dc comics reviews

WONDER WOMAN: MORE THAN WONDERFUL

Ever since the first trailer came out, I could not stop waiting for this movie. Finally, on June 1st, it arrived in cinemas.

And even without a night of sleep, I pulled my closest friends to the theater to go see it. What I found? A movie that did not disappoint. Most people always disagree with me when I say I am a DC fan. Seriously? Why do they always have to compare to Marvel? Can’t we all just appreciate the superhero movies equally?

 With that being said, let’s take a look at everything I loved about Wonder Woman.

*Warning: Spoilers ahead. *

1. LITTLE DIANA

Bless this beautiful, beautiful child. She did a great job of playing a young Diana. I think the audience gave a collective, “Awww” when she appeared. With her doing cute little kicks and punches, it just added to the overall cuteness. But then she gives you this smirk and you know that the Princess of the Amazons is also a stubborn, sassy little girl who knows what she wants and goes after it.

2. EPIC FIGHT SCENES

The trailer alone showed some great potential in the fight department, but actually seeing everything on the big screen gives you this whole new feeling! It’s the “holy-shit- I- can’t- breathe” feeling. The kind where you stare with eyes wide open because you’re afraid that if you blink, you’re gonna miss something cool. The first few minutes of the movie, with the amazon warriors fighting off Germans on the shores of Themyscira (thank you, Steve) was amazing! We also see Queen Hippolyta and Antiope in action. (side note: my fave part would have to be her jumping onto a make shift shield that Steve grabbed and killing a sniper, taking down the whole top of the church doing so).

Bruce got nothing on that lasso.

3. Steve Trevor

I love Chris Pine. I have loved him ever since he came out in “Princess Diaries 2” and “Just My Luck”, when I was still a teenager in high school. And then he went and became Captain Kirk in Star Trek, and my fangirl heart could not help but love him more. Now, he has proven again how great he is by playing the charming, fearless, and disobedient Captain Steve Trevor. 

I’m so glad he chose to do this over Green Lantern! He was great when they were using the Lasso of Truth on him, but the funniest part for me was when Diana dropped by while he was taking a bath.

Diana: Are you a prime example of the average man? (or something like that)

Steve: No, I’m above average.

4. Gal Gadot

Unlike most people, I had nothing against Gal (or her allegedly small boobs *insert snort*) when she was first cast as Wonder Woman. Honestly, I was more concerned with how the story would go, but damn. She proved everyone wrong. She played the role perfectly. Perfectly. I am not joking. I cannot imagine anyone else who would’ve done a spectacular job as her. (And take note, she was pregnant whilst shooting this).

She could be fierce, emotional, humorous. She lighted up the screen, man. Figuratively and literally. And yes, she rocked that costume! Ugh that costume! At first, I was skeptical. After all, I am a big fun of the comics, and I sometimes hate it when they change these iconic things about characters (e.g. Barry Allen not being blonde in the TV series or the movie). But I came to love it. It showed more of her Amazonian roots than her iconic outfit in the animated series before.

5. No Man’s Land

This was the best scene/ segment of the movie for me. I had goosebumps watching her climb up to No Man’s Land. Add that to the fact that Steve tells her the soldiers have been there for nearly a year and haven’t gain an inch, yet she just strolls up there like is a fcking field of lilies and is dodging bullets better than The Matrix. My heart. My fangirl heart.

 Everything about it was so right. You have these bleak, grey landscape and yet Wonder Woman is wearing such vibrant colors. Then there are these slow- motion sequence where she’s blocking the bullets like some sort of freaking Jedi. And her shield seems to like glow while she’s getting hit with a machine gun and and and she’s dodging those bombs like they’re nothing. Nothingggggg. Then everyone else follows her and charges at the enemies. And I’m just sitting there like:

Up to now, my feels are still overwhelming. The story was great, the cast was great AND THE DIRECTOR, PATTY JENKINS. YOU ARE A BLESSING FROM GOD. I cannot wait for the Justice League movie. DC got this right, and hopefully, they keep getting it right.

Flashpoint

Una gran historia la que cuenta este comic. Vemos a un Barry Allen ya adulto pero aun así haría cualquier cosa (en serio, cualquier cosa) para regresar a la vida que tenía antes. Cualquiera disfrutaría esta historia, incluso si no estas familiarizad@ con los personajes de DC. En realidad, yo no estoy tan familiarizada con ellos y me encontré llorando con las últimas páginas.


A great story is in this comic. We see an adult Barry Allen but still do anything (really, anything) to regain the life he had before. Anyone would enjoy this story, even if you are not familiar with the DC characters. Actually, i’m not so familiar with them and still found myself crying with the last few pages.

5

So Today I Watched… Wonder Woman // Warner Bros (2017)

And so it is. The day has finally come. Before making the mistake of saying “The first ever Woman led Super-hero film” let’s remind ourselves for a minute that before this release we had over the past 25 years Supergirl, Tank Girl, Barb Wire, Catwoman and Elektra. No, Wonder Woman is not the first effort by a studio to have a leading superhero female character. BUT it’s the first one they finally get right. This movie it’s a letter of love to the character, one that Gal Gadot carries on with tenderness, strength, innocence and purity. I swear to God.  The best part of this film is this woman’s acting. She embodies all the traits of Diana of Temyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. A child born from clay, and given life by the grace of Zeus to make the world a safer place.  She doesn’t know about her destiny and she’s refused to be told so by her mother who cares for her more than she should. Diana’s stubbornness and eagerness to learn make her the Amazon’s fiercest warrior until one day she meets Steve Trevor, a British spy on a mission to uncover a ploy by the Germans in WWI to strike the allies with toxic gas.

Diana’s first knowledge of the world of men by the words of Steve wakes her  warrior spirit but despise being a very wise woman in the ways of the Amazon she knows nothing of the world of man. Once she’s out of Temyscira she has to face the nuisances of the world in London on the year of 1918. From here on it’s an amazing experience to see this warrior woman who sees the world on terms of right and wrong, learn about compromise, patience, love, hypocrisy, the measure of principles, the way the world works and how this affect in the outcome of the conflict she faces. Every relationship Diana builds in the film reveals a new facet of the character; she truly is an ambassador for humanity, caring for everyone. As every origin story, this movie has “The hero’s realization” scene (the moment when the hero knows he has to step up and make a stand to prove his/her worth) and while we have seen this played out a thousand times over in a lot of super hero films over the past 12 years Diana’s realization is pure gold and a one the best moments to watch in the film despise being blown over in the trailers already. Diana is not an infallible hero she’s learning as she goes and as such she makes mistakes. Some of them cost her dearly. Some of them haunt her to this day and that’s why she put on the mantle again in Batman V Superman.

