Tag Archives: DC Comics

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.

Quick Shots from Comic-Con – Part 1

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Comic-Con International took place in San Diego over the weekend. The annual geek convergence is always a hotbed of trailer debuts, logo/information reveals, and cast panels. Marvel gave us a new, much longer trailer for Doctor Strange, showed off the logos for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Black Panther, and dropped a bombshell in the casting of titular Captain Marvel. DC debuted a full-length trailer for Wonder Woman and dropped a sizzle reel for the upcoming Justice League. And just as importantly, first trailer for Season 7 of The Walking Dead debuted as well. With so much to cover, I’m just going to hit the highlights and give my condensed opinion on each.

 

The Walking Dead trailer 

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We’re only 3 months away from finally finding out who lost their life at the hands of new big bad Negan. The trailer is brilliantly constructed with the first half running down the potential victims and giving us a very brief history of each characters, and the second half showing us the few characters that didn’t find themselves at Negan’s mercy and giving us some huge reveals: The Kingdom, Ezekiel, and Shiva! Forget Negan; King Ezekiel’s pet tiger is going to be in the show this season! Just kidding (mostly), because I can’t wait to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan tear it up this season.

 

Doctor Strange trailer

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Finally opening the doors to the supernatural corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Benedict Cumberbatch is genius casting and I can’t wait to see his take on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. We also finally got a good look at the films villain (potentially villains, but I won’t spoil that for those not familiar with the comics). Boy does the trailer get trippy. Like Inception on acid.

 

Daredevil Season 3 announcement

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I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Daredevil had officially been renewed for its third season. I had assumed that with the upcoming Defenders cross-over on horizon that the Man Without Fear’s solo series would be put on hold temporarily. I’m very glad to see that that isn’t the case. The greatest superhero television show ever produced will be gracing us with a new installment soon.

 

Wonder Woman trailer

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As big of dumpster fire as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was, this movie looks incredible. For many, Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in BvS, and it appears that that bright spot is ready to shine on her own. Being set in World War II, this movie appears to be in a lot of ways what I had hoped the Captain America: The First Avenger would have been: a gritty, realistic war movie with a superhero dropped in the middle of it. My only real issue is the continued overly-dark cinematography that is apparently going to be the signature of the DCEU. Aside from Batman and some of their imprints, I’ve never seen DC as a particularly dark comic brand. So why are the movies so dark?

The 25 Greatest Comic Book Movies (Revised) – Part 5

This is it. The top 5 greatest comic book movies of all-time. The final installment is pretty much unchanged from the last time, with only one new addition, and all the rest remaining in the same slots as before. With each having two films in the Top 5, we can definitively say that The Dark Knight and Captain America series are the best comic-based franchises Hollywood has produced.

5. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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The lastest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While not a direct adaptation of the story arc from the comics, the film hits a few of the high points, but takes the story in a completely different direction in others. A compelling story, fantastic acting (especially from Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther), one of the most complex villains in the MCU so far, great direction, and amazing fight coreography make this a truly incredible film. Getting to see Spider-Man come home to the MCU was another highlight.

 

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a game-changer for comic movies, and the greatest solo film in the MCU. Far more a smart, political thriller than an overly action-heavy popcorn flick, this movie covers some major topical issues that we’re facing in a modern, technology-driven world. Aside from showcasing how intelligent a comic-based movie can be, the film also rocked the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its core with the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., the outing of HYDRA, and the faked death of Nick Fury. The fight coreography is the best ever in a comic movie, and in the conversation of best in cinema, period.

 

3. Batman Begins (2005)

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The first chapter in Christopher Nolan’s reality-grounded Dark Knight Trilogy. Finally a Batman story that showed the audience how a billionaire orphan became the world’s greatest detective and guardian of Gotham City. A great script and Nolan’s brillaint direction are paired with spot-on casting across the board, with Christian Bale (Batman), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), and Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul) giving particularly great performances. Cillian Murphy also delivers a wonderfully creepy portrayal as the Scarecrow. This is easily the greatest origin story in comic book movie history.

 

2. The Avengers (2012)

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The culmination of the first phase of the most ambitious project in cinema history, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’d seen two movie franchises mash up (Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator) to varying degrees of success, but to combine four individual franchises in one monster team-up was ground-breaking. Intricately weaving them into one universe seemed a near impossible task, but Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon did so marvelously (pun intended). Getting to see alpha personalities of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, and Nick Fury all thrown together was truly a sight to behold. Whedon also hammered out a great story that brought them all together in an organic, unforced manor (unlike a certain DC team-up movie).

 

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

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Easily the greatest comic book movie ever made. In terms of pure storytelling, The Dark Knight is unmatched. Powerful and epic in scope, yet minute in subject. The diametrically opposing ideas of order vs. chaos have never been so beautifully displayed. Bale and Oldman again, give strong performances, but they along with everyone else that has ever been in a comic movie, are completely overshadowed by the masterful work of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Ledger brings a real-world darkness and insanity to a role that is so often portrayed as silly and/or over-the-top, earing him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the lone major acting award win for a comic book movie role.

 

I’m looking forward to revisiting this list again next year. Can movies like Suicide Squad or Dr. Strange claw their way onto the list? We’ll find out.

The 25 Greatest Comic Book Movies (Revised) – Part 4

Today we have a very Marvel Comics heavy installment, with 4 of the 5 being based on the comic giant’s properties.

10. Spider-Man (2002)

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The Web-Slinger’s silver screen debut. Legendary horror director Sam Raimi was initially regarded as a strange choice to bring Marvel’s flagship property to the big screen. The decision, however, turned out to be a brilliant one. He gave the film a slightly dark aesthetic with splashes of vibrant color that give the movie a very original look. Tobey Maguire gives a good, if not great, performance as the titular hero. Willem Dafoe also gives a wonderfully memorable portrayal of Spider-Man’s nemesis, the Green Goblin.

 

9. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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A fitting end to Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Dark Knight Trilogy. While this chapter in the series fell a little short of the lofty standard set by the first two, it is still a great movie. Christian Bale and Gary Oldman give their usual incredible performances, and Marion Cotillard is great as Miranda Tate (spoiler alert: AKA Talia al Ghul), but Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane is the best part of the film. Some dog his voice, but I personally thought it added a memorability and an interesting wrinkle to the character. He also has some of the most quotable lines in the entire series.

 

8. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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While not as groundbreaking as the first MCU team-up, The Avengers: Age of Ultron is still a great movie. Seeing the way that these characters that we love have grown and changed over the course of the franchise was interesting and a driving force of the movie. It also clearly lays the groundwork for many things that are to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Finally getting to see Vision on screen was awesome, and James Spader’s performance as Ultron, while not quite what I was hoping for, was a treat as well.

 

7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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The blockbuster that no one saw coming! Funny and exciting with engaging and interesting characters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit it out of the park with their first intergalactic installment. The writing is crisp and witty and the special effects were amazing. The acting is great all around as well, but the real star of the movie is Bradley Cooper’s voice work as Rocket Raccoon.

 

6. Deadpool (2016)

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The Deadpool movie that Deadpool fans had been begging for and easily the best movie in the X-Men franchise. Ryan Reynolds plays the Merc With the Mouth to absolute perfection. Chock full of all the violence, humor, and f-bombs that one would expect from a film about Marvel’s fourth wall-breaking mutant mercenary. Everything about this movie is perfect. There’s really no other word fit to describe it.

 

We’re almost there folks. Come back next time for the final chapter in my newest edition of the greatest comic book movie countdown. The absolute best of the best lie ahead. See you then.