COMIC REVIEW: ‘Batman’ ’66 #10

‘Batman’ ’66 #10

COMIC REVIEW: ‘Batman’ ’66 #10

‘Batman’ ’66 #10
‘Batman’ ’66 #10

Cover by Mike Allred

Written by Jeff Parker

Art & Colours by Jonathan Case

Purchase your digital copy @ Comixology now!

BEWARE OF BAT-SPOILERS!

Long live the team of Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case!

This week ‘The Hatter Takes the Crown’ introduces The Mad Hatter to the book, originally portrayed by David Wayne in the series. I don’t remember much about his appearances in the show but I do remember his crazy hat and the ‘special effects’ that went along with it.

This week Parker has taken a few cues from the reference laden opening chapter of The Joker arc and run with it to extremes. This time though the references aren’t to the wider Bat-universe but pop-culture in itself.

See if you can spot them all yourselves but definitely keep your eyes peeled for the TARDIS… okay so it’s a police phone box but still to me it is a TARDIS!

The references really drive home the decade in which the book is set and do a great job of opening up the world beyond Gotham. Up to now the stories have taken place in a small number of locales and although there aren’t many more on show here we’ve gone transatlantic and further pushed the boundaries of what to expect in this digital first series.

I love that the opening of the story follows a long running joke from the TV series that Bruce and Dick were going fishing. I wonder if one day they will finally actually get to go fishing. I think if they did then the series could happily come to an end – don’t do it Jeff!

This is yet another story that sits perfectly in the continuity of the TV series but shows how far the potential of the show can be stretched before it become a parody of itself.

Mad Hatter in the TV series is incredibly different to that of the comics but this issues shows that he doesn’t need to be altered to match his mainstream self in order to capitalise on the nature of his character.

What Parker continues to do in this issue is show how well he understands the characters of the series and how they have to be portrayed in order to keep this continuation of the series viable.

If you’ve read my reviews of previous issues then you know there’s something I’m going to have to discuss in regards to this issue: the return of DC². I had just gotten used to the fact that it was gone and now its back.

I hadn’t expected this new technology to show up again after the first arc but it is great to have it back. It perfectly accentuates the brilliant artwork in this issue and pushes the story to the max of its nostalgia trip. Keep your eyes peeled for the Union Jack Bat!

At this stage I actually feel a lot different about DC² than I did when it was first introduced. Certainly when it first disappeared during The Penguin arc it felt like the fortunes of this book were looking down but actually at this stage the stories and the art don’t need DC² in order to be successful. Now it feels much more like a fun gimmick which does enhance the book but isn’t required to provide a crutch for it.

It’s a testament to the hard work that Parker has put in to developing the series that what felt so important in the beginning is now no longer required.

This issue seems like the beginning of another great arc so if you haven’t already I suggest you check it out now!

8/10

Forever Evil #1

Forever Evil #1

Forever Evil #1
Forever Evil #1

Cover & Pencils by David Finch

Written by Geoff Johns

Inks by Richard Friend

Colours by Sonia Obak

Purchase your copy @ Comixology now.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

Each September since the launch of ‘The New 52’ DC Comics have pulled something big out of their bag, last year it was ‘Zero Month’ which gave us glimpses of the world of the 52 prior to its launch and this year it’s ‘Villains Month’.

Many of the flagship titles in the DC catalogue are releasing up to four issues this month, chronicling some of the most prestigious villains to ever grace the pages of comics.

Alongside these special #23.1 issues DC is launching it’s first crossover event to cover all titles under the DC banner entitled ‘Forever Evil’.

What’s the concept of this huge event I hear you ask… well in the wake of the ‘Trinity War’ arc the three Justice League teams (original, America and Dark) are ‘dead’ leaving the Earth unprotected and at the mercy of an attack. That attack comes from the Crime Syndicate who hail from Earth-3.

As always with crossover events there’s a whole mess of special issues that tie in together to give the full story. But it all starts here in ‘Forever Evil’ #1 which acts as a brilliant setup to the event.

Written by Geoff Johns – so you know it’s going to be good – the story is instantly global. Starting out in Metropolis and moving through several of the major DC Universe cities it’s easy to tell that this is going to be the kind of epic story that we’ve been waiting for since the inception of ‘the New 52’.

Not only is there an epic scope to this story but pretty quickly there’s also a level of suspense and anticipation to this story which gives the feeling that all bets are off as to how this is going to play out.

