New Rumors About Batman 3

Last night I watched The Dark Knight for probably the 47th time. I have thought that that movie was amazing since the first time that I saw it. Everything about it is pretty much perfect. The writing. The direction. The acting. All of it was spot on, and it all came together to make a great film. I have to give credit to Christopher Nolan for revitalizing the Batman franchise and making it respectable again.

There is one thing that bothered me about the movie, though. Everyone was awestruck by Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker (he apparently won 32 Best Supporting Actor awards for his work in the role). Now, these accolades are deserved; Ledger did a fantastic job portraying the psychotic criminal who brings chaos to Gotham. But no one recognizes Aaron Eckhart and his work as Harvey Dent. To be fair, I can understand why people paid more attention to Ledger than to Eckhart. Heath Ledger had done so much in the way of preparation and getting inside the head of the Joker that he killed himself over it. Eckhart didn’t have that kind of dedication to the character (luckily) but that didn’t detract from his performance.

As Harvey Dent, Eckhart exuded a sense of pride and ambition. Gotham City is his home and he would do whatever it took to clean it up and make it safe. He even goes so far as to partner with a wanted vigilante to obtain his goals. When he is pushed to the edge and becomes Two-Face, you can understand the lengths he goes to bring the guilty to justice. Eckhart brings a notion of believability to the role. When confronted by the Joker in the hospital, he is told introduce some chaos to the mix. But Harvey, as a man of the law, cannot do that simply. He knows that he pledged his life to upholding the law, but he so wants the people who killed his love to pay. So what does he do? He finds his own justice, in the form of his coin.

Harvey Two-Face goes out on a tear, finding the people responsible for killing his fiancĂ©. True to his new form of justice, some of them live and some of them die. By the end of the film, he has Batman and Gordon cornered, pleading for the lives of Gordon’s young son. But they two prevail against the one, and Dent is taken out, but supposedly still alive. So, in terms of the film, where do they go from here?

After The Dark Knight came out, there was talk that Nolan wasn’t finished with the Joker, and that he had planned to include him in the third installment of the series. But after Ledger’s death, I doubt that would happen; Nolan isn’t likely to recast the role after Ledger’s outstanding performance. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Two-Face in the third film. Nolan tied The Dark Knight with Batman Begins with a small cameo by Cillian Murphy reprising his role as Scarecrow. Maybe Nolan can do something like this with Two-Face, but with a larger role. Harvey Dent fell so far from grace in The Dark Knight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has hit the bottom yet. They can take a page from ”Batman: The Animated Series,” with the rehabilitation of Harvey Dent, who will undergo experimental surgery to fix his face. But, the Two-Face personality has such a strong hold on Dent’s psyche that he sets up his own kidnapping and “saves himself.” I’m sure Nolan can write it much better and more compelling than I can, and I certainly would like to see Eckhart reprise his role.

Concerning the other villains in the movie, recently the rumor mill started turning with noise about Johnny Depp and the Riddler and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin. One of those two rumors has since been proven false, but maybe that’s for the best. Perhaps these two characters aren’t the best choice for the third film. These villains have had their time in the films, but maybe it would be better to give some others a chance to shine.

Look at what Nolan did with Batman Begins. The Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul. Two relatively unknown villains given the spotlight, and their inclusion worked. Batman Begins was another well put together Batman movie, and the best of all of them up until The Dark Knight. And I understand that the Joker and Two-Face are two of Batman’s most famous foes, which may have led to The Dark Knight being such a success, but with Batman’s rogues gallery, why not pick someone else?

The one villain I would love to see would be Clayface. Modern computer effects can handle the character with no problem, and his backstory is quite compelling, but I doubt that it would ever happen. It seems like they have been choosing enemies that are reality-based, which explains why the Heath ledger wore makeup instead of having permanent skin discoloration. Clayface, however, is a character based in fantasy, and their suspension of belief would be too much. By this rationale, we can also rule out Killer Croc.

Another bad guy I would like to see would be The Mad Hatter. The idea of mind control would be an interesting subplot, the way Carmine Falcone was handled in Batman Begins. However, The Hatter’s modus operandi is very similar to the Scarecrow's, so much of it may be a rehash.

Maybe they can re-introduce the crime bosses to Gotham. Maxie Zeus and Black Mask would be two perfect characters to bring into this mix. With most of the mob being chased from Gotham, two small time bosses with “a flair for the dramatics” move in with an eye to take things over. The citizens of Gotham get caught in the mix, and they both have the ambition to take down Batman. Throw in Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and you’ve got a three-way war. Black Mask would also be a good foil to Bruce Wayne, and not just the Batman. But again, they’ve done the organized crime things, in both films, and may want to avoid it for the third.

