Tag Archives: dc comics original animated film

Batman: Bad Blood

Batman Bad Blood Cover

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.

Battle of the Cowl Cover

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.

Detective Comics 854

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.

Batman Bad Blood Heretic

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.

Batman Bad Blood Batwing

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.

Batman Bad Blood Kate Kane

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.

Batman Bad Blood Robin

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.

Batman Bad Blood Nightwing

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.

Batman Bad Blood Batgirl

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.

 

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The Dark Knight Returns Retrospective

The Dark Knight Returns 1 Cover

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.

Dark Knight Returns 1 - Page 1

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 Dark Knight 2 - Fight

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.

The Dark Knight 1 - Jason Todd

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.

Dark Knight Sale

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.


Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Justice League Gods and Monsters Deluxe

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.

Justice League Gods and Monsters

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.

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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.

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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.


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