Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


Dark Nights: Death Metal #1

Written by Scott Snyder

Art by Greg Capullo 

  The long awaited and much anticipated new miniseries from DC Comics, Dark Nights: Death Metal, is finally here and today I’m reviewing the first issue! About once a year, usually in the summer, both of “The Big Two” comic book publishers, DC and Marvel, will put out an epic miniseries “Event”. These are the no holds barred stories, where seemingly anything can happen! Typically, even though one character or one particular team will be the focus of the story, these Events affect and involve the entire DCU or Marvel Universe. These stories tend to have casts of thousands! With huge, status quo changing moments! Whenever the publishers at Marvel or DC are talking about their latest Event Miniseries, they like to say things like, “After this story nothing will ever be the same!”. When you’ve been reading comics as long as I have, there are certain things that you tend to expect to see when one of these big stories come out. There are usually some major character deaths, surprise resurrections, heroes turning into villains and vice versa, things like that. Classic DC and Marvel stories like Crisis On Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet, and Civil War are some examples of Event Comics. Like many things, some of them suck and other become classics.

One of the best superhero Events of the last decade was Dark Nights: Metal written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo. That story saw the DCU being invaded by the evil, cosmic forces of the previously unknown Dark Mutiverse. The Dark Multiverse is a nightmare realm where the deep fears of everyone in The DCU are made manifest. These are the worlds where everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. The Dark Multiverse was ruled by an evil god-like entity called Barbatos. When he came to attack and claim the DCU, his generals were all dark, twisted versions of Batman. 

   The most terrifying and formidable of the evil Bruce Waynes from across The Dark Multiverse was, without a doubt, The Batman Who Laughs. In his home reality, after The Joker killed Jim Gordon and a shit load of other people, Bruce Wayne finally had enough of the atrocities committed by The Joker and killed him by snapping his neck. BUT The Clown Prince of Crime had one last surprise for his longtime nemesis, The Joker created a toxin that would be released from his body at the moment of his death and turn whoever killed him into the next Joker. The insidious toxin burned  away Bruce’s humanity. Batman lost of all his morality, compassion, and empathy. Batman, under normal circumstances, is already as Superman once put it, “The most dangerous man alive.”.  This version Batman, without the moral code that stops him from going too far, is a terrifying and unbeatable cosmic horror. Now he’s the apex predator of The Multiverse. Because a Batman Who Laughs is a Batman who always wins. 

  The Justice League managed to defeat Barbatos and his army of evil Batmen (The Batman Who Laughs managed to stick around The DCU), but it came with huge unforeseen consequences. In defeating one dark god, they unknowingly unleashed another: Perpetua, The Mother and Creator of The Multiverse. However, when Perpetua was freed, it took time for her to regain her full power. She needed help and a certain bald, alien hating, billionaire businessman/scientific genius was just the megalomaniac for the job…

Perpetua: Creator of The Multiverse

   One of the major ongoing stories in DC Comics over the last few years has followed Lex Luthor (with the help of The Legion of Doom) as he attempted to pull off his most ambitious cosmic power grab to date. Luthor set out to unlock the hidden powers of the universe and restore Perpetua to her full strength. Luthor’s endgame was to help Perpetua regain control of The Multiverse and rule over all of creation alongside her as her right hand and most trusted disciple. Everything was going according to Luthor’s plan, that is until The Batman Who Laughs showed up. He managed to make the case to Perpetua that he, not Luthor, was the one worthy of becoming her most valuable acolyte. Luthor had done all the work and The Batman Who Laughs snatched everything right out from under him. Perpetua agreed, and Luthor was cast aside.

    Dark Nights: Death Metal is not only a sequel to Dark Nights: Metal, it also builds upon many of the major stories Scott Snyder and others have been telling in the DCU since the end of the first Dark Nights: Metal. Elements from Snyder‘s Justice League run, Doomsday Clock, Snyder’s Batman Who Laughs miniseries, The Flash, and more are all at play. I think one of the things that the story does really well, is that despite all of the groundwork the story has been built upon, it doesn’t feel like you need to have read all of those other stories to understand this one. It’s a more accessible tale than you might think. The story starts very much in the middle of the action, so even if you have read every single DC Comic Book that’s connected to this story, you’re still going to be playing catch-up. Everything in the story is so insane that, part of the fun is figuring out how the hell our heroes have found themselves in this crazy situation.

