MPLS Sound Proves the Sound Will Live on Forever

When asked what is your favorite Prince song? I struggle to answer that question, it changes every day. One day, it could be “Partyman” from the Batman soundtrack and the next day it would be “The Morning Papers” from the Love Symbol album. As a Minnesotan, a day does not pass by without being influenced by Prince and to be honest the last five years Minnesota has not been the same. When it comes to Prince and comics, there is a connection that goes beyond his soundtrack for Batman. The late great Dwayne McDuffie and the amazing Denys Cowan worked on Prince comics and in the upcoming Batman 89′ series, a character based off of Prince’s design from “Partyman” and “Batdance” music videos. But, no other graphic novel or comic has ever captured what Prince meant to Minnesota and music as well as MPLS Sound.

Life Drawn by Humanoids, Jen Bartel

Co-writers Joseph P. Illidge and Hannibal Tabu and artist Meredith Laxton create a fictional tale in an environment and era of music that proves to be perfect for a graphic novel treatment. Growing up in Minnesota, the Minneapolis sound has influenced the music that comes out from our state. Let’s be honest, while you are listening to “Juice” by Lizzo or “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars or anything by Janelle Monáe, you are hearing hints of Prince and the Minneapolis sound. MPLS Sound is able to capture that with the creation of the band Starchild.

After a very well written forward by Josh Jackson, the co-founder and president of Paste Magazine, we are introduced to Starchild, a band filled of all different personalities and provides a great reminiscence of The Revolution. Theresa, the lead singer who comes across a poster for Prince’s Controversy while walking home from the market, feels inspired to create a band herself. Joined by her church choir singer Ezzie, rock musician and guitarist James, Dani the drummer that has never been apart of a band, the keytar player Slim, a classically trained pianist that loves Funkadelic, Lizzie and Theresa’s brother Ellis on bass.

Meredith Laxton, MPLS Sound

MPLS Sound tells the story of how a band found success during the eighties in Minneapolis, with Starchild having to create a record to get on the radio and catching the eye of the purple yoda himself. As the band continues to find success, they have battle of the bands with Morris Day & The Time. (for those who didn’t grow up in Minnesota or on Purple Rain, they are the band at the end of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) After giving a hell of a performance and a night that Morris Day would never forget.

After being giving the chance of a lifetime, Starchild has to choose between fame or keeping their identity. In a story that felt like a tribute to Prince, turns into a story that would make Prince proud with the theme of staying true to yourself. The creative team could have spent the whole time focusing on Prince, but they did the complete opposite and that is a major benefit for the story. The Minneapolis sound is truly the main character of this story and Prince is only in the book for a few panels despite playing a major part in the story.

By the time the story was over, I was attached to every character and at certain points felt a tear rolling down my face. Joseph P. Illidge and Hannibal Tabu’s script has great pacing and they truly created great characters. The only problem that MPLS Sound has is the fact that it could have added more pages for character development and the desire of more story. It’s not a bad problem to want more from a story.

I do wonder how much I would love this book if I was not a Minnesotan and a giant fan of Prince. But the cover alone from Jen Bartel (also a Minnesotan) should recommend this graphic novel to anyone. So throw on your favorite Prince album, find some purple tinted lights and read this book!

The Breakfast Brunch #1: A Creative and Scrumptious “Must Back” on Kickstarter

As a kid, did you ever think up an imaginative quest after eating breakfast because you felt that you had all the power in the world? No matter how you answered that question, The Breakfast Brunch #1 from Plastic Sword Press is a must read. This first, of two, 54-page issue is fast-paced and hard to put down. It’s an energetic comic, much like breakfast. And it leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.

The best thing about Kickstarter, is discovering projects that have great world-building and give that escape from reality that transform you into another one. This project intermixes magic, discovery and the quest to find The Perfectly Balanced Breakfast. Humorous moments and relatable ones, at that, are worked in well throughout the issue.

Jose Garcia’s artwork is stunning and gives off a vibrant anime-feel, and Nikki Power’s colorwork really makes the story even more devour-some by popping off the page. The detailing of the pirate ship and the character’s costume designs is impeccable. The writing style of Ryan Little blends well with the art style. It’s like diving into a bowl of cereal that is bright and sugary, and even better, for all ages! The premise of the story is something that could be seen as a Saturday morning cartoon, with action figures and all.

Commodore Crackle is a young female pirate of the high seas who joins with Midknight who is a Knight in not so shining armor, to find The Perfectly Balanced Breakfast. The characters they encounter along the way either help or hinder their quest. The colors in the issue are so bright and immersive, they practically jump off the page. The writing and illustrations work together in a cohesive way that continually drives the story.

The cereal mascots are referred to as Breakers, and they must come together in unity to find and discover the balance. Will luck be on their side or will there be a monstrous threat in their way? Their quest for The Perfectly Balanced Breakfast also shows their personal discoveries and balances within themselves which is inspiring to all reading levels. The magic and mythology brings these unique characters to life, but also leaves the door open for a villainous character to stir up the bowl.