Though I would love to see Harley Quinn on the big screen, it seems unlikely to happen. Without her relationship with the Joker, her character would be far different, and would just seem too different. So unless they do recast the Joker, this one probably won’t happen.

And let’s not forget about Hush. With vendettas against both Batman and Bruce Wayne, it is likely that Hush could hold the entire film himself. Even though Batman hasn’t faced off against only one bad guy since Jack Nicholson, it could certainly be done.

These are just a few of the characters that Batman can face off against in the third film. The Riddler and the Penguin have already had big-screen portrayals in the past, though they weren’t very good. Don’t get me wrong; Christopher Nolan would undoubtedly do justice to these two villains, unlike what was done by Joel Shumacher and Tim Burton. But I would love to see some fresh blood introduced into the Batman films. There are so many good characters that are unknown by the public, and most of them deserve the fame.


The Writing of Dan Brown

It took me much longer than usual to finish Dan Brown’s newest novel, The Lost Symbol. This is not a reflection of the content of the book; in fact, it was a busier than usual schedule that prevented me from reading as much as I wanted to. I thought the book was great. It was very much in the same vein as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Brown has a knack for writing historical fiction and making it quite riveting. They way he twists quantifiable truth with fictional accounts is amazing. This is probably why it takes him so long to write his novels (his last book, The Da Vinci Code, was published in 2003, and I cannot even imagine the amount of research that goes into each book.

This post was meant to be a review of The Lost Symbol, but I realized that I’m not intelligent enough to dissect the entire novel after only one read through. I am also not intelligent enough to deconstruct Dan Brown’s writing and criticize his sentence structure and prose. Anyway, that would just be unfair; considering this website, Dan Brown is an easy target for this kind of critique.

Personally, I feel that judging Dan Brown this harshly is unwarranted.

Granted, Brown is not the best writer. His use of prose is clumsy at times and he misuses words in different contexts. Brown will never be compared to Hemmingway in a contest of famous authors. But Brown can do one thing that Hemmingway couldn’t; sell 2 million copies of a book in a single week. Clearly, Brown doesn’t write because he wants to leave an undying, flawless piece of art with the world. He writes because he has a story to tell and wants to make money at the same time.

What is wrong with that?

Geoffrey Pullum, a linguistics professor in Edinburgh, really tears into The Da Vinci Code in this article here. And he has many valid points. He also concedes the fact that nothing he says will be able to harm Brown or his career, which is another valid point. So why bother? The Da Vinci Code sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide since its release. Apparently, there are 40 million people who were willing to put up with “bad” writing for an enjoyable storyline. So what was the purpose of writing a scathing article about Dan Brown and his writing style?

Maybe because The Da Vinci Code sold over 40 million copies worldwide?

I think that Pullum harbors a little resentment against Brown because of his success. Here, Pullum sees an author who has no grasp of proper writing, a boatload of books. Meanwhile, Pullum himself faces everyday educating the minds of authors as to give them the tools to avoid the kind of clumsy, erratic writing that Brown has turned into a victory. It’s the kind of thing that makes you question if what you are doing serves any point in the long run.

Yes, most of Pullum’s criticisms are justified. The craft of writing is an objective task, and talent can be measured by a set of rules created by linguists from a long time ago. But Pullum also attacks the plot as being “ridiculous” and the puzzles as “stupid.” And here is where Pullum is completely wrong. Pullum may be a more adept reader than the general public, including me. He may have been able to see the plot-holes and puzzle answers from the moment they were introduced, but a simple person like me found them to be intriguing.

It seems to me that Geoffrey Pullum is a condescending writer who dislikes whatever fails to measure up to his standards. For many people, though, reading is not an idea of finding perfect syntax and sentence structure; it’s about drawing away from the real world and escaping into fantasy for a while. I congratulate Dan Brown’s success as a writer without any sort of writing talent. To be quite honest, it’s something that I hope to do one day.


One of the funniest thing I have ever seen.

During half-time of last nights Giants/Cowboys game (the outcome of which I wholly approved of), my friends showed me something they found on the Internet. A description does it absolutely no justice. All I can do is share it with the rest of you.

I grew up in the 80s, and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" will always be embedded in my brain from so many hearings. And I have probably seen the video for the song, with MTV being a prominent part of my childhood. But I believe my psyche has blocked out the amazingly gay and asinine imagery of that video. Luckily, however, that imagery makes this video so Goddamn funny.


