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Category - DC

4LN Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Since I was a kid, I have always loved the character of Wonder Woman and the story of Diana Prince, a beautiful princess who gives up all she knows to journey into man’s world and do her best to save man from himself. I remember being a little kid and my Aunt would babysit me and she would turn on the Linda Carter Wonder Woman show and we would eat ice cream and watch this show for what seemed like hours. This was my very first exposure to the character and my first taste of comic books. It wasn’t until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and the rest of the Dark Knight Trilogy until I truly fell in love with superheroes, but Wonder Woman leads the groundwork for that passion. I can proudly say I’ve read every Wonder Woman comic over the last 5 years and was even lucky enough to interview a creative team working on the Wonder Woman comic, Meredith and David Finch.

I have spent years waiting for an incredible DC movie, and even longer waiting for a Wonder Woman movie, and I am beyond excited to say that Wonder Woman is the movie I’ve been eagerly anticipating, and the one that DC desperately needed. Batman v Superman & Suicide Squad left a lot to be desired from most fans and had quite a large amount of controversy surrounding them. But, Wonder Woman offers a new slate that was desperately needed. I believe if this Wonder Woman film premiered before Batman/Superman, DC wouldn’t have had as many problems as they have been having.

Wonder Woman is the first major film for director Patty Jenkins, who previously has directed a few TV shows, and the 2003 film Monster with Charlize Theron, which she won an Acadamy Award for in 2004.  Along with an academy award, the film also grossed over 4 times its budget making it quite the success, and showing that Patty Jenkins knows what she is doing. After watching this movie, I seriously couldn’t think of better director for this film.

I’m going to do my best to keep this a spoiler-free review, but be warned that there may be spoilers following this section

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Official Synopsis from IMDb: “Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

From the moment this film starts, it doesn’t feel like your typical superhero movie, it’s 100% an origin story, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s an action-packed World War I movie, it’s about the innocence that’s lost by war, and it’s a film about true heroism. We are used to murders in alleys, bites from radioactive insects, super serum experiments, and aliens coming to Earth. The only superhero film I can compare this to is Thor, considering he leaves/is kicked out of Asgard and ends up in a small New Mexico town. But, there is something inherently different about Diana leaving Themyscira to journey into man’s world. There’s more valor and honor to it.

Patty Jenkins, along with screenwriter Allan Heinberg and producers Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns, did a fantastic job representing the difference between Paradise Island and the war-torn Europe. From the minute that Steve Trevor’s plane crashes on the island and German’s follow him into Paradise, we see the tone shift and colors change from bright and vibrant to dark and gritty. One of the biggest problems with Batman/Superman was the over saturated, gritty look of the film. Wonder Woman uses that darkness but also brings it to life in a way that the Batman/Superman team was never capable of.

One of the most unique and beautiful things about Wonder Woman is how Diana Prince looks flawless and the iconic Wonder Woman suit is 100% the focus, especially during battle. The color isn’t washed out or faded. If anything, Wonder Woman sticks out like a sore thumb when the battle rages in No Man’s Land and this makes her even more of a badass. While everyone around her is depicted in shades of gray, she’s brightly colored with reds, blues, and golds; as Wonder Woman should be.

The battle scenes are truly wonderful in this film, and it feels more like a Great War movie instead of a superhero film. Over the past year or two, I’ve talked with my fellow 4LN writer Stephen about how I fear the comic book movie bubble will burst soon. He always points to movies like Winter Soldier and Ant-Man because they are essentially just comic characters inside of genre films instead of strictly superhero movies. I can completely understand that now.

Diana has an innocence about her that makes the character unique compared to other caped crusaders, and this movie does an incredible job showing that innocence and its eventual loss caused by the horrors of war. At one point before Diana, Steve, and the rest of the crew make it to the front lines they pass a group of wounded, bloodied soldiers and you see the expression on Diana’s face drastically change. Gal Gadot sold that scene with nothing more than her eyes, similar to Johnny Depp’s work in Edward Scissorhands. There are quite a few times in the movie where Diana wants to save people but she must sadly come to the realization that not everyone can or will be saved in a time of need.

