Batman sucks part 2: Batman sucks at fighting

I'll keep this short. Seriously, this only needs that much.

Batman is supposed to be a world class martial artist, he's studied in Japan, he's faced off against the League of Shadows, touched hands with both Ra's and Shiva, he knows what? 147 types of martial arts?

Really? This guy?

Ok, that was Silver Monkey, a trained fighter (though it was Batman's fault he got cocky and walked into that trap) But this? This is a civillian.

I mean, how does batman have any respect for himself? He even admits that the kick was a mistake. He punches like a ballet dancer. It's not fair for us to judge an entire character from the ancient mistakes of one artist. Obviously, Adam West is going to be lamer and Christopher Nolan, coming in 40-something years,

Let me end with, this is a fun blog, and I actually gained a lot of respect for Within the issue where he fights Monkey, and the issue before that, Batman's doing a few cool moves and speaking cool lines like "we got to stay cold and calculated", where I did develop some respect toward his prowess. But... if he's near-perfect or good at fighting at all,... why does he keep on making so many mistakes?

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Batman Sucks: part one, (on originality)

Batman's not an original concept at all.

He's a mash up of Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, count of Monte Cristo, lesser known comic book characters like the Bat and the Black Bat, a silent film called the bat whispers, even D'artagnan. That's 7 sources from which Batman was copied off of, DIRECTLY. Everything you like about Batman, right down to Nolan's films, is from somewhere else.

Allowing for tribute and homage, and the fact that no work of fiction is completely independent of SOME inspiration from the real world or from other works,... Batman is still a clone and therefore, not a worthy character/franchise to praise.

What is homage and what is inspiration? The cover's of some issues have been re-done a few times, like Amazing Spider-Man #15, (http://ifanboy.com/articles/top-5-tributes-to-amazing-fantasy-15/)

or Death & Return of Superman, or a picture of 2 Flashes running together, or GL & GA. This is homage, but what was the original inspiration for the first cover?

There are different types of inspiration as well. It could have been something reflective about current society, like machines taking people's jobs, or possibly spontaneous ideas, before or during creation. The inverted drawing/colouring technique for creating Gotham City on paper, i think, was an awesome, original idea. But this type of thing in Batman, at least in his creation, is lacking. There was also some repetition with sidekicks. Ok, adding a girl sidekick is not repetition, and caters to a need, whether this female sidekick is a Robin, or a different character. But geezus, how MANY Robins did we have and how many differences did we have between them? There WERE differences. But there was repetition.

Let's look at cases of acceptable inspiration that we don't have to count as "copy-cat". I think if it's not as obvious, it's ok. Being the creation of a collaboration of young Jewish men, after WW II, a couple of inspirations for Superman could be identified as a) Golem, or Gulam, a guardian figure of Jewish mythology, and b) maybe a version of the all powerful Nietzsche-ian Superman, but benevolent, acting with more moral consideration. Inspired by, but not copying off of.

I could compare Superman's character to that of others, like Tarzan. Borne by a superior race, raised in an unusual or foreign environment, by loving foster parents, growing into exceptionally strong men who have feats of "heroic" proportion to back them up, they're not much different. It may have been intentional, or co-incidental.

The movie Bruce Wayne watched with his parents, the night Joe Chill shot them down, was "Mask of Zorro". It pays tribute to Zorro, openly admits that Batman was inspired by his looks and style, with a little bit of Monte Cristo thrown in there. That's like saying, you can't have a masked adventurer without having him worry about his secret identity. Not only would you not be exploring a practical problem with dual identities, which is as real in history, but you would also be taking out a traditional form of entertainment people may want to see. So what I'm saying is, if we can understand that this has been done before, and the author admits and brings out the resemblance, then I would find myself appreciating that than looking down on it.

What about Tarzan, and Mowgli, the archetype of the wild-boy? Well, if you consider Tarzan, Mowgli and George of the Jungle etc., to be part of a genre or stock, then it is impossible for a character to not draw from it's forefather. So for example if Batman's a detective, then he's allowed to draw from Sherlock Holmes stories.

BUT, what about the scene in Nolan's movie, and in the comic "Batman: Year One" where a Bat flies in through the window? the scene that was taken STRAIGHT out of pulp character, The Bat? Or the fact that Harvey Dent and the Black Bat were both DAs who had their faces burned with acid?

But if Batman's a copy cat, what about Spider-Man? All of Spidey's villains, or neighbours... I shouldn't say all of them, MOST. Black Cat, Goblin, Aunt May, all mirror somebody in Batman, and even the Spider symbol and the Bat are "spooky" animal symbols.

And so kids, we conclude this section saying that's why Batman sucks, because he's a copy cat, (and that's only one reason) but it doesn't mean he can't evolve and become a better character. MANY people have taken up the duties of writing and drawing/designing the character, and the mistakes of the early days should not dictate the entirety of the character/franchise. Even though, the hype at the beginning is what gave birth to the hype today.

NEXT TIME, we talk about how overpowered Batman is, and how he's not actually that great a fighter, (or something of that sort). Feel free to drop in your ideas to make this blog better, (by which I mean more hateful toward the Bat), and tell me why you like Batman. What reasons make him popular? That's what i'm trying to identify and challenge. Here are what i got so far. Add.

⦁ Batman is a man among Gods (surrounds himself with super-beings, yet represents us)

⦁ Batman is realistic, because he has no powers and uses weapons instead

⦁ His flawed character makes a more interesting story

⦁ Batman is darker and grittier

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Michael Bay trailer (thoughts on)

I know there's a bunch of fans who are going to boycott the movie, just because Michael Bay is handling it, but I never committed to that, thinking maybe we should give it a chance. They may all be slightly different, but up until this point, all trailers released have been too premature. But yes I get excited every time I see something Turtles-related, and I'm usually bored so I'm frequently looking up "Ninja Turtles" on Google, and that's how I found these.

So we've already had an idea for sometime, before any of the trailers, about how certain guys are going to look. Btw, is this the first time we're seeing Donnie?

Now Two snapshots interest me, one of Shredder, and one of Raphael.

The best, coolest character in the whole damn franchise is Shredder. If I had to choose my favourite Turtle brother, I would still choose Shredder. Idk, maybe not, the Turtles are all cool, I couldn't pick a favourite one, but the Shredder probably doesn't outrank them. Though I might like Shredder more than Splinter. Point is, Shredder is the most baddasest villain in the whole entirety of everything. So why try to "fix" something, that ain't broke? Something important about Shredder's look, is that he has to stay traditional. But that's kind of been broken before, when they put a Utrom in his stomach.