The Exiles

I first started collecting comic books in 1990, at the tender age of 10. What got me into the hobby was the Marvel Trading Cards series that was released that year. I remember how all of the kids in elementary school went crazy for those cards, and if you had one of the special holographic cards, then you were crowned king of the playground. So naturally, my affinity went towards the Marvel side of the comic spectrum, because of all of the character information I had become privy to.

Collecting has been my hobby almost non-stop for the past 19 years. I say almost because there was a time around 2000 when I fell out of it. I had found myself spending so much on comics a month that it broke me, mentally and financially. I didn’t have the heart to go to a comic shop and pass over so many titles that I felt I needed. So I stopped going altogether. My absence lasted about two years, but within those two years I missed quite a bit. One of the most note-worthy events was Grant Morrison’s phenomenal run on the X-Men, which I am still in the process of finding the back issues for. But there was one title that I hadn’t heard of before; one that intrigued me to no end. The Exiles.

I was interested in the Exiles mostly because of Blink. I had been a fan of Blink since the Age of Apocalypse storyline. What got me about her was that she is a fragile character, and a badass to boot. So seeing her in a new monthly title was just the kind of thing I needed to drag me back into my old hobby. But there was so much else that kept me coming back. Morph’s poorly-timed comedic interventions. The aspect of parallel worlds. Seeing familiar characters with vastly different personalities. There was enough material in the Exiles to grab me and hold me.

Until the series ended.

Well, the series didn’t end. It was rebooted.

Before the end of the first series, Chris Claremont was brought in to write the book. He got rid of a few of the current characters, and brought in some new ones, one of whom was the X-Woman, Psylocke. Here is my first sign of annoyance. Since Claremont came back to writing for Marvel, it is clear that he is in love with Psylocke. Like, seriously in love. Claremont has brought Psylocke back from the dead I don’t know how many times, but so far she is putting Jean Grey to shame. And to bring her aboard Exiles was just strange to me. I have never had a problem with Psylocke and I think that she is a good character, but Claremont was just overusing her and it became noticeable.

Another problem I had with Claremont’s run, especially the New Exiles title, was Sage. Sage had been a constant with the X-Men for quite some time, and a regular during the Claremont title X-Treme X-Men. Now, here she comes to the Exiles, and most of the time she is battling with herself and the effects of Roma’s memories that have been imprinted on her brain. This happened so often that it was just too much, and quickly brought the title down even further.
I wasn’t surprised to find that New Exiles had been cancelled. But I was surprised, and happy, to find that Exiles had been rebooted again. This time, Jeff Parker had taken over the writing chore, and he brought back the fun of the original series. Once again featuring Blink, as well as the Beast, Polaris, and other mutants, their first mission was to stop Magneto and break up the Brotherhood of Mutants and the X-Men. Finally, after more than a year of Claremont and his heavy stories, the Exiles were back to being fun, with the reappearance of my favorite character and the strange incarnations of the alternate worlds.

So, imagine my sadness when I finished the fifth issue and discovered that #6 would be the final issue of the series.

I have to say, I blame its short run on Chris Claremont, despite not working on this series. When the first series of Exiles hit the stands, it became a quick hit, even garnering a “Must Read” rating from Wizard Magazine. And although the series waxed and waned during its 100 issue run, the positives outweighed the negatives. Blink and Mimic’s romantic relationship. The addition of a sadistic Magik. Sabretooth from the Age of Apocalypse taking the helm as team leader. Even Hyperion and his mission to control the entirety of the Multi-verse. A Many good stories came from the Exiles. Until Chris Claremont came aboard. They rebooted the series, gave Claremont control and it lost readers. Now, a few months after the final issue of New Exiles, another series is given a shot and it only lasts half a year. Why? Because fans have been soured by Exiles stories. They tried Claremont’s stories, didn’t like them, and are afraid of what’s to come. I can understand where they are coming from. I was hesitant of buying the new series at first, but it was worth it. Unfortunately, not everyone saw things the way I did.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Chris Claremont is a great writer. He had some of the greatest story-arcs in X-Men history. But when he came back to the X-Men in the early 2000’s, it just wasn’t the same. But I do love what he is doing on X-Men: Forever. I think putting Chris back with his hey-day of mutants, in the time period after Magneto “died” on Asteroid M, was a stroke of genius. It’s really working out and I’m happy for it.

But he screwed up the Exiles. There is no other way I can put it. I just hope that Marvel gives the team another shot. I am sure there are plenty of writers who can do it right. If they want more drama in the arcs, they should consider Matt Fraction as the writer. Or maybe even Joss Whedon. Whedon has done wonders with the X-Men, as can be seen from his run on Astonishing X-Men.