With the Justice League’s out of action the only true heroes appearing this book are Nightwing, Batgirl and the Titans. Until the re-emergence of the Justice League I’m hoping that ‘Forever Evil’ will shine a spotlight on some of the lesser known characters with the various franchises.

It’s not just the A-game of Geoff Johns that is championing this book but also artwork by David Finch. You know when you’re getting a Finch story that it’s going to pack some serious punch. I was a fan of his work on the initial run of ‘The Dark Knight’ so it is good to see DC putting him to work on a title that’s going to get massive exposure.

There’s a lot of characters in play here (I mean A LOT!) and so it’s massively important that DC have an artist who can visually identify all the different villains from all the franchises and bring them together in a way that keeps them all looking at their best and this book does it in spades.

There’s a humongous scene featuring Nightwing in this issue which has to have massive implications on the story going forwards and I cannot wait to see how it is going to develop from here.

My only complaint? That Nightwing is back in Gotham for the flimsiest of reasons and Barbara doesn’t seem to be at all bothered about the events of ‘Batgirl: Wanted’ but then this is a world ending event so I can forgive a couple of tiny sins.

A complete must read!

9/10

Wonder Woman Season 1 DVD Cover

CLASSIC REVIEW: Wonder Woman Season 1 DVD

Wonder Woman Season 1 DVD Cover
Wonder Woman Season 1 DVD Cover

Purchase your copy on DVD @ Amazon.co.uk now!

Are there any spoilers left from a 1975 TV series?!

As comic fandom moves on from the excitement of the first ‘Avengers’ movie the focus now turns to how DC Comics can pull together its first live action ‘Justice League’ adventure.

We’ve seen modernised and hugely successful reboots of Batman and Superman on the silver screen and Green Arrow on the small screen but one of DC Comics greats who remains to be transformed for modern day audience is Wonder Woman.

Her comics remain popular and the recent DCAU short has ignited interest in her franchise yet the most successful incarnation of the character in live action remains the 1975 pilot movie and subsequent TV series which ran from April 1976 to September 1979.

Season 1 of the show includes the pilot movie and the first 13 episodes and was first released on DVD in the UK in August of 2005. The DVD box set features the following extras:

  • Commentary on the pilot movie by Lynda Carter and Executive Producer Douglas S. Cramer
  • ‘Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective’ documentary

The DVD packaging consists of a slipcover of the above artwork which contains five separate slimline DVD cases each holding one of the five discs. The cover of each slimline case matches the slipcover. It’s not overly imaginative packaging but it works.

The episodes are presented in their original broadcast 1:33 ratio and sound is 1.0 mono. The complete running time of the DVD is 689mins.

Season 1 is set in 1942 to the backdrop of the second world war. Following the comics Major Steve Trevor crash lands his plane of the secretive Paradise Island and the all-female residents take part in olympic style games to decide which of their warriors shall be the one to escort him back to man’s world. As we all know it is Diana, daughter of the Queen who wins the coveted role and along with her invisible jet she returns with Steve to America.

Before leaving her homeland Diana is presented with her costume features a golden belt, the source of her strength, bullet proof bracelets and the golden lasso of truth.

Choosing to stay and fight the evil Nazi’s Diana takes up the guise of Diana Prince a yeoman for the US Navy.

For much of the first season the show follows the formula of the Nazi’s attacking the US either on home soil or on rare occasions the show would require Diana to travel to Germany in order to resolve conflicts.

Many fans would testify that after season one the shift to stories told in the present day would see a downturn in the creativity of the show and eventually lead to its cancellation. So why does a WW2 Wonder Woman work so well?

Much of it has to do with the feelings that WW2 evokes with viewers, so at the time in the 70s and with the young target audience there was a very black and white, good vs evil appearance to the show that barely exists in modern media.

The time period of the shows setting and also the period of its production allow for a simplistic nature that also capitalises on the 1966 Batman series. They’re very similar in tone and ‘Wonder Woman’ would use the same extreme caricaturisation to portray its villains.

There series is by no means complex, far fetched yes but in no way complex. For a modern audience it’s a great example of how superheroes were portrayed in the age before  Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’. There’s an incredibly well defined moral compass which could teach the young audience of today many lessons.

For the uninitiated ‘Wonder Woman’ would come across as looking cheap and cheesy but to those of us who grew up with this kind of show it has a great place in our hearts.

