Look In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Hawkman!

DC Comics has been in the comic book game since 1934, and for the longest time was the top comic company in the world until Marvel Comics came onto the scene in 1939. Over the years, they have traded places off and on being the top company in the game. DC Comics has brought the world some amazing superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash who over the years have all been on many fans’ top Superhero lists as well as have done their share of bringing in money and readers to DC, but while those heroes are household names, many of DC’s heroes slip under the cracks like Red Tornado, who I covered last year. For this update I am going to cover another hero that I feel does not get the respect and attention he deserves. I am talking about the Justice League Of America and All-Star Squadron member Hawkman, who has always been one of my favorite DC heroes and who I feel has been underrated by comic readers for many years. So let’s travel to the DC Universe and enter that Shadow War as we talk about Hawkman and breakdown his 4 Issue Mini-Series from 1985! I hope you have packed a snack as this one might get a little long as Hawkman has been around for many decades and has lots of cool stuff to talk about.

The DC Universe is filled with many Earths, each with a different history for characters and even in some cases names are changed and even characters have died with new people stepping into the shoes of the fallen hero. But while Katar Hol and Fel Andar have been Hawkman, for me, the only guy to wear the bird mask is Carter Hall! Back in the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu was kidnapped and killed by his arch nemesis Hath-Set, and in the 1940’s Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall, an archaeologist from America who soon gains the memories of his past life and is able to figure out that his life means more to the world and that his enemy of the past is also wandering the Earth as a scientist who has kidnapped a woman. This causes Hall to become a costumed hero named Hawkman! As Hawkman he wears a mask, wings and created a gravity belt out of Nth Metal. After saving the woman Shiera and falling in love with her, she later becomes Hawkwoman! Hawkman would go on to be a member of the super hero team Justice Society Of America and even joins the Air Force and fights in World War II. Along with the JSA during the 1950’s, he took on Congress when they wanted all the heroes to tell them their real identities causing the bulk of the team to retire for some time. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the JSA comes back and somehow meets with Earth-1’s Justice League Of America, who, for some reason over the years keeps the kids of the JSA members from joining the team and is thus responsible for the creation of the team Infinity Inc. Due to the massive age difference and after the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, they explain that Hawkman’s aging has slowed down thanks to a super villain who put a spell on the heroes and their spouses…yep now that’s an evil deed, am I right? Now during modern times both Carter Hall Hawkman and the original Hawkman Katar Hol were active in the same Earth, and over the years Hawkman has died, been brought back, joined teams like the Justice League of America, become a terrorist and so much more! This is just a very brief look at Hawkman as sadly the world of DC Comics is one mixed with lots of silly different Earths and reboots that sadly, for the most part, becomes a tangled mess of nonsense. But one thing I must stress is that Hawkman is one kick butt character, and if you like the brief bio I supplied you readers with, make sure to visit your local comic shop and buy a few comic issues that star this mace-carrying winged hero. Check out the images below to see Hawkman in all his glory!

In 1984, Kenner released the first series of their DC Super Powers toy collection, and in that first wave was Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others that included Hawkman! When I was a youngster, my brother and I tried our best to get any and every Super Powers we could find at local stores with many of ours coming from Hills or Children’s Palace.  The first figures from this series I owned were Superman and The Joker that I got on the same day! Later on I would get Hawkman, who was one of my favorite figures from that toy line. It’s funny to think that as a kid, even though I read comics with Hawkman in them, I always made him super strong in battlers, like he has Superman level power! In 1991, Kenner, the maker of the Super Powers figures, reused many of the figure molds when they started making figures based on the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and the body of Hawkman was used for the Dark Warrior as well as Little John. In 1990, Toy Biz made a figure that looked like a cheap knock off of the Kenner Super Powers Hawkman, and it stunk up toy shelves. These two figures are only a small amount of toys made based on Hawkman, and for me are the two I remember the most from my youth. Check out the pics below to see what they look like.

Back in 1967, Filmation created a cartoon called “The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure” that featured 6 minute cartoons featuring the likes of Hawkman sandwiched between longer Superman and Aquaman toons. Hawkman would also go on to star in many other cartoons through the ages like Challenge Of The Super Friends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, The Batman, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and Young Justice, to name a few. It’s crazy to think that Hawkman has been a star in so many cartoons that spanned over many decades, and he is not nearly as remembered or loved by comic readers and those who grew up watching these toons. But again,, while he is not as popular as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman the winged hero Hawkman still has made his mark on the world of cartoons.

Besides cartoons, Hawkman has also appeared in many live action shows and showed that while DC might not treat him with that much respect, young fans did indeed like Hawkman. In 1979, two episodes of a show called Legends Of The Superheroes were made that had Adam West and Burt Ward once more playing Batman and Robin. They were joined by many other heroes like Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, and yes, Hawkman who was played by Bill Nuckols and wore the classic outfit and hammed it up for both silly comedy kid friendly episodes that were called “The Challenge” and “The Roast”. Years later Hawkman would appear in several episodes of the hit show Smallville and was well liked by viewers, but sadly just like in the comics, they decided to kill the character off in Smallville. He was played by actor Michael Shanks. Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel, would then go onto be in many other modern CW Shows based on DC Comic heroes like The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow and while he has yet to be in any live action films, here is to hoping that sometime in the future he will appear in a Justice League film. My favorite live action version of Hawkman is hands down from Legends Of The Superheroes as it’s super cheesy and his over dubbed loud hawk yell is the stuff of legend when it comes to bad TV from the 70’s, complete with laugh track. Plus while the other actors did a great job in their roles, they did not have the muscles and build to pull off the character right. Below are images from all the actors who have played Hawkman on these TV Shows and each have made their mark on the legacy of the character.

I first discovered Hawkman thanks to old comics that came from garage sales, and I was drawn in as I found the comics weird and entertaining. Besides the comics, the Kenner Super Powers figure was also a very big introduction to the character for me. Much like many of the Superheroes from DC, the main issue is that they have silly costumes and names and always seem dated as they fear making major changes to them and this causes lots of modern comic readers to dismiss some of the characters as out of time. But for me, the outdated look and Boy Scout attitude is what makes DC characters so different from those of Marvel. Over the years of buying comics from all the local shops, I always find myself picking up copies of All Star Squadron or Justice Society from .25 and $1.00 bins if Hawkman is on the cover as I enjoy reading about him trying to save the day. So this update is for Hawkman and Hawkwoman and all the creators behind them from the past and present.  While he might not be an A-List hero, he is a great hero who this comic reader has always enjoyed and it’s because of their hard work that made him so awesome.

So we are at the point of this update where we will be reviewing some Hawkman in the world of DC Comics.  The series I chose was The Shadow War Of Hawkman because I remember reading it when I was a youngster and want to see how well it holds up now that I am in my 30’s. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having all the issues in stock and allowing me to be able to re-read them as it’s been too long. One thing I want to stress to all you comic collectors reading my blog is don’t be like me and sell off your collection at an early age to get money to help a girl you were dating at the time.  While I enjoyed my time with that girlfriend, I also have always regretted getting rid of 90% of my collection. With that, let me also once more remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your flight wings on, as we are going to war with Hawkman and Hawkwoman!

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

Mousy Mason is a down on his luck cat burglar who one stormy night is visited by a race of mean aliens who bully him into taking a heist for them to steal the anti gravity units from Hawkman and Hawkwoman and threaten him with harm if he refuses. Meanwhile in the city Hawkman and Hawkwoman stop a gang of crooks who have been targeting the elderly, and after making short work of them, they fly off and chat about their old home planet and whether it’s right to read the minds of humans if it is to help them. The pair change into their human identities of Carter Hall and Shiera and start to go to work as they need to set up an exhibit for Mavis Trent and her press agent Joe Tracy, but before they can start, an alarm goes off that someone has broken into their home.  Hawkman heads home to bust the intruder, and Shiera stays behind to work. As Hawkman gets home, he finds Mousy, and the pair are attacked by the aliens who murder Mousy with their vaporize gun and as quickly as they attack, they retreat. Hawkman figures out that this was just a distraction and rushes back to Hawkwoman’s side at the museum but finds that the aliens have been there and that they have used their terrible vaporize gun on Hawkwoman who is now nothing more than a shadow on a wall!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being and showcases why Hawkman is an amazing character that is underrated! The plot of this issue has Hawkman, who has just patched things up with Hawkwoman, at war with himself over the use of his alien powers to look into the minds of man. As he is dealing with that, a race of aliens with a powerful burning vaporizing gun have targeted our heroes as they want the technology that allows them to fly. Hawkman is a man deep in thought who knows that helping people is the right cause, but hates the fact that he can enter the mind of man and see what they are thinking. He is also very much homesick as he misses his home planet and it’s clear that all of this has been a strain on his relationship with Hawkwoman even though they are both very happy being with each other. While battling his own inner thoughts, when it comes to fighting Hawkman in this issue pulls no punches beating up thugs and aliens alike. Hawkwoman is such a cool character who clearly loves her mate as well as fighting crime.  She also has a sense of humor and sadly while fighting against aliens who attack her while at her day job, she is “killed” by their zap gun or so it seems. The aliens in this issue are true scumbags who use their weapons and powers to try and intimidate and kill those who they think are in their way.  They even kill two people just so they can steal a belt! Mousey Mason is just a crook who makes a living breaking into peoples homes, and he becomes the target of the aliens as they use him to distract Hawkman so they can attack Hawkwoman. This poor guy loses his life trying to help battle the aliens that have forced him to enter the home of Hawkman. Mavis Trent and Joe are great side characters with Mavis being a snob who has a crush on Hawkman and Joe Tracy is her smart mouth press agent who likes to tease her as it almost appears he has a crush on her. The cliffhanger of this issue, the “death” of Hawkwoman, is really well done and leaves the reader wanting to find out if she really is dead, and if so, how is Hawkman going to avenge her! The part that works really well for this comic is the fact that writer Tony Isabella mixes this superhero comic well with elements of drama, action, science fiction and even some comedy making for a solid read for fans of Hawkman. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching and would surely draw in fans of the character as well as first time readers. The interior art is done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is great stuff and showcases the great 80’s DC art style. Over all this is a great comic and held up very well for this comic reader and now makes me very much look forward to reading issue 2 again after all these years.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 2  ***
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 2 of 4

Eddie Hamilton is a young man who dares to dream of one day being a superhero.  He has the power to grow wings and fly if he thinks hard enough about it and even has a name he wants to be known as, The Icarus Kid! While training to control his power of flight in the farmlands of Kansas, those pesky aliens show up and use a new gun to shoot Eddie from the sky, and the blast burns him alive…the aliens have killed yet again! Meanwhile Hawkman is alone in the Museum room looking at the brunt shadow on the wall that was once his wife.  As he leaves the room he asks police Captain Frazier if he could chat with him for a moment, and Hawkman even snaps at artist Mavis Trent as he does not want to speak to the woman who has a crush on his alter ego. Hawkman opens up to Frazier and tells him who he really is and allows him to witness as he disposes of alien tech that he fears is the cause of this alien attack. Hawkman asks the Frazier to keep his men at the museum as he goes off the fight the aliens alone. Hawkman talks to the birds around his house and finds a hint of radiation and is able to pick up the aliens trails that leads him to the side of a mountain that is the hideout for the aliens. As Hawkman enters and make short work of some of the aliens, he soon finds that these aliens are from his own home planet of Thanagar and are working on orders from their government that wants them to conquer the Earth first and then the rest of the universe!

This second issue has the plot thicken as we learn why the aliens are attacking and that they are attacking superheroes in order to get them out of the way before the invasion that’s planned happens! This issue has Hawkman gearing up to avenge his wife’s murder as the aliens are killing and gearing up to attack the planet Earth in order to take it over. The shocking part of this issue is that the aliens are from Thanagar, the same home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and that their home world is now on a path to try and take over the universe! It also is shown that the alien who killed Hawkwoman was not supposed to, he was only told to capture her! Hawkman in this issue is heartbroken over the loss of his wife and wastes no time getting rid of the high powered tech he has hidden and sets out to bring the aliens to justice. Captain Frazier is a good cop who Hawkman respects, and our hero tells him his true identity as well as gets his help to keep the museum safe just in case the aliens come back. Mavis Trent is upset that the superheroes have caused her some delays and bad press for her art showing, but does seem to have something important that she would like to tell Hawkman, but he just blows her off. Joe Tracy in the issue really is a terrible human as he is more worried about bad press than he is that a brave hero just died before his very eyes. The aliens are super cold blooded and are cruel to mankind and even toward each other, and they clearly have lots of high tech weapons that could kill anyone who gets in their way. And poor Eddie Hamilton aka The Icarus Kid is killed before he can truly be a hero of the world. This issue is really great and had enough drama mixed into the action to build the mini series’ story up. The cover is great as is the interior art once more done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala, making this second issue just as good as the first. This issue holds up to my childhood memories, and I can’t wait to see if issue 3 does as well.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 3 of 4

The alien who killed Hawkwoman gets a punishment from his fellow kind as they make his mind and soul bound to a computer, making him a living instrument of information and mind reading. Meanwhile Hawkman is trying to get answer from the aliens he has just beat up and finds that his home world has lost all technology and that they are no longer advanced in the ways of weapons and that’s why they targeted him and his wife. As Hawkman gets his answers, he is attacked by a group of the aliens who beat him down and bind him and just as they are going to steal his anti gravity belt, the aliens are blasted by a stun blast fired by Hawkwoman!! The heroes escape the base and after they are safely away, they take a moment to catch up with each other and Hawkwoman explains that she was not killed in the museum, and it was Mavis Trent who was killed as the artist was the one in the costume, and after she was murdered, Hawkwoman quickly dressed as her in order not to be attacked and killed herself. The pair decided that they can not get any help from anyone as they cannot allow the enemy to find out about their hidden ship and tech and travel to JLA Headquarters in order to erase their history and to do so ,they must stun Aquaman and Elongated Man, but just as they are to erase their history from the computers the screen shows a message from the aliens who have found their old war ship and are on their way to attack and kill them!

Wow, this issue is a roller coaster of emotions as we go from thinking Hawkwoman is dead to finding out she is alive and well! This issue’s plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman attacking and retreating the aliens and having to sneak around and attack fellow Justice League Of America in order to keep the war they are fighting in the shadows and protect the Earth and all the people on it including those with super powers. The aliens meanwhile have figured out a way to read minds and all the world’s computer information and have highjacked the hidden spaceship of the Hawks and are on a path to use the ship to kill them! Hawkman in this issue is filled with rage and wants to not only get information from the aliens but also wants to beat them to death! His mood changes when he finds that his wife is alive, and he is filled with joy but also has the will to save the world from an unknown terror that they do not know is coming. Hawkwoman is alive and is sad that Mavis Trent died in her place, but also knows that she must pull it together and with her husband stop this Shadow War. One cool thing also in this issue is having Aquaman and Elongated Man in cameos, and it’s sad as both Hawkman and Hawkwoman feel bad that they had to stun their friends with guns in order to achieve their goal. This third issue also does a great job of building the story of the Shadow War and makes the readers wonder how Hawkman is going to stand up to a space ship that is hellbent on killing him! The cover for this issue is as well great and has Hawkman fighting with both Elongated Man and Aquaman, and the interior art once more rocks and is done by the team of Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is such great 80’s DC style. With the alien ship heading toward our heroes and this issue as well holding up to this long time comic reader, I think it’s time to read the final issue in this mini series.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The aliens of Thanagar have started their war with earth in secret as they have used their mind reading computer to get the dirty little secrets of people in power and will use it against them unless they go along with what they say. Meanwhile Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave the JLA Headquarters with Aquaman and Elongated Man still knocked out and beam themselves aboard their old ship and are met with aliens who want them dead! Our heroes fight off the waves of gun firing aliens and make their way to the ships second control room in order to override its controls as they find out the ship is going to crash land in Detroit on purpose starting the war and making a statement for all mankind. While Hawkwoman works to overwrite the controls, Hawkman battles an alien and gets stabbed as they also cut off the air supply to the ship. Hawkman wounded takes over the controls and does what he thinks is best to save lives and that is he blows up his own ship just as he and Hawkwoman beam down to Earth and the explosion kills all but one of the aliens as the leader of this task force also beams down, but he meets his fate at the hands of the mega mind reading computer who uses all its last energy to blast it’s one time captain. The bleeding and wounded Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman have saved the world from a war they did not even know was happing. In the end the new artist hired at the museum is shown to be a spy from Thanagar and the Shadow War has really just began!

The Shadow War comes to an end thanks to the heroic efforts of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who had to put their own lives, friendships and even ever returning to their home planet on the line, and the sad part is no one besides the aliens they beat and themselves will ever really know what they did to save the Earth. This final issue in the mini series plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman beaming aboard their highjacked war ship and beating up some aliens and then blowing up their own ship that has been set to blow up Detroit by the aliens! Hawkman in this issue once more shows that he is a skilled fighter, but also is super smart and can use his brain to also defeat his enemies. Hawkwoman as well shows that she is smart and super skilled in combat and proves why she is not a sidekick but a full fledge equal in the superhero partnership. The Aliens from Thanagar so wanted to kill our heroes as well as start the war full force showing that they were cold blooded and murder and mayhem was what they enjoyed. While they might now have been super powered super villains they still were a major threat to the world as we all know and love it. The thing that works so well about this comic mini series is that at all times the odds seem against Hawkman and Hawkwoman and they seem to be trying so hard not to alert Earth to the battle and war that is gearing up to crash down on them, and all this dread and heroic moments makes this feel really more epic than it should feel. And this is why as a kid I really liked this comic series and even now as an adult I find myself still very much enjoying it. The cover of the fourth and final issue is well done and has our heroes beating up the aliens and the interior art once more is crafted by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and show that they are a pair of artist that work so well together. Over all this is a great read for fans of the character Hawkman as well as those who enjoy 80’s era of DC Comics as this is a cool mini series that showcases why Hawkman is still around to this day in comics, no matter how neglected I feel he is by DC. Below is some cool artwork from this cool comic series, so check it out!

