The Best Laid Plans…

My original intention was to have at least one more “Best of Image” posts done by today, maybe if I’d found the time I could have gotten two done, but it was not to be.  Today’s post is just a quick explanation as to why I probably won’t get one done for the next few days now.  Thursday I’d planned to get a post written out and up, but I made the mistake of going to a supermarket that sells video games for lunch and happened upon a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.  Now, I’ve got a lovely two weeks off coming up in just over a week so I thought that would be a good time to grab it, didn’t need to worry about getting up for work so I could sink as much time into is as I wanted, but like the song of a siren it was too much to resist and oh boy, this game is absolutely phenomenal.  I’m playing on PS4 so while I appreciate that a decent PC will easily outperform this visually, it still looks stunning.  The first place you’re in, a castle in the mountains, wow.  Just stepping out onto the balcony and looking out over the surrounding environment is a real treat, and gameplay wise this one holds up to it’s predecessors standards really well, it’s more fluid and polished sure but still pretty difficult.  My only criticism is that it holds your hand more than the first two, I’d rather not have a mini map with dotted lines telling me where to go, that was part of the charm before this – getting lost while trying to figure out where the hell you needed to go which would inevitably lead into you running into something else awesome.  Minor gripe though, to be fair.

Anyway, I really want to get back onto it so I’ll leave you with one more thing.  Many of you will be aware that a certain “leak” happened yesterday, yes I have it.  Yes I’ve watched it.  Yes I loved every damn second of it and will be watching it religiously.  I’m not going to link to it here but needless to say with one very quick internet search you can find a 1080p copy and see for yourself.  If you can resist then well done, I wanted to (and when this happened last year with The Flash I did resist) but in the end caved.  No doubt I’ll see this multiple times before the show starts.

supergirl

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.

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.

Gotham: The Good, The Bad And The Unnecessary

SOME MINOR SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

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Gotham aired it’s premiere episode last night, I didn’t get the chance to watch it until this morning and have now had a full day to reflect on what I watched.  Now, I’m trying not to sound too negative here since the reality is, I’ll be watching this on a weekly basis.  I was impressed by so much, but first impressions are really important and I couldn’t help but pick up on much that I thought they could have left out.  I’ll get started on the positives first though.

Right out the gate, the cast of actors “Gotham” has brought together is absolutely phenomenal.  Seriously, I could sit here for far too long listing off everyone that impressed me and why but I really don’t want to be here until the early hours of the morning on this post so I’m going to pick out the best of the best.  David Mazouz, the young man portraying Bruce Wayne, is stellar.  Every scene he is in, which unfortunately is not nearly enough, he takes away from actors at least twice his age.  It’s amazing that someone so young can already bring such a level of gravitas to each scene, but this is a young talent to keep an eye on, great things lie in his future.  The momentarily happy son with his mother and father, the grieving son both during the killing and directly after.  We even get a window into his darker side towards the end of the episode.

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Ben McKenzie was always an interesting choice for Jim Gordon, I’ve not really seen a huge amount of his work before so I wanted to go in with an open mind and I think he pulled Gordon off really well.  He goes down the gravelly voice route, which honestly I found a little grating at times, but that is absolutely my only criticism of his performance, he manages to portray a newbie cop with plenty of life experience but a hopeful optimism that he can make a difference in a city fraught with crime and a police force rotting from the inside with corruption.  He is the beacon of hope in Gotham, pretty much the only one right now, and unwilling to fall into the trappings of his colleagues.  He also bounces off his partner and co-lead Donal Logue, who is without a shadow of a doubt the best on screen portrayal of Harvey Bullock we are likely to see for quite some time.  Live action, anyway.  He’s gruff, tough and clearly influenced by the crime and corruption around him.  But he cares, he’s not so far down the hole to be completely unredeemable and Logue has a real grasp on this.

Another member of the cast who stood out the most for me was Sean Pertwee, who I genuinely think the last of his work I saw was Dog Soldiers, a cheesy but fun, super-violent B-movie horror.  So now we have him in the role of the butler and guardian of Bruce Wayne, a man traditionally very well spoken and very stereotypically English.  Well he’s certainly still English, but he breathes new life into a character that has been done in a similar manner in so many iterations whereas Pertwee brings in an Alfred who’s a little more rough around the edges.  He has a bit more of a “common” sound to him, at one point saying “master Bruce, get the bloody hell down from there” which I found hilarious.  We don’t know much about him yet, but I’m impressed so far and look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

Adding to the plus points are some interesting characters that, given the room to grow and evolve, could become some powerhouses in the world of “Gotham”.  Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) brings a level of sinister to the show, being a local Captain I guess and working for one Carmine Falcone, whose name I was quite pleased to hear.  Cobblepot, Nygma and Ivy all show up at one point or another which we already knew, at least those of us that have been keeping up with previews and interviews in the run up to the release.

