Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Fistful of Hunters! (Brad's Picks)

Snow White is going Down!  But milk bather Charlize Theron needs Chris Hemsworth's hunka hunka Huntsman to track down the raven haired beauty so she can poison apple her predestined ass.  But the real question is, could Hemsworth's axe go up against these other cinematic predators?  Don't think so.

5.  Charles Remington (The Ghost In The Darkness):  Okay.  This is a rather weak attempt at a JAWS knock-off switching sharks for lions and Robert Shaw for Michael Douglas.  But dammit.  When I first saw this film in 1996 I was at the height of my Michael Douglas man crush.  Romancing The Stone, Falling Down, Basic Instinct, Black Rain.  I thought the man positively badass (and still do)  Now, slap a giant elephant gun in his hands and there's no stopping that five o'clock shadow.  Not even you, sniveling city slicker Val Kilmer.

4.  Max Cherry (Jackie Brown):  Forget Boba Fett and Jack Walsh, the coolest Bounty Hunter in cinema is Max Cherry.  He might have been quicker and stronger in his youth, but his experience spent on late night couches with sneak-attack tasers has developed a formidable foe for Samuel Jackson's gun runner wannabe kingpin.  All he needed was a little push from Pam Grier's foxy Brown and Max Cherry became the ultimate Hero-To-Root-For.  A little Delfonics didn't hurt none either.

3.  Count Zaroff (The Most Dangerous Game):  Never trust a Russian Count.  Shipwrecked upon a mysterious island, Joel McRea runs for his life while the wealthy madman Zaroff hunts him down for sport.  The Most Dangerous Game spawned two of my favorite Homeless Prey films of the 90s (Hard Target and Surviving The Game), but neither of those films capture the dread of the hunt quite like the diabolical original.

2.   Michael (The Deer Hunter):  Once upon a time Michel could drop a beast without batting an eye.  But then Uncle Sam came calling and Vietnam halted his trigger finger.  The Deer Hunter is one of my all time favorite movies and it's really the only Vietnam flick that feels genuine to this military ignorant film geek.  My grandfather came back from WWII to a similar experience, a North Dakota farmboy who could no longer take a life, even that of a deer.  Maybe it's that personal connection that really sells this film for me but I would argue that it's De Niro's best performance as well (sorry Taxi Driver and Righteous Kill fans) and it's easily one of the most heartbreaking climaxes that cinema has to offer.  Frickin' Christopher Walken's cold, dead staring eyes...shiver.

1.  The Predator (Predator):  You can't compete with this ugly mutha.  Heck, even Schwarzenegger nearly met his downfall under this alien brute.  And part of me wishes that the film ended with that giant Austrian skull swinging from the Predator's belt.  Man might be this monster's most dangerous game but the Predator's gone up against Aliens and Superman (uh, yeah, if you haven't read that comic you're missing out on some weirdo expanded universe nonsense).  And when you stack this guys trophies up against Michael, Zaroff, Max Cherry, Remington, and the Huntsman--those wimps are gonna go running.


Fan Poster: The Dark Knight Rises For Alfred

Ha.  Genius.  A fine Dark Knight Rises poster found via Slash Film.  I so wish it was real cuz I'd pop this up in the office in a Gotham Minute.


Dork Art: Old School

Oh man.  I love this.  "Old School" by Danimation teams up pulp heroes The Shadow, Tintin, Popeye, and Dick Tracy against some unseeable villain.  These forces may never actually come together in a comic book but we can dare to dream.


Trailer: The Bourne Legacy # 2

Below is the second trailer for The Bourne Legacy and I'm surprised by the enthusiasm in which my eyes greeted Jeremy Renner.  Has my Avengers love finally squashed my SWAT hate?  Maybe.  And besides the name Jason Bourne being repeated over and over and over again, I really like what I'm seeing from this sequel. It appears that this new film will take place during-or shortly after the second/third films.  And Stacey Keach is the new Brian Cox.  Maybe not an upgrade, but I'm down with it.


