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“I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Ghosts”…Except Kid-Ghosts – Ghostbuster the Video Game Reviewed!

29

Oct

Posted by Steve

new_ghost_busters_video_game.jpgJust in time for Halloween, Superclerk checks in with is take on Ghostbusters the video game. I couldn’t help but chime in with my own take on the franchise, so below you will see my comments in red and Superclerk’s in black. I think it’s safe to say we both liked this game, but read on to find out why:

“When there’s something strange in your neighborhood…”

“Who you gonna call?”

Uhm…Ghostbusters?

That’s right… The Ghostbusters.  They’re back and not in the way we would have expected.  Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston have returned in Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

When the game was announced a couple years ago I was pretty excited.  (As was I.) But the excitement didn’t last as trouble plagued the release of the game from day one until it looked as if we would never get to play what looked to be a pretty sweet game.  (It was almost like the ghosts themselves kept things from getting done and out to the public.  I remember the first time I saw footage from the game though…I was stoked. ) But finally the day came and I think it was well worth the wait.  (Me too)

Let’s break this sucker down…

Ok…let’s

GRAPHICS:

Top notch.  Keep in mind I was playing on a high definition 48-inch television. (I was on a 52 inch Hi-Def…I win) I assume that it would look cool on any TV you played it on because the visuals are that good.  The world is very detailed and you can pretty much smash and blast anything in your path.  The burns and smoldering embers that your proton beams leave on walls and floors are my personal favorite.

ghostbusters_the_video_game_20080424012313090_640w.jpgAll of the characters look like the actors who portrayed them.  That plus the fact that they are voiced by the same actors that made them famous gives the game the feel of watching a third installment of the film franchise.  When you have Ray telling you to throw out a trap and Egon warning you not to cross the streams you can’t help but get all fanboy and smile at the fact that you are busting some ghosts with the originals with the actual Ghostbusters.

I did notice a couple of times where the conversations in various cut scenes didn’t quite sync up with the graphics.  It only happened at one or two points in the game, but it was quite distracting.  I don’t know if it was just something my console was doing or if it’s a bug that got missed in the game. If it’s a bug, it’s a big bug.  (Bite your head off)

The game is very stylized as well.  A lot of work went into recreating a few key places from the films and creating new haunts to wander around in.  All of the creepy locations and the dark corners help give this game a creepy feel.

SPOILER ALERT:  At one point you go back to the library.  While in the library, you go to the children’s reading area.  It’s there that I was legitimately creeped out as you begin to hear the voices of ghost-children laughing and playing.  I’m getting an eerie feeling just typing about it.

MUSIC:

1096008_ghostbusters_video_game_super.jpgIt’s the music from the movies!  All of the music works and feels natural.  While peeping around for some specters it was nice to hear the familiar tones of the films.  It’s spooky and fun and really helps set the mood.  It also shows us that the music from these movies from the 80’s still holds up.  Even the theme song…

Let me tell you somethin’….BUSTIN MAKES ME FEEL GOOD!!!!! Yes, the original theme still holds up.

CONTROLS:

You use every button on the controller.  Much like you would expect, the basic proton pack gets upgrades in the game to keep things interesting.  With each new upgrade you get a new button you have to push.  For me this seemed like it would get confusing and tough as the game went on but the “factory” set up for the controls is actually pretty easy to use and it didn’t hinder me when it got to the point that I needed to switch weapons mid battle or throw out a trap without letting the ghost escape the snare of my proton beam.

I also liked how the controls really made it feel like I was struggling to get these things into the traps.  It was work and I liked it.

It’s easy for me to get confused on the controls.  Even after years of having four buttons and a d-pad on the face of the controller and several buttons on the sides, I still get my buttons mixed up.   I didn’t have that problem so much in this game.  I seldom used any weapon except the original proton pack and the slime gun, but the controls do make it easy to switch between the various weapons at your disposal, and the hardest part about setting a trap was making sure I didn’t get turned around and throw the trap in the wrong direction or throw it too early so that the ghost would bolt to another section before I had it significantly weakened.

When I compare the controls to a game like Superman Returns though (one of the harder control sets to get used to of any game I’ve ever played), things are simple as pie and don’t make the game too easy or end up making it too difficult.

