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.

Farewell Batman – An Adam West Tribute.

(A lot of folks are hurtin’ right now…Here’s Prince Adam’s personal take on Mr. West’s passing. Thanks for sharing this with us, Super Friend. 🙂 xoxo)

The world lost some of its light last weekend as Adam West, better known as TV’s Batman left this world after a brief battle with Leukemia.  Those who know me, know that I love Batman and have since my childhood.  It’s also true, that Michael Keaton and Tim Burton rocketed my Batman fandom forward, with the release of Batman & Batman Returns. However. You know that age old saying, you never forget your first?  It’s true, even when discussing Batman.  Given my age, and my self-professed love of the Keaton and Burton era, you’d think that Batman would be my first.  However, you’d be wrong.  My first Batman was indeed Adam West, via syndicated reruns.  Watching that show created a ritual in my house.  It became part of my after school ritual.  I’d come home, my mom would have milk and cookies waiting for me and I was allowed to watch Batman, before getting to my homework.  

Sure, now I know that show was chalk full of tongue in cheek humor120, but back then, I took it dead seriously.  While Adam West keyed adults into the humor with his delivery and slight vocal inflections, he still played it 100% honest for the kids.  When I was a kid, Adam West’s Batman costume was the most comic book to screen accurate I had ever seen! I wanted one of my own and as an adult I still do.  The other thing I liked, was that Bruce Wayne conformed to the stereotypes I had of rich people at the time.  He lived in a mansion, had a servant, went to parties, even holding gala’s himself.  He even went fishing with Dick Grayson.  Though, those fishing trips would often be a ruse, for explaining away their Batman duty.  What I loved as a kid, were the little life lessons Batman would give Robin, and by extension us the viewer.  Whether it be walking an older lady across the street, paying for parking, wearing your seatbelt and yes, the dangers of jay walking. Adam West as Batman gave us all the essential advice and advocated drinking milk and eating vegetables.  Batman with Adam West under the cowl, reaffirmed all our parents’ teachings.  He was essentially our uncle.  And come on, who wouldn’t want Batman as their uncle.  When you think about it, Adam West was the first live action Batman to highlight his detective aspects. Every week, he would comb through the evidence of a case with the bat-computer, other gadgets and the help of Alfred and Robin.  The detective aspect of Batman was barely present in Batman 1989 or Returns, it was nowhere to be found in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  Hints of it were found in The Dark Knight Trilogy, with the caveat that it was largely all done by Alfred & Lucius Fox. There was a decent sample size of detective Batman in BvS, which was carried equally between him and Alfred.  However, Adam West as Batman carried the torch of that character trait in bulk, from 1966 to 2016.

As an adult some of the best aspects of Adam’s performance is in his flirtation with Catwoman and specifically the will they/won’t they aspect of the relationship because he sides with the law, while she has criminal tendencies. What’s impressive, is that Adam West has the same heat and chemistry with all 3 Catwoman, so that even though the actress changed, the relationship maintains its history and so believing that all 3 actresses were the same Catwoman was an easy ask of the audience.  The way the relationship between the Bat & the Cat were portrayed here and their interactions, still serves as the backbone of that relationship to this day.  Some of Adam West’s best pure Batman superhero moments came against The Joker and The Riddler. Adam West an Caesar Romero were electric and in a tamer way, you never really knew what would go down between the two.  Also, no matter how many times you see it, Adam West and Frank Gorshin verbally sparring with riddles and answers never gets tiresome.  Most people will say their favorite Adam West moments rage between getting rid of a bomb, Bat-Shark repellent, and a surfing contest with The Joker, or even Adam West doing the Batusi.  For me it’s the scene where Bruce Wayne is having a 3 way phone call with Batman and Commissioner Gordon to discuss funds transfer for a ransom payment.  Seeing Adam West alternate between the Wayne Manor house phone and that red Bat phone, altering his voice to fit the appropriate character, depending on what phone he was holding was hilarious.  It also shows West’s acting talent, his range and the level of nuance he could achieve. 

