So I've been gone from blogging for almost a month now. And there's only one person to blame: Bruce Wayne. Yep, I've been neck deep in Batman stuff these past weeks. There's Christmas shopping and writing for other stuff and reading, but mostly Batman has been my constant companion.
Batman: Arkham City
For starters, there's the video game Batman: Arkham City. I will give credit where credit is due: this game demolished my daily schedule. It's gorgeous to look at, addictive to play (SO MUCH to do!), and it's just better than the first game in almost every way. That's saying a lot because the first game was pretty good.
For Batman fans like yours truly, this game is a special treat. It's the best thing to happen to the Batman franchise since Chris Nolan took over the Batman movies. Actually, I think the games eclipse the movies. In Arkham City, the stories are written by actual Batman writers (who know how to pronounce R'as Al Ghul, unlike in the movies), and characters voiced by talents from the animated series. You get the guy who does Batman's voice, and of course, Mark Hamill as The Joker (his last performance as Joker, he tweeted). And you get a great game on top of all that. It's Batman heaven.
My Batman moment was when I was going through one of Riddler's challenges. I had just stealthily knocked out a bunch of baddies and Riddler was throwing me a riddle. Now, I suck at riddles, so the words "Riddle me this" sent terror through my heart, but through some miracle I figured the riddle out and found the answer in no time flat. There's only one explanation: I am Batman.
I do have one complaint about the game though. The story is ace all the way until… the very end. It's a shame really. There's a twist the story didn't need, a twist that doesn't make much sense, a twist that feels like it was placed there for the sake of having a twist. Otherwise, a brilliant game.
Batman Year One (the animated movie)
I had high hopes for this one. Batman: Year One is, of course, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. (You may know him as the guy who made The Dark Knight Returns, The 300, and Sin City.) The fanboys were moaning about the art style of the movie being too bright and too much of a departure from the Frank Miller classic, but I was willing to suspend judgment until I had watched the movie.
Boy was I disappointed. The movie bears more than a passing resemblance to the graphic novel. The skeleton of the story is there, showing Batman's and Jim Gordon's first year fighting crime in Gotham City. Where the graphic novel felt like film noir and a constant struggle for life in this dark evil place, the animated movie just came out flat and emotionless at every turn, boring even. Given the movie's superb source material, you have to wonder how it came out so bad. Skip it if you love the graphic novel.
And more Batman…
I'll end this Batman post with some awesome art from Springfield Punx. This is inspired stuff!