What bothers me the most are the claws. Shredder's armour is taken to the "next level", and it looks like a Super Shredder, but ok, we'll take that. And then, out pops a blade in Wolverine style *snikt* action. And now, he's a peacock with blades.

Raph's picture. This picture summarizes a few things about what we could expect in the movie, and I would like to talk about it in 2 parts. 1) appearance or more specifically, SIZE, and 2) plot.

What we can gather from the scene where Raph says "lets go find my brothers", (love that accent. Very Brooklyn) to a Splinter that's been trapped under a block of cement, is that the central plot, or at least a large part related to the plot, deals with a flipped version of what we've seen in the 1st and 2nd original movies.

In the first movie, the turtles are out dropping April at her apartment while a Foot spy who had followed Raph home heads back to Shredder. When the Turtles return, they find a) their lair in ruins and b) Splinter missing. And so the motivation for the Turtles, while moving around avoiding the Foot and waiting for Raph to heal, is to save Splinter.

In Secret of the Ooze, Raph gets kidnapped trying to infiltrate the new Foot Clan. Kaito comes back to tell the other 3 that Shredder is back. Shredder uses Raph to lure the rest in to the plot of the movie, which are 2 new mutants in town.

Raph has a bad habit of wandering off on his own, and a lot of great stories start there. He's the guy who goes back in search of April, to retrieve the Sai he left behind from the first scene, and ends up saving April (for the second time) at the subway station. To see April meeting the Turtles again at a subway train in this trailer, was very cool. I like the homage it pays. I mean, New York, subways, chances are high they would go back there. But i think it's definitely on purpose. Raph also gets attacked on the roof, runs into Casey Jones this way, and when he got kidnapped in Secret of the Ooze, and several episodes in the cartoons, (plural) it was because he's a loner and he's always doing things by himself.

But, this time, he doesn't actually get captured, the other guys do, and it's up to HIM to get THEM back. Which also means we might see a lot of stealthy covert ninja action after all. How else is Raph gonna charge at his enemies as a one man army, and win?

This kinda segues in to my next point, or actually has gone past the segue. Size. Raph is he-YUUUUGE in this picture. MASSIVE! Now where have we seen a Turtle that big before? ah, right. I do like his voice/accent though. Very Brooklyn, and that's how I'd imagine the Turtles to speak if done correctly.

Actually, muscles were one of the most impressive things about the Turtles starting from day 1. BUT, ninjas aren't supposed to be that big. I suppose they can be, but they don't have to be, but smaller size definitely helps stealthy ninja action. But here, while still probably very agile, the Turtles are more street fighting, brawling, giant tough guys (or wrestlers) than ninja.

Facial features wise, they still got those damn nostrils! Coupled with those teeth, their faces look like some horrible crossbred offspring between Shrek and Donkey. (BTW i made the Shrek analogy first) Since when have the Turtles ever had teeth?

Oh, right.

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TMNT cartoon review (1987 Fred Wolf vs 2003 Image/Mirage vs 2012 Nickelodeon)

We'll be comparing everything on a few key terms, Animation, Story, Characterization, Action (included in animation) and Music/Sound

Animation comes in 2 parts, stills and action. How are the turtles drawn, and how good is the action? I think in physical appearance, Image/Mirage wins hands down. The turtles are drawn hardcore, they're buff, they're not necessarily mean but they're serious, they got different shades on their bodies even though they're all the same height. It's got some cool screencap material, and juxtaposed sequential shots, like Leo slicing Shredder's head off in mid air, a classic Samurai element. A moment of stillness.

Body heights of other characters match up well with the turtles too. Human characters (be it April, Casey, Shredder or at least his armour) are taller than the turtles, because I remember from my oldest back info from toy boxes, that the bros were 5' 3" or something, and that Mike loved ice cream pizza. Splinter is hunched up and grey, the way one of my toys from the 90s looked like, predating the cartoon by many years. But I think he was meant to look more like a wolf. He still had a rat's snout. All characters were in great physical form, and that's what I loved about it. Colours were bright and everything was in high def, but that’s not necessarily all win, because the picture may have been flatter. They took a lot of liberty drawing things like the crustacean/insect-like subterranean characters from Tales from the Underground, and later did about the same thing with the “Dark Turtles”. New characters.

1987’s Fred Wolf cartoon did have good art, but just not as great as Image/Mirage’s. They did emphasize on muscles. Their colours were awesome too, comparative . Buildings were drawn so cool, April was cooler, and maybe Splinter too. Shredder had less on and this version or the movie version is probably my favourite version of the Shredder, but that’s not to say 2003’s Oroku Saki/Shredder in armour lacked in coolness. Samurai armour is awesome.

Where 2003 made a step UP in animation (art), in both technology and style, Nickelodeon went down. The blocky style of drawing appeals to some people, and since they ARE turtles, those elephant-hoof legs may make some sense. Then again they’re also mutated, badass, action heroes. That’s their appeal. The process of mutation can’t be scientifically explained, because in all versions, it had an alien hand in it. Don’t try to make things realistic in fiction, keep this loophole to make the art better.

The art is also less macho/cool and more childish, and that’s assuming that the target audience had to be children. The anime eyes do not work, at least not for me. Still, I have to ask, what’s wrong with children’s shows with some tough characters? I was heavy into action when I was a kid, I enjoyed it, and I turned out fine. (sure I skinned a couple kittens every now and then, had homosex a lot and terrorized villages, but that had nothing to do with the cartoons I watched)

As far as action sequences go, Nick has the best Aikido/Jiujutsu moves and philosophy. I think I saw a few “Randori”s in the training scenes, usually with Splinter in the middle. That’s when everyone gangs up one dude and the dude has to get out/stay alive.

Nick also has a lot of depth perception, the turtles get up VERY close to the camera, that it’s almost invading on my personal space. The foreground is used excessively whereas Fred Wolf animation was mostly flat, except in the intro and in select scenes where they swing toward the camera, or away, or jump into sewers. I could pick out scenes from 2003’s animation where they had one thing in the foreground while something was happening in the background, like walking away from an explosion, but it wasn’t as emphasized.

