A Look Back at Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we will take a look back at a certain crossover comic book that involved both Marvel Comics and DC Comics published in the mid-1990s. On my part, it’s been some time since I last reviewed a Marvel-DC crossover comic book. That being said, you can read about my retro comic book reviews of Batman versus The Incredible Hulk and Superman and Spider-Man on this website.

For this new retro review, we will focus on the 1995 crossover that brought two of Marvel and DC’s icons together for the first time – Spider-Man and Batman! To put things in perspective, the 1990s still remembered as the decade when Bane broke Batman’s back while the publishing of Spider-Man comic books became highly controversial with the Spider-Clone Saga. In the 1995 crossover produced the two comic book giants, Spider-Man and Batman are presented in their classic identities as Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds published in 1995 by Marvel Comics and DC Comics with a story written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Mark Bagley.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a nightmare in which Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben got shot by an armed man in the presence of Aunt May inside their home. Immediately Spider-Man arrives and grabs the man by the neck. The armed man creepily laughs and his face suddenly turns into the Joker. Peter Parker wakes up in bed with Mary Jane on his side. After a short talk with his wife, Peter decides to leave their apartment and swing around the city as Spider-Man.

In another nightmare, a very young Bruce Wayne witnesses the death of his parents caused by a man with a gun. He suddenly turns into Batman and grabs the gunman by the neck. The gunman suddenly turns into the horrific Carnage. Bruce wakes up and decides to reflect. As soon as his butler Alfred opens the door to check on him, Bruce immediately leaves as Batman in the middle of the night.

Somewhere that same night inside a secret facility of the Ravencroft Institute, Cletus Kasady/Carnage is restrained in a secured chamber surrounded by armed security personnel with Spider-Man and psychotherapist Ashley Kafka watching him…

Quality

The two superhero icons together.

I’ll start first with the visual quality of this crossover comic book. Mark Bagley, who was the lead artist on Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, delivered an unsurprisingly stylized look at the two superhero icons, super villains and characters, as well as on DC’s Gotham City (which was the most prominent location in the story).

While Bagley’s work on Spider-Man and the characters associated with him were typical of his Amazing Spider-Man of the decade, I can say that his take on Batman, Joker, Alfred, the Bat Cave and others on the DC Comics side resulted a unique look. Bagley drew Joker looking sinister, maniacal, clueless and even tamed as the plot progressed. Bagley’s Batman has a larger yet familiar style of muscular body compared to Spider-Man, and the visual presentation of his cape ranged from dynamic to looking authoritarian. There were however a few moments wherein Bagley went over the limit on emphasizing the length of Batman’s cape which resulted a few inaccuracies. Remember how there were times that Bagley drew Marvel characters’ thighs to look excessive with muscle? You will see that too on Batman here.

When it comes to artistic dynamism, it is clear that Bagley pushed himself hard creating some mixed results. Some scenes (action scenes and talk scenes included) had the appropriate amount of flash and style, while other scenes had an excessive amount. When it came to spectacle, Bagley succeeded in making the action, hard-hitting moments and explosions look very lively. To be clear, this comic book is entertaining to look at but ultimately it will resonate best with readers who are best familiar to the way Bagley draws.

For the storytelling, J.M. DeMatteis crafted a script that did not reach its full potential as there were obvious limits imposed to ensure equality on presenting the characters and the situations. This explains why in the beginning Spider-Man and Batman each had nightmares related to their respective past and end up seeing their respective super villains interchanged (Spider-Man sees Joker, Batman sees Carnage). The characters of Ashley Kafka and Cassandra Briar are not only looking too similar to each other (just imagine their characters having no colors), they both feel like cardboard cut-outs of a single character who specializes on analyzing people with dangerous minds and coming up with solutions to help them. The more known supporting characters from the respective sides of the two icons – Mary Jane and butler Alfred – made short appearances but did not really contribute much to the plot.

The limitations are also felt on the way Spider-Man and Batman – plus Carnage and Joker – were presented, right down to their interactions with each other. While it was expected that Batman and Spider-Man would be brought together by an unfortunate development, the complete absence of a fight between the two superhero icons was itself the biggest surprise here effectively defying crossover superhero tradition. Even without a fight, you will see Batman and Spider-Man do things separately in accordance to their respective traditions or character traits before getting back together leading to the big conflict with the super villains.

