Category Archives: joker

Arrow S02 E05: "League of Assassins"

We open on a Queen’s Gambit flashback, this one surprisingly from Sarah’s point of view, and turns out to be a nightmare. Girl has more PTSD and origin flashbacks in ten minutes than Oliver had all last season. Good thing an assassin in Dark Archer garb attacked to break the tension. Turns out he’s a member of the League of Assassins, yeah, Ras al Ghul’s League of Assassins, and in a fit of fashion faux pas, they all dress like John Barrowman in costume.

After the attack, in the Arrowcave with Diggle and Felicity, we get the lowdown. After the boat went down, Sarah was rescued and trained by the League of Assassins. The guy who attacked was called The First (who trained Merlyn), and was sent to take out Sarah. And, da da dum, the outfit of The Hood was first worn by Shado. I wonder where that little tidbit will go.

On the soap opera side of things, Moira is still coming up to trial, with Laurel prosecuting. It’s life with possibility of parole or the death penalty. Wow. It sounds like Starling City has the same corrupt and ridiculous legal system as Gotham City. Is Moira Queen worse than the Joker? Everyone is suitably whiny about this.

To protect her father, Sara reveals herself. She brings him to her watchtower and tells him she took the name Canary. There Sarah, her dad, and Oliver, just a little bit take down the assassins come to kill them. Good fight, but really it’s Sarah’s fight, and Quentin’s. Oliver just kinda watches, then shoots an arrow or two, like, “Hey, I thought this was my show.”

As if that’s not enough, Sarah’s flashback reveals she was rescued by Professor Anthony Ivo on his ship, the Amazo, and he’s going to save the human race. Oh boy. Time for a comics lesson. For the uninitiated, Ivo is a mad scientist, capital M mad with an immortality obsession. That’s not his claim to fame however. That would be Amazo, and it’s not a boat.

Amazo is a giant eight-foot tall android that Ivo created, super strong, near invulnerable, and a sociopath. As if that wasn’t good enough, he has these energy absorption powers, which allowed him to gain the powers of the Justice League, all of them, even Superman. Armed with a replica of Green Lantern’s power ring and Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, and all those powers, Amazo has terrorized the Justice League for decades. Yeah, that’s the legacy of Professor Ivo.

This kind of makes me wonder… how many big bads will we have this season? We have Brother Blood, possibly Ras al Ghul, possibly Suicide Squad coming, maybe Metamorpho, hell, maybe Trigon. And who knows what things will be like once the Flash shows up. One wonders how big this could be, will the rumored “Amazon” show, and the just announced “Hourman” series tie in as well?

I didn’t know what to think of the special mini-adventure “Blood Rush” with Felicity and Roy. In the space I took to explain it, it’s over, so at this point, it seemed a waste of time. Perhaps it would be better as a webseries?

Next week: The return of Deadshot, Amanda Waller, and maybe… the Suicide Squad??

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Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite

Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite ~ I am always wary of movies, books, and even potato chips that have long titles and subtitles, and this one is a doozy. I shouldn’t have worried though, because it’s Lego, and Lego is always cool, even when I can’t play their video games.

From the get-go, this was good. The opening is a Lego take off on the opening credit sequence of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, and even uses Danny Elfman’s great score (and later John Williams’ Superman music). And if that’s not cool enough, it has Clancy Brown wonderfully reprising his role as the animated Lex Luthor. What’s not to like?

The story is simple enough, and accessible to new viewers perhaps not savvy to the DC Universe continuity. Luthor joins up with the Joker to defeat Superman, Batman and Robin, destroy Gotham City, and win the Presidential election. Throw in guest stars from the Justice League and Batman’s Rogues Gallery, along with that clever Lego sense of humor, and you’ve got a very entertaining flick for all ages.

Of course it has all the charm and wonder of the animated Lego stuff, that coolness of hey-I-could-build-that and a wink-wink slyness that the characters know they and their world are made of Legos. The cityscapes and sets of Gotham and Metropolis are stunning. The best part is Luthor’s weapon, which is a gun that literally takes Legos apart.

