Tag Archives: DC Comics

Do We Really Need a Standalone Joker Movie?

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The DCEU has decided, despite its mixed at best reception, to make a spin-off of Suicide Squad with a standalone Joker movie starring Jared Leto. This comes after a Joaquin Phoenix-lead Joker film had been announced as well. It appears DC is prepared to go forward with both. Why make two standalones of the same character at the same time, but played by different actors? In what ways, if any, will these movies be connected? How will they tie into the DCEU as a whole? But the real question is, do we even need a solo Joker movie?

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Don’t get me wrong, I love the character. My love for him as a villain is almost equal to my love of his nemesis, the Caped Crusader, Batman. And we all know how much I love me some Dark Knight. But the problem is that everything that makes the Clown Prince of Crime so interesting is tied into his relationship with Batman. He is a fantastic foil and counterpart to Batman. He is an agent of chaos, while Bats is a sentinel of order and justice. Joker is a homicidal lunatic; Batman, while violent in his own right, won’t cross that line into killing (unless it’s Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck behind the cowl, then they’re just as much a murderer as Joker). And that’s a line Joker constantly taunts Batman to cross. It’s those diametrically opposing ideas and the dynamic they create that makes their relationship so compelling.

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Further tying the two together is the idea that the Joker wouldn’t even exist, at least not at the level his has reached, without Batman. Would the man that became the Joker still be a psychopath? Absolutely. But the Dark Knight gives him an object on which to focus his psychosis. With Batman’s resistance and constant thwarting of his plans, Joker’s psychopathy escalates. This is not to say that Batman is responsible for the Joker’s condition, but simply to illustrate the co-dependence to his enemy in the Joker’s mind. Never was this more on display than in Frank Miller’s influential The Dark Knight Returns, where after decades of crime-fightning, Bruce Wayne hangs up his cape. Without a target to channel his madness, the Joker becomes catatonic. But when Bruce is forced out of “retirement” by a new threat, Joker’s horribly deranged mind springs to life again, causing him to murder an entire studio full of people on television just to get Batman’s attention.
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Literally everything the Joker does is done as a way to hurt or punish Batman in a twisted game. Not grasping that concept (along with his utterly stupid appearance) was already a major flaw in Leto’s Joker, where he was willing to go to great lengths to rescue Harley, not something Joker would do unless it was directly part of a plot against the Caped Crusader. Which it was not. Just perpetuated the incorrect notion that he actually cares about her. He doesn’t. At all. She’s nothing but an expendable pawn to him. Throughout his history in the comics, Joker has murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd, paralyzed and sexually assaulted Barbara Gordon, and kidnapped and threatened to murder Nightwing, Robin, Alfred, Catwoman, Batgirl, Red Robin, and Jim Gordon all in attempts to hurt Batman without actually killing him.

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Even if we could go back in time and get a standalone film of Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, I wouldn’t be that interested. Hell, even if it was an animated movie with the ultimate Joker, Mark Hamill, providing the voice, I wouldn’t want it without Batman. Essentially what it all boils down to is that the Joker is a fantastic supporting character. He is amazing as the nemesis of Batman. But as a standalone figure, what can really be done? There’s nothing about him that is interesting strictly in and of himself. He needs Batman to play off of. Without that, he’s just any other mad man.

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Worst Comic Book Character Portrayals

While there have been many truly incredible portrayals of characters in comic book movies and television series, there have also been more than a few absolute clunkers. Some of these aren’t necessarily the actor’s fault; they were just written horribly, given awful dialogue, or were stuck with crappy plots. But whatever the reason, they still flopped. Here are my worst of the worst.

25. Iron Fist (Finn Jones) – Iron Fist

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Netflix’s Iron Fist isn’t very good. It lacks an identity, has subpar fight choreography for a show about a Kung Fu master, and the worst thing about it is the lead. There’s literally nothing interesting about Danny Rand. He comes across as whiny and immature. For someone that’s supposed to be a “living weapon”, I wasn’t blown away by his fighting ability. In fact, I’d take Charlie Cox’s Daredevil over his Iron Fist any day.

24. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) – X-Men First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men:Apocalypse

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Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress and seems quite likable as a person, but her portrayal of Mystique is so inconsistent. Her motivations and characterization seem to change from movie to movie, and are whatever the writer needed her to be in that story.

23. Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage) – Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 

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Ghost Rider would be a very easy character to make silly and over-the-top, and Nicholas Cage didn’t even attempt to play it otherwise. He’s already known for being quite the over-actor, and it’s on full display here, complete with terrible puns and one-liners.

22.  Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell) – Fantastic Four

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Will we ever get a good Dr. Doom in a live action movie? Hollywood writers just can’t seem to understand the things that make the character great and compelling. Sadly, another entrance in a long line of failed attempts at bringing Victor Von Doom to life.

21. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – Thor, Thor: The Dark World

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Natalie Portman reportedly hated being in Marvel movies, and it shows. For such a talented actress, her performance is flat and uninteresting. She also has zero charisma with Chris Hemsworth, making for a very blah love story.

20. Batman (Ben Affleck) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League

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If there’s anyone that clearly hates playing their role in a comic movie more than Natalie Portman, it’s Ben Affleck when he dons the cape and cowl. He seems like he’d literally rather be anywhere but making these movies. With the quality of the 3 DC movies he’s been in, I can’t entirely blame him.

19. Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) – X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand , X-Men: Days of Future Past

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One of several prominent X-Men characters that are supposed to be from countries other than the US that are passed off as American in the films. Piotr Rasputin, otherwise known as Colossus, is supposed to be from Russia, yet there’s no hint of a Russian accent on him whatsoever. And for a character whose power is to turn his skin into organic steel, we actually see him transform once for all of about 15 seconds in 3 movies.

18. Electro (Jamie Foxx) – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Another example of a good actor being stuck in a crappy role. Completely devoid of interest, and despite what was clearly meant to be a sympathetic role, you don’t even feel sorry for the guy because he’s so badly written.

17. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) – X-Men: First Class

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Kevin Bacon delivers one of the most one-dimensional performances of his career. You just don’t care about his character whatsoever, nor is the character anything close to resembling his comic book counterpart.

16. Storm (Halle Berry) – X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Here’s where the “drop the accent” game started in the X-Men franchise. Halle Berry at least attempted an inconsistent one in the first film, but then dropped it all together in the second movie on. Spoiler alert: this isn’t the only time Ms. Berry will be appearing on this list. I promise I’m not picking on her as a performer in general…just in comic movies apparently.

15. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) – X-Men: Apocalypse

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Everything about this take on Marvel’s first mutant falls completely flat. Poorly acted. Poorly written. Poorly designed. Even his plans and motivations don’t make sense. Severely disappointing as I love Apocalypse in the comics and had high hopes for him here.

14. Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) – Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

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Could they have made audiences care less about the love interest of the hero? Mary Jane is supposed to be a constant, grounding force in Peter Parker’s otherwise tumultuous life, but here she’s flighty, annoying, and really serves no other purpose than damsel in distress and creating relationship drama…bouncing around between 7 different relationships in 3 movies.

13. Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) – Luke Cage

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I am unfamiliar with Harvey’s work outside of Luke Cage, but I seriously hope it’s better than what we got in the Marvel Netflix series. Tries way too hard to come across as a cool villain, but it doesn’t work at all. Just rather boring to be honest, especially in the shadow of Mahershala Ali’s brilliant performance as Cottonmouth.

12. Elektra (Jennifer Garner) – Daredevil, Elektra

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There’s plenty to hate about the Daredevil movie, and Jennifer Garner’s bland turn as Elektra is definitely one of them. For a character that’s supposed to be exotic and enticing to Matt Murdock, she gives a performance about as compelling as watching paint dry. Oh and on the topic of being exotic, they claim she’s Greek (as she’s supposed to be), yet she makes no attempt to speak with an accent.

11. Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Much like Daredevil, there’s a lot to hate about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a stupid story with plot holes big enough to fly the X-Jet through being first and foremost, but it also contains some of the absolute worst comic character portrayals ever (there’s another to come on this list). A primary example of writers shoehorning a character into a story that he had no business being in…and the version we got has very little in common with his comic counterpart other than his name. Gambit is known for his silver-tongued charm and razor sharp wit, yet Kitsch plays him with all the charisma of a coma patient…and seriously, why doesn’t his staff explode like everything else when he charges it with kinetic energy?

10. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Oh, the DCEU and their consistent misunderstanding of their own properties. Whiny, neurotic, and just plain stupid…that’s really the only way I can describe this version of Superman’s nemesis. And talk about idiotic motivations: Luthor wants to show the world how dangerous Superman is, so he creates Doomsday, which is even more powerful and dangerous…um, what?

