An Informed Analysis: Batman's Injury in DKR

My wife is an athletic trainer, and I'm an avid Batman fan. At 1AM, watching Dark Knight Rises, this is what happens to my facebook status: "The worst potential injury Batman could have sustained and recovered from in a 5 month period is likely a vertebral rotation with a unilateral fracture. The manipulation preformed in the prison to fix his back excludes the possibility of a bilateral fracture resulting in the anterior translation of the vertebrae. The manipulation could be used for a posterior translation of the vertebrae, but the mechanism of injury caused by Bane would not result in a posterior translation."

To which I add, Batman's armor probably prevented the initial injury from being much worse than it could have been, and his motivation and intensity in recovery is much stronger than that of your average athlete. Keep in mind as well that the 5 month time frame is based on the nuclear decay rate parameter given in DKR (I will investigate that at a later time ha ha ha).

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Does Batman Always Win? response

The fact that ComicVine can even have this as a regular feature should tell you something. All logic would say "Does Superman Always Win?" would make more sense, or "Does Hulk Always Win?" etc. But that is exactly the point, Batman more often than not is "outmatched" and still wins. He shouldn't win, but somehow, someway, comes out on top. That is a big part of what defines his character. The formula for his stories, if you will.

In the recent Batman Vs. Captain America, Greg Katzman calls it a push. I think the very thorough article, most of the comments I saw (I don't have time for 6 pages of comments) missed one of Batman's best tactics; he doesn't defeat his opponent, Batman gets his opponent to defeat himself. The Batman vs. Superman battle in Batman: Hush is a great example of this. Versus Captain America, the Cap's shield is Batman's weapon, Cap's tactics are Batman's weapon. That's how Bane defeated Batman in the Knightfall series. That is what makes Joker such a great foil; no plan, no consistent weapon or method, just an equally freakish dedication to some new epiphany or motive, except with Joker, that motive can just as quickly be thrown aside. Add to that, the Joker already is his own most hated enemy and that takes away Batman's ability to use Joker against Joker. Joker is always trying to make Batman win, but on the Joker's twisted terms and at some significant cost.

It also bugs me slightly when a match-up makes Bat-gadgets a primary resource. It is a factor to be sure, but even more than the weapons, and even his body, Batman's mind is his superpower. My major critique of all the Batman movies, and much of the more recent renditions of him is the lack of the "Worlds Greatest Detective" aspect, which is tangential to his tactical mind. I like something Alex Ross said in Mythology about drawing Batman, which was of the effect of limiting him to few gadgets and less armor, accentuating his ability to make the most out of just a few tools and making his fearlessness and self abandon amplify how terrifying a man like that would be!

In closing, if I didn't make it clear, Batman would beat Captain America.

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Great Week in Comics!

Great week in comics! Joker is back in a big way, Penguin is being used as a real villian, Superman is getting Tony Daniel, Kenneth Rocafort and Jim Lee as artists and Scott Snyder as a writer. Ethan Sciver looks like a good addition to the Dark Knight title, so far Jason Fabok seems an excellent fit for Detective Comics and I really enjoyed John Layman's writing on issue #13. It had kind of an early Azzarelo feel with dialogue/image transition, without feeling as forced as Wonder Woman has felt lately.

In Marvel, Superior Spiderman getting Scartlet Spider cover artist Ryan Stegman, which looks like a good fit. Keeping with the Humberto Ramos rotation in the mix is also a plus. And last but not least, Minimum Carnage continues.

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Tim Drake: Always Red Robin? A Scott Lobdell interview response

In a recent interview by Tony Guerrero on Comicvine, Scott Lobdell commented on Tim Drake going straight to being Red Robin, instead of serving in more of the sidekick capacity than Dick, Jason or Damien (What? No Blake?). He compared the name Red Robin to a distinction that you could make, like saying Red Lanterns; also, saying he was better known as Robin, treating it as a shorthand call name or being lumped in from lack of understanding (like calling any member of any Olympic basketball team a Dream Teamer, which refers to a specific).

After seing five pages of comments that were mostly visceral emotional responses, my original thought was, that's pretty much true already. Very early on in Drake's career, regardless of what Lobdell says or does, Drake's had to go it alone, or seek his own sidekicks far more than being one. A lot of this comes from him having his own title, being the first Robin as Robin to do so. Even in huge production Batman story arc's like Hush, he shows up as almost a cameo.

The most distinct characteristics of Drake are: he independently deduces Dick, and later Batman's identity; he specifically declared that he did not want to be Batman; and most directly in regards to being on his own, he was the only Robin around when Jean-Paul Valley was Batman. All characteristically independent aspects to the character.

