surely has something to do with Gal having two children, one of which is a relative newborn.  I’ve seen mothers react to their child or others’ children, as if they are the first they’ve ever seen, so that reaction felt complete and utterly believable. The other moment, is when Diana tries ice cream for the very first time.  She says; “This is wonderful” and tells the vendor that he “should be very proud.” I don’t care if you’re a man, woman or child, Gal Gadot’s Diana was every one of us trying ice cream for the first time. Especially since it was European ice cream.  Director Patty Jenkins has said that Superman (1978) made her want to be a filmmaker. As such, there are a couple of nods to the Christopher Reeve film.  There’s the alley sequence that we saw part of in the trailer, where she saves Steve with her bracelets, from being shot. The scene is almost identical to Clark Kent stopping a bullet from hitting Lois Lane with his hand. There’s also the scene where Diana struggles getting through the revolving doors with her sword. This is similar to Clark stumbling through the revolving door of the Daily Planet, while holding his coat. These are great nods to the original Superman movie, while putting a Wonder Woman spin on it.  If only Bryan Singer understood the fine line between homage, which is what Patty Jenkins does here and plagiarism, which constituted 90% of Superman Returns, maybe that movie would’ve actually been good. There is one portion of Diana discovering “Man’s World” that didn’t work as well for me! These scenes involve Diana shopping for a new wardrobe with Etta Candy. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes all land and Lucy Davis is incredibly funny. I even liked that Etta assisted them in locating the location of Ludendorff and Dr. Poison.  However, one of the central aspects of the Etta Candy character is her close friendship with Diana. Naturally, that’s not there yet, as they just met.  However, there’s no real inkling that much of a friendship is percolating or developing by the last frame of the World War 1 moments in the film. If the sequel doesn’t take place during a period setting, allowing a friendship to fully develop, than I feel an opportunity has been wasted and I feel for Lucy Davis.

The movie really hits another level, when Steve brings his findings about the secret gas being developed and urges his General’s to send him and a covert team to stop these nefarious plans.  The General and the rest of the Imperial War Cabinet deny his request, fearing that it would hinder the signing of the armistice with Germany.  Steve insists that Ludendorff will finish developing and deploy the gas killing many soldiers and innocents. The General’s response is simply; “They’re soldiers, they die….It’s what they do.  This response sets Diana off. She bursts into the room and verbally unleashes on the entire cabinet.  She calls them all cowards and insists that a real General would stand and fight with their soldiers, not dismiss their lives as beneath those they serve.  The energy, ferocity and conviction that Gal Gadot delivered these lines with were so rousing, that the people in my screening where all cheering.  The attitude presented by the general, seems to echo in certain news outlets covering soldiers fighting abroad today.  The fact that those people fighting are humans who are putting their life on the line for our freedoms, sometimes seems like an afterthought the way war is covered by media and governments alike. I think that partially played into the reaction at my first screening.  Diana is infuriated with Steve for seemingly going along with his General’s orders and blames human apathy as the reason Ares is able to force humans into warfare. Sensing Diana is losing faith in him, Steve wraps his arm with the lasso and reveals that he is going against his general’s orders, and with the secretive backing of Sir Patrick Morgan, the man who put forth, crafted and is negotiating the armistice.  The team Steve assembles doesn’t get as much focus as Steve and Diana, yet I liked each character and on some level, hoped and wished we could spend more time on them.  The team consists of Sameer, a spy, Charlie a marksman, and Chief, a smuggler.  Each character is going through their own issues. Sameer wants to be an actor, but is shunned by the acting community due to his skin color. Charlie is suffering from PTSD and can no longer truly hit his target. The Chief has now been reduced to selling furs and other antiquities from first nation’s people to make ends meet during wartime.  What I loved about these characters, was that they aren’t necessarily the best of humanity in terms of their past deeds, but they are coming together for the greater good of humanity,  These people reaffirm Diana’s conviction about saving humanity and blaming Ares for the horrors of war. More so, what I adore about these characters, is how compassionate Diana is to them, as she learns of their hardships.  This is specifically true of Sameer and Charlie. Diana not in so many words, tells Sameer that nothing should stand in the way of his dreams, especially skin colour.  When Charlie has a panic attack and misses his shot, he later refuses to go further with the group, because he is no use to them.  Diana protests and insists they will need his singing talent, to lift their spirits after the battle is fought.  Gal Gadot was so reassuring and nurturing to this band of ragtag soldiers.  It was the exact trait Alex Ross keyed in on in his over-sized comic book, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth.

