AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (2/26/11)

….Chandell/Harry

You are wasting your time, lady

(Image source: http://bat-mania.co.uk/main/villains/chandell.php)

From Batmania.uk!

Chandell turned to a life of crimed after being blackmailed by his evil brother Harry. Above on the left is Harry, with Chandell being on the right. As you can see Liberace the famous pianist played both roles. Chandell’s plot was to murder both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson then to marry Aunt Harriet so he can get his hands on the Wayne’s Foundations funds. He would then use the money to pay off his brother Harry.

Two pianists. Both played by Liberace. The ’60’s were something else, huh? This would be like if Lady Gaga showed up on Smallville playing a super-villain version of herself herself. I’d actually argue this isn’t a terribly obscure Batman character since everyone knows who Liberace is. But as far as I know, this guy hasn’t shown up anywhere else the way Egghead and King Tut have. The two parter he’s featured in is a fun one and, for as much as people rip on the Adam West Batman tv show, stuff like this really gave the show a fun, smirky-but-everyone’s-having-a-good-time tone that hasn’t been completely replicated since (Morrison’s Batman, Inc and portions of Batman: The Brave and The Bold come pretty close, though).

I’ll leave you with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jPGBQ77ddU

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

Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (February 23rd, 2011)

A two comic week! Luckily its two of the better books I pick up every month. Push it!

The secret: dragons.

Secret Avengers #10:

I’m really bummed that Brubaker’s going to be leaving this title in two issues because its only now really starting to get its feet. The first two arcs have been great but I’m hesitant to see whole Shadow Council plot he’s laying down explored by another writer, even if that writer happens to be Nick Spencer (who has just EXPLODED in the last 6 months, it feels like). That said, this issue was a fantastic wrap up to the second arc. The Steve Rogers vs. John Steele/Max Fury takedowns Deodato draws are just nuts and Brubaker gives us some fun little moments with Antman and Valkyrie. Next issue (maybe next two?) are a World War 2 flashback focusing on Rogers and Steele.

THIS ISSUE: CARMEN SAN DIEGO

Power Man and Iron Fist #2 (of 5)

Decent enough issue that moves along nicely. Two things stuck out to me:

*Dazzler having a FAME-esque school for the arts named after her (complete with a statue and mascot) is hilarious and incredibly fitting.

*Ending the issue with the reveal of a villain called POKERFACE and “NEXT ISSUE: BAD ROMANCE” is so appropriately ridiculous for a book that is a love letter to the goofiest 70’s Marvel book there is.

*****

That’s the week. The two issues were very good, I think PM and IF may have been alittle bogged down by (very necesary) plot development but Van Lente pretty much never disappoints.

HIVE OF SCUM. THE GREATEST APHRODISIAC  IS A SUPER-SOLDIER RUNNING UP A STATUE AND KICKING A ROBOT IN THE BRAIN

-Max

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Stolen Memories”)

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: “Stolen Memories”

What Happens: Brainiac comes to Earth with the help of LexCorp! He is creepy and also a jerk and he tries to steal the internet and robo-murder Superman.

MAKE WAY FOR THE ROBO-SUPERIOR

Thoughts:

  • I hadn’t really noticed this but the Timm-universe has been big on Luthor/Brainiac episodes since pretty early on. It’s pretty nuts that this episode has repercussions as far down the line as the second to last JLU finale.
  • The DC Animated Brainiac redesign is gorgeous. Incorporates the important stuff (the three circle head thing, mainly) and the psuedo-Batman eyes are used to great effect.
  • Corey Burton’s Brainiac voice is great. Deadpan with a hint of arrogance.
  • Superman tearin’ around in his spaceship is something that throws me every time they show it. When does Superman ever use a spaceship?
  • I like that Lex Luthor demonstrates the alien technology he’s been given with what is essentially a garage door opener that makes people float.
  • ROBO-CHAIRRR

Stand up, you asshole.

