Movie Review: Batman & Harley Quinn

(Seemed appropriate for #HarleyQuinnDay…Big thanks to Prince Adam for sharing his Bat-thoughts with us. 🙂 xoxo)

“Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.” (Warner Brothers)

This movie had me the minute it was set in the style of Batman: The Animated Series, featuring the voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Loren Lester as Nightwing, The new addition to the Bat-Family, comes in the form of Melissa Rauch, of The Big Bang Theory fame, as Harley Quinn. To be honest, it was her casting that worried me. I though her name recognition from TBBT and the signature voice of her character, would take me out of the movie and be a hindrance to the character. However, Melissa was fantastic and except for one time when she screamed at someone in the film, did I recognize it was her and get pulled out of the film, otherwise the actress totally disappeared and all I saw and heard was Harley Quinn. Hearing Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester again, felt so right and sounded like the pitch perfect dynamic duo. It’s like they have been doing this for 25 years straight, with no time lapses in between. Giving a voice to Poison Ivy for this film was Paget Brewster. She was okay, but I don’t think she was distinctly Ivy enough. That’s not necessarily her fault though because, she only had one scene where she employs Ivy’s trademark seductive, hypnotic sexiness to get a man to do her bidding. Poison Ivy’s partner in crime n this feature is Jason Woodrue aka the Floronic Man. The inclusion of this villain fits, given Ivy’s involvement and I really like his inclusion, not because I’m a huge fan of the character but because, he’s never really used. Come to think of it, even amongst Batman’s heavy hitters, Poison Ivy was underused. Even when she featured in episodes of Batman: TAS. The Floronic Man is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. This actor voiced The Joker for four seasons on The Batman but never once did I hear The Joker in this performance, which speaks to his range and versatility. Though, his voice is tailor made for portraying a villain.

As for why Harley Quinn would help Batman and Nightwing, it’s because she’s trying to live her life on the straight and narrow. Especially, since she has separated from The Joker. However, due to her criminal past, no reputable organization would hire someone with a criminal past and record, as a psychiatrist. Though, she makes a point at hinting that late nigh risqué movie producers have shown interest. Instead, Harley take a job at a bar called Superbabes. The waitresses all dress up in skimpy superhero costumes and are often ogled and groped by male patrons. One night Harley is grabbed in the ass, flips the customer over a table and starts a bar fight before heading home. This whole time, Nightwing was tailing her, following her back to a rundown, abandoned apartment. Naturally, there is a scuffle and Harley Quinn not only holds her own against Nightwing but knocks him out. When he comes to, Nightwing realizes that he’s tied up. Harley, changing out of her costume is in her bra and panties. She begins being flirtatious with Nightwing, saying they both have something the other wants. Nightwing protests, in a half assed way, before admitting the idea of being with Harley does sound appealing, The lights go out, the costumes come off and the scene cuts away as the implied sex scene happens off screen. Some reactions online, have people up in arms, throwing a hissy fit over this scene. Firstly, some are calling the moment a glorified rape scene, given that he was tied up and at first refused Harley’s suggestion. If you actually rewatch the scene, you can see that it’s quite clear that Nightwing is more than agreeable to having sexual relations with Harley. Once Nightwing agrees, I view the ropes as some kinky, superhero/supervillain role-play type of scenario. Prior to that scene, when both characters were physically fighting, Harley Quinn was verbalizing that she was tired of people telling her what to be and assigning a label to her. For example, some see her as crazy, others see her only as a villain, while others still, view her as a sex object. She mentions, how she wants to be in control and determine who she is. While some see the sex scene as demeaning, only further objectifying Harley, I saw her initiating the flirtation, and being in control of that situation. I saw it as a moment of empowerment for Harley Quinn. That’s my take on the whole “controversy.”

As for why Nightwing was following Harley and not Batman? The Dark Knight was busy doing detective work, uncovering Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man’s diabolical scheme. Firstly, I love that this film focuses on Batman being a detective. To me, Batman: TAS and issues of Detective Comics, are the only two interpretations, that really key in on this aspect of his character. Speaking of our villains’ plan, it involve using samples of Alec Holland’s (Swamp Thing’s) blood, mixed with a chemical agent, that when dispersed, would turn the human population into plant like creatures, such as Floronic Man and Swamp Thing. I like that the evil plot is perfectly symbiotic with the overall goals and beliefs of our villains, unlike that time when Poison Ivy teamed up with Mr. Freeze in 1997, and their plans were in complete opposition and counterintuitive of each other. Back over at Team Batman, when the Caped Crusader rejoins Harley and Nightwing, he catches them in a compromising position. While he doesn’t say it outright, you can tell he is judgemental of what they did. Nightwing responds with; “Oh right, like you’ve never made out with a villain before.” I loved this line because, it’s a clever callback to Batman’s trysts with Catwoman and Talia al Ghul respectively. It also calls out Batman’s hypocrisy in this moment, but also speaks to the closeness and rapport between Batman and Nightwing, that Dick Grayson can speak to Bruce this way. With Harley assisting Batman and Nightwing, you knew humor would be a key feature of this film and it is. As the three drive in the Batmobile to find Ivy’s location, Harley complains that a burrito she ate earlier isn’t agreeing with her and they should pull over. Batman refuses and Harley retorts; you asked for it, before beginning to fire off some farts. Batman & Nightwing’s facial reactions are hilarious. Yes, I know getting laughs from farts is a bit cheap and childish, but in addition to her sexiness, Harley Quinn has always had a childishness about her, so it works. There’s also a scene where Batman calls the Justice League for potential backup. However, all the heavy hitters are off world, so Booster Gold starts naming a bunch of C and D list superheroes that could help out. As Booster Gold’s voice rattles off names through the intercom of the Batmobile, Harley Quinn and Nightwing shake their head no and make faces in disapproval, before ruffling papers to make it sound like their was static, before hanging up on Booster Gold. This was priceless and had me in stiches. Harley Quinn’s influence is clearly rubbing off on Nightwing. Harley takes Batman and Nightwing to a bar for supervillain henchmen, where she meets an informant, who has info on Poison Ivy’s location. To get info out of an informant, Harley has to sing karaoke. That’s not the fun part though, as Melissa Rauch unfortunately is a terrible singer. However, the henchmen featured at this bar, are ones featured in the Batman 66 TV series, specifically noticeable are Catwoman’s henchmen. They even buy Batman a glass of milk, as a nod to his drink of choice on the Adam West series.

