BATMAN DAY: The Best Modern Day Batman Stories!

Hey Everyone.

Paul here…

One of humanities greatest holiday’s, Batman Day, is upon us once again. In honor of this joyous occasion, it’s officially Batman Week here at World’s Best Media! It’s that special time of year when we can all take the time to reflect on the greatness of The Dark Knight Detectve. Like Superman, people will still be telling stories about The Batman, in one form or another, hundreds of years from now (unless of course, mankind doesn’t wipe itself from the face of the Earth in the near future). Characters like Batman and Superman are our modern day gods. Like Achilles or Beowulf, these heroes resonate with people because they’re such primal archetypes.

Even more so than Superman, the tragic tale of a boy who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents, is a fear we can all relate to. The boy made a vow to rid his city of the evil that took their lives, and turned himself into a monster to do it. The tragedy of Batman is that his war can never be won and he knows it. That’s deep, primal stuff. The brillliant simplicity of Batman allows for endless stories and reinventions.

Batman isn’t only my favorite comics book character, he’s by far my favorite character in all of literature. The complex psychology of Bruce Wayne, the greatest group of villains ever assembled, the sprawling urban nightmare that is Gotham City, and a phenomenal supporting cast… it all comes together to form the unforgettable tapestry of The Batman mythology. So in honor of Batman Day, I decided to put together a list of my favorite modern Batman stories. This was harder than you might think, because there are literally hundreds of classic Batman tales. I left out the obvious ones like “The Big 3”: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and The Killing Joke. Including those 3 classics on my list, seemed redundant and obvious, so I decided to focus on some great modern Batman stories. I was able to narrow it down to these amazing tales, that I encourage all of you to check out. Let’s dive in…


Batman: The Black Mirror

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Jock & Francesco Francavilla

DC has a long history of “legacy heroes”. “Legacy heroes” are characters who take up the mantle of an iconic, classic superhero, when the original cannot or will not continue on. “Legacy heroes” are almost always characters who are close to the original incarnation of the superhero in question, usually a sidekick or a partner. For example, when the original Flash, Barry Allen, died in Crisis On Infinite Earths, his sidekick, Wally West AKA Kid Flash, inherited the role of The Scarlet Speedster. In fact, many fans believe Wally West surpassed his mentor to be the best version of The Flash in the history of DC Comics. Another good example, is when the entire Green Lantern Corp were wiped out (including Hal Jordan), artist Kyle Rayner was chosen to become the only living in Green Lantern in the universe. Eventually, he was instrumental in rebuilding the Corp. We tend tp not think of Batman as a character that ”passes on the mantle”. However, there has been some notable exceptions, like Dick Grayson, that were excellent and unique versions of The Dark Knight.

The Black Mirror took place at a time when, for reasons that are too complicated to get into, Bruce Wayne was MIA as Batman. Dick Grayson a.k.a. the original Robin a.k.a. Nightwing, reluctantly donned the Cape and Cowl to become the new Batman.

Like so many other excellent Batman tales, the story is just as much about Jim Gordon as it is Batman. The veteran Gotham police officer and the rookie Batman, must solve a grisly mystery that hits far too close to home for both men. With amazing art by Jock and Francesco Francavilla, it seems as if Gotham City itself is alive. A dark and hungry thing, ready to devour those that walk it’s streets. This was the breakout story that launched Scott Snyder’s career as one of the biggest creators in the industry. This isn’t the only time you’ll see Snyder’s name pop up on this list, because The Black Mirror was his first step on his journey to becoming one of the greatest Batman writers of all time.


Batman: R.I.P.

Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Tony Daniel

Grant Morrison is not only a personal favorite of mine, he’s also one of the best and most celebrated comic writers in the history of the medium. All-Star Superman, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth, JLA, if you’ve ever read Morrison‘s work, it will come as no surprise that this is one hell of a weird, fucking Batman story. However, in this instance that’s a really good thing. Batman R.I.P. marks the end of ACT I of Morrison‘s epic Batman run. When I was reading this nightmarish and disturbing story for the first time, it genuinely felt like anything could happen, which is rare when you’re dealing with such a well-known character like Batman. The brilliance of Morrison‘s run, is how he mines some of the most ridiculous and wacked out Batman stories from the late-50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s, (that any other writer would just as soon forget) to tell a truly unique Batman tale. Some fantastic new villains, like demonic Dr. Hurt, and new spins on old dynamics, make this an unforgettable story about madness, evil, and the indomitable will of The Dark Knight.

Batman & Robin: Reborn


Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Frank Quietly

Another fantastic story taking place during Dick Grayson’s tenure as The Caped Crusader. Grant Morrison’s ambitious, and entertaining Batman run, consisted of a broad, 3 Act structure. If Batman RIP was the end of Act I of Morrison‘s epic, then Batman and Robin: Reborn is the beginning of Act II. This story follows Dick as he struggles to fit into his new role as Batman. One The most compelling parts of the story, is the relationship between Dick and the new Robin, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son. Reborn puts a fun new spin on the Batman and Robin dynamic. Normally, Batman is the dark, brooding one, with Robin as the bright, quipping, colorful, and lighthearted side of The Dynamic Duo. This story completely flips that dynamic on its head. This Batman smiles, tells jokes, and has fun. Damian’s Robin is arrogant, violent, and brutal. Basically the kid is a real pain in the ass

