PODCAST: Crisis On Infinite Earths!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I’m here to give you everything you need to know about The CW’s upcoming annual EPIC DC Superhero Crossover Event… CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! All of The CW’s DC shows, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, along with an all star cast of characters from throughout the DC Multiverse, are crossing over for their most ambitious event yet: an adaptation of the classic DC maxiseries, Crisis On Infinite Earths! “Worlds will live, worlds will die and nothing will ever be the same!” As the old saying goes. On this week’s show I go over when you can watch the event, what you need to know before watching, all of the amazing guest stars and characters scheduled to appear, and what The Arrowverse might look like when the dust settles. This a MUST LISTEN for fans of ANY of The CW DC superhero shows and DC fans in general.

This was from a recent EW cover story about The Arrowverse

When Crisis On Infinite Earths hit stand.30 years ago, it set the standard for massive, comic book superhero, crossover events. I can say without hyperbole, that Crisis makes The Infinity Gauntlet seem like a minor skirmish by comparison and that’s not a knock at the The Infinity Gaunlet. Which is a great story in it’s own right that was largely the inspiration for The MCU’s The Infinity Saga. While The Infinity Gauntlet was about saving The Universe, Crisis is about saving The ENTIRE Multiverse. Countless realities face total annihilation at the hands of a being of immeasurable power. More of a cosmic force of nature than a being with any kind of human motivation. He is know throughout The Multiverse by many names: The Anti-God, The Unmaker, he is… The Anti-Monitor.

Concept art for The Anti-Monitor

We’re getting a lot of cool cameos and characters new and old in this Crossover. So after you listen to the episode (or before, it’s a free country… for now), come and check out some spectacular art work showcasing the characters appearing in Crisis. Some of the images are actually concept art from the incredibly talented design teams that work on these shows and some are fantastic pieces of fan art from some of the best online artists from around the world, depicting what these characters will most likely look like in the Crossover. The great artists create these images based on character descriptions from people who work on the shows, what the actors playing the characters look like, and their most iconic looks from the comics. You can find all of the concept art on this page, below the links to this episode of The World’s Best Podcast!

Both images from EW.com

Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts/iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18822863

iTuneshttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F18822863

Stitcherhttps://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=63229324&autoplay=1

Character Concept Art & Other Character Images:

Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come Superman-

This was done by legendary Alex Ross who was the artist for the original KINGDOM COME series

Tom Welling as Smallville Superman-

Art from Barrett Digital

Kevin Conroy as Batman Beyond era Bruce Wayne (Plus Additional Batman Beyond Images)-

With Kevin Conroy coming on to play Batman in Crisis there’s rumors that Mark Hamill, who iconically played The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Batman Beyond will be returning to plan the character in live action for Crisis. Hamill has already made multiple appearances in The Arrowverse as The Trickster on The Flash. Here’s some concept art of Hamill as The Joker and it’s pretty fucking creepy:

It looks like this piece was done by an artist who goes by SKULL 101IFY

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, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media 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

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 

A Look At DC’s New Film JOKER


Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

The Red Hood. The Pale Man. The Clown Prince of Crime… THE JOKER. Without a doubt the best villain in comic book history and one of the best characters in all of fiction. 

  Batman is the best superhero in comics, so his arch nemesis should reflect his greatness. All of Batman’s villains, the best rogues gallery in superhero fiction, reflect Batman in some way, some aspect of his psyche. Harvey Dent represents Batman’s struggle with duality, Ra’s Al Ghul represents Batman’s temptation to take his mission too far and commit to a darker way of trying to save society, The Penguin represents the idea of the wealth and privilege he was born with turning into something ugly, greedy, and gluttonous, and so on…

    Then, there’s The Joker. Batman’s true, broken reflection. To paraphrase better writers than me, Batman is an engine of meaning. He turns tragedy into purpose. As The Dark Knight Detective himself once famously said “My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for not reason at all. They taught me that the world only makes sense… when you force it to.” Everything Batman does is built upon the foundation of that idea. That his actions and his mission have meaning.

     That’s why The Joker is Batman’s greatest antagonist. The Joker’s point to Batman is that nothing we do has meaning. It’s all pointless. The Joker is trying to prove to Batman that his mission, his ideology, is pathetic. It’s a joke. There is no greater meaning to life. Nothing you do matters. He’s inviting Batman to abandon his beliefs, to come with him and embrace how The Joker sees the world. In doing so, he’ll become truly transcendent and immortal, but most of all, free.