When the unlikely trio finds Poison Ivy and Floronic Man, Harley Quinn pretends to double cross Batman and Nightwing, to gain their trust, However, when she pleads with Ivy to not go through with releasing this pathogen, Ivy realizes Harley lied to her. Even Batman tries to appeal to Poison Ivy’s humanity, pointing out that if she makes even one mistake with the formula, all of humanity will be wiped out. When she still doesn’t budge, Harley Quinn removes her mask and makeup, gives Ivy a “puppy dog” look and begins to cry, lamenting that she doesn’t want to die. Ivy can’t resist Harley crying and agrees not to release the toxin on humanity. She too now turns on the Floronic Man. While some may say Poison Ivy’s turn was too easy, I liked it! It really emphasises the close knit relationship and love that Harley and Ivy share. This is both emphasized in the comic books and animated series. There are a few things, that I didn’t like about this film. Aside from the fight scene between Harley Quinn and Nightwing, which was awesome, the action in this film is extremely limited. And when it is their, the film cuts away from it, When you see the henchman bar fight, you’ll know what I mean. Swamp Thing has a cameo in the third act, condemns Ivy & the Floronic Man for what they’ve done, but refuses to get in the fight. He doesn’t get involved because “It’s not his “fight.” What!? How is it not his fight? They tampered with his blood and what they plan to do, is going to alter The Green, the nature that Swamp Thing is sworn to protect. How is that not his fight? It made no sense. What a wasted cameo. Also, I was let down by the final battle with The Floronic Man and it stems (pun intended), from the reasons I just mentioned.

This film has key voice cast from Batman: The Animated Series, the animation style evokes later seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, which was rebranded The New Batman Adventures but one thing that is different is the tone. Sure, there is some dramatic story telling of the classic animated series, but this is more of a comedy set in that world. So prepare yourself for that but you know what, for me, it really works. I have never laughed so much while watching a DC Animated show, or movie. If you want a good laugh and 75 minutes of fun with characters you love, give this film a buy and a watch. Happy Batman/Harley Quinn Takeover Day everyone!

TV Review: GOTHAM Season 3

(Submitted by Senor SuperheroScifi himself, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Freak! 😉 xoxoxoxo))

GOTHAM Season 3, picks up right where the second season left off. The Indian Hill Monsters are on the loose. This includes Fish Mooney and Bruce Wayne’s doppelganger. Jim Gordon has once again left the GCPD and now freed from bureaucratic red tape, hunts down the “monster’s and solves other crimes as a bounty hunter. Meanwhile, Lieut.. Barnes and Detective Bullock try to maintain order in Gotham City and straighten out a police force in disarray. All the while, Leslie Thompkins has moved on from Jim Gordon, and is set to marry Mario Falcone, son of mob boss Carmine Falcone. The first half of the season is titled Mad City and sees the freaks from Indian Hill tracking down Hugo Strange, to discover why their powers are actually killing them. Each of the main characters are affected by this development, In his search for clues about the Indian Hill escapees, Jim Gordon teams up with photo journalist Valerie Vale to track them down. Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth are tracking Bruce’s Doppelganger, who is out on the streets, assuming his life and ruining his relationship with Selina Kyle. Penguin meanwhile, is using the Indian Hill chaos to make a bid for mayor, He gets Butch Galzean and his cronies to kill the other candidates, handing Penguin the mayoral seat. Edward Nygma is promoted in Penguin’s organization, leaving Butch out in the cold. Butch secretly joins the Red Hood Gang, and plots to kill Penguin. The show throws a curveball in the Penguin/Nygma relationship, by having Penguin in love with Nygma, However, in a soap opera type twist, Nygma falls in love with a librarian named Isabella, who looks exactly like Kris Kringle, the woman he killed last season. Penguin can’t handle Nygma being with anyone else, so he has Isabella’s breaks cut, causing her to die in a car accident. When Nygma discovers the truth behind Penguin’s motives and actions, he too, plots to drive Penguin mad, before killing him. Back to Gordon’s quest. His Bounty Hunter calling brings him into contact with Jervis Tetch, who comic fans will know as the Mad Hatter. Jervis is looking for his sister Alice, a patient at Indian Hill, who is on the lose and has a blood disease. In reality, Jervis is trying to find his sister to use her blood to infect citizens of Gotham, making them angrier, prone to more violence, and giving them enhanced strength. When Jervis finally finds his sister, he holds her captive and extracts her blood, against her will. At first, he infects Captain Barnes, who later becomes the villain known as the Executioner. In an altercation between Jim Gordon and Jervis Tetch, Alice is killed. Jervis escapes, and sets out for revenge against Jim Gordon. He infect Mario Falcone and kidnaps both Leslie Tompkins and Valerie Vale. Valerie ends up getting shot and wounded, before Jervis is ultimately apprehended and sent to Arkham. With that, the first half of the season known as Mad City ends.