But to give up on the Exiles altogether is a shame. I really hope Marvel decides to give it a new chance. Hopefully, with a writer that can make things right.


Story Ideas for the New Marvel/Disney

The news of Disney buying Marvel has sparked my creativity. Needing to douse this spark, I have written a few pitches for upcoming comics for the new ‘Mar-sney’ entity.

Ariel, The Submariner
An accident causes tons of toxic chemicals to seep into the ocean, killing the sea’s King Triton and his family. His youngest daughter, Ariel, survives the accident, and declares war on the surface dwellers for the needless death of her family. Now, only one team of heroes can stop her violent rampage, the FANTASTIC FUR! Loner scientist Walter Langkowski, and his alter ego the Sasquatch, teams up with Simba, the lion king, John Jameson, the Man-Wolf, and the ever inquisitive detective team of Chip and Dale. Only the combined might, guile, and brilliance of the Fantastic Fur can bring Ariel to justice.
Project artist: Neal Adams

Beauty and the Beast
After her father winds up missing, Belle sets out into the darkness to find him. Long, hard hours of searching the sewer lead her to an underground civilization of mutants. Unhappy at having a human, let alone a beautiful one, find their home, Belle is attacked by the disfigured outcasts, who call themselves ‘Morlocks.’ Minutes from being killed, a lone figure jumps into the fray to save her. Taking her deeper into the tunnel, Henry McCoy nurses her back to life. At first fearful of his bestial appearance and gray fur, Belle withdraws into herself. But as the brutish scientist begins to subject the beauty to inhumane experiments, Belle learns that McCoy’s external appearance is a reflection of what’s inside his heart.
Project artist: Chris Bachalo

White Queen and the Seven X-Babies
The X-Mansion is attacked by a powerful witch, one claiming to be the step-mother of Emma Frost. Emma defends herself, but soon finds that the Witch’s powers are too strong, so she flees into an attempt to save herself. Weeks alone on the run take their toll, and Frost passes out deep in the woods. However, she wakes up in a small cottage inhabited by tiny mutants, who call themselves the X-Babies. Wolvie, Colossus, Stormy, Iceboy, Creepy Crawly, Roguie, and Psychild nurse her back to heath and keep her hidden from the Witch. But the Witch catches up to the White Queen, turning her own powers against her sending her into a deep sleep. But the X-Babies discover that a kiss can wake her. But the kiss must come from one specific person, the White Queen’s true love, Prince Scott.
Project artist: Skottie Young

Tigger/Tigra: A Love Story
Greer Grant has slipped into a deep depression; her friends feel betrayed at her registration with the Fifty States Initiative, her last love interest turned out to be a shape shifting alien, and her powers have been becoming more and more unstable. So she decides to set off into the wilderness to spend some time alone and sort out her thoughts. While ‘vacationing’ in the Hundred Acre Woods, Grant meets an interesting fellow who calls himself ‘Tigger.’ Grant is drawn to his hedonistic lifestyle and free-spirited personality, and decides to pursue him.
Project artist: Mike Mayhew

A Bug’s Life
Bored with his life and disenchanted at the prospects of the future, scientist Henry Pym revisits the past successes of his life. But after trying on and activating his unused Ant-Man uniform, Pym discovers that he cannot revert back to his original size. He seeks out help in any form that he can, when he meets Flik and his colony of ants. Flik promises Pym to help him find someone who can help him back to normal size, if Pym will help the colony fend off an attack by grasshoppers. But the grasshoppers have their own secret weapon, one in the form of rival Ant-Man Eric O’Grady…
Project artist: Steve McNiven

New Warriors
Jubilee has managed to find happiness since her split with the New Warriors. Keeping in regular touch with Jonothan Starsmore and Barnell Bohusk, Jubilee has found a steady job and a nice apartment, and even a boyfriend. But a letter from a mysterious benefactor promises her more if she puts on the suit and becomes Wondra once more. Deciding that she has nothing to lose by hearing the man out, she sets off into the darkness as the tech-powered superhero. A brief skirmish with an unknown figure calling himself ‘GizmoDuck’ leads to a truce, and the identity or the author of the letter, a self-made billionaire named Scrooge McDuck, now bored with his life and wishing to fund a project to better humanity.
Project artist: Sara Pichelli

Naturally, I would be more than happy to flesh these out into full length scripts if asks, but if Mar-sney would like to place their own writers on the project, then I have no qualms with that, provided I am compensated for the idea. I have also provided artists that I feel would mesh well with the project, but I am open to suggestions from Mar-sney’s art directors.
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