Focus Originals: ‘Up, Uppity and Away’ #13: The Rhythmic Club

The thirteenth panel in the Agent Ace adventure has arrived — on the docks.

“Ace’s new pal, Kasper, takes him to the secret location of The Rhythmic Club. Who is Kasper’s mystery contact? Will Ace’s questions finally be answered?”

Be sure to come back next week to see if Ace’s questions finally get answered. Dig into our comics’ archive to learn more about Agent Ace.

Focus Originals: ‘Up, Uppity and Away’ #12: The Mysterious Stranger

The latest Up, Uppity and Away comic panel is here.

Usually the hero, today, Ace finds that he’s the one getting rescued by a mysterious stranger. Who is this woman lurking in the shadows? And what does she know of Ace’s fate?

For back issues of the Agent Ace saga, be sure to dip into our comics’ archive.

Let us know what you think about Up, Uppity and Away in the comments below.

‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ Concludes Series

The Batman: Arkham franchise is coming to a close – at least that’s what Warner Bros wants us to believe.

batman arkham knightToday, Warner Bros Interactive and Rocksteady Studios announced that Batman: Arkham Knight will be the final chapter in the Arkham series. Of course, just like Halo or Mass Effect, all that means is that this round of the series is coming to a close and the story will most likely continue on in some other form.

In today’s gaming climate, franchises rule development dollars. This is like when Jay-Z says he is going to retire and announces a final album, then hits you with two or three more records. So don’t think this is the end of Batman. You don’t just drop a breadwinner, especially one that you’ve been releasing year-after-year like Madden.

As far as Batman gaming goes, it will be nice to see what the next series in Warner’s DC lineup will look like. Perhaps they will take what worked from the Batman: Arkham series and combine it with the rich roster of Lego DC Superheroes or Injustice: Gods Among Us to give us a Justice League game. That could be pretty cool – if done, right – especially on the PS4 or Xbox One.

For the Batman lovers out there, this guy included, here’s the announce trailer. Game on.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be available on the PS4 and Xbox One. Sorry, last gen folks – prepare to be phased out.

Check Out Grant Gustin’s New Threads as ‘The Flash’

Grant Gustin Flash

While fanboys find something new to debate about the Man of Steel sequel seemingly every week, they are singing ‘Kumbaya’ when it comes to CW’s TV versions of their comics, especially the adaptation of Green Arrow in the hit series, Arrow and it’s already been used to introduce TV viewers to a larger DC universe by launching a spinoff show, The Flash, whose pilot is currently in pre-production. It stars Grant Gustin (Glee, 90210) and produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and David Nutter, the team who brought us Arrow. DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer and one of the modern-day writers who has a long and legendary run on the character, Geoff Johns is involved in co-writing the pilot with Berlanti and Kreisberg.

Gustin made his debut as Barry Allen, AKA the Flash, in two episodes of Arrow, The Scientist (208) and Three Ghosts (209). Now DC Entertainment has released this first image of Gustin in the classic silver age Flash costume as designed by multiple Oscar-winning costume designer, Colleen Atwood, who did more stellar work from what we can see in this released photo. It’s just a teaser, but it gives more faith–a major commodity for fans of comic books–that the upcoming pilot is on the right path. Sporting a darker shade of red than the comics, this skin tight design looks to fit in line with Atwood’s other work on Arrow.

This comes off the heels of the recent casting news for CW’s other DC Comics TV show in production, Gotham in early February that included Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Essen, Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, and Donal Logue as Det. Harvey Bullock. This series is rumored to be inspired by the popular series, Gotham Central and act as series about the Gotham police department during the time after Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered.

So as the world turns and burns prematurely for the big screen universe, the small screen world of the DCU is gaining steam.

Toy Fair 2014: From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Hasbro has a hefty line-up for Marvel this year highlighted by 3 films arriving in 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With Guardians of the Galaxy, this generation of toy collectors is introduced to a whole new set of characters. Whether it’s a Rocket Raccoon mask or Peter Quill’s Element Gun, Hasbro is pulling out all the stops to bring these characters to the forefront.

Toy Fair 2014: Hasbro’s Transformers Line up for 2014

It’s a big year for Transformers in 2014 with Transformers: Age of Extinction coming to theaters this June and the toy brand’s 30th anniversary. With that said, there is surely no shortage of new toys arriving and Hasbro has revealed a bunch for this year. Aiming to please the younger and older generation, Transformer toys come in the form of incredibly easy to multiple page instructions required. Check out the range of new toys arriving. My favorite are the Dinobots that look fiercely intimidating, yet they transform in 1-2 easy steps.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Tale of Two Raphs

“Scum sucking mutated freaks of the world. Prepare to meet, Casey Jones.”