Without going into major spoilers, Earth has been pulled into The Dark Multiverse. The planet has become a terrifying nightmare-scape, ruled over by the cruel and sadistic Batman Who Laughs. Countless twisted and evil versions of Batman from throughout The Dark Multiverse act as his lieutenants and help enforce his will. Our heroes have lost so badly that to keep what’s left of humanity alive, heroes like Swamp Thing, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and others are forced work for The Batman Who Laughs and do his bidding. He’s given his version of the Justice League different roles to play in his new kingdom. They know that they can’t beat him. He holds all the cards in such a way that, the only way our heroes can protect the people that are left is to play his sick game and grudgingly work for him. The Batman Who Laughs is essentially holding a gun to the head of what’s left of humanity, to keep the former Justice League in line. It’s sort of reminds me of something out of Game of Thrones where noble characters have to bow down before a despicable ruler in the name of serving a greater good. Of course Batman, the real Batman that is out there somewhere, fighting almost like a guerrilla insurgency, desperately trying to pull off whatever ever he can to save whatever’s left of this broken Multiverse.

Despite the fact that the whole story is wrapped in Batman iconography and there are evil Batmen everywhere, Wonder Woman is the central character in this story. Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s former home, has literally become Hell, a jail for people that The Batman Who Laughs wants to keep out of the way and imprisoned. With Swamp Thing (who’s seen better days to say the least) as her right hand man and confidant, Wonder Woman has become Hell’s Jailer, The Warden of her desecrated homeland. Despite her dark circumstances, Wonder Woman is pretty fucking cool in this story and I love the choice to make her one of the central characters. She’s really the main character, at least in this issue.  but considering what goes down in the first issue alone, I think it’s fair to say she’ll probably be taking center stage for the whole story. If this issue is any indication, that’s a fantastic idea. As cool as Batman is, as smart as he is, and is tough as he is, no one will fight to their last breath like Wonder Woman. She is not content to play her fucked up role in The Batman Who Laugh’s wasteland. Bruce thinks the fight is already lost and all they can hope to do is save whatever good is left. Wonder woman is not having that shit, she knows there must be a way to make things right, to put the universe back together again. And when a very important prisoner is sent to her by The Batman Who Laughs, Diana thinks she may have found her last chance to save the world.

To say anymore would spoil the fun. I will say this, they are not fucking around with this story. Snyder and Capullo have pulled out all of the fucking stops. This is only the first issue and there were at least three or four jaw-dropping moments in this comic book. I was fucking blown away. It’s impressive that while so much of what is going on in the story is dark and bleak, the story never loses it’s thrilling sense of fun. The heroes of the DCU are in rough shape, but it looks like watching them try to set things right is going to be a blast!

   I think it’s safe to say at this point that Snyder and Capullo have established themselves as one of the best writer/artist teams in the history of comics. These are two guys operating at the absolute top of their game and it shows in the story. When Greg Capullo’s name is on a comic book, it’s a given that the art inside will be fantastic, but he really knocked it out of the park on this one. It would be easy to take Capullo’s incredible art for granted, because his work has produced so many phenomenal stories over the years. In Dark Nights: Death Metal, literally everything on each page is something totally new, even all of the classic DC heroes in this story are sporting completely new looks. There are so few artists that could pull off a story like this, with the level of excellence that Capullo delivers. Then there’s the coloring by FCO Plascencia (another long time collaborator of Snyder and Capullo’s) which is gorgeous in this issue. The way the bright, vivid colors of Wonder Woman contrast with the dark, more muted tones of the desolate wasteland that surrounds her, is beautiful to behold.

I’ll definitely say this I loved Dark Nights: Metal and this is a much better first issue than that story. I’m sure Snyder and Capullo would be happy to hear, that the comic book is definitely “Metal”. It rocks the fucking doors off, blows out the windows, and leaves you desperately wanting more. I cannot wait for the next issue, because Dark Nights: Death Metal fucking rules! 🤘

Dark Nights: Death Metal #19/10

Note: DC has put out a prelude story that takes place right before issue #1 begins. You can read it for free on instagram! It’s pretty cool, so I definitely recommend checking it out. Read for free right here: https://t.co/vIJ8HkiZ23

Check out this art from issue #2 hitting stands in July…

Awesome Art From The Upcoming BATMAN Story Arc From DC Comics: JOKER WAR!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

It’s been an open secret in the world of comic books that The Joker knows, and has always known, that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He just doesn’t care. It wouldn’t be funny for him to sneak into Wayne Manor in the middle of the night and put a bullet in Bruce Wayne’s head while he’s sleeping. It’s Batman who he’s interested in, Batman is his playmate.
Well after years of teasing it looks like The Joker is finally going to pull the ripcord on pretending he doesn’t know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same man. He’s finally going to play that Ace up up his sleeve. This awesome art from Jorge Jimenez gives us a little preview of things to come in the upcoming Joker War storyline. It certainly looks like The Clown Prince of Crime is not holding back.