2003 still had some cool moves. In the pilot itself, there were fights, sneaking around, and even wind blowing on bandanas, which is an awesome effect. I remember Raph flipping up and out of the public’s view was something that cemented my love of that second cartoon series, at age 19. Unfortunately though, the fight scenes were not AS awesome, they still never used their weapons the way they’re supposed to (Leo would use his lethal blades on people and they would end up getting knocked on to the ground with a few bruises. What are his swords rubber?). But there were a LOT of fights, and every episode was so fast passed, which is something that makes the 2003 cartoon one of the most entertaining shows of all time, both Ninja Turtles and overall.

What ran the action in the Fred Wolf cartoon was the music. When you heard that music, you would know it was a battle, and you’d be excited anyway because it’s fun, and because you wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. The use of weapons, as has been criticized very famously about this cartoon, was minimal. They would CARRY these weapons with them, but unless they were chopping up a statue or a vehicle, or trying to open a door,…. those weapons were supposed to be used a certain WAY, dammit.

Storytelling might be a big factor.

The Image/Mirage cartoon was obviously closer to both the comics and even the movies. The IMAGE comics, that is. But the Nickelodeon drew from it’s own sources, Archie’s owns Wingnut and perhaps Mutagen Man, (or else, he started in the Fred Wolf cartoon). IDW has touched all bases from reprints of the original Eastman/Laird run, (and is in fact directly affiliated with Eastman) to solos and comics inspired by the nick series. So it’s a matter of how good the parent stock is, when talking about closer to the comics. Image/Mirage beats Archie’s hands down. If there was one company/universe I would like to erase, without too much negative impact on all the things I love, it would be Archie’s, and maybe perhaps Hanna Barbera, (but then I’d be missing Johnny Bravo and PPG, and a lot of the stuff on Cartoon Network)

However, for a children’s cartoon, Nickelodeon’s cartoon is pretty Noir, and they got that much right. Many of the mutant trouble makers are quick to be put down before they could cause more trouble. SpyRoach, Mutagen Man and Slash/Spike all faced the consequentialist verdict, (not always carried out). Plus, hallucinogenic mushrooms. Enough said.

In contrast, Archie’s and Nickelodeon both drew inspiration from and paid homage to Fred Wolf. Fred Wolf’s intro had meaner turtles that looked like they did in the Eastman/Laird comic. That intro also gives us a good idea of who the Turtles are and who the enemy is in a matter of seconds, but it leaves so much more. Nickelodeon’s intro is heavily based on the Fred Wolf intro, in fact they basically re-mixed it, but that’s not all it is. It DOES pay tribute to other stuff.

Except for the Green Lantern style dying alien arc, which went on for 3 or 5 episodes, Fred Wolf is generally more episodic than any of the other cartoons. Yes, the same characters like Baxter Stockman will re occur, some elements like “Shredder and his goons are the bad guys” would re occur. The Technodrome or Shredder’s enmity with Splinter were objects and elements you had to know to follow what was going on. If they said “dimension X”, you had to know what was meant by that. But it was a shallow show for kids. What’s gonna happen today? Some thugs broke into a bank, Turtles saved the day. Some ghost came in from ancient Japan, in a vase, Turtles saved the day. I liked the style before there was anything to compare it with, and because many shows at the time would follow that method. But in all forms, Fred Wolf was more childish.

While child friendly, 2003 was more adult oriented, “kick-ass”, fast paced, entertaining and if you were too lazy to read or couldn’t get your hands on the comic, from Fugitoid to City at War to Usagi Yojimbo, the creators revived and immortalized what the Turtles were really about. I started with Fast Forward, that was lame. But 2003 is more serial, save for a few stand alones, but usually connecting in somewhere. It has both several arcs consisting of at least 3 episodes in a single season, and arcs reappearing/continuing spanning multiple seasons. THAT I liked. Only at least a semi-mature mind could keep up. They would recollect a little in case someone hadn’t watched a past episode, and to not create too much confusion (which is one harm for serials vs episodic) but there was never any confusion for me, and if I ever found something boring, it was the stand alones.

Nickelodeon’s only had 2 seasons so far, and while the Karai stuff was closely tied together, I feel that it’s more episodic than serial, BUT the single episodes are much more fun than anything else. However, these episodes aren’t necessarily “filler” or “stand alone”. For example, I initially wrote off Metalhead Rewired as filler, but at the end of it, we get a recount of what mutants/aliens are still around and they’re all set free. Little bits and pieces like how Donny gets a blade in his stick, SEEM episodic, but are important in the long run. One thing I think was bad about it, was that to follow the serial part of the first and second seasons was that there was no break there. I could easily recall what happened in each season, roughly, in the 2003 cartoon. Season 1 had the “Shredder Strikes” arc, a “filler” arc about Tales from the Underground, and went back to “Shredder Strikes Back”. IF, like the Dark Phoenix Saga of X Men TAS, 2003 had gone all out with 6 episodes of continuous story, at THAT fast pace, I would have been lost. (I wouldn’t have been, because I’d have had a slight idea, and since I usually read up on episodes before I watch them, but a newcomer would) Nickelodeon’s story from when Karai first comes in, (or actually from Bradford and Xever) might have been too much, and too condensed. At the time, it was easy to follow because I watched it every week, except for between mid season breaks, that took a few months to recover. But if I were to recall them, they’re not drawn into my head as easily.

So, the moral is, serial is more fun than episodic, but you risk losing the audience’s attention if they miss too much. 2003 never had this problem because someone would always fill the viewer in on what’s happened so far, a “previously on the show” style catch-you-up technique. This shouldn’t be too much a problem though, because these days, you have access to episodes you may have missed through other methods, like you could always go online and catch up with what you’ve missed, like if you had a final or a meeting the day it was gonna be on. But you really have to invest your time in Nick, which is GOOD, but annoying when you’ve finally grown up.

What 2003 REALLY screwed up on as far as the story, was the Utrom Shredder. WHAT THE FUCK? You have such a perfect character like THE SHREDDER, and you make him a robotic shell for a criminal alien worm,….. I am sooooooo disappoint. This affects the entire history of the Ninja Turtle mythos, and is probably the worst mistake anyone has ever done.

