My Sunday at London Super Comic Con 2013

After my first comic convention that I wrote a blog about where I met some guy called Stan Lee, I figured I’d write a follow up blog on my second time at the London Super Comic Con. This will include pictures of some rather outrageous cosplayers, comics I bought, panels I went to and creators I met.

Originally this paragraph would have told you about me going to the Dan Slott Superior Spider-Man panel but unfortunately it was not to be. The comic con was on the same day as many other expos in London including a beauty expo, a baby product expo and a plastic surgery expo. They were in different areas to the comic con so it was quite strange to see people carrying baby products in the same building as people in Judge Dredd and Batman costumes. But I digress, traffic was a nightmare and even after getting out of the car so that my dad could park it and running most of the way there arriving at 11:37, I was too late. The panel was full up by the time I got there so I was most put out at missing my chance of seeing Dan Slott talk about Superior Spider-Man. I was expecting more boos and loud arguing but from the sounds of it, Slott was entertaining the crowd and the crowd seemed to be loving Slott. Seems like us UK Spider-Man fans aren’t as fussed as the American Spider-Man fans are about Superior Spider-Man. Next I tried to get to a signing session with Slott but that was full too. A tad annoying safe to say.

Nonetheless, enough with the negativity. The other creators I met included none other than the legendary George Perez who kindly signed my copy of The New Teen Titans #1. He was really friendly and humbled when I told him I was a big fan of much of his work. Wish I’d taken more for him to sign though given the stacks of comics other fans had with them. Mental note for next time then. My dad took a picture of Perez signing my comic as well as some pictures of Perez doing some independent artist sketches for fans. I’ll edit them in later because I’m trying to avoid the scathing I might get from a particular user (cough lykopsis cough :P) for failing to meet my Wednesday deadline. Also I managed to meet Nick Spencer, current writer for Marvel’s Secret Avengers and known for other projects like the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Iron Man 2.0. I have a tenuous link to him in that the daughter of one of my dad’s co-workers is dating him. Small world huh? I’ve also been promised a signed copy of one of Spencer’s comics at some point in the future which is awesome if I’m honest due to a favour offered between said co-worker of my dad’s.

During the rest of my time at the con I had a real look around the place and let me tell you there are plenty of ways for us comic book geeks to lose money there! Original art by the creators, fan commissioned paintings that people buy to put up in their living rooms or something like that, merchandise and of course several lifetime’s supply worth of comic books! That’s where my money went. At the start I had £35 (that’s $57 in US terms) and by the end I had spent £39 ($59) thanks to a generous loan by my dad. Most of them were from a company called a Place in Space which had a great range of old and new comics. They have shops across England and an ebay related site where you can find and buy comics. Personally, the most money saving way I get comics is via a Forbidden Planet subscription which gives me an 11.3% saving on the comics I subscribe to, a Place in Space is the next best bet for UK comic fans who don’t live near a comic store like me. Anyway, these are the comics and trades I came back with:

· Justice League Elite (Volume 1) – Bought this because it contains my second favourite Superman and perhaps comic book story of all time “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way?”

· Batman: Gothic – Love me some Morrison on Batman

· Wonder Woman (vol 4) #1-5 – I’ve started reading this series and figured I should play proper catch up rather than reading synopses online

· Thor: God of Thunder #1 – Only issue they had left and boy was this worth the loan! Such an excellent start to Thor’s Marvel Now! Series

· Domination Factor: Avengers #4.8

· Fantastic Four #492-493

· Detective Comics #647, 715

· Green Lantern (vol 3) #53

· A+X #1 (Free)

· Project Eon #3 – This is a Markosia comic which is a British comic book company. They have dealings with the London Super Comic Con. I quite like the comics from Markosia I’ve read in fact and once I’m in a suitable financial position, I might buy more from them, assuming they’re still around

· The Lexian Chronicles #11 – Another Markosia comic (Free)

