The Dark Knight Rises (Movie Review)

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Ka-Pow! Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated closure to his Batman saga is a great one but personally it wasn’t as mind-blowing for me because I couldn’t help but reference Heath Ledger’s performance in the last movie. The cast does a stellar job here but not one of them could stand up to the The Joker; who is hands down one of the greatest villains to grace the silver screen.

The Dark Knight Rises is still a great watch nevertheless because the events of the movie are pretty epic and it raises a lot of questions about morality & sacrifice. Unlike The Amazing Spider-Man, the latest Batman flick is a thinking man’s superhero movie and a whole lot more realistic in its setting which I didn’t enjoy as much cos’ it kinda depressed me a little.

The entire cast holds their own here. Christian Bale does a decent third outing as Bruce Wayne but I felt that his supporting cast really outshone him throughout most of the movie. Tom Hardy makes for a super-menacing Bane whilst Anne Hathaway really stole the show in exquisite manner as Catwoman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserves a special mention too as rookie cop John Blake.

Christopher Nolan has given us a satisfying ending to his trilogy of Batman movies and I’m pretty sure most fans will not be disappointed by this one.

I give The Dark Knight Rises a back-breaking 4.5 out of 5.

Quick GL Fact #3: The Guardians of the Universe

Guardians of the Universe

Guardians of the Universe

The blue-skinned dwarfs known as The Guardians of the Universe are the founders of the Green Lantern Corps. Immortal; these aliens created the Corps to combat evil and to bring order to the universe. Strange as it may sound, these god-like beings have chosen to reject all emotion in order to be better in their self-appointed role as Guardians (boy, am I thankful that God isn’t like that).

Based on the Planet Oa, the Guardians guide the Corps through the writings of the Book of Oa which is sorta like a Bible or rulebook that they follow. Unfortunately, unlike the Bible, the Book of Oa is subject to change; as demonstrated by the Guardians rewriting or taking out bits that they disagree with at critical points. Heh… for immortals these guys are pretty fickle.

These guys have god-like powers to match but still they do have some weaknesses; one of them being the very rejection of emotions that causes them to make choices that even members of the Corps would disagree with. The Guardians can be very cold & calculating which is pretty much their biggest flaw as immortals. Anyways, I’m not gonna go into too much detail about the Guardians so for those of you who’d like to know more about them there’s a great Wikia entry here.

One of the more prominent members of The Guardians would be Ganthet (I don’t think I spotted him in the movie); so it’d be great to see something done with him in the sequel that’s sure to come.

I’m glad that they are taking things slow with the movie as there’s a lot of richness contained within the comic books. They’ve set enough up in the movie to allow for more exposition in a future film.

So there you go, the Guardians of the Universe; the founders and leaders of the Green Lantern Corps.

Quick GL Fact #2: The Power Ring

Power Ring

Power Ring

Today we’re gonna be talking about the source of a Green Lantern’s power; the Power Ring. All Green Lanterns harness the Green Light of Will through their Power Rings. A Green Lantern’s Power Ring gives them the following abilities:

  • The power of flight
  • Go on the offensive by firing blasts of concussive force
  • Create a force field of sorts that allows them to breathe in space & protects them
  • And this is the kicker, a Power Ring lets Green Lanterns create physical constructs of anything they can imagine
Power Battery

Power Battery

Power Rings needs to be charged on a daily basis by a Power Battery that draws its power from the Central Power Battery that is housed on the Planet OA. The Central Power Battery draws and collects willpower from sentient beings throughout the universe. Willpower is the source of a Green Lantern’s power and a Power Ring allows them to channel that power through their own willpower. Power Rings get discharged through use hence the need to constantly recharge them through a Lantern’s Power Battery.

If you read enough Green Lantern books you’ll discover that there are other rings out there that harness power from an emotional spectrum with the Green Light of Willpower being the most powerful (apparently).

You can read more about the emotional spectrum that’s becoming central to the Green Lantern universe here.

Green Lantern (Movie Review)

Green Lantern

Green Lantern

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light.

And with that we begin the grand adventure that is Green Lantern’s debut on the silver screen. I had my doubts about Ryan Reynold’s being able to play Hal Jordan but I’m glad that I’ve been proven wrong.

Martin Campbell has done the Green Lantern pantheon justice and it’s a way better watch compared to Thor or X-Men: First Class. We have all the hallmarks that make the Green Lantern comic books what it is today:

  1. Abin Sur
  2. Sinestro
  3. Hector Hammond
  4. Parallax
  5. Kilowog
  6. Tomar-Re

I give Green Lantern a shining 5 out of 5 for its attention to Hal Jordan as a character. The costume’s not too great though… but it could’ve been worse. 😉

Secret Identity (Comic Book Review)

Secret Identity

Secret Identity

I read “Secret Identity” again recently and decided to pull out an old review I wrote off my old Multiply site (which reminds me that I never did get around to porting all my old reviews over to WordPress).

A story about a young boy named Clark who finds out he has the powers of Superman one day. Sounds familiar no? But interestingly enough Kurt Busiek does it differently and we find in this book a tale strangely familiar but with enough of the real world to make it a good read. Books like these are a treat and they make me realise just how overlooked comic books are in literature. I think they are far harder books to make cos’ there has to be a delicate balance between it being art and being literature.