STORY:

This is where things get awesome.  With a script written by Harold Raimis and Dan Akroyd this thing feels like this was made for the fans.  So we not only have the original actors but we get the original writers as well!

ghostbuster_3_movie_video_game_2.jpg

The story takes place in 1991 and the Ghostbusters have been doing the job for a little while.  They have taken on a rookie.  You are that rookie. (And you look like a certain podcaster many of us know.)

You came on just in time too as all hell is about to break loose.  Literally.

The action starts at the Sedgwick Hotel, the scene of the first official job of the Ghostbusters.  Slimer has gotten loose and it’s up to you guys to get him locked up again.  But not all is what it seems and soon you are tangling with the likes of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man himself.  And that’s just the beginning!

I had a friend come in as I was battling Mr. Stay Puft and he was convinced it was the end of the game.  He couldn’t believe it when he found out that it wasn’t the last level.

Soon you are dealing with aspects of the first and second movies in a story that spans New York and different dimensions in an attempt to once again stop the minions of Gozer.

Things are different this time though as you discover that there are several points in architecture throughout the city that are designed to be access points for Gozer to come through from its dimension to ours.  So there is a set quest to follow as you seek to shut down all of the different waypoints to this interdimensional window that are placed all over New York City.

There is a lot of detail in the story and it would have made for an excellent third movie.  But I dig that we can actually be a part of the whole adventure in the team and not just watching it on the screen.

Plus this is a creepy game.  There are a few scenes that had me freaked out, as I played in the dark alone.  One location in particular had me freaked as I explored the children’s section of the New York Library.  Ghostly children’s whispers in the dark are not cool.  Ghost kids are the scariest things ever.  For reals…

I already mentioned that earlier dude…get some original material.  I agree though, ghost kids…I don’t even wanna talk about it.

EXTRAS:

So many I don’t know where to begin.  First off… trapping ghosts isn’t the only job you have to do.  You are also trying to track down objects of paranormal pedigree.  Over the course of your travels you might run across a haunted chair, possessed statue, and even a demonic beard.  These all have their own story to tell and all are pretty cool to read.

Xbox 360 enthusiasts will note immediately the opportunity for achievement points in collecting all of these objects which end up at the firehouse in different places once you’ve found them.

One of the coolest parts for me was being able to snoop around the Firehouse and check out all the detail and fun stuff stored inside.  You can even use the fire pole! (For which you get achievement points)

I, for one, enjoyed taking a sip of water from water fountains.  I only found two or three and I wonder if there are more, and if there’s an achievement for drinking from them all.

Another sweet thing is that the story goes along with the story from the first movie.  We get references to Dana and the apartment of evil plus the return of Peck and his obsession with shutting down the Ghostbusters for good.  This stuff doesn’t feel forced or repetitive at all as the script is written very well and it feels like an extension of the movies instead of a quick way to make a buck off the name.

I agree, even though every level involves busting ghosts, for some ghosts you need specific weaponry to beat them more effectively.  Seldom, though, do you see a ghost from an earlier level appear in a level you are currently playing, so you don’t ever really feel like “been there, busted that.”

There are also the online multiplayer games and access to any cut scenes you see in the game.  The addition of concept art for all the levels and baddies was a plus as well.

I didn’t play a multiplayer game, but I do understand that you can’t play through the game multiplayer style, which is kind of a bummer.

THE CONS:

All of that stuff is the pros.  But it’s not all sunshine and roses.  First off… the loading screen could use a little variety.  Each time you fail a mission and retry it you have to sit through a fairly short loading screen that treats you to the classic Ghostbusters theme song and shots from the game as well as tips for better gameplay.  The tips are a welcome bit but the song quickly becomes a little much after the fifteenth time hearing the opening of the song.  A little variety wouldn’t kill a guy…Hey…here’s an idea…don’t fail a mission so much and you won’t have to hear the song so much.

Another sucky thing is that when you are out and about with the rest of the team you have to keep an eye on their health, as when they are knocked down you need to rush over and help them up so that they can continue to help with the fight.  This isn’t bad as they also help you up when you get slammed as well.  Keeping your team up and running is crucial to keep playing the game.  It is an extension of your health meter.  As long as someone is up you have a chance to defeat the baddies.

That’s the main reason I failed a mission or two along the way, things would get crazy and my teammates would get knocked out before I could get to them or I wouldn’t recognize they were down and then I’d go down with no one to revive me.