    Which brings me to the upcoming film JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix….

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck the man who’ll become The Joker

Over the past several years DC has announced literally dozens of films. Many of which will never see the light of day. Remember that Flash movie that came out back in March 2018? Yeah, me neither, because they didn’t fucking make it. They’ve announced so many movies at this point it’s hard to take them seriously when they do. So when a stand alone film focusing on The Joker was announced I really thought it would never be made. DC seemed to be trying to build a coherent movie universe like Marvel and I didn’t see them realistically making a movie focusing on Jared Leto’s Joker, who was divisive at best. 

   Then I started to here that they were going in a different direction. That Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro were involved and my skepticism grew. No way was Martin Scorsese directing a DC film. Finally, it became clear that this was a stand alone movie existing OUTSIDE the established DC movie universe that Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and SHAZAM! exist in. Todd Phillips would be directing, whose credits include Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover Trilogy, and War Dogs. Martin Scorsese would produce the film, co-staring DeNiro, with Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in an origin movie telling the story of the man who becomes The Clown Prince of Crime. This is the movie hitting theatres this October and you can check out the trailer below:

Looks pretty good, right? However, at no point have I had any interest in this project. Despite the fact that the trailer seems to show a genuinely good movie with what could be a great performance from Joaquin Phoenix, the only reaction I can have to this movie is ambivalence. The reason being that I think telling a straight up origin story for The Joker is kind of missing the point of a large part of the character. If this were “officially part of the DC movie universe”, I’d be genuinely pissed this movie is being made. However, because the movie is it’s own thing, a one off crime story that doesn’t involve Batman (even though we do see a young Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne is a major character) I can live with them telling their fucking Joker origin movie.

  Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s a real fucking shocker the movie is drawing inspiration from comic book stories like… wait for it… THE KILLING JOKE! Brav-fucking-vo! How original! 

  Don’t give me wrong, the comics have hinted at possible origins for The Joker in the past. But that’s what they were: HINTS, possibilities, not a concrete origin. That was one of the reasons The Dark Knight was so brilliant, the story of how The Joker got his scars was different every time he told it, one of my favorite aspects of the film. They had no fucking idea who this guy was. He had no past, he came out of nowhere, he was like the fucking bogeyman. I’ve always said that The Joker is to the normal citizens of Gotham, what Batman is to it’s criminals: a terrifying, unexplainable nightmare.

  The only reason DC is choosing to tell an origin story for The Joker is because everyone and their fucking grandmother knows who The Joker is. Even if you fucking hate comic books or comic book movies you know who The Joker is. 

   I think it’s kind of a shame that Joaquin Phoenix looks like he may be giving an excellent performance as The Joker. Wouldn’t it be so much more entertaining to see that performance in a real Batman film? 

   If he knocks it out of the park in the role, it would be kind of a shitty scenario because we always want to see Batman go up against a great Joker. As I wrote earlier in the article, Batman and The Joker have this very complex relationship that spans years. Yet we’ve only ever seen them face off against one another in one film in their different incarnations. In Tim Burton‘s Batman they killed the character off and the tragic death of Heath Ledger meant we wouldn’t see that character in Nolan’s Batman universe beyond The Dark Knight. One thing we genuinely haven’t seen from the Batman and Joker dynamic on film, is how that relationship plays out over years of twisted, violent confrontations. 

   Well, that’s my two cents anyway. I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who will disagree with me and that’s fine. For now, I just needed to comment on this project, but this is not a film I’ll be rushing out to the theater to see.

JOKER hits theaters October 4th

As always thanks for reading!

-Paul

MUST WATCH: Gotham: The Final Season (Premiere Review)

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

a39fc2e8-20f2-4fdc-b23e-f6a0df5c9734

Tonight the final season of Gotham premiered on Fox and honestly I was very excited to watch it. It’s hard to believe that this is the same show that just a few years ago had some of the absolute worst superhero writing on TV.  When Gotham began, it was more or less a shittier Smallville, with proto-versions of Batman’s rogues gallery popping up each week for Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon to deal with. It was a shame because the show was very well cast and all the actors were perfect in their roles. Since the very first episode, Ben McKenzie has made a great Jim Gordon (he was also the voice of Batman in the animated film adaptation of Batman: Year One). Many of the great Batman stories are also great Jim Gordon stories, so it was very important for them to get this character right. 

