Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: batman (page 1 of 2)

Comic Review: Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman (Rebirth)

Nightwing Vol. 1: Better Than Batman collects Nightwing: Rebirth #1 and Nightwing #1-4, and 7-8. The volume is written by Tim Seeley, known for his work on Grayson and illustrated by Yanick Paquette and Javier Fernandez.

The Story (aka From the Publisher)

Nightwing is back…in blue!

He’s been Robin, he’s been a super spy, a ghost. Now, Dick Grayson finds himself back in Gotham City fighting to reclaim the life that was taken from him. But when a new evil threatens those closest to Dick, as Nightwing he must once again choose whether or not to tear himself away from his home in order to combat this dark force.

Everything Dick thought he knew about being Nightwing will be brought to bear, and his relationship to his former mentor Batman will be put to the test in Nightwing Vol. 1.

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‘Lego Batman’ and the Importance of Family

Lego Batman movie poster“You can’t be a hero if you’re only thinking about yourself.” -Barbara Gordon

The team behind the 2014 surprise box office hit, The Lego Movie, had produced a fun, kid-friendly comic book movie in The Lego Batman Movie.  Will Arnett, who returns as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne, is the perfect humorless, brooding Dark Knight.

The film is full of fast-moving bricks that successfully draws on decades of Batman lore. From the 1960’s television series to Batman v. Superman, references to the Dark Knight’s multifaceted phases are made . . . . and they are brilliant! The references include the “na-na-na-na” theme song and the classic “POWS.”

The pop references do not stop there. The Joker unleashes a myriad of Warner Bros. villains onto Gotham city, who have all been chilling out in the Phantom Zone. Villains such as Voldemort, King Kong, Gremlins, Eye of Sauron, the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys, and Godzilla. These references are clearly placed for the benefit of the parents. And, so, on behalf of all parents, I say, “Thank you.”

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Comic Review: Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Rebirth)

Batman Rebirth CoverBatman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham is written by the former CIA analyst Tom King and illustrated by David Finch. It collects Batman: Rebirth #1 and Batman #1-6.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

The Caped Crusader has never been stopped. Not by the Joker. Not by Two-Face. Not even by the entire Justice League. But now, in the wake of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Batman must face his most challenging foe ever–a hero who wants to save Gotham…from the Batman!

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Book Review: Bedtime for Batman

Bedtime for Batman cover

Bedtime for Batman, Michael Dahl, Capstone Young Readers, 2016.

In our house, when the sky turns dark, there is a little super hero who needs to prepare for the greatest adventure of the day . . . . bedtime! We have an arsenal of books we read to Baby J at bedtime, many of which are bedtime themed books.

In this bedtime story book, the super hero too has to prepare for bedtime. The little boy gears up in his pajama uniform, hurries upstairs to clean up the nightly filth, and he keeps watch from his perch on his bunk bed. Each couple of pages mirrors what the boy is doing to prepare for bedtime and what Batman is doing to prepare for his nightly patrol of Gotham.

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Comic Review: Justice League Vol. 7 – Darkseid War Part 1

Comic Review Justice League Vol. 7 Justice League Vol. 7 is written by Geoff Johns and collects Justice League issues #39-46 and Free Comic Book Day 2015: DC Comics Divergence #1.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

Geoff Johns pits the heroes of the DC universe against the might of Gods in the seventh volume of the best-selling series! The Justice League came together to stop the forces of Darkseid from destroying Earth five years ago. Now the ruler of Apokolips returns, but sets his sites on the world-shattering Anti-Monitor. Will the combined might of the Justice League be enough to protect the Earth from the collateral as Gods fight?

Searching for Purpose

As the graphic novel begins, Wonder Woman recalls being an adolescent girl and discovering something that washed up on shore from the human world. She asks her mother, “What’s out there?” In her narration, Wonder Woman says, “I was searching for something.” The following panels depict an adolescent Aquaman, Green Lantern, Superman, and Batman, all asking a similar question: “What’s out there?”

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Holy Interruptions, Batman (*)

*I am indebted to conversations with my friend, Kara, who blogs at byrnenlove, for the inspiration for this post.

polls_batmanrobin_4009_238289_poll_xlargeI should be at church right now.

It’s Sunday morning and I spend it leading worship at Peakland. In fact, today I was scheduled to preach. But, as life tends to do at times, everything got interrupted when baby J got pink eye.

Yep, pink eye.

This week already proved to be full of interruptions. From the Greek Orthodox woman at Starbucks who wanted to talk about Donald Trump to sharing unexpected news with people I care deeply about.