· Done To Death – Markosia graphic novel

The last thing I did at the con was go to a panel (at last) specifically Batman through the Ages. It was chaired by Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Gary Frank, and David Finch. All of them have worked on Batman in an artistically related manner and it was great to hear these well known Batman creators talk about why the character has endured for so long, as well as their time working on Batman. It opened with Neal Adams singing (didn’t expect to hear that did you?) and there was a running gag through the panel of the announcer cutting in with announcements about signing sessions and stuff with the panellists making quips about the announcements. The audience, myself included was chuckling away quite heartily at those. One of the most memorable questions asked at the panel included someone questioning how the panel dealt with negative feedback. What was interesting was that Gary Frank said that there are some people who just complain for the sake of complaining and that he shuts off to those kinds of people many times to ensure it doesn’t affect him. Neal Adams also brought up a very interesting points about particular stories with hindsight. For example, Batman: Odyssey hasn’t generally been well received yet Neal claims he still gets some people telling him that they loved Batman: Odyssey in a hushed tone to avoid scathing looks from the naysayers. It was an example in relation to how some fans hate stories at the time they’re published yet years later say they love it. This made me think of Death of The Family (Snyder got a shout out from Finch btw) and how people are mad about the conclusion. Will the hindsight thing apply to them too? I don’t know but we’ll see in the future I guess. The creators also mentioned how the big differences and game changing stories they write are in response to the fans now rather than the publishers and editors given the rise of the Internet and comic forums like these. All in all it was an awesome panel.

Although this year wasn't quite as special as last year, I had a great time nonetheless. For the most part, the Vine has been my outlet of comic book appreciation so to walk around with people dressed in costumes, to read comics in public and to show my love for the medium is a great feeling. Oh and some of you said you wanted pictures so here are my better looking ones. Apologies about the wonky angles and blurriness. I’ll add in some better pictures from the Internet as well. These ones are mine:

And these are from the Internet

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Why Lex Luthor is really the Übermensch, not Superman

I’ve been trying to think of a worthwhile blog idea for a few weeks now and just this week did this idea creep into my head. Well I started writing this blog with Ultraman in mind but research compelled me to change it to Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor is a character who is the direct opposite to who Superman is and what he stands for. In my opinion, the best way that the Luthor/Superman dichotomy shows brightest is by contrasting Nietzsche’s Übermensch and seeing which character truly is most like Nietzsche’s concept. Being a student of philosophy and having had much interest into that particular field, Friedrich Nietzsche is one of my favourite philosophers given his rather dubious and morally questionable philosophies. I am particularly interested in his views on religion (which I will not address here have no fear) and his concept of the Übermensch.

First, I suppose some background info is needed. Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher born in Prussia 1844 who wrote very critical texts on religion, morality, philosophy, science and more. His influence has been widespread across the field of philosophy and his radical questioning of objective value and truth has changed the way philosophers of post modernism, post structurism and existentialism worked. One of his most well known, key ideas was the Übermensch which has a number of English translations like Overman (sound familiar?), Superhuman, Above Human and its most common translation, Superman. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to reach in his 1883 book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” The basic concept of the is introduced by Nietzsche’s character Zarathustra as the meaning of the earth and admonishes his audience to ignore those who promise other-worldly hopes in order to draw them away from the earth. Nietzsche presents the Übermensch as the creator of new values that ignore the norms of society and introduce a new standard of moral values into the field of play. This starkly contrasts with Superman’s upholding of humanity’s moral values that show the better side of our nature. And Lex basically justifies whatever he wanted to do throughout his long antagonistic relationship with Superman, both as the mad scientist and the scheming industrialist businessman. As Grant Morrison put it in an interview with Wizard Magazine “"He's the part of us that's the most evil, the most human, and the most brilliant. He's great; he's just really bad...” The creation of new moral values point is based on a nihilistic claim that in the absence of a commanding authority, there are no grounds upon which to criticize or justify any action, including the particular values created and the means by which they are spread. In a way, this is how Lex justifies his obsessive crusade against Superman instead of using his mind for more worthwhile purposes. He feels it’s more important he focuses his efforts on correcting humanity’s aspiration of a false value or idol, Superman.