As for Joker and Carnage being together, the spotlight on them in this comic book is pretty limited. There simply is not enough space in this comic book to bring out the full potential of the two super villains who each are known to be murderers and psychologically dangerous. What is interesting in their limited time together is that the story emphasized the differences between them when it comes harming people. The Joker has his own sadistic style of leading people to their deaths in time-consuming ways which is opposite of the quick deaths Carnage enjoys. Considering their respective reputations, it is just a shame that this comic book not only failed to bring out the full potential of Carnage-Joker, it also failed to establish them as clear and present dangers to the public.

More on the plot itself in relation to the comic book sub-title “Disordered Minds”, the elements of mental instability, psycho-therapy, psychology and rehabilitation are present but they are all thrown out by the time the second half of the story begins, clearly making space for the crossover dynamics of Batman, Spider-Man, Joker and Carnage.

Conclusion

Joker and Carnage.

Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) is a flawed crossover event comic book that just so happens to have more positive stuff than negative ones. It is enjoyable but not great and certainly not memorable. The imposed limits on the presentation made this comic book’s story feel very staged and predictable. With what little creative space was left, it is quite an achievement for the creative team to tell a cohesive and stuffed story (note: there is a lot of filler and some psychology related stuff may not interest some readers) while featuring Batman and Spider-Man the best way they could. It has enough superhero spectacle to be enjoyed although the interactions between Batman and Spider-Man and between Joker and Carnage could have been better.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that a near-mint copy costs $120 while the near-mint copy of the signed-and-numbered edition is at $120.

Overall, Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) is satisfactory.

+++++

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Gameplay footage of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks promising

When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first unveiled with a cinematic trailer during the DC FanDome of 2020, I was just interested with its concept but wanted more in terms of gameplay. After more than one year of waiting, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed at last the first gameplay footage of the Rocksteady Studios-developed game and I find it looking fun and promising. For your viewing pleasure, watch the official gameplay trailer below…

As seen in the above trailer, the developer behind the acclaimed Batman Arkham games really worked hard to not only make a wide variety of action and movements (in relation to the different members of the Suicide Squad), but also have them animate very smoothly and artistically resulting a cinematic look while still maintaining the DC Comics aesthetic.

A quick look at Metropolis serving as the open world environment in the game.
3rd person view shooting sequence with Deadshoot doing the shooting.

The gameplay trailer showed 3rd person view shooting sequences with not only Deadshot but also with King Shark. As for Harley Quinn, there were sequences of her swinging above ground and doing close combat. The in-game Metropolis (the fictional city often identified with Superman) was clearly designed to provide gamers a large, open world-inspired environment which opens up opportunities for action, exploration and storytelling. Metropolis in this game looks detailed and there are visual references to Superman and Wonder Woman shown.

An action sequence with Harley Quinn.
Harley swinging into action!
Players will get to do some shooting as King Shark.

Having seen the gameplay footage, I can say my interest in playing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League on my Xbox Series X in the near future has gotten stronger. I should state that it is a spectacle to see Rocksteady’s developers push their creativity hard, possibly more so than what they achieved in the Batman Arkham games. By the way, Rocksteady is being assisted by Unbroken Studios on the game.

As of this writing, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League does not have a final release date but it will be released for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC sometime in 2022.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

+++++

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at The Night Man #5 (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse and focus on the Night Man who is one of the most intriguing heroes of the UV ever created. Having read the first four issues, it is clear that the storytelling with Night Man was done with darkness and grit in mind plus the villains introduced were unconventional. The good news is that each of the first four issues were actually enjoyable to read.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #5, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the Steve Englehart and drawn by Kyle Hotz.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a private investigation being done by a detective and a police officer over a dead man whose chest was ripped open. While the two discuss who could be responsible for the victim’s death, Night Man appears and showed no fear when guns were pointed at him.

He tells the police officer and the detective that he is searching for a murderer responsible for the kidnap of two ladies and the extraction of their respective glands. Night Man explains that he rescued the two said ladies and victim right in front of them must be the first substitute victim…

Quality

Getting answers is tough for the Night Man.

