Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Treasure Chest Comics

Those of you who follow via Facebook will no doubt have noticed that I've been advertising a new feature that we've started over at I wanted to create a weekly feature in which I took an editorial role over the user submitted articles. The articles would highlight their favourite comic arcs; be they well-known or obscure. Treasure Chest Comics is that feature.

I encouraged my fellow Mod, Khris, to kick the feature off with his look at Batman Reborn, which was a much more well known arc than the one that I looked at in week two (and present for you below).

So far, I've had articles covering Kingdom Come, Batman: Year One, The Crow and House of M that are in line to be published. It would be great if more of you would head over to, take a look at what we're doing and get involved by submitting your own articles.

Below is my entry to the treasure chest.



Present Tense, Broken Futures

Whilst Robin 116-120 have never been collected, their story arc remains one of my all-time favourite comic arcs for several reasons, not least fantastic art from Pete Woods and superb writing from the underrated Jon Lewis.

Warning, this article contains spoilers for the afore mentioned issues.

Set inbetween the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive annd Batman: War Games storylines, the arc starts out with Tim Drake's 16th birthday. Tim's complete lack of social life is evident by the fact that his party consists of just his dad, stepmum, girlfriend Steph Brown (The Spoiler) and best friend, Ives. Part way through the party, the doorman brings up a parcel that was delivered anonymously. It's a plain white box with no lid or other way of opening it and no label or other identifying features.


Treating it as suspicious, possibly a weapon sent by an enemy, Tim slips it to one side and flags it to Batman for investigation. They begin their investigations in the batcave and then split up. As Robin is running across rooftops, the box opens in his hand. Sensory equipment covers his face and the device plays a holographic message from Alfred - 10 years in the future.


In the message, the future Alfred tells Robin that Gotham is in chaos. The police and military are at war with the vigilantes; fighting over who will protect the city. Needless to say, the destruction caused by such as war has been devestating to the city. Alfred says that the cause of these problems is one of Robin's allies and that they must be stopped now, in Tim's time, before they descend down a dark path. However, Alfred is inconviently killed before he can tell Robin who this person is.

Tim's not stupid. He takes some time deciding whether or not this is real or a hoax before deciding that it warrants investigation. The prime candidate for bringing Gotham to ruin is Batman himself. After everything they'd gone through leading up to the Murderer/Fugitive arc, the relationship between Bruce and Tim was a little strained. The first major desicion on this investigation is to keep batman in the dark.


After chasing down some false real-world leads, Robin eventually decides that he is going to have to investigate his allies closely. He follows them, studying them for 10 days; concocting various scenarios in which they could become a tyrant. To his dismay, he realises that it could be any of them.

Tim determines to test his friends. He formulates a lie; a lie that would contain extreme right-wing beliefs that he'll tell to individual members of the Bat-clan. Surely, the future tyrant of Gotham would be the one that showed sympathy to the ideas and didn't tell him that he was being crazy.


Before he can present the lie to any of his allies, he is visted by a restored future Alfred, who has now transported himself through time to speak with Robin. The implausability of the future Alfred being brought back to life and sent through time, combined with little clues that he picks up with his detective's eye and nose, tell Robin that this is a fabrication. He pulls the mask off to reveal the present day Alfred. The box, the hologram, the entire thing had been a test laid out by Batman. A test that Robin passed through his investigations and finding the truth.


The relationship that exists between Bruce and Tim is unlike that of any other Batman and Robin team. The dynamics of this relationship are summed up perfectly within this arc. Tim has a father and new step-mother who love him, which allows Bruce to retain a certain distance from Tim that he couldn't afford to give his previous wards. Regardless of this distance there is a bond between the two that stems from their similarities rather than any paternal relationship. Their similarities are also the cause of problems between them; namely their tendency to keep things to themselves. Several months before the events of this arc, Batman revealed Tim's civillian identity to Stephanie Brown. Whilst Robin and Spoiler had been an item for a while, Tim had not revealed his real name incase a trail could be made back to Dick or Bruce that would reveal their alter-egos. Obviously this led to some anymosity between the two of them.


