Better than Streaming: Night Shift Blu-ray coming out on October 5, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, movie buffs and fellow Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

If you are nostalgic about 1980s Hollywood or you if you are discovering more of the said era for your Blu-ray collection, then you might be interested in the 1982 comedy Night Shift which is coming out on October 5, 2021 on Blu-ray format via the Warner Archive line of Warner Bros. Night Shift Blu-ray can be ordered right now online.

The cover.

What exactly is Night Shift? For one thing, it was one of the older films directed by Ron Howard (the same guy behind Solo: A Star Wars Story) and starred the famous Henry Winkler (Happy Days) and a very young Michael Keaton (Batman in 1989). Posted below is its synopsis according to Blu-ray.com…

Chuck (Henry Winkler) has given up life as a stockbroker because it was too stressful. Now, he works an easy gig as a night shift attendant at a New York City morgue. His co-worker, Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton), on the other hand, is always looking to make a quick buck. When Bill finds out that Chuck’s prostitute neighbor, Belinda (Shelley Long), needs a place to do her work, he convinces Chuck to turn the morgue into a brothel where they can work as her pimps.

Posted below are key details of Night Shift Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

TBA

Subtitles

None

Discs

Blu-ray Disc

Single disc (1 BD)

Playback

2K Blu-ray: Region A

I personally never saw Night Shift, not even on cable TV. The movie received an overall positive reception from movie critics and Keaton won the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Henry Winkler meanwhile was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globe Awards. To say the least, I find this upcoming Blu-ray release interesting and for those of you who have gotten sick and tired of modern-day Hollywood being dominated by socialists, social justice warriors (SJWs), Marxists, naked Communists and liberals, Night Shift could provide you much needed relief.

The movie poster.

In ending this piece, posted below is classic trailer of Night Shift. Anyone who loves the film or is nostalgic about the 1980s should watch it.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray, Terminator 2: Judgment Day 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray and Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: Injustice 4K Blu-ray coming out on October 19, 2021

Are you an avid fan of DC Comics and its superheroes? To be more specific, if you love Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman and the Justice League, there is something new coming in 4K Blu-ray format very soon.

I’m not talking about the Zack Snyder’s Justice League 4K Blu-ray release for the American market. I’m talking about the Injustice 4K Blu-ray which is set for an October 19, 2021 release and you can order it online right now. This new release is about the DC animated feature which includes voice performers Janet Varney as Wonder Woman, Justin Hartley as Superman and Anson Mount as Batman to name a few.

Coming out on October 19, 2021.

Posted below is an excerpt from the studio’s official description of Injustice…

Inspired by Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios’ popular video game, and the best-selling DC graphic novel based on the video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One by Tom Taylor, the animated film Injustice finds an alternate world gone mad – where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes. But when Super Heroes go to war, can the world survive?

Posted below are key details of Injustice 4K Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles – English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (2 BD)

Digital

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

And here are details of the special features and technical specs…

  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (New Featurette) – The storytellers behind the new Injustice animated film discuss how all the intense drama and unabashed action was brought to life.
  • DC Universe Movies Flashback
    • The Death of Superman
    • Reign of the Supermen
  • From the DC Vault
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part I
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part II
  • Optional English SDH, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish subtitles for the main feature

Personally, I never got to play any of the Injustice video games nor was I able to read any issues of the related comic books. Still, I find this DC animated feature interesting mainly due to its core concept. As for its 4K Blu-ray release, the extra stuff looks interesting although it remains to be seen if the animated feature’s visuals will indeed be native 4K or upscaled 4K. Here is hoping it will be native 4K.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray and Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

A Look Back at The Night Man #12 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics!

I don’t know with you but I personally enjoyed reading the crossover stories of the Ultraverse. The Strangers had nice crossovers with Hardcase and Prototype in different times. The crossover encounter between Prime and Prototype was very memorable. There also was the first grand crossover of the Ultraverse in Break-Thru #1.

While the Ultraverse no longer exists, for me it was the one superhero comic book franchise or imprint that truly defined superhero comics of the 1990s. Malibu Comics really had great talents and other comic book creators who produced lots of fun comic books to read. Their creators also knew what it took to make Ultraverse crossovers stand out.

Today, we will start a close look at another particular crossover storyline within the Ultraverse titled Hostile Takeover which involves The Night Man, Prototype, Solitaire, Sludge and The Solution! With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart with Len Strazewski and James Hudnall as co-plotters. The art was drawn by John Dennis.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fancy office of J.D. Hunt as he receives a call from the secretive and sinister Rex Mundi. Mundi expressed disappointment in Hunt’s handling of the so-called Ultra Problem but went on to give him a chance to redeem himself. Mundi tells Hunt to take over Ultratech which has gotten into trouble caused by Gordon Bell. Hunt noted that Ultratech is to blame for the Strangers’ hijacking of his space shuttle as the security was handled by the said company.

