Batman: Year One Preview: Stars Bryan Cranson, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku and Katee Sackoff (Video)

In this preview clip from Batman: Year One, the Dark Knight crashes a criminal dinner in Gotham City. The animated movie hits Blu-ray and DVD on October 18, 2011. Coincidentally, Batman: Arkham City also hits the streets on the same day for Xbox 360 and PS3. Check it out. One more thing to get you ready for 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, with Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman.

Batman: Year One is based on the landmark 1987 DC Comics titles from 12-time Eisner Award winner Frank Miller and illustrator David Mazzucchelli. The film depicts young Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante. The playboy billionaire chooses the guise of a giant bat to combat crime, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon (who is already battling corruption from inside the police department), inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a crooked political system that infests Gotham.

Primetime television stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C.), Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) provide the core voices for Batman: Year One. Three-time Emmy® Award winner Cranston gives voice to young Jim Gordon, while McKenzie makes his animated voiceover debut as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Fanboy favorites Dushku and Sackhoff fill the roles of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Detective Sarah Essen, respectively. Alex Rocco (The Godfather) is the voice of crime lord Carmine Falcone.

Animation master Bruce Timm is executive producer of Batman: Year One. Directors are Lauren Montgomery (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse) and Sam Liu (All-Star Superman) from a script penned by Academy Award® nominee Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse).

Bane Gets The Dark Knight’s Back in ‘Batman: Arkham City’ +New Screens

Bane.

He’s the steroid-infused behemoth that broke Batman’s back. He’s also one of the lead villains in The Dark Knight Rises (played by Tom Hardy), the next iteration in Christopher Nolan’s Batman film series. Now, it looks like Bane will be the guy who will have the Dark Knight’s back in Batman: Arkham City.

Check out this new photo released from Warner Bros. Interactive. It shows Batman and Bane surrounded. What events could have possibly lead to the two standing side-by-side and surrounded?

Needless to say, these two will inevitably come to blows if they didn’t first start off fighting one another and end up as uneasy allies.

Batman: Arkham City comes to the Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 18, 2011 in North America, October 19 in Australia, and October 21 in Europe and other global territories. It hits the PC in November.

Here are three more screens showing off the combat system in Arkham City as well as Batman’s stealth mode. Can you feel the anticipation heat up? I can’t wait.

batman arkham city

15 Comics We Covet in DC’s New 52

Last week DC Comics’ New 52 began with Justice League #1 and even though it didn’t meet my expectations, it did not dampen the excitement I have for these upcoming weeks and months for a few dozen titles. And for those of you who skipping out on this relaunch–especially those most critical and vocal without even reading a single issue–leave your cynicism at the door. Either embrace what some of these great creative teams have come up with, or kindly let your wallet or purse do the best expression of your opinion (by buying something else). Me? I’m going to eat this up, not because I’m the biggest fan of relaunches, I’m the biggest fan of a great story paired with jaw-dropping art and if DC pulls this off like I believe they can, then this could be the beginning of something special.

So today, the real fun begins. This is the present-day DC Universe and while those more enthusiastic and far better financially well-off than I, will scoop up every issue, I have to admit that my own lofty goals of trying out at least half is still a noble feat.

batman 2

Now before I begin, let me say there are a few no-brainers like:

Action Comics by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
• Superman by George Perez and Jesus Merino
Batman by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Detective Comics by Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn
• Green Lantern by Geoff Johns and Doug Manke.
Green Lantern Corps by Peter Tomasi, Geraldo Borges, Scott Hanna and Alex Garner
Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

Seriously, all seven of those should be bought and eaten up like slices of New York Pizza. In fact, I am willing to bet that most of those were ordered the highest out of the 52. But to me, what makes the New 52 so fun is trying out new titles, new concepts, no matter how many or how far out there they may be. Many of the featured titles in this story have outstanding talent working on them, but when you mix their creativity with the concept or the character they’re working on, well that’s a recipe for comics I want to read. And since I am a betting man, I believe that many of these will sell out by the end of the day and if shops did not place enough orders, or adjusted their reorders for this week, then that could entice people to try some of this digitally.

I know that many of you will fall back on familiar titles, but I really do challenge each and every one of you to try something new, or buy a few books you normally wouldn’t and give them as gifts to people who don’t normally read comics. This is a great opportunity to share in this exciting beginning of the new 52!