Now we get to this arc, in which Batman has decided that Tim is ready for the 'next level' of his training and sets about it without informing him. The process of investigating his friends, formulating possible temporal paradoxes and even questioning his own memories placed obvious stress on Robin and when he reveals the plot he is furious to the point that he considers quitting. It doesn't take Tim long to deal with his anger and come to the conclusion that Bruce was right to step up his training, though he went about it the wrong way. No matter what happens between them, this Batman and Robin team's relative distance allows them to put things aside in order to serve 'the mission'. This acombined with thieir similarities allow them to function in a way that the other Batman and Robin teams couldn't as true mentor and protégé.


Pete Woods had been the regular artist on Robin from the end of No Man's Land, so he'd had plenty of time to get to grips with the character, but this arc proves a perfect swan song for his run as he hits new heights. I could count the number of artists who draw Robin at an appropraite age on both hands; many either draw him as a child or a small adult, but Woods' absolutely nails it.

I've never understood why Jon Lewis hasn't worked on more mainstream comics. His characterisation of Tim Drake is absolutely perfect, from the overabundance of caption boxes compared to speech balloons to his tendancy to keep things to himself. Infact, the entire plot of the arc plays to Tim's strengths. It forces him to over-think, to analyse, to work in solitude and, yes, even to lie to Batman.

Lewis wraps up some of his ongoing subplots here as well. Tim finds out that Steph has been living in a low-rent room after refusing to stay at he mother's house following the death of Cluemaster, her father. Steph was furious that her mother seemed to forgive his crimes simply because he was dead. Tim helps to patch things up between them and then spending time with Steph, enjoying the distraction from his investigation.

Part of what made this arc seem like such a classic is what followed it. #121 began the run of a new writer who lead us through two-and-a-quarter years of dire dialogue and crummy characterisation. Over the next few years it felt as though DC Comics had recognised that Robin had built up his skillset through Robin #120, and in Geoff Johns' Teen Titans, and they were trying to get him back to that point.

Eight years on Present Tense, Broken Futures remains one of my favourite arcs, primarily because it does what all truly great stories do and embraces the qualities of it's protagonist to the fullest; it is quintessentially Tim Drake.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Doctor Who Christmas Special set in 'Narnia'

Source: Bleeding Cool

DC Comics March Solicitations

Newsarama have posted the full DC Comics solicitations for march 2012. Here are some highlights, view the rest here.

1:25 Variant cover by GARY FRANK
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale MARCH 21 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Now that the team’s origin story is complete, starting with this issue we shift to the present-day Justice League! What has changed? Who has joined the team since? Featuring artwork by Gene Ha, the story also reintroduces the team’s greatest champion: Steve Trevor!
Also starting in this issue: “The Curse of Shazam!” featuring a story by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank! Discover Billy Batson’s place in DC Comics – The New 52 as we reveal his all-new origin story!
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

Variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
1:200 B&W Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale MARCH 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $3.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Batman may have survived the Court of Owls’ first strike (barely), but even as he recuperates, the Court is preparing to launch its most deadly and sweeping attack yet. Plus: The secrets revealed in this issue will change Batman’s world forever! You won’t want to miss the issue everyone will be talking about!
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.

Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL and SANDU FLOREA
1:25 B&W Variant cover by TONY S. DANIEL
On sale MARCH 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
Batman uncovers the truth behind a string of underworld killings involving a guest at the Penguin’s Iceberg Casino, but time is running out! Is unimaginable terror about to strike on the floating gambling den? And what will Bruce Wayne do now that he’s discovered some of Charlotte’s most well kept – and darkest – secrets? It’s death and destruction in the highest of high stakes games at the Iceberg Casino!

Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
On sale MARCH 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Batman finally discovers NoBody’s lair and must confront Robin and NoBody in an explosive, brutal battle that will shake them all to their very core!

On sale MARCH 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Nightwing vs. Saiko! The truth about Haly’s Circus! A tribute show for the Flying Graysons! They’re all in this amazing issue! Of course, there’s no way they could be related...right? Plus: As the answers regarding Haly’s Circus are revealed, what do they mean for Dick Grayson’s future in Gotham City? And more important, his future as Nightwing? Be here to find out!

