Batman/Man of Steel

Henry-Cavill

As announced at Comic Con, there will be a Batman/Superman movie due out summer 2015.  When they announced it, we knew that Henry Cavill would play Superman.  We thought Christian Bale would play Batman.  If you had paid attention to all the Easter Eggs thrown into Man of Steel by director Zack Snyder,  you would have a pretty good idea that the Caped Crusader would appear in the next Superman movie.  The biggest clue was the Wayne Enterprises logo on the side of the satellite.  There was also a “Keep Calm and call Batman” poster when General Zod was destroying a building with his heat vision.  So the announcement was not unexpected.  What they didn’t announce at Comic Con was  that Christian Bale was going to play Batman and what the name of the movie would be.

Before we get into the Man of Steel sequel, let’s talk about Man of Steel  for a moment.  Man of Steel was unlike any other Superman movie.  The fact that it wasn’t called Superman is kind of telling.  It is not the typical feel good type of Superman we are use too.  This Superman was much darker, much more violent.  This Superman isn’t really worried about the consequences of his actions.  In his mind why should he be, this world doesn’t appreciate him.  This Superman walks a fine line between hero and villain.  A villain in the sense that he is driven by demons more than by morals.  General Zod on the other hand, is the villain but in this movie he is not the evil monger that we have learned to despise.  He is a soldier that is driven by his desire to save his race.  His reasons are valid and somewhat noble.  The way he goes about it pushes him into being the villain, maybe a better way to look at him is as the antihero.  Lois is a cross between Scully and Fox from the X-files, come to think of it the whole Kryptonian mother ship conspiracy sounds just like an episode of X-files.   The relationship between Lois and Clark/Man of Steel is nonexistent.  Is that important, I am not sure, but it is one less reason for the Man of Steel to care about  the outcome.  Then there is the 40 minutes of death and destruction leveled by General Zod and the Man of Steel.   Did no one notice how much of the city was leveled? How many people were killed as General Zod and the Man of Steel leveled building after building?  I can understand General Zod not giving a second thought about thousands of people dying after all he is trying to rebuild Krypton, humans are just in the way.  The Man of Steel on the other hand, is suppose to care what happens to the people of Earth.  It is hard to believe he does with this much destruction going on.  Then to top it all off, with the government looking for him, Clark shows up at the Daily Planet, becomes a reporter (not sure how he pulled that one off), pretends to not know Lois and things are just fine. The government can’t figure out that Clark is who they are looking for and everyone lives happily ever after.  Until the sequel that is.  This was a different Superman movie.  It seems people either loved it or hated it.  Personally, it had its moments both good and bad.  What it did do was make a lot of money and in the world of movies that is all that really matters.

ben-affleck

Now back to the addition of Batman into this mix.  When they announced that there would be a Batman/Man of Steel movie what we thought we knew about who would play Batman turned out to be what we didn’t know about who would be Batman.   We know now, it I will be Ben Affleck.  When this was announced Social Media went wild.  Warner Bros choice for Batman was not a popular one.  So unpopular that 76% of the tweets during the first hour were negative.   There are petitions, with 1000’s of signatures, being circulated asking Warner Bros to reverse that decision.  Why was this such an unpopular decision?  Maybe because Ben Affleck’s  previous foray into the super hero genre was an abysmal failure.  Ben Affleck was Daredevil.  Daredevil was one of Affleck’s  not so successful moments, the acting didn’t work, the relationships didn’t work, it just missed the mark on a lot of planes.  It is a tossup whether Daredevil or Gigli was worse.  What Daredevil was, was dark and gritty, so maybe that is why they picked him.  Based on what we have seen from Man of Steel, the Batman/Man of Steel sequel will follow in that dark and gritty vein.   Affleck will be older than the other actors that have played Batman and older than the Man of Steel, does that hurt the character?  As Bruce Wayne that may be a plus and make him a more believable playboy millionaire.  The difference between an older wiser Batman and a younger relatively inexperienced Man of Steel may make for a better story line. As Batman, well that might be a different issue, humans don’t get faster and stronger as they get older.  The exception to that would be if he was using  the performance enhancing drugs that have plagued professional sports.  I would hate to think they are going to go down the PED road with Batman.  Maybe it will just be labeled as new technology, after all Wayne Enterprises seems to be able to invent whatever Batman needs.  One thing is certain, Affleck is going to have to get a trainer and seriously buff up, it can be done, look at what Hugh Jackman did for Wolverine.  He can act, we saw that in Argo.   So for now we can agree or not agree with Warner Bros decision, only the people in the room where the decision was made know the reasons behind choosing Affleck.  The only thing left is to wait and see what happens.  Ben Affleck may be the best Batman or the worst Batman, it will be in his hands which one he becomes.  It will be interesting to see where it goes.  Superman has started the transformation from Superman to Man of Steel.  Maybe Batman has a similar fate in his future.