The Kraang Is given more complexity in Nick, giving them mass telepathic communication and telekinesis. They’ve combined both the Utrom race and Kraang and his rock soldiers into one, but they’re all evil now, unlike the benevolent beings that healed Master Splinter in both the comics and the cartoon. Again, impacting Turtles continuity. However, Turtles Forever has built up a multiverse to separate each creation and make them awesome. It is also too funny. A quick joke every now and then is ok, but what Nick did is in comparison what Teen Titans GO! Is to Teen Titans. Greg Cipes is equal parts amazingly funny and over the top. But at the end of the day, that’s how the Turtles started, and were supposed to be. A spoof, and funny.

The main themes of each version may differ. With Fugitoid’s D’Hoonib, everything became Star Wars, and the Turtles gained all their enemies from outer space, and ancient myth/legend,.. which works if you’re into Sci-Fi. I’m not. Nick gets all their bad guys from Mutagen, which is better. But 2003 and Fred Wolf also deal with the city and it’s bad guys. Sometimes, a theme that is ordinary and seemingly mundane CAN be the best. Like crime. 2003 deals with gangs, a topic that is probably too heavy for kids, but very realistic too.

Taking into consideration the complexity, how hard/easy it is to keep up with, pace and entertainment value, originality and sticking to the original, even characterization, I think the best storytelling is in 2003. Nick doesn’t do bad at all, the stories are fun, continuous, evolving, very original, yet classic, but 2003 is a better show.

Characterization

The only difference between the four Turtles in Fred Wolf were the colour of their masks, the letters on their belt buckles and the weapons they may or may not draw. They’d usually draw them, at least. But in 2003, they were given a little more depth and individuality than that. The character of each dude was intensified. Raph was a lot tougher, and running off by himself. In fact, aren’t most of the funnest tales start with Raph running away? Donny was always smart, Leo was always the leader, and Mikie was never serious. So after Raph, “characterization” may stop.

Nickelodeon wins the bracket for characterization since they’ve spent a lot of time and detail and height variation, skins, shells, attitudes and personality of each Turtle and even the other characters. Slash was very evil, amazingly done. Even the bad guys have been fleshed out well. Karai of 2003 vs Kelly Hu Karai is a HUGE difference. We wouldn’t know much about Shredder’s adopted daughter who starred in the comic’s ‘City at War’ storyline if it weren’t for 2003. But 2003’s Karai was stiff, and boring. Not to say we didn’t get a glimpse into her past and why she works with Shredder, and she still makes her own choices, to some extent.

Kelly Hu is much more interesting. Let me commend the entire voice cast of the show btw. Nick’s Karai is much more entertaining. She’s bad, and she loves being bad. She kicks ass, she plays around with Leo, she’s better than him but isn’t in a hurry to win, she maintains her allegiance to Shredder and…. She’s just awesome. Kelly Hu can actually fight, too. Plus she’s voiced other ninja/kunoichi before.

The only bad thing about Nick’s characters is that Shredder doesn’t do enough. The only two times Shredder has fought might be at the docks when the Turtle bros were going to bazooka him, and at the end of Worm Quake, when Splinter was lured into a trap and poisoned. Shredder is such a great (and honourable) villain. WHY don’t people utilize him?

Cementing characters as sensitive or aggressive might be risky in that, once you confirm them too thoroughly, there’s no room for change. Raph is the easiest Turtle to work with,because his emotions are all on the surface, with the second being either Mikie or Leo. Mikie maybe more complicated, hiding his real pain or insecurity under all those jokes. Donny is reserved and could be interpreted in several ways.

Each cartoon has it’s own unique characters too, be it Bebop and Rocksteady, Hun, Agent Bishop and the Guardians, or Snakeweed, Fishface, and the AWESOME Newtralizer. There’s a difference between the show’s protagonists being children and the show being childish as well. The Turtles were supposed to be 15 when they reached the surface and fought the Purple Dragons. Although Casey Jones doesn’t work as a kid, everyone else sure as hell do. Nick’s Splinter maybe a little too straight.

Music/Sound

To me, the theme song is always the HOOK. I may decide to watch or not watch a cartoon by judging it’s theme song. Fred Wolf has such an intense intro, that drove my adrenaline through the roof before I even knew what the cartoon was about. Like I said, nick remixes this already existing intro. Not as awesome, not original. Did 2003 manage to beat or at least live up to the Fred Wolf theme? I think I was impressed by the intensity of it, the Turtles were jumping over rooftops and racing through the sewers, Shredder would make an appearance, each season might have it’s updated Intro, and it was ok. Back to the Sewer and Fast Forward didn’t do as well with Intros as it originally did. Fast Forward was crap.

I still think the better intro belonged to Fred Wolf.

Fred Wolf’s score throughout the rest of the episode was awesome too. It had a funny theme for characters like Irma or Vernon, then it had suspicion scene music. You’d know it was a battle scene or a rescue with the type of music too, with a small “heroes in the half shell” to announce the day’s victory. And then there was the theme of the lair, whenever you switched over to Dimesnsion X or the Technodrome. I LOVED the music. It was almost a Power Rangers technique as when Zedd would appear. Each type of music would set the setting really well.

2003’s music SUCKS. If there was one thing,… make that 2 things I could hate that cartoon on, and probably the only 2 things in it that I disliked, it would be Utrom Shredder and the fact that the music is usually so loud it blots out the damn voices. HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO A CONVERSATION THAT MIGHT BE IMPORTANT TO THE PLOT, when the music is a) TOO LOUD and b) NEVER STOPS?

I haven’t noticed Nick’s music as much, meaning it probably doesn’t play to win or lose in the music dept. this puts it in the middle ground, a step below Fred Wolf, but still a step above 2003.

So which do you think is the best out of all 3 cartoons? I’ve given art and story to 2003’s Image/Mirage, my favourite version, Fred Wolf takes Music+Intro and Nickelodeon has the best characterization, and original characters. Action can be tied between 2003 and Nick, but I think Nick would win it, because of their usage of actual martial arts techniques and usage of space. Nick has the worst art though, and 2003 has the worst music. You can show me where I’m wrong and point out what I have missed to notice.

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TMNT "April Derp": This shit is not cool

Dear Nickelodeon,

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHILDHOODS YOU HAVE RUINED WITH THIS EPISODE? DO YOU REALIZE HOW MANY HEARTS WERE SCARRED? ARE YOU INSANE? What the hell was the meaning of this?