The sucky part comes when you get knocked to the ground and have to wait for someone to come help you up.  Sometimes it happens right away but a lot of the time I found myself waiting around for help that never came, as the guys were busy.  I just lat on the ground watching their health blip out one by one.  Then I would have restart the level.  And these guys are supposed to be the professionals.

Finally, the game is a little short.  I beat it in a couple days.  Of course I was playing for five hours straight on one of those days but that’s neither here nor there.  There is nothing wrong with the story though, as it’s well told and compelling.  You just don’t want to stop playing this world.  You have too much fun.  Maybe a few side missions in the beginning where you take calls and go bust some regular ghosts here and there would have helped stretch the game out without making the story drag on more than it has to would have helped.

I think it took me a week, but I would have loved some side missions that didn’t necessarily go along with the overall story arc like the Spider-Man games where you have the option of helping this person or fighting off that criminal.  It would have been cool to have some side levels to help get used to the new gear or just to have fun busting some ghosts.

THE ALL IN ALL:

I loved it.  I had a lot of fun playing around with the Ghostbusters.  All the levels were difficult without being impossible which is good for a guy like me who doesn’t play every game that comes out.  The script is fun.  The music is great…

What more can you ask for in a game?  Except… you know, more of it.  I hope a second game is somewhere on the horizon.

I suggest getting this game.  Now.

If you’re a casual gamer, this is a game that you will enjoy, especially if you enjoy The Ghostbusters.   I am, by no means, good at video games, but I genuinely had fun with this game and as much as there are some creepy moments, there are some laugh out loud moments and one liners from the classic Ghostbusters crew.  Check out the game and other Ghostbusters stuff below and help support the site while you’re at it.


My Top Ten Favorite Supervillains – Number 4 – Juggernaut

29

Oct

Posted by Steve

Juggernaut.jpgNothing can stop him. Seriously, nothing at all can stop this guy. He’s been beaten up, banished to an asteroid, smashed by the Hulk, weakened, and at time forgotten, but he still keeps coming. My fondness for the heavy hitters of the comic books has been pretty well documented, and this guy is no exception. Cain Marko has family ties to Charles Xavier, and a mystic crystal that makes him practically invincible, superstrong, and virtually unstoppable. As with most Marvel character types he’s got his catchphrase, and it’s always fun to see how writers incorporate, “Nothing can stop The Juggernaut” into his dialogue in various stories.

While I’ve never been a big X-Men fan, I’ve always enjoyed stories of The Juggernaut as he faces off against other heroes in the Marvel U. Some of my favorite battles have come between him and the Hulk, and that little feud is still as undecided as it’s ever been. Let’s face it, when you have the unstoppable force meet the immovable object, it’s 411_2.jpggonna be explosive. One of my all time favorite Juggernaut stories took place when he fought The Mighty Thor during the Acts of Vengeance story that ran through Marvel comics in the early nineties. It was in this story that we were first introduced to the New Warriors, but we also got to see what happens when godlike power meets the mystical might of the unstoppable Juggernaut. It was a good two issue battle.

To me, there’s just something about a villain that has to be phased through a concrete floor to be stopped, and even then our heroes are just buying time. Juggernaut is scary in his stature, so the minute he shows up, practically any hero is going to be a bit intimidated. From there, it’s a slugfest where the hero is just trying to stay alive while he or she figures out not how to stop Juggie, but to get away from him and minimize the damage done.

In fact, the only times we’ve seen Juggernaut be handled well by our heroes are times when Professor X gets into his head. Unfortunately, the helmet he wears prevents that from happening. So, the goal is, get the helmet off of him and let Charlie do his thing. Easier said than done. Especially if Charles Xavier isn’t around, or it’s one of the many times that Prof. X is dead. (Which happens more often than you may think.)

hulkvjug.jpgHe’s big, he’s strong, he’s scary, and he gives The Hulk a run for his money. As far as supervillains go, there’s not much to not like. Then they did the whole thing where they made him a good guy. (Who’s they? You know…THEM.) I’m not a big fan of that sort of thing in comics, but his return to being a baddie was done really well in the pages of The World War Hulk X-Men crossover.