Tonally I think they hit the nail on the head pretty well.  We have a city that’s hit hard by crime, policed by a force that’s more interested in lining their own pockets and keeping their own skin on than helping those in actual need of help.  Since it’s Gotham City, there obviously needs to be an atmosphere to this that screams fear and depression, with buckets and buckets of rain.  Check, check and check.  What they also need to do is avoid famous landmarks from any real world city that they may use to film in, since that would break the immersion into this entirely fictional city, so a CGI skyline is used throughout the show to keep us fully involved.  Granted, this is somewhat jarring sometimes, especially where you have a shot of characters with the skyline behind them.

So, on to the less than positive points, though I have to say there aren’t all that many.  First off, I know that this is a pilot but there is way too much crammed into this 48 minute first episode.  A lot of the scenes feel a little rushed and there isn’t a real sense of time passage because everything moves on so damn fast.  The time flew by, so there was plenty of enjoyment to be had from it, but I think some things were glazed over really quickly, like the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne.  I thought they could have spent a little more time there.  On top of that, I think they tried to introduce us to too many characters in such a relatively short space of time.  We had Jim, Harvey, Nygma, Ivy, her father, Selina, Bruce, Cobblepot, Renee Montoya, Alfred, Mooney, Falcone, all their assorted henchmen, Captain Essen, Barbara, Crispus Allen, Mayor James… and the rest.  You get the idea, I’m sure.  Now while, for the most part, I can forgive trying to cram when it comes to TV pilots I think there’s less of a reason here.  Yes, they need to pull the audience in but this isn’t as hard a sell as most pilots are.  Gotham was in a very strong position where the full season was ordered in advance, there were no suits that needed selling on this, they were already sold.  I think if they’d played some of their cards a little closer to their chest and fleshed a few parts of this out a little more, they’d actually captivate audiences a little more.

Set wise, I think a little more variety could be used to great effect, all the locations the detectives visit throughout the episode all feel very samey, I know that this is a run down city under the thumb of the mob, but it doesn’t mean that everything needs to look the bloody same.  Thanks to introducing us to so many new things, people and places nothing is really given time for us to understand or appreciate, many of the characters feel a little one dimensional right now because we just haven’t had enough time with them.  It’s a crying shame, but I think it’s something they can improve on, there’s plenty of time and I really think the show has all the signs of huge potential.

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With regards to the “unnecessary” side of things, there were a few things that popped up that I think they could have just skipped all together.  Nygma was a big one.  I mean, the guy has a few measly seconds on screen and literally spends the entire time spouting riddles at Jim and Harvey.  As a good guy.  On the GCPD.  After being asked for evidence.  It’s totally unnecessary, it’s basically the writers sitting there screaming “the Riddler!!  This guy’s going to be the Riddler!!  RIDDLER!!!!”  We get it, anyone that’s a Batman fan knows who Edward Nygma is, anyone that is familiar with the Riddler but maybe doesn’t know him by his civillian identity has a whole season to get to know him.  Play it a bit more coy.  Same can be said for Cobblepot.  I thought Robin Lord Taylor played him very well as the young, sadistic and over enthusiastic underling of Mooney but to have him screwed over within the first episode and gain an injury which could well provide him with the limp to accompany his general Penguin look was too much, too soon.  Oh, and Mooney’s henchmen calling him “Penguin” as a mocking name was also a little too on-the-nose for me.

We do suffer a little “deus ex machina” at the end too, which I find horribly annoying at the best of times but I had hoped a show like this would rise above it all.  I’m really trying hard to keep a lid on any major spoilers so I won’t go into too much detail on this one, but I just found it really damned irritating.

Still, I don’t want the negativity to play too heavily on this because I came away from the show having really enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to where they take the rest of the season I just hope they avoid some of the pitfalls that have been hinted at in this first episode.  If they can keep the shoehorning of in your face Batman easter eggs down a little, allow the character more screen time to grow on us a little more and slow the pace down a little bit then we’ll be on to a real winner.  As I said they have a great cast, there is the promise for some awesome characters and the development of Bruce Wayne is key to making sure this is the show we all want.  It wasn’t the DC show I’d wanted to start the most, Constantine still holds that honour, but as a start to the new TV season this will do the trick nicely and has me wanting more.  Overall, decent job but needs more work.  There is a real chance that after this they may lose a wedge of viewers, possibly only really hanging on to the big Batman fans until this ship is righted.

