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Batgirl Annual #1 (WARNING – SPOILERS)

So yeah, picked up Batgirl Annual #1 today. I was kinda expecting a Halloween oriented story, but I’m actually pleasantly surprised that Gail Simone didn’t go for the obvious and possibly cliché choice for a story in this comic. Instead, this is a pretty engaging one shot that follows up on Batgirl’s part in the Night of Owls and leads into an upcoming story involving the Birds of Prey.

Really, the only major issue I can find with this comic is that the cover’s kind of a lie, since these three aren’t really in a three-way battle.

So Batgirl is investigating a series incidents where buildings are burnt down by homeless people being scared into co-operating in some sort of scheme. After saving some people from a burning building, Barbara goes to speak with an ally of sorts, Ricky, who lets her know that the ones responsible are the Court of Owls. Despite suffering from some butterflies at facing the assassins of the court again, Batgirl follows what trail she can find to them.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon is visiting Harrowood State Penitentiary to see one of the newer inmates there: The female Talon that fought Batgirl back in Batgirl #9. This raises a question though: Why in the hell is this Talon here and not Blackgate Prison, where the other Talons where put into cryo-stasis? Well apparently it’s because Gordon wants to try to cut a deal with this Talon, whose parents were murdered in World War II and was badly scarred and rendered mute as a child before being recruited into the Court of Owls. Still, I would have found MUCH better places for her to be kept than here, especially since the guard is a cruel mother fucker that has actually beaten her. Lucky for her, Catwoman is there to break her out.

Eventually, Batgirl finds the source of the building burnings: A man named Parsons who apparently is with the Court. Catwoman arrives with the Talon, and it’s here that we learn that Parsons plans to burn down many, MANY more buildings and tally up a number of fatalities, during which he’ll plant a false paper trail that will lead investigators to Bruce Wayne as the culprit. Selina decides she wants out, but Parsons calls for Talons to attack her. Batgirl saves her, at least for the moment, as the Talons have them badly outnumbered, but Batgirl convinces the female Talon to help them since many more innocent people will burn to death, just as her parents did nearly a century ago.

S’it true about you and Green Arrow…? A lady never tells. So, absolutely it’s true.

With the female Talon helping, the odds are evened and it looks like the good guys (good girls is better here, I suppose) are going to come out on top, only for Parsons to pull a gun on the female Talon from behind. However, after receiving a call on his cell, presumably from another member of the Court, he learns that the police are on their way and that he is now a liability to them. Before Batgirl can stop him, he shoots himself through the head as the Talons under his command take their leave in a manner so casual it’s sick to think of.

The police arrive and Catwoman knows they’ll likely try to take the female Talon away, despite the fact that she saved them. Instead, Selina tells Barbara to get the Talon out of there and have her meet back at Selina’s apartment. With that, she runs out to face the police head-on, while Barbara and the Talon making their escape. The comic closes with Batgirl asking the Talon’s name, to which she uses a piece of chalk to write “MY NAME IZ MARY”, the caption telling us that we’ll see her again soon in the Birds of Prey comic.

This comic RULES. It’s a fun ride from the first page to that last that shows Batgirl being an awesome hero to the downtrodden of Gotham, the female Talon making a friend for the first time in her life, and Catwoman being a legitimately good person (which is kind of rare these days). The artwork for this issue is just awesome, the varying viewpoints from Barbara, Selina, and Mary work well, and we even get some decent comedy at times too, though I had to roll my eyes at the bit where they talk about Green Arrow, but whatev. Bottom line is, it’s worth picking up, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that. Ja né!

Kamen Rider Spotlight: Kamen Rider Kiva

Okay, so this hasn’t exactly turned out to be the happiest Halloween ever, but nonetheless I wanted to give you the Kamen Rider Spotlight I promised earlier this month. So today, we look at a Rider whose Spotlight is all too fitting to occur on this day (and I swear, if I hear one Twilight related jab at this guy, I’m not gonna be held responsible what I do in rebuttal, lol): Kamen Rider Kiva.

“Wake up! Break the chains of destiny!!”

Kiva is a young man named Wataru. Living on his own, Wataru shy and obsessed with his own hygiene, and while he never lies, he does hide a secret: He is in fact Kamen Rider Kiva, a title passed down from father to child among the race of creatures known as the Fangire Race, beings similar to vampires, but with a stained glass motif, and each belonging to an animal class, being able to take on a monstrous form of said animal. However, because they feed off human life energy, Wataru fights to protect humans, and ends up meeting several friends and allies from all walks of life, be they human, Fangire, or other monstrous beings. His story is of course a bit more complicated than that, but we’re not really here to give complete spoilers to the show.

“Kivatte Ikuze!”

As I’ve alluded to, most Riders use a Henshin Device in the form of a belt, and Kiva is no different in that regard. However, Kiva’s belt is summoned in a very different manner. His partner, Kivat-bat the 3rd, bites into Wataru’s hand, awakening his Fangire blood and summoning a series of chains that form the Kivat Belt. Once hung from the belt upside-down in true bat fashion, Kivat transforms Wataru into Kiva.

Kiva’s motorcycle is the Machine Kivaa, his own personal variant of the Honda Shadow 750, as built for him by Motobat the 16th. It’s actually a living creature with the brain of a horse installed inside, and has the ability to vanish from plain sight when travelling at higher speeds. Using the Buroon Fuestle, Kiva can upgrade the Kivaa with the Buroon Booster, upgrading its speed and making it capable of multiple motorcycle tricks, and at top speeds creating a field that cuts air resistance on the motorcycle almost completely.

