Four Letter Nerd

Tag - batman

4LN Comic Review: Trinity #1

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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.

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

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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.

All-Star Batman (2016-) #1

4LN Comic Review: Batman #1 (2016)

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Matt Banning
Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Summary from Comixology: “I AM GOTHAM” Chapter One

No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight?

CAN’T MISS: Superstar artist David Finch returns to Batman alongside writer Tom King for this five-part storyline.”

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I have anxiously been waiting for this book since Tom King’s announcement as the head writer for Batman. King’s work on Omega Men, Grayson, and Vision were all truly brilliant, and his first issue on Batman was one hell of a ride. The issue starts with a young boy looking out a window of an 747 airplane as it approaches it’s descent into Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman and Commissioner Gordon are having a rooftop meeting, and that’s when the issue picks up.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but this is seriously one of my favorite Batman issues in a while; and, that’s coming from an unabashedly biased Scott Snyder fan. You seriously need to make sure you pick this up while you are at the LCS today or tomorrow, because I’m predicting this to be a huge series, and another long run on the character.

It’s wonderful seeing David Finch back on Batman, this is where his best work shines. Finch did a fantastic job capturing the emotions between both Batman and Alfred. Besides the intimacy that Finch captured, the action scenes in this book were fantastic. There were two splash pages focusing on the new design on the suit, and they were absolutely stunning. Jordie Bellaire and David Finch seriously make on of the best artistic teams in comics. It’s hard to believe that this is the same David Finch who worked on Detective Comics and Wonder Woman (New 52). His work on those books weren’t bad, they were actually beautiful, but the art in this book is just so much more different than what we have seen form him in the past.

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I think we all expected this book to start with a bang, but I don’t think it would be as emotional as it was. It wasn’t as devastating as DC Rebirth #1, but man, this issue was still rough. There was a particularly emotional moment when Batman asked Alfred if his parents would have been proud of him. I didn’t think this issue would be THAT much of a tug on my heartstrings, but damn if it was. Besides the emotional aspect to this book, King also introduces two new characters (It’s not a spoiler, they are on the cover) and its uncertain if they are heroes, vigilantes, or villains. Either way, these new characters definitely have a certain vibe to them that makes it feel like they will be a serious threat to our beloved caped crusader.

If you are a Batman fan, Tom King fan, or just looking for a new series to get into, Batman #1 is a fantastic jumping on point. This will be a wonderful issue to pick up if you are a lifelong Batman enthusiast, or just jumping into the world of comics. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. And, if you are in the middle Tennessee area, go pick this up from our friend Dave at The Game Cave in Hendersonville, and tell him 4LN sent you!

 

Music Pairing
I actually struggled with figuring out what music would fit this book best. Then it hit me, “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings really fit this book. It’s just a fun sound that has some noise rock/distortion vibes to it. So it’s easy reading music.

4LN Comic Review: Batman: Rebirth #1

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King and Scott Snyder
Artist: Mikel Janín
Publisher: DC Comics
Page Count: 26

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Summary from Comixology: “Longtime Batman and Eisner Award-winning writer Scott Snyder co-writes with rising-star writer Tom King!”

EVIL 365: “Gotham City faces the threat of the Calendar Man!”

This is one of the Rebirth books I have been looking forward to the most. I mean, Tom King and Scott Snyder working together? What’s not to love about that? Tom King has been one of the best writers working in the industry at the moment. His work on Vision, Omega Men, and Grayson has all been critically acclaimed, and most people refer to Vision as one of the best science fiction stories in the last five to ten years. Tom King is a phenomenal writer, and this single issue proves that Batman is in great hands after the epic conclusion to the Scott/Capullo run.

There were two things that really stood out in this issue: one being Duke Thomas, and two being Calendar Man. For those of you who didn’t read the previous Batman run, Duke Thomas was a character introduced in Zero Year, and eventually became a Robin. But, this issue continues the story of Duke and his teaming up with Batman. With Duke as a new fan favorite, and people wondering what would happen to him, it’s rewarding to know that he’s in good hands and that Tom King will continue with a new chapter of his story.