7ed0c361-b68f-4f4e-be00-aff86c0d14f6

   We even got to see a part of Bruce Wayne’s life that is very rarely explored, the years immediately following the murder of his parents. David Mazouz is easily one of the most compelling live action versions of Bruce Wayne we’ve seen. He conveys Bruce’s dark, brooding intelligence without ever sounding like a whiny brat. With excellent actors memorably playing classic Batman characters like Alfred, The Penguin, The Riddler, Selina Kyle and more, the series felt like a frustrating waste of great talent. Terrible writing hamstrung what could otherwise have been an excellent take on the Batman mythos.

1783f633-379e-4b4d-a8ce-254027a0cc73

  About halfway through Season 3, specifically the mid-season finale, something fundamentally changed about the show for the better. I think there are two big reasons for this and one of them was how the series began to use Bruce Wayne. First of all, David Mazouz had grown up enough that he was just old enough to start becoming more crucial to the action going on in the story. Pretty much from the pilot on, Bruce has slowly been learning important skills that would become crucial on his journey to becoming Batman. Season 3’s mid-season finale saw Bruce being taken hostage at a circus by Jeremiah Valeska. If you’re not familiar with Gotham, Jeremiah (played by Cameron Monaghan) is basically their version of The Joker, and a damn good one too. The episode culminated with a show down in a hall of mirrors between Bruce and Jeremiah, where Bruce comes very close to killing Jeremiah. The whole episode was pretty great and I found myself watching the rest of the season once the show returned from it’s hiatus. You started to see Bruce take a more active role as a vigilante even though he wasn’t dressed like Batman. 

d77e9448-77cb-488b-bb3c-d994b76fa2c4

42fd10e4-ece4-4a73-94e8-b5a5fc563387

  The second reason the series changed for the better in my opinion, was because it stopped being a bad prequel series, building up to some day in the future where we get to see Bruce put on the Batman costume in the last 5 minutes of the final episode. In the same way that Smallville was entirely built around the show teasing Clark eventually putting on the Superman costume, that we only see him wear for about three seconds in the series finale. Instead, Gotham became more of an Elseworlds Batman story. I think it’s the smartest thing the show could’ve done because they took the mythology and made it their own. They were no longer slaves to the mythology of the Batman comic books. They allowed their story to be an alternate take on the mythos. This choice gave the show its own identity. It also made it more exciting for the audiences because things weren’t necessarily going to play out exactly as they had in the comic books. As a result the back half of Season 3 was a hell of a lot of fun and frankly I love Season 4. One of the reasons I love the show Krypton on Syfy is that the show isn’t a prequel, it’s more about the DC Universe’s past being changed by time travel. Changing Krypton‘s history, changes the history of the entire Superman story and by extension the entire DC Universe. 

25723685-d507-415c-8088-8846674828dc

So coming into this final season, which was going to be drawing from classic Batman stories like No Man’ Land and Zero Year (In fact this episode’s title is “Year Zero”), I was pretty psyched to see what they were going to do. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.

8c47552f-63cd-4c88-a2da-d4a17904f079

  After the events of last season, Gotham has been completely cut off from the outside world. The bridges are down in the city and it’s been 87 days since Gotham was officially declared a No Man’s Land by the US government. Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted to had the means to leave the city before it was cut off from the rest of the world. Children, families, innocent people have been trapped in a city that has become an almost post-apocalyptic dystopia. Gotham’s been carved up into territories, with different factions controlling different neighborhoods. Penguin Control City Hall and the surrounding area. He’s also the only person in the city manufacturing bullets for guns, which are more or less currency in the city. Scarecrow, Firefly, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and other villains have also carved up their own peace of the city.  Somewhat ominously, Jerimiah Valeska hasn’t been seen since the beginning of No Man’s Land. I have a feeling he’s waiting to make his own suitably dramatic entrance.

