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4LN Movie Review – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

There’s a term in law practice, “Tainting the jury pool”, that first came to my mind when I saw the BvS reviews from film critics. They’re pretty much all negative, and what happens when people see that is: half of the audience (the fanboys) gets defensive, and the other half goes into the movie with low expectations and looking for flaws. The critics taint the jury pool by shitting all over a movie that 99% of people haven’t seen yet. But… does that mean they’re wrong? I mean, after all, the overwhelming majority of them do not seem to think that it’s a quality movie, and “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Right? Well, it’s not really as simple as that when it comes to movies (or the entertainment industry as a whole, really, but that’s a lengthy conversation for another day). It’s extremely common nowadays for critics to hate a film, but for audiences to still flock to it. For example, The 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. On Rotten Tomatoes, that movie has a critic score of 21%, which isn’t good. However, it made almost $500 million at the box office on a budget of about $125 million, which was enough of a showing to earn it sequel that drops this year. I’ve never liked film critics, ironically, and I’ve never believed that “film critic” should be an actual occupation. It seems like as time goes on, the masses more and more disregard the “advice” of critics and choose to find out for themselves, which is exactly how it should be. However… that doesn’t necessarily mean the critics are always wrong.

OK, first off, the cruelty that the critics have been spewing is an overreaction. Things like, “Batman v Superman will make you hate Batman, Superman, and the Justice League”, that it’s a “total train wreck” and a “crime against comic fans”. That’s a bit much, fellas. Did I think it was a great movie? Honestly, no, I didn’t. But I think it’s a decent movie. It didn’t make me hate any if the characters and I didn’t feel like my fandom was betrayed. I do understand where the critics hostility comes from though. If these weren’t characters with established legacy and were just some made up heroes for a movie, we’d all notice the flaws more clearly. Being fans makes it hard for us to recognize the messiness of the plot and how jumbled the story is. Things do happen in a bit of a confusing timeline, but it’s really not enough to make you mad I don’t think. Besides, it’s Batman and Superman coming to blows. How cool is that? I can overlook some plot holes and character inconsistencies for that.

Focusing on the positive, Affleck really is great as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He’s older and more hardened than we’ve ever seen him on screen and it works. Affleck very sincerely captures the torment and callousness of Bruce, and how that affects all aspects of his life. He’s been clinging to his righteous indignation for Superman, at how he was a part of the destruction of Metropolis but is heralded as a hero, a savior, and even a god. Batman wants to see Superman answer for his role in all of it, but the only justice he knows how to exact is vigilante justice. One of the things that director Zack Snyder has been defending is Batman’s apparent killing of bad guys in the movie. Yes, he does seem to kill, but I personally don’t care about that because Batman has been indirectly, and directly, responsible for many deaths in comics and movies, and I think in some instances he should kill so… that’s where I stand on that.

The real gem of the movie, as some have fairly pointed out, is Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman; She’s simply Diana Prince for the first two-thirds of the movie. We first meet her at a party where her path crosses with Bruce’s and then we see her a few more times until the end when she suits up and unleashes. She was one of things I was most looking forward to and she did not disappoint. When she showed up alongside Batman & Superman and just jumped right in to the action at the end I got so excited. Unlike the two of them, she’s a trained, proven and battle-worn soldier. She doesn’t just throw punches and hope for the best. She’s a strategist and she thinks very quickly on her feet. Yes, I know Batman is very strong and practically a ninja. Thanks for pointing that out. However, Batman isn’t faced-off-against-entire-armies-with-nothing-but-a-sword-and-a-rope strong (sorry, LASSO) so go back to your basement nerds.

The other character I was most looking forward to was Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. I knew it was going to be an unconventional take on the character, and I’m not really a purist when it comes to stuff like that so I’ve been eager to see what he did with it. The critics response seems to be that he was “over-the-top” and “bad”. Wow guys. Really digging deep in the thesaurus for those adjectives huh. His performance was “over-the-top”, but it was supposed to be. He’s playing a maniacal and emotionally unstable genius billionaire with a bit of a god-complex; As opposed to just a smart billionaire with a lot of a god-complex. Gene Hackman was a great Lex Luthor, and Kevin Spacey even did a solid turn, but their performances weren’t really that close to how Lex has always been written in the comics either so let’s drop the bullshit about the characters not resembling their comic book counterparts.

There’s a scene where he’s talking to Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch, and then there’s a scene later where they’re in a senate committee hearing and those two scenes compliment one another in a way that has you kind of chuckling at first but then by the end of the second scene you fully understand the lengths that Lex is willing to go to in order to get what he wants and it’s kind of terrifying.

The film’s visuals and cinematography are phenomenal. If there’s one thing Zack Snyder knows, it’s how to make a movie that at least looks amazing. There are some very captivating action sequences and exhilarating shots that few directors have the vision to capture. The final battle between Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman against Doomsday (it’s not a spoiler, that was in the trailers so don’t act like you didn’t know) is very exciting. The dream sequence with Batman in the desert up against an army of Superman soldiers is pretty fantastic also.