The writing is strong for its age, it might not hold up against the scripted drama of today but as a nostalgia show it is one of the greats. There are plot hole abound but they come from a need for a great story rather than a tightly woven average story. At the time audiences were taken aback by the scale of the show and that’s what you must remember when watching it back.

Lynda Carter will forever be the fans ultimate Wonder Woman and there is little that anybody can say to argue with it. Her presence on screen is excellent and the passion that she throws in to the role is commendable. She continues to ride the coat tales of ‘Wonder Woman’ to the present day and her legacy will run on long after she is no longer with us.

If you’ve never watched this show before I highly recommend you check out the first season on DVD. If you have seen the show and yet don’t own it… well I don’t know but you better have a good excuse!

7/10

Batman #22

COMIC REVIEW: Batman #22

Batman #22
Batman #22

Cover by Greg Capullo

Written by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV

Pencils by Rafael Albuquerque

Inks by Rafael Albuquerque & Danny Miki

Purchase your copy @ Comixology now!

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

I realise this review seems a little out dated to be reviewing issue #22 when both issue #23 and #23.1 have now been released but unfortunately the way my subscription works I’m always a month behind on Batman.

The ‘Batman’ title has failed to do any wrong for quite some time and with the introduction of the ‘Zero Year’ arc it continues to break new ground in the Batman universe to the applause of almost all of the fandom.

Snyder is well known for his brilliant work on ‘Batman’ over the course of The New 52 and it shows no sign of stopping any time soon. What I love about his stories is that there’s never a feeling that you are being rushed or handed any information for the sake of clarity.

‘Secret City’ is no change from the work that has come before it. A beautiful slow burn that isn’t going over the origin story that has been done so many times before it.

Initial hesitation to the idea was blown away completely when it became apparent that ‘Zero Year’ would not simply be a retelling of ‘Year One’ with a new spin.

As fans we know where the story is going to end up but for once we’re at the inception of Batman with no idea how the story will play out.

‘Secret City: Part Two’ is part flash-back and part present day tale featuring a gang of Red Hoods.

First lets discuss the flash-back. This is the only time we see any recognisable images from origins of Batman past with Bruce falling down the well. It’s impossible to tell any form of Batman origin without covering some of the ground that has been covered before and its handled well here with a couple of striking images of the bats encompassing the young Bruce. It’s placed a little abruptly in the story but perhaps this is a mirror for real human though… don’t we often jump back to childhood memories in our heads at the drop of a hat?

The present day storyline brings us a rather menacing group of Red Hoods, Oswald Cobblepot and plenty of Bruce Wayne action.

The dialogue is brilliant and consistently well written with scenes between Alfred and the young Bruce are particularly poignant and at times striking. Snyder has constructed the characters to reflect the younger age that they appear at in this arc. Bruce in particular displays the angst of young adulthood brilliantly, the tension he shares with Alfred is a little heartbreaking but at least we know it will all be fine in the end.

The appearance of the young Edward Nygma towards the end of the story takes it to a whole other level. There’s an underlying level of The Riddler as he first appears which leads us to an incredible puzzle pages which I struggled to read to begin with.

I’m not convinced that the leader of the Red Hood group will turn out to be The Joker but the force and anarchy that he carries is certainly making him a great villain for the infant Bat.

The back-up story fleshes out some of the background in the scene that Bruce shares with Nygma in the Egyptian exhibit. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I often get bored with back-up stories as they are simply a piece of side information tied to the main story and this is one of those examples however in this case learning a little more about the young Bruce does help to make the character in the main story feel more fleshed out.

The art in both stories is, as always, brilliant. The back-up story features a much darker, more angular and detailed image than the main piece but in tone with the story at the same time.

Capullo’s work on the main story continues the brilliant work that we’ve been seeing for some time now in the ‘Batman’ title. Everything has been perfectly dialled back several years from where it was prior to the ‘Zero Year’ arc: Gotham is shinier; Bruce is younger etc…

A great deal of effort has been put in to creating a new world which over the course of ‘Zero Year’ will be deconstructed to resemble the city that we know of the present day.

This isn’t simply a new story in the Batman world. It’s a whole new world that we’ve yet to really explore which adds a lot more suspense and anticipation to Batman’s origin which is something that has been lacking from the comics for a long long time. Not because it hasn’t been done well but because it’s been done so many times. The level of anticipation that ‘Zero Year’ is bringing rivals that of any new Batman movie.

A complete must read!