 After talking with Mundi, J.D. Hunt observes his employees finishing work on a high-tech armor (Teknight) and then communicates privately with The Solution. During the meeting, Hunt reveals to them that he is a major stockholder of Ultratech and he needs them to find out if they got Gordon Bell running things. The Solution takes the job.

Elsewhere, the Night Man secretly jumps on the top of a moving truck which he knows carries NuWare’s secret project Teknight. Upon arrival at the airport of San Jose, California, Night Man carefully sneaks into an airplane which is where Teknight is loaded at…

Quality

Imagine yourself being Night Man in New York and you do not have the technology nor the means to be able to rise up a skyscraper.

I’ll say it straight right now…the story of this comic book is nicely crafted. With Steve Englehart and the contributions of Len Strazewski and the late James Hudnall, this one score nice points when it came to building-up the concept behind Hostile Takeover which involves a strong sense of corporate intrigue (which was often present in comic books of Prototype). The presence of The Solution is pretty small (this is a Night Man comic book after all) but they contributed nicely to the build-up.

The story of Hostile Takeover was told mainly through the eyes of the Night Man. For the newcomers reading this, Night Man is a vigilante who also does a lot of problem solving similar to Batman. Unlike the mentioned comic book icon, Night Man does not have insufficient resources to back him up and pushes himself to travel around and complete his mission. In this comic book, you will see him really go as far as he could with tracking down the powered suit of armor of Teknight. You will also see him struggle and you might as well relate with his limitations.

There is not too much superhero spectacle to enjoy here but that’s okay because there is a nice amount of very interesting details presented in the build-up of Hostile Takeover’s concept.

Conclusion

Night Man on the pursuit as Teknight gets loaded into the jet.

Even though it lacked spectacle, The Night Man #12 (1994) is still an engaging read and it should score well with readers or Ultraverse fans who enjoy detailed storytelling. This comic book succeeds in building up the concept of Hostile Takeover while setting up the crossover elements between key Ultraverse characters. The story also emphasizes more of Night Man’s struggle to get his mission done.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Night Man #12 (1994) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Christopher Nolan slams AT&T-controlled Warner Bros. over plan to release new movies in cinemas and HBO Max simultaneously

I am not a fan of director Christopher Nolan but I say he still deserves credit for the massive contributions he made in cinema, specifically with the Dark Knight trilogy (which strengthened the superhero film genre) and IMAX (Dunkirk and Interstellar come to mind.)

Director Christopher Nolan. (photo source – IMDB.com)

Very recently the acclaimed movie director and producer made tremendous buzz in the news as he slammed AT&T-controlled Warner Bros. over their plans to release their seventeen 2021 movies in both movie theaters and the streaming app HBO Max. As you already know, the much-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 is just the first of many WB films that will debut inside cinemas and via streaming on the same day. HBO Max is currently way behind rival streaming services Disney+ and Netflix in terms of subscribers, and this fact makes Warner Bros. look not only desperate but traitorous towards movie theatre operators (who lost money and have struggled to retain their employees).

Going back to Christopher Nolan, read closely below the excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter article.

For many in the movie business — producers, directors, stars and their representatives — Dec. 3, 2020 is a day that will live in infamy.

“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” filmmaker Christopher Nolan, whose relationship with Warners dates back to Batman Begins in 2005, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

Nolan added: “Warner Bros. had an incredible machine for getting a filmmaker’s work out everywhere, both in theaters and in the home, and they are dismantling it as we speak. They don’t even understand what they’re losing. Their decision makes no economic sense and even the most casual Wall Street investor can see the difference between disruption and dysfunction.”

Personally, I agree with the Batman films director. Even with the ongoing pandemic, it still does not make sense economically to release brand new movies in both cinemas and online streaming simultaneously. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t want to leave their homes to watch a movie because of fear that they will get infected with COVID-19. I noticed a few people who posted on social media that the movie theatre is a death trap of COVID-19 and they disregarded the efforts movie theater operators made to have their facilities sanitized, cleaned and practiced social distancing. This contributes to them relying on streaming to watch brand new movies in their homes.

