Batman: The Brave & the Bold Coming to DS and Wii

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has launched the official web site for the upcoming Batman: The Brave & the Bold videogame for Nintendo DS and Wii. I’m a huge fan of the cartoon since it utilizes DC’s second- and third-tier heroes like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Doctor Fate, and so many more. The cover of the game features Blue Beetle and Plastic Man!

On the development side, WayForward has been tasked with creating this upcoming Batman adventure. The company’s history is mixed, with strong games like Shantae on its roster accompanied by a vast assortment of licensed games that most of you don’t care about. Hopefully this game gets a Shantae-like effort instead of a Justice League Heroes: The Flash effort.

Batman: The Brave & the Bold is slated for a September 2010 release. As a huge super-hero nerd, I’m excited for this game. How about you?

Superman Reboot Being Supervised by Christopher Nolan?

The Superman movie franchise is headed for another reboot and rumor has it that Chris Nolan will be supervising Big Blue’s return to the silver screen. Deadline Hollywood has reported:

The studio has turned to Chris Nolan to mentor development of the movie. Our insiders say that the brains behind rebooted Batman has been asked to play a “godfather” role and ensure The Man Of Steel gets off the ground after a 3 1/2-year hiatus. Nolan’s leadership of the project can set it in the right direction with the critics and the fans, not to mention at the box office. Besides, Nolan is considered something of a god at Warner Bros and has a strong relationship with the studio after the success of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

I’ve enjoyed loads of Superman comics over the years and I loved the first two Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. The problem with Superman is that it’s hard to make him interesting and vulnerable in a two-hour film. His weaknesses include kryptonite, magic, and bossy newspaper reporters. Kryptonite is too easy and has been done to death. Magic seems silly to most mainstream moviegoers (though Superman vs. Voldemort would be funny). Superman II worked because he faced off against three people with the same powers and General Zod was frickin’ awesome. How do you top that?

I’d love to see a Kingdom Come movie, but that would be too confusing for casual fans and it would be too expensive to make. What do you think the ingredients are to a good Superman movie?


Zatanna Zatara Screens and Concept Art

Sony Online Entertainment has released a batch of renders and concept art for Zatanna Zatara in DC Universe Online for PC and PS3. One of the reasons I prefer DC over Marvel is its excellent secondary characters. Zatanna totally fits the bill. She’s a sexy lady in a ridiculous costumer (fishnets?!?) and her formidable powers come from saying words backwards. It’s so wacky that I love it (and her)! Hopefully her stupid alternate costumer with the dumb headpiece will be available as well.

(Not a) Review of the Planet Hulk Movie

The following article contains spoilers on the Planet Hulk movie. You’ve been warned, so no crying. Now let’s get to it! Last night I caught a screening of Planet Hulk at the Paley Center for Media. For those of you not familiar with Planet Hulk, let me try to sum it up. The Marvel Illuminati hatch a plot to get Hulk off of Earth. Iron Man — in all of his Civil War dickishness — is worried about Hulk losing control and killing millions. After plotting with Nick Fury to subdue the Hulk, the “heroes” place him in a spaceship and send him to an uninhabited planet. Unfortunately, a wormhole takes him to the world of Sakaar, where a perilous adventure, peace, and tragedy await.

I’m a huge fan of the Planet Hulk comics (written by the excellent Greg Pak), but I was more than a little worried about how the epic tale would translate into an 80-minute move. As expected, a lot of the details and subplots that made the comics so great were lost in translation. What’s left is a violent romp that’s certainly entertaining, but pales in comparison to the source material. Here are some thoughts and observations (not a review) on the movie.

The Silver Surfer is Replaced with…Beta Ray Bill?!?
In the comics, Hulk faces off against an enslaved Silver Surfer in the Red King’s gladiator arena. The fight comes off as a gargantuan affair between two beings with enough power to destroy planets. Furthermore, they’re both — to various extents — iconic characters. It’s a clash of the titans! Sadly, this could not happen in the movie. From what I understand, legal issues prevented the Silver Surfer from being used. It’s part of the game and I accept that…but Marvel couldn’t think of anyone better to use than Beta Ray Bill?

There are several problems with Bill being used. Few fans will believe that he can go toe-to-toe with the Hulk. Furthermore, a lot of people don’t know who the hell he is. I can see a lot of viewers thinking that Thor got drunk, slept with a horse, and gave birth to a boy named Bill.

Miek Gets Squashed
When the Warbound make their pact, only Hiroim and Korg tell their back stories. Miek never gets to reveal his background. In fact, Miek never gets to do much of anything in the movie. This is a shame because he’s an interesting character that goes through several changes in the comics. The subplots with his queen and his transformation were great. They gave him depth and purpose. In the movie he’s just a bug thingie that talks like Gollum and gives Hulk a medal.

Savior Aspect Not Played Up
In the books, the people of Sakaar eventually think that Hulk’s there to save the world. He’s shown uniting people with his actions. His blood transforms barren deserts into lush fields. He saves the planet by jumping into its core and pulling together its tectonic plates. Eventually, he becomes a messianic figure. This isn’t really conveyed in the movies. Hulk is a guy the beats up a lot of other guys and his blood only results in sprouts.