For years, specifically in the mid 80’s this series was shunned by Batman fans as not a valid interpretation.  The problem with that line of thinking. Is that it and Adam’s version of Batman, are a valid interpretation.  This version of Batman is replicating and mimicking the comics from the 50’s and the 60’s.  The tone look and color pallet at that point are the same.  It’s also worth noting that this series saved the Batman comic books. DC was considering cancelling the books, but Bat mania began as a result of the show, bringing interest and popularity back to the comic books. I’m so happy Adam West was around long enough to see Bat mania 2.0 to return for his series, when the show became available on Blu-Ray.  In addition, they sold toys, based on the look and iconography of the show. Things came full circle for me, one night at my sisters house. The adults were enjoying coffee and cake, while the kids watched TV.  Suddenly, my nephews came in excitedly because a “New” Batman show was on TV! They had never seen it before! So I explained that I used to watch it, when I was their age. So I went down to their toy room and experienced their first time seeing Adam West as Batman.  It was a beautiful moment. PS: They loved it! Honestly, I think I’m going to do retro reviews of the Batman TV series here periodically. I’ve got the itch.  Unfortunately for us here on Earth, heaven needed a Batman, so Adam West will watch over the citizens of Gotham from above! Thank you for being my first Batman & the memories and for being a piece of what turned out to be a great childhood. I’ll miss you but I’ll never forget you!! Rest In Peace old chum!

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!

Wonder Woman BoXXX Office Report

(Submitted by my Superheroic friend, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Wonder Twin! 🙂 xoxo)

We’re now living in a post Wonder Woman world as the fourth DC Extended Universe film, the first ever solo film to star the Amazonian Warrior, is in theaters now.  Critically, everyone is loving Wonder Woman.  She has a Certified Fresh score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore. How does that translate into box office receipts? Wonderfully.  Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins is the highest grossing film directed by a woman. The Gal Gadot starer is also the highest grossing female led superhero film. In North America alone, Wonder Woman roped in $103,251,471.  This figure marks the 4th consecutive time a DCEU Film has opened to $100 Million+.  While Wonder Woman earned less than its DCEU predecessors, that is somewhat of an unfair ask or expectation.  Firstly because Batman and Superman have much more of a presence and awareness of the film going public.  Not to mention, Batman V Superman had Good Friday and Easter Sunday holidays to boost it’s opening weekend.  As for Suicide Squad, it was the last big blockbuster of its summer and heavily advertised a Batman cameo and two of comic books most famous rogues, Harley Quinn and The Joker in it.  Add to that, the big name movie star that is Will Smith to inflate its opening weekend numbers.  Wonder Woman outperformed the opening weekend of the Marvel Cinematic Universe origin films.  That means Diana Prince outpaced Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Moreover, Wonder Woman had a better opening then MCU sequels,  Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.   So for the “Fake Feminists” and Insecure “Pin Dicked” men who complained about the supposed lack of marketing of this film and who got offended by the “all-women screenings” in Texas, both can take their imagined controversies and fake outrage and shove it where the sun don’t shine..

Wonder Woman also opened in 55 international markets this weekend and found even more financial prosperity abroad. In those offshore markets, Wonder Woman amassed a heroic total of $125,000,000.  Keep in mind the film has several important markets to open in over the next few weeks, including, France and Germany.  While Wonder Woman didn’t outperform Man of Steel’s opening weekend domestically, it did outmuscle the modern day Superman origin film overseas.  Like its domestic result, Wonder Woman once again bested her MCU counterparts but to an even greater degree. That foreign opening weekend is better than both Iron-Man & Iron-Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Doctor Strange, Captain America 1 & 2 and Ant-Man.  When you add the domestic total with the foreign numbers, Wonder Woman has amassed a grand total of $228,251,471.

Not bad for a movie with no marketing huh!? 😉 Clearly, the world was indeed waiting for Wonder Woman.  I definitely think she’s here to stay, as the positive reviews and strong word of mouth will give this film longevity at the box office!  I think the success of Wonder Woman will not only bring about official confirmation of a sequel re-teaming Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot, as well as likely moving Joss Whedon’s Batgirl and David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens up the priority chart over at Warner Brothers and DC Films.  Be on the lookout for my review of the film soon, right here on this website. I’ll also be back next weekend with an update on Wonder Woman’s performance during the week and following its second weekend in theaters. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman, GO NOW! If you have seen it, GO AGAIN and GO OFTEN!

(Figures Courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

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.