The WB plan to release new movies in both cinemas and HBO Max only made the tough situation of movie theater operators even worse. Cinemas have been struggling to survive and badly need customers to buy tickets, snacks and drinks, and most notably enjoy the grand experience of watch films on the big screen which streaming will never ever match nor replicate. It should be noted that the business model of standalone movies recovering the negative costs (production, marketing and others covered by movie producers and investors) by means of movie ticket sales (plus merchandising) followed MONTHS LATER by revenue from sales/rentals of DVD/Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray, cable TV, pay-per-view services, and public TV showing is still the best even though several theaters have been closed down due to the pandemic.

It should be noted that the fact that WB does not charge a dedicated upfront fee for viewing Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max only means that the said movie’s producers won’t be collecting proceeds from the payments of subscribers. If you are a dedicated fan of Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig and you want to see more Wonder Woman movies in the future, you are better off skipping streaming and instead pay for the movie by buying movie tickets, buying the movie’s eventual releases on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray, pay for the movie’s eventual pay-per-view release, pay for the future rental service of the movie, etc. Paying HBO Max only pays for the service, and not for Wonder Woman 1984. Streaming will NOT help Wonder Woman 1984’s producers, investors and filmmakers, and it also will NOT help movie theater operators.

As for me, I’ll make it a point to watch Wonder Woman 1984 in the local cinema (especially IMAX) a number of times and then anticipate its release on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray. I will not stream to watch it!

Going back to Christopher Nolan, he is not alone with his reaction towards WB’s plan. Major cinema chain AMC reacted negatively as well. Below is an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter story.

“Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max startup,” said Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC Entertainment, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.”

The move will see the studio’s 17-film slate hit HBO Max for a one-month window that starts the same day the titles will be available in theaters in the U.S. The move comes after the studio had already revealed plans to release Wonder Woman 1984 day-and-date on Christmas Day, a plan that AMC says it was notified about.

“These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height,” read a statement from the exhibitor, which added, “However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover.”

CEO Aron added that the company has already started an “immediate and urgent dialogue” with the studio. AMC, which announced today that it would be selling 200 million shares in the hope of improving its liquidity, has seen its stock fall some 16 percent by Thursday afternoon.

You heard about the Independent Cinema Alliance? They too are disappointed with Warner Bros. They called for a return to theatrical exclusivity and expressed that releasing films solely in movie theaters for a period of time is “what drives that value – not streaming.” Below is the full statement of ICA from the Variety report.

“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. The Independent Cinema Alliance, however, is disappointed in WarnerMedia’s questionable decision to release its entire 2021 film slate simultaneously in movie theaters and on HBO Max. WarnerMedia is correct that its content is extremely valuable, but it also must know that theatrical exclusivity is what drives that value—not streaming. Given that COVID-19 vaccines will begin distribution in the coming weeks, the ICA calls on our partners at Warner Bros. and other studios to help write the industry’s comeback story with a recommitment to exclusive theatrical content.

The ICA welcomes short-term, innovative film distribution models developed to bridge the coronavirus pandemic. It is important that our studio partners support independent exhibitors during this crisis with new theatrical releases backed by robust marketing campaigns. For our part, exhibitors will bring the magic of moviegoing to communities across America while implementing expert-backed, industry-specific health and safety protocols.

But let’s be very clear, it is essential to the success of the entire motion picture ecosystem that hybrid distribution models influenced by the pandemic properly reflect appropriate terms for movie theater owners. It is also imperative that these reactionary policies made in response to a public health crisis do not reflect long-term, formal shifts in distribution strategies for studio films. A theatrically driven business model is vital to the success of movie theater owners, studios, and the creative community. The ICA looks forward to collaborating with our partners in Hollywood on deliberate, innovative solutions that build a brighter future for this great industry.”

The hybrid film release model of WB is not only harming movie theater operators, it is also destroying the mutual trust movie theaters have with movie studios as we know it. As seen with Christopher Nolan, his long-time business relationship with Warner Bros. looks like it will crumble. Nolan might as well leave WB and find another Hollywood studio that agrees with him.

Not only that, Warner Bros. long-time business relationship with Legendary Pictures is in danger as well. Legendary Pictures co-financed WB’s upcoming films like Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune, and according to a Variety report, they may take legal action against the studio over its plan on launching movies in both cinemas and HBO Max. Here’s an excerpt from the said report.

It’s unclear what legal grounds Legendary would use to challenge the decision, though it would likely involve some breach of contract.

Legendary declined to comment, as did Warner Bros.

Part of Legendary’s frustration is that despite largely bankrolling “Dune” and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the production company didn’t have much of a say in how its buzzy titles would be released. Moreover, the company felt that Warner Bros. wasn’t being transparent with its intentions. Months ago, Netflix had discussed a possible sale of “Godzilla vs. Kong” for a hefty $250 million but WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros., blocked that arrangement.

