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text 2016-08-24 17:59
DC suggestions
Black Canary Vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming - Annie Wu,Brenden Fletcher,Pia Guerra
Deadshot: Bulletproof - Christos N. Gage,Steve Cummings
Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52) - Babs Tarr,Cameron Stewart
Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals - Bruce Patterson,Greg Potter,Len Wein,George Pérez
Justice League of America, Vol. 1: The Tornado's Path - Brad Meltzer,Damon Lindelof,Ed Benes
Batman: Hush - Scott A. Williams,Jeph Loeb,Jim Lee
Batman: A Death in the Family - Mike DeCarlo,Jim Starlin,Jim Aparo
Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial by Fire - Luke McDonnell,John Ostrander
Batman: The Killing Joke - Tim Sale,Brian Bolland,Alan Moore
Batman: Under the Red Hood - Doug Mahnke,Judd Winick

Here we go for DC!

 

1. Black Canary: Kicking and Screaming.   I didn't buy some of this, like how no one knew Dinah was Black Canary.   Even with its faults, though, it's a fun read and a little bit of a girl group/girl power read.   Fun times, with Dinah as the lead singer in a  girl band.   Surprise Hero, Grrrl Power, and Newsworthy would all fit this series. 

 

2. Deadshot: Bulletproof.   Fascinating look at one of the Suicide Squad members in a solo jaunt.   Awful things happen to children, though, so if that makes you squeamish...  Family Ties, Surprise Hero, Parental Issues, Dead Parents, and Not Dead Anymore would all work for this volume. 

 

3. Batgirl: The Batgirl of Burnside.   Fun, fun take on Batgirl, despite her hipster costume that could be so much more effective if it was more armored.   Complications with school life and balancing that with Batgirl become issues in Babs' life.   Grrrl Power, School, City Boy, Diversity and and Family Ties are all appropriate squares here. 

 

4. Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals.  Nuanced reboot of Wonder Woman.  I couldn't stop reading this volume, and I was cheering Diana on as she adjusted to Man's World.   Grrl Power, School, Newsworthy, Parental Issues, and Not Dead Anymore would all be appropriate squares for this volume.   You could argue Kink with her, y'know, tying people up and forcing them to tell her the truth...

 

5. Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path.   A focus on one of my favorite characters, the JLA's resident android.   Family Ties, Not Dead Anymore, and even Kink would work here. If you're me.   Human/robot relationships are my thing, although I take them more seriously than Kink.

 

6. Batman: Hush.   An epic mindfuck of a story.   I don't want to give too much away, but, yes, this?  You should read it if you can get your hands on it.   Glasses Confuse Everyone, City Boy or Evil Genius are the squares I'd use for this volume. 

 

7. Batman: A Death in the Family.   Epic tale of how everyone voted for Robin to die, and then they killed him off in the most brutal way possible.   Teens, Insanity, City Boy and Family Ties would all work for this square.    And of course, Batman is always Dead Parents.   

 

8. Suicide Squad: Trial By Fire.   Villains do good to get less prison time, and so they don't get parts blown off.   it's pretty epic watching them get corralled into this and having to try to figure out how to work together.   Surprise Hero, Insanity, and Romance Gone Wrong would all work, since there is not only therapy but also a therapist falling for her patient.   And all before Harley Quinn, I believe!

 

9. Batman: Killing Joke.   The Joker tries to prove one bad day can send anyone to the nuthouse.   Insanity, Evil Genius and Family Ties would work here.   

 

10. Batman: Under the Red Hood.  Is Jason Todd really dead?  (Joker killed him in Death in the Family.)  Or is it more mindfuckery?  Family Ties, Parental Issues, and Not Dead Anymore could be used for this volume.   And of course, Batman still has Dead Parents.  

 

I'm hitting the beach.   I'll do general comics later tonight or even tomorrow.      

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review 2016-08-01 19:00
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: The Killing Joke - Tim Sale,Brian Bolland,Alan Moore First book of the year. Woot Woot!
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review 2016-07-27 01:11
DC Animation – The Killing Joke

I am a huge fan of this single issue stand alone story for Batman.