Ultimately, his look, his powers, and the sheer action packed slugfests we’re treated to whenever Juggernaut shows up are reasons that I love this character. I’m sure, based on his association with the X-Titles that he has his share of soap opera-ish drama. I know that he and She-Hulk had a short-lived relationship. However, it’s not the drama that draws me to this character. It’s the kid in me that loves every minute of a comic stuffed full of big panels and splash pages of heroes slugging it out with the big guy. I’m a sucker for a Juggernaut story, and if he’s on the cover, I will probably buy the book. For me, he’s worthy of being on anyone’s favorite villains list.

Scarlett Letters – Wonder Woman #33 Reviewed!

28

Oct

Posted by Steve

Scarlett Lynn returns with her take on Wonder Woman #33. This is the Penultimate chapter of the Rise of The Olympian Story arc and big things are happening in the world of Wonder Woman. It’s kind of fitting that she’s been tied up with this while Superman has been dealing with Kryptonians and Batman has been…well…dead. I like that DC, even though they’ve got the whole Blackest Night thing going are trying to return to a time when a person could collect one or two titles and be happy. Then, crossovers meant something…but…this is Scarlett Lynn’s review of Wonder Woman, not my take on the state of comics, so without further blabbering on my part…

WONDER WOMAN #33 – Rise of the Olympian, Finale: Monarch of the Dead

WonderWoman33.jpgHave I ever mentioned that Wonder Woman travels home to the island of Themyscira via a giant, magical, flying clamshell? Sort of like the one in the painting “The Birth of Venus”… only more mobil? If I haven’t, then consider this a quick little primer and heads up.

Anyway… as this issue begins a giant, magical, flying clamshell is skipping across the ocean and slams into the shore of Themyscira as two Amazonian guards look on. (Now aren’t you glad I provided a clamshell-transportation tutorial? Think of how random that scene would be without it!) The guards rush to find Diana unconscious, badly beaten from her previous battle, and they send for her mother. At first Hippolyta is, of course, focused solely on her injured daughter. Then, however, one of the ladies calls her attention to the ocean and the veritable wall of sea-monsters that’s approaching.

Now, Hippolyta is queen for a reason. The woman knows what to do in a battle. Step One: Have the unconscious Diana taken off the battle field to safety. Step Two: Remind someone to grab you a sword when they get a second. Step Three: Take off robe; prepare to defend kingdom in pajamas.

As her mother fights off the invading hordes in her PJs, Diana is slowly regaining consciousness as Phillipus is bandaging up her injuries. Phillipus asks her what happened to her hands, which are especially burnt, and Diana recounts her battle with Genocide. She explains how she had tried to go back for the creature – not wanting to give into the desire for revenge. Her musings are interrupted when she begins to hear the noises of the battle going on at the beach. Phillipus instantly knows what she’s thinking and tries to reason with her but Diana won’t hear of it. Her hands are too damaged to be of much good on their own so she has Phillipus bind a battle axe to her left hand and her lasso to her right hand using the bandages.

In the midst of the battle, the creatures begin to retreat. Ares has ordered Euphemus to focus the attack on Thalarion and Zeus’ Olympians. Athena appears to the Amazons and asks Hippolyta if they will help the men that Zeus wants to replace them with. The two groups join sides against Ares’ forces but Diana bypasses all the carnage and heads straight for the source. In order to stop his twisted plans for the future and to put an end to the war that he had instigated, Diana kills him.

As Diana stands there, removing the weapons she’d tied to her hands, Zeus approaches and congratulates her. Then, oblivious as always, Zeus proceeds to cheerfully tell Diana that he’s created a champion to replace her so that she can run off and be a good wife and mother like she was always meant to. Clearly not catching on to the fact that Diana is not a giddy-little-school-girl at his news, he continues blathering on. When he gets to the part about killing her patron god, however, I think he begins to catch on to the fact that she’s none too pleased. It may have been her punching him in the face and screaming “Murderer!” that finally made her feelings clear. Zeus, however, pompously believes that he knows best and continues on with his decree. Hippolyta will no longer rule, Achilles will take over her role, both the Olympians and the Amazons will be under Zeus’ command and Diana will obey him as her god.

Diana refuses. She renounces all her gods and because they are the gods of the Amazons… she declares that she will no longer be an Amazon. She says goodbye to her mother and promises her that she’ll be alright with her friends and alludes to possibly making amends with Tom. With a final warning to Achilles to look after her people she flies off. Alone.