The Unique and Useless

When you hear superhero you immediately think of Superman or Batman or any number of other heroes with cool super powers.  There are a lot of those out there:  super strength, spidey senses, indestructible bones and claws, alien rings, and good old human technology.   But have you ever thought that ripping your arms off to use as weapons or being able inflate your body so you can bounce like a ball would be a good super power.  Someone has and not only did someone think of them but thought it would be a good idea to make a comic about it.  So let’s take a look at some of these unique and useless super powers.

Arms-Fall-Off-Boy 

arms

  • Alter ego:                                Floyd Belkin
  • Affiliation:                               Legion of Super Heroes
  •                                                  Heroes of Lallor
  • Powers:                                   Detaches limbs to use as clubs
  • Aliases:                                    Splitter
  • 1st Appearance:                     Secret Origins Vol. 2 #46       (DC Comics)

Even though he is affiliated with the Legion of Super Heroes, he was never really part of the Legion of Super Heroes.  Floyd was an applicant twice and rejected twice.   Now let’s think about this super power for a second….you rip off your arm and hit someone with it, giving you only one arm to work with.  So while you are swinging your arm the villains pummel you with their fists, seeing as they have two arms.   Maybe they will fall over laughing, smack their head on the concrete giving them self a concussion and pass out.    No wonder he never made it into the Legion of Super Heroes.

Matter-Eater Lad 

matter

  •  Alter ego:                                 Tenzil Kem
  • Affiliation:                                 Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                     Able to bite thru and consume all matter
  • Species:                                     Bismoll
  • 1st Appearance:                       Adventurer Comics #303        (DC Comics)

Matter-Eater Lad, as well as all natives of Bismoll, can eat all matter, including those that are indestructible.  Bismollian’s developed this ability due to microbes that made all food inedible so they evolved to be able to ingest anything and everything.  Maybe they possess goat DNA, goats seem to have the same ability.  I don’t even want to think about how they would get rid of all of the matter that they ate, since he eats super speed.  One has to wonder and all I can say is just EWWWW.   Matter-Eater does not appear very often, how to make his power useful is a challenge and back to EWWWWW.

Matter- Eater does have one shining moment.  In Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes #25 he consumes the indestructible Miracle Machine and saves the universe.  The machine makes him insane but fear not he is cured by Brainiac Five.

 Bouncing Boy

bouncing

  •  Alter ego:                                Charles Foster Taine
  • Affiliation:                                Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                    Inflates body and bounces like a ball, resistant to injury,
  •                                                   Invulnerable to electricity while bouncing
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                       Action Comics #276   (DC Comics)

Bouncing boy is an accidental super hero.  He drank what he thought was soda but was actually super plastic formula.  Since they weren’t too many applications for this power they made him a teacher.  He spent the majority of his time training recruits at the Legions Academy.  Can you imagine hearing this:   “Stop or I will bounce on you.”  or “Come BOING catch me BOING, I can BOING bounce circles BOING around you.”  Couldn’t the villains just pop him like a balloon?   As George Bernard Shaw wrote:  He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.  Lets leave it at that.

Jazz

jazz

  • Alter ego:                                 John Arthur Zander
  • Affiliation:                                Legion of Super Heroes
  • Powers:                                    Blue skin
  • Species:                                    Human
  • 1st Appearance:                       District X #2   (Marvel Comics)

I don’t even know what to say about this.  Blue skin as a super power, oh wait he is also an aspiring rapper.  If his rapping is as good as his super power he has a serious problem.  There is nothing that I can think of that would make blue skin a useful super power.  Time to move on.

