So, in addition to not buying anything related to Future’s End, with the exception of the Batgirl issue, I’ve also not been buying Batman Eternal. However, in this case, it’s less of a disinterest with the story and more of a simple matter of IT’S A YEAR-LONG WEEKLY COMIC! What, am I made of money? lol However, at this time, I currently have two issues of Batman Eternal in my possession: #3, which was the New 52 debut of Stephanie Brown (not counting Batman #28), and this week’s issue. Why this week? Because the primary focus of the plot is on Steph and her activities now that she has become Spoiler. So, with that said, let’s take a look at what happens, and…well, for the lack of a better term, spoilers ahead. :P
So Stephanie is spying on her dad, the Cluemaster, as he’s explaining to someone in the dark how a group of C and D-List villains are using their own unique talents to upset the natural order of Gotham in a slow, methodical fashion, so that when the time is right, Gotham’s citizens will be ready to riot. Since most people following this story already know the man’s involvement thus far, I’ll just go ahead and say it: It’s Hush. Hush is pleased at how the plan’s progressing for now, but tells Cluemaster that he needs to kill Stephanie before she can get in touch with Batman and spoil everything that’s going on, and wow, they’re just going all out with the Spoiler theme, huh? lol
Anyway, cut to Batman dealing with a situation at the Gotham Gallery of Modern Art, where Simon Ecks, AKA Doctor X, is causing trouble, and Batman has to put him down with an Nth Metal Batarang. I have no idea WHY he was carrying a Batarang made out of Nth Metal, since the gadgets in his belt are generally rotated based on situations, so I don’t know what made him think he’d need it, but whatever. He also finally realizes that the situation Batwing was looking into at Arkham Asylum may not be going as swimmingly as he was led to believe, and has Penny-Two look into Ecks…Oh yeah, for those that haven’t been following along, Alfred’s daughter Julia was found fighting Fang in Hong Kong, and after a recent incident where Alfred got injected with fear toxin by Hush, Julia found her way down to the Batcave, and she’s been helping Batman in place of him, meaning she’s the one we saw working down there in Batman #28.
Back to Stephanie, who gets attacked by her dad, who knew she’d come looking for him eventually. He’s not quite ready to murder her yet, instead trying to get her to join him, but after a struggle where she tears off on a motorcycle, he gets his incentive. Anyway, after a chase on the highway, during which she was making a phone call, she escapes him, leaving him to be caught by the cops. However, whereas he’d be able to get free if this was the GCPD (Jason Bard in this continuity turned out to be working for Hush…huzzah…), Steph had led him past the city limits, and now he’s dealing with the state police. The only thing missing here is the Price Is Right fail sound, which I will supply right now…
So, this issue was pretty good. If I have any complaint to it, it’s that this rebooted Stephanie Brown seems to be a bit too good for someone who just put on the mask and is fighting crime with no previous training. I mean, it’s POSSIBLE she’s acquired these skills she’s using prior, but we haven’t really seen any indication of this. She beats her dad all too easily, although I doubt we’ve seen the last of him, and he’s just a small part of a much bigger problem. Also, I don’t know if I’m forgetting something, since I’m mostly just reading about stuff that happens in the series as opposed to picking it up at the shop, but it feels like the situation with Batman at the art gallery fighting Doctor X comes right the frak outta nowhere. Last I checked, he was dealing with the Architect, a villain from Batman Gates of Gotham, who had triggered a small earthquake that leveled several buildings, though not quite as bad as the one from No Man’s Land, and dear God, I feel like I’m gonna set off the Continuity Alarm any second now.
But yeah, other than those problems, this was still an enjoyable read, and hell, I can’t complain too much about a book that focuses on my favourite superheroine BEING my favourite superheroine. So, not winning any awards or anything, but still a good issue nonetheless.
