Batman

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!

 

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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!

 

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.

 

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!

 

 

Winter Soldier vs Red Hood: Who Would Win?

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What’s better than one sidekick brought back from the dead as an antihero? Two sidekicks brought back from the dead as antiheroes! This match-up features the Winter Soldier against the Red Hood.

These two characters are somewhat similar in their skills and abilities, which means that this fight is going to be a good one! I want to thank Gamer Ramble for suggesting this match-up. If there are any specific fights you would like to see, let me know in the comments section.

Here’s the scenario for this fight:
Both Winter Soldier and Red Hood are contracted to take out an unidentified target. Little do they know that the contracts are actually a set-up for them to take out each other! They both arrive at an abandoned warehouse where a deadly confrontation ensues. Red Hood is armed with dual 9mm pistols, and Winter Soldier has an AR70 assault rifle with one clip. The first person to incapacitate his opponent wins.

Throughout comic book history, there have been several versions of both of these characters. But we’re going to stick with the most famous versions for this fight.

Bucky Barnes was Captain America’s sidekick during World War II until a tragic plane crash caused him to lose his life (or so we thought). Come to find out that Bucky had actually survived the crash and suffered torture and experimentation at the hands of Russian scientists. The experiments give Bucky amazing marksmanship and fighting skills as well as a bionic arm. His memory was erased and he came to be known as the Winter Soldier.

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Red Hood has a lot of similar skills, he is also an expert marksman and fighter. And he also began his career as a sidekick. Jason Todd was Batman’s second Robin. That is until Joker managed to kill him by beating him with a crow bar and then setting off a bomb. But have no fear, Todd was also somehow miraculously resurrected from the dead! He took up the mantel of the Red hood and began fighting crime through lethal force.

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The similarity between these characters is uncanny. They both have similar skill sets, training, experiences, and moral codes. So it ultimately comes down to who does what they do better. On the other hand, firearms are the weapons of choice for both guys, which means this match-up could potentially be ended by a lucky shot. This one would definitely be close, but here’s how I think it would play out.

The fight begins with both characters entering the warehouse. Bucky sets himself up in the rafters, taking aim with his rifle. He spots a target moving below. Jason enters through the main gate and surveys his surroundings. He senses that this might be a trap and jumps back towards cover. Just as he does, a round from Bucky’s assault rifle screams through the air and shatters a wooden crate. Jason peeks out long enough to lay down some suppressing fire. Surprised that his target has weaponry, Bucky vaults down from the rafters and switches his weapon to automatic fire. He begins spraying rounds in Jason’s direction. Jason fires a few shots of his own, two of which ricochet off of Bucky’s bionic arm. Bucky continues to shoot bursts towards Jason until his magazine runs out of ammo. When Jason hears his enemy’s magazine click empty, he seizes the opportunity and rushes towards Bucky. He attacks with a flying kick. Bucky anticipates the attack and hits him hard with his metal arm. The force of the blow causes Jason to drop his guns. Jason quickly rises two his feet and lands a few blows to Bucky’s back, but it is too late. In the brief moment Jason was on the ground, Bucky retrieved one of his 9mm pistols. He fires two rounds into Jason’s chest and one into his head.

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Winner: Winter Soldier!

Like I said, these guys are similar in terms of their skills. So it comes down to who is a better marksman and a better fighter. I think Bucky wins in both these categories. He is a trained, hardened killer with extreme marksmanship abilities. Also, I think his bionic arm gives him the edge in hand-to-hand combat.

Who do you think would win? The Soviet sleeper soldier or the once-dead sidekick with a huge grudge and anger management issues? Give me your opinion in the comments!

Batman vs. Captain America: Who Would Win?

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Who would win in a fight between Batman and Captain America? This is a topic that  has been debated by comic book fans for decades, with opinions evenly torn between the two sides. Some suggest that the match would result in a draw, but for Cure For Kryptonite stalemate is not an option. One man must come out on top. The question is, who will it be?

Both of these guys have their own advantages and disadvantages, but before going into detail about the characters, I want to set up the parameters of the fight:

Cap and Batman meet each other on an average city block. They are both aware that they are fighting, so there are no sucker punches right from the start. It is night time and very dark, but neither person is familiar with the city where they are fighting. Cap has his shield and Batman has a fully equip utility belt. No vehicles and no calling for back-up. The first one to incapacitate his opponent wins.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about Captain America. He’s a soldier straight out of World War II and the leader of the Avengers. This dude had some serious street cred. He also has some serious fighting skills. The super soldier serum that he was injected with back in the 40s gives him super-human abilities such as enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and agility.