The movie did not receive the hype BvS had with a 3 years in the making process and that’s a good thing. This is a very solid film. One of the best origin stories ever told. Patty Jenkins outdid herself with this movie. The aesthetics are great and they suit the period the film is being set in. The music while not the most memorable makes good companionship to the drama unfolding over the 2 hours of story. Every actor is efficient on their contributions. You’ll get humor. You’ll get sadness. You’ll get moments of reflection. You’ll get empowerment. You’ll get action. But above all and everything else… We, the fans, finally have a Wonder Woman feature film and it’s an awesome one. If you are one of the few who haven’t watched it yet go and buy a ticket. You are in for a ride.

My Faith in the DC Cinematic Universe has been restored to a 100%.

ew.com
'Wonder Woman' Is the Best-Reviewed DC Movie Since 'Dark Knight'
Diana’s big-screen debut boasts the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating ever for a DC or MCU film

UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, Wonder Woman‘s Rotten Tomatoes rating has climbed to 97 percent, with 73 reviews counted, tying it with The Incredibles for the best-reviewed superhero movie ever. Great Hera, indeed.

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Here’s my review or something of the latest movie in the DC universe, Wonder Woman! It’s by far the best one they have put out by far, putting the previous films to shame. Wonder Woman reminded me a lot of Captain America: The First Avenger, not that it’s a bad thing, because I love that movie.

REBLOGS are appreciated!

Why “Boyscout” Characters are Underrated

In any given narrative in any genre, be it film, novels, comic books, video games, cartoons or stage plays, having a likable main character is important. Very important. One could argue it is the most essential part of the puzzle of storytelling in fact. After all, a story is all about following the adventure(s) of a person or collection of people who go through trials and conflicts and drama to fulfill a goal. Whether it’s a wannabe superstar tenaciously working towards glory or a strong man in tights seeking justice and apprehending criminals, we’re going to be sticking with this character for a while, so by all means the last thing you want is to make your character somebody who the audience is uninterested in or, even worse, neglectful to follow. 

But that said, opinions on what makes a strong lead can very among different audience members. It’s only natural; all art is subjective and has an appeal not everybody will appreciate. But sometimes certain tastes can trend; and that taste comes with a bitterness to it’s alternative. In this case I’m talking about the hardening and darkening of heroes, the promotion of moral ambiguity … and the mocking of “boyscout” characters. Characters often criticized for being too unrealistically moral and upstanding, “perfect” is the word often used. Superman is the prime example of this: for years people have been calling him boring because he’s so impossibly powerful he can resolve any situation and he’s so morally upright that his conflicts with bad guys become rinse and repeat. Even with the character gaining significantly more depth over the years the sentiment has been the same; Superman is just too good and powerful to be interesting. The same has been applied to other heroes, albeit to a lesser extent, such as Wonder Woman, Shazam and Captain America. Meanwhile, those characters more favored by a larger audience are more flawed individuals; people who make mistakes, whose acts of selfishness have consequences, whose good nature is often challenged and will go to a farther extent at apprehending criminals then boyscouts, perhaps even going as far as killing. Batman, Wolverine, Spawn and Lobo all have these reputations. The “Badass” of the crew is always the top seller: because it’s not enough for a reader to be morally upright and just. They also have to be badass and edgy.

Originally posted by vikaq

Now I didn’t type up this long winded article to bash anybody for liking brooding gritty characters. Far from it; I understand the appeal of them perfectly well and am also a fan of these characters. It’s not a bad thing to have leads who feel broken from loss and torment, and thus distance themselves from others and have a hard time trusting people, putting up a tough guy attitude to hide the fact that they are actually quite sensitive. This is a very real thing that many people in the modern world feel. Plus zealousness and confidence along with the capacity to back up such bravado is very endearing. If anybody is proof of that fact it’s the late Muhammad Ali.

But the question I want to ask is; are these characters naturally superior in likability to boyscouts? Are non problematic, morally upright people in fiction just not interesting? Again, this stuff is subjective, but if more people gravitate towards the gritty brooding Batman then the sunny, happy go lucky Superman, so much so that DC has been essentially making Superman out to be a tortured alien soul, then does this give us a window into what it means to be an objectively likable character?

My answer is: Not really.

Think what you will about Superman, but consider how long he’s been around and how much he has shaped our culture. The character has been around for over 80 years now, and he’s gone through many changes and adaptations to be sure (most comic book characters go through the same process) but his core elements and ideas have remained in tact and, to be honest, his franchise has told some of the finest stories of the 20th century. He’s still the highest selling comic book superhero franchise of all time. I think it’s safe to say there is something about this boyscout that sticks.

Originally posted by giphy

So in defense of these boyscout characters who I have an admitted fondness for, I will be pointing out the main criticisms against these characters and giving a retort against each.


1: Morally perfect characters aren’t interesting. 

 I disagree. Often times this criticism comes from a misunderstanding of what a “morally perfect” characters conflict really is, because it isn’t as simple and clear cut as “will this guy defeat this guy?”. Superman often comes under criticism for resolving his situations and defeating his bad guys way too easily, and as a result bad guys always resort to either repetitive weaknesses or are absurdly powerful themselves to even compete. But here’s the thing about Superman: It’s not about whether he’ll win or lose. It’s about whether he’ll do the right thing. He’s already proven time and time again that he’s the most powerful character in all of comics, possibly in all of fiction. His dilemma is whether or not he’s managing those powers responsibly, and whether he still belongs to the human race in spite of those powers. He may be on the level of a God, but he’s still a Cansas born farmboy raised by Christian locals, works on a reporters salary, is in love with his attractive female co worker and has an affinity for beef bourguignon. That sure as hell sounds a lot more relatable then a boy born into wealth and fortune, most likely went into private school, who traveled the world to study under the greatest masters of martial arts on earth after his parents were suddenly murdered, but that’s just me ;). Captain America’s conflict is also commonly misunderstood. He’s all about being a fish out of water who has to do his best to do the right thing in a world where other heroes such as Iron Man represent the modern age far better then he does. Superman and Cap are quite similar because they hold onto traditional values and morality. Make no mistake, traditional =/= perfect. Both of their ethics have been challenged and shaken time and time again in comics.

Originally posted by mithborien

2: Boyscouts aren’t relatable.

 So let me get this straight: You DON’T relate to trying to be a good person as often as possible? You DON’T relate to just wanting what’s best for yourself and people around you? You DON’T relate to seeking justice and hope and love? Maybe not everyone does; again, subjectivity is a real thing. But just because you may not aspire to higher ideals doesn’t mean nobody does. If nobody ever did I don’t think superheroes would even be a thing.