9/10

Detective Comics #23

COMIC REVIEW: Batman Detective Comics #23

Detective Comics #23
Detective Comics #23

Cover by Jason Fabok

Written by John Layman

Art by Andy Clarke & Jason Fabok

Colours by Blond & Emilio Lopez

Purchase your copy @ Comixology now.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

‘Detective Comics’ is going through something of a creative surge right now which has brought us the Wrath arc. The Bat-verse has been plagued by massive story arcs featuring villains who have sprawled across various titles so following on from the Court of Owls, Leviathan and The Jokers return in ‘Death of the Family’ it’s an interesting change of pace to have Batman face of against a formidable but not all-encompassing villain.

Interestingly the cover art for ‘Detective Comics’ has really pulled itself up from the generic to the striking. Concerns have been noted about the design of Wrath with many comparing his look to that of the Talons. It’s true that there are likenesses between the costumes Wrath is growing into a unique villain.

Issue #23 focusses a little more on the origins of Wrath with the opening prologue before launching in to a Bruce Wayne fronted detective story. Actually it’s almost an Alfred and Bruce buddy movie.

Aside from the ‘Year Zero’ story that’s taking place in the ‘Batman’ series Bruce (and to a lesser degree Alfred) have been forced a little in to the background of late. Here we get a story that takes place mainly during the day and without a Bat-costume in sight.

Layman is writing a solid story month-by-month which is now pushing this title in to the kind of territory where readers are rushing to pick-up copies and anxiously awaiting the next chapter. There’s a difference between buying a comic each month and suffering through the time between release dates.

Often casual fans will complain about market saturation for heroes like Superman and Batman who headline not just their own titles but others which essentially tell the same kinds of stories but under a different banner. What I often tell my friends is to think about what kinds of Batman stories they want to read and then decide which title would be the one for them.

‘Detective Comics’ is for the big action fans, the fans who enjoy the movies for the stories that they tell and not necessarily for the pure character moments and the arc is providing all of the action in spades whilst containing the small character moments that more hardcore fans thrive on.

Jason Fabok’s artwork is brilliant as always. The characters facial expressions are some of the most detailed we’ve seen in a long time. His characters are able to express a deeper level of emotion than some of the more cartoon style comics currently out there. At the same time he is also able to bring a level of scope to the comics that reminds the reader about the world these characters inhabit. In this issue keep your eyes peeled for the moment Alfred makes a startling discovery.

The back-up story ‘Marital Abyss’ is less of a Man-Bat story and more of a She-Bat story. Although it ends with a ‘to be continued’ moment it’s actually a well round story that does come to a complete ending.

Often I find myself skipping over back-up stories in comics because they’re simply a different angle of the main story or almost act as a prologue. This is (currently) not related to the main story and so it’s a great addition to the comic that I think adds more value for money.

8/10

The Dark Knight #22

COMIC REVIEW: Batman The Dark Knight #22

The Dark Knight #22
The Dark Knight #22

Cover & Art by Alex Maleev

Written by Gregg Hurwitz

Colours by Dave McCaig

Purchase your copy @ Comixology now!

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

‘The Dark Knight’ as a title has a bit of a chequered past having launched in January 2011 delays meant that the second issue was released roughly four months later, issue three arrived three months after this and only then did it manage to release issues in concurrent months.

The title was brought about in order to re-introduce Bruce Wayne to the character of Batman after ‘The Road Home’ arc which saw him essentially return from the dead. The original concept was to keep the series based in more noir, supernatural stories.

Over the past two years the title has stuck to darker subject matter, the recent Mad Hatter arc has proven that the writers working on this title aren’t afraid to shy away from mass murder, but it is often also a title where the writers experiment with potential story ideas which are more outside the box… White Rabbit anybody?

What ‘The Dark Knight’ does do well is focus heavily on the darker side of its characters. This month the focus is on Commissioner Gordon. He moved to the forefront after the time jump in issue #21 calling on Batman at a time when Alfred was hoping that Bruce would give up the cowl. To a lesser extent Clayface plays a part on this story and moves to the forefront for issue #23.

There’s a certain amount of subterfuge in this months issue but Gordon is the focus on both sides of the twist and it’s important to know that this title doesn’t do subterfuge for the pure shock value.

Hurwitz is spinning another origin tale which kicks off here but what’s great about it is that it doesn’t feel like an origin. I found myself completely wrapped up in the Gordon story to consider that I’m seeing another of Batman’s first encounters.