Personally, this issue drew me in from the art style and humorous moments. The fantasy, medieval world is well portrayed as the cereal characters come to life. It is such a clever concept that I never would have thought I would enjoy reading about. I am not a big breakfast cereal person, but now I want to wake up every morning and have cereal transform me into a different world.

The Breakfast Brunch #1 is fast paced and witty overall, it provides the reader with darkness, light, monsters, heroes and breakfast cereal references that will leave you laughing and hungry for more.

Back this Kickstarter before time is up! CLICK HERE to back this project before Thursday, April 8, 2021. It’ll leave you craving more!

February’s Reading Report

So here we are again, the second month of 2021 is over. One year has passed since our last comic convention, it’s been one year since we were at a movie theater watching Birds of Prey, and it’s been one year since we ate inside a restaurant. It could have been a lot worse, did I miss out on college graduation after a ten year journey? Yes, but hey here we are alive and well with a slew of comics and the brilliance of Wandavision.

So what did I read during February? Well certainly not as much as I did in January but that was not a bad thing. A graphic novel was not touched until the 10th, got distracted by a book on the independent wrestling scene. Which would provide a little foreshadowing to how I would finish the month. Unlike last month, this month was not driven by all Marvel. 13 graphic novels were read throughout the month.

The first book of the month was that of Marvel Graphic Novel #18 which was Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne which was really enjoyable. One of the coolest things about this book, is also the books biggest weakness and that being the sexualization of Jen Walters. That being said, reading it through the lenses of someone reading it in 1985, the sexualization is a sign of the time. After reading this, we went to a local comic shop and picked up volume one of Dan Slott’s run. A very surprising read would follow in the Mark Millar love letter to eighties with Marvel 1985.

Now usually I am pretty positive person but this next read was difficult to get through, being a fan of Robert Kirkman, it was only fitting to dive into The Infinite. The problem being is Rob Leifeld’s artwork, it just didn’t work for me. Overall I cannot recall what happened in the book, which is never a great sign for a comic. I would read another Kirkman graphic novel with the horror action Haunt volume 1 with amazing artwork by Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley, and Greg Capullo. A little side note, currently we are pulling three brilliant Kirkman books with Walking Dead Deluxe, Oblivion Song ( which is coming to an unfortunate end) and Fire Power.

So every month, the goal is to read at least one WTF book and one classic that I have never read. This month, the WTF book would have been The Infinite until later in the month I read Superman Vs. Predator. It was not a bad book at all, but it was certainly a book that was unique and different from the book I would usually read. Although the book did feature some awesome work from Alex Maleev. The classic for this month would be the Mephisto Vs. storyline from 1987 by Al Milgrom and John Buscema.

Some Indie highlights from this month would have to be three awesome and different books. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night from Benemoth Comics, book does not feature much dialogue but the art is stunning and haunting. Abbott from Image Comics by the brilliant author Saladin Ahmed, which was a great book that I am looking forward to seeing future installments. And the final book would be the last book read in February and the perfect way to cap the month. Headlocked :Tales from the Road that featured thirteen short stories co-written by professional wrestlers and Michael Kingston. The likes of Samoa Joe, Joey Janela, Rob Van Dam and The Young Bucks join Kingston. Despite some great books this month, Headlocked: Tales from the Road was the most fun I had reading. (Look out for a review potentially on this book)

Books read in February: 2/10) Sensational She Hulk (Marvel Graphic Novel #18) by John Byrne, 2/14) Marvel 1985 by Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards, 2/15) The Infinite by Robert Kirkman and Rob Leifeld, 2/15) Nightwing: Year One by Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, and Scott McDaniel, 2/16) SuperGirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones, 2/19) Mephisto Vs. by Al Milgrom and John Buscema, 2/20) A Girl Walks Gome Alone at Night by Anna Lily Amipour and Michael Deweese, 2/21) Abbott by Sladin Ahmed, Sami Kivela, and Jason Wordie, 2/21) Haunt vol 1 by Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarland, Ryan Ottley, and Greg Capullo, 2/21) Superman Vs. Predator by David Michelinie, Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth, 2/22) America #2 Fast & Fuertona by Gabby Rivera, 2/23) Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K Vaughn and Marcos Martin, and 2/28) Headlocked: Tales From the Road by Micheal Kingston with various wrestlers and artists.

I would like to apologize if this blog seems like a mind bomb of thoughts, but we will get a better idea of how to do this monthly. But once again please let us know what you think if you have read any of those books and what did you think of them?

Wait, You Haven’t Seen That Yet: Green Lantern

In 2015, the better half had very little knowledge of comic book films, so over the last five years it’s been a flood of introducing her to these films. As we narrow down the list of films to be watched, we realized that the films left were among the so called “terrible” or “disappointing” films. Which inspired the idea of chronicling the experience of watching these films.