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Comic Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 4 Siege

superman batmanBatman/Superman Vol. 4 is written b y Greg Pak and collects issues 16-20 of Batman/Superman, Batman/Superman Annual #2, and Batman/Superman: Futures End #1.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

Someone is targeting the people closest to Superman—those who wear his sigil, those he cares most about, even innocents whose lives he’s saved. The attacks seem random, but Batman recognizes the pattern. A madman who hates you so much he strikes at the people around you…this is Superman’s Joker.
Worse, the method of the attacks is even more bizarre: the bullets leave no residue, no clues, then seem to disappear into nothingness. Even the World’s Greatest Detective is at a loss.

But when Batman hatches a plan to draw the killer out of hiding, a crucial clue is uncovered—one that reveals that the killer is more closely tied to Superman than they could have imagined! Can Superman, Batman and Supergirl defeat this threat from Superman’s past…or will Superman’s Joker prove to be his final undoing?

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Comic Review: Batman Eternal Vol. 2

Batman Eternal Batman Eternal Vol. 2 collects issues #22-34 of the fairly new weekly Batman series written by the New York Times best-selling author Scott Snyder.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)
After Commissioner Gordon’s arrest, Batman’s world is turned upside down. New allies emerge, old allies fall and his rogues gallery of villains are not quite who they seem. With a new power structure being established in Gotham amidst rising tension and chaos, can Batman adapt to the changing status quo?

Family Matters

One of the major themes in this volume is the role of family, both in negative as well as positive ways. Alfred has gone missing. It turns out that Alfred has been doused with a huge amount of fear toxin. Alfred’s daughter, Julia, comes looking to check in on him, and stumbles into the Bat Cave. There she fulfills her father’s role in aiding Batman.

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Comic Review: Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 1 is a collection of Arkham Knight comics #1-6 that are the prequel to the brand-video game Batman: Arkham Knight. The fact that the comic is tied to the Arkham video games, may prevent some people from picking it up.

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

If you have not seen Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, you should before you see Rises.  Nolan brilliantly weaves themes and characters from the first two films into Rises, much to the delight of Bat-fans. Rises picks up months after Dark Knight. The lie that Batman created for Gotham that Harvey Dent was the hero, despite his transformation into Two-Face. Thanks to the Dent Act, in memory of Harvey, the streets of Gotham have been swept clean of organized crime. For the first time in decades, the city knows peace. It is a city without the need for Batman. As such, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has secluded himself in the east wing of Wayne Manor.

With the city and Bruce Wayne vulnerable, Bane (Tom Hardy of Nolan’s Inception) enters the story. Bane is quite possibly the epitome of evil. His presence alone is intimidating due to the way he carries his physical bulk.  And never mind the Hannibal Lector-like mask he wears. He speaks in a calm and thoughtful manner, that reminds you of a great philosopher, yet he can break a neck in a single twist. A mercenary who speaks of revolution, Bane exploits the class warfare already in existence for his own means; for his own power.

As Bane and his goons wreak havoc in Gotham – which looks more and more like New York – Bruce must decide if he will rise from the self-inflicted daze to regain his vocation as the Batman. The question, however, shifts from, “Can he?” to “Should he?” The answer, as is true for most of Nolan’s films, is nowhere near simple. In a Jonah-in-the-whale kind of way, Bruce is imprisoned in Bane’s prison where he heals physically and emotionally. As Bruce catapults out of the prison’s hole, he claims his mission and sets out to wear the mask and cape.

In the midst of all of this, there is a mysterious woman in a cat costume.  Catwoman, or Selina Kyle is played by Anne Hathaway.  Hathaway handles the role of Catwoman in such a casual way that it makes us think, “Of course she’s the Catwoman.” Her morality is as flexible as her body, which is no wonder she and Batman seem to have a kinship.

The Dark Knight Rises does what every great film should do – spark conversation on the drive home. And I don’t mean conversations about how awesome the special effects were. I mean conversations about the themes and statements the film is saying about humanity.

Catwoman embodies one of the many themes in this film: grace. She is searching for ways to clear her slate, erase her record. She was made promises by Bane’s people that never came to fruition. Wayne/Batman offers her the same BEFORE she does anything. As a result, she offers assistance to help him find Bane.  But, it turns out to be a trap.  Even so, Wayne/Batman offers her grace and a chance to be a part of the redeeming of Gotham.

“Born in hell, forged from suffering, hardened by pain.” That line from the film is about Bane. It could easily be about Bruce Wayne as well. Both men have been forged from suffering and hardened by pain. The difference is how the men response to this tragedy/crisis/struggle. Like Jonah, Bane prefers vengeance to those who have done wrong. Like Jonah, Bruce Wayne rises above his own struggles to reclaim a commitment he has made to do good. And like Jonah, grace is the lesson learned. We rise because we have grace.

The film is the home to many more themes and theological ponderings. Too many to name and discuss here. One question remains, though, what will the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences do with the Batman?

To read more movie and television reviews, go to hollywoodjesus.com.

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