b35de53b-4b95-447e-a6e0-4b05c5ac8072

The only part of Gotham City for the average citizen who’d been left behind is the area controlled by the GCPD. Gordon with Bullock and Lucius Fox by his side, are not only leading what’s left of the GCPD, they’re also protecting and feeding hundreds of refugees and supplies are running out. A lot of this is straight out of some iconic Batman storylines, so as a longtime Batman comic book fan this is cool to see. 

e5b05791-1a22-415c-bfa4-e9798f4e79a7

ceb26090-3ec0-47b5-88f3-c8b9781d2e8b

b26c2525-4fc2-4db2-b895-946226a5cf20

   Fortunately, Bruce Wayne and Alfred decided to stay behind as well and Bruce is doing everything he can to get supplies smuggled in. Not only to the people suffering in the city, but medicine for Selena Kyle as well. She was shot in the stomach at point-blank range by Jeremiah in the season finale last year and unless something drastic is done she could be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of her life. Of course this heavily weighs on Bruce, who blames himself for her condition.

8ddb8db0-5379-4035-9dbe-af725456eadf3959b133-4e3b-4a69-96c4-9703f5394cd6

  Part of the fun of this season is seeing how close Bruce is to becoming Batman, even though he isn’t ready yet. There’s an early scene where Bruce takes down a bunch of thugs trying to steal medical supplies. The power has gone out, so he uses night vision goggles courtesy of the Lucius Fox to take them out one by one, in very Batman fashion. However, just when it looks like he’s saved the day, the lights come back on, the night vision goggles blind him, and the thieves get away. This is an important scene because it shows us that while Bruce is well on his way to becoming The Batman that we know, who could’ve easily taken down a group of bad guys in a situation like this, but he’s not quite there yet. He’s still making crucial mistakes and he still has much to learn. It’s important the series didn’t just suddenly turn him into Batman over night. Bruce’s journey throughout the series has felt earned. Based on his training it makes perfect sense for him to be exactly at the level he’s at now.

bbc744ef-b212-486e-afe3-6a49df386d1c

   The episode largely sets up the status quo for the season and puts the pieces in play for things to come. We know things are going to get a lot worse before they get better because the episode opens with a flash forward to No Mans Land Day 391 and shows Gordon, Bullock, The Penguin, The Riddler, and the rest of the GCPD fending off a full blown siege by… someone. For Penguin and The Riddler to be teaming up with Gordon, it must be a pretty serious common enemy.

92cc3313-bd07-459e-a43c-20c650a90a8d

All in all I really enjoyed this episode and considering that it was mostly set up, I have a feeling once the story really gets going this has the potential to be a fantastic final season for Gotham. I couldn’t help but love the scene when Gordon and Bruce were standing on the roof of the GCPD together. With Gordon shining a spotlight on the sky to give people hope, foreshadowing so many of their interactions in the years to come. As Bruce walks away at the end of the scene, Gordon ask him if he regrets staying behind in Gotham, Bruce replies “No. You?”. Jim Gordons smiles and says “Hell no”. Am I looking forward to the rest of Gotham’s Final Season? Hell, yes.

38ddf4e2-abd0-46b0-aafc-1f9a94499528

Gotham (Season 5) “Year Zero” – 8.5/10

Thanks for reading!

-Paul

Jensen Ackles Should Play The Red Hood In The New Batman Movie

Hey Everybody,

Paul here…

Freaks and Geeks

I wanted to touch on a casting rumor that’s been going around recently: Jensen Ackles playing The Red Hood in one of the upcoming Batman film projects. Regardless of what you think of the final film, the inclusion of the suit of a dead Robin in The Batcave caught everyone’s attention in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. As soon as the image was shown in the trailer for BvS, fans immediately speculated what this meant in the larger context of the DCEU.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice

As a weird side note that I think is indicative of the state of DC’s cinematic universe, the DCEU (or the DC Extended Universe) didn’t originate with Warner Bros. or DC. They never actually had a name for this cinematic universe they were creating. Apparently, it the name came from a writer at Entertainment Weekly and it just stuck. So, the powers that be finally got around to naming this shit show of a universe, with the official title now being: The Worlds of DC. Wow, there really is no one flying the fucking plane here…

9B6CB037-466A-4CA6-86BA-FFE01A769FD5

Anyway, when fans saw the Robin suit displayed in The Batcave with “HA HA HA JOKE’S ON YOU BATMAN” spray painted on it, it was assumed that this was the former suit of Jason Todd. Jason Todd was the second Robin after Dick Grayson got tired of Bruce’s bullshit and went off to follow his own path as Nightwing. In the comics, after Jason died, Bruce eventually took in Tim Drake who became the new Robin. What do you get for the billionaire who has everything? Young boys to put in mortal danger every night!