The turtles fighting, and KILLING April? Clones, yes, but that's another problem. I'm one in the school of thought that believes clones are living beings too, and therefore deserves to be treated as such, (R.I.P. Ben Reily, long live Superboy) It's bad enough that we have to deal with all this monsterification of all kinds of squirrels and sidekicks. Sometimes, the ethics are questionable. Like Mutagen Man's case, in which the turtles could have listened, talked and helped the guy, which they DID at first, yes, and after a while you had to agree that was the best thing at the time to do, but THIS IS APRIL! Everybody's sweetheart, the turtle's mascot, APRIL! And you KILLED her. In GOO! Clones don't justify, I don't want to see April die like this.

In fact, i think "April-Derp" (WTF Nick? that's such an offensive move to make April a retard, or more precisely, a retarded version of April) might have made a good ally. You can make Metalhead an ally, but not "April-Derp"? It PAINS me to write "April-Derp". You guys are dicks. And for this, the entire creative team, as much as I love you, should go to hell. I don't even believe in hell, but for you, I'd make an exception. F--k you.

Sincerely,

Scarred-for-life.

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Lawmen in fiction

"Well, sometimes kids need role models" - Officer Murphy in the first RoboCop movie.

This blog is in response to @cbishop's blog from AGES ago! My first tv series was Flash. It was actually scary. They tied a guy to a bike and blew him up. Fuck! There was a lot of killing involved, and as violent as a child i ALREADY was before i started watching any TV, at least because someone put this expected fear into me, i was a little scared. I was also watching a few other shows like Tropical Heat, Renegade, eventually something called Highlander, starring Adrian Paul, (you know, guys in ponytails,) and later on Lois & Clark, and I was also watching Star trek: Next Generation + RoboCop, the series. The Ninja Turtles came in later, but they were there too.

All these shows share one theme in common. Cops. Except Highlander, but there were episodes featuring cops. I wanted to be (or imagined myself being) a cop from the earliest days, because I loved action, and i loved that blue uniform. It's nice to see 2 of my earliest shows, RoboCop and Flash, making a come back on the same year. Of course, I was discouraged heavily and I was/am a reeeeally wimpy person. Still my first superhero character reflected a lot of these elements, being a cop in his secret identity (lab and street), being artificial (and a mutant, and a clone, because everything cool those days were about mutation and clones) and amnesiac, which was more RoboCop than Savage Dragon, because I hadn't run into Dragon yet, but Dragon and I immediately clicked.

Lawmen. Actually, censorship and stuff made everyone (even the Street Fighter gang, as I just found out today -_-. Totally kills the original characters. Now the Street Fighters are a strike team? Under Guile? wtf America? Mortal Kombat wasn't bad enough? Idk, pre-pubescent may have still gotten behind that. Heroes, are those who fight for the good)

Even Superman, though not a true cop in legal occupation, lived for those 3 core directives RoboCop received; Uphold the law, protect the innocent and you know, cop stuff. The Thundercats had their code of honour, Truth, Justice, Honour and loyalty (in such a great order too, Loyalty being the dumbest, but still a good quality when used right, honour is a personal thing that should be considered later, but definitely a motivation for a good guy, Justice being one of the highest good guy things, as long as there are beings interacting, and the truth, which is eternal, regardless of humans existing)

The Ninja Turtles,... omg. On Fred Wolf and the movies, the law enforcement part was stressed pretty heavily. In the Image cartoon, which was, as I think, the closest to the actual thing, even though I haven't read much of the actual, what the Turtles really are, catching bad guys on their own but not too high on the moral scale. But the cop element was still there.

Even Tarzan on Filmation, a wild man raised in the jungles, among animals, was made to be such a wise, honorable role model. Talks perfect, gives great advice, takes responsibility over his territory, upholding the rights of his subjects,... corny, but at the same time not too wrong. Tarzan, and most wild boys (inspired by Tarzan, the original template), tend to dare to fight against an oppressive predator and free the "innocent", implying a) a messiah complex and b) a sense of justice existing within the primal being of the human.

I keep repeating this, but I'll keep doing it no matter who gets tired, but yeah dude, being a hero has to do with a couple things. Being able to perform acts that a normal human could probably not, (actions, feats, performance, an outwardly thing) and not being a dick. Being a nice, caring guy. When I say "caring" he doesn't have to be too soft, just as long as he's compassionate, sympathetic, and stuff you know. The internal, moral aspect as opposed to the physical. Superheroes have always been given jobs, but compared to the JSA era, or Avengers, where people had a lot of doctors, archaeologists, "adventurers", even astronauts, random railway/radio related jobs (wtf GL?) military men, newspaper boys, tech geniuses,........ stupid jobs. Stupid jobs, that don't excite me. Even military men. Oh they got action, yes, but they're not as clean cut and lawful as cops. I grew up in the middle of a war, I knew many soldiers growing up, frequent visitors in the household, but not as cool as cops. I'm guessing it's a question of Domestic vs International levels of protecting/enforcement. They all use guns, but cops are just, nicer guys. War is also an extreme case, that's relevant at some times, but not always.There's also that moral scale, as in whereas cops are on the lawful-good side, soldiers could (and sometimes have to) be on the neutral or chaotic sides, of good or evil. But anyway, even if their day jobs are reporters, astronauts, doctors or some other stupid shit like that, they either all end up fighting for the law (or at least innocent people) or rampaging around on their own causes, as adventurers, like Batman (there's your answer to why I called batman a D-bag, Bishop). The Apollonian hero gives people hope and something to believe in. And cops are the Apollonian, (well, ideally) In fact cops and the military might be the anti thesis to each other.

But every good superhero story has a cop in it, that's all I want to say. Either intentionally. like RoboCop and Flash, or by accident, like... well, RoboCop and Flash?

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Zomg! Days of Future Past. What versions of the X Men would be cool to see?

Remember in Wolverine Origins, they didn't announce the appearance of Cyclops or an Emma Frost-esque character, (in reality i think this was the Silverfox's sister, but imdb lists her as Emma Frost) but they showed up? Well,..

Screenrant has this theory about Days of Future Past and how many alternatives we're going to see. (Also, SR needs to learn how to spell. The original post asked "is their more than one timeline?" They've fixed it, but don't think i didn't see that before you did) Now obviously, there are going to be the X men in the future, and the X Men in the past, (exactly which point in the past, we don't know. Obviously after the forming of the X-men, but maybe before Magneto's conflict with Shaw. Then again, we see Magneto in full costume, so maybe that's not true.) There are also 2 time travelers at least in this movie. There's Wolverine, and there's Bishop and maybe Blink, as his teammate. Then they change the past, future changes, and we have a 3rd set of events.