One thing I do want to address is the Justice League cameos. Yes, there are 3 other JLers who briefly appear but what kind of frustrated me was how they made Jason Momoa’s Aquaman such a big deal in the marketing, even giving him his own action figures, and he’s only in the movie for like 30 seconds. Really, one of the others has a more significant cameo scene than he does and I’d heard nothing about it. It was just irritating to expect a bigger role from him and have it be so inconsequential.

Parents: This movie is very dark and gritty and LONG, so just keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take your kids. My 8yo handled it fine, and even ended up liking it when he he was initially disinterested, but there was a little boy in front of us who’s grandpa brought him and he was probably about 5. He did not do so well. I’d suggest 7 or 8 is probably your target age for just old enough to handle what they’re watching and not get bored.

Look, I don’t have to convince you to see Batman v Superman. You’re going to. I know it, you know it, and WB and DC know it. It’s not an abomination. It’s no Dark Knight, which Batman films will be trying to live up to forever, but it’s worth watching. Hell, I’ll even watch it again just for Wonder Woman. (She really was fantastic you guys.) Besides, what else are you gonna do this weekend. Wait, have you finished season 2 of Daredevil? Ok, do that first and then go see Batman v Superman (#priorities).

Saturday Morning Review: Aquaman #31


Book: Aquaman #31
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Paul Pelletier
Inker(s): Sean Parsons and Paul Fernandez


Summary from Comixology: “The King of Atlantis vs. the Avatar of the Green! It’s Aquaman against Swamp Thing, with countless lives hanging in the balance.”

The Good
I will be the first to say, I was upset when Geoff Johns left this book, and I was really dissapointed in the first few issues of Parker’s run with Aquaman. But I will say, this issue really surprised me. It was really fun watching Swamp Thing and Aquaman dukeit out. I’m not an avid Swamp Thing reader, I have now read a total of two Swamp Thing stories, this one with Aquaman; and, the first appearance of Constantine. This was a fun story and it wasn’t too much of a let down. My favorite part was the Mera story involving finding her would be assassins in The Underrealm. (Spoiler Ahead!) Swamp Thing getting ripped apart by alligators and crocodiles and then reforming was completely bad-ass!
The Bad
I don’t exactly love Paul Pelletier, but I also don’t hate Pelletier’s art. I think that’s the best description of the art in this book. At times I really loved it, and other times I was just not interested in the art.  Like the scene of the Crocodiles was awesome, as well as the scene of the Underrealm, but the rest of the art in the book wasn’t anything to be super interested by. I’m also not really sure why the “villain” of this acr wasn’t even included until the last page. Maybe to add suspense? Maybe to write out of a corner? I really hope Swamp Thing isn’t just in here to sell books like a certain Marvel character *cough* Wolverine *cough*.

The Final Say
This has been the best issue of the Jeff Parker’s Aquaman so far, but really it is a better Mera book compared to Aquaman. I was much more interested in her story line than I was Arthur’s. I think Parker will be able to write a strong and independent character, and I think this will help bring some equality to female characters if Parker keeps up a strong Mera. Over all I give this issue a solid 3 out of 4. Things are looking a bit troubling for Aquaman and Mera, what do you think of this series since Parker took over?

Comic Review: Aquaman and the Others #2

Book: Aquaman and the Others #2
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciler: Lana Medina
Inker: Allen Martinez


Summary from Comixology: “The Others’ plane is blown to bits at 40,000 feet! How will this group of non-flying heroes survive? Plus: who wants the team’s Atlantean relics?”

That summary really didn’t sell me on this issue. When I read that I thought to myself, “Well, this sounds exciting.” *said that in a sarcastic tone*. This book really didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t excited to read it, and when it ended, I didn’t really feel anything. I didn’t have any pressing questions that I need answers too, and I wasn’t sad that the issue had come to an end. It was a fairly stale story.

The book is called “Aquaman and the Others,” and that’s exactly how it feels. There isn’t much character development for the team of Others that work alongside Arthur. In all honestly, I can’t tell you any of their names. That might be because you just don’t feel any emotion for them. As the team is falling out of the plane I wasn’t worried once. I already knew they would be OK even though no one on the team can fly. The characters did mention how they should look for a new member who can fly, and that made me chuckle a little, but not enough to keep me entertained.

The story felt rushed and I have no clue who the villain was in this issue. They just kind of appeared and did bad things. That sounds like such a blanket statement, or a weak description but that’s how it felt. I don’t even know what was going on for most of the story. I think I would enjoy this book if I felt more empathy for the characters, but so far they just feel so two-dimensional. I had high hopes for this book when it was first announced, but after two issues I’m losing interest fast.

Over all, I have to go with a 1 out of 4. This just didn’t capture me at all. The art wasn’t anything special, the story was a chore to get through and personally I felt this was a story that didn’t need to be told. If you really want to read this, go pick it up. Personally, I will more than likely not read another issue and just wait for the trade paperback.

Equality Now

(Editor’s note: this article is from our archive. It was originally posted about three years ago. There have been many changes in the Comic Industry that have further advanced the general sense of equality since we initially shared this piece.)

As comic books are constantly changing, so are the times and also the roles that both males and females play in society. We have begun to see a larger portion of men staying at home with their families, and we have also seen a large amount of women begin to become the primary breadwinners for their families. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, and Ally (which will now be referred to as LGBTQIA) community has made very successful strides in the American political arena with such acts as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and with seventeen states now allowing same sex marriage, the LGBTQIA community is standing strong in their fight for equality.