Danny the Street

danny

  •  Alter ego:                                None
  • Affiliation:                                Doom Patrol
  •                                                   Teen Titans
  • Powers:                                    Teleportation
  • Aliases:                                     Danny the World, Danny the Brick, Danny the Island,
  •                                                   “Danny the Alley”
  • 1st Appearance:                       Doom Patrol vol. 2, #35          (DC Comics)

Danny is actually a street.  He serves as a home and haven to the outcast and strange.    He can integrate himself into a city without causing damage or disturbance.  The city just makes room for him.  He does this when no one is looking so no one will notice.  So not only do we have to believe that there is such a thing as a sentient and sapient piece of road but that cities are cognizant enough that they just move out of his way and allow him to join in.  Now if this wasn’t enough, Danny is a transvestite street.  His street is lined with hyper masculine stores decorated with pink curtains and lace.  He communicates by signs placed in his windows, type-written messages and letters formed out of manhole vapors or broken glass shards.  So if you can get someone to walk on him while discussing some super secret plan for world domination, it is possible he can teleport away and get …insert favorite super hero here… and give him a message spelled out in manhole vapors and save the world.   Yea, we will all believe that scenario.

So as not to make your eyes bleed with the utter absurdity lambasted upon us by those who felt we were inane enough to buy into this insanity.  It will be broken up into small doses.

League of Legends

League-of-legends-logo

For the first time a gamer has been recognized as a professional athlete and granted a P-1 visa.  P-1 visas are available to athletes who compete at an internationally recognized level of performance.  Think baseball, basketball and hockey.  The obstacle they had to overcome was proving that playing in this league was a profession.  Lots of professional gamers are allowed to come to USA to compete in tournaments under a B-1 visa.  A B-1 visa allows an athlete who receives no salary or payments other than prize money to compete in a tournament as a business visitor.  These types of athletes are expected to have a residence outside of the USA and return home after the tournament.

This was not the case with Danny “Shiphtur” Le, a Canadian.  He plays a game called League of Legends and gets a salary. This makes him ineligible for a B-1 visa.  League of Legends is a multiplayer battle arena type online game.  Teams of 5 compete against each other to reach and destroy the other teams’ nexus.  This is an online game so one would think that it wouldn’t matter where the team members played from.  That is the beauty of the internet, you can be anywhere in the world and connect with people from every country.  The problem in this case is that this game requires that the team be together physically while they compete.  So this maybe a completely unique problem that only exists with this particular game.

Le needed a visa to live, practice and compete with his team in the USA.  He has tried other options to compete, but was unsuccessful.  Riot, the games’ developer, came to Le’s aid.  Riot contacted immigration attorney Jeptha Evans.  Riot and Evans went to work to prove that eSports was a profession and that League of Legends pro met the government benchmark for a professional league, like the MLB or NHL.  The benchmark for a professional league is:

1.            clear rules

2.            at least 6 teams

3.            a combined revenue of at least 10 million dollars

Showing the government that it was a professional sport was no easy feat.  It had to be proved that it was a viable and consistent career.  This meant they have to find people who actually made a living from playing video games, get proof of those claims and submit the proof to the US government. .  Finding people who have made money from playing video games was the easy part, finding people who have made a living  from playing video games was not.  Video games have gone from a simple game of a ball and lines to fully immersive 3D rendered lands.  A generation of kids has grown up playing video games.  The gaming industry is a multi billion dollar industry.  It is not unusual to see video game commercials during prime time television programming.  It is only natural that there would be competitive leagues associated with online gaming and that these leagues would be sponsored.  The prize money and sponsorships can be substantial.  With Riot games willing to help and the resources they possessed.  They were able to get US Immigration officials to certify it as a professional sport.  This allowed for league professionals to apply for a P-1 visa.   While League of Legends pro has been certified that does not mean all video games are certified.  Each game must be certified separately.

