SpartanNerd Review-Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Long time no blog….Should I drop some spoilers?  Not yet.  But I will give you some overall thoughts.

 

This movie is serious.  It is for the DC Comics fan.  It is long.  And it sets the stage for upcoming movies.  Exactly like DC does with its comics.  (Teasers for Convergence were WAY back in Action Comics at the beginning of The New 52.)

 

Since I am a comics fan, and have been vested in DC for several years, most recently absorbing all of the New 52 Batman stuff, I enjoyed this movie.  I had to explain a few things to the SpartanKid, who hasn’t been as invested as me.  (He just reads Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman.)

 

(There is an odd scene where Batman is using a gun on some thugs.  I had to explain what was happening.  “Batman doesn’t use guns.”  And the way that scene ended with the what was apparently The Flash giving a warning.  This was obviously a reference to “The Flashpoint.”  There were other occasions, as well.)

 

The other BIG THING.  I think this movie has the best portrayal of Lex Luthor.  EVER.  He is totally psycho.  And he twists Christian imagery in a way to mock Superman as a “god.”  I especially like how he inverted the lyrics of “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” with his final words being “Ding, dong, ding dong.”  Wow.  And switching the painting to show Lucifer throwing Michael out of heaven.  At least to the SpartanNerd, who is is HUGE FAN of that image, (the correct image where Michael is the victor will likely be my tattoo someday.) this was storytelling genius.

 

Ben Affleck was OK as Bruce Wayne and Batman.  Henry Cavil was the same Superman as he was in The Man of Steel, but much moodier.  This Batman was definitely not the same that we saw in Christopher Nolan’s films.  A Frank Miller inspired anti-hero, not such a good guy.  And then there was Wonder Woman.  Maybe the one who carried her role as a super hero was Gal Gadot.  Who is/was she anyway?  She was a knockout.  I almost thought she was The White Rabbit from “The Dark Knight” comics a few years ago.  A stunning, foreign beauty.  And she swung that sword exactly like Wonder Woman should.

 

Should I give away more?  There was the obligatory Batmobile chase scene.  There was massive city destruction.  We have all seen Robin’s costume spray painted up in teaser images…there is some reference to The joker in this film.  I have summed it up and given you the essence of the movie with few details.

 

I recommend it if you like DC Comics.  I recommend it if you like Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman.  I suggest you sit this one out if you are looking for a Marvel movie.  Like the Man of Steel before it, there are few laughing moments.  I am also unsure how much you might not understand if you didn’t see Man of Steel.  There is mass reference to that movie in this film.  I only saw that movie once…I loved the Kryptonian scenes, etc.  But this movie depends on having some knowledge of what happened in that movie.

 

I rate Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice 5/5, being a DC Comics fan, and owner of every Batman/Superman comic since they began printing them in The New 52.  (I am referencing the comic where they work together, mostly against Darkseid’s daughter.)  You might disagree with me if you were looking for Thor, Deadpool, or Spiderman.  So I would like your opinion, Hub City Geeks!  Let me know in the comments!

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SpartanNerd Thoughts…Death of Batman and Joker, as well as the New 52

We all knew it was coming…The Convergence, and the end of the New 52 branding.  Months of announcements.  Lots of speculation and a few spoilers.

We read “Batman Eternal” all the way through, and slogged through Forever Evil, Future’s End, and Batman Zero Year.  We saw Robin (Damien Wayne) fall and rise.

It has been thrilling, really.  A far better expense than buying satellite or cable TV.  Much better investment.  (The only thing I miss about live TV is no NFL.  Otherwise, Netflix and DVDs and other media do just fine.)

I have to say it hasn’t been without its problems, though.  I haven’t been entirely happy with every storyline.  I canceled my subscription to Action Comics, Justice League, and Aquaman.  I didn’t even care about the characters or the story the way a good comic book should make you.  Shazam!  (who cares?)  (The Others. Etc)  I would receive my books ninety percent of the time over a week after the release date, and with these three titles, I would not even have remembered what happened in the issue prior.  In the case of Masters of the Universe (which I still will be reading) I cancelled the subscription because many of the books arrived damaged!  (I will be picking up my MOTU books from The Tangled Web from now on.)

But Batman has been different.  When I started reading The New 52, I found a character that I could really relate to.  I watched “Batman the Animated Series” and all of the Batman movies as a kid, and also watched re-runs of that campy TV show from the 1960’s.  We had some Batman comics around as well, and Batman was something my Grandma could relate to and talk about some…she said she read Batman comics as a child.  The character of Robin has always had some appeal to me as well.  Always somehow balancing the seriousness of Batman.  Robin is someone usually missing from the movies, and it makes me feel like the stories are missing a crucial element.

So I hung onto the titles Detective Comics, Batman, and Batman and Robin.  And didn’t even think twice about purchasing the weekly Batman Eternal title…I was dedicated!