Maleev brings the visual noir that has been missing from this title for so long. This issue is a perfect example of the kind of gritty urban art that a modern Bat-book should be displaying and hopefully that will continue throughout Maleev’s run.

In a time when Batman is spread across so many titles (Detective Comics, Batman, Batman Inc., The Dark Knight to name but a few) it’s vital that each have its own unique selling point and considering the title and the premise ‘The Dark Knight’ should be amazing us each month with its exploration of the extreme dark side of Gotham.

‘The Dark Knight’ is not the kind of series that I would recommend you go back and pick-up from the start, a huge amount of criticism was heaped on the Mad Hatter arc for turning up the creepy dial too far but actually if you are looking for disturbing character piece its well worth reading.

If brilliant noir artwork and a complex, character driven story is what you’re after then it is well worth starting to read ‘TDK’ with issue #22.

8/10

‘Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters’

FILM REVIEW: ‘Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters’

‘Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters’
‘Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters’

Directed by Thor Freudenthal

Written by Marc Guggenheim (screenplay), Rick Riordan (novel)

In cinemas now!

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

The ‘Percy Jackson’ franchise is an interesting phenomena in that it isn’t really a phenomena in the first place. The first film ‘The Lightning Thief’ was released in February of 2010 and despite receiving only a mixed reaction from critics managed to scrape home over $200 million at the worldwide box office.

I missed to see the film at the cinema but caught up with it on blu-ray later on as I’m intrigued by adaptations of Greek mythology.

Three years later and sequel ‘Sea of Monsters’ is coming to a close of its time in theatres having also managed to surpass it’s $90 million budget. The sequel has only managed to amass $120 million at the worldwide box office – on a side note it follows many recent films which has stalled at the US box office and made more money in foreign territories – but that’s still a fairly impressive haul for a film which nobody really knows about.

In talking to colleagues and friends nobody is really aware that this film is a sequel and some in general were completely unaware of the film itself which doesn’t say a lot for the marketing but given cliffhanger feel of the ending I can only hope that Fox green-light the next book to be adapted.

The premise of ‘Sea of Monsters’ is that the half-blood camp where all the teens live has been infiltrated by the nefarious Luke who has poisoned the tree which bores the protective shield around the camp.

Percy and co. must go on a quest to retrieve the golden fleece in order to bring the tree back to life and protect the camp once more.

What Riordan does so well in his books is to modernise aspects of Greek mythology but also make them incredibly relevant to the films audience. In this instalment Percy learns that he has a half brother, a further son of Poseidon, called Tyson.

The myth of the cyclops is a standout amongst Greek mythology and one that most will have come across at some point, most likely in school. Here the cyclops is not only a beast of mythology but also a teenager who lives on the outside because he looks a little different to the rest. Dressing up the mythology in the awkwardness of teenage behaviour is a perfect way to introduce the audience to both history and also fantasy.

The film is well directed by Freudenthal who is a relative newcomer to full-blown cinema and definitely a newcomer to the genre of the summer blockbuster. Kinda helps that his first name is Thor… adds a bit of credibility to the project.

He clearly handles the source material with confidence and allows the actors in inhabit their characters and breathe within them rather than box them within the confines of their descriptions in the books.

Guggenheim – one of the masterminds behind hot TV series ‘Arrow’ I might add – writers a good script here. The film doesn’t feel short despite it’s 107 minute length and actually to have gone on longer may have begun to make the film feel padded out.

There’s not masses of time for small character moments here but what few quiet moments we get are meaningful and do serve to move the characters forward in their individual stories.

As a whole package the film does suffer from the summer blockbuster format of set-piece-to-set-piece but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a CGI laden film such as this.

Special credit has to go to the team behind the incredibly imaginative stained glass animation sequel which put me in mind of the prologue sequence from ‘Hellboy 2’ with the golden army brought to life a CGI models.

The acting is perfectly on par with the first film. Lerman, Daddario and Jackson have great chemistry as the three leads and Guggenheim has clearly allowed the script to incorporate the fact the actors have all grown up hugely from where they were in ‘The Lightning Thief’.

Leven Rambin picks up perfectly where she left off in ‘The Hunger Games’ to play a similar character. I had problems seeing her as anybody other than Sloane Sloane from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ but after the film was over it was clear she was a good addition to the cast.