Throughout his book, Nietzsche makes the Übermensch a goal humanity should strive to reach through yet another concept; The Will to Power. It replaces standard interpretations of “compassion” or “goodness” or “piety” as a guiding principle of life. What is it that makes you better? Stronger, smarter, richer or more important? Do those things and become better. That’s the Will to Power, and that’s the principle that Lex Luthor lives by, for the most part. His wealth, his intellect and his power have been grasped at by Lex throughout his entire life of fighting his way to the top of the ladder, becoming the executive of one of the most powerful industries the DC Earth has. Yet everything Lex owns pales in comparison with Superman. For all the moral and philosophical advancements Nietzsche proposes in the Übermensch, the irony is that Superman actually can do anything he wants. He could take over the world, run riot, live on his terms. There are a plethora of ways Superman could have lived his life on Earth. But the defining thing about Superman is that he is a physically superior specimen to a human, even the Übermensch in every conceivable way–and yet he lives his life according to a moral code instilled in him by physically and intellectually inferior beings. It is willingness to selflessly uphold these codes and act as a paragon of morality which makes the arch rivalry with Lex Luthor even better. Lex is driven by sheer ambition and hatred of Superman and endeavors to transcend beyond humanity’s limitations whereas Superman abides within the limits of what we consider right and wrong.

Grant Morrison expresses this rather well in All Star Superman. Lex Luthor really is the ultimate man–a man who can and has achieved all and more that a man is capable of. And yet he is always going to be seen as inferior to Superman, whose power is not an expression of will, but a simple accident of birth. Luthor’s hatred is born of resentment; if the alien had never come to earth, Lex Luthor would be the greatest man who’d ever lived. And that’s what makes All Star Superman’s portrayal of Lex and Superman’s rivalry so exquisite, especially when Luthor gains Superman’s powers and sees what he sees for the first time only to be stripped of his power and defeated by his ultimate enemy. He temporarily becomes the ultimate man yet is defeated by a mere man.

All in all, Lex Luthor can't really compete with the mythical figure of Superman; people place their hopes and dreams in Superman precisely because he is more than human. This struggle with what Lex Luthor wants to be versus what he can actually accomplish is one that defines his character, and this inner conflict is what causes him to hate Superman so passionately. Here the Will of Power arises again and once again it drives Luthor’s obsession over his limits and Superman’s seeming lack of any. If it weren’t for Lex’s obsessive quest for supremacy over a god like alien, we would not just have one of the greatest fictional villains in history but one of the greatest fictional rivalries in fictional history too.

Well I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my long rant looking at the contrasting relationship between Lex Luthor and Superman and why Lex embodies Nietzsche’s Übermensch far more than Superman does and hopefully ever will. Here’s to my favourite superhero and favourite supervillain! May there always be great stories involving these two characters!

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New Info on the Dragon Ball Z Movie

Come one come all Dragon ball Z fans for I have an update for you on the new movie. From Weekly Shonen Jump comes some new information on the new Dragon Ball movie! Here's some general information:

"Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (ドラゴンボールZ 神と神, Doragon Bōru Zetto: Shin to Kami; lit. "Dragon Ball Z: God and God") is the 14th Dragon Ball Z movie. It will premiere in Japanese theaters on March 30, 2013. It is the first Dragon Ball movie in 17 years to have a theatrical release, the last being the tenth anniversary movie Dragon Ball: The Path to Power in 1996, which followed the first three Dragon Ball films and the thirteen Dragon Ball Z films."

And here's its plot:

"The film is set during the 10-year time period between the defeat of Kid Buu and the 28th World Martial Arts Tournamentlike Wrath of the Dragon and Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! Goku,Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Goten, Trunks, Vegeta, and Shenron appear on the first promotional arts for the movie. Along with Goku and Vegeta, the three members of the Pilaf Gang are among the figures produced in conjunction with the 2013 movie. The film poster displays Super Saiyan Goku combating a purple cat-like humanoid donning Egyptian-looking garb, with a Kaioshin-looking characterholding a scepter and showered in light floating in the background. Mr. Satan, Mr. Buu, Videl, the shrunken Pilaf Gang, Super Saiyan Goten, Super Saiyan Gohan, Super Saiyan Vegeta, Super Saiyan Trunks, Bulma, Piccolo, Tien Shinhan, Krillin, Yamcha and Puaralso appear on the film poster."