The Joker is the other part of this.  Readers were captivated by Detective comics #1.  Joker’s face was cut off!  What did this mean?  How would this work?  DC got our attention!  And it about drove me insane.  For an entire year I loyally read every Batman book (except Batman Incorporated, a lingering soul from the old universe), and was then rewarded with the HUGE “Death of the Family” story arc.  It was brilliant!

And after the epic conclusion to that story, we went right into Robin’s death, and the Batman and Robin title became a sort of variety show, with Batman either teaming up with or having drama with some other main character.

I could go on and on.  But I am finally satisfied at where it all ends.

Batman #40 is the finale of the Joker returns story…And at the end of this strangely covered issue, (in contrast to the other covers in the “Endgame” arc,) the two arch enemies find their demise.  The fight was SO EPIC!  Of all the Batman fights, this one may be the most gruesome.  More blood spilt in this comic than almost any other Batman book before now.  And did I see Batman bite off the Joker’s ear?  Incredible.  And then he turns the Joker’s own deception against him.

For me, this is the perfect conclusion.  I’m still a little shocked.  I didn’t really see it coming.  Sure, I heard the spoiler about the Jim Gordon in the robotic Batman suit.  But killing Batman and Joker seemed out of the question.  This is sort of old hat, no?  Bruce Wayne has been killed before.  And we always know that Joker will be back.  And Bruce was just re-unified with Damien…

With Batman and Joker’s deaths…I feel I have a complete Batman collection of stories.  I picked up the free comic book…which confirms at least Bruce Wayne Batman is gone for the next foreseeable run of DC books.  We all know both characters will be back…But I don’t feel the need to read this for awhile.  I have a story from Zero Year (beginning) to Endgame (conclusion).  And feel a sense of relief.

Thanks, DC for a great run on Batman!

What’s next for the SpartanNerd?

More Masters of the Universe…

More Gundams…(forthcoming!)

More action figure reviews…

More Magic the Gathering posts…

Possibly a return to Spider-Man.

I am interested in Transformers…especially classic types.

But I am going to take the time to go back and re-read my Batman books, from beginning to end.  And enjoy them.  Summer Vacation is just around the corner!  Maybe I’ll even post reviews about the story arcs, like I originally intended.

Keep reading, oh Hub City Geeks!

SpartanNerd…The End of an Era (Convergence)

Back in 2011, I was getting interested in comics again.  I had discovered “Comixology,” and was reading Conan the Barbarian and other titles lightly.  This was new to me…I had never read this stuff before.  But I thought it a good alternative to Marvel, who’s take on Spider-Man had pushed me away, and from DC whose universe seemed so large and old that I was intimidated by it.

When the news that DC was going to relaunch it’s whole lineup and re-number to #1s came down, I thought, “now is the time.” I began getting the digital copies, and enjoyed it really too much, probably.  So I subscribed to the physical copies of the titles I liked best, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Batman, Justice League, Action Comics, and Aquaman.

Eventually I pared this down to only the Batman titles, and Masters of the Universe, of course.  And Batman has been a part of my life for several years.  I didn’t mind that his universe wasn’t completely re-booted.  I figured they would have alienated a ton of fans if they did.  I had little trouble getting into his universe…most of his enemies and allies did receive new treatment.  The only thing that jarred me at first was Damien, and I think he grew to be my favorite Robin, though.  I really felt wronged though, when they killed him off in the only title I wasn’t reading, “Batman Inc.”  And I wrote about that here on SpartanNerd.com extensively.  (I also think they gave haven’t written Tim Drake correctly.)

Still, this wasn’t enough to make me stop reading.  And I have enjoyed “Forever Evil” “Gothtopia”and all of the other “events” that involved Batman.  Also, Batman snd Superman has been a really good title, tying back to the beginning of the New 52 with connections to the Justice League story.  I wouldn’t know as much about Wonder Woman, Supergirl (Power Girl) or Huntress.

Finally, I thought the resurrection of Damien was really good.  And am happy, even ecstatic that he is back, and that he has super powers now as a new twist.

But DC Comics is voicing dissatisfaction with the New 52 universe.  I don’t know why…I guess just re-naming it wouldn’t be enough.  I heard things like they are out of ideas.  Or there are continuity errors.  The idea thing is a croc.  But there is no denying there are continuity errors.  Batman Eternal is busting with background noise from the Robin Rises story…for instance, this past week Raj Al Ghul referring to Batman’s leaving him in a frozen ravine…and in the same issue Batman looking longingly at one of the future Batmen and saying “Damien…”  Other continuity errors have come up as a result of writers leaving and other problems.  Geoff Johns just needed to keep a tighter reign on everyone.