The first half of Season 3 of Gotham was all over the place for me. Given all the hierarchy office politics and corruption Jim Gordon has had to put up with in the first two seasons, I like that he’s broken away and become a bounty hunter, It makes sense story wise, could be plausible for the hard boiled Year One esque Gordon we are presented with, and fits perfectly with the rough and tumble version played by Ben McKenzie. I even like the inclusion of Valerie Vale. Obviously for her familial connection to Vicki Vale. (the former is the latter’s aunt.) What I will say, is that Valerie Vale is tougher, and a better investigative reporter/photo journalist as played by Jamie Chung, than Vicki Vale played by Kim Basinger, Though, it was disappointing, that she was ultimately used as a plot device to prove to Jim Gordon, that he still ultimately loves Leslie Thompkins.. I though everything involving the Penguin and Edward Nygma was great. Penguin running for mayor was both a call back to Batman 66 and Batman Returns. Penguin being revealed as gay and in love with Edward Nygma, is an interesting change, that I’m totally okay with. You can see why Oswald would develop those feelings. Over the course of both seasons, Nygma is the only one that’s supported Oswald and they’ve helped each other in times of need. You get why Penguin goes overboard when Nygma rejects his proclamation of love. Though, having Nygma’s girlfriend killed is deplorable, and the schism between the two is meaningful. The escaped Indian Hill captives on the loose was almost pointless, save for Doppelganger Bruce being on the loose and Poison Ivy coming into contact with a metahuman’s who’s touch, steals her youth. However, Ivy wasn’t in his grasp long enough, and therefore only ages to a mid 20’s adult. The result is actress Maggie Geha assumes the role of Poison Ivy. She’s sexy, sultry and is able to pull off Ivy’s classic mesmerizing and control of men with ease. PS: I’m glad Fish Mooney finally 100% dies this season. It’s about damn time. I absolutely hated Jervis Tetch and the whole super blood virus plot point. It was ridiculously stupid and Mad Hatter was nothing more than a Riddler wannabe. However, this show already has a much more superior Riddler. Also, there’s a sexual tension that Jervis has for his sister Alice, which is extremely creepy. (Dear Gotham Writers, just because it works for Game of Thrones, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.)

Prior to the second half of the season truly kicking off, there’s a three episode interlude that deals with a cult dedicated to Jerome, who you’ll remember is GOTHAM’s version of the Joker. The Leader of this cult has obtained Jerome’s body and resurrects him in a very Frankenstein way. The result literally starts to peel Jerome’s face off. Before killing the underling that brought him back to life, Jerome’s face is stitched and stapled back on. This was horrifically gruesome and was a great callback to the Joker losing his face in the first arc of Detective Comics in the New 52. The show mixed new and old, once again, having Jerome commandeer a TV station to lure Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon to the Gotham fair grounds We saw Jerome commandeer a TV Station last season to get his message out there. Once again, this is a nod tp Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, while also honoring the Joker’s first appearance, where he interrupted a radio broadcast. Jerome is doing all this because Bruce and Gordon foiled his plan the first go around and, inadvertently led to his death. The Fairground setting also has ties to Batman lore, specifically, Batman: The Killing Joke. Much like in that book, where Batman and Joker fight in a Hall of Mirrors, so to, do Bruce and Jerome. The tension, hatred and frustration these two characters have historically had for each other, is beautifully recreated by David Mazouz and Cameron Monaghan The fight between the two was riveting. GOTHAM‘s Bruce Wayne goes full Ben Affleck Batman in the BvS where house scene, and Jerome taunts Bruce like Heath Ledger’s Joker did, in The Dark Knight. I genuinely believe that the performances by David and Cameron belong in the same sentence as those iconic moments in Batman on film lore. The two characters and actors and characters, are so dynamic and electric on screen together that before tis series comes to an end, I want a season long arc with the Bruce/Jerome conflict at its core.

With the Indian Hill Leftovers mostly dealt with, the second half of the season known as Heroes Rise elevates the rest of the season into high gear. Edward Nygma orchestrate a fake kidnapping, so he can separate himself from Penguin, and begins to torment mayor Cobblepot, hiring an actor to play the ghost of Penguin’s dead father. After driving Penguin mad, Edward Nygma steps out into the public as The Riddler, going about committing riddle base crimes. His emergence and criminal activity , leaves Penguin incensed, and starts another mob war, with the villains in Gotham choosing sides. Poison Ivy, Firefly and Mr. Freeze side with The Penguin, while Butch Galzean, Tabitha and Barbara Kean side with The Riddler. What ensues is very akin to the mob war currently going on in the comic books titled, A War of Jokes and Riddles. Though, in that story, it’s The Riddler vs The Joker. The end result of this war, is that there is a schism between Tabitha and Barbara, after she kills Butch. The two start fighting with Barbara getting electrocuted. This whole season has seen Barbara, Tabitha and Butch in the middle of this fracture between Riddler and Penguin’s relationship. Between last season and this season, Tabitha is clearly positioned as a prototype Catwoman, while Selina Kyle eventually transitions into that. Meanwhile, Barbara Kean has gotten crazier each season, going over the edge, specifically this season. What’s interesting is that the crazier she gets, the more I enjoy the character. She’s this show’s prototype Harley Quinn and the producers have hinted she may go full Harley Quinn in the near future. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. If the show does go that route, good luck to Erin Richards trying to follow Margot Robbie. While Butch was shot and killed, as he’s being carted to the morgue, it is revealed that his birth name is Cyrus Gold, which suggests he is a comic book character, for whom death is not permanent. Here’s a hint: There’s a good chance he was born on a Monday! This was a shock, a true twist I was not expecting.

Speaking of the unexpected, this season, gives us an ultimate big bad for the season and the series in the first two season’s. As Bruce and Alfred are searching for his doppelganger, they discover that Hugo Strange isn’t the mastermind behind Indian Hill or Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murders. The group responsible for that, is a clandestine group known as the Court of Owls. The evil secret society has a council of members, comprised of Gotham City’s wealthiest and elite. They were the ones who hired Hugo Strange to raise the dead and imbue them with abilities. This was their attempt to find a means to eternal life. They put a hit on Thomas & Martha Wayne because they rebuked the Court, and threatened to expose them. They also had Jim Gordon’s uncle kill Jim’s father, for the same reasons. I like that this further ties Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne together, not just their future’s but their past as well. When Bruce and Alfred take their findings to Jim, he decides to infiltrate the Court of Owls, becoming a member, while Bruce & Alfred confront the Court’s presence in Wayne Enterprises. While Gordon infiltrates the Court of Owls, Bruce Wayne is kidnapped, and taken to what is sure to be Nada Parbat, where he is trained by an elderly shaman of sorts known as the Sensei, who further trains Bruce in the ways of martial arts, as well as using mystical mental techniques to purge him of the mental block Bruce can’t get over, which is his parents death. It is revealed that Sensei is apparently training and brainwashing Bruce Wayne so that he will become a tool to usher in Gotham’s destruction and rehabilitation. To bring about said destruction, the Court of Owls have found a way to synthesize the Alice Tetch blood virus and disperse it in the air. This begins to drive the citizens of Gotham mad, as they destroy each other and the city. Gordon, Bullock and Lucius Fox race against time to find a cure and stop mass dispersal of the virus. This plot point reminded me of the fear toxin/microwave emitter plot point in Batman Begins a little. When Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City, he is under the control of the Sensei, who has commanded Bruce to kill the Court of Owls. With some slicing and dicing, Bruce does so. Why would the Sensei order his employers dead? Well he did because, the person the Sensei is grooming Bruce Wayne for, is none other than Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s al Ghul has designs on Bruce Wayne being his successor, and truly being a part of Gotham’s rebirth and revitalization. To have Bruce prove his allegiance, Ra’s orders him to stab Alfred with a sword .Bruce does, but the sight of Alfred’s dying body snaps Bruce out of his hypnosis. He immediately places Alfred into a Lazarus pit, before taking him to a hospital. In the hospital as Alfred comes to, Bruce expresses his regret for killing the Court of Owls. Alfred tries to reassure Bruce, that he wasn’t of sound mind and wasn’t in control of his faculties and couldn’t be blamed for his actions. He reminds Bruce, that he has been training to help people and make a difference in Gotham and should refocus his efforts on that. The season ends with a mother, father, and daughter walking home in an alleyway. They are held at gunpoint and robbed. Suddenly, a trench coat, ski mask wearing vigilante, swoops down, gives the mugger a beating, coming to the rescue of the family. The mysterious figure leaps and climbs his way atop a Gotham City skyscraper, before pulling off the ski mask, to reveal that he is none other than Bruce Wayne.


I honestly absolutely loved the inclusion of the Court of Owls this season. The group is relatively new to the comic book world, first debuting in 2011’s New 52. Their interpretation, their longevity and control and secrecy within Gotham City is spot on, to Scott Snyder’s original creation. I also enjoy that the show retroactively inserts the Court of Owls into events of the past two season’s of the series. It gives their stated presence throughout Gotham City’s history actual legitimacy. The city of Gotham being such a character in its own right makes so much more sense with the Court of Owls being involved. It was exactly the same way in the comic books featuring the Court of Owls. As for Ra’s al Ghul, his brief appearance on the show was more exposition and set up for next season, but his motivations were spot on and his look, was spot on with the comic books, complete with green cape/cloak. There’s even a Lazarus Pit! As much as I love Liam Neeson in the role, Christopher Nolan’s neutered version of the character left a lot to be desired for me. It’s too early to say whether this version will be better, but, he’s off to a great start. As for Bruce Wayne suiting up in a trench coat and ski mask as Proto-Batman, I say if it’s fine for Tom Welling’s Clark Kent, then it’s fine for Bruce Wayne. Also, we’ve seen a makeshift pre-Batman in both Batman Begins and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. In my head canon, GOTHAM, is a prequel to Tim Burton’s Batman films, with the short lived Birds of Prey TV series, being a sequel to Batman Returns. Since we never saw Bruce Wayne’s early days, and full transition into Batman in Tim Burton’s film, I’m perfectly okay with the show experimenting with that going forward . No matter where your head canon places GOTHAM, for me it keeps getting better, and season 3 was not only its best, but it marked one of the best DC TV shows of the past season! Bring on Season 4!

Splatterday Mourning Cartoons: Jeffrey Combs – Man of 1,000 Voices

A very Happy Birthday to the Re-Animator himself, Mr. Jeffrey Combs!

There’s no earthly way to express how much I freakin’ ADORE Mr. Jeffrey Combs!!!!!!!! He’s been in phenomenal fright films, has made many Star Trek appearances, played Doctor Strange (Doctor Mordrid counts!), and is always just the screamiest, dreamiest weirdo in anything he graces! *swooooooooooooooon* 🙂

In addition to being beyond seXXXy, Jeffrey Combs is to Lovecraftian sin-ema what Vincent Price is to Poe. He’s been named “the first Lovecraftian actor” for his frequent appearances in Lovecraft adaptations, even playing the cosmic ho-rror author a few times. Of corpse, of all his great HPL roles, his best and most iconic will always be his masterfully insane performance as Dr. Herbert West in the Re-Animator films. With his insane intensity and wicked wit, Dr. West is easily one of the greatest mad doctors to ever mess with the natural order.

One asss-pect of Mr. Combs that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention is his career as a voice actor. Starting with his freaky-deaky turn as The Scarecrow in The New Batman Adventures, Mr. Combs has done his fair share of voice work for cartoons and video games. While he mostly does the spooky stuff in live-action, Mr. Combs tends to lend his voice to superheroes and supervillains. His wonderous work includes Question in Justice League Unlimited, Kite Man in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Leader in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Brainiac in Injustice 2, and Ratchet in Transformers: Prime. Way to speak out, Mr. Combs! 🙂

As a testament to his greatness and in observance of Splatterday Mourning, we’ve eXXXhumed some of the epically epic voice work of Jeffrey Combs! First, a video showcasing his many cartoon appearances…

…and a full episode of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated featuring Mr. Combs as H.P. Love… er, Hatecraft! What better way to ho-nor Combs than with his portrayal of the man who made him a fright icon? 🙂


Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated S01E12… by cgssthd

Happy Birthday, Jeffrey Combs! Stay SeXXXy! 😉

#TBT TV Review: Batman: The Animated Series – Season 1 Episode 1: On Leather Wings

(Submitted by Prince Adam, aka Batman’s Bitch Boy… 😉 Thanks, Super Friend. Love ya lots! 🙂 xoxo)

“Batman finds himself tangling with a Jekyll-and-Hyde bat creature after it attacks a night watchman and the police wage a war on the Dark Knight. “