To add another interesting wrinkle to the story, The Joker’s got a new girlfriend and her name is Punchline. The Joker and Harley has been consciously uncoupled for several years now, with Harley Quinn leaning more into hero than villain territory these days. So it looks like Mister J. has moved on to a woman who is more interested in keeping up with his bloody, homicidal antics. We’ve only seen a little bit of Punchline in the current Batman comics, but expect her to play a bigger role as we get closer to Joker War. Here’s more beautiful art by Jorge Jimenez, who designed Punchline, so you can get a better look at the character and how she is different from Harley Quinn.

Joker War will be written by James Tynion IV, the current writer of DC’s monthly Batman comic. Tynion’s been doing excellent Batman work at DC for several years now, on books like Detective Comics and his current run on Batman. He also worked closely with Scott Snyder, arguably the greatest modern Batman writer, on Snyder’s Batman books as well as co-writing multiple issues of Snyder’s recent run on Justice League. This storyline has been teased for awhile now and we’ve been treated to sneak peeks at The Joker while he’s planning his masterpiece.


As you can see in the images below, any doubt about how much knowledge The Joker really has about Batman and his family, is quickly erased…

Because of the national health crisis, there haven’t been any new monthly comic books shipped to vendors over the last few weeks. Regular comic book distribution to Comic Book Store‘s and apps like ComiXology, is expected to begin again in mid-May, in a few weeks. So the release dates of storylines like Joker War, that were supposed to start at the end of April or the beginning of May with Batman # 95, No loolike a late May or early June beginning for the joker war. Fortunately however long it takes, things will get back on track. This is definitely going to be a big story for the Batman franchise so look for more coverage when Joker War begins in late May or June. I know I’m excited!

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,

Awesome Batman: The Animated Series Art!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

   It’s a good time to be a fan of Batman: The Animated Series. With the new comic book series Batman: The Adventure Continues, an in canon continuation of the series. Written by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, 2 of the biggest creative players behind the original Animated Series, this new comic continues the classic story of the original show, while introducing new and iconic elements from Batman’s rich mythology. Besides the new comic book series, there’s some fantastic art I found online by an incredible artist.

I’ve been an artist my whole life. Even as kid I was always drawing. Though I would experiment with painting, watercolor, and other material, Sketching has always been my favorite. I love finding cool art online. Specially art featuring the kind of stuff we cover here at World’s Best Media. Cool paintings of classic scenes from movies, aspiring comic book artists displaying their version of iconic characters, hand drawn movie posters, that sort of thing. A quick word on film posters: they used to so cool. Works of art in their own right.  A few movies will still put out cool posters, but most are photoshopped crap. The work of men like Drew Struzan who’s worked on some of the most iconic films of all time! I’ll post some his work below so you can see what I’m talking about.

      Whether it’s movies, comics, or TV, there are a lot of fantastic artists (amateur and professional) that put their stamp on great genre work with their art. The Batman: The Animated Series pics below definitely fall into the category of fucking amazing. 


   All of these incredibly beautiful pieces of art based on the characters from Batman: The Animated Series, were done by rafagrassetti . You can see more of his spectacular artwork on his Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/rafagrassetti/?hl=en right here. It’s amazing how he takes the unmistakable design of BTAS, yet still makes it his own with his slightly more realistic take on the characters. As you can see he based all of his work in the original BTAS character designs, not any of the redesigns done in Season 4 or the hour long block that was referred to as “The New Adventure of Batman/Superman”. My personal favorite is Killer Croc. He’s drawn with slightly more animalistic attributes without turning him into a full blow crocodile monster like we’ve seen in recent years. I think some of these may even be sculptures, which just shows what a monumentally talented artist Rafa Grassetti is.

