Month: July 2014

Wonder Woman Done Right

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There’s a good chance that by now you’ve seen the teaser image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. And if you’re anything like me, you may have nearly spit out your morning coffee the first time you saw the picture.

Yep, this version of Wonder Woman is coffee-spitting good, and it’s making me even more excited for Batman v. Superman.  Our favorite Amazonian princess is finally getting some time to shine on the big screen and her character design is outstanding! The boots, the bracelets, the weapons… Everything about her costume just works. The pieces all come together to make an incredible ensemble.

Personally, I think this costume does justice (no pun intended) to Wonder Woman’s true essence. It has hints of the classic comic book design, while still fitting in with Zack Snyder’s gritty universe. Gadot is not overly sexualized in this costume, but she still maintains an aura of that special brand of Wonder Woman sexual magnetism.

But the thing I like most about this Wonder Woman is she is tough. The dark color scheme and rigid metal features of her costume help to emphasize her strength.  There is nothing more infuriating to me than artists and directors portraying Wonder Woman as weak.  Diana is a warrior, an Amazon, and one of the toughest characters in the DC universe! This costume hits the nail on the head in terms of getting that point across.

My one small criticism is that Gadot is not very muscular in this image. I would like to see her bulk up a little bit before the actual filming starts (after all, Wonder Woman is an Amazon!), but overall I’m very satisfied with this character design.

What do you think about the new Wonder Woman?  Leave your opinion in the comments section below!

 

Be Like Batman, Support Local Businesses

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Why does Batman do what he does? Why does he throw himself out into the night only to be rewarded with bruised ribs and torn flesh? There must be a reason. There must be a rationale that justifies his pain, sacrifice, and unrelenting commitment. Some say that it was the tragic experience of witnessing his parents’ murder that caused Bruce Wayne to take up the cape and cowl. Or that it was the evil and decrepit nature of his city that drove him toward desperation.

But I like to think of things a little differently. To me, it wasn’t the evil in Gotham that lead Mr. Wayne to become Batman, it was the good stuff. The people. The history. The culture. Bruce took a long hard look at his city, and he found something worth fighting for.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in comic books. Throughout the years, Batman has established himself as one of the most popular superheroes in the world. Every day more and more people across the globe are falling in love withe the caped crusader. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of them.

He is my favorite comic book character, and in my opinion the greatest super hero of all time. What is it that makes him that great? Easy. He’s so damn relatable. We look into his dark eyes, and we can’t help but see a piece of ourselves. From the child dressed in a Batsuit for Halloween, to the weekend-warrior with a Batman t-shirt stuffed in his gym bag, we have all fantasized about what it would be like to be Batman.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here’s your chance.

All over the world, cities and towns just like Gotham need your help. Local businesses play a huge role in the economic and cultural development of a city. Unfortunately these local establishments often get ignored.  Instead of buying from a local bookstore, people will get their books online. Instead of eating at a local sub shop, people will hit-up the McDonald’s drive-through.

I’m here to tell you that buying local and supporting local small businesses is incredibly important. Yes, it may cost you a few extra dollars for your dry cleaning, but the benefits that your support has on your hometown are priceless.

Not sure where to start? Hundreds of local comic book shops and book stores across the country are offering free promotional items today in honor of Batman’s anniversary. Find a participating store close to you and check it out! Get some free stuff and while you’re there, maybe think about buying something that catches your eye.

If Batman has taught us anything, it’s that it only takes one person to change the world. Get out there and be like Batman. Stand-up for your city!

Spider-Man vs Deathstroke: Who Would Win?

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That’s right! It’s a battle between two genetically-modified super dudes with cool masks. One was bitten by a radioactive spider, and the other is a product of secret government experimentation.