So now that we have witnessed Hawkman win the Shadow War, I think it’s time we walk away from the world of DC Comics and their underrated heroes and into a world with giant monsters that come from the deep where our only hope is giant two person controlled robots….that’s right, we will be entering the world of Pacific Rim! Thanks for spending some time with me here at Rotten Ink, and I really do hope you friends and readers enjoy my updates as much as I do writing them. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as we talk about war ready robots!

The Red Twister Man-Droid Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my readers and friends.  For this update I have decided to take a look at another DC Hero, one that always captured my attention as a youngster thanks to the Kenner toy Super Powers.  The hero I am talking about is the Red Tornado! Growing up I was more of a Marvel comic reader, and 8 out of 10 times while at the comic newsstand at Hearts, I would pick a Marvel book over a DC or independent as I was always more into their characters like Hulk, Captain America and Spider-Man.  But I still always enjoyed reading DC heroes Batman, Superman, Swamp Thing and even Justice League Of America. With that said, I still really enjoy DC and enjoy discovering the characters they have created to entertain the comic readers worldwide and that’s why I choose to cover Red Tornado. One thing that has always driven me crazy about DC Comics is the fact they have a rich history of characters, but they only ever really want to focus on the same handful when it comes to major storylines and even merchandising.  I mean look at how many items and major comic plots go to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and how little go to characters like The Creeper, Captain Marvel, Black Canary and Red Tornado. But on this update here at Rotten Ink, I am going to give Red Tornado his time to shine in the comic spotlight! So dress warm as this wind might chill you to the bone while Tornado is on the loose to save the day!

So who is the Red Tornado and what is he all about? Let me take a moment to fill you readers in on his past as I am sure you will find his weird and complicated history interesting. The thing that I must stress about DC and their character histories is that they can get very weird and confusing as they have many “Earths” that have different timelines, and this makes the bios very murky in my opinion, but let’s try and give this a shot. Red Tornado was created on the planet Rann in the Earth-One universe and was made up of two different beings, Tornado Champion and Tornado Tyrant, and became a bad guy who attacked Adam Strange only to lose.  This loss made it take a looks at itself and choose to be good as he found that side to be the stronger.  But this ultimately did not matter as the bad side won the inner war that raged inside the split identity body. As the evil Tornado Tyrant, he comes to Earth-Two and fights the Justice League Of America and this allows the Tornado Champion side to dominate.  He is tricked by evil criminal T.O Morrow into tricking Tornado Champion to take over an android that he had built.  This wiped the memory of Tornado Champion and now a new life-form was born named Red Tornado! After being used as a tool for evil, Red Tornado turns on his creator and turns to the ways of good and becomes a member of the Justice League Of America and tries to live his life as an android superhero as well as tries to have a human life side. Later Tornado Champion breaks free from the android body and becomes a weapon for Anti-Monitor and ultimately fails returning to the android body and Red Tornado was once more! After this, he became a nature protector, guided the members of Young Justice and has even been an off and on team member of the Justice League Of America! Say what you will about Red Tornado; he has been good and he has been bad but one thing is for sure, this android hero is one of DC’s coolest B-Listers!

In 1985 Kenner decided to add a second series of heroes and villains to their popular Super Powers line of action figures, and among the likes of Martian The Manhunter and Mantis was the one and only Red Tornado. Growing up me and my brother loved to get our hands on Super Powers as we both loved comic books as well as the movies and cartoons based on the DC heroes.  Between the two of us, we owned almost all of Series 1 minus Brainiac whom we never could find, and we also had many of the figures in series 2. When I was in the first grade in the Waynesville, while on the bus home a fellow bus rider had a Red Tornado action figure, and I can remember being obsessed with it and for weeks trying to trade other toys in order to get it from him.  Sadly he never would trade nor did we ever get the figure until many years later when my brother bought it to add to his Super Powers collection. But this figure is what made me become obsessed with Red Tornado and who he was way back when I was just a six year old lad.  My brother who was 9 years old was the one who told me what he knew about the character that he had learned from issues of Justice League Of America. Below are some pictures of the Kenner Red Tornado figure loose, in the package and a look at the mini comic that came with the toy. One day I should get myself this figure just to remind me of my youth and the time I discovered Red Tornado. I should note that other figures over the years have been made of the Red Tornado, but for me the Super Powers is still the best one.

So besides in comics and toy,s Red Tornado has also had other appearances in media that include being in the animated series “Justice League Unlimited” and being voiced by Powers Boothe, “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” voiced by Corey Burton and “Young Justice” voiced by Jeff Bennett showing that he has made his mark on the world of DC animation. He also appeared in the 2010 animated film “Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths” but was just a cameo and didn’t even speak a word! He also also been in a handful of video games like “DC Universe Online” and “Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham” and also whirlwind, the pixel world! More recently he was in the live action show “Supergirl” episode called Red Faced and is played by Iddo Goldberg and is portrayed as an android ready for combat. So while he is by no means as in demand as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Green Lantern, he still over the years has tried to get his time to shine in other media besides comics.

So now that we have had a crash course of the history of Red Tornado and have also taken a look at the character in the world of merchandise and other media, I think we should twist our way down to the comic reviews and see what this 1985 mini series has in store for our android superhero! Shockingly enough, this will be my first time reading this mini series, and I must think Dark Star in Yellow Springs for having them all in stock. I can hear these words in the whirling wind: “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.” So if you’re ready, I am ready to see what this Red Tornado mini series has in store.  So avoid the wind gusts and let’s dive in shall we!

Red Tornado # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

New Jersey is having a massive tornado that is destroying property, and as Lana Lang is reporting live, Red Tornado appears and saves the day when he reverses the funnel cloud and rushes away as he still thinks the world fears him even if he is a member of the Justice League Of America (JLA). Once back home, he turns into his alter ego John Smith and takes his girlfriend Kathy Sutton and young orphan friend Traya out to dinner and a movie.  After the film is over, robots come from the ground and have their sights set on taking out John Smith who has to turn into Red Tornado in order to lead them away from his loved ones and innocent people! After beating the robots, he returns back to being John Smith, and while watching the evening news, he is heart broken when he sees Lana Lang report that he was responsible to the tornado and that it destroyed thousands of dollars worth of property! And worse, as the report goes off, Superman along with fellow Justice League Of America members call Red Tornado outside only to fire him from the team.  As the sad android hero flies away, we soon learn that the robot villain The Construct is mind controlling the JLA and others in order to push all the human feelings out of Red Tornado so that robots can kill off man and rule the world, as he knows that Red Tornado could stop him and his plan.

This first issue in a four issue mini series is a great way to introduce Red Tornado to readers who might not know who he is, as well as a cool way to start off our story! The plot of this issue has Red Tornado trying his best to gain the trust of humans.  As he does his best to stop crimes as well as natural weather disasters, he is filled with doubts about being accepted not only as the android hero but also as his “human” life John Smith. While he battles his inner thoughts, unknown to him, an evil robot power is in play as The Construct is controlling all the bad things happening to him and even controls his firing from the Justice League Of America! Red Tornado is an android on a mission to save human life and uses his weather powers to do so, but he is very much bothered that the whole human race is not hip to the fact he is a good guy and wants to do no harm to them. His ability to become a tornado is his main defense against crime, but he is also very smart. I also really like in this issue that while he is an android, he does show signs of having feelings and this makes the character deeper than just a hunk of metal with powers. As his “human” life John Smith, it’s clear that he doesn’t know how to be human as he is just going with the flow of what life he thinks he should have by working a so-so day job and even being boring with his girlfriend by not understanding they don’t always need Traya around to go out! It’s odd, it almost seems like as John he shows less emotion than he does when he is Red Tornado, making it clear that his mechanical mind is trying its best to figure out what it means to be human. Kathy Sutton is a sweet woman who has fallen in love with John Smith, even knowing that he is not human showing that she has a big heart, and I hope by the end of this mini series she finds happiness. Traya is a young girl who was saved by Red Tornado many years back and thinks her friend and savior can do no wrong nor even lose a battle.  She really does care about her friend and never questions why she has to sit in a orphanage and Red Tornado never has adopted her. The Construct is one mean machine as it has made its life mission to destroy mankind, defeat and out smart the JLA and ruin a normal life for Red Tornado by making him feel that every thing he loves has turned on him! I can’t wait to see how its plan plays out and how Red Tornado will defeat him! Another great aspect of this comic is the fact that it has cameos from Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and many more making it truly feel like a mainstream DC Comic series. The cover is fantastic and eye catching as it shows Superman talking harshly to Red Tornado making the reader want to open the book and find out why. The interior art is done by Carmine Infantino and is solid and great work and has that 80’s DC charm. Over all I really enjoyed this first issue as I liked the atmosphere of a rain soaked big city under the gloom of some unknown power.  I like the cameos and most importantly I really dig the book’s title hero as he is pretty interesting and has layers to his odd personality. So let’s see what issue two has in store for us and if this mini series keeps up the good art and writing that this issue has set up for the whole run.

Red Tornado # 2  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

Red Tornado stays out in the rain all night wondering what he did wrong and why he has been booted from the JLA as his girlfriend Kathy Sutton has worried about him all night! The Construct is happy thus far as his plan to mentally break his android nemesis is going perfectly, and his next movie is to mind control Superman once more to set up a meeting with Red Tornado who thinks they are allowing him back into the JLA but soon finds himself ripped into pieces and thrown over the Brooklyn Bridge into the cold water below by Superman, his one time friend! Red Tornado brings himself back together and is now filled with anger as he does not understand why he has been targeted and snubbed by his friends  As our hero is deep in thought, The Construct starts his plan on taking over machines all over the world. All the scientists and labs are coming up with no answers to why the machines are acting up, and it’s only Thomas Oscar Morrow who figures out that The Construct is the world’s attacker but he doesn’t know what to do as he is a criminal and also the creator of Red Tornado! While walking in the park as John Smith, a call goes out about a massive fire where helicopter pilots and kids are in danger and once while saving them all from a terrible death, the crowd turns on him calling him a monster and evil machine.  He leaves and goes to the orphanage and is told by Traya that she no longer wants him around and that he is a soulless machine! And just as Kathy Sutton find him, Red Tornado snaps and turns on all the humans and tells them he no longer will be their hero as they have done nothing but demonized him and he leaves them all behind swearing never to help and see them again. Kathy Sutton is heart broken as she watches her boyfriend fly away, and as this happens The Construct has taken over all the world’s machines and is now in charge of the world!

This second issue follows Red Tornado as he is attacked by Superman and told never to help mankind again, only to go against orders and save some kids from a fire to have the crowd as well attack him.  His breaking point comes when his own friend Traya turns on him and tells him to get lost! This enrages the android who turns his back on trying to be human and leaves the world open for the attack by The Construct! Red Tornado just can’t get a break in this issue as everyone he tries to help or call a friend turns on him with Kathy Sutton being the only one who is not affected by The Construct’s mind control but it’s even to late for her to try and stop his rage of being blamed and spit on by mankind. You have to feel for Red Tornado as he really does wants to feel like a real man and only wants to help and can’t see that the world around him is going mad! Poor Kathy Sutton is worried to death about her man but seems helpless in reaching him before rages takes over and his feeling turn as cold as steel, and his friends Traya and Superman are used like puppets to drive him cold. The Construct’s plan is perfect as he clearly got under the skin of his only nemesis that can fight off his mind control and by doing so drives him away and opens up his path for world domination. This issue also makes me wonder how Thomas Oscar Morrow, the only scientist to figure out what’s going on will get help as he is not liked nor trusted by those who could help! This second issue does a great job of piling on bad events for Red Tornado to drive him off and does so that I as a reader was getting mad at characters and their behaviors! Now that’s a good sign of a solid writer in Kurt Busiek, who penned this story. The cover once more is very eye catching and has Red Tornado in pieces with the interior art once more being done by the talented Carmine Infantino who captures the mood so well of 80’s DC. Over all, this is a very solid second issue that brings the story closer to the final battle and showcases how cool Red Tornado is and how evil The Construct is! Lets see what issue # three has in store for us, shall we?

Red Tornado # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

The Red Tornado is away enjoying just being an android and not having any connection to humans, while around the world citizens and superheroes alike are fighting the machines being controlled by The Construct that are ready to take over the world, and to make things worse, the evil machine is now also controlling the minds of humans! Kathy Sutton is not infected yet and goes to a trip to find Thomas Oscar Morrow as she thinks he can help track down Red Tornado who can stop this madness.  As Morrow tells her the location and shows her his force matrix field to hold The Construct, his mind is taken over and now Kathy is alone on her quest to save the world. Kathy travels to the mountains of Colorado and finds Red Tornado who is so disconnected from mankind that he is watching as two campers face death from a fire that surrounds them.  Kathy explains that the world did not turn on him, that The Construct mind controlled people and he is still cold.  She explains that she never turned on him and loves him and still nothing.  But when she points out that he does have a soul and that’s why he questions his own being, it snaps him out of his robotic mood and he saves the campers, shows his love for Kathy and swears to destroy The Construct and save the world!

The Construct has made the world a terrible place to live as he has brainwashed many humans and is using robots to do so and attack those who stand up to his rule! Our only hope is Red Tornado but he has turned his back on mankind as he feels they have done to him and it takes one woman to put her safety on the line and get the world’s only savior back on track! This is the cool plot of this issue that follows Kathy Sutton as she has to dodge and listen to the evil taunts of The Construct who mocks her at every turn! What works the best for this issue is that Kathy is not just a throw away girlfriend character but takes the lead and becomes the key to help save the world! Poor Thomas Oscar Morrow tried to be the world’s hero, but his brain is zapped and he becomes a mindless zombie before he can do so.  But I am sure his new invention will come into play to bring down The Construct. Red Tornado is so cold for most of this issue and think about just how cold blooded it is that he was just watching people about to be burnt to death, but once he realizes that he in fact does have a soul and is more human than he ever thought, his cold fish manner disappears and back is the hero that was a member of the Justice League. The Construct is cocky and almost enjoys messing with humans that he finds weak or no threat to his goal of world domination.  It will be great to see him taken down a peg or five. Another cool aspect of this issue is that once more it has cameos from other DC heroes who are fighting robots like Superman, The Creeper, Batman and even Green Arrow. The cover is eye catching and has Red Tornado standing around the piled up bodies of brain washed humans as Kathy begs him for help and he just is not having it! The inside art is once more great and done by Carmine Infantino who really is bringing Red Tornado alive on the newsprint pages. Over all this is another great issue that is building us up for the final showdown that is coming up next issue!

Red Tornado # 4  ***
Released in 1985      Cover Price .75      DC Comics      # 4 of 4

Red Tornado heads toward the hideout of Thomas Oscar Morrow to find out if his machine is still intact, only to find that The Construct is waiting for him and has built himself a massive robot body and is ready to fight it out to the death with the world’s only hope. The fight is powerful as each robotic fighter tries to take down the other but finally The Construct overcomes Red Tornado and brings his broken body to the matrix field that was built to bring him down. The Construct then finds Kathy Sutton and takes over her mind as now everyone in the world is under his control when even Red Tornado allows him to enter his in order to get free of the matrix field. But as The Construct enters Red Tornado’s mind, he soon finds out it was a trap and our hero takes down The Construct on his own home turf of the electronic dimension by making him question if he is just a machine or something more! Once he beats The Construct, he traps him in the matrix field and even is able to break his bond with Thomas Oscar Morrow, freeing himself from everything that has tied him down. The world is saved and Red Tornado as John Smith decides that he fully wants to live life and along with Kathy and Traya he plans to try and partake in all the cool things our world has to offer.

