Tag Archives: Batman

Rebirth Round 1

11 Nov

We are now in the fifth month of DC’s Rebirth initiative.  The New 52, which had opened to financial success, had alienated many longtime DC readers.  Though I was extremely disappointed in the line overall, I stuck with the New 52 and enjoyed many individual titles, from each launch period.  After five years, though, DC decided the best way to reconnect with their fans was to begin to bring back much of the classic DCU, while not destroying the foundation of the reboot.  Sales have been stellar, pushing DC into the number 1 spot for the last several months.  But is this a better foundation of titles than the New 52 or are we setting up for another big fall a few months down the line?

Personally, I have enjoyed almost all of the titles and have tried the vast majority of the titles that have been published.  Batman, DC’s regular benchmark title, has lost Scott Snyder who dominated the New 52, month in and month out.  And yet, in spite of this, the new Rebirth Batman title has also been a huge success for DC.  The story of the Gothams was high octane, superhero melodrama.  And though I didn’t enjoy the Night of the Monsters crossover as much, the Suicide Squad story seems to have returned the title to its rightful spot in the DC pantheon.  Detective Comics, a title that floundered from writer to writer in the previous series, has similarly experienced great success.  The initial storyline, based around a secret military unit based off of Batman’s tech and training, was exciting and created a new status quo for the Bat-Family.  And its second solo storyline looks to continue this excitement.  And for those of us who loved Scott Snyder’s Batman can take heart as his All Star Batman title has been his typical, crazy but fun ride.  The only complaint I have about it is that it is a rare title that only ships once a month.

The Superman titles are similarly experiencing some of the most fun stories they have seen in a while.  Specifically, the Superman title might be the best it has been years.  Having “my Superman” back and experiencing the trials of father-hood have been fantastic.  And though Kon-El, by Karl Kesel, will always be my Superboy, Jonathon has been a joy to read about.  I especially loved the two part love letter to the New Frontier, which just wrapped up.  Dan Jurgens has been writing Superman over in Action Comics.  Hopefully, everyone is familiar with Jurgens’s Superman work.  And though I don’t think it has been as exciting, it has been reestablishing Superman’s role in Metropolis.  He has placed the “real Lois” back at the Daily Planet, and he is now playing with Geoff Johns’s idea of Lex Luthor being the replacement of Darkseid. It boggles the mind.

I hope to have more to say about the relaunch over the next few days.  Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern titles, and more have similar successes to look at.  Meanwhile, DC Entertainment has diversified their publishing line with a renewed focus on the Hannah Barbara characters and new line called Young Animal which reminds me of the classic Vertigo concept.  But the bottom line is, even though DC upset many fans over the last few years, Rebirth really seems to be living up to its name.  The price drop for almost all of DC’s titles to $2.99 and the 2x monthly shipping seems to be working.  The company seems to be sitting at the best spot it has been in years.  Keep it up!    

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Scribblenauts Unmasked

23 Jul

So if you have read my blog EVER, you probably realized I like comic books. Specifically DC comics. I like them a lot. In my life, I have spent a small fortune on them. I also like video games. And if you were to ask my wife, she would probably say I spend a small fortune on them also. So when the worlds collide, few things excite me more. Enter: Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.

Now, I must confess, if you have been researching this game at all, you may expect me to have first hand experience. Alas, I have yet to make it to a San Diego Comic Con, and haven’t actually played it. However, I am a research junkie (part of my real job). Pus, I have played Scribblenauts Remixed and consider myself knowledgable about the basics of a Scribblenauts game. Therefore, here is my preview!

For those who haven’t played a Scribblenauts game, it is an insane but fun filled concept. You are Maxwell, a rather odd looking kid with a really cool gift. He has a notebook that creates anything he writes. And I must say, having played the game for a bit, it does a great job at that. The game doesn’t typically do personal nouns well, but other that that, it does almost any noun and adjective you can think of. You want to create a schoolbus? Bam! It’s there. Want to create a school of fish? You got it. Want to have real fun? Create a wormhole and it will suck it all away! Yes, sadly, I burned ants with a magnifying glass as a child:(. No, I am not proud of it.