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: Y: The Last Man Volume 1: Unmanned

(Submitted by with love by Mr. Prince Adam…Ho-pe you’re having a very Happy New Comic Book Day, Kinky Ho-mies! xoxo)

“Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, EX MACHINA) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown–the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth. Collects issues #1-5.” (Vertigo)

This comic book gets a lot of critical praise and is lauded in the fanboy community as well! The way some of my friends talk about it, you’d think it’s the greatest thing you’ll ever read. Having just read the first volume, I just don’t get the high praise. For me it was okay, but I definitely had problems with it. One of the things I did like, was the idea that a virus/plague was killing every male on Earth. Now I didn’t like it because my male brethren were dying off. However, this was an intriguing plot point that is unique to any comic book I’ve ever read. The male death epidemic, allows the story to give us incredibly strong, prominent and badass female characters. Sure, Yorick Brown is the last man and he’s at the center of this story, along with his pet monkey Ampersand but this story would be pretty boring if it was about a dude and his monkey. By the way, this book gets extra points because a lead character has a pet monkey. The monkey is a pest, and a pain in the ass to Yuri, which drives most of the humor in this post-apocalyptic story. Also it reminds me of Friends and Joey. The president is obviously now a woman, and Yorick’s mother is a state representative in Washington. In an effort to set the scene for these two characters and this book before the male population goes extinct, this book gets quite political. We see Yorick’s mom arguing with a male counterpart over the issue of an abortion amendment. We see the soon to be President in Israel in the midst of Israeli/Palestinian warfare. Both abortion and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are still big issues even a decade plus after this book was published. I’m pleased that these issues are present, as comic books rarely touch on them. I only hope that it wasn’t all for exposition, or that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, when the story shifts its focus to Yorick’s journey. Speaking of Yorick’s journey, to find out the nature of the virus, why he wasn’t affected by it, he’s joined by two other awesome female characters. The first is Agent 355. The character is tasked by the President to guard and escort Yorick from Washington to Boston. The interesting thing about Agent 355 is that she is no simple body guard, she is a member of the clandestine group Culper Ring. She says they are a part of American history but you can sense there’s more going on with this group and I can’t wait to delve into that history and their ultimate machinations in future volumes. The third member of Yorick’s Scooby gang is Doctor Allison Mann. Dr. Mann is a geneticist, with a special aptitude for cloning. She successfully attempted the cloning process before, and cloning Yorick seems like a way of re-establishing the male population to ensure the births of future generations of humanity. If you suspend disbelief, that sounds like a viable option and she sounds like someone who can get it done.

The main antagonist of this first five issues is the Daughters of the Amazon. They view extinction of all men as a blessing and as a chance to rise up and return Earth to its glory days, when it was led by only woman. These women take Amazon mythology to its extreme. To the point where they cut off one breast because it makes it easier to shoot a bow. If one of their ranks or another woman doesn’t fall in line with the exact ways of the group they are killed. Brian K. Vaughan writes the Daughters of the Amazon with the most extreme stereotypes people have of feminists. This group of women are man hating vandals, societal disrupters and killers. I don’t think the writer is doing this to disparage normal, sane and legitimate feminist, he’s just creating a hyper stereotypical version, who do horrible things so that the readers have an antagonist to root against and despise. If he depicted feminists as they really are, this book would have zero action beats at all. It’d just be marching and protesting. While that may be real world appropriate, it translates to one boring comic. With Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann getting into confrontations and being on the run from the Daughters of the Amazon, this book has a bit of a Mad Max vibe going for it. The book ends with our trifecta in a bind. Not only are they on the run from Amazon wannabe’s, but they reach Dr. Mann’s Boston lab, only to find the building and her research up in flames. However, the perpetrator of this arson, is a lieutenant general of the Israeli Defense Force. She was seen briefly and early in the story and is after Yorick, to ensure the future of her nation. That’s what I liked about this book. What I didn’t like was Yorick. This guy is in his mid-20’s, jobless and is obsessed with maintaining a long distance relationship with a girl who, it is clear that she’s on the verge of breaking up with him, so the guy proposes to her over the phone. What a douchebag. When the plague hits and all the men die, and it becomes clear that he is the only person capable of insuring humanity’s ultimate survival, his only concern is going to Australia to find his girlfriend. Really? I mean the savior of humanity throughout the book, acts like a petulant child when he doesn’t get his way. Yeah, if the future of the human race was really left up to someone like him, I’d rather we all die off. The other thing the book does poorly is deal with the relationship between Yorick and his sister Hero. He tells us how close they are, yet we never see them interact. A flashback to Yorick and Hero’s youth would’ve helped build the bond. Instead, we see Hero at the very beginning and end of the book. At the beginning, we see her banging her figherfighter boyfriend in the back of a fire truck, while at the end we see her with one boob and she is one of the members of Daughters of the Amazon tasked with finding Yorick. Seems to me Brian K Vaughan jumped the gun with her character arc, if you can call it one. Then there’s the issue of the plague killing all the men. The biggest plot point of this book and we don’t get so much of a hint at what it is, or what might have caused it. I understand there’s lots of story left to be told but come on, tease us with something.