For the LGBTQIA community, what’s going on in America right now isn’t much different from the events that took place in the 1960’s with the Civil Rights movement. Comic book superheroes The X-Men made their first appearance in 1961 and soon became the face of equality in the Silver Age (1956-1970) of comic books. Jamie Coville states “These “mutants” were the next step in our evolution and had powers that society didn’t understand. The result of this was society hated and feared them. Doing this showed parallels to racism and also showed why racism is wrong.” By using mutants, Marvel Comics were able to show that racism can exist without the color of your skin having anything to do with a situation. The mutants and the X-Men were hated for being different and were used to teach readers to not let racism or their own hatred rule their lives.


As the times continued to change, so did comics. In the 1980s we saw a style begin to become more and more popular, known simply as “Grim & Gritty” and was started by writer and penciler Frank Miller. These comics were much darker, and represented more surreal and taboo topics. Some of the more notable comics to come from this time are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which was a spoof on Spider-Man and the X-Men in the title alone), Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and Watchmen. Watchmen, written by Alan Moore in 1986, was a very serious and heavy story that dealt with issues like The Vietnam War, the issues soldiers faced in the field, and even more taboo subjects such as rape and child molestation. The “Grim and Gritty” style of comics has continued to be a successful style of writing today.


With all this being said, comics have always been changing and making modifications to the times they represent. In today’s society one of the more politically charged hot topics of the day is the LGBTQIA community, their representation and also the desire for equality. In comic books LGBTQIA rights are represented, but not well enough. The introduction of gay characters such as Green Lantern Alan Scott and X-Men Northstar have been major achievements for the battle of equality. Unfortunately though, the Transgender community has no representation in mainstream comic books. The two industry titans, Marvel and DC Comics, have stayed away from the topic of transgender issues.

For the introduction of the first openly gay X-Men character Northstar, writer Marjorie Liu states that “It says a lot about how uncomfortable people felt with taking risks on subjects that might be controversial. Now I think people feel a bit safer doing so because the tide is being turned. Gay rights is an issue that’s discussed more openly. Gay marriage is now legal in New York—they’re not going to lose as much by speaking about it” (Leon). With the introduction of the first gay character, this did create some backlash. A Christian organization by the name of One Million Moms weighed in on the topic of a gay superhero (Northstar):

“This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children’s superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them into thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin.”


However, Marvel feels different about the topic at hand. Marvel believes that “Our comics are always best when they respond to and reflect developments in the real world. We’ve been doing that for decades, and this is just the latest expression of that,” said Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Alex Alonso (Perpetua). Marvel Comics editor went on to say that “The last thing we should do is be frightened to offend. We should be looking to create dialogue, provoke, and take people out of their comfort zone—that’s what we do with comics and that’s what we’re gonna do with this story” (Leon). Alex Alonso makes a strong argument about how comic books should no longer be afraid to push the envelope, but with the topic of the LGBTQIA community, that shouldn’t be something that is pushing the envelope, but society should be more accepting and willing to see the personal lives of comic book heroes. The characters personal life involves both personal relationships and sexual orientation.

The topic of superheroes’ personal lives has recently been brought into the limelight after DC Comics decided to scrap the idea of Batwoman and her marriage. DC Executive editor, Dan Didio stated “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests” (Polo). This is a serious problem in the comic book community, as we see straight characters such as DC’s superstar Superman who is often depicted in a happy relationship with either Lois Lane, or Wonder Woman. We also see Aquaman in a very happy relationship with his “queen” Mera. For Aquaman to refer to Mera as his queen would have to imply that they are both married, since Aquaman is the King of Atlantis. Other heroes such as Green Lantern and The Flash are shown with their significant others at times, for it to be said that heroes shouldn’t have “happy personal lives” is a cop out. We read superhero stories because they are relatable, we find common ground with the heroes we see in comics each month, and we also keep coming back to them for what is going on in their lives.

In the article “DiDio Attempts to Explain DC’s Marriage Ban; Will Scrap Last Williams/Blackman Batwoman Issues?” writer Susana Polo makes the argument that there are both straight and gay kids, teens and adults that read comic books. For the younger generation of people who are reading comic books, they look to the comic book universe as an escape, and they want to know that things are ok. The LGBTQIA community wants to be represented and they want their own heroes, their own villains, and they want people to better understand them. As an avid supporter of the gay and lesbian community I want my gay friends to have the same rights and representation that I am given, being a major comic book reader and collector, I also want them represented better in something that I hold so close to myself and a community I am deeply tied to.

Susan Polo stated that “The fact is that there are kids out there right now who believe that because they are different from their peers they will never find anyone to love them, will never be accepted by their community, and may never be accepted by their government,” (Polo) and this is a very interesting view on the situation at hand. If kids don’t see people like them represented in comic books, then they might not realize there are more people like them. When a person “comes out of the closet” it’s one of the most difficult things they will face, and this will leave them feeling, most of the time, ostracized and alone. If they have never seen the influence of a gay character in the comic book community, who has gone through the same situations, then the reader may become more comfortable in who they are.

