Batman: Under The Red Hood


A new vigilante shows up in Gotham under the guise of the Red Hood — an alter ego previously used by a number of other thugs but most notably by the Joker. Unlike his predecessors, this Red Hood has started cleaning up Gotham. And unlike Batman, he doesn’t think twice about killing. Batman and Nightwing team up to find out who exactly is under the hood, and to stop him at all cost.

This is a little darker, and a little more violent than their previous relases, but DC’s strength for me really is in their animated features (as opposed to their live-action movies) and Under the Red Hood a pretty solid production .The action sequences in this are nothing short of awesome. There are rooftop chases, explosions, gratuitous crashing through glass ceilings, and headshots all around.

Voice acting was top-notch and they’ve got some pretty well-known names in the cast. As someone who compares every other Batman voice actor to the Kevin Conroy, I thoroughly approve of Bruce Greenwood. He manages to stay in the same neighbourhood as Conroy without sounding like a copycat and makes the role his own. Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, Jensen Ackles as Red Hood and Jason Isaacs as Ra’s Al Ghul – all amazing. John DiMaggio as the Joker was a little too Heath Ledger-ish for me, I would have preferred something a little more maniacal, but the script balanced it out well.

My only qualms are one, where’s all the blood? Fantastic, no holds barred fight scenes, but very little gore. Granted, I’ve never seen someone get beaten to death with a crowbar in real life, but I expected a lot more blood and I dunno, facial swelling.

Two, is it just me or was this a little short? The plot and the characters were well played out; I didn’t find the progression jarring at all. But when the credits rolled, it felt lacking. Maybe an additional fight scene or two would have rounded it out?
All in all, it’s a pretty solid Batman story. It dwells heavily on loss and vengeance and jsut completely blows you away.

The Last Airbender Review

A couple of months ago, I blogged about how I thought The Last Airbender was going to turn out.

I admit, I was wrong: The effects were just as bad as the rest of the film.

My stand against the casting of this film isn’t even a factor anymore because it was just that awful.

I thought Noah Ringer (Aang) looked the part. And he moved well. His martial arts background worked well for him because he was the only one who looked like he knew what he was doing in the fight and element bending scenes. With that said, he’s not a very good actor and neither is Nicola Peltz (Katara). They both looked like they were on the verge of tears most of the time and constipated all of the time.  (The constipated look, it’s an epidemic.)

I feel sorry for the more veteran actors because while their acting doesn’t suck, the script certainly does. Hard.

The bending and fight choreography also sucked major balls. Never has element bending looked this cumbersome and taken so much time. I’m amazed the Fire Nation lost the battle at all with the amount of time it took for the benders to manipulate their respective elements. Seriously, no one thought of just shooting the Air/Earth/Water benders while they were whirling their arms around? There’s also a part where this group of Earthbenders stomp around and do a little dance while fighting which was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

Storywise, the pacing was rushed. I know adaptations are exactly that: adaptations and there is no way you can cram the whole first season in a 103 minutes but the plot would have worked better if they veered away from the animated storyline more because some details in the film were, I felt, unnecessary in moving the story forward.

On the other hand, there was also so much of what made Avatar: The Last Airbender so great that was missing.The absence of Koh, the face stealer and KOIZILLA(TM) was a huge loss. For me, they were what made The Book of Water so awesome. There were also no cute hybrid animals; none of Sokka’s sarcasm; no kooky background characters; minimal emphasis on the spirituality whose influence was so strong in the source material; and most importantly, no sense of joy which was pivotal in balancing out this epic battle that spanned a century.

Gotham City Sirens #12

Let me save you the effort of buying and reading this.

Selena’s out to look for her sister, Maggie, who hasn’t been seen since Blackest Night and has been loony since the whole Black Mask thing. Maggie turns up on the steps of a nun/exorcist person because she believes Selena is possessed by a cat demon and the only way to save Selena is to get rid of it. Nun/exorcist person has a pet cat which makes Maggie believe nun/exorcist person is in league with the cat demon and kills her and her cat. Maggie sifts through nun/exorcist person’s stuff and accidentally sets an angel free from his bottle. Angel says he’ll help Maggie kill cat demon.

What I like about GCS, is that it’s light and funny without being stupid but my suspension of disbelief can only suspend so much.

So no, I didn’t enjoy this issue, thank you very much.

Quickfire

Because I’m too lazy to write a proper review for each of the comics I’m currently reading:

1. The Unwritten

Meet Tom Taylor. Son of Wilson Taylor, author of a series of best selling books starring a young wizard named, Tommy Taylor. With his father’s mysterious disappearance years before, Tom’s been making a pretty decent living off the royalties of his father’s books and appearances and signings at the convention circuits. Suddenly he’s confronted by doubts and questions he doesn’t have the answers to and looking for them, only gets him into more trouble.

That is the best I can describe it without spoiling anything. I’m really enjoying this series though. The cover art’s lovely although I find the plot pacing a little off. Issue #12 was particularly awesome. It did not feature any of the main characters or take place in any part of the current story line, but it was a perfect display of what exactly Tom Taylor’s up against.

2. Fables


For the past couple of centuries or so, characters from various folklore and fairytales (Fables)have been living in our world, the mundane or, “mundy” world as fugitives from an enemy known only as the Adversary, who  has conquered their lands. (Say that 10 times fast)

I’m such a sucker for fairytales and myths and legends, I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Fables.  It’s awesome.

I love that Prince Charming’s philandering douche, who has, in turn, been married and divorced from Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I love that Rose Red’s actually getting some love because no one I grew up with here in the Philippines seemed to know who she was. I also love that Mowgli’s such a stud haha.