  • Brainiac’s “I AM Krypton” line is great and leads me to why this is truly the best version of Brainiac. Brainiac being responsible or atleast culpable in Krypton’s demise makes the beef between him and Superman that much more interesting. It’s also pretty fascinating that, just as Krypton’s destruction gave the universe Superman, it also gave it something equally terrible. Superman as a character is all about his humanity and empathy for people while Brainiac is precisely the opposite.
  • “Go ahead, touch your legacy” *shudder*
  • “ALL OF METROPOLIS IS MANIAC FOR BRAINIAC” Haha wow. TV reporters don’t really come off well in the Timm-universe, do they? Angela Chen, Summer Gleason, Jack Ryder, all not very flattering. Snapper Carr seems pretty ok.
  • Not enough liquor in the world to make THIS go away:

No more. Please.

  • Superman helplessly witnessing the telepathic montage of different planets Brainiac has subsumed and destroyed is a really effective sequence.
  • Man, Luthor’s plans in this and the last episode sure have been shortsighted and dumb, huh?
  • The whole “Killing a planet and taking their collective knowledge so that said knowledge becomes more precious” is a pretty original and unsettling villain motivation.
  • I like that the Fortress of Solitude starts out as a random cave in Antarctica where Superman stores his weird shit.

Overall?

Very good episode that mainly serves to set up Brainiac as a recurring foe. And like I said, he’s a great foe, not the least of which is because he’s one of the few members of Superman’s rogues gallery that can challenge him physically and mentally. Brainiac episodes as a rule are all pretty solid.

Next Episode: The Main Man (Part 1) (Brad Garrett. Lobo.)

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (2/19/11)

Carl Grissom

 

:/

 

From the Bat-wikia

Carl Grissom is the most powerful crime lord in Gotham City, with almost the entire Gotham City Police Department (except Commissioner Gordon) on his payroll, including Lieutenant Max Eckhardt. When the recently-elected District Attorney Harvey Dent begins to make connections between Grissom and Axis Chemicals, Grissom panics, knowing that the evidence stored at the factory is enough to have him sent to the electric chair.

Grissom finds out that his mistress, Alicia Hunt, has been having an affair with his second-in-command, Jack Napier. So to take his revenge, Grissom sends Napier and his crew to Axis Chemicals to seize the evidence before Dent can. At the same time, he calls Lt. Eckhardt and orders him to lead a team of police to arrest Napier. However, Eckhardt attempts to escape, but is shot in the chest and killed by a vengeful Napier. Napier is then confronted by Batman, and falls into a vat of chemicals. Grissom then thinks that Napier was killed.

That night, after a shower, Grissom has a visit from Napier, who survived the fall and now wants revenge. Grissom feigns relief, but Napier scoffs him, playing wise to Grissom’s moves. Grissom then pleads for his life by offering to cut a new deal with Napier, but Napier refuses and instead reveals his new identity: The Joker, with green hair, white skin, and a widened, permanent grin. At that point, the Joker shoots him dead, and takes over Grissom’s empire.

Like many of the characters who appeared in the 1989 Tim Burton film Batman (Eckhardt, Bob The Goon, …the annoying journalist guy who hung out with Vicki Vale), Grissom never showed up outside of his cinematic appearance. Not surprising when you consider how many characters EXACTLY like this there are in Batman already (Rupert Thorne, Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, etc). Still, its Jack Palance being Jack Palance and there is not a thing wrong with that.

Really, this whole post was just an excuse to link to THIS:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNKNAK60AXk

Happy Saturday, everyone.

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

Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (February 16th, 2011)

Four issues. Three of ’em Marvel. Lets dance.

THE LENGTHS I GO TO TO SHOW YOU PEOPLE A MAN IN ORANGE CHAINMAIL BLEEDING PROFUSELY FROM HIS SEVERED HAND

Brightest Day #20

Normally, when I can’t find the cover the issue actually shipped with online I just put up whatever DC or Marvel solicited but just look at this silly thing. Manta in the background just makes it.

Aquaman uses zombie sharks to kill bad guys. Johns rips off a famous line of dialogue from Watchmen for some reason. Eh.

Nice JOCK cover.

Daredevil Reborn #2 (of 4)

This was ok? Pretty slow, nothing that really jumps out and grabs me. The few “Daredevil-y” moments Murdock has in the story (The winch, the truck full of guns) are all fun enough. Hoping this picks up.

They must be related, their costumes match!