Pia Guerra is the artist on this book and it’s the first time I’m seeing her work. To me it has a similar style to the artist of iZombie. While the work is good, given the nature of this story, there aren’t many action scenes to gush on about. I do like the picture of the wives of the dead republican male senators, approaching the White House with weapons, demanding their husband’s places on the senate. The image looked like something akin to zombie’s attacking in a movie or TV show. The page where Yorick gets into a fight with a few Daughters of the Amazon’s resembled the aftermath of an nWo wrestling match. A couple Amazon’s held Yorick down, while the ring leader roughed him up a bit. There was even spray paint involved! The final splash page is an aerial shot showing our characters lost in a literal fork in the road, with the road making the shape of a Y. Now that’s a cool way to end the first arc of a book. Ultimately though, I wish cover artist J.G. Jones was doing the interiors. His art is far more realistic looking and suits the real world story and scenario’s this book deals with.

I’m mostly split on this book. There’s a lot to like about this book but there’s a lot I don’t like about this book. Right now, I’m skewing more negative, due to an unlikable idiot of a main character, under developed backstory and character relationships, and bad pacing in certain places. I’ll probably give this book another go, in the hopes that another volume will build on the parts I did like, and reveal answers to the questions I have about the virus/plague. After Volume 1, I’m left wondering “Y” The hell do so many of my friends and critics think this book is great!?

Comic Book Review – The Lost Boys

(Submited by our Heroic Ho-mie, Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Santa Carla, California is on edge. The eccentric coastal town and haven for the undead was finally returning to “normal” after its last supernatural scuffle left the local coven’s head vampire dead and gave newcomers Michael and Sam Emerson a housewarming both violent and bizarre. Now the brothers must once again team up with militant vampire hunters Edgar and Allan Frog when a new gang of ruthless, stunning, life-sucking nightcrawlers known as the Blood Belles emerges from the aftermath to collect Michael’s love interest and their lost sister, Star.” (Vertigo)

It’s confession time; I have never seen The Lost Boys. I know, shame on me! The only reason I knew of it was because Kiefer Sutherland was in it. I really became intrigued by it, when Ms. Diana Prince got all excited over The CW developing a TV series based on the film property. So I tracked down the film, before hitting another stumbling block. That stumbling block was the film being directed by Joel Schumacher. Ever since Batman & Robin, my movie viewing has consisted of a “Sans Schumacher” rule. So I thought me and this film ever crossing paths was a no go! Then DC Entertainment, through the Vertigo imprint announced a comic book miniseries. So this was my compromise. Having read the book, and thoroughly enjoying it, as well as for reviewing purposes for this site; I will break my “Sans Schumacher” rule and watch The Lost Boys! See how much I love this site! Aside from liking this book, another reason I must watch the movie is because this book is a sequel to the film! I simply have to watch the events that led to this story unfold. Having said that, if you’re like me and have never seen the film, this book is not confusing. It tells you the basics. Brothers Sam and Michael move to Santa Carla. Michael falls for a girl he meets on the boardwalk named Star. However, Star has ties to a guy named David, a Vampire. Michael is lured into and seduced by the world of the Vampire’s. That leaves Sam, his grandfather James, and two other Vampire Hunters known as the Frog Brothers to save Michael. Our story picks up with the David and his gang of Vampire’s seemingly dead. Sam works at the local comic book shop (bonus points), Michael works at a retirement home, but is also making a life with Star, who’s trying to live amongst us as a human with his family. Meanwhile, his grandfather operates a flailing vampire hunters group out of a Veterans Center known as the Santa Carla Hunters Union. What I loved about this early portion of the book was that writer Tim Seeley catches the reader up to speed with the film just enough, yet works some other spoilery pertinent information about the film for later, when it serve his new story. I enjoyed the Frog Brothers. They kind of remind me of a younger version of Bill and Ted, mixed with the Stranger Thing kids. My one problem is that they seem to be too young for any responsible adult to train and allow go out & hunt Vampires. This is the same problem I have with Bruce Wayne allowing and training 9 year old Dick Grayson to fight crime and be his partner. Both cases are socially and morally irresponsible. Maybe it’ll play out differently when I watch the film, but right now, as they are presented in the book, it bugs me a little. I like that Sam works at a comic book store and in said store, there is a book that mirrors the events of the film. I like when comics and movies have that cool Meta aspect to them.