Denis Villeneuve, the director of “Dune,” is similarly disappointed with the HBO Max plan and would prefer a traditional theatrical release for his movie, according to insiders.

As if that was not enough, it has been reported that movie piracy has been rising as the studios skipped the struggling cinemas. Even Disney’s live-action Mulan was shared millions of times in the form of unlicensed copies! Below is an excerpt from the report by Bloomberg.

Studios have tried to salvage some of their big-budget films this year by selling them through streaming services for $20 to $30. But that business model has made it easier for pirates to illegally copy and share new releases, with an estimated loss of millions of potential customers for the production companies.

Unlicensed downloads of Walt Disney Co.’s most-recent picture, “Mulan,” have outpaced those of other movies since its Sept. 4 U.S. debut on the Disney+ streaming service, according to TorrentFreak, a website that tracks pirating activity on public servers. Compared with “The Lion King,” which came out last year in theaters, “Mulan” saw about twice as many downloads in the days and weeks after its release.

When a traditional movie is released in theaters, thieves struggle to obtain high-quality recordings of it, often resorting to bootlegging with a hidden camcorder. With digital releases, pirates use technologies not available to most consumers to make perfect copies quickly.

On the other side of the spectrum, Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman and CEO Ann Sarnoff defended her company’s decision and specified that they have “many movies which are ready to go, and they’ve been sitting on shelves. So we thought this was the most creative and win-win situation to bring them not only to theaters but simultaneously for 31 days on HBO Max.”

The same CNBC report also states that Warner Bros. did not consult the actors, the directors, the agents with regards to the 2021 movies, and that they did not make distribution deals with the cinemas.

In ending this, here is an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter’s report. Play close attention to the details.

The Warners move poses big, maybe even existential questions: How do theaters survive this supposedly one-time, excused-by-the-pandemic move? Genies are hard to put back in the bottle and no one believes Warners intended this to be temporary anyway. What damage will be done to exhibitors by training customers that if they sit on their sofas, the biggest movies will come? And will Warners face serious backlash from important producers, filmmakers, guilds and on-screen talent? “Warners was the quintessentially talent-friendly, filmmaker-friendly studio,” says one agent. “Now Warners isn’t the first place, second place or third place you want to go.”

Many in Hollywood think WarnerMedia jumped at this drastic move to play to streaming-infatuated Wall Street and re-do the botched launch of HBOMax, which netted a dismal 8.6 million subscribers. But one prominent agent notes that the top executives at WarnerMedia and its parent — AT&T CEO John Stankey, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and, of course, Sarnoff — “don’t understand the movie business and they don’t understand talent relations.”

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Do you happen to have any comic books of the Batman versus Predator II crossover in your collection? According to MileHighComics.com, their near-mint copies are valuable and you can sell them to make some much-needed money in this time of pandemic, government overreach and economic hardship.

Right now, I am about to finally end my review of the Batman versus Predator II mini-series and so far, I have enjoyed it a lot. To find out if this mini-series will come to a satisfying end, here is my retro review of Batman versus Predator II #4, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the bat cave with Batman and Alfred discussing what happened lately. As it turned out, there were two other Predators on the lose apparently sent to stop the first one (who killed one of the mentioned two). Batman also mentioned the deaths of Song Sung and Terraro. Now there are two hunters remaining who may not know that the man who issued their contracts is dead.

Just before leaving with the motorcycle, Batman receives a call from Commissioner Gordon through the special line. Afterwards, he leaves.

In the city, a thug on a motorcycle starts chasing Batman which catches the attention of the local police…

Quality

From the final encounter with the hunter from space.

This comic book is a satisfying conclusion to the mini-series. In terms of writing, issue #4 delivered the payoff for what was built-up in issue #3. This results the return of Batman’s trusted ally as well as some more involvement of the police force as the stakes were raised in issue #3 with the involvement of more than one Predator. The hunter Predator – the one Batman and Huntress encountered in the first two issues – was indeed present and it was very interesting to see it pursue its encounter with the two heroes even though he was being hunted by a fellow Predator.

Having more than one Predator was initially confusing but the confusion did not last too long which readers will find relieving. As expected, the Huntress joined Batman in the final encounter and served nicely as a fighting partner whose assistance proved to be valuable. If there is any weak spot in the presentation, it’s the element of the gang and human hunters who only served to add to the death toll.

As with the first three issues of this mini-series, the action here remains very intense and quite uncompromising with its violence. Expect gunshot wounds and decapitations here and there. The hard action presented, especially in the encounters with the Predator, was indeed satisfying. I should state that the final encounter inside the space ship is very thrilling.