Regardless, he is, after all, Bruce Wayne‘s biological son. To Dick and Alfred, Bruce was family, so they both feel a responsibility to keep Damian on the right path. Both men know that Bruce would want them to watch over Damian, a task that certainly isn’t easy given Damian’s violent upbringing before he came to live with his father. But Dick and Alfred would never give up on the boy because of their love for Bruce. After all, Damian was raised in The League of Assassins, under the tutelage of Tallia and Ra’s Al Ghul. He could kill grown men by the time he was four years old. With Damian, The House’s of Wayne and Al Ghul would finally be united. Talia and Ra’s were grooming him to stride across the world as a modern-day Alexander The Great. Fortunately, Damian had more of his father in him than his mother and grandfather thought. Inspired by his father, Damian chose his own path, even if that meant being branded as an adversary to The House of Al Ghul.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dick, Damian, and Alfred in this story. One of my favorite subplots that evolves as the story goes on, is how Damien, who has nothing but disdain for Dick and Alfred, gradually comes to love and respect them both, arguably even more than he loves his father. Add in some gorgeous art by the legendary Frank Quietly (who’s one of my favorite comic book artists), the introduction of one of my favorite and most disturbing modern day Batman villains: the grotesque Professor Pyg, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a Batman comic book. This story is a new era for Batman and it all comes together to make this a must read.


Batman: The Court of Owls

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo

The Court of Owls marks the beginning of what would become, one of the greatest writer/artist teams in modern comics. Together, writer Scott Snyder and veteran artist Greg Capullo, would go on to create one of the best Batman runs in the long history of the character.

Gotham City is synonymous with The Dark Knight. He knows it’s broken streets and dark alleyways, as well as he knows his own reflection in the mirror. Gotham belongs to The Batman and he knows all it’s secrets. Or does he? After a series of bizarre murders, Batman is blindsided by the realization that a cunning and dangerous enemy has existed and operated right under his nose. This powerful adversary has had its claws in Gotham for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the founding of the city. Bruce Wayne might be the worlds greatest detective and the legendary Batman, but in his hubris, he forgot one of the most important lessons he learned in his years protecting the city: The second you think you know Gotham, is the moment it swallows you into the darkness.

What are your favorite Batman stories? Please let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Thanks for reading! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

MUST WATCH: Beware The Batman!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

If you’re a frequent visitor to World’s Best Media, you probably already know that I love Batman and Superhero Animation. So I tend to get excited when I hear about a new animated Batman project. Warner Bros. and HBO recently announced a new Batman animated series in the works for HBO Max, called Batman: The Caped Crusader. The new series is being developed by Matt Reeves (the director of the upcoming film The Batman), JJ Abrams, and Bruce Timm (one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series). There’ve been rumors floating around for a while now that Warner Bros. was developing a sequel series to the beloved and classic Batman: The Animated Series. While Batman: The Caped Crusader is not a direct sequel series or continuation of Batman: The Animated Series, it’s definitely a spiritual successor. When The Caped Crusader was announced Reeves and Abrams explicitly stated that BTAS (Batman: The Animated Series, for all you cool kids) was the new show’s biggest influence. Through the involvement of Bruce Timm as well as this promo art released during The Caped Crusader’s announcement, served to reinforce how much of an influence BTAS will have on this new show. As I mentioned before, Bruce Timm was one of the creators of Batman: The Animated Series and an icon in DC animation, and as you can clearly see in the promo art, which I posted below, Batman: The Caped Crusader is very evocative of the neo noir look of the 90s Batman series.


However, when I read the announcement for Batman: The Caped Crusader, I couldn’t help but think that I’d heard this all somewhere else once before. Which brings me to the main topic of this article, an animated series that you may not have even heard of called Beware The Batman. An extremely underrated animated series that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time, Beware The Batman. The announcement about The Caped Crusader reminded me a lot of how Beware The Batman was described when it was first announced. Especially because of the comments made by Abrams and Reeves about “reinvention” and “reimagining” the Batman mythos. It was very similar to how Beware The Batman was pitched when first heard about it, just with some keywords turned around here and there. Beware The Batman was “pitched” to the audience as a darker, grittier animated Batman story, that wasn’t going to do the same old thing. The series certainly lived up to the claim, because it isn’t quite like any other adaptation of the character. The core of the show was something we see far too little of, in on screen adaptations of The Dark Knight, Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective. This was still a relatively early days Batman, at least a few years into his grand mission. The series really played up the “World’s Greatest Detective“ aspect of the character, which many of you may know, I fucking love.

The writers weren’t afraid to play up some of Batman’s other underutilized character attributes. For example. I loved how they played Bruce Wayne as a really fucking weird guy. Because of course he would be. This guys lives a pretty fucked up lifestyle, so he’s bound to be at little… off. It wasn’t over the top or anything like that, but this is not a normal dude and i thought it brought out something special in this version of Batman.


Bruce Wayne wasn’t the only character who went through some changes on Beware The Batman. Wherever Batman goes, so goes Alfred Pennyworth. There’s been a slow moving trend over the last 10 years or so, to change Alfred from an elderly butler into a slightly younger, badass in his own right, with a more active role in Bruce Wayne’s war on crime. This version leaned into Alfred’s history as a military combat vet/spy. Beware The Batman drew upon parts of the character seen in projects like the Epix TV series Pennyworth, the Batman: Earth One graphic novels, and arguably Jeremy Irons’ Alfred in the DCEU. In this animated series, Alfred was former MI-6 and his past catching up to him drives a surprising amount of the story throughout the season, but it works.