Now what does this mean?  First, it lends some legitimacy to eSports.  I am sure there will be arguments about whether online gaming is a sport.  That same argument has been going on with golf for years.  With the US government officially recognizing League of Legend players as professionals, the implications of that could be far reaching.  Professional athletes, teams, and leagues are highly regulated.  As eSports become more main stream will they come under more and more regulation.  Will we end up with a professional division and an amateur division or a major league and a minor league?  Will gamers get called up to the Bigs?  College already has competitive leagues of gamers.  They do not have a governing body, think NCAA.  Will we have an army of scouts out recruiting gamers?  Then there is the question of coaches, trainers, and support personnel.

The door is open, we will have to see what comes through.

Envelope please………..

Annnnd the next  Doctor is………………..(insert drum roll)……………… Peter Capaldi.

Peter Capaldi may have been destined to play the Doctor, in World War Z he plays a W.H.O. Doctor.  Coincidence or destiny, who knows.   Interesting, very much so.

From Wikipedia:

Peter Dougan Capaldi (born 14 April 1958) is a Scottish actor and film director. He has played numerous roles in film and television, but is best known for his role as Malcolm Tucker, a spin doctor in the BBC comedy series The Thick of It and its follow-up film In the Loop. In 1995, his short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film. From 25 December 2013, he will portray the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who.

So now that all those rumors have been put to rest, not a woman, not a ginger, not black, not an American, and not young.  The 12th Doctor, will be tied for the oldest actor to play the Doctor with William Hartnell, the 1st Doctor, at 55.  So we have gone from the youngest Doctor to the oldest Doctor.

  1. William Hartnell                                January 8, 1908                                 55
  2. Patrick Troughton                            March 25, 1920                                  46
  3. Jon Pertwee                                      July 7, 1919                                         50
  4. Tom Baker                                          January 20, 1934                               40
  5. Peter Davison                                    April 13, 1951                                     29
  6. Colin Baker                                         June 8, 1943                                       40
  7. Sylvester McCoy                              August 20, 1943                                44
  8. Paul McGann                                     November 14, 1959                         36
  9. Chris Eccleston                                  February 16, 1964                            41
  10. David Tennant                                   April 18, 1971                                     34
  11. Matt Smith                                         October 28, 1982                              27
  12. Peter Capaldi                                     April 14, 1958                                     55

Now that we know who the new Doctor will be, we are left with a multitude of new questions.  Who will this Doctor be?  Can a new Doctor breathe new life into a series in a slump?   When he regenerates in December what kind of Doctor will he be, serious, angry, grumpy, funny, all of these or none of these?  We know he will be kind, compassionate, moral and brave as those are traits that all of the Doctors share.    How will he shape the Doctor and make it his own and what trait will he adopt as his unique signature?  Who will his companion or companions be?  Is there going to be a new production team?  Are we going to continue down the same path?

One thing is certain over the last 50 years we have seen Doctor Who remake itself numerous times.  It can be anything in any time it wants to be.  It can replace the characters at will.  Even the main stay, the TARDIS, has been missing.   Doctor Who is different it does not have to follow the traditional rules of television series, because it can take place anywhere at any time it can be changed at will.  While it must be true to continuity when dealing with past and present characters . Nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.  They can complete a  story arc in one show or stretch it over several.   They can travel to a distant land or a distant planet in the blink of an eye.   The Doctor is for all practical purposes immortal.  Time is irrelevant, after all he is a Time Lord, he appears where he is needed to fix an insurmountable crisis, with the wit and panache only the Doctor can muster.

