Beautiful Creatures Movie Review

I spent a bunch of time in January and February hemming and hawing over whether I should read Beautiful Creatures before I ventured out to see the film.  Beautiful Creatures is based on the young adult novel of the same name, written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  After careful consideration I decided to see the movie first because I knew that I wanted to write a review of it, and I didn’t want said review to turn into a comparison essay between two pieces which should theoretically be viewed as separate entities.  For what it is, Beautiful Creatures is an entertaining and intriguing film.  Just to preface that statement, I am in no way trying to demean the film by phrasing my overall opinion with the “for what it is,” disclaimer.  I have no shame in admitting that I have quite the soft spot for young adult fiction and films (sans Twilight, ugh, which I won’t even begin to rant about here), but let’s face it, when someone chooses to attend a film in that genre, they’re not expecting to see the next Annie Hall.

It is however, pleasantly surprising to see how well the film conveys the good versus evil theme.  Lena (played by Alice Englert), a castor, has recently relocated to live with her Uncle Macon in Gatlin, Georgia just before her sixteenth birthday when it will be revealed during a ritual whether she will be claimed by the light or the darkness.  There is a constant struggle throughout the story in which Lena flip flops from the light side to the dark side.   Lena is not inherently good or inherently evil, instead she rests somewhere in the morally grey area, which affords her character to be more relatable (especially to us mortals).  As much as humans would love for everything to have a black and white definition of what constitutes good and what should be condemned as evil, it is an unrealistic expectation, and there are always outside circumstances that influence an individual’s decision-making process.

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Another major factor that contributes to Lena’s inability to control her emotions and her powers, is her love of Ethan Wate (played by Alden Ehrenreich).  Ethan has lived in the small sheltered town of Gatlin for his entire life but he has been itching to get out, that is, until Lena shows up.  (Side note: One of the best lines in the film is when Ethan’s bitterly overbearing ex-girlfriend tells him that she prays he doesn’t go straight to hell.  Ethan’s response is “Oh I won’t go straight to hell.  I’m going to stop in New York first.”)  But alas, the exposition between the pairs love affair is slightly lacking and the viewer is expected to accept the concept of destiny in order to understand how their relationship develops so quickly.

The standout performances in the film are by Jeremy Irons, who plays Uncle Macon, Emmy Rossum, Lena’s cousin Ridley that was claimed by the darkness upon her sixteenth birthday, and Emma Thompson, Macon’s sister and Lena’s mother who is another dark castor.

The scenery is delightful to view, and there were several shots, and costume choices that seemed to be inspired by The Craft.  Between the woods, Macon’s luxuriously modern and out of place mansion, and the secret castor library protected by the Seer Amma (Viola Davis), the film has its fair share of pleasurable aesthetics. The ending of the film doesn’t tie everything together which is to be expected since Beautiful Creatures is the first in a series of four books. It was obvious that the filmmakers tried to cram as much information into the first movie as possible (the book is over 400 pages!), but it still seemed as if some pertinent information was missing in areas.  This helped affirm my confidence in the decision to read the book post movie because I am now curious to see which parts were cut out, if perhaps the connection between Lena and Ethan is built with a stronger foundation, and what exactly was altered to adapt the book to a film friendly screenplay.  If you’re looking for a film that’s a little bit heavier than the typical light entertainment supplied by a supernatural rom-com, but will still satisfy your desire for a guilty pleasure, you should definitely consider seeing Beautiful Creatures.