Conclusion

The Bat signal is an attraction to the Predator.

Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) is a pretty solid read. What was built-up previously, got paid off nicely here. With regards to raising the stakes and making this mini-series different from its predecessor, the creative team succeeded with the resolutions they came up with. In addition, Batman and the Huntress make a solid duo and their interactions together were compelling.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $50.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

I am currently enjoying the Batman versus Predator II mini-series of the mid-1990s which was a joint effort between DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. The first issue was great and nicely built up the energy for the first encounter between Batman and the Predator in issue #2. Along the way, I do enjoy the adulterated tone that came with the presentation. This made each issue look and feel like an R-rated cinematic segment.

Will the strong quality of this crossover continue in the third issue? Find out with me in this look back at Batman versus Predator II #3, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Batman emerging from the sewer. He finds himself alone in the middle of a city street and senses danger is around him. Suddenly someone from one of the nearby buildings fires at Batman who dodges and takes cover by a car. He grabs a tool and throws it at the window which hits the rifle. And then, on the street, a man throws a grenade at the caped crusader who deflects it. The grenade enters a nearby establishment and explodes. Batman kicks the antagonist and then encounters a speeding vehicle heading towards him.

The detective fires his weapon which causes the car’s windshield to get smashed. He dodges the car and sees it crash. Suddenly the floor beneath him opens which compels him to use his grapnel to avoid falling down to spikes below.

Meanwhile at another location, the Predator dissolves the decapitated head of a man (killed in issue #2) with hot liquid and keeps the skull for his collection of trophies.

Back at the Bat Cave, Batman and Alfred analyze what happened recently. Alfred states that the Predator killed two of the seven assassins hired by Terraro to kill Batman. The great detective wonders why…

Quality

The Huntress and Batman.

Let me start with the storytelling. The writing by Doug Moench is solid and, more importantly, there is a nice payoff here in relation what was gradually built up in the first two issues – Terraro’s assassins and operations getting more lively within the plot. This alone adds some nice variety into the ongoing Batman-Predator rivalry, and symbolically the Huntress (who is after Terraro) is involved with the mafia plot and the said rivalry between Gotham’s detective and the hunter from space.

More on Batman and the Huntress, I like the way Moench wrote these two heroes as being divided even though they both face threats from the crime gang and from the Predator. Both characters are vigilantes but Batman has justice in mind while the Huntress is focused on hunting the powerful crime boss. Adding more depth to the story is the subplot about Commissioner Gordon being helpless and recovering in the hospital which complicates matters for the Gotham City police department.

Another thing that makes this issue more unique is the in-depth presentation of Batman doing detective work in the Bat Cave with Alfred providing insight. This alone makes this issue an improvement over issue #2.

When it comes to the visuals, artist Paul Gulacy continues to provide really nice artwork backed with strong support by the colorists. Gulacy took his time pacing the story by following the script closely and made key action scenes look dynamic visually when needed.

Conclusion

Remember the armor Batman wore in the previous crossover story against the Predator?

Considering all the good stuff I enjoyed in it, Batman versus Predator II #3 is a great read. It has a better balance on plotting, detective work, spectacle and intrigue. In fact, this comic book has a much more powerful ending than issues #1 and #2, and the ironic thing is that this only leads to the 4th and final issue which I’ll review soon.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $40.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995) is highly recommended!

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A Look Back at Batman versus Predator II #2 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

When done right with the comic book format, fantasy crossover concepts can become very entertaining and memorable. Such was the case with the comic book Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 which I enjoyed reading a lot.

Now we can find out if the creative team behind that memorable comic book could maintain the high quality of fun and engagement in this look back at Batman versus Predator II #2, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the forest outside of Gotham City. A fake use of the Batman signal was lighted there by the Predator which was meant to lure Batman into a potential trap. As soon as he arrived, Batman believes that his old ally commissioner James Gordon bought a portable Batman signal meant to call him to a crime scene far away from the urbanized areas.

Expecting to see Gordon in the woods, Batman sees a tree with several men’s heads hanging each with a net. He realizes that the Predator lured him into what he calls the hunting ground. Batman is correct as the Predator, standing nearby, unleashes a weapon to attack him…

Quality

This one really looked out of place in this comic book.