 

I mean whats not to be in awe of, the art is timeless, and we are given an origin story, out right , for the single most enduring and iconic villain in comicdom.

 

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So when DC announced that they were doing an animated version of the story featuring the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, and Mark Hamill I was over the fucking moon.

 

This was going to be the greatest Batman animation ever made, and the last 45 minutes of it are…. but damn, that opening half hour… It starts with Barbara Gordon’s last case as Batgirl. Which isn’t my issue, it shows her in a strong capable light for some of it, but my issue comes with how they changed her relationship with Batman.

 

This is a relationship that has been largely paternal in its portrayal, so much so that Batgirl’s usual beau is one of the Robins. But here they have a scene with Batgirl and batman making out and a later scene confirming they knocked boots.

 

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This coming in the prologue reduces the Batgirl character to being stuffed in a refrigerator to propel Batman into his encounter with the Joker. I get that her being paralysed is a turning point for the character and that you needed to do something for a prologue, but you could’ve left out the sex and made it more powerful in my opinion.

 

Beyond that  though this animation is about the most faithful adaptation of any comic material that I have ever seen. The artists have recreated iconic panels from the one shot comic.

 

The brutality of Jim Gordon’s torture and descent to the very edge of madness is disturbing and harrowing in a way that is never seen in animated adaptations of western comics.

 

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Batman looms larger than life and the stoicism and pain in his persona really come through, especially through his detachment from others and hatred of the Joker. And the Joker, my god the Joker… I’m not going to beat around the bush, Mark Hamill is the star of this. He just is. He delivers the dialogue with such ferocity that the Joker was scarier than he has ever been on screen.

 

The origin tale still makes you feel for the poor shlub that becomes The Clown Prince of Crime in Gotham City, but that sympathy is juxtaposed with the cold sadism of the man who crippled a woman just to torture her father. It was the same in the book but hearing Hamill but emotion and insanity into that dialogue made it all the more chilling to realise that in the end, the Joker actually has a point…

 

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”

 

It’s scary and it’s harrowing because it’s true.

 

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Watch it, ignore the prologue and just watch the adaptation. It will give you chills if you know the story. It will make you think if you don’t…

 

Happy Viewing

 

 

Source: archeroftheasylum.wordpress.com/2016/07/26/dc-animation-the-killing-joke
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text 2016-07-26 03:25
Update: The Killing Joke

I found a clip of the Batman/Batgirl scene from Killing Joke and added it to the review, so feel free to check it out.

 

Review: Batman- The Killing Joke

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-23 19:20
Review: Batman- The Killing Joke

 

One thing to keep in mind is that TKJ was never meant to be canon; it was an alternate story.  It simply steamrolled past its original purpose and became one of the most compelling & galvanizing events in comics history, even more so now with having garnered so much mileage out of it DC made the utterly ridiculous decision to retcon the whole thing, which only cements the movie’s role as a cash cow than the next step in cinematic continuity.

 

The R-rating is both well earned and deserved.  In both stories we get graphic violence – dismemberments, gunshots, bodies, etc- and while not so much nudity some very direct handling of mature and sexual themes.  Notable is the fetishization of Batgirl by the villain in the first story- down to having a call girl wearing a bat mask- and that one scene everyone’s talking about.

 

What’s Bad: The disconnect the first part has with the rest of the movie.  It’s a completely separate story and you’d think it would tied into the bigger story but ultimately has no bearing on anything, other than perhaps to build the emotional connection to Barbara.  There’s literally nothing to tie the two together other than the characters, and it makes you wonder why they bothered.

 

As a nitpick there was one part of the Joker's speech about madness to Batman that I noticed was left out: about how a key factor to the start of World War I was how many telegraph poles Germany owed their creditors.  No idea why that one didn't make the cut.

 

What’s Good:   I did like the first story about Batgirl’s relationship with Batman.  Is it hero worship or something more?  As Barbara Gordon, she voices her frustrations to a co-worker, who naturally doesn’t quite understand the dynamics of this “thing” she has or doesn’t have with her “yoga instructor”.  (She likes the “yoga”). “He’s demanding; he’s always been demanding- and controlling!  But I can’t just find another class!  There isn’t one; this is it!  And I’m good!  He won’t say it, but I’m the best damn student he’s ever had!  So if he’s gonna start making decisions based on emotions- of which he has ZERO- then I think we’ve got a problem!”  Ok, then.

 

It works well as a standalone.  It’s actually pretty good; it completely drew me in before it fizzled out. The story opens with Batgirl assisting Batman on what seems like a simple getaway after a robbery, but the thieves are more resourceful that expected, giving Batgirl the slip.  But the embarrassment of the incident leads crime boss Francesco to order his nephew Paris Franz, to reimburse him for his losses or else.  Paris already has his eye on his uncle’s businesses and, in true psycho-sociopathic fashion, happens to have a ‘thing’ for Batgirl.  Bats doesn't want her involved; Paris' attraction to her makes it even more dangerous and  can lead you right to the edge of the abyss.  And it's not a view you want to take in.

 

A lucky break leads Batgirl right to Paris, but he gets away again.  Batman, recognizing what Paris is all about, orders her not to take him on without him there, which gets her back up.  Paris lays a trail for her to follow- right to his uncle’s body.  This leads us to *that scene*.

 

 

 

Now I wholly understand the outrage, I do.  Aside from the squick factor both the buildup and the scene itself was awkward and felt literally just inserted in (pun intended).  But I think the outrage has more to do with Batgirl's reaction in the aftermath than the sex itself.

 

 

If there was somewhere to go with this, if it had built towards something, I think it would've all worked out fine.  But it didn't.  After the case is wrapped up, their big talk is Barbara informing Batman she's retiring as Batgirl and... that's it.  The only acknowledgement of what happened between them is that they're too close now and it's time for her to step back from the abyss.  So I guess she got her wish after all.

 

When we finally get to the Killing Joke itself, it's a faithful adaptation of the comic.  It’s stellar in that regard, but not without a few flaws.  Like all adaptations, familiarity with the material is both helpful and harmful.  It helps because it takes a few shortcuts with dialogue; some things could’ve been expanded and fleshed out a little without missing a beat.  But writer Brian Azzarello must’ve figured the fans already knew, so just stuck to the story panels, making for some choppy exposition; without captions to expound on the situation we have to rely on the script, and the script needed some beefing up. The animation is also great: the visual style is directly drawn from Brian Bolland’s artwork, right down to Batman’s ears on his cowl. 

 

The mix of CGI into the animations is pretty flawless, even when obvious in some scenes.  All the iconic visuals are present: the Joker’s appearance at Barbara’s apartment (his eyes!), the moment the Joker sees his reflection and finally goes mad, Batman’s visit to Arkham, Jim Gordon’s ghost ride through the tunnel- all there, as well as the flashbacks of the Joker’s past leading up to that fateful night at the chemical plant.  There’s also a few new wrinkles: the Joker performs a musical number while Gordon rides through the tunnel and sees the up close photos of his daughter, Batman’s search for his prey who oddly hasn’t returned to his usual haunts.

 

And I'd be remiss without mentioning the outstanding work of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy reprising their roles.  Felt like old times.

 

The finale remains ambiguous, as it should.  The idea of Batman strangling Joker to finally put an end to their conflict is left to the imagination, and since it’s an alternate storyline, whatever ending suits you is fine.

 

What’s Left: overall an odd offering from DC.  The first part, while entertaining, is rendered pretty meaningless other than for shock value and, according to the internet, they got it in spades.  You really can skip right past it and go straight to the main event, which won’t disappoint in the slightest.  In fact, it’ll put a smile on that face.  Batman: The Killing Joke kills it.

 

4.5/5 stars

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