Possibility of a Supergirl TV Series?

So browsing through Twitter, literally about 10 minutes before starting this post, I saw a post from the guys over at Comic Vine, talking about WB shopping around for a network to run a live action Supergirl series.  Here’s the article for reference, I was going to embed the tweet here but cannot get it working for the life of me.  Seriously, I’ve just wasted at least twenty minutes trying and failing to do it, so screw it.

Anyway, back on to the topic at hand, I’m really stoked for the idea of a Supergirl series but with the way the DC properties have been handled recently I’m remaining pretty cautious with my excitement.  Arrow has been pretty dark through it’s run so far, there’s been the odd light moment here and there, but on the whole it’s gone down the dark and “gritty” route, taking many cues from Batman Begins.  I get it, it’s a style that’s really suited Arrow and can work for other properties too, but sometimes light, bright and colourful is the way to go.  Looking at the costume reveal for The Flash (no I haven’t seen the pilot, I refused to watch it and have to wait until it starts airing for the rest) I can see the potential for a gloomier Flash than I’d really like, since they appear to have darkened down the suit a bit.  Constantine is on it’s way, which I’m hugely excited for, but the reality is that the laughs we’ll most likely get from the show will be pretty dark and messed up.

Then we look at the movies, where we have Man of Steel kick off the DC Cinematic Universe.  It was… divisive to say the least.  I enjoyed it for the most part, but man that movie bummed me out.  Superman is meant to be a bright, shining beacon of hope and the same could be said for Supergirl.  She has traditionally been a bit more snappy, showing more fire in her than her older cousin.  The thing is, she’s been quite a bit more jaded in recent years (read: last two to three years) than usual.  I get that her loss over Krypton is almost more real to her than it is for Superman, since she was pretty much the age you see her on Earth when she was sent away, but the level of anger, resentment and mistrust she has shown through her New 52 reboot has been too much.  If this TV show goes ahead, and I really hope it does, they need to go in pretty much the opposite direction to that of Man of Steel.  Give her a brightly coloured costume, don’t dull down the blue and red, don’t muddy up the “S”, just put it all out there and show pride and joy in her source material.

Girl -, Supergirl by Mahmud Asrar<br />
#mahmud asrar #dc comics #the new 52
Supergirl on the way to our screens?

I think it’s safe to say, especially if executives want this show to take off and appeal to a wide audience, that her New 52 material should be glazed over almost entirely.  There may be a few choice characters they could take and use in the show, maybe people like Dr Veritas and Siobhan with her Silver Banshee alter ego, but for christ sake lighten the mood a little bit.  And for the love of all things geek and comic, do not even remotely consider the possibility of making her a bloody Red Lantern.  For me, I think there are plenty of stories and great character moments from her volume running from 2005 up until the reboot, started off by Jeph Loeb.  There were plenty of times where she found herself in despair, dealing with the devastating loss of her home and occassionally maybe taking her beatdowns a little too far, but she managed to reign it in for the most part.  If it’s going to gain a wide appeal, sure it’s going to need it’s fair share of drama and suspense, and there needs to be character growth, but the series needs to have a sense of humour, it needs a sense of hope and joy.  Joy at the fact that she may have lost a lot, but in coming to Earth she has gained these incredible powers and has the ability to genuinely help.

There are two other really important points worth considering though, both of which have me kind of stumped.  Actual costume design, and casting choice.  We’ve already covered costume colour while discussing tone, and my conclusion is keep it bright and comic book-y.  I think that ditching off the skirt was probably the smartest thing they did with the new costume, as a character that spends much time in the air, both while flying (duh) and in combat a skirt seems a little bit dysfunctional to say the least.  The cape with the collar looked pretty damn good too, to be fair.  I think some inspiration could be taken from Marvel’s Captain Marvel look, she has the look of a brightly coloured superhero but it has a functional look.  For a good idea of what I’m thinking, have a look at this DeviantArt member’s take on the redesigned costume, I think it would look great onscreen.