But that said, relatability isn’t objectively necessary for a main lead to have anyway. Don’t get me wrong; it’s always a nice and welcome touch. Depth is NEVER a bad thing. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the thing that drives the story nor does it have to be the thing that defines what makes the character so likable. What’s more important then a character being relatable .  . .is a character being motivated. For evidence of this claim, look no further then some of the most popular VILLAINS around in pop culture. Relatable villains can occur and get popular, certainly, but more often then not the villains that become the most romanticized and trend the most are villains who are so malicious, so intent with their evil, so driven to make everything around them miserable that you can’t help but get involved with the chaos they’re bringing. Perfect example: The Joker. EVERYONE loves the joker, but I sincerely doubt anybody would say they relate to him. Moreover I think people are just invested because HE’S invested, and we’re interested to see just how far he’ll go to carry out his goal …whatever the hell it is.

Originally posted by vikaq

Heroes can work in very much the same way. How far will they go to seek out justice? What are disciplines they set for themselves? How committed are they to their cause? Will they ever break their code, and if so, can they be redeemed? I don’t buy the idea that good people don’t invite conflict because doing good even when it’s hard and having restraint even when people disagree with you is a conflict in and of itself.

3: Good guys don’t lend themselves to conflict.

 Allow me to repeat what I just said: Doing good even when it’s hard and having restraint even when people disagree with you is a conflict in and of itself. You don’t have to be flawed to invite conflict: matter of fact, heroes are literally DEFINED by their desire to seek out conflict because they would not be heroes if they remained indifferent to tragedy and crime. I know what you’re thinking: “What people mean when they say this is INTERNAL conflict”. People are interested by tortured souls who all too often do morally ambiguous things. Again, I understand the appeal of that, but on the other hand, if you aren’t convinced that people wouldn’t want to enact good in the world unless they learn first hand the consequences of evil when it strikes them, then I’m sorry, that’s a very cynical perception of reality. Wanting to do good can be propelled by wanting to SEE good in the world, and not wanting your powers or whatever it is you do to fight crime to not go to waste. Characters do not have to be defined by tragedy to be compelling: they can be defined by how they define themselves. What disciplines they set for themselves, what their code of honor is and how it conflicts with others. Personally I think it’d be really refreshing to see a character who didn’t learn the hard way that crime sucks and that’s what convinces them to take responsibility for once, because that’s just really selfish when you think about it. You don’t give a shit about what goes wrong in the world unless it effects you. I can’t assert this enough: I understand that writing characters in such a way can instill more drama, but I disagree that they have to be written in such a way every time.

4: Dark and gritty is more realistic.

No, it’s not. dark and gritty =/= more realistic. Matter of fact it’s just as much a fantasy as a light and upbeat world. Goodness and kindness is just as  much a part of life as cruelty and sadness. It is not “realistic” to highlight either extreme. It shouldn’t be necessary for entertainment to be “realistic” anyway. If you wanted realism you wouldn’t devolve into fantasy; you’d just go outside. Fantasy is about escaping realism and fulfilling a need to feel certain emotions by indulging in a particular genre. Every genre is valid for that reason. We watch comedies to laugh. tragedies to cry, romances to gush and horrors to scream. If you like your dark and grittiness more then other themes then by all means go for it; but it’s unfair to say lightheartedness and peppiness is any less valid of fantasy fulfillment, especially under the fallacy that it’s “less realistic”.

Conclusion:

So I’m hoping this article broadened the readers horizons a bit about what  it means to be an interesting character, and in particular I’m hoping they’ll be more open minded about “boyscouts” and “goody-two-shoes”. A good character is not always defined by tragedy and is not always defined by things they can’t control. A good character is defined by what motivates them, what actions they take, what disciplines they hold for themselves and what they do with their capacity for either good or evil. A likable character is one clearly defined and adds to the stakes, and in that regard good guys are no less valid.

Superman (1978)

This film was both a masterpiece and a trainwreck. There were elements to it that were incredibly brilliant, while others were completely moronic. The movie was filled with plot holes and logical inconsistencies. Many things were not well explained and made little sense. Lex Luthor’s logic that Kryptonite would be a weakness for Superman was such an enormous, baseless leap that it could have come from a Dan Brown novel. The worst part was the climactic scene where Lois Lane dies in the earthquakes caused by Luthor’s missile strike. Superman is so distraught that he flies into space and circles the Earth so fast that it reverses direction and, somehow, reverses time itself. As if the inevitable forward march of time is determined only by the rotation of one insignificant planet in what is already established to be a vast and well-populated universe. That alone makes absolutely no sense, but what was worse was that he only reversed time just enough to save Lois, but not enough to stop the attack in the first place, proving Superman only cares about Lois and not at all about the countless other people who must have died.

Lois herself was another major flaw in this film, though she was played well by Margot Kidder, the characterization of her was terrible. Ordinarily, it would bother me that the main female character serves as nothing more than a damsel in distress, but I recognize that it is important to the Superman mythos that he must routinely rescue Lois. What was wrong about it, though, was the way in which she manages to get herself in trouble. My favorite version of Superman and Lois Lane come from the 1996 Superman the Animated Series. In that series, Lois does regularly need to be rescued, but only because she is a great reporter who, like all good reporters, takes huge risks in order to get at an important story. She is bold, daring, and fearless, and that gets her in trouble, which is when Superman comes in for the rescue. Needing to be saved isn’t her weakness, it’s her strength. This is not the case in the 1978 movie. In the film, Lois is a tragic case of unfulfilled potential. Early on, when she is first introduced to the new reporter, Clark Kent, the two are walking down the street and they get mugged. Instead of handing over her purse, Lois attacks the mugger, causing him to shoot his gun and run off. Clark was able to catch the bullet, but not the bad guy. Provoking the mugger was stupid and reckless, but it was bold, and during the entire situation, Lois stayed calm, collected, and strong. Those traits do not survive the movie. Afterwards, whenever she gets into trouble, it’s either by coincidence or her own stupidity, but not because of any bold or strong action she’s taken, and instead of fighting to help herself, she just sits and screams until Superman saves her. She also turns into a vapid, lovesick child whenever she’s in Superman’s presence, totally losing any semblance of strength of character she had left. When Superman takes her flying through the city, her bizarre, out-of-place internal monologue sounds like the musings from a 13-year-old girl’s diary, not a grown woman.

Jimmy Olsen was another case of wasted potential. In the comics and the show, Jimmy is young, naïve, and inexperienced, but he is also intrepid and clever, and important to Superman as a character because Jimmy keeps him grounded in humanity. In the movie, though, Jimmy has maybe two minutes of screen time, if that, and he serves no purpose in the story. Superman occasionally comments on how much he likes Jimmy, but nothing on-screen holds that up. Jimmy is so insignificant in this film that he may as well not been in it at all.