Poster: More Fandom For Django Unchained

Found via Geek Tyrent.  Here's another fan poster for Django Unchained, incorporating the first batch of production photos that recently popped up online.  And yeah, this poster from John "Houser" Smith is my favorite bit of Django art I've seen so far.  Really hope the studio can put out something this simple and pretty.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dork Art: Jay Shaw's Django

Jay Shaw is getting a solo show over at the Mondo Gallery and OMG Posters has an interview and a sneak peak at a few of the posters.  Pretty cool stuff, but my absolute fave is the above print for Django.   Sergio Corbucci has been on my mind a lot lately thanks to all this Django Unchained love we've been seeing on the internet.  Django is a great flick, but if you haven't seen Corbucci's other flicks like The Great Silence, The Hellbenders, Revenge of a Gunfighter (aka The Mercenary), or Navajo Joe than you're really missing out.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dork Art: Mondo's Got Another Wrath of Khan

Mondo's got another Wrath of Khan poster for us Trekkies.  Maybe not the stunner like Tyler Stout's epic print, but I kinda love this comic booky cartoon image from the artist We Buy Your Kids.  There's a sense of fun to this adventure and it can't all be grim revengey faces.

If you want one than you better get yer butt to the June 8th screening at The Alamo Drafthouse, part of their 30th Anniversary Summer of '82 series.  The 18 x 24 poster will run you $40 and there is no word if Mondo will sell this through their website or not.


Fan Poster: Django Unchained

First we got some new set photos.  And now we get some fan art photo riffing from Luis Fernando Cruz.  Found via Fuck Yeah Movie Posters.  "The D Is Silent."  Nifty.


Dork Art: Red Shirt Chestburster!

Uh.  Gross.  Awesome.  But gross.  Found via Slash Film via That's Nerdalicious, looks like some clever mash-upper has brought the doomed world of the Star Trek redshirts to the land of HR Giger.  Poor cake bastard.


Photos: Django Unchained

Some more photos from QT's "Southern," Django Unchained and with each new glance from the film I get a little more excited.  Jaime Foxx looks positively amazing as Django and I can't wait to see him unleash his inner Fred Williamson all over Leo's creepy ass slave master.  And, yes, the original Django, Franco Nero appears to be chatting it up with the new Django in Leo's swanky saloon.  Word is that the first trailer for the movie will be attached to next week's Prometheus.  Yet another reason to anticipate the Alien prequel.


Monday, May 28, 2012

A Fistful of One Too Many! (Matt’s Picks)

    Men in Black’s third outing may be great.  It may be a breath of fresh air in a series nobody was excited about.  But I doubt it.  My guess is it’s a dead horse that is getting unfairly abused.  In that spirit, we’re looking at some of the movies that took a franchise one step too far.  Doesn’t mean the franchise wasn’t eventually redeemed with a further film.  But at least for a time, they went too far.

5.  Battle For the Planet of the Apes:  Look, I enjoy the heck out of this movie.  But seriously, it’s a giant step down in quality from the previous films.  And after the fantastic, brutal explosion of revolutionary violence that was Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, this made-for-TV quality whimper was a sad out for the series.

4.  Hellraiser 3:  The first two films are interesting, with lots of potential.  They don’t live up to that potential, but they’re pretty good.  The third film is goofy, with the lamest cenobites of the franchise, and it’s generally boring.  There are some potentially cool bits that don’t get explored.  It’s a total letdown.

3.  Conan the Destroyer:  Conan the Barbarian is one of the best fantasy films ever made, a grand action movie, and just f’in cool.  And while it didn’t get the details right, it managed to capture the spirit of Robert E. Howard’s amazing stories.  And then Destroyer.  Wacky humor, silly villains, Grace Jones, and Arnold plays Conan as though he suffered some kind of debilitating brain injury.  Everything wrong that the general public believes Conan is about is sadly present in this sequel.  It has a couple good scenes, but this ain’t Conan.  Not at all.

2.  Superman 3:  You know what doesn’t help?  Adding Richard Pryor.  I don’t much care for the Christopher Reeve Superman series, but the third film is an exercise in poop-made-film.  It seems fairly clear that they had a script which featured a computer tech character.  Then they cast Richard Pryor in that role, went back, and re-wrote it to feature him MUCH more prominently.  And it’s garbage of the highest order.  Anyone who says Superman 4 is the worst of the original films is probably an idiot.

1.  Lethal Weapon 3:  Good sweet crap, one of the worst danged movies I’ve ever watched 50% of in fast forward.  SOOOOOOO flipping boring.  So unfunny.  So unactiony.  I enjoyed the heck out of the first two films, but this one KILLED it for me.  Never even bothered with the fourth film.


Matt’s Week in Dork! (5/20/12-5/26/12)

    Kind of a rough few weeks, but I still got some good Dork Life in.  Only a few movies, but a bunch of reading.  And I’m semi-mobile again.  I’ve got my bike fixed and my legs are working about the best I can expect from them.

