Monthly archives: July, 2008

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

from The Onion:

EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

“I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

read the rest of the story…

IR$: Taxing Trails

By Stephen Desberg (W)
and Bernard Vrancken (A)

Published by Cinebook, 2008; 96 pages; $19.95

When I saw a book called “IR$” about an IRS secret agent, I gave a mental groan. I actually put this book on the top of my review stack — I thought it would be super lame so I wanted to get it over with. The idea of reading some thriller via a tax man was just making me cringe with advance embarrassment.

Agent Larry B. Max gets called in to assist with cases that involve large sums of money. He reads “evasion and money-laundering rings like a pianist reads a Mozart piece,” says the Secretary of the Treasury during an expository golf outing. And he tells an FBI agent “I’ve got nothing against FBI files … but to get a real idea of someone’s life, believe me … there’s nothing better than to read his tax statements!”

This book has all the makings of an unintentional satire. A gunfight with a would-be assassin includes this exchange:

ASSASSIN shooting at Larry Max: “I’ve come to pay my taxes, sucker! With interest!” (BLAM BLAM)
LARRY MAX, IR$: “It’s time to liquidate this case.”
ASSASSIN: “I’ll give you as many bullets as it takes and I’ll put them all down as professional expenses!”
LARRY MAX: “Bloody Hell! That crazy woman’s going to turn this whole traffic line into a profit and loss statement just to take me out!”

So it was with much relief that I discovered IR$ actually has a great mystery driving it. The story is broken into two chapters — “Taxing Trails” and “The Hagen Strategy,” comprising the original two French volumes. Max follows the murder of a Swiss bank employee through several parties, all the way back to some historical drama coming out of Nazi concentration camps.

Trinity #8

8In the lead: Despero reveals to Enigma and Morgaine Le Fey that he is in posession of the cosmic egg that houses Krona. Meanwhile, Batman hosts a political fundraiser, Superman takes Lois on a lunch date in the Middle East, and Wonder Woman goes shopping. Really.

In the back-up: The evil Trinity try to figure out a way to harness the power of the cosmic egg.

My take: Oh crap, that makes two issues in a row that just sucked. I realize not every issue can be packed to the gills with action and excitement, but that doesn’t mean an issue has to be pure filler.

Maybe it would have been better if the lead was just about the evil Trinity. Thirteen pages of this issue centered on those three already, and more went on with them than with our heroes. A story about the downtime of the good Trinity seems like it’d be a better fit for a back-up story, anyway.

The worst part about this issue is that while Batman is doing his best to avoid his downtime by sulking in the Batcave and Superman is taking care of some random villainy while traversing the world with his wife, Wonder Woman is just out shopping with her gal pal. Batman and Superman are trying to figure thisw mystery out aroud the clock, but apparently Wonder Woman has different prioritites. Way to present WW as an equal to the two men, Busiek.

Things to keep an eye on: At the end of the lead, Bruce Wayne is attacked by the “werewolves” in an attempt to brand him in the same way Wonder Woman was. What do these markings mean, and how the hell are they going to brand the Man of Steel?

E&P interview with Joker creator

Editor & Publisher has a new interview with Jerry Robinson, the man who created The Joker for Batman comics in 1939.

How does Ledger’s portrayal of the supervillain compare with Jack Nicholson’s hammy turn in the 1989 “Batman” film? “They’re really different,” replied Robinson, who has also had a long career in newspaper cartooning and syndication. “Nicholson made him kind of a mad terrorist. It wasn’t exactly the most interesting view of him. It was more of a satirical, TV take on the Joker — though it was a great performance.”

Robinson said the way “The Dark Knight” and Ledger portray the Joker is closer to the way the character was conceived nearly 70 years ago. Back then, Robinson was a teenage Columbia University journalism student working on comic books with “Batman” co-creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger. (The name of Batman sidekick Robin was inspired by Robin Hood, not Jerry’s last name.)