Now, they have decided to team up with DC and the new game allows users to create 2000 specific DC items. There are the obvious things. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League are all here. There are the expected baddies also. Darkseid, Luthor, and Joker headline. But there are also less famous characters. The L.E.G.I.O.N. is here in all of their 90s glory, as are the Secret Six. And then the game gets into the truly obscure characters: Infectious Lass (Legion of Subs) and Brother Power, a living mannequin. Even better, though, you can create entire teams by just typing the team names.

During the game, you will travel around and help solve puzzles for the various characters in the game. Many are civilians but some have been shown to involve the actual DC properties. You can create your own characters in a hero creator, which I plan on using frequently. And as you play, you score “rep” which will count as in game currency which can be used to unlock new stages belonging to one of three main branches (Superman, Batman, and the Justice League) or you can use it to purchase new costumes for Max and his sister. These costumes have the powers of the original character. Me? I want Ambush Bug’s costume. According to the developers, when you are attacked while wearing it, the real Ambush Bug will pop up and break the fourth wall, because that is just what he does!

Now, I have to admit, the game cannot create EVERYTHING from the DCU, like it is being advertised. In one interview, the dev admitted the Green Team didn’t make the cut because they were too recently updated. In another video, they admitted that many Vertigo concepts wouldn’t make the cut, because they were creator owned and specifically this game focused on DC proper concepts. But overall, the game is unbelievable in what does include. This is a game where you can attack Kingdom Come Superman with black Kryptonite. It is a game where the Green Lantern Corps can fight the war of light against the varied other recently added Corps. And quite frankly, it is THE place to create G’nort and have him chase Dex-Starr. I cannot tell you how much that excites me!

Injustice Demo

2 Apr

As I blogged recently, I am really looking forward to Injustice: Gods Among Us, a fighting game based on DC’s pantheon of heroes and villains. Towards the end of last week, the producers announced a demo was going to be released for the Xbox and PS 3 this week. The demo was supposed to be released tomorrow for Xbox, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it came out this morning. Having played through the demo’s tier of fights for all three characters, I feel like it was time to share my thoughts for anyone considering getting the game.

The demo has three playable characters, two of whom were obvious and the third was a pleasant surprise. For fans of the DCU, there are three main characters, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. The first two made the cut for the demo, while Superman was replaced by his arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, in a powersuit. This allowed for a variety of play styles to be shown however. Batman is the quick, tech based character. He has many of his toys and uses them. My favorite move for him was a move where he latches his grappling hook around someone and then is yanked toward them, where he can deliver a massive strike. Wonder Woman is not as fast but seems to be a little stronger. The best part about being Wonder Woman is, that with the push of a button, her play style can change. Sometimes she uses her sword and shield, and at other times, she is more of a distance based character, utilizing her lasso of truth. Finally, Lex is the power player in his mechanized suit prepared to fight Superman. My 8 year old son specifically loved playing as Lex and found his staff to be very helpful. And though you cannot play as Doomsday in the demo, I was surprised he was the boss of the demo, because he wasn’t mentioned as a character in the demo!

There is one stage available to play in the demo. It is Gotham City at night, which makes sense, because if you are familiar with the comics or movies, it is night for like 93% of the time in Gotham. The stage has two parts: one is down in the street at the infamous Crime Alley and the other is on the police headquarters, beside the ever present bat-signal. The demo does a fine job of showcasing how the interactive elements of the stage work. I must confess, I preferred being Batman because on the ground, Batman can repeatedly slide the trash dump at his opponents, meanwhile the other characters are stuck with throwing things once at opponents. One thing I hadn’t really seen in the video footage from the game before today occurred at a hotel on the far right of the ground floor. Lex and Wonder Woman (I didn’t try as Batman) can jump up and rip part of the sign off the wall and crash it on to the opposing player. On the roof, I had a lot of fun knocking the water tower on my enemies.