What it cannot do, is continue with convoluted badly executed storylines.  Doctor Who is currently suffering from what plagues all long running series.   They fall apart.  They fall apart for any number of reasons.   Most cannot be fixed, they have no place to go.  With Doctor Who if something isn’t working, they can write in a new enemy, a new world or a new timeline.  They  can kill off the main character and regenerate him.   They are not stuck following a linear path.  At its core Doctor Who is a science fiction super hero show.  But to make a successful hero series, there has to be a balance between how important the hero is and how important the cause is.  The cause has to be something that has the audience thinking “there is no way he is going to be able to fix this,” and when he does they have to believe that his solutions are realistic enough they don’t over think it.  While the hero in all of this is important, the series cannot revolve completely around the hero.   Doctor Who has become the show where everything revolves around the Doctor.  Things happen because of the Doctor, characters exist to serve the Doctor.  The more the show goes down this road the more things happen because of the Doctor, the more the Doctor changes from hero to villain.  The question becomes is it the Doctors fault the problem exists?  We expect the Doctor to make a difference, to fix the universe and make the guilty pay.   To appear and surmount the insurmountable.   Has the Doctor hit the point of no return?   Has the Doctor become an egotistical manic?    Not yet.   The Doctor is being regenerated maybe they can pull him back from the precipice he is standing on.  As Uncle Ben, by way of Voltaire, stated “with great power comes great responsibility,”  seems the Doctor has forgotten that.

The 12th Doctor

Doctor Who will mark its 50th anniversary on November 23, 2013 with a special episode, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt as the Doctor.    With the 50th anniversary date quickly approaching, the BBC is not letting it go to waste.  The big news is who will be the 12th doctor.  They are doing their best to capitalize on all they can as the regeneration of the doctor approaches.

At Comic Con this year Doctor Who was very well represented.  During the panel they let slip tidbits to about the upcoming 50th anniversary episode, the biggest most interesting was that the Daleks will returning.  The one thing they would not say was anything about the 12th doctor.  What was said was they haven’t picked the 12th doctor but then he said he has lied his arse off.

The rumors abound about who the 12th doctor.  Will it be a black man, a woman, an older actor, an American or like Matt Smith and David Tenant a younger actor.   The list of actors being thrown about is long and varied.

Here are the current list and the odds:

Daniel Rigby                                                                                    19/4
Rory Kinnear                                                                                    94/11
Idris Elba                                                                                           69/5
David Harewood                                                                             18
Ben Daniels                                                                                      23
Andrew Scott                                                                                    31
Damien Molony                                                                               31
Aneurin Barnard                                                                              51
John Hurt                                                                                           51
Ben Whishaw                                                                                    94
Benedict Cumberbatch                                                                  142
Chiwetel Ejiofor                                                                                142
Chris Addison                                                                                   142
Colin Salmon                                                                                    142
Daniel Radcliffe                                                                                142
David Tennant                                                                                  142
Hugh Laurie                                                                                      142
James Corden                                                                                   142
Julian Bleach                                                                                     142
Julian Rhind-Tutt                                                                               142
Martin Freeman                                                                                142
Miranda Hart                                                                                     142
Rupert Grint                                                                                      142
Russell Tovey                                                                                     142
Stephen Mangan                                                                              142
Tom Ellis                                                                                             142
Andrew Gower                                                                                   189
Anthony Head                                                                                   189
Bill Bailey                                                                                           189
Colin Morgan                                                                                    189
Damian Lewis                                                                                    189
Dan Stevens                                                                                       189
Daniel Mays                                                                                       189
David Walliams                                                                                  189
Domhnall Gleeson                                                                            189
Paterson Joseph                                                                                 189
Richard Armitage                                                                               189
Tim Wright                                                                                          189
Tom Hiddleston                                                                                  189
Zawe Ashton                                                                                       189
Billie Piper                                                                                           237
Alex Jennings                                                                                      284
Helen Mirren                                                                                      284
Jennifer Saunders                                                                              284

As you can see not both the list and the odds are very diverse.   Someone off this list maybe the 12th doctor or no one on the list will make the cut.  Only time will tell.

Sunday August 4th Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, on BBC One at 7pm, in a lavish extravaganza attended by 400 former Doctor Who stars and celebrity fans we will all find out.  While the guest list hasn’t been finalized we do know that the Daleks will be in attendance battalion strong.  Matt Smith and David Tennant will both be there as well as Tom Baker the 4th doctor.   Codenamed “Houdini” the half-hour show  will feature an interview with the new lead, as well as 11th Doctor Matt Smith and executive producer Steven Moffat.

In case you need to refresh your memory:

The 11 Doctors

1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)
2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)
4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)
5. Peter Davison (1982-1984)
6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)
7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)
8. Paul McGann (1996)
9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)
10. David Tennant (2005-2010)
11. Matt Smith (2010 – 2013)

“For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.”