Batman: The Animated Series is a classic show and piece of Batman history. Every classic show needs to start somewhere, and for Batman : TAS, it’s On Leather Wings. I give a lot of credit to Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for having faith in their show to kick it off with a secondary villain like Kirk Langstrom aka Man-Bat. While more obscure, it’s actually a perfect fit. Man-Bat is the literal physical representation of a bat-man, and is the perfect antithesis to our costumed caped crusader. He’s also an allegory of the Jekyll and Hyde character, and when you watch the episode, you realize, so too is Batman in a way. Both Kirk Langstrom and Bruce Wayne embody the spirit of that story. Both men struggle with duality. Both maintain a good well adjusted persona, and both hide a dark persona that unleashes more of an animalistic violent nature.  The difference being, Bruce Wayne is able to rein his in and uses that darkness as a force for good. The episode does a great job of briefly introducing the other core characters in the show, namely Detective Bullock and Commissioner Gordon. They establish that Gordon doesn’t see Batman as a menace, while Bullock definitely sees him as a dangerous vigilante. The show sets up Batman as a pre-existing figure in Gotham City, that the mayor wants the police to apprehend. The episode spends much of it’s time in showcasing Batman’s detective skill. He spends 3 quarters of the episode discovering and piecing together clues about Man-Bat. This was fantastic, because most non comics adaptations gloss over the detective aspect of the character. My only slight negative is that, the actual Batman Vs. Man Bat confrontation seemed a little too rushed for my liking. That and the fact that Batman was able to get the Man-Bat formula out of Doctor Langstrom off screen and rather quickly.  But hey, given the episode is only 22 minutes, and did just about everything right, I can let it slide.

The animation is fantastic. I love the dark blue/black and grey colour scheme with yellow oval symbol for Batman’s costume. I always viewed it as the animators making a nod to the Adam West costume in a way, but with darker shades. The Bat-Computer was a definite nod to Batman 66, sounds and all.  The Batmobile took it’s nods from Tim Burton’s iteration, but was it’s own beast, being longer and sleeker.  That opening credits montage, is possibly the most beautiful thing, I’ve ever seen lead off any  TV show. Batman cloaked in the shadows taking down bank robbers, the Batmobile roaring through the streets, and it all culminates with a bolt of lightening, illuminating Batman on the rooftop of a Gotham skyscraper! I’ve got chills just describing it! Speaking of Gotham City, I love the look of it. It’s the 1939 Worlds Fair meshed with early 1990’s modern day, and putting those two together, gives the city and the series a sense of timelessness This was definitely not the best episode of the series. This show is filled with episodes deserving of that crown. However, it set the tone for what was to come. It had me speechless when I first watched it 25 years ago, and I was just as excited when I watched it again the other day.  Happy 25th Anniversary to Batman: The Animated Series.  This series had as much influence, if not more on my Batman and superhero fandom. as Batman 66 and Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film.  This anniversary gave me just the excuse I was looking for to start reviewing this animated masterpiece.   If you want to follow along, my reviews will go according to how episodes appear on my copies of the DVD!


In another Batman related note, Happy (belated) 66th Birthday to Michael Keaton, the man who took my love of Batman to new heights and I’ve loved the character ever since! Now that he’s 66 and now that Warner Brothers is creating an Elseworld’s division of DC Films, let’s bring things full circle and have Michael Keaton play the older Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond film shall we WB!

DC & WB Rock Hall H with A Justice League Trailer & An Updated Film Slate!

(Submitted with much DC love by Mr. Prince Adam… 😉 Thanks, and Happy Birthday Week, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)


San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, and once again, the news and footage coming out of Warner Brothers DC Entertainment panel has left me amazed and excited. Let’s start with news updates.  We know that after Justice League, Aquaman is next in theaters in December of 2018. Beyond that, we had no idea what was coming after that….until now! SHAZAM will go into production in February 2018, for a 2019 release! While we don’t have actors announced for Billy Batson or his SHAZAM alter-ego, we know The Rock has been cast as Black Adam, SHAZAM’s nemesis.  However, Geoff Johns has stated that he will not appear in SHAZAM, instead focusing on a Black Adam solo movie, and then culminating with a faceoff between the two. The director of the film will be David F, Sandberg.  The director should be familiar to readers of this site, as he has directed the horror film Lights Out and has the film Annabelle: Creation releasing in August.  If I had my way the story for SHAZAM should be an amalgamation of the origin written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Gary Frank, and an older story titled Trials of SHAZAM.  Both, I will eventually review here.  No matter what story is told, if done correctly, SHAZAM, could be a mix of Superman, meets Harry Potter, with a sprinkle of BIG thrown in there! It has all the potential to be a four quadrant crowd pleaser and a big hit with kids.

The other DC Films on WB’s schedule are Batgirl, Suicide Squad 2, Justice League: Dark, Green Lantern Corps, The Batman, The Flash: Flashpoint,  and Wonder Woman 2.  Here’s what we know about some of the other films:

Batgirl is being written and directed by the masterful Joss Whedon.  Geoff Johns said that Joss Whedon will start work on Batgirl in 2018 because as of right now, he is finishing up scheduled reshoots on Justice League, after he stepped in for Zack Snyder, when Zack had to step away from the film due to a personal family tragedy.  Justice League Dark is currently searching for a director, after filmmaker Doug Liman left the project due to a scheduling conflict. Green Lantern Corps is being co-written by David Goyer and Justin Rhodes, with a story treatment by Geoff Johns.  The film will feature many Green Lanterns but the focus will be on Hal Jordan and John Stewart.  The film has been described as Lethal Weapon in space.  The Batman is just gearing up with Matt Reeves directing, after just releasing the master class that is War for the Planet of the Apes.  Matt Reeves indicating they are in the initial stages of scripting and while he’s focused on this film, he does have ideas for a multi-film Batman story.  Most in Hollywood believe it is a trilogy.  The director has said he envisions The Batman as a noir detective story, which is music to my ears. The Flash film recently had a new draft of the script turned in and is now an adaptation of the 2011 even miniseries Flashpoint.  In terms of directors, last we heard was that Robert Zemeckis of Back to the Future fame, was the frontrunner to direct. I hope the deal is finalized, because Robert Zemeckis and The Flash seems like a match made in heaven.  In regards to a Wonder Woman sequel, that’s a no-brainer after the massive success of the Wonder Woman film, which is still in theaters.  Negotiations for Patty Jenkins to return to direct are underway and Geoff Johns just started writing the script. There are rumors indicating that the film will be another period piece, set to the backdrop of the Cold War. Though, there’s no official confirmation of that.