One thing I could not pull off was starting the transition to the next part of the stage. I don’t know if all levels will have multiple platforms, but the demo, as previously described is broken into two parts. When you are near the edge of the screen, some sort of attack will launch your enemy to the next part, where they be injured from the trip. Some stages have other characters hidden on the stage who will attack the unlucky tossed character. For example, Arkham Asylum has Killer Croc, the Riddler, Penguin, and Two-face in a room that characters get tossed into. The four each attack the player, before tossing him along. In the Gotham stage found in the demo, however, your character can get knocked into a chemical trick on the ground. The resulting explosion launches you to the roof. This happened to me several times. Meanwhile, from the roof, you can get knocked off, into another building, where you land on the railroad tracks, just in time to be hit by a train and knocked to the street. That happened to me once and was highly entertaining.

Each character gets one special move. These moves are based on a meter at the bottom of the screen. When it fills, tapping the right and left triggers together activates it. As long as you are close enough for an initial hit to connect with your opponent, you hit them with your special move. I missed a few times before I realized this. Batman’s move has been seen in most of the videos, but was easily my favorite of the three playable characters. He shocks his opponent before having the batmobile’s autopilot hit them. Wonder Woman brings in two Amazonian guards who attack before she stabs her opponent. Lex hits enemies with a powerful satellite based lazer. Doomsday, though, had my favorite special move. He pounds his opponent through the center of the earth, into the ocean on the other side of the planet, and then back. My two sons and I “had” to let Doomsday do it to us in our final bouts, just so we could see this over the top attack.

Play seems more like a Street Fighter game than a Mortal Kombat game which is amazing, because it was made by the people who make the MK games. But this makes me happy because I have always been bigger fan of Capcom’s fighter. Back works your block and most of the special moves are done by a down, diagonal, forward + attack combination of controls. This allowed me to see what the characters are capable of and I soon felt like I had played the game for years.

So is the game worth it? I LOVED it. My daughter came in right after I had first tested it and heard me giggling like a school girl. I invited her to try first of the kids and she loved it to and was soon laughing out loud also. Meanwhile, the demo only showcases the bare minimum of what the game entails. In addition to the three demo characters, there are 21 other characters on disc for you to play as. A DLC pack will feature four more characters, giving players 26 fighters to choose from. There are many more bases too, each with their own interactive elements. The story mode promises to be over 10 hours (long for a fighting game) and shifts from character to character, which makes sense to me. And finally, the STAR labs missions offers 240 different types of missions, ranging from fights with different starting circumstances, to missions based on classic games like Pong, Asteroids, and more. So I certainly recommend you preorder the game as soon as possible.

My Initial Thoughts on Injustice: Gods Among Us

26 Mar

Life has been very chaotic lately, leading to infrequent updates on my random musings on things. Between my last update and today, something shocking has occurred. I went from a mild interest in the upcoming fighting game, Injustice Gods Among Us, to an intense desire that is driving me insane. I must confess, I also found out I have OCD which could explain the upcoming insanity rush. That said, there are several reasons why I heartily recommend this to any fan of comics or fighting games.

1) The roster of the game is sizeable and diverse. Having recently rediscovered the joy of Punch-Out (thank goodness for the Wii U Virtual console!), I had to explain to my step-son that old fighting games didn’t have huge rosters. My favorite fighter ever (probably), the amazing Street Fighter 2, only had 8 characters to choose from! So, now, a fighter with some of my favorite characters ever has 24 characters and I am in shock. Even better: four more are already announced for DLC. Confirmed characters range from obvious (but very different characters) like Superman and Batman to much less likely choices such as Killer Frost. Personal favorites include Green Lantern, Flash, Sinestro, and Deathstroke:D.