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fanboiii of DeviantArt knocks it out the park with the costume edit

Then there’s the casting.  Smallville had a great choice in Laura Vandervoort, she portrayed all the key aspects of Kara Zor-El with her own spin, granted she never got a true costume, but it was the best live action Supergirl we’ve had.  That door has most likely closed now, as Vandervoort is probably too old for the role so long as WB are going the route of “fresh off the spaceship”.  Another I thought might work was Yvonne Strahovski but again, I think she may be a little old for the role too at 32.  Perhaps someone like Maddie Hasson, someone mid twenties or younger who hasn’t had a huge amount of work thrown their way yet, but someone who has made a positive impression on audiences in the parts she has played.  It’s a tough one, guess that’s one of many reasons why I’m not a casting director!  Whomever gets the role, youth and (for lack of a better word) gusto is needed for the role, just please please don’t make it dark, gloomy and miserable.

Of course, another huge point here is that we’ll have more diversity coming to our on screen superheroics.  We’ve been treated to so much awesomeness with comic book movies and TV shows, but what we still haven’t had is a female superhero led show or movie.  Agent Carter is on it’s way to our TV screens soon, which is another huge step in the right direction, but this would be a first for the actual female superheroes as opposed to a female lead in a TV show, which just so happens to take place in a universe of superheroes.  We’re still waiting on a Wonder Woman movie, we’re still waiting for Marvel Studios to pull their collective thumbs out their asses and greenlight a Captain Marvel movie (how have they not done that yet?) and so, if done right, this would fill that void perfectly.  The iconic “S” and the history and heritage that comes along with it, striking a balance with the modern day concerns and troubles of a young woman, throwing in the problems of, you know, being from another planet that is now dead.

What’s not to love?

Weekly Update 25/05/2014

Can’t believe we’re almost at the end of May already, time is flying by me way too quickly.  This was a pretty fun week, got some plotting and scripting done for the first online comic I’m going to be posting in a couple of months or so, picking up a graphics tablet in a few days to get cracking on colouring.  There are two or three different comics I’d like to get up on the old internet, all are going to be short stories essentially testing the water with regards to my story telling abilities before I consider something a little more ambitious.  I’ll have more details by mid June I reckon so keep an eye, it’ll all be discussed on here first.

Went to see Godzilla yesterday, which is why I’m doing this today, thought I’d put out a few brief points.  Firstly, the King of the Monsters himself looked and sounded absolutely incredible.  I’m a huge Godzilla fan and have been since as long as I can remember, my fandom of ‘Zilla predates my love of any superhero so this was always a big deal movie, and it delivered in most areas.  There were a few niggling issues with it, it did seriously lack any impactful women or “minorities”.  The main heroes were both white men, the main shot caller (and idiot, but that’s a little beside the point) was a white male and the most fleshed out character and arguably most important character was only in it for the first ten minutes or so, and that was the heroes mother/wife.

The human parts on the whole were more of a hinderance than anything, and the funny thing is if these scenes were played out in any other film it would have most likely been ok, they weren’t inherently bad in my opinion, but the issue was they got in the way of Godzilla fighting big ass monsters.  That’s what I wanted, and when he was on screen I genuinely couldn’t be happier I thought his characterisation, his motives, appearance and sheer power were all spot on.  It was genuinely exciting, there just wasn’t enough of him.  But I came away from it satisfied, it was what I’d consider a “proper” Godzilla movie for the most part so it gets a pass from me and I look forward to the sequel.

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Nice bit of news from the gaming world caught my attention this week, that being the upcoming release of Metro: Redux for the Xbox One.  The retail package will contain a fully reworked and optimised Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, running on a brand new engine made for next gen, reworked gameplay and multiple playstyles available to cater for everyone.  The real kicker is that even with all the work going into this both games will come packaged together for a cool £34.99 RRP.  It’s looking like a meatier upgrade than Tomb Raider received, you’re getting two already good games and it’s coming out at a lower, albeit slightly lower, price point.  Oh, and it comes with all the DLC too.  Since it’s due to arrive sometime in the summer I think this’ll make a nice summer drought beater.

Over the past week I’ve managed to get myself into watching a new (for me) TV show too, one that airs almost every night and has me in stitches throughout, that’s be the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  I’d been flicking through loads of YouTube videos recently, checking out some of the things he does with his guests and some of his monologues at the start of each show and have loved it all, so I did a bit of digging and found out it airs over here on CNBC (Virgin channel 613) at about 11 at night.  Needless to say, it’s now on series link and has become my regular go to show for dinner time.  If you’ve not seen anything from the show before, check out some of the lip sync battles for starters, they are hilarious.  In fact, here, have one now.