Fables. Read it. Also, James Jean’s covers are stunning.

3. Red Robin

First off, I’m not a huge fan of the whole Bruce Wayne is dead (and alive again) storyline. Here, Tim Drake refuses to believe the Bruce is really dead and that he’s actually alive somewhere so he goes off on a soul and Bruce searching journey across the globe. I’m currently on issue #9. In as much as I like Tim, I’m getting a little annoyed by all his whining. Yes, I know your adoptive father is dead, but come on. I’m hoping Tim gets less whiny in later issues.

The Brave & The Bold #33

This made me cry. ; A ;

I don’t really follow The Brave and The Bold, but I saw excerpts of  this issue floating around comic blogs and got insanely curious. I love it when caped females get together and I was expecting it to be a little like Gotham City Sirens, only with good guys.

It starts off with Zatanna waking up from a disturbing dream, which leads her to drag Diana and Barbara on a girls’ night out. And there’s nothing quite like these three women in a club. I especially loved Zatanna going all jedi mind tricks on the club bouncer. Then Wonder Woman starts talking about the Delphi oracle and the place in Greek history oracles in general have and suddenly the story turns somber and you know where this all going.

This was awesome, but I cried which sucks because I’m at the office and I have to pretend that I’m working and not taking a break reading comics.

How To Train Your Dragon 3D

When I saw the dragon in the trailer, I knew I had to watch this. I was expecting a lot of cute and not a lot of plot but I was wrong and I’m glad because it was wonderful. ♥

I thought it was a bit odd for Vikings to have Scottish accents, but they reminded me so much of characters from Asterix & Obelix that I didn’t really care. I thought the dragon designs were awesome. The Gronckle, in particular, had me in stitches every time it flew.

And of course there was TOOTHLESS!

He has got to be the single most adorable character ever animated. He is so cute, I just  want smoosh his face! ♥♥♥

How To Tame A Dragon was the best way to pop my 3D cinema cherry. The flying scenes in particular were nothing less than magical.

I want a Toothless of my very own. ; A ;

Gotham City Sirens #1-9

I finally caught up with the ongoing Gotham City Sirens series!  Written by Paul Dini and illustrated by Guillem March, the series features a team-up between Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman in a post- Hush-Battle for the Cowl-other comics I haven’t read yet-storyline.

I’ve read some really snarky reviews,  but I love it. True, it has its weak points — particularly in issue #1. I felt like the reason for the three of them teaming up wasn’t established well enough, so at times it felt a little fanfiction-y. But it gets better after the first issue and mad props to Paul Dini especially for giving Ivy’s  character a lot of depth.

Guilliem March did a bang-up job with the art. The girls are beautifully stylized. I really think the trick to enjoying Gotham City Sirens is to not take it too seriously.  Or I’m just not hardcore-comic-fan enough. In any case, having three of my favourite girls in one comic is nothing less than fangasmic.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Wasn’t feeling too good, so I stayed home from work the other day with the boyfriend, Chinese take-out and the Justice League. Sick day well spent. Haha!

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths starts out a lot like Grant Morrison’s Earth Two comic: A Lex Luthor from an alternate universe shows up, asking the Justice League to save his Earth from the Crime Syndicate — an evil version of the Justice League.  The Crime Syndicate’s pretty much taken over, with the Government turning a blind eye to Ultraman looking like a guido reject from Jersey shore all their shennanigans.

Then it branches out about multi-dimensions and choices we all make everyday and Owlman wanting to destroy the universe. I thought all the talk about alternate dimensions and Earth “prime” was a little reminiscent of Turtles Forever, but could just be me. Yes, that was a little spoiler, but I’m trying to be as vague as possible.

Batman’s still the BAMF he always is, although I’m a little sad that these newer DC animated films don’t have Kevin Conroy voicing Bats. The upcoming Batman: Under the Red Hood doesn’t have Conroy in it either. But I digress, all in all, I thought it was pretty rad.  Great action sequences and Superman asking Luthor to put some pants on was hilarious.

The Princess and the Frog

I was ecstatic when I found out Disney was going back to its roots and doing a traditionally animated fairytale again. Then when I found out it was going to be a modern re-telling and that Tiana turns into a frog herself after kissing one,  I was skeptic.

Plus Prince Naveen kinda looks like a douchebag.

But I was wrong. (Well partly, Naveen was still a douche at the beginning, but he turned out all right in the end. Haha) The Princess and the Frog was a joy to watch and they brought back a lot of the old gags they used in their old fairytale movies, which was awesome. I was never really a huge fan of completely CG cartoons so I loved the return to the hand drawn style.  Most of all, I really missed these Disney musicals where people just randomly burst out in song and start dancing.

I leave you now with Louie the gator. He’s such a cutie pie.

Bang! Tango

True enough, Mike fulfilled my Christmas Wishlist Item No. 4 and gave me all six issues of Joe Kelly’s Bang! Tango.

Vincente Ponticello is an ex-New York gangster in hiding trying to make it big in the San Francisco Tango scene. His past comes to haunt him though, when an ex-flame comes to him for help.

Plot-wise, this mini-series is a little weak. Ex-mobster, fleeing from his associates, trying to carve himself a new life when a woman (I use the term loosely) from his past shows up out of nowhere — it’s a little cliché, non? I felt the violence and depravity were at times a little forced and was trying too hard to provoke you.

At the best parts though, the clichés combined with sex, violence and tango make for a campy combination that works. Mad props to penciller Adrian Sibar and inker Rodney Ramos because the art more than made up for the lukewarm plot. It’s sexy, fluid and the way the frames flow from page to page mimic a dance in itself. It is a comic that seduces you from start to finish.