Variant cover by IAN CHURCHILL
1:200 B&W variant cover by DOUG MAHNKE
On sale MARCH 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
“The Secret of the Indigo Tribe,” part 1! The GL team of Hal Jordan and Sinestro must investigate a crime that leads them to the Indigo homeworld in deep space. And what they find there will not only shock them, but also change the way you look at Lantern lore!

On sale MARCH 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
In the aftermath of the bloody first arc of the series, John Stewart must bring the body of a fallen Lantern back to his family. But how can John tell them the truth: that he caused this Lantern’s death!

Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT
1:25 B&W Variant cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT
On sale MARCH 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
World breaker and sun killer: Invictus has come to remake us all into his vision of perfection – he just needs to burn everything in his path first. In the New Guardians’ most desperate hour, Red Lantern Bleez returns, but is even her rage a match for the wrath of a living god? All this and the origin of Invictus – and how it all ties back to Larfleeze!

Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
1:25 B&W Variant cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale MARCH 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
Moss fills lungs. Leaves scrape across skin and wood against bone. A Swamp Thing is rising in The Green’s hour of darkest need...but is Alec Holland a part of it? Or is he just bleeding out in a ditch? And as Alec falls, a horrible champion is taking the throne of the Bone Kingdom at Sethe’s right hand!

On sale MARCH 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
“Animal vs. Man” part 1! As the forces of the Rot continue to pursue The Bakers across the backwoods of America, Cliff and Buddy decide to get in some quality father-and-son time. Plus, Buddy has a terrifying vision of things to come!

Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
1:25 B&W Variant cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
On sale MARCH 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
Are the Teen Titans ready to stage an assault on N.O.W.H.E.R.E.? No way! But as Red Robin explains to the rest of his team, they’ll have to rally to save the Superboy from certain death. And through all of this, only Solstice learns a secret Red Robin has been hiding that could tear the team apart just as they have finally come together!

Written by PAUL LEVITZ
On sale MARCH 7 • 32 pg, FC, 6 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T
The shattering conclusion as Huntress, with a billion-euro price on her head and a warrant for her arrest from Interpol, has one last battle to fight before she can leave Italy alive! And don’t miss the surprise guest-star at the end of this issue!

On sale MARCH 28 • 32 pg, 5 of 6, FC, $2.99 US
The exciting comic based on the hit PS3 video game continues! Forced to team up with their rivals, Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer fight back against the Smoking Gods deep in the bowels of the Earth! But once they find the treasure they’ve been seeking, should they take it?

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: SERIES 2 ACTION FIGURESWelcome to Arkham City, the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters, and insane criminal masterminds.
Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, it’s filled with the most murderous villains from DC Comics’ Batman universe. But Batman is ready to tackle it with all-new gadgets and his greatest—and most dangerous—allies. Which is good, because he’ll need all the help he can get for his journey into the darkest corners of Gotham.
Based on the blockbuster video game published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, developed by Rocksteady Studios, and licensed by DC Entertainment.
On sale April 25, 2011 * Action Figures * PI
The Riddler - 6.7” h
Catwoman - 6.5” h
Batman - (Detective Mode Variant) - 6.75” h
Hush - 6.8” h

Concept art for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic III

I'm a little late to the party with this, but here is some of the concept art for the cancelled Knights of the Old Republic III game. With The Old Republic being released this month, here's a look at what could have been.

Source: Gamersyde

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Booster Gold pilot ordered for SyFy (SciFi Channel)

Geoff Johns has obviously been doing his job. Along with last week's trailer for DC Nation, we have the news that a pilot for a live action TV drama starring everyone's favourite loser jock from the future, Booster Gold.

Booster Gold made his debut in the 1980s and has often been portrayed as a bit of a joke, but has been treated more seriously in the past 5 years or so. If you need some background reading, I recommend his 'redemption' story, DC Comics' 52.