With all that said, there was a lot this film did very well. The first thing that strikes you about this movie was the score. Of course, you can’t watch a film scored by John Williams without mentioning the music. John Williams knocks it out of the park every single time, and Superman was no exception. The main theme pulls you in right from the start. It’s powerful, heroic, and dramatic. It has the perfect feel of hope and righteousness that every good Superman story needs. Throughout the entire film, the music enhanced the good scenes and redeemed the bad ones. John Williams can take a mediocre movie and make it great just from the power of music.

Also worth noting was the performance of Christopher Reeve. He played Superman the way he was always meant to be played. Many people have commented on how Clark Kent maintains a secret identity with nothing more than a pair of glasses, but it has been established in the comics that he does so much more than that. He changes the way he speaks, the way he holds his body, the way he walks. Clark uses his physical presentation to change the way he appears to other people, even without a mask, and Christopher Reeve does this perfectly. When he is Clark, he stutters and stammers, he slouches and slumps. He is clumsy, awkward, and unassuming. Despite being tall and muscled, he almost disappears into the background. He is nonthreatening, unimposing, and unmemorable. As Superman, he stands tall, he talks clearly, and he dominates any space he’s in. He holds himself with righteous confidence without being arrogant, and he really does become the paragon of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Without knowing ahead of time, you’d never know they were the same person. 

This film also had a number of other details that really made it great. The art direction and special effects were astounding, especially for the pre-digital era. Superman’s flight scenes were both innovative and effective. The film made great use of miniatures and matte paintings, which should be used more often today. My favorite detail was that every scene Lex Luthor appeared in, he was wearing a different wig. The early scenes on Krypton with Marlon Brando as Jor-El were like a great short sci-fi movie on its own, with great effects and a compelling story. Superman had many issues that kept it from being perfect, and it was goofy and ridiculous at times, but at other times it was masterful. It was the first big-budget feature superhero film, and it created an entire genre that we are still enjoying today, so it deserves a great deal of credit for that. It did something totally new, and despite its flaws, it did it well.

Robbie D.
The Directionless Director 

Throwback Thursday Movie Review

Batman & Robin

I remember when I first saw Batman & Robin, it was opening night back in June of 1997, the theater was pack and the crowd was really in to it. I don’t think I fully realized back then how terrible this film really was.

I’m trying really hard to think of anything good to say about the movie and I’m currently drawing a blank. So let’s quickly list all the things that sucked about this fiasco. First of all there’s George Clooney … I understand Warner Bros. wanted a popular Hollywood star that would appeal to the women and make a rico suave (see 90′s urban dictionary) Bruce Wayne, but here’s the problem … he sucked as Batman. No raspy voice, and more importantly no toughness or physical presence. It didn’t help that his costume’s muscle structure was lacking next to his young ward Dick Grayson, aka Robin (see photo below). Did the costume designers even notice the major faux pas? I guess they were too busy perfecting the Bat-nipples to notice. I mean, Robin looks like he could kick Batman’s butt. On the plus side of the wardrobe, Batgirl’s outfit was pleasing to look at. 

Speaking of Batgirl/Barbra Wilson??? Alicia Silverstone, who was another hot actress at the time, was flat out awful as Batgirl. A poorly written script was the main downfall with both of the main female roles. Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy was equally hard to digest. And what’s the deal Uma? You get paid millions to be in a huge budgeted film and you can’t dye your hair red? That’s fine Ms Thurman, just put on that ridiculous looking wig. SMH 

Let’s move on to the fact there were too many characters or as they say, too many chefs in the kitchen. Batman and Robin okay, Mr. Freeze alright, Poison Ivy hmmm, Batgirl maybe … Bane? (record scratches abruptly) Hold it! So, much for the more the merrier.

I can remember being so pumped when Arnold Schwarzenegger was announced as the main villain for Batman and Robin. Let’s face it … this was the Terminator!  Unfortunately after two hours of hearing him deliver cheesy one-liners in a futuristic looking garbage can, I was left shaking my head in disappointment.  Ummm, and why was Bane in this? Do I go on? I could.

Horrible Batman ✅

Too many characters ✅

Wait! What’s Robin driving? 

Poor script (and props) ✅ 

Ridiculous costumes! ✅

The few things I can say positively about this film: 

🔴  Chris O'Donnell did another fine job as Dick Grayson/Robin, and the inclusion of Michael Gough and Pat Hingle were nice. 

🔴  Elliot Goldenthal’s score was enjoyable. 

🔴  The surreal shots  of Gotham City were nice. 

🔴   In a weird way, this piece of garbage helped bring Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy into fruition.

FINAL GRADE   D+

(I couldn’t bring myself to give this an F, because Joel Schumacher has apologized for this mess of a film and it did make the TDK Trilogy possible.)

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Whoa! It’s a review or something of The Lego Batman Movie! If you’ve been following my channel for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the original Lego Movie, so you know I was excited for this. The Lego Batman Movie was incredibly hilarious and a lot of fun. I highly recommend seeing it.

REBLOGS are appreciated!

The Lego Batman Movie Review

Just saw the Lego Batman Movie, and it was surprisingly very good! It was much better than I was expecting, and was even a lot better than The Lego Movie.

This movie is more than just a cash grab movie based on a famous toy line and DC Superhero. This movie is more than just a parody of Batman, it has a surprisingly well made plot, and a lot of fun surprises throughout. There are a lot of fun jabs at nearly anything Batman and DC Comics related. There’s also surprise appearances from other villains from non DC related franchises. This had more crossover material than the original Lego Movie even, which is quite shocking, since you’d think this would’ve only focused Lego versions of Batman characters, with a few DC Hero cameos thrown in.

The action, and humor in this was fantastic. The climax of the movie was both exciting, and surprisingly emotional, I heard a few people crying a few seats behind me. This movie not only had a lot of great references to previous Batman portrayals from over 90 years of DC comic history, but it also offered a lot of new stuff that no Batman portrayal has ever really tackled well before. Even Batman in this movie had a lot of depth, and character development throughout the film, there were even times where I felt so sorry for him in this movie, there was a lot of emotion put into this.


The voice acting was great as well, like Will Arnett as Batman, Michael Cera as Robin, Zach Galifianakis as Joker, and Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Bat Girl. The humor was so funny as well, right from the beginning, we hear Batman side commenting on the cliche of opening logos and movie intros. The movie even went as far as admitting last year’s Batman VS Superman, and Suicide Squad were big disappointments. It’s so ironic how a film called The Lego Batman Movie ended up being a lot better than DC’s 2 big hitters from last year, and it didn’t get as much promotion as those 2 critical disappointments.