Here's the poster in question

And its tagline

And its release date

Well how about this? A Dragon Ball Z film getting a cinematic release for the first time in 17 years. The name "Battle of Gods" implies something of epic scale given the godlike powers of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Goten, Trunks and Piccolo. It seems as if the film is taking some inspiration from Egyptian mythology as well given the Egyptian dressing of that strange purple cat and the mystical, sorcerer in the background. My guess is that he'll be summoning this strange cat god for some neafarious end leading to the Z Fighters getting involved. Hopefully the cat god will get a chance to fight everyone before Goku beats it like usual. The only problem is that there's no news on a US or European release date. Although the DBZ movies do take some time getting translated into English so that's a bummer :(

So what do you DBZ fans think? Do you like the look of what you see here? Or are you disappointed with the latest DBZ movie's appearence so far? Be sure to comment below and let the speculation begin!

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Lvenger's 5 Most Wanted Crossover Fights (Inspired by god_spawn)

This blog post is inspired by god_spawn’s own, much better blog on which crossover fights he’d like to see. Check that here. It inspired me to write my own blog on which crossover fights I’d like to see as I’m a huge fan of crossovers, particularly the DC/Marvel kind. Like godspawn’s blog, I’m using pre New 52 versions and just explaining who I’d like to see fight. So without further ado, let me begin!

1. Orion vs Thor

The Dog of War vs The God of Thunder

Both are legendary warriors and incredibly powerful beings. They are both considered gods in their respective universes. Both possess superhuman strength and durability supplemented by another source. Orion possesses the Astro Force, a source of energy from the Source itself whilst Thor has Mjolnir, arguably one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe with a plethora of abilities. If these two ever clashed, the sounds of their battle would rage across wherever they fought. As well as similar powers (without equipment) both have been hot headed and impulsive, both are warriors born and both have had the guiding hand of Jack Kirby with them at one time or another. Neither would be willing to surrender to the other so it would be incredibly satisfying to see who would fall first, the New God or the Asgardian God.

2. Steel vs Iron Man

The Man of Mettle vs The Armoured Avenger

This fight could go way in Iron Man’s favour depending on which suit Tony is using so for the sake of argument, I’ll use the Extremis suit. The battle of the metal men would be a fight worth viewing. John and Tony are technological geniuses who use powered armour to fight and are well known for their prep time. Of course, Tony’s prep feats such as creating a suit for any occasion are legendary on the battle forums but Steel is an underrated character who possesses some exceptional skills and intellect of his own. Though Steel is definitely the underdog here, especially if Tony had time to prepare for the fight, I don’t think he shouldn’t be counted out. A conflict of steel vs iron and hammer vs repulsar rays would yield some interesting results.

3. Etrigan vs Ghost Rider

The Demon vs The Spirit of Vengeance

These two share some undeniable similarities. Both Jason Blood and Johnny Storm are humans possessed by an occult force, thus giving rise to conflicting natures in these characters. But in a fight, I think these hellfire slinging demons would give a spectacular show. Ghost Rider’s Penance stare might give Etrigan problems but the Demon’s superior strength could give him the edge. Then again, with the Rider zooming around on his motorbike flinging his chain at Etrigan, Ghost Rider definitely has more mobility than Etrigan. Suffice to say, I’d like to see these two going head to head. It’d make for an interesting contest.

4. Green Arrow vs Hawkeye

The Emerald Archer vs The Marksman

Undoubtedly, the battle of the bowmen would make for an excellent contest of skill. Ollie and Clint are both practically unrivalled marksmen who use an array of trick arrows with expert hand to hand skills to boot. This fight could range from a long ranged archery contest to an up close brawl. Of course, it’s the archery I’m concerned with and Ollie and Clint both possess bragging rights to being the best marksmen in their respective universes. In a fight between these two, their loud mouths and matching gimmicks would surely bring that to the forefront and make their encounter more than a simple fight but a contest to see who owns the bragging right to being the best archer.