And maybe that is what’s going to happen.  I have been lightly reading “Multiversity.”  I actually have the first issue and the guidebook.  What “Convergence” is supposed to do is do away with the Multiverse, and leave only the continuity established by the DC New 52.  They will use this event to correct some inconsistencies.

I am OK with this, but I feel a little bit of loss.  With the end of the Multiverse, that will take those Earth 3 “Heroes” out of the picture.  And what about the “Obama Superman.”  He will be gone.  No more Earth 2.  I never even read Earth 1.  The Multiversity guidebook presents a lot of cool characters.  Are these all going to be gone?  DC never has explained how Masters of the Universe fits into the New 52 universe.  He-Man “killed” Superman for crying out loud!

I think it will be cool to see the Flashpoint universe characters again.  I think it might be cool to see the old universe characters again.  The Convergence is supposed to bring these popular ideas back.  (I read the Flashpoint Batman stories after getting into the New 52…creepy!)

But I think I might just step off after the Convergence.  Maybe cherry pick the stories that interest me rather than subscribe.  Already I am forking over to get to the end of Batman Eternal and Future’s End.  I have a ton of comics now.  And I will have a complete collection of New 52 Batman books.  I hear that Marvel is doing something similar, and if they give us a clean starting point with Spider-Man, I will be back to reading that again.

Spoiler Free SpartanNerd

DC Comics made me REALLY MAD.  (again)

I have thoroughly enjoyed “The New 52.”  Many people are down on it.  But I like it because it is accessible to me.  Moreso than the old continuity of nearly 1000 issues of Detective and Action comics.  And “Crisis” after “infinite crisis” after “crisis on Earth 27” or whatever ridiculous intimidating thing they could throw out there.  No wonder I liked Marvel better.

When I jumped into the New 52, when it really WAS NEW, I was surprised how easily I took to Damien being Robin.  I didn’t even know there was a Batgirl other than Barbara Gordon, and was fine just seeing the familiar redhead.  Superman was reset, as was Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, the Justice League.  And so on.  Wonder Woman was even cool to me.  And all of these guys continue to keep me entertained.

But DC has burned me, too.  A subscriber.

For instance, I reported how mad I was that they killed off Damien Wayne suddenly.  Pretty much at the end of “Death of the Family.”  I had every issue I could get my hands on.  Even the side titles I wouldn’t normally have read.  But they killed him off in “Batman Incorporated.”  A book I wasn’t reading, because the art wasn’t that good and it was kind of an “old 52” story.so I could focus on the Joker.  One reason why I subscribed was so I wouldn’t MISS ANYTHING.

Another reason for subscribing though, was to have something fresh and new to read, to look forward to. To think about.  To predict.

DC blew it.  Longtime Hub City Geeks know that I have written extensively about who was going to take over as Robin.  What was going to happen.  Etc.  I REVEL in not knowing.  I like to be surprised.  I don’t read spoiler sites.  I avoid blogs and commentary.  (Odd.  Isn’t that what The SpartanNerd Blog is all about?)  But I do that because I want to be surprised.  I don’t want stuff spoiled.

But it is hard.  So hard.  Especially when DC Comics puts THIS IMAGE AND ARTICLE in the back of every comic.

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No more conjecture required.  Damien DOES LIVE AGAIN.  And he has super powers too.  No more wondering if Stephanie Brown from Batman Eternal will replace him.  Or if Carrie Kelly will.  Or if maybe Red Robin comes back.  Or Jason.  Sure, we knew the Robin from a few years in the future is a new different guy.  No more wondering about Collin Rowe, or Harper Rowe.  No more mystery.  I know, the series was called “Robin Rises.”  But that still could have had a mystery ending.  Instead, we see Damien busting Kalibak upside the head.  No Hellbat suit required.  No Justice League required.  He might be Superman level, from the looks of it.

I am just disappointed that DC decided to go ahead and spoil this.  Why not do like Marvel did with AGE OF ULTRON, and black bag the cover?  Why not do what they did leading up to the death of Damien, and spoil out fake covers?

They make an excuse for themselves.  They say something like “You’ve read “the internets.”  Or something.  NOPE.  I DIDN’T.  How many others out there are like me?

So thanks a lot for taking some of the fun out of it, DC.

Batman and Robin has been the best written Bat book consistently.  I have to say, I am looking forward to seeing Damien back.  I like the little guy.  I was sad to see him go.  I think it would have been cool to have Carrie Kelly or Stephanie Brown.  But we didn’t get that.  I’m cool with that.  I just am not cool with the spoilers.

SpartanNerd Christmas Thoughts.

I am really in the season already.  Considering that most years I feel overworked, directing all kinds of music, this year I feel more relaxed.  Maybe because I am really into the play I am helping direct this time.  Or maybe because the church Christmas cantata really does it for me.  I don’t know.  But today is Thanksgiving, and I am just about ready to put that tree up!

