Archive for Adam West

Batman and Robin #1

Posted in Batman, Batman and Robin, Comics, DC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
Together again for the first time.

Together again for the first time.

“Batman Reborn – Part One: Domino Effect”
Author: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover Artists: Frank Quitely and J.G. Jones

For all intents and purposes, Batman and Robin #1 is the real All-Star Batman and the Boy Wonder. Anyone who’s read Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman (and Frank Miller’s woeful All-Star Batman) will know what I mean. This Dynamic Duo returns for this new limited series Batman and Robin, with an all-new Batman and Robin.

It’s at this point that I should issue a general spoiler warning for those who haven’t read and intend to read Battle for the Cowl. It’ll be impossible for me discuss future issues, or indeed any future Batman titles, without first disclosing the outcome of that battle. Henceforth, I will no longer tread around the identities of the new Batman and Robin.

Here it is: Dick Grayson is the new Batman, and Damian Wayne (al Ghul) is the new Robin. Tim Drake’s new role has not yet been addressed, but I assume he will be headlining the new Red Robin series. Now, onto the story!

Grant Morrison’s back with his trademark verve and kineticism. The style of this series is very much a throwback to the Adam West TV series and that good ol’ Silver Age magic, albeit with a mature, modern twist (as Morrison is in the habit of doing). The book opens with Batman and Robin bearing down on Mr. Toad and his band of miscreants in a flying Batmobile. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, that just happened. Now, the difference between what you’re probably imagining, and what ended up on the printed page, is that Morrison actually makes it work (as Morrison is in the habit of doing).

Frank Quitely’s flying Batmobile is beautifully retro, as are Alex Sinclair’s colours. Quitely’s pencilwork is crisp and clean, though his ruddy inks belie a fondness of wrinkles, for better or worse. I think it makes for expressive character work, though others may beg to differ. If you’ve seen his work before, you’ll know what to expect, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint in my view. His incorporation of the onomaetopoeia into the actual artwork (water splashing forms the letters ‘SPLSH’, for instance) is quite clever, and not something that I’ve seen before. The sparseness of Morrison’s script has really allowed Quitely’s art to breathe, and it’s clear the team are comfortable in each other’s company here.

Bat-Shark Repellent is well-known for its Morrison worship, and for the sake of journalistic integrity, I make a point of highlighting this fact on every occasion. But allow me to highlight this as well: there’s a reason for it. One being that he always gives the most satisfying pseudo-scientific explanations! He gives one for the flying Batmobile, and it fits perfectly within comic book sensibilities and the Batman mythos.

The other reason, in this case, is just how well he makes all the elements mesh together. The new Batman and Robin suit the colourful tone of this book in a way that Bruce Wayne never could – there was always a heaviness and a seriousness to the post-80s Bruce that doesn’t lend itself to these kind of stories. Dick Grayson is Batman, but he was also the first Robin, and it’s clear here that that personality hasn’t been swallowed whole by the Bat-symbol. He still pays his dues to his Father and Teacher, and he wears the cape and cowl with a certain pride and trepidation, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously either. Which is a good thing when you have a handful like Damian al Ghul for a sidekick! Robin’s witty retorts and sense of entitlement are a hilarious counterpoint to a more patient and casual Batman – and why not? This Batman’s been Robin before; he just shoots back an even wittier reply and smiles knowingly.

Morrison is quick to establish this character dynamic, and also to distinguish this duo from previous incarnations. Then again, when was the last time you saw Batman and Robin really work together? I thought so. Watching them interrogate Mr. Toad is particularly entertaining.

This issue sees a villain known as Pyg and his Circus of Strange announce themselves as disturbing additions to Batman’s rogues gallery. Pyg is as deliciously creepy as any of Arkham’s inmates, while his henchmen are ‘themed’ villains in the vein of Batman’s more obsessive foes. His torture methods are the frightening antithesis of the Dynamic Duo’s interrogation. I mean it, he’ll give you the chills. The Circus of Strange is another well-meshed concept given Dick Grayson’s circus background.

If none of this makes sense to you, fear not! This is by far the most accessible Batman story I have read in a long time, possibly ever. The storytelling is simple, the dialogue is sparse, and yet it’s packed with plenty of brilliant concepts and comic action. I can think of no better time or place to jump in than here and now.

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Lego Batman II.

Posted in Batman, Comics, DC, Lego Batman, Lego Batman II, videogames with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell

As you know, I love Batman, but I also love Lego, and Lego Star Wars was my surprise favourite of 2005. So naturally it follows that I would love Lego Batman.  Having now played Lego Batman, though, I was disappointed to find that the stories weren’t based on any of the films or comics. That’s just a wasted opportunity, if you ask me. There’s so much Lego ridiculousness lying dormant in the Bat mythos, waiting to be excavated. Anyway, I figured that somewhere down the line there’d be a sequel, and as part of my pitch for Producer or Head Writer on Lego Batman II, I thought I’d stupidly give away my ideas for free. Here are some Batman stories that would make great Lego adaptations:

Batman: The Movie

“Diabolical!”