Besides Duke Thomas, the other thing I felt that was remarkably well done was Calendar Man. Julian can be very “hallmark and seasonal” compared to the others in the Batman rogues gallery. The only good representation that comes to mind is his portrayal in Long Halloween. But, after reading this issue, I can definitely say that there are two great Calendar Man depictions. Sure, this is just a first issue; but, if Tom King can do a great story with a character like Julian Gregory Day, then the sky is the limit for characters such as Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze.

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Mikel Janín’s art in this issue is phenomenal. It made Calendar Man feel more intimidating as a villain. It was a little sad to realize that he wasn’t staying on this book. No disrespect to David Finch, who is the main artist starting next issue, but Janín’s art really stood out to me. I would love to see more of his work in the future, but I’m looking forward to seeing Finch return to the Batman world. His work on Wonder Woman was enjoyable, and Finch does his best work while in the bat-verse.

The first issue on King’s run is a great start. Snyder’s influence is lingering, but it’s safe to say that in time, Tom King will take Batman and run with it, making it completely his own.

Music Pairing:
Time Is On My Side by the Rolling Stones because why not.

4LN Comic Review: DC Universe Rebirth #1

Series: Rebirth
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist(s): Gary Frank, Phil Jemenez, Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC
Page Count: 81
Price: $2.99

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Overview from Comixology:

It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!THEY SAID IT: “Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,” says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “It brings back what has been lost: the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!”
I have been eagerly waiting for this issue since it was announced at this years WonderCon. And, of course, it comes out while I’m on vacation in California. I couldn’t get to a shop on Wednesday, so I had to wait until Thursday. I was lucky enough to be able to check out Southern California Comics in San Diego, but unfortunately they were sold out, which I expected. So I had to resort to picking this book up digitally, and avoiding Reddit and Facebook like the plague. I haven’t had the combination of internet and free time until today (May 30th), to get around to reading this book. But goddamn am I glad I waited to read it instead of trying to rush through for a quick review. This is honestly one of my favorite single issues in a long time.DC’s New 52 had a lot of ups and also a lot of downs. People tend to shit on The New 52, but I liked it and it helped me get more into comics, so for that I’m biased towards it. But, I can already tell that Rebirth will fix the wrongs that New 52 created, and it’s paving a way into a new era for DC Comics, one that I think will bring back a lot of old readers. I think the best part of this event is, you don’t need to know 30+ years of back story to understand Rebirth, it’s a great jumping on point, and it’s easy to follow. “Obscure” characters are focused on, but the Johns does a great job of making this an easy read, and building background in just a few panels.I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Mammoth California as I read this issue, and it had me feeling so many different emotions, from pure joy to a heartbreaking sadness (I may have cried a little bit in this shop…) and everything in between. I was very skeptical of this book, and I didn’t know what to expect, but i can’t stress enough how fantastic this book was. I think one of the fantastic things about this book is you don’t need to know the previous 30 years of DC legacy, but Geoff Johns was able to work in one of the most iconic comics of all time, and it worked. It made sense. I think one of the most special things about this book is how well Johns writes internal narration. It feels like you are actually inside the mind of a character, and a lot of the times this is where a writer can truly fall flat and ruin the momentum behind a book, but Johns truly hit a grand slam (I am not calling it a f–cking “Papa Slam“). If you are skeptical of Rebirth, or if DC has previously left a bitter taste in your mouth, trust me; this book is only $2.99, 80 pages long and will restore your faith in DC.I also want to mention how beautiful the art is in this book. You can tell a lot of time was put into this book, and the several artist who worked on it really meshed well together. In my personal opinion when multiple talents work on a book, it tends to get chaotic and or messy, but with Rebirth every page flows easily into the next. And the attention to detail is incredible, and answers you might have towards the end are explained in the small details when a character visits Batman for the first time.9e373dea795b0702e022bf660b0ad551._SX640_QL80_TTD_Overall, I can not speak any higher about this book. It was a fantastic issue that will start the next chapter for DC Comics, and I think everyone should check this book out. And come on, it’s only $2.99. You can barely get a cup of coffee for that price. Do yourself a favor and grab this book on Wednesday if you didn’t last week, or click the link to Comixology at the top of this article to get it RIGHT NOW!Music Pairing:
This book has a lot of time travel in it, and I can’t think of a better sound track than Hans Zimmer’s work from Interstellar. Start with my favorite track, Mountains, and put it on shuffle. It’s a perfect pairing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Ay_iDRAbc

DC Rebirth, Captain America, and Other Possible Changes To Your Favorite Comics

Warning: Spoilers Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk

This New Comic Book Day has brought about many revelations to comic readers. Apparently, Steve Rogers is, and always has been(?), an agent of Hydra (Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016-) #1) and the reason for DC Comics’ reboot (DC Universe: Rebirth (2016) #1) is explained as being the result of some villainous(?) actions by the Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan. (Also, the Joker has really been 3 different people?) Should we really be surprised by this stuff though? I mean, pretty much nothing these two publishers have done with comics in the last few years has made much sense. There have been so many continuity inconsistencies and character changes. Nuke was dead, and then he miraculously and inexplicably… wasn’t. Falcon is Captain America. Lobo isn’t actually Lobo, Deathstroke de-aged, Jane Foster is Thor, etc. etc. (With the one exception being X-23 as the new Wolverine. That actually makes all of the sense.) It’s a wonder they don’t just come right out and say, “Yeah… we just want your money, we really don’t care about the characters or maintaining cohesive plots and stories.” Obviously, with the new Cap and Rebirth being #1 issues, there are plenty of places the stories could go and we”ll just have to see how it all plays out, but it got me to thinking… what other big changes could potentially be on the horizon for our beloved comic characters? Here are my speculations on what we might see in the future of the Marvel and DC comic book universes.

 

Galactus has been Daryl Hannah from the remake of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman this whole time.

 

Killer Croc will discover that he actually has some alligator in his family ancestry and it will shake him to his emotional core.

 

Power Girl has actually been a drag queen all this time. (Consequently, millions of neckbeard fanboys are forced to reevaluate their sexual identity.)

 

Uncle Ben faked his death and became Uatu the Watcher (who was subsequently also murdered…)

 

Frank Castle begins seeking anger management therapy and, after finding a more fulfilling life in organized religion, decides to hang up his Punisher skull to take on a new moniker… The Youth Pastor.

 

Poison Ivy discovers that there has been a poison ivy cure for like ever and changes her name to Poison Oak. Zatanna starts to tell her that this also has a cure but is quickly stopped by Catwoman who urges her to “just let it happen.”

 

H.E.R.B.I.E., the Fantastic Four’s faithful robot… Servant? Sidekick? (Sex Toy…?), is revealed to be the driving force behind infamous government-intelligence-secrets leakers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

 

Doctor Doom forgets to renew his medical licence and is henceforth known as “Grumpy McMetalface.”

 

Aunt May, Martha Kent, Peggy Carter, and Frigga the All-Mother begin living together in a condo in Florida (yes, like the Golden Girls) and it becomes the highest and fastest selling comic book of all-time.

 

Unable to go on fighting crime due to succumbing to crippling scurvy, Batman is forced to retire and choose a replacement who can go on protecting the city of Gotham. In a delusional state, and with no one close to stop him, Bruce chooses 8 raccoons to succeed him as Batman. That’s right, just 8 raccoons in a Batsuit. One to work each arm, one to work each leg, one to work the head, and three in the torso, mostly for load bearing but also because an empty abdomen area would be a dead giveaway during fistfights. (Follow up: The raccoon’s turn out to be an even better Dark Knight than Bruce and Gotham actually becomes a city of flourishing promise for awhile, but then ultimately is brought down again because of gentrification, which, let’s be honest, not even 8 raccoons in a Batsuit can stop.

 

Now, I’m not saying that ALL of these things will happen, but it’s 100% likely that at least 90% of them will. I guess we’ll just have to keep shoveling our cash into Marvel’s and DC’s pockets until all is revealed. Now, get out to your local comic shop and pick up some comics! While we’re worshiping The Big Two with our monetary offerings, how about grabbing some indie publisher comics too! You can pick up new issues of great series like East of West, Tokyo Ghost, and Bloodshot Reborn, as well as trades for Symmetry, Ninjak, and Day Men!