Everyone that was cast in this movie was a phenomenal pick from Gadot as Diana, Robin Wright as Antiope, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Danny Huston as General Lundendorff and finally Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison. It’s no secret that Marvel has perfectly cast several times and there are many actors from their films who completely embody their respective characters, but I am excited and proud to say that DC has that now in Gal Gadot. She IS Diana Prince. She stole the show in every scene she was in during Batman/Superman and she is equally as mesmerizing in her own solo film. Along with Gadot, Lilly Aspell plays the young Diana and does an absolutely incredible job with her deliveries of comedic lines and her bravery and mischief that you would imagine the daughter of a queen having. The chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot was absolutely fantastic and captured the dynamic of their relationship in a fantastic way. Watching their relationship unfold felt just like reading one of the origin stories from the comics.

DC has always been asking the question of, “What if Superheroes existed in our world?” They’ve not done the most compelling job of exploring that idea up until now. With Wonder Woman, what they do instead is move outside of the box a little and use their characters to ask, “What if the Greek gods existed in our world?” and that is truly what makes Wonder Woman a unique superhero movie. Trevor and his crew completely understand that Wonder Woman is “not of this Earth,” but does that mean that gods such as Zeus, Aries, and Hera could also exist still? Or maybe they always have existed… With such a simple question DC will be able to easily continue and turn Wonder Woman into a franchise. Frankly, It’d be a crime if they didn’t, seeing as to how they’ve already laid solid groundwork for it here.

I don’t have to tell you that seeing a Wonder Woman is a must. Even if you’re unreasonably skeptical, deep down you know that it is as good as everyone says, and then some. The biggest concern for a lot of people was whether or not Wonder Woman would be a mess like the few DCCU films before it. The greatest failure therein would be to see such an empowering female character flop on the big screen. You can rest assured that worry dissipates within the first 10 minutes of the film. So, you have no more excuses. Get your ass to the theater right now and watch the best damn comic movie this year.

4LN Comic Review: Green Arrow #16

Series: Green Arrow
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist and Colorist: Otto Schmidt
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Summary from comixology: “EMERALD OUTLAW” part five! Implicated in the killing of several high profile Seattleites, besieged by a murderous cabal of crooked cops and demonized by a mayoral candidate willing to tear the city apart to get what he wants, all seems lost for Green Arrow. That is, until help arrives in the form of a long-lost ally. It’s the return of Emiko Queen!

Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt has easily been the most consistently great series to come out of Rebirth. Batman, Trinity, and Wonder Woman have all been awesome (in my opinion), but Green Arrow is the only one that hasn’t had a low point or an issue that I thought to myself, “This isn’t necessary…” Percey is just one of those writers that instantly captures that tone and nature of the character. Like Scott Snyder with Batman, Jason Aaron with Thor, or James Robinson with ANY Golden Age character. I honestly think Percy will easily go down as one of the best Green Arrow writers.

Since the very first issue of this series, Oliver Queen has been a Social Justice Warrior, and that had some controversy around it because even the term itself tends to be viewed, for some bizarre reason, negatively, and is often used sarcastically. But, as I said in my Green Arrow #1 review, Ollie has always, and should always, be a Social Justice Warrior. It just fits his nature. The great thing about this issue (and series) is that it tackles political issues head on and without remorse. Hell, the alternative villain, the mayor-to-be of Seattle who ran his campaign based on fear and hate, is the spitting image of Donald J. Trump. I have to give respect to Percy for guiding the story to a place so relevant to today’s topics.

When it comes to art, Otto Schmidt is one of my favorite artist working with DC Comics. The more that these guys put out, the better the work gets and it’s already fantastic work. Schmidt does a incredible job with the colors and line work on every page. In the intense fight scenes, everything is clearly defined and easy to locate. I personally love the uses of dark colors such as blues, oranges, and greens. Schmidt does a great job using the color scheme to capture the tone of the book. Along with colors, Schmidt also does a great job with the facial characteristics and body language of everyone in the book.

