This weekend the two greatest superheros of all time are going to face off for the first time in theaters everywhere. This of course begs the question, what am I going to jam out to while the two juggernauts duke it out? Well no fears, Comic Books and Cats has got you covered with fresh new playlist to hype you up for the movie (if you haven’t seen if yet) or to nurse that sweet post movie hangover. You can listen to the directly through the app below or here is a direct link to the playlist on Spotify.
For the month of February there are some inception levels of Neal Adams in the variant covers from DC Comics. We have Neal Adams, playing homage to himself through 25 different covers. As an added bonus I not only was able get the color covers but Neal Adams released the pencils for each cover as well!
Before we get in to the movie we have to address the elephant in the room. There is no way to talk about this movie without first thinking about the Taylor Swift song. I’m sure that DC Animation Studios picked the name for this movie way before Taylor Swift released 1989 but it doesn’t really matter at this point. The name Bad Blood will forever be associated with Taylor Swift and we just have to deal with it. It’s Taylor’s World, we are just visiting. So that being said here is the music video for Bad Blood so you can just have it playing in the background while you read the rest of this post.
While this is a stand alone film it lives in the same world and continuity of the Son of Batman films. The first film of this series is Son of Batman, followed by Batman vs. Robin, bringing us to the third entry Batman: Bad Blood. While all these movies live in the same continuity you definitely don’t need to see the first two films to understand what is going on in Batman: Bad Blood. There are a couple of little nods to the first two films but it is mostly original material.
This film is loosely based on the 2009 Comic Book event Batman: Battle of the Cowl. The key word here is loose. Battle of the Cowl takes place following Batman R.I.P. where Batman was killed (kinda) and was lost in the time stream to become Batman during various ages in time. Bat-mite is involved, its written by Grant Morrison and barely comprehensible (comics be crazy yall). So Batman: Bad Blood is like that, in that Batman is out of commission and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) takes over the mantle of Batman, just for a lot shorter duration.
During the year or so that Batman was out of commission during Batman R.I.P. we were also reintroduce to Batwoman as she took over Detective Comics for issues 854-863. So it’s fitting that we also see the modern Batwoman (Kate Kane) introduced in this film. There was a DC Animated film, Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman in 2003 but this Batwoman isn’t anything like the modern new 52 Batwoman. If you want a kickstart into the character of Batwoman, Batman: Bad Blood is your best bet.
The movie starts with typical bust up job where we think we see Batman taking care of business, but surprise, its Batwoman. Batman does wind up joining her and the two take care of the lower level baddies and confront a new villain “The Heretic”. The fight moves over a giant catwalk, because of course they do, and Batwoman winds up falling off. Batman saves her but in doing so is stuck in the building as the Heretic blows it up and is persumed dead. Cut to two weeks later and Batman has not been seen since the accident. Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne) come back to Gotham to help figure out what happened. I don’t want to just spoil the whole thing so I’ll just leave it (more or less) at that. Batwing gets involved and the four of them (Nightwing, Robin, Batwoman, and Batwing) have to work together in order to figure out what happened.
The movie is great. It fits in the same tone and world as Son of Batman and Batman vs. Robin so if you enjoyed those movies you’ll likely enjoy this one. Because these Batman movies have started to tie together it gives a lot more weight to the events in them and gives you a feeling of actual stakes to these films. There are a couple of deaths in this movie and they have a real impact to them. They definitely aren’t just trying to keep the status quo in these films and are taking the story where ever it needs to go.
The introduction of Batwing and Batwoman are done well. We get a lot of backstory on Kate Kane, who she is, why she’s doing what she’s doing. We don’t quite get as much for Batwing. We see his origin on screen but other than a line or two about him being in the military we don’t really get a lot of information about him. There is only so much time in these films so I don’t fault the film makers that much for it. If you had to choose between spending more time on Kate or Luke, I’d rather it have been Kate.
If you don’t already know Kate Kane is a lesbian and this part of her life is in the film. We see her go on an awkward first date with Renee Montoya and her father keeps trying to get her to go out and find a nice girl. This was all handled matter of factly and as a part of who she is instead of her defining characteristic.
