AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (1/28/11)

Baby Doll

We're done here.

From the Wikipedia synopsis of the Batman: TAS episode “Baby Doll”

A former child star named Mary Dahl has become bitter and insane after falling into obscurity and realizing she has a disorder that prevents her body from growing to adulthood, thus biologically cursed with literal eternal youth. She kidnaps her TV family, who all led more successful lives and careers than her, and holds them prisoner on an abandoned sound stage. While Robin works fast to free the actors from Baby-Doll’s explosive death-trap, Batman pursues the tiny fiend through a deadly carnival fun house.

Baby Doll, while appearing in two different Batman: The Animated Series episodes (“Baby Doll” and “Love is a Croc”) makes the cut because, amazingly, she’s never shown up anywhere else since. None of the movies, other cartoons or even the comics. For christ’s sake, the CONDIMENT KING made it into the comics! He even has his own Wikipedia entry! As a character, she’s workable, but as a murderous female Gary Coleman/Punky Brewster analogue she’s stuck is in that odd area of not being a cool enough or weird enough idea to crossover into other media.  Fun fact: Paul Dini wrote “Baby Doll” and Steve Gerber (Yes, that Steve Gerber) wrote “Love is a Croc”. Additional fun fact: Both of these men have written other, better things!

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

-Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (January 26th, 2011)

It’s another two comic week, oddly enough one without any DC books. But on bright side, the two books happen to be two of the best best books on my pull list, which is pretty swell. Let’s, shall we? WAIT SHIT SUPERBOY #3 CAME OUT LIKE 3 WEEKS AGO AND I MISSED IT. OK LETS DO THIS:

Superboy Prinze Jr?

More than a passing resemblance to Freddie Prinze Jr!

Superboy #3

I have to say, it took me alittle while to warm up to Pier Gallo’s art here but there are some really nice layouts in this issue. That one page of Conner walking down the overgrown dirt road, for one. I’m a big fan of Jeff Lemire’s non-superhero stuff and while I’m not sure the writing in Superboy is as good as, say, Essex County (which is heartbreaking and wonderful and you should all read it), it is pretty good so far. Lemire writes small town settings very well and he does a good job of advancing some established subplots and introducing a pretty cool one with the new Psionic Lad (how has it taken this long to get a telepath character with a thought balloon for a logo?). Honestly, THIS is the sort of book DC should be doing with a character like Superboy: a fresh take that draws on a bunch of cool established concepts (Poison Ivy, Parasite, etc) but is also something you can hand to a 12 year old and they’ll dig it.

God damn it, Land.

Good to see the patented Greg Land "sleep porn face" is still in effect.

Thunderbolts #152

This was, as usual, a good issue. What I like about Parker’s Thunderbolts is that they aren’t an especially good team at this point and their missions tend end in pyrrhic victories, at best. Hyperion is a cool addition to the line up and Parker appears to be drawing on one of my favorite Exiles storylines (aka the only not terrible Chuck Austen-penned comic), which is neat. Kev Walker’s art is such a great fit for this book. It’s very dynamic and appropriately “off” for a book largely about supervillains. He draws cool monsters, to boot.

Man, I love The Prince of Orphans

Steve Rogers and his FUTURE-GUN

Best of the Week: Secret Avengers #9

I really love this book! I mean, this is a comic where Steve Rogers and his black ops Avengers team up with Shang-Chi and The Prince of Orphans (introduced in Brubaker and Fractions’s seminal Iron Fist run) to stop an evil super soldier, a robot Nick Fury and zombie Fu Manchu. Brubaker just NAILS the espionage “we’re in” aspects of the book and does a good job of working in classical Marvel stuff like The Serpent Crown or the aforementioned Fu Manchu. Deodato has sometimes been hit or miss with me but he fits very well on this book, he draws two really solid fight sequences in this issue alone. You don’t have to look past this issue’s cover blurb of “A DEADLY BARGAIN – TWO LIVES IN THE BALANCE!” to see that this book really is a 70’s Marvel love letter.