Skulking around (as she apparently just lives to do) Alkyone mutters to herself about Diana still being an evil dragon and is disgusted with her for abandoning her mother. She reveals that, prior to his death, Ares placed Genocide’s soul in a totem in Alkyone’s possession. She vows to kill Diana and become the mother of Genocide.

STORY: 4 out of 5

DANG! They really weren’t kidding when they said they were planning on shaking up the lives of the DC Trinity. Diana’s not an Amazon any more and is on her own. Her former people and family just had their whole world completely turned upsidedown. And you’re left at the end of this story with no clue as to where it’s going to go next. Her best friends in the superhero world aren’t around anymore… for various reasons. The people who surrounded her in her day-to-day life are just completely messed up at the moment.

I love the story for having the guts to just take the character out of her comfort zone and try something new. Best of all, though, is that they haven’t just shaken up her story in some arbitrary way. It’s been a slow, honest change based on the logical progression of the story and the characters. Continuity for the win!

Forget about what’s coming next, though. [Although considering how late this review is... you may already know what comes next and what happens after that and whatever comes after that. Sorry!] What this issue does so well is payoff one little thing I’ve been begging to happen. Someone finally decked Zeus like he’s been deserving for a while now. Thank goodness it was Diana. (I also would have accepted Hippolyta.)

The only thing that’s holding me back from five stars was that face off with Ares. Really? Way to go out without even trying, Ares. I get that quick is good sometimes but of all villains in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery… Ares has been there a pretty long time and could have gone down with a little more fanfare and a bit more of a fight. Especially on the heels of the previous issues epic battle with Genocide. Maybe that’s it, though. It’s kind of impossible to top that smack down so they went with the exact opposite.

It was a good summation of this Rise of the Olympians arc and it definitely makes me want to see what comes next for Wonder Woman.

863474_ww_cv33_var_super.jpgART: 4 out of 5

Not quite the 5 out of 5 that the last issue delivered for me but still good. It probably has a lot to do with my own personal bias. Big, scary monsters are never going to be my thing. They always come off a little cheesy for me and there are quite a few in this issue. It’s the renditions of the characters that always impress me with Aaron Lopresti’s art. Their body language and facial expressions are always so honest and indicative of precisely where that character is at in that moment. I could have used a few more epic frames though. A panel or even a full page to really climax the events. Near the end it all felt so small. Still, it was definitely enjoyable.

COVERS:

Main Cover: 3 1/2 out of 5

I liked that this cover was essentially a sequel to the cover of issue #31. It’s as though Wonder Woman is standing in the aftermath of the events on that previous cover. While I do like it for that aspect, there’s something about it that comes off a tiny bit bland. It feels a little more like an internal panel than a cover. The imagery works… Diana, alone on the battlefield with evidence of the Olympians and the Amazons having been there. It definitely conveys what’s going on for the character at this point. Yet, while it worked for me on the other cover, here it just feels a little too spelled out and on the nose. Nice art but I think the concept could have been played with just a bit more.

Variant Cover: 5 out of 5

This cover is just pretty and I mean that in the best of ways. I think it’s a beautiful piece of art. A haunting, elegant portrait of Wonder Woman. I love the colors that were used. The sleepy-eyed, close-up of Diana as the feathery sparks and flames fall all around her makes for a gorgeous picture. Plus, it still manages to convey elements of the story. It’s a striking cover. It jumps out at me. I really liked it.

MEMORABLE QUOTES/LINES:

Diana: “Bind the lasso to my right hand, General.”

****************

Athena: “Will you aid the men who mean to take your place and everything you have sacrificed for, for thirty centuries and more?”

Hippolyta: “… I’ll get my boots.”

*****************

Diana: “Then I will no longer be Amazon.”

My Top Ten Favorite Super Villains – Number 5 – Mysterio

23

Oct

Posted by Steve

MysterioPoint.gifI honestly feel like I should have built up the return of this particular column to the website. Frankly, I didn’t know it would be coming back. I was looking back through some of the most recent posts though, and I realized how few of them are actually me writing MY opinions. I figure if I can’t get a podcast out in a timely manner, (well…the Big Honkin Show seems to come out weekly) then the least I can do is drop a little science concerning a little list I started a little over a year ago.