Deathstroke’s extensive arsenal of weaponry and brutal tactics are sure the push the web-slinger to his limits in this fight, but Spidey has a few tricks of his own.  The one-eyed mercenary is gunning for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in today’s match up!  Here’s the scenario:

Norman Osborn is desperate.  His experimental prototypes at Oscorp are all failing due to intervention by Spider-Man and he is losing millions of dollars.  In his desperation, he hires a high-end mercenary named Deathstorke to eliminate Spider-Man. Deathstroke puts together a plan to confront his target on the rooftops of New York City.

Spider-Man is arguably the most popular character of the Marvel Universe.  And there’s a reason for that, he’s a pretty darn good comic book character.  One of the best there is and ever was, in my humble opinion. Whether it’s his sassy retorts or his rich (sometimes tragic) backstory, there is just something special about Spidey.

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Spider-Man has a laundry list of awesome powers such as super strength, speed, and agility.  But beyond the basics, he also has the ability to stick to most surfaces, web shooters that deploy strong webbing, and a ‘spider sense’ that alerts him of incoming danger.  Pretty cool, right?

There is no doubt that Spider-Man is awesome.  But his opponent in this fight is also awesome.  Of course I’m talking about Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson.

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Weapons expert, master tactician, genetically modified super soldier…  Okay, so maybe that last one sounds more like Captain America, but my point is there are a lot of ways to describe Deathstroke.  And I think the most accurate  description is “a pure badass.”  He’s a master of combat and strategy, primarily working as a mercenary.  He’s a gun for hire who is very good at what he does.  For example, Deathstroke single-handedly took down a full team of Justice Leaguers in the popular story Identity Crisis.

But Deathstroke has never had an opportunity to go one-on-one with Spider-Man.  If he did get the chance, here’s how I think it would go down:

Spider-Man is web swinging across the New York skyline for his nightly patrol.  It’s been a quiet night for him so far, just a couple of muggers on the Lower East Side.  Then he notices an eerie orange glow in the distance. Spidey rushes towards the disturbance and is shocked to see the top two floors of the Daily Bugle engulfed in flames! He shoots a web and thrusts himself towards the blaze.  Deathstroke is poised on the top level of an office building adjacent to the Bugle. Like a moth to a flame, his prey draws nearer to the trap. Spider-Man makes one final jump towards an open window, and as he does Deathstroke hits the switch on a remote actuator. Suddenly, an explosion tears through the interior of the building.  The force of the blast throws Spider-Man backward and he finds himself falling towards the street.  

Spidey shoots a quick web and pulls himself back to the building.  A burst of energy tingles his spine and his spider sense starts going berserk. Spider-Man’s instinct leads him to dive to the right.  And as he does, a .50 caliber slug from a sniper rifle shatters the brick behind him. Spider-Man uses his web shooters to catapult himself towards the sniper. Deathstroke quickly draws his sword.  

Spider-Man jumps through the shattered glass window, and Deathstroke cuts him across his back. Spidey retaliates with a few acrobatic kicks to Deathstroke’s center mass.  Deathstroke tries to swing his weapon again, but Spider-Man webs it to the floor. This makes Deathstroke increasingly more frustrated and he swings at Spider-Man with a wild blow.  Seeing his opportunity, Spider-Man dodges the blow and hits Deathstroke with a glob of webbing. A swift kick send the incapacitated Deathstroke out the broken window, and one final web leaves him hanging by his ankles over the New York street.

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Winner: Spider-Man!

Spider-Man is faster, stronger, and more agile than Deathstroke, so he gets the win.  He also has spider sense, which would be extremely helpful for telegraphing Deathstroke’s attacks. And his web shooters are great for incapacitating his opponents!  The only way I could see Deathstroke winning is if he completely understood the opponent he was dealing with and had time to come up with a plan.  But even in that case, I think Spider-Man would have the edge.

Who do you think would win this fight?  Would Deathstroke’s tactical planning and marksmanship be enough to take down Spider-Man, or do you think he bit off more than he could chew with the wall-crawler? Leave a comment below!

