Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Good Feeling About This

Regular readers of this blog would be forgiven from assuming that I neither read nor watched anything of interest for most of 2014. This is of course untrue, so the next few posts will probably be "catch-ups" of a sort.

But first, I'd like to point out that about a month ago we saw the appearance of a long-awaited Star Wars-related video - no, I'm not talking about the first The Force Awakens trailer, but rather fan-film studio Bat in the Sun's Super Power Beat Down Episode 14, "Batman Vs. Darth Vader". And man, but it was worth the wait:

Once the sheer geeky joy of seeing Batman lightsaber-dueling with Darth Vader had subsided somewhat, I was able to appreciate some of the finer details of the film. While the production values of Bat in the Sun's productions have always been high, this one really raises the bar - yes, in terms of overall special effects and set and costume design (all of which are spot on), but also in the little details, like Batman's nose bleeding after his abortive attempt to breathe in space.

Although the final result of the battle was dictated by popular vote*, I was also impressed by the writing of the piece. While it would have been nice to get some hint of the (allegedly plotted out) events that got Superman trapped on the Death Star - giving Batman the opportunity to use the "That's no moon" line was a nice bonus to picking that setting, by the way -  in the first place, once the Bat-wing** docks things flow fairly logically, given a Batman with some idea of Darth Vader's capabilities. Sneaking a lightsaber (presumably Obi-Wan's, which would imply that this whole fracas takes place during the Yavin 4 briefing scenes from A New Hope) from Vader's armory was an especially good idea, though it might just be because it leads to this reveal:

"I underestimate nothing!"
Anyway, it's plain to see that this is a fan-film, in the best sense of the word - if the creative teams working on The Force Awakens and Batman V. Superman show as much obvious care for the settings and characters as Bat in the Sun has, then in terms of fan response they should have nothing to worry about.

*Not that that will stop BitS from releasing an alternate ending next month. 

**Never before has this alternate term for Batman's aircraft been more apt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Atomic Robo Goes Full Digital

In some stunning news from Tesladyne Island earlier this week, the writers of the Atomic Robo comic announced that as of 2015, the comic will be transitioning from a traditional by-the-issue publishing model to a three-times-a-week webcomic. This means, among other things, that the entire 54-issue run of the comic thus far will be free to read - eventually, their plan is to release one issue a week until they catch up, starting today - and then continuing with the new stuff. Which, cleverly, they now have over a year to come up with, though as today was the expected release date for the Volume 9 trade it probably would have been about that long anyway.

Anyway, it looks like it's going to be an interesting year, to say the least, for Atomic Robo fans as things roll out. But there are still unanswered questions - such as, how long will the "Free Comics" page remain in its current form? Will the new paradigm work as well as the creators hope it will? Will it include the Real Science Adventures spin-off? Will Dr. Dinosaur ever top his first two appearances?

The answer to that last one is, "No".