How To Make The Ultimate Banoffee Pie

Nah, only kidding!  I’m totally stuck for both what I’m going to write about and, therefore, what I’d title this post.  So yeah, oh!  Actually, I do have a couple of things.

Reboot.

Let’s try this again, shall wee?

Ok so the big thing happened this Tuesday, and I’ve deliberately made an effort to stay off here until at least yesterday.  Age of Ultron.  Shit the bed was that a good movie!  I had built up a considerable amount of excitement for this, as I’m sure many had, and was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to go to a regional premiere on Tuesday evening.  It blew me away, no exaggeration, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen all the way through and the two and a quarter hours it ran for felt like about twenty minutes.  Now, since the movie has only been out for two full days here in the UK and at the very least those in the States have almost a week to wait I’ll still keep it spoiler free, but I will say that Jeremy Renner/Hawkeye fans will be absolutely thrilled by AoU.  If you’ve not booked tickets, do it now.  If you’re in the UK and haven’t seen it yet then you’d better have a damn good reason and a plan to go see it soon.

Onto comics, I spotted a bit of news today that caught my attention, that being Miller has been confirmed to return for the final instalment of The Dark Knight.  Apparently they’re running with the title of The Dark Knight III: Master Race.  Here’s the promo image:

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Three things immediately strike me here, all of which point to a big fat no from me.  First, Miller.  Second, “Master Race”.  Really?!  And third, the bleeding Superman logo means Miller has further plans to take a big steaming piss on Superman.  I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Miller’s work, some creators just click with you and some don’t.  Subjectivity and all that.  I’ve made my feelings clear several times before regarding The Dark Knight Returns and, specifically, Miller’s handling of Superman in that book and I’m not going through something like that again.  I appreciate he has his fans, that’s cools folks and I really hope you enjoy this closing chapter to the DK saga.  It can’t be worse than The Dark Knight Strikes Again, especially since they have Brian Azzarello on board, no doubt to keep things from going too far down the rabbit hole, but I’ll take a pass on this.

On a much more positive note, next week marks a huge release from Image & Top Cow, Volume 2 of Sunstone by none other than Stjepan Šejić is dropping on Wednesday.  Interestingly it’s getting a staggered release where it’ll be hitting comic shops first, that’s next week, then other book retailers such as Amazon within the first two weeks of May I believe.  If you want a copy, get to your local comic shop and buy one there.  If they don’t currently have a copy, get them to put an order in through Diamond for you.  Books like this need love and support, the only way they continue to be made is us buying them.  Not second hand, through Amazon marketplace sellers or any other crap like that, get out there and buy a brand new copy.  And tell all your friends!  For those of you unfamiliar with Sunstone, I’m just going to post you a link to Šejić’s Sunstone dedicated DeviantArt page.  Just a heads up, you’ll need to create an account there before you can read, so you can unlock the mature content filter.  This isn’t a book for everyone, but I implore you to at least give it a go since Šejić has the first four volumes available on there to read absolutely free.  The final package we get in the books features cleaned up, beautified artwork (it’s beautiful to begin with, but even more so in the print editions) and some tweaks to the grammar and such.  Go here and read now!

Final order of the day, since I really desperately need to get my arse in gear and put some laundry in, next Thursday evening I’ll be doing another Twitch live stream.  This time I’ll be playing Hotline Miami on the PC, just so anyone that watches can get a good old chuckle at my expense as I boil over into a full blown rage demon.  It’s a fun but frustratingly difficult game, so that should be a good laugh.  Anyways, I’m going to head off, I think I’ve pretty much run out of things to go on about now, so… yeah…

Peace out!

Batman v Superman Trailer

We knew we were due a content drop soon, something more substantial than the slivers of information we had been given before, and thanks to a Portuguese subtitled cell phone recording of the new trailer WB just went ahead and gave us a lovely 2 minute look at what we’ll be getting next March.  Today, I’ll be looking more carefully at what they show and what we can probably figure out from here.  First of all, if you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is in full.

Ok, so we open up to some sort of public figure, maybe a chat show host, news anchor or something along those lines, talking about Superman.  This can’t be set too far after Man of Steel I wouldn’t have thought, since the general population seems to be relatively split still on just how much they can trust him.  And his line here is totally right, one man with that amount of power should absolutely be a controversy, even though as a huge Superman fan I know that he’s not a threat to humankind, they don’t.  Which is why I believe this comes quite soon after MoS, if Superman had been around for long enough, there wouldn’t be such a discussion around his motives and whether he could be trusted or not, people would know he could be.  Anyway, we have a few more bits like this, some snippets of people taking a generally mistrustful stance on Superman in the media but at the same time, we get this shot from what I assume is the Day of the Dead celebration.