The way in which the past is altered, and what point in time it happens at, could result in more pocket universes. But what they are trying to change is the assassination of Senator Kelly, and I believe it's not going to work the first time. Now, in X Men TAS, Days of Future Past ties in with Cable's episode and leads to whose appearance? That's right, Apocalypse. X Men: The Last Stand had the cure. It had Archangel as well, in short a lot of things that ties in with Apocalypse. The new movie will have Blink, and the few times I have seen her, it was almost exclusively in AoA.

I think the biggest enemy of the X Men is Apocalypse (and Mr Sinister, but they're team mates) and i absolutely loved AoA. I think an AoA movie could have a lot to offer. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are going to be in the movie too, perhaps have their own story. Seriously, with Fassbender's Mags holding quite a spotlight, I have a big feeling AoA will soon come in to play, or at least Apocalypse would pop up.

Marvel has a lot of officially listed alternate universes, and another of the versions of X Men that i recently came upon were the X-Treme X-Men led by the Earth 616 Dazzler. Seeing 2 Wolverines co exist, a younger and an older, was cool. However, within the same timeline he would be the same character. But This? This would be cool.

Another blog ends abruptly, but time is tight and i gotta fly. What other versions of the X Men am I forgetting? Uncanny vs Astonishing, i would pick Uncanny. I hate Astonishing. 'New X Men' suits were featured in First Class. Wolverine gets a costume, finally. What about these things? where does all that lead to?

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Goongala! + Jim Levenstein

The Nick cartoon is not my favourite of the cartoons, but I definitely find it entertaining for the sole fact that they pay respect to all other incarnations. The intro has a huge resemblance to the Fred Wolf cartoon, both music and scenes-wise. But it's also been pointed out that it uses imagery from the comics! Take today's episode. There were 3 things that impressed me. 1) We had IRMA! April's friend Irma, with the glasses, short (and now purple) hair. They made Irma sexy! I love Irma! I haven't seen this character since... wow since the 90s, about 18 years ago. And for that I'm really happy. 2) Raph is still the first turtle to meet, team up with and bond with Casey, (even though Donnie technically spied on April and Casey and had an encounter with him before. funny how he didn't remember the kid. maybe he did, and just kept quiet, because he didn't want to allow Casey in, that's the best reason i can think of) 3) that scene where Raph storms off onto the rooftop, and Casey watches him, (and even the Foot ninja following Raph to the lair) are scenes representing the first movie. So right there, that's 3 forms of media in one episode (+ whatever i missed).

There was also the episode from the first season where the guys break into the Kraang/Utrom lair. Perfect mirroring of the 2003 Image/4kids cartoon. Yet, they're original. They may take eons between episodes when they break the season in half, but the wait is worth it because the minute differences are perfect. They think about a lot of stuff and include all these things. However, I never liked Casey Jones and this version of Casey? a teenger, what in High school? who has no training save some arrogance, taking down a gang of ELITE ninja? (oh, the fact that these ninja were robotic, another reference? to the 'Foot-tech' ninja, and the robotic Foot from Fred Wolf, probably the dumbest thing in TMNT history, sadly) Anyway, Casey's skill level,not believable, i would say a flaw.

Then, we have Jason Biggs playing Leo, and ever since i heard that i've been thinking,..

Ok, this might be a bad comparison. You guys remember my "4 Brothers" comparison right? Now that made sense. Those brothers were all adopted, there was action, good character distribution and variety between them, making each of them unique, and that one guy looked just like Raph.

This one, we're just going on the fact that Jason Biggs is the new voice of Leo. I've had this thought since before the show aired. Jason Biggs has done a few roles mostly in various comedies, but i'm sure people would agree that his most iconic role was as Jim, in American Pie. (you could probably make an argument about which guy/girl is the main protagonist. It IS a guy's movie, Stiffler is probably the most loved and well known character, and is the legacy of the franchise, even though he's more of a supporting character in the originals, even an antagonist, a SHREDDER? Kevin is the most accomplished, he has a girlfriend at the start of the movie, he's the one who gives the speech, and probably the leader of the group. BUT, American Pie wouldn't be American Pie if 'Jimbo' didn't have that moment with the Pie, making the story more about him)

Eugene Levi would be Splinter, and as mentioned earlier, Stiffler, more of an antagonist, could be Shredder. Allison Hannigan, adorable and AWESOME, is the April in this context. (Or would it be Reid?) I don't like to mix my heroes with perverts, but there's a theory here, one that projects the Teenagers into a... actually, an accurate setting.

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Why Rob Paulsen's Raph is special

So, I just thought about why RAPHAEL, is the coolest Turtle.

This is mostly to do with the ancient, (original), 1987 Fred Wolf cartoon. But even if not, watching the movies, the animated stuff and following the Turtles in general, you might have come up with your own reasons as well.

Raph obviously has the highest level of skill among the brothers, rivaled only by Leo. Yes, he has fought and won against Leo that one time in the animated movie, (there's only one of those) but some people argue it's plot induced, meaning it didn't really happen, it was only to make the story interesting. But he definitely stands a chance against Leo, and even Shredder.

In the original movie, he takes on an army of Foot Soldiers on the roof. In that same movie, he's emotional and sensitive, and quiet. He will argue when he does and storm off But his bond with April, Splinter and even Leo and the other bros are strong. He also has a string of solos, with his meeting with Casey and 'Lone Raph and Cub', from both the comics and the 2003 Image cartoon, probably being the most well known. He's the bad boy, he fights dirty, he's a brawler, and this style sets him apart from his other bros, and we all agree that he is the most aggressive.

But there's something more.

What do we know about the 4 dudes?

Mikey was obviously my first favourite; fun loving, happy, has that Californian surfer dude accent, and yells "Cowabunga". Leo is the "leader of the group". He's the Cyclops of the team, bossy, all rules-y, nobody really likes the leader no matter how good he is, or how much pressure he has to take. Donny is "duz_machines", he's the nerd, he was my second favourite after a while, since I figured I route for the underdog, or i felt better pretending to. And who's that fourth turtle?