****

Good week! Like I said, two of Marvel’s strongest books plus Superboy, which is shaping up into something that’s rather fun.

HIVE OF SCUM. YOU LIKE US. WE CAN PROVE IT WITH THE MATH.

-Max

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Fun and Games”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “Fun and Games”

What Happens: Lois Lane is caught in the crossfire when the Toyman takes revenge on local crime lord Bruno Mannheim.

Thoughts:

  • The animated incarnation of the Toyman is THE CREEPIEST THING. I remember being unnerved by the Toyman episodes when I first saw this show as a wee ‘un. The similarities to Mattel’s “Matty” mascot are uncanny.

That SMILE...

  • Hey, Bruno Mannheim is in this episode! He’s basically just a plot device in this episode but they do some pretty cool stuff with him once the Fourth World characters start to show up.
  • The different weapons Toyman uses are fun. Giant rubber duckie, indestructible bouncy ball, remote controlled planes, living play doh, etc.
  • Toyman is so committed to his gimmick that he puts together an expository pop-up book!

Neat

  • Have to say, I REALLY like the new origin for Toyman here and the pop-up book mashed up with Clark and Jimmy going through old news reports is a pretty clever way to convey it.
  • Looking back, it’s kind of surprising that they didn’t do a Joker/Toyman team-up episode, seems like a pretty natural fit and they certainly did enough crossovers between Batman and Superman.
  • Did not realize Bud Cort was the voice of Toyman in all of his Timm-animation appearances. Cool!

Overall?

Nice little episode. Creepy villain with a creative gimmick and it sets up a few plot points for later episodes.

Next Episode: A LITTLE PIECE OF HOME (Krrrryptonite!)

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (1/22/11)

THE ERASER

That is one baaaad suit, jack!

"...who tried to 'rub out' the Batman", huh?

From the Batman wiki:

Lenny Fiasco was a college classmate of Bruce Wayne (Batman), and was continually mocked by his fellow students for all the mistakes he made in class. The few people who remembered Lenny always pictured him with eraser in hand, correcting his mistakes. The only girl Lenny ever wanted was fellow classmate Celia Smith, and he planned to take her to the school’s ice carnival. Lenny was crushed when she chose to go with Bruce Wayne. Feeling quite bitter, he turned to a life of crime, developing an eraser costume that could eliminate all evidence from a crime scene.

Seriously though, this guy needs a comeback. His costume is a pencil! Terrific gimmick, to boot!

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (January 19th, 2011)

This is a two-comic week. Kinda glad, as the previous two weeks were heavier. Nothing too fancy this time.

PREVIOUSLY: blah blah White Lantern blah blah

Brightest Day #18

Well that was a very short read. It barely feels like anything happened? The Hawkman/woman storyline is the weakest one in the book but it appears to be over, for the most part. I did like how, as in any good Hawkman story, the villain is defeated with blunt, stupid violence. Next issue promises more Aquaman stuff, which should be a step up. Not a great book but when the weakest comic in my pull list opens with Captain Cold whaling on Captain Boomerang, I could be doing alot worse.

Children. Future.

Best of the week: Avengers Academy #8

Holy crap. The previous issue was fairly weak but maaan this issue more than made up for it. Gage does a great job of putting some closure on the whole Tigra assault plot, for one. But the real strength of this issue, and the book as whole, is that he has his teenage characters legitimately acting like teenagers (particularly damaged ones, at that). That means we get developments like the one in this issue, where they do something stupid and appalling and, yet, completely believable. McKone’s very expressive faces continue to be a great fit for the book.

***

So yeah, short week, but Avengers Academy was a welcome surprise. Definitely one of Marvel’s better books and a pretty cool team book in its own right.

HIVE OF SCUM. AIN’T NOTHIN BUT A PARTY.

-Max

 

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (The Last Son of Krypton)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

 

Episode: “The Last Son of Krypton (Part s 1-3)”

:(...

Since this is the first time I’m doing one of these and since this was meant to be watched all at once, I’m just going to watch all 3 episodes that comprise the pilot.