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

POCAST: Birds Of Prey Review! With Co-Host Tim Cuff!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

On this very special episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, Tim Cuff makes his triumphant return to the show! Tim was one of the original co-hosts of “The World’s Best Podcast” and helped make the podcast the success that it is today! What better occasion to have Tim return to the show, than to join up with me to review “Birds of Prey”? The film focuses on Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, who’s trying to survive the brutal Gotham underworld after her break up with The Joker. Harley allies herself with other classic DC characters like Black Canary, Huntress, and Det. Rene Montoya to take on the vicious Gotham crime boss, Black Mask. Tim and I are both DC mega-fans, so it’s been great to see the DCEU (or The Worlds of DC) get back on track with movies like Aquaman, SHAZAM!, and of course, JOKER. Does “Birds of Prey” continue DC’s winning streak or do we have another Suicide Squad on our hands? Check out the episode to find out! Enjoy! FULL SPOILERS!

Make sure to check out Tim’s podcast, Cuff’s Basement, available on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cuffs-basement/id1315442078

Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/22616693  Or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F22616693

Thanks for reading and 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, 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

TRAILER & ANALYSIS: Birds of Prey

Hey Everyone,

Paul here..

The new trailer for Birds of Prey (Or The Who Gives A Fuck Bullshit of Fucking Harley Quinn) has dropped. Do with that information what you will. My only interest in this movie is a vague curiosity about how characters I’ve been reading on the comic book pages for years, will be translated into into a live action big budget comic book movie. Check out the trailer here and then read my thoughts on the project below:
https://youtu.be/x3HbbzHK5Mc

Is it just me or does it seem like Warner Bros. really doesn’t give a shit about this movie? It should be a bigger event for DC/Warner Bros., studios have seemed to realize niche genre movies released I’m mid-February have a tendency to do well. Movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service and Deadpool we’re both big successes, coming out on, or near, Valentines Day weekend. So at the very least, this seems like a good spot to release a movie like this. But it feels like two steps forward one step back with DC. After a string of hits with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam!, and Joker, as well as the. highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 coming out this summer, Birds of Prey seems like a step backwards into the realm of Suicide Squad and Justice League.

On one hand, this look like it could be a real dumpster fire, but there’s a part of me that thinks there’s a small chance it could be cool. After watching the trailer a few times, I’ll say this for the trailer, it definitely has a fun energy to it. I also noticed some interesting elements and choices made by the filmmakers. For example, there are big visual cues and callbacks to several excellent Harley Quinn focused episodes of Batman The Animated Series like “Harley’s Holiday”, “Harlequinade”, and “Harley and Ivy”. If there’s any source material Birds of Prey would be wise to draw inspiration from, it’s Batman The Animated Series . Especially because two of the leads in Birds of Prey, Rene Montoya (Rosie Perez) and Harley Quinn, were characters that were created on Batman The Animated Series and eventually made their jump into the comic books. One of the things I disliked about Suicide Squad was how little they used Harley’s story from Batman The Animated Series. The film didn’t have any interest in showcasing the fascinating and complex relationship that developed between Harley and The Joker, while she was treating him as a psychiatrist at Arkham. Suicide Squad also opted to use an inferior, new origin for Harley that had recently been showcased at the time in a DC Comics revamp, instead of using the superior transformation from Dr. Harleen Quinzell into Harley Quinn that we saw in The Animated Series, (for what little they showed of her origin and her relationship with The Joker at all).

Then there are the problems with the villains in the movie. I love seeing Ewan McGregor in a DC movie, I just wish he was playing a more interesting character than Black Mask (and what seems to be an extremely loose interpretation of Black Mask at that). There was a rumor a while back that Ewan McGregor would feature in the rumored Justice League Dark movie where he was supposedly going to play either John Constantine or Jason Blood/Etrigan The Demon. McGregor would have been amazing in either of those roles and they’re both far more interesting than Black Mask. Which brings me to another double edge sword presented by this film. I like the inclusion of lesser used Batman villains like Roman Sionus a.k.a. Black Mask and Victor Zsasz, but they seem to be different enough from their comic book counterparts to wonder why they were included at all. I understand what works on the comic book page may not work on the big screen and certain things get lost in translation, especially from one medium to another. Sometimes those changes can even be for the better. However, it seems like these characters are Black Mask and Zsasz in name only, so why bother to use them? I could be wrong, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

To wrap things up, I’ve seen more negatives than positives when it comes to Birds Of Prey, so my expectations are pretty low going into this. But sometimes the best movie going experiences happen when your expectations for a film are in the toilet and the movie pleasantly surprises you.