This final issue in the series plot is: Red Tornado knows that he is a living being with feelings goes head to head with the worlds conquer The Construct who is out smarted when he must face the facts that maybe he is more than just a machine! This is a fitting way to end this series as Red Tornado finds the peace he is looking for and truly looks inside himself to see that he is a living thing complete with a soul, and he has wasted so much time trying to be what he thought a human should act like. The Red Tornado shows that he can have multiple moods in this series from super smart over thinking superhero, to hurt feelings when he feels he is being unfairly judged and even cold as a dead fish when he decided being human was not worth the time to please mankind. He also uses his tornado powers as well as his smarts to win this major fight throughout to not only defeat his enemies but also save lives. As John Smith he also grows from being a boring homebody and becomes a fun loving let’s go out and discover boyfriend. Thomas Oscar Morrow who is a bad guy seems like over this mini series as well is trying to change from being a villain to a hero and wants so much to have the respect of his creation the Red Tornado that he soon finds he must earn and not command. Kathy Sutton sticks by her man and is the only reason Red Tornado found his inner soul and decided to save the world, so the whole world owes her a thanks! Traya is your typical kid sidekick character who is around to idolize their hero friend and be used as a pawn when things hit the fan.  With that said, she is an okay character who filled her role well. The Construct was a great bad guy who for the most part seemed unbeatable until he is tricked to over think his own existence that leaves him open for defeat.  I mean think about it, he controlled the mind of Superman that shows you how powerful he was! Speaking of Superman, it was cool to see him in a cameo role for many of this series issues and it was great to see him act like a jerk to not only Red Tornado but also a young teenager who just wanted to thank him for help after the massive storm. While many might not like the way the final fight ends with Red Tornado using his smarts to defeat The Construct I found it very cleverly done and helped add a layer to this character and storyline. The cover for this issue is cool and while not as eye catching still holds a classic DC look mixed with TRON for me. The interior art is once more done by Carmine Infantino and is fantastic and really makes me want to see what other comics he did for DC. I must also praise the inker Frank McLaughlin and colorist Tom Ziuko of whom both really made this comic pop and come alive. Over all this was a great read and I would have loved this comic as a kid as it had robots fighting as well as showed Red Tornado doing what he does best and that’s be a hero the world needs. If you like 80’s DC or even have a little bit of interest in Red Tornado, I would suggest checking out this mini series as it’s a great read and well worth your time. Below is some artwork for this series and showcases the characters, you will encounter in this series.

While Red Tornado is by all accounts considered a B-Hero and not one of DC’s mainstream like Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, for me he has always been a great superhero who has always captured by attention and imagination. But while this update has us walking away from Red Tornado, for our next update we will however stay in the DC Universe as we will be taking a look at a classic public domain character they tried to bring back to the reading masses called Fighting American that was co-created by Jack Kirby.  This will be just in time for July 4th our nation’s Independence Day! So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a classic action figure or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for fireworks and a classic comic hero, see you then readers and friends.

The Terminator Resurrection

We are all at war, and nations are having to team up to fight a threat that is bigger than any ever known to man. Mankind is on the ropes, but we are trying to do whatever we can to turn the tide of war on our side.  Lives have been lost, and our cities are in shambles as the machines are running wild and they kill without remorse. This is judgement day, a time where man must face machine and learn that there is no fate but what we make. As I am sure you have guessed, this update is all about The Terminator and is in honer of Arnold Schwarzenegger returning back to this amazing sci-fi/action series that help mold and spawn many films that followed. Growing up, The Terminator films were very much in the pop culture and was super popular among the Brassfield Brothers and also was a film series that was a topic among me and my friends many times! So let’s take a few moments before we battle the machines and do some research so that we can understand our machine enemies…I am looking at you, PS3, and you as well, Microwave.  You’re not going to get me, no matter what Skynet is telling you!

T-800 WarSo to start our look at The Terminators, we should start by looking at the films in the series as they are what started it all and without them, we would not even be doing this update nor would Dark Horse Comics be doing the mini series that we are covering. So let’s take a look at the films in this series.

the terminator poster

In 1984, James Cameron and Orion Pictures teamed up to make a science-fiction/action film that followed a woman named Sarah Conner who was being targeted by a robot from the future in order to kill her before she could have her future child John who is the man that leads the war against the machines in the future. But her son also sends one of his soldiers back in time named Kyle Reese to protect her, and in fact he is also John’s dad! Yeah, this movie is super badass, and one of those films that spawned many sequels as well as imitations. The film starred many top notch actors that include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen and was in fact the film that made Arnold a box office star and even more of a household name. The effects are top notch and are very impressive for a lower budget film and showcased the work of Stan Winston, who was one of the best FX guys in the business up until his death in 2008. I first watched this film on HBO alongside my parents and my brother, and I can remember being glued to the screen and being amazed by the ecto-skeleton and just the size and cold nature of Arnold as the T-800. After watching it, I can remember playing with G.I. Joes and acting as if Dreadnok Road Pig was The Terminator! And as long time readers know, The Terminator was one of the first VHS tapes we owned when we upgraded (or is that down graded?) from Beta to a VCR, as my brother got it for Christmas while I got Universal’s Frankenstein. Funny thing is, years later my brother also got Terminator 2 for Christmas, and I got The Addams Family that year. At the boxoffice in 1984, The Terminator was the # 21 and beat out such films as Friday The 14th Part 4: The Final Chapter, Conan The Destroyer, Dune, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Muppets Take Manhattan, Sixteen Candles, Missing In Action, The Neverending Story, Supergirl and many other cult and popular films. The Terminator also brought in a total of $38,371,200.00 for Orion in America alone and another $40,000,000.00 overseas! To this day, The Terminator remains one of science fiction’s most popular franchises and makes Hollywood lots and lots of money.

terminator 2 posterterminator poster 3.Terminator salvation poster

The Terminator has officially four sequels with the second film Terminator 2: Judgement Day being the biggest hit out of all the films. I spent a lot of time on Terminator 2 on my update for Marvel At The Movies 2 so we will speed past it and talk about all the others really quick just so we are all up to date on the fight against the machines. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was released in 2003 and follows John Connor and Kate, a woman he has fallen in love with, as they are protected by the T-800 from a female super robot solider who has been sent back to once more take John’s life! Sadly in this third film Sarah Connor is dead as she passed away from leukemia in the plot leaving John on his own with the help of his trusty robot bodyguard. The film was # 8 and beat out such films as “Hulk”, “Freddy vs. Jason” and “Matrix Revolution” at the American box office and brought in $150,371,112.00. In 2009 “Terminator Salvation” was released and followed John Connor in the future as he and the rebels face the machines and come across a cyborg who just might be the tool to win the war once and for all. In this film Arnold was only in it via CGI, and the film was packed with all types of Terminators. The film was # 23 and beat out “Friday The 13th”, “Watchmen” plus “Inglourious Bastards” and brought in $125,322,469.00. While the second film might have been the super hit of the series, these other sequels hold true to the story and help add to the drama that is the fight for our future.

Terminator Genisys poster

Terminator Genisys hit theaters on July 3rd and is about Kyle Reese being sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor.  But this time around things have changed as Sarah is now aware of the hit placed on her life as she was a target when she was a child and has been trained and protected by a T-800 that was sent by her son John from another timeline! An evil T-800 has been sent to kill her as well as a T-1000, and to cause even more chaos, John Connor comes back to the past and is now a cyborg and has his own vision of the future! This film is a nice way to reboot the series and yet still pay tribute to the films of the past.  With Arnold back as the T-800 and with sexy Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, the film has all the right tools to be a classic film in the series! By this point of course I have seen it and for what I thought of it make sure to check out my first update of 2016 as I will give you my best and worst of the year in film of 2015! But one thing I can say is that it was nice to see this franchise back on the big screen and even cooler to once more see Arnold in one of his most iconic roles.  Now begins the countdown for the next Conan movie as he is suppose the play the Barbarian one last time in the film that is being called “The Legend of Conan”.

Terminator Genisys 1The Terminator is one of those movie franchises that had the power to spark lots of merchandise and make fans happy who want to collect all things this film had to offer. Things like toys, novels, soundtracks, costumes, stickers, trading cards, t-shirts, posters, video games, statues, drinking glasses, comics and so much more! Growing up I had most of Marvel’s T2 comic adaption, the novels based on the first two films, the soundtrack for the first film that I wish I would have kept on CD as well as many of the Kenner action figures based on the second film. I also had a really cheesy T2 t-shirt that I would wear all the time. In these modern times I also have many of the ReAction figures of the Terminator and for those who don’t know, they are modern 3 3/4” action figures that are in scale with the classic Star Wars making them super cool to an old school toy person like myself. So if you’re a fan of The Terminator, there are so many cool things out in the world for you to own and I am sure more stuff will be coming in the future for a long time to come.

Kenner terminator toyReAction terminator toyterminator toy

I am a huge fan of score music for movies and even help on a radio show called Alpha Rhythms that airs on Sunday nights on WYSO, a NPR station out of Yellow Springs, and I must say that the music for The Terminator is one fun and iconic piece of work. The original film’s music was done by Brad Fiedel, who created the main title theme that is the calling card for all the movies that followed.  Fiedel returned and did the score for the second film as well and spiced up the theme to update it for the time. Marco Beltrami handled the score for the third film, and Danny Elfman handled Salvation.  Each brought their own style to the music and both scores were well done. Lorne Balfe is doing the music for Terminator Genisys, and if a CD comes out of the score, I am sure if you listen to Alpha Rhythms you will for sure hear some music from it. Scores help make films what they are, and here is to all these composers for making the sounds that bring The Terminator films to life.

terminator soundtrackterminator 2 soundtrackterminator salvation soundtrack

Video Games based on movies sadly seem to be a dying breed of games, and if they are made nowadays you get them in the form of terrible cell phone games or ones that are on social media sites like Facebook.  It’s a shame no matter how good or bad they are, I always enjoyed playing a video game based on a film I liked. The Terminator has had many video games based around it from the original Nintendo all the way to PS3 games have been made, and this gamer has played many of them. The first movie had games made for NES, Genesis and even Sega CD, and while none of them were groundbreaking, I found the NES game to be a major challenge that was unforgiving on its difficulty. Terminator 2 had so many games based on it, from shooters to side scrollers, on systems like Game Boy, NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis and even Tiger Hand Held games. I still own the NES side scrolling game, and while it’s terrible, I still spent so much time trying to beat it! Terminator 3 had games made for PS2 and Xbox, while Salvation had games for PS, Xbox 360 and PC.  I never played Terminator 3, but I did play and beat Salvation on PS3 some years back. I also remember playing the arcade games based on Terminator 2 and Salvation at the local arcades and movie theaters.  My favorite game connected to Terminator has to be Robocop vs. Terminator for the Sega Genesis that was a side scrolling shooter where you play Robocop and fight the T-800’s as well as ED 209! Fun times playing this game with my brother and cousin Norman, and before you can ask, yes I have beat it! I have heard a rumor/story a few years back that Reef Entertainment, the same company who made Rambo: The Video Game, was working of a game based around the Terminator movie franchise, but as of this update that seems to be dead in the water. Here is hoping that a good Terminator game for the PS4 will come out and bring the war against the machines into the hands of gamers.

terminator nesrobocop vs terminator genesisterminator salvation ps3 cover 0

Way before YouTube, the way you would see music videos was MTV.  I know my younger readers are saying no way the station who brought us such amazing shows as “The Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom” shows gross music videos, but yeah that station used to be good and was the main way, next to radio, to discover new artists as well as watch videos made for you favorite bands and songs. In 1991, one of the world’s biggest rock bands was Guns N Roses.  They were touring and making video for the next couple of years for their smash hit albums Use Your Illusion 1 & 2, and one song called “You Could Be Mine” was used in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  For the music video they got Arnold Schwarzenegger to play a T-800 who enters the club the band is playing at.  This video was so badass when I was younger that I can remember me and my brother waiting for it to come on during the countdowns. So for those of you who want to see this video, look it up on Youtube and enjoy this great song that was used in T2 as well as Terminator Salvation. This song was off Use Your Illusion 2, and over the years I have owned this album on cassette and CD and had this song on a cassingle! While my Dad might have hated Guns N Roses, they remain one of the most iconic bands from my youth.

GNR T2 1Guns N Roses You Could Be MineGNR T2 2

So we have stalled as long as we can, and it’s time for us to go to war and destroy as many machines as we can as our fate depends on it…oh wait, it just a movie and I don’t think I could have broken my PS3 because it means me no harm and offers hours of fun game play, not to mention my laptop is how I write these Rotten Ink updates and even listen to my music CDs so that would have been very sad to have had to take them out just because of stupid Skynet! This mini-series is the first Terminator one made by Dark Horse Comics and spawned a few more that followed. But I need to thank Game Swap Kettering and Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock and I need to remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So it’s time to gear up and join Dark Horse Comics as we do battle against The Terminators!

terminator 1

The Terminator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 1 of 4

It’s the future, and the machines are trying to exterminate the humans who have survived Judgment Day, but the humans are not giving up that easily and have taken the war to them. A group of human commandos lead by Mary have entered a base that was held by the machines and use a time machine to go back to the past, the year 1990 in Los Angeles to be exact, thanks to a chunky scientist named Koufaks who stays behind. All the while, a Terminator watches and goes off and brings to life three other Terminators.  They torture and get information from Koufaks and also go back to 1990! In the end the Terminators are in L.A armed as Mary and her crew separate to get the lay of the land.

The war for the future is being done Dark Horse Comics style in this 4 issue mini series that follows four Terminators on the hunt for five humans who are going to the past to get something or someone that will help the humans end the war. Colonel Mary is the leader of the humans, and she is a tough as nails as well as beautiful.  She is stern with her soldiers and is very focused on the mission. Mary is not fully fleshed out just yet, and I can’t wait to see what awaits her as this series goes on. Her soldiers are Bart, Raul, Alan and Naomi, and they are loyal to their commander and are all skilled in their own ways and are also not fleshed out. Poor fat Koufaks is the brain of the group and the one who sends Mary and crew to the past only to stay behind and get tortured and killed by the Terminators who break his bones and cut his flesh. The Terminators are killing machines who are going after Mary and her men with survival on their robotic minds as they don’t want to lose this war.  All they know is war and fighting. The comic is pretty brutal as humans are shot and one even has his whole head blown off in front of his friends. So far the story is pretty interesting as I am not 100% sure why they went back to the past and I found myself wanting to know why and started to come up with reasons. Plus I also like how we get a glimpse of Cyberdyne in 1990 and find out that they are not doing well as a company and it appears as if the C.E.O is pocketing the company’s profits. The artwork is very 90’s Dark Horse, done by Chris Warner, and is pretty well done and a style that I find myself liking. The cover on this issue as well is pretty cool and captures the feel of the series. So far this series is starting out pretty solid, and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.

terminator 2

The Terminator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 2 of 4

Mary and crew are living in an old burnt out house in a bad neighborhood, and she has made a “friend” named Ed who works for Cyberdyne and more importantly, Doctor Hollister who is the person Mary and her friends are after to kill, but he is also the man who the Terminators are going to protect. Mary has lunch with Ed and asks him to have dinner with her that night so that she and Alan can force him to take them to Hollister’s house so they can put a bullet in his brain. Meanwhile The Terminators attack and kill police officers to steal their weapons and as well head to Hollister’s house. Mary and Alan try to kill Hollister, but Ed interferes just as the Terminators show up and kill Alan and make an attempt to kill Mary and Ed who just barely escape as issue two comes to an end.

More action and more importantly answers are packed into this second issue and helps make the story come alive. The plot in this one has Mary and Alan as well as The Terminators all going after a scientist who works for the company that helps set up the fall of man in the future. Mary uses her good looks and charm to use a goofy lab assistant to get her mission done, but while she is a user, it’s clear she has a good heart as when push comes to shove she saves him even after he made her miss killing her target. Poor Alan has a nightmare right before going on his mission where he is shot and killed by a Terminator. The rest of the group take back seats and just hang out at the house and eat and pick on each other for feeding stray dogs. The Terminators are cold blooded killers and mop the floor with some cops all because they want their guns, not to mention they have no feelings and kill Alan with no hesitation at all. Ed is kind of a goof, and I hope that he does not have a bigger part in the next two issues.  He served his purpose in leading Mary to Hollister. Speaking of Hollister, it’s clear as day he is not a nice person as he treats Ed like crap and is clearly the man behind some sort of aspects of Judgment Day. The issue is filled with some violence that has people shot and one even thrown through a car’s windshield, making this comic series hold the R rating of the films this series is based on. Art once more is done by Chris Warner and is good solid work with his Terminators most of the time walking around with red eyes. The cover is pretty cool but has zero to do with this issue as no Terminator rides around on a motorcycle. It’s staying solid so far so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

terminator 3

The Terminator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 3 of 4

The Terminators take Dr. Hollister to his secret lab and are on a mission to get him the wreckage from the original Terminator who was sent back to kill Sarah Connor. Ed is taken to Mary’s burnt house hideout and listens as they tell him that they are from the future and that Hollister is the start of the end of mankind. Ed thinks they are crazy and leaves to go to Cyberdyne and is attacked by a Terminator and is just barely able to escape, and of course he goes back to Mary and by doing so he leads The Terminators to them.  Raul and Naomi are killed as Mary, Ed and Bart barely escape with their lives.

Why in the world is Mary and her crew still helping Ed who has been the biggest dumbass in the world?  Not only does he screw up their mission by saving Hollister but now leads killing machines to their front door, and two of her friends are killed in cold blood as his goofy butt is saved once more for danger. Bart at one point wanted to kill him after he thinks Ed’s interference caused his friend Alan to die, but is talked out of it I am sure by the end of this issue he was wishing he did. Mary once more is the true hero as when their house is under attack she is the one that tries her best to lead them all to safety. The Terminators in this one just kill and kill, and one death has one chopping a cop in the back of his neck breaking it like a chicken wing. Hollister as well is showing some evil intentions as he starts to put two and two together and knows his saviors are not people nor are they cops, but doesn’t care as long as they can help him get fame and money. By the end of this issue with many of the good guys dead and Mary, Bart and Ed on the run, I want to see how they are going to get out of this alive and how they will destroy all the Terminators and change the future. The art is once more done by Chris Warner and is good stuff, but I will say this issues cover is a little weak and kind of generic. With one issue to go, this series is very solid and is very enjoyable, and I can say I am hoping that they don’t drop the ball on the ending so with that let’s get to it.

terminator 4

The Terminator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990   Cover Price $2.50   Dark Horse   # 4 of 4

At Hollister’s secret lab Mary, Bart and Ed are having a stare down with the Terminators who have one turn on them killing one of them and wounding another! The cops show up and Hollister is saved by the law and taken to safety as Mary, Bart, Ed and the turn coat Terminator escape. While on the run the turncoat explains that he is only half machine and he was used by them in order to repair the fake skin on the T-800 models. While driving, the remaining two Terminators come back for the attack and kill Bart by snapping his neck as he was driving and Mary, Ed and Turncoat use a pipe bomb on the car they were in and the Terminators were hanging on, blowing them up. Ed is banged up and Mary and Turncoat help him as they wondering if the Terminators are dead or not as Turncoat doubts that it’s over. In the end Hollister gets a package in the mail that is the head of a Terminator with a note that says from a friend!