5. Doomsday vs World War Hulk

The Ultimate Life Form vs The Worldbreaker

I’ll end with a battle of bricks, tanks, behemoths, whatever you may call them. And these two are the crème de la crème on their respective Earths. Doomsday is a walking killing machine, engineered to be the ultimate creature in the universe and has even managed the prestigious feat of killing Superman. And World War Hulk is considered by many to be the strongest, angriest incarnation of the Hulk that beat everybody up (with some help from PIS of course.) Anyway, the battle of the monsters would be a titanic clash that would probably destroy everything for miles around and make everyone think it’s the end of the world. I’ve wondered whether Doomsday’s healing factor and adaptive countermeasures would be a match for the sheer rage and constantly increasing strength of the Hulk. In any case, this fight would make for a great read!

And that’s that. Took me a while to figure out which fights I wanted to talk about and hopefully I’ve come up with a unique selection and (partly interesting reasons) for them. Hope you enjoy reading them and let me know what you think in the comments below!

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The Benefits of Challenging a Viner for the Battle Forums

Ah my first proper blog in a while. Though no one's commented on my Doctor Octopus/Alpha speculation blog. For shame.

Admittedly battle forums on any site can be a downright nasty place to be. But recently, our battle forums have gotten quite ugly. In part, they’ve become a festering ground for annoying trolls, ignorant and angry fanboys as well as spite threads and really stupid battles. I can’t believe how many times Hancock, a T-800 from Terminator or Godzilla have been pitted up against comic book characters who would wipe the floor with them yet there are users who come up with absurd arguments as to why they win. Whether they truly believe that or are trying to be flame baiters, I have no idea.

Also, the state of the battle forums have driven a fair few users away. CitizenBane, one of the Vine’s top debaters left partly because of the amount of trolls and fanboys loitering in the battle forums. Another good debater, Dane left a while back as well and Silver6427 only comes on the Vine in intermittent periods. And whilst the state of the battle forums doesn’t drive everyone off this great comic book website, it keeps them out of the battles section.Good battles are fleeting in comparison to the number of spite battles. And I’m beginning to see all too often opinions like “BATMAN CAN BEAT ANYONE WITH PREP!” or “HULK’S WAY STRONGER THAN SUPERMAN SO HE CAN BEAT HIM UP!” There are more but fortunately not everyone’s like this. And recently I’ve noticed something that appears to be creating much better battles on the battle forums.

I believe that it’s called “Challenge a Viner” but correct me if I’m wrong. Basically, two users challenge each other to a debate. It’s a closed, one on one debate between these two users where two characters or a team or whatever the battle’s about is debated. It’s in these one on one challenges that the real crème de la crème of the Vine’s debaters shine. Proper, logically coherent reasons are given as to why a character would win. Character feats are backed up by scans, issue references or videos that support the debater’s point. The replies are aimed at countering their opponents point and proving why their character has the better reasons and feats to win. And the debate continues until a clear cut winner is reached via who gave the better reasons and feats rather than who has the most fanboys. Furthermore, it’s not just the quality of the debates that give challenging a viner much more credibility. The two debaters are reasonable, considerate and polite towards one another. There’s no rude behaviour, insults or swearing that involves a moderator having to come in and break up the fuss or lock the thread to keep it from getting out of hand. Everything’s kept friendly and no feelings are hurt. An important factor in debates such as these.

In case you’re wondering what these debates are like, I’ve provided some examples of my personal favourite Challenge a Viner debates:

The debate that inspired me to write this blog: TheAcidSkull and Killemall’s brilliant debate over Thor vs Savage Hulk - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/thor-killemall-vs-savage-hulk-theacidskull/696970/

A currently ongoing debate between TheAcidSkull and Sherlock regarding World War Hulk vs Wonder Woman - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/world-war-hulk-theacidskull-vs-wonder-woman-sherlock/709359/?page=2

A short but sweet debate between Power NeXus and Dane - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/challenge-a-viner-power-nexus-vs-dane/539170/

A 3 page debate between god_spawn and NickZ about who would win: Daken or Vamp - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/challenge-a-viner-god_spawn-vs-nickz/702574/

An awesome Star Wars debate between the Vine’s top two Star Wars experts: JediXMan and Silver2467 - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/darth-bane-zannah-jedixman-vs-darth-maul-tyranus-silver/663464/