9. The Joker (Jared Leto) – Suicide Squad 

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Easily the DCEU’s biggest bomb as a character is Leto’s pseudo-Joker (I refuse to refer to that as the actual Joker). Before I trash his utterly stupid look (which I’m going to), I’ll focus on the actual performance. It’s bad. Just plain bad. Not once did I believe I was watching the Clown Prince of Crime. His motivations are counter to those of the actual Joker, who would never have attempted to break Harley out prison. He would have let her rot until she found her own way out. Ok now for his appearance: what on Earth made them think that THAT is a look people wanted? This “Joker” looks like he’s a douchy rapper that’s part of a drug cartel, who just got some stupid tats in prison, and is on his way to a crappy Avenged Sevenfold concert. Oooo…how “dark and gritty”…

8. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) – Iron Man 3

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Speaking of pseudo characters. What was meant to be the MCU’s greatest plot twist ended up being nothing more than its biggest middle finger to comic book fans. Turning Iron Man’s nemesis into a fake and nothing but a distraction from the “real” villain, was a giant “F you” to longtime readers who were excited to see this major villain brought to life.

7. Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) – X-Men: The Last Stand 

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If there’s one thing 20th Century Fox knows better than making terrible Fantastic Four movies, it’s delivering awful performances in its X-Men franchise, and sadly this isn’t the worst. A cheap rubber muscle suit and a stupid-looking helmet that’s purpose is never explained in the movie, so he just runs around with a trashcan on his head for the sake of looking dumb. Also, Cain Marko is not a mutant, yet he’s somehow effected by Leech’s power draining ability?

6. Bane (Jeep Swenson) – Batman & Robin 

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The first of 3 craptacular portrayals from Joel Schumacher’s equally awful Batman & Robin, making up half of the top 6. Take one of Batman’s most brilliant and strategic enemies and turn him into a mindless monster just because he’s big. Great choice. *insert eye roll*

5. Venom (Topher Grace) – Spider-Man 3

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You can tell that Sam Raimi didn’t want Venom in this movie, but was forced to by Avi Arad (former head of Marvel), as he gave the character no direction or seemingly any thought. Totally unbelievable as an antagonist. Why does the symbiote make Eddie Brock bigger, but didn’t Peter Parker? Why did it latch on to Brock and mutate immediately since he didn’t have adrenal cancer like he did in the comic? The only thing worse than Venom in this movie is watching the My Chemical Romance version of Peter Parker dance.

4. Catwoman (Halle Berry) – Catwoman 

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Here I am to crap on Halle Berry again. Everything about this role is bad. The acting, the writing, the direction, the costume…all of it. I appreciate the attempted homage to Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman from the 1960’s Batman television series, but the cheesiness and camp are just too much and it comes across like a B-movie performance.

3. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Batman & Robin

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But no one out camps Arnold’s turn as Mr. Freeze. Seriously, 75% of his dialogue is cold puns. One at the right moment would have been acceptable and might have gotten a little chuckle, but not a constant bombardment of “chill out’s” and “everybody freeze’s”. It really makes you hate a villain that should actually be one of the most sympathetic antagonists in comic movies.

2. Batman (George Clooney) – Batman & Robin 

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The final entrant in my dump on Batman & Robin trilogy. Completely unbelievable as Batman. Not even a decent Bruce Wayne. All the things that make Batman special are absent and quite frankly not things that Clooney is capable of pulling off. He was cast simply because he was a hot name.

1. Deadpool (Scott Adkins) – X-Men Origins: Wolverine 

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Here we are: the worst of the worst of the worst. Take everything about Deadpool that makes him unique and special and compelling…Hell take literally EVERYTHING away. Instead of kitanas, slap on some blades that pop out of his forearms like he’s freaking Baraka from Mortal Kombat. Instead of guns, have him shoot lasers out of his eyes. Instead of being a mercenary, make him a science experiment and slave. Oh and sew his mouth shut. Wouldn’t want the Merc with the Mouth to actually talk. Because I mean, come on…a source material faithful Deadpool would NEVER work…oh…wait…

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #1

Well after more than a year away, and LOTS of life changes, I’m back to finish what I started. I’ve missed this so much. Let’s get back to it.

The finale of the Greatest Rogues Galleries countdown as voted on by you the readers…and it’s really no surprise that it was none other than the Caped Crusader, Batman. He’s almost universally regarded as having the best villains in not just comics, but in pop culture as a whole.