Batman may seem like a loner, but he surrounds himself with a lot of surrogate family. So when it came to figuring out who would be Batman‘s partner, the writers chose to buck the trend once again. Instead of Nightwing, Robin, or Batgirl, Batman‘s main partner in crime was Tatsu Yamashiro also known as Katana. Alfred brought her in as potential back up for Bruce. Tatsu was formally a member of both The League of Assassins (where she picked up the alias Katana) and MI-6, a formidable combination. Katana was also Alfred’s protege, Alfred having served with her father in MI-6. Alfred looked at Tatsu as a surrogate daughter. Which makes it almost poetic that he would call upon the woman he sees as a daughter, to help protect the man he sees as his son. Her presence in the story added a unique dynamic that wasn’t present in other animated Batman projects.

Beware The Batman also distinguished itself by not using any of the major Batman villains for the majority of the first and only season. Which I thought that was a really smart and cool way to go. You didn’t see villains like The Joker or The Penguin pop up immediately, which gave the show the opportunity to showcase lesser known villains. Batman has such a fucking incredible rogues gallery, you have to go real far down the list to find a character that is genuinely lame. Kite Man! Yes, there’s a Batman villain called Kite Man! Shockingly enough, in the right hands, even Kite Man is interesting.

So Instead of the usual suspects, Beware The Batman offers up villains like the horrifying Professor Pyg, or Magpie, a thief Bruce becomes infatuated with, or Simon Stagg, everyone’s favorite piece of dog shit industrialist. The overarcing villain for the series was Anarky, a white clad terrorist and madman with skills and fighting abilities dangerously close to Batman’s own.

The writers framed him as the polar opposite opposite of Batman. Anarky, the broken funhouse mirror version of The Dark Knight. Anarky adorned himself in white to Batman’s black, where Batman embraced order, Anarky embraced chaos. Watching Anarky and Batman playing an elaborate game of cat and mouse across the entire season, with Gotham City hanging in the balance, was a hell of a lot of fun.

But Anarky wasn’t the only Big Bad putting Batman to the test over this 26 episode series. The League of Assassins were present early on in the season, which gave Lady Shiva (another awesome, but under utilized Batman villain) some time to shine as the face of The League.

Until about halfway through the season when Ra’s Al Ghul himself enters the fray, menacingly played by The Wire’s Lance Reddick.

As the season went on, some other familiar faces began to pop up, like Killer Croc and Man- Bat. There was also a fair amount of set up dedicated to stories that would have played out had their been second season.

Harvey Dent was introduced in the final few episodes and had already suffered his infamous facial scarring by the end of the season. Presumably setting up Two-Face as the Big Bad for Season 2.

It really is a shame that we never got to see more of this show because the season ended with a cool mystery involving Deathstroke and Alfred’s past once again coming back to haunt him and the people he loves. I would’ve loved to have seen how these writers would’ve interpreted some of Batman’s other classic villains.

The animation style can be a little jarring at first, but it works once you get used to it. I really loved how the shine and texture of The Bat-Suit makes it looks like it’s made out of the same material as the Michael Keaton Batman suit‘s, but has the flexibility and range of motion of a much lighter material. The CGI animation also allows for some choreographed fight scenes that wouldn’t be possible in 2-D animation.


As I wrap it up here, I’ll also add that the show doesn’t really hit it’s stride until Episode 6 “Toxic“. That’s not to say that the first 5 episodes are bad by any means, but Episode 6 was really the one that clicked for me and made me begin to fall in love with the show. So if you plan on giving this series a try, make sure you give the show until at least Episode 6 “Toxic”, it only gets better from there. Honestly, you could probably go straight to Episode 6 without missing that much. Then once you’re really into the show, you can always go back and watch those first 5 episodes.
Beware The Batman: The Complete Series is available to watch on HBO Max, iTunes, and Blu-Ray. If you a fan of superhero animation, I highly recommend you check out this unique hidden gem.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!


-Paul

Spring 2021 Movie & TV Preview! PODCAST: Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE (SPOILERS)!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

On this episode, The World’s Best Podcast crosses over with the Cuff’s Basement Podcast to review Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which recently premiered on HBO Max! Along with Tim and Ryan, we breakdown a film that is vastly different from the original 2017 Justice League theatrical release. In fact Zack Snyder‘s Justice League is more like a entirely new film, than a director’s cut. We go over everything from what worked to what didn’t, as well as what we loved about the film and what we may have disliked. In this fun and far reaching discussion which yielded one of our best episodes this year, so far!

Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/43993349  Or subscribe/listen on Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes/ApplePodcats: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000513898680

Spotifyhttps://open.spotify.com/show/11mA9kClyevVZjWYMQB1Io?si=7TfnqkBiShqTQpZhh2UDsA

Stitcherhttps://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=185563

While promoting the film, Zack Snyder offered up a lot of interesting information, teases, and images about what might have been, had things gone according to plan and the DCEU stayed on the track that began with Man of Steel. Snyder originally envisioned a 5-film “Lord of The Rings” style epic, that included Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and culminated in a massive Justice League trilogy. As a result there were a lot ideas and concepts that were played around with that were abandoned. A good example of how somethings could’ve played out slightly differently is, how in one of the subplots in Batman V Superman, involved Wonder Woman attempting to retrieve an old photograph of herself and her comrades-in-arms from WWI. This of course tied into 2017’s Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins. However, before the story for the first wonder woman film had been finalized there was still some to be about exactly how long Diana had been away from Themyscira fighting wars in “Man’s World”. Some beautiful images were commissioned showing Diana fighting alongside soldiers in wars much farther back in history, closer to The Crimean War than World War I. Snyder shared a few of them online that I thought were particularly interesting which you can take a look at right here:

Snyder offered up another sneak peek at The Snyder Cut, whe he confirmed the long running fan theory that General Swanwick played by Harry Lennox (Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice) was actually J’onn J’onnz: The Martian Manhunter, hiding among mankind. Snyder revealed that the character would indeed be making an appearance in his Justice League when it premiered on HBO Max, with Lennox returning for the role. DC helped Snyder give fans at hint at the character’s design in the film, by publishing variant covers of the JL comic book a few months back, featuring the movie version of this classic character drawn by the legendary Jim Lee. Take a look…

This is the final design for the character used in the movie

This also wraps up WEEK 1 of World’s Best Media’s Spring 2021 Movie & TV Preview! We have even more great content coming your way in WEEK 2, with exciting new series like Amazon Prime’s INVINCIBLE, from the creator of The Walking Dead!

Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

TRAILER: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

In just a few weeks fans will finally get to see (for better or worse) Justice League as director Zack Snyder envisioned it. The film, clocking in at over a 4 hour running time, premieres on HBO Max on March 18th. Zack Snyder is a pretty divisive filmmaker, but I love Man of Steel and as far as I’m concerned, if you take Jessie Eisenberg’s god awful take on Lex Luthor out of the film, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Extended Edition is a great fucking movie. I know some of you will think I’m crazy, but I can’t wait to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League! Take a look at the new trailer below:

Check out the gallery below for new images of Steppenwolf, Darkseid, Wonder Woman, The Joker, and more…

The Bat-Tank
Some stunning concept art

Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK: Justice League: The Snyder Cut!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

There’ve been few things in recent popular culture that have been more divisive than Zack Snyder‘s foray into the DCEU. Personally, I’m a big Zack Snyder defender. I think, with the exception of Sucker Punch, he’s never truly made a bad movie.

   Man of Steel is easily my favorite live-action Superman movie. Henry Cavill is much better in the role than people give him credit for and the movie is underrated in general. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a very flawed film, but I love it. Particularly the R-Rated Ultimate Edition. It’s sad that the films reception and his personal issues forced Ben Affleck to walk away from the character because he was arguably our best live action Batman to date. The only thing in that movie that was truly terrible was the decision to cast Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and his god awful subsequent performance. I understand that, as fans we all have our own beliefs about how beloved character should be portrayed on screen, but I was pleasantly surprised by Batman V Superman, especially because the film was getting such mixed reviews at the time. 

I don’t count Justice League because at the end of the day that wasn’t really Snyder’s film. Almost everything with Superman in that movie was shot after he left the film, for personal reasons. Henry Cavill was well into filming Mission: Impossible Fallout, where he sported a thick mustache. You can tell that all of Superman’s scenes were shot after Zack Snyder left the film, because Paramount, the film studio that was making Mission Impossible, wouldn’t let Warner Bros. shave Cavill’s mustache for JL reshoots. So, instead of choosing the much simpler, cheaper, and smarter option of shaving his mustache and having Cavill wear a fake for the remainder of shooting Mission Impossible, Warner Bros. had to remove the mustache digitally. The god awful result is that the whole bottom half of Superman’s face in JL looks like a creepy mannequin come to life. Of course none of that is Zack Snyder‘s fault because he already left the movie at that point, but it’s a funny story if you haven’t already heard it.

Now, Zack Snyder is finally getting a chance to give us his vision of his Justice League film, or at least something pretty close to it. Justice League: The Snyder Cut is premiering on HBOMax next year, sometime in 2021. It might not be much, but HBO released a brief teaser for the project that you can watch below. Of course, you can’t judge a movie after only seeing less than 60 seconds of footage, but I already dig the darker tone. We’re only shown two quick scenes, one involving Diana played by Gal Gadot that was not in the theatrical cut at all and a quick look at a alternate version of the ancient battle sequence that opens the film where Steppenwolf has been replaced by… Well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s someone much scarier and much more interesting. The thing that both of these scenes have in common is that they’re extremely ominous and they both serve to focus on the appearance of a certain iconic DC villain, not featured in the theatrical cut. Take a look below, I’d love to hear what you guys think:

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK: The NEW Batmobile!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  We got our first look at the new Batmobile from the latest big screen incarnation of The Dark Knight, The Batman directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson. People always tend to get excited about the new Batmobile whenever a new Batman project is on the horizon. Folks get almost as excited about the car as they do about the Batman suit. I love the more grounded look of this design, something that looks it’s based on a souped up Dodge Charger. Take a look at the pictures posted below.

Personally, my two favorite versions of The Batmobile are The Tumbler from Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and the futuristic Batmobile from the classic animated series, Batman Beyond. But like I said before, I really like this new look for The Batmobile, it’s definitely a different direction to go in.