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The Big Zombie Tour By Atlanta Movie Tours

Since The Walking Dead is finally back, I decided that it would be an appropriate time to recap one of my favorite Walking Dead related events I have ever attended.  Last Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta for Dragon*Con with my lovely On Wednesdays We Wear Pink co-creator, Kristin, and her husband Patrick. In addition to our con-going we were also invited to attend “The Big Zombie Tour,” a tour created by Atlanta Movie Tours, which turned out to be my favorite part of our entire trip. Anyone who has visited our site knows that we are both huge zombie fans, and more particularly, Walking Dead fans. This bus tour takes you throughout Atlanta and brings you to all of the places where memorable scenes from The Walking Dead were filmed.  Atlanta is such a beautiful city, mixed with both urban and suburban areas which made for an unique and gorgeous experience.  Throughout the tour, there are trivia questions being asked with prizes for correct answers, photo-ops in all of the locations you visit, and anecdotes from The Walking Dead set. “The Big Zombie Tour” was hosted by a fellow named Charlie who played a zombie on the show with a featured kill, and an awesome tour operator named Patty. Charlie is the zombie in the beginning of season two that Daryl shoots in the eye with an arrow and guts in order to determine if he had eaten the missing Sophia.  It was evident that both Patty and Charlie love what they’re doing, and their enthusiasm and knowledge of The Walking Dead truly enhanced the tour.  Other Kristin also wrote an in-depth article about the specific places we visited which you can read about here.  If you’re interested in attending The Big Zombie Tour, you can book your trip on Atlanta Movie Tours website.  Trust me, if you love zombies, this is a tour that you cannot miss!  Below are some of my favorite photos we took during our trip!

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Warm Bodies Movie Review

This may sound like an awful pun, but I had been *dying* to see Warm Bodies since I first saw the theatrical trailer debut during an episode of The Walking Dead a few months back.  Many people had been making fun of the idea of a zombie love story and I had heard many remarks about this film being a “zombie Twilight.”  Regardless of the comparisons, I knew that I had to see it.  In fact, I became so obsessed with it, that I convinced myself I loved it before I even had a chance to see it.  Usually this kind of behavior doesn’t bode well for films because you end up having such high expectations, that the actual movie itself can only be a disappointment.  Fortunately, this was not the case with Warm Bodies.

Here goes a sentence I never imagined I would say in my entire lifetime:  R is one hot zombie.  Played by Nicholas Hoult, our main lovestruck member of the undead, goes by the name R (since he is unable to remember his real name), and he is a self aware zombie who seeks more out of, er… consciousness.  He saves a beautiful human girl Julie (played by Teresa Palmer), from being eaten by his hoard of zombie friends by masking her in zombie blood so they would be unable to smell their potential meal, but only after first eating her boyfriend.  Warm Bodies used one of my favorite zombie-isms, a factor which I first read about in Chris Roberson’s iZombie, in which a zombie is subjected to all of the memories of the human they’re devouring once they eat said human’s brains.  The film, adapted from the young adult novel of the same name, written by Isaac Marion, puts a modern post-apocalyptic day spin on Romeo and Juliet (I mean, the main characters names are R and Julie, it doesn’t get more obvious than that).  I mean think about it, a zombie and a human, it is the ultimate in forbidden romances.  Besides the obvious theme of young love, the film also managed to be an inspiring piece about craving more from life, and doing whatever is necessary to achieve it.  R is one ambitious zombie.  He convinces Julie that it would be unsafe for her to leave his zombie confine for a few days because his zombie neighbors and friends would notice, allowing himself just enough time for his endearing groans and choppy sentences to charm Julie into loving him.  As if the life barrier wasn’t enough, R’s next conflict is winning over Julie’s less than reasonable father.  But that’s a whole other story.  Another notable character is R’s best zombie friend M, played by Rob Corddry.  M and R share a the most adorable zombie bromance.

As I may have mentioned earlier on Twitter, a major reason this film works so well is because it is so self aware.  From noting ironic music choices, to R commentating on his hopes of not coming off as a creep because of his zombie stare,  to an almost romantic scene in which R relays to Julie that, yes he must in fact eat people in order to survive.  The film did a fantastic job of humanizing zombies which is something you don’t see in many zombie flicks despite the fact that zombies are just dead humans.  Instead, the film’s characters demonize a different breed of zombies, called Bonies.  Bonies are zombies who have completely given up.  R describes them as eating anything with a heartbeat and not feeling bad about it.  With their disgusting skeletal frame and lack of skin, the Bonies also gain the ability to run at some serious speed and focus on their potential targets.