The peaceful status quo is interrupted when a fire erupts at SCHU headquarters. This lures the remaining few hunter left outside and the vampires kill them, including Michael and Sam’s grandfather. This action causes Star to flee and Michael to chase after her. Meanwhile, the Frog brothers are on the case, trying to figure out what the vampires are up to. Armed with wooden stakes, crosses, holy water and garlic, they find themselves at the Santa Carla Sea Caves, where they discover an underground female gang of vampires known as the blood belles, who revived David and secretly used an unknowing Star, to lure Michael and the Frog Brothers to their caves. Their ultimate goal; to resurrect the lost Vampire City of Xibalba, which had been lost under these caves thanks to earthquakes for six thousand years. Along with the city, their inhabitants, the Mothers of Vampires will be resurrected. To do this, they need to drain the blood of a half human/vampire of his blood, which is why they have Michael, as well as sacrifice a virgin, which is why they kidnapped the Frog brothers. This aspect of the story offers so much to like. First, is the classic method to kill a vampire. I’m a sucker for the tried and true techniques of killing a vampire and it’s nice to not see a story try and reinvent the wheel just to be different. I love that the new vampire threat in town is a gang of women, better still that they are revving an ancient civilization’s group of vampire’s. With rare exceptions like Buffy, Vampirella and Van Helsing, the vampire genre’s history is to position women in the roles of damsel’s in distress. It’s good to see them take the lead here and to be villainesses power houses too! Even David, the lead Vampire is working FOR them. He is their minion and that is a bold statement by our writer. As for how David survived death from the film? He was given an injection of blood from the Mother’s in stasis, which heals his wounds. I like the idea that their blood can save fellow vampires, as well as the conceit that a mere injection of vampire blood can turn humans into vampires. Typically, a human injected with vampire blood has to die before turning but here the change can happen amongst the living, which is unique. At least to me it is. Star’s Sire and chief member of the Blood Belle’s, Billy was the daughter of a master and a slave. While she was freed, she was chased by a witch hunter who branded her with the mark of a witch. As a result, her townspeople attempted to burn her. However, she was saved by a vampire, one of the original Blood Belle’s. Ultimately, she dies in the third act of this book, by watching sunrise, one last time. I was entranced by her origin but feel as though it was glossed over. They could do her origin story and early history justice with a comic book miniseries. Her death served to tell the reader that in this books mythology, when a sire dies, their offspring return to being human. This presents Star with a dilemma at the end of the story. Does she take the injection of blood from the mothers of vampires, or does she live out her days as a human, waiting to succumb to her pre-vampire disease of cystic fibrosis? Oh btw I am so not spoiling the end. Read it and see for yourself.

I do have some problems with the finale of the book. For one, Michael, Star and the Frog Brothers are rescued by Sam and an underdeveloped character known as The Believer. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy this guy as a vampire hunter. He has more in common with Ashton Kutcher in Dude Where’s My Car, than he does with Abraham van Helsing. Not to mention, we’ve already chronicled Sam’s non experience as a vampire hunter. The Mothers of Vampire’s were built up as such a threat, with their blood holding so much power, yet, they are given so little time to showcase their true levels of badassery. In the end, they are felled by a Vampire bomb thrown into the cave by Sam, which causes the cave to crumble on top of them. I think that was a waste of great setup for these characters. Also a waste, was the subplot of the residents of the Hughes Retirement Home being turned into vampires. First off, the turn was done off page, so you didn’t know it happened until you see them. Add to that, the fact that they are confronted and killed within half an issue. This book suffers from pacing problems, and could have easily been an 8 or 12 issue maxi series. All is not lost though. These problems could be fixed in a follow-up comic, which I believe is likely, since the ending suggests that original Lost Boy, David, once again escapes eternal death in this story.