ABCF5035-A7E7-440C-A236-884A81593CC1

A2662B79-07ED-46CD-B995-63F5949A6D09
NOPE! He’s Dead. Very, Very dead.

In one of The Joker’s many acts of horrific violence, he brutally beat Jason with a crowbar in a warehouse and then left him for dead as the warehouse exploded with Jason inside. Arguably, Jason’s death was as much of a defining traumatic loss for Bruce Wayne as the death of his parents. Bruce (very rightly) felt responsible for Jason’s death and blamed himself for not being able to save him. But that didn’t stop Bruce from continuing to churn out Robin’s! No, sir! At least 3 or 4 of these poor little bastards have bit the dust since Jason. What’s that? Another Robin is dead? Must be Wednesday!

83FC3AF8-BD75-469E-9E79-8D62856277DA
In comics, no one stays dead forever. So, after several years and an insanely convoluted series of events, but for the sake of this article lets just keep it simple and say Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit was involved, Jason was resurrected. (if you want, you can look up the whole story of EXACTLY how Jason came back to life, good luck and God be with you). The point is that Jason Todd was back.

 

So the story of Jason’s return to Gotham and taking on the persona of The Red Hood, was told in Judd Winnick’s excellent Batman: Under The Red Hood. I highly recommend you check it out, it’s a great read and I put the Amazon link below if you want to pick up the graphic novel. https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Under-Hood-Judd-Winick/dp/1401231454/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1535344301&sr=8-3&keywords=batman+under+the+red+hood

EF82FC2A-DF17-4E8C-9EB5-E6D6276DE5DF

At this point, you guys probably know that I’m a big fan of the direct to Blu Ray and Digital DC Animated Movies, like The Death of Superman (you can read my review for that film right here: https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/ )

One of the best DC Animated movies is Batman: Under The Red Hood, based on the graphic novel of the same name. Again, I highly recommend this one so here’s the Amazon link to the Blu Ray: https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Under-Red-Hood-Blu-ray/dp/B003ITZBVI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1535344301&sr=8-2&keywords=batman+under+the+red+hood

656BC723-5A5E-4CA2-AE30-5799F3A75C10

From here on in I’m going to be specifically referring to the Animated Movie version of Batman: Under The Red Hood, which combines story elements from A Death In The Family into the narrative. A new and brutal vigilante going by The Red Hood shows up in Gotham and starts killing criminals and crime bosses left and right. Batman can’t have this shit going on in his town, so he confronts the very well trained Red Hood and is horrified to find out that The Red Hood is his formally dead ward, Jason Todd.

8D8BD639-ADE8-42F1-A5A8-6762E0EC890F50444B55-03D9-4B2D-BECD-7AC656D0F490

Jason had always been a more violent Robin, but getting killed playing by Bruce’s rules seriously changed his perspective on dealing with criminals. Basically he subscribes to the “see bad guy, kill bad guy” philosophy of crime fighting. More than anything Jason isn’t angry at Bruce because he was killed. He forgives him for that, what he can’t forgive is: Why the fuck didn’t Bruce kill The Joker? Jason doesn’t think Bruce should go all Charles Bronson on the Gotham Rogues gallery, but if ever there was an exception to Bruce’s (bullshit) “No Killing” rule, it’s The Joker. As you can imagine Jason is pretty fucking pissed. I don’t want to go into too much more of the story in case you want to watch the movie or read the graphic novel.

D2D92492-A35A-4782-B6DC-646712AA05770D12952A-62E3-46CE-9084-5D81D15F343F

I should probably point out that one of the reasons this movie is great is the voice performances. Bruce Greenwood is probably the second best actor behind Kevin Conroy to voice Batman. He plays him in the soon to be returning Young Justice animated series as well. Aaaaaaand finally we come to the point: Jason Todd is perfectly played by Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester on one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural.