Watching this I can’t help thinking that this could probably not only be better than Warner Bros’ upcoming Batman/Superman movie, but quite possibly could serve as an excellent script or template. If only…

Arrow: Unfinished Business

We begin with a girl dancing and dying in traffic, drugged up on a new version of Vertigo. This results in visits to see The Count in the asylum, by both The Hood and Detective Lance. For the second episode in a row, the Joker parallels are there. The Count is obsessed with Arrow, and more focused in his presence. While Starling City is under siege from this new Vertigo, yeah, you guessed it, The Count escapes.

While Arrow pursues The Count, Diggle is still looking for Deadshot, the villain who killed his brother way back when. He gives all info that Felicity found on him to an old friend named Lyla, who now runs with an outfit called Argus. Comic readers will recognize the name. A.R.G.U.S. is the organization that manages the Justice League, and does all their gruntwork, as well as their PR.

Tommy has problems of his own. Lance thinks there’s a connection between Verdant and the dead girl who died from Vertigo, and starts to investigate the club. He finds a suspicious $10,000 missing in its records. At first I’m thinking, wait, the ‘Arrowcave’ only cost ten grand??

It turns out however that the cash was used to pay off a corrupt building inspector. Lance wants to see the sub-level to the club now, and has brought a search warrant. In what should have been some clever switch, we merely get some rearranged furniture and crates. It’s still not clear who packed up the Arrowcave – Oliver, because he inexplicably knew Lance was coming, or Tommy because he was afraid of what Oliver might do. This best friends one minute, assailant/victim thing the next is getting old.

Speaking of supporting cast, Felicity is not as much fun now that she is in on the secret. Rather than an actual player in the show, she’s become simply an errand girl. Find this, do this, she may as well have “Yes, sir, no, sir.” as her only lines. I want the old Felicity back. And as long as we’re talking about the women in Oliver’s life, on the island, Shado starts training him finally.

In the end, the Vertigo is tracked back to the asylum. Another Joker reference emerges. How many years did the Joker operate out of Arkham, his own headquarters beneath the mental hospital itself? But it’s not The Count doing the dirty work, but his doctor and intern. Once they have been dispatched, Oliver mercifully does not take out the apparently insane Count.

This is just like the Carl moment in this past week’s season finale of “The Walking Dead.” Carl kills a surrendering kid, not for what he had done, but for what he might do in the future. Will Oliver live to regret not killing The Count, or should he have Carl-ed him?

Arrow: Salvation

Oliver may need to step aside. It seems there a new vigilante in Starling City who calls himself The Savior, and he’s got his own list he’s checking names off of. In a present day twist on the Joker’s old MO, he announces (and commits) his crimes via every cellphone (almost Sherlock-ian) in the city. Apparently, he’s a department of transportation worker by day, but has some fighting and computer skills as a vigilante at night. I wonder what island he was stranded on?

The catch? Roy Harper is on the Savior’s list, and he nabs him right in the middle of one of Roy and Thea’s annoying anti-flirtations. From what we’ve seen of Roy so far, and what we know of his possible future, I can’t imagine how the Savior got the drop on him. So of course we get to see Oliver in another race against time. Ho-hum.

Oliver does some crazy almost bionic style jumps in this episode, as well as some insane parkour. Man, Deathstroke must have taught him well. Stephen Amell’s chest also makes a return as a cast member. The huge gay audience that I recently learned “Arrow” has will be pleased by that news.

The subplots roll on. Moira and Frank (Chen, not Bertinelli) continue to plot against Malcolm, with mixed results. Laurel and her folks continue to search for the thought dead Sarah, though also not with the results expected. On the island, Shado and Yao Fei join Oliver and Slade’s resistance.

Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance has the best line of the episode, “Got to get going to airport, that red eye to Central City. I should be home in a flash.” Love it! More, please.

Next episode, Count Verti-, ahem, I mean The Count returns. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel…

This Week’s All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast features co-hosts Ame-Comi Allison Eckel, and Savage Glenn Walker, as they discuss the new comics out this week! You can see the show here, or check it out below.