In most stories involving Tim Drake, he is more of an ally than a sidekick. No well read Batman fan will argue that Batman was very reluctant in his acquisition of a new sidekick, or responsibility for their life, post-Jason Todd. Drake is noted by Dick, and Batman as being as good a detective as they come. Nothing in Lobdell's comments change any of that.

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The Dark Knight Rises Review (no spoilers)

The Dark Knight Rises elevates the previous installments.

Bruce Wayne might disagree, but there is no point where this movie feels long. Watch the other two movies prior to watching The Dark Knight Rises to see how many aspects, even subtle things from the previous two films, foreshadow this finale. Passing lines the Joker says in The Dark Knight, advice from Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins, borderline forgettable moments from the prior films - all become deeply philosophical and visually thematic elements to the overall saga. The Dark Knight Rises manages to do something that is truly an accomplishment in a film series; it elevates the previous installments.

Every artist in this film truly dedicates themselves to the material. Wayne's pain is tangible, even the "torture of his soul." Catwoman's and Commissioner Gordon's moral dillemas are understandable, yet damning. Bane is truly disturbing. Your heart breaks for Alfred. The physical dedication that Mr. Bale, Mr. Hardy, and Ms. Hathaway put into their roles are as impressive as the effect work of the bat-gadgets brought to life. The script is intricate; the acting is excellent; the execution is suburb.

Script/Story

Mr. Goyer and the Nolan brothers have put out a three part epic that they truly deserve credit for making into art. Bill Finger and Bob Kane's unmatchable character has been re-imagined and deepened by writers Denny O'Neal, Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb, Chuck Dixon and many others, yet this film's telling of the story is as artistic and original as it is intricately referencing and respecting of the source material on even the most minor of details. The film earns any change or stretch to the original print versions. The rich emotional, psychological, tactile, sociological and elemental palette these men have brought to bear is as potent as classic films like Lawrence of Arabia. Truly worthy of the overused term "epic."

Performances

As with the first films, the supporting cast is what makes this world of Gotham work. New supporting actor Mr. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a good avatar for us the viewers in this chapter. Mr. Cain will make you want to cry. Mr. Oldman again serves as an excellent character for story exposition, and is still visually, and in personality, absolutely perfect for Gordon. Perfect. There is an excellent cameo in the "peoples court." Mr. Bale brings a surprising amount of emotion to the Batman. This is one of the unique, and uniquely valuable, takes on the Batman character, in film or print. You simply want his suffering to end! Mr. Hardy had arguably the most difficult task in following the Joker. As an actor how can you follow the Joker?! The portrayal of Bane was truly disturbing. It wasn't so much the nails-on-the-chalkboard, grating-on-your-nerves disturbing like the Joker was, but more of a physically-massive-creep-watching-your-child-play, telling-you-he-enjoys-it kind of disturbing. The voice was sometimes hard to understand, but the voice grew further and further from comfort. Mrs. Hathaway was the casting choice I was most concerned about prior to seeing Rises, not because of her so much, but because I have a very specific concept in my mind of who and what Catwoman is. She nailed it. She seemed to understand the character as well as any actress or writer in any rendition I've experienced. I couldn't have thought of an improvement to make in her portrayal.

What Fan's Want

Continuing the strength of the previous films, there were moments that just had to be shown. Visual moments that scream to make it to film. (Think Bane vs. Batman and what do you immediately picture). Just like the batsignal scene between Gordan, Dent and Batman in Dark Knight, Rises has some moments and even characters that have waited a long time to be done or at least be done right.

There are so many elements from the Batman world, its history and its imagined potential futures that were included to a surprising degree. Obviously Knightfall, Dark Knight Returns and even some Batman Year One when it came to Catwoman's storyline, but there were elements of No Man's Land, Long Halloween, Batman Beyond, Kingdom Come and even Batman the Animated Series.

Bane's and, as previously mentioned, Catwoman's characterizations were right on point. Bane's need for justified "honor" or defense of his behavior as being born out of innocence felt very true to the comments. His condescending and rationalizing were very reminiscent of his comic counterpart, and was refreshingly not a rehash of the Joker's rationalizing his own view of society and chaos.

What Fan's Don't Want

While the John Blake is no Rachel Dawes (Who the heck is Rachel Dawes?!?), his final role in the film serves to confuse. Why did the writers feel the need to include imagined characters whose story purpose could just as easily have been served by a character existing in original comic continuity. Some might argue that makes the story more original and less of a rip off. Rather than the camp of; reference as much of the source material as closely as possible. It seemed many minor details seem arbitrarily changed. Why do they called bad dude money man John Dagget instead of Roland Dagget? Mixing characters sometimes has to occur in films, but to mask the direction from the audience for the sake of a later shock value becomes shock for its own sake. At least in Rises there is at least one character reveal that manages to stay true to the comics, while simultaneously developing the story's complexity.