One of Marvel’s most popular characters ever created is just a teenage/young adult who is in battle with the simple struggles of life. Spider-Man isn’t super strong, he’s not super smart, and he’s not overly successful. Spider-Man is just an average character who struggles with work and with personal relationships. He also suffers from the mistakes of his past, he blames his uncle’s death on himself, and he blames the death of the girl he loves (Gwen Stacey) on himself as well. This character has his own demons that he is facing, and struggles that often bring him to his lowest point, but he is able to remain strong and move past his own defeats. The fact that Spider-Man is so relatable helps him gain a larger and more diverse reader base, because he is so much like the readers themselves. If Marvel or DC could include a gay comic book hero, they could easily create a more popular and a well known new superhero.

If a comic book writer would take the risk to create an openly gay character, who is not a second level character, readers of all ages could become exposed to a way of life that they were previously not aware of. Companies such as Marvel and DC need to focus on the fact that the majority of their readers are not from a small town in Kansas, but rather a large majority of the readers are in the inter cities and groups like We Are Comics have been created in hope to help make sure that all forms of diversity are represented equally in comic books. Their founder Rachel Edidin stated that “We Are Comics is a campaign to show—and celebrate—the faces of our community, our industry, and our culture; to promote the visibility of marginalized members of our population; and to stand in solidarity against harassment and abuse” (Chamber) and Rachel Edidin goes on to discuss that the easiest way to create a safe place in comics is to become the change that we want to see.

When the fans become accepting, and willing to understand a different way of life, then comics will be able to change and become more accommodating to the LGBTQIA community. Fans are both the problem and the solution to LGBTQIA rights in comic books. Once the fans are ready for change, the major publishers will no longer be in fear of pushing the envelope and potentially losing readers that are still stuck in 1950’s America.

Works Cited

Chamber, Becky. “Comic Book Fans, Assemble! The “We Are Comics” Campaign
Needs You!” The Mary Sue. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

Coville, Jamie. “The Silver Age.” Pennsilvania State University. Pennsilvania
State University, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <
Leon, Melissa. “DC Comics’ New Gay Green Lantern & Marvel’s First Same-Sex
Marriage.” The Daily Beast. N.p., 1 June 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.


Perpetua, Matthew. “Marvel Comics Hosts First Gay Wedding in ‘Astonishing
X-Men.'” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone Magazine, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.


Polo, Susana. “DiDio Attempts to Explain DC’s Marriage Ban; Will Scrap Last
Williams/Blackman Batwoman Issues?” The Mary Sue. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr.
2014. <>.

Food and Superheroes: Who Eats What?

supersize hero.
I have recently completely ran out of ideas for articles and that is one of he reasons that I haven’t been contributing much here on 4LN (not that you have noticed, with the great work coming from Cam and Stephen). I recently sent Stephen a text asking for an article Idea and he mentioned that it would be cool to do an article about the food that a superhero would cook, similar to Cam’s article about the coffee that our favorite hero’s enjoy. So, here is my take on what some heroes would eat. Now, keep in mind that this is all speculation and solely based on characters personalities.

CAPTAIN AMERICACaptain America movie

Up first, I have to go with Steve Rodgers, Captain America. What would this good time, freedom loving, red white and blue hero sit down and have for dinner? Well, I think his first two favorite meals would have to be a nice American wood fire grilled hamburger. I can see Steve standing around Avengers Tower doing a Memorial Day cookout. I imagine Steve standing around the grill with a Coke Cola in hand and a New York Yankees hat on. Besides a nice hamburger, I believe Cap would also enjoy a nice simple hot dog from a street vendor in NYC. Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring us back to those “old days” that Steve grew up on.


Next up, I have to go with the Amazing Spider-Man. Now, what in the world does a meal look like for the superior wall-crawler? Well, a lot of the time I see Spider-Man kinda like me, a broke college student trying to figure things out. I think occasionally Spider-Man makes a trip down to McDonalds for something on the dollar menu, but this is only when he “loses” his invitation to Steve’s Memorial Day party. But, on those late nights when Peter has been swinging around Manhattan, he comes home to a empty apartment, cracks open a Diet Pepsi and turns the stove on for some boiling water, once the water is boiling Spidey heads over to his cabinets and pulls out some Lime Chili Shrimp Ramen.


How about Batman? That’s simple. A Knuckle Sandwich with a side of Justice.

Ever wonder what the king of Atlantis eats, I bet you think he’s vegan and wants to protect all the little fishies in the ocean? Well that’s not exactly correct. For this superhero I’m not basing this on speculation, but rather proof. I can’t say if this is Aquaman’s favorite meal, but I can say it’s one he enjoys. In Aquaman #1 from the DC N52 re-launch, Arthur actually goes into a fish restaurant and gets an order of Fish n’ Chips and a few people are really caught off guard by this. Just because he’s king of the ocean doesn’t mean he’s against eating his peasants. (Honorable mention goes to John Constantine. His meals consist of coffee, cigarettes and fish n’ chips. But that’s only because he’s British and I always enjoy a good stereotype. )


Now, how about those people that we all know that really enjoy weird food. I’m pretty sure we all know someone like that. Just the other night I was talking with my friend Clay, who is a baker, and he was telling me about some really f—ked up things people eat. The one that stuck with me the most is how it’s considered a delicacy to eat a LIVE baby octopus. And who else to eat this weird shit then the wonderful Steven Vincent Price Strange, better known as Dr. Strange. I feel he would also be a big fan of Fried Brain Sandwiches; after all, they do support stronger brain activity, right? (I actually can’t fathom eating that.) I would also like to mention, I imagine dinner at the Strange residence is similar to that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where they cut the snake open and tons of little snakes come out. If I ever get an invitation to their, I’ll politely decline.