Avengers Academy #9

Teenagers are assholes, sure.  But what struck me about this issue how Gage does a good job of emphasizing how this is also true for the super-powered teaching staff of the academy. Quicksilver doesn’t even want to be there, Tigra and Justice seem to hate each other, Speedball is a mess, and Pym’s barely holding it all together. I’m a sucker for teams that don’t quite work (see: The Defenders, The Champions) and the “Academy” Avengers team seems to qualify. Some surprising depth on Quicksilver in this issue that manages to make him alittle more sympathetic without compromising the asshole smugness that is his trademark. The real jewel of this issue is the Finesse/Taskmaster fight and it is really sharply choreographed and scripted with a pretty impressive payoff. This book has, over the span of 9 issues, really gotten into a nice groove. If Gage can keep writing issues like this, I’m sticking around for a long while.

Thunderbolts doing their "Johnny Cloud in New Frontier" impressions.

Best of the Week: Thunderbolts #153

It says something when Luke Cage fighting Kaiju is only the second most enjoyable aspect of this issue. Last issue was all about the team’s weaknesses, this issue really highlights how far they come in their redemption and team dynamics. Kev Walker draws this fantastic silent sequence where Juggernaut rescues Moonstone and Songbird and it really has resonance. This book is consistently great and Parker knows exactly when and how to give us these nice little character moments. Surprisingly upbeat issue, which probably means the ominous overtones we’ve been getting around Warden Walker are about to rear their head. Next issue is a Man-Thing spotlight, though, and I can’t wait. Parker’s one of the only writers who seems to do the character any kind of justice (he gets a great moment in this issue, for one).

Oh, and I’m pretty sure we’re getting Doctor Demonicus next issue too. The clues are there.

****

Unsurprisingly, Thunderbolts and Avengers Academy, which had some phenomenal character moments, carried the week. Brightest Day continues to be a hit or miss guilty pleasure and Daredevil Reborn is unremarkable but I hold out hope for the next two issues. What’d you guys read this week?

HIVE OF SCUM. PEOPLE COME TO UNDERSTANDINGS. THINGS BLOW UP. COMICS.

-Max

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Way Of All Flesh”)

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 Way of All Flesh”

That is one stylish hospital gown.

What Happens: John Corben (previously seen in the pilot episode “The Last Son of Krypton”) escapes from prison after discovering he has a rare virus. Lex Luthor offers him a cure: a new robot body powered by, of course, Kryptonite. This doesn’t work out well for anyone, obviously.

Fashions by Two-Face

Thoughts:

  • Totally forgot about this episode but I think it was one of the first episodes I saw.
  • The detail of Corben living in the lap of luxury in his Stryker’s jail cell is fun.
  • I do like that the last few episodes since Kryptonite was introduced have used it to good effect.
VOOOOOM

YOU TOO CAN BUILD YOUR OWN LEXCORP BRAND CRYSTAL RADIO!

  • The reveal that Corben-as-Metallo can’t feel any kind of sensation is a really brilliant concept, in hindsight. Especially given how much they play up his taste for “the finer things”.
  • Malcolm McDowell really nails Metallo. This is another fairly big departure from the comics but, like say Toyman, it surpasses the original. Very obviously reminiscent of The Terminator.
  • The Kryptonite heart is another unnerving, gross thing about this show.

Heart-Shaped Blecch

  • Lois Lane showing up and grabbing a weakened Supes once again shows off how capable she is in this show, which is pretty crucial.
  • Corben pretty much admits to jacking off to Lois in prison. Charming.
  • Uhhh this is pretty fantastic:

VEHICULAR SUPER-CIDE

  • Corben tearing off his fake skin is makes the Terminator homage all the more obvious.
  • The sequence with Lois and Clark doing some investigation is a perfect showcase for these characters. Clark uses his x-ray vision to notice the virus sample, Lois finds the parking stub and makes the connection to LexCorp.
  • Lex Luthor, eating caviar with some floozy, in a turtleneck, apparently listening to some Kenny G. All class. That this starts off with a cutaway to Luthor’s yacht and a female voice saying “It’s so BIG, Mr. Luthor!” makes it all the better.

Just trying to get his bone on is all

  • Nice detail with Corben’s voice becoming more metallic after he tears off his skin and clothes.
  • Pretty sure Lex’s date just got left out there.
  • Luthor admitting that he straight-up murdered Dr. Vale took me by surprise but it really shouldn’t have. Lex makes a habit out of murdering loose ends on this show.
  • I am in love with the use of green light here:

Neat

  • Luthor deliberately infecting Corben with the virus from the get-go. Classic Luthor. You’d think he would’ve planned for him finding out with some kind of fail safe or self-destruct switch.
  • Metallo not being able to swim and sinking to the ocean floor is a downright Twilight Zone-esque ending

Overall?

This was a very good episode and the above average number of screenshots I’ve included in this week’s write up says to me that this was one of the more interesting episodes, visually. Good development with Corben/Metallo who gets some fantastic episodes later (The Jimmy Olsen-centric one is a favorite).

Next Episode: Stolen Memories

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (2/12/11)

“Pills” Mattson

The Penguin entices our heroes with the smell of delicious baked zitti

From, as always, The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes

A fugitive criminal, called “Pills” because of his hypochondria, who seizes control of a neighborhood drugstore and transforms it into his gangland headquarters until he and his henchmen are captured by Batman, Robin, and two courageous drugstore customers (“Prescription for Happiness!”)

So, essentially, Batman and Robin spent a chunk of the early 40’s fighting non-costumed schizophrenics. What a time to be alive. Think of things Frank Miller could do with this guy. The terrible things he could do with him.

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

Max

 

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (February 9th, 2011)

There are two comics with Iron Fist in them. I’m excited.

I love Iron Fist. But this new costume is fugly.

Heroes For Hire #3

Alright, I’m just going to address this right off the bat: Iron Fist’s new white costume needs to go. White on yellow is boring, especially compared to the original Green/yellow combo. I was fine with it in the Avengers story it showed up in but the circumstances of the story should’ve made it a one time thing. Seems like a change for the sake of change.

Anyways, this was another great issue of Heroes For Hire. Abnett and Lanning keep the main plot of Misty Knight’s kidnapping/mind control going while giving us a story where Moon Knight murders a velociraptor. If they keep up this kind of quality, I’d be ready to believe that this book will be even better than their cosmic stuff.

Literally the best duo in comics that isn't Batman and Robin

Best of the Week: Power Man and Iron Fist #1: (of 5)

Just as in the Shadowland tie-in miniseries that set up this one, Fred Van Lente just GETS how this book should work. The mystery brings in a ton of characters and references from the classic Power Man and Iron Fist stories but with a bunch of new twists like the teacher/student dynamic between Danny and Victor or Danny’s new relationship with Joy Meachum. Between this and Heroes For Hire, Marvel’s street-level stuff is sitting pretty.

JARVIS POKER THE BRITISH...CROAKER?

Knight and Squire #5 (of 6)

Cornell’s Knight and Squire has been fairly light and fun with some real emotional resonance thrown in every few pages but the last 5 pages set up a genuinely impressive twist, one that’s going to lead to a helluva last issue. As always, I am in love with the sheer volume of references to british pop culture Cornell crams these issues with.

I'm just about done with these DC logo covers, I think.

The Flash #9

Weaknesses: Johns continues to be about as subtle as a hammer as far as dialogue goes.

Strengths: The reveal on who Hot Pursuit is was pretty clever. Elongated Kid is a cool idea, I hope he gets brought back later on. As always, Manapul’s pencils are gorgeous. The Flash family at the picnic, especially.

Man, I love Sean Phillips' covers

Incognito: Bad Influences #3

What was especially interesting about this issue was how it showed the changes Zack Overkill’s undergone since the first Incognito mini. He’s become genuinely empathetic and heroic, which is a pretty far cry from the bored sociopath we were introduced to. There’s also some great character work with Zoe Zepplin and the new Lazarus, who is very much a dark reflection of Overkill. As always, Sean Phillips turns out some beautiful interiors (the aftermath of Lazarus’ visit to The Underground is understated yet still grotesque). Nevins article on the Captain Future pulps makes some pretty damn intriguing connections to Superman, and by association, the super hero genre itself. Pretty neat.

****

So that’s the week. REALLY strong week with some terrific books you should all be buying if you aren’t already (Flash might be more of an acquired taste but it’s still good superheroics).

HIVE OF SCUM. BASE OF THE SKULL! THAT’S THE VULNERABLE POINT!

-Max