To cut through the chase, I can say that this comic book has a very strong detective story element in it told through Night Man. In fact, seeing Night Man doing detective work made him look and feel like DC Comics’ own Batman but with the Ultraverse touch still maintained.

While telling a detective story, Steve Englehart also took time to humanize Night Man and the scene in which the protagonist questions what being the Night Man has gotten him into was a really nice touch.

Serving as the highlight of this comic book was the rematch between Night Man and antagonist from issue #4. The rematch was not much about spectacle or hard-hitting action but rather more about intrigue and shock value expressed through dialogue (which the Night Man and the villainess engaged a lot with). The villainess is absolutely not the typical comic book antagonist but someone who has a legacy of not just taking people’s lives away but also living through the decades without aging nor anyone from local society opposing her. The villainess is pretty much an ideological opposite of the Night Man.  

Conclusion

The Night Man doing detective work and research.

With its continued approach on darkness, grit and shock value on its storytelling, The Night Man #5 (1994) is another engaging read and it is best enjoyed when you focus on the dialogue and the details in text. As for the Night Man himself, he got developed as a person even more here even though key storytelling elements were used that made the comic book feel like a Batman comic book. Lastly, I should say that Night Man really has his own unique place within the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #5 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.

Overall, The Night Man #5 (1994) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Team Xbox reveals 512GB and 2TB Storage Expansion Cards for Xbox Series X|S, set for mid-November and early December 2021 releases respectively

Are you an owner of Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X? If you were, have you been struggling with managing the limited amount of data storage as video games and their respective DLC (downloadable content) and patches easily consumed a lot of space on your console?

There are new solutions coming but they are quite pricey. Still, you will have choices with regards to how much added storage do you need and how much money you have. I’m talking about the recent announcement made by Team Xbox that the 512 GB and 2TB Storage Expansion Cards (made by Seagate) are coming out some time in the middle of November 2021 (which happens to be the very month of the 20th anniversary of Xbox) and early December 2021 respectively.

From left to right: the 512GB expansion card (coming out November 2021), the 1TB expansion card (available already) and the 2TB expansion card (coming out December 2021). (image from Xbox.com)

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by Pamela Wang of Designed for Xbox. Some parts in boldface…

Designed for Xbox has collaborated with Seagate once again, and we’re excited to announce 512GB and 2TB Storage Expansion Cards for Xbox Series X|S will be available soon in all Xbox markets.

The Seagate 512GB Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is available for pre-order today from Walmart in the United States for $139.99 USD (US Dollars) and will launch mid-November. For other markets and availability, please check your local retailer.

The Seagate 2TB Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S will be available for pre-order in November for $399.99 USD and will launch early December. The Seagate 2TB Storage Expansion Card will also be the next product featuring the Designed for Xbox Limited Series badge, ensuring premium product quality, performance, and design.

How to Use the Seagate Storage Expansion Card

This is how to insert the expansion card on the rear of the Xbox Series X. (image from Xbox.com)

To use the Seagate Storage Expansion Card, just plug the card into the Storage Expansion port on the back of your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console, and you can use it just as you would any external storage solution. You can choose to install games to the expansion card by default, play games directly from it, move or copy games between local and external storage, or do anything you already do today with an external hard drive. The only difference is that the expansion card is designed to match the exact performance of the internal storage of the Xbox Series X|S.

Wow! $139.99 for 512GB and $399.99 for 2TB for the Xbox Series consoles! Remember the high-end edition of Xbox 360 that first launched in November 2005? That console launched with a tag price of $399.99 which is the exact same amount of money required for the 2TB storage expansion card. High price aside, buying the 2TB storage expansion card makes more sense than buying two separate 1TB storage expansion cards that sell for $219.99 each. Do the math and you will realize what I’m saying here.

Apart from gaining additional storage space, it should be noted that there are benefits that will be realized quickly by users in terms of performance and speed. For the newcomers reading this, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X both use the Xbox Velocity Architecture, the foundation of which is used by the Seagate storage expansion cards. Check out the excerpt below from the recent Xbox.com article…

Xbox Velocity Architecture

This shows the flow of data between the inserted expansion card and the chips inside. (image from Xbox.com)

The Storage Expansion Card uses the foundation of the Xbox Velocity Architecture. This is the custom, internal SSD delivering 2.4 GB/s of raw I/O throughput, more than 40x the throughput of Xbox One. The Seagate Storage Expansion Card was designed using the Xbox Velocity Architecture to deliver the exact same consistent, sustained performance of our internal SSD ensuring you have the exact same gameplay experience regardless of where the game resides.