Batman Beyond Batmobile
Batmobile AKA The Tumbler from Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

There has been a few rumors going around lately that The Batman will feature Robin in someway or another. This new Batmobile design lends some validity to the rumors because, as many others have pointed out, this Batmobile is very similar to the version Batman had when he met the boy who would go on to become the second Robin, Jason Todd. Batman caught him trying to steal the wheels off of the Batmobile and decided to take the orphan boy in. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to readers that Jason was eventually beaten to death by The Joker with a crowbar and was still inside the warehouse where The Joker was keeping him when the building exploded. A kid who tries to steal the rims off the fucking Batmobile isn’t exactly the brightest bulb around. Anyway, the similarity between the two designs are leaving some people to speculate that Jason Todd may appear in this new film in some way. Personally, I’d rather see Dick Grayson or Tim Drake, but I’ll take what I can get.

This is similar to the speculation that was taking place a few weeks ago after images of Robert Pattinson as Batman on his motorcycle surfaced online. The Bat-Suit Pattinson was wearing and the bike he was riding, were very similar to the suit and motorcycle Batman in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s story Zero Year.

Batman from the “Zero Year” storyline

I really dig everything I’ve seen so far from The Batman. Do you like the new design?Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul,

Why Making A Sequel To JOKER Is A Bad Idea

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

A man dressed as a clown writhing in pain, in a filthy alley, as he clutches at his groin. Hey man, we’ve ALL been there.

It’s been recently announced that director Todd Phillips and actor Joaquin Phoenix, may be returning for a sequel to their critical and commercial smash hit, JOKER. A lot of fans, may initially be very happy to hear this news, but today I’d like to put forth the argument that making a sequel to JOKER is a bad idea. 

Hey guys, let’s take the enthusiasm down a few notches. This a Hollywood premiere, not a frat party!

    Throughout the making of this film, right up to press interviews before the premiere Phoenix and Phillips stuck to their guns, as they did from the very beginning. Even when the box office juggernaut opened to critical and commercial success, Phoenix and Phillips said loud and clear that this was a one off. This was meant to be a standalone story. Which is partially what made the movie so interesting. Every movie studio, especially when it comes to comic book properties, is always looking for their next franchise. So when the trailers for JOKER dropped and the movie garnered seriously positive buzz, mostly due to what looked to be an incredible performance from Joaquin Phoenix, chatter began about the possibility of a sequel. When asked if a sequel could possibly be in the cards, the answer from Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips was always an unequivocal NO. That’s not how they approached this project, it was a character study with a beginning, middle, and end. 

    In this franchise driven environment, it’s refreshing to hear filmmakers say we’re here to make one movie and one movie alone. Especially when every film studio is trying to copy the success of Marvel and make a 20 film series. These guys came along and said, we want to do this one, fucked up little movie, on the cheap, let us do it our way and fuck off. 

   Clearly that strategy paid off. Though it’s by no means perfect, JOKER is one of the best films of the year. The movie coming close to $1 billion in box office revenue with such a low budget, makes it one of the most financially successful comic book films ever made.  Not to mention, Joaquin Phoenix is all but a shoe in for an Oscar nomination next year. So, with the film being complete home run, one can see why Warner Bros would have serious interest in reuniting their director and star for a sequel. I’d argue the film’s success is due to audience’s looking for some diversity in their entertainment. Instead of making a sequel to a film that was designed to stand alone, get another talented filmmaker with a unique, singular vision for a different DC property, keep the budget low and let them have at it. Evolution is the only way that superhero films will survive. Change or die.

  I would also argue I’m not sure where the sequel to JOKER would go from here. Todd Phillips has been on record saying that pitched JOKER to Joaquin Phoenix as “sneaking a gritty, art house character study through the studio system”. Phoenix’s interest was in telling a story about a man’s descent into madness, not a story about The Joker we know from the comics. In fact, Joaquin Phoenix didn’t even want Todd Phillips to have Thomas Wayne in the movie, he wanted the character to have a different name, even that was too much of a connection to the comic book for him. The connections to the greater Batman mythology in JOKER are minimal to say the least. Todd Phillips basically bullshitted Joaquin Phoenix and kept in things like the Thomas Wayne character and the murder of The Wayne’s at the end of the film.

    Now this is just my opinion, but I think there are two ways to go with a sequel to JOKER. The first would be add a Batman into the mix. However, keep him at the periphery, don’t make him a main character and keep him very grounded. As grounded as they made The Joker in the first film. It would be incredibly fascinating to see how Arthur Fleck, who has now become The Joker would approach the emergence of someone like The Batman.

  The problem is Joaquin Phoenix would never make a movie like that. While doing the interview rounds for JOKER, one of the reporters asked Joaquin Phoenix, how his version of The Joker would react to someone like Batman appearing in Gotham. Phoenix smiled, he seemed to genuinely like the question, and after a moment of thought he said “That’s great question. I don’t know I’ve never thought about it.”. Really?! C’mon! YOU NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT?! Batman is only the most important and fundamentally driving force in the life of the character you’re playing, but you’ve never thought of it, OK that makes sense (in case you can’t tell I’m oozing sarcasm and mild disgust as I write this).Batman and the Joker are one of the great yin and yang characters in all of popular culture. They are defined by one another. But hey, he never really thought about it! (….fucking dipshit...).