After dropping a poll in a Facebook group we belong to (shout out to the Minnesota Comic Squad) with the option of four films: Daredevil: Director’s cut, Ang Lee’s Hulk, Ghost Rider and Green Lantern. An hour passed after dropping the poll and Green Lantern would narrow out Ghost Rider. With three hours before Wandavision dropping, we started Green Lantern.

When it comes to Green Lantern knowledge, we both severely lack in that department. Besides reading Blackest Night, I’ve always gravitated towards John Stewart due to the animated Justice League series and recently being introducing Jo Mullein in Far Sector. Going into this film with little knowledge of the character may help with the somewhat positive viewpoints of the film.

I don’t want to add to the overall dislike of the film in the comic community. So I’ll just address a few issues, right now. The Green Lantern costume still may be the ugliest on screen, but that being said Ryan Reynolds was not bad as Hal Jordan. Parallax and Hector Hammond were both forgettable characters, especially with Parallax having the same fate as Galactus in Fantastic Four: The Rise of Silver Surfer (A film that will be watched and reported on soon). That being said, Peter Sarsgaard has moments where I can see a compelling villain, but the problem being not enough time with the character and a bad design (Big ass head). And the finally major issue with the film was the amount of wasted opportunity in the cast from Angela Bassett as Amanda Waller to Mark Strong as Sinestro.

The best part of the whole film has to be OA and the green lantern corps, despite the short time they are onscreen. In fact, when asking Nora, “What was your favorite part of the film?” without even thinking she said OA. Which got me thinking, yes she was right. On OA, we are introduced to three characters that with more screen time could have improved the film. Sinestro, Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), and Kilawog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan). All three characters made us excited for the future Green Lantern series.

Watching in 2021, the first two things that popped in my mind was “Holy shit! Boba Fett is Abin Sur.” Also, “Holy shit! I forgot Taika Waititi was in this.” Another thing that happens watching this in 2021, is comparing Viola Davis and Angela Bassett in the role of Amanda Waller, which unfortunately for Bassett, I forgot she played Waller until rewatching this. Now, I do not think this film is terrible, as much as it is disappointing that had so much potential. Ryan Reynolds was alright as Hal Jordan, but for future live action adaptations it will be great to expand the universe such as John Stewart or Jo Mullein.

What film should we do next? Please add suggestions or comment on how you feel about Green Lantern ten years later.

Noggin’s January Reading Report

What a crazy damn month!!! January presented the end of 2020 (Finally!) but also presented an insurrection and an inauguration. It was the definition of a rollercoaster, many ups and many downs. So during the craziness, we had to find distractions with the premiere of WandaVision and the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed to be the main driving force of our reading this month. Which inspired us or most likely just myself to keep track of what I read this month and maybe even this entire year.

In the course of 31 days, 23 graphic novels and a mini-series was read in between the release of new comics each week. A quick summary for those who like statistics (I am a stats guy) in January, Marvel comics dominated the reading with 15 stories, while TKO Studios and DC Comics both sharing 3 stories read. So lets dive into some of the highlights of January reading….

The month begun with the current wave of TKO Studios books. Kicked off 2021 with Lonesome Days, Savage Nights written by Steve Niles and art by Szymon Kudranski. Red Fork by Alex Paknadel and art by Nil Vendrell. And finally The Pull by Steve Orlando and art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. TKO Studios once again proved that they are a publication that continue to produce great stories, The Pull really stood out among the reading with the snappy dialogue and energetic artwork. I would recommend all three graphic novels for anybody looking to read something different from the usual.

Before talking about the books from the big two, I want to focus on the other two books. Blackbird by Sam Humphries and art by Jen Bartel from Image Comics and Kill A Man by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Al Morgan from Aftershock Comics. Both books were read in one sitting with Kill A Man feeling perfect for a film adaptation. Also being from Minnesota and Blackbird being from two Minnesotans, had to dive into this magical story, that I hope will continue on in the future. Jen Bartel’s artwork is marvelous and adds fuel to the fire of wanting more of her artwork especially with her current work for Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman

Within the DC Universe, a universe that I love so much but recently have found myself distancing from, I only read three graphic novels in January. Usually my reading pile is filled with tales from Gotham and the Fourth World but this last month it was filled with randomness from the distinguished competition. Prez: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell was the perfect read, Russell has become one of those writers that I have to chase down and find his books now. If you haven’t read Prez from 2015-2016, do yourself a favor and pick up this odd yet relevant book about a teenager that becomes the president.