    Chinatown:  There is a big mess in L.A. and detective Jake has just put his foot in it.  Conspiracy, murder, money, and some of the darkest of family secrets unravel as Jake tries his darnedest to figure things out, and keep his head.  Colorful characters played by a cast of greats.  An amazing score.  Crackerjack dialog and direction.  Heck, it even seemed like Faye Dunaway had emotions.  After watching this, I want to grab a bunch of Noir DVDs off the shelf, read a couple Hard Case Crime novels, and listen to some swinging 40s music.  A great film, and a must see.  Thanks to Brad and the AFI Silver, I’ve now seen it on the big screen, which was a real treat.

The Running Man:  One of the great Arnold vehicles, it’s also pretty much what Susanne Collins lifted whole cloth from to create her Hunger Games novels.  A man unjustly accused is forced into a game show, where he must survive in a live blood sport.  It plays with the trends of TV at that time, which grimly foretell the reality of TV today.  Evil corporations, cynical audiences, the media run amok.  All filtered through the eye of the 80s.

Battleship:  When the villagers wanted to rape some angels, Lot said; “Look, I have two daughters who are virgins. I am ready to send them out to you, for you to treat as you please, but do nothing to these men since they are now under the protection of my roof.”  So, yeah, you know all that kind of really, really F-dup crap in the Bible?  The stuff the preachers don’t usually like to talk about?  Watching this was a lot like that.  We’re talking wheels within wheels and covered in eyes.  Balls of wings if you see inside your soul will burn.  Cities blasted into oblivion with little provocation.  Seven headed beasts with crowns and whores and such.  The sky turning black, temples collapsing on long haired guys, and lots and lots of things rending.  This film is abomination.  Stone it in the town square.  Old school stuff.

Erotikon:  Kind of a goofy comedy, it has some pretty clever gags.  It’s the oldest breaking of the ‘fourth wall’ I’ve seen, with the reference to what the film watching public enjoys.  Not a bad movie, but not especially good.  There is a brief, interesting discussion of Swedish silent film that places this movie in context, and reveals it and its creators’ effect on the film industry to come.  The film is well made and well acted, but I had a hard time getting into any of the characters or what they were doing.

Hellboy:  I’ve reviewed this film a few times, and I still love it.  It’s a great blend of Mignola and Del Toro, with a good balance of staying true to the comic while being an entertaining film.  Ron Perlman was born to play Hellboy.  For once, a tacked on romance actually works and works well.  And though it gives you a taste of hope, it still has that impending doom that should haunt Hellboy’s life.  Maybe not as much as it does in the comic, but it’s there in the film.  I just wish more of Mignola had made it into the sequel, which goes way off the mark.

Boardwalk Empire:  “We all have to decide how much sin we can live with.”  Crime, vice, glitz, and the behind the scenes oceanic flowing of power and control in Atlantic City and other dangerous warrens during the bloody and ugly years of Prohibition.  A fine cast, great production value, solid writing, and a good story.  This is excellent television, if not for the weak of stomach.  Occasional heroism peppers some grueling bouts of inhumanity.

    Ben and I watched the first disk of Hell on Wheels.  Pretty good.  It kept making me want to watch other stuff.  Got in the mood to watch Kung Fu and Ravenous right off the bat.  I’m developing quite the hankering to play some more Red Dead Redemption.  And maybe soon I can finally rope Brad into bringing Deadwood over to the Matt-Pad.

    I finished listening to the audio version of Christopher Hitchens’ autobiography, Hitch 22.  I really liked that it was read by him.  I should be writing and posting my review soon.

    Continuing my recent trend of finally reading various single issue comics I’ve acquired over the last few years, I read the 2011 Free Comic Book Day issue of Atomic Robo.  I do like that comic, as it reminds me of Hellboy among others.  Though I don’t think it’s as good.  Perhaps a bit too modern, with a few too many pop-culture references.  Still, it’s an enjoyable read and I am likely going to grab a full trade paperback one of these days.  Also included is a brief intro to the comic series Foster Broussard, which I didn’t much care for, and an exceptionally short teaser for Moon Girl, which has an interesting look and there’s something tantalizing about, but so little is revealed, it’s hard to tell how interesting the actual series might be.  I may have to look into a trade of that, if such exists.