How fucking SICK is this poster? It was made by a company called Mondo and unfortunately they don’t carry this poster anymore. But God damn, is it cool.

  So if Phoenix never once gave a fuck about how his character would feel about Batman, I think it’s safe to say he would never agree to appear in a movie featuring Batman alongside his version of The Joker. Now, the second way to go for a JOKER sequel, would be to do some version of the classic Bruce Timm and Paul Dini story Mad Love about the creation of Harley Quinn and the beginning of her love story with The Joker. I’m not talking about the bullshit nonsensical version of their love story we saw in the god awful Suicide Squad film, I’m to I’m talking about the classic graphic novel Mad Love.

Dr. Harleen Quinnzel is a new psychiatrist at Arkham. She’s young, beautiful, and ambitious. She imagines getting rich writing some kind of breakthrough book about the psychology of these colorful super criminals. She manages to arrange sessions to meet with and attempt to treat The Joker, confident that she can handle him. As their sessions go on, The Joker begins to completely manipulate and control her. She falls completely under his spell, breaks him out of Arkham and becomes the now iconic Harley Quinn.  A film like that could really work, but it has the same problems my first proposed scenario does. It has too many ties to the comic book source material, which Joaquin Phoenix has no interest in whatsoever. 

An even bigger mistake would be for the studio to try to replicate the “JOKER Formula” of a gritty, dressed down, no frills take on another Batman villain. Admittedly, I think there are a few members of Batman’s rogues gallery that this could work with, but who the fuck really wants to see that?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be very interested to see what a sequel to JOKER would look like. However, it’s all a question of if they even have a story to tell. If Joaquin Phoenix didn’t even want the name of Thomas Wayne to even be in the movie, he’s certainly not going to want to include some version of Batman or Harley Quinn in a potential sequel. There is a third way they could go, but I don’t think it really works either. They make a movie that’s a continuation of the first film and focus on The Joker and his continued transformation into one of the greatest super villains in all of fiction.

Here’s why that concept doesn’t quite work either. Based on where we leave The Joker at the end of this film, The only way to go for him is to fall deeper and deeper into the persona of The Joker. He would have to evolve into a more “classic”, for lack of a better word, version of The Joker. As he becomes more insane and embraces his identity as The Joker, we’d see things like his deadly Joker laughing gas, elaborate plots against the city, the personification of terror and evil. Just as I don’t think Joaquin Phoenix would ever do a movie with Batman and Harley Quinn, I also don’t think he would want to play a version of The Joker that’s more like the Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger version. The character’s natural evolution is to get more “comic book-y” and it seems, based on multiple interviews that I’ve seen and articles that I’ve read, the aspects of JOKER that were connected to the comic book were the things he was always least interested in.

One might counter with the point, So, Paul what’s wrong with that? Couldn’t they just continue to tell the story of Arthur Fleck becoming The Joker? Well, if you continue this character’s story when you don’t want comic book elements to be a significant part of the story, the problem becomes, he’s just some lunatic guy. He’s not The Joker. If the character is nothing like The Joker, then what’s the point in doing the movie? The biggest flaw of JOKER was how derivative the story was. It was very reminiscent of other films about men being broken by society, like Falling Down, Taxi Driver, or Fight Club. What made JOKER great was Joaquin Phoenix and his mesmerizing performance as the man who would become The Joker, not necessarily the film itself. If we ever see a JOKER 2, we want to see The goddamn Joker.

If they want to move forward with a sequel, Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips have to really understand what kind of movie they want to make. At the end of the day, you have an extremely successful comic book film that was designed to be a standalone story, with a star who has absolutely no interest in anything from the DC Universe becoming a part of the story he’s acting in. I think the best thing for Warner Bros and the movie going public, would be to get another visionary filmmaker, to tell another small budget story from the DC Universe. Re-create the success of JOKER by giving the audience what they really responded to in their first place, a unique movie going experience, not another financially driven sequel.

As alway, thanks for reading!

-Paul

PODCAST: Is There A Place For Small Cinema Anymore?

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


This week, I was thrilled to get my old friend and frequent collaborator Michael Cole back on The World’s Best Podcast. Mike Cole wanted to discuss the comments recently made by several prominent filmmakers, that seem to ask: is there a place for great, smaller films in this blockbuster world?

In other news, some very exciting casting announcements have been made regarding director Matt Reeves’ upcoming film, The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne. My readers and listeners know what a huge Batman fan I am and I’ve got to say, every new piece of news that I hear about this project, makes me even more excited to see it. Sure, I’ll have to wait for it’s Summer 2021 release date, but there are plenty of other cool and thrilling projects coming down the pipe between now and then. I do want to reiterate that those of you who may have doubts about Robert Pattinson in this role, are going to be pleasantly surprised. I think Pattinson is going to do a fantastic job. With a story that’s rumored to focus on the tortured and scarred psychology of Bruce Wayne as well as his skills as The World’s Greatest Detective, I think Pattinson is going to crush it in this role. Anyway, Mike and I go down the roster the roles that have been cast (or heavily rumored to have been cast) and give our take on each of the recently announced parts.