Oh yeah, him, Raphael, Mr "cool, but rude". Why is he even there? He's sarcastic, punny, so is he comic relief? But we already have Mikey. We have a tough guy in Leo, actually they're all tough. We got the smart guy, the detective, in Donny, the Batman to Leo's Superman. Raph in the old cartoon wasn't the bad boy he really is. He wasn't the Wolverine to Leo's Cyclops there. So did we need him at all?

Yes we did.

Because he's the guy who deflects the freeze ray in the Punk Frogs episode. Raph is the guy who ends up saving his bros when it's most important. Sure, Mikie has his own episodes, the Bug-Man superhero and where he rescues everyone from the zoo. That one time, he was useful (still my favourite turtle. any incarnation would have been absolutely boring without him and he DID fight. Not like he was a stupid mascot, until recently, where Nick may have goofed him up TOO much.) Even Donnie ends up being either the last surviving turtle or the detective who solves the Chinese antique case. Leo, is obviously the leader, the best, the strongest. He DOES save everyone's shell, all the time.

But without Raph holding everything together, the team would fall apart. True, we don't realize Raph is there at all, as a separate character, until he needs to make that quintessential, story altering move. Without this quick thinking, opportunity grasping character, the team wouldn't have fared as well. Donny and Leo were both smart. But Donny needed planning over a longer time, and preferred working off the fight, (except in the Nick cartoon, he now thinks as much on his toes) Leo has a lot of strategic skills, crowd control, planning, and I'm sure they both do the quick thinking thing, (in fact, one could argue some of Leo's scenes are donated to Raph to make him important), but his weapons decide that Raph is more about that stuff. There's also something else.

The oldest cartoon had some awesome VAs, (in fact, it was when praising Rob Paulsen, original Raph returning as Donny in the new one, that I came up with this theory) and if you were young and watching cartoons in the early 90s, you would hear the same voices over and over in multiple cartoon shows. Rob was also Saber Rider, in a cartoon where essentially all the Turtles VAs played a part, + their girl character was called April,

Anyway, in Saber Rider, the newest recruit of the "Star Sherrifs", Fireball, was supposed to have been the protagonist, despite their leader being the title character, Saber Rider, because Fireball was supposed to represent the viewer in the same way Jubilee did in X Men TAS. We saw the show in his perspective, he was our eyes. It was a D'Artagnan Vs Aramis type of thing.

In the same way, Raph (in the 1987 Fred Wolf cartoon) is the vessel through which we take part in the story. Raph is known for his wit, his quick jokes, which he speaks directly to the screen. In the intro, Leo focuses on the direction of his sword, the enemy, the charge. Donny is distracted by the huge machine he's building, which blows up. Mikie is.... rolling around focusing on whatever he's doing. The "retard of the group", (though not exactly, but he definitely is missing something. Mikie doesn't give a shit, he's only concerned with what makes him happy. Raph, on the other hand, throws his pizza at the screen, at us. He winks at us. He's aware of the viewer, he breaks the fourth wall.

He's not the only one who speaks to the screen, but all his lines are directed at us. All the other guys are doing their own thing, concerned with the story, but we don't feel Raph's presence because he's... idk does he know what's going to happen? Is he one step ahead? as if he's lived out the story before? is he a returning ghost?

Even in that first live action movie, it's Raph that jumps in to save April. It's a sai that she finds, that leads her to the turtles, and ties the movie together. All four turtles save April once in that first scene. But Raph has to retrieve what he lost, and brings the girl, their first ally to the lair. Their second ally, also scored by Raph. Now do you believe me, that Raph is an integral part to the Turtles mythos? If not, Rob Paulsen is. Nowadays, Raph is a part of the story (and the Nick version of Raph just maybe the coolest, surpassing both the 2003 Image cartoon version and 2007 animated movie version, though I haven't read enough comics to decide if that was the best) while Donny becomes that quick thinking interactive character.

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Dr Strange is Sorcerer, SUPREME!

Think critically? Fine I’ll do some, but on my terms. Dr Strange, by Lionsgate. Sure, there’s plenty of monster slaying action, but of all the Marvel/Lionsgate animated movies, Dr Strange maybe the most bizarre to understand. In a world of superheroes, more specifically Avengers, pulled on one side by Iron Man’s techno-industrious school of values and on the other end by Captain America’s patriotism, Strange’s journey of self discovery through the temples of Tibet seem so alien. It’s a story about the denial of the will, giving up and overcoming obstacles through the power of perception. Even in Superman, or the cheerful, wisecracking child that is Peter Parker, a “hero” is someone who does good, someone who saves lives and is almost always accepted as strong. The word/title is then, analogous to physical superiority and moral righteousness.

Then,… we have Dr Strange! He is a hero of intellect, of the mind. So he is, or was as an actual medical doc, good (extremely good) at something. But the story is a very… Buddhist trip. Now I don’t know why, but a lot of people have the misconception that Buddhism is about helping people. It is condoned, yes, but the core of Buddhist philosophy is about not giving a fuck. Not caring enough to let the outward affect you, to limit interactions.

I’m going to talk about 3 things; his guilt about failing to save his own sister as a doctor, the building of the wall as a test and the advice the older man gives him, and lastly, his experience in training at the temple, especially with swords, under the man that betrays the temple.

Dr Strange had a sister, who died at his hospital, under his watch. At the same time, Dr Strange himself loses his hands, which destroys his worth in life, as he sees it. Without this second crucible, the film would not have been possible, everything in the story is tied together by that one scene at the beginning, where a fight in the ethereal realm wrecks old Doc Strange’s car and leaves him crippled. But there are more than one crucible to the character, and while the hands are more sudden, even serious, the man obviously changed from a happy guy to a sad person after the sister’s death. Subconsciously, it is a bigger deal to him than anything else. It’s stuck with him for longer and everything else, his contribution to science and his lamentation of his arms, and life thereof, are actually distractions from the bitterness he lives with that is his failure to have done something about his own sister, who he loved so much. The crippling of his hands is only a flesh wound, of sorts. But the guilt is real.