E5884F41-A865-4F68-9D5C-05FB759023E2

If any of you listen to my podcast, The World’s Best Podcast, you may find this funny because my love of the show Supernatural is sort of a running joke on the show. But, like I said, the whole point of this article is that Jensen Ackels would make a fucking great live action Jason Todd. About a week ago a picture went viral of Ackles standing next to a Red Hood statue or costume or something.

90C03DDE-5D66-4D5E-8579-621DD90AB133  Now this might mean nothing, but sometimes pictures like this are posted when actors are in talks with a studio to take a role. Or sometimes actors will post pictures like these to get conversations exactly like this one started, so they get on filmmakers radar. Regardless, this photo prompted a lot of fans to jockey for Ackles to be cast as The Red Hood in an upcoming Worlds of DC film. Rumor has it, Matt Reeve’s Batman film may contain elements of the Under The Red Hood story. With multiple Joker movies, a Nightwing film, and Gotham City Sirens all in different points of development, there are plenty of places The Red Hood could pop up. The flames of fandom were fanned when this fucking spectacular piece of artwork, featuring Ackles as The Red Hood, made the rounds online. The very cool piece was done by artist BossLogic, who’s done some incredible artwork over the years.

BFC1B09C-3183-46C0-A6DD-F81A2D34C057

7717AB99-C1AB-47CA-A440-7147BAD2C85F
Fucking awesome, right?

Supernatural is going into it’s 14th season this fall and there’s a reason a show like that has such staying power. Especially the last few season have been among the best in the show’s run. Jensen Ackles is a huge part of that. He’s an incredibly underrated actor who’s given some amazing performances on the show.

998B8211-9773-429D-8FDE-8A7F9C5266D2
This isn’t the first time he’s been associated with a superhero project either. He was one of the front runners for Captain America before Chris Evans ultimately took up the shield. He was offered the role of Hawkeye in the MCU, but turned it down (I love Supernatural, but I bet he regrets that move a little bit). Personally, I always thought he would make a great Hal Jordan. Bottom line is, anyone familiar with Supernatural knows he would crush it as The Red Hood. He has the physicality for the role and he’s a great fucking actor. He has a raw edge to him that would work great for a character like Jason as opposed to say, Nightwing. Not to mention He already knows the character of The Red Hood well. He’s the appropriate age, because we’re dealing with an older Batman. Interestingly, Supernatural is producing 20 episodes this season instead of it’s usual 23. They gave a very plausible reason for this, basically that it’s easier on the cast. The main actors have families and they shoot the show in Vancouver, but they live in Texas. Or perhaps one of the two leads needed a few extra months off to shoot a high profile film project? Hmmm..

31648FDA-4885-477F-8611-7AB66539E8CA

Nothing official has come from Warner Bros or DC about this potential casting, but DC fans seem to have really gotten behind it. The World’s of DC need solid, talented actors to fill out their universe. Whatever form the new Batman movie takes, I’ve always wanted to see more of the Bat Family in a Batman film. I don’t think Under The Red Hood would be the Batman story I’d like to see DC make, but that doesn’t mean Jason Todd couldn’t be a part of the film. Jensen Ackles would be a fucking awesome Red Hood. As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul

PODCAST: Iron Man & The Dark Knight: 10 Years Later (Part 2)

Hey Everybody,

Paul here…

The fans have been clamoring for Part 2 of, the “World’s Best Podcast” presents, Iron Man & The Dark Knight: 10 years Later! Ryan and I have returned  from Gotham City and The Marvel Cinematic Universe to finish our discussion of these film icons. As well, the impact Iron Man and The Dark Knight have left behind. Enjoy and thanks for listening! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/15310004

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?mt=2&i=1000416420767

Stitcher
https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=55361139&autoplay=1

PODCAST: Iron Man & The Dark Knight: 10 Years Later (Part 1)

Hey Everyboy,

5A1ED502-7669-47CE-A341-380F820DF0AC

This year is the 10th Anniversary of Iron Man and The Dark Knight being released in theatres.  Two very different superhero films that not only changed the genre forever, but filmmaking in general. So, on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, co-host Ryan McDonald and I take a trip from Gotham City to Stark Industries and dive into these epic movies. This the first of a 2-Part episode! Is Robert Downey Jr. perfect superhero casting? What theories are there about the secret origin of The Joker in The Dark Knight? What legacy have these films left behind? Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/15270322

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?mt=2&i=1000415991596
Stitcher
https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=55361139&autoplay=1

Thanks for listening!