The audience was laughing throughout the film, I heard more laughs coming from teens and adults, than the actual little kids who dragged their parents into seeing it. The movie was definitely the funniest super hero related film I’ve ever seen. One part that cracked the whole theater up, was when Robin meets Bruce Wayne, and he’s just thrilled to meet Bruce. He mentions how his name is Richard, but everyone at the Orphanage calls him Dick. Bruce then says “Yes, kids can call people very cruel names…”


So yeah, The Lego Batman Movie was surprisingly a very fun movie to watch, and was worth watching in theaters. If anyone saw the Lego Movie, but didn’t like it, I encourage you to still give this one a chance, it is a lot better, funnier, more action packed, and even more heart warming than The Lego Movie.

SCOOBY APOCALYPSE - A REVIEW OF YEAR ONE

The iconic group of teen sleuths and their talking, hungry dog has resonated with many, young and old throughout the years. Scooby-Doo has always been a favorite and has generally been geared towards younger viewers (despite the trekking new waters of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated). But nothing quite as unique or dark has ever been released like Scooby Apocalypse, the DC comic book series that was launched in May 2016. It has been almost a year since its initial release and the twelve issues that fans have had the opportunity to read so far have told a story unlike any Scooby-Doo story told before. Since its birthday is coming up on May 25th, I thought it was time to really look at the series overall and analyze its successes, faults, and other curious qualities.

Before I begin delving into Scooby Apocalypse’s contents, lets first make sure we know the basics of what the story is about. The name really says it all. Scooby-Doo and the four teenaged sleuths are now given a modern, darker, and more grown-up perspective in a post-apocalyptic setting. A nanite-technological virus goes haywire and transforms the entire world population into homicidal, malevolent, and truly frightening monsters. The gang must band together to find out what has happened to the world while simultaneously fighting to survive in a world where everyone is literally out to get them.

Understand that this review will contain many SPOILERS for Issues #1-12 so if you intend on reading the series at some point and don’t want it spoiled for you, you may want to skip reading this.

STORY

First allow me to address the story’s progress over twelve issues: it hasn’t gone too far. Scooby Apocalypse, while presenting a unique perspective on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon, is a very slow-moving story despite the plot. It really isn’t clear how much time has passed between Issue #1 and Issue #12 but it could be estimated to be about a month. Over the course of this month, Scooby and the gang have managed to travel from a Nevada desert to Seattle, Washington.

For a group that is supposed to be based on teenaged mystery-solvers, the 2016 post-apocalyptic Mystery Inc. is not very good at solving mysteries at all (despite this portrayal of Velma being a genius with seven doctorate degrees under her belt). So far, all that we’ve really been able to decipher from the mystery is that an elusive technology-development organization called the Complex has, with the direction of the Dinkley family, spread nanite technology worldwide in order to improve the human condition. But things go awry when the technology is activated prematurely and malfunctions, transforming humanity into a race of monsters that have decimated the planet. Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred are all inside a safe zone within the Nevada Complex facility when the nanites are activated, protecting them from the transformation. As they venture out into the unrecognizable world, they try to figure out what happened. All we’ve learned is that not all humans were transformed and that the nanites also have a sense of artificial intelligence. This isn’t a lot of information regarding the apocalypse to be relayed to readers over a whole year of reading.

Another thing to address is the small stories at the end of select issues. At the end of the main story, there are sometimes short stories that are included in the issue that tell another developing aspect of the Scooby-apocalyptic world. In the first issue, the short story revealed how Scooby and Shaggy first meet in this story. Other stories that have been shown throughout this story have been about Scrappy-Doo, a mutated dog experiment from the Complex who has a grudge against Scooby. As the stories progress, it becomes clear that soon the main story and the small stories will collide.

I’m personally not fond of the writing when it comes to Scooby Apocalypse. I find the dialogue to be severely repetitive, tiresome, and a bit flat. The dialogue is constantly pandering and trying to crack jokes in moments when it really isn’t necessary or warranted. It also makes the characters a bit exaggerated and unbelievable. There is a constant bickering between several characters over the same topics throughout all twelve issues and it gets old fast. Aside from that, we don’t learn much from each issue. There are times that an issue doesn’t really progress the plot at all, but rather the gang’s location.

I think the writing really hinders my opinions on the characters, which I will address in a moment, but it doesn’t do the story any favors. Looking back at the year this comic series has had to tell a never-before-seen Scooby-Doo story, I think its story is too slow, repetitive, sometimes pointless. There needs to be a change because readers will not be learning much about the apocalypse’s cause over the next year at this rate.

GRADE: 5/10

CHARACTERS

The problems with the storytelling in Scooby Apocalypse translates to the characters as well. It is obvious that the Mystery Inc. we all know and love have been transformed dramatically for this version of Scooby-Doo. The changes do play big roles in how the story has and will unfold.

Scooby-Doo has taken on a subtle role so far in the story as compared to the other characters. This isn’t a bad thing. Scooby has been portrayed in many ways over the course of the Scooby-Doo franchise’s history. The original cartoon Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! had the character use minimal dialogue but lots of action and comedic roles. This has changed in later series such as Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where Scooby’s role was central and vital to the overarching plot. He had more dialogue and relevance to the story. But the most recent iteration of the franchise, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! has brought Scooby back to his core role in the show as has this comic book series. The rest of the gang really drive the story while Scooby talks very minimally. He isn’t the most important character when it comes to the plot because there are four other main characters to consider. The speech he does have is primitive because he was an early Smartdog experiment in the Complex. He acts like a real dog which is refreshing considering the new storyline being oriented towards adults. The character still draws on some of the key qualities of the source material: always wanting to eat food, scared of most things, and is courageous when his loved ones are in danger. Design-wise, I love the emoti-goggles that Scooby sports in this comic. They make him stand out compared to past iterations and make this version of him unique and recognizable.

Shaggy has some good and bad qualities in this comic series. Fans were split on how they felt about Shaggy’s new character design. Some were praising the design as it speaks to the modern-day idea of hipsters while others found it pandering and a cheap ploy to make the character more likable. But this isn’t about making Shaggy more likable; rather the design was an effort to make the character more relatable. The original Shaggy was a stereotype of 1960s/1970s hippy teenagers. It could easily be argued that Scooby Apocalypse’s Shaggy is designed to be a stereotype of the 2000s/2010s hipster culture that is observed among many millennials. This Shaggy is an employee at the Complex whose responsibility is to oversee and train the Smartdogs including Scooby-Doo. He’s an opinionated individual and is not afraid to voice what he thinks (despite this sometimes making him appear as a stereotypical hippy-minded pacifist). This Shaggy appears to be the glue in the group at this point in the story. When characters bicker or fight, he tends to try to break it up and calm the situation. Like his original counterpart, Shaggy in Scooby Apocalypse is easily frightened but does have courageous qualities when need-be. He loves to eat like Scooby, and like the original Shaggy, is best friends with the canine.