The following titles may not be made for each and everyone one of you, but the comics industry as a whole is at its healthiest when there’s more readers, with a broadening horizon of what they want in a story. So whether they find them in print or by digital, it doesn’t matter. Just help them get into the hands of people who would enjoy them.

Please click through the next four pages to see the books we are excited by the most in the coming weeks.

Week 1 : On Sale September 7th, 2011

Animal Man #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Travel Foreman

animal man art

Why you want it
The creators working on this title should be enough to lure you in as Lemire has stunned readers on a monthly basis with his creator-owned Vertigo book Sweet Tooth, Essex County for Top Shelf, and Superboy for DC, but here he resurrects a book made famous by Grant Morrison and Jamie Delano. But this isn’t the meta-fiction brain-benind, Lemire is focusing on Buddy Baker the family man who can borrow the powers of animals. We’ll see how these powers affect him and his family and what the consequences of those powers are. Things get interesting when he discovers that his daughter has powers as well. The preview art on this book is astounding and is going to be one of the more talked about series in the relaunch. Believe it!

animal man 1animal man 3

Batgirl#1
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
Covers by Adam Hughes

batgirl 1 cvr

Why we want it
Yes, Batgirl is back, and Oracle as we last knew her is gone. A huge part of this relaunch is seeing Barbara Gordon up on her feet and fighting crime on a street level. And while many of us loved Oracle, Batgirl died in The Killing Joke when the Joker paralyzed her. Now she’s back, but DC wouldn’t have brought her up out of the wheelchair if they didn’t have something good planned for her. Simone (Secret Six) is one of the best in the business, so we can’t wait to see how she repurposes Barbara back into the DCU and how she elevates Batgirl back into the pantheon of Batman books.

batgirl 3 cvrbatgirl interior

Batwing #1
Written by Judd Winick
Art and covers by Ben Oliver

batwing cover

Why we want it
I can hear you saying already, “Batwing?” Seriously. Give this book a chance, I have a feeling it may be a sleeper hit this year. This isn’t just Batman in Africa or some half-assed politically correct-driven book. If you had the pleasure of reading Joshua Dysart’s gritty and haunting African take on the Unknown Soldier for Vertigo, then you  might have an idea of the setting I’m talking about. We’d like to think that all of the DC Universe happens on American soil but Batwing stretches it out to over the hugeness of Africa, a continent full of corruption and violence and this is real life to draw some scary fiction from. Winick hopes to give readers an idea of what Africa is as a continent, the different nations and people that make it whole, and a compelling and very real landscape where a superhero or superheroes are needed. This book promises to deliver something truly unique to the DCU by opening the world to Africa to mainstream comics, and hopefully someday mainstream comics to Africa.

batwing page19batwing page20

Swamp Thing #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art and covers by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn
Fill-in art by Francesco Francavilla

swamp thing

Why we want it
We’re big fans of Snyder and American Vampire, so we have complete faith that he will do the history of Swamp Thing proud as he plans to build on the work that’s been done prior by Alan Moore, Andy Diggle, Joshua Dysart, and Len Wein.  Alec Holland is back, spit out by the swamp with the history but wants to know why he was brought back.  Also look for crossovers with shared stories with Animal Man and other DCU Dark titles and that just makes us even more excited how the two tiles will relate to one another.

swamp thing 3

Men of War #1
Written by Ivan Brandon and Jonathan Vankin
Art by Tom Derenick, Covers by Viktor Kalvachev

men of war interiors

Why we want it
Why is it that war comics typically cover the same wars, World War I and II, The Civil War, and Vietnam? Why is it that no one’s capitalized on the popularity of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare video games? It’s long overdue that DC do a modern take on Sgt. Rock and place him in the DCU. Brandon and Derenick’s take puts the grandson of Sgt. Rock, Joe Rock, an Army man who is fighting wars that continue to exist despite the world of super heroes and villains running rampant. Joe takes control of Easy Company, a team of ex-miltary operatives, now contractors as they try to clean up the problems left by man and super-villains alike. What’s interesting about this is that it looks at the problems of soldiers trying to conduct their work with super powered beings and why those with powers still can’t wipe away the problems created by humans. This title, like Batwing will be grounded in some real world areas and should take on an international flavor since many of the areas of conflict are on foreign soil

men of war 1men of war 2 cvr

Next: Week 2 Comics: On Sale Sept 14

Batman: Arkham City – The Album Cover Art

Here it is, the cover art for Batman: Arkham City – The Album from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, WaterTower Music and DC Entertainment. Artists featured on the video game inspired album include: Daughtry, Panic! At The Disco, Coheed and Cambria, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Looks pretty awesome and falls in line with most of the concept art we’ve seen for Batman: Arkham City. Regarding the musical inspiration Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez said, “I write in a very conceptual format with the stories that surround Coheed and Cambria, but Batman has a much larger, defined history and rules that go along with it. My goal was to find universal themes from Batman’s existing history to help give the lyrics legs and dimension so that the song could live within that world.”