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Batman

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As if there was anywhere else to start on a list of Batman villains than his nemesis, the Clown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker. Rarely is a villain so singularly focused on wreaking havoc on a hero. He is responsible for the torture and death of second Robin, Jason Todd, and the paralysis of Barbara Gordon, just to make Batman and his ally Jim Gordon suffer. The Joker swings back-and-forth between calculated and methodical to erratic and spontaneous. This is really the only thing that makes him such a threat to Batman, because physically and mentally, the Joker is no match for the Dark Knight. But the fact that he’s completely unpredictable, makes him impossible to figure out. It has been discussed at length that in many ways Batman and Joker are really just two sides of the same coin…and whether either of them could exist without the other. Which just makes their relationship even more interesting and dynamic.

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Ever since her creation as a sidekick for the Joker in the incredible Batman: The Animated Series cartoon, Harley Quinn has been an extremely popular and beloved character in the DC universe. So great was her popularity that she was quickly adapted into the comic universe as well. Originally the psychologist assigned to the Joker at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, due to a significant amount of manipulation on his part, becomes obsessed with the Joker, leading her to help him escape and becoming his new sidekick/punching bag. While she is utterly devoted to him, he sees her simply as a pawn to control, using her to do his bidding so he can pull the strings from a position of safety, a shield to keep Batman busy, and just straight up physically and emotionally abusing her on a constant basis. In recent years, she has become somewhat of an anti-hero, as a member of the Suicide Squad, but her obsession with the Clown Prince of Crime has yet to be fully broken.

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One of the most complex and interesting relationships in comics is that of Batman and Catwoman. He stands for order and justice…she stands for, well, nothing but herself really. With Batman being the greatest detective and crime fighter, and Catwoman being the world’s greatest thief, one would think they would be firmly entrenched as adversaries. But with Selina Kyle showing occasional flashes of goodness and with her crimes being typically on the smaller scale, focusing on burglary, she has remained on the Dark Knight’s radar, but rarely does he go out of his way to stop her. They have also worked together on multiple occasions, with her even taking a few forays into anti-hero territory, and have an undeniable, intense sexual tension that makes their relationship so compelling.

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Another incredibly developed villain in the Caped Crusader’s rogues gallery. Once the DA of Gotham City, Harvey Dent worked closely with Batman and Commissioner Jim Gordon to crack down on crime in their city (never more on display than in the fabulous graphic novel The Long Halloween). As a way of striking back, one of Gotham’s major organized crime leaders, Sal Maroni, throws sulfuric acid in Dent’s face, permanently disfiguring the left half of his face and eventually driving him insane. He became obsessed with duality and develops a form of split personality disorder, though both personalities seem to exist simultaneously and are aware of the other…and both hating Batman (the Two-Face half for his constant interference in his schemes, and the Harvey Dent side for his imagined betrayal of Batman leaving him as the vulnerable member of their alliance). This has lead to yet another great relationship between Batman and his villain, because while Batman has to stop Two-Face, he wants to do so in a way that doesn’t hurt the old Harvey Dent, who he believes (some of the time) is still there and can be redeemed.

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While the Oswald Cobblepot doesn’t have the intricate relationship with the Dark Knight as the previous villains have, he has remained a major, compelling member of his rogues gallery. Coming from a very wealthy family and using that inherited wealth to create a criminal empire, the Penguin is simply a real-world type gangster, gun runner, and thief, with a violent temper and an arsenal of weaponized umbrellas. The Penguin may not seem like much of an opponent for Batman. But he is a criminal mastermind and a rather large coward, continually running away while Batman takes out his crew, leaving him to live to fight another day.

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Convinced of his own intellectual superiority, Edward Nigma is obsessed with proving he is smarter than Batman who is regarded as a genius and the “world’s greatest detective,” so he often tries to put Batman in deathtraps that he believes are unbeatable. Due to his overestimation of his own brilliance, this is never the case. And also due to his compulsion to leave riddles at the scene of his crimes, he many times is the cause of his own defeat. Despite this, the Riddler has proven to be one of the most intelligent, logical adversaries of the Caped Crusader even deducing Batman’s secret identity in the Hush story arc.