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Physically speaking, Captain America is Batman’s superior. He’s stronger, faster, and able to fight longer than Batman. He also carries a shield made out of Vibranium (which is a super strong metal capable of absorbing vibrations). In the hands of Captain America, that shield is a deadly weapon. He is able to throw it with pinpoint accuracy including ricochet shots off of walls and other objects. He even used his shield to fight a shark once.

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So far things aren’t looking so good for Bats, he’s up against one tough son of Uncle Sam.

But wait… what’s this?! Batman has fought sharks too!

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Dang, Aquaman is going to be pissed…

Batman’s shark whooping abilities are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his strengths. For starters, he’s a martial arts master and stealth expert. He has mastered just about every martial art there is and he’s able to disappear while in plain sight. Captain America is a great fighter, but he is outmatched against Batman in terms of fighting skill.

Batman also carries an arsenal of weaponry. His utility belt is stocked with batarangs, freeze pellets, smoke bombs, various gasses, a grapnel, and about 100,000 other nifty little gadgets.  (I promise he doesn’t have any anti-patriotism spray, though).

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His suit itself can also be considered a valuable asset because it serves as body armor. The Batsuit helps Batman take a punch, even from someone as strong as Captain America. Plus, his cape allows him to glide.

Now let’s get back to the hypothetical confrontation!

I think that Captain America would make the first move in this fight, maybe a shield throw.  Bats would probably dodge it and Cap would move in to retrieve his shield. That would cause the two men to get closer and fight hand-to-hand. After taking a few blows, Batman would quickly realize that his opponent is stronger and faster than he is and does not tire easily. Cap would use the close encounter to gauge what fighting style Batman was using, he would determine that he’s dealing with a master.

But before Cap could try and use his strength and speed to finish the fight early, Batman would use a smoke bomb to disappear. Once he was lost in the shadows, he would hit Cap with every gadget he’s got: stun grenades, sonic disruptors, freeze pellets, batarangs, nerve gas… Cap would try to use his shield to defend, but it would be useless against a majority of the attacks (especially the gas attacks).

This barrage of weapon-based attacks would not incapacitate Captain America, but it would severely disorient him. From there, Batman would glide back in and resume hand-to-hand combat. Cap would still be a tough fight, but it would be a completely different scenario now that he was disoriented. Strikes would be exchanged by both men. Eventually, Batman would manage to land a few pressure points. This would give him the brief opportunity to hit Cap with a few electro-shock batarangs.

That would be the end of the fight. Captain America would fall to the ground incapacitated, and Batman would walk away with blood in his cowl, a few cracked ribs, and a dislocated shoulder.

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Winner: Batman! But keep in mind, you have to take my verdict with a grain of salt because the above scenario is hypothetical and entirely based on my opinion.

The reason that I think Batman would win comes down to his stealth abilities and weaponry. If this were strictly a hand-to-hand fight with no weapons or armor allowed, it would be a lot more difficult to judge. But the fact that Batman can disappear and hit Cap with a variety of attacks that a shield cannot defend against is a major game changer for me.

Also, Batman has fought and beat genetically modified adversaries in the past. A few examples that come to mind are Bane, Deathstroke, Man-Bat, and Clayface. I’m sure there are others, the point is he’s no stranger to fighting modified super people. In fact, he has held his own against a few super super people like Superman and Darkseid.

So I stand by my decision and give the edge to Batman. Who do you think would win? Let me know in the comments section!

Decoding Calendar Man

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Friday the 13th. This superstitious holiday also happens to fall on a full moon. That’s double the superstition, and that would make this particular day doubly appealing to one of Batman’s lesser-known villains, Calendar Man.

Julian Day, aka Calendar Man, is one of the most misunderstood villains in the Batman universe. He is a criminal who is obsessed with dates and holidays. His crimes usually occur on holidays and have a relationship to the date they are committed.

Often times, Calendar Man gets overshadowed by the abundance of Batman’s really cool villains. Between the Joker, Two Face, Scarecrow, and countless others, there’s a lot of competition for a super villain to break through in Gotham. That’s why Calendar Man is not very popular, which is a shame because he’s can be an interesting character.

The problem is, he can also be a very stupid character. Some comic book fans don’t like Calendar Man because of his occasional flamboyant costumes and lame holiday puns.

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…Yeah. I’ll admit, the costumes are lame. But! I still think that Calendar Man has his moments. For example, The Long Halloween is one of my favorite Batman books. It features Calendar Man as a Hannibal Lecter-type character offering advice. He was cool in that book, which shows his potential as a villain. If the comic book writers would just portray him as the sinister intellectual type all the time, he could be a great addition to the DC Universe.
Happy Friday the 13th, Julian! Long live Calendar Man.
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What do you think about Calendar Man? Let me know in the comments section!