Overall, I loved Warm Bodies so much, that I decided to pick up a copy of the book which is currently sitting on my bedside table just begging to be read (okay fine, I picked up the book a few days before I saw the movie because I was anticipating loving it so much, but it all worked out in the end!).  If you’re interested in zombie films, star crossed lovers, young adult fiction, or simply entertaining self aware comedies in general, you should definitely check out Warm Bodies while it’s still in theaters.  I cannot praise this film enough.

*Side Note: One of my instagram followers pointed out that Nicholas Hoult who plays R, also played Tony in the British television show Skins, and now I can finally stop wondering why I felt like I already knew and loved him before this role.  Evidently, he also played the child in the move adaptation of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy.  And Beast in X-Men: First Class!

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Ni No Kuni Video Game Review

When I heard that Ni No Kuni, a new video game with animation by Studio Ghibli, was being released, I knew I had to pick up my copy on the day it came out.  And considering that so far, the game is only for PS3 (my game system of choice), I seemed destined to own this game.  (If you haven’t already, you can pick up a copy on Amazon). The game itself is more like a movie than a game, but in the best way possible.  It tells the story of the cutest little animated boy ever, Oliver, whose mom passes away just after saving his life.  Shortly after his mom passes, Oliver’s tears break a curse that was placed on his toy, Drippy.  Drippy, who turns out to be a fairy with a fun accent from the parallel reality of Ni No Kuni, comes to life and gifts him with a book all about the wonders, rules, and techniques of magic.  Since the parallel reality is a sort of alternate version of Oliver’s current reality, he (reluctantly at first), decides to venture to Ni No Kuni, help Drippy free his world from the White Witch, and save his alternate mother.  Below are some brief character bios from a site that my friend Dan (@Darkflight) was kind enough to send to me before I purchased my game!

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The site also includes a link to all of the games trailers, but the one below is my favorite.  The other trailer is a bit on the sadder side, and while that part really did get me in the beginning (don’t judge me for crying OKAY?!), the game overall is much more upbeat and fun!

Obviously notable is the Studio Ghibli animation.  The game is gorgeous and movie-like and overall the scenery and characters are very enchanting.  Adding to whimsy is the serene soundtrack performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus.  I particularly enjoy reading The Wizard’s Companion that Drippy gives you immediately prior to the commencement of your quest.  The companion is full of magical guides, information, how-to’s, and a language decoder.  If you take the time to decode the language throughout the game you will find a bunch of easter eggs hidden within.

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Kotaku put together a very helpful post with tips about Ni No Kuni before you delve into the game.  So far, the most helpful that I’ve found are to 1) use L2 and R2 in combat, 2) don’t get too attached to your starters, 3) do side quests, and my own personal addition to their list would be to utilize the map in the top right corner if you’re unsure where you’re going.

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One thing I haven’t yet done, but I think I may once I complete the game for the first time, is to play it again but set the language to Japanese.  Studio Ghibli films are meant to viewed in Japanese with subtitles, but for my first time around I wanted to focus on all of the images without having to worry about reading subtitles. Overall, I’d say that picking this game up was a win-win situation.  If you’re on the fence about buying a copy, I would encourage to you to take the plunge because it is well worth the money.  In case I’ve convinced you that you need this game, the link to Amazon is below :o) I can definitely see myself coming back to this game after I’ve completed it, the same way I am drawn back to certain movies.  The story is heartfelt and resonates in a way that only Studio Ghibli films can.