Batman: Arkham City

Check out the track listing below:
1. Panic! At The Disco – Mercenary
2. Coheed and Cambria – Deranged
3. The Duke Spirit – Creature
4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Shadow On The Run
5. Blaqk Audio – Afterdark
6. The Raveonettes – Oh, Stranger
7. ††† (Crosses) – The Years
8. The Damned Things – Trophy Widow
9. Daughtry – Drown In You
10. The Boxer Rebellion – Losing You
11. Serj Tankian – Total Paranoia

*Bonus Collector’s Edition track
12. A Place to Bury Strangers – In The Shadow

Raise your hand if you’ll be picking up this album when it drops on October 4th, two weeks prior to Arkham City’s North American release on October 18th.

DVD Review: ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ Season Two Part One

Batman: The Brave and the Bold gets even funnier in season 2. Although we don’t have an episode on par with season 1’s legendary “Mayhem of the Music Meister” episode, season 2 doesn’t miss a comedic beat. There are team-ups aplenty in season 2 with Aquaman stepping up as one of Batman’s favorite partners (or maybe Aquaman is more like the partner The Dark Knight can’t shake). If you haven’t had a chance to check out The Brave and the Bold yet, you can still hop on the bandwagon. Unlike previous Batman series, this show doesn’t follow a progressive story arc so each episode can be enjoyed individually. Also, you can easily pick up season 1 afterwards and enjoy all the episodes without fear of spoilers. Each episode is clever enough to stand on its own. The Season Two Part One DVD release falls short on special features, but its still a great chance for new fans to discover a great series.

The sophomore season of Brave and the Bold steps up the pop culture humor, while still utilizing Batman’s cache of cliché, but humorous jokes. For example, in “Long Arm of the Law” Plastic Man shows off the Plastic Cave, clearly spoofing the Bat Cave. However, everything in the Plastic Cave is dialed down to the mundane household items. The actual cave is the garage. In order to get into the Plastic Cave, Plastic Man flips up the head of a tabletop statue and presses the hidden button similar to the one used in the 1960’s Adam West and Burt Ward TV series. Except the actual sculpture is of Batman’s head.

Two characters step up into the forefront in Season 2: the Blue Beatle and Aquaman. There is a Blue Beatle episode featuring the planet OA and the Green Lantern Corps that is excellent. The Blue Beatle gets a chance to show off his worth as a hero. Also, there’s an episode with Aquaman’s family going on vacation. However, Arthur (Aquaman) can’t seem to put the heroic deeds on hold to enjoy his wife’s company. In “Sidekicks Assemble”, the Teen Titans form and they go up against Ra’s Al Ghul and his daughter Talia. It’s also fair to note that Batman becomes his own guest hero in one episode where the Batman we’ve been following gets superpowers and a new Batman is introduced (it’s a multiverse episode DC Nation fans). Other cool guest-stars include Firestorm and Black Adam.

Remember when I said there wasn’t an episode in season 2 that quite compares to the hilarity of the Music Meister? Well, there is one episode in Season 2 that does really stand out from the pack. “Chill of the Night” sidesteps all of the typical Brave and the Bold humor to deliver the series’ first serious episode. This episode deals with Batman’s origin and the person who killed his parents. It’s also the first time we see Batman as Bruce Wayne. Other notable characters include The Phantom Stranger and the Spectre. Although the comedy is not there, it is an excellent, well-written episode that is a throwback to the darker 90s animated Batman series. Surprisingly, it is followed up by a slapstick episode with Detective Chimp. Batman and Chimp go up against GASP (Gorillas and Apes Seizing Power). It’s not the greatest Brave and the Bold, especially after following up (Chill of the Night), but it’s still entertaining.

Batman the Brave and the Bold continues to delight and this DVD set is proof. If you haven’t picked up on the series yet, now is definitely the time. Then go back and watch the Music Meister.