The 3rd week in July cont.

Outside of the convention center is a whole world of activities.  There are partner sites that you need your Comic Con badge to get in and there are partner sites that anyone can get it.  There is so much more to do.  There are numerous websites that have lists of the extra stuff going on.  Those list are long.  There is more than enough to do to keep you busy all 4 days if you don’t have a badge.  The outside activities are excellent and not a waste of time.  They run the gamut from popular culture to games and upcoming movies.  They have everything from adult swim to zombie runs.  Some of them are out there because there is no room inside the convention center for them.  Some are out there because they prefer it, not only do they get the badge holders but they also get those who missed the getting a badge.  Even the businesses around the area get in on it.  All of downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp district join in.  They give themselves a makeover to get in the Comic Con spirit.  Outside activities are definitely something you want to do when you attend Comic Con.  Not all outside activities are free and some of the costs are substantial.   Even though Comic Con is a nonprofit, it would not exist if it wasn’t self sufficient so it has to be a business.  The outside activities are businesses.  They are there to make money both at the convention and ultimately when whatever it is they are exhibiting hits the game console,  the TV or the movie screen.  Comic Con is a very profitable week for San Diego, Comic Con International, the business in San Diego and even a some of the badge holders who come to buy collectibles to flip on eBay.

I guess the most important part of Comic Con is to enjoy yourself.  I don’t plan it out and I see what I see and do whatever strikes me at the time.  I do not have unlimited patience so I don’t always get to see the best panels, get the best collectibles, or get the special tickets.  But my reason for going isn’t to see all and do all but to have a good time doing what I happen to do.  I take a look at the events both inside and outside the convention center so I have an idea of what looks interesting to do.  I buy what I like and not necessarily what I can flip on eBay.  I watch the people, enjoy the cosplay and go to those panels where you actually learn things.   Bottom line, there is no way to see and do everything so don’t even try.  The only thing you absolutely need to do is enjoy yourself.

The 3rd week in July cont.

Once you have planned out when you are going to queue up for Hall H and which panels you must see.  The time you have left over can be spent in the exhibition hall.  If you want to see the whole thing, be prepared to spend hours.  If you are they type of person who wants to see every booth it could be days.  There are lots of exclusives available from many of the exhibitors.  Some are limited and some are not, so that may be something to take into account when planning when to go to the exhibition hall. You may have to choose between that most awesome panel and that most awesome exclusive or even that signature you just have to have.  The Comic Con website releases a list of all the exclusives alphabetically by exhibitor about a week or so before the event.  It can take hours to go thru what they have posted and decide what you must have, what you want to see before you decide if you must have it and what just isn’t that interesting.  You may very well spend more time planning than you will actually spend at the convention.

Not all of the most popular people are in the Hall H panels.  Some of them are at the different booths in the exhibition hall.  These special signings require a ticket to be allowed in line.  Each booth has its own requirements for getting a ticket and the tickets are limited.  So if you must get that certain signature, find out when and where that person will be and get your ticket early.  Be prepared for crowds, the more popular something is the more people will be in that area.  Also realize that when special events are going on at the booths, the shopping portion of the booth is usually closed.  The more popular booths also tend to sell out of items and have to wait for more stock to be brought in, so visiting the same booth more than once is not unusual.

The exhibition hall is also where you will see most of the cosplay.  Some of them are simply amazing, some not so much.  Every genre is represented.  There are costumes that are exact down to the last detail.  There are some costumes that are a bit confused or they took extensive creative license.  Then there are the costumes of people who just love cosplay but don’t have the time or money to make the costume an exact replica.  While the high dollar costumes are exceptional and very enjoyable to look at, the people who cosplay for the love of cosplay regardless of the amount of money they have to spend on their costume make the biggest impression.  There are some who enjoy cosplay so much they will take multiple costumes for each day.  You can tell the ones that just love it.  They have such a good time with it and are fun to watch.  There will probably be official network costumed actors at the convention advertising a new series that will be airing.  Those costumes are amazing.  It is pretty easy to tell the official network costumed actors they have a handler with them.

Next up everything else.