That’s right, our favourite fallen footballer from the future Booster Gold could be the next comicbook creation heading to our TV screens.
SyFy has struck a deal with Andrew Kreisberg (FRINGE) to pen the teleplay, with Berlanti Productions overseeing alongside DC.

Before we get too excited, the commitment remains Pilot only for now, which means the finished product will have to be then given the greenlight based on their myriad of testing procedures, market research, that kind of stuff. Basically it's a long ways off yet.

The character, first introduced in 1986, has gained a huge fanbase over the years. He’s now, or at least was pre-New 52 (won't read it), a major player in the DCU. He’s an interesting hero in that he really kind of fell into the gig - his time-travelling antics were first and foremost a slick ploy to seek fame and fortune in the present after his career faltered in the 25th century. Even when he joined the JLI his primary concern was to use his status to make a quick buck (anybody remember Kooey Kooey Kooey?). That’s not to say he’s incapable of stepping up the plate in times of crisis. With his vast array of future tech (including his one-time robot sidekick Skeets) he can be a formidable hero. When it suits him.

We know this is a little obvious, but Gold's cock-sure character traits suit Nathan Fillion down to the ground, don't you agree? If not, who would you guys like to see in the role? Should SyFy commit to series that is... Hope hope.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Bleeding Cool:
Bleeding Cool was the first to tell you that Syfy were commissioning a number of TV mini-series based on comic book properties such as Ghost Projekt and The Sixth Gun.

But we didn’t expect one of their new projects to be DC Comics’ Booster Gold. A pilot script for a hour long series has been comissioned, with Greg Berlanti (No Ordinary Family, Green Lantern) as exec producer and Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe) writing, with an exec producer credit for DC.

The Hollywood Reporter.. reports

“The story will center on Booster Gold, a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest super hero of all time. Instead of chasing criminals, however, his main priority is chasing fame and money. But Booster Gold discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile, and that the future doesn’t happen without first protecting the present.”

Booster Gold appeared in Smallville (above) and in a number of DC cartoons over the years, but ths would be quite a jump for a character the mainstream public really hasn’t heard of. But he does have one killer of a high concept…


Syfy has ordered a pilot based on the DC Comics character Booster Gold, says a story at The Hollywood Reporter. "Fringe" writer Andrew Kreisberg has been tasked with writing a pilot.

Created by Dan Jurgens in 1986 and featured in his own eponymous series, Booster Gold is the superheroic identity of Michael Jon Carter, a resident of the 25th century who travels back in time to the present day DC Universe. There, he makes use of his futuristic technology to become a hero, at first eschewing traditional heroic notions of justice and nobility and instead signing endorsement deals and shamelessly self-promoting.

Booster Gold was featured in the final season of "Smallville," played by Eric Martsolf. There, he teamed with both Clark Kent and Blue Beetle (another incarnation of which was one of the character's best friends in the comics). There is not yet word on whether this new live-action Booster Gold will have any connection to the "Smallville" appearance.

Monday, 21 November 2011

8 years later....... The Dark Knight Rises

Nolan reveals that the story picks up eight years after The Dark Knight. "It's really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne's story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after 'The Dark Knight.' So he's an older Bruce Wayne; he's not in a great state. With Bane, we're looking to give Batman a challenge he hasn't had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we're testing Batman both physically as well as mentally."
Tom Hardy said that Bane is "brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."
Costume designer Lindy Hemming also talked about Bane's mask in the film. "He was injured early in his story. He's suffering from pain and needs gas to survive. He can't survive the pain without the mask. The pipes from the mask go back along his jawline and feed into the thing at his back, where there are two cannisters."

Friday, 18 November 2011

Couple name their baby after Elder Scolls V: Skyrim character

This is fantastic news that proves that Amercians will never cease to entertain the world.
An American couple have won free games for life for naming their newborn son after the protagonist of hit computer game, The Elder Scrolls vs. Skyrim.

Megan and Eric Kellermeyer welcomed their baby, Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer, into the world on 11/11/11.

Dovahkiin's parents who are huge fans of the computer game won the life-long prize that coincided with the release of the latest Skyrim game.