The final issue is fun in many ways but also a let down in others.  Let’s start with the plot that has twists and turns and has Mary and the good guys going head to head with Terminators where only one side can win and with the help of a Terminator, her team barely wins. Mary who starts off as a badass by this issue seems more like a girlfriend worried over her “man” and spends more time worrying about Ed then blasting and killing Terminators who have butchered all her friends. Ed is just a waste of a character, and I found myself really not liking him and getting annoyed with all his boneheaded moves that leave the real fighters dead.  In fact, he was a goon almost this whole series. Bart almost lived, and while he had a short temper, his heart was in the right place as he risked it all to try and save mankind. The Turncoat Terminator had a change of heart once he was in 1990 and decided to kill his machine brothers and turn to the side of man.  This is one of the issues I had with this final issue as his reason for turning good seemed a little silly and rushed. I mean I get that half of him was human, but the fact his reason for turning 100% was well I see hope that mankind can win the battle now…wow that’s deep. Hollister in this final issue runs for his life during the shoot out at his secret lab and in the end is the proud owner of a T-800 severed head! He is such a greedy man who doesn’t care about the issues his work could cause in the future as long as he makes lots of money today. The Terminators are killing machines but in this final issue they are knocked around and blown away and let’s not forget up in what seemed like a rushed way to wrap up this story in this final issue in the mini series. While I enjoyed this series, it takes the route of something I hate as the end is just a build up for another possible mini-series and that’s annoying as I feel this one didn’t have a good ending. The art in this issue is a team up by Chris Warner and Paul Guinan and is once more solid good work, and for comic readers who read Dark Horse Comics they know the style of work that artist were doing for the company in the 90’s. The cover for this fourth issue is fantastic and showcases the T-800 looking like he is about attack his prey. Over all this series was a fun read that was a nice little story about Terminators that acted as a fill in for fans of the film series as the second film was coming the next year.  While not the best Dark Horse Comic Mini Series I have ever read, it was just middle of the road and never stepped out to shine one way or another.

terminator ART 1

So as you can see, we are safe for now from the machines thanks to Mary and her brave men and Dark Horse Comics, but if Hollywood and moviegoers have anything to say about it, I am sure the T-800 will be on the loose again to try and ruin the future for the rest of us. Now if you’re a fan of Terminator, you should go to your local theater and watch Terminator Genisys and show that sequels are better than remakes! Our next update will take us to New Orleans and once more will bring Juliet back to Rotten Ink as a guest writer as she will be handling the next Horror Host Icon that is the one and only Morgus The Magnificent! This is one update that you will not want to miss at all as Morgus is one heck of a Host and inspired many and made being a Monster Kid cool! So until then, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two, support your local Horror Host and enjoy the rest of your summer!

morgus logo

The Baseball Hustle Of Pete Rose

Welcome back to the Rotten Ink Ballpark, a place we will be showcasing a comic book that is based on the legend of Cincinnati’s Mr. Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose of Reds’ fame! Baseball is considered America’s favorite past time, and while it’s still a popular sport, it has slipped quite a bit and has never bounced back after the strike that happened in 1994-1995 when players demanded higher pay and the player pay cap, making many fans upset over the greed and the lack of games because of this strike. My dad has been a baseball fan for a long time and enjoyed listening to the games on the radio, watching them on TV, playing the sport at school and with friends as well as collecting the trading cards (that his parents would later throw in the trash – including cards that became worth lots of money).  As he got older got married to my Mom and they had my brother and me, he ended up even taking us to Red games as well as minor league teams like The Columbus Clippers and watched games on TV and even collected Topps cards alongside us. But sadly while it was a fun time bonding with my Dad, I just could not get into baseball and found the game kind of boring and things like comics, horror films and video games more interesting. One thing I will say is that while my Dad is a jock, he never has judged me for not liking sports like he does and even bought me Captain America comics and VHS as well, even horror films like Hellraiser III, when I was a youth. As I’ve gotten older, my Dad and I watch MMA, boxing and NFL Super Bowl together and have a great time. But back to baseball – when I was a kid, my favorite players were Eric Davis and Barry Larkin, and I can remember trading baseball cards with my neighbor Kelly who was a very cool and sweet person, and going to Bills Baseball Den in Waynesville and Bookie Parlor in Kettering to get cards and packs. It’s odd to think that while I barely watched the game, I still spent time and effort collecting cards for sport stars that I knew very little about, but I think that was part of the MLB magic, that it was able to make a strange monster kid like myself want to buy trading cards.  Plus I think it came down to trying to fit in with friends and having a good time opening packs with my dad, mom and brother at the kitchen table. This update is for my Dad and friends like Josh Weinberg, Nick Wiget and all the others who love this classic sport and respect all that Pete Rose has done for it. This update will be about Pete Rose, baseball and my ties to this game.  So get your ball glove ready and your cap on because we are here till the bottom of the 9th and we are ready to hit a Rotten Ink home-run!

Pete Rose Card 1Pete Rose Card 2Pete Rose Card 3

To talk about Pete Rose we must first talk about The Cincinnati Reds, and I am going to do my best to get the facts right and give that ball team the respect it deserves in a quick yet fun manner, so here’s a crash course on the history of the Reds! In 1869 a baseball team called the Cincinnati Red Stockings was the team that would morph into the Reds and did so in 1881 and became a American Association team in 1882.  In 1890, they joined the National League and became a true pro baseball team. The team has won five World Series in the years 1919, 1940, 1975, 1976 and 1990 and have played in many home town ballparks like Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Great America Ball Park they currently call home. In 1970-1976 under the manager George “Sparky” Anderson, the team went under the nickname The Big Red Machine and had lots of big name ballplayers on the team the included Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver and Lee May to name a few.  The team won two World Series and it became one of the biggest most popular times for the team in it’s rich history. Another big time for the Reds was in 1990 when they went wire to wire and won the World Series with players like Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill and the pitching team nicknamed “The Nasty Boys” who were Rob Dibble, Norman Charlton and Randy Myers.  This team was managed by Lou Piniella. The Reds are still going strong in 2015, and while they have made it to the play-offs many times over the past few years, they have not been able to make it to the World Series, but if you ask guys like Josh Weinberg they will tell you that this year is the year they will take it all and if not, the next year or maybe the next year…yeah, you get the point.  Fans of the Reds are very loyal and have tons of respect for their team even if they do lose. So while this team has such a rich and amazing history, this tiny write up is just some of the highlights.  If you want to learn more about The Reds, check out the team’s Wikipedia or read a book based on the ball club. I should also note that the team’s mascot is Mr. Redlegs who is a baseball headed ball player.  For most of his time on the team Mr. Redlegs rocked a mustache, but when I was younger he had none and was a pretty popular mascot at school in Waynesville. Over all while I might not be a big watcher of sports, I can still respect and cheer for our home state teams and hope that sometime very soon The Reds once more become champs!

Mr Redlegs 1Reds LogoMr Redlegs 2

I am by no means an athlete.  When I was younger, I was okay at playing football and basketball, but I could have been the worst of the worst when it came to neighborhood baseball and could have had the worst batting average among my friends! One summer my dad bought us a wiffleball bat and ball.  We would play in the backyard, and it would almost always be me and my brother against our parents in a battle of home-runs hit over the roof of the house; we lost almost all the games. In the neighborhood, we would play baseball at Brad Burns’ or Mike Cessna’s house, and I can remember that being a lot of fun as all the kids from around would come and play, and even Mike’s dog Barney would join in on the fun! At my grandparents’ house I would play ball with my brother Bryan and cousins Nathan, Stephen and Tony.  While some times this was pitching, most of the time it was T-Ball. In school, we played baseball in gym, and I can remember one time we where playing outside and I so wanted to impress the girl I had a crush on my whole tenure in Waynesville and was hit in the head with softball from a pitch thrown by Ryan “The Bull” Jones.  The impact made me blackout for a second and I fell to one knee, but I was lucky and was able to shake it off! I should have probably gone to the nurse after it, and for months after I had massive headaches that would come and go, but that didn’t bother me as much as the fact I looked foolish in front of her! So as you can see my baseball “career” was very lame and filled with defeat and heartbreak!

Wiffle Bat and Ball

So at this time I think I am going to ask one of my best friends and one of the biggest Reds fans I know, Josh Weinberg, 5 questions about his love and respect for the Reds. I have known Josh for so many years now and from the first day I met him, he has always worn Cincinnati Reds and Bengals shirts, hats and jerseys as well as Ohio State gear so when writing about Pete Rose I knew I had to have my pal involved. I mean he is the guy who bought VHS tapes from a Goodwill Outlet that had the Reds winning the 1990 World Series.  So here we go, 5 Questions with Josh Weinberg!

Josh Weinberg Reds Fan

Me:  Welcome back, Josh, to Rotten Ink.  You are a legend among my friends I write about here on my slice of the web.  So how long have you been a Cincinnati Reds fan?

Josh: I have been a Reds fan since 1990, the year that they swept the Oakland A’s in the World Series. Ever since then I was hooked. I remember being at my dad’s shop listening to the games.

Me: Always cool to hear how sports brought families together.  Who are your 4 top favorite players for the Reds of all time?

Josh: My top 4 Reds players of all time are simple number 1.) Barry Larkin 2.) Chris Sabo 3.) Jose Rio and (4 Sean Casey.

Me: Barry Larkin and Eric Davis would be two of my favorites too.  Did you every play baseball for school or Little League? If not, have you ever thought about it?

Josh: I played little league growing up as well as umpiring for kids’ leagues. I had to stop because I could not keep up my grades.  Such is life.

Me: Those pesky grades and school standing in your way of being a baseball legend! So how many Reds games have you been to in your lifetime thus far?

Josh: I have probably been to between 20 and 30 games in my lifetime. With many more to come.  My ultimate is going to opening day.

Me: That’s way more games then I have been to.  If I am lucky, I think I have been to 4 or 5.  Last question for you Josh, should Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and why or why not?

Josh: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for one single reason: the hall is about what you did on the field not what you did off the field. He is the hit king, Charley Hustle, and deserves to be in the hall. There are plenty of things other players have done back in the day and are in now. If he had not lied about it, he would be in.

Me: I agree Pete should be in for all he has done for the sport! Thanks Josh! Do you have any closing words for the Rotten Ink readers and fans of the Reds?

Josh: Last thing I have to say is Go Reds! One of these days they will win it all again…hopefully before I die!

While I don’t think they will do much this 2015 season, sometime soon I am sure the Reds will rise to be champs again!

Reds Bumper Sticker

Pete Rose has also been involved in another sport, Pro Wrestling, where he had a feud with the Big Red Machine Kane that spanned a few WWE WrestleMania’s as well as earned Rose a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame! Pete Rose at WrestleMania XIV was the guest ring announcer for a match between The Undertaker and Kane and for some reason became the target of Kane who gave the ball player a tombstone pile driver before the match even started. The following year at WrestleMania XV, Pete Rose wanted revenge on Kane and dressed as the San Diego Chicken to attack the wrestler from behind.  This did not work as once more Rose was knocked out with a tombstone pile driver, and Kane went on to wrestle his match against Triple H. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose once more tried to get the upper hand on Kane and after his tag match against DX, Rose tried to hit Kane with a baseball bat but was choked slammed! After this, Rose did a commercial for WWE No Mercy PPV and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Kane in 2004. Pete Rose in 2010 was a guest host of Monday Night Raw and set a match between Kane and Shawn Michaels, after Kane lost he once more attacked the aging ball player. After this appearance, Rose has been mentioned on air as well as did an interview for WWE.COM on Kane’s attacks on him. While Pete Rose never wrestled a match for WWE, during his appearance he made some great moments in wrestling and it was nice to see a baseball player of his caliber not take himself too seriously.

WWE Kane and Pete Rose

So from the ball field to the wrestling ring, Pete Rose has proven time and time again that the man is a legend and is a very interesting person who has worked for his fame the hard way by given 110% every time. He has also proven that he is a marketing machine as his image has graced the likes of RC Cola cans, collector drinking glasses even one from Gold Star Chili, action figures from the Starting Line-Up a series made by Kenner & Hasbro, comic books, trading cards, collector coins, video game for Atari 2600/7800, TV Commercials, t-shirts among many other products and goods! The ones I remember the most are the video game for Atari 2600 that was a solid cheesy baseball game and the Starting Line Up figures that looked nothing like him and had very little articulation. But if you were a Rose fan, the world is filled with enough collector items to keep you very happy!

Pete Rose Drinking GlassPete Rose Starting LineupRC Cola Pete Rose

As I have stated before, I am a Monster Guy who loves comic books and this year (2015) I have gone through a stage where I am reading lots of 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Spider-Man comics.  I am talking Amazing, Spectacular and Web Of and have gotten issues all over from Mavericks all the way to Lone Star Comics and many of the issues are coming bag and boarded to protect and keep the issue safe. Well one of the WORST places that bag and board their issues has to be Half Price Books as they clearly use the cheapest bags and boards and some of the worst tape in comic collecting history! When trying to open your comic the tape sticks to the plastic bag and rips holes in the bag and can even bend your comic as you try to get it open.  This has caused many annoying late night readings of Spidey and lots of curses toward these cheap bags. Also when writing this update, I was listening to Billy Idol’s 2014 release “Kings & Queens Of The Underground.”  It’s a pretty solid album.  While it’s by no means a classic, I still am glad that Billy is making music as he has been one of my favorite music artists sense I was a kid alongside Alice Cooper, Motley Cure, W.A.S.P. and Cinderella. In fact one of the best birthday presents in my adult life that I ever got was from Juliet as she got us close seats to Billy Idol at Fraze Pavilion in Kettering in 2010! The best tracks off this CD are the title track Kings & Queens Of The Underground and Eyes Wide Shut. The odd part about this disc is that almost all of the songs are ballads and not the fist pumping tracks one would expect from Billy Idol. So a special thanks goes to Marvel Comics for Spider-Man and Billy Idol for helping me while writing this update. I should also thank The Angry Video Game Nerd as I had episodes playing on the TV while I wrote and Billy Idol’s CD was done.  So I think it would be safe to say that Idol and AVGN acted as the soundtrack to this update and Spider-Man entertained my mind before I went to bed almost every night.

Billy Idol cd and Spiderman Comics

It’s Masstar Comics turn at bat, and I can’t wait to see what this bio Comic is like. I am wondering what direction they will take with his suspension from the sport and what kind of stories off the field they will share. I have never heard of Masstar Comics, and this will be my first read for one of their comics so this should be interesting. I want to thank a vendor at Peddlers’ Mall for having this comic at their booth as well as thank Jason Young for taking me there to look around. Oddly during our time at the Peddlers’ Mall, Jason and I found lots of Pete Rose merchandise and after that Mavericks even ended up putting out boxes of Rose’s ball cards, making me think that it was my calling to do this update. I should also remind you that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s see if Masstar can slide into homebase as they team up with Pete Rose and Rotten Ink to bring you this fun read at the ballpark, oh and um can I get some peanuts and a hotdog…and maybe one of those foam oversized hats?

Pete Rose 1

Pete Rose  # 1   **1/2
Released in 1992     Cover Price $2.50     Masstar Comic     # 1 of 1

Pete Rose or Pee Wee as his father called him was a young man who grew up in Ohio and was a fan of sports with baseball being his passion with football coming in second. His mother and father encouraged him to try harder at everything he did and thanks to his Uncle who was a baseball talent scout he was able to get a tryout for the Cincinnati Reds in 1960 by being put into the minor leagues and he once more busted his butt in order to impress the scouts and to get better at the game he loved. As he became better and better he finally catches the eye of Reds couch Freddie Hutchinson who hires him as second base man and allows him to prove that he has heart, but this upsets the older players who act as if Pete is not even alive and his only friends on the team are Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson who as well were ignored by teammates cause the color of their skin. Rose was not a super star from the start but season after season he became better and better and even turned up the intensity in the way he played and would go on to win the MVP Award for the year 1973 and in 1975 and 1976 he helped lead them to World Series wins. In 1979 Pete Rose turned down a contract from The Reds and took one from the Philadelphia Phillies and had some solid good seasons with them. Rose returned to The Reds in 1984 after a short time with the Montreal Expos and back with the Reds he broke hitting records and even became the teams Manager. While things looked great for Rose in 1989 it all came crashing down as he was accused of illegally betting on baseball games and the MLB Commissioner banished him from the game he loved.