Batman: Brave & The Bold Season Two Part One
Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Starring: Diedrich Bader, John Di Maggio, James Arnold Taylor
Executive Producers: Michael Jelenic, Sam Register, James Tucker
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Rating:
8 / 10

Justice League #1 Review: The Future of the New DC Universe Starts Here

Justice League #1 CoverThe media is buzzing, the anticipation has been building and no one knows exactly what to expect. Some titles are undergoing a hard reboot, others a soft. August 31st is here and that means as the old DC Universe ends in Flashpoint #5, while the launch of the new DC Universe begins with Justice League #1. One thing is made abundantly clear: This is a young universe, a very, very young universe.

The new 52 opens in Gotham City five years prior to the present day, when super hero sightings are just whisperings by the privileged few who have seen a red and blue blur, a green construct appear out of nowhere, or a large bat in the sky. The bulk of this first issue features the first meeting between Batman and Green Lantern. He has no knowledge of the Green Lantern Corps, but we get the impression that a file will be started on Batman’s computer in the Bat-Cave. Lantern assists Batman in the pursuit of an alien goon on a suicide mission for Darkseid but Jordan is clearly cramping the Dark Knight. They bicker constantly, feeling each other out and they gossip about Superman sightings.

Green Lantern: They say he’s an alien.
Batman: He is, and he’s dangerous.

Oooh. This DC universe has just begun and Batman’s already got it out for two fellow heroes. Batman doesn’t have the influence or the presence in Gotham-yet. GCPD doesn’t hesitate to shoot at him, there is no fear of Batman or respect for anything he has done for the city. But this is not Batman: Year One.

Still, that’s not the problem of the book. What is problematic is Green Lantern, a character that writer Geoff Johns is well-trusted with, having taken the character to new heights in the last five years. In this latest DC relaunch though, he’s mannerless, conceited, reckless even and in Batman’s neighborhood of all places. Well, at least Green Lantern has more confidence in this first issue than Ryan Reynolds’ had in the entire movie.

What’s going to be excruciatingly painful for longtime readers is having that knowledge or more importantly that experience of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s JLA run or even Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes’ year-long launch of the previous volume of the book in their memories. How can they compare those reading experiences to this story? Here’s the thing, it doesn’t. Neither of those earlier stories were used to launch an entire line of new comics but they did do this: they made me feel with one issue that this is the assemblage of the greatest of the DC heroes. This did not.

It’s transparently clear that DC is–at least with Justice League–grab the new reader, the younger reader, one who only has concepts and general ideas of who Batman, Green Lantern, Superman etc. are from a variety of places including fond memories as a child. But these new readers are probably the type that don’t care to build on the history that is supposedly intact. They don’t want to be burdened by that. Believe me, there is not a single thing wrong with that. Long-standing continuity be damned. But reading it with that frame of mind, it still feels like the butcher cut too much of the sirloin with the fat off in an effort to make it a healthier, leaner cut. When you cook that steak though, there’s not much flavor.

The first 12 pages add up to one long action sequence. Now, I’m all for seeing some great Jim Lee and Scott Williams art, but even for their long-time fans, this could be considered a sub-par effort. It’s just not dynamic enough; too many of the camera angles are overhead or too far away. If not for the last two satisfying pages, we’d be left with one ongoing argument and the start of Cyborg’s origin. Plenty of the exchanges seen in Justice League #1 were what you’d see in a video game movie sequence, but not necessarily what you would hope to read in a deep, universe-establishing comic.

It also reminded me of several things that I didn’t like about the Green Lantern movie. Is DC so bound to the idea of an origin that they can’t see beyond it now to hit a home run with the first issue? Yet here we are again with another origin. This doesn’t sour my expectations for the several new titles to come in the next four weeks, but it does temper my hopes for the flagship team book in the new DC Universe. I can’t even imagine how Lee and Johns have time to do this book with all of their other duties at DC Comics. But if Justice League becomes more of an easy entry point for new readers, that’s fine in the beginning, but it needs to be one of the very best books in the line. Johns and Lee are too good to cast aside after one issue; they do have a story they want to tell and you can see hints of one.

There is more promise along the way, like Darkseid will be the first villain up to bat for the League and he’s a major league player. We’re going to see Vic Stone from his early potential as a high school star athlete and how his transformation Cyborg as it plays out. And then there’s still the promise of Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman joining the party. I hope the second issue is more robust because Justice League #1 is not that bad, I just wanted it to be so much more.