Steve Godlewski is the artist for this book and provides great work. While his art is nowhere near as realistic looking as Alex Ross, I think the characters bare a strong resemblance to their film actor counter parts. This is especially true of David. You can definitely see a young Kiefer Sutherland in the rendering. One panel that is particularly beautiful is the shot of the Santa Carla boardwalk all lit up during a night setting. Also, in terms of picturesque beauty, the final image of Michael and Star kissing on the bluff as the sun sets, looks like something you’d see in and old school film like Gone With the Wind. Let’s get to the vampires shall we. I loved the look and wardrobe of the Mothers of Vampires. The Ancient Egyptian look really gave weight to their distinction as the mothers of vampires. One extremely striking image was the pages featuring the residence of the old age home as vampires. It’s striking because recent movies, television and books don’t depict elderly people as vampires. It’s typically reserved for the “young and beautiful.” The most gruesome images of the book go to the flashback of Billy being burned at the stake and David being skewered in the head/eye. I have to give special mention to the early pages of Sam working in the comic book store. On the walls, you can spot actual comic books from the 80’s including John Byrne Superman and John Ostrander Suicide Squad issues.

This was a really good book. I’m glad I decided to read it. Sure, I had some issues with it but overall it was fun and I got invested into most of the characters. This book is so good it has me eagerly looking forward to watching a Joel Schumacher film. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the highest amount of praise I could give to a comic book.

Comic Book Review: Fathom: Blue Sun

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam, who was very brave to tackle this, as he knows I love Aspen and Michael Turner with every bit of my heart and soul… 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Heroic Ho-mie, and I hope all my lil’ Kinkbots are having a very Happy NCBD! 🙂 xoxo)

“There are two worlds. The one we know, and the one below. Aspen Matthews was a marine biologist who, in a failed experiment, discovered that she is actually a water nymph, able to live and thrive beneath the water.” (Aspen)

The first I’d became known of Michael Turner was his turn as artist on Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman book. More recently I’ve tracked down Witchblade, initially because it was being drawn by him. I’ve constantly seen Fathom artwork at my comic book store and at conventions I’ve attended. Every time I see it, I say to myself; I’ve got to read that. Well, thanks to a New Year’s sale on Comixology, I found my opportunity. While the art is certainly a main draw for purchase, the mystery surrounding the story definitely hooks you in. We first meet Aspen Matthews in flashbacks at age 11. She is a stowaway on a ship that had disappeared 10 years prior to the beginning of our story, only to be mysteriously found in San Diego. Our young protagonist has no memory, history, or name. So she is taken in and adopted by the ship’s Captain Matthews. When our story picks up in present day, the little girl is now in her mid to late 20’s. Her name is Aspen Matthews, a former Olympic swimmer and now a Marine Biologist. Yes, when setting up this story, writer Michael Turner makes it obvious, painfully so, that our protagonist feels at home in the water, as though she was born to be one with it. So if the cover to issue one doesn’t hint that water would be a major theme then the prologue to issue one most certainly will. Things get more unique when she gets recruited to Deep Marine Discovery Limited to research underwater habitat 1200 feet below sea level. When the underwater habitat that Aspen and her crew are in, is accidentally hit by a torpedo the vessel is capsized, fully submerged in water, where most of her crew dies. Fully submerge under water Aspen feels at peace, and calm. She is greeted by humanoid individuals wearing alien armor, who can seemingly manipulate and communicate with the water. They swim away from her, when they realize she is being rescued. When she regains consciousness in a hospital bed she shrugs this group of individuals off as hallucinatory visions as a result of almost drowning to death. She even recalls having similar visions after almost drowning during a scuba diving training, years earlier.