Another Silver debate I really liked. This time involving another class debater, Strafe Power and the battle in question being Wonder Woman vs Geo-Force - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/silverwonder-woman-vs-strafegeo-force/578076/

A fair, friendly and well debated match between god_spawn and BringnIt regarding Gambit vs Kraven - http://www.comicvine.com/forums/battles/7/gambit-god_spawn-vs-kraven-bringnit-challenge-a-viner/690249/

Of course there are many more and I’d encourage more debates like this. Obviously, I’m not saying that every battle should be Challenge a Viner style. We need the classic, open debates for everyone. And of course trolls and fanboys will be ever present on the battle forums. But after reading CitizenBane’s blog, I remarked that the battle forums needed improving and that they had the potential to be great again. The way I see it, Challenging a Viner is a step in the right direction. Those kinds of threads can remind us of how debates should be done and how the battle forums could be once again.

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Doctor Octopus and Alpha: Speculation on this possible deadly duo

Amazing Spider-Man #693

Before I begin, if you don't know who Alpha is then check out his page there. And if you don't know who Doctor Octopus is, well you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Now this isn't official by the way. Just some blogging from me. But in case you haven't read Marvel's December Solicits, specifically Amazing Spider-Man 699 and 699.1, it's hinting at Doctor Octopus' last act of revenge against Spider-Man after learning that Spider-Man is really Peter Parker. But a scheme like Octavious' usually involve some hired help. Ock'll be attempting to recruit the Lizard, Spider-Slayer (Alistair Smythe) and Morbius the Living Vampire amongst other suprise Spidey villains. Now given the fanfare around Alpha and the fact he was introduced in the 50th anniversary issue, I'm guessing Doc Ock will attempt to bring in Alpha to add a heavy hitter to his Anti Spider-Man army. If the cover of Amazing Spider-Man 694 is anything to go by, it seems as if Spider-Man's attempts to mentor Alpha may go awry. Perhaps the power Alpha has or the guy's supreme arrogance will lead him to go all Anakin Skywalker on Spider-Man.

Alpha's powers are not only those of the typical powerhouse (superstrength, flight, energy projection, superspeed) but his powers seem to be increasing with the universe's expansion and he appears to be getting stronger every moment. His status according to Reed Richards as an Omega Level threat would most likely mean Ock would want Alpha as a part of his plan for his final revenge against Spider-Man. As the Justice League knows, it's never a bad thing to have a heavy hitting powerhouse on your side.

Hopefully Amazing Spider-Man 698-700 will make for an awesome send off for arguably Spider-Man's greatest nemesis. He's definitely Spider-Man's best enemy at the moment. Norman Osborn was royally screwed over in Dark Reign and Siege. The more personal nature of Octavious' attack against his last global Ends of the Earth plan should make this story all the more entertaining. And with Alpha, Marvel have been hyping him up for quite some time so hopefully he'll get to leave a mark on the Spider-Man universe that'll change things forever. Several of the theories I've seen discussed on here would do just that. So what do you guys think? Will Alpha join the forces of evil? Will Doctor Octopus strike the coup de grace against Spider-Man? Will Quesada be responsible for something that will conjure up more angry mobs of fans across the Internet demanding his head on a platter?

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Project Blue Door - The First Michael Bay TMNT Script

Thanks to my browsing IGN, I came across a link to a site where a guy claimed to have seen the first draft of a script for Bay's TMNT movie. Fortunately, due to fan outburst about Bay making the Turtles into aliens rather than mutants, the executives put the project on hold until script issues were worked out. In the link I'll provide, this guy claims to have seen the first script for the movie and summarises it on a 12 minute video. Now I cannot ascertain for certain whether this guy is telling the truth as that's not possible but in the instance that I am providing a link to the first TMNT script, let me tell you there are some major issues. Casey, April and the Shredder are nothing like we know them, the script and plot are horribly convuluted and Bay seems to screw with the TMNT lore even more than he screwed over the Transformers lore.