Pete Rose is a ball player that is beloved by fans and has a mixed reaction from players and higher ups within the MLB all for his gambling issue. But this comic does a great job of making Rose a likable underdog who proved that hard work and support from your loved ones can make you a superstar of whatever your profession is. This bio comic follows Pete Rose from a youngster playing ball with his friends all the way to playing for the Reds coaching them and being banned from the game that he loves. The plus side to this comic is that the story is very fast paced and highlights all the major events in his life without dragging along, but the downside is the fact most major events are done in a couple of panels and don’t show much of his friendships nor rivalries with his fellow Reds and that’s a letdown. It was interesting to see why Rose left the Reds to play for Philadelphia and even more so how when he first joined the team all the older players didn’t like him so they ignored him and treated him like he was a ghost. The comic ends with Rose being suspended from baseball and leaves it making it look like he never bet on baseball when in fact he did and lied about it for years. The cover is pretty eye catching and shows Rose through the years as the art inside is pretty well done and makes Rose look like he should and is done by John Tartaglione who you can tell had fun drawing this comic. Over all this was a fun Unauthorized Bio comic on an iconic baseball player and was well worth the read and purchase. Check out the art below done by Tartaglione.

Pete Rose Art 1

We made it to home base and scored the winning point thanks to Pete Rose and Masstar Comics, and along the way I found a new respect for baseball and now understand the appeal it has for all its fans, as it’s a sport that is filled with a rich history and gives people pride in their favorite team and something to talk about around the water cooler at work. While I may or may not ever go see a Reds game again at the stadium I still have the good memories of going to them with my Dad, brother Bryan and my dad’s best friend John in my youth. Well our next update is going to take us out of the ball field and into the world of self-defense as I am going to take a look at an Atlas Comic based around the secret world of the martial arts called The Hands Of The Dragon! So make sure to come back for that one but until then enjoy the summer and read a comic or three.

Hands Of The Dragon Logo

DC At The Movies: Batman (The Christmas Eve Special)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve.  While this has been a year filled with lots of ups and downs for me, I have also had a great time loving life and am happy for all my friends and family in my life who have helped make me the person that I am today! While last year we covered Thundercats, this year we are going to cover something a little different as we will be looking at the movie series Batman that started with the Tim Burton directed film in 1989.  When that movie came to theaters on June 23rd the following Christmas every male kid I knew wanted Batman stuff for presents, and boy was their a lot to choose from! On this update we are going to cover the DC Comic Movie Adaptations of the Batman films so let’s sit back with some eggnog and wait for Santa to come down the chimney and talk DC At The Movies: Batman!

Batman 1989 Symbol

When I was a kid, the most popular superhero films were the Superman films starring Christopher Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent.  The only other DC heroes I could think of that had their own movies were Swamp Thing in 1982 and Batman had a film based off the 60’s TV show in 1966.  They did also have some great TV shows like previously mentioned Batman as well as Shazam, Wonder Woman, Legend of Isis and of course Adventures of Superman. Marvel at the time was mostly just focusing on TV with shows and made for TV Movies based on Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, Captain America and Doctor Strange and did have the bomb Howard The Duck in 1986 a cheesy film directed by George Lucas, but I must say as a kid I really liked the film Howard the Duck.  I guess very loosely you could say that the Conan films as well as Red Sonja were a sliver connected to Marvel who made comics based on those characters at the time. But when 1989 came around, and Tim Burton, director of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, made Batman, the youth at the time exploded and Batmania was born! You couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing something about this film, and most kids at school had Batman t-shirts, folders, backpacks and toys. If your grew up when the 1989 film and its sequels came out, then you know what I am talking about when I say Batman ruled the world for those months leading up to the releases and the months that followed. So before we get too much into the insane popularity and merchandise of Batman I should give you a crash course on the films, and of course I will be getting the help of IMDB for these write ups as I would be far too long winded to tell you the readers the plots. So let’s set the bat signal off and see what these films were all about! Oh I will also put on here who played Batman as well as who played the main villain in each of these films.

Batman (Keaton)Batman 1989 PosterThe Joker (Jack)

BATMAN (1989)

Gotham City: dark, dangerous, ‘protected’ only by a mostly corrupt police department. Despite the best efforts of D.A. Harvey Dent and police commissioner Jim Gordon, the city becomes increasingly unsafe…until a Dark Knight arises. We all know criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot…so his disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. He becomes a bat. Enter Vicky Vale, a prize-winning photo journalist who wants to uncover the secret of the mysterious “bat-man”. And enter Jack Napier, one-time enforcer for Boss Grissom, horribly disfigured after a firefight in a chemical factory…who, devoid of the last vestiges of sanity, seizes control of Gotham’s underworld as the psychotic, unpredictable Clown Prince of Crime…the Joker. Gotham’s only hope, it seems, lies in this dark, brooding vigilante. And just how does billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne fit into all of this?

Batman – Michael Keaton

Joker – Jack Nicholson

Bob The Goon – Tracey Walter

Batman (Keaton 2)Batman Returns PosterThe Penguin (Danny)Catwoman (Michelle)

Batman Returns (1992)

Having defeated the Joker, Batman now faces the Penguin – a warped and deformed individual who is intent on being accepted into Gotham society. Crooked businessman Max Schreck is coerced into helping him become Mayor of Gotham and they both attempt to expose Batman in a different light. Earlier however, Selina Kyle, Max’s secretary, is thrown from the top of a building and is transformed into Catwoman – a mysterious figure who has the same personality disorder as Batman. Batman must attempt to clear his name, all the time deciding just what must be done with the Catwoman.

Batman – Michael Keaton

Penguin – Danny DeVito

Catwoman – Michelle Pfeiffer

Batman and Robin (Val & Chris)Batman Forever PosterThe Riddler (Jim)Two Face (Jones)

Batman Forever (1995)

The Dark Knight of Gotham City confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and the Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face incorrectly believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side; he has unleashed a reign of terror on the good people of Gotham. Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler he perfects a device for draining information from all the brains in Gotham, including Bruce Wayne’s knowledge of his other identity. Batman/Wayne is/are the love focus of Dr. Chase Meridan. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, his family killed by Two-Face, becomes Wayne’s ward and Batman’s new partner Robin the Boy Wonder.

Batman – Val Kilmer

Robin – Chris O’ Donnell

The Riddler – Jim Carrey

Two Face – Tommy Lee Jones

Batman Robin Batgirl (movie cast)Batman & Robin PosterFreeze Ivy Bane (movie cast)

Batman & Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin are back working side-by-side to stop the villains of Gotham City, but is there tension appearing between them, especially when one villainess who calls herself Poison Ivy can make anyone fall in love with her…literally. Along with Poison Ivy, the icy Mr. Freeze is freezing anything which gets in his way from achieving his goal.

Batman – George Clooney

Robin – Chris O’ Donnell

Batgirl – Alicia Silverstone

Mr. Freeze – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Poison Ivy – Uma Thurman

Bane – Jeep Swenson

The first two films were directed by Tim Burton and have a brooding dark feel to them while the latter two were directed by Joel Schumacher and take a more neon and goofy approach. Say what you will about any of them, you cannot deny the impact they had on the youth at the time as well as the box office. If you look at 1989, Batman was the # 1 film of the year bringing in $251,188,924.00 beating out the likes of Lethal Weapon 2, Back To The Future Part II, Ghostbusters II, The Little Mermaid, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Born on the Fourth of July, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Karate Kid Part III, 007: License To Kill, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5, All Dogs Go To Heaven, No Holds Barred, Cyborg, Kickboxer, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, The Burbs, Major League, Tango & Cash as well as Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade! So as you can see it had very stiff competition and ended up beating them all. Batman Returns took the # 3 spot in 1992 beating out Wayne’s World, Lethal Weapon 3, Hellraiser III, A Few Good Men and Alien 3 to name a few! While in 1995, Batman Forever took # 2 and beat out such films as Pocahontas, 007: Goldeneye, Seven, Braveheart, Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers and Billy Madison. Batman & Robin took # 12 in 1997 and beat Scream 2, Austin Powers, Cop Land, Jackie Brown, Wishmaster, An American Werewolf in Paris, Lost Highway, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation and Alien Resurrection. But one thing I want to point out, is does anyone else notice that in every Batman movie in this series Bruce Wayne has a new love interest and almost always shows them that he is Batman! I think if I was Bruce Wayne, and while all the ladies are very lovely, I would try to stay with Chase Meridian played by Nicole Kidman as she is smart and very good looking! But no mater how you slice it, Wayne knows how to pick the ladies!

Kim BasingerBatmans RŸckkehrNicole Kidmanelle macpherson

The first batch of action figures based on the Batman movie was made by Toy Biz and showcased not only Batman but also The Joker and Bob The Goon. While many kids like myself rushed to get these figures to have our own Batman Movie style adventures, the figures themselves looked terrible and nothing like the actors from the film. I can remember many kids bringing these figures to the playground, and while we were happy to have them, we still all knew that the figures just looked cheap and were shells of what they should be. I had Batman and The Joker and skipped Bob The Goon, The Joker’s action was a squirting flower that acted like a squirt gun while Batman’s was his belt could be used as a hook. While Toy Biz tried, they really did fail, and the license was quickly taken away and given to Kenner.

Toy Biz Batman ToyToy Biz The Joker ToyToy Biz Bob The Goon Toy

When toy company Kenner got the license to make Batman movie toys, they went for the kill and made figures that looked like the actors as well as accessories like the Batmobile, The Batcopter and the Batcave. They also stayed with the film series and made figures for Batman Returns, Forever and Robin! Each series focused on many different versions of Batman and did all the core bad guys from the movie. On some of the molds they reused ones from their old Super Powers line as The Penguin is the same figure just his suit is painted a different color. When Kenner put these out I had to get my hands on one of the Batman’s as well as Catwoman, and they quickly replaced the Toy Biz ones when it came to Toy Wars. One thing that always cracked me up is the Poison Ivy figure done for the Batman & Robin line looks nothing like Uma Thurman who would not give them permission to use her likeness and looks like a man in drag instead! Don’t believe me, just take a look below, as well as take a look at some more of the Kenner Batman figures!

Kenner Batman ToysKenner ivy & Freeze

Back in 1989 Taco Bell released collector cups featuring Batman, and these were something that I felt I had to have when I was a kid and begged my parents to take me to Taco Bell to get one! When I did get one I can remember drinking everything from Mountain Dew to Chocolate Milk out of it, and it lasted away! After so many washings, the image on the cup began to disappear and sadly the Batman cup was retired and sold in a garage sale. I also remember them doing the cups for Batman & Robin, and I also collected those and got the whole set. McDonald’s did cups for Batman Returns, but I never did get any of those.

Taco Bell Batman Cups

McDonald’s had some Happy Meal toys as well as other merchandise for Batman Returns when the film was released, and many kids I knew had the cars that came in the meal. I can remember having Batman but none of the others. My cousins Dino and Norman had them all and so did Nathan. During this time, they also had pen necklaces that had Batman, Catwoman, Batmobile and The Penguin as topper caps on a very cheap pen. McDonald’s took some heat for putting out these toys in their kids meals by parent groups who thought the film was too violent and should not be geared towards the youth.  Parents groups sure can be silly sometimes.

McDonalds Batman Returns Happy Meal BagMcdonalds Batman Returns ToysBatman Returns Neck Pens

Trading cards have been made for all the films, but none were as popular as those based on the 1989 film put out by Topps. I used to get packs of the cards at United Dairy Farmers as well as at Big Bear and would trade my extra cards and stickers to my neighbor Carmen Fields who was making a whole set. The cards were well done, and they did two sets based just on the first film! I used to love buying old wax packs of cards and chewing on the stale gum as I flipped through to see what cards I had gotten. Oh the good old days!  But while the cards were cool, the whole set doesn’t sell for much as on Ebay.  They go for about $14.00 for both 1 and 2.

Topps Batman CardsTopps Batman Cards 2Batman Returns Cards

Batman t-shirts was also all the rage when I was younger, and while I didn’t have any for the first film I did have some for Batman Returns and as of the last few years I do have a Mr. Freeze one from Batman & Robin thanks to my brother Bryan who found it at a thrift store. I can remember that when I got my Batman Returns shirt for school I felt really cool with my all over print shirt Batman design and wore that shirt for many years after, mostly for gym or to sleep in. Sadly the shirt got holes in it and went to the big washing machine in the sky. But I am sure many of you reading this remember just how important it was for you to have the right cool shirts or shoes to fit in, I however was always just me and would wear movie and band shirts way past there popularity like my old blue Alice Cooper shirt or even Flattop from Dick Tracy. But while my old Batman shirts are gone or way too small at this point, I still have great memories of wearing them and being me.

Batman Returns T Shirt 1Batman Returns T Shirt 2Joker T-Shirt

Do you remember when companies like Post and Quaker Oats made cereals based on all types of cartoons and movies like The Addams Family and Gremlins? Well of course Batman cereal had to be made and company Ralston was the one to deliver it to the masses. Every morning when I was a kid my Mom made sure we ate some breakfast, and while some times it would be eggs & toast or oatmeal, it was mostly cereal and Batman was one that we tried and kind of liked. I can remember the main reason I choose it from the shelves of Big Bear is because it came with a free bank shrink-wrapped to the box. While the original Batman cereal was pretty good, the Batman Returns one made as well by Ralston was not so much! I can also remember eating Batman cereal watching Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Man I really do hate that in October 2014 Saturday Morning Cartoons ended on all major stations, ending an era.

batman cerealBatman Returns cereal

What would a movie be without a video game tie in back in the 80’s and 90’s and of course Batman had a number of game come out based on the blockbuster flicks. First Batman: The Video Game for NES came out in 1990 by SunSoft, and this game was super popular with the Brassfield cousins as we would all try and beat it while at our Grandparents house or even at each others. This game was followed up by Batman: Return Of The Joker, a follow up to a movie game that has no ties to any Batman movies by SunSoft for the NES and Sega Genesis in 1991 and 1992. When Batman Returns was released, a video game was made for many home consoles like NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD and even Sega Master System. Batman Forever, a very cheesy beat em up game, came out for Sega Genesis and SNES while Batman Forever The Arcade Game was made for Arcades, Playstation and Sega Saturn. Batman & Robin also got the video game treatment as a game was released for Playstation, and I can remember getting this game from Blockbuster Video and trying my hardest to beat it…I never did and I blame it on the poor controls. While they all have a charm in their own way Batman: The Video Game for NES remains the best video game based on this series.

Batman NesBatman Returns GenesisBatman Forever GenesisBatman & Robin PSX

When Batman and Batman Returns came out in theaters I did not get to see them as we had to wait for the VHS tapes for hit the library and local video rental store.  My Dad was not a fan of the 1989 film when he watched it and didn’t want to spend money on the second one. But I can remember me and my brother trying to get them to take us but it didn’t work. Well for my 15th birthday, my parents and brother took me to the Belmont Drive-In to watch Batman Forever and I can remember the night we went it was kind of rainy out but while I was not a fan of the movie it was fun watching the flick in the old family car with everyone. I can remember that they also made snack food for us to munch on. Sadly the old Drive-In went out of business thanks the those wonderful land hogs at Reynolds and Reynolds who bought them out and let the land sit empty for years till they built another soulless building in its spot. I saw Batman & Robin in the theater inside The Dayton Mall with my Brother and younger cousin Nick when our aunt asked us to babysit him and offered to pay for our tickets and snack food, how could you go wrong. After the movie we played on the arcade machines that were in front of the theater. In closing, I miss the Belmont Drive-In and wish it was still around today.

Belmont Drive In

Well my fellow Bat-Fans, we are at the point of looking at the comic adaptations and I for one can’t wait to relive many of them. You see in my youth I had read the comics based on Batman and Batman Returns and want to see if they hold up! And want to thank you for spending this Christmas Eve here at Rotten Ink. So before we Biff and Pow our way into action, I should remind you that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, and its art and story. I want to also thank Mavericks and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock.  So put another log on the fire and get your self another glass of Eggnog we are going to be having a good Bat Time.

Batman 1989 1

Batman  # 1  ***
Released in 1989   Cover Price $2.50   DC Comics   #1 of 1

A family is robbed and left in an ally.  As the crooks make off with the loot, they get a visit from Batman who teaches them that he is the night! Crime Lord Carl Grissom is being targeted by Gotham Police Department but up to this point they have nothing on him as he has a rat in the department who fills him in and helps cover things up. Reporter Alexander Knox along with photographer Vicki Vale are on the case of who and what Batman is, as crime on the streets is lowering as criminals are in fear. Billionaire Bruce Wayne is in fact Batman, but no one besides his butler Alfred knows his secret. Grissom’s girlfriend Alicia is cheating on him with his right hand man Jack Napier who he sets up at a chemical plant that leads to Batman knocking him into a vat of chemicals, and his face is turned white and his hair green and Jack becomes The Joker! Bruce Wayne however finds himself falling in love with Vicki Vale.  As they go on a date The Joker shoots and kills Grissom and now is in charge of his operation. Vicki is following Bruce Wayne and while out The Joker attacks and his men fire guns into crowd.  When the attack is over, they interview Vicki on TV and The Joker likes what he sees. Weird deaths are happening all over Gotham as people are dying of laughter and it’s shown that The Joker is using chemicals in every day products to spread his death. The citizens found out thanks to Batman who saves Vicki Vale from a Joker attacks at a restaurant and gives her the secret.  The next day Bruce Wayne on his date with Vicki is about to tell her that he is Batman when The Joker once more attacks and with this attack Bruce Wayne figures out that Jack Napier (now The Joker) is the thug who shoot and killed his parents! The Joker throws a parade in downtown Gotham and not only giving out free “money” but also poisoning people via balloons. Batman spoils his fun as The Joker takes Vicki prisoner on top of a bell tower.  Batman comes to her aid, and the fight leaves The Joker falling to his death as Batman becomes the savior of Vicki and Gotham.