 

Marvel Premiers Female Thor on “The View”

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On this morning’s episode of The View, Marvel Comics released some big news.  Popular comic book character Thor is being replaced by a female predecessor!  It is still unclear as to whether character change will take place in an all new title, Thor: God of Thunder, or a different project.

The only thing we do know is that Thor will make a foolish mistake, and that will cause him to lose his hammer. He is no longer worthy of wielding Mjolnir (his magical hammer), so he must pass it on to a female character.  The identity of the new character is unknown.  It is rumored that she is someone who Thor saved in the past, so she chooses to model her own identity as a superhero after him.  She will even keep the name ‘Thor’ despite her gender.

More to come on this breaking story as details emerge!

Update:  The new character is part of a brand new series simply titled Thor.  Marvel’s “Thor #1” will debut in October, from the creative team Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman.

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Red Hulk vs Wonder Woman: Who Would Win?

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Both Wonder Woman and Red Hulk are powerhouse superheroes who possess incredible strength.  If these two ended up fighting, the collateral damage from the battle would be massive!  But the real question is, who would emerge as the champion?

I always get excited when I think about two super-strong dudes (and lady dudes) smashing each other!  Imagine this scenario:

Ares is becoming weak.  To fuel his power generated through conflict, he teleports a host of monsters onto the beaches of Themyscira.  Red Hulk just so happens to get caught in the teleportation and ends up in Themyscira.  As the Amazon forces battle the other monsters, Wonder Woman squares off against the hulking red creature.

The reason that I like this particular match up is both of these heroes are very stubborn in their own way.  Take Red Hulk, for example.  As Thunderbolt Ross, he was a military man obsessed with eliminating the Hulk.  Why? His hatred for the Hulk is rooted in an even deeper obsession within himself.  He is obsessed with power.

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Even after he achieves ultimate power and becomes Red Hulk, it still isn’t enough.  Jeph Loeb wrote a story arc where Red Hulk goes on a rampage and steals the power cosmic from Silver Surfer.  But I must admit, that whole series was way out of character for Red Hulk, and he was written to be overpowered.  The Loeb force Red Hulk is not the version of the character in this fight.

So he doesn’t have the power cosmic, but Red Hulk is still very powerful!  He has superhuman strength, stamina, and durability.  This guy is a Hulk, which means he is very, very strong.  Red Hulk has gone toe-to-toe with some heavy hitters like Thor, A-bomb, and Green Hulk.

That’s an impressive list. Princess Diana has her hands full with this fight.  On the other hand, she has also gone up against some heavy hitters of her own, guys like Doomsday, Ares, and even Superman.

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Wonder Woman is by far my favorite female superhero.  She has superhuman strength and speed, enhanced senses, and the ability to fly.  She can react fast enough to deflect bullets with her impenetrable bracelets, and she has an indestructible lasso that can force opponents to tell the truth.

When it comes to strength, I think Red Hulk has the upper hand.  He is probably stronger than Wonder Woman, but Diana has additional powers that could level the playing field.  One thing is for sure, it would definitely be a close fight!

Red Hulk looks around, surveying the area.  Somehow he has been transported to a forest, and there is what looks like a city in the distance.  Red Hulk uses his powerful leg muscles to jump high into the air, heading toward the city.  Suddenly, something hits him hard and he is sent hurtling back towards the ground.  Wonder Woman is hovering above him as Red Hulk comes to his senses.  She calls out a warning, offering the beast one chance to leave her home before she makes him leave.  Red Hulk responds to her offer by uprooting a massive oak tree and striking Wonder Woman with it.  She is smacked out of the air and hits the ground hard.  Red Hulk pounces on top of her and begins to strike her violently, beating a crater into the earth. Wonder Woman calls to Gaea for strength and manages to kick Red Hulk off.  She then summons all her strength and hits Red Hulk directly in the spine.  The force of the blow causes him to fall to the ground, and as he does Wonder Woman loops her lasso around his throat.  Red Hulk thrashes his limbs and struggles for breath, but Wonder Woman is able to hold the lasso firm.  Red Hulk’s oxygen is cut off and he slowly slips into unconsciousness.