A pretty good crossover comic book. When it comes to storytelling, the comic book starts paying off the anticipation built up in issue #1 by presenting Batman in an early encounter with the Predator which, I must say, was smartly handled complete with key references to the previous Batman versus Predator crossover series from the early 1990s. What happened in the said encounter between the two pop culture icons will make you reflect about what you know about Batman and the Predator. Given how the story turned out, clearly the encounter (which was quite beefy) served as a sign of what is more to come between Batman and the Predator (or the race of Predators). The Huntress meanwhile has a slightly reduced spotlight which is not surprising but she still proved her worth in the conflict. When it comes to presenting the respective views of Batman and the Huntress, I admire the use of narration boxes (instead of the traditional thought balloons) which added depth to the story.

Meanwhile, there is a subplot about an assassin from Asia who came all the way to America for a key transaction. However, this subplot (which does not even look like it’s related to the Batman-Predator conflict) ended up looking like filler.  

Conclusion

An action-packed encounter between the Dark Knight and the warrior from outer space!

Batman versus Predator II #2 (1995) is almost as good as issue #1 but its first, action-packed encounter between the Dark Knight and the warrior from outer space alone makes it worth collecting.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #2 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $30.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #2 (1995) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Movies and video games at DC FanDome

Today, DC Comics fans had a day-long blast of excitement as a result of the DC FanDome event that was global in scope. To be clear, DC FanDome is multi-media in terms of the presentations of DC Comics franchises, projects and talents. As such, comic book publishing giants like Jim Lee plus Hollywood talents like Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder were present online to showcase DC’s projects (ranging from comic books to animation, video games and motion pictures).

For this article, I have decided to narrow the scope down to movies and video games. The following movies and video games caught my attention and for each, I’ll share my honest opinion. Let’s start with the movies…

The movies

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984, as I made clear before, is my most wanted superhero movie as I loved the 2017 movie (and has the iconic scene that will be remembered for a long time) and I deeply enjoyed Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Queen of all Superheroes. While it is disappointing that the current pandemic delayed the Wonder Woman 1984 and made its future theatrical release uncertain, the newest trailer eased the pain of waiting for me and I should say that I love what was shown. The great stuff shown seem to reflect the deepening creative synergy between star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins. What surprised me the most was that Warner Bros.’ marketing team went on to show Dr. Minerva in her anticipated physical form as Cheetah in battle with Wonder Woman. I was hoping that the filmmakers and the marketing team would keep the Cheetah appearance secret until the film’s opening. Regardless, I am very excited for Wonder Woman 1984 and if you want to prepare yourselves for it, I highly recommend reading Wonder Woman #9 (1987) which was George Perez’s modernizing of Cheetah.

The Batman

The DC FanDome trailer showed that this newest cinematic Batman directed by Matt Reeves starring Robert Pattinson looks really impressive. In terms of aesthetics, The Batman appears to share the visual style and gritty touch of Batman Begins. Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman has a very rough look, so much so he made me forget that he played a vampire before. When it comes to presenting the characters, Reeve’s Batman (along with his equipment) looks radically different from Zack Snyder’s Batman, and Catwoman in this new movie has a more grounded-in-reality look. In what appears to be a sign of rough action coming, the short clip showing Pattinson’s Batman quickly and painfully beating a thug in front of others looks very Intriguing. With regards to the setting, director Reeves stated before that the film’s story is set within the DC Universe but it will be done without cameo appearances and without fan service elements that would suggest a shared universe. It will be its own story and, more importantly, it will redefine Batman once again. This movie is currently scheduled for a 2021 release.

The Suicide Squad

After a long wait for concrete details, the official unveiling of The Suicide Squad under the direction of James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy films) is well worth it and even though there are no plot details, the new movie looks pretty promising to be fun (at least in terms of spectacle). How James Gunn will be able to make an enjoyable movie, I can only imagine him mixing up the characters, have their personalities clash or slide well with each other, and deliver the action. Again, there are no details about what the story is but safe to say this one is no cheap movie and chances are good it will make moviegoers forget about the cynical presentation of the 2016 Suicide Squad movie (which I admit I enjoyed to a certain extent). Apart from the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, the cast has notable additions like martial artist/fitness model Mayling Ng as Mongal, Michael Rooker sa Savant, and Idres Elba as Bloodsport!

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (AKA The Snyder Cut)

Believe it or not, I personally am not too excited for this so-called more definitive version of the 2017 Justice League movie under Zack Snyder. To a certain extent, I had my enjoyment of the 2017 Justice League but ended up disappointed it never had an epic presentation to match its epic concept. As much as I love seeing DC Comics’ premier superheroes get together to save the world from tremendous danger, I am not convinced to avail of HBO Max (note: this director’s cut is not going to cinemas) streaming to watch the anticipated Snyder cut. In my honest view, Justice League of 2017 has been done and it seems like a backward move to revisit the film even in the form of a more specific vision of Zack Snyder. Regardless, Snyder’s vision of the JL will be realized in 2021. How it will impact the status of the current DC Comics cinematic universe remains to be seen.