Discussion featured in this week’s Comics Shop Live Episode includes: The New Format, Threshold #1, letting Allison read, Batman: Death of the Family, finales for Frankenstein and Legion Lost, Superboy #16, Demon Knights #16, Ame-Comi Girls #4 (of 5), Saga #9, Bionics away, stiff Magic, Grimm Fairy Tales Animated Series one-shot, New Avengers #2, Kelly Sue comics, hark it’s Tony Stark in the park, Indestructible Hulk #3, Avenging Spider-Man #16, Frank Cho’s Savage Wolverine #1, All-New X-Men #6 (yes, it’s true, Glenn likes a Bendis comic, and it’s X-Men), trades and toys, and Yoda in 3D.

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the newly revamped All Things Fun! Blogs, written by Allison and Glenn, featuring The Vidcast Drinking Game so you can play along at home, and watch ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics, toys and gaming store – every Wednesday afternoon, located on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ. Come on down and see the show live!

Don’t forget to visit us at Facebook!

The Other Side

It had been a while since I cracked open the PS3. That’s actually a good thing as I’ve been getting some writing done. Life also sometimes gets in the way. I played the prerequisite hour or so of Pain, and then went looking for something else to play.

As our current tabletop DC Comics role-playing game has been stalled by folks’ busy schedule I was jonesing for superhero action so I turned to DCU Online. As I said, it had been a while, so it took forever and a day for it to download updates. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just me because I haven’t turned on the machine in a bit?

When it was done I flew around Metropolis as The Red Sun trying to figure out what’s what when I got a brainstorm. You have options in the game to have more than one character so I thought, just for kicks and giggles, I’d make a super-villain, and see what different. Walking through the steps of creation was easier this time. I think I had a young woman with zombie skin, inspired by Live Wire and the Joker with electrical powers. As last time, the hardest part was the naming. After several misses, I hit on the name Deadshock, although I think it’s spelled ‘dedshok.’

Much like my problems as a hero, I had a hard time getting out of Brainiac’s spaceship, which is apparently the default starting point. Being a villain, at least I didn’t have to fight my way out like before. But I did still have to find a way out.

Once out I ended up in Metropolis, and instead going to the police station I went to the villain equivalent. Same steps, same rules, same old same old, just cooler powers this time. I did take quite a delight in blasting everything in sight. I have to go to a certain place for a mission, yet I can’t find it. I guess I need to buy a GPS.

Is there some sort of guide as to how to play this game? Color me confused, as I’m a DC Comics fan who really wants to play and experience this world – and I’m hopefully just limited by my non-experience with games.

Alyas Batman en Robin

Alyas Batman en Robin ~ This film, made in the Philippines in the early 1990s, is hard to describe. On one hand it is the stuff of legend, like Andy Warhol’s Batman, or the also Filipino Alyas Batman at Robin from 1963, something few people in the United States have even ever seen. On the other it’s just bizarre. Though made in the Philippines it has many of the hallmarks of a Bollywood film – comedy, drama, romance, and people spontaneously breaking into song and dance.

The plot has criminals taking on the identities of their idols – the Penguin, and the Joker, among others – to rob banks. To counteract this, two men, I am unsure if they are brothers or father and son, dress up like Batman and Robin, and have their car souped up to look like the Batmobile. Hilarity, romance, as well as song and dance numbers ensue, as one would expect.

For an unauthorized film using DC Comics characters, some of it looks good, not great, but some is better than that prime time NBC “Challenge of the Superheroes.” The costumes are plays on the 1966 TV series rather than the Tim Burton films of the time. Comedian Rene Requiestas as the Joker reminds me of Prince’s alter-ego Gemini, and not in a good way.

All in all this is probably worth a look for the curious. If you watch it in the wrong mood, you’ll be horrified, but if you watch it with the right attitude, you’ll be satisfactorily entertained.

Arkham Asylum at Biff Bam Pop!

It’s March Madness at Biff Bam Pop! and that doesn’t have anything to do with brackets, unless they are brackets on barred doors keeping the insanity in. March Madness on the BBP! site is all about madness in all its forms.

My latest contribution is a short tour of the prison hospital outside DC Comics’ Gotham City – Arkham Asylum – housing some of the Batman’s most fearsome, and most mad, super-foes. You can check it out here.

The madness doesn’t end there however, you can check out all the stories for March Madness at Biff Bam Pop! here.