What do you think your favorite superhero would consider their favorite dish? Let us know in the comments below.

Coffee and Superheroes: Who Drinks What?

Coffee is an amazing thing.  It gives us the drive to power through the gauntlet that is cubicle life, as well as giving struggling writers a reason to show everyone at the local coffee shop (Starbucks) that they are, in fact, writers.  As I was sipping my morning coffee (maybe third or fourth morning coffee) out of my Batman coffee cup, I began to wonder what caffeinated beverages gave our favorite superheroes that extra pep in the step of the roundhouse kick to the ne’er-do-well’s villainous jowls.  What follows is purely speculative reasoning as to each hero’s favorite coffee.

Captain America

Captain America movie

Black Coffee, no frills.   Preferably instant coffee from a WWII C-Ration, but Maxwell House will suffice (if it’s good enough for Teddy Roosevelt, it’s good enough for Cap).

Steve Rogers is a traditional, no nonsense, American fightin’ man.  During WWII they didn’t have the fancy pants coffee we have now.  In fact, from November 1942 to July 1943, the US rationed coffee to insure the American GI could have something to keep them sharp over in Europe and the Pacific.  Cap is a natural born leader who never puts himself above his men – if his men are drinking C-Ration instant coffee, then that’s what he’ll be sippin’.




Caffeine Capsule Stored in the Utility Belt

Batman’s a busy man.  Whether he’s gallivanting around as the playboy, billionaire, or zipping around Gotham battling the criminal underworld, he doesn’t have time to sit and sip a latte.  When he needs to have a little pick-me-up, he needs it quick and he needs it efficient.  Solution? Caffeine Capsule that is stored in his handy Utility-Belt (probably named a Bat-Pill, or Bat-Caffiene Capsule… I’m sure Alfred’s working on an appropriate Bat-themed name).

The Hulk


Chamomile Tea

Hulk, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.  When his heart rate goes up so does his pant-size and anger management issues.  Caffeine is probably not the best thing for Dr. Banner to be consuming considering some of the main side-effects are increased heart-rate and high blood pressure.   No, Banner needs the soothing effects of Chamomile tea.  Chamomile has a mild sedative effect and lowers stress, anxiety, and heart rate, which would mean Banner could keep being Banner instead of Banner becoming Hulk.

Whoever made this meme had it backwards

Whoever made this meme had it backwards




Folgers, Cream and Two Sugars

Clark is a simple man with simple taste.  He was raised on a farm in the heart of Kansas, nothing fancy about that.  Black coffee would be a bit to bitter for his his hypersensitive taste buds so he would need it to be cut with something sweeter.  Give him a cup of Folgers Classic, throw a dash of cream and two sugars in there, and he will feel stronger than a Kryptonian on Tatooine… because Tatooine has two yellow suns… too much?




Mead. Only Mead.

... and the occasional black coffee.

… and the occasional black coffee.




Triple, Venti, Steamed, Half Sweet, Soy, Non-Fat, Chia Machiatto, Extra Chia, Extra Drizzle, Double-Cupped

You know why.

Iron Man


Nitro Coffee

Nitro Coffee is what happens when you brew coffee with Red Bull instead of water, add a dash of pure caffeine powder with simple syrup, and cut it with milk and antacid.  Disgusting?  Absolutely.  Deadly?  Most likely, but this is just the kind of drink a man with as busy a schedule and as high a tolerance as Mr. Stark would need to make it through his manic bouts of invention mixed with his flying around the world in a suit of armor at Mach 3.  Do you really think a regular cup of coffee would fuel that kind of life?

Coffee may not give you superpowers, but there is little doubt that it will give you at least a modicum of morale and will power to work your way through to quitting time.  So what kind of coffee do you think your favorite superhero would drink? Let us know in the comments!

Man of Steel Sequel Release Date Pushed Back!

It’s been announced by Warner Bros and DC that the highly anticipated sequel to last year’s Man of Steel has been pushed back from it’s original release date of July 17 2015 to May 06, 2016. The reason that’s being given is it’s so that it can provide “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”


Additionally, the new release date is the same day that Marvel had announced they’d be releasing an as-yet-untitled project. That same month X-Men: Apocalypse is scheduled to release, in the following month Amazing Spider-Man 3 is on the docket, and then Marvel has ANOTHER movie set for July 8. Early summer 2016 is getting kind of crowded…

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that this has been announced as well…


That’s just too many superhero movies in one small block of time. Seriously. There’s 12 f—ing months in a year and these movie studios feel like they have to cram EVERY superhero movie into this 4 month box (May – August). I think what should happen is this:

X-Men and Spider-Man can stay where they are. I don’t really care about them. Not because I don’t think they’ll be good, I just don’t think they’ll be GREAT. Marvel should let WB and DC just have that date for the Man of Steel sequel, and they should push they’re projects back to July and August. Hell, they could even do July or August and then November. I’m sure whatever they have planned won’t have any real competition in those months and it’ll build hype between films.