BvS1Here, we’re seeing pure adulation, these people see much more than just a hero in a blue and red suit, they see a saviour.  This is interesting for two reasons, the first being that even with all the destruction that happened in MoS we have people that see a man who tried his best, saved as many as he could and even though he had to resort to killing, he saved the planet.  The other interesting point, and I say interesting but I find it slightly worrying at the same time, is all those Jesus visuals in the first one have come right around to what looks like people worshipping him.  Now if we get the Superman we all know and love in this movie, this will be the absolute last thing he wants, so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with this.

Next up we’ve got one short little clip which I love, this is probably one of my favourite parts of the trailer and I really hope we get to see much more of this in the movie, check it out.

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Superman saving people, being a hero.  We need way more of this and while I actually really enjoyed the front end of MoS, watching Clark struggle with having these great powers but trying to keep to himself so as to not being down a huge amount of attention on himself and his family, he’s out now.  Everyone in the world will have seen the events that took place in Metropolis, so he needs to step up to the plate and getting saving people.  I’d actually really like to see something with a bit less spectacle to, helping people with relatively insignificant problems that they can’t handle, because Superman should never be above helping anyone, regardless of how small their issues may be.

The next scene I want to talk about, however, is where the problems begin.  I’ll give my first impression, then how I look at it now, more rationally.

BvS3My first thought on this, was the in the god damn hell do WB think they’re doing?  Look closely at those shoulders, those soldiers are wearing the symbol of the House of El.  No.  No no no.  This is not how Superman operates, Superman does not create an underground military movement to try and take over the bloody world.  There is no way in hell Superman would ever sanction something like this, this is not Injustice, there was nothing that happened in MoS that would have triggered a response like this from Superman, absolutely nothing.

Then I stopped, and thought.  Superman looks ominous here, almost like WB are trying to paint him as the villain in this movie, but what if he looks like that because he’s pissed as all hell.  This guys clearly revere Superman, they’re god damn bowing to him for shit sake, but as I said earlier there’s not a chance that Superman would ever actually want people to react to him in this way, in the same way he’d never try to fight crime with fear.  That’s Batman’s play, not Superman’s.  So what exactly are we looking at here?

I think we’re looking at a military force, maybe some sort of PMC, set up by a radical who believes Superman is literally a god, come down to Earth to protect humanity and bring them into a new golden age.  This has been done without the knowledge or consent of Superman, and now they’re going round dishing out their flavour of justice and Superman is not happy about it, he’s got that look about him like he’s pissed and if this is the situation, I’m not particularly surprised.  So perhaps he’s shown up here to put a stop to  what this group is doing, that’s pretty much my hope for this scene anyway.

Now this next one is pretty huge, not for what you can see, but what you can hear being said, and by whom.  This particular little bit kicks off at 0:44, have a quick listen before the next jump and see if you can pick up on this before you read on.

BvS4Now visually, yes, we have what is clearly a statue of Superman in Metropolis.  This is nothing new, he’s had this kind of treatment in the comics and has generally found it to be both flattering and a powerful reminder to those that might cause trouble in his city.  It’s quite easy to be appreciative of this kind of treatment without the expectation of deification.  What’s of particular interest here, though, is the line “devils don’t come from hell beneath us, no the ycome from the sky”.  That line is delivered by Jesse Eisenberg, this DC Universe’s Lex Luthor, and those words immediately lay down the foundations for the kind of Lex we’ll be seeing in these movies.  He’s not here to get rich, buy up loads of land or collapse the west coast into the ocean.  Lex, here at least, is that silly type of super villain, he’s gunning specifically for Superman and he’s doing it through the media.  With all his financial success and media based power he most likely wants to be the man looked at as the saviour of Metropolis, the man who came in with all his wealth and used it to help the city back onto it’s feet after the cataclysmic battle with Superman and the other Kryptonians.  Now he’s witnessing a large portion of the public hailing Superman as a hero, perhaps the hero who has had a monument built in his image and he’s jealous.  Furious.  Now he’ll lead the media charge to bring down Superman and muddy his name.