Read the full interview at

Riddler = Next Bat Movie Villain?

riddlerThis is all pure speculation, but, then, isn’t that the most fun kind of speculation? Just the Hail Mary, shot-in-the-dark kind? I think so. After watching The Dark Knight over the past weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about who could be the next villain in the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s new Batman franchise. Ruling out the supernatural villains, which ones would be realistic enough to fit into this series?

The short-list, of course, includes names like Catwoman and the Riddler and Hush, etc. I don’t think Warner Bros is going to want to revisit Catwoman after Halle Berry’s trainwreck from a few years ago, and Hush doesn’t seem like a well-known enough character to register with the average fans. I suppose they could ignore having a central “super-villain” and just make a movie about all-out mob wars, ala War Games; yet, I think the next main big bad guy is going to be the Riddler, and I think we’ve already seen him.

Pictured above, actor Joshua Harto plays Mr. Reese in “The Dark Knight,” an employee for Wayne Enterprises who comes to the conclusion that Batman is actually Bruce Wayne. Oh, and, it’s not like I’m spoiling anything; everybody and their dog has seen this movie already. He eventually gets targeted by the Joker before he can share his secret, after which he’s summarily pushed out of the movie after Bruce Wayne saves his life and gives him one hell of an evil eye. It’s either a loose end that never got tied up, or it’s a sign that he’ll be back in future movies.

Now, isn’t that kind of like Edward Nigma’s origin? Ex-employee to Wayne Enterprises, grown bitter, and seeking revenge against his former employer? And, ditching the lame “enigma” joke would be a step in the right direction, though another clue presents itself when you think about it for a second. His name in this movie is Mr. Reese. Mysteries. I’d say I might be on to something.

But I’ve been wrong before.

Trinity #7

7In the lead: The Trinity tries to piece together everything they’ve encountered so far. With the help of the JLA, they try to identify the werewolf they encountered and the symbols on Wonder Woman’s back when Hawkman shows up with Gangbuster. When Hawkman explains that what’s being stolen from the museums, Batman figures it all out. The symbols are Egyptian tarot symbols and the museum thefts are the four tarot card suits (wands, swords, pentacles and cups). Batman calls in the cavalry: Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, the Outsiders, the JLA, the Titans…pretty much everyone. Yeah, this is big. Meanwhile, Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma finally join up with the third member of their trinity, Despero.

In the back-up: After a brief mention in the lead, Firestorm asks Green Lantern to tell him about Krona. The same Krona that was the villain in JLA/Avengers (and hasn’t been seen since). Green Lantern gives Firestorm a quick recap, but luckily the uber-powerful Krona is trapped inside of a cosmic egg…or is he? Hint: no, he’s not.

My take: The amount of time it took me to get this review up may be an indication of how I enjoyed this issue. This was entirely exposition, which is absolutely necessary but almost always boring as hell.

The callbacks were the highlights of the issue. After Superman hurled the pocket solar system into space in Trinity #2, readers were left wondering if it disappeared like Batman and Wonder Woman’s threats that issue did, or if we were going to have another Rasnn/Thanagar War on our hands. Well, apparently Superman was wondering that too, because this issue opens with him searching for it with a giant telescope thingie (FYI, the solar system disappeared also). The other callback tied the back-up into the lead. Firestorm overheard the more experienced Leaguers talking about Krona, which prompted his to ask about it later in the issue to set up some more expostion. It was a good use of the back-up story.

Things to keep an eye on: In the back-up, Green Lantern once again experienced the binary power surge that he first had during his one-on-one with Konvikt. It only seems to happen when his life is in mortal danger. But is this a GL thing or a Trinity thing?

Krona has apparently hatched from his cosmic egg, although the JLA computers read eveything as A-OK. Not a good sign. How much is the bookm going to reference the JLA/Avengers mini-series though, which was also written by Kurt Busiek?

The Dark Knight Project

As we get one day closer to the release of The Dark Knight, I wanted to draw your attention to The Dark Knight Project, a fan-made movie released yesterday by Chicago filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos.