    “You have to be @%$#ing kidding me.”  When at my local Laughing Ogre comic shop last year, I happened to see that IDW was bringing out a line of Godzilla comics.  Huh.  That’s crazy.  I’ve got the old Marvel run, which was…something.  I mostly picked it up, because they did a series of tailored covers, depicting the local shop getting stomped, which I thought was a clever gimmick.  And I do love Godzilla, and it is written by Eric Powell.  All that aside, it went in the pile and like so many single issues before it, didn’t get read.  Now that’s changed, and I’m glad.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The art isn’t amazing, but it’s good enough.  And just the idea of Godzilla rampaging again, especially as the monster he originally was, is kind of fun.  I may grab the first trade of this.

    Another Free Comic Book Day book from 2011 was next.  Super Dinosaur: Origin Special by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard.  It’s from their kid-friendly line and seems like fun.  The writing is a bit strained, not quite capturing kid speech.  It’s more like typical cartoon show dialog.  But it’s not bad and the story about a genius kid and his dinosaur friend defending the hollow Earth is pretty cool.  It was certainly entertaining enough that I’m giving serious thought to grabbing the first trade, which I think just recently came out.

    More 2011 Free Comic Book Day stuff with an Avatar: The Last Airbender/Star Wars: The Clone Wars double.  Avatar was fun, with two short vignettes, one about Aang and some Airbender artifacts, the other about the philosophy of cleanliness (or not).  Sadly, the Clone Wars story is quite lame, with Opress (a yellow Darth Maul) and a Hutt and some blah blah.

    Staying kid-friendly with 2011’s Free Comic Book Day samples, I read a Kung Fu Panda/Richie Rich double.  The two Kung Fu Panda shorts were pretty good.  The writing felt about right, and the art was nice.  It’s brief, but fans of the films should enjoy.  I never liked Richie Rich.  When I was a kid, the cartoon used to infuriate me.  So, I didn’t have much hope/expectation for the short story here.  It’s OK kiddy stuff, but pretty broad and written like a 90s cartoon (read: not that well).  While I might be interested in reading more Kung Fu Panda, I would not follow Richie as they try and fail to make him into Johnny Quest.

    On the darker side of that same Free Comic Book Day was the Baltimore/Criminal Macabre double.  Regular readers will already know that I love Mike Mignola’s work, and this is no exception.  It’s short and doesn’t tell much of a story, but what’s there is very cool.  I really, really have to read the novel one of these days.  And the other stuff that’s out there on the character Baltimore.  Unfortunately the other comic, Steve Niles’ Criminal Macabre was not so good.  I found the concept and writing to be a bit too 80s and a bit too junior high creative writing class.  I’ll skip any more of that.

    Getting away from the free stuff, I read Jason Conquers America, a little selection of mad Norwegian comic artist Jason’s shorts and interviews with both the artist and his frequent colorist Hubert.  Dang, it’s a batch of crazy, as one would expect.  The strip about Jesus raking leaves seriously cracks me up.  The look on the Devil’s face is priceless.  And Darth Vader at the poetry slam…Yeah.

    Digging through boxes with old comics and stuff from previous years’ SPX and other comic cons, I came across a short comic called The Ravens’ Gambit.  It’s a super-small publisher comic that felt like it was based on someone’s D&D game.  Not my cup of tea.  The art is OK for small press stuff, but nothing wowed me.

    And then I found a tiny little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into comic for the recent (last year?) re-launch of that line with original co-creator Kevin Eastman back on board.  It’s all right.  I feel like I’m too much of a poser when it comes to the Turtles.  I kind of like ‘em, and I’ve read a bit, but mostly I liked the cartoon and the Archie Comics version.  I’m trying.  Time will tell.

    Another discovery was Dynamite’s 2009 issue 0 of their Buck Rogers re-launch.  I’ll admit, I’m intrigued.  Generally, Dynamite hasn’t impressed me.  They tend to have glitzy production value, but little else.  Still, after my surprise enjoyment of their way-back set Burroughs’ Mars story, I’m a little more open to checking them out.  And I’m probably going to have to read the first trade of this.  The art is pretty good and there is certainly potential.

    More Free Comic Book Day stuff with 2008’s Hellboy, featuring the story The Mole, which is weird and gross.  It’s also got a short B.P.R.D. story and another brief one about a youngish Prof. Bruttenholm.  As usual, it’s all good stuff.  Can’t wait for the next Library Edition of Hellboy.  Soon.

    Back to some kid-friendly fare, I read 2010’s Owly and Friends! from Top Shelf.  Owly was, as always, very cute.  James Kochalka’s surreal Johnny Boo Does Something is…um, special.  Then there’s a Korgi short, which is beautifully illustrated, if not really my thing.  Overall, good stuff for young readers.