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As I said above, Percy and  Schmidt have done amazing things with Green Arrow, and are only 16 issues into what I hope is a very long run on the character. They have re-imagined Oliver Queen as an modern-day SJW (and it works) and they are tackling real issues in a fantasy world. If you haven’t read any of their run, you are truly missing out. The first trade just came out, and this is only the 5th issue of the Emerald Outlaw story arc. So, do yourself a favor and head down to your LCS and pick up issues 12-16 and enjoy this great series as much as I do.

 

Music Pairing:

You’ll want something fairly political and fairly heavy. And for that I recommend the great Stick To Your Guns. Check out the song No Tolerance of the EP Better Dust Than Ash. And, if you dig them, check out our interview with their drummer, George Schmitz.

4LN Comic Review: Trinity #1

Series: Trinity
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul

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Summary from Comixology: “BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?”

This is the series that I have been most excited for regarding the DC Rebirth comics. I was instantly sold on this book just by finding out that Francis Manapul was doing the art for the book. If you aren’t familiar with his work, then you need to pick this book up just for the art alone. For $2.99 you won’t pick up another book as beautiful as this one. For those of you not familiar with Manapul he’s known for his work on other DC books such as New 52 Flash, Justice League, and my personal favorite Batman Detective (Icarus). If you are a fan of bright colors and crisp sharp line work, then Francis Manapul is the comic book artist you’ve been looking for!

The story of Trinity could be a bit confusing for those of us not following the Superman comic at the moment. The gist of what’s going on with Superman is: He’s from a different timeline. When he ended up in this universe, he decided that he wanted to stay on the down-low. New Clark and Lois Lane have a farm in Califonia where they are raising their son who is beginning to learn that his father is Superman, and he has superhuman abilities. After knowing this, it will make reading Trinity all that much easier to understand.

I think my absolute favorite part of this book were the three full page spreads that each of our heroes received. Wonder Woman arriving on the field with a boar and her invisible jet was one of my absolute favorite scenes in this comic. I’ve always loved Cliff Chiang’s and Frank Cho’s take on Diana Prince, but after reading this issue… Francis Manapul might draw my favorite Wonder Woman. It’s just so beautiful, The Batman and Superman splashes are equally as beautiful but I think you’ll greatly appreciate seeing it for yourself instead of having me describe for to you. (See our Review of Superman #7)

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Besides the art, Manapul does a fantastic job with telling the story. This series starts with Bruce and Diana coming to the farm to talk to and get to know, Clark and Lois along with their son. Batman isn’t very trusting but Diana wants to accept them for who they are and believes in time they will become as close of allies as they were with the original Superman. Manapul also does a fantastic job writing some comedy into this book so that it’s not so rigid and series. Bruce makes a comment about Clark’s son sleeping and looking so innocent. I couldn’t help but laugh and imagine Bruce watching Damien sleep and thinking/wishing he was innocent and a typical 10-year-old. Also, Bruce Wayne in plaid is a pretty hilarious image. Along with comedy, Manapul also makes references to much older DC Comics events, and some of the very interesting style choices that Batman made in the 60’s.

Overall, if you are a fan of DC’s Superhero trinity, this is the book for you. Manapul leaves many questions when you come to the conclusion of the issue, and you are going to be coming back to find out what the answers to those questions are. And, you’ll be itching for more beautiful Francis Manapul art come next month. So, head down to your local comic shop and pick this up before you live to regret it!

Music Pairing:
One of my favorite bands in an instrumental post-rock band called Balmorhea from Austin Texas. Their album All Is Wild, All Is Silent is absolutely beautiful and matches the art in the book perfect. So, spin the opening track from that album while reading this book. It’ll be a perfect fit.

4LN Comic Review: Superman #7

Series: Superman
Writer: Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jiminez, with colors by Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: DC Comics

Summary from Comixology: “‘SON OF SUPERMAN’ part 7! In this epilogue issue, Superman considers the toll his battles with the Eradicator and Doomsday have taken on his family and the need for a normal life. But can the Man of Steel ever take a day off?”

