Back Into Gotham

I got myself caught up with this week’s TV today, felt like it was a good way of spending my first of two days off, tomorrow being the day I’ll be picking up my comics for the week.  First off, Arrow was absolutely incredible and The Flash continues to impress me week after week.  Arrow has come a long way since it’s first season, with Ollie well and truly engrained in the “no killing” path, on his way to becoming a true Green Arrow.  And The Flash, well, it’s fun, light hearted and probably the most “comic-booky” show I’ve seen in a long long time.  I won’t go into too much detail with any of the shows because I know there are a lot of people in the UK that are being good and waiting for the shows to air on UK channels so I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.

But this evening I want to talk really quickly about Gotham.  Again.  And once again, I find myself heaping a tonne of praise on it, largely thanks to Donal Logue’s portrayal of Harvey Bullock.  He’s brilliant, perfect for the role and a constant source of entertainment and well timed lines in pretty rough and grim city.  Sure, he’s rough around the edges himself and has found himself in deals with some pretty dodgy people, but he’s not so far gone to be beyond redemption and you can see the hopeful side to him.  Ben McKenzie is a big surprise for me, I was a little sceptical of him in such a role and have thankfully been proven wrong once again, much like I was with Grant Gustin and a certain speedster.

But that’s not to say Gotham is without its problems, some of which have been vastly improved on like the pacing of the show on the whole, some of which (well one in particular anyway) have actually gotten worse.  My one big problem with the pilot was how on the nose Nygma had been portrayed.  We all knew he would go on to become the Riddler later in life, but they seemed so desperate for everyone to know that.  The sad thing is a lot of the Batman references seem to have been played a little too soon for my liking, almost as if the writers are so desperate to remind us that this is a Batman related show.  But Nygma has been handled particularly poorly in my opinion, and that stood out massively in the latest episode “Spirit of the Goat”.  Before we delve into this anymore though, I’ll work my thought process of him from the beginning.  You see, I figured that the problem with Nygma in Gotham might have been that he hadn’t been given much screen time so far, that maybe the writers had made him so obvious to make up for the focus being on almost everyone else so far.

Nope.  Totally wrong.  I’d just like to point out that, for the sake of anyone following UK airings, or anyone that hasn’t gotten up to date with this week’s episode yet, there will be a few minor spoilers from here.

“Spirit of the Goat” gives us a little more Nygma, seeing him at the crime scene at the beginning of the episode and in various parts of the GCPD throughout the rest of the episode.  We also get to see the focus of his affections within the force, the young lady named Christin Cringle (probably spelled her first name wrong, don’t really care at this point as she is almost as annoying as Nygma) who works in the case filing room.  She doesn’t respond too well to a lot of his advances and offers of help, and at one point complains about all his riddles.  A fair complaint as we hear him attempt to tell Bullock a riddle AT LEAST 3 times, but there is zero chemistry between these actors.  It was a little painful to watch.

Then there was the mug.  The bloody, god damn mug.  You know what guys, we get it!  We f*cking get it!  Please, please stop ramming it down our throats.  The approach they’ve taken with Cobblepot is almost perfect so far, becoming more and more conniving as the episodes roll by.  I haven’t been overly keen on the use of the name “Penguin” already but Robin Lord Taylor has been phenomenal in the role, so I can allow it.

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Gotham is doing so many things right, Falcone and Maroni have both been portrayed fantastically.  The tone is perfect for this kind of show, the look of the city is full on Gotham.  Little Bruce Wayne and Alfred, oh man they have both been so damn good.  In fact, I’d say 95% of the cast have been bang on, but Nygma ruins almost every scene he’s in for me and I’m really concerned that he’s going to drag the series down.  This isn’t an outright statement about Corey Michael Smith, granted I’ve not seen him in anything else so this isn’t really a very good first impression, but I just don’t think the writers know how to put him in the show without screaming from the rooftops underneath a bright neon sign that he’s the Riddler.  A green freaking neon sign.  With god damn question marks all over it.