The Seagate Storage Expansion Cards are the only external SSDs on market designed to leverage the Xbox Velocity Architecture and deliver the exact same performance as the internal SSD.

For other technical details about this particular development, read the full article at https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2021/10/21/new-seagate-storage-expansion-cards/

While the 512GB and 2TB Storage Expansion Cards for Xbox Series consoles have yet to be released, that means you still have time to raise money for one or both of them depending your needs for digital storage with your console. Be reminded that hot new games like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, Chorus and The Gunk will be released for Xbox this November-December, while the Saints Row (2022) reboot will be released on February 2022. Expect those games alone to consume a good amount of your Xbox Series console’s storage space. In fact, Forza Horizon 5 requires 103GB on Xbox Series consoles! Think about the future of your video gaming passion when it comes to expanding your current storage space.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos as well as videos of upcoming games for your viewing pleasure.

+++++

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

Better than Streaming: Catwoman: Hunted 4K Blu-ray coming out on February 8, 2022

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

If you love Catwoman or if you simply fond of DC Comics stories and concepts portrayed in varied forms of media other than comic books, then you should watch out for the release of Catwoman: Hunted 4K Blu-ray combo on February 8, 2022!  Check out the cover and official trailer below…

Posted below are very early details of Catwoman: Hunted 4K Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Audio

TBA

Subtitles

None

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

Now here are the details sourced from the Blu-ray.com news page for Catwoman: Hunted 4K Blu-ray

Studio description: In the all-new original Catwoman: Hunted, Catwoman’s attempt to steal a priceless jewel puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman. It might just be enough to contain her. Or not.

Elizabeth Gillies (Dynasty, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Vacation) and Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, In The Heights) lead the cast of Catwoman: Hunted as the voices of Catwoman and Batwoman, respectively. Also featured is Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) as Black Mask, Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars Rebels) as Solomon Grundy, Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Julia Pennyworth, Keith David (They Live, The Thing, Gargoyles) as Tobias Whale, Zehra Fazal (Young Justice) as Talia al Ghul and Nosferata, Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: the Next Generation) as King Faraday and Boss Moxie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place, Barry) as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah, Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) as Cheshire, Andrew Kishino (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Mr. Yakuza and Domino 6, Eric Lopez (Madagascar: A Little Wild) as Domino 1, Jacqueline Obradors (Bosch, NYPD Blue) as La Dama, and Ron Yuan (Mortal Kombat 11) as Doctor Tzin.

Catwoman: Hunted is directed by Shinsuke Terasawa (Gintama, Yo-kai Watch) from a script penned by Greg Weisman (Young Justice, Gargoyles). Producer is Ethan Spaulding (Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms) and Executive Producer is Sam Register.

For the newcomers reading this, Catwoman is one of the classic DC Comics characters co-created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger (the same creators of Batman). Catwoman made her debut as “the Cat” in Batman #1 (1940) and went on to not only become one of the most essential inclusions in Batman’s rogues gallery, but also as the best known love interest of Batman. Through the decades, Catwoman appeared in the live-action Batman TV series of the 1960s, in the movies (best known portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992, by Halle Berry in 2004 and Anne Hathaway in 2012), in the video games and also in the Gotham TV series.

Catwoman will also return to the big screen in next year’s The Batman, played by Zoë Kravitz under the direction of Matt Reeves. Watch the latest The Batman trailer below and try to find her…

Personally, I am not a fan of Catwoman and I was not interested in the complex relationships she had with Batman in comic books. In the 1990s, DC Comics published an entire monthly series focused on her and you can check out my retro comic book review of Catwoman #50 (1997).

Catwoman: Hunted is the first of several new DC Comics animated films set for release in 2022 under the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment label. Watch out for its expected listing in online stores to go live soon.

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,  Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray, Night Shift Blu-ray and The Karate Kid Collection 4K Blu-ray.

+++++

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: 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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.

+++++

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.”

+++++

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!

+++++

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