…Y’know what I haven’t talked about in a while? Kamen Rider. And really, why shouldn’t I? Kamen Rider is one of, if not the, greatest series of the Tokusatsu genre. It’s lasted for four decades (ignoring a television hiatus that lasted from 1989 to 2000), has had crossovers with a number of different series in Japan, including Super Sentai, Ultraman, and Metal Heroes, and has spawned dubs in other countries, including two in English. But, as many people know, one thing that’s needed for an action show is for it to have a kickass opening theme that gets the audience ready for the half-hour that’s about to ensue. Now, other than the opening themes, Kamen Rider HAS had a number of insert themes that are really good too, and I’ll go over some of my favourites later on down the road as well. For now, though, let’s look at my 5 Favourite Kamen Rider Opening Themes, and I think I’m gonna do these in the order in which each season aired, starting with probably the most obvious…
Yeah, you knew this was gonna be up here. While I admittedly prefer the 2000 version of Let’s Go Rider Kick, this is the version used for the official intro, so it’s the one I’m posting. And I’m sure everyone’s wondering what I think of the 2011 cover by Kamen Rider Girls, and…I don’t really have an opinion. I didn’t really care when it was first released one way or the other beyond “Oh, that’s neat, they did a cover for the movie”. I neither really like it, nor am I in the group of people that practically called death down on these women. It’s just a cover, you guys. Get over it. Despite being one of my favourites, though, if I WAS going to rank these, this would probably be near the bottom. No disrespect, it’s just I like the others on this list a lot more. Still, it continues to maintain its position as the definitive Kamen Rider theme. Just, uh, don’t pull a Neo Saban era Power Rangers with us and have a remix of this theme for every season anytime soon, ‘kay?
BLACK! :D Okay, while I haven’t watched most of this season, there’s just something about the general aesthetic of Black’s suit that I really love. And dammit all, I LOVE the opening theme to his season. It really gets you in the mood to see this guy lay down some hurtin’ on some Gorgom scumbags. I actually really love the closing theme, too, if we’re being totally honest. That’s why I can’t help but giggle and hum that theme when I watch the net movie for Kamen Rider Decade where all the suit actors are dressed as Showa Era Riders for a race, and Black is just walking like in the end credits. Funny stuff.
YES, for the 150th time, I actually like Kamen Rider Kiva! Honest to God, I don’t get the hate for this series, and I DEFINITELY don’t get the Twilight jabs at it, especially since, while the books had been out for a few years, the first movie didn’t come out until November of the same year Kiva started airing, by which time we’d already had 40 episodes of the series. Really, it just comes off as people being vampired out by that point, and not wanting to give this show a chance. But anyway, getting back to the theme song, I think it’s a really catchy theme, and fits the tone of the series pretty well. Also, good God, the weird-ass imagery. If that didn’t make you wanna watch just to find out what the frak was going on, I don’t know what would do it for ya. Still, as catchy as this theme is, it pales in comparison to the next two on my list, in particular…
FUCK YEAH! I have said before that Kamen Rider W is my favourite season, it has my favourite Rider of all time in Kamen Rider Skull, and Goddamn it, it has probably my favourite opening theme of any Kamen Rider season. It’s energetic, it fits the tone of the series, and the imagery produced gets you ready for this combo of a superhero show and a detective story that balances comedy with tragedy in all the right ways. The only theme I would stack up against it is the last one on this list…
While I don’t think it’s the BEST theme that was produced for OOO, and we’ll talk about THAT later on, the intro theme does exactly as is required: Get your pulse pounding. Granted, with some of the later episodes and some of the more tragic elements of the plot, hearing this energetic and happy theme can kinda result in mood whiplash. And while it’s true that other themes have done this, none quite to the level of OOO. Still, it’s a solid hit, and the opening credits sequence that accompanies the music definitely does a good job of highlighting these three individuals that are caught up in this hectic chase for the Medals.
So, those are my 5 Favourite Kamen Rider Opening Themes. Have a favourite that wasn’t on here? Lemme know in the comments below, and I shall see you guys the next time I talk about Kamen Rider, when I list my 5 Favourite Insert Themes. Ja né!