No, not Tim Burton’s classic Bat-film – I’m talking West, pure West – the very first Batman film is just screaming for a Lego retelling. The ridiculousness of it all; it’s like a hand in a glove: Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Catwoman get together on a Penguin Submarine (it literally looks like a penguin) and turn the United Nations into powder! Add a rather amusing riddle about apples and applesauce and you have the recipe for a hilarious Lego videogame.

Tales of the Demon

While this isn’t one story per sé, it works well as one. Introducing one of Batman’s greatest enemies Ra’s Al Ghul – The Demon’s Head – and greatest foils, the disarmingly beautiful Talia al Ghul. Tales of the Demon feels like a Bond film, spanning several exotic locales and pitting Batman against the strangest of enemies, including, but not restricted to ninjas, a leopard, a raging bull, the Bronze Tiger, and Ra’s Al Ghul’s faithful brute of a servant, Ubu. Batman even has a forced marriage to contend with – do I hear Lego hijinks? And what Batman/Ra’s tale would be complete without a shirtless swordfight? Check.

Dark Moon Rising: Batman and the Monster Men/Batman and the Mad Monk

This is just cool.

Old meets new in Matt Wagner’s surprisingly recent jaunt into the world of zombies and bat-men. It maintains all the trappings of goofy Golden Age horror pulp with the modernity of well, good writing I suppose! Barely one year into his crime-fighting career, the Batman must brave the perils of Mad Science and Ancient Evil to save Gotham City. Lego zombies and vampires? Yes please!

Knightfall

Look at the size of those hands!

The [in]famous 90s event comic Knightfall has a few things going for it. Firstly, then-new villain Bane masterminds a jailbreak down at Gotham Penitentiary, loosing all of Batman’s foes upon the city once more. Secondly, Batman is run ragged rounding up the most obscure of adversaries – Mad Hatter, Cavalier, Firefly, Zsasz, Killer Croc, and the Ventriloquist to name a few – while regulars Joker, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy plan something a little more sinister. Thirdly, Bane breaks Batman’s back, which would be hilarious in Lego. All of it would be hilarious in Lego, especially that maniac Firefly. It would be a great intermission to break up the gameplay, giving players an opportunity to use other characters like Azrael, Huntress and Nightwing in Batman’s absence.

No Man’s Land

Another 90s event comic that was terrible to read, but great for Lego business, is No Man’s Land. Gotham has been hit with an earthquake of biblical proportions, separating the city from civilisation. Of course, this sends its denizens into complete and utter madness, and the Bat-family have their work cut out for them trying to placate them. So while the earth is shaking, and Gothamites are running around like chickens with their cut off, Batman’s enemies work to carve out their piece of the pie. Mmmm…pie. Earthquakes and Lego blocks are a match made in heaven, especially for the destruction-loving boy that lives inside us all.

Batman & Robin: The Movie

At least Alicia Silverstone was hot, right?

You know why the first Lego Star Wars game was so hilarious? Because there was so much in the source material to make fun of. Next up on So Bad It’s Good: Batman & Robin. Easily the worst Batman film ever, what better way to bring Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Bane, Poison Ivy and Dr. Freeze together in a ridiculous camp-fest of Good vs. Evil? Can’t wait to see those Lego Bat-nipples!

The Dark Knight Returns

An aging Bruce Wayne is forced out of retirement once more to teach the youth a lesson [I’m surprised how fitting that summary is].
*Cue hilarious cutscenes about Batman being too old for this $#!+*
The opportunities for comedy here are legion. Batman even dresses as a homeless old drunk woman in what becomes a liquor store shootout. There’s some great showdowns here which would make for equally great boss battles. The explosive battle with Two-Face on a high-rise (a helicopter is also involved), the brawl with the Mutants gang leader in the city dump, and the final duel with the Joker in an abandoned theme park. I can’t believe I almost forgot the fight with SUPERMAN. Could anyone have any doubts as to how great this would work in Lego? The story lends itself to two-player gameplay as well, with Carrie Kelley taking up the mantle as the fourth [and first female] Robin.

Sorry, I just have to include this picture:

Now, THAT is cool.

Hush

Wow, they just summed up Hush in one picture.

Hush wasn’t much more than an excuse to pit Batman against his rogues gallery and introduce a new villain (or to give Jim Lee an opportunity to draw them all), but that’s just the type of story you need for an all-star videogame. Supporting players include Huntress, Robin, Nightwing and even Catwoman against the likes of Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Joker, the Riddler, Ra’s Al Ghul, Lady Shiva, Scarecrow, Clayface [disguised as Jason Todd – back from the dead – no less!], and finally, Hush. Oh, and did I mention there’s another fight with Superman? Trust me, it never gets old.

There you go, eight thrilling chapters for a Lego Batman sequel right there. Does that not sound like the Greatest Batman Videogame of All Time in the making?