h1

Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 4

April 5th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

THE JOKER

Alias: Red Hood, Jack Napier, Joseph Kerr, Oberon Sexton
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
Powers: Genius in both planning and improvisation, master chemist, completely unpredictable, unmatched tolerance for pain
Other Media: Yeah, pretty much.

“Frighteningly sick in the head… yet strangely compelling company.” – Lex Luthor when asked about the Joker

Despite all those above aliases, there’s never been a true name to go with the Joker’s pale face. His origin has always been up in the air and he rather likes it that way. The most famous non-movie take on the Joker’s backstory is the classic 80′s tale Killing Joke, where Joker spent time reminiscing about being a failed stand-up comedian who in one day senselessly lost his wife and unborn child and then got knocked into a vat of chemicals by Batman. Joker later admitted to Batman and the reader that he always remembered the actions that led up to him becoming the Joker differently every time and no longer truly knew who he was. All he could tell was that – much like Batman – he had one bad day and it caused him to snap. The difference was that while Batman had dedicated himself to making sense of the world, Joker dedicated himself to knocking down the whole house of cards and reveling in it.

Joker’s appearance was based on actor Conrad Veidt’s creepy portrayal of Gwynplaine from the 1928 film the Man Who Laughs. In his initial appearances, Joker was just as creepy and violent as he was in the movies. It wasn’t until the Comics Code Authority stepped in that he became more like Cesar Romero in the 60′s Batman TV show. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that one time in the 50′s that Joker dedicated his time and energy to committing crimes based on colossal mistakes. That led to a comic where they mentioned the word “boner” like a hundred times and it STILL makes me laugh like an idiot.

“And I’m worried about the boner he’s readying for YOU!” – Commissioner Gordon to Batman

Remarkably enough, Joker appears to be the one character who was never affected by any of the DC reboots. He always just kept being the Joker and any different depictions fell into the idea that he’s just a versatile nutjob who is as likely to poison a troop of boyscouts as he is to steal a child’s straight A report card and call it a day. Even Batman scribe Grant Morrison explained that his boner crime days were just another step in the psycho’s evolution.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 12

November 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

It’s the third week of the third month, so what DC comics do we have in store? What will drop off and save me a couple bucks and what will stay with me for another month at least?

We start with Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. I am really, really enjoying Snyder’s take on Batman here. More importantly, I’m loving his interactions with Bruce and Lincoln March. I’m almost desperately hoping that Lincoln isn’t messing with Bruce and that he isn’t part of this owl’s nest conspiracy. When I see the two, I get the feeling of Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. At least, what we’re meant to think the two were like. We never really got to experience much of it. An episode or two of Batman: The Animated Series, but other than that it’s usually Batman sulking over what Harvey’s become while doing what he can to make it like the old days. The idea of Bruce genuinely getting along with someone outside the hero/Bat community as a friend is something that I haven’t seen explored nearly enough. If Snyder plays his cards right, Lincoln could end up being a possible mainstay in the Bat-cast.

The other thing about this issue is that this is one of the rare times where owls come off as anything close to threatening. I understand that owls are actually scary as hell in real life, but in fiction, I can rarely buy it. Nite-Owl from Watchmen always looked like a complete doofus and Owlman always seemed like a complete joke of a concept. As far as I can tell, the only cool owl-based designs have been Supreme Power‘s Nighthawk and Soul Calibur‘s Olcadan.

Damn it, Namco. Why did you stop using this guy in your games?

Anyway. The story’s been doing a good job of painting an owl-based villain who I can actually take seriously. Hope Snyder and Capullo keep it up. Stick.

Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz continues to be a decent book that’s ultimately forgettable. I will say that Poison Ivy seems like such a different character when she isn’t standing around in her leaf pubes. The black and green bodysuit is a nice change. I’ve been enjoying Starling, especially when compared to the boring leader Black Canary. The team is starting to come together a bit more, but it’s hard to say if I’m still going to continue liking this. I’m going to go on a probationary stick here.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 113

November 20th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Okay, going a little early on this one. In just a little bit, I’m off to Madison Square Garden to check out Survivor Series. If the entire arena is to be killed due to a cataclysm caused by Mark Henry’s immense rage, know that I wanted to go out this way.

I’m joined by Space Jawa and Was Taters. Taters supplied a panel for Nightwing that, according to her, best describes her feeling on the book as a major Dick Grayson fan.

While I don’t usually want to give out context, the panel right before the one I chose for Avengers Academy features Finesse breaking through a window while screaming, “LEAVE HIM ALONE!” and hitting Magneto in the face with a projectile escrima stick. Balls the size of Celestials.

Wait… does Red Hulk’s voice sound like Deadpool?

Avengers #19
Brian Michael Bendis and Daniel Acuna

Avengers Academy #22
Christos Gage and Sean Chen

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 109

October 23rd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to This Week– ah, screw this. I’m getting my random YouTube clip out of the way. Look at this shit.

What the hell, 80′s? What the hell?

Yeah, so I got David, Was Taters and Space Jawa on board. If ThWiP is about whittling down a comic to one panel, I think we’ve done gangbusters with Supergirl #2.

Avengers #18
Brian Michael Bendis and Daniel Acuna

Batman #2 (Was Taters’ pick)
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 4

September 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

We’ve reached our fourth week and if you’ve been following the comic blogosphere (whoa, Microsoft Word accepts that as an actual word!), it’s one filled with two instances of controversy that are bundled together. Don’t let it distract you too much, as we still get a really solid week overall. Am I going to be keeping every book? Hell no. But in the end, it’s a strong set.