So, something I’ve been watching a lot of lately is Achievement Hunter. For those that don’t know, Achievement Hunter is a group of people working at RoosterTeeth that play video games, show you how to get various achievements in said games, and produce a lot of Let’s Plays as well. One of the games they play a lot lately is Grand Theft Auto V, where they’ve shown various Things To Do In GTA V, and even come up with their own heists to pull off…with varying levels of success, and a number of dead bodies strewn about. lol But because there’s so many of these videos, I decided I’d take a sec to talk about my 5 favourite videos in the series for the benefit of those that might be looking to start watching them. And while I can’t say that this is spoiler free, I will try to keep them to a minimum.
When you have a group like this one, made up of various gamers that have been shown to be at least a little crazy from time to time, you ultimately find yourself asking a very simple question: Who’s the most insane of the group? In this video, Ryan, Kerry, Gavin, Geoff, Jack, and Ray basically have a competition to see who can max out their mental state, thus proving who is statistically the most insane of the group. Naturally, things pretty much go nuts right from the get-go. The winner is actually determined so quickly that the rest decide to keep going to determine second-most-crazy, which ends up worrying the actual winner over how much faster it took them to reach insane than the others. I think what I find funniest about this is just the idea that, if this was for real, the debriefing of the Los Santos Police Department in the aftermath must’ve been HIGHLY uncomfortable. lol
What could possibly go wrong in a plan that includes Jack landing a private jet in the middle of the road for Geoff, Michael, Ray, Ryan, and Gavin to make their get-away after their individual robberies?…Actually, surprisingly enough, that was probably the part of the plan that had the least go wrong with it. I love this heist so much, that I actually loosely adapted it for the opening chapter of one of my stories on FictionPress. While I recommend you watch all of the heists, because they’re all amazing, hilarious, and have such train-wreck moments to them, this one is probably my favourite, with the only other major contender being…well, we’ll get to that later.
In this video, Kerry is essentially hazed by Michael, Geoff, Ray, Ryan, and Gavin, as they put him through the group’s ‘initiation tests’. The entire video is basically Kerry being put through Hell by these sick, sadistic human beings in a sick, sadistic video game world. Everything from parachute jumping, chasing down muggers (a LOT of ‘em, actually, I need to do a count on just how many there were), evading the entire Los Santos Police Department, and a little game they like to call Frogger. Honestly, watching this, I’m filled with both the need to laugh out loud at everything Kerry’s put through and the desire to see him succeed. A very entertaining video to watch through.
Okay, technically this is a Things To Do, not a Let’s Play, but honestly, I’ve found both to be kind of interchangeable. Besides, you really can’t talk about Achievement Hunter’s GTA V videos without mentioning the one that even Rockstar Games decided to spotlight. In this, Geoff watches on his in-game camera phone as Jack, Michael, Ray, Gavin, and Ryan try to jump a ramp on varying vehicles over 10 buses. Naturally, in true AH fashion, nothing can ever be simple, so at one point, Jack comes up with the brilliant idea of adding a low-flying plane to the mix. What follows is a moment so awesome, it had to be replayed over and over from each person’s perspective. I recommend you watch the whole vid, but if you just wanna see that awesome moment, skip to the 13:00 mark. Also, in case you’ve never seen this before, and have heard Ryan curse himself for saying the words “I’m still in the air”, welcome to the joke. lol
After Geoff, Gavin, Ryan, Michael, Jack, and Ray had all had their own planned heists, the gang decided to pool their creative input together to form The Grand Heist. This has actually been done twice: Once for a live crowd at the RTX convention, and once for the site. Both are frigging hilarious, so I suggest you watch the live version first, and then watch the standard version, since they get a bit further in the latter one, and it’s fun to compare and contrast between the two. And what is it that makes this the only other major contender for my favourite heist of all? Well, because part of the plan involves them making their get-away in a helicopter that has a cable that’s latched onto a tank, which is controlled by Michael. What follows is a spectacle the likes of which Michael Bay would probably jack off to in his spare time. LOL But otherwise, it’s just cool to see a heist that they all planned together, and the standard heist antics and hi-jinks are pretty much turned to 11 at this point.