4LN Comic Review: Batman #51

Series: Batman
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colorist: Danny Miki

Summary from Comixology: “Batman has battled everything from the Court of Owls to Mr. Bloom to the Joker, but how does he handle a quiet night in Gotham City…?”

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If you have read any of my Batman reviews, you know how much I loved this book, and you know how I truly loved this series. I actually had to take a break from reviewing these books after my fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew called me “unabashedly biased” when it comes to these books, and he’s not wrong. Still the coolest thing to happen to me while writing for Four Letter Nerd was when Snyder retweeted my article about him, he then followed me on Twitter, and the dude just seems so nice that it makes me an even bigger fan of his.

In the final issue of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman epic, we get to see how Batman handles a quiet night in Gotham. The city looses power, and Batman assumes that something terrible is about to happen, so he begins patrolling the streets trying to uncover which terrible thing(s) could be approaching. Lets be completely honest, nothing good ever happens in Gotham so Bats has every right to suspect something awful coming in the darkness.

Batman starts his night in the Batcave and heads to Arkham Asylum, similarly to how the series started in Batman #1. Following Arkham, Batman has a lead on The Court of Owls but it becomes a dead end. This is a great final issue because we see Batman return to some of the most iconic story lines of this five year Batman run. Each page seems like a throwback to every previous story arc with a hodgepodge of Batman’s rouges making small appearances.

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The art is once again top notch and I fully believe that, as time goes on, when people think back about Batman in comics, Greg Capullo will be the artist they think of. (Similar to how when we think of Spider-Man, John Romita is the first artist that comes to mind.) Capullo definitely left his mark on the flagship DC book and, in my honest opinion, it will be a very long time until someone can fill those shoes again. Capullo and Danny Miki made one of the best artistic teams in comics, and they were a perfect yin & yang to one another. Capullo with the dark and brooding artwork, and Miki with the bright and bold colors that pop off the pages. We had some of the darkest Batman stories, but the art was so vibrant and refreshing it brought a new feel to such a classic character.

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Working in a comic book shop (Comix City Too!), every Wednesday I look at our wall of new comic and try to figure out what the best comic cover is, and this week it went to Batman #51. The cover is just perfect for what the book means, Batman standing with his cape wrapped around Gotham. Batman is the shroud of protection around Gotham, Batman is the gargoyle on Wayne Tower, and Gotham is thankful for Batman. This issue ends Scott and Capullo’s run on Batman, and I just want to personally thank them for everything they have done for Batman and for being the creative team that were the helm of the most epic Batman run I have ever read. I doubt either of them will read this, but as a fanboy I just want to personally thank you. Whenever a new comic reader comes into my store Batman is the first book I recommend.

Scott Snyder will be writing All-Star Batman with art by John Romita Jr, and a slew of other fantastic artist, and Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder will return to an unnamed DC project sometime in 2017.

 

Music Pairing:

Aggressive Expansion from The Dark Knight Soundtrack

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).

Batman v Superman: First Look

If you missed it last night, like I did, the CW premiered some new Batman v Superman footage. In the new footage we have some new shots of Superman in a hallway, a better first look at Wonder Woman, and we see what happens when Doomsday’s heat vision hits Diana’s shield. One of the more important things about the trailer is we seem to finally get conformation that Lex Luther is, and will be, the main villain in this movie. On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you for Batman v Superman? I’m at about an eleven, so without further adieu, here is the new trailer, featuring the fatman on Batman, Kevin Smith.

(Ben Affleck, I apologize for hating you, as I now 100% support you as Batman. There’s no excuse for my neckbeardy behavior and I swear I will try harder to be a better nerd, and all around better person from now on. Also, I actually loved Gigli.)

 

AND! Because I like bringing you even more excitement, here is the new Suicide Squad trailer. Bohemian Rhapsody fits perfectly with this trailer, well done.