This may not be everything, in fact I have no doubt this isn’t everything.  From a purely speculative stand point, what if those soldiers we saw in the second image were actually contracted by Lex?  What if he manufactured that entire scenario, placed the symbol of El on their uniforms and sent them out to deal out rough justice, while also being very aware of a certain caped crusader in Gotham, and made sure that he saw everything that had been going on.  If this is the case, this is the smart, vicious and incredibly capable Lex I’ve been waiting to see on the big screen since I became a fan of Superman.  Obviously this is all speculation, but from something that could look inherently negative for the Man of Steel in regards to how he’s portrayed by the film makers, this offers some hope that maybe, just maybe things aren’t as they seem in the trailer.

BvS5Well now, isn’t this one interesting too?  This image is shown while the audio of a seemingly large group of people chanting “Go home”, over and over.  It’s a fairly powerful image, one that could be quite telling in a level of naivete on the part of Clark, perhaps?  If he’s really pulling out all the stops to be the big hero for planet Earth, and he’s actually doing some really good work, who are we to say it would be easy to resist the temptation to get swept up in all this?  And if he did, even momentarily, then he’s accidentally set himself up for a massive fall.  A humbling fall, certainly, but one that would shake the public’s confidence in him and could set the precedence of mistrust for other superheroes that we know are on their way further down the line.  I hope this isn’t the case, but for religious types it would be hard to view a man who can do the things Superman can as anything other than a god.  For those that are dedicated followers of existing religions, however, this will be an affront to their god, their beliefs so I guess even if Superman doesn’t get swept up in this, just having people that revere him will be enough to get reactions like this out of devout religious folk.  I just hope this movie, and those in the future, don’t get bogged down in this religious stuff too much though, this isn’t what I want from my superheroes and certainly not Superman.

And this brings us onto the next clip, another one voiced over by a famous actor playing an iconic character.

BvS6Bruce Wayne, the man himself, looking remarkably pissed off.  The voice over this time is provided by Jeremy Irons, who is of course playing Alfred.  Alfred is talking about how resentment, rage and a “feeling of powerlessness” can lead to good men turning cruel.  I assume this is being spoken to Bruce, once he’s found out about Superman and the legion of soldiers kicking hell out of people and has announced his decision to go take down Supes.  Alfred has always been a voice of reason, so it’s good to hear him, again assuming here, but it’s good to hear him speaking out against hunting down Superman.  We get all this while Bruce is staring at the Batsuit, the shot that had been used in the mini teaser released a few days earlier.  It’s kicking off now!

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Honesty, I only have one thing to say about this shot.  Riddler confirmed in this universe!!!  I’m sure he won’t be in this movie, maybe he won’t be in the first standalone Batman movie, but he’s there.  It’s good to know.

Now here’s where it gets potentially worrying again.

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That’s the Batwing, yes?  It looks pretty cool, very high-tech and it’s all black.  That tends to be a bit of a give-away to be fair.  But then we see this:

That guy taking cover behind the car and shooting up at the Batwing looks pretty dead to me, from what I can see here.  Now, I’m very familiar with the early years of Batman and Superman.  I know that, in continuity, Superman had killed before and Batman, Mr. No-Guns-No-Killing, used to run around with little remorse about killing and seriously maiming gangsters.  But the modern day iterations of these characters both have a very strict moral code of no killing.  Always find another way, even if that other way nearly gets you killed.  Hell, even it it actually comes down to sacrificing your own life, find another way.  This is what a lot of us are used to, this is what has been ingrained in at least my generation since the animated series that ran for both of these characters through the 90’s.  Again, there’s so many things we just don’t know yet, this could quite easily be a bit of tech stolen from Bruce and remote controlled, this could be the way that Lex plays up Batman to be a villain for Superman maybe.  If so, playing both sides against one another is a sure fire way to kick off a fight, then eventually have both heroes realise and turn on you.  This will no doubt happen, we know that the Justice League is on it’s way so they have to buddy up at some point.

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And then we get to see him, in motion, suited up and oh my god.  For starters, look at the bloody size of him!  Affleck looks like a god damn tank!  I like the fact that seem to have edged away from armour plated suits, I much prefer a Batman that has some sort of kevlar weave suit which looks like a slightly heavier spandex but boasts way more protection.  A man who goes swinging round, being stealthy and combating crime with martial arts can’t be heavily armoured.  You know what happens to Batman when you put him in too much armour?  He turns into a brawling thug.  This suit looks good, I’m really impressed with this.

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Ok, Batman has a… sniper rifle?  What the hell?!  I can’t, I just… no I got nothing for this.  If I see Batman shoot someone I’ll walk out.  See my point above about the Batwing.  But multiply it ten-fold if Batman actually holds a rifle and shoots someone.  No.