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Formerly a brilliant psychologist and biochemist, Jonathan Crane is obsessed with the concept of fear. His obsession led him to perform dangerous fear-inducing experiments on his patients and students, leading to his termination and the murders of those responsible. This sends him down a path of a career criminal. While not a particularly physically formidable opponent for Batman, the Scarecrow’s fear toxin has been an incredible tool used to explore the tortured psyche of Bruce Wayne.

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With a body pushed to near human peak levels, genius level intellect, and an iron will forged in the dark, almost unbearable conditions of a Santa Prisca prison, the man known as Bane is easily one of Batman’s more formidable opponents. He is the Caped Crusader’s equal in almost every regard, and that’s before his strength, speed, and stamina are pushed to superhuman levels by the drug known as Venom. Most recognizable as the “man that broke the Bat” when, during the Knightfall story arc, he exhausted Batman (from breaking out all of his villains from Arkham Asylum), deduced his secret identity, and then ambushed him inside Wayne Manor, leading to Bane breaking Batman’s back. While Batman eventually recovered and defeated him, Bane has remained a consistent thorn in his side ever since.

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Due to the resurrective properties of the Lazarus Pits, Ra’s al Ghul has been the leader of the ancient order of the League of Assassins for centuries. A master strategist, swordsman, hand-to-hand combatant, and alchemist that has perfected his skills over hundreds of years, al Ghul is among the most dangerous villains in Batman’s rogues gallery. The League’s purpose is to infiltrate and destroy decadent centers of civilization…with Gotham as a primary target. While Ra’s al Ghul is very much an adversary to the Dark Knight, he also holds Batman in high regard for his ability, respectfully referring to him as “Detective.” Ra’s respects his ability so much that he wishes for Batman to take his place as the head of the League. Batman is also in love with Ra’s daughter Talia, who eventually becomes the mother of his son, Damian Wayne.

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Easily one of the most sympathetic villains in comics, Victor Fries, a cryogenics expert, cryogenically freezes his terminally ill wife, Nora, to buy him time to find a cure. During an experiment, something goes wrong and his body’s physiology is reversed so that he must remain in freezing temperatures to stay alive. To accomplish this, he creates a refrigerated containment suit. Driven by his obsession to save his wife, he also develops a Freeze Gun that instantly freezes objects to sub-zero temperatures, and sets out on committing crimes to fund his research. This leads him into constant conflict with Batman. With his tragic origins and motivations, and cool (no pun intended) abilities, Mr. Freeze has become a popular and endearing villain of the Dark Knight.

There you have it folks. The greatest rogues galleries in comics. I promise to be around more often. No more year long breaks. I’ve got lots more to say and as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. See you next time.

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #4

Last week, we took a look at the rogues gallery of Marvel’s super team, The Avengers. This week we get our first solo hero on the list.

The Flash

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Coming in at #4 in our countdown of villain collections is DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster, The Flash. While there have been several different characters to hold the title of The Flash, the crop of villains associated with the title have remained pretty consistent.

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Much like The Flash himself, the title of Reverse Flash has been used  by multiple villains. They’ve all typically worn costumes that are the opposite color scheme of The Flash, literally being his “reverse”. Despite being the second villainous speedster (behind The Rival), Eobard Thawne was the first to be referred to as Reverse Flash. He quickly became the nemesis of the second incarnation of The Flash, Barry Allen. His singular objective is to cause pain and suffering to Barry Allen and those he loves. He is responsible for the death of Barry’s wife Iris, and through his ability to use his speed to travel through time, also Barry’s mother Nora.

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The third speedster villain, and nemesis of Kid Flash, Wally West. Unlike The Rival and Professor Zoom, Zoom does not actually have superhuman speed, but rather slows time around him which essentially mimics the effects of super speed. Hunter Zolomon was once a cop and close friend of Wally West, but after an attack on Iron Heights Prison left him paralyzed from the waist down, and Wally refusing to alter the timeline to prevent it, Zolomon attempted to alter it himself using The Flash’s time traveling device the Cosmic Treadmill. When it exploded, he regained the use of his legs, but was left detached from the timeline. Using his new found abilities, he followed in the other Reverse Flash’s footsteps and began tormenting The Flash.