So I told you Gal Gadot was great portraying Diana’s naiveté, conviction and compassion but how does she stack up as a badass warrior!? She was brilliant! We get to see Gal’s Wonder Woman in all her kick ass glory when the crew arrives at the heart of the Western Front in Belgium. They get slowed down by the enemy trenches but when Wonder Woman hears that innocents are being harmed as a result of not being able to cross “enemy lines” for basic life necessities, she takes action. The allied soldiers had tried countless times to cross “No Man’s Land” and free the village. Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to cross “No Man’s Land”, deflecting their bullets so that the Allies cross behind her and together, they liberate the village.  This is Diana’s debut as Wonder Woman and when you see it, you will have goosebumps.  Yes there’s some slow-mo in this scene, but it works brilliantly as the bullets bounce off her bracelets and then when she holds her position, blocking bullets with her shield.  The score in this scene by Rupert Gregson-Williams is slow, almost somber at first, highlighting the horrors of war, then it becomes operatic as the slow-mo kicks in.  Once Wonder Woman and the allies cross enemy lines, the scene transitions to the full liberation of the village from the German’s.  Here, we see Wonder Woman smash through a bell tower, using her now famous leg kick/sweep we’ve seen in the trailers. There’s even a moment where Wonder Woman body checks a tank and throws it over her head, before whipping and wrangling in German soldiers with her lasso.  The tank scene was obviously inspired by the scene where Wonder Woman head-butts a tank, in volume 1 of the Injustice Gods Among Us comic book. To make this extend scene even more exciting, the score ratchets up to eleven, by featuring Wonder Woman’s entrance theme from BvS aka, the “Is She With You” scene.  As far as superhero debut scenes go, this is right up there with Superman rescuing Lois and the helicopter in 78, saving the plane in Superman Returns, and his first flight in Man of Steel. As far as a pure fight scene, it stands alongside Batman’s warehouse fight from “Dawn of Justice.”  If anything, I’d rank Wonder Woman’s higher because it’s happening in a real world time period and setting, and because of the emotional significance and power, that Wonder Woman conquering “No Man’s Land” has.  This massive action sequence ends with the villagers applauding and adoring Wonder Woman, and features her, Steve and the others taking that famous photo that bookends this film and first appeared in BvS.  Seeing this moment actually take place, brings both films full circle.

Before I get into the third act of this film, I must discuss the previously mentioned villains.  Those of course being General Ludendorff and Doctor Maru. It’s quite unique that Patty Jenkins used a real life historical general for the piece. It blends the fantasy of Wonder Woman with the reality of World War 1. I though his reasoning for enlisting Dr. Poison to make the mustard gas was believable. He was disenfranchised with the German’s agreeing to surrender and wanted to prove that was the wrong choice and that the German’s could with the war with this new gas weaponry. After all, wasn’t Hitler’s rise to power and the start of World War 2 partly due to the bitterness over Germany’s surrender in World War 1?  Dr. Maru’s reasoning for siding with Ludendorff was far more flimsy for me.  After being burned and scarred, she assists Ludendorff with the gas, because she feels she’s been wronged and because Ludendorff was the only man, who gave her attention.  She was by far the weakest character in the film for me.  The film sold me on Diana’s belief that Ludendorff was Ares. I thought Danny Huston played dastardly evil, cruel and heartless well, even if his accent was a bit much on occasion. I didn’t bat an eye when he sniffed Dr. Poison’s gas. I though Areas would have to do something to restore his strength, since he likely lost his ability when Zeus struck him down from Olympus. Further cementing the Ludendorff/Ares connection for me, was the fact that he released the gas on the village Wonder Woman and the others liberated earlier in the film. Horrified, Wonder Woman squares off with Ludendorff, eventually stabbing him straight through the heart.  I thought, much like Diana did, that once Ludendorff died, Ares wold revert to his true form and that would be the beginning of the end of the war. That didn’t happen, leaving Diana almost traumatized. Steve tries to snap her out of it by telling her, that it wasn’t Ares who was responsible for the war, that it was mankind, He stresses that mankind is capable of evil and this was their doing, not to be blamed on Ares. Diana at one point is so shaken, that she reiterates her mother’s claim that mankind don’t deserve the Amazonian’s help. Steve tries to convince Diana that it’s not about human’s deserving Wonder Woman’s help, but rather whether she believes humanity is deserving of her help. He then goes off to complete the next phase of his mission.  Chris Pine delivered that line incredibly, with such power and resonance.  For me, this was Chris Pine’s greatest performance. There was so much range here.  I think he channeled two iconic Harrison Ford performances. I saw bits of Han Solo and Indiana Jones in his Steve Trevor. I loved every bit of his character.