About 12 hours before the DC Films presentation, a report indicated that Warner Brothers was plotting a course for the Batman solo film franchise without Ben Affleck as its star.  The report has asserted that Affleck’s age and Matt Reeve’s desire to do a trilogy as reasons for Affleck’s supposed exit. The posited that Ben Affleck’s last performance as Batman, could possibly be Justice League in November.  The report indicated that a story reason in one of the upcoming DC Films would account for a recast Batman.  At today’s panel, Ben Affleck was asked directly about this story.  This was his response; “”Let me be clear: I am the luckiest guy in the world… I would be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves let alone Batman.” Here’s my take on the situation.  I think there’s truth in both Ben Affleck’s statement and The Hollywood Reporter.  Here’s how I see it going down.  My gut feeling is that Ben Affleck will star in The Batman.  He will then make a cameo at the beginning of Flashpoint.  Then Flash will go back in time, and prevent the death of his mother.  When he does, that causes several changes to the timeline, including a war between Themyscira and Atlantis.  Also, Bruce Wayne was killed as a child, instead of his parents on that fateful night.  This drives Martha insane, and prompts Thomas Wayne to become Batman.  Barry Allen works with Thomas Wayne’s Batman to get his speed back, so he can reset the timeline.  The only reason Thomas Wayne agrees to help him, is because The Flash tells Thomas Wayne that in his timeline he and Martha died, but Bruce survived and was the Batman of his world.  When Flash regains his speed, he returns to the Batcave, and talks with a younger looking Batman. The reason why Batman is younger, is because all the heroes lost some time of their lives.  You’d have to rework a bit of the story, but you could have the ending where after fixing the timeline you could have Flash meet Batman in the Batcave to make sure that everything went back to normal. At this moment, you could have Ben Affleck’s potential replacement in that scene.

That’s all what’s to come in the near future, but let’s talk about something more immediate.  The newest Justice League Comic Con Sneak peek, was 4 minutes of Nerdgasmic justice. The trailer starts with DC’s newest movie Superstar, Wonder Woman stops a bank robbery, busting open doors and doing her signature leg sweep.  We then see a quick shot of Bruce Wayne talking about an upcoming threat.  Cut to Themyscira.  We see Hippolyta and the Amazon’s looking on as a Mother Box opening up a boom tube, followed by Steppenwolf crashing throw it.  We see little bits of Steppenwolf throughout the trailer but never a full on shot.  There’s a Steppenwolf voiceover with him saying that Earth has no protectors, no Lanterns and no Kryptonian.  It will fall, like all the others.  He scorches the earth with what looks like a big steel whip.  But yes, we have a Green Lantern reference.  They exist in the DCEU.  We get more solo shots and action shots of the team. Aquaman underwater, dodging Apocalyptian spears.  We see The Flash running, and we see Cyborg plugging into the Knight crawler and assuming control from Alfred.  Speaking of Alfred, there’s a lot of humor from Alfred. There’s even a reference to Batman Returns.  Let’s see if you spot it.  Batman and the world are still morning the loss of Superman. We see Batman return to the scene of Superman’s death, perched on a gargoyle. We also see a scene of Batman on a rooftop, looking at the Bat-Signal.  I don’t care what anyone says, but nobody does iconic Batman shots like Zack Snyder.  Speaking of iconic Batman shots, we get Batman and J.K. Simmons pitch perfect Commissioner Gordon on a rooftop with the Batmobile.  This classic moment is given a different dynamic, as the entire Justice League has joined them.  This leads to one of the funniest moments of the trailer courtesy of The Flash.  He actually has two. Two action scenes that really stood out were Aquaman quasi surfing on a Parademon down a building, and The Flash catching and tossing Wonder Woman’s wayward sword back to her.  Wonder Woman stole the show in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and I believe Ezra Miller will be the standout as The Flash in Justice League.  Also, good job by the marketing department for having Superman heavily mentioned and referenced but never flat our shown! Save his resurrection for the film!

I loved this trailer.  I think it as the visual power and flare that you come to expect from a Zack Snyder film, with the epic, fun tone you get from reading a Justice League comic book or an episode of the animated series.  I think even detractors of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will enjoy this trailer. Wonder Woman was a high note for the DCEU and I think Justice League will further build on that.  Aquaman will make that wave stronger and the updated announced slate will keep the good times rolling. I can’t wait to see Justice League on November 17th and review it for you all, shortly thereafter. As the trailer tagline says, I’m All In with the DCEU!

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.

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!

Farewell, Old Chum.

There will always be Batmen, but there will never be another Adam West. Most of the others dwell in the shadows, but Adam West reveled in the light. In his own campy way, his Batman was one of the purest superheroes: championing and defending the good of mankind like few heroes before or since. As the Caped Crusader, he provided a role model to the young and young-at-heart for many generations. He was funny, charming, charismatic. and knew how to get rid of a bomb.  Adam West was truly the Bright Knight.




Rest in Peace, Caped Crusader. 🙁

#FuckFreddy: Five Rad Robert Englund Roles (in Ho-nor of Our Birthday! :)

Happy Birthday to the Man of our Nightmares, Mr. Robert Englund!! (I hear a lot of folks born on June 6 are pretty badass… ;))

Good Ol’ Robby E…. we all know him as Freddy Krueger, the pizza-faced freak who gives good glove. I mean, there’s no denyin’ that ghoul’s place in ho-rror history. At this point, he’s (arguably) on the same level as Dracula and Frankenstein. As Heather Langenkamp said in New Nightmare, “Every kid knows who Freddy is. He’s like Santa Claus, or King Kong.”