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Video: Bleeding Cool’s Stacktastic: Discussing DC’s New 52 Hosted by Grace Randolph

Why The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale Just Didn’t Do It For Me [Spoilers]

I’m aware this may be an unpopular opinion as The Walking Dead has risen to become one of the top television shows currently running on cable television, but as a lover of Robert Kirkman’s comic series, I am sorry to admit that the adaptation is really falling short.  Perhaps it’s because having read the series, I can envision just how spectacular the show could be, or perhaps it’s the steady decline in well written episodes ever since Frank Darabount’s forced departure after season one.  The lack of strong female leads is certainly a major contributing factor.  But either way, The Walking Dead television series simply is not cutting it.  It seems as though the average viewer is willing to overlook poorly written scripts and lack of character development as long as they see a few good zombie kills at some point during the episode.  This completely takes away from Kirkman’s original intention for the series.  He has always explained that The Walking Dead is a tale about the survivors, and how they cope in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.  In fact, Kirkman created the series due to his love of zombie films, but since he always felt curious about what the survivors would do when the movie ended, he started writing The Walking Dead so there would be a long term tale.  Zombie apocalypse’s don’t just end when the movie does, which is why The Walking Dead is currently up to its 105th issue.  Now I’m not complaining about the zombie kills, because who doesn’t love seeing them?  But when the best episodes of the season are the ones with the least amount of dialogue, I think it’s safe to say there’s an issue.
Now, for the most unpopular opinion of all; the television show has made me feel love and sympathy for the Governor (played by David Morrissey).  Having read the comic, I hated the Governor.  There’s no denying he was a terrible human being who did unspeakable things, but as far as the television show is concerned, I cannot find any evidence of his wrongdoing.  It seems as though the only reason people dislike him is because of their preconceived notion of him from the comic, or because they were told about him from their friends who have read the comic.  So far, the Governor has offered Andrea and Michonne refuge in his camp, nursed Andrea back to health, provided a safe and functioning community for his people, and even has a scientific program in place to help learn about the walkers, all the while stowing away his little girl who he lost to zombies during the apocalypse.  So far, I’m seeing a broken man trying to make the best of his situation and protect the majority of survivors.  At the weak “cliffhanging” end of the episode, the Governor ousts Merle to the community as a terrorist whose lie allowed their camp to be infiltrated.  Again, this is completely justified.  Putting my love of Daryl aside, the Governor has no intel about Daryl’s camp.  For all he knows they could be a horrible group of people who are banding together to steal what he’s built for his community.  And after finding out that Merle lied about murdering Michonne, (another potential threat to his people), and that the attack his camp just faced was made by Merle’s brother, it’s only natural that the Governor assume that Merle is a traitor.  Right before the cliffhanger, we see the poor Governor get attacked by Michonne, who not only thrusts a sword through his little girls head, forcing him to experience her death for a second time and takes away all hope of ever finding a cure for her, but she also sticks a long shard of glass in his eye, causing him to lose his sight and begin wearing an eye patch.  How could you not feel sympathy for this man?  Even if this is the big turning point where the Governor starts acting irrationally and cruelly, I will still feel sympathetic for him because we saw exactly what changed his attitude.
My next issue is with all of the women characters on the show.  Why are they all being painted as these weak creatures who rely solely on men for protection?  We have Andrea, who started becoming stronger towards the end of season two, revert back to the scared young woman who lost her sister.  She barely challenges the Governor about the things she disagrees with, and she is completely wasting her talent for accurate shooting by playing girlfriend to the man in charge.  It’s only natural for someone to look for protection and happiness, but at what cost?  The Andrea of the comic would not behave in the same manner as television Andrea.  Next we have Maggie, who also started out strong in season two as she rode in on horseback and slayed a zombie in her first cameo.  This same woman folds within minutes of being brought into the same room as Glenn during the interrogation they were facing while a very beaten Glenn stays silent and tries to protect their camp.  I won’t even go into all of my issues with Lori because she is finally gone, and quite honestly, I could go on for pages and pages.  Next there’s Carol.  Does anyone really even care if Carol is around or not?  She’s really only served as a background prop this season.  I know some people who didn’t even realize that she had been absent for several episodes because she has played such a minor role.  Although, I’m certain she’ll receive extra screen time during the episode they kill her off in (see T-Dog & the attempt to redeem Lori).  Then finally, there’s Michonne; my favorite character from the comic who is nothing like her literary counterpart.  Glen Mazzara tweeted earlier today “Michonne’s personality is actually based on a close friend of mine.  If I were in a ZA, that’s who I’d want on my team.”  Great, so it’s no wonder Michonne hasn’t done anything worthwhile yet since she isn’t even based on Kirkman’s character.  In fact, she’s really coming off as the stereotypical bitchy woman.
Now, I’m not saying that I hate The Walking Dead.  I still read the new monthly comic issues as they debut, and I obviously haven’t given up on the show just yet.  The fact that I even took the time to write this post and sort out the issues is a clear indicator that it’s a storyline I’m passionate about preserving.  As a longtime fan of the series, I’m really hoping that the TV show can get its act together by the mid-season premiere.  I’ve never been one to be overly critical of adaptations because I understand that film and print are two completely different outlets.  I’ve previously enjoyed that some story elements were changed (i.e., Shane, Daryl & Merle [another first season element by Darabount]) as it allotted for the element of surprise to the readers.  But there’s only so many poorly crafted episodes that I can overlook before I start to lose interest.  I even took the time to talk to some people on Twitter and converse with fellow coworkers who hadn’t read the series to see if their perspective had been drastically different than mine.  What I’ve found is that even they were less enthusiastic about the mid-season finale than they had been last season.  I really hope that things turn around for the show and that Mazzara gives us at least one strong female lead before the third season comes to a close.
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Brief Musings on Skyfall