Whatever the case may be, the main thing here is that it’s going to be A LOT longer before we get to see a glimpse of Batffleck, or Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman garb. That’s the thing that bums me out. I’m really curious what the costumes are gonna look like for those two.

Holy Batsuit Nipples, Batman!

Aquaman: The Dweller In The Depths

Lets do some fun speculation!

I would give anything to see an Aquaman movie. Now, I know what you are thinking, “You really want to see a movie that takes place 90% of the time in water? Dude, do you not remember Water World, that’s like an Aquaman movie? It’s as terrible as an Aquaman movie would be.” But what about Titanic and Open Water, those movies took place in water and did fairly well. I think its all about who you have direct the movie, I think that would be the key to having a bad ass Aquaman movie. You have to find a director and stars who would enjoy the risk of being in an Aquaman movie.

I have done a lot of thinking about who should be in this movie and how it should be made, I guess you can say I have spent WAY to much time trying to figure this out. I think if Hollywood would hire me *I* would be able to make it amazing. So here me out on this and let me know if you are feeling the same way of if I’m just a crazy fan trying for the world to see how bad ass Arthur Curry is in the world of comic books.

Lets begin with the title of the movie, I think if it was simply called “Aquaman” no one would take it serious no matter how awesome it looks, instead I think it should take the same route as Man of Steel. MoS made the impact that it wasn’t going to be the same Superman movies of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I think the movie should be called “Dweller of The Depths.” This leaves a lot to the imagination, could we see a more terrifying horror style comic movie with Aquaman fighting some mythical evil sea creature, or could Dweller of The Depths be a title for Aquaman? I think Hollywood could have a lot more fun and gain more public interest by expanding on some of the extended universe with Aquaman.

Now for the director, I think we would need someone that could imagine Atlantis and bring that imagery to the surface world. When I think about what director I would want, two come to mind. One of them I love, and the other I really don’t enjoy but I think he could really pull this film off. I’ll start with one of my favorite directors, I really think Ridley Scott would be perfect for this film. Ridley took us into terrifying space during Alien, he created the perfect world for Blade Runner, and I personally thought Prometheus was one of the best films of 2012. (Sure the characters made terrible, terrible decisions that no one would make, but it was still a beautiful film.) I honestly think Ridley Scott would bring Arthur Curry to a whole new light.

Ridley Scott, DGA Quarterly, October 1, 2010

Now my second pick would be someone I don’t normally like, but I think he could bring to life the most beautiful and real Atlantis, Peter Jackson. His visions of Middle Earth in The Lord of The Ring series and The Hobbit(s) were absolutely breathtaking. Even his depiction of the island on which King Kong is found, was an eerie and intense feeling. With his abilities to bring Middle Earth to life and his vision of King Kong, I think Aquaman would be an awesome project for him. (BUT, we also need to keep in mind that for comic book movies we need to have a director that shows interest in the character. Iron Man was such a success because Jon Favreau loves the character and on the opposite side of things, Green Lantern wasn’t that great because Martin Campbell didn’t really care about Hal.)

Now here is the fun part of this, who in the world would play Aquaman? This is where I had the most fun. I am a HUGE True Blood fan, and from the first episode I ever saw, I always thought Alexander Skarsgard would be the perfect Arthur Curry. He has that tormented soul feeling, he looks like he could be royalty, we have seen him PISSED in True Blood and we have also seen him play other roles besides the hundreds of year old Viking vampire. He has stretched himself in many different roles, a model in Zoolander, he was in that awesome Battleship movie, and he played a Sergeant in Generation Kill. I think Skarsgard could easily play Arthur. And the plus to him in this movie, every 20 something girl and middle age mom will have no problem seeing this movie with their boyfriends, husbands and sons.


The next character I had a little bit more trouble trying to figure out who would be best as Arthurs love interest Mera. I originally said that Jane Levy would be the best actress for Mera. I threw this idea out to Stephen Andrew one day and he mentioned that Jane might look too young to play the Queen of Atlantis. He made the suggestion that Katie McGrath of NBC’s Dracula might be best for that role, after a lot of thinking and watching a few episodes, I think if you dyed her hair red, she would pull off the best Mera. I think interactions between Katie and Skarsgard would be really interesting and I think they would have really interesting chemistry together.

For an Aquaman villain, it took some serious thinking on who could best hate Aquaman. I originally couldn’t think of anyone but then as I was reading Forever Evil it hit me that Black Manta would HAVE to be in the first Aquaman film, he is one of his two arch enemies and hates him more than anything. I think David Oyelowo would best play this role and I think he could become a terrifying villain and as an actor, I think his actions would be harder to try to guess what he was planning and/or what he would do. I don’t see Black Manta to be as chaotic and spontaneous as The Joker or as well prepared as Bane, but I do see Black Manta as a character that can always challenge Arthur and bring him to his breaking point. I really see David Oyelowo as someone who can blossom in this role and really make it his own.