However, as eXXXcellent as Mr. Englund is in that role, we feel that some of his other work goes underappreciated. In ho-nor of birthday, we’re shining a light on some Robert Englund characters that don’t get nearly the same amount of love as Fred Krueger! They may not be as dreamy as The Springwood Slasher, but these performances are a cut above the rest! Without any further a-BOO (I kill myself! ;)), here are five kickass Krueger-free Robert Englund performances! 🙂

1.) The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Let’s start off with a Fright at the Opera! Yes, my Dark-lings… Mr. Englund took a stab at one of the all-time great monsters of cinema and showed that he really has an ear for music… but I’m not sure whose ear it is! 🙂

This film is an awesomely bizarre (and bizarrely awesome) fusion of Gothic Ho-rror and Slasher Terror, loaded with both gruesome gore and chilling atmosphere. Englund is simply amazing here, juggling hammy monster awesomeness and real emotion with ghoulish grace. Take a bow, Mr. Englund!

2.) Doc Halloran in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Unfortunately, we don’t get to see that much of this “Ahab” (the heroic nemesis of the slasher) in this awesome horror-comedy mockumentary, but what we do see is freakin’ magic! Essentially, Doc Halloran (named after Dick Hallorann from The Shining) is Robert Englund playing Dr. Loomis from Halloween,,, and that’s as cool as it gets! He may not be in it for long, but it’s great to see Robert Englund play a hero for once.

3.) The Riddler in The Batman (2004)

Riddle me this: what happens when Freddy Krueger and Marilyn Manson have a son together? This version of The Riddler from The Batman, of corpse! While this animated series was nowhere near The Animated Series, it still had its fair share Bat-Awesome, including Mr. Englund’s creepy take on The Riddler. Talk about a Questionable character!

4.) Bill Gartley in The Mangler (1995)

The Mangler is perhaps the finest film about a demonic industry laundry press that folds people to death. Stephen King, Tobe Hooper, and our boy Robert join forces to create a pretty bonkers movie about the evils of Capitalism! Caked in old-age make-up, Mr. Englund is deliciously evil, but I suppose that a man who owns a machine called “The Mangler” has to be.  You gotta know when to fold ’em!

5.) Prof. William Wexler in Urban Legend (1998)

Last but not BEAST is the mysterious Prof. WeXXXler, my personal favorite! Okay, so it’s not a flashy part, but I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE me some Urban Legend! Robert Englund may just be a red herring (or is he…? ;))  but he rocks every bit of it! Props, Prof!

Happy Birthday, Birthday Twin!! 😉 xoxo

PS- It’s also Danny Strong’s birthday. Yay! 🙂

Comic Book Review- Gotham City Sirens: Union

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Superest of Sirs! 😉 xoxo)

“Hang out with the bad girls of Gotham City! Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are tired of playing by other people’s rules–regardless of which side of the law they’re on. These tough ladies have a new agenda all their own, and they’ll use any means necessary to pursue it. But can they get along and work as a team? And who will get hurt along the way?” (DC Entertainment)

I knew this group was a thing, mainly due to their interactions in Batman: The Animated series and later additional animated shorts. Somehow I missed out on the debut of this book in 2009 and in all honesty, I’m slightly ashamed by that fact. However, the three characters in this book are my favourite female characters in the DCU, along with Wonder Woman of course. Since the announcement of the Gotham City Sirens film, I’ve been looking for anything I could get my hands on regarding these three characters, eventually stumbling on this book. The first six issues chronicle the formation of the Gotham City Sirens. This book is definitely in continuity with DC books at the time. If you were keeping up with DC at the time, it will enrich your reading experience of this book. If you weren’t, enough general information is given so you won’t be lost. What you need to know is as follows; Batman is presumed dead by his allies, but is really lost in time. As a result, Dick Grayson has taken up the cape and cowl of his mentor. Meanwhile, the villainous Hush has had facial reconstruction surgery and is know the spitting image of Bruce Wayne. Armed with intimate details of his former friend, he intends to tear Bruce’s name and life apart from the inside out. The Riddler has apparently shunned his criminal ways, with Edward Nygma serving as a private investigator. The Joker, Batman’s arch nemesis is nowhere to be found. The book picks up with Catwoman returning to Gotham after the near death experience of having her heart ripped out by Hush, who as I mentioned, is posing as Bruce Wayne. Catwoman’s life was saved by Zatanna and some serious magic trickery. Catwoman still isn’t feeling right and when she is nearly defeated by a C list thug trying to make a name for himself, Poison Ivy comes to her rescue. She then takes Catwoman back to see Harley, who has been staying with Ivy ever since her breakup with the Joker, followed by his disappearance. When Catwoman realizes that Ivy and Harley have commandeered Riddler’s apartment, she finds he’s hopelessly in love and trapped under Ivy’s spell. Catwoman admonishes them, and question what they did with the cut of the money she gave them after the original Hush storyline. Naturally, Poison Ivy donated her portion of the money to the Costa Rican Rainforest Fund. Harley Quinn meanwhile has frivolously spent her money on shopping sprees and got scammed into sending her cut of the money to a Nigerian Prince. When Catwoman realizes that her fellow criminals, as well as herself are somewhat lost and adrift, she proposes that they not only join forces as a team, but also live together in the abandoned dog and cat shelter Catwoman is having retrofitted as a home. They agree and the Gotham City Sirens are born.

Paul Dini is a master at handling these characters. While we know both Catwoman and Poison Ivy to be dominant, fierce, and seductively in charge women, Dini reminds us that these villainesses have a heart and motherly instinct about them. I love the idea that despite their different views and methods, there is a solidarity in place between them and they look out for each other. At different times, each character becomes the “mother” of the other. This makes sense, given Catwoman’s nurturing nature towards cats, as well as Holly Robinson. Then you have Poison Ivy who considers all pant life her children. In the larger team dynamic, both Catwoman and Ivy are motherly figures to the naïve, childlike innocence that is Harley Quinn. Yes, I say that knowing that Harley is full on bat-shit crazy. Everything is not all copasetic between our new trifecta at first, as Harley and Ivy subdue Catwoman and use one of Ivy’s potions to discern the identity of Batman. This plot point serves as a great reminder that while theses 3 are friends, they’re still supervillains, and would turn on each other if they felt it absolutely necessary. Through flashbacks, Paul Dini crafts an interesting loophole as to how Catwoman is able to resist revealing Bruce Wayne to be Batman. Years earlier, Catwoman visited Talia al Ghul, who used Yoga and mystical potion of some sort to create a scenario in Selina’s head, that over the years several men have been Batman. These men included Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent and Jim Gordon. Selina believed this tale so vividly, that even Ivy’s elixir couldn’t detect it as a lie. To my knowledge, this story point is new to this story, yet Paul Dini works it in seamlessly, having me believing it actually happened in a previous story I read. It didn’t, I checked.