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Winner:  Wonder Woman!

I said that I thought Red Hulk was stronger than Wonder Woman, but it’s not by much!  Wonder Woman is one of the strongest heroes in the entire DC Universe, and even if Red Hulk is stronger, she has enough supplemental powers and weaponry to more than make up the difference. This would be a long, tiring battle that would drain a lot from the Amazon, but I believe she would come out on top.

Who do you think would win?  Do you agree that Diana has the power needed to take down a hulk, or would Red Hulk’s strength prove to be too much for her?  Tell me your opinion in the comments section below!

Batgirl Redesign Falls Short

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DC Comics and MTV News just announced that a new creative team will take over the Batgirl title in October.  I wish that I could say I’m a fan of the new direction, but unfortunately, I have some issues with it.  Fan-favorite writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher joined artist Babbs Tarr to create a drastic revamp of a classic character.

The goal behind this revamp is to re-invent Batgirl as a lighter, happy-go-lucky character.  Apparently, she’s set to break-off all of her previous connections in Gotham, move to a hip/trendy neighborhood, and “live the life of a young, single girl in the city.”  My inner fanboy is weeping.

But before I get to the criticism, let me just say that I am 100% in favor of the movement to get the younger female demographic interested in comics.  The joy of comics should be given to everyone, and young girls do need strong female characters that they can look up to!  What I’m not happy about, however, is one of my favorite characters in all of comic book history getting carelessly wiped-out like a discarded drawing on an Etch-A-Sketch.

Overall, I don’t like the art style but there are a few things that I do like about the new character design.  This version of Batgirl features a much more practical costume with a leather jacket as opposed to spandex and combat boots as opposed to heels.  On the other hand, I find the artwork overtly juvenile.  I’m usually not a fan of comics that are drawn to resemble doodles in a high school art student’s notebook.

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Rumor has it that Barbara will make this new costume herself out of items she finds at various vintage boutiques and thrift stores. I guess I can see the folksy, light-hearted charm, but the problem is Batgirl isn’t really a folksy, light-hearted character.  She’s gritty and dark, and that’s what makes her so interesting.  She is (or at least was) a shining example of determination and unrelenting will, with a splash of vengeance. Think about it: Barbara has seen her friends and family members die, she witnessed her own brother become a mass murderer, she has been beaten and tortured countless times, not to mention she was put through all the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke…  Oh and did I forget to mention that she was paralyzed for years, but still managed to fight for good despite of her handicap!

That’s the character I want to read about, not little miss trendy’s adventures in Gotham city.

The new creative team will start their run with a fire burning all of Barbara’s previous possessions.  I think that’s an accurate symbolic representation of the new direction; all of Batgirl’s great history and character development going up in smoke.

Like I said, it’s great that the industry is recognizing the younger female demographic and writing heroes for them.  It’s just a shame that DC had to destroy one of my favorite characters in the process.

 

If Superheroes Could Play In The World Cup…

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The World Cup is a great opportunity for different nations of the world to come together and engage in multiculturalism, sportsmanship, and overall unity… unless your team gets knocked-out by Belgium with a heartbreaking loss in extra time.  That was a hard loss to take.  Still, I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if the United States had a few superheroes on the roster.

In today’s post I’m picking 11 heroes that I think would make the perfect World Cup team.  My picks are all coming from the Marvel comics universe, and they must all be United States citizens.

Team Captain:  Captain America
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Cap is an obvious choice for my team. His speed, strength, agility, and strategic skills make him an incredible athlete and competitor as is, but he also has the fiercest leadership skills out there. Can you imagine the pep-talks he would give in the locker room? With Cap as team captain, all of the players would be sure to give 110%.

Hawkeye
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Hawkeye’s marksmanship earns him a spot on this team.  He is able to use various weapons with pinpoint accuracy, so his shots on goal would be very accurate.