I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads right now. Once again, you are calling my geekdom into question. You went back to the archives and saw guys like Bizarro, Absorbing Man, The Leader, and then you saw THE JOKER floating nowhere near the top five. You see someone like Mysterio in the title and you think, “That Big Honkin’ Steve…ha ha ha… he sure is funny…isn’t he?” It’s hard to imagine after what’s been done to this character on a couple of the Spider-Man video games, and because of the fact that he has a FISHBOWL on his head that he could be in anyone’s top ten. Of course, I’m the guy that put people like Doc Ock, Darkseid, and The Green Goblin in my honorable mentions list.

I have always been fascinated with the character of Mysterio. I know that his story has gotten a little convoluted because a writer thought it would be cool to kill him off a few years back in the pages of a hero with whom he was not known to often run up against no less. Then he came back…then he was someone else…then he was dying…then he wasn’t…a lot of things happened to the character of Mysterio (especially Quentin Beck) that caused him to be cheapened, confusing, and it seems as of late forgotten.

mysterio.jpgPrimarily a Spider-Man villain, I was first introduced to Mysterio in reruns of the old sixties Spider-Man cartoon that used to come on TV when I was just a little kid. I was always fascinated by him, and he’s probably my favorite Spider-Man villain of all time. His origins and abilities are unique, his look is memorable, and he is one of those characters with so much potential to be bigger than he’s ever really been.

What’s not to like about the character of Mysterio? A special effects genius that uses his talents for a life of crime. He appears in a fog that dissolves Spider-Man’s webbing and dulls his Spider-sense. He uses illusions, robots, animatronics, holograms, and lights to throw any who may oppose him off balance. One cool scene I remember comes out of the Amazing Spider-Man storyline “The Return of the Sinister Six.” In it, Mysterio uses an Earthquake machine coupled with his sense bending fog and a little projector to make the drivers of an armored car think a bridge has been shaken into collapsing. He was then going to rob said armored truck had Doctor Octopus not interfered and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Whether solo, or fighting with the Sinister Six against the wall-crawler, Mysterio has often given Spider-Man a run for his money. I honestly think the character could be easily adapted to the big screen and I would even try to see if his look couldn’t be replicated from the comics as closely as possible. I know, I know…the guy is tights, a cape, and a fishbowl. Put them together correctly, though and you have yourself a faceless, classic looking supervillain. Mysterio’s look was the first thing that attracted me to the character. He’s so different than anything else out there. On one hand his look is typical comic fodder what with the tights and cape, but it’s the dome (often completely bubble-shaped) cover over his entire head that sets it all off. What’s behind that mask? Is it alien? Is his face scarred? Disfigured? In the end, the answer is “no,” but the look is still captivating and causes the imagination to work while reading a Mysterio story.

mysterio2.jpgMysterio suffered a defeat at the hands of the Power Pack and, I guess to a lot of writers in the Marvel bullpen lost some credibility. (Even though Franklin Richard, often cited as the most powerful mutant in the world, is part of said Pack of Power.) After that, in the pages of Daredevil he crafted a scheme and went after Daredevil with some really messed up stuff. Daredevil won. Mysterio killed himself. He was dying anyway, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor and cancer after exposure to all the gasses and stuff he used over the years. (Don’t even get me started at how ticked I get about comics trying to be “too real.”)

1989_01_amazingspider_man311_todd_mcfarlane.jpgI honestly think the reason Mysterio was killed off was because there are a lot of people who don’t see his potential. I, on the other hand, think Mysterio is one of the greatest concepts for a villain anywhere. Here’s a guy who has a mastery of practical effects and illusions, it’s not a stretch to say he began to develop hologram tech and couple that with today’s CGI tech. Suddenly, you have a guy that, along with his hallucinatory gas, and hypnotic suggestions, can make anyone believe anything he wants. HOW DO YOU BEAT THAT?

His unique look coupled with formidable abilities are what has always made Mysterio one of my favorite Super Villains. While I know I’m most likely alone in how high he is on my list of favorites, Mysterio will always be one of those characters that I enjoy reading.

To the Matt Cave: Batman and Robin #4 Reviewed!