This is 100% a comic movie adaptation done right, as the look and vibe of the comic captures the magic of the film. The story of this comic is Batman is new to Gotham, and the cops nor the civilians know what to think of him as he takes down crooks with his vigilante justice, and during one of his crime stopping nights he takes a crazy crook and by accident turns him into an even more crazy crook, The Joker, who is tormenting the city! Throw in the fact that Batman is Bruce Wayne, a rich respected man who is torn between doing what he thinks is right and love as he falls for a beautiful photographer who has also captured the eye of the crazed Joker! Batman comes off as a focused hero to the helpless who takes his crime fighting very serious, while Bruce Wayne is an odd rich man who is complex and is torn between fighting and love. Vicki Vale is a likable female lead who has just the right amount of damsel in distress to make you as the reader want to see her get saved. The Joker is crazy and seems like his whole goal in the issue is to cause chaos and to murder the helpless, very great bad guy character and changed just enough from the normal comic series that was also going at the time of this comic adaptation’s release. The Joker’s death is impactful as he falls from high above and dies still with a laugh as a laugh box in his pocket goes off after the impact. The cover is very eye catching, and fans of the movie would for sure nab this one up.  The art inside done by Jerry Ordway is fantastic, and all the characters look like the actors that played them in the movie. I can remember that I read this comic when it first came out as our friend Mike Cessna had it, and I loved it back then, but then again I did have Batman fever! In closing if you like the 1989 film and like comics then check this one out as it was made for you.

Batman 89 Art 1Batman 89 Art 2Batman 89 Art 3

So The Joker is dead, and Batman is now a full savior of the city.  So what baddies awaits him in this second comic movie adaption?  Let’s read on and find out!

Batman Returns 1

Batman Returns  # 1  ***
Released in 1992   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

It’s in the past as a family drops a baby in a basket off the side of the bridge, and as the basket floats down the river and into the sewer, a family of penguins are there to rescue it. Max Shreck is a very powerful businessman in Gotham and is a man with a vision of a more powerful city.  He has the Mayor in his back pocket and he even runs his poor assistant Selina Kyle day and night. While giving a speech about Christmas, Max and company are attacked by a band of scary circus performers know as The Red Triangle Gang.  As Batman comes to save the day, Max himself comes face to face with a strange deformed man called The Penguin who lives in the sewer and knows all Max’s dirty little secrets.  So the two team up to allow Penguin to come above ground and be loved by the people of Gotham. Max has an idea to have a power planet that does not give off energy but takes energy to store, and when Selina gets too close in looking into the plant, she is shoved out a window by Max and is saved by cats who she now has a bond with.  This also makes her an anti hero as she dons a leather cat suit and calls herself Catwoman. Bruce Wayne and Max have a meeting over the power planet but don’t see eye to eye, as Selina shows back up to work to Max’s surprise as he thought she was dead. This bad meeting makes Max turn to Penguin who he now wants to make Mayor, and they hatch a plan of mayhem as they set the Red Triangle Gang free on the city.  As Batman takes out the trash he comes to find that Penguin is not a good role model as Max wants them all to believe and also meets Catwoman who is targeting business owned by Max. Catwoman and Penguin team up to frame Batman and to get the people of Gotham to turn against him by killing The Ice Princess and making it appear as if he did it.  While he is trying to save her ,they will turn the Batmobile into an out of control death machine! With the Ice Princess dead and Batman able to get back control of his car after a nasty joy ride, he is able to use messages he tapped of Penguin to have the people of Gotham turn on him and as he goes back to the sewers he tells his gang the plan of stealing all the first born children of the city and how he wants them all to die in a watery grave! Also by this point Catwoman and Penguin have turned on each other and to make things worse Bruce Wayne has to go to a costume party put on by Max, and that’s when Selina and Bruce find out each others secret identities. Penguin crashes the party and kidnaps Max who he has now turned on, as Bruce turns into Batman and stops the kids from being killed.  With one plan stopped, Penguin now sends his animal penguin brothers above ground complete with bombs and rockets strapped to them to cause death and destruction! Batman stops this attack as well and knocks Penguin out a window and he falls into the sewer bellow. Meanwhile Catwoman kills Max and herself as Batman is powerless to stop her and looses his love.  As Penguin once more appears and is at death’s door complaining of the heat and dies in the sewer water as his animal friends take his body away. Bruce Wayne won’t forget Selina Kyle as Catwoman’s shadow is seen in a ally.

Good comic adaptation follow up to the original but slightly looses the magic of the film, as many plot moments seemed a little rushed. Bruce Wayne/Batman in this comic are almost one and the same as he allows emotions to interfere with his personal life as well as his crime fighting mission. I also am puzzled as too how quickly Vicki Vale is thrown to the side and in a matter of seconds, he is head over heels in love with Selina Kyle who he briefly meets as Bruce during a meeting at Max’s and once for seconds as Batman during the first Red Triangle Gang attack. Bruce is really like a love struck teenager who is longing to be loved and chooses the most complicated women to fall for. Max Shreck is your typical rich big business man who acts as if he cares about the people, when really he cares about his own personal gain. Max is a total scumbag who kills and manipulates whoever he can to become more powerful in Gotham. Penguin is also a very violent and conniving man who kills and takes advantage of whoever can get him ahead in his plan to take over the city. The fact that he runs a gang of circus rejects and has a plan to kill children shows you just how gross of a person he is. Penguin’s death is a little to close too The Jokers with it coming via a fall, but it still works as he makes one last attempt to kill Batman grabs the wrong umbrella, and then falls just short of making it into the cold water before he dies. Penguin is nothing like the comic version and is not classy in any way and is more of a freak, but he still does use umbrellas of all types to fight with. Catwoman/Selina Kyle is an interesting character as she is not good nor bad and while she loves Bruce Wayne, she dislikes Batman and does take the life of his boss Max in the end. This really is a cool adaptation and is a nice follow up to the first with an equally cool cover, but I will say the artwork by Steve Erwin, while good, does lack the charm of making the characters look like the actors of them film, while some do, many don’t. I can remember buying this comic as a kid from The Bookie Parlor and thinking how cool I was cause I had it.  Also while reading this comic, I listened to the score for the film done by Danny Elfman. If you like the film and liked the original film adaptation, this is a good one to have in your collection!

Batman Returns Art 1Batman Returns Art 2Batman Returns Art 3

Penguin is dead and Catwoman is missing, who will be the next to step up and get beat down by Batman? Well let’s see in this next issue based on my least favorite Batman film of all time or should I say forever?

Batman Forever 1

Batman Forever  # 1  ***
Released in 1995   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

Two Face has escape Arkham Asylum and is robbing a bank and has a live hostage, as Batman approaches Commissioner Gordon.  Batman also meets Chase Meridian, a doctor in abnormal psychology.  He goes in to save the day, but while he does save the guard Two Face gets away. Edward Nygma works for Bruce Wayne and is a little crazy.  When Bruce shoots down his idea of a TV that broadcast into your brain he decides to kill the manager and seek revenge on Bruce whom he leaves a riddle for. Bruce takes the riddle to Chase, and after they crack it, they go to a charity circus event and when The Flying Graysons are on, Two Face enters complete with a bomb.  As son Dick Grayson gets the bomb to safety, his parents are murdered by Two Face and Bruce can do nothing to save them. Dick stays at Wayne Manor as once more Two Face tries to kill Batman and fails.  While at his hideout he gets a visit from Nygma who is know calling himself The Riddler, and they two form a team to kill Batman that involves Nygma’s TV Mind Box! Dick sneaks and follows Alfred to the Bat Cave and takes the Batmobile for a drive and saves a woman from some street punks and gets a taste and wants to join Batman as a team who of course rejects the idea. At a party for Nygma’s new invention that is making his company out do Wayne Enterprises two to one, Two Face crashes and Batman this time around is hurt in the fight but is saved by Dick who is wearing his circus outfit and a tiny mask. Alfred tries to push a bruised up Bruce that he should train Dick and allow him to help in crime fighting.  As Bruce thinks it over he becomes Batman and meets Chase at her house as it’s clear she has feelings for Batman as well as Bruce Wayne, but she in the end chooses Wayne! The Riddler finds out thanks to his TV machine that Wayne is Batman, and the evil pair decide to make a statement. Bruce invites her over to tell her he is Batman, and Two Face and The Riddler come in and shoot Wayne, kidnap Chase and blow up the Batcave. After the attack, Batman along with his new sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson) head to Nygma’s factory and battle it out with the baddies. The end fight leaves The Riddler’s brain boiled by his own machine, and Two Face falls to his death into spiked rocks and ocean water. With The Riddler crazy and in Arkham Asylum, Chase knows now she loves the man behind that bat.

I must say I liked this comic adaptation better then the film it’s based on! Gone is the terrible over acting of Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face; missing is Jim Carey’s version of The Riddler just being silly and Ace Ventura like.  Instead we get a fun kid friendly Batman adventures that is laced with some fun silly moments. The story has Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman once more falling for a woman who is torn between the two, not knowing till later that they are the same person.  Along the way Batman makes enemies with a crazy inventor and a baddy from his past comes out to play. He also adopts a circus performer who turns into his sidekick in fighting crime. Batman/Bruce Wayne in this issue is on the verge of walking away from crime fighting to settle down with a woman he once more just meet, but by some point comes to learn that both sides of his life are important, and they can come together. Dick Grayson/Robin for the most part takes a back seat and is used just right, not forcing him down your throat and allowing him to become important to the film’s end plot. Chase Meridian is smart and pretty but besides being a love interest does nothing to special to make her on the level of Vicki Vale or Selina Kyle. The Riddler/ Edward Nygma is crazy and wants to really show Bruce Wayne up and is obsessed with power.  His defeat coming by his own invention is well done, as is the fact his head becomes misshapen with the overload. Two Face loves to kill and is a good comic book villain in this comic. The lame thing is once more Two Face, much like The Joker and Penguin before him dies via a fall! The cover on this one is okay and not as eye catching as the other two.  The art done by Michel Dutkiewicz is really great and helps add to the over all appeal of the comic. To sum it up, a solid good adaptation that is better then the movie it’s based on!

Batman Forever Art 1Batman Forever Art 2Batman Forever Art 3

Two Face dead via a fall onto some pointy rocks and The Riddler looks like the Elephent Man and is in the loony bin.  So who’s next on Batman’s list to rid Gotham of?  Let’s read the last to find out!

Batman & Robin 1

Batman & Robin  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1997   Cover Price $3.95   DC Comics   #1 of 1

Batman and Robin try to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a giant diamond but fall short when Robin is turned into an icicle and Batman must save him from freezing to death as Mr. Freeze escapes. Meanwhile in South America, Dr. Pamela Isley is working on a chemical that will make plants stronger as her partner Dr. Jason Woodrue uses it to make super soldiers and creates Bane, a muscle bound brute who does what he’s told.  When Isley finds out, he attacks her and knocks her into chemicals that turns her into Poison Ivy who kills Woodrue with a kiss, and she and Bane heads to Gothan City. Meanwhile Mr. Freeze is only doing all these bad things so that he can get money for research to cure his sick wife.  While Alfred’s niece Barbra comes to visit and stays at Wayne Manor. Batman uses diamonds from his private collection to lure Mr. Freeze out of hiding but it also draws out Poison Ivy who turns Batman and Robin against each other to get her attention. But the trap works, and they are able to capture Mr. Freeze and send him to Arkham Asylum, but the heat between Batman and Robin grows deeper. Ivy and Bane break Freeze out, and Batman and Robin find them at Freeze’s old hideout and while they fight off Bane they also come face to face with Ivy again who uses her charm to make Robin and Batman fight which leaves Robin knocked out.  She also unplugs Mr. Freeze’s wife and blames it on Batman making him want to kill his enemy. During this time we also find out Alfred is sick with the same disease that was killing Freeze’s wife leaving Bruce, Barbra and Dick helpless to save their friend and loved one. Barbra finds out the secret and becomes Batgirl and teams with Batman and Robin to fight off Ivy, Bane and Mr. Freeze who plans to make the whole world freeze in another ice age. Batgirl takes out Ivy with Robin beating Bane and Batman knocks around Mr. Freeze and tells him that Ivy pulled the plug on his wife but he saved her just in time and talks sense into him and gets him to help cure Alfred’s diseases. In the end, Alfred is okay and Batman & Robin have a new partner in Batgirl as Ivy gets a new cellmate Mr. Freeze!

The first thing that I have to say about this adaptation is that I hate the fact it starts off showing a movie set setting up the first shot…this takes you 100% out of the comic and makes you say who cares it’s all just a movie.  Dumb move by DC for allowing this to be the opening panel of this comic. But take that terrible mistake out of the picture, and this is a fun average adaptation that showcases the silly nature of the film it’s based on. The plot is Alfred is sick and his loved ones want to save him, Batman has an issue trusting that Robin can handle himself, Ivy wants to save Mother Earth and Mr. Freeze wants to save his wife….this comic is all about saving. Batman is a little controlling in this one and seems to almost have a chip on his shoulder, but as Bruce Wayne he is more caring and worried about his sick friend Alfred. Robin is a ball of rage as he feels Batman just won’t let him be the hero he is. Batgirl is a waste in this comic and besides the very end when Barbra becomes Batgirl, she is given very little to do. Alfred is caring and sick so you find yourself hoping and knowing he will get better. Poison Ivy is an extreme environmentalist who puts nature over human lives, and for all accounts is like a pretty ex-girlfriend who is borderline psychotic. Bane is a mindless brute who says nothing at all through at the whole comic.  He is as far from his comic counter part and is nothing more than a glorified henchman. Mr. Freeze retains all his cheesy one liners that all tie in to cold, and is a bad guy that you feel sorry for as he is doing everything bad to try and save his wife, but man when he’s doing bad he goes for broke! Much like the movie that I don’t think is as terrible as people say it is, this is pretty average and cuts out many of the really silly things from the movie like the Bat Credit Card. The cover is average as well and for some reason more reminds me of the kid’s novel version that you would find at a book fair. The art is done by Rodolfo Damaggio and is pretty well done.  In some panels it seems rushed but is not terrible looking even then. Over all if you like the film check it out, otherwise I would avoid this one.

Batman & Robin Art 1

That was a good time for me, and we have read some pretty good comic adaptations that did the films they were based on justice. The art of making movie adaptations seems to be lost as now it’s not so much a comic of the movie as they are mini series that act as lead up to the films. Say what you will about them now, but The Batman films was a series that got the young and young at heart hyped to go to the movies and I for one grew up being a Batman kid thanks to not only the 60’s TV show but also the 89 Burton film.  So with this I should tell you the next update will be my top films of 2014 and I look forward to bringing you that. Well I hope you all have a great Christmas and Santa brings you all what ever you asked for.  Until then spend time with your loved ones, read a comic or two and have a safe holiday.

2014

Alien Invasion…The Predator

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update we are going to take a look at aliens, you know, little green or grey men who travel around in outer space and beam us aboard their ships to be studied. I am going to review Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the film Predator; we will also break down Predator in film, video games and other media. But before we get into the ultimate hunter, we will take a look at Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 UFO crash, and we will also talk about that mystery place known as Area 51 said to be where the government hides the UFO and aliens! So watch the skies and get your tin foil hat ready, ’cause we are going deep into space and looking for the truth about aliens!

Little Grey Men

In 1947, a U.F.O fell from the sky and crashed on a ranch in Roswell New Mexico.  The flying saucer was banged up pretty bad when the ranch foreman William Brazel found the wreckage, and he and his son, not thinking much of it, cleared the debris.  They only told of the wreckage after reports of a flying saucer being seen in the area and thought that what they cleaned up might just be that. Now here is where it all gets sticky, and many different reports and stories go around about it.  What Brazel “found” was something made of paper and tough plastic or so it was said.  Other stories claim that it was a full fledged spacecraft complete with bodies of aliens that had died from the impact. It’s said that the spacecraft and the bodies were shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for study and that Hanger 18 is where they remain even to this day. The Air Force’s statement was that the wreckage was from a weather balloon that had crashed and was nothing for the public to worry about.  Years later it was also reported that the wreckage was really a spy plane sent over from Russia that was shot down. The mystery of this event had made it the stuff of legend, and everyone who has ever looked into the event has a theory on what and how it came to be. I for one can see both sides; I can see it truly being a weather balloon that came crashing down, and in 1947 I am sure the sight of these balloons was not common at all. I could also see it being a Russian spy plane.  At the time we were having a “Red Scare,” and both they and us wanted to get dirt and intel on the other side. But I can also REALLY see that if it was in fact a ship from outer space driven by little grey men, our government would indeed keep this info from us and study them to learn from what they know…so what do you readers think…was it a weather balloon? Was it a Russian spy plane? Or was it a U.F.O straight from outer space?