I would have liked this book more if not for Stuart Immonen’s artwork. Nevertheless the book would have been very different if not for the way he illustrated it. I suppose it made it all the more real and I finished the book in one sitting. I wasn’t that difficult to read and it was thought provoking. I guess that’s why I love super heroes … it makes me wanna be one in my own life. To be someone who can make a difference because of who God made me to be; not with super powers but by just being me.

Give this one a read because it’s a beautiful story and you’d appreciate the power of the medium. Still I’m such a kid and I would have loved some action with some super villains; heh heh!

Reading it again now that I’m a little older (and wiser), I take back what I wrote about Stuart Immonen’s artwork. Sure… he’s no Chris Bachalo but I’m learning more and more that an artist’s style lends itself well to different tales. In the case of “Secret Identity”, Immonen’s work suits the tone of the book perfectly.

I took more time this time round to savour the story and the art instead of zipping through it like when I first got it which made for a better experience. Kurt Busiek’s unorthodox take on the Superman character is still as great as ever.

My Multiply review gave “Secret Identity” a 4 out of 5 but I’ve read more Superman books since then and I’d like to up my rating by giving it a 5 out of 5. There aren’t that many stories quite like this about the Man of Steel which makes “Secret Identity” a rare treat even if you’re not a fan of the character or medium. Don’t miss out!

Conversations with a Comic Book Store Owner

“Are comic books a dying medium?”

Brightest Day

Brightest Day

That was just one of the things that we talked about on Tuesday night when I stopped by The Mind Shop in Centrepoint to pick up my copies of Geoff Johns’ latest opus “Brightest Day”. It was great being able to talk to Alex (the proprietor of The Mind Shop) and to just talk comic books and talk about the different creators that we enjoyed in the entire time we’ve been into comics.

The coolest thing about the conversation was discovering that Alex has actually been to a number of comic book conventions in the U.S. which made me go “wow”. The awesomest thing was finding out that on one of his trips, Alex actually got the opportunity to have lunch with Joe Quesada back before he became such a big creative force over at Marvel. My jaw sorta dropped when he told me that and that made me feel all the more that it’d be great to experience a comic-con one of these days. It’s kinda sad that we don’t have anything of that sort in a big way here in Malaysia. *sighs*

Oh well, I’ll have to plan for that day one day cos’ I’m already 32. Ha ha ha ha ha! I doubt it’d be easy to do something like that once I’m attached or married so I better save up and do it quick before it’s too late. Anyways, we spent quiet a fair bit of time talking a lot about Valiant Comics because of the recent announcement that Jim Shooter is coming back with a new Solar, Man of the Atom book courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Valiant was such a hot property back in the late 80’s and early 90’s with great titles such as Magnus Robot Fighter, X-O Manowar, Turok Dinosaur Hunter and lots more. It’d be cool to see these characters come back and I must say that I’m really tempted now to swing by Kinokuniya over at KLCC to pick-up the X-O Manowar trade that I found there last week.

The Valiant Universe

The Valiant Universe

It was a nice conversation and even though I just picked up Brightest Day #0 & #1 that day; I spent about an hour just chatting there. It’s always nice to meet like-minded people and it’s a relief to realise that there are still a lot of us out there who still believe in comic books as an art-form and who refuse to download comic books online. Nothing beats the feeling of thumbing through the pages of a comic book and admiring the care & love that goes into each panel and each speech bubble. I’ll always love comic books and maybe I’ll be able to get to be involved creating one, but where do I start? I’ve always had wild ideas of writing a script or plot line and sending it over to Marvel or something. We’ll see.

From Blackest Night to Brightest Day

Blackest Night #8

Blackest Night #8

DC’s latest mega-event has just concluded with the release of Blackest Night #8 and what a thrill-ride it’s been. Ivan Reis has done a bang-up job at delivering some of the best artwork I’ve seen in recent years. He pencils every DC hero imaginable in both their Black Lantern and traditional forms well!

I’m not one for spoilers so I’m just gonna say that Blackest Night actually does a great job at resetting the DC Universe after all the recent deaths that have occurred over the course of DC’s CRISIS-labelled tie-ups. My only regret is that I hadn’t realised just how closely tied the story would be to the other Green Lantern books; namely Green Lantern & Green Lantern Corps. Looks like I’ll have to pick-up those issues when the tradepaperbacks are released.

It’s been a great 8 months and I can’t wait for the next 12 months as we jump directly into Brightest Day. Geoff Johns’ definitely has got loads planned for the DCU as more is revealed about the White Lantern rings and the return of various characters to the DCU.

On another note, Mark Millar & Steve McNiven’s Nemesis was somewhat of a disappointment. McNiven’s artwork is absolutely the pits compared to some of his stuff that made me fall in love with his artwork. Maybe McNiven’s trying to experiment with his artwork but it’s absolutely horrible in my opinion.  What a shame, I was so looking forward to new stuff by McNiven but have this instead… oh well, the premise & concept is somewhat interesting so I’m willing to see where Mark Millar is headed with this new creator-owned series. Hopefully Steve McNiven will buck up in future issues.

For a full-review of Nemesis check out CBR’s review here.