The predominant action beats of the story focus on Harley Quinn, with fake Bruce Wayne aka Hush out to kill her. Actually, he wants to kill all three of the Gotham City Sirens for ultimately turning on him and double crossing him during the original Hush story, he’s just chosen to start with Harley so he can gain info on the other Gotham City Sirens and draw them out into the open. Harley saves “Bruce Wayne” from being mugged and in return, he takes her for a night on the town. What Hush intends to actually do, is find out the whereabouts of Poison Ivy and Catwoman and then kill her. As crazy and as tough as Harley Quinn is, it’s incredible how easily she falls for the suave playboy act and how needy she gets when a man shows her attention. We’ve known this about the character but I think the impact of this mentality is lessened in the animated series. Keep in mind, I read the six issues in succession, so Harley Quinn’s naïve more submissive demeanour towards men comes off stronger in this book. Catwoman and Poison Ivy arrive just in time to save Harley. While Poison Ivy tends to Harley. Catwoman contains Bruce Wayne/Hush. In their brief interaction, you could feel Catwoman’s contempt and hatred for Hush. The beauty of this moment is she wants to kill him, but the world doesn’t know he’s Hush. They think he is Bruce Wayne, so she has no choice but to let him go, and that drives her insane. That isn’t the end of trouble for the Gotham City Sirens because The Joker comes crashing through the Sirens new home with his Joker mobile. He berates Harley, blames her for making him go soft, and vows to kill her. I see a lot of people on Social media claim the Harley and the Joker pairing as relationship goals, but this segment of the book, reminds readers, why this relationship is not the standard to strive for. The Joker took a strong, independent psychiatrist, and mentally broker her, turning her into a naïve childlike woman, submissive and dependant on a lunatic, while being partly crazy herself. Remember, this is coming from a guy who loves the character of Harley Quinn.

When the Sirens regain consciousness and dig themselves out of the rubble that remains of their new home, they convince Harley to lead them to one of the Joker’s main hideouts. She takes them to an abandoned ware house, where the Joker is waiting for them. He sets a trap detaining the other girls, while separating himself and Harley. As he has her tied up and is doing a grandstanding monologue prior to finishing her off, the biggest twist of the book occurs. Harley Quinn is not being targeted by the Joker, but rather his former sidekick Gagswoth A. Gagsworthy. He harbours resentment towards Harley because as previously stated, she changed the Joker, who tossed him aside in favour of her. The thing about the Joker bait and switch, is I didn’t see it coming. The banter between Harley and Joker felt so authentic to the crazy couple, that I didn’t even consider a possible fake out. Since Paul Dini is the co-creator of this relationship [, the fact that he was able to misdirect me so flawlessly, should come as no shock. This plot point gave us two sets of flashbacks involving The Joker. The first focused on his time with Gagsworth by his side. These pages featured a more flamboyant over the top Joker. In the flashbacks with Harley, we see a more violent, sardonic Joker. I love that it was something so simple that set him off. One night, after’s Harley insisted on going in a joy ride in the Joker mobile, a bunch of street hoods make fun of the Joker and his car. He shoots them, and from that point on, vows to put all his flamboyant over the top gimmicks and weaponry in storage, never to be used again. That something so minor such as name calling could drive The Joker over the edge, not only to shoot someone, but to go down an even darker and psychotic path, shows how off his rocker the Joker must be right from the get go. All it takes is a little push. The Gotham City Sirens escape Gagsworth, and the book ends with Harley swearing off The Joker forever, before ultimately changing her mind because Gagsworth wasn’t the real Mr. J. Catwoman and Poison Ivy roll their eyes at Harley’s comments, as they drive away to their next adventure.

Guillem March is the artist of this first story. Since this book, he’s continued to get work in the Batman corner of the universe. So the folks over at DC Entertainment clearly like what he brought to the table on this book! Rightfully so, as his work on this book is fantastic. His art showcases a lot of range. His covers evoke a pinup style of photography, and it is reminiscent of the current DC Bombshells book that is available monthly. The scenes with Catwoman/Talia and Batman/Riddler have an earthier gritty feel about them. The Harley Quinn pages are very bubbly and just pop with imagery and color. They kind of remind me of Katy Perry’s video California Girls! Sadly cupcake covered boobs didn’t make an appearance. The flashback Joker sequences were especially good. The flashbacks of Joker and Gagsworth in battle against Batman and Robin looked like elaborate story boards for the Adam West Batman show. Everything from costumes, to look of the characters, over the top giant props and color pallet was on point with the show. The one where Joker gives up on the gags and kills those thugs gets a much darker tint and color palette. Even the line work looks to be pointier. I see a lot of the Killing Joke homage happening here. Two of my favourite images in the book are the Joker mobile crashing through the window of the abandoned animal shelter, and Ivy manipulating a cactus to grow large enough to shield them and the remainder of the shelter from further attacks by the Joker. That second image reminded me so much of the scene in Guardians of the Galaxy when Groot grows large, acting as a shield to protect his team,

This was a great start to open this book. Since this first story arc focused on Harley Quinn, while the other two played supporting roles, I hope future arcs will each focus on Catwoman and Poison Ivy respectively. Judging by this initial story, it’s a shame this book only lasted 3 years. However, it means that I still have 2 and a half years of story to read and review. Hopefully, the immense popularity of Harley Quinn and the forthcoming Gotham City Sirens movie will lead to a relaunch of this title!