New Mexico Dead Alien

Nevada is the home of many great things such as Las Vegas, birth place to actresses like Dawn Wells, Jenny Lewis and Jenna Jameson and even Horror Host Zomboo but it also is the home of one of the world’s most puzzling places, a place that “doesn’t” exist according to our government.  That place is Area 51! Not much is really known about this place but many stories are told of unknown planes in the sky around it, odd sounds and even claims that aliens work alongside humans inside its guarded walls. What is known is that you can’t cross a line on the ground and in the sky, and that the guards around the area have the right to shoot you dead.  You can’t even takes photos of the area! So what is this place really? Many people say that it’s where the Air Force tests its new planes and drones and it’s all very top secret so the new weapons to keep us safe don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. Others think that it’s a place where the government keeps aliens and makes contact with other worlds in order to get ideas for new technology. One thing is for sure, Area 51 is one big mystery that many Americans would love to find out it’s secrets, and who knows maybe someday we will. But it does make you wonder if they do have aliens there, are they willing guests or are they being held captive? Are they smart and nice or are they mean spirited and power hungry? I for one hope they are nice and are guests if they are indeed at Area 51.

UFOArea 51Alien in a Cage

Coast To Cast AM is one heck of a great radio program for those of us who like the unknown and conspiracies.  From the start of the show you know you’re in for a treat as the theme for the film and the old NWA Wrestling Tag Team, The Midnight Express starts playing and your current host George Noory welcomes you to the show. I first heard of the radio show thanks to a co-worker at Blockbuster Video. I worked a lot of closes at the video rental store, and some nights before going home I would drive around the back roads of the countryside listening to music and unwinding from the long day, and they suggested that oe night I give Coast to Coast a listen because they knew I was into Bigfoot, werewolves, aliens and such. That night I gave it a listen and was hooked ever since.  Back when I first heard it, the host was Art Bell who was hosting on the weekends and was the founder of this cool show. One episode of this show that has become the subject of many discussions is the one that focused on Area 51 where one of the call-in lines was for current or past employees of 51, and after a number of calls he got one that chilled the blood of many listeners and triggered a black out of the radio signal. The caller was a man who was in a panic and was a past employee who had been let go on a medical discharge.  The man claimed he was fleeing from some unknown trackers; while on the phone he spilled his guts on what Area 51 really is.  He claimed that it’s filled with inter-dimensional beings who are directly involved in our military and know about some major natural disaster events that are coming and will not warn us because they want many of the world’s population to be wiped out so that the ones of us around can be more easy to control. During the call the man gets more upset and more scared sounding and as he is telling us the listeners more, it sounds as if he has been found by his unknown stalkers and poof, the satellite that hosts Coast To Coast AM goes offline and the callers final words the listeners never get to hear. The show is off the air for over 2 minutes before coming back live, and Art seems puzzled and at a loss as he says that the man on the phone screamed and it sounded like a gun shot before the line went dead, and that the odd part of the satellite going down was it focused in the part that broadcasted his show! Callers after seemed to be bothered by the frantic call as past “employees” of Area 51 called in and claimed that no one will ever hear from that guy again. Now this call has been proven real and proven fake by many and is 100% up for you to make your own judgement. The first time I heard it, my skin crawled and thoughts about turning it into a movie crossed my mind.  I for one think that there might be some truths to what he is saying about there being beings from another dimension here on Earth with us now. Some time later a caller called in and claimed to be the Frantic Caller and said his call was a hoax and that when the show went off the air he himself got scared and thought he might have been onto something with his fake story.  Many think that this caller was the frantic caller, while once more others think the second caller was the hoaxer. So have you heard the call made to Art Bell? Do you think the call was real? Was it a hoax? No one will know for sure and it will remain a mystery just like Roswell and Area 51 itself.

Coast To Coast AM LogoArt Bellno Greys Logo

If aliens are out there in space or even already here on Earth, Hollywood has taught us one thing, and that’s alien chicks are Hot!! Star Trek showed us green girls are sexy; Mars Attack showed us they can wear masks to make themselves stunning, and even genetic put together aliens like Sil from Species are knock outs. So here is to you, hot Hollywood alien women, for making the unknown sexy!

Star Trek Green AlienMSDMAAT EC021Sil

So you have gotten some brief history and thoughts on Area 51 and the crash at Roswell New Mexico; now it’s time to give you a little background on this update’s star, the Predator! Not much is really known about the Predators as we humans don’t even know what planet or universe they even come from.  Such names as “Hish” and “Yautja” have been given to their race, but these are just names given to them by humans trying to place a label on them. Things we do know about them are this: 1st they can travel through space and seem to have very powerful ships, 2nd they have amazing weapons that are far more powerful than ours from stealth suits to an awesome shoulder cannon. They have the means to make things dead. 3rd they are very strong and have more strength than a human body builder making them a hard fight to go fist to fist with, 4th they love hot summers and heat, and lastly they are hunters and love to collect trophies (skulls) from the prey they hunt. The Predators have also fought with the Xenomorphs and have collected humans and other alien species to drop into a wooded planet to use as practice! While not much is known, one thing is for sure you don’t want to mess with a Predator!

Predator 0Predator 00predator 000

Predator hit theaters in 1987 and is about Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his group of commandos who go to the jungles of South America on a bogus mission set up by George Dillon (Carl Weathers) who really wants them in the jungle to find a pod that fell from space! Dutch and his men soon find out that they are not alone as an unknown attacker is hunting and killing them one by one. Who will make it out of the jungle alive and can any of these hardened war hounds stand a chance against the Predator! Growing up I saw this film on HBO when my Dad let me and my brother watch it one late night.  From the moment it started I loved it. I was glued to the action and suspense of the hunt. For days I wished that they had made action figures of this film so I could have The Predator hunt the likes of Snake Eyes and Han Solo.  I bought the novel movie adaptation of the film from Half Price Books and was all about The Predator. The film did well at the box office with a gross of $98,267,558.00 worldwide. One of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s in my opinion, and with a creature design by Stan Winston Studio’s you know the film is quality.

Predator 1 Hereospredator posterpredator 1 predator

1990 saw a sequel simply called Predator 2 hit the theaters, and this time around it’s taken out of the jungle and into the hot streets of LA. during a turf war over drug sales. Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a good cop who along with his team are stuck in the middle of the war on drugs during a major heat wave and to make things worse something is killing both cartels as well as the cops themselves! And when one of his own cops is murdered and creepy Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) has his agents take over the case, Harrigan must take the law into his own hands and find the truth of the murders.  He ain’t going to like what he sees when it’s hunting season again, and a Predator is loose in the city! The sequel is good but not nearly as cool as the original, and I will say that I also went out and bought the novel adaptation of this film as well. The sequel made $57,120,318.00 gross at the worldwide box office, making it a solid money maker for Fox.

predator2 heroespredator 2 posterpredator 2 predator

While The Predator shared the screen with the Aliens in two AVP films, it was not till 2010’s film Predators that we were treated to the third film in the series. In this film, a group of people wake up falling from the sky into a jungle like place; each of them comes from a different part of the world and they come from all walks of life, but all of them have some sort of violent past.  Before they know it, they find out that they are no longer on Earth and are on some planet where they are being hunted like dogs by none other than The Predators! Twists and turns and lots of fighting to stay alive makes up this fun action film that brought in a gross of $127,233,108.00 world wide at the box office. I saw this film in the theater and loved it.  It stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne! If you have not seen this one, you should.

predators hereospredators posterPredators predator

Besides the big screen, Predator also has hunted its way into the video game world and has had many titles come out on many different systems! Commadore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and even Atari Jaguar all have had games come out that featured The Predator.  In fact, even an Arcade Game has been made! The one that sticks out the most to me was the one for Sega Genesis based on the film Predator 2.  My cousins Dino and Norman had it, and we all took turns one night when I was spending the night trying our best to beat it. The game was pretty hard and was an overhead shoot em up game that as levels went on, the harder it became and of course you played as Harrigan. One of the most popular games based on Predator is the one that came out on PS2 and Xbox called “Predator: Concrete Jungle” where you play as the hunter and kill humans! Predator has been in some good games and some stinker games, but one thing is for sure, The Predator is a perfect character to make video games based around.

Predator NESPredator 2 GenesisPredator PS2

Predator has had more merchandise than just video games, comics and novels.  Many great items have come out based around this character, from Halloween masks & costumes, t-shirts, posters, magazines, models, statues and of course action figures! The figures that most people remember are the ones made by Kenner in the 90’s.  They made all types of versions, from the classic movie style one to ones with giant tusk. I had a few of these figures growing up and while they were cool, I always wanted a 3 ¾” figure…sadly that never happened until this year thanks to the ReAction figure line. Lost more figures were made by NECA and McFarlane, and these were great detailed figures meant for display on the older collectors’ shelves. So if you’re a fan of the character and looking for ways to collect all you can own, there is stuff out there for you that will for sure make the collector in you very happy.

Kenner Predator ToyPredators toyPredator Halloween Costume

Something else I would like to talk about before we get into the comic reviews are the soundtracks for the three Predator films and how great they are. The first two scores are done by Alan Silvestri, who was know for doing scores for films like Back To The Future, Cats Eye and Delta Force before doing Predator 1-2.  His scores for the two films are a nice mix of action and sci-fi and the main theme to Predator always seems to get stuck in my head when I am outside in the woods! The score to Predators was done by John Debney who did scores for such films as The Jetsons Movies, Sudden Death, Spy Kids, End of Days and Sin City before tackling this film.  While it’s a great score, it’s not nearly as epic as the first films. And as I am sure you all guessed that I do play some tracks off Predator 2’s soundtrack on Alpha Rhythms. If you’re a score listener like myself give them a listen, you might just like what you hear.

predator score cdPredator 2 score cdpredators score cd

So far we have visited Roswell, New Mexico, made a pit stop at Area 51, took a look at the frantic Area 51 caller and broke down The Predator in films, music and other media and we still have the comic reviews to go! So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get ready to get hunted as we enter the hunting zone, looking for the ultimate trophy hunter, The Predator. Also thanks to Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock.

Predator 1

Predator # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #1 of 4

Detective Schaefer has a bad feeling about his city of New York, and when he enters the scene of a crime and finds two rival gangs both slaughtered like sheep his gut feeling seems to be right! The only survivor of the slaughter was a gang leader named Carr who escaped into the night.  Things get worse when a train is attacked and victims are killed the same way as the gang members. During an investigation Schaefer gets a visit from an army general who tells him to let the murders run their course and that after the heat wave is over the murders will stop.  He also tells him that his brother Dutch also knew about these killers. After the visit, Schaefer and his partner Rasche go back to the scene of the crime were the gang was killed, and Schaefer comes face to face with a Predator who flings him out the window, ending issue one.

It’s a very cool tie in to the original film with Schaefer being the brother of Dutch, Arnold’s character from the first film. Schaefer is alright so far, but he doesn’t really have a personality. He seems to do what he wants to do and doesn’t listen to the rules of his department, and he also seems to have some weird second sight for the strange and unknown. Rasche, his partner, seems to be more likable and is a family man who seems to respect his partner of 6 years but also doesn’t know a damn thing about him! Looks like Carr is a gang leader who is your typical street punk straight from a cheesy Hollywood film complete with red make up slashes on his face. I feel like he is going to be a major problem coming up in future issues. The Predator is the main “bad guy” of the issue and only really makes his appearance at the end as he beats the hell out of Schaefer and flings him out the window! I am a little puzzled about this Predator’s killing pattern as he seems to just be killing at random in the city. This issue also has way too many moments that feel like they read the script for Predator 2 and crammed them into the story, from the attack on the subway to the attack on rival gangs. The art in the issue is that classic Dark Horse style and is done by Chris Warner and looks pretty dang good for the time. Over all this issue is really the start of the mini series and while a little slow and disjointed, it was still a good read and makes me want to read part 2 ad see what happens to Schaefer.  So let’s not wait any longer.

Predator 2

Predator # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #2 of 4

Schaefer’s fall from the window five stories up leaves him banged up and in the hospital.  His stay is short as he checks himself out and stays on the couch of Rasche and his family. On Schaefer’s neck, The Predator has placed a tracker, an almost tag of some sorts so that he can track him at anytime. Schaefer goes to South America to the last place that his brother Dutch was seen, and while in the jungle along with his guide, they find a giant hole that was where the original Predator blew himself up.  At night Schaefer is attacked once more by the Predator, and this time Schaefer wins knocking the alien from a cliff and impaling him on a sharp stone. In the end the guide is shown to be working for the military general who is pissed that Schaefer killed The Predator and is now preparing for total payback.

This second issue is filled with action and takes away the city back drop placing the fight in the jungle were it all started. Schaefer is more bull headed after getting his butt kicked and shows he is not to be messed with as he takes down a Predator with strategy and anger. So one Predator is killed, and this makes you wonder why the general is so freaked out by its death.  Was this one special or do they just know it means war when they suffer a loss to their numbers? The action in this issue is pure 80’s action with lots of gunplay and fists are thrown making it feel right at home with other action/horror themed comics of the time. I do really like the jungle setting better than the streets of New York, it just has more of a mood to it. Rasche in this issue stays in New York and is told to get his family out of New York by Schaefer.  So I am thinking the next issue will be what’s going on in the Big Apple. Chris Warner does the art again, and it’s so 90’s.  It’s good and the cover is so in your face. So far at the midway point in this series, it’s a pretty good film inspired series and holds some of the charm of the films.  So let’s see how issue 3 turns up the heat, shall we?

Predator 3

Predator # 3  **1/2
Released in 1989    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #3 of 4

Schaefer in the jungle finds that he has pissed off the government for killing the Predator and is now being lead to the general, but he and his guide are ambushed by henchmen for a drug lord Schaefer pissed off some time ago in New York. While the guide is killed, Schaefer is kidnapped and set to be tortured, but he escapes and finds that an army of Predators have followed him and make short work of the drug cartel as the general comes to his rescue and leads him to a helicopter that will lead him straight to The Predators as a payment for their fallen friend.  The meeting place is New York.  Schaefer isn’t having it and knocks out the general, and when they land he is ready for a fight. While in New York, his partner Rasche finds that the city is being hovered over by Predator war ships, and this puts him at odds with the chief.  At one point he is even kidnapped by unknown government agents but escapes when he finds they plan on turning over Schaefer to them. In the end both detectives are on a path to have a show down with their alien hunters.

This issue is a mix of jungle and city action, and it works to build up the final showdown of Schaefer and The Predators in the middle of the busy city. One of the best parts of this issue is the Predators attacking and killing the drug cartel in order to get to Schaefer.  Those dope pushers didn’t stand a chance! This issue also shows that the military and the government knows about the Predators and almost seem to fear them, and will do anything to make the situation right with them after one of their own was murdered. Rasche, poor, poor man gets kidnapped by some agents.  His own boss at the department turns on him by ratting him out, and he knows that the Predators are all over and that they plan on giving his partner over to them! This issue is a nice build up to the final where you know all hell is going to break loose.  It still makes me wonder will we see a cameo from Dutch? Warner art once more, and the cover is great as you all can see.  So without any more hold ups, let’s get to the final issue of The Predator by Dark Horse comics.

Predator 4

Predator # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990    Cover Price $2.25    Dark Horse   #4 of 4

Schaefer has escaped the army, and he and Rasche meet up and plan for war against the Predators! They know they can’t get the help of the police or the army, so they do what they have to do and recruit Carr and other thugs to help them go to war, and war does happen in the middle of New York! The Predators have ground fighters as well as their space ships, and all looks bleak for Schaefer and his rag tag army until the army shows up and are ready now to fight off The Predator invasion.  The war is heating up, and many lives are cut short but as quick as the fighting started, it stops as the Predators no longer see this as a hunt as much as a fight.  This makes them leave the Earth…for now!

To be honest, the final war was a let down, and what was built up to be epic, came off a little rushed and very anti-climatic. Schaefer barely is able to get his fist wet with green blood before they just up and leave due to “the hunt” being taken out of the fight.  In fact nothing really gets settled in this mini series as a part of New York is left destroyed.  Carr helps, and I guess, escapes.  Schaefer never finds out what happened to Dutch.  Rasche rambles about quitting the force after he is shot, and the army, who come to the aid of the cops, just let them walk away after a major battle.  It all seems like so many questions get no real answers. Rasche and Schaefer, while cool characters, for 4 issues  I never really felt a connection to them and really didn’t learn much about each of them. The Predators seem a little off.  Many of them take a pounding by the fists of Schaefer, and that’s not believable because according to the source material, the films, they are 10 times stronger than a human male. The comic series has blood but not a heck of a lot.  The action is fun and very 80’s like.  The art was well done and once more has that pure 90’s Dark Horse style to it.  Over all this was an okay mini series based on a good action sci-fi film. While not groundbreaking so far on Rotten Ink I would say it’s in good company with the likes of Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. Fans of this film series should check it out if they go in knowing it has some flaws but was made for the fans.

Predator Art

It was really neat to see what comic book creators were able to do thanks to 20th Century Fox allowing them to make this almost sequel-like mini series. The writers did the best they could to tie in the original film, making the main hero the brother of the hero of the film, but as I stated the sad part is that goes nowhere. But I feel we are not done yet so let’s get into a fantasy warfare as we pit the Predator against the great stuntman of the last update, the Cougar! The setting will be the hot summer month of July and take place on the 4th. The setting is a movie set for a new John Smith film for Independent B Movie in the swamp lands of Louisiana. So let’s see what happens in the battle of the minds and wills of these two champions as the Predator takes on the Cougar!