All The Movies!

Took another little break, as I’m sure you noticed, mostly because Top Cow have announced the opening of their now yearly Talent Hunt, so I’ve been massively distracted trying to figure out what I want to do.  One thing I know though is that once the competition is closed and the winners announced, I’ll post my script up here and politely ask you all for feedback.  Anyway, I thought I’d pop back and get things booted up with a little piece about all these movie updates put out by the big two.  I’ve never really been a huge cinema goer, there have always been a few movies pop up here and there that take my fancy but for the most part I usually wait to watch a movie until it gets a home release or is available on a streaming service such as Netflix.  That notion has changed wildly since 2008, the year Iron Man first came out in cinemas.  Since then, there has been at least one movie out every year that I’ve been to see at least once, often I find myself going twice and this year saw me going to the cinema to see a movie three times, the first time this has ever happened.  Now I’m looking at the offerings from WB/DC and Marvel and I’m actually slightly concerned that I’m not going to have enough time or money to cover off everything I want to see!  Everything Warner announced, quite simply, I’m in for the lot.  All movies slated up to 2020, I am 100% in for.  Marvel Studios almost have the same power over me, the only movie they have confirmed that I’m not interested in is Ant Man, and that’s more down to the loss of Edgar Wright than anything else.

So, with all that said and done, I want to put out a few hopes and a bit of speculation most of which will be based on other speculation I’ve heard and read alsewhere.  So what I’m saying here is that I could be way off base on so many things, but I want to get this all out anyway.  Just remember, pure speculation.

First off, we have an announcement for a Captain Marvel movie!  Boom!  Carol Danvers will be coming to the big screen which is huge, it means we get a Wonder Woman movie in 2017 and a Captain Marvel movie the year after.  If I’d been told that we’d get both of those films in back to back years back in 2008 I’d probably just laugh in disbelief.  What we haven’t had, however, is a casting announcement.  It’s unknown right now as to whether Marvel has cast Carol yet or not, but if they have they’re playing their cards very close to their chest.  I’ve got my own wish when it comes to this, an actress I think is perfect for this role, she has a great acting range and I just can’t think of anyone else I’d want to see play Carol.  Yvonne Strahovski.  Check it.

Seriously.  Perfect.

Seriously. Perfect.

And really, that’s all I’ve got for the Marvel Studio announcements.  This was the announcement that stood out to me the most by a long way, and with regards to the stories they’ll be telling I can’t speculate too much due to my releatively limited knowledge of the wider Marvel Stories.  I’m guessing, thanks more to my knowledge of Norse mythology than anything, that Thor: Ragnarok will see the end of this iteration of the MCU Thor and he will die.

On to Warner and DC, and the main things I’ve heard recently are that the big bad guy lined up for the first Justice League movie is Brainiac.  I like this, granted I’d rather see Brainiac come in as a Superman villain, but if I get Brainiac on screen then I’m happy.  We’ve seen that Green Lantern has a new movie coming, and I think it would make a lot of sense to almost do a soft reboot on it, allow the events of the first movie to remain canon within this shared universe.  Re-introduce Hal Jordan at the end of JL part 1, warning Earth’s heroes of the approach of Darkseid, setting up THE big bad for the part 2.  Now bear with me, because this is where my wishful thinking comes into play in a big way.  JL part 2 plays out, the heroes save the day and GL goes back off into space ready for his solo movie.  I think Hal’s next movie should be completely offworld, give us more of the Green Lantern Corps, some of the most interesting characters are the alien members of the Corps.

Then this should be where WB swoop in and announce two more movies, introduced in the closing moments of the Green Lantern movie.  The Sinestro Corps War parts 1 & 2, with part 1 taking place on and around Oa and part 2 bringing the war to Earth and involving the rest of the Justice League.  Also, bring Mark Strong back as Sinestro, he was awesome.