This past weekend I saw the newest Bond movie, Skyfall, and overall I was really impressed the film.  The opening credit sequence was beautifully filmed and the song performed by Adele was perfect.  The movie was about 2 and half hours long but it was so exciting that it held my attention throughout.  I didn’t even look at my phone to see what time it was until the two hour mark, and even then I couldn’t believe that much time had passed.
Javier Bardem was a superb villain.  I hated him during the film.  Just the sight of him and hearing his awful laughter would get me to tense up.  His backstory and his master plan were well thought out and believable.  As for Bond, I also think Daniel Craig did a great job.  Growing up, Pierce Brosnan was always my Bond, so although I’m used to a classier, more refined 007, I still enjoyed Craig’s performance.  (Although, Bond only drank one martini in the film, opting for scotch as drink of choice.)  Judi Dench played M, and Ralph Fiennes antagonized her as Gareth Mallory, the man who would transition into her role after her forced retirement.  Dench was faced with many difficult decisions and shouldered a lot of the blame for the course of events in the film, but she played her part with dignity, a strong sense of pride, and a deeply rooted love for her country.  Ben Whishaw, who played Q was adorable.  I particularly enjoyed the conversation he and Bond had upon first meeting each other.
As with all Bond films, action is what the viewers are hoping to see and Skyfall certainly delivered.  There were explosions, collisions, dangling on ledges, kimono dragons, and William Tell style shootings.  The movie reminded me of a well played chess game.  You always want to be a few steps ahead of your opponent, and Bardem was.  It was up to 007 to change the game.  The only element that was severely lacking from Skyfall was a Bond girl.  There were several girls in the film, but none of them really stood out to me or anyone I saw the movie with as the quintessential Bond girl.  Although Eve Moneypenny has a shot in the next film.  If you haven’t already seen Skyfall, I definitely suggest seeing it in theaters.  And if you did see it, what did you think of the movie?
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Why Spider-Man is Amazing & Why You Should Have Faith in Dan Slott