22

Oct

Posted by Steve

Batmatt is back with his take on Batman and Robin #4 check it out:

I was well-pleased with issue 4 of Batman and Robin. The last issue was iffy with the tie up of the Pyg story arc and the introduction of Red Hood.

Batmanandrobin4.jpgI must now change my tune and say Grant Morrison is The Man. I don’t know what happened last issue maybe he was asleep, but he woke up. Don’t get me wrong.   I’m not trying to be hyper critical but the last issue was not my favorite.  Enough with the old, now on to the new:

Issue 4 starts out by introducing a new baddie  by the name of Lightning Bug. He is a thug running a protection racket backed up by some cool gadgets to help intimidate.  He gets scared off by Batman and Robin then runs into the Red Hood and Scarlet.   Scarlet is Sasha the unfinished Dollotron from previous issues, and she is now a psychopathic sidekick.  She clocks Lightning Bug and the Red Hood shoots him but does not kill him.   No, not yet, he has to check his iPhone and update his Twitter account.

“Excuse me, but I need to change my status  update to ‘murdering a wanna-be supervillain.’”

He then shoots Lightning Bug and tosses him out a window.   Bad guy has ceased to be, he is no MORE.

Batman and Robin are a little late to the action, because apparently they had to make a latte stop, and when they arrive it is raining bad guys and money. Floating down with the money is a red business card that Batman snatches from the air and it reads “vengeance arms against his red right hand.”  Batman is not happy that they missed the Red Hood again, so what does he do?   He goes to a fundraiser for Gotham Police.   That’s what he’s got to do.   I also found it interesting that the public, Lucius Fox included, does not know that Bruce is dead but thinks he is in hiding and trying to clear his name in his own way.   I’m sure he will die in a skiing accident or crash in a small aircraft accident when they are ready to figure that one out.   That’s how celebrities go out if it’s not drugs or a case of the crazies.

Dick Grayson is introduced to an odd looking man by the name Oberon Sexton.   Dick also stated an alias of Oberon’s as Gravedigger.   Being the Geek that I am, I looked up the name Oberon Sexton and it has several meanings. The one that stood out for Oberon was a legendary king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature.   He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  in which he is Consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies.   His last name, Sexton, means the church official who looks after the graveyard and may act as a gravedigger and bell-ringer.   The connection makes sense now doesn’t it.   For a minute I thought he may be the Red Hood, but my theory was proven wrong because the story transitions to the Red Hood’s lair.

The next bit of writing was in my opinion done very well.  The interaction between the Red Hood and Scarlet is amazing and smart.  The Red Hood seems to be educated and has a respect and a gentleness for Scarlet that he does not hold for anyone else.   This is immediately followed by an interaction between Batman and Robin.  We get to see the mentor role Dick has taken on with Damion.   There is even a moment where Batman shows Robin how his hood can become a blindfold by yanking it over his head. Damion then shows Batman that he can fight blind, something left over from his training by the League of Shadows.

This is just some fine writing.

Batman and Robin swing into action, they are going to crash a business meeting of Gotham’s organized crime, but they are late to the party once again because Red Hood and Scarlet are already killing everyone in the room. The only guy left is Oswald Cobblepot, AKA, the Penguin.   Batman and Robin get in between the Red Hood and the Penguin, who by the way, is saying he is innocent and he was at the meeting by mistake, who saw that coming?  This is the first meeting between the Red Hood and Batman, and Dick utters the name “Jason?”   AKA, the second Robin who had once taken on the role of the Red Hood.

batmanandrobin4variant.jpgArt: 5/5 A homerun again!  I know I sound like a broken record but Philip Tan is amazing and should never stop doing what he does best, drawing.

Story: 5/5 The story really came back and grabbed me.   I may have to go and look some stuff up to get part of the back story but I like that kind of thing.   I can’t wait to see if it is Jason under the Red Hood and that’s what keeps bringing me back for more.

Covers:
Main cover: 3/5 It was okay it just a standard shot of the bad guys of the story.

Variant cover: 5/5 Stop the press what is that?  Why did this cover get shelved over the main addition?  The shot was a little like Spiderman but way better in my opinion.   I would have loved to see it colored and I would have bought that issue over the main issue.  Very cool cover.

Final Thoughts: This issue  was way better then the last by a mile.  It is far superior with a lot of little golden nuggets to dig out if you so desire.

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