Now I have one more person I want in this film. He can play Arthur’s best friend or even his scientific advisor Nuidis Vulko. For this role I want TJ Miller. You might be thinking “What the F*&%? Why TJ Miller?” Well honestly, I think he would be hilarious and just a random ass character that could be a lot of fun. Iron Man had some comedic relief and even in The Dark Knight Rises there was some humor. I think it Vulko was making fun of Aquaman throughout the movie and just ripping into him for being lame it would be really enjoyable. In the first issue of Aquaman by Geoff Johns he has someone constantly making fun of Aquaman for being “nobody’s favorite superhero.” I think they could write that into the movie to really work well. Or we can have Anthony Jeselnik and just be a complete dick. Either way, I think it would be great.

tj miller

I really don’t know why, but he would be awesome in an Aquaman movie.

Superheroes and Music: Who Does the DC Universe Listen To?



Stephen and I came up with an idea for a new article in which he and I work together to figure out what music Marvel and DC Universe characters would listen too. At first I thought the idea was funny and nothing more than a clever gimmick. (After all, here at 4LN, if Stephen says something we take it with a grain of sand, because most of the time there are a couple derogatory words used followed by some foul language.) In today’s article I am going to look at five DC Universe characters and figure out who or what music they would listen too. And if you come back tomorrow, which I suggest you do, you’ll get some serious laughs at the musicians that Stephen has thrown together for our friendly superpowers over at Marvel.

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 8.32.45 PM

You don’t want to know what else he continued to say…

Now, I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with who would be my first superhero/villain for this article. Then it hit me… someone that most people have no clue exists. And that is one of Captain Marvel/Shazam’s corniest villains. Good ole Mr. Banjo. Yes, that’s right it’s a villain and he plays a banjo. Now, Banjo man has only appeared in two issues and I believe that’s three issues to many.  During World War II, Mr. Banjo would send the Japanese secret messages while playing the banjo, AND he would also battle Captain Marvel with nothing more than his Banjo, yeah… that sound’s like it ended well for him.

Mr Banjo

Now, I feel like Mr. Banjo would be a HUGE fan of bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs. Earl Scruggs was one of the pioneers for three-finger banjo pickin’ and played with Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys and later left Monroe’s band to start one with former band member Lester Flatt. I feel like Mr. Banjo might have been listing to The Grand Ole Opry on the radio one evening and he heard that eerie bluegrass banjo and it forever changed his life and he soon used his banjo for evil and to forever tarnish the bluegrass sound by becoming a traitor to the allied forces. Thanks a lot Mr. Banjo!

My second character for this would have to be my favorite Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. Kyle was chosen to be a lantern by Ganthet and Kyle always believed he was chosen by chance. Its very rare for the Guardians to hand pick a lantern, most of the time, the ring selects a wearer who shows great will power, but that was not the case for Kyle. At one point, Kyle was even the leader of the Corps and he has now since evolved into being one of the most powerful lanterns. No, he is not a Green, Blue, Red or Indigo Lantern, but he is now The White Lantern who can harness all powers of the emotional spectrum and no longer just one emotion at a time.


Now, Kyle has always had a short temper and been a little hot headed, and I think that is why I relate to him so much. I see myself in him a lot more than in any other DC characters. Based on his short temper and stubbornness, I feel like Kyle would be a major fan of Hardcore Punk. Not so much the early years of hardcore like Minor Threat, Black Flag, and The Germs. Kyle would be a fan of some of todays angrier more frustrated hardcore like Trash Talk or even Dead Swans. He’s a frustrated guy that can’t really control all of his emotions so he’s attracted to the raw pure energy that is offered by hardcore punk songs like “Explode” by Trash Talk. Just some raw relentless music that Kyle will jam as he moves from space sector to space sector.

Next up, we have one of DC’s darker characters and really one of the few anti-heroes that DC offers. His name is John Constantine, and he’s the pre-historic emo. John is a detective stationed in Liverpool and uses violence, an anti-social attitude, and he’s known for doing whatever it takes to get the job done. I can honestly say that Constantine is the hardest character on this list for me to come up with what kind of music he would listen to. I have a lot in mind that John would listen to. For example I think he would dig The Cure, Joy Division, Elliot Smith, My Bloody Valentine, or Nirvana. But, When I finally stopped to think about it, I began to realize that John would be driving around England in his beat up 1986 Toyota Corolla with a mixed tape that his high school sweet heart gave him (a few weeks before she broke his heart). On that mix tape would include the sadder songs by Joy Division (Love Will Tear Us Apart, She’s Lost Control and Shadow Play) followed by the angrier songs by Nirvana (Scentless Apprentice, In Bloom, and Dumb). But I feel like Constantine just listens to these bands in hopes that he can finally feel what his sweetheart was trying to get him to feel way back when.


Doesn’t he look like a guy that would drive an ’89 Toyota and listen to sad music?

Following Constantine, my next selection of the DC Universe is the wonderful delight known as Swamp Thing. As a quick background Swamp Thing is an elemental creature that shares a connection to all of the plant life that shares a home with him hear on planet earth. He is a giant mass of plant matter and eventually absorbed the memories and personality of botanist Alec Holland. But that wasn’t the only thing he absorbed, not many know this but, The Dark Carnival festival takes place near the swamp in which Swamp Thing calls home. As sure as the night is dark, Swamp Thing soon became one of the biggest fans of Insane Clown Posse and has a few Juggalos carved into him. At each gathering you can be sure to find Swamp Thing with his face painted like a deranged Kiss fan and screaming along to “Boogie Woogie Wu” because Swamp Thing IS the Boogie Woogie Man!