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, 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!

Birds of Prey hits theaters 2/7/20

-Paul

TRAILER: Birds of Prey (My Thoughts)

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

If it wasn’t for Justice League, the DC films would be on quite the streak right now. Yes, if you look at all of their films besides Justice League, after Suicide Squad, you have Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and SHAZAM!, each a success in their own way. Aquaman in particular made a shitload of money at the box office. Now, later this week we have the much hyped and much anticipated premier of JOKER. I think the direction of the DC Cinematic Universe from here on will be largely predicated upon how JOKER performs financially. If it’s a smash hit, I think they’ll probably continue trying stand-alone, “Elseworlds” style stories like JOKER that are independent of The DCEU (I’m not calling it The Worlds of DC! I’m not fucking doing it!!!). If the film under performs I would imagine they will go back to embracing universe building, single continuity films like the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman 2. 

   Out of all their upcoming projects, I am by far most intrigued by Matt Reeves’ new Batman film. I think Robert Pattinson is a great choice for Batman. I think he’s underestimated as an actor by a lot of people who don’t know his work outside of the Twilight series. Also Matt Reeves is a great filmmaker and writer, who wants to bring Batman back to his detective roots. Reeves seems to finally be making a Batman film that’s a noir-detective story, which is something we’ve never really seen from the character, ironically enough. Despite it being such a massive part of who he is and his mythology, we’ve never seen “Batman: The World’s Greatest Detective” on the big screen.

   Then, we had the trailer for Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) drop like a ton of shit today. I’ll be honest with you,this movie kind of came out of nowhere for me. For someone who follows comic books movies so closely, I had no idea the movie was this close to release until I saw a teaser for during my screening of It: Chapter 2. First things first, I want you guys to get a chance to check out the trailer, which I’ve posted below and I’ll give you my thoughts after…

First of all, regardless of what I think about this film as a DC Comics adaptation, this is just a bad trailer. There’s no clear indication of what’s really going on, who the good guys and the bad guys are, what the hell the story is, it’s just a big goddamn mess. The only thing that is clear is that we’re getting a shitload of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn front and center. If I didn’t know better I would say this is just a straight up Harley Quinn solo film. It looks nothing like up what I would imagine a Birds of Prey movie would look like (I’ll get back to that in a minute). Don’t get me wrong, I really like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and I thought she was one of the high points of the otherwise abysmal Suicide Squad. Unfortunately, Harley Quinn is one of those characters that’s really popular with fans and tends to get over used. Just to give you an example from the world of comics, DC has at least three or four Harley Quinn-centric books being published right now. Four Harley Quinn comics is three Harley Quinn comics too many. Even though they’re very different characters, Wolverine came to mind as I watched this trailer. Some of the greatest X-Men comic book writers of all time have understood one thing: less is more with Wolverine when he’s with The X-Men. He such a popular character that the temptation for most writers is to put him front and center, make him the most important character in the story. However with Wolverine, (at least when he’s in the X-Men, not his solo books) if he’s used in small doses, the moments the writers let him off the chain and really allow the character to shine, the moment is that much more special because they showed restraint. With Birds of Prey, all I’ve seen is the trailer and I’m already sick of Harley Quinn.

   In the comics Birds of Prey is a long running, very beloved series about 3 great female DC heroes, who come together to pool their skills, and eventually become a little family. The team classically consist of the wheelchair bound Barbara Gordon, who after retiring as Batgirl due to her injuries at the hands of The Joker, has taken up the mantle of Oracle. She is the ultimate hacker, she’s the hub of all knowledge and information for the heroes of the DC Universe. She handles everything from tracking criminals to hacking into The Pentagon, she’s the ultimate field support team. As Ned from the Spider-Man films likes to say that he’s the “man in the chair“, well Oracle is the original “woman in the chair“. Everything Felicity did on the TV show Arrow was basically Oracle. They even make a joke on the show about how Felicity should get a code name like everyone else on Team Arrow and Oliver mentioned he wanted her code name to be Oracle “but it’s taken”. She is the best of the best at what she does. Heroes all the way from Batman and Superman come to her for her help and expertise. 