The video games

Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights, developed by WB Games Montréal and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is an action-adventure game set in the city of Gotham which, once again, has been struck by criminals. As seen in the above gameplay showcase, Mr. Freeze struck Gotham and Batgirl and Robin join forces to take him on. In terms of game design, Gotham City is an open-world environment and players will be able to select and play as Nightwing or Red Hood or Robin or Batgirl. Batman is out of the spotlight this time which explains why the other four characters are needed. How this new video game will perform critically and commercially remains to be seen. Can it sell without letting players play as the iconic Batman? Gotham Knights is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.  

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

This other game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is very notable not because of its concept of the Suicide Squad going against the Justice League, but simply because it is the first new game in many years made by the acclaimed Rocksteady Studios which is best known for the main Batman Arkham video games. As of now, we only have a cinematic (non-gameplay) trailer emphasizing its concept. While details about the gameplay are unavailable, the city environment in the trailer suggests the game may come with an open-world design similar to what Rockstead did in Batman Arkham City and Batman Arkham Knight. Whatever Rocksteady is doing, they should be able to deliver the fun stuff. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

In closing this, I recommend you watch the latest video of YouTuber Dealer Gaming which has insights about Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League and Gotham Knights. You’ll also learn the latest regarding Xbox Series X.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

If there is anything I love about the comic book format in relation to creative fiction, it is the fact that the said format allows certain crossover match-ups (that could not be realized in movie or TV format) to happen. In this case, I’m talking about having the science fiction monster warrior Predator in conflict with Batman.

Historically, in the early 1990s, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics teamed up to publish the highly memorable crossover Batman versus Predator with the creative talents of Dave Gibbons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert.

The two publishers did not stop there. In 1995, they teamed up again to bring the two pop culture icons together but with a brand new story, a new creative team and with the involvement of the Huntress to support Batman. I was in college back in 1995 and you can’t imagine how surprised I was to see the first issue of the 2nd Batman-Predator crossover displayed on the shelf of the comic book store I visited. I was surprised because there was not much media spotlight for it in the comic book industry magazines I read.

That being said, here is a look back at Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the city where three guys are about to complete an illegal drugs deal by the dock. As one of the dealers fires his gun at the other party, Batman breaks into the scene to bring him down and pressures him to reveal the location of Terraro. As the downed thug tries to shoot Batman, an arrow fired by the Huntress hits his arm which caught the Dark Knight by surprise.

After knocking the thug out, Batman and the Huntress talk. It turns out both of them are after Terraro. The Huntress leaves as Batman remains to do some detective work on the three men.

Meanwhile from a far distance, a Predator reviews archived video footage of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s final encounter with a Predator (as told in the final issue of the first Batman Versus Predator series) and listens to the audio recording. The Predator is preparing himself to fight Batman by doing research (including familiarizing himself with how Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred sound like) and he uses his deadly disc to cut off the head of a statue resembling the Dark Knight…

Quality

28
The Predator in action!

Let me start with the story. This comic book essentially tells a crime story mixed with some sci-fi elements. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of exposition used to help build-up the expected conflict between Batman and the Predator. That’s not to say that the story is hollow. In fact, I still found it compelling even though some of the spotlight was spent on the Huntress who is clearly involved in the crime tale. To say the least, the Huntress adds variety to what could have been a typical Batman-does-all-the-detective-work story.

Batman, who by this time gained tremendous knowledge about the Predator, turns out to be targeted as “dead meat” by a gang leader and it’s nice to see him solve the crime problem while being at odds with the Huntress whom he finds to be too eager and reckless.

As for the Predator, unsurprisingly the alien warrior appears sparingly but that’s not a problem at all. In fact, the writer implemented the spotlight on the Predator without ever overdoing it which added nicely into the anticipation of the so-called rematch with Batman. I also liked how the Predator was portrayed in dealing with the criminal and law elements of the city.

As for the visuals, this one is a mixed bag for me. Firstly, I like the more vibrant and stylish use of colors which made this comic book look radically different from the dark, gritty and less colorful visuals of its predecessor. Secondly, Paul Gulacy’s art on drawing people lack punch and consistency. There were times that his drawings of Batman and Huntress were good, other times not. His work on the Predator is good, however. What Gulacy excelled in was drawing action scenes which are not only dynamic in presentation but also went strong with the violence (lots of bloody scenes, weapons penetrating the body, etc.) which reminded me a lot about the first two Predator movies. Gulacy’s take on the Batmobile looks corny.