The makers of the game, Bethesda Software, announced back in February that anyone who had a child on the game's launch date, 11/11/11, and named him or her 'Dovahkiin' would win every ZeniMax/Bethesda game - past, present and future - for life.

So avid gamers Megan and Eric did just that.

Megan wrote: “I wanted him to have a unique name. I am so picky about boy names that I was having a lot of trouble finding just the right one. We've toyed with Dovahkiin and the ramifications of naming a child that name, and that name being based on a video game character (however awesome), and what impact that would have on him. But the more I thought of it, the more I settled on Dovahkiin, contest or no.”

On the day after Dovahkiin was born the couple announced: "Mama and baby are doing perfect. The Doctor said it was a perfect delivery. Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer was born at 6:08pm on 11/11/11."

Mentioning the naming contest they wrote: “We conceived long before hearing of it. But it's been a tough year and I wanted to do something special for my son. My daughter has a unique name. I wanted him to have a unique name as well.”

Bethesda now admits the offer was in jest, but they will keep to their word and provide the family with free computer games for life.

Little Dovahkiin may have an unusual name but at least he has great story to tell about how he got it.
Source: Yahoo!

Scott Snyder teases Batman #4

Batman writer Scott Snyder has given a brief tease of what we can expect in December's issue of Batman.

“Greg Capullo and I are having a blast with this story. Jon Glapion and FCO, too – and it’s one we both care a lot about. And as a thanks to everyone out there who picked us up, here’s a hint of what’s coming… Because next issue we’re finally going to learn Bruce’s reason for being so resistant to believing in the Court – a reason that dates all the way back to his childhood, and some of the blackest days of his young life. And The Court of Owls (if it exists?) will finally spring its most deadly trap on Batman – a trap buried deep beneath the city, in the darkest bedrock. Okay, to Gotham. And remember, The Court is always watching!"

Source: DC Comics Blog

Teen Titans #3 preview

Scott Lobdell has talked to Out magazine regarding the gay character Bunker, who debuts in Teen Titans #3. They also have a preview of the issue.
“We wanted to show an interesting character who’s homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden,” says co-creator Brett Booth, who has created the re-launch along with Scott Lobdell. “Sure there are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics.”

His accepting background and positive spin on life make Miguel’s outlook a stark contrast to the other gay characters in the DC Universe, such as Batwoman, Apollo, and Midnighter, among others. But according to Booth, Teen Titans is all about diversity, so trying to depict yet another aspect of a specific community seemed logical. “Does it scare the sh*t out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you're damn straight (pun intended!).”
Read the rest of the article here.

Check out the PREVIEW here.

Source: Brett Booth's Blog

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Dark Horse Star Wars highlights for February

I'm really looking forward to the return of the Knights of the Old Republic comic and the Dawn of the Jedi looks really interesting. I just hope that alternative cover for #1 shows a vision of the future (early Jedi should be using what instead of a lightsaber? Answers on a postcard (or the comment box).

John Ostrander (W), Jan Duursema (A), and Rodolfo Migliari (Cover)

On sale Feb 1
FC, 32 pages

It began with the mysterious pyramid ships-the Tho Yor-scattered to the eight corners of the galaxy, and ended with the establishment of an Order that would change the universe forever.

Here's your first look at the Star Wars of 25,000 years ago-before there were lightsabers, when the ties to the Force were new, and before the Jedi spread out into the galaxy.

o The official guide for readers of Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi!
o The Ostrander/Duursema team returns to Star Wars!
Dark Horse tells the origin of the Jedi!

John Ostrander (W), Jan Duursema (P/Cover), Dan Parsons (I), Wes Dzioba (C), and Gonzalo Flores (Variant cover)

On sale Feb 15
FC, 40 pages

On the planet Tython, in the center of the galaxy, an order of warrior monks strives to maintain peace and to balance the mysterious power known as the Force. But a stranger is coming-one who will destroy both peace and balance, and open the galaxy to exploration and conquest. This is where it all begins!