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Bat-Pr0n

Okay, so my buddy Ray, in order to indoctrinate me into the highly addictive world of the PS3, lent me a stack of games he thought I might be into. There were a lot of comic book based games in that stack as we are both comic book fanboys. Of course those are the games I gravitated toward first.

I had tried Marvel Super Hero Squad first as I liked the cartoon and Ray had told me it was ridiculously easy. It wasn’t. So I placed a call to my friend to ask how it worked, how I could get through a certain sequence and to bitch at him for saying it was so easy – especially since I couldn’t figure it out. Ray was out, and I gave up quickly on the game.

By the time Ray got a chance to call me back, I had ejected MSHS and put in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Compared to the previous game, B:AA is very realistic, and add to that, it’s also rather frightening. The graphics and the characters are pretty scary here, as an Arkham game probably should be. I should mention that some of the game is also in 3-D so I’m sure it’s even scarier that way. This certainly isn’t the Lego game. The intro is totally crazy town, but exactly what you would expect every time the Batman returns the Joker to Arkham. We get an inside look at something rarely seen in the comics, but we know happens on a fairly regular basis.

This game, should I ever get farther than the intro (which seems unlikely honestly, I’m not too good at this), should be a treat for me as a fan of “Batman: The Animated Series.” This game features one of the last times those voice actors have worked together. Not only does Kevin Conroy reprise Batman, Mark Hamill is the Joker, and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn in a story written by Paul Dini. A treat indeed.

The phone rings, and it’s Ray. Okay, now this is important, picture this: I have put the controller down, I’m chatting with Ray on the phone, and the Batman menu is on and running. The image on the television is a shot of Batman, a close-up shot of Batman, from the neck down, the camera slowly panning up from his boots. As the camera slowly pans up, Batman is breathing heavily and flexing his muscles. No face, only the same visual cruise up his flexing sinewy body, with a bit too much lingering at the groin area. Yeah. Got it?

I look up and notice this. All I can think is “Oh my God, what the hell am I watching?” and then the real hammer hits me, “Oh my God, I’m watching Bat-pr0n!” At least there aren’t any Bat-nipples in this game… that I know of…

Quickies 8-31-2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood ~ This direct-to-DVD animated film from DC Comics follows the story of the second Robin who was murdered by the Joker and then mysteriously returns from the dead years later as Batman’s adversary the Red Hood. I didn’t actually read the comics this was based on so it was all new for me, and as I am not much of a Bat-fan these days, surprisingly good. I especially loved the fight early on with Batman and Nightwing vs. Amazo. Even though it’s not Mark Hamill doing the voice, the Joker is exceptionally scary here. Great stuff. Not for kids, but recommended.

Hot Tub Time Machine ~ This really wasn’t as bad as it sounded when I first heard of it, in fact this was a pleasant surprise. Yes, the title, and the previews pretty much give it away, but this flick has a heart, and a funnybone. Anyone who loved all those 1980s movies like Better Off Dead or Just One of the Guys or anything by John Hughes will get a kick out of this. Might be a bit rough for kids, lots of sex and drugs, but still a good romp. Fun, nostalgia and John Cusack. You can’t beat that.

Big Fan ~ You might think of Patton Oswalt as just a comedian, but he’s not. He’s also a very good actor. His semi-dramatic peripheral role in “United States of Tara” is only the tip of the iceberg. I just saw him in Big Fan and he is a tour de force portraying a lonely middle-aged guy obsessed with New York Giants football and sports radio. We know these guys, and this is an intimate and chilling look into their world. This is a hell of a movie. Recommended.

The Road ~ Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, this post-apocalyptic drama stars Viggo Mortenson and briefly Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. It’s about a father’s quest to show his son the ocean by traveling across the country dodging psychos and cannibals in a world without sunlight. It’s visually intriguing, but very little else, and at some points, downright boring. Read the book, and only see the movie if it’s on free TV and there’s not much else on.

Igor ~ Anything with John Cusack’s name on it is worth checking out in my opinion. He has rarely let me down. This overlooked computer-animated flick about the hunchbacked assistants to mad scientists, called Igors, is quite a gem. A bit predictable in some places and unexpectedly outrageous in others is definitely worth a look. Good for the kids, and the adults as well.

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