In the world of mutated turtles, there have always been a few staple characters. In the villain’s corner, you need your Oroku Saki, aka The Shredder, to serve as your heroic motivator. On the turtle side, you have Master Splinter, who is sometimes Hamato Yoshi’s pet rat and sometimes it’s Master Yoshi himself.

Then, there are the supporting characters who round out the turtles’ perception of humanity. The turtles have their BFF April O’Neil, while The Shredder has his personal scientist Baxter Stockman.

Although April and Baxter are cool to see, you never really care about them. It’s only in the new 2012 CG TMNT series that April is starting to develop into a more, well-rounded character. She’s using her intuition and is getting involved in the action.

However, April aside, there is one character who has always felt like he deserves just as much time in the spotlight as Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo.

And that’s Casey Jones.

In TMNT Episode 2.09, “The Good, the Bad and Casey Jones,” we got to see Casey put on the mask for the first time in this new series. He’s a teenager, who is scared of mice, packs a mean punch and can take a serious beating. That’s probably why he’s missing all of his front teeth. But, that’s another story.

Casey’s introduction into the TMNT world always takes place in a similar fashion. Raphael has a fall out with his brothers. In a fit of rage, and jokes from Michelangelo, Raphael walks out only to end up in a battle with someone whose rage matches his own – Casey Jones. This was also how Casey was introduced in the original live-action movie (the 1990 movie is worth checking out, but skip the sequels).

I loved the replicated Casey opening. He’s a teenager, but still has all the sporting equipment you’d find at your local sporting goods store. He also has a knack for science and has added in a little electric shock weapon into his suit. His mechanical roller skates can be automatically triggered like Iron Man and his skates also come with Iron Sheik spikes on the front for the WWE fans.

Weapons aside, this new Casey Jones is an artist with something of an inner poet inside of him. He can kick butt, but freaks out when he sees mice. The joke is nicely echoed with a parallel joke against Raphael who is equally scared of cockroaches.

The episode is a great jumping on point to the series for long-time turtle fans. You’ll see the words “East.MAN” on Casey’s hockey stick, a nod to the original creator. Also, Casey has a healthy repertoire of action-packed, one liners like: “I’m the last guy you see before you wakeup in the hospital” and “Casey Jones shoots, he scores.”

There were a few other cool throwback references in this episode of TMNT. The cartoon Michelangelo and Donatello were watching was called Super Robo Meca Force. It was something of a spoof on G-Force: Guardians of Space and Voltron (I had to laugh at the Pidge character).

They also had a few PSA’s tossed into the episode like the “users are losers” ad in the subway station.

Best Moment:

It was pretty cool when Raphael and Casey Jones decided to tag team up at the end. But the hottest part was when Raphael tossed Casey up the stares and Casey let loose his electro shock weapon on the Foot Soldier.

Questionable:

The Foot Soldiers are robots. They invaded the turtles layer. When one robot decided to make a dash from the turtles’ hideout, Casey and Raphael went after it so that it couldn’t broadcast the turtles’ location. This kind of makes sense. But you’d think that if somebody designed robots that were so advanced that they can act intelligently and perform ninja moves, then they’d also build in a system that allowed said robots to communicate even while underground. Just a thought… especially since communication is easier to program than ninja moves and AI.

Sir Ben Kingsley Reprises ‘Iron Man’ role for ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Blu-ray Release

Marvel is continuing it’s new tradition of live-action shorts coupled with its home video releases. Following up the Peggy Carter short that was featured on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray release, Marvel will be releasing a similar short with Thor: The Dark World.

“All Hail the King” will feature Sir Ben Kingsley, reprising his role as Trevor Slattery. The short takes place some time after the events in Iron Man 3. Slattery is in jail but has received some notoriety for his portrayal of the Mandarin. Now, he’s something of a hero behind bars and a documentary filmmaker wants to interview him. This seems like a one-off story, but if it follows the same motif as the Peggy Carter short, then Slattery may get a chance to see Slattery in a more positive light. I’m not saying that he’ll become a hero, but at least a more ballsy villain instead of a doped up figurehead.

Thor: The Dark World hits Blu-ray and DVD on Feb 25, 2014.