Now comes the majority of my reading, the center of the universe right now for most of geeks, the Marvel Universe. Now to be completely truthful, WandaVision impacted my decision making, but I am so glad it did. After the first two wonderfully weird episodes of the show, I found myself diving into John Byrne’s West Coast Avengers: Vision Quest and absolutely loving everything about it. Now I am not the most well rounded reader of the Marvel Universe, so stories like this are brand new to me and discovering them for the first time was a perfect getaway. I mean come on, never would I have thought I would want to read more about the Great Lake Avengers but Vision Quest sparked an interest. But the adventures of Vision and Scarlet Witch were not the only Avengers to capture my intrigue.

In the most “WTF” decision of the month, reading Thor Vikings by Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry felt like a nordic acid trip. It wasn’t bad, in fact it had my attention throughout the story, but had to keep asking myself “What the fuck am I reading right now?” Although reading the first complete collection of Thor by Jason Aaron, was like reinforcing the love I had for the God of Thunder. Reading this makes Thor Love & Thunder, one of my most anticipated MCU films with the introduction of Gorr the God Butcher.

Please let me know if you would like future installments of a monthly reading report. We would gladly appreciate any advice. Right now, we need the extra push to be creative and even recapping some reading in butchered grammar seems a step in the right direction.

The full list of stories read in somewhat chronological order : 1) Lonesome Days, Savage Nights by Steve Orlando and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, 2) Red Fork by Alex Paknadel and Nil Vendrell, 3) The Pull by Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Al Morgan, 4) Silver Surfer Parable by Stan Lee and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, 5) Justice League Beyond: Konstriction by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, 6) Black Widow: The Complete Collection by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, 7) Blackbird by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, 8) Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, 9) Thor: The Complete Collection Vol.1 by Jason Aaron, 10) Prez: Corndog in Chief by Mark Russell and Ben Candwell, 11) Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu, 12) Scarlet Witch: Witches’ Road by James Robinson, 13) Hawkeye: All New Hawkeye by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez, 14) Hawkeye: Hawkeyes by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez, 15) Thor Vikings by Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry, 16) Batgirl Year One by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beaty, 17) West Coast Avengers: Vision Quest by John Byrne, 18) Scarlet Witch: World of Witchcraft by James Robinson, 19) Scarlet Witch: The Final Hex by James Robinson, 20) Ultimate Vision by Mike Carey, Mark Millar, Brandon Peterson and John Romita Jr. 21) The Vision: Yesterday and Tomorrow by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, 22) Contest of Champions: Battleworlds by Al Ewing and Paco Medina, 23) Darth Maul: Death Sentence by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, and 24) Kill A Man by Steve Orlando, Philip Kennedy Johnson and Al Morgan.

Let Your Love Save You

Now that the election seems to be over (a long and exhausting 70 days ahead of us) and we are driven by political viewpoints, Nora and I are back to writing. Over the last couple months, we lost the will to create and write yet through this very challenging time we have found inspiration to write about things that we love. While having CNN on for the entirety of last week, comic books, Star Wars, and video games provided us with the distraction that we desperately needed.

Instead of the dubious feeling in our stomach watching a so called president spread lies about the vote, we were arguing over the latest episode of The Mandalorian. One of us really enjoyed the episode with the character building and the expansion of the universe into live action, while the other felt the episode lacked storytelling but enjoyed the horror aspect of the episode. It felt great to have an argument over something we love instead of dealing with the stress of the election and politics.

In times like these, it is great to have a hobby that can save us from depression and disappointment. Not only the election, but also the rising cases of Covid, Nora and I are grateful to have these distractions. We know that we have to sacrifice gatherings, we know the holidays may be different from other years, we may not be able to share moments with family this holiday season but we do not let that bring us down. We escape into the worlds that provide us happiness. Whether its swinging through the streets of New York as Spider-Man or we are on a speedster in the desert of Tatooine, we are happy.

If you are reading this, please find something that brings you direct happiness. Right now forget about the stereotypes associated with anything that brings that joy. Remember others do not dictate what you love, if you love Howard the Duck that is awesome man…. so do I.

DC Fandome Rocks Our World and Gives 2020 Hope.

While attending a social distancing/ goodbye party at our local comic shop, a good friend yells across a table of long boxes “Hey, we need to know what Noggin Comics thinks of DC Fandome?” We stood there with sweat soaking into my Kite Man shirt for a good thirty minutes discussing everything that came out of the global event that shook geekdom. Despite spending thirty minutes discussing it, I feel like there were things that we skipped over.

First off, in regards to comic books news, the only thing that came out of DC Fandome was the exciting news that Milestone is coming back. I love the imprint of Milestone and the characters that it introduced such as Icon, Hardwire, and Static. Talking about Static, it was announced that Static Shock is in the early stages of development for a live action film. As a kid, Static Shock was one of my favorite cartoons and was the earliest introduction to comic book characters. I look forward to hearing more about the film as well as the future of Milestone Comics.