If you follow me on any form of social media or have known me since high school, it’s no secret that Spider-Man is by far my favorite superhero (Marvel, DC or otherwise).  Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man comic series is coming to an end this December with issue #700 which is written not only by one of my favorite Spidey authors, but also one of my close friends, Dan Slott.  A lot of people have been giving Dan grief online about his new series, Superior Spider-Man, that debuts in January of 2013 and as a longtime reader of his work, it’s been driving me nuts.  Personally, I think it’s just silly to be questioning Dan’s storytelling skills after everything he’s written for us so far, so I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite issues from his Amazing Spider-Man run as a reminder why you should be looking forward to whatever he has planned for us all!  Don’t worry, I haven’t included any spoilers, so if you’re looking to begin reading Spider-Man, below is a great place for suggestions on where to start!  If you’ve read #697, the last page should’ve gotten you PUMPED for the final three issues.  So in conclusion, don’t be mean to Dan, or you’ll have to face me (and I have a black belt in karate)!
 

5. #693-#694 – One of Dan’s most recent story arcs about Spider-Man’s accidental sidekick, a tween named Alpha, comes in at number 5 on my list.  After a school field trip to Horizon Labs, a previously unnoticed kid who was in attendance acquires superpowers.  Peter is tasked with mentoring and training him.  The boy is given the name Alpha because he is the only “Alpha-level” superhero on the planet.  I really enjoyed this story because it was interesting for Peter to see a kid who was in the same situation as him royally screw up and use his powers for selfish reasons.  It served as a kind of affirmation that Peter’s life choice of fulfilling his potential and taking responsibility, was the correct one to make.  Seeing Alpha act as a self centered teenage heartthrob who books an appearance on The Vampire Diaries was in a way, like seeing Peter through the looking glass if he hadn’t had Aunt May and Uncle Ben to instill such noble values in him.   The trade for #693-#694 isn’t out yet, but check with your local comic book store about obtaining the issues! (Update: You can buy the trade The Amazing Spider-Man: Danger Zone on Amazon!)

4. #648-#651 – Dan’s first Spider-Man story arc after Brand New Day ended and the page count per issue increased, ‘Kill To Be You,’ is one of my favorites because it lays the groundwork for the Spider-Man universe we were to expect as Dan’s run continued.  It’s the perfect jumping on point for anyone who is interested in reading Spider-Man comics.  Peter finally obtains the coolest job ever as an associate at Horizon Labs, a job that allows him the flexibility to fulfill Spider-Man’s responsibilities as well as pay his rent.  Basically, Peter is a little older, a little wiser, a little smoother, and a whole lot cooler than his previous incarnations.  The story is quite eventful and includes the reintroduction of the Hobgoblin, finds Spider-Man in a new suit, and has Peter team up with Black Cat to face off with Kingpin and Montana.    You can read the full story in Spider-Man: Big Time.

 
3. #677 – Issue #677 features an unlikely team up between Spider-Man and one of my other favorite superheroes, Daredevil.  After Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat, is framed for a robbery, Peter employs Murdock to help prove her innocence.  He knows it to be true because after breaking up with Carlie, Spider-Man spent the previous night trying to mend his broken heart and catch a rebound date with Felicia (who refused his offer).  The second half of the story (collectively called ‘Devil in the Details’) can be found in Daredevil #8 penned by Mark Waid.  Part of what makes this crossover so entertaining is that Daredevil and Spider-Man have less than compatible personalities.  If you’re interested in finding out if they were able to get Felicia off the hook, you’ll want to pick up Spider-Man: Flying Blind.
 

2. #678-679 – Time travel is my favorite science fiction topic to read about.  Because there are so many rules, time travel is a difficult topic to tackle, but when it’s done correctly, the result is something so intriguing, that I am barely able to express my love for it in words.  The time door arc is one of those very stories.  Grady, a co-worker of Peters, creates a time door which allows the person who enters to step one day into the future.  There’s no problem when Grady steps through it, but when Peter does, we see that New York is completely destroyed.  Peter must go back to the previous day to try to stop his ‘day off’ from resulting in the future he foresaw.  With only the help of Grady and the next day’s newspaper, Spidey must heed Madame Web’s warnings and race against the clock to save our city.  Plus there’s a bunch of sweet Doctor Who references.  You can read the story in Spider-Man: Trouble on the Horizon.