In this episode I make multiple references to an article I wrote about the villains of the MCU, I thought I’d put a link to the article here in case anyone wants to read it after listening to the episode:

https://best-media-world.com/2018/03/12/how-phase-3-fixed-marvels-villain-problem-and-why-it-never-existed-in-the-first-place/

-Paul

22591E81-9302-41B6-BD1A-C216FEDD891A

Comic Book Review: Doomsday Clock #4 (No Spoilers)

 

FE340273-30C8-4475-BED4-2087F31FD38D

Since the “Death of Superman” in the 90’s, death being a revolving door has been somewhat of joke in the comic world. Unfortunately, frequent deaths and resurrections can often hurt the Superhero genre. Mainly because it pushes people away. To some readers it takes the sense of urgency from the story, they don’t feel any substance in a story they read because this is used so often it’s a trope of the genre. Once I realized how many Watchmen characters would actually be used in Doomsday Clock, I expected immediate negative backlash from the fan community. ESPECIALLY when The Comedian turned up alive. To be honest I wasn’t exactly thrilled by his return. This entire story needs to be handled very delicately to work. The Watchmen characters we saw before The Comedian showed up were used really well, but I felt like The Comedian might have been a bridge too far. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank better have a very important reason for bringing him into the story or else it will feel like bad fan service (I have faith that a good explanation will be given, especially because everything else in this miniseries has been excellent so far).

CE195EBC-30B9-4A6D-8A73-F24379264A5D

Having said all that, none of it really has much to do with THIS issue. I haven’t reviewed Doomsday Clock in awhile and since then I’ve noticed that some fans are unhappy with the return of certain characters. But lets focus on Doomsday Clock #4.

6F913928-6761-4CCA-9F71-93AFBCFC84DF

This is the most character driven issue of the series so far and it almost exclusively focuses on one main character: “New Rorschach”. I put the name “Rorschach” in quotes because we already know that this isn’t Walter Kovacs, Original Recipe Rorschach. This is Reggie, the young man how took on the mantle of the legendary crime fighter/ infamous lunatic vigilante.

For readers looking for a story that pushes the narrative further in a significant way, you may be disappointed. Otherwise this is an excellent character study of this new Rorschach. We not only get to see how he became the next Rorschach, we also find out exactly who Reggie is and where he fits in the Watchmen story (which I won’t spoil here). All I’ll say is that this person wasn’t even on my list of suspects.

7BB6596F-F3F5-4340-BE3E-F4FD92DAE03E

Up until this issue, I was pretty sure that Reggie was an original character because, after going back to the Watchmen graphic novel there really wasn’t anyone who fit what we know about him (which is pretty much just; that he’s a relatively young man, African American, and more than a little bit of a psychopath.). But after reading the issue, I tip my hat to Johns and Frank because they have delivered an excellent vigilante origin story. They did a great job of creating Reggie’s backstory. My one criticism is that even though the creators found a very clever way of showing us how Reggie acquired his fighting skills, it doesn’t seem like enough to make into a fighter that would make even Veidt uneasy. But maybe there’s more to the puzzle coming up.

04F6710A-F1A7-45F0-94B5-64C915C117B5

This was the perfect point to tell us Reggie’s backstory and what drives him. Because among the cast of new characters, we know a relatively significant amount about The Marionette and The Mime and what makes them tick (even though there are still some huge questions surrounding these two). Four issues into a 12 issue series, we need to understand the goals and motivations of all the main characters for the story to work. We also get a great appearance of a relatively obscure Watchmen character that’s both sweet and heartbreaking.

F46B0368-7C99-468E-B55B-CD6AF7402E06

Though other issues of Doomsday Clock have wowed me in a ways that this chapter didn’t, it is nonetheless a beautiful character tale that’s tragic, sad, and illuminating. If you don’t mind one or two comic book tropes, I highly recommend Doomsday Clock as a series. This issue was definitely weaker than others, but it was still great. I can’t wait to see what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the next 8 issues.

Doomsday Clock #4:  8.5/10

Review by Paul J. Wright