Monday, May 30, 2016

Bats in My Belfry...

Another tidbit I dropped over on Imzy as part of the Arkham Sessions community.  ^_^  Cheers

I just read this totally awesome & worth the time essay on one of my favorite Bat-Subjects. Jason Todd.
As the 70s turned into the 80s, I went from a mere kid to what we'd now call a "tween". Robin grew up to be Nightwing and by the time the Crisis on Infinte Earths came about, it was almost time for my Bar Mitzvah. Alright, Irish-Catholic Confirmation where I took the Saint's name Matthew to make me Ma happy but iDigress...

I was a BATMAN reader then as I am now. I remember the visciousness Crazy Quilt had coming after an ill-preparred 2nd Robin, the villain not knowing the difference. I remember going "what the heck" with the diplomat's son. And then the Ad with the Phone Numbers: Live or Die. I didn't call. My Ma wouldn't let me. She wouldn't let me 1-800-DIAL-MTV either.

One thing the author didn't mention was how Judd Winick got to adapt his own BATMAN arc into the animated "BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD". From the confusing meta-mess of retcon punches comes the simple elegance of atonement as Ra's Al Ghul places the dead Robin in a Lazarus Pit, feeling responsible for the Detective's Loss as you'll see in the movie.

I think the subject of Comicbook Death is something we should plumb on the couch of the Arkham Sessions? What ya say, Bat-Gang?

Thank you,
Hub o'the Multiverse

"Later On..."
In the decade plus between HUSH and "Now", Jason has had a really tough road back to a more stable life. I don't know if his problem was "resilience"...it's something else. The only anxiety Jason seemed to suffer was the usual post-Lazarus Madness, or so it seemed. Yet before the New 52 re-cast Red Hood as the Deadpool of the DCU, Jason was having difficulties adjusting to Life. And I mean that Literally.

"BATMAN: Under the Hood" takes place around the publication of INFINITE CRISIS. I see it as Continuity as Before IC. Why? Fits better? Retcon Punches effected history.

In the "One Year Later" relaunch post-INFINITE CRISIS, NIGHTWING picks up in Manhattan. Why? Dick was almost murdered by Alex Luthor and Bludhaven was nuked by Chemo. He comes home early from a year-long family bonding trip with Bruce & Tim, antsy to get back in the fray. Yet there's an imposter. And he's killing. And guess what....it's Jason!

Jason was a tagalong in the Challengers of the Multiverse story in the COUNTDOWN to FINAL CRISIS drek that I bought every issue but iDigress...Good Guys with Ray Palmer, Kyle Rayner & Donna Troy. Yet he was playing a good guy with his "new look". Brown leather jacket, expressive red helm & Two Guns.

Then in BATMAN AND ROBIN, Dick as Batman & Damien as Robin square off against Jason in a new "heroic-looking, caped" Red Hood outfit with Scarlett, a survivor of Professor Pyg's machinations. I'm pretty sure this is the last appearance of Jason until the New 52 where he wears a Bat on his Chest and his part of the Family. There might be one more yet...then comes the New 52 Version.

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS was something I started the New 52 with. BATMAN wasn't! I was picking up ACTION COMICS and that was it. I picked up Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo & Co.'s BATMAN in trades yet ended in Monthlies. That speaks for itself. Yet Somewhere, Jason is brought back to a better emotional place over Time. Talia al Ghul left him with some Hand Ninjas or the DCU Equivalent after his resurrection if New 52 "...and the Outlaws" can still apply.

Yet Jay-Bird...as Roy Harper nicknames him...how do you feel?? You were Dead. Now you're back. Can you describe your feelings?


The Smoking Puck...

Tonight starts the 2015/'16 Stanley Cup Finals.
The San Jose Sharks versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Guess who I'm rooting for?  Cheers!  And looking forward to this series!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bats in my Belfry...

From something I posted as part of the Arkham Sessions community on Imzy yesterday.  The Arkham Sessions are hosted by Brian Ward and Dr. Andrea Letamendi and psychologically analyzes every episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES!
Come and check out this week's new podcast "LOCK-UP"!
Good Morning, Gotham!

I am on a Staycation.  I got 2 weeks off so I've been sleeping in, drinking that extra cup of jawa juice and catching up on BATMAN movies, courtesy of HBO GO.  This month's featured for animated offerings are: BATMAN: YEAR ONE.  BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD.  And parts 1 & 2 of BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.  The former two need their own "shows" for their formidable animated adaptations from Bryan Cranston in Y1 as Jim Gordon to the ever-wonderful John DiMaggio as Joker in UTRD.  I had yet to see the cartoon version of the beloved Frank Miller story.

One thing I love about our Arkham Community is that not only do we appreciate the metaphor to Mental Health, we also seem to have a deep love of Animation and their Qualities.  Brian Ward amazes me on the podcast with his nigh-fathomless well of animation knowledge.  Frames, cells, artists, history, voice talents...you name it, I'll ask him if I got a question.  Brian would probably know.

I have just wrapped up an amazing double-header of BATMAN animation in the form of TDKR.  In 1986, I was 13 years old.  Mazel tov!  And there was nothing...I mean nothing on the shelves quite like DKR besides WATCHMEN...and then a year later MARSHAL LAW but iDigress.  People don't really remember how long DKR took to finish its initial publication.  I remember waiting for what felt like forever for the next installment!  People really took to the trade paperback that followed.  Yet the 4 individual magazines were something else, fresh off the rack.  The covers, their paper stock, the colors.  It was an amazing experience, completely free of the jaded lens of nostalgia.  It literally What Was Happening.