We also see Damian has grown a lot as a character since his introduction in Son of Batman. He’s no longer blood thirsty and genuinely living by the code of justice, not vengeance. He’s no longer just doing this to please Batman but it really seems to be a part of who he is now.
We get a closer look at the relationship between Nightwing and Batman and a explanation of why Dick felt he needed to take up the mantle of Nightwing and leave Gotham. Grayson takes up the mantle of Batman in his absence for the sake of Gotham but only reluctantly. Grayson has been trying to get out of Batman’s shadow his entire life and the movie does a good job of inner conflict within him.
We’ve never gotten a “Marvel Style” teaser at the end of any of these DC Animated films but Batman: Bad Blood may have given us just that. At the very end of the film we see the Bat Signal turn on and Batman, Batwing, Nightwing, and Batwoman all suit up and respond. And then, right before the credits roll, BOOM! Batgirl! We’ve never seen Batgirl in any of these DC Animated films and not only is this Batgirl but it’s the Babs Tarr New 52 Batgirl as well! We haven’t heard any announcement of what the next Batman Animated film will be but I would bet money we are finally going to see a Batgirl solo movie.
For December DC Comics are continuing to their theme variant covers but this time there is a twist. Instead of just normal variants, each variant will come three varieties: full colors, inks, and pencils. The buyer won’t know which of the three they will get as they will all come in the following black polybag.
In addition to the three normal varieties (color, ink, pencils) one lucky buyer will truly hit the jackpot as each artist created an original 1 of 1 sketch cover which was slipped in the mix as well. Here is J. Scott Campbell’s original sketch variant that he posted on his Facebook page. Sadly with the number of collector’s that will buy copies of these books and never open them its likely that a few of these original sketch variants will never see the light of day.
Here’s the full list of comics and artists:
Harley’s Little Black Book 1 – J. Scott Campbell
Justice League 47 – Jim Lee
Justice League Of America 6 – Joe Madureira
The Flash 47 – Terry Dodson
Green Arrow 47 – Tim Sale
Wonder Woman 47 – Amanda Conner
Superman 47 – Lee Bermejo
Batman 47 – Alex Ross
Harley Quinn 23 – Bruce Timm
Green Lantern 47 – Darwyn Cooke
Here is the complete collection of covers including each in full colors, inks, and pencils:
Wednesday (11/25/15) the first issue of Dark Knight III: The Master Race was released in comic book stores and digitally so you’ve probably seen a flood of articles and podcasts talking about Frank Miller’s Dark Knight series. This has left me at an impasse, on one hand The Dark Knight Returns is something that has been covered hundreds of times by others more eloquently than myself. However, the Dark Knight Returns is not only my favorite comic, but also my favorite book of all time so I don’t really want to let the release of it’s newest installment pass without saying something.
I don’t want to recap the story and plot of The Dark Knight Returns. It is extremely accessible to get the trade paperback, digital, and even as an animated film. It’s been around since 1986 so if you haven’t read the story already, it’s on you at this point. So what I would like to do is to break down three of my favorite scenes and themes from the story and try to explain why I like it so much.
That the tragedy of Bruce’s parents dying being the driving force for him to become the Batman is not a new concept. However, its generally seen as an active driving force in that Batman is actively fighting crime. Since the threat is current and active we can still assume if things cleaned up in Gotham that Batman could quit. The Dark Knight Returns shows just how much Bruce needs to be Batman by showing how empty his life is without it. Bruce has been retired for 10 years and could not be more miserable. The opening pages has Bruce thrill-seeking at a Formula 1 race contemplating ending it all right then and there. Bruce hasn’t found anyone to settle down with or tried to start a new life in retirement, he’s isolated himself and allowed himself to stew in his anger at not being Batman. The biggest reoccurring themes in this story is Bruce looking for a good death. You get the feeling that he had always intended to die in the line of duty and that retirement was never in his plans. He is the ultimate career soldier. He has lived every day of his life since his parents died preparing and being the Batman so when he was forced to give that up there was nothing left for him to go back to.
The inner dialogue in the Dark Knight Returns is one of my favorite aspects of the book. When Batman fights the Mutant leader (the second time) it looks like a normal brawl brawl on the outside. But hearing Batman’s thoughts you see just how much planning and thought is put into every action he performs. Every punch is strategic and executed with surgical precision. Having the fight in the mud pit, luring the leader out in front of his followers, cutting his forehead right above the eyes. Every action has a purpose and every contingency is accounted for. This is Batman at his most Batman. We love the character because he has plan for everything and back up plans for his back up plans. The Dark Knight Returns showcases his skills in a way that is smart, entertaining, and practical which set the standard for the character.