And then the final scene, which brought me mixed feelings.

Right, so the suit takes heavy inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns which we knew already.  Frankly, it looks like this is pretty much the extent of the inpiration they’ve drawn, which I am so thankful for.  DKR is one of the few comics I’ve read in recent memory and genuinely, passionately disliked.  And when I say passionate, I bloody mean it.  Frank Miller fucked up Superman, more so than I’ve seen pretty much any writer do.  I’m going to go ahead and say that I liked G. Willow Wilson’s stand in issues on Superman more than Miller’s take on him (for reference, they’re issues #704 & #706 of Superman.  They’re shite).  It doesn’t look as though Superman is a government stooge, unless god-forbid that’s the deal with the soldiers at the start.  I doubt it, they’ve already come out and said that they’re taking bits they want from that book, so no doubt if they want an enjoyable Superman they’ll disregard everything Miller did with him in that book.  Also, not overly keen on the line Batman throws out.  “Do you bleed?  You will.”  I don’t like that at all, why is he going into this situation with words like that?  He just comes off as a dick, to be blunt.

Overall, there seems to be a skew towards Batman in the trailer, but when you look deeper and consider the possibilities then actually, it’s fairly well balanced.  Obviously this was meant to build hype, get people reacting and talking and that’s exactly what it’s done, good job WB.  I’m keeping my hype under a relative amount of control for now, there’s still around 11 months to go before this movie comes out and there’s a lot to keep me going until then, looking at movies, TV, comics and games there’s no shortage of amazing things lined up to come out before this.  But this trailer was welcome none the less, as a big DC fan it’s helped ease some concerns I had and allowed me to start properly thinking about what they might be doing.

There were two more trailers dropped over the course of late last week and into the weekend, one for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and another for Star Wars: Battlefront.  Both of these were announced at the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, both were incredibly exciting and I will talk about them some more at a later point, but not right now.  Right now, I want to get back to more Mortal Kombat, because it’s incredible!

Peace out!

What Happened To The Time?

I think it might come down to either of these things, you know, maybe both.  I am terrible at both time management and self discipline, I think this has been well established by now.  I’m also easily distracted by really cool stuff and, let’s face it, there’s been plenty of that to go around recently!  Well, I’m mostly just checking in now to run down on a couple of points, and then I’ll be on my way.  First of all, I really hope the writers, producers and directors of “Arrow” have a Netflix account, because they all need to go on and watch Daredevil, they need to take notes and understand that this is how you do street level heroes in a TV show.  I’m not knocking Arrow per se, but Daredevil has achieved more, in my opinion, in it’s 13 episode long first season than Arrow has in almost three full length seasons.  This coming from the long time DC fan.  Needless to say, I loved it.  I’d finished the season by Sunday evening and have already started watching it through again.  I’ve also recently picked up my first Daredevil book, the first volume written by Mark Waid and that’s fantastic too.

Point two, Mortal Kombat dropped this week and it’s just shy of perfect.  The story was short, with my final time running at around five hours, the final boss was ridiculously easy (two flawless victories after all that build up?  Really?) and boy does the voice acting let it down, fumbling their way through clunky exposition through QTE filled cutscenes.  But story mode isn’t why we buy Mortal Kombat, what’s important is the fighting mechanics which are spot on.  Everything that was great about 2009’s MK is back, but refined.  Everything that crapped out in Injustice has been booted out the door and what’s left is so immensely satisfying.  This week will see the start of me breaking new ground too, as I will be doing a live stream on Twitch with some online games for Mortal Kombat which should be fun.  I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m already a little on edge, but if you’ve got any interest in watching it’ll be viewable over here on my channel.  I’ll make sure I’m all set up on mic so all my rage can be heard nice and clear!

Finally, just wanted to quickly touch on the freshly updated site.  The yellow seemed like a great idea at the time (why?!) but that’s all gone now in favour of a simpler white page with a nice new shiny header.  Those are all my comics, nothing taken from the internet and were all very carefully selected based on their importance to me, whether that importance stems from writer/artist debut, character first appearance, first issue of a series or just pretty covers.  Let me know what you think of this updated look, I wanted to take a stripped down approach to it this time.

Anyway guys, I’m going to make tracks and get a bit more Mortal Kombat in before bed to try and suck a little bit less before I put myself out there on friday.  Oh, I forgot to mention I’ll be kicking the live stream off around 21:00 GMT.  That might be useful information… Ok, if anything comes up and gets in the way I’ll post updates over on my Twitter feed but I think we should be all good.

Peace out.