Hub City geeks are probably wondering what it is I might actually want for Christmas.  Well I already know some things coming my way.  Or at least towards me so that I might review them here at SpartanNerd.com.  So here’s the list!

1.  I am getting a foil Windswept Heath for my anniversary.  Those of you who REALLY know me will appreciate why I like this card so much!

2.  The Dual Deck Anthology is as good as pre-ordered!  I will review it as soon as I get it, guys and girls.  I am absolutely psyched!

3.  SpartanKid jumped me on this one.  He wants the new “Nihiri, the Lithomancer” Commander deck!

4.  And the same kid is asking for the new set of Mega-Man cards!  (Will keep my readers posted as I can review things.)

5.  Looks like I missed out on getting a Battle Ram…:(  Regardless, I will have my eye on the MattyCollector Flash Sales on Cyber Monday.

6.  Oh yes.  It seems it is time for a big upgrade.  The SpartanNerd family is moving from the “old school” style of TV to the flat screen style!  Now we can enjoy modern games the way they should be enjoyed!

In other news, I am actually thinking about NOT subscribing to Batman comics anymore.  Not because I don’t like them.  But because I feel out of the loop.  The subscriber is punished for his loyalty.  Sure, you get a better deal on your comics.  This year has been great in the value department.  But on the other hand, sometimes the books are WEEKS late.  Also, at least one issue was lost in the mail this year.  And occasionally they arrive beat up.  I intend to keep reading them, but cherry picking.  And I suppose paying newsstand price.  I find myself buying comics weekly anyways, with Batman Eternal and Futures End.  Those will be wrapping up in the spring, just about time for my subscriptions to run out.  If I want to really serve the blogosphere, then I should make this change.

What do you think, Hub-City geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Comics Commentary…He’s BAAACK!

“No.  No. Not HIM!”  Batman utters this line pretty often.  Is it poor writing?

He says this as Superman grins a Joker-ish grin at him.

Yes indeed.  The Joker returned before Robin has been claimed.  BIG SURPRISE!

Back in Summer 2013, as the “Zero Year” storyline was hitting the shelves, and the “Death of the Family” story fresh in our minds, not to mention Damian’s sudden death, there was an innocuous “Batman Annual #2” issue promising a blurb from Zero Year.  To me, I read this issue and enjoyed it, but thought the Zero Year part of the story was just added as hype to sell the book and maximize money from that particular story event.

But here we are.  November 2014.  A year and a half later or round about.  And all this time, sitting in my comic book storage box and yours too, was a secondary character named Eric Border.  A nice guy.  Someone who cared for the patients…a truly caring doctor.

And he was the Joker.  Biding his time!  (I dug through my comics to re-read “Annual #2”.  Oh the planning that went into this!  There were hints in that issue we would have never seen!)

 

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This twist had me reeling!  When I read this in Batman #36,  I was shocked!  Not real clear entirely how he got his new “mug.”  But he has one, and is looking younger and more current.  (He also has his old face, so what has “Joker’s Daughter” been wearing?)

This storyline, “Endgame,” has been a little disjunct so far.  For instance, suddenly without warning, the Justice League starts attacking Batman.  He is prepared to neutralize them all, but when he spits the “kryptonite gum” in Superman’s face, we don’t really see it making Superman suddenly crash.  A tiny dose of the stuff was enough to beat him?  And because Batman Eternal hasn’t been completed yet, we are having to infer where and why Batman has set up shop by reading the tiny details between the lines.  And we keep seeing a couple of sidekicks, one “Lark” and the other “Bluebird.”  These haven’t been explained sufficiently.  At least “Lark” hasn’t.  (Isn’t Lark the Penguin’s lackey?)

(I’m starting to think Stephanie Brown may be the next Robin.  I’m thinking the “Damian Resurrection” story might be a bait and switch.)

So, I’m not the least bit worried about Batman being stuck in that cell paralyzed by the Joker and being poisoned by gas.  This is the classic Batman scenario.  Classic like in “1960’s” TV show!  Batman will get out of it somehow in issue #37.  Can’t wait!

One more thing…there is a backup story going on, which evidently will give us new information about the Joker and his origin.  A bunch of minor sickos have kidnapped Maureen, (who was dropped off by Eric Border,) and are telling her the stories the Joker told them to tell her.  All different crazy takes on who the Joker is and where he is from.  The first one in Batman #35 about the Joker being a demon rising out of the swamp on a mystical crossroads was pretty freaky.  Actually really disturbing.  And then #36’s story about him being an alien robot, also weird.  We the readers know for certain that these stories can’t be true.

Time to go back and read Zero Year again, and get a look at that chemistry teacher who was loading tanks for the Red Hood gang.  (was this in issue #24?)