DC Fandome opened with the Wonder Woman 84 panel, which could had very well ended the event. They decided to open the event with a bang, by releasing a new trailer to Wonder Woman 84 and giving us our first look of The Cheetah. Wow! Kristen Wiig looks incredible as Barbara Mineva/The Cheetah and Pedro Pascal looks like he will be a wonderful Maxwell Lord. With a release date of October 4, 2020, we are hopeful that it would be save enough to see this film in the theaters. Our reaction to Wonder Woman 84 was that of joy and excitement for the film and hoping it can build on the foundation that the 2017 film built.

After that was the first of many “holy shit” moments. WB Games Montreal comes out with the announcement of Gotham Knights. Being a massive fan of the Arkham series and a believer that Arkham Origins is an underrated gem of a game. The trailer for Gotham Knights opens with the death of Bruce Wayne and establishes that the game will focus on the bat-family. Gamers will get to play as Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, and Robin as they take on Mr. Freeze and The Court of Owls. Yes, you read that right the Court of Owls will be in a video game. The trailer would had been enough to get me back into the world of the Arkham series, but they decided to share seven minutes of glorious gameplay. The game will have a co-op feature, look forward to grabbing some friends and playing this when it comes out next year.

Another “holy shit” moment will follow the announcement of Gotham Knights, when James Gunn dropped a hilarious panel with the cast of The Suicide Squad. First releasing a roll call video where we were introduced to the characters that the cast would be playing and all I can say is this cast is insane. Returning from the 2017 Suicide Squad (which I low-key enjoyed) are Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. But James Gunn made sure that we knew this was going to be nothing like the previous film when it was confirmed that David Dastmalchian will be playing Polka-Dot man, Pete Davidson is Blackguard, John Cena is Peacemaker (which he describes as a douchey Captain America), and Peter Capaldi is The Thinker. I seriously thought that Idris Elba would be playing Bronze Tiger, but was blown away to find out that he is playing Bloodsport (no not after the Jean -Claude Van Damme film) and we will be getting King Shark as well. Taika Waititi has an unconfirmed role, but my gut is telling me he is doing voice over work for King Shark. James Gunn shared a pretty lengthy behind the scenes video that took my excitement for this film through the roof. Hate to compare the two films but I believe DC Comics will have a Guardians of the Galaxy like hit with this film.

The reason why most people turned into Fandome was next for the Snyder Cut. As we sat on the couch with our nerdy family members, silence overcame the room when the trailer began with a shot of Darkseid (or shall we say, Uxas) in all of his gloriousness to a haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League gave all of us hope that this will be the true vision of Justice League with character development and a story that has weight to it. Snyder announced that it will be split into a 4 part mini-series and will premiere on HBO Max in 2021. Reasons to be excited for this film, Darkseid (Uxas), black suit Superman, a Cyborg story, and Flash truly using his powers. Sure I missed out on a few other things but this looks like the Justice League fans deserved. This would had been the best part of DC Fandome, if it was not for what we would witness to close the event.

Between Snyder Cut and the show ender of DC Fandome, we did get some teasers for future films, tv shows and video games. First, Black Adam with Dwayne Johnson will feature the Justice Society of America characters such as Atom Smasher, Hawkman, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate. The announcement of Doctor Fate in a live action film, damn near made me piss my pants. Black Adam is scheduled to come out in December 2021, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pushed back due to the pandemic. The Flash will be influenced by Flashpoint with a fancy new suit and concept art that features Michel Keaton’s Batman (Holy Shit!). Red Hood is coming to Titans, as well as Barbara Gordon and Scarecrow. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is a 2022 video game that looks like a blast. WWE superstar Samoa Joe is voicing King Shark in the video game, and all DC had to do was show me a trailer of a playable King Shark, but instead we got a fun trailer that introduced the whole crew. And finally Shazam 2 is titled Shazam!: Fury of the Gods and it may co-star Sinbad (Sadly, I will need to educate Nora on who Sinbad is, but we have time).

The biggest moment of the night though had to be The Batman panel with Matt Reeves. We were expecting maybe a few stills from the film or some test footage. Nope, Matt Reeves would spend close to a half hour talking about the film with a level of excitement that made us want to see the film without even seeing a trailer. Reeves would reference Dwaryn Cooke’s brilliant story Batman: Ego as an inspiration and on the film side he was inspired by films like The French Connection and Chinatown. He would also mention that the film takes place in year two of Batman and we would be getting a Gotham PD series on HBO Max that will take place during year one (Nora is beyond excited for this, since it will be based on the Gotham Central comic series). He could had stopped there and we would have been sold. Once Reeves would shock us with a trailer that clocks in at 2 minutes and 24 seconds for a film that is only 25% finished. The Trailer opens with the sound of tape as we get a distance shot of a man being tapped by what we believe is the Riddler and from there on we get one of the most insane trailers for an uncompleted film. Colin Farrell looks unrecognizable as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, we get a tease of Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Jefferey Wright being perfectly casted as Jim Gordon (before he becomes the commissioner) and Batman in action. From the tiny glimpse of Robert Pattinson as Batman, all doubt is thrown out the window, as it looks like he delivers with just hearing three words after brutally beating a criminal. Pattinson utters the iconic line “I’m Vengeance” and it won all four of us over in the room. We also are loving the black eye make up after he took off the cowl. With a release date of October 1, 2021 I will probably watch the trailer every day until we get some new footage. Seriously can say I haven’t been this excited for a Batman film since The Dark Knight Rises. Nora ordered The Batman movie logo t-shirt and hopefully will share it with me when it arrives.