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Leonard Snart, otherwise known as Captain Cold, may be more concerned with profit as a criminal than he is the suffering of The Flash, but he has proven to be a rather large thorn in the side of The Scarlet Speedster. He is a master strategist and criminal mastermind, but is definitely most known for his use of the Cold Gun that can freeze anything down to absolute zero temperatures. Snart has shown the ability to begrudingly work with The Flash when it suits his own ends, though these cooperations tend to be short-lived. Captain Cold has also been the sometimes leader of a team appropriately named The Rogues comprised of major Flash villains like Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, The Trickster, Heat Wave, The Top, and Captain Boomerang.

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Gorilla Grodd was granted super-intelligence, telepathy, and telekinesis by an alien after its spacecraft crashed into the jungle. After using Grodd and his fellow gorillas to build a super-advanced civilization known as Gorilla City, Grodd has the alien killed and assumes rule of the city with world domination as his next goal. Eventually gaining the ability to control the minds of others, Grodd has become a prominent antagonist against The Flash. Has also been an occasional member of The Rogues as well.

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When an unexplained mystical event renders Richard Swift ageless and immortal, with the ability to conjur, control, and travel through shadows and darkness, The Shade was born. The Shade has been a foe of both the Jay Garrick and Barry Allen incarnations of The Flash. Seemingly unable to be harmed by any form of inury (once had his heart ripped out and continued to live), he is a worthy foe for The Scarlet Speedster. He is only vulnerable when he is rendered shadowless. Meaning his shadow must be removed through magical means or by surrounding him with light so he casts no shadow at all.

 

 

Werewolves and Vampires and Zombies. Oh My!

It’s October. Which means one of my favorite holidays is right around the corner, Halloween. I love Halloween. The costumes, the candy, and a little good old fashioned scariness all come together to make for a great season (because seriously it’s more than just one day). With spookiness and supernatural roots being part of the core of the season, what better time to highlight some of the greater supernatural characters in comics. I tried to steer clear of characters that dealt specifically with magic (John Constantine, Dr. Strange, Zatanna, etc.) and those who are the product of science experiments gone wrong (Swamp Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire), and instead focused on those that have more true supernatural origins and abilities. Let’s take a look at some of the characters that go bump in the night.

 

Spawn (Image)

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Arguably the most popular character on the list, especially at his peak. When Al Simmons dies and is sent to Hell for his sins, he was granted powers from Malebolgia (essentially Satan) with the intent on him becoming his greatest weapon against Heaven. Simmons rebels against Malebolgia and becomes a very violent anti-hero instead.

 

Blade (Marvel)

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Marvel’s half-human/half-vampire. After his pregnant mother was bitten by a vampire, he was gifted with the strength, speed, and stamina of a vampire (but also the hunger for human blood), without the weaknesses against daylight, garlic, and holy water. Blade decides to use his abilities to rid the world of vampires.

 

The Spectre (DC)

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Chosen as the Spirit of Vengeance after his brutal death during a robbery, Jim Corrigan is one of the more powerful beings in all of DC Comics. He is for all intents and purposes omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent with the ability to change reality. One of the few characters uneffected by DC’s multiple continuity resets, retaining knowledge of all of the realities that existed before.

 

Werewolf By Night (Marvel)

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As the name would suggest, Jack Russell, due to a family curse, transforms into a mindless werewolf during a full moon. However, he can also voluntarily transform outside of the full moon, and during these times he retains his human intellect. Much like Blade, Werewolf By Night uses his abilities to defend mankind by fighting against the forces of darkness.

 

Solomon Grundy (DC)

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DC Comic’s resident zombie. When Cyrus Gold was murdered in a swamp, he was reborn as a monstrous, almost mindless undead creature. Taking on the name Solomon Grundy after the nursery rhyme, he returns to the life of crime he had lived before his death. Mostly an enemy to the Green Lantern, he has also been a major villain in the Batman comics as well.

 

Ghost Rider (Marvel)

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Stunt-rider Johnny Blaze is fused with the demon Zarathos after a deal with hell dimension ruler Mephisto goes wrong. Blaze transforms into a skeleton wreathed in flame when in the presence of evil. Cursed to punish the wicked, he is one of the more violent and merciless anti-heroes Marvel Comics has to offer.

 

Deadman (DC)

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When trapeze artist Boston Brand is murdered during a performance, his spirit is imparted the ability to possess the body of any sentient being by the Hindu god Rama Kushna in order to seek justice. After doing so, he continues on as a force for good among the dark. When in ghost form he is able to become invisible, intangible, and can fly.