NOTE: This link provides detail on the first draft script for Bay's TMNT film. Apparently the script is being reworked. Here's the link: http://latino-review.com/2012/08/28/exclusive-bays-failed-ninja-turtles-script-review/

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My Two Year Vineversary

Almost forgot about this. Today marks two years to the day I joined Comicvine. I've made some good friends on here, had plenty of interesting discussions, put up with trolls (where do they all come from?) but all in all it's been a privilege to be a part of this site and to converse with the fine members on this site where we can share our love and enjoyment of comics with people around the world. Here's to two more great years on here!

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New Dragon Ball Movie Announced!

Now don't worry, this movie isn't the sequel to the abomination that was Dragonball: Evolution. This is another anime Dragon Ball Z movie set to be released in Japan in March 2013. This marks the latest Dragon Ball movie since the Path to Power. Now I know what some, probably most of you are thinking, why aren't we getting any new English dubbed Dragon Ball media? Yes the Kai series was a great love letter to the original but as most of you who've played a lot of Dragon Ball video games, playing the same story over and over again can wear thin. There have been a couple of Dragon Ball productions that have yet to be English dubbed. One is the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans. When this story was included on every copy of Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, this marked a real gap in the market for a new English dubbed episode. But instead it was only done in Japanese with English subtitles for the English version. Which is strange given that Hatchihyack was given an Engish voice actor in DB: Raging Blast 2. In addition to this, Yo! Son Goku and his Friends would be another Dragon Ball production not dubbed in English. Admittedly both have only appeared recently but the way in which the English version has defined the voices of the Dragon Ball characters for its fans meant that when I saw the original, I hungered for an English dub. Still do. Perhaps with time. After all it was a while before the English dub of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z came about.

Anyway this is only recently announced news and unless you’re Japanese or can read Japanese, I don’t know any other information other than what’s been mentioned on this link: http://www.animenewsnetwork.co.uk/news/2012-07-10/toei-toriyama-work-on-march-2013-dragon-ball-z-film . In any case this is good news for Dragon Ball fans as the Dragon Ball movies have usually been dubbed into English eventually. What are your thoughts on this?

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What I think the pros and cons are of Nolan's Batman Films

After seeing the latest Dark Knight Rises Trailer, I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts on Nolan's Batman films. Obviously I do think they are good but unlike the majority of fans, I don't think they're the best thing since sliced bread. In other words, they aren't the ground breaking comic book movie adaption trilogy in my eyes. Anyway on to my possibly controversial viewpoint. Let's start with the pros:

  • The three notable supporting cast members of the 3 films have brilliant actors bringing them to life. Michael Caine acts as a wonderful father figure and steadfast ally to Bruce throughout the two films. There are few other actors who can play Alfred in the way Caine can. Also, Gary Oldman plays an excellent James Gordon. He nails Gordon's dedication to justice and reproduces the relationship between Batman and Gordon of the comics in a believable manner. And finally Morgan Freeman was born to play Lucius Fox. In terms of looks and the manner he has about him, Freeman makes Fox an intriguing character as well as a valuable ally in Batman's war on crime.
  • Another aspect Nolan has nailed is Batman's rogues gallery. The antagonists of the previous films have stolen the show in these films. Liam Neeson played the enigmatic Ra'as Al Ghul in a manner which befitted the legendary Batman villain and made him an integral part of the first film in Bruce's training. Heath Ledger (may he rest in peace) gave a performance of a lifetime as the Joker, playing upon the deranged serial killer aspect of the character and making his performance a career defining one. And Tom Hardy looks set to be a brutal and cunning Bane. I really like the terrorist aspect to Bane in this film as it logically leads into the various acts of destruction Bane will commit throughout the film.
  • Arguably Nolan's greatest success is the gritty realism of his films. Gotham feels like a real city, filled with corruption, greed and crime running rampant. The characters have real motives, personalities and relationships with one another that other comic book adaptions have failed to match. And the story paces itself as a hard hitting action thriller which can appeal to many people's tastes. Nolan has made these films seem like a distinct reality, that there could be an outlaw vigilante dressed like a bat dealing with crime in a city and bringing those who deserve it to justice. This realism extends to the gadgets as well. The batarangs are hand crafted shuriken, the Batsuit is a discarded military project as is the Batmobile or 'Tumbler' as it's known as in the film. As such, the grittiness serves the film immensely and acts as its greatest strength as well as its greatest weakness (I'll deal with that part later)
  • Nolan wisely chose not to include the extensive Bat family in his films. Given that the introduction of Robin in the previous Bat films saw an unparalleled downward spiral in their quality and ratings, it's for the best that Nolan's vision for the film focuses on a Batman who strikes fear into the hearts of criminals alone without involving children in his crusade. Though Nolan does seem to be doing the next best thing by making Catwoman a possible ally for Batman in TDKR.