Moving on to comics, the one thing I have taken away from this week is that I will most likely be dropping DC’s Worlds’ Finest title from my pull ist when the new Earth 2 weekly kicks off shortly.  It’s been said that while this is running, Helena (The Huntress) and Karen (Power Girl) are going to be involved so their original title will have a “change in format”.  Basically, they’re going to be making it another Batman and Superman book.  I’m sorry, but I don’t need more of them right now, and if all that’s being said at the moment is true it’ll be stories about the original Earth 2 Batman and Superman that have been dead since it started, they’ll be stories that’ll have absolutely no impact what so ever and frankly, I don’t care enough.  I also find it a little disappointing that DC are taking a title led by two of my favourites and two strong, independant female heroes and replacing them with two guys that already have their fingers in so many books.  Yawn.  Hopefully it’ll be a temporary thing, then I’ll quite happily pick it back up if those two return after the weekly is done.  We shall see.

It was a hefty week of buying comics this week, thanks largely to getting lumped with a 10 day straight run at work without a day off, meaning I couldn’t get in to get my books until Thursday afternoon, so all in all I think over the last couple of days I must have read a good 20 or so issues from various series so to be completely honest, I’m not going to go too much into it now.  What I will say, the standouts for me were ASM #2, Batgirl #31, Harley Quinn #6 and Forever Evil #7.  On the point of the latter, it’s good to finally have that series over and done with now, DC have managed to drag their heels on it so much it’s impacted the main Justice League book too and prevented me from reading the 0 issue of Justice League United.  The ending left a little to be desired, but I’m putting that down to it being put back, and therefore anticipated, so much.

Going to keep it short and sweet here and to be quite honest, I’m probably not going to get my Top 5 out until tomorrow as I have a stack of things I need to do this evening.  It’s my own fault, I started playing Diablo III earlier and then it was suddenly evening and I’d completed the Belial chapter (2 maybe?) on Nightmare with my Demonhunter who is now at level 45.  I think, I’m actually kind of hazy on it already.  Anyway, I’ll definitely be back tomorrow for Top 5, don’t know which one I’m going to use yet but regardless it’ll be tomorrow.  See ya!

Good to be back

Well I ended up taking a bit of a hiatus on the old blog front, although in all honesty I’ve been gone longer than I originally intended, maybe should have mentioned I would be taking a little time off too so sorry about that.  I’ve had a bit of catching up to get on with, I’ve been falling behind on my pull lists each week thanks largely to continually buying too many trades on top off regular comics.  It’s a lesson I just can’t seem to learn, no matter how many times I make this mistake.  Well I’m all up to date now thankfully, so that’s one thing off my mind.

I’ve been retraining myself in some very basic art techniques too, I’ve got a couple of really fun stories I want to tell and rather than trying to find someone to do my art while I’m in the position of being unable to offer any compensation for said work I figured I’d just go ahead and do it all myself.  Thankfully, the stories I’m looking to tell don’t require anything extraordinary in the art department so I should be able to get by.  I’m debating whether or not to force myself into fully getting my head around photoshop (or similar software) for colouring purposes or if I could get away with putting the comics out in black and white.  I’m fairly confident that at least one of those books would work quite well in black and white, but one of them is frankly so comical and goofy I think it really needs the colour.  I should probably stop referring to them as books too, since I’ll be putting them all out online.

It’s not really just productivity that’s held me back from getting posts done though.  Being totally upfront, I got started on Smallville a little while a go and, well, I’ve finished it now.  It took me around three and a half months to burn through all 218 episodes, considering that there were several days in there where I didn’t watch an episode it puts into context how ridiculous that is.  It’s funny what drove me with it too, the first four or so season I just wanted all the whiney teenage crap over and done with.  I really can’t stand it, everything was over romanticised and angsty but I had a feeling that it would be a case of “short term pain long term gain”.  Turned out I was right.

From season five, things started to move in the right direction, although not quite as quickly as I’d like.  By season six things were picking up considerably, we had a great supporting cast of regular civilians and some really great shoutouts to the wider DC universe.  The final four season brought this show into a whole new genre almost, with appearances from some of my all time favourite characcters, Clark working at the Daily Planet, learning to shake off his conifdent persona and become a bumbling, clumsy nerd again and finally fully comitting to the one woman Clark should be with: Lois Lane.  I’m sorry New 52, Wonder Woman is not where he should be heading, it’s Lois and Clark.  Clark and Lois.  Whatever, they are the ultimate pairing.