DC Fandome was a major success and shows what comic conventions or conventions in general can be like during the pandemic and virtually. We will certainly tune in on September 12 for the second day of the event. From two fans of DC to DC, Thank you for this event and all that we were shown.

The Women Steal the Show in the Marvel’s Avengers Beta

As the public finally got their hands on the Marvel’s Avengers for the first time with the beta, I have a few thoughts on the game as a comic fan and a gamer. Just remember it’s a beta, so the game is incomplete and things may be different come release date.

First reaction was filled with a sense of giddiness. The beta opens up with the Avengers being attacked on the Golden Gate Bridge in a dramatic and chaotic scene. This gives the opportunity to play as Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Black Widow. Each had time to shine and show what they will bring to the game.

Thor throwing around Mjolnir gave me the same feeling as throwing the axe as Kratos in God of War. During the beta the time with Thor is limited but I do look forward to see full gameplay as Thor. Same can be said with Captain America, as we only spent a few minutes playing as Cap.

Each character feels different which is a good thing. With Hulk, it’s gonna be a powerhouse style of gameplay and button mashing. With Iron Man it’s attack by flight and distance. I’ll have to admit that I had the least amount of fun with Iron Man, maybe it was due to the flying mechanics. But being a beta, I’m optimistic that it will be ironed out by the time the game is released.

The two standout characters in the beta were Black Widow and Kamala Khan. Black Widow’s gameplay was fast, agile and a good blend of up close and distant attack. Kamala Khan’s characteristic brings humor and a sense of wonder to the game, but on top of that, her gameplay feels different and new. The ability to use her limbs to stretch across the level, also her heavy attack feels heavier opposed to her light attack.

Now I have to admit I had troubles with the servers a few times causing me to restart the game. Also had a lack of time to really dive into playing online with friends (the five friends I have on PSN, god I need more friends). Maybe I would have different feelings about that, but right now I am highly anticipating the release of this game.

Also on a side note, thank you to whoever reads this. We should hopefully post more, otherwise what’s the point of having a vision. Keep safe and hope to see you playing this game in the future.

His and Her’s: Top Ten DC Comics Live Action films

In Honor of theDC Fandome event, we wanted to honor the greatness of DC Comics in media. This is going to being the first of lists that we come up with during the pandemic. Here we are going to countdown 10-1 of our favorite DC comics live action film, with our list consisting of different films. We are not looking at the DCEU, but DC as a whole. Don’t worry, a MCU and Marvel list will come in the near future, yes two separate lists for Marvel films.

His # 10: Man of Steel , Her # 10: Birds of Prey

Both of films have their defenders and haters, but we enjoyed both films. Let’s start with Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and screenplay by Christina Hodson, takes the best aspect of Suicide Squad in Harley Quinn and gives the character a spotlight. Margot Robbie improves on her characterization of Harley Quinn. Despite the characterization not being comic accurate, introducing characters such as Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor in a villainous role), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Helena Bertinelli/ The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to a mainstream audience was awesome to see. The real highlight of the film is Jurnee Smollett’s performance of Black Canary, as she commanded the screen throughout the film. To us, Birds of Prey was a Harley Quinn comic coming to life, as most of the time reading Harley Quinn, you just don’t know what to expect. As a female Centric film, Nora loved every aspect of the film. Birds of Prey barely missed the cut for Kyle.

Spoiler alert, Man of Steel will be on this countdown again. If it was not for Christopher Reeve, Henry Cavill would be the definitive live action Superman. Personal opinion, the man could be perfect as superman with the right script. It has a brilliant cast with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon in an underrated performance as the evil General Zod. Remember leaving the theater, wanting more and each time we watch Man of Steel, we want a true sequel.

His #9: Batman Returns, Her #9: Batman Returns

Holy crap, Batman we agreed upon here. Up until earlier this year, Nora had never seen Tim Burton’s Batman (she lived under a rock for twenty-six years), to change that we obviously had a Batman marathon. After we finished the marathon, Kyle asked the question of what was your favorite? She replied with Batman and Robin…… no shockingly she picked the 1992 sequel. Batman Returns is a favorite for us mainly due to the three core villains that carry the film and the Burton design throughout the film. Let’s start with the first villain in Christopher Walken’s Max Shreck, within the first ten minutes of the film, you hate the guy. When watching the film, you can sense that Walken was having fun with the character. The second character is that of Danny Devito’s Penguin, Burton created a nasty version of a well known Batman character and Devito’s performance as the character makes the character jump off the screen. But the true MVP of Batman Returns and the main reason it is on this list is due to the Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. Twenty-eight years later and we still have not had a performance of Catwoman that surpass that of Pfeiffer’s, but lets hope Zoe Kravitz can in the upcoming The Batman. We are both hoping that she will be the perfect fit for the role.

