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:
Have you ever dreamed of being a colorist? Well DC’s got you covered this January with a slate of coloring book variants. They aren’t only selling the comics to color but some shops will even have pencil sets for sale to color them with! Adult coloring books have kind have been all the rage of late with books out now based on the Outlander and Breaking Bad TV Series. I’ve got the complete rundown of all 25 covers below.
I’ve always been hugely into music and Spotify is slowly become my main way of listening to music. One of the things I love most about Spotify is how easy they make it to create and share playlists that you make. It got me thinking what would some of our favorite superheroes listen to? The first person that came to mind was Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow. This was a lot of fun so I will definitely be making more of these playlists and make them a regular feature of the site. So please enjoy the following playlist inspired by Starling City’s favorite son.
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.
Today only there is a one day sale on the first volume of Spider-Gwen which you can get all five issues for $0.99 each ($4.95 for all five). As of now each issue is still currently selling at $3.99 and the MSRP for the trade paperback is $16.99, so this by far the cheapest option available. The five issues of Edge of Spider-verse are on sale as well, also for $0.99 each. Not only that but the first seven issues of Silk are on sale for $0.99 each. This sale is only valid for today so act fast.
If Spider-Gwen is not your thing there are some more sales going on this weekend as well. There is a across the board sale on Sandman Comics. Each of the 10 volumes is on sale for $5.99 each. This also includes other Neil Gaiman series such as Death, The Dream Hunters, and Dead Boy Detectives. All single issues of Sandman are also on sale for $0.99 each. This sale will go on until 11/16/15.
The Sandman issues are also on sale on Kindle, Google Play, and iTunes if Comixology isn’t your jam.
There is also Dark Horse Sale with first volumes of Hellboy, BPRD, Conan and the Goon on sale. They also have single issues of Buffy, the Strain, Fight Club 2, and The Massive for $0.99 each. This sale goes on until 11/15.
Last thing, if you want to buy any of these issues and are new to Comixology you can use my referral code here and get a five dollar credit toward your first purchase.
A couple of years ago my wonderful wife qcait bought me three old issues of Action Comics featuring Streaky the Supercat for my birthday. So I decided to write about them in here! This will be the first of my three part series going through each of these comics. The first issue we will look at is Action Comics 261 which is the first appearance, and origin of Streaky the Supercat. If you are wondering why Streaky doesn’t have top billing on the cover, this comic is old enough that they used to have multiple non-Superman stores in each issue of Action Comics. “Supergirl’s Super Pet!” is actually the third story in this comic along with “Superman’s Fortresses of Solitude!” and “Congorilla’s Last Stand!”. I actually didn’t read the other two stories as this comic is pretty old and I didn’t want to be handling it too much.
Streaky’s origin begins with Linda Lee aka Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl hanging out at her home, an orphanage. Her super vision spots a small piece of kryptonite falling from the sky. She quickly changes into Supergirl to go retrieve the small rock. Kara takes it back to her orphanage chemistry lab and begins experimenting with it to try find a way to reverse its effects. After believing her attempts have failed she tosses the Kryptonite out a window. Just then her new pet kitten happens to find the rock which, through her experiments, has become the new element x-kryptonite. The x-kryptonite gives Streaky superpowers which he immediately goes out on the town to show off. Supergirl hears Streaky’s distinct meow magnified over 50x so she goes to investigate and finds her new pet has super powers. The two go into space to play when suddenly Streaky’s powers are lost and he starts dropping back to earth. Kara quickly swoops him up and takes him safely back to the orphanage.
Here are my stray thoughts and observations. I was surprised to find out that Streaky was not actually from Krypton. I had always assumed with his stripe that he had somehow gotten to earth similar to Krypto the Superdog. I also did not know that Supergirl had an alter ego named Linda Lee. I’ve seen the Supergirl movie in which she uses that name, but like most people I immediately blocked the film out of my memory. I was also surprised that Supergirl wears a brown wig when she is her alter ego Linda Lee. I mean it makes sense, Superman’s glasses have to be the worse disguise of all time. I did laugh out loud when it said, “Next day, in a small chemical laboratory in the orphanage”. You know the small chemical labs that orphanages are all famous for having.
Overall I really liked the story. It was short (only 8 pages) but tells a nice little complete story. It also was corny (as the golden / silver age tend to be) but not so corny that it was unreadable. The art was fantastic, very detailed and able to emote a lot of action.
I don’t really collect a lot of high dollar comics so this is by far the oldest and most valuable comic I own. So I was a little afraid to handle it and in order to read it winded up scanning the complete Streaky story. Since I already went to the trouble of scanning the whole thing I figured I mine as well share the whole thing with you guys, so here it is the complete origin of Streaky the Supercat!