2) The DLC bonuses also look really good. I preordered my copy at Gamestop before the preorder bonuses were announced, but they each offer the potential of excitement in the near future when the bonuses become available to any willing to pay. Because I preordered from Gamestop, I got the Red Son pack, which includes three character skins (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Grundy) and twenty extra challenge missions. The Red Son pack is based on a classic Elseworlds (think Trek Mirror Universe) where Superman lands in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. Best Buy is offering a Blackest Night pack of skins (and hopefully more missions?). In Blackest Night, DC characters who had died either came back as zombies, or if like Superman, had already returned, were taken over by the big baddie Nekron. It is my favorite recent storyline in comics. And though Wal-mart seems to get the short of the bonuses, they offer skins based on Arkham Asylum/ City, one of DC’s best games ever, and include a copy of Mortal Kombat vs DC, Neatherrealm’s prior entry in DC fighting games.

3) Finally, it has 240 challenge missions divided amongst the characters. They range from simple fighting missions to “regular game missions.” One I saw on a developer video included a stage for Catwoman where you control her character and navigate through the Gotham Museum without being spotted by security. In another, for Superman, he and Green Lantern wind up in the classic heat vision/power ring blast lock, and you have to break through. The potential these missions offer to the game are vast.

There is much more I would like to say about the game and hopefully I will add more as we get closer. Expect a full review at launch, sometime after April 16. If you plan on getting the game, please let me know what you think. If you aren’t planning on getting it and feel like telling me in the comments below, please do so also. Hope to hear from you!

Cutting the Sub List

11 Feb

goodbye vampire

The other day, I was reading a blog about a woman’s attempt to pare down her comic book subscription list. Her fiancée demanded it as a cost saving measure. As a comic book aficionado, I wanted to email her and demand that she stand up for her reading list. As a married man, who has already been there (and returns there every year though), I understood. So what follows is my examination of my reading list. Several books are being dropped and several potentially are being added. This will probably not mean anything to anyone but me, but it’s my blog so here goes.

Books I am definitely dropping

Two easily made this list. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and I, Vampire are ending (or just ended) and thus I don’t have to worry about them. Both were books I tried on a whim and fell for quickly. Sadly, I would have dropped Frank’s book soon anyway, as I don’t feel it had the same joy when Lamire left but I was really sad when I heard I, Vampire was ending. It may be a terrible name for a book but it was almost a perfect comic.

Next up was another book I just bought digitally. Suicide Squad is a book I wanted to love. Ostrander’s book from years ago was a true gem, and currently something I am trying to hunt down odd and end issues I missed. Simone’s spiritual sequel, The Secret Six, was a dark book that I loved. Over the last few months, though, I realized I was just buying this for what I wanted it to be, but never what it really was.

The final two books are print edition books that I WILL miss. The Flash and Superman though have got to go. I have loved pretty much every Flash story I have ever gotten until this series, including Geoff’s truncated run recently that returned Barry but kicked away Wally. I enjoy the art in the book a great deal, but don’t feel the writing has worked. Likewise, Superman is actually the first character I ever collected myself (my brother used to pass along his Spidey books but I never bought it). But Grant Morrison is not my cup of tea, so I stuck with just the Superman titled book. Writers I cared for came and left with alarming frequency and then came Scott Lobdell, the man who killed the Titans for me and Superboy. I tried to give his first major story a chance but I suffer through each issue. Exiting now!

Books I am considering dropping

Batman and Robin was an impulse subscription. One of my book’s last year was cancelled and my subscription was transferred to this title by DC. I like Tomasi, so I thought I would give it a shot. I cannot stand the art though, which is a major problem for a visual medium, but I have stuck around with that problem before on books. The major issue though? I CANNOT stand Damian. This will probably be moved up to the previous list before I am down typing this blog.

Demon Knights however has very good odds at sticking around. It is a strange book and one I would not normally consider buying. I am conservative male and this book is definitely not written for conservatives. I don’t like demons for obvious religious reasons but the Demon by Kirby is a fun character if handled correctly. So much could have went wrong with this book, but Cornell made it a must by. He is now gone. I am waiting to pick up my first post Cornell issue digitally when it drops a dollar. That will be the make or break point.