Spider-Man
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I think that Spider-Man is a good pick because he’s another fast and agile character.  Also, his spider-sense might allow him to know where the ball was going and if it was coming his way.

Iron Fist
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Iron Fist is a martial arts expert.  This means that he has incredible speed, balance and agility.  He’s also accustomed to using his legs for kung-fu kicks.  Kicking a soccer ball would be easy for him.

Cloak
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Teleporters have the potential to change the game.  Because Cloak can teleport, he could be anywhere on the field in a matter of seconds.

Hank Pym
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His Pym Particles let Hank Pym become Giant Man and grow to massive sizes.  This means he could cover the entire distance of the field in a matter of seconds.  It would also make him a tough defender.

Quicksilver (naturalized citizen)
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So Quicksilver wasn’t technically born in the United States, so he is not technically a US citizen.  However, I’m still including him on the list because he has naturalized US citizenship according to Marvel Wiki.  And naturalized citizens are allowed to play for their new countries in the World Cup.  Quicksilver is one of the fastest heroes in the Marvel universe, that fact alone gets him a spot on my team.

Invisible woman
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What?! A woman on the World Cup team?  Yup.  Actually, I picked a few lovely ladies for the team. Gender is not an issue when we’re talking about about superheroes with this much power, and the Invisible Woman’s power is especially useful in this case. Think about it.  She can become invisible and therefore be anywhere on the field.  She can also put up invisible force-fields for defense and turn the ball invisible.

Jean Grey
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My team needs a telepath, and Jean Grey is one of the strongest ones ever. She would be able to telepathically communicate with her teammates. She also has telekinetic abilities, which would give her great control over the ball.

Blink
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Blink is another teleporter. But hey, you can never have too many teleporters!  What attracted me to her character is she has the ability to throw teleportation portals like javelins.  So if she could hit the ball with one of these javelins, she could teleport it into the opponent’s goal.

Goalkeeper:  Mr. Fantastic
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Mr. Fantastic can contort and stretch his body to any shape. His stretchy abilities make him the perfect goalie.  Just try and get one past a man who can make his body the exact size and dimensions of the goal!

So there you have it, that’s my team! And I think the US would stand a much better chance in the World Cup with a few of these guys on the roster.  Who would you pick for your team?  Maybe someone could put together a superhero roster for a different country’s team.  Canada could be interesting…

Like always, let me know what you think in the comments section below.

 

 

 

Superhero Pancakes!

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Every good crime fighter knows that a balanced breakfast is the best way to start the day!  I had a little extra time this morning, so I figured I’d indulge my geeky urges and attempt something that I’ve been eager to try for a while now.  Superhero pancakes!

There was a problem, though.  I’m not very artistically inclined.  I wish I was, but the sad truth is that even my doodles end up lopsided.  And, as I soon found out,  pancake batter is a hard medium to work with!  Nevertheless, I’m not the type of person to let my profound lack of skills stop me from trying something that requires advanced techniques.  So I rolled up my sleeves, preheated the griddle, and got to work.

My first attempt was an Iron Man pancake.

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I guess it kind of looks like Iron Man if you squint a little… Okay, I’ll admit it, this pancake was a failure.  But I like to think of failure as “practice for success.”  And the more I practiced, the better my pancake art got! My next attempt was wolverine.

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I think this one turned out a little better. At least you can see his ears and sort of tell who it is. You get the sense that this pancake is best at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice.

Next up, the Avengers symbol:

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Avengers Assemble!  I’m proud of this addition to my pancake portfolio, mainly because I successfully got the “A” to be darker than the rest of the pancake.  The trick is to do it in stages.  Make an “A” out of batter and let it brown up before pouring the rest of the pancake around it.

The last pancake that I made is my favorite…

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It’s a pancake Batarang!  Isn’t that cool?!  I think it’s cool.  And it was definitely easier to make once I got the hang of manipulating the pancake batter.

 

Have you ever made unique pancakes? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!