As for Ares, he is the villain behind the curtain, but it’s obviously not Ludendorff. In a Batman Begins esque twist, Sir Patrick Morgan appears, revealing himself as Ares.  He tells Diana that the reason he was the one who proposed peace, was because he knew that humanity would reject it and revert to their base instinct of war.  He reiterates that he just whispers in their ear, telling them formula’s and such and lets them decide for themselves.  He’s put all this in motion, to show Diana that humanity doesn’t deserve the help of the God’s and that they should remake the Earth as a home for the God’s. Diana refuses and the two begin an epic battle. I was happy that in this moment, Ares took his true form and appeared in his comic book accurate God of War armor.  The fight is darkly lit and there’s fire everywhere.  I love that each fight sequence has a different color pallet.  This led to each one having a uniqueness, which sometimes lacks in the superhero genre. The Themyscira battle is so brightly lit, almost like the battle is taking place on heavenly terrain.  No Man’s land has a grey, Earthy, muddy look to it, while the battle with Aries looked like hell on Earth. At one point Diana is trapped in metallic debris, which calls to mind any cover or page that featured Diana in chains or bound.  As she sees the other members of her team destroying Dr. Maru’s lab, she also sees Steve in a bomber plane, filled with the gas, where he shoots himself, creating an explosion and destroying the gas.  Upon seeing this, Diana remembers when Steve told her he loved her.  These two factors, lead Wonder Woman to channel all her power and energy to destroy Ares, but not before telling him that she decides to stand with humanity, not because they deserve it but because she believes in love.  As I was crying at the beauty of that statement, the war ends and the film ends with present day Diana thanking Bruce Wayne via email for the picture, before flying to where she hears trouble, to save the day as Wonder Woman.

Director Patty Jenkins made a Wonder Woman film that had everything I wanted in a Wonder Woman film.  She made a movie about an Amazonian Warrior but a film that doesn’t glorify war but instead uses this Wonder Woman to inspire peace and love.  I can’t praise Gal Gadot enough. She embodies every facet of this character and now her performance is as iconic and career defining, as Christopher Reeve’s Superman performance.  If you don’t love Gal Gadot after seeing this move, there is seriously something wrong with you.  Now that I’ve seen Wonder Woman, not only is it the best of the current DCEU Films, it’s one of the best DC Comics films too. Check that, it’s one of my favourite superhero films ever made! As far as Superhero Origin Films, it’s my favourite, edging out Batman Begins and Superman: The Movie! Go see it, it truly is WONDERFUL!

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Batman 66 Meets Wonder Woman 77

(Submitted by Prince Adam on this glorious #WonderWoman Day…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“What mysteries are hidden in the book Ra’s al Ghul hired Catwoman to steal? And why does this caper lead Batman down memory lane—to his childhood fight against actual Nazis? Witness the Caped Crusader’s first encounter with one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known: Wonder Woman!” (DC Entertainment)