Books I am keeping

Aquaman, Justice League, and Green Lantern are Geoff’s books who just so happens to be my favorite writer currently in the game. I have not been thrilled with the last two like I had hoped. Until War of the Green Lanterns, I would never question Geoff on the Lanterns, but since then he seems to be cruising (and as I was writing this, a blog announced his coming departure from the book after nine years). And his Justice League book has been weak. But Aquaman has been phenomenal and I am willing to give him a little more time with the other two. Hal better be back amongst the living soon though!

Scott Snyder’s Batman is one of my favorite runs on ANY character in a long time which is surprising given my typical love/hate relationship with Batman. When he is written right, he is truly one of the greatest characters in comic books. Otherwise, I can’t do it. Snyder gets him so I am in for the foreseeable future. Wonder Woman is a similar situation. Rarely do I like her books, though I love the idea of them. I must say, though, the current book has such a fun vibe thanks to the Greek gods and Orion being around. And the art is wonderful! Though I must say, DC should have put Amanda Connor on a contract for this book day one.

I plan on staying on Green Lantern Corps and Justice League Dark for a bit longer also. Both have concepts I love and both have great writers on them. They aren’t top tier books for me but are fun on a regular basis.

The final book I will be keeping on my subscription list is the Legion of Super-Heroes. If there was ever a book I have a serious issue with it is this one. Once again, when written well, you have some of the most amazing comic books out there. However, when written bad, you wind up with something like the rebooted Legion Lost series. Levitz understands this better than anyone else, but DC tends to screw it up. Like taking seven of the most interesting characters and sending them to the present for an extended stay written by anyone but him. So the new main book has floundered. I have faith though he will get his footing, especially with his frequent collaborator on the way.

Books I plan on adding/trying

Though it defeats the point to add books, when trying to trim books, it never seems to fail. Two recent adds have happened. I will always give Giffen a trial run, so I tried and enjoyed his first issue of Threshold. Sold! Unfortunately, the current DC management seems content to not really give new ideas much more than a mini-series trial run (though they market them as on-goings) and my tastes rarely match the marketplace, so this will probably be cancelled in six-eight months and I will be sad. The other book I just added is Phantom Stranger, a book Didio has already screwed up. His origin is supposed to be a mystery! That’s the point. He is the STRANGER. And what do we know about strangers? That you don’t know who they are! So right away Didio and Geoff Johns gave him an origin and not one of the four classic ones from yesteryear, but a really bad one if you ask me. So why am I adding it to my must haves? J. M. Demattias is the only other author I will add anything he writes for DC. He came on last month and I just read the first issue. Though it wasn’t perfect, it has definite potential now.

Two books I will be adding when they debut are Justice League of America and Scott Snyder’s Superman book. Geoff has put some interesting characters on this new league book (Martian Manhunter, Catwoman, and Hawkman) and added some characters frankly I don’t care for at all (like everyone, but Geoff, I mean Vibe). So this could be a good book. And Snyder completely gets Batman, a character I truly think is difficult to write, so I think he should do great on Superman, a character I believe should be one of the easiest characters to write.

The final book I plan on adding is Green Arrow when Jeff Lamire’s debut issue hits the digital discount point. He saved JLD for a me, which was a book I wanted to love but was lacking. He also wrote an awesome book with Frankenstein, which still amazes me. Green Arrow is a character I love but who just hasn’t been hitting the target (terrible pun intended) so I hope to really love this.

The new 52 is now over a year old and many books have come and gone. Many mistakes have been made and many more have been corrected. Even more new books are on the horizon (most of which sound unbelievably bad) but Constantine could be great. As a whole, though, I am picking up a few more books now than when it began. Looking forward to what the new year has to offer.

Comic book political statements

19 Sep

This morning I read the news.  Captain America is getting elected president in the Ultimate Marvel Universe (read: Marvel’s Earth 2, true believers.).  Now, I must confess, as a comic book nerd, my first thought was: this reminds me of when Lex was elected president in DC!  I loved it! Parts of the story didn’t pan out the way I wanted it to but parts did.  Cap as president could be fun.  But then I read a line by the author, talking about how Captain America wouldn’t be supporting Democrat or Republican ideas.  That he transcends them.  In theory, I suppose I could agree with that idea, but it got me thinking about how other comic book characters might vote.  Mostly, I base my opinions on how the real world works and who votes for which party.  Occasionally, specific authors’ works on characters may influence my thoughts.  But what follows is who I think specific characters would vote for.