John Ostrander and Jan Duursema of Star Wars: Legacy fame reveal the mythic age of the Jedi's beginnings!

o A series that establishes the beginnings of the Jedi!
o The Ostrander/Duursema team returns to Star Wars!

John Jackson Miller (W), Andrea Mutti (P), Gigi Baldassini (I), Michael Atiyeh (C), and Benjamin Carré (Cover)

On sale Feb 8
FC, 32 pages

The Mandalorian Wars heat up as this new series about the Old Republic takes off!

Can a pacifist survive in a war zone? Jedi Zayne Carrick is having a hard time of it, first drafted and now caught in the crossfire between the Mandalorians, the Republic Navy-and even fellow Jedi!

o Discover why the Knights of the Old Republic video games and comics are among the most beloved in the history of Star Wars!
o New reader-friendly introduction to Star Wars comics!
He's not a Jedi-he's a spy!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Indy plays Uncharted

Indiana Jones himself plays as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 3.
He might be being put on the spot and Ford's attitude obviously betrays an 'I'm being paid to be here' air, but come on, he's playing a game that would never have been made if it wasn't for his character's films.
Just geek out and enjoy Harrison Ford playing Indian-- I mean Uncharted.

And here's the launch trailer for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to boot:

Source: Starburst

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Knights of the Old Republic mini!


John Jackson Miller (W), Andrea Mutti (P), Gigi Baldassini (I), Michael Atiyeh (C), Benjamin Carré (Cover), and Dave Wilkins (Variant cover)

On sale Jan 11
FC, 40 pages

If you’ve ever heard of the Knights of the Old Republic video games and comics but didn’t know where to start—this is it!

The Republic and the Mandalorians are at war! Jedi are joining the fight, despite the noninterference stance of the Council. One Jedi, however, has found himself on the front lines against his wishes—the peace-loving Zayne Carrick has been drafted!

• The return of one of the most popular eras in Star Wars video games and comics!

• The perfect entry point into the Star Wars galaxy!

• Blockbuster new Star Wars game on sale 12/20/11!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review - Batman: Year One


The latest of the DC Animated features is based upon the classic Frank Miller arc from Batman 404-407. The original tale is held in such reverence that much of the dialogue, storyboarding and story structure have been lifted verbatim. This has both pros and cons.

- We get the noir-style inner monologues.
- Gordon remains the focus.
- It remains sutably adult.
- The action is great.

- many scenes from that comic that take place over a couple of panels seem far too short
- some exchanges work well in print, but are out-of-place in film
- Atmospheric moments seem silly (Batman crashing the dinner party)

Whilst many of the DC features feel too short, this one comes in at the right length, even though it is shorter than most (this comes in at just over an hour, whilst most others are 75min). The action sequences were beefed up just enough that they flowed well without feeling tacked on. Gordon's one-man war on crime seeps deseration, but his affair with Essen is over in a flash. I couldn't help but feel that more of the plot needed developing, especially when one considers the short run-time (it only barely qualifys as a feature). We needed to see more insight into Gordon's relationships with his wife, Essen, Dent and even Flass and Loeb.

The biggest downfall comes from the sound design and voice acting. I wouldn't mind so much if this wasn't a problem with all the DC Animated features. It is more noticable in Batman: Year One however as some of the voice actors actually step up and, well, act. Eliza Dushku's Selina Kyle and Alex Rocco's Carmine Falcone are the stand out performances. The rest of the performances, whilst acceptable, come off as the rest of the sound design - a bit flat. The number of sound effects are kept to a minimum, rather than thinking about how to make the characters seem like they're in a living environment. The first day of the Sound Design module when I did my Film Production degree we learned about atmos tracks. The recording of a location's ambient sounds to lay down as a background track so that all of your scenes have an extra depth. FIRST DAY. Why don't these animated features have atmos tracks? They take three minutes to record and can be looped. It might seem like a minor quibble from someone who knows too much about it, but it's a simple thing that would really help to suck you into the movie.

My rating:
Batman: Year One suffers from the same problems as the rest of the DC Animated Features. So whilst it is entertaining, I'm afraid that I can't give more than 6/10 because it has done nothing to set itself apart from the pack.