Those are my hopes for these movies, there’s quite a few more things I’ve been thinking about but I am absolutely starving so I’m going to wander off and sort out some dinner, no doubt I’ll be back soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Cover Of The Week 08.10.201

Happy New Comic Book Day everyone!  Hope you’ve all had the chance to go pick up the comics you wanted this week, I have not unfortunately, mine will have to wait until at least tomorrow with the possibility of that wait stretching out until Saturday, but sifting through the releases for the week and looking at all the pretty cover art makes me happy at least.  It reminds me of a few things too.  We have a new year starting on Injustice which brings about a team up I personally cannot wait for; Constantine and Batman!  We have more expensive monthlies of Batman until March but we also have what looks to be a freaking huge storyline going on.  This is also the first month in quite some time I will not be reading a new issue of Batgirl.  Say what you like about it, say what you like about me for ditching it without trying it but everything about the new look and new direction screams something I’m just not going to enjoy.  I loved the series under Gail Simone, I loved the stories and artwork so much and this has taken a turn for the younger, “hipster” look and I just can’t get behind that.  Sorry, but no thanks.

Anyway, let’s get on with why we’re here, cover art!  As usual, there will be a runner up and a winner and while I’m normally pretty good at keeping things fairly well mixed, this is all DC Comics today.  Our runner up:

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Yep, total excitement bias on this one, don’t get me wrong the cover art is really nice but I’m picking this simply because I really can’t wait to get my hands on it.  Constantine and Batman.  Awesome, right?

 

And the winner, by a long way when compared to everything else I’ve seen this week is:

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Batman #35 by Greg Capullo.  Seriously, if Capullo ever considers leaving Batman, throw money at him.  Lots of it, as much as is needed to convince him.  Then put him on the Justice League monthly because that cover right there is stunning, nothing came close to it for me this week.  Thank you Greg.

And that’ll do it for me tonight, left this a little bit late and I start work in 45 minutes so I need to go get ready.  In fact, to be completely honest, I almost totally forgot to do it at all because I got all caught up in the excitement of watching the first episode of The Flash.  Going to do a little piece on that later this week when I can find the time, but all I’ll say for now is I absolutely loved it.  Anyway, thanks for stopping by, please leave a like and a share if you enjoyed.  Take care.

Top 5 Magic Users

Well once again I have a top 5 post dropping a day late, although this one isn’t down to my awful prioritisation.  This is a result of being ill over the weekend and refusing to take any time off work meant that when I was at home I spent all my time in a pit of illness and self pity, but here we are, I’m feeling much better and ready to get cracking on another list!  This one is down to me getting super excited for the Constantine TV show that is just round ther corner, so here is my top 5 list of comic book magic users.  Fair warning, this is a list entirely made up of DC characters.  And remember, total opinion here.

 

5. Etrigan The Demon

Etrigan, a demon right out of hell itself, is a violent and vicious being who usually fights for the side of good.  He takes control of one Jason Blood, a resident of Gotham City and due to his transformation into Etrigan and fighting has found himself fighting alongside Batman multiple times.  He’s a great character, one who brings something a bit different and unqiue to the table, especially when he’s thrown in with some of the regular superheroes.  The only thing I find can wear a little thin is his habit of saying everything in rhyme, it does wildly depend on my own mood but sometimes I find it a little frustrating.  Still, he’s good enough to make the cut.

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4. Shazam (Billy Batson)

Yes I know, many people would sit here and argue that I should be calling him Captain Marvel, but as far as I’m concerned Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers so we’re sticking with Shazam.  A name that leaves him screwed when introducing himself since that’s the word that activates and deactivates his powers.  But anyway, I have a bit of a soft spot for Shazam.  It’s always been considered (and these were words used in the first Captain America movie) that those who are weak and have no power are the ones that will be able to offer the most if/when they do get them.  In Shazam we have a young boy, one who has grown up worshipping the superheroes of the DC Universe and is granted the power of an ancient wizard, power which grants him the abilities of multiple mythical beings whilst also growing him to the size and stature of Superman.  He looks like an adult, talks like an adult but thinks like a child still which means he often has a very black and white view of the world.  He’s flawed in so many ways, but always has the best of intentions.