One of the most developed and interesting characters in the Scooby Apocalypse story so far is Velma. Dr. Velma Dinkley to be exact. She is one of the leading scientists in the Complex who conceived and spread the nanite technology that has transformed the human race into monsters. This character is unique compared to the others because so far, she is the only one whose backstory has been fully fleshed out and explored (Scooby’s in the first issue isn’t really comparable as it only covers two or three pages). Readers know where Velma’s choices, opinions, and motivations are coming from unlike other characters such as Daphne and Fred. Her backstory addresses her perceived neglect from her parents, superiority to her peers, and simultaneous inferiority to her four older brothers (who I will discuss later). These ideas in her head influence her career path and adult motivations because she seeks approval from her brothers. She is super intelligent (having earned 7 doctoral degrees by age 17) and still doesn’t seem to stack up to her brothers’ successes in the eyes of every member of the Dinkley family. Velma tries to remedy this by developing Project Elysium during her work at the Complex with her brothers. Project Elysium was the nanotech effort to improve humanity which has been corrupted. Velma is conflicted in regard to her role in the project and whether or work on it is responsible for the world’s demise. Visually, her design is unique as it exaggerates her smaller stature compared to the other members of the group. Velma is reserved and prefers to work alone which resonates in her character design. Her development and role in the story makes her the most interesting and successful character among the story’s roster.

Daphne is the character that has changed the most compared to original Daphne. Her character in Scooby Apocalypse is probably the most problematic as she drives a tiresome conflict that most readers are over at this point. Daphne is a journalist who sought to uncover the nefarious plans of the Complex. When the apocalypse breaks out and the gang begins their quest to remedy it and survive, Daphne devotes most of her dialogue to interrogating Velma and trying to blame her for the result of spreading the nanotechnology. This Daphne is good-hearted deep down as she has a strong distaste in killing monsters because she views it as murder. But the character is aggressive, impulsive, and blunt otherwise. Her friendship with Fred is complicated by his love for her which she does not reciprocate. She gets along most with Shaggy and Scooby in this story which is odd considering her long history with Fred in it. I don’t think her motivations are consistent and even when they appear to be, Daphne backtracks on the same old argument against Velma. It does appear that this is beginning to end as Issues #11 and #12 see them finally arriving in Seattle, but it has not done her justice otherwise. The only thing worth praising about Daphne in this storyline is her leadership role. Unlike most Scooby-Doo incarnations, Daphne takes on a stronger leadership role. It’s interesting because the only times she has shown leadership qualities otherwise in the franchise is when Fred is not present, but in this story where all characters are present, Daphne resonates as the one driving the gang. It’s an interesting and progressive choice on the writers’ part and it’s worth acknowledging and praising despite her exaggerated anger and distaste towards Velma.

There isn’t much to say about Fred. Fred has not impacted the story much at all in Scooby Apocalypse (which may be attributed to making Daphne the gang’s leader as this leadership role has always been characteristic of Fred). Over the course of 12 comic book issues, all readers really know about Fred is that he works with and is in love with Daphne. And that’s it. Fred has no real motivation other than his love for Daphne. He has tried proposing to her and at this point the jokes about his proposal have become awkward and repetitive. The character has been injured twice so far in this story which has only hindered his role and relevance to the group. This is not a complaint that Fred is not the leader; it’s an intriguing and progressive idea to make Daphne the group’s leader. But otherwise Fred doesn’t really have anything to offer the gang other than being dead weight. While the rest of the gang is off completing tasks that have been presented in each issue, Fred spends most of his time sitting in the Mystery Machine either sleeping, being unconscious, or worrying about everyone. This just isn’t a character anyone would find interesting or to be driving the story.

Oddly enough, Scrappy Doo is actually more interesting than Fred in Scooby Apocalypse. I won’t spend too much time talking about him but it should be noted that the transformation of the character into a bipedal mutant Smartdog that is rallying other Smartdogs to find Velma and Scooby-Doo is a fun idea. The mutation is a subtle reference to the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo movie and it’s fun to see Scrappy’s revival as a character since that movie (despite many fans not liking the character in one or all of his performances throughout the franchise). His role is antagonistic in the story which is great because of his complex personality. He is spiteful towards humans for how they experimented on him in the Complex, but fears how these experiments and the apocalypse have transformed him into an inhumane monster. While I find his motivation to kill Scooby a bit weak and unprecedented, he does present a threat to the gang as he searches for Velma to improve and fix the Smartdog technology allowing him to be so intelligent and observant. He may also take a stab at her too. His short stories have been giving readers a good idea of what he’s been up to since the beginning of the apocalypse and it’s going to be fun to see how Mystery Inc. will collide with Scooby’s reimagined nephew.

The only other notable character that can be discussed in Scooby Apocalypse is Rufus Dinkley, one of Velma’s older brothers. We’ve only seen him in three issues and he’s only had dialogue and a real role in two (Issues #11 and #12). He’s notably violent and impulsive. A selfish and evidently childish businessman, Rufus is abusive to his wife Daisy and his current motivation is to keep the monsters out of his tower in Seattle, Washington. We the readers know he has killed two scientists trying to figure out how to fix the transformed world and that he feels superior to his siblings. It’s going to be a violent turn-of-events come Issue #13 when he is confronted by Velma and the rest of Mystery Inc.

Overall the characters have varying levels of development, interest, and relevance to the story. I find some of them to have very weak motivations and personalities while others have clear ideas on what they are trying to accomplish in the story. Their designs are unique takes on the original counterparts and the new characters that we’ve been briefly acquainted with do present conflicts. There is a weakness though in the lack of characters in the story. Aside from the main five characters and Scrappy, the only human characters that have been introduced at all are Rufus and Daisy Dinkley in Issue #11 and Issue #12. The lack of any other characters driving the present events of Scooby Apocalypse do make the story slower and the dimensionality of it weak.