Decades later, DKR has like Batman himself become Bigger Than Itself in some regard.  It's become the mark in the strata delining the Sea Change.  Yet this animated adaptation is completely faithful to the source.  So close that I believe the animated does DKR justice by de-mystifing the Myth!  Returning DRK back into a Great Batman & Robin Story!!  What DKR Animated lacks in terms of narative voice is Bruce's Interal Monologue, which is probably where we get the idea of this being a Sick & Twisted Future.  Yet stripping the Story of that device bring DKR back to us on the streets of Gotham and not just in the mind of a hero.  I think we've unfairly judged DKR as "Dark" because of the Internal Monologue...remove that and it's a brand-new story all over again.  I wept at one point...Jim Gordon beseeches his neighbors to stop hurting and start helping each other.  It was Moving.

Peter Weller's old man Batman was soooooo good.  Delivering those lines, sounding "just right".

I must admit I'm weird.  I kinda like 2001's DK2 a little better than DKR.  It's vibrant color, it's adjustment to the Future We Were Starting to Become as we entered the 21st Century for real.  The only thing I hated was Dick Grayson's characterization.  But hey...this is the Frank Miller Batman World.  I felt Dick would never made those choices & it just betrayed every notion.  Bedises that, DK2 really opened the Toy Box up to see how these action figures aged.  And know what?  I'm completely In for DK3.  I'm loving it.  Now, Frank Miller can use 9/11 as Metaphor.  It's in the backgrounds, esp the smoldering Pentagon in issue #4.
 And Frank Miller is a better storyteller than Zack Snyder to use Our SuperFriends as Action Figures in their 9/11 Story.  MoS & BvS is Zack Snyder saying something about 9/11.  Frank Miller has had something to say about 9/11 since 9/11 yet as DK2 was being wrapped up, production-wise...9/11 happened.  DK2 #1 was delayed in its release because of 9/11.  Batman crashes his flying Batmobile into Lex Luthor's skyscraper in order to confront the villain.  I bet you can see why, now.  Frank Miller, a New Yorker was deeply troubled by and very vocal about 9/11 yet none of this is reflected in DK2, Storywise.  In DK3, I think he's getting his Chance.  

So I really believe the animated DKR an improvement on the Comic, if you can beleive that!


And Thank you!


Hub o'the Multiverse

Monday, May 23, 2016

Tao of Sully

On Resilience...

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Star Wars...

"Chewie's Bowcaster"

I have a Theory.
It could be Bunnies...

Every use of Chewie's Bowcaster is Set-Up to Pay-Off.
The "Pay-off" being The Shooting of Kylo Ren.
Come with me.
I'd like to explore this notion.

I believe this starts when Han Solo starts using the Bowcaster.
I've had a long-running notion that Han Solo is "Me & You" in the Original Trilogy.  Han being the Most Human Touchstone in That Certain Galaxy Far, Far Away but iDigress...
So when Han uses Chewie's Bowcaster, cinematically therefore Storywise we're given the impression this is Han's 1st Time Ever using his old friend's iconic weapon.  And I do not care what comic or book or other canon you point at me.  We all agree that the Movies trump Everything.

Cui Bono: What does Kylo Ren really want?
Rey picks it out of his head during the Interrogation Scene.
Kylo Ren wishes to be As Strong/Stronger than Darth Vader.
Vader was an impressive Sith for being biologically a burnt head and torso; Kylo Ren is a young, handsome man in the prime of his life.
Will Kylo Ren have to literally shed some of his Humanity in order to achieve his Vision?
Is this the Archetypical Villain's Journey in Star Wars, a thematic opposition to Campbell's Hero's Quest?
Let's see...

What I'm looking at in terms of Set-Up and Pay-Off is This:
The Bowcaster's Sheer Power.
Chapter/Verse...based on the Blu-Ray chapter markings and time index.
Ch. 31 "First Order Invasion"
01:1:12 "I like this thing."  Range is several yards from my eyeball.
 01:15:02 Then Han dispatching "FN-TR8R"
 Ch. 39 "Base Infiltration", 01:37:29.  Chewie nails a Stormtrooper at point-blank range.
 There are a few more such as Ch. 42 "Into the Oscillator", 01:43:11 where Bowcaster is perforating Stormtroopers at the range of the hall's length.
Leading us to...
Ch. 43 "Father & Son", 01:49:47.  Chewie shoots Kylo Ren at the elevated vantage of several yards away and a story up
 This energized bolt, seeing what it's done to everything before must have grievously wounded Kylo Ren.  My thought is that he's literally had a chunk of his side blown away.
 In Ch. 44 "Dark Forest", Kylo Ren is beating his injured side and bleeding.  01:51:20.
 He continues to pound at his wound, mid-duel versus Finn at 01:52:06.
and now beaten by Rey in Ch. 46, 01:57:41.
Rey finished Kylo Ren off by breaking his lighsabre and in the follow through, opened up his chest and formerly handsome face.

Kylo Ren's Fall to Darkness is now Complete by now becoming the Monster he so wanted to become.

Only the next movie can answer my questions here.  I had the "feeling" in The Force Awakens novelization, Kylo Ren was using the Force to hold his innards within.  I'll look into that thought.

Finn was also nearly mortally wounded by Kylo Ren's lightsabre.  Could Finn be cybernetically-enhanced as well?
We can only see because I think Kylo Ren V.2 is has earned his Vader-ness and it will show in his costume and perhaps his own life-perpetuating apparatus*.

*Poe Dameron in the opening scene mocks Kylo Ren because of his use of "apparatus".
I so love movies....