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3. Zatanna

Member of the Justice League of America before the New 52 reboot, member and eventual leader of the Justice League Dark during the New 52, Zatanna has always been well rooted in the DC Universe.  She has a flare for the dramatic with her history as a stage magician, but always gets the job done.  And I really love the fact that all her spells are cast by saying the words backwards, it’s a great little twist on the regular magic spell casting.  It’s just a bit of a shame that her stage performer look has been almost entirely stripped away in the New 52, I want the hat back!

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2. Dr. Fate

Dr. Fate is never necessarily one character or another, whoever wears the Helmet of Nabu becomes Fate itself, bringing justice and upholding the, well, fate of all on Earth.  He is a supremely powerful magic user, arguably the most powerful in the DC Universe in terms of raw power.  He’s been toned down a little over the years, where most characters would normally gain abilities over time Fate was nerfed.  He also has one of the most amazing costumes in comics.  Nabu, the actual Lord of Fate, resides within the helmet and forcibly takes control of whoever places the helmet on.  Generally he tries to lure in magic users with whispers and promises, although I’ve seen people lift the helmet and lose control before they even put the helmet on, being forced by Nabu to put the helmet on so he can take full control.  Certainly a character I haven’t seen nearly enough of recently.

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1. John Constantine

The man himself, this was one of my easiest number one choices since I started doing these top 5 lists.  He’s dry, sarcastic, a heavy smoker and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  Willing to sacrifice childhood friends if need be, he’s not above anything at all.  He is, however much of a conman and all round general bastard, one of the most accomplished magic users in comics, a master detective and most of the time falls on the good side of the fight.  He frequently shows himself to be an extremely selfish man, manipulative and also not above violence, but he generally tries to curb the advances of demon and evil cults as much as he can.  In terms of his magic ability, I’ve seen him take down Dr. Fate with nothing more than simple tricks and mind games.  Oh, and a deal with a particularly nasty demon, something else John has done several times in both the fight for the greater good and for something totally self serving.  His sense of humour is right up my alley and to top it off, he’s British too which just makes me like him even more.

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So there we have it, my top 5 magic users within the world of comics.  It’s been a pleasure as always, thank you for stopping by and checking this out.  If there’s anything you’d like to see me do for a top 5 then let me know, either in the comments section or on Twitter.  I’m not short of ideas, but I’m happy to take on other ideas too.  Hope you all had a good weekend and I’ll be back for more in a few days or so!

The ultimate goal

When I dived back into buying and reading comics three or so years ago, I got back into it with a few strict rules in place.  I would only ever buy comics to read, never buying anything and not reading it.  I would stick to trade paperbacks and original graphic novels, keeping away from the expensive sinkhole that is single issue subscriptions.  The big one, I would never pay over the odds for a book, and not by modern day valuation standards, just by not paying any more than the cover price.  Three simple rules, a good way to get back involved in the world of comics and keep a handle on everything.  Well, sometime over the last year or so, that’s gone out the window.  All three rules have been broken, in fact one book I bought broke both rules at once!  I would now consider my hobby as much about collecting as it is about reading, to the point where I am actively hunting down (and have been for a while) a single issue that’ll set me back about £500.

It doesn’t end there though.  Oh no.  This whole thing is a slippery slope, and I’m realising how easy it is to fall down the whole and how quickly you hit the point where you can’t claw yourself back up again.  Let’s back this up a bit though.