Despite carrying a PG rating some of the imagery in ‘Sea of Monsters’ is perhaps a little nightmarish for kids. There were a couple of parents with young children who left around the time that Percy entered the loft to ask about his involvement in the prophecy as perhaps the children were too small to handle the monsters. This aside overall the film is a great summer adventure movie which tops the more generic fare which studios churn out to keep kids entertained.

If you enjoyed the first film then shame on you if you haven’t seen this one yet. If you haven’t seen the first one go see this one now before it disappears from cinemas and then go back to watch the first one right afterwards!

6/10

'Turtles Forever' Poster Art

FILM REVIEW: ‘Turtles Forever’

'Turtles Forever' Poster Art
‘Turtles Forever’ Poster Art

Directed by Roy Burdine & Lloyd Goldfine

Written by Rob David, Matthew Dredk and Llyod Goldfine

Purchase your copy on DVD @ Amazon.co.uk now!

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!

It’s Sunday morning, I needed some cartoons to watch and I thought of this movie which I’ve had for a while but still haven’t gotten around to watching.

The premise of this film is pretty genius: to bring together the three most famous incarnations of the TMNT; the 1984 comic book originals, the 1987 cartoon classics and the 2003 animated series team plus versions of the villains from both animated universes and all this to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the franchise.

The animation is on par with the 2003 animated series but with incursions in to the universe of the 1987 TV show and also the world of the 1984 comics the animators take massive queues from the styles of those incarnations so this film overall becomes a massive nostalgia-fest for fans of the genre.

‘Forever’ acts as a series finale to the 2003 series which was not always a big hit with fans but is enjoyable in its own right.

The saddest part of this film? The fact that because 4Kids was a non-union company – I’m sighting Wikipedia as a source here guys – and the actors who originally played the turtles in the 80s were union actors the company could not afford to hire them and therefore replaced them with reasonable sound-a-likes.

The voice acting is good, you can tell its not the voices that you most likely remember from childhood but they do a great job of trying to recall the magic of the 80s cartoon.

The fact that 4Kids didn’t just recreate the series for a new audience in 2003 opens this film up to a whole lot of interaction between the two teams of turtles who share the most screen time. Discussion about their initials on their belts and the comedy value of their catchphrases and vehicles from the classic series just ramp-up the seriousness of the 2003 team and likewise the fun of the 80s team brings a new level of comedy which some fans felt was lacking.

Some brilliant moments also come in the scenes shared by the two Shredders. All memories of the 87 Shredder being a menacing villain will be undone by seeing him dwarfed by the 2003 Shredder who is the main villain here. Sadly 87 Shredder is reduced to a slapstick comedy villain which is a little bit of a shame.

April O’Neill (both of them) and Casey Jones are overlooked a little in this film but with 8 and sometimes 12 turtles to contend with the ensemble cast is already pretty huge.

Splinter does get a little screen time mainly in his 2003 self, his 1987 self does make a brief appearance for added value.

The story actually works well and although a cash in for the 25th anniversary feels pretty organic to the worlds of both cartoon turtles. Having not read the 1984 comic I’m not sure if this world fits in with the dimension hopping nature but for inclusions sake and to honour the source material it’s great to see them getting involved.

In the run up to the new 2014 film if you, like me, are going back over your TMNT history this is a great place to see all your favourite turtles crammed in to one adventure.

Also… I still want my own Technodrome!

7/10

Batman ’66 #9

COMIC REVIEW: Batman ’66 #9

Batman ’66 #9
Batman ’66 #9

Cover by Mike Allred

Written by Jeff Parker

Art by Sandy Jarrell

Coloured by Rico Renzi

Purchase your digital copy @ comixology now!

Beware of spoilers!

We’re on to our next back-up story this week in ‘Batman ‘66’ and for this little gem Jeff Parker has called on the villainous Egghead – played by Vincent Price in the original series – to cause mayhem in Gotham.

I would have liked to see The Joker’s arc stretch to a full three issues but this format of a major villain for the main story and a lesser villain for the back-up story does seem to work well. I doubt that Egghead could have filled a full two issues without pairing with another villain so to bring him out of retirement for this short story is genius.

More and more we’re seeing Parker take the stories to territory that is far beyond that of the TV series but not in the kind of departure that makes it unrecognisable.

This is a neat little story which requires very little setup and as we’ve come to expect from this series packs in a lot of story in to a short space of time.

Sandy Jarrell is a new to the series and brings some cool artwork to the table. There’s a feel of the art we’ve previously seen from Jonathan Case but with a load of individual flair from Jarrell.