GRADE: 6/10

ART

This portion won’t be as extensive as the discussions on Scooby Apocalypse’s story and characters but the conciseness will get my opinion across. Scooby Apocalypse, over the course of 12 issues, seems to have been divided into two different categories being Issues #1-7 and Issues #8-12. My reasoning for this statement is that for the first seven issues of the comic series the art style has been consistent and appears to have been drawn or directed by the same comic artist. This then goes into Issues #8-12 where mid-comic book, the art style will dramatically change. No joke, the left page could be drawn by one artist and the right page will suddenly change art style dramatically giving the reader a quick idea that a new artist has taken over. This is a weakness for many reasons. First and foremost, I had to take a second midst reading to compare the conflicting art styles. I literally have to stop reading the story and take a look because of how dramatic the change can be at times. It also invites inconsistency to the story making me concerned about whether this problem is going to be evident in future comic art and writing for Scooby Apocalypse. I recommend that if other artists are going to experiment with how they draw Scooby Apocalypse, they do it with whole issues rather than a quarter or half of an issue. It pulls the reader out of the story and subtly but effectively changes the tone of the story itself. There are times the comic art is very sharp and intimidating, giving the reader a sense of danger which is appropriate for Scooby Apocalypse. Then the reader turns the page and the art style has changed to something a little more cartoonish which diminishes the prior tones and moods the first artist was effectively portraying.

Despite the inconsistency and changing of artists mid-issue, Scooby Apocalypse does provide a beautiful palette of colors, line art, and character designs. There was careful consideration before the comic was launched as to how the writers and creators wanted to portray Mystery Inc. in a post-apocalyptic story. It is no secret that Scooby Apocalypse stands out compared to the art of every other iteration of the Scooby story ever made (including its simultaneous cartoon on Cartoon Network Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! which is more light-hearted and comedy-driven with a modern animation style). The comic has great artists at the helm and it really does help my eyes wander throughout the books. The backgrounds are very detailed and helps with the world-building. The colors are vibrant and arguably drive the sinister aspects of the post-apocalypse at times throughout Scooby Apocalypse’s freshman year.

Whether fans love or hate the character designs, it can be agreed upon that the designs set the characters apart from their original counterparts. Seeing any of these characters will instantly make a fan identify them with Scooby Apocalypse which is a good thing if DC Comics and Warner Bros. is trying to gear Scooby Apocalypse towards older mature audiences as compared to current Scooby-Doo television programming and direct-to-video releases. The art should be praised despite its faults because it really does make Scooby-Doo fans like myself appreciate comic book art.

GRADE: 7/10

CONCLUSION

Scooby Apocalypse strives for uniqueness in a franchise filled with cartoonish chasings of bad guys in costumes. I can see the writers, artists, and producers trying to pan the comic book series as something that is very “out there” but simultaneously respectable.

The writers do want to create a post-apocalyptic world where Scooby and the rest of Mystery Inc. need to face serious problems in a sinister and adult-oriented story genre (which has been done many times before). If they can get organized and stop depending on the same flat motivations of some of these 2-dimensional characters, the story will improve and progress (readers really want to see progress; arguably nothing has happened over the course of 12 comic book issues). A lot of these issues seem like filler and could easily be cut out and replaced with more character development and progress in the gang’s quest for answers in this chaos.

The artists are doing great for the most part but need to get consistent in what they’re trying to portray. Artists that do cartoony renditions need to stay out of the mix if DC is really trying to push an adult Scooby-Doo story (take some notes from some of the villains and episodes in Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated for God’s sake!). Unless the writers and artists plan to do an issue where all the characters, monsters, and backgrounds are drawn like the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, I don’t want to see cartoony. I, as well as many reading, want to see sinister imagery and graphic content in a sharply drawn world of danger and uncertainty.

Scooby Apocalypse does deserve credit though for not completely abandoning its source material. I’m not talking about the main characters here but the subtle hints of dialogue and artwork that are trickled throughout the comic series. It should be noted that Dr. Krebs, a Complex scientist Shaggy worked closely with who invented the Mystery Machine, is named after Maynard G. Krebs, the beatnik character of the 1959 television sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis who inspired the character design of Shaggy himself. Velma’s father, Dale Dinkley (credit to him keeping his name from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated), works in politics and notably worked with Senator Jaffe when Velma was born. Senator Jaffe is named after Nicole Jaffe, the original voice of Velma in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! It’s also stated that Daphne still comes from a rich family background due to her family’s business, Blake Bubble Bath, which is inspired by her family’s business in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Blake’s Bubbles. It can’t be overlooked in Issue #12 that Rufus Dinkley has killed Complex scientist Cassidy Williams (named after the character of the same name from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated). Outside of writing, background artwork in Scooby Apocalypse has shown the small classic Mystery Machine (Issue #3) and pet store signs that say “puppy power” in a Scrappy Doo short story (Issue #9). These many Easter Eggs are subtle and fun for Scooby-Doo fans like myself so I can’t help but give Scooby Apocalypse some extra credit.

If you are a Scooby-Doo fan, I do hope you give Scooby Apocalypse a try at least. Its slow story, inconsistent art (as of late), and various character development levels and motivations do hinder the comic overall but I’d say it’s still worth a read for those who love Scooby-Doo and want something adult-oriented. While you could arguably say that Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated can give you the same thing, which it can, Scooby Apocalypse is not for children. The story does struggle to live up to stronger and more complex subject matters but it does hold onto source material that many are excited to see in this kind of genre. Scooby Apocalypse is stuck in a limbo state because while it wants to be loyal to its source material, it has yet to push the material to a point where it really takes a good stab at the story genre it’s trying to imitate.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5/10

Scooby Apocalypse is published by DC Comics and has released 12 total comic book issues. The first six are available in a Volume 1 graphic novel edition and Scooby Apocalypse Issue #13 will be available for purchase on May 10th.

Let me know what you think! Do you think that I was right in what I said about the comic? Do you disagree? Reply to this post or send me a message or chat to further the conversation!

Dark Days: The Forge #1 Review - Welcome Returns and Lore Building

“Before i get started, i want to say thanks to people who follow me and those who have read my reviews and thoughts since i joined Tumblr, it means a lot.

So Dark Days: The Forge #1 is one of two prelude issues, the other being The Casting #1, to the massive Dark Nights: Metal event brought to us by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the team behind the critically acclaimed New 52 Batman series.

The theme of this series is of course metal itself, The Forge and The Casting are terms relating to the blacksmith art of shaping metal into something else, and we start this story off with a diary entry from the recently deceased Carter Hall AKA Hawkman, who tells the story of how he first got his metal wings. In Ancient Egypt he came across what appears to be a Thanagarian ship in the sky that would ultimately give him, his princess (Shayera, Hawkgirl) and Hath-Set eternal life.

The metal in question is Nth Metal and that ship is made up of it entirely. We also learn that Carter had been exploring the Nth Metal for years as he would often have visions of another life that would disturb him and he wanted to know where it came from.

Having Hawkman tell us this story is a good narrative choice from Snyder (one of many he makes in this story), but it once again blurs the lines when it comes to the origins of the character.