His #8: V for Vendetta, Her #8: Dark Knight Rises

Much like Man of Steel, V for Vendetta will show up on this list again as we disagree on the placement of the film. V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue and screenplay by the Wachowskis, takes the brilliant graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and creates an unforgettable film. The film is carried by performances of Hugo Weaving as V and Natalie Portman as Evey. Up until this film, I was not a fan of Hugo Weaving and now he is among my favorite actors due to this film. On the 5th of November, V for Vendetta will be on the TV in celebration of this fantastic film.

The Dark Knight Rises is the finale of the Nolan trilogy with Tom Hardy’s Bane as the villain and the introduction of Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. Nora was surprised to find that the Dark Knight rises did not crack his top ten. It is a phenomenal film that is overshadowed by another film in the trilogy. The action is great with an opening scene that is unforgettable. If this list was based on the best DC films then this would have been on both lists. We are both waiting for the Robin film starring Joseph Gordon Levitt.

His #7: Wonder Woman, Her #7: Aquaman

Patty Jenkins helmed the 2017 film that was long overdue and did it deliver in terms of greatness. Gal Gadot officially replaced Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in this film and the “No Man’s Land” scene may be one of the most powerful moments in DC Comics films. The only thing that holds back this film, are the terrible villains. If it wasn’t for the poor version of Ares, this film would have cracked the top five films from DC. The chemistry between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor was a joy to watch as well, with Chris Pine being a great Steve Trevor. But now after just re-watching the film, the Ares portrayal was not as horrible as seen and perceived after the first viewing (at least to Nora).

As Wonder Woman acts a “fish out of water” tale, Aquaman showed that Atlantis needs to be explored more in live action. The Direction of James Wan proves that he can helm a superhero film and Jason Momoa proves that Aquaman is no longer a joke. Nora desperately wants more of Aquaman and Atlantis in film.

His #6: Superman 2 The Richard Donner Cut, Her #6: Man of Steel

The last time there will be a Superman film on the list but while doing this list, we realized how much of an impact that the character has had on superhero films. Granted that may be an obvious comment, but in today’s superhero films landscape, the important of Richard Donner’s Superman can be forgotten.

As a kid, Kyle remembers loving Superman: The Movie and Superman 2. Later on in life, he would finally watch the Richard Donner cut and holy crap it was like visiting the film for the first time. The cast is absolutely brilliant in the film with Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane (the best love action Lois), Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and Terrence Stamp as General Zod.

That being said, we both hope Henry Cavill gets the chance to start as Superman in another film. Fingers crossed!

His #5: Shazam, Her #5: V for Vendetta

Did not expect to love Shazam as much as Kyle did. It was another example of great casting. Zachary Levi was perfect as Captain Marv…. I mean Shazam. The film felt like Big was smashed together with a superhero film. It’s just a fun film wonderfully directed by David F Sandberg that brings humor to the DC universe. In the recent DC films, Shazam has the best villain next to Aquaman’s Orm.

Nora’s reaction to V for Vendetta was that of “holy crap, this film is powerful” and a absolute love for Alan Moore’s masterpiece.

His #4: Watchmen, Her #4: Watchmen

Here is another film we agree on. We both love Watchmen and we know that this may be an unpopular opinion but this is Zack Snyder’s greatest film. Besides not involving a killer squid, Watchmen is ripped right from the pages and placed on the screen. Now you may realize that Batman Vs. Superman is missing from the list and that is due to this film. We are huge fans of Snyder’s work and did not want the list to be filled with Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder, so that’s why Man of Steel and Watchmen have a place on this list.

The visuals are stunning throughout the film with Dr. Manhattan feeling like a serious threat throughout the whole film. The real standout performances belong to Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach and Jeffery Dean Morgan as Edward Black/ The Comedian. Despite the length, this is a film we can watch multiple times and find a new love for the film. (Look out for a in depth post on the film in the future). Side note, if you have not watched the HBO series, do yourself a favor and watch it even if you do not like the film or graphic novel. It pulls you in from the first episode. That being said, we are do for a rewatch of it soon.

His #3: Batman, Her #3: Wonder Woman

Jack Nicholson as the Joker and a killer soundtrack from Prince, if it were not for two other brilliant characterization of the sadistic clown, Batman would be Kyle’s all time favorite DC film. Tim Burton’s vision presented a gritty and comic accurate version of the caped crusader for the first time and superhero films would never be the same again. The film is cheesy but at the same time it’s a blast to watch even thirty years later. Micheal Keaton will always be Kyle’s batman and to know that Keaton is coming back as old man Bruce Wayne has us excited for the future of DC films.