Anyway, one thing that really impressed me from the series was the JSA, mostly Hawkman if I’m being honest.  Don’t get me wrong, it was great seeing Stargirl (and well played on getting an actress that looks almost identical to Courtney in the comics!) and Dr Fate was absolutely amazing but Hawkman stole it from that team.  The fact they didn’t bullshit their way around anything, he was proper died-and-reborn-again Carter that could bloody well fly and had a big ass mace.  And he was played by Michael Shanks!  He was seriously tanked out for that show and put on a completely different voice to what I’m used to.  I should point I’m a huge Stargate fan, which is why I was so excited by this.

More importantly, it was a series that ran for a whopping 10 seasons, as I said totalling up to 218 episodes and while it faltered on occassion, taking some creative liberties with characters that I didn’t really agree on (Darkseid, mostly) it was a thoroughly entertaining show.  It could have done with less back sliding to Lana Lang, she got pretty annoying eventually but on the whole I really anjoyed watching.  And, also very important, as a Superman fan it had a very satisfying ending, it wrapped nicely with no loose threads and had the 1978 Superman theme to go along with Clark blasting off in his famous red and blue.  But now I’m done with it, and this seasons TV has pretty much wrapped now I can get back on to things like this again.

I’d be remiss to come back to this so soon after the announcement and not mention the revealed Batsuit and Batmobile…

Personally, I think the new suit looks absolutely badass, Ben Affleck looks like a freaking tank of a man and the batmobile looks like a nice, modern take on the classic Tim Burton era Batmobile.  Or Burtonmobile.  Burtmobile?  Anyway, I do have one slight concern with the movie though, while the suit looks awesome and quite a bit more rooted in comics that previous outings, the suit looks to be taking a lot of inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns, a book that has been mentioned on numerous occassions by film makers and onlookers.  This worries me because I consider myself more of a Super Family fan than a Bat Family fan, and from the stand point of a Superman fan the fight between Supes and Bats in TDKR was, frankly, bullshit.  I get that how powerful a character is in comics lies very much in the hands of the writer, but Miller totally cocked up with Superman in that book (bitch all you like, I’m not criticising Miller, just his wrong take on Superman).  For those that have seen Man of Steel, you’ll remember how stupidly powerful he was, yeah?  How in the good god damn hell is Batman, young or old, going to take on Superman?  Especially when you consider that Snyder and co have already said they really don’t want to fall into the old Kryptonite trap with this series.

On a totally different note, I got a very cool package through from the folks over at Star Action Figures the other day, my new Kotobukiya ArtFX+ Supergirl statue.  Based on the New 52 costume design, the mini statue stands just a little taller than the DC Collectibles New 52 action figures, but oh man is this thing pretty.  The sculpting and paint job is absolutely phenomenal, with a really nice metallic blue paint used on the Kryptonian “armour”.  How about a look, and less talk eh?

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I’m really impressed with this statue, although at £35 (at least) a pop I can’t see myself taking the dive on too many of these at all, especially with the generally very high quality figures DC Collectibles are coming out with at around £18 a figure.  I couldn’t resist this one though, I’d seen the previews a little while a go both on DC’s website and on the pre-order section of Star Action Figures, so I at least had the chance to plan ahead for this one.  It’s sitting very proudly on my bookshelf at the moment but I am going to need to sort out a dedicated space for this kind of thing soon.

One last quick thing to make note of before I head off, almost forgot this one, but after six years of growing my hair to the point where I can now sit on it (seriously) I’ve decided to take the rather drastic measure of shaving it all off and going bald.  When, as near to bald as electric clippers will take it.  It’s not all just for the sake of getting a haior cut though, I’m making it a sponsored charity job, with all the money raised going to Macmillan Cancer Support, and the hair being donated to a really nice little charity called Little Princesses, where they will make wigs for children going through hair loss from cancer treatment.  Both of these things are a really good cause, and while I don’t really like asking people for things I can’t begin to explain how much it would mean to me if anyone could donate and if people could spread the word.  Head on over here to check out the Just Giving page I’ve set up to collect donations.

Right then, I think that will do for today, I’ll be back on tomorrow to continue the regular Sunday post of Top 5 something, I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend and you’re getting the same glorious weather we got here in Birmingham, I’m loving it!

Later!