Kiva’s natural form, termed simply as Kiva Form, is a fairly well rounded basic form. He has access to all the Fuestles in his arsenal, and possesses a powerful Rider Kick called the Darkness Moon Break, wherein he kicks the target against a surface so hard that he leaves a indentation in the surface in the form of his emblem.

“Garulu Sabre!”

Garulu Form is formed when Kiva summons the Garulu Sabre. In this form, Kiva is an almost rabid werewolf-like swordsman. His speed is much higher and he fights with a ferocity unseen in his other forms. His mouthpiece can also open to place the Sabre in his ‘mouth’, and then execute the finishing manoeuvre, the Garulu Howling Slash.

“Basshaa Magnum!”

Basshaa Form is formed when Kiva summons the Basshaa Magnum. Despite the loss of most of his attack power and agility in this form, his long range attacks and quick analysis of enemy weakpoints can make up for such losses. He can also manipulate the water and rain, creating his finisher, the Basshaa Aqua Tornado.

“Dogga Hammer!”

Dogga Form is formed when Kiva summons the Dogga Hammer. In this form, Kiva’s speed is cut down harshly, but his physical prowess is increased dramatically. He can also see invisible foes and manipulate electricity. His finisher, the Dogga Thunder Slap, creates an effigy of the Dogga Hammer out of lightning that slams into the target HARD.

…Erm, pile on? lol

DoGaBaKi Form is formed when Kiva summons all three of the Arms Monsters weapons, combining the base elements of his Dogga, Garulu, Basshaa, and Kiva Forms. In this form, Kiva’s power is increased to such a high level that he can only assume it for five minutes. Any longer and it can be deadly to him. He can summon any of the weapons in this form, and presumably can use any of the finishers from his other forms.

“Pyunpyuun! Tension fortissimo!”

Demon Imperial Dragon Tatsulot is a small dragon that becomes something of a second partner to Kiva along with Kivat. He also serves as a Henshin Device that allows Wataru to assume Kiva’s Emperor Form and utilize his upgraded finishers in Emperor Form.

“Wake Up Fever!”

Emperor Form is Kiva’s true form, awakened through Kivat and Tatsulot. Because Tatsulot also provides upgraded versions of all of Kiva’s other finishing moves, Wataru eventually grew to use this form over the others, often-times transforming straight to Emperor. On one occasion, Emperor Form was powered up into a berserker form when Wataru’s Fangire blood went out of control. He later receives a weapon called the Zanvat Sword that, when used with Emperor Form, allows him to execute the Final Zanvat Slash.

Holy clusterfuck, Kivaman! XD

DoGaBaKi Emperor Form is a very rare form that Kiva has only used once. It requires him to transform using Kivat, Tatsulot, and the Arms Monsters weapons. It possesses the abilities and powers of all Kiva’s forms, but presumably possesses the same limitation as the standard DoGaBaKi Form. His finisher is the DoGaBaKi Emperor Break.

…Yeah, go ahead and make a joke. We’ll see if it’s still funny when he roasts your ass. lol

Flight Style is a powerful dragon-like form that Kiva can assume while in Emperor Form. Rarely seen, it gives Kiva supersonic flight, bladed wings, flame breath, and deadly finisher called the Bloody Strike.

Well that’s all for today. Next time on the Kamen Rider Spotlight, we regret nothing as we tighten up, because we got to keep it real and ride on right time when the sun goes up, and remember that time judged all and shout out the power to tearer since anything goes. Ja né!

Batman #13 – Dark Enough For Ya? O_O

Before I get started, I should note this is NOT a review. I’m not qualified to review comic books. I just want to talk about the big thing to happen in this book. With that said, let’s get on with it.

So yeah, for a few months now comic book fans have been aware of the impending return of The Joker, arguably Batman’s greatest and most infamous foe. For those unaware of why he had been missing for the past year, it’s because in Batman Detective Comics #1 of the New 52, the Dollmaker cut Joker’s frigging face off! And so for the past year, he’s been completely off the radar, unseen or heard by seemingly ANYONE, leading some to believe he might be dead or decided to leave Gotham for good. However, as most comic book fans can tell you, the Clown Prince of Crime never truly stays away for ever, and lo and behold, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have brought the Joker back in issue 13 of Batman, as he has returned to reclaim his face and then begin a new sick and twisted game with Batman.

Now we don’t actually see Joker’s face minus his skin, thank God, but we do see what he looks like now with his face crudely reattached with hooks and straps. So yeah, I present the new and sicker Joker.

“Now stop me if you’ve heard this one…”

…So yeah, he’s kinda creepy looking. Like, shit your pants horrifyingly creepy. Just in time for Halloween, eh? And he’s got a plan, OH MAN, does he have a plan. BUT, because I don’t wanna spoil the story (even though most people know the plan already), I won’t really talk too much about the plot. What I WILL say is that this Joker looks and feels like the ultimate psycho killer. And I swear, you read his dialogue and you can just hear Mark Hamill in his creepiest Joker voice ever, although I will say there’s maybe a bit of Heath Ledger in there too.

But anyway, Joker’s new game has already begun, and Batman is going to have to think and move faster than ever if he’s going to come even close to keeping up with the madman. And he’s not alone, as throughout the next few months, ALL of Batman’s closest allies, friends, and family will come up against Joker to try and stop his insanity for good.