    I also found an issue 0 for Conan.  Looks like it came out in anticipation of the passing of the baton from Kurt Busiek and crew to Tim Truman.  I’d read this before, as it’s in the Conan trade volume 7.  Basically, an adaptation of the poem/short “Cimmeria,” with a brief story of Conan’s return to his homeland spliced in.  It does look nice, and is one of the better bits from Truman’s run.

    In my non-comic/movie life, I finally got my bike repaired.  I took a spill last summer, banged my legs up pretty good, and a month or so later, when I finally got back on my feet, I found that something was wrong with my bike.  Turns out a little thingy that holds the chain was bent real bad, and needed to be replaced.  So, that done, I got dropped off at the bike shop and rode home.  Now, the bike shop wasn’t all that close to where I lived when I purchased the thing.  I’ve since moved a good distance further away.  So, it’s a two and a half hour bike trip.  The up side is I get to spend about an hour of that trip on the W&OD trail, which if I were in a long term relationship, would be my mistress.  I love riding the trail.  It’s generally smooth and gentle, with varied scenery and lots of friendly folk (even got a complement on my Wyld Stallynz T-shirt from a young lady).  The down side is the hour and a half of the trip that wasn’t on the trail.  Unfortunately, I seem to live in a nearly perfectly bad spot to be a cyclist.  It’s 45+ minutes by bike to the nearest place that is at all enjoyable to ride a bike.  One day, I’ll get me a car and a bike wrack and all will be well.  ‘Til then, oh, W&OD, we’ll always have Vienna.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Brad's Week In Dork! (5/20/12-5/26/12)

A lighter than usual week for me, there were still a few rather nifty highlights.  Back at the AFI Silver, Matt & I caught Chinatown on the big screen.  Roman Polanski's wannabe noir has always been one of my favorite films and getting the chance to see a living print on Sunday was a real delight.  The only bummer was that the theater was not packed, and they relegated the screening to their smaller theater # 2 while the Avengers of Old British People i.e. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel played in their main hall.

The other two films I caught on the big screen were Battleship and Men In Black III, but I both film were rather disappointing-which is saying something cuz I wasn't expecting much from either flick.  I mean how could anyone expect anything of quality based on a board game, right?  

And with all the Dark Knight Rises posters and banners popping up on the internet this week I found myself surprisingly purchasing the new Batman - Knightfall omnibus from DC Comics.  It's a beast of a book and it's wonky writing for sure, but it was a fun nostalgic trip back to the goofy 1990s.


Chinatown:  "Well, to tell you the truth, I lied a little." Chinatown is at once a tribute to film noir and a continuation of the genre; Jack Nicholson is a smartass P.I. with a reputation, grabbing cash from the product of infidelity that leads him down the rabbit hole of corporate and government treachery. Faye Dunaway is the damaged goods damsel and John Huston, the smiling chomping dragon. As the plot unravels and the obvious becomes less obvious, Nicholson discovers even further depths of futility that even his hardened gumshoe knew not possible. A painful, brutal tale handled artfully by both Roman Polanski and Robert Towne. Maybe not in my Top Ten films of all time, but it's right there in the Top 20.

Battleship:  Despite some potentially wonderfully terrible lines of dialog like "Chicken Burrito her" and "Mustard done got run over by a garbage truck," Peter Berg's Battleship takes itself way, way, way too seriously and is far too much in love with itself to be any kind of fun. Taylor Kitsch continues his streak of attaching himself to doomed properties and sucks up the screen as a slacker sailor forced into action as light sensitive alien mech suits invade Hawaii for some god forsaken reason. Prepare yourself for loud whirring sounds, sparks, sparks, sparks and crash boom bang boring nonsense. Maybe, just maybe, if the script had a sense of humor or at least a wink to Michael BayAwesomeness than you could chuckle at the ridiculous board game turned multi million dollar blockbuster, but as is, Battleship is just an embarrassment.  And long.  And boring.  Sunk.

Jack's Back:  1988, 100 years after Jack The Ripper terrified the city of London, a series of copycat murders spring forth under the neon lights of Los Angeles. James Spader plays twin brothers caught in the middle of the killings with Robert Picardo's mama's boy police detective hypnotizing his way to the truth. Director Rowdy Herrington would go on to direct the 80s cheeze classic Road House, but Jack's Back is a rather weak rip off of the much superior Robert Bloch short story "Your's Truly, Jack The Ripper." Still, Spader is fun in the duel roles, especially the slimy naughty brother.