Meanwhile in the present day, Batman is using his resources at Wayne Enterprises to fund undercover sites designed to investigate an issue with the metal, which is supposedly becoming unstable, a problem which Aquaman is more than happy to bring up as the site Batman narrowly escapes death from is based in the sea.

Arthur asks Bruce what he was looking for, but Bruce cryptically says that he knows what is locked beneath Atlantis, implying that some questions should go unasked for now. So what is buried beneath Atlantis? Is it related to the metal?

We later find Bruce back at his Batcave, it would seem he’s been working on this problem with the metal for some time and has even consulted other heroes on the matter, which brings back to the fold the one and only Mister Terrific, Michael Holt, returning to the main universe after some time away.

As it turns out though, Michael has been working with Bruce on this issue with the metal, travelling between Earth-0 and Earth-2 to bring Bruce information on a Multiversal level. Terrific reveals that the frequency infecting the metal on Earth-0 is also doing the same on Earth-2 and beyond, and even a man of his intellect doesn’t know why.

It’s honestly so good to see Michael back in the picture and in a huge story like this too. It’s easy to do a story that concentrates on the big core characters but Scott Snyder doesn’t do “easy”. Which brings us to another surprise returning character….

Mister Terrific sparks a thought in Batman, who decides to investigate further but instructs his colleague to bring someone out of the box……PLASTIC MAN!!!

Now what Bruce means by unstable though i’m not sure (people with his powers are known in fiction to become physically unstable and not be able to hold their form correctly), but Michael’s smile says it all right there, it’s good to have him back. 

Snyder pulls out another rabbit from his hat, because if you told me a year ago that Scott Snyder AKA Batman Guy was going to write a story that included Hawkman, Mister Terrific and Plastic Man in it, i would have laughed. This is what good writers can do though, explore the back catalogue and use any character so seamlessly, it’s one of the things i love about Geoff Johns so much.

Batman heads to the Arctic to see Superman in his Fortress. Years ago, Bruce asked Clark if he could have a room in the Fortress of Solitude, and made him also promise never to look at what he put in the room.

Clark was seemingly too nice to question his motives and agreed, and Bruce even shot the key to the room into the sun so no-one could go in there. But now Bruce needs to go into the room, and there’s only one person you can turn to….Scott Free AKA Mister Miracle!

Mister Miracle unlocks the door with ease and peaks at what is inside. He’s shocked, or horrified, or probably both, and tries to warn Bruce but he waves him off and tells him to leave.

I think Scott had a point though, because in the room is a tuning fork tower previously seen in Crisis On Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis. These towers are designed to hone in on frequency that each Earth gives off and have been used to save them and replicate them, and they can potentially destroy them too.

How on Earth did Batman get hold of this though? How is it possible that this exists in the post-Flashpoint universe? So many questions and no answers, but we do know that Batman is about to use the massive tower to try and get a fix on the frequency that is coming off of the metal.

What could possible go wrong?

Meanwhile in Plot B, we join Hal Jordan as he is tasked by Ganthet, a Guardian of the Universe, to investigate rumours of a terrible truth coming to light on Earth and sends him to Wayne Manor. Hal thinks it should be an easy mission, but he doesn’t account for Duke Thomas.

Duke Thomas, not a Robin, is guarding the Batcave and tries to take on a Green Lantern. Poor boy, he didn’t stand a chance. Hal though gives the kid a break and explores a little, finding a secret cave in the Batcave. 

“Only Batman would have a secret cave inside his secret cave.”

He’s not kidding.

Hal and Duke explore this secret cave and are confronted by a mysterious voice, that gives them a guided tour of the things they’re about to see and gives us an insight into why Batman is exploring the metal in the first place.

As it turns out, it all started back when Bruce discovered the existence of the Court of Owls in the New 52 series of Batman, also written by Scott Snyder. In issue 7, Bruce discovers that the Talons, the assassins used by the Court are brought back from the dead using a special metal placed in a tooth called Electrum. Dick Grayson actually had one in his mouth for years as he was being groomed as a future Talon by the Court, before Bruce took him in at Wayne Manor.

As this mysterious voice in the secret cave tells Hal and Duke, Bruce was able to extract a strange substance from the tooth he took from Dick and found that it gave off a strange energy signature that was also found in some of the most powerful artifacts in the world.

As you can see from the picture, Bruce has collected Doctor Fate’s helmet (or one of them), a trident-like weapon possibly from Atlantis and a pair of bracers similar to what Wonder Woman wears.

The mysterious voice also mentions another element, Dionesium, a substance that took center stage during another Snyder Batman story known as Endgame.

Snyder is digging in deep to get these threads for his story, a great pair of callbacks to his previous work and again he pulls out another rabbit from his hat and brings back the original Outsiders group in their original line up!

It would be poor form for me not to mention another plot thread from this issue, which shows us the Immortal Man talking to an acquaintance about Elaine Thomas, Duke’s mother. As it turns out, the Immortal Man once offered Elaine immortality and she rejected him, and he has since been watching her with the hope she wouldn’t reveal his secret.

Immortal Man is one of many obscure characters being brought into the Metal event and will later be part of the Dark Matter line up of books, written by James Tynion IV and art from Jim Lee, so it makes sense that he would show up here.

Meanwhile, closing in on their strange tour guide, Hal and Duke make their way through the secret cave and Duke is already putting together who this stranger is.

To their horror they open a door and find a crazed Joker, crudely scratching numbers into a wall and laughing like a maniac. It appears that Bruce has been holding him captive for some time.

As i’ve already said, i love the fact that Snyder has gone outside of his comfort zone of the Batman universe and has used other characters for this story, if anything it really shows the growth he’s made as a writer and the confidence he has now to tell big stories. And this is a big story, make no mistake about it. He still uses the Batman related characters to frame his story but he’s not afraid to make pairings that no-one would do in a million years, i mean come on, Duke Thomas and Hal Jordan? It’s a cool idea!

As for bringing in characters like Mister Terrific and Plastic Man, it’s done so that you’re happy to see these guys return but also uses them in a way that feels integral to the story.

As a prelude to a larger story, this issue does a great job of helping set up the stakes as they are and intriguing us into what the mystery of the metal is going to end up being. I still have lots of questions, especially when it comes to Duke and his All-Star Batman story about him potentially being a meta-human and how his mother fits into this larger story.

As for the artwork, highly serviceable stuff. I’m not John Romita Jr’s biggest fan but his work on this issue is great. As usual Jim Lee owns the pages he draws and Andy Kubert captures the magic of Carter Hall’s life in his pages too.

TL;DR: A wonderfully done prologue to what could be one of the most original and interesting DC events in years, and does great fan service to those who loved Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman series as well as those who love DC in general, with some great surprise characters turning up along the way.

Overall Rating - 10/10