    The field team usually consists of Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. Huntress, a violent Gotham vigilante who is almost always an outsider/pariah within the community of Gotham City vigilantes. Huntress is not afraid to kill to get the job done, which of course Batman does not approve of. But Huntress doesn’t particularly give a shit what Batman does and does not approve of.  

    Finally,there is Dinah Lance a.k.a. Black Canary, she is one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe, she could easily go toe to toe with the very best hand to hand fighters in the DCU. She’s also a meta-human who can emit intense sonic “canary cries“. She can modulate the power of her sonic blasts so it can be used as a simple distraction or powerful enough to rip through a concrete wall. Gail Simone was the writer who made this series what it was. There have been a lot of other writers who’ve worked on Birds of Prey, but Gail Simone is by far the most well-known and beloved. 

  My point is Birds of Prey is about these 3 female Gotham vigilantes coming together to fight the good fight. There’s nothing wrong with throwing Harley Quinn into the mix, in fact I think that could be really fun. However, based on the trailer none of that seems to be there, it’s just all Harley Quinn, all the time.

   I haven’t even touched on the villain, Gotham crime boss Roman Sionus a.k.a. Black Mask played by Ewan McGregor. Black Mask is known for 3 things: first, he’s one of the biggest organize crime figures in Gotham, who leans more towards the traditional criminal side of things, than over the top insanity of some of Batman‘s other rogues gallery like Scarecrow, for example. Second, his entire head and face permanently resemble a black skull. Think The Red Skull from Captain America, but completely black instead and wearing a business suit and that’s exactly what Black Mask looks like. Finally, he’s known for loving to torture his victims to death. So all around he’s a really nice, pleasant guy. You don’t see any indication of him looking anything like the traditional Black Mask in this trailer, so why not just make him a different character if you’re not gonna use that interesting visual motif Black Mask possesses? But it’s hard to be too critical because I didn’t really get enough of Ewan McGregor in the trailer to get a sense of how he’s playing the part. I love Ewan McGregor so I hope they actually give him something interesting to do. The trailer is cut together so poorly I can’t even understand some of Ewan McGregor’s lines sometimes. 

   Look, obviously I want this movie to be good. I want it to be a success. I love the DC Universe and I love these characters. I hope I’m wrong and I hope they pull it off. However, at the moment the Birds of Prey a.k.a. “Harley Quinn: The Movie”, looks pretty shitty in my opinion.

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 for our podcast, 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

FIRST LOOK: Batman: Hush! New Trailer! Pictures & More!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Photo from IGN.com

Even though they haven’t knocked one out of the park in a while, I love the DC Animated Movies that are released digitally and on Blu-ray every year. A few of these movies are even in my top 25 favorite films of all time. I’d consider more than a few to be among some of the best superhero movies ever made (I’ll probably make a list below, cataloging the best of the best). Today, DC released the first trailer for their next DCAU film, Batman: Hush.

   For a while now, it seemed like the DC Animated Movies were adapting all of the classic Batman stories as animated films, one by one. Which is fine with me! Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns both received excellent movie adaptations. Unfortunately, Batman: The Killing Joke didn’t work as well when it received the DCAU treatment. After TDKR and Year One, The Killing Joke fills out the trifecta of the best and most revered Batman stories ever told. All 3 graphic novels came out of the “dark and gritty” comic book renaissance of the 80’s (for better or for worse). Batman: The Killing Joke received a controversial release a few years ago with a mixed response at best. I don’t think it’s the disaster that a lot of people make it out to be, but I understand the issues people have with the film.

    If DC is going to continue down this path of adapting all of the most famous and revered Batman graphic novels, the story I’d love to see them tackle is Batman: The Long Halloween. If you’re going to adapt the most iconic Batman graphic novels of all time, after The Dark Knight Returns, Year One, and The Killing Joke, the story that makes the most sense to give the fans next, is The Long Halloween. Especially if they released it in two parts, like they did with The Dark Knight Returns. It could be something really spectacular. It’s a sprawling, epic mystery taking place early in Batman‘s career. The Dark Knight faces off against a serial killer, whose murders coincide with holidays. It’s The Godfather meets Seven with Batman in it, how is that NOT fucking awesome?! The Christopher Nolan films heavily borrowed from this story with Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent being key characters. I think they’ll probably get around to it eventually, but when they do, I hope they give it the same incredible treatment they have for movies like Under The Red Hood and The Dark Knight Returns.