    However, there are many flaws with Nolans Batman films as well:
  • In case you haven't noticed, I haven't mentioned Batman in the pro section. That's because Nolan doesn't get Batman or Bruce Wayne right at all. Admittedly Bruce's journey and initial motivation is adapted well by Nolan. But as soon as he gets to Gotham and becomes Batman, Christian Bale becomes someone who from my perspective is not the Batman I know. Let's start with the voice. I know he has to hide his identity but how can anyone make out that unintelligible growling that is considered speech in this film? Yes I do immensely love Kevin Conroy as Batman so you may think me biased but the real problem is that I can barely make out what Bale is saying in these films. Secondly, Nolan does nothing to display Batman's intellect or deductive abilities. He beats the stuffing out of criminals like the Batman I know but there's far more to Batman than that. He's trained his mind as well as his body to the peak condition and there's no showcase of Batman's intellect in any of these films. That's a disappointing failure on Nolan's part.
  • Now onto Bruce Wayne. He's a terrible moaner in these films, particularly the Dark Knight. Here, he contemplates giving up being Batman. I'm afraid that to me, that is a major mistake. Bruce is supposed to become obsessed with his war on crime. He is meant to be so consumed with his mission that he doesn't really care about his life as Bruce Wayne or finding love. But in the Dark Knight, he almost ditches his crusade to try and persuade Rachel to be with him. Am I supposed to believe that this is Batman? He's acting more like Peter Parker in the Dark Knight and not respecting the character's uniqueness is a disadvantage which for the most part is overlooked.
  • I fail to see why Nolan felt the need to create a love interest for the films when there are plenty to pick from in the comics. Unlike Superman, Batman has had many love interests so any one of those would do. But no, Nolan gives us Rachel Dawes, a mediocre attempt to give Bruce a meaningful childhood friend and eventual love interest who shares his devotion to justice etc. Her character just doesn't interest me and given the fact Batman has had far more meaningful relationships with other women in the comic books, I don't see why Nolan felt the need to disregard them in favour of his take on who Batman should be in love with. At least there's Catwoman and the rumour of Talia Al Ghul in TDKR.
  • As I said earlier, the grittiness of Nolan's films is its greatest strength and weakness. It's an unfortunate double edged sword. Whilst that realism makes Nolan's films so successful, it also sets Batman apart from the DC Universe in general. Batman is confined to the closest possible definition of a fictional real world when he's supposed to deal with gritty noir crime problems as well as work with aliens, an amazon, a man who can run faster than light and a guy with a ring who can create anything he imagines to face incredible threats. It's unfortunate that the Batman, Superman and Green Lantern films have all been isolated from one another whilst the Marvel films (with the exception of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four) all share the same universe and are now co-existing with one another in one big team film that is the result of years of setting up and tieing together. Batman's isolation means that it's impossible to do a recognizable Justice League movie or a World's Finest movie as the gritty realistic Batman doesn't fit with the fantasy of the other superpowered pantheon of DC characters. This is where Nolan's films fall the most.

Like I said earlier, I don't dislike Nolan's films. I just don't think in the scheme of things that they are the greatest comic book adaptions. In the time I'm writing this during a superhero blockbuster year, I'm looking forward to the Avengers most then the Amazing Spider-Man before the Dark Knight Rises. And this is coming from someone whose second favourite superhero is Batman. Anyway what are your thoughts on Nolan's Batman films? Do you like them or loathe them? Agree or disagree with me? Feel free to comment and remember everyone is entitled to their opinion so keep things clean!

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