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The Amazing Spiderman Movie Review (no spoilers)

THE AMAZING

Good ol' Spidey action!

Spidey's movements were a lot more gangly and spider-like (as depicted in the most popular artists' renditions of the character i.e. Steve Ditko, Todd McFarlane, and Mark Bagley). The action scenes are worth the 3D ticket. The Lizard was a truly scary looking critter, especially when… oh, nice try.

Casting was Spectacular.

Though Ms. Emma Stone I would picture as more of a Mary Jane, and Ms. Dunst as more of a Gwen Stacy, Ms. Stone makes a much better Gwen or WHAT IF…? MJ. Stone made an amazing Gwen, and I've always been on team Gwen. Tragic.

Ms. Sally Field as Aunt May might seem young, but I like that we get to start with a younger Peter Parker, so it's a great future move. Dr. Curt Conners was truly off-putting and carried a subtle, underlying sinister monster, as portrayed by Mr.Rhys Ifans. Mr. Denis Leary did a surprising job of playing Captain Stacy straight and believable. Stan the Man? Classic!

If only Charlie Sheen had listened to Uncle Ben's advice…

Hmmm… I'm forgetting someone Mr. Andrew Garfield as our friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I thought he did a good job as Spidey. I was worried the quips would seem obnoxious and overly sarcastic. My critique's of his performance as Peter Parker have little to do with his acting, but more with my assessment of the characterization of Peter Parker in this film (more later). The scenes where Peter suffers heartbreak caught me off guard, it may have been from the late mid-night showing, but I was sad when Ben died, and at other moments of the film. Garfield was doing something right.

Nicely paced; the film never felt long. Fresh enough for a retelling of a familiar story; I'd say its on par with Batman Begins as being a well done reintroduction. Surprisingly fitting to the character, Spidey just can't catch a break, being sandwiched between Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. It is a good film. I recommend seeing it, and can only expect sequels to get exponentially better. Here's hoping Spidey makes the cut in Avengers 2!

MY SPIDER SENSE!!!

My overwhelming concern with the film was that something felt wrong about Peter Parker. I know its a portrayal of a more modern sensibility of a high schooler struggling. They went more outcast than nerd. I get that. Even to call him emo would seem outdated and not entirely accurate. My concern was that Peter didn't have that upbeat nature he does in the comics, original and Ultimate universes. All renditions of the story are tragic, and if you don't have tragedy, you missed the mark with the concept of Spiderman.

Great responsibility…?

I didn't get the sense of wholesomeness that I need from my Peter Parker. Mr. McGuire portrayed that well. This Peter seemed like he was trying to put the moves on Gwen, and had to be told "No further." That's not Peter. Peter needs to be told, "C'mon dummy! I love you too!" At times at home, he seemed downright pissy to May and Ben. I'm trying to give some lee-way, telling myself, "This is before the big lesson." It just didn't feel like Peter. I'm reserving strictest judgement for after seeing it another time. He also didn't seem to have a good nature. I felt like he needed to smile a little more. Again, maybe I'm out of touch with the modern teen-angst manifestation, but Peter is always portrayed as being special, being deep down, exceptionally, especially good. When Aunt May tells him that in the movie, it seemed out of nowhere and not as convincing as I wanted it to be, and that truly, truly concerns me when it comes to kids-geared, role-model movie characters.

TRUE BELIEVERS!

For those of you looking for comic book accuracy, Obviously, Gwen and Captain Stacy's inclusion was the biggest plus for staying true to the original versions. Aside from original versions, much of the origin seems derived from the Ultimate Comics (as have many of the more recent Avengers connections of recent Marvel movies). I would still call this a valid accuracy to the source material. I love the Ultimates, Ultimate Spiderman, and anything that casts Samuel L. as supporting character. Oh, and lets not forget the web shooters!

In terms of inaccuracy, Dr. Conner's had little redeeming quality. The Mr. Hyde didn't hide much. Captain Stacy's death wasn't by Doc Oc, which I can forgive, but in the comics, Captain Stacy's dying words were the complete opposite of what they were in the movie. Uncle Ben's death, the burglar, the wrestling inspiration, were marginalized or altered slightly, but I don't think in a way that was overly disappointing. Oh, and lets not forget the web shooters! Who made them again?

More than 'nuff said. Thanks for reading!

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