   Director of the upcoming new stand-alone Batman film, Matt Reeves has repeatedly said his film will go back to an earlier time in Batman’s career and feature a cavalcade of Batman’s unique and fascinating villains. Reeves has also said the film will be a mystery, that will lean heavily into and play up Batman’s title as “The World’s Greatest Detective”. This is huge part of the character in the comic books, but it’s barely been touched on in the live action Batman film’s. In all of literature, Batman is a detective on par with Sherlock Holmes, but none of the live action Batman films ever give us the sense that he’s a brilliant detective. Everything Reeves said about his film fits perfectly in line with The Long Halloween. A live action adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween would make my decade. However, there are a lot of great stories that fit Reeves’ description his new Batman film, so we’ll just have to wait and see what he comes up with. The movie is still several years away and things haven’t been exactly smooth sailing on the Batman front over at DC and things can change at the drop of a hat. 

Photo from IGN.com

    Considering that this article is supposed to be about Batman: Hush, it’s probably a good idea that I actually start talking about Batman: Hush now. The classic, Batman story is heading to the small screen this summer as the next DC Animated Movie to be released this year. The tale is an adaptation the mega-hit Batman mystery saga: Batman: Hush written by Jeph Loeb with art by the legendary Jim Lee. Hush is definitely not one of my favorite Batman stories. I’ve always had some serious problems with certain writing choices made throughout the story. Which is ironic because Hush was written by Jeph Loeb, the same man who wrote one of my favorite Batman mysteries ever; The Long Halloween (As much as I have my problems with Loeb as a writer, I think The Long Halloween is one of the coolest titles ever for a dark Batman mystery). Even though Hush isn’t one of my go to Batman stories, I have to admit, I am very, very excited to see this movie. For every issue I have with the story, there are just as many fantastic and cool moments in the graphic novel that any Batman or DC fan would love to see. The people behind the DC Animated Movies have made magic in the past while adapting huge comic book stories like this. If they’re able to do for Hush, what they did for a story like Flashpoint for example, we could be in for something really special. Check out the trailer right here to see for yourself:

  This story has some absolutely classic moments that, based on the trailer, the movie seems to embracing: Batman’s first in continuity fight with Superman, Batman and Catwoman’s attraction to each other blossoming into a real romantic relationship, a showcase of the best of Batman’s rogues gallery, and much more.

You can see from these pictures that they’re pulling moments straight from the source material.

The film is available on Blu-Ray on August 13th, a digital release date hasn’t been announced yet, but expect the movie to be available digitally at least a few weeks before the Blu-Ray. I’d say late July is the most likely time for it to premiere on iTunes and other digital platforms. It may not be getting a theatrical release with a massive worldwide marketing campaign, but Batman: Hush is definitely one of my most anticipated movies of the summer.

For those interested in checking out some of the other DC Animated Movies, below is a list of my favorites. The top 4 or 5 are among my all time favorite comic books movies, but all of the films listed here get my personal recommendation:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition *(This film was initially released in 2 parts. The Deluxe Edition allows you to watch both parts as one movie, but they can be watched separately as Parts 1&2)
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  • Batman: Under The Red Hood
  • Batman: Year One
  • Wonder Woman
  • Justice League: New Frontier 
  • Justice League Doom
  • All Star Superman
  • Green Lantern: First Flight
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
  • Justice League: War
  • Justice League Dark
  • The Death Of Superman 

Anyone interested in reading Batman: The Long Halloween or Batman: Hush can find them at your local comic book store, on the ComiXology app, or Amazon. I’ve included the Amazon links to purchase each book below.

Batman: Hush-

Batman: Hush 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC-

Batman: The Long Halloween – 

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul 

Warner Bros/DC Comics New Streaming Service Is Officially Announced: DC UNIVERSE!

Hey Everybody,

Over the past few years I began to notice a big shift in how people consume their entertainment content. For awhile now I have believed that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are going to be one of, perhaps even the most common, ways people will be watching TV shows and films.