Predator-predators-2010-movie-14721719-1000-1499VS redcougar1-

It’s around noon, and John Smith has called it a wrap for the day’s filming of his epic new film “Werewolf of the Bayou.” Most of the crew are heading into town for some beers and gumbo while they wait for the night’s fireworks. John walks up to the two stunt men for the film, Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and Bela Chaney, who are putting props away and discussing the next day’s big cabin on fire stunt, and lets them know he is heading into town himself to sit back and watch Morgus The Magnificent on TV host the 1931 Dracula and order room service and relax after the long morning shoot. They wish him well, and after his 95 Cavalier pulls away, Bela turns on the radio that’s playing classic rock and tells Jeff he wants to show him the prop that will be used to kill The Wolfman in this film.  Bela pulls a giant silver and red handgun out of a case and fires a fake bullet into the air.  As they both chuckle, three read lines appear on Bela’s chest and in the blink of an eye a loud noise is heard, and the stuntman’s chest now has a big whole through it! The Cougar swings into action and like in his youth he swings on the vines as blasts of a large cannon go off all around him.  He swings by the prop van again and dives inside. The Predator, who is invisible, waits for a few moments and The Cougar never comes out.  So he decides to go in after him.  As the Predator makes his way towards the van, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife.  As he creeps up on the van The Cougar jumps out  wearing night goggles and holding a sword and slashes The Predator across his stomach causing green blood to spill onto the ground.  As Cougar swings again Predator retracts his arm blades and blocks the strike! By this time The Predator becomes visible, but the sight of the alien doesn’t even phase Cougar who has fought a vampire and werewolf before this.  The two trade swings with their blades and neither land a strike. The Cougar throws away his sword and holds up his fist and wants to fight man to alien.  The Predator takes off his shoulder cannon and his masks and lets out a roar as Cougar leaps into the air and lands a superman punch to the alien’s jaw.  The Predator shakes it off and lands a straight right to the face of the Cougar shattering his nose and breaking the stuntman’s jaw and causing him to fall to his knees and choke on his own blood, The Predator knows his foe is down and walks over and rips out the spin and skull of The Cougar ending the fight. That night on the Predators ship a new skull is placed in his trophy case and that skull belonged to a cocky stuntman who thought he could out box an alien.

Winner: The Predator

While I think The Cougar could dodge and survive for a while, I truly think the Predator’s weapons and cunning hunting style would overwhelm him after a while, and this would lead to the stuntman’s death. This was a fun update, and I really enjoyed reading The Predator mini series for the first time.  I also liked writing a little about U.F.O.’s and all the unknown that surround them. The next alien invasion spotlight will be another Dark Horse mini series as we will look at their 6 issue run based on the Alien series! For our next update, we are heading into the past and taking a look at a Jack Kirby original named Devil Dinosaur! So until then look to the sky, read a comic or two, watch a movie and support your local Horror Host!

Devil Dinosaur Logo

Chuck Norris as Chuck Norris in Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos!

In the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s, larger than life action stars were box office hits.  Names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Charles Bronson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and many more were flooding the market and being idolized by young males across the world. I was a huge Stallone fan and loved his films like Rocky, First Blood and Cobra, but there was always one action star long before it became “cool” and a “fad” to like that always captured my dad, brother’s and my attention – Chuck Norris! Way before hipsters thought Walker Texas Ranger was funny and before his facts were an internet sensation, Norris was kicking ass in films like Missing in Action, Breaker Breaker, Hero and the Terror, Silent Rage and Lone Wolf McQuade proving that he was one of the best B-movie action stars of the time. I remember as a kid watching Missing in Action 1 & 2 and wanting toys of lead character Colonel James Braddock, and while I understood that being a P.O.W. was a bad thing, years later when I was a teenager I understood the real message in the film. Another funny story about Chuck Norris is when my brother was younger he loved the movie Meatballs and one day my dad was watching Silent Rage on HBO and told him that it was Meatballs II.  My brother sat with wonder and watched waiting for the Alien to appear, instead he got a film where Norris was going up against an un-killable killer! This freaked my brother out and added for chuckles many years about Meatballs II. If you want to check out any of Norris’s films you can find them on Beta, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray!

invasion usa dvdMissing in ActionHero and the Terror DVDBreaker BreakerDelta Force

In 1986, Chuck Norris also was involved in a cartoon called “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” in which Chuck Norris plays a government operative in charge of a team of martial arts commandos that battles a organization called VULTURE lead by The Claw and his right hand man Super Ninja. It lasted one season for only 5 episodes and was made by the great Hanna-Barbera company. The cartoon also from time to time airs on Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network. Growing up I never watched the show that much, and while I remember it airing, I never found myself wanting to view the animated adventures when I could just watch the live action films. The Karate Kommandos has been released on VHS and DVD-R and has become a cult classic.

Chuck OkChuckNorrisKarateKommandosDVDSuper Ninja

In 1986 Kenner also made action figures to go along with the animated series and much like the toon it was based on, the toy line was also very short lived. Multiple figures based on Chuck Norris were made as well as all the Kommando’s and Super Ninja. Also vehicles were made as well as plastic weapons rounding out the merchandise that was made around the short lasting series. I did however own some of the figures, and all the ones I owned were Chuck Norris.  The figures themselves were well made and well sculpted toys for the time. In school I knew a few kids that had some of these figures, and the most popular one I saw the most kids have was the purple Super-Ninja. In fact, I still have my Norris figures, and Game Swap in Kettering, a place I get some of these comics has one in store!

Chuck Norris Toy 1ChuckNorris toySuper Ninja Toy

Chuck Norris fever has died down a little and seems to have passed as one of those annoying hip references that made you want to punch the hipster spewing it who clearly never seen a Norris film in their self absorbed life. But this did not stop the wave of Norris-inspired merchandise that included books, t-shirts, mugs, folders, posters, notebooks, key chains, stuff dolls, bobble-heads and so many other products! So if you are a true Norris fan, there is some great stuff out there for you!

Chuck Norris DollChuck shirtChuck Book

Chuck Norris, who as of early 2012 is 71 years old, was in the Air Force as an Air Policeman, and while stationed in South Korea, he decided to learn the art of self-defense in the forum of Tang Soo Do.  This started the path of an action superstar, but not before Norris became a karate champion and a teacher of the art of self defense teaching such stars as Steve McQueen, Bob Barker and Donny and Marie Osmond in schools he opened. In 1969 Norris began his acting career in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew and has been making movies since! Some of his best known film work includes Missing in Action, Delta Force, Way of the Dragon, The Expendables 2 and Lone Wolf McQuade. Norris also made it into the TV world, not only known for the 1986 short lived cartoon “Chuck Norris and the Karate Kommandos” but more so for his 1993 series “Walker Texas Ranger,” which ran on CBS for over eight years.  Norris also became a spokesman for products like The Total Gym Work Out Machine and the computer game World of Warcraft. Noris is also known for being a diehard Christian and Republican has also written several books on his beliefs. In 2005, Norris also became a internet hit when “Chuck Norris Facts” started to infect everyone’s Myspace page who thought of a funny way to show just how kick ass Norris is in a tongue in cheek kind of way. Norris continues to be an icon in the world of action stars and will always be known as one bad ass dude!

chuck-norrischuck_norris and ChristyNorris and Jacket

Before I get into my look at the 4 issue run of The Karate Kommandos from Star Comics I would like to share some memories I have of Chuck Norris. I always remember watching Chuck Norris on the then Ted Turner owed station TBS, that seemed to always be showing a Missing in Action film or Breaker, Breaker, and I can’t count how many times I would sit and watch these films over and over.  I always remember wanting an action figure of Norris’s character Colonel James Braddock of Missing in Action because of watching those movies on TBS. That’s one thing I miss about TV, now that Turner is no longer in control of TBS and TNT, all the amazing programs those stations delivered to me in my youth. I mean I grew up watching many of the programs they would air from all the old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island and Little House on the Prairie to hosted programs like Joe Bob Briggs on TNT’s Monstervison, Grandpa Munster hosting Super Scary Saturday and even Dinner and a Movie with hosts Paul Gilmartin, Annabelle Gurwitch and chef Claud Mann. One of the things on TBS in the 80’s my brother and I would look forward to was watching NWA and then later WCW wrestling, and nothing was more epic then the PPV type event that was free to watch called Clash of the Champions where you would be able to watch wrestling legends like Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, The Rock n Roll Express and many more battle in matches that had so much build up.  Those truly were the days. I have great memories of watching old NWA shows on winter Saturday evenings at my grandparents’ house as the fire place was warming the room, and my grandpa, dad and brother all sat around and watched the likes of the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes. Also I love how back in the day all shows on TBS started five minutes later like 6:05.  Odd, I know but a great gimick. I wish Turner would come back to bring a new station to airwaves and give us back some of this classic shows he once aired.  Say what you will about the man, but he knew what he was doing when it came to cable TV.  I mean his stations gave you a little of every thing if you wanted to see sports, news, classic shows, movies, horror hosts, wrestling, original programs and much more then look no further then a Turner owned station. So here is to Chuck Norris, Ted Turner, TBS and TNT for some great memories growing up, and here is to hoping Turner will return to doing what he does best, making one hell of a great TV station.

WCW ClashTed TurnerDinner and a Movie Logo

I want to remind everyone that I grade these comics on a standard 1-4 star scale and look for entertainment value, art, story and how true the comic is to its source material.  So with that, let’s kick some butt with Chuck Norris and his Karate Komman

Chuck Norris 1Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 1  **
Released in 1987     Cover Price .75    Star Comics    1 of 4 

Too Much is the youngest member of the Karate Kommandos, and while at school he and his classmates are held hostage by evil ninjas led by Super Ninja, who works for Claw. They are there in order to exchange the kids for a government anti-terrorist vehicle that is packed with state of the art weapons. But things don’t go as the ninjas wanted as Chuck Norris along with his Karate Kommandos that include Kimo a sword expert, Reed a young man Norris has taken under his wing as well as his sister Pepper who is a master of repairing and driving cars, wolf the team pet and Tabe a sumo wrestler who loves to eat, all come to the rescue and clean house of the evil doers and saving Too Much and all his classmates.

This issue was pretty weak to start a series off by and focuses way too much on Too Much who for all accounts is a brat who blows off school work and uses his friendship with Chuck Norris to act popular with his peers. Chuck Norris walks around like a silent badass who only gives one liners when needed and then turns into a walking PSA about working hard in school.  The rest of the team for some reason kept reminding me of the gymnastic teens from the Mr. T cartoon mixed with the A-Team but not as nearly bad ass. I think the biggest problem with this issue is the lack of character development, like who are these Karate Kommandos and why is a movie actor like Chuck Norris the head of the team?  Who is Super Ninja and why didn’t he come to the school himself if this was such a huge operation? And why is The Claw never shown? Given the fact that the cartoon was bombing on TV and kids weren’t flocking to Children’s Palace or Toys R Us for the figures, you would think that Star would have put a little more background into this issue to help push this comic series to do better then everything else attached to it. Not to mention the storyline in this issue is weak and seems like a back up story for an issue that ran short. The artwork is your typical Star Comic look so I kind of like that, and the cover is pure cheese so it does have that going for it. Over all this issue is not impressive and a very bad way to start off Chuck Norris’ first comic book run.

Chuck Norris 2

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 2  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   2 of 4 

Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos are hired to protect a new super computer that has been targeted by VULTURE, but when it’s Reed and Pepper’s turn to watch the super machine, sibling fighting happens and Reed storms out and meets Margie, a young woman who’s mom is sick and has been hired by The Claw to steal it for cash to help her mom who needs an operation. Meanwhile Ninjas break in and steal the computer and kidnap Pepper.  Reed returns at the same time as his team and all get a shock to find they have failed to keep it safe. Meanwhile the ninjas as along with Margie have Pepper and are trying to force her to show them how the computer works, only for Margie to take a stand and help Pepper escape just as Chuck and the Kommandos come in for the save. In the end Chuck gives the reward money to Margie for her mom’s aid.

This is more like it; a comic filled with action, drama and takes the focus away from the youngest member of the Kommandos, Too Much, and showcases the brother and sister team of Reed and Pepper and has them showing real sibling rivalry. The messages are clear in this one: always be there for family and you should never abandon your responsibility. Chuck takes more of a back seat in this one and is only used when needed. As for action, while it’s not every page, the times it’s used it really works! The bad guys in this issue are all the generic ninjas of VULTURE and Super Ninja nor Claw make an appearance.  This doesn’t make much sense and adds no major threat to Chuck and his crew. I will say that I also feel that this issue captures more of the cheesy charm of the cartoon. Over all this is a step in the right direction for this series. The art work is same as last issue, and the cover is in your face with Chuck Norris landing a flying kick. Let’s see how issue three goes in this “action” series.

Chuck Norris 3

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos  # 3  *1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price .75   Star Comics   3 of 4 

Chuck and Kimo are practicing with swords to see who’s the best in a friendly way as Tabe is in the kitchen making himself a feast. During a break in the spar Kimo hears Tabe giving advice and life lessons to fellow Karate Kommandos.  First up is Too Much, who is having an issue that involves his friend and him being forced to have spelling bee against each other in school.  So Tabe tells him about the first time he met Chuck that had them sparing with sticks on a log to impress friends. Reed is next and talks about how some friends are going to cheat at a sporting event, and this time Tabe tells a different story about how he met Chuck that pertains to the situation.  This continues with Pepper, who is having guy issues. In the end Kimo asks Chuck who has returned to spar how he met Tabe, and none of the stories he told was correct!

Issue three is all about Tabe, the lovable slob sumo wrestler who loves to eat and as this issue exposes, tell lies! This is not a very good message to teach young readers as Tabe lies several times to trusted friends in order to give them guidance that will help them with an issue that is bothering them, but even a white lie is still a lie.  The worse thing about this issue is the fact Tabe makes himself out to be this amazing hero in every one of his BS stories. Tabe is my second least favorite character from this comic/toon series, and this issue is all about him, making this one a so-so read. VULTURE and all its members take a backseat in this issue, and at no time during Tabe’s stories do you feel that he or Chuck are in any real danger, making this pretty lackluster in the action department. Issue three is clearly the weakest so far, and while some parts are fun, like the silliness of all the different ways he says he and Norris meet, its all the other fluff that makes it bland. The artwork is as it was in the past two issues, and this kind of holds the charm of the cartoon. The cover makes this issue look way more action packed then it is, and with this let’s move on to the final issue in the series.

Chuck Norris 4

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos # 4  ***
Released in 1987   Cover Price $1.00   Star Comics   4 of 4 

Chuck Norris has a visitor at the secret headquarters of the Karate Kommandos, and Its Jack Fredericks, who is taking over the West Coast Office that runs secrets teams like them.  While there he is witness to Chuck and gang getting a mission that has them saving the daughter of a snotty Doctor named Johan Belson who has had troubles with Norris in the past. The daughter has been kidnapped by a gang of goons who are working for Claw and want secrets that Belson knows.  With a distrust for the man they are helping, Norris and the Kommandos save the daughter and teach Belson what it is to be a man.

This is the final issue in the series, and they seemed to finally get that what they had was Chuck Norris action superstar along with a team of rough and tough Kommandos who were about fighting for freedom much like G.I. Joe.  In fact this adventure reminds me of a Marvel Joe comic. Chuck Norris takes control in this issue and uses not only his kicks and punches but his brains and out smarts the baddies and uses his leadership over his crew to get the job 100% done. Normally annoying characters like Too Much and Tabe are far less unlikeable, as members Kimo, Reed and Pepper take a back seat to showcase Norris. Again the Super Ninja and Claw don’t make an appearance, and this time they use not even the ninjas but lame normal guys who try to put up a fight just can’t.  This issue should have been the first in the series and all issues after this should have followed this style and formula to have made a good run of comics. The art work is the best it’s been in the series and seems as if someone who worked on Marvels G.I. Joe or Transformers comic lent their talents to this final issue. The cover’s pretty weak but can be compared to other late 80’s action covers from Marvel. All in all I can at least say that Chuck Norris Karate Kommando’s ended on a higher note then it started. I would like to thank Bell Book and Comic & Lone Star Comics for stocking these issues to make this review possible.

Thinking about the comic and cartoon series made me realize that the toon only lasted one more episode then the comic run making one see why this STAR comic run was doomed to being canceled from the start. And this series also got me thinking about pop group the Spice Girls because of the character Too Much having the same name as their 1997 hit song from album Spice World. Then I remember being a teen and thinking how hot those british girls in short skirts and tight cloths were and how damn catchy their songs were. My two favorites to look at were Posh Spice and Baby Spice, and I will not lie, I did have their CDs and also watched Spice World on VHS when it hit video stores. And did anyone else notice Baby Spices love for suckers, and how so wrong yet so right it was? Just take a look at the center picture, and Spice Up Your Life indeed!

Ginger SpiceBaby SpicePosh Spice

Well in this update we looked at the movie and cartoon career of Chuck Norris, took a look back at Ted Turner owned TBS & TNT and even talked a little about the Spice Girls, but in the next update the gloves are off as we look at shock rocker Rob Zombie’s take on a legend we all know…..no, not his remakes of the Halloween series but his take on the crypto creature Bigfoot! So be here for the next shocking update.

Bigfoot Logo