I can’t think of another character that has had a rougher treatment than Jason Todd. A lot of backlash came when Kyle Rainer found his girlfriend’s dead body chopped up and left in a refrigerator, but it pales in comparison to DC Comics setting up a 1-900 call in number to decided the life/death of Jason Todd. The Dark Knight Returns turned a publicity stunt from DC Comics into one of the defining events of Batman’s life. My single favorite moment in the story is when Batman is alone in the Batcave looking at Jason’s costume and says never again. It doesn’t explicitly say what happened but it is able to convoy all the emotion and meaning with a minimal words and a few panels. It’s hard to say that for certain that the impact of Jason’s death in The Dark Knight Returns was the reason that Jason Todd stayed dead in the comics for as long as he did, but I like to think they are connected.
If you still haven’t read The Dark Knight Returns Comixology is having a sale and you can get it now for as little as $3.96 (each of the individual issues for $0.99) or collected for $6.99 right now so there are no excuses. I also highly recommend the DC Comics Original Animated Film. It is as faithful to the source as humanly possible and more or less uses the comic pages as story boards. You don’t get the inner dialogue as you would with the comic but it is still a fantastic film.
Back in May DC Comics announce they would be releasing Blu-ray / Graphic Novel Combo packs for some of the DC Comics Original Animated Films. Well this week they are finally available to buy.
The complete list of Movies / Graphic Novels (GN) are:
The Death of Superman GN / Superman: Doomsday Film
Justice League Vol. 1 Origin / Justice League: War Film
Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals GN / Wonder Woman Film
JLA Earth 2 GN / Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Film
Batman Black and White GN / Batman Gotham Knight Film
Batman: Year One GN / Batman: Year One Film
This sounded like an awesome deal to me as I love the DC Original Animated films in their own right and figured I could pick up any I don’t already own with the bonus of the graphic novel. Now that these combo packs are in the stores I’ve discovered they are actually a even better deal than I initially thought. Not only do you get the Blu-ray movie and hardback graphic novel but you also get a DVD copy of the movie, a ultraviolet HD digital copy of the movie, AND a HD digital copy of the Graphic Novel on Comixology. You get basically five things for the price of one.
What makes this even sweeter is that this week they are all on sale at Best Buy and Amazon for 14.99 each! This is the best deal I’ve ever seen on any of these movies or graphic novels so if you are interested in either I suggest picking them up while they are still cheap.
Hopefully this is just the first wave and we’ll be seeing some of the other movies turned into these sweet Graphic Novel / Blu-ray Combo packs as well.
Side Note: Best Buy also has some of the other DC Original Animated Films on sale as well. Right now you can get the following Blu-ray / DVD / Digital HD Combo Packs for 9.99
In honor of the latest DC Original Animated Film Justice League: Gods and Monsters DC All Access put together a list of the Top 10 Moments from their library of 24 original movies.
I definitely agree with a few of these on the list. I think they were spot on with their number one pick and the scene from Superman vs. the Elite is definitely one of the best. The only moment that really stuck out in my mind that should of been on this list was the Joker reveal in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. I put a link below but if you haven’t seen it I’d suggest just going ahead and watching the whole movie.
This is the story of Leatherwing who is a pirate in service of the King of England (King James II). While it appears that Leatherwing gives all of the treasure he collects on the high seas back to England he actually keeps a portion for himself in order to buy back his lands and family fortune which was taken from him. Leatherwing is captain of the Flying Fox (a Zorro reference) who he sails with his first mate Alfredo.
The story starts with Leatherwing (Batman) saving a Panama (Panamanian?) Princess Quext’chala from Spanish pirates. After rescuing the Princess he returns her to her father and the Princess gives Leatherwing a bracelet as a gift of gratitude. Unbeknownst to Leatherwing this is actually an engagement ritual and the Princess now believes herself to be married to him. Leatherwing takes the Princess back to his secret port to deal with this marriage misunderstanding at a later time. Leatherwing has no intention of marrying the Princess but does not wish to offend the King of Panama.