Bringing up The Batman is a great excuse to showcase one of my favorite artists working right now, BossLogic. You may have seen his work online before, I’ve posted his work on this site many times. He made up a very cool poster for movie, as well as pieces on the different actors supposedly up for roles in The Batman and what they’d look like as the iconic allies and enemies of The Dark Knight’s world. Take a look here:

Poster by BossLogic
Batman by BossLogic
Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle
Paul Dano as The Riddler
Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin)
Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth

We recorded two episodes, but I’m releasing the second of the two podcasts first. The subjects that we discuss in this podcast are still pretty relevant and fresh in peoples minds right now. I felt that if I waited to share this episode, it just might not be as enjoyable to the fans a week from now. Part One of the podcast has a pretty broad topic, so we’ll be releasing that one later in the week

Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/19932530

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000456338398

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=65174129&autoplay=1

Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul

MOVIE REVIEW – Batman: Hush

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the direct to Blu-Ray and Digital DC Animated Movies. There’ve been some real classics to come out of these projects. Movies like Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns: The Deluxe Edition, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and Batman: Under The Red Hood, just to name a few. While there have been some enjoyable standouts, there hasn’t been a real homerun from these films in a while. Though Batman: Hush may not knock it out of the park, it comes damn near close. Based on the classic Batman run by writer Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) with art by the legendary Jim Lee (Justice League, X-Men), Batman: Hush does a great job of adapting this seminal Batman tale while still fitting the movie into the animated continuity (or DCAU) that DC created beginning with Justice League: War. The result is a pretty damn good movie that is less of a mystery and more of a tragic romance. Which may irk some fans, but I’ll get into more of that in a moment.

  I’ve heard some people complain about the animation in these films lately. Critics say that copying the general aesthetic of The New 52 and attempting to adhere to a visual continuity, makes each of these movies feel overly similar and blocky. Well, that issue isn’t completely absent from this film, but there are some notable efforts to step up to quality of the animation. Some shots feature fantastic little details that immediately draw your eyes. How someone’s eyes and face move before something dramatic is about to happen, the way a fight move is pulled off, small moments scattered throughout the film that make it feel as if the animators were going the extra mile and it shows.

   The real highlight of the movie is the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It’s so rare to see Batman in a successful and a functioning relationship. I should mention that Selina doesn’t know that Bruce is Batman at the beginning of the story.

It’s only when things begin to get serious that he reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne. In fact, there is a funny scene when he brings her to the Batcave for the first time and she’s enthusiastically greeted by Dick in the Nightwing uniform without his mask and Alfred attempting to serve her tea. When she‘s surprised to realize that Dick and Alfred know that she’s Selina Kyle. She even half jokingly asks “Does everyone know who I am?“ Dick blurts out “No, just us and Damian.” Selena asks “Who’s Damian?”, “Oh he’s Bruce’s son… He’s Robin.” Replies Dick with an awkward look on his face. It’s easy to see how being an intimate part of Bruce’s life isn’t so simple, which is why he and Selena are so perfect for one another. He is drawn to Selina as both Batman and Bruce Wayne and that’s where the key to their success of the relationship lies. 

     If Bruce and Selina are out on a date and The Bat Signal appears in the sky, Bruce doesn’t have to make up some bullshit excuse. She’s more than capable of coming along with him to stop whatever threat he’s facing and it even feels like a natural part of their “date night” that they both seem to get off on. Catwoman may have been staying on the straight and narrow, but she loves this world, she loves being part of a good fight. In fact, I think if she was dating Bruce and he didn’t have the Batman aspect to his life, the relationship wouldn’t work. Selina needs those kind of thrills.The film is mature enough to acknowledge that this relationship wouldn’t have worked if it began when they were younger. Maybe there would’ve been an intense fling, but nothing more. They’ve both matured, changed, and they both want different things than they did years before. It’s at this point in their lives that they’re ready to be together as both Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

   When comparing the graphic novel to the film, it’s important to remember that the  Batman: Hush graphic novel is a mystery at it’s heart. Who is Hush? Why are they doing this? Well the movie managed to do a great job with staying relatively faithful to the source material, while still managing to surprising fans of the graphic novel. Love it or hate it. Many of the iconic moments from the comic book are present in the film. Some are even slightly improved upon. However, there is one classic scene from Batman: Hush that was adapted to the film, but (without going into SPOILERS) the scene felt like it needed to be a little bit longer. I was impressed how Hush managed to both surprise those of us who’ve read the comic book, while still being faithful to the source material in a unique way. To say much more would be a SPOILER, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. You may think you know where the story is going, you may think you know the identity of Hush (and maybe you’re right), but things play out just different enough to make things fun, interesting, and surprising.

   The final fight between Batman and Hush is particularly well animated, well choreographed, and thrilling. The animation of the fight has a very dynamic quality. Batman employs one of my favorite tactics of his, that we’ve seen in animation and comics many times, but almost never in live-action: He gets in the villains head to gain the upper hand. He plays mind games with his opponents and that’s used here to great effect. Batman use his genius, his ability to manipulate the psychosis of the villain he’s facing, to exploit their fears, insecurities, and weaknesses to give him that extra edge for the win. Batman’s greatest weapon is his intellect. 

       The combination of the surprising reveal of Hush’s identity, the fantastic animation, and Batman using his intellect to exploit the mental and emotional weaknesses of his opponent, make this for a pretty memorable final battle.