 
1. #666-673 (Spider-Island) – It is not uncommon to hear people claim that Spider-Island is the story arc that made them love Spider-Man again.  And trust me, said claim is justified.  Whenever anyone asks me for recommendations of my favorite Spider-Man stories, I always suggest Spider-Island first and foremost.  All you need to know is that the entirety of New York City is infected with a plague, giving them the same powers as Spider-Man.  That means that roughly 8 million people have spider powers.  Chaotic?  That’s an understatement.  Spider-Man employs the help of the rest of New York’s finest (superheroes that is), and they assemble to ward off the Jackal and his newfound army.  The hardcover trade also includes issues of Venom, the prologues to Spider-Island (named Infested), and several other issues.  You can buy Spider-Island here.
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Batman #13 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

I’ve always deeply loved and adored Gotham’s finest crime fighting Bat team, whether they’re gradually kicking butt across the beautifully drawn panels in a comic, animatedly doing so on my television, or being portrayed by actors on the big screen.  I definitely own more Batman comics and trades than any other title in my personal library and I love each and every one with my whole heart.  I’ve often spoken with people (more recently) that have enjoyed the Christopher Nolan films, but are intimidated by the comics because they’re unsure where a good starting point would be amongst all of the Bat history.  With DC’s reboot of The New 52 last year, it made it easier for some folks to jump in on the story and gain some background knowledge before delving further and exploring the extensive Bat lore.  Many longtime comics readers have been critical of DC’s New 52, but I myself was thrilled to be given the opportunity to introduce my world to a bunch of newbies.  Having already been very familiar with Batman, and with Scott Snyder’s beautiful prose, I had very high hopes for the series and as anyone who has been reading will tell you, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman is certainly a standout in the new wave.  If you haven’t already, you can pick up a copy of the first trade Batman Volume 1: Court of Owlsand the second trade Batman Volume 2: The City of Owls on Amazon.  And you can read my spoiler free review of the issue after the photo ^.^
After tearing through the first 12 issues of Batman, and waiting (not so) patiently after reading all of Scott Snyder‘s tweets, I was extremely anxious and excited to see one of my favorite villains return to wreak some havoc in Gotham city.  After months and months of waiting, it finally happened.  Today was the day that the new story arc began and The Joker himself resurfaced!  I literally counted down the minutes until my lunch break so I could run to my comic book shop and hold in my hands the very issue I had been coveting all along.  If anyone could write a Joker story, it would be Scott Snyder.  Again, the high expectations were set, the pressure was on, and my heart began to race as the first speech bubble appeared at the top of the page.  I read and read until finally, on page 8 his giant face graced Bruce’s monitor.  I don’t want to spoil any of the issue for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will say that it was everything I wanted in a Joker-centric story arc and more.  And it was only the first issue!  Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl all were already involved in the story, and The Joker made it clear to Gordon that he has is out for Barbara.  There was even an appearance by my favorite female villain, The Joker’s lovely counterpart, Harley Quinn.  The final page of the issue was so shocking and terrifying, that I’m quite uncertain as to how I will be able to wait until next month to get another piece of the story.  And as always, the artwork is absolutely breathtaking.  Greg Capullo designed gorgeous die cut covers for each of the issue #13’s of the titles involved in the “Death in the Family” story arc which I recently blogged about for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.  I was pleased to find that I was able to intimidate several of my instagram followers who all admitted that they would be having nightmares after viewing my ‘mask.’  On Sunday during NYCC, my number one priority is to attend DC’s Bat panel, and if the audience dons Joker masks (at SDCC they were all Court-of-Owls-mask-clad) I will simply squee in delight!  What have you all thought of the story so far?!  Tell me in the comments, on twitter, or on tumblr!
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