The final superhero on this list is one of DC’s biggest hitters, Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman, King of Atlantis and one of the core members of The Justice League. Aquaman is the rightful heir to the Throne of Atlantis and struggles with his connection to Atlantians and to humans, often referred to as “surface dwellers” by those that call the sea their home. Aquaman has always struggled with who he relates to the most, is it the humans that don’t trust him and/or fear him, or does he relate to the people of Atlantis that don’t want him as a king and find him inferior for being part human. But, there is one thing Aquaman can always find comfort in and something to relate with. And, that my fiends, is the Jam rock band Phish. They are a band Aquaman and Mera can walk down the beach with it playing on their boom box, and its just some nice slow jams that Aquaman can play on repeat while he’s swimming from the Pacific to Indian Ocean to help those dolphins caught in some six pack beer plastic carriers. When you spend 98% of your time in the water, you have to be thankful for Spotify and that Life Proof iPhone Case.


I jokingly sent Aquaman writer (at the time) Geoff Johns a tweet asking who Aquaman’s favorite band is, this was his answer.

Comic Book Writers: Do They Matter?

comic writers

When I read comic books, I love a great story. Personally for me, the art isn’t super important, sure it’s a huge plus to the book, but I think the writer is the one who really carries the story for the readers to continue on. For example, let’s look at Batman N52, I think if Greg Capullo was to leave the story, it would still remain one of DC’s best selling titles. But, what if Scott Snyder left? I think people would drop that book faster then you would imagine. Hell, that happened when Geoff Johns left Green Lantern after 9 years at the helm. I, for one, have really been enjoying the run that Robert Venditti has started. I have pretty high hopes for the future of Green Lantern; I still think he is in good hands.

Aquaman. Yeah, he has been the joke of DC and comic books for years. I’m pretty sure we are all aware of the Robot Chicken DC Comics special and how Aquaman is portrayed and how much of a c–t Superman is. But, when DC did their re-launch in 2011, Johns was taking on the writing of my favorite superhero, Aquaman. After the first issue, Aquaman was no longer the joke of DC but now he was one of the most badass characters and also one of DC’s best selling titles. It was one of the first times since Peter David’s run that I was proud to be an Aquaman fan again. A few months ago, some news immerged that Johns would be stepping down after the Death of a King arc was completed, and Jeff Parker was taking over the series. I was both saddened and extremely happy about that.


Why was I sad you ask? Well, Geoff Johns is great with bringing a character back to life, not literally, but what I mean is that Johns is really good with taking a book that isn’t selling well and making it completely bad ass. I was also worried that Aquaman in someone else’s hands would just end up being a little fish in a big DC pond. That’s why I was saddened.

Why was I happy you ask? Well, first of all. I am ready for a story that won’t start really good and then just be SO MOTHER F—ING BORING in the middle, followed by an anti-climatic ending that either A) leads into the next story arc, or B) requires me to buy a book that’s not on my pull list and might sell out before I get it. As much as I love Geoff Johns, his stories seem to drag on or involve a cross over series. Sure, that’s not his fault. DC thinks cross over sell great but he is a big wig over at DC so I feel like he could be responsible. Another reason I was happy was because Batman ’66 has been a super fun ride. I really hope he can make Aquaman as much fun as Batman ’66. Parker has also worked on Adventures of Superman #1.

Now, I have mentioned a few writers and how much I enjoy their works, but what about writers you are not a fan of? Sure I have a love/hate relationship with Geoff Johns at times, but I would never say I hate him. Now, I will try to write about writers who write things that I don’t like without being to unbiased. One writer that I particularly do not enjoy, and Cameron Clark and I have had some heated arguments about this, is J. Michael Straczynski (or for my sake JMS because I can’t spell normal words correctly). I have read the first 6 issue of his 2008 issues of Thor, I have read his Superman Earth One Vol. 1 and 2, Night Owl/Dr. Manhattan from Before Watchman AND a bit of Silver Surfer Requiem on a really awkward date at a book store when I was younger.

JMS Thor

Everything I have read by JMS, for me, has been so boring and predictable. Out of everything he has written and that I have read that I remember is the time Thor beat the shit out of Iron Man. That may be because I don’t like Iron Man, or maybe because that was cool, but it saddens me that it’s all I can remember. So why would I read so many things by someone I don’t like? Well because I like the stories. I like hiding in a comic book and trying to find solitude in the characters and some writers can do that much better than others. But see, that’s what’s great about writers. Different people are going to like different writers, some people don’t even care about writers they just want a fun story. Sure, I’m going to tell Cameron every time we talk that JMS isn’t a good writer, and he’ll argue with me that JMS’s Thor run is better than Jason Aarons run. That makes no sense to me and I will never understand that, but when everything boils down, its just a $2.99 or $3.99 book that is going to bring joy to the read, and if you don’t like the book, just drop it or don’t buy the next issue.