I always wanted to get into the Batman 66 comic book but something kept getting in the way.  When I heard DC were planning a comic book miniseries set in the world of classic Batman and classic Wonder Woman, I decide to add this to my special review list, leading up to the Wonder Woman film.  Well that film is here (YAY), so I finally got to read it.  This book puts you right back into the Batman 66 world, as we see Catwoman stealing two antiquated books,  only to be thwarted by Batman and Robin after a silent alarm was triggered.  The banter between the caped crusaders and Catwoman was spot on, right down to her flirting with Batman, and asking him to put in a good word for her at the parole hearing.  Writers Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker even over accentuate the word purrrfect to the point that I can hear Eartha Kitt’s voice as I read Catwoman’s dialogue. The book does two distinct things differently from the TV show.  For the first time in this continuity, we get a story told partially in flashbacks, highlighting Bruce Wayne as a 10 year old and actually showing his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were only mentioned once on the show. Not only was it nice to see the Wayne’s in this continuity, it was even nicer to see them alive for the entire issue.  Usually in any incarnation, they are walking down an alley to their death.  The reason for these flashbacks, is to establish Bruce’s first encounter with the ancient books Catwoman stole and who she stole them for. The first appearance of the books in Bruce Wayne’s life, was 1940’s war time. Thomas Wayne was having an auction for the books at Wayne Manor.  In addition to undercover Nazi’s being in attendance, Ra’s Al Ghul and his then young daughter Talia are there as well. It makes sense why both parties wan the books too. The Nazi’s want the book for Hitler, so he can locate lost civilizations and mythical locales, to pillage their enhanced weaponry and turn the tide of the war in his favor.  Meanwhile, Ra’s al Ghul wants the books to gain access to these lost worlds and weapons to fortify the strength of his criminal organization, the League of Shadows worldwide and to find the location of Lazarus Pit’s around the world. Young Talia accompanies her father to the auction and he immediately unites the two, because he wants his daughter to end up with a man who’s family is of good repute.  This bit of foreshadowing put a smile on this Bat-Fan’s face.  It was great to see that Ra’s matchmaking machinations between Bruce and Talia carry over from the mainstream continuity to here, but start even earlier.  I love that this book can take villains who weren’t created when the series aired and put them through the lens of the show, yet still keep the core of who said characters are in the mainstream universe. 

The book does use a familiar troupe from the show. The villains waltz into Wayne Manor undetected. When fights ensue, priceless artifacts in Wayne Manor start getting destroyed.  This is where Diana Prince, Steve Trevor an Etta Candy make their entrance. The three characters we’re pretty much the status quo from Season 1, as both that season and this miniseries take place in the same time period. What both writers do as soon as Diana Prince makes her first appearance, is have her steal the show so to speak.  Batman’s name may be first in the title but the first two digital installments that comprise this first issue, are very much a Wonder Woman story.  I loved how awestruck young Bruce and Talia are over Wonder Woman and how even during the fight scenes, Steve Trevor for the most part, watches Wonder Woman do all the ass kicking.  The scenes near the end of the issue where Bruce and Talia use whatever they can to ward off Nazi soldiers and League of Shadow’s ninja’s solidify and remind you that these characters are destined to become the World’s Greatest Detective and the future leader of the League of Shadows. Speaking of Ra’s al Ghul, he comes off a silent threat, with over the top ideas.  That coupled with the search and race to get a hold of those ancient books, this issue had a mixed vibe of James Bond meets Indiana Jones with Wonder Woman smack dab in the middle of it!

David Hahn is the artist on this book and while his art looks more like animation rather than current comic book art, he certainly captures the look and characters of these two iconic television series. I love that the Catwoman featured in this book is visually represented in the form of Eartha Kitt.  The casting change was part of the series, so I’m glad that it hasn’t been ignored.  Catwoman slinking out of a window after a heist is an artistic highlight.  Seeing Batman, Alfred and Robin in the Batcave discussing the books, leading up to the transition to flashbacks, felt like film cells from the show had been animated and pasted right onto the comic book page.  I love the artist teasing iconic locations from the series in a pre-Batman setting. Specifically, the retracting library bookshelf.  Before it became an entrance to the Batcave, it was a tunnel exit to the garden. Speaking of the garden, there’s a great overhead shot of it and it’s shaped like a maze. I wonder how Aunt Harriet managed her way around it without ever getting lost. My favourite images are the two pages that comprise the Wonder Woman twirl and costume change.  It looked epic and in terms of color scheme matched the show’s opening credits to perfection.  The look of astonishment on Bruce and Talia as they saw this transformation hiding behind the bookshelf, was wonderfully appropriate!

I’m extremely happy with where DC Entertainment is headed in comic books, on film and on television. Though, it is important to revisit and respect the past from time to time.  There’s no better way to do this, then by reading this issue. I’ll be back with another issue review from this series after the Wonder Woman film. In the meantime, buy this book, it’s great.