Sledgehammer Romance
The relationship between Hulk and Caiera was a slow burn in the comics. Early on they exchange looks and one-liners. They fight. They grow to respect each other as warriors. They fight some more. After getting to understand one another, they respect each other as people. They become allies. In the end, they become lovers. The movie didn’t have any of the subtlety of the books. The two pretty much fight, become allies, and *bam* Caiera is feeling Hulk up. It was almost jarring.

The Movie Ended the Right Way
Fans that read the comics or graphic novel know that Planet Hulk starts and ends on down notes. The movie doesn’t. It ends with Hulk seemingly appointed ruler of Sakaar (through violence…what a lovely lesson to teach kids), adored by the people and with Caiera ready to get it on. It’s a happy ending for the Green Goliath and I totally agree with what the writers did here. It’s like the main event of WrestleMania — the good guy has to win. You have to send the audience home happy. I know that some purists will scoff at the happy ending, but I believe this was the right thing to do for casual fans. You don’t want people to watch the movie, get depressed, read The Bell Jar, and go kill themselves.

I also have a bunch of shorter, bite-sized observations and opinions on Planet Hulk (that still don’t constitute a review). Here they are:

Awesome Action — You get to see the Hulk break a lot of stuff, smash a lot of stuff, and punch a lot of stuff. You even get to see him squish a bug-like alien to death. There’s a lot of action and violence in this movie…and it’s so much fun. Hulk smash!!!

Unimpressive Art — There was nothing distinct or special about the animation. The art was drab, especially in comparison to the excellent comics. Newcomers might not notice it, but fans of the books will be displeased.

Thor Unleashed — The writers added a few minutes of Thor fighting Korg’s people in a flashback sequence. This was only a couple of panels in the books. The animated action was pretty cool. Beta Ray Bill was slapped into this sequence to give his inclusion a sense of continuity.

Johnny Sakaarson — In my head, the term Sakaarson is pronounced Sakaar-sun. In the movie it’s rushed together so that it sounds like one quick word, as in The Tonight Show with Johnny Sakaarson. It’s a stupid peeve, but it definitely bothered me.

No Bruce Banner Scenes — Reverting to Banner plays an important part in Hulk’s romance with Caiera, but it’s also a vital part of the character. Never mind that there are like 17 Hulks in current continuity. The Hulk is all about duality. Not having Banner as the Hulk’s “other side” seemed wrong.

No No-Name — Warbound member No-Name of the Brood is nowhere to be found in the movie. This is a shame because she comes from an awesome race and gets jiggy with Miek. Not only did the writers strip away all of Miek’s depth, they also took away his sexy time. Poor Miek.

Warbound Incomplete — I mentioned pieces of this already, but you don’t get the complete Warbound experience in the movie. Aside from No-name’s absence, Elloe and Miek do not reveal their background. There was a point in the screening where I thought I passed out for a few minutes. Hiroim and Korg told there stories, Elloe was about to tell hers, and *blam* the next scene happens. I seriously thought that I blacked out and missed a few minutes of the movie. On the plus side, the two origins that were used were well done.

No Racism — One of the most interesting dynamics on Sakaar is between the pink humanoids and the bug guys. The bugs are used by slaves or servants by some of the pinks. The racial tension is palpable, which makes Hulk uniting the planet even more remarkable. This isn’t conveyed in the movie.

Lame Cylon Joke — The movie has an android fighting alongside the Warbound. It’s there for like two minutes before it dies. It mutters, “Oh frak!” before kicking the bucket. I would have preferred No-name or nothing at all over this quickie joke.

Invulnerable Hair — There’s a scene where the Red King is repelling Hulk with a blowtorch-like weapon. Miraculously, Hulk’s hair doesn’t burn off. I suppose gamma-irradiated hair is super strong, but if the flame was powerful enough to keep Hulk at bay for a few seconds then shouldn’t it have burned his hair off?

Caiera the Sexy — In the comics, Caiera the Oldstrong is a large and powerful woman. She’s thick and muscular in a beautiful way. The artists made her cute and dainty in the movie. This doesn’t work at all. Hulk would destroy the movie version of Caiera in bed.

Even though I have a lot of issues with the changes and omissions in the movie, I think a lot of people will enjoy it. The action is great, the skeleton plot works well enough, and the pace is peppy. If you’ve read the books then you’re sure to have issues with the movie. In fact, the more you enjoyed the source material, the bigger your issues will be…unless you realize that there’s only so much you can do in 80 minutes. In that context, the writers did a good job of highlighting key moments of the comics in a severely limited format. There are so many things that I wish were included, but I understand why they weren’t.

At the end of the day my suggestion is to buy the graphic novel and rent the movie.