The Two Jakes:  Fifteen years after Chinatown, Jack Nicholson returned to the hanky panky world of private detective JJ Gittes and decided to step behind the camera when original director Roman Polanski simply knew better. The neo noir style is gone despite the addition of unnecessary pulpy narration and the flat eye of cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. Honestly, The Two Jakes is not a terrible film. It's just no Chinatown. And when your first film was so damn good, you really have to have a fantastic narrative to justify your existence, but try as he might Robert Towne fails to elevate the poisoned past plot.  This sequel is better left forgotten.

Top Gun:  Once a staple of my childhood, Top Gun now seems to slog through its fighter school plot of ass hole pilots trying to out-jackass their fellow students by spiking volleyballs, chewing gum, and causing nearly catastrophic aerial "look at me!" stunts. Tony Scott obviously loves mounting his cameras onto planes and I remember the dog fights looking fairly badass on the big screen, but trapped inside the television, the fight choreography fails to sizzle. And the relationship between Cruise and McGillis is completely lack of romance no matter how much shadowy lovemaking montages they splice together.

Men In Black III:  It's been fifteen years since Will Smith originally got jiggy with the shadowy organization known as the Men In Black and its been ten years since Agents J & K took down the abomination that was Laura Flynn Boyle. And was anyone looking for a third outing? Not me. And for the most part, this sequel feels worn-out and tired, even when it's thankfully not relying on worm aliens or talking pugs. The time travel plot involving Josh Brolin's young Agent K is kinda fun with his dead-on (and dead pan) Tommy Lee Jones impersonation but there's also plenty of missed historical opportunities and flat jokey jokes.  Jemaine Clement does a pretty good Tim Curry as the one armed baddie Boris The Animal and Alice Eve stands around looking pretty. Michael Stuhlbarg steals the show (as usual) as the fifth dimensionally challenged being at the center of the alien murders. Men In Black III is a solid way to kill an afternoon, but I would not shell out for nighttime (and especially not 3D) prices.


Batman - Knightfall Volume 1:  The 90s Epic that pit crime lord & wannabe luchador Bane against Bruce Wayne's sick & sniveling Batman. The first volume of Knightfall is a massive tome weighing in just over 600 pages, and only towards the end, after The Bat has been broken and Wayne has awoken from his coma do we get any sense that Bats is any kind of a badass. For most of this story, Wayne is on the verge of collapse. Even before Bane busts all the loonies out of Arkham, he's got the sniffels. Just taking down C List villains like The Ventriloquist and The Mad Hatter is a challenge let alone the main rogues like The Joker or Scarecrow. Honestly, seeing every issue conclude with an exhausted and frowny faced Batman is rather annoying. Especially when the mantel has to be passed to Jean Paul Valley's god crazy Azrael and this new bling bling Batman takes on Bane's underworld with such ease. Bruce Wayne is tougher than this book gives him credit. It tries too hard to justify Bane's reign over Gotham, slighting the character of the billionaire vigilante; transforming the icon into a mental weakling.

Still, it's fun to revisit this media orchestrated event. And there is a glimmer of an interesting creation in Bane, the anti-Batman. I can easily see Christopher Nolan molding this oh-so-90s idea into a brutal brawl for The Dark Knight Rises, and I really hope the final Nolan film takes its climax cues from Knightfall's conclusion. BREAK THE BAT!  And I gotta admit,  I am looking forward to venturing into volume 2 (&3!) of Knightfall. Jean Paul Valley is a serious loon and even if I don't quite understand what Wayne was thinking when he gave the suit over to this nutter, it's fun to see this razor clawed Batman beat the maniacs of Gotham to a bloody pulp.

Batman - The Court of Owls:  Collecting the first seven issues of The New 52 Batman, The Court of Owls doesn't necessarily retcon everything we've come to know about the caped crusader (this is still Bruce Wayne, the revenge?/justice? fueled vigilante, caretaker of three acrobatic wards), but it definitely has some fun with the history of Gotham. A John Doe murder sends Bats through the mirror darkly of historical conspiracy, involving a legendary court of manipulative high society bird brains and their unstoppable Talon assassins. Writer Scott Snyder takes full advantage of former Spawn artist Greg Capullo's slick and violent style, plunging The Batman into the sewers of Wayne's psyche. And his Owls creep me the hell out. I appreciate how this first volume doesn't neatly conclude the plot and even promises further exploration of Gotham's secret history as Batman & company will most definitely face off against an armada of fresh rogues. Man, it's nice to not just have another Joker punch up.