The old Tibetan supreme sorcerer dude recognizes this. He knows of the psychological dilemma that is very common, where people dwell on some failure or regret and refuse to move on. They try to repress it, they try to distract themselves with something else (which is a core topic in Batman, over which the character of Tim Drake differs from Bruce) but they don’t deal with it. The sorcerer helps and forces, in a way, the good doctor to face his crucible and get over it. But here is where it gets crazy. SUPER crazy. The advice he gives Strange is that “not every life is meant to be saved” (or something like that, I’m para-phrasing at this point)

For a western audience especially this might even not make sense, but western or not, to any human mind, this would just…. Suck. What? How can you say that about his sister? How can somebody say something like that about a loved one you’ve lost? Everybody’s lost someone, their parent, their children, even grandparents who were old and obviously close to hitting it. You KNOW they’re going to die, but regardless of their old age,… you don’t want them to. But does this advice, that the sister was not supposed to be saved, that it was out of your (now broken) hands, offer a way out of the guilt? Does it now even give you, as the main character (of course you’re the main character, what did you think, that Doc Strange was real? That all this shit was happening to the man for no reason other than viewing pleasure? No, this is what makes this a piece of art. It picks you up, takes you on a journey and leaves you elevated to a level that you hadn’t experienced before. In fact, it could easily have been emotional whiplash) a consolation for the loss of your hands? Does it instill some worth back in you and make life a little sufferable?

The wall is an initiation process the temple gives the dude, and I believe it’s a famous one. The wall is a meaningless construct, an illusion through which a lesson is taught. You THINK it’s important for structural purposes, it makes sense. Crazy thing about the wall is everytime you build it, or break it, it breaks down (or rebuilds itself, forgot how it works) On the one hand, it teaches humility, Doc’s trying to earn his keep. On the other, there’s a deeper truth about mind over matter. “It is only as heavy as you want it to be”, the old man says. Doc laughs and replies scientifically, “I think gravity and solid mass have a little something to say about it”. The absurd old man keeps on jabbering, it’s a matter of perception, he says, accept the unacceptable. Laughable. What is this old guy saying? Can’t you see? The stone slab is right there, it’s crazy heavy. It is. You know it. And then of course, stringy old dude actually moves the rock like it’s nothing. At this point, you either laugh heavily like I did or you’re totally impressed. Weapons are made out of thin air, sorcery is explained.

This is a cartoon about magic right? So all this is fiction, metaphorical and just entertainment. Yes, and no. Some people take this stuff real seriously. Kantian philosophy is all about that, the world of appearance and… something else. Dr Strange becomes sorcerer supreme (and in this scene, the old man telling him this stuff is reigning sorcerer supreme) He defends the “Earth”, the physical realm, from demons, and things from beyond this world. This guy knows the world in a way we apparently don’t. Either way, we all live in a world of illusion. There are things that we THINK is important, when all along, what’s real is something else, that we might even know on some subconscious level, but don’t think about. Sorcery and making weapons out of nothing may not necessarily be true, even moving heavy bricks like they do, but there is a level of extraordinary perception, that helps understand reality and life in this metaphor.

What is not real are the problems that give us trouble. The advice about his sister’s life being out of his hands was only part of the answer. IF you accept this, you will be fine. But HOW do you accept this? HOW do you work with it? There’s part of the man that doesn’t want to let go of something they held on for so long because they don’t know what to do without it. These are deep lessons about existence, breaking down everything you know about everything you learned, and leaving you where? He starts with the question, ‘my hands are broken, what will I do with myself’? He’s left with ‘it’s ok that my hands are broken, but what do I do with myself’? In fact, his whole past career was his temporary solution to a question that he, the chosen one was ignoring for a very long time, until his little awakening of a car crash just happened to him. Strange was NOT any regular. He was a chosen, he was part of a bigger, essential plan and he had a duty. Everything comes together in that first scene where he sees the Tibetans, it’s a collision of worlds. He was drawn to them, and now they are drawn to him to right their fault.

Lastly, the sword training and the master’s protégé who leads the gang of sorcerers provide something important too. This rogue hero is not necessarily essential to the plot, but provides as a) a little surprise/twist, who does aid Mephisto to enter what he otherwise could not, and b) a contrast to our protagonist. Strange’s transformation is from out to in, the rogue hero’s is from within to out. He gets replaced by someone who just came in and can barely handle a sword. He’s all for teaching and helping the new guy, but as Strange finds a new purpose, he takes it at the cost of the other man’s purpose. Strange IS a better leader though, because the rogue hero was too headstrong and lost a few people on his watch. He didn’t even feel guilty. But remember Strange’s best attribute? Intellect?

Strange really WAS born for the job. It looks like another movie where the American runs into Asia and voila, automatically becomes top dog, like Tom Cruise in Last Samurai, yes, but the rogue hero had a heck of an ego. Dr Strange’s better attributes shine through in contrast to this guy’s. Now, if he had only accepted his place and they got along. Unfortunately there’s only room for one leader, and what was it that didn’t allow that? Ambition. Ambition was bad and by this time Doc Strange had gone through enough to not care, but accept his fate.

However, something almost contradictory to the Last Samurai theory of this ascension to supreme sorcerer is countered in their relationship/argument. Strange does NOT automatically become sorcerer supreme. He has to, literally, fight for it. Skill comes with training and that’s important, and unlike serums, a suit of armour, radioactive spiders or even a radar sense, Strange still has to earn it. This IS a story about the paranormal, so he has powers, or at least he’s a normal man who was taught how to manipulate the energies, but it’s more real than any other story in Marvel. The rogue dude looks at him and asks himself how Strange could be the prophesized deal. He gives him shit. Strange takes it. Overcomes it. How Strange suddenly gets the jump on this other dude, who was training all his life, is a harder thing to explain, unless you say it’s more mind, and Strange had a stronger will or something.

The review is not going to be obvious unless you’ve seen and know about what I’m talking about, but hey, if you haven’t, I hope I’ve given you a good reason to check it out. Depending on where in life you stand right now, you may or may not enjoy it as much as I did, but maybe if you come back to it later, you would notice things in it, appreciate it more. But in the least, there’s magic, swords, and slaying demons, in an urban setting which is pretty great. Animation is very decent, all Lionsgate animation is of good quality. Spanning and stuff is, you risk the chance of getting bored with it, but at the same time it’s something that needs to be taken slow and appreciated. It expands on mainly the three small points we’ve discussed. Next to The Ultimate Avengers , which had multiple characters, fast pacing, a whole lot of action, and was also very well done, this is my second favourite Lionsgate/Marvel animated movie.

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