Today’s Poll: The Next Spider-Man

Now that Tobey Maguire is out of Spider-Man 4 and the franchise is apparently headed for a reboot, let’s think about the perfect actor to play the spectacular amazing Spider-Man. Sony’s Columbia Pictures plans to focus on Spidey’s teen years, so the actor should be young and awkward. A lot of people have been throwing Zac Efron’s name around, but he’s too handsome. While I don’t know how athletic he is (all the cool stuff is done in CG anyway), I’m a big Michael Cera fan. He’d bring out the science nerd side of Peter Parker in a way that Maguire never could.

Who’s your choice for Spidey? Let me know in the poll (please)!

[poll id=”19″]

Dragon Age Comic Book Coming in March 2010 From IDW

IDW has released details on its upcoming Dragon Age comic book coming in March 2010. The book features writing by renowned homophobe Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, art by Mark Robinson, and covers by the outstanding Humberto Ramos. Here are more details from IDW:

In a time lost to history, a war ravaged the land. Mages, incredibly powerful wielders of magic, ruled the world through mastery of dark arts and forbidden spells. Their lust for power almost destroyed all existence, and unleashed an unholy pestilence, the Darkspawn, to plague mankind, trolls, faeries, and all the inhabitants of the realm. Now magic is carefully controlled, taught behind the sacred walls of the Circle of Magi, and monitored by the ever-vigilant Templars. It is in this arena that a new generation of Mages in training will arise, warriors of sorcery who will defy the rules of the Templars and change the course of the world forever.

I’m not expecting much from this book, but I might give it a shot because I’m such a Dragon Age: Origins junkie. In fact, I’m bringing the first DA novel with me for holiday break. If I can’t play Dragon Age while I’m on vacation then I might as well read about its world, right?

Any of you planning to pick up the Dragon Age comic book in March?


Coffee Talk #52: Holding Out for a (Super) Hero (Videogame)

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Biz Markie teaming up with The Shack, this excellent Dhalsim song, or your upcoming holiday feasts, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As a bunch of you were discussing the Iron Man 2 trailer, the subject of super hero dream games came up. In the spirit of Coffee Talk #6, I thought it would be an excellent idea to talk about the spandex game of your dreams. So let’s do it!

As for me, there are two games DC Comics games that I’d love to see. The one that’s more likely is a Green Lantern title. With the success of the Nintendo Wii and motion controls from Microsoft and Sony coming in 2010, there’s a decent chance that the Green Lantern game of my dreams will be made. It would star Hal Jordan (and hopefully Guy Gardner) and use motion controls to create various power-ring constructs. It could be something unique and imaginative if handled by the right developer.

The second super-hero game I want will never happen. It’s just too late. I want a buddy-action game, similar to Army of Two, starring Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. The JLI era of Justice League was one of my favorite comic-book runs of all time. It was unique and hilarious, but still contained enough action to keep traditionalists happy. My Blue and Gold game would be full of fast-paced action and high-tech gadgets, but the dialogue would be key. The game would be full of witty quips, immature insults, and tons of “bwahahahaha” laughter that Beetle and Booster were famous for back in the day.

As a special shout out to my friend at Marvel — make a frickin’ Quasar game already!!!

Anyway, let me know about the super-hero videogame of your dreams. Kindly list the character and describe your game. Quantum bands for life!!!

(Not a) Review of Digital Comics for PSP

As I mentioned earlier today, digital comics are now available for the PlayStation Portable through Sony’s PlayStation Network. Comic books from 2000 AD, Ape Entertainment, Archie Comics, Dable Brothers Publishing, Disney Digicomics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Insomnia Publications, Marvel, Red 5 Comics, and Titan Publishing are available. Some of the issues are free, but most of them cost $1.99.

Astonishing X-Men slider

Browsing through the store is a snap. The comics are divided by publisher then title. If you can’t find the available issues you want then you’re an idiot.

I immediately went for three comic books I know and love — Astonishing X-Men #2, Marvels #1, and Marvels #2. The “Gifted” storyline in Astonishing X-Men was fantastic and Marvels was one of the best books ever.

Downloading through WiFi wasn’t the best decision I made in this process. The three issues took around 25 minutes to download. It would have been faster to download everything to my PC and transfer the books to my PSP via USB cable. Lesson learned. Now let’s get to the experience!

Continue reading “(Not a) Review of Digital Comics for PSP”

PSP Digital Comics Now Available on PlayStation Network

Marvel Civil War

Sony has announced that digital comics from Marvel, IDW, and iVerse have arrived for the PlayStation Portable through the PlayStation Network. Here’s a snippet from the press release:

Digital comics are available through PlayStation Store. Approximately 550 comics are arriving today on PlayStation Store, with additional content to be added weekly. PSP users can purchase comics either directly from PlayStation Store on their PSP via WiFi, or access and download comics from PlayStation Store from their PC with Media Go software, then easily transfer their digital content to their PSP via USB cable.

Remember, PSP firmware 6.20 is required for digital comics. Like I mentioned last month, I love comics but I’m a little bit scared of these things. It will totally ruin my world if certain characters sound way different from the voices in my head. (Yes, I hear voices in my head like Randy Orton does.) [Correction: These are digital comics, not motion comics. There are no voices — just images and words.]

My PSP just finished updating. I’m going to download a few and let you know what I think shortly.