 

Moon Knight (Marvel)

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After being betrayed and left for dead in the Egyptian desert by his parter, mercenary Marc Spector is given the chance to survive from the Egyptian god Knoshu by becoming his avatar on Earth. He takes the opportunity, avenges his attempted murder, and begins fighting crime as the vigilante Moon Knight. With his sanity connected inseparably to the moon and its phases, the fuller the moon, the more violent and erratic he becomes.

 

 

Top 10 Favorite Heroines

So often in comics, woman are relegated to supporting roles. Whether they are the love interest of the male hero, the damsel in distress, a plucky sidekick or subordinante team member, or, worst of all, simply a plot device that is used as a way of motivating a hero’s vengeance against his enemy, known colloquially as “the woman in the refrigerator.” There are, however, many strong, well-written, and straight up badass females out there in comics. These ladies all have several things in common. They are independent, compelling, and all have a healthy dose of sex appeal. While they may seem like a misogynistic thing to say, for all of these characters, they own their sexuality, using it to futher empower them, rather than jsut be eye candy. I feel like I’m doing a disservice by only listing the top 10. But for the sake of time and not wanting to risk reader burn out with another multi-part countdown, 10 is what I’m doing. Here we go.

10. Voodoo (Wildstorm)

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9. Zatanna (DC)

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8. Elektra (Marvel)

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7. Emma Frost (Marvel)

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6. Captain Marvel (Marvel)

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5. Wonder Woman (DC)

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4. Michonne (Image)

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3. Psylocke (Marvel)

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2. Harley Quinn (DC)

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1. Catwoman (DC)

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Top 5-ish Batman Graphic Novels

As you all I love Batman. He’s one of my absolute favorite superheroes, second only to Spider-Man to be exact. He’s the world’s greatest detective and hand-to-hand combatant. The Dark Knight has easily the best rogues gallery of any comic hero. But he also stands alone as the character with the best graphic novel collection, and it’s not close. I was going to make this a list of the top 5, but I came up with six and just couldn’t find it in myself to knock one of them off. Besides, it’s my blog and I can make my own rules. I’m such a rebel. *Insert eye roll* I listed the writer and artist for each novel as well. Without further ado, here…we…go:

 

5*. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (Grant Morrison/Dave McKean)

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Beautifully painted artwork from Dave McKean sets this book apart from just about any other Batman story out there. It also delves deeper in the scarred psyche of the Caped Crusader than most. See Batman face his own madness to survive the night inside Arkham Asylum is a riveting read.

 

5*. Batman: Hush (Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee)

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I don’t know if there’s a writer that grasps the modern version of Batman quite like Jeph Loeb. Add in art from my all-time favorite comic artist Jim Lee, and you have the perfect foundation for an amazing Batman novel. They do not disappoint. A masterful puzzle of a story that also served to introduce a fantastic new villain to the Batman mythos.

 

4. Batman: Year One (Frank Miller/David Mazzucchelli)

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If Loeb isn’t the best modern writer for The Dark Knight, than it would have to be Frank Miller. Tracing the first steps in the career of Bruce Wayne’s war on crime, Year One gives an incredible re-envisioning of his origin. Also includes some of the absolute greatest Batman quotes ever written. David Mazzucchelli’s pulp-inspired artwork helps set the tone for this throwback. Heavily influenced the film Batman Begins.

 

3. Batman: The Long Halloween (Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale)

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As far as overall story arcs go, this might be my favorite among Batman’s many graphic novels. Winding and intricate, with incredible plot twists and misdirections. Much like Arkham Asylum and Hush, The Long Halloween includes several of Batman’s villains as major characters, which helps to make it an even better treat. Was, with The Killing Joke, the basis for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

 

2. Batman: The Killing Joke (Alan Moore/Brian Bolland)

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The greatest story of Batman’s nemesis, The Joker. Never before has he appeared so prominently. Written by comic legend Alan Moore, the book is filled with all the violence, high drama, philosophical introspection, and twists that Moore is known for. Batgirl’s sexual assault and paralysis at the hands of The Joker is one the most iconic and controversial moments in comic history.

 

1. The Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller/Klaus Janson)

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The essential Batman graphic novel. This is the story that returned Batman to his darker, brooding nature. Seeing an aging Bruce Wayne return to defend his city from a new threat that the police are unable to stop, while taking on a new Robin to train is some of the most fun you’ll have reading a Batman comic. Violent, gritty, and as dark as The Caped Crusader gets. Go out of your way to read this one if you haven’t.