Anyway, those are my 5 favourite AH GTA V vids. Lemme know what you all think of this list, what some of your other favourites are, and be sure to check in the next time I talk about Achievement Hunter, when I list some of my favourite moments from Let’s Play Minecraft. Ja né!
If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!
via Battle For The Net.
…Just…Just, dammit, Gail. I thought we had an understanding that I was NOT going to get anything of Future’s End, that I was not interested, and that I was not going to give DC my money for this event…and then, not only did you make Stephanie Brown Batgirl again, not only did you bring back Cassandra Cain as Batgirl, and not only did you make Lucius Fox’s daughter Batgirl (I thought it was Nell to be honest, but whatevs, I’ll take what I can get), but you brought back the Gooperangs. I LOVE THE GOOPERANGS! XD
Okay, for realsies? What makes this comic so awesome is a couple of things. The first, as I’ve made clear, is the three Batgirls, not only for being there, but how they interact, work together, and play off each other. Of all the stuff revealed to be in this possible future of Future’s End (and yes, let’s not fool ourselves, it’s a POSSIBLE future, regardless of what DC says or wants us to believe), this is one of the very few things I would LOVE to see be a thing in the future. But the other thing that makes this comic awesome is Barbara. Despite some truly AWFUL things that happen to her in the future, and finding herself delving into the wrong side of the law at times, we see in the end that, no matter what happens, she is always Babs, and she will never give up nor give in. In many ways, it feels like one last love letter from Gail to Babs…Oh, and also, because Bane is the main antagonist and is used brilliantly.
I will say, though, that one problem I have with the comic is Babs’ costume as the Bête Noire. I get that she’s supposed to look like a cross between Batgirl and Bane, but does she have to have the collar and the megaboobs? Also, and I get that this is totally a me problem, but I still think Babs should’ve gotten married to Alysia. Though, on the flip side, it’s nice to see her with someone who is apparently expecting their child, so that’s another happy ending hinted at.
Ugh, so yeah, I did in fact buy one comic in Future’s End, and because it’s so good, I have little choice but to mark it as highly recommended. There, YOU WIN, okay DC? But only because you had an evil genius writing this book who knew exactly how to loophole herself a way to get damned near every Batgirl fan what they wanted with this one book, so to The Simone, I say this: Well played, Gail. I honestly don’t know whether I hate you or love you with this book. lol
Yep, it’s official! The New York Times Best Seller, Secret Six, is returning in The New 52, under the writing of Gail Simone. Admittedly, not what I was REALLY hoping would be her new project (I was hoping it’d be a new Birds of Prey book), but I’ll take it. Plus, I know of several people that LOVED this book and were highly upset when it got cancelled with the beginning of the New 52, and I know how that can feel, so to those people, I say this: Remember, this may not be exactly as you remember it, but keep your mind open and be patient, for The Simone is an evil genius and mastermind, and she knows what she’s doing. XD
So far, all that’s known about the book, besides what I’ve stated so far, is that Catman and Black Alice are going to be in it. Who are these other characters on the cover? Beats me, though one looks like a Talon from the Court of Owls, and one kinda looks like a female, African-American Riddler, so she could be a new version of Enigma. Also, the book will apparently kick off with the group locked in a room and not knowing how the hell they got there, that the book will be even edgier and filthier than it was before, and that it delves into a mystery that “all DC readers will want to know”, whatever the hell that means. Will we be seeing others from the group like Scandal Savage appear? Will they be as we remember them? Hard to say, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. After all, heroes might not be allowed to have happy lives nowadays, but there’s nothing that says that Scandal’s polygamous marriage to Knockout and Liana can’t still be canon.
Anyway, the book comes out in December, just in time for Christmas. Will I be picking it up? Hard to say, but I will say that I am at least intrigued by this move, and I would suggest that people that loved Gail’s last take on the team will probably enjoy this one. Ja né!
UPDATE – In addition to the new book, Gail’s pre-Flashpoint run with Secret Six is also getting reprinted, so anyone that didn’t read it the first time around will get a chance to do so. Again, it’s a New York Times Best Seller, so it’s probably worth your time. ^_^
So, this October marks a HUGE turning point in a lot of the Bat related books, as a few new ones are getting started, and pre-existing ones are getting big changes in relation to what’s going on in Batman Eternal. What’s interesting about the new books is that some of them don’t even necessarily star Batman, or even involve him directly, rather simply taking place in Gotham City and starring different characters. Now, because they take place in Gotham, I would assume he’ll make appearances, but otherwise, they aren’t about him. It honestly reminds me of an often brought up theory that DC doesn’t know how to market products that don’t involve Batman anymore. And before anyone brings up that it could be in relation to the upcoming Gotham TV series, let me remind everyone that Green Arrow has had a TV show for a couple of years, but has advertising for his comics improved much? Granted, they’ve done more with him, but the actual marketing for his books don’t seem to have changed at all. Flash is getting a new TV show, but I don’t see much in the way of marketing improvements for his series, despite the fact that Wally West is coming back as Kid Flash. Last year was Superman’s 75th Anniversary, and yes, he got a new book that I’ve come to love, but compare what they did for him to what they’ve done for Batman’s 75th. You start to see the problem, yes? And sure, a lot of people love Batman, but what about people that are sick of Batman and want to see the other heroes get some attention? They’re pretty much outta luck.
But anyway, enough about me ranting about that, let’s instead focus on these changes, in no particular order, and what my thoughts on each of them are before giving a final overall opinion. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts going into these changes, and I could end up flip-flopping on some of them when they actually occur. Let’s start off with…
Barbara Gordon loses everything she owns in a fire, and so, as part of her attempts to start her life over following the end of Gail Simone’s run, she decides to do the same with Batgirl, creating a whole new costume. The book promises to be a bit more lighthearted and fun, with Babs going to grad school, and will feature quite a few LGBT characters in addition to fan favourite, Alysia. Again, I wish this was Stephanie Brown in this role, in fact the costume immediately makes me think of Steph’s (just picture her in blonde hair and you’ll see immediately), but I am NOT gonna say no to a book that promotes itself as being fun and lighthearted while also starring one of my favourite characters, so I’m going into this with a good attitude.
Something happens at Arkham Asylum that causes them to have to move a bunch of their inmates to a new location. As such, Wayne Manor becomes a new home for Gotham’s criminally insane, because that’s the most logical place to put them, right? Now, based on Batman #34, which takes place at the same time as the new Arkham Manor book, Batman is still operating out of the Batcave. But is it THE Batcave, or simply A Batcave? Sure, all the usual stuff is there, but they could’ve been moved. After all, having your base of operations underneath some of your worst enemies, with an access route in place to it, isn’t exactly a very tactically sound idea, and we know Batman isn’t stupid. He either moved to a new cave, or has found a way to block off the cave from the inmates. Either way, while I don’t think I’ll be buying this book, I will say I’m interested to see where this is going. Also, I’m curious as to Bruce’s stance on all of this. Is he against the idea, or could it actually have been his to begin with?
Apparently, another book that will look at the youth of Gotham City is the new book Gotham Academy. Don’t really know much about it beyond that, other than the art looks fantastic. Can’t say as I’m familiar at all with the cast, which is unfortunate as they could’ve easily had Stephanie and/or Harper Row be part of it just to give them more exposure, but whatever. Not terribly interested myself, but looks promising for people wanting to know more about Gotham and the people living there, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of the characters cross over into Batgirl.
Okay, this is where the whole “DC not knowing how to market anything unrelated to Batman and Gotham” thing can actually seem kinda devious. Why? Because the star of Gotham By Midnight is Jim Corrigan, AKA The Spectre. Granted, in the book Gotham Central, which I believe is getting a reprint soon (which proves Dan DiDio a blatant liar about the book’s popularity…AGAIN), there was a corrupt cop named Jim Corrigan on the squad, but he was VERY different from the previous version of the character. However, in the pages of Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, the two versions were more or less merged into one, making The Spectre a Gotham based hero of sorts. Anyway, this is slated to be a more horror-style book, with Corrigan being part of a division of the GCPD that investigates supernatural cases. Haven’t decided if I’ll be getting it yet or not, but fans of The Spectre should be pleased nonetheless.
As revealed in Batman #28, and will be made official this October, Catwoman will at some point become the kingpin of crime in Gotham City and take direct control of all organized crime in the city. This is an especially welcome change to many who have read her solo book, like my colleague FHIZ of Gotham Spoilers, who have voiced their EXTREME displeasure of the title for the past 2-3 years. And frankly, having read some of what goes on in that book, I can’t say as I blame them. It also makes her relationship with Batman all the more complex. Yes, she’s running a major source of his biggest griefs, but she’s also shown that if Gotham is in big enough danger, she will help him in her own unique way. Again, not sure if I’ll be getting her book, but it’s at least a change I can get behind.
This is a change I’m NOT so fond of. As far as I can tell, Batwoman becoming a vampire is a change they’re actually rolling with, and will see her teaming with a group called The Unknowns, which are made up of Ragman, Etrigan the Demon, Red Alice, and Clayface. So in other words, she’s a brooding anti-hero at best, and a straight-up villain at worst. Wonderful, DC, just fucking wonderful. PASS.
While the major change here isn’t occurring in October, we will nonetheless see the next chapter of the Batman and Robin story, Robin Rises, which concludes in December. Long story short, Damian’s body is on Apokolips, as it has accidentally absorbed energy from something called the Chaos Shard, which we saw back in Batman/Superman’s first arc, and as they were unable to regain the crystal itself, they took Damian’s body instead. This crystal has the power to bring the dead back to life, though quite possibly at a cost. As such, Batman has declared that he’s going to Apokolips to get Robin, and he’s bringing him back, ALIVE. Peter J Tomasi has gone on record as saying that this story WILL resolve with Batman having a Robin again, though whether that Robin is Damian or not remains to be seen. It could be that the quest to bring Damian back could instead result in someone else taking up the mantle. Frankly, I’m hoping it’s either Damian back from the grave to reclaim his role at his father’s side, or that he becomes Redbird again and Carrie, Stephanie, or Tim take up the role of Robin. Either way, I think we all know that Batman NEEDS a Robin, so I’m just glad for that much. Will I buy the book again? Not right away. I’m waiting until Robin is active again to start buying. But once that’s done, most likely.
Don’t know, don’t care. NEXT!
So we already knew that Harper Row would be becoming the heroine Bluebird, but it seems that another character possibly coming to Batman’s side is someone named Lark. Who are they? Heck if I know. Maybe it’s Harper’s brother, Cullen, deciding to join his sister in her fight against crime. If so, I demand a book for them. No, seriously, make it happen. I wanna see a book about Bluebird and Lark fighting C and D list criminals. Maybe even add Steph, Calvin Rose, and the recently returned Misfit to the mix for funsies. Heck, they could form a whole new Birds of Prey group with Black Canary and/or Batgirl.
Anyway, that’s most of the changes to the Bat Family books (because I don’t wanna spoil EVERYTHING). How do I feel about them overall? Honestly, I think that, in the end, change can be a positive thing, as long as it’s handled well. Even the stuff I’m not exactly on-board with, like Batwoman And The Unknowns, can be done well if given the right amount of thought and direction. So, overall, I think this is a good thing. Ultimately, though, it feels like Batman Eternal’s actual story is taking a backseat to setting up this new status quo and showing how we get to this point, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the end, I remain hopeful that these changes will lead to a better, more fleshed out Gotham.
So, those are my thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments section below, and we’ll see what happens in October. Ja né!