Justice League #1
Justice League #1 Cover
Publisher: DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Release Date: August 31, 2011

Rating:

6.0 / 10

Watch Anne Hathaway Race Batpod as Catwoman in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Chase Scene

We’ve got some more leaked footage from The Dark Knight Rises production set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In this video, we see Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) racing the Batpod (a bat motorcycle of sorts) through the streets of Gotham. It looks like she’s dodging two military vehicles. The military vehicles look like the Batmobile, but actually have desert camouflage.

Perhaps, Wayne Enterprises has licensed its prototype vehicle to the public? Either that or Batman just returned from a tour in the Middle East and has a buddy with the same car (I’m sure it’s not a secret Robin because he would never allow Robin to drive a car like that so quickly). Also, in the second shot of Catwoman, you’ll see three of the Batmobile-style armored vehicles. So it’s definitely not the Dark Knight.

Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts. You can also check out the high-res photos of Catwoman on the Batpod racing through a building here. Previously, footage of the Batwing was also leaked out on the web.

The Dark Knight Rises opens in theaters on July 20, 2012.

Mr. Freeze Puts the Dark Knight on Ice in New ‘Batman: Arkham City’ Trailer

Warner Bros Interactive and Rocksteady just released a new (and downright intense) trailer for Batman: Arkham City. The video shows off a familiar story arc that’s a throwback to the 90s cartoon. Doctor Victor Fries is trying to get his Nora back and the Dark Knight is standing in his way.

The trailer is intense and only serves to raise the anticipation for the game, coming out Oct. 18 on Xbox 360 and PS3, and (dare I say) Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises feature film coming in 2012.

Check out the trailer and this awesome still of Mr. Freeze and let us know your thoughts in the comments below:

Mr Freeze Batman arkham city

Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City – five times larger than the game world in Batman: Arkham Asylum – and the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new, all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.

See the Batwing Take to the Streets in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

When we interviewed The Dark Knight Rises writer Jonathan Nolan, he was very hush hush on what to expect in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sequel to The Dark Knight.

However, it doesn’t look like either Nolan could keep a giant Batwing secret from the public, while filming in Pittsburgh this week. Check out the video below from a YouTuber who was able to catch Batman’s airplane on video. This Batwing is starkly different from the one used in the original Batman movie. It doesn’t have that sleek comic-book design. Similar to the Batmobile used in Nolan’s first two features, Nolan is going for a more military fashioned vehicle. It’s good to know, at least, that Nolan hasn’t dived too much into CG like Sucker Punch Director Zack Snyder. He’s keeping all the main devices in this movie real. Thankfully, Nolan is a writer on Man of Steel, which Snyder is directing. So we may be privy to a better story than we would typically expect from a film entirely helmed by Snyder.

After Heath Ledger dominated the role of The Joker three years ago, fans have anxiously been awaiting the follow-up feature. Can Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) hope to fill the villain void?

Let us know your thoughts on the new Dark Knight Rises Batwing in the comments below.

‘Gotham City Imposters’ to Give ‘Batman: Arkham City’ Fans Customizable Joker Mayhem

In two months, Batman: Arkham City will take over the lives of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners around the world. Gamers will engage in single-player brawls to save Gotham from being overrun by the city’s deadliest villains.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to duke it out as a team through the streets of Gotham online? In 2012, Warner Bros Interactive will release Gotham City Imposters. It’s a first-person shooter that gives players the chance to customize weapons and characters based off of Gotham’s elite heroes and villains. So if you want to be a chubby Robin with Joker hair, you can. Suppose you want to use one of the Joker’s infamous “Trap-in-a-box” weapons, put the chill on a scumbag with Dr. Freeze’s ice gun or get around via Spring Boots? You can customize your character to have those options as well.

Check out this trailer below and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the game and whether or not you’ll be picking up Batman: Arkham City on launch day. Let the Bat-antics begin.

Gotham City Impostors is scheduled for release early 2012 and will be available on XBLA and PSN.

Gotham City Impostors, a multiplayer game unlike any other, gives players the opportunity to rebel against conformity as they customize their own Impostor. Fighting for justice or creating chaos, gamers will create their very own Bats or the Jokerz characters using unprecedented customization options including insane costumes, homemade gadgets and a wide range of traditional and imagined weapons – some of which will appear in this new trailer.