What happens: Krypton blows up, obviously. Young Kal-El of Krypton is sent to Earth where he Look you know the score here. All you need to know is Superman establishes himself in Metropolis and stops a gang of terrorists from stealing a high-tech Lexcorp mech suit in a plan orchestrated by…Lex Luthor!

FOREGROUND

Thoughts:

  • This is a pretty cool Superman origin! It’s a good combination of the different takes on it (Mostly the Donner movie, I guess) but it adds enough to make it stand on its own. The thing that really stands out to me is that Kal-El is much older than in most Superman origins. He’s walking around, practically!
  • I like the weird little touches like the trademark spitcurl coming from Lara’s side of the family. Jor-El being an ACTION! scientist (fighting an ice monster, shooting at Brainiac, stealing that hoverbike etc).
  • The Kryptonian high council’s outfits are GOOFY.

How do they walk through doors?!

  • It’s pretty crazy that this CHILDREN’S CARTOON opens with like full-on planetary genocide.
  • Reimaging Brainiac as a smarmy asshole Kryptonian computer program responsible for destroying Krypton makes his origin less confusing and creates a ton of storytelling potential that’s explored later on.
  • Christopher McDonald is a weird choice for Jor-El considering how notable he is for playing 90’s bad guys but he makes it work.
  • The scenes with teenage Clark in Smallville ARE MORE ENTERTAINING AND BETTER EXECUTED THAN ANYTHING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED ON THE SHOW “SMALLVILLE” COME ONNN.
  • The Dana Delany’s Lois Lane and Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor are up there with Conroy’s Batman for me, as far as definitive takes on a character go.
  • Have we gotten a Superman origin in the last 30 years that DOESN’T involve him saving people in a falling flying vehicle? (Helicopter, space shuttle, plane?). Superman: Earth One, maybe?

plane

  • This version, like all good Superman origins, has him granting Lois the first Superman interview instead of having him fabricate one or whatever.
  • The reference to Lois and Lex having dated in the past isn’t without precedent (Bryne’s origin has it) but I didn’t remember it being in this one before.
  • Pre-Metallo John Corbin essentially being Hans Gruber only from Kasnia instead of Germany  is rather inspired. Really, this show’s Superman foe revamps are welcome changes.
  • Animated Bibbo Bibowski = fat Popeye?
  • The billion-dollar battle suit having a remote controlled car alarm is hilarious.
  • I have to wonder if Corbin using the battle suit to fight Superman was intentional foreshadowing on the whole Metallo thing. Seems like it.
  • I think we can all agree the whole scene where Luthor and Superman meet face to face for the first time is pitch perfect.
  • The Brainiac teaser at the end kicks off a fine tradition of Brainiac being gross and creepy later evidenced on this show and Justice League.

Overall?

Superman origins are a dime a dozen but this is possibly the best one yet? Giving a whole episode to Krypton blowing up is a brave choice but it gives way more weight to the whole thing. I don’t remember especially liking this episode as a kid but it moves very quickly for a 90 minute pilot and it does a great job of introducing the cast and setting the tone of the show.

Next Episode: FUN AND GAMES

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (1/14/11)

Tony Gordon

From The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes

The teen-aged son of Police Commissioner James W. Gordon and his wife and, presumably, the brother of Barbara Gordon, although this is never actually stated in the texts.

From Wikipedia:

In Pre-Crisis continuity, James Gordon was the biological father of Anthony “Tony” Gordon. Originally referred to as a college student, Tony later disappeared while hiding from Communist spies. He was later reunited with his sister Barbara and perished in a battle with the Sino-Supermen (Batman Family #12, Detective Comics #482).[11] In Post-Crisis continuity, there has been no mention of Tony Gordon.

Ridiculous

Not to be confused with JAMES Gordon, Jr.

Mud-encrusted James Jr from Batman: Year One

…Who is not applicable for inclusion in this fine project because he showed up in a Batman flick:

NOT. APPLICABLE.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

-Max