Conclusion

6
The Huntress watches as Batman takes action.

Way back in 1995, I enjoyed reading Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 the day I first bought it. Today, I still find it enjoyable to read. It has a nice mix of suspense and spectacle, and the creative team was granted a lot of creative freedom to tell the story with mature readers in mind. The story was well paced and the build-up was worth the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $23 while the near-mint copy of the promotional version with a poster costs $40.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995) is highly recommended!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Robin III #3

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Before I start this retro comic book review of Robin III #3, let me explain that the illustrator of the comic book, Tom Lyle, passed away last November over health-related reasons. Before dying, he had a surgery in October 2019 to remove a blood clot in his brain and subsequently fell into a coma. Apart from drawing comics, Tom Lyle was a professor of art at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For a look at Lyle’s expertise, watch the video from 2017 below.

When it comes to the comic book industry, Lyle started his career with AC Comics and Eclipse Comics back in the 1980s. In 1988, he worked on the art of Starman for DC Comics and went on to work on the company’s other properties and played a major role with the publishing of the three mini-series featuring Batman’s sidekick Robin (Tim Drake specifically).

After leaving DC Comics, he joined Marvel Comics as one of their illustrators on the Spider-Man monthly series. He quickly got involved in the Maximum Carnage crossover and made bigger waves with Spider-Man readers with the Clone Saga. Lyle is widely credited for designing the Scarlet Spider. With regards to his death, Marvel Comics published online a tribute for him.

Now that the short history lesson is over, let’s take a look back at Robin III #3 published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story by Chuck Dixon and art by Tom Lyle.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in school where Tim Drake/Robin gets confronted by his superior who noticed the bruises he got. As Tim tries to keep his secrets, the superior Ms. Hollingsworth knows that he was cared for by Bruce Wayne (Batman) while his father was in a coma. She also knows that he lives on a property bordering the estate of Wayne. She makes clear that he can speak openly to her and Tim simply denies that Bruce would never hit him. He states: “An upperclassman…a senior…I think…big kid.”

Eventually the meeting ended and Tim leaves struggling over thinking about the complications he is experiencing with his double life as a student and as a crime fighter. Since he cannot get involved with Batman and Alfred, he spends some time with Harold (who was so busy working on a machine) and eventually goes home. His father notices Tim’s bruises and states that he spends too much time at Wayne’s. This leaves Tim more conflicted within.

Elsewhere, a muscular man called Sir Edmund easily beats up his loyal followers in a bout of combat. His assistant Lynx arrives and informs him that their turf is in danger with the arrival of Russians with KGBeast involved.

In the evening, Robin meets the Huntress and start their next mission…

Quality

13
Hard action with a smooth flow of sequence by Tom Lyle.

For a story set within the realm of Batman and, at the same time, does not have Batman at all, this Robin-centered comic book is well written and engaging. To say the least, showing Tim Drake struggling with his civilian life and crime-fighting life made Robin a literary symbol about the false maturity that youth in real life often experience. That false maturity is nicely portrayed with the superhero aesthetics and fantasy elements.

Quite predictably, Robin performs detective work and analyzes crime situations like Batman only this time, he gets involved with the Huntress (note: this mini-series carries the storyline title of “Cry of the Huntress”) to find out more answers and solve the crime problem. Being a product of the early 1990s, it is no surprise that the story has fictional portrayals about the Russians (with KGBeast leading the so-called invasion of the city) and even mentioning Afghans.

14
Hurting Robin on the head led to hard reactions.

Apart from the storytelling, the art by Tom Lyle here remains good to look at. Each scene, whether is it a talking scene or an action scene, looks good and Lyle has a nice touch on drawing facial expressions. When it comes to the spectacle, Lyle really shows how good he is with drawing hard-hitting physical action. I should also state how smooth the sequencing of action is drawn by him.

Conclusion

16
Robin and the Huntress make an odd crime-fighting duo.

To make things clear, Robin III #3 is the first-ever Tom Lyle-drawn comic book I ever bought and read. By today’s standards, the comic book is still fun to read and it is compelling enough to make readers interested to read more of the mini-series. However, if seeing more of Robin fighting crime by himself is your type of Robin story, then this may not be compelling for you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Robin III #3, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition of the direct version costs $4 and $6 respectively. Meanwhile, the near-mint copy of the bagged edition and the unbagged edition of the deluxe version costs $4. To be clear, the deluxe version of Robin III #3 in bagged form comes with a moving cover, a second reversible cover and additional artwork.

Overall, Robin III #3 is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com