1)      Superman is the easiest to choose I think.  Now, several years ago, DC published an embarrassing story about the election in 2008.  Each issue of the miniseries explored how different heroes voted.  Superman, however, didn’t vote apparently.  I personally don’t buy this.  Much like Cap, I assume the authors were trying to show that he was above the party idea.  But when you understand he was raised by kindly elderly farmers, from the American Midwest, it only makes sense that he would be a republican.  Look at the election maps from the last forty years.  Kansas is a steady red state.  Now, I am sure that in the big cities, the issue may be questionable, but Smallville is the classic small town.  Superman has to be republican.  Lois, on the other hand, is definitely the typical democrat reporter.  Not that there’s anything with that!

2)      Batman is a WASP.  Raised (to the age of 8) as a blue blood, he also would be most likely a Rockefeller republican.  Now, admittedly, Thomas Wayne definitely seems to be a bleeding heart, when you look at Bruce, he seems to be the “old money republican.”  To go a step further, with his rather harsh view on crime, he would lean more to a republican view on justice.

3)      Wonder Woman and Aquaman are monarchists.  They don’t care at all.

4)      Hal Jordan is a little more difficult.  And honestly, he is a rare character that I really feel like you need to look at who is writing him to guess.  When written as the typical fun in the sun Californian, I wholeheartedly believe he would be a democrat.  As the down on his luck, changing from job to job guy, I would buy him as a democrat.  But Geoff’s rebooted Hal is so tied to his sense of duty, and his military background, that I have to say he too would probably vote republican.  Look at the issue where his plane crashed in Russia and you see him as almost a modern McCain.  And with the Sinestro Corps War, he was quick to come out and support the notion of Green Lanterns being able to kill their enemies in combat, an unlikely characteristic for a democrat leaning character.

5)      Quick note on the other Earth born Green Lanterns: Guy is obviously a Rambo republican and I love it! Kyle would probably be a democrat.  Read any of his 90s stories to see his struggling with his own “personal fears.”  John, too, would probably be a democrat.  Created by Denny during the height of the transitioning Americas, he probably bleeds blue!  And yes, I am ignoring walking PC lantern Baz.  Pre 52 Alan would be a republican.  Post: Democrat.

6)      Barry Allen would be even more of a republican than Clark.  Not only is he a typical, salt of the earth Midwesterner, he is also a cop.  He has no choice but to have an “r” beside his name.

7)      Wally is a more interesting choice I believe.  He too would be a republican but more out of respect to Barry than for any serious political leanings of his own.  I am pretty sure a writer said that once, but whether it was Waid, Johns, or the author of the aforementioned DCU Decisions, I can’t recall.

8)      One of my favorite, new 52 mistreated characters Amanda Waller.   She is a great, classic character.  She is a natural democrat too.  Read her early appearances.  An aid to an African American congressman in the 80s, she loved to fight with Reagan, all the while calling for harsh treatment of criminals, which made her too much fun.

9)      Jonn Jonzz, another all-time favorite characters, is a rare man who truly transcends American politics.  In the 90s, they continually pointed out he was one of the only characters who truly saw the Earth as a whole.  With that being said, I don’t see him getting involved in the political process.

On the Marvel side, I only feel the need to comment on three characters.

10)  Captain America, I believe, would be a republican.  Now, I understand where the writer currently would try and claim he would transcend politics.  I really do.  But as a character so steeped in the military culture, I believe he would certainly vote for the party that promotes a stronger national defense.  Also, he would buy into that classic American ideal that hard work leads to prosperity.  This is not to say democrats don’t accept this notion but I don’t believe he would support all of the social programs to help get people a leg up.  I believe he would support private charity more than government hand-outs.

