Friday, May 31, 2013

Rant Ramblings: Week of 5-31-13

A short column this week, and it's largely Batman-related. That's hardly a bad thing though, right?

Forgot to include this in last week's ramblings, so here it is now! If you haven't seen this, make sure you're sitting down and that you have the next ten minutes free, because you'll probably wanna watch it again as soon as it's done.
Pretty goddamn awesome, right? I love the bulky armor Batman is wearing, as it looks as if it will naturally evolve into the sleek, streamlined armor we had in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. I love the inclusion of Black Mask as the (apparently) main antagonist. He's one of those C-listers I've always really liked that doesn't get used too often. We've had references to him in both previous Arkham games, so that makes it extra cool to see him take center stage. As for Deadshot, another favorite of mine, we can't see too much of his costume here, and we don't know if this is his default look for the game anyway, but it has to be an improvement over his Arkham City costume. That was the only redesign in that game that was truly awful.
Of course, there's also the issue of the voice cast. It's been confirmed that Kevin Conroy, who personifies Batman more than anyone else at this point, is not the voice of the Dark Knight in Origins. Mark Hammill won't be reprising his role as the Joker, either, but at least we were prepared for that with his insistence that he was done with the character after he completed his work on Arkham City. (Of course, we all still hope he can be lured back from time to time.) We have yet to hear what the characters will sound like in the game; hopefully all will be well, but however good it turns out, Conroy and Hammill will be missed. At least we can take consolation in the knowledge that Conroy is returning as Batman in the all-but-confirmed sequel to Arkham City that Asylum/City developers Rocksteady are working on.

Justice League of America #4 was released Wednesday, and it ended on a hell of a cliffhanger. Highlight if you want to read the spoiler: After being caught snooping around in the headquarters of the Secret Society, Catwoman was killed, shot in the head at point-blank range. It's possible it could be a fake-out, but if so, it's a damn convincing one. The whole deal was as unambiguous as it gets in superhero comics. You can see the pages in question here. It was a solid issue as usual, although the art is still the weakest point. Finch's art, which I normally find murky and just plain ugly, has looked very rushed since this series began. Brett Booth fills in for this issue, and while I'm not a fan of his work, it is an improvement. Matt Kindt's backup stories starring the Martian Manhunter remain the best part of the book.

This is a fantastic cover of A-Ha's sappy classic Take On Me that I overheard during an interminable visit to the mall a few weeks back. I've always liked the music of Sara Bareilles whenever I've heard it in the past, but I'd never come across this one before.

The trailer for Machete Kills has arrived, and it looks like they're doing their damnedest to top the awesomely outrageous Machete.
This looks so amazing that I'm not sure I'll make it out alive.

Batman Noir: Eduardo Risso was released Wednesday(although Amazon won't have it for a few more days). This book reprints so much excellent material that it's nearly criminal. The star attractions are probably Broken City and Batman: Knight of Vengeance, both of which are collaborations with Risso's 100 Bullets partner in crime Brian Azzarello. Broken City followed the far more hyped bloated and overrated mess Hush, and is far superior in every way. It's never attained the popularity and regard it deserves, so I hope it gets a higher profile as a result of its inclusion in this new collection. Knight of Vengeance, of course, is the Flashpoint tie-in that was easily the best thing about that event. I really wish it was an ongoing series set on that world, continuity be damned. There's other great material here, of course, including Batman/Deathblow: After the Fires, the excellent Batman strip from the brilliant Wednesday Comics, and a nice little Batman Black & White tale. This is one of the handful of collections I've been looking forward to all year-- thankfully it actually was released, thank you very fucking much for cancelling the paperback editions of the Starman Omnibus, DC--  and you can bet your ass I'll be getting my hands on it as soon as finances allow. It gets my highest possible recommendation, so grab it if you're the slightest bit interested.

That does it for this week!

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