Final Justice League Trailer

We finally get to see Clark Kent/Superman

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Return of Tim Drake

When I first started reading comics, Tim Drake was the current Robin to Batman. He continued in that role until Bruce Wayne was “killed” at the end of Final Crisis. After that he Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son, took up the mantle of Robin while Tim assumed the role of Red Robin. This continued even into DC’s New 52 where they established in the new continuity that Tim Drake had never been Robin at all and was always Red Robin. Needless to say, Tim Drake suffered a lot during the whole New 52 as he was never really involved in the going on’s in the Batman titles and was always tethered to the Teen Titans in a much maligned run. They also shifted his history to have him have a much more “interesting” backstory instead of being a badass bookworm.

Then when DC Rebirth happened, Tim Drake was still Red Robin but they were going a back to basics approach to him. He was back in Gotham and was a major player in Detective Comics. The book was no longer just about Batman but more about the Batman family (minus Nightwing) and how Batman and Batwoman were preparing their team for something coming up. Tim Drake was pretty much third in line in terms of the chain of command as he was the one with the most experience. But it became clear that he was not going to be appearing in the book after the first story. Sure enough, Tim went out in blaze of glory after saving countless innocent lives. The team, especially Batman and Spoiler (Tim’s on/off girlfriend), mourned his death especially after learning he was going to give up being a superhero to become a full time college student. But this is comics and Tim was not dead.

In the just started, “Lonely Place of Living” catches up with Tim Drake in the intergalactic prison that he has been in since his “death”. Why he was transported there is still under way as all that is known is that he was putting pieces together that shouldn’t be put together. Just in the first issue, the book quickly establishes Tim Drake’s history and it will be one familiar to Tim Drake fans.

Pretty much his original history has been restored. From being a Batman fanboy as well as loving The Flying Graysons especially Dick Grayson. Recognizing that Robin was Dick Grayson due to doing a somersault that only Dick Grayson could do and thus figuring out that Dick’s adoptive father must be Batman. It is implied that the New 52 run of the Teen Titans is still canon but it’s pretty vague. But there is an element of Geoff Johns’ seminal run on Teen Titans that makes an appearance and that is the future Tim Drake version of Batman.

Tim Drake is my favorite Robin. He was the leader of Young Justice and Teen Titans. Though all members of the Batman family are physically capable, it was always established that Tim’s strength lied in his intellect. The fact that he figured out Batman’s identity as an adolescent is proof of that. This helped distinguish him from the acrobatic and devil may care Dick Grayson and the hot headed Jason Todd. Plus he was the first Robin to not have that goofy costume with the legs all exposed and Peter Pan footwear. He carried a bo-staff and his suit was clearly armored. His whole aesthetic was great.

I make no bones about how disappointed I was with how Tim was handled during The New 52. I tried reading Teen Titans on a basis but the book was all over the place that I could never get into it. Though I did enjoy when he would pop up in other books. So when DC Rebirth happened and he was a main part of Detective Comics, I was pumped. Even after his “death” he continues to play a role in the Batman books as a key piece missing. The team has recently discovered that he was alive but the question now remains is how will he get out of his predicament.

Hopefully after all this is resolved, Tim returns to Detective Comics and becomes a key player once again. Not only is he a key figure in the Batman mythos but also the DC Universe as well.

The War of Jokes and Riddles

The Joker is the quintessential Batman villain. The Riddler is my personal favorite Batman villain that is not The Joker. Recently, Batman writer Tom King has started The War of Jokes and Riddles storyline. Taking place in the early days of Batman’s career and details the gang war between The Joker and The Riddler. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense to have these two go to war with one another. Despite all his craziness, The Joker is a methodical villain with detailed plans on how to go about things. The Riddler with his vast intellect and narcissism makes him something of a thinly veiled villain. The two have a lot of similarities with one another and there have been frequent jokes about that fact also.

I’m always a big fan of seeing Batman’s early years as well. Typically you see his origin and then skip to the present. His intervening years are never really given much detail. So when stories like to go into those years, it’s fun to see a much more “green” Batman. I’m still not really sure as to when this story takes place but at best bet it seems to be a “year three” Batman. He already has most of his established enemies and familiar with those who operate outside of Gotham City. There have been a reference to Zero Year, because The Riddler is treated as a serious threat due to his machinations in that story.

The whole framing of the story is set against the backdrop of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle post coitus. In the issue prior to the story, Bruce proposed to her. As of this post, we still do not know what she said. It would be hard to imagine that they would have sex and him detailing a very personal story to her if she had turned down his proposal. But King has done a good job of writing around the answer and keep an interesting story going on where you don’t really think about it either.