11)  Spiderman though would definitely be a democrat.  As a life-long New Yorker, he is almost a card carrying democrat by birth.  Also, younger people tend to vote democrat, and I have always thought Spidey works best as a younger guy.

12)  Finally, Professor X would almost certainly be a democrat.  As a proponent for minority rights (mutants count!), he would fit very well into the base of the democrat party.

That’s my thoughts on the political leanings on some of the most famous characters in comics.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Dark Knight Rises with minor spoilers

5 Aug

I just got back from The Dark Knight Rises for the second time.  I wanted to wait a bit before I reviewed the film with spoilers.  For those who wish to avoid them, I recommend you read this later.  Over the year I have had this blog, though, I have written about my love for Batman.  I must say he is one of the greatest comic book characters out there.  Unfortunately I rarely feel that the comic book writers themselves understand why.  Fortunately, Nolan gets it.  And I must say, I felt like the movie was even better the second time around. 

Like many, I went to see the movie the first time with unattainable expectations.  The Dark Knight changed how I see movies forever.  Heath Ledger’s Joker obviously was a game changer for bad guys in action movies.  The rise and fall of Harvey Dent was brilliantly presented.  And the cliffhanger ending had me awaiting the sequel when I walked out of the movies four years ago.  Having seen TDKR the first time was a bit of a let down because it couldn’t reach my expectations.  Another problem I suffered the first time I watched it though came from friends’ questions leading to the movie.  Several of my friends engaged in a healthy debate over whether this movie would feature Earth 1 or Earth 2 Batman, whereas throughout the movie it is obvious that it is neither.  It is Earth Nolan Batman.  Shades of previous Batman storylines shine through but this is entirely his game.  And he owns it. 

I have always been a history nerd and a comic book geek.  My earliest readings came from a battered encyclopedia collection for historical information and my brother’s hand me down comic books.  Upon watching this movie, it became incredibly apparent that I was watching a film showcasing the French Revolution in modern day America, starring Batman.  Honestly, there is no part of that concept that isn’t thrilling to me.  I have always thought the French Revolution was much more fascinating than the American Revolution because it is a warning.  The revolution of a poor huddled mass led by the intelligentsia can be a wonderful victory (see the American Revolution) or it can be an unmitigated disaster.  The French Revolution kicked into high gear with the storming of the Bastille, a French political prison.  This is harkened to in TDKR in which Blackgate Prison is stormed early in Bane’s revolution.  In fact, I was genuinely surprised Bane didn’t draw the comparisons himself. This victory for the poor though quickly paved way to the Reign of Terror.  During the Reign of Terror, the rich and powerful (and eventually anyone who threatened the powers that be) were slaughtered by the thousands.  This is also alluded to in TDKR in a wonderful scene in which Scarecrow ran court for the newly “freed” Gothamites.

Meanwhile, if you are looking at the comic book comparisons, Earth Nolan features several of the most famous Batman storylines of the last two decades.  Obvious similarities are apparent with the Knightfall arc. The story pillars are streamlined down to the essentials.  I will say I was genuinely surprised with how much they showed.  The first fight between Bane and Batman was brutal.  The story then entered Act 2 which was influenced heavily by “No Man’s Land.”  A lot of this was my favorite parts of the movie.  I enjoyed the police, led by Gordon, working against Bane’s minions.  Other influences come from a myriad of stories, like “The Dark Knight” and Earth 2 Batman stories.  My favorite part though relates to Batman and Selina’s relationship.  Outside of Lois and Clark, this has always been my favorite comic book romance, since seeing Adam West and the various Catwomen in classic Bat-TV.

I still believe overall that Avengers is the best movie of the year.  The Dark Knight is still my favorite movie of all time.  But with The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan has brought a beautiful finish to Batman’s story.  This was definitely the most “comic book movie” of Nolan’s trilogy and I love it.  And my favorite part is that even though this was Nolan and Bale’s last Bat movie (for now), it leaves off with a chance for a totally new direction of stories.  Good show!