Those “humans” in the water weren’t a vision caused by a near death experience but instead are a race of aquatic humanoids known as The Blue. They hail from a place known as Chanarnay, which is beyond the Earth’s crust. For decades, there has been conflict within the ranks of The Blue. The majority want to live separate, and peaceful from the surface world. Another faction wants to attack and subjugate the surface world for all the atrocities they’ve committed. Aspen learns she is a member of The Blue, and that years earlier an attack by the extremist sect of the race, lead to the death of her parents, the disappearance of her brother, and caused her to flee, which lead her to find her way to that missing boat and onto the surface world. In the intervening years, two members from both sides of The Blue have been keeping tabs on her. Killian is the extremist trying to win Aspen’s favor, while Cannon Hawke is trying to recruit Aspen to help him keep Killian’s machinations at bay, Killian gets to her first, luring her in by teaching her how to use her abilities. Killian tricks her into helping him create a doomsday type weapon known as the “Blue Sun.” This weapon is a ball of energy in space, which is powered by three underwater stations. With this weapon, Killian intends to drill a hole in the Earth’s crust to reach The Blue’s home of Chanarnay. When Aspen see’s the destruction and loss of life this will ultimately cause to Earth, she begins to regret and question her involvement. It is here, where she is approached by Kyla, a spy in Killian’s ranks who is working for Cannon, so she defects and helps them try to destroy the “Blue Sun” and defeat Killian. I’ve left out several key surprises and the books finale for those who haven’t read it. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what unfolds.

The idea that there is a race of aquatic humanoids living in the depths of the Earth’s waters and in the Earth’s crust requires suspension of disbelief, yet I can let myself go there because we’ve explored so little of the Earth’s waters, who knows what’s truly down there. I love the idea that there was political upheaval within the ranks of their civilization. While Killian’s end game is somewhat unclear, what we do know of it reminds me of Zod’s plan in Man of Steel, where he wanted to terraform Earth into New Krypton. So maybe Killian wanted to turn Earth into New Chanarnay. While I wish this was further explained, what Michael Turner did fantastically was give us enough backstory and interaction with Aspen Matthews, so that we as readers got excited and cared for the character, prior to all the sci-fi trappings kicking in. In doing so, it intensified reading and seeing Killian’s plan unfold because as that happens, we are learning about the history of “The Blue” as well as learning about Aspen’s true nature. One thing that wasn’t clearly defined, is what exactly “The Blue” are. Is their origin rooted in Atlantis, I’m not sure. Atlantis as their home is never mentioned. Also, “The Blue” aren’t confined to the water. They have flying ships, so they could very well be aliens. I’m hopeful that we’ll get an answer as I progress with the story. I will say that it doesn’t bother me not knowing right now, as I’m a sucker for speculation, even if it’s my own.

I could sit here and write Michael Turner’s art is amazing and end the review there because it’s true. However, I’ll point out a few specifics while I’m at it. First off, every character in this book looks like they could be cast in a show on The CW. Holy Hotness Batman! I mean seriously, if you’re a man, and hey, even a woman in some cases, there’s no way you can look at Michael Turner’s rendition of Aspen Matthews and not get aroused. Or maybe you can and it’s just me. In that case, never mind. For the women who prefer men and the men who prefer men, don’t worry, this comic book has eye candy for you too. Having said that, it wouldn’t hurt this book to draw some plain average looking people. Just saying, not everyone looks like a super model you know! The San Diego view is also beautiful! Damn, this book makes me want to take a vacation. Michael Turner’s pencils combined with Jonathan D, Smith’s use of gold and orange for sunlight and sunset, along with the crystal blue water make San Diego look stunning. The only other selling point one needs, is that Comic Con takes place there. The armor worn by The Blue, as well as their aircraft and weaponry look crustacean, which is the perfect aesthetic for these aqua based humanoids. The image of the Blue Sky disrupting the water and for moments nearly flooding the Earth, make the flood described in the Bible look like a light sprinkle of rain. Also the scene where Aspen battles the beam of energy of the Blue Sun, called to mind the scene where Superman battles the World Engine in Man of Steel. Such a great final set piece for this book and that film.

I’m glad I came to the Fathom party this late. It means I have plenty of work by the late, great Michael Turner to get to! What this book shows me is that Michael Turner was a strong writer with a fantastic idea, He was blessed with talent on both ends of the comic book creative spectrum and brought it to life. I can’t wait to read and review more. Also, Fathom NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE! I have the perfect choice to play Aspen Matthews, our very own Miss Kinky Horror, Diana Prince herself. No, I’m not just saying that to kiss the bosses ass. Nor am I saying that because I want to see her wet and in a bikini, though there’s no denying that is a vision of true epic-ness and beauty! I sincerely believe she’d be great in the role. So make it happen Hollywood! (Lol Yeah, yeah…That raise is a comin’!! 😉 xoxo)