Batman Catwoman Proposal

The best issue so far was a simple one where Bruce Wayne has invited the two leaders over for dinner in an effort to end the gang war. This shows a different side to Bruce Wayne. One who is very aware of things that many who are not so privileged will not know about. A nine course meal that sees even someone like The Joker act civilized. This does play into my belief that The Joker is someone who just fakes insanity and is perfect nonchalant in his monstrous acts. Bruce even offers to pay off the leaders in an effort to end the war with the caveat that one takes out the other. Later it is revealed that this was a ploy but something tells me that if the war was guaranteed to end, he might have done it. 

Bruce Wayne The Joker The Riddler dinner

This is a Batman at his best and worst. Best because we get to see what kind of hero he is. Working himself to exhaustion and willing to play all the angles and just not as Batman but as Bruce Wayne also. It’s also his worst because we see how he beats himself up over things that he has no control over. Close to a breakdown at numerous points as he is being run ragged.

Batman The Joker The Riddler.jpg

 The story is still ongoing but I’m always anticipating the next issue in the story. The art is also fantastic. If you want to get into Batman comics, I’d suggest starting with this story. It is destined to be a classic. 

At This Point…I Don’t Care Whether Ben Affleck Stays as Batman

There has been a lot of back and forth about Ben Affleck being Bruce Wayne/Batman. Playing the role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and the forthcoming Justice League. Rumors have persisted since last year that Affleck has been frustrated and does not want to continue to play the role after Justice League. Obviously this is bad for business as Justice League has yet to come out and you really can’t have one of the main actors talking about leaving the role. It just doesn’t look right and casts a cloud over the movie which already has enough problems going for it. The news popped up again right before the cast of Justice League was set to appear at San Diego Comic Con and of course Affleck denied he would be leaving.

I was a big champion for Affleck when he was casts for the role. Other than being a billionaire part, there are many things that Affleck and the character have in common when one another. Plus when it comes to all the actors who have played the role before, Affleck is the one who looks the most like how the character is described in the comics and most other media adaptations. My one biggest complaint is Affleck’s age as you really can’t have an actor who is the latter half of his 40’s in such a physically demanding role. Maybe for a one off movie but not one you build a franchise around. Sure Batman does have the advantage of being masked, so you can hide it but still the actor has to be in some shape.

But as the rumors go back and forth about whether he is staying in the role, at this point I don’t care. If he decides to stay on, at least for Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie, then I’ll be happy. If he does not and moves on, then for being a great Batman. You really don’t want an actor who does not want to be there, staying in the role. WB has now been shown that they do not need to rely on the Batman crutch that they tend to rely on. Wonder Woman was the biggest movie in summer 2017 and Aquaman is looking to be another success for the studio in 2018. I guess we will all know a few months after Justice League is finally released. Plus the studio has a unique story way of replacing Ben Affleck with a different actor.

 

Not Worried About Justice League Reshoots

A recent trend I’ve noticed is that everything concerning the DC Extended Universe gets analyzed and dissected more than most big budget movies. Ever since Joss Whedon took over directing duties for Zack Snyder on Justice League, the microscope has been further analyzed on the film. Recent reports came out that the film was deemed “unwatchable” by Warner Bros. execs. Now if this is true or not, who is to say. But I know personally I am not worried about the reshoots or additional photography, whatever you want to call it, as it is clear that the studio is trying to make the best film possible.

I don’t know why reshoots came to be such a taboo thing. If you see a problem with a film and you have the ability to fix it, why not do it? The fact that everything must be perfect from the start is an insane concept in itself as well. So if there are problems with Justice League and I do think that there are, then take the time to fix them. If the film came out “unwatchable” and was released as that, people would jump on the film even harder than if they didn’t. So it’s kind of a lose lose situation.

Sure these reshoots are a bit more than typical but sometimes that happens. Does not necessarily mean that the film will be a wreck. Apocalypse Now and the recent Rogue One are examples of films that underwent massive reshoots and the films turned out fine. Of course it can turn out the other way but that can happen on films that did not undergo reshoots. So it’s all just a process.

You don’t necessarily turn in a class paper with your first draft. Some people feel content with that and it turns out fine. Others work on it until the very end and it also turns out fine. The opposite effects happen for both situations as well. Making a film is similar to this. I hope that the film is a success as I love the DC superheroes and want them to prosper on film.

So here’s a sort of new poster for the Justice League film