It focuses on two high school students who are trying to get the first video footage of Batman. The film takes place during the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, addressing Batman’s standing as urban legend and acknowledging the Joker’s rise on the crime scene.

Vasilatos, who wrote and directed the film, said he always wanted to shoot a Batman movie, “and since I sincerely doubt Warner Brothers will ever ask me to direct one for them, I decided to use the resources I have available and do one myself,” he said.

The film has Gotham Police Department cop cars, a helicopter scene, some Joker goons, and – of course – Batman, and it’s shot in the very city that Christopher Nolan used for Gotham.

Visit to view the film.

Trinity #6

6In the lead: After discovering last issue that they are part of a Trinity, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman discuss in what ways they represent three sides of the same coin (you know what I mean). Meanwhile, Tarot delves deeper into her cards after Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman continue to appear in them as a group of three. She realizes they’re all part of the old adage Truth (Wonder Woman), Justice (Batman) and the American Way (Superman). Upon making this realization, Tarot is kidnapped by the werewolf creatures that have been following both her and the Trinity.

In the back-up: Hawkman investigates a series of museum thefts that unbeknownst to him are related to Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma. In Los Angeles, he crosses paths with Gangbuster, who is desperately searching for Tarot after her kidnapping. Hawkman agrees to let Gangbuster help him search for the truth, but not before they take a little sidetrip to meet up with the Trinity.

My take: Two weeks ago, I said I didn’t like how directly Kurt Busiek was addressing what each member of the Trinity represents. Well, that’s pretty much what this whole issue was. Supes, Bats and WW spend the issue talking about how they perceive each other, and Tarot spends the issue talking about how the three are perceived by people living in the DCU. It seemed really forced, especially the Tarot parts. I kind of get the feeling that this may be the last time we get this for a while, though, because they pretty much covered everything.

I did like that Wonder Woman led the discussion amongst the three heroes, which actually makes sense from a character standpoint. As Tarot says, WW represents truth, and she’s never had a problem speaking her mind. Superman plays along and tells Wonder Woman how he sees her, but Batman stays completely out of the conversation. Open reflection isn’t really Batman’s strong suit. That’s a good example of the subtle ways Busiek could work in the differences between the members of the Trinity. Here’s hoping there’s more of that and less of the other kind from now on.


The great Batman Blu-Ray DVD giveaway

As part of the excitement leading in to the opening of “The Dark Knight” and to commemorate the release of the original 1966 Batman movie on Blu-Ray DVD, is giving away TWO copies of the new Blu-Ray release.

To enter to win your copy of this Blu-Ray DVD — which retails for $39.98 and sells on Amazon for $26.95 — absolutely free, send us a re-enactment of your favorite scene from the film. The only rules for this submission are that it must be at least 30 seconds long and include both audio and visuals. Everything else is entirely up to your discretion and interpretation, to be executed as your imagination sees fit.

Either send a file to or upload your video to some video service like YouTube and email the url to You have one week — submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 — and then the winners will be unveiled Wednesday and Thursday.

If you have any questions or if these directions don’t make sense somehow, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Trinity #5

5In the lead: Batman figures out how to beat Konvikt while Superman and Wonder Woman keep him busy. Then Batman hunts down one of those furry monsters that was tailing Tarot last issue, that are also tailing the Trinity.

In the back-up: Those three goofy villains from last issue attack Tarot, who is saved thanks to the the triumphant return of…Gangbuster! Wait, who?

My take: I really like the pacing of this series. The Konvikt story took four issues to run its course, which amounts to 48 pages, which is about two issues of a regular monthly series. Batman solved the “who’s following us?” mystery before it even became a mystery. After only five issues, the Trinity already know someone is watching them. Things seems to be moving along at a pretty good clip.

Superman’s reaction to the Trinity being called “The Trinity” was interesting. Surely Superman’s never thought he’s better than other heroes; that’s just not in his nature (although I’m not sure I could say the same about Batman and Wonder Woman). While the three have noticed there’s some connection they share that is unique, I don’t think any of them have ever considered themselves part of some mythical threesome. That’s what erotic fan fiction is for.