Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s Run on Batman – The Court of Owls, Night of the Owls & The City of Owls (Review/Retrospective)

23rd July is Batman Day, celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary. To celebrate, this July we’re taking a look at some new and classic Batman (and Batman related) stories. Check back daily for the latest review.

The “new 52” was a rather polarising experiment.

Claiming to restart their entire universe from scratch after the events of Flashpoint, DC comics claimed the initiative would make comic books more accessible to the masses. Without decades of continuity to block access, new readers would be more likely to try to get into these sorts of comics. The decision to effectively start from scratch has been controversial – arguably compounded by the fact that writers like Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison were allowed to carry their work across the continuity reboot.

Swinging into action...

Swinging into action…

The team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are among the longest serving of the “new 52” creators. The pair have remained on the flagship Batman book for three years, longer than the vast majority of creators recruited to help relaunch the DC universe back in September 2011. There’s a wonderful consistency and enthusiasm to their work, and it seems like the two have a very clear vision of where they want to take Batman, one of the characters with the most complex relationship to the re-launch.

In many ways, The Court of Owls can be read as a meta-commentary on Batman’s position in the wake of Flashpoint, reflecting on the awkward relationship between the potential for novelty and the demand for familiarity.

Everything burns...

Everything burns…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Batman: The Animated Series – Perchance to Dream (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Given how much care Batman: The Animated Series put into crafting and caring for the Caped Crusader’s iconic selection of bad guys, it’s often easy to overlook just how skilfully the series handled its central character. Batman has frequently been accused of being far less interesting than his costumed adversaries – particularly in Batman and Batman Returns – so it’s reassuring to note that Bruce Tim and his stable of writers had a very firm grasp on the character of Gotham’s Dark Knight. Perchance to Dream is one of the stories that offers perhaps the greatest insight into who Bruce Wayne is and what he wants. And, perhaps, why he could never have it.

Sweet dreams…

Note: This review contains spoilers. Given the episode aired twenty years ago, I consider it fair game. If you haven’t seen it already, please feel free to come back when you have. It is very good.

Continue reading

Batman: Knight of Vengeance (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I’ll freely concede that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s first collaboration on Batman, producing Broken City. While I could see what the pair were trying to do – to craft a genuinely dark and sinister noir tale within the framework of a traditional Batman narrative – it just seemed a little overwhelmingly stylistic. However, I am actually genuinely awed at their collaboration on Batman: Knight of Vengeance. A three-issue tie-in to the gigantic crossover Flashpoint, Knight of Vengeance is essentially an out-of-continuity alternate reality tale (similar to DC’s Elseworld brand), exploring a unique twist on the Batman mythos: what if Bruce had died in the mugging, and not his parents?

Darkest Knight…

Continue reading

Batman: Birth of the Demon (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises this week, today we’ll be reviewing the complete “Demon” trilogy, exploring the relationship between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul.

Birth of the Demon is very much the odd one out of the Demon trilogy. Of the three stories, it is the only one not written by Mike W. Barr. It also is arguably the most reflective of the three stories in the series, focusing on the origin of Ra’s Al Ghul more than in any modern conflict with Bruce Wayne. Still, it all feels strangely appropriate that, more than a decade after his creation, Denny O’Neil should return to tell the back story of his most iconic addition to the Batman mythos.

Shadow of the bat…

Continue reading

Flashpoint (Review)

This January, I’m going to take a look at some of DC’s biggest “events.” I’ll be starting with the most recent one, Flashpoint, following a week full of Flash stories.

Our world is in a violent transition of great change.

– President Obama tells us how it is

I really liked Flashpoint. I liked Flashpoint almost as much as I enjoyed Blackest Night, and far more than I enjoyed most big blockbuster “event” comic books. I think that Flashpoint buckles under the weight of the relaunch that followed – I find it quite sad that so many fans initially ignored the event only to jump on at the last minute because it was “suddenly important.” Does Flashpoint offer a fitting send-off to a version of the DC shared universe that dates back to Crisis on Infinite Earths? It doesn’t really, even if it offers some compelling arguments in favour of the relaunch that followed. Still, it’s a fascinating story about the icons who populate this shared universe, and what makes these enduring characters such heroic figures. Or, rather, what doesn’t make them heroic figures.

Flash sideways…

Continue reading

Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman & Robin – Batman Reborn, Batman vs. Robin & Batman Must Die! (Review/Retrospective)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium. Every Wednesday this month, we’ll have a Grant Morrison related review or retrospective.

I am going to be honest. I didn’t love Grant Morrison’s tenure on Batman. It felt a bit awkward and continuity-heavy – don’t get me wrong, I appreciated his attempt to tie together just about every aspect and iteration of Batman ever, but it just felt a bit too much. Yes, Batman can be the grim avenger or the charming ladies’ man or the camp crusader or the superhero or the urban vigilante or the world’s greatest detective or a swinging icon, but – in reading Morrison’s run – it felt too awkward to make Batman all of these at the same time. Perhaps, then, it’s because Batman & Robin sets itself a more modest goal (in that it doesn’t attempt to reconcile every aspect of the character’s seventy-year history) or just because Morrison appears to be enjoying himself far more, but this second act in Grant Morrison’s epic Batman saga is a much more engaging read.

The run gets off to an explosive start…

Continue reading

My Best of 2011: Thor, Daddy Issues & The Triumph of Optimism…

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

Thor is number five. Check out my original review here.

This is perhaps one of my “what the…?” picks, one of my choices that will seem especially random, and a blockbuster highly unlikely to show up in any other critic or commentator’s “best of 2011” of “end of year” countdown lists. However, I think there’s a lot to like about Branagh’s adaptation of Marvel’s faux-Shakespearean hammer-wielding Norse God, and I think it works so well because Branagh seems to acknowledge the same sentiment that Stan Lee tapped into when creating The Mighty Thor: the idea that superheroes are a modern American mythology, a vehicle with which to explore the hopes and fears of the modern world through a fantastical prism, something that can be traced back to the pantheon of old. While the best superhero films explore this sense of relevance, I admired the way that Thor managed to embrace it in the most abstract manner, tracing it back to that earliest and most basic type of story: the story of fathers and sons.

Continue reading