   Netflix specifically has been one of the most successful and game changing companies in the entertainment business. They’re shaping the future so radically that we need to invent new ways to describe what we watch. We’re slowly going from watching TV shows and movies to “consuming content”.  Is the TV show still a TV show, if it’s not on TV? I think the real turning point was when Netflix became more of a streaming service then a provider of physical DVDs and Blu-ray’s. In the beginning, Netflix was the new way to rent movies. It’s why Blockbuster Video is gone, Hell all video stores. Having your movies delivered to you in your mail, at your doorstep is something that video stores couldn’t compete with.
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   I think another big turning point was when TV show seasons started to come out on DVD. It was the first step away from watching a TV show when it’s actually being broadcast. People forget that it wasn’t long ago that the only thing that you would be able to rent or buy a physical copy of was a MOVIE. Seasons of television shows becoming something that you could own, re-visit, discover a show that was no longer on the air, or catch up on past seasons of existing shows. On Demand, DVR, iTunes, and digital downloads weren’t “a thing” yet. But that was the future, movie away from physical copies to streaming. Streaming, streaming, streaming. THAT is going to become the main way we consume our entertainment. saw the writing on the wall and realized that streaming was what Netflix should lean into as a company, changed the entertainment industry.
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  When Amazon Prime started to become a large competitor of Netflix, the end of the age of conventional television and film watching was here. Very few people, in fact I don’t know a single one, watch their favorite show when it’s actually AIRING. They have it DVR’d, or are they’re waiting it for it to come out on Netflix, or Blu-ray. When Netflix and then Amazon Prime started producing their own shows they essentially became Networks liked HBO, ABC, NBC, or any other. Some of the most popular shows being produced are on streaming services: Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil, Luke Cage, House Of Cards… well that last one probably doesn’t have as much prestige anymore.
     Last year, CBS decided to revive one of the most iconic franchises in television and film history when they created a streaming service and premiered a new Star Trek series. Netflix is putting out major films with A-list Hollywood filmmakers and stars. First a TV network now a movie studio. Now the big dogs are getting into the fighting pit. Later this year both Warner Bros. and Disney will be launching major streaming services. Which brings me to reason for writing this article.
    DC Entertainment (which is owned by Warner Bros.) is launching their big streaming service later this year. It’s basically the DC Comics Network and what self respecting comic fan wouldn’t  love something like this, I know I’m excited to check it out. So, it’s fitting that DC Entertainment (where Geoff Johns works as one of the big bosses, when he isn’t writing some of the best superhero comics in the industry) finally announced the name of this new streaming service: DC Universe.
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  I like it. It’s simple and it tells you what it is and what you’re gonna get. They also announced some of the original content that would be part of the launch: a live action Teen Titans show called Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing.
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     Two of these shows had already been announced Young Justice: Outsider and Titans. Titans looks like it’s pretty much a Teen Titans show. The members include Dick Grayson as Robin (there were conflicting reports early on that he’d actually be Nightwing instead of Robin), Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Hawk, and Dove. There may be more members, but those are the names that’ve been confirmed. I was really excited for this because all the promotional images of the characters looked really cool, but some recent set photos of other characters have me a little concerned. I guess we’ll see.

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Dick Grayson A.K.A. Robin from Titans

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Hawk and Dove from Titans   

Young Justice: Outsiders and Swamp Thing are the big deal for me. The long overdue and highly anticipated resurrection of Young Justice is picking up right where Season 2 left off, with Season 3. This show has a big cult following, myself included, that really pushed to get more seasons of this excellent show. I LOVED the first 2 seasons and when the show was canceled by Cartoon Network for bullshit reasons, I was very disappointed. It’s the same creative team, so it’s a safe bet that this will be a really solid series that builds on the success of the first 2 seasons.
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  The big surprises were Harley Quinn and Swamp Thing. Fans had no idea those shows were in development. Harley Quinn is apparently going to be another animated series. Swamp Thing seems like it’s going to be a live action show. Which is awesome because Swamp Thing is such cool, underrated character. There’s so much potential there for great stories. If this show is done the right way, it could be fucking incredible. Unfortunately, no more details about the Swamp Thing Show were given.
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   Like I said before, Disney is also launching a streaming service with original content. So, we should definitely expect Star Wars and Marvel shows. New live action and animated Star Wars shows have been confirmed. The animated series is going to be called Star Wars: Resistance and take place between Episodes 6 and 7. I heard from a few sources that characters like Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma, and maybe even Luke Skywalker and Ben Solo will be featured in this series.
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    Anyway, it looks like there’s a lot of cool stuff coming up to get excited about. As always, thanks for reading!
-Paul