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I love Superman.  If I had to choose just one superhero to helm my pantheon of favorite superheroes, it would definitely be him.  Unfortunately, outside of a couple of great arcs, the comics have been weak.  Like, the kind of weak Superman gets when he mainlines kryptonite under a red sun.  The N52 Superman was an attempt (I assume) to make the Big Blue Boyscout more edgy, and, for me anyways, it was really, really hard to read.  Luckily, DC’s Rebirth initiative has been pretty fantastic.  I picked up Superman on the off chance that it would do the Man of Steel justice.

What do you think of when I say a comic is “wholesome”? Sunday newspapers? Charlie Brown and Garfield?  Wholesome might be a major selling point for a superhero comic, especially in the age we live in, but I can’t think of another word for this issue.  And you know what?  I loved it.  As the summary above describes, this issue finds Superman realizing that his wife and son deserve some level of normalcy so he joins them on a trip to the county fair.  The simple story is accompanied by some really strong art, especially the short action sequence at the very beginning.  All told, this issue, while not for everybody, was a lighthearted Superman story that reminded me a lot of Superman for All Seasons, which is one of my all time favorite comics.

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I think what appeals to me most about this series is that it really puts an emphasis on the hopefulness of Superman.  This book is about him trying to be as good of a father and husband as he can, while figuring out his place in this universe’s world (quick side note: the New52 edgy, t-shirt wearing Superman died at the end of the New52 run. This is the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark from a different universe. They ended up in the N52 Superman’s universe somehow during Convergence. Anyway, this is why they are laying low in a small town in California). The optimistic tone stands in stark contrast to a lot of the previous Superman series’ and it’s been a joy to read them.  Parts 1-6 are great and are worth a read, so I won’t spoil them here, but 7, which serves as an epilogue, stands on its own.  It’s the reader’s chance to breathe after the Eradicator tried to do what his name suggests (and his name sure as hell doesn’t suggest that he makes bagels for a living).  It also serves as a fantastic jumping on point for new readers, since it doesn’t necessitate one go back and read the previous issues to fully grasp what’s happening (but I really liked those books, so I suggest you go back and read them as well).

It really feels like Peter J. Tomasi and company have their collective finger on the pulse of what makes Superman such a great character, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store in the upcoming arc.  One thing is for sure, Superman benefited greatly from DC’s Rebirth.

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4LN Podcast, Episode 4: Do The Big 2 Just Not Cut It Anymore?

This week we discuss the differences in tone of story & content between The Big 2 and independent/creator-owned comics. Specifically, I share why, for the most part, I just can’t get emotionally invested in Marvel and DC comics anymore, and how that’s helped me fall more in love with lower-profile series’. How about you? Do the superhero stories of characters like Batman and Captain America just not do it for you? Let us know in the comments!

Bat for Brains: A 4LN Interview with Scott Snyder!

I really got into comics right around the time that New 52 started, and I was pulling every Batman & Bat-Family book that there was. Unfortunately, slowly but surely, I lost interest in those books. All but one… the Batman proper book by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. It easily became my favorite comic that was being published, and not long after that, it became my all time favorite comic. I have every issue except a #1 first print, I picked up the second print not realizing it. Soon, I started to explore Scott Snyder’s work before Batman. I picked up The Black Mirror, a story from his Detective Comics run. This was seriously one of the darkest Batman stories I had read since Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, I couldn’t believe the things that were happening in this book.

Not longer after I became a Scott Snyder fan boy, we started FourLetterNerd and I set a goal for myself; I somehow wanted to interview my favorite writer. I even wrote an early article talking about how Snyder was the Stephen King of Comics. I wanted to talk comics with someone I admire, someone I aspire to be like, and one of the people that has made me want to become a comic book writer, or a writer in general.

This week Scott Snyder released his new ongoing Batman series, All Star Batman, and I was able to sit down and talk about this book with him. I was beyond excited. I had achieved my main goal with FourLetterNerd, and I couldn’t be more excited and stoked to share this with you. Guess my unabashedly biased reviews got me somewhere Stephen Andrew.

Below you will find my interview with Scott Snyder!

Scott, after having written Batman for so long, do you feel like you understand who Bruce Wayne is at this point, or do you find that you’re still exploring his psyche?

Scott Snyder: I have so many questions about him, he’s so deeply fun to explore. I write each arc like it’s going to be my last one and I would always say to Greg [Capullo,] or whoever I was working with, “You know, this might be the last one…” [laughs] And try to make it something that would make me feel good leaving it on each time, making it personal and about things that you feel passionately about. With that said, with this one I felt like it was almost a new beginning are sort of deciding not to do just one story that was different, but instead do an entire series of stories that approach Batman’s mythologies, and villains, and Bruce and all of it from a completely different angle. Where it wasn’t necessary a big epic storyline. I wanted to be able to break it down into separate prisms of series where I could say I want to do this villain with this artist, and this villain with that artist. So in doing so, we will have this whole new perspective on Bruce as well. Where all of these things are sort of looking at him as a character that I didn’t expect, like his relationship with Alfred, the whole Robin mantel. All of the stuff that wasn’t really in the outline for the book has been emerging. And I really feel like, really hope, it’s some of my best work. So, I’m really excited to see what you think.

 

Will this version/depiction of Batman/ Bruce differ from one we saw in you New 52 run, or will he be inherently the same?

Scott Snyder: I always see him as the same character, New, Non, Pre52. I mean for me I think it’s more you just have a version of the character in your head and it’s almost like your own creator owned version in your head. I was talking to Tom King (Writer of Batman) about this and you know, it’s almost like if you’re doing rebirth, or New 52, or anything, it’s sort of your vessel. The thing with Grant [Morrison], whatever he was doing on Batman, it was always his Bruce. So, I see him as one long consistent conversation almost between me and the mythology of the character that way it differs from the 52 version. But, this series I’ve made a really big effort to be a shock to the system for the readers given what I have been doing with Greg [Capullo] because I tried to do that every arc with Greg. The last thing I wanted to do was for it to seem like I was playing it safe given all the risks we took doing Batman proper.

 

Are there any artist that you are excited to work with?

Scott Snyder: Oh yeah! So many great artist. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Danny and Dean for just doing incredible work on the feature, but also Declan Shelvey and Jordie Bellaire who are doing the backups and the Robin History with me. Paul Pope has become a good friend and I can’t wait to work with. Sean Murphy who is one of my dearest friends in the world, you know, he and I have worked together before and I can’t wait to bring him over in the Batman world. We always joke around about it, but in his creator owned works there is normally a character that is like me, who is like “Draw Batman! Draw Batman!” It’s a joy being able to bring artist in that haven’t had the spotlight from a major book and you can help them, and feel very inspired by them both as people and as talents. So for me, it’s the opposite as what I was doing on Batman, in some ways, and in others it has very similar DNA. The similarities are, I like big bombastic over the top high stakes stuff. I always have. I try to make each story very personal to me, where every villain is sort of re-examined in away that hopefully positions them in a modern and scary but true to core, and slightly tweeked. But maybe something more contemporary. And being outside of Gotham for the story allows me to do wilder takes and experiment a bit more and not be so concerned about what’s happening to the city constantly, and it’s in very good hands with Tom. So, it gives me room to breath and think bigger and write crazier.

 

Dean White is doing the colors on this book, and I personally think he is one of the best colorists in the industry. How do the two or you play off each other? Do you mention what colors things should be, or does White just take the ball and run with it?

Scott Snyder: Danny I have worked with for a long time, because he was on Batman with me and Greg, but Dean who is new to me at least, and who I have admired for a long time, I just made it a point to talk and we wound up having similar sensibilities and  taste in music and so we really got along. What I always try to do isn’t so much tell them specifically what I want but to tell them what the book is about and say Listen, I want this story to really feel like, say, this is the end of times, the end of society, and the end of all these kinds of restrictions we put on ourselves that we use to hide who we really are, those are going to fall away. I want it to feel like this quante beautiful landscape we have never been in before, but also kinda threatening and oddly scary like Halloween on a farm but with bright blue skies, and you never know what’s in the cornfield. That kinda stuff, and I’ll say that and they will come up with something that is incredibly vibrant and enhances those ideas tremendously. There really aren’t words that describe what these guys have done on this book, so I would just encourage people if you pick it [All Star Batman #1] up, and you like what they are doing, just tweet them both, or on Instagram, because colorist and inkers are often total unsung heroes and are letterers of the books, and editors I suppose. [Laughs] Go find them and tell them what a great job they are doing.

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I think a lot of people would define your writing style as horror, so I’m curious, do you identify as a “horror” writer?

Scott Snyder: I’m really proud to be known as a horror writer. I wear it really proudly, horror is my favorite genre if I had to pick one, by far. I grew up on horror movies and I don’t know if it was wanting to see the cool kids get attacked [laughs] or it it was something deeper at first when I was little but they always spoke to me. Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites, Frankenstein is my favorite book, so yeah I think at horrors core, it’s about a very pure form of conflict. It’s you up against something like a monster, or something that is a reflection or extension of your fears about yourself or the world around you, when it’s done right or well. It’s almost like a burned down, turned up to 11 volume form of the best kind of conflict and drama, so yeah!


Any plans for Scarecrow?

Scott Snyder: I do. I do have plans for him. I actually had Scarecrow in this arc. But then I realized I didn’t think I was doing him justice because he came and went pretty quickly. I just feel like he deserves a bigger role if I’m going to do something with him. So I do have an idea for something down the line. This series is truly ongoing where you know I start with John for five issue and then I have some one shots and two shots with Jock, Paul Pope… and then I have Sean Murphy and this big story and then I would really like to do this one with Lee Bermejo. So I have plans to stretch for almost two years, at least a year and a half. Which is as much as I ever had on Batman Proper. So my hope is to keep it going and do stuff about all the villains. You know, all of them big and small. I would love to do something with Scarecrow, I had an idea for fear gas in issue three but just thought it wasn’t right to knock him out of the story that quick.  

 

Just real quick, Batman with a chainsaw is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

Scott Snyder:[Laughs]  Thank you! They tried to cut that at one point. My editor Mark, who is one of my best friends, was like “Listen to me, there might be like one thing that might be a little bit too dark for people, and that might be the chainsaw.” I was like “We are not moving or getting rid of the chainsaw, no matter what.” I really fought him on it and he was like “Whoa, whoa, whoa, OK alright.”

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It’s fun, and it’s silly, and it’s grindhouse; but, it’s the spirit of the series, which I think is that Batman is going further than he’s gone before with Two-Face, and you never know what’s coming form the corners of the page. You don’t know what villain is going to pop up, which hero will pop up, even completely certain of an unfamiliar situation that ultimately is landscaped by a psychological projection of what’s going on between these characters. So, having a chainsaw is almost like Batman is willing to sort of shock you and be even more aggressive and badass than you expected, but what comes back at him a few pages later, is even worse, and it’s raising the steaks in the bet that Two-Face is making with him every few pages.

 

Final question, in the show “Gotham” they introduced The Court of Owls last season and it appears as if they’ll have an ominous presence on the story this season. How does it feel to have created something in the Bat-verse that’s impact is so significant it’s being adapted to live-action?

Scott Snyder: I can’t even begin to tell you.. When Geoff Johns told me they were doing that, I was out in Burbank [California] and he was like “I have something to show you.” And he showed me clips from the promos from the season two introduction of them and I almost teared up because I was so excited. So, it’s a huge thrill honestly, and DC has been incredibly kind to us about it. But Greg and I had one stipulation, we wanted to be Owls in the back, giving the thumbs up wearing the masking and everything, no, no, we are very grateful. When I started Batman, or even Detective Comics, six or seven years ago, I never thought in a million years I would be doing it this long or have been able to be so embedded in the mythology and able to create characters and anything that would stick. It’s hugely rewarding, and cant thank the fans enough for all their years of support and letting us do everything we’ve done in the books.

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Thank you so much to DC Comics, and Scott Snyder. Be sure to head to your local comic shop and pick up All Star Batman #1 which is on shelves now, and if you are in the Middle Tennessee area, head over to Game Cave 2 and pick up this book! You don’t want to sleep on this series.

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4LN Comic Review: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1

Series: Suicide Squad
Writer: Rob Williams
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion

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Summary from Comixology: “Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive! ”

Man, what a coincidence that this comic is coming out right before the Suicide Squad movie hits theaters on Friday, you would almost think that was planned or something. But seriously, it makes perfect sense to drop this comics this week. You have people picking it up this week out of hype, and next week, if people like what they see, hopefully they will come into a comic shop and pick this book up. I personally think this is a great starting issue, as well as a great jumping on point for literally any level of a fan. Life long Suicide Squad fan, this book is for you. Just saw the trailer and want some light reading, this is the book for you.

In this issue, the Squad consist of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Boomerang, and leader Rick Flair Flag. This issue is a great “origins” story for the team. We don’t get flashbacks of who Harley, Deadshot and Boomerang were before joining the team, we just know they were bad. We don’t see action ready combat hero Rick Flag fighting overseas, but we do know shit hit the fan for him and he’s now in Guantanamo Bay for terrorism. And, we find out that in the last months of President Obama’s presidency, he finds out about Amanda Walker and Task Force X. For those unfamiliar, Amanda Walker is the government agent that leads the top secret task force.

I think Rob Williams does a fantastic job capturing the feel of these characters. Williams really seems to understand the characters of the team, and he does a fantastic job capturing the dialogue between them. I love how he has Boomerang singing soccer hooligan songs while in combat. Speaking of combat, the fight scenes are absolutely intense in this book. Boomerang slices a guys hands off, Harley and Deadshot shoot a guy in the head (each hit a different target) and the Suicide Squad has no problem detonating a bomb in a metropolitan city.

I really enjoyed the art in this book. It was very clean, but also had a gritty feel to it. A lot of dark colors and dark tones were used, which is important in a book like Suicide Squad. Everything seemed very well-organized on the pages, and the panels were easy to follow. There were a few pages that I just really enjoyed solely because of the page layouts and how the book flowed together. Philip Tan also did a fantastic job on making people look real. What I mean by this is, when looking at President Obama, I knew it was President Obama, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do in the comics medium.

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If you are excited for the movie, or just want to read a book about super villains doing badass shit, then this is totally the book for you. Williams and Tan do a wonderful job at bringing this team alive on the pages. Don’t sleep on this book, and for $2.99 what do you have to loose?

Music Pairing:

Harley Quinn being a badass is awesome, and I feel like you could safely call her Miss Murder. AFI is the perfect fit for a book like Suicide Squad, and their song Miss Murder does a good job as the soundtrack.

4LN Movie Review – Suicide Squad

It seems the ever-growing divide between audiences and film critics is hitting it’s apex in 2016. I mean, never before have so many films been stamped worthy or unworthy before they even released, but this year it seems like almost every movie was prejudged before audiences could even vote with their dollars. No one has felt the pain of this divide more than DC/Warner Bros, as evident by the controversy that Suicide Squad has become. Earlier this week the review embargo dropped and the internet was flooded with negative opinions of the film. I literally only read one positive review before I saw the film myself. So, was it really *that* bad? Is it the worst movie of the year? Is it more of a cinematic abomination than last years Fantastic Four, as Vanity Fair suggested? The answer, confidently, is NO, it’s no where near that bad. Nothing is. (And the Vanity Fair reviewer must’ve had a serious bout of constipation when he saw the film because his article is unnecessarily cruel and could only have been written by someone so painfully full of shit.)

Suicide Squad broke the August record for a Thursday night opening of a film, by a lot. Based on the reviews, a lot of people are surprised by this. I am not. DC and WB stacked it with an eclectic cast, and spent a lot of time hyping it to the Hot Topic demographic and it paid off. Their character designs are perfect for marketing, as you can see with the deluge of t-shirts and other swag for sale everywhere. Even the soundtrack takes a rifle shot right at the mainstream. I mean, with the likes of Rick Ross and Lil Wayne you lock down the hip-hop crowd, and then add Twenty One Pilots and Panic! At the Disco, both whom are selling out concerts this summer, and I think you can start to see my point. They knew just what they were doing when they planned out the marketing strategy. They did however, forget to structure a cohesive film for which all of this marketing would hinge on…

“But Stephen, I thought you said it wasn’t that bad?” You’re right, I did say that, and it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a little-to-medium bad. The first hour is especially confusing and hard to follow. The film opens with backstories on Deadshot and Harley that are nice but feel like they’re a little hurried so as to get them over with. Once the team is put together they’re sent off on a mission that just so conveniently turns out to have been caused by someone who was supposed to be one of them. The majority of the film is just the team on this one mission. I was a little surprised that it went that direction, but it makes sense when you consider David Ayer’s film style. See, what he does best are linear action movies with intimate drama and lots of gunfire. He typically has a couple main characters and then maybe three crucial supporting characters. Here, there’s like five main characters and 87 supporting ones. All the “David Ayer” elements are here, but they’re in a movie with a much bigger scope than he’s shot within in the past and it feels like the whole thing gets away from him a little bit. For that reason, I don’t think you could really call this a “David Ayer’s film”, but that’s sort of what you sacrifice when you take on a franchise I guess. Hey, in his defense, he’s at least not as empty as Zack Snyder. That dude cannot make a movie with substance, or emotions that feel natural. Ayer can do that. He has a good cast and he gets good performances out of them, with some decent emotion, even though it’s stretched thin across so many characters.

Despite the confusing plot lines and mostly mediocre story, the cast is actually phenomenal. I think the sense of camaraderie that Ayer strongly attempts to instill in his actors shows through. Everyone seems to have a genuine connection and performs very well. Rather than trying to talk about everyone, though, I’ll just focus on some of the standouts.

Viola Davis is fantastic as Amanda Waller, the woman responsible for creating the team in the first place. She completely embodies the nature of the character and might possibly give the best, most natural performance in the whole film. I’m a fan of Joel Kinnaman and I felt like he did a great job as Rick Flagg, who is in charge of keeping the team together. Flagg is a military man and Kinnaman gives a solid performance. One of the standouts I felt was Jai Courtney as Digger Harkness / Captain Boomerang. He brings an off-beat sense of humor to the film that’s not the same as the other funny moments. It’s different than when Harley says something bizarrely crazy or when Deadshot makes a funny quip. Without him, the film could’ve been a lot more boring. Bringing to the table what is definitely the darkest personal drama of the team is Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana / El Diablo, the man who makes and controls fire. Hernandez portrays Diablo’s inner conflict well. He wants to stay out of the fight for personal reasons, but he clearly knows how easily his ability could decimate the enemy they face.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Leto’s Joker and actually wished their has been more of him. He wasn’t quite as much like the “Death of the Family” Joker that I was hoping for, but I see that potential in him. Margot Robbie is a good Harley Quinn, but after Amanda Conner’s and Jimmy Palmiotti’s incredible run on the character in her self-titled comic series, it’s hard to see her as emotionally out-of-control as she comes across in the film. I mean, yes, she’s crazy. Yes, she’s clever. But she’s also deceptively intelligent, and… I… I just struggled with this version of Harley a little. I didn’t hate it, I just feel like Conner and Palmiotti have written Harley in a manner that depicts her in control of herself and her own sexuality and I’m not entirely sure I can say that this Harley is. However, this is an earlier moment in the timeline of that character whereas that comic series takes place much later in her life so I hope that as we see more of her in films she starts to evolve into that strong, more mentally and emotionally in control woman she’s become in the comics.

In a perfect world, this movie would’ve cut the cast by about 5 people, one of those being The Enchantress who’s involvement just takes away from the greatness it could’ve been, and been shortened to about an hour and a half. To it’s credit, it’s nowhere near as boring as Batman V Superman. It may be messy and confusing, but at least it has enough going on to keep you interested. I would say the difference is… BvS was disappointing, but Suicide Squad just never fully achieves its potential. There are some really great moments too. Leto’s Joker is petty creepy, and many of the action sequences are really exciting. It’s worth watching for sure. I even hope that they can make a sequel because there’s so many more great characters that you can use in the Suicide Squad (*cough* Deathstroke and King Shark *cough*). I just think that the next one needs to be a little more focused and less shotgun-like. Much like the team itself, this film tries to hit multiple targets at once but just falls a tad short.