Wonder Woman was the film that made Nora fall in love with comics, the story of Diana Prince. The feeling of female empowerment was overwhelming for her and the experience of viewing this in the theater caused a huge smile across her face. And she loves rewatching it over and over. Cannot wait for Wonder Woman 84, even though it will hit theaters in the middle of a pandemic…

His #2: Joker Her #2: The Dark Knight

One performance can make a film great and that was the story of Todd Philips’ Joker. Joaquin Pheonix gives one of the greatest performance in Comic book film history as Arthur Fleck and won the academy for Best Actor for obvious reasons. Pheonix’s performance was not the only thing that stood out in the film as the score by Hildur Guonadottir. The film acting as psychological character study but also a social commentary.

We forced Nora to watch The Dark Knight on New Years Day when we found out that she had never seen the film. She was enthralled by what she saw and brought me enviousness as Kyle wanted to experience for the first time again.

His #1: The Dark Knight Her #1: Joker

We both feel like both films are among the greatest films in general. Walking out of the movie theater after viewing Joker, Nora would say “That is the greatest film I have ever seen.” Which was the same thing I said when walking out the movie theater for The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker will never be forgotten, its one of the greatest performances of all time. But as he was great in the film, so was the whole cast. Aaron Eckhart was perfect as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. For the sake of argument, lets just say both films are absolutely brilliant.

We do hope in the next couple years this list looks different as the future of DC comics films looks extremely bright.

Addressing Racial Inequalities Through Comics: The Books You Need to Read.

Comic books have a history of addressing the current political landscape and racial inequalities. Stan Lee has his famous Soapbox column that address bigotry and the X-Men have always been an allegory for inequality. In memorial of George Floyd, we were giving a half day off from work to reflect or watch the memorial service for Mr. Floyd. I want to take that time to recommend some books that address Racial inequality and have been an influence of studies and taste in my love for comics. This list will only provide a short summary of the stories, as the idea is to get more to read these books.

March by John Lewis , Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell- Published by Top Shelf Productions

Written by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell, March is at trilogy of books in black and white art that captures the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis. Each book in the trilogy focuses on different events during the Civil Rights Movement from the Freedom Riders in Book two to Selma march in Book three. March also takes place in 2009 with John Lewis preparing to attend the First inauguration of Barack Obama, this is where we find Lewis telling his story to a family in his office. This trilogy should be required reading in the educational system, much like Art Spiegleman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. In times like this, March provides a history lesson that is much needed and shows the meaning for fighting in what you believe in.

Black by Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3 and Jamal Igle- Published by Black Mask Studios

Black is different in all the best kind of ways. The premise of the book being what if only black people had superpowers. Kareem Jenkins is gunned down by the police but survives and learns that he has superpowers and the government is keeping it a secret. It is a powerful story with commentary on racism and racial inequality. The cover of the trade paperback sends chills down the spine with a young black man with police surrounding him in riot gear. It is a mature book with lots of action and profanity, but the message and commentary blends effortlessly with the over the top action.

Bitter Root by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene- Published by Image Comics

Bitter Root is a fun series that allows a message to be told through monster hunting. It is currently ongoing and is on issue 7. The Sangeryes were once considered the greatest monster hunting family of all time by curing souls infected by hate. Using the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s, Bitter Root addresses racism by using the hatred as an infection that creates monsters. Bitter Root is another story for mature readers but it has humor and uses family dynamics to create a relationship with the characters. Sanford Greene’s artwork is stunning and chaotic at times. Of all the books on this list, this is the book that all comic fans can read and enjoy.

Captain America: Truth: Red, white & Black by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker. Published by Marvel Comics.

This is unlike any Captain America book that you will ever read. Steve Rodgers thought he was the only person to have been injected with the super-soldier serum, but he was wrong. This story is about the US government using a group of African-American soldiers as test subjects. It’s a tale of injustice and provides a great history lesson to go along with the typical Marvel story. Teenagers can read this book, as it’s not as mature as others on this book but still can be upsetting for some. Easily among my favorite Captain America stories.

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru- published by DC Comics

The most recent entry on the list and did it send shockwaves through the comic community. Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “clan of the fiery cross” writer Gene Luen Yang crafts a tale of immigration and battling adversity. Using the symbol of hope in Superman, we see Superman protect a family and society from the evilness of the Klan. A very courageous book that is recommended for readers of all ages.

This list is only a few examples of comics and graphic novels that address social injustice and racial inequalities. Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams addressed it in their Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 70’s. Milestone comics in the early 90’s was a publication of all African-American creators creating new characters, produced well known characters like Static Shock and Icon. Comics have been a place for creators and readers to express their concerns about the current landscape of politics and society as a whole.