While Leatherwing is stopped in Kingston the street urchin Robin Redblade sneaks on to the Flying Fox. While hiding out on the ship Robin learns that some of the men are planning to mutiny. Robin tells Leatherwing of this plot which Leatherwing shows his gratitude by allowing Robin to be a Buccaneer on the ship.
Next we cut to Capitana Felina (Catwoman) whose crew is in the midst of mutiny. She finds an unlikely ally in the Laughing Man (The Joker) who intervenes and kills off the mutinous crew mates. To pay him back for his help Felina agrees to seduce Leatherwing and tell the Laughing Man the location of his secret port.
The Laughing Man has Felina walk the plank of his ship knowing that Leatherwing is near by and would intervene. Leatherwing does just that and saves Felina just as she is about to be eaten by a shark.
Now a guest on Leatherwing’s ship Felina has a change of heart and begins to develop real feelings for Leatherwing. Before returning to Leatherwing’s secret port Felina decides to betray the Laughing Man and stay with Leatherwing. However, once the Flying Fox returns to port Princess Quext’chala throws her arms around Leatherwing and kisses him. Felina sees this and is shocked. She asks a crew member who this woman is and they answer that this is Leatherwing’s wife. Felina, feeling betrayed, leaves the secret port to give its location to the Laughing Man after all.
Robin follows her and is captured by the Laughing Man’s crew. Once captured Robin berates Felina for betraying the man who loves her. Felina explains that he betrayed her by romancing her while he was already married. Robin explains the situation with the Princess and tells Felina how she means nothing to Leatherwing. Felina understanding what she just did rebels against the Laughing Man and frees Robin. Felina fires off a Cannon near Leatherwing’s secret port in order to give them warning of the impending attack.
With Felina’s warning shot Leatherwing is able to get to the Flying Fox and attack the Laughing Man’s ship. After some fighting Leatherwing eventually straight stabs the Laughing Man in the chest and kills him. Felina explains what happens and apologizes and Leatherwing and Felina sail off to the sunset together.
Overall the story is ok, but I never really got into it. What I like about these Elseworlds stories the most is when they really flush out a universe. This story had a lot of Batman elements in pirate form but I never felt that any of it really had legs of its own. It was just “here’s pirate Robin, here’s pirate Alfred, here’s pirate Catwoman”.
There story felt like it was just a once over coat of paint. It looked ok on first glance but if you really picked it apart there’s not much there. For instance why was Batman so loyal to the English crown? He was giving away the large majority of his pirating to the crown while only keeping a small portion to himself to rebuild his family fortune. In the comic he says that he is pirating specifically because his parents were killed and all his titles / fortune were stripped by the crown. It just doesn’t make sense.
Again the overall story is feels fine, I just wish they had worked on the details more. While this issue isn’t available digitally if you are interested in Leatherwing there is another adventure in Batman Chronicles Issue 11.
The next DC Comics Original Animated Movie is coming out on July 28th and will be a little different than the usual fanfare. Instead of being a movie based on classic story arc from the comic books, this film will be a completely original property from Bruce Timm (the man who created the look of Batman: The Animated Series from the 90’s). This will be an Elseworlds story that will be taking a radically different approach to the Justice League we know and love.
In this world Batman is not Bruce Wayne but actually Kirk Langstorm (Man-Bat) and is a Vampire. Superman is still the last son of Krypton but no longer the son of Jor-El. In this world Superman is instead the son of General Zod. Wonder Woman isn’t an Amazon in this world but one of Jack Kirby’s New Gods named Bekka.
Not only will there be a new movie but there will be a slew of other material as well. First, there is a 3 part web series by Machinama, which you can watch below. DC has already announced will be a second season in early 2016 featuring 10 additional episodes.
There will also be a line of action figures.
And lastly, a daily digital-first comic book. The series will debut digitally on July 1st and release 18 issues daily ending on July 18th. This series will be a prequel that will dig into the origins of the Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman of this new universe (source). You can the first part featuring Batman here on comiXology.
I am planning on going all in and buying the movie along with getting all the issues of the digital-first comic series. It is no secret that I love a good Elseworlds story so this whole thing is right up my ally.