Since I was a kid, I had a love of superheroes of all shapes and sizes, but my favourite three were always Superman, Batman and Spider-Man in that specific order.  As I watched more of the 90’s animated TV shows and picked up my first few books it was the “Super” family that stood out the most to me, it was really Superman to begin with mostly down to his moral code.  It evolved though, as more were introduced through his Animated TV show and then both Justice League series’ started and they were around even more.  When my interest in collecting and reading kicked off again I decided to try out on a character I’d been interested in for a while, knew a fair bit about already and had a feeling I’d get along with pretty well.  So here I am, several years down the line with every issue of Supergirl from the start of Volume 4 back in 1996 to #34 of the New 52 from last month (haven’t been able to go in and pick up the newest issue yet).  It got me thinking, I can happily say Supergirl is my favourite character and I have more books with her in than pretty much anyone else, so why not go all out.  I’m hunting for a copy of Action Comics #252 from 1959, that being her first appearance, and I’ve been after that for a while but if I’m willing to pay as much as that goes for, why stop there?

So my mission: find and collect every single appearance of Supergirl.  Ever.  This includes any cover appearances regardless of whether she’s in the interior or not, it includes any and all variants of her own series so long as they’re unique variants.  No second printings, no foreign or British reprints.  I’m looking for original American printings only.  I have an extensive spreadsheet for all of the interior appearances, I’ve completed the list of unique variants I need but I’m still currently in the process of figuring out what covers she has appeared on without actually being in the comics.  That’s the real pain in the arse part of this, not going to lie.  Sifting through so much stuff where she may or may not make a cover appearance from 1959 up until now, it’s a whole lot of comic covers to check.  But that is my mission, I have accepted it and am all in.  At some point, I’ll put a page up on here that’ll show all of the comics I have and am looking for and I’ll update on here with any major progress made.  It’s going to be a long journey, this list of stuff I need to buy is bloody long and unfortunately populated by a lot of stuff I have zero interest in reading, but I’m not half-arsing this.  All in.

The beginning of something special...

My holy grail of collecting

So there it is, since deciding on this epic quest I’ve made a couple of minor acquisitions.  As they say, all journeys begin with the first step, so I’m officially on my way.  Wish me luck.

Cover Of The Week 01.10.2014

First day of October, I can hardly believe it!  Not just in terms of how quickly the time flies by, but by the fact that it’s October in the UK (and everywhere else, I know, but relevant to my point) and I’m still wearing shorts in the evening.  Anyway, more importantly than the fact that it’s the first day of October is the fact that it’s Wednesday, more frequently known by it’s official title of “New comic book day”.  That can mean only one thing here, and that’s my weekly cover of the week feature.  This week is an Image double hitter, one for a very strong series that has been running for a little while and one from a brand new #1.

So the runner up this week is the new entry into the market, Wytches, from the creative team of Scott Snyder and Jock, who also takes cover credit here too.

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This is set up as a pure, out-and-out horror book which I think is conveyed perfectly by the extremely empty, creepy cover.  It”s simple, both in terms of the image itself and the colour palette and tells you all you need to know going into this book.  The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is thrown around a lot but I think in this case it’s ok to, I’m not judging it badly by any means, but I can see what I’ll be getting from a book by a cover like this right away and to me that’s a job well done.

 

And the winner today comes from the cover art team up of Tyler Jenkins and Michael Avon Oeming, on a book brought to us by the incredible creative team of Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch.  That’s right, this week’s winner is Rat Queens #8 for a beautful cover depicting the mercenary team to end all mercenary teams.  Check it out.

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This book has some serious talent working on it, both in terms of covers and interiors.  Story and dialogue wise it’s a wonderful, witty book which appeals directly to my sense of humour but it’s a book I can spend a good half an hour per issue on, just staring at the art.  It’s good that they’ve achieved a level of unity between the cover artists and Upchurch, sometimes it can be quite jarring having two wildly different styles on the covers and interiors of comics.  At the same time the differences are enough to know that you’re not looking at Upchurches art, they’ve got their own styles and there should always be some license for an artist to play around a bit.  Never stifle creativity.  Anyway, two great covers from Image for what will be two all round great issues I’m sure.

Thanks for stopping by and checking another post, if you could leave me a like and hit whichever of the share buttons are relevant to you at the bottom I’d be most appreciative and if you have anything to add or challenge, the comments are also always welcome.  Be sure to swing by on Friday for another post heading in sometime in the evening!  Take care!