   It should be noted that Selina Kyle/Catwoman is a notorious criminal and accomplished superhero in her own right. However, Batman can be such a larger than life figure, that it would be easy to make even the strongest of women look like a damsel in distress in one of his stories. The film does a great job of avoiding problems like this. Selina is her own woman. Her choices are not defined by Bruce’s choices. She doesn’t necessarily need his help to get out of some of the most serious jams she finds herself in throughout the movie. Particularly in the climax of the film, Selina finds herself in a very precarious life and death situation. I’m fairly certain she would’ve been fine, whether Batman showed up or not. The storytellers did a phenomenal job making her an interesting capable character.

    At the end of the day this is still a love story between Batman and Catwoman. The sad realization of how, at least in this point in their lives, that love story is also a tragedy. Bruce lets Selina in, in a way we rarely see from this character. There comes a point in the story, when Bruce makes a decision that looks like madness to Selina. In fact, it would look like madness too many of us in the audience. Once the threat has been neutralized and the villain dealt with, Selina has an epiphany. She realizes that no matter how much she loves Bruce, no matter how much she changes for him, no matter how much more she’s willingto change for him, he won’t change himself.

     There are things he will not become. There are lines he cannot cross. Because of that Selina will always come in second place to Bruce. She willing to let herself evolve with this relationship, but she realizes that in the end, Bruce is an immovable object she’ll break herself against. It’s profound, it’s sad, and it’s veryBatman.

  Batman: Hush is a flawed, but solid Batman mystery/adventure with a fantastic romance story, great fight scenes, some stand out bits of animation, and some surprisingly thought-provoking character and story elements. Some things land better than others and I think the film may have benefited from another 20 minutes or so of storytelling to help flesh out some of it’s more interesting ideas. The climax in particular feels like it comes out of nowhere, when there should’ve been a bit more tension and build up to Batman‘s final confrontation with Hush. Whether you’ve read the original graphic novel or not, this movie will still keep you guessing. 

      While not the complete return to form I was hoping for from Warner Bros/DC Animation after the strong combination of The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen, I’d say this is still a MUST WATCH for any Batman fan!

Thanks for reading!

Batman: Hush – 8/10

Reviewed by Paul J. Wright

COMIC BOOK PREVIEW- Batman: Last Knight on Earth!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’m a massive comic books fan. Every week I read my Must Read comics on my tablet and I go to my favorite comic book store, The Hall of Comics In Southborough, MA, to get all of my graphic novels (More on The Hall of Comics below). There are a lot of great comics being published right now, but my favorite writer by far is Scott Snyder. His 50 plus issue run on Batman with Artist Greg Capullo is without question the best Batman run of this generation. Anytime Snyder and Capullo come together, they make magic. Stories like The Court Of Owls, The Death of The Family, Zero Year, and Dark Nights: Metal are all modern classics. Of course, there’s also Snyder’s incredible introduction to the world of The Dark Knight, The Black Mirror (as fantastic as that story is, it wasn’t with Artist Greg Capullo). Now, after putting their stamp on Batman’s origin in the excellent story Zero Year, they’re closing the circle by telling their version of the final Batman story: Batman: Last Knight on Earth. The miniseries is a 3-issue prestige format book, shipping bi-monthly under DC’s Black Label, with Issue #1 coming out on 5/29/19. DC’s Black Label was created for their best writers and artists to tell stories that are the best of the best. If Zero Year was their Batman: Year One, Batman: Last Knight on Earth is their The Dark Knight Returns. Below is the official synopsis from DC Comics:

Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane.

And…he was never Batman.

So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…

From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of “Court of Owls” to the bombastic power of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, DC Black Label is proud to present the bimonthly, three-issue miniseries BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, published at DC’s standard comic trim size.

This could be the last Batman story ever told…

Snyder and Capullo NEVER fail to deliver a spectacular Batman story and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint. With the book’s 5/29 release date right around the corner, DC put out a trailer for Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1, to get people hyped for the event miniseries. Check it out below:

We also have some great interior art from the book, released by DC Comics. These pages are from Issue #1:

Below we have the cover for issue #2 of the 3-issue miniseries, which hits stands on 7/31/19.

You have to give Snyder and Capullo credit because they’re certainly swinging for the fences on this one. I love how this series looks batshit insane. This book looks nuts in the best possible way and it is this month’s pick for Must Read Comic Book!!!!!!

Earlier in the article I mention the comic book store The Hall of Comics in Southborough, MA. I just wanted to take a minuet to sing their praises and why you should check them out if you’re in the Boston area. Whether you’re a long time comic book reader, a lapsed fan who wants to get back into comics, or someone who’s never picked up a comic before, but you love superhero films and don’t know where to start, the guys at The Hall of Comics will hook you up with anything you need. Not only do you feel welcome when you walk in the door, but they also have awesome special events like Midnight Release Parties, INCREDIBLE Cosplay appearances, and their coolest events are when they frequently have some of the best comic book writers and artists in the business come by for signings and meet and greet with the fans. As I mentioned in one of my recent podcasts, I had the chance to meet and chat with iconic comic book artist Bob Layton and it was a wonder full experience. So, if you want to check out Batman: Last Knight On Earth (you’d be crazy not to) and you’re in the area, The Hall of Comics is the place to go! You can check out their website right here: https://thehallofcomics.com

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (of 3) hits stands on 5/29/2019

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul