Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Batman and the Thunderbolts



Thunderbolts is one of Marvel's best concepts in the past few decades.  The original run by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley came out at a time when comics were all about gimmicks - lots of foil covers and variant issues to drum up interest.  The Thunderbolts had the best gimmick of all though, a great plot twist at the end of the first issue which gave the series a unique hook.  Having villains disguised as heroes led to a lot of fascinating character arcs, as each member of the team reacted differently to their newfound hero status.  Some embraced the new outlook and tried to stay on the path of the truly heroic, while others relished in the deceit and grew even more devious.  It was a great exploration of some characters that had been around in comics for many years, and it gave them all some real depth.  Busiek and Bagley proved once again that every character has growth potential when placed in interesting enough circumstances.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Batman and The Thing (Retro)



It was fun to go back to a Thing cover again... this actually makes my fourth pairing with these two (sixth if you count Fantastic Four covers).  They are my two favorite characters from their respective companies so I really dig the idea of them sharing adventures together.  How I would have loved to see Jim Aparo illustrate The Thing in B&B, or John Buscema give us a Marvel version of the team up in MTIO... Such wishes filled my head as a child and the untapped possibilities they suggest are the basis for this blog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Batman and The Super-Skrull



It was a fun moment at the end of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer when Johnny Storm temporarily gained the powers of the entire team. It was clearly a nod to one of the Fantastic Four's coolest villains, the Super Skrull.  That was a nice tease but what I as a fan really would have preferred was a full out adventure with the actual Super Skrull.  I had the same feeling when watching Ang Lee's Hulk - Lee made the strange decision to combine the Hulk's abusive father with classic villains Zzzax and The Absorbing Man.  I would have much rather had a solo appearance by one of those villains rather than the odd mashup we got.  There's still hope for future movies, though.  With a FF film reboot on the horizon as well as rumored Skrull involvement in the Avengers film, maybe there's a chance we'll finally see the Super Skrull on the big screen one day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Batman and The Sub-Mariner (Retro)



Namor has been getting around a lot lately.  Already a current or former member of The Invaders, The Defenders, The Avengers and The Illuminati, he has most recently been hanging out with The X-Men.  Boy, for a supposedly anti-social character, he sure joins a lot of teams!  I guess it was only a matter of time, given his status as Marvel's first official mutant.  I don't mind seeing the Sub-Mariner in a team setting - it's fun to watch him interact with other characters with his no-nonsense attitude.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Batman and The Sinister Six



It will be interesting to see a new take on the Spider-Man film franchise, but part of me was hoping that the new films would continue in the previous movie's continuity.  That way we could have Spider-Man 4 with Kraven hunting the Lizard and Spidey in the middle, then a Spider-Man 5 with Mysterio and/or Electro as the villains... all setting the stage for Spider-Man: Sinister Six!, where the foes from each movie unite to finally try an take the web-slinger down for good.  It would be a crowded film but so cool to see one of my favorite Annuals come to life.  Ah well, perhaps it is never meant to be, but we still have the comics and the animated adaptations of the Sercret Six to enjoy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Batman and The Silver Surfer (Retro)



Before the studio decided to reboot the Fantastic Four film franchise, there was talk of a Silver Surfer spin-off movie.  I don't know if the reboot plans have scuttled this, but it is something that I would still be interested to see.  The Surfer was easily the best part of the FF sequel, he looked spot on and I liked Laurence Fishburne providing the voice.  They could have a film set completely off of Earth and finally do Galactus justice (no clouds. please). Throw in an appearance by Beta Ray Bill or a trip to Ego, the Living Planet and you would have a summer blockbuster like no other!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Batman and The Secret Wars



Marvel and DC have fallen into a repetitive cycle with one major  line wide event after another, complete with countless spin-off mini-series and tie-in issues and the sheer abundance of them has certainly diluted the impact for me.  When Marvel first released Secret Wars, huge crossovers were still a rare happening and I have very fond memories of devouring the issues as they came out.  Marvel's move of featuring it's characters returning from the Secret Wars on Battleworld with all of their changes (Spider-Man's new costume, She-Hulk in the FF, etc.) was a clever one, it really made me want to read the year-long series to find out what had happened.  I also loved the Mike Zeck art and wish he could have completed the full twelve issues.  Like DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, there are some flaws to be found upon rereading, but I will always hold it in high regard due to the memories it conjures up.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Batman and The Rawhide Kid



I was glad to see that with the Recent DC reboot, they are still giving the western comic a chance in today's market.  I was a big fan of Marvel & DC's Western Characters like Jonah Hex, The Two-Gun Kid, The Rawhide Kid and Scalphunter.  I think the genre is well suited for comics and provides a nice contrast to all of the super science and fantastical action found in the majority of titles. John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's The Kents was a great read and I keep meaning to try the current Jonah Hex stories.  Marvel brought The Rawhide Kid back in a controversial mini series a few years back, but the less said about that, the better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Batman and The New Warriors



When the New Warriors first appeared, I wondered why it had taken Marvel so long to put together a team like theirs.  There had not been a team of non-mutant teenage heroes since The Young Allies in the golden age (OK, they did have Power Pack, but that group was pre-teen).  I think the Success of DC's New Teen Titans at the time encouraged them to give the concept a try.  The formula must have worked for Marvel, as we have seen teen groups The Runaways, Young Avengers and The Future Foundation follow in their wake. The New Warriors was the first though, and it would be nice to see them make a return.  They have never seemed to quite recover form the destruction of the group in Marvel's Civil War event.  There have been a few attempts to relaunch a New Warriors comic, but nothing has stuck yet.  The original team had an interesting roster of characters, and hopefully we will see a more permanent return soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Batman and The Matrix



I was lucky enough to see the first Matrix on opening day and thus did not have any of the movie spoiled for me beforehand.  I never knew where the movie was going and it was a wild ride from start to finish.The two sequels each had some cool visual moments but didn't really capitalize on all the potential from where the first film left off, in my opinion.  On the other hand, I wholeheartedly endorse The Animatrix, the direct to DVD film with six stories set in the continuity of The Matrix, each one animated in its own unique style.  Even if you are not a fan of the 2 Matrix sequels, it is still well worth seeking out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Batman and The Mask

  

I did not know much about The Mask as a comic book series other than the basic concept and the fact that I liked the John Arcudi artwork.  So when the movie version of the comic came out, I went in with an open mind.  I thought it was a perfect vehicle for Jim Carrey and it is still one of my favorite performances of his.  I was hoping to see a sequel, but unfortunately the studio went the cheap route and cut the budget and star power form it.  The results  were forgettable, and it's too bad.  This was a property that at one point had a successful comic, movie and cartoon series running, and I hope to see new material from it in the future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Batman and The Lone Ranger



I used to get a kick out of the Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels as a kid.  When we would play cowboys, our imaginary villains would be Butch Cavendish and the Cavendish Gang, the Ranger's longtime enemies.  I was excited when I heard there was going to be a big screen Lone Ranger film, and disappointed that it turned out to be that infamous Clinton Spilsbury fiasco.  Now there is a new Lone Ranger film in Development, and I am surprised that it took so many years for Hollywood to give the property another try.  I hope it will finally do the characters justice, but I'm still unsure about Johnny Depp as Tonto.  I'll withhold my judgment until I see a trailer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Batman and The Legion of Monsters



Now this is a cool team that I wish we could have gotten to see more of.  Like yesterdays entry with the LoEG, this is another teamed formed by pre-existing characters that share a particular genre.  it was offbeat team ups and teams like the Legion of Monsters that really fueled my imagination for what other crossovers could be possible and led to this blog.  Have they made any other appearances together as a team after their initial outing?  I have seen more modern images of them but I am not sure if they are from a full story.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Batman and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen



Being the huge fan of team-ups that I am, I was instantly drawn to the concept of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I love the idea of so many great fictional characters crossing over in one big story, and the creative team of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill pulled it off incredibly well.  The stories featuring this team are dense and rewarding, chock full of literary references in the script and art, and make the reader want to seek out the tales that these characters originally starred in.  The movie version is a major departure from the comics, and people looking for a faithful adaptation will be disappointed.  I have to admit that if I disassociate it with the Moore/O'Neil stories I kind of enjoy it on a popcorn movie level,  It was nice to see Sean Connery back for one more action role.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Batman and The Kingpin



It's interesting that the villain most closely related to Daredevil originally started out as a foil for Spider-Man.  There was something always very menacing about Wilson Fisk.  Sure, he had a lot of muscle mass and could hold his own in a brawl, but his real power was in the influence that he held over the underworld.  There had been plenty of crime bosses in comics, but The Kingpin was the first to fully tap into that Godfather type vibe which really set him apart from the average foe. Writers like Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker have done a great job of exploring the complexities that make him tick, and it's always interesting to see what he will be up to next.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Batman and The Irredeemable Ant-Man



I wasn't sure what to make of the new Eric O'Grady version of Ant-Man when I first heard of him.  I usually prefer a new concept rather than another character simply taking over an existing identity.  The mini-series that he was introduced in by Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester garnered a lot of positive reviews so I decided to check it out.  It was a lot off fun and this new, more amoral Ant-Man grew on me pretty quickly. There was a lot of fun humor in the story and the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, was a big part of it, rather than being completely cast aside to make room for the new guy.  Since that introduction, O'Grady has shared a mini-series with Pym and has even become a member of the Thunderbolts.  That's a great spot for him, as it features characters that fall between the lines of heroism and villainy, and explores which path they will ultimately take.  I like O'Grady as a reluctant hero, but I hope he doesn't completely lose some of his more questionable attributes because they keep him interesting.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Batman and The Iron Giant



I remember being early for some event and going to see The Iron Giant in the theaters to kill some time.  I was very glad that I made that decision because it turned out to be one of my favorite movies ever.  Filled with great character design, beautiful animation and a story brimming over with humor and heart, it has earned its title as a modern day classic.  This was due in no small part to the work of director Brad Bird, who went on to join Pixar and bring us such gems as Ratatouille and The Incredibles.  Bird's next project is Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and it will be interesting to see if he can bring the same level of excellence to a live action project.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Batman and The Inhumans (Retro)



I have heard that The Inhumans is one of the properties up for a potential film treatment.  It would be tough to pull off, but if done well it could be a very cool idea.  I think that the Inhumans and their world contain some of the very best Jack Kirby design work and any adaptation would have to embrace the unique look that he created.  The Asgard scenes in Thor showed the potential of this, but they didn't go far enough in my opinion.  None of this showing the helmet for five seconds and then never using it again business, a motion picture Inhumans must be unashamed of it's comic book roots.  A filmmaker like Peter Jackson might be able to do it justice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Batman and The Human Torch (Retro)



Johnny Storm was recently killed off in the pages of The Fantastic Four (It was his turn, I think every other team member had "died" and returned at least once before).  Of course, the death was off-panel, so it is almost certainly just a matter of time before hewill be resoted to life in some manner.  There has been a flurry of promotion recently for the upcoming 600th issue and I wonder if that is where Johnny will make his return.  It seems a bit obvious though, so I wouldn't e surprised if writer Jonathan Hickman throws a bit of a curve ball.  Whatever happens, I fully expect Johnny to be back by the time the Fantastic Four reboot film hits theaters, gotta keep that corporate synergy intact!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Batman and The Hulk (Gray)



I've loved the Batman and Hulk pairing ever since that great tabloid sized adventure they shared by Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, so I thought I would feature an updated version of the story from my retro issue, this time starring the Gray Hulk.  I really enjoyed when Peter David brought back the Hulk in his Gray persona back during his run on the title.  The Hulk can be a tough character to write on an extended basis and this was a nice way to mix things up and avoid repetition.  While the classic green version is still my favorite, it was interesting to read the adventures of this smarter and more devious version for a while.

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