Egghead is clearly Egghead and there are some subtle hints of Price whilst Batman and Robin at par for the course in their reflections of West and Ward.

Jarrell also gets a massive thumbs up for getting to draw the Bat-copter!

A fun, simple story to follow-up the complex Joker arc. For 69p it’s well worth a read!

8/10

‘Star Trek’ (2009)

CLASSIC REVIEW: ‘Star Trek’ (2009)

‘Star Trek’ (2009)
‘Star Trek’ (2009)

Directed by J. J. Abrams

Written by Bob Orci & Alex Kurtzman

Get it on Blu-Ray @ Amazon.co.uk now!

As always: beware of spoilers!


With sequel ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ released on blu-ray/DVD in the UK on September 2nd I thought I’d jump back to the 2009 reboot that kick-started this new version of the franchise.

I’ll start out by saying that I’m a little too young for the original ‘Star Trek’ series. That’s not to say I haven’t gone back and watched it but my Trek was ‘The Next Generation’ through ‘Deep Space Nine’ and the beginnings of ‘Voyager’ which I have also gone back to watch. Still on the list of ‘Trek’ to go back to… ‘Enterprise’ which so far I’ve only managed to watch the first four episodes of.

Like many I was dubious about the idea of going back to the series that started it all and remaking it for a modern audience. Unlike many others the idea that this reboot would be captained by J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company actually put me at ease.

One thing that you’ll probably come to learn about me is that there isn’t a huge amount of Bad Robot productions that I don’t like… okay don’t mention post season 3 ‘Lost’ or even start on ‘Undercovers’. Highlights for me are ‘Alias’ and most definitely ‘Fringe’.

There are many out there who still don’t agree with this reboot and as has been featured in the press several times recently as a ‘Trek’ convention in Las Vegas ‘Into Darkness’ has been voted the worst ‘Trek’ movie of all time.

NB: we’ll discuss this above point when I get around to reviewing the ‘Into Darkness’ blu-ray.

No matter what your feelings are about recasting beloved characters from the past I think you have to admire the respect that has been given to the franchise. Rather than rewriting over history or simply re-telling history what Orci and Kurtzman cleverly (in my opinion) did was to tie the current Trek present to the Trek past via time travelling villain Nero (Eric Bana). Essentially the film starts out in the universe that we know and love but as soon as Nero arrives the timeline is instantly changed and from a writing standpoint nothing that happens from here negates the original series in any way.

Having watched the extras on the ‘Trek’ blu-ray from start to finish I am a little disappointed that it’s not mentioned in the film that the Romulan ship Narada has been enhanced using Borg technology.

As a big fan with a slight fear of the Borg this is closest we’ve gotten to having the original series crew come across the Borg and the prospect of a full on meeting just blows my mind.

The production design on this film is immense. There’s a level of expectation when Bad Robot is involved in a production and this film doesn’t disappoint. Every element of the old series has been taken in to great consideration and redesigned for a modern audience whilst remaining recognisable for older fans.

The hardest part of taking on a project such as rebooting ‘Trek’ – more so than with comic book properties which continue exist in other forms in the public zeitgeist between times when films are in production – is balancing pleasing old fans with making new ones and this film does it well.

One of the biggest criticisms of the Abrams era ‘Trek’ has been the amount of action on-screen against the ethos of exploring strange new worlds. It is fair to say that this modern era crew have done very little exploring and even less in the way of diplomatic missions for Starfleet.

What I would say to those critics is that in the past when ‘Trek’ movies have veered towards diplomatic missions, particularly in the ‘Next Gen’ movies is when the franchise has connected less with movie-going audiences. There’s no denying that the diplomacy of ‘Trek’ works incredibly well in a serialised TV format but in movies there needs to be some action to drive the film.

Don’t get me wrong, if there’s a director out there who can take the ideals of ‘Trek’ and put them in to a two-hour movie which dispenses with action but remains as gripping to watch then I’m there on opening night but I don’t think that modern audiences will connect with a film-version which doesn’t at least bring a showdown with the Klingons.

What Abrams does do here is bring together a stellar (pardon the pun) cast who embody modern versions of the classic characters incredibly well and place them in a universe which echoes Trek but in a post-9/11 word (more on that next time).

If you’ve somehow not seen this movie yet then it’s only £8 on Amazon for the blu-ray. Check it out now and then dive ‘Into Darkness’ next week with its home video sequel.

9/10