Now let’s get to the gratuitous boob—I mean, let’s get to the reviews.

We get a sandwich of fantastic and the first slice of bread is Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. A far stronger showing than the Detective Comics issue we got a couple weeks ago. Both comics used the same idea of trying to lure in new readers by showing what they know as an intro – in Detective‘s case, Batman vs. Joker mystery and in Batman‘s case, a fight against a bunch of known and lesser known villains – but this one simply gets it out of the way so it can move on to the real story. It’s a great scene that doesn’t so much show Batman as being able to beat a bunch of villains on his own, but able to beat a bunch of villains with a sneaky plan and teamwork. In fact, I just realized that with the reveal from a couple pages later that the opening scene of Batman #1 is a modern-day retelling of the Adam West show’s animated opening.

The opening scene is pretty awesome and does something that, to me, makes a good comic. That is, give us a cool sequence but have it make sense. Snyder decided to give us Batman and Joker vs. a bunch of rogues and goes out of his way to give us an explanation that makes total sense and even slightly hints towards the big cliffhanger. It’s opposite of Secret Avengers #13 where Nick Spencer had the kickass idea of having the ghost of George Washington lead a bunch of soldier ghosts and the Lincoln Monument against Nazi mechs, but when it came time to explain it, the entire issue imploded on its complete lack of logic and fell apart.

Capullo’s facial expressions rule the roost here, especially once Harvey Bullock enters the story. I genuinely enjoy it whenever Bullock and Batman get a scene together, mainly due to their mutual respect and Bullock’s inability to give into Batman’s bullshit. In only a few pages, Harvey becomes so expressive that it’s hard not to love the lug.

If there’s any complaint about this book, it’s that Riddler Mohawk. Hey, remember when Riddler was a detective on the level? Remember how promising that was? Well, nowadays he’s in Arkham with a Mohawk shaped like a green question mark. Goddamn it, DC.

Snyder’s Batman is not only better than the other Batman-starred books of the reboot so far, but it’s also better than his work on Swamp Thing. You better believe I’m sticking.

Then we have Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz. This is a weird one because it’s a good comic that I quite enjoyed, but it’s the least memorable one of the week. I’ve never gotten into Birds of Prey before, but as an introduction and rebooting of Black Canary as a wanted criminal for accidental vigilante murder, it does its job well. There’s fun action, good art and some okay character interaction. Especially that of Keen and the new heroine Starling. It’s cute to see them play off each other and the ending hits us with a curveball in regards to what we expect to see out of their possibilities. The ending also hits us with a mystery and a major sense of doom in terms of what’s been going on with Black Canary in the last fourth of the issue. I’m interested enough to stick and see where this is going.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 105

September 25th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to This Week in Panels: Wolverine Saying Awesome Shit Edition. This week I’m joined by David Brothers, Was Taters and Space Jawa. A good amount of overlap here with the DC New 52 and I had to give all three stories in Fear Itself: The Home Front their own spots because each one was just as enjoyable. There was also a one-page story in there about Dust that was funny because Howard Chaykin drew it. Chaykin drawing a character with a covered up face. That’s too perfect.

Avengers #17
Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Batman #1 (Was Taters’ pick)
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 100 SUPER SPECIAL EXTRAVAGANZA! (Part 2)

August 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Okay, so PART ONE is getting a little too stuffy. Here’s part two.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

This Week in Panels: Week 100 SUPER SPECIAL EXTRAVAGANZA! (Part 1)

August 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

God, has it been 100 installments of this garbage already? Well, I said we’d be doing something special and I wasn’t lying. The regular update is merely the appetizer.

So for those of you seeing this for the first time because of the allure of triple digits, here’s the skinny: every week, me and my crew (usually 4L boss man David Brothers and readers Was Taters and Space Jawa) supply panels for all the comics we’ve read from the previous Wednesday. Each panel is meant to be a breakdown of what the comic is about. The essence. The chance to sell it and show off its tone. Give you an idea of what its contents are all about. Yes, some people actually enjoy this. Go figure.

Now let’s get moving.

Avengers #16
Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Avengers Academy #18
Christos Gage and Andrea DiVito

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Here’s Something to Try…

October 13th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Next time you read an issue of Batman & Robin, make sure to do so with this cranking in the background.

Thanks to Yannick_B for bringing this kickass theme to my attention.

Also, stay tuned for later tonight. I should have another We Care a Lot up. This time it’s about Spider-Shemp.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Comic Book Morality

February 21st, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

The latest issue of Batman/Superman has Batman announcing his absolute control over Gotham and much of the world.  This doesn’t surprise me.  Batman is self-righteous, is a control freak, is someone who balances, not always well, his sense of responsibility with his sense of entitlement.

What does surprise me, at least as far as the character is concerned, is that he does this after brutally beating Catwoman and Nightwing.  Considering the fact that the character is emotionally involved with both of them, that comes off as him beating his girlfriend and his son.

Why this sudden reign of terror?  Because he acquired the powers of Superman.  I’ve said before that Superman/Batman is the comic to watch, and I meant it.  I mean it now.  I just find it interesting that this comic follows a very common literary idea: excess leads to disaster.  Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon