Tuesday, November 24, 2009

150th Mega Post. Interviews. Reviews....and all that jazz.

First up, it's the Batman: The Brave and the Bold season finale.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold -- "The Fate of Equinox"

"Justice wins the day thanks to the brave and the bold." -- Batman

The season finale opens up with armed guards on the lookout on top of a building. Batman, always on the prowl, knocks one out with his patented one-hitter-quitter and moves on to take down the other guard just as easily. Batman crashes down and is confronted by legendary Bat-villain, Two-Face. Two-Face & Co. surround Batman and he flips his coin on the decision to see if his henchman will kill the Dark Knight. It lands non-scarred face up... and surprisingly, Two-Face turns on the goons! Batman and Two-Face form a temporary alliance and defeat the hired help without breaking a sweat. To Batman's surprise, Harvey Dent then flips the coin again to see whether Two-Face gets Batman this time around. Too bad for Two-Face that Batman rushes and knocks him out.

After the jazzy intro, we see the Batplane flying over a jungle and a ancient temple. Batman climbs the staircase and then suddenly the temple starts crumbling and he's greeted by new Bat-baddie Equinox who invited him. Equinox explains his plan, which basically consists of halving the world in light and dark. A perfect balance, if you will. He is using some sort of a giant gyroscope that has some otherworldly powers to aid him in this goal. Luckily, Batman brought along Dr. Fate along for the ride. Equinox summons winged serpent creatures and Fate battles them with magic while Bats uses Nth metal knuckles to fight. Fate defeats the monsters, and then tries to get the jump on Equinox. Well, it is revealed that Equinox is the master of both Chaos and Order magic.

During his brawl with Batman, Equinox falls into that gyroscope and that triggers the temple to explode. Dr. Fate teleports him and Batman and both think that they got away too easy, as if Equinox wanted this to happen. Both can't agree on how to pursue the situation further, with Fate wanting to use magical techniques and Batman the more scientific approach. Though, when Batman's plane is transformed into a colossal red dragon, the two retreat to Fate's tower. When there, Fate meditates on the matter at hand, but something is terribly wrong. We cut to see Aquaman in his own realm, and Atlantis is under attack from sea monsters. Dr. Fate feels that it's the planet is fighting between order and chaos.

And he's right. The space-time continum has been unbalanced and we now have dinosaurs roaming the earth again. Worse yet, the shifting energies are affecting Fate's powers, making them weaker. He suggests that he and Batman acquire aid from his masters, the Lords of Order. Off they go to consult them and we learn a bit about Equinox's origin and his ultimate goal. The Lords sense Equinox's presence and try to overpower him, but Equinox soon drains the Lords of their power.

Now, Equinox has become, for lack of a better word, a god. Fate goes in with an attack, but Equinox reverses it. Fate realizes Equinox is too powerful for one hero and he summons all the heroes who have made a cameos during the season: The Flash (Jay Garrick), Hal Jordan, Fire, Red Tornado, Plastic Man, Aquaman, Black Canary, etc... and they are there to create a new hero out of all of their powers, with Batman becoming that hero. He is then transformed into a titan himself in spiffy new blue armor, all to clash it out with Equinox like a Godzilla movie. Batman tries using Fate's magic, but Equinox easily blocks it and he teleports both of them to outer space. Batman uses all of the heroes powers from Plastic Man's elasticity to Green Arrow's, well, arrows, to Beetle's cannons, but it seems that Equinox is still a bit too powerful for Batman, even with the combined strength.

Of course Batman being Batman, he convinces Equinox that he is indeed out of balance and therefore, imperfect. Equinox is now distracted, confused, and losing power. Batman swiftly punches him into the dark portal that Equinox was working on earlier and he returns to Earth and restores the powers of his friends. The balance has been restored, and our heroes have saved the day.

Brave and the Bold viewers, what did you think of "The Fate of Equinox"? I have to say that I didn't feel the tension with Equinox, or any real threat on his part since he's only made three appearances (you're more than welcome to correct me if I'm wrong). I didn't feel any connection towards him as a villain. I sort of wish they just went on ahead and used Libra, instead. I think it's interesting how Batman in this series is frequently in the craziest of circumstances, but this one felt a bit too heavy. Don't get me wrong, I love the series as a whole, but just wasn't really relating to anything in this episode. I did think it was pretty cool of Fate to combine the heroes' powers to morph Batman into this titan and duke it out with Equinox. I also think it was weird of Batman to argue with a wielder of Order magic on how to deal with somebody who possess both Chaos and Order magics. Common sense should dictate here, Batman.

Reportedly Season 2 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold will bring in more A-list names, but that's never been the lure of the show. I appreciate how they give coverage to all kinds of DC characters, not just the ones who already have a slew of merchandise. I'll continue watching, I just think they could have done better with this finale. Readers, I have two questions: One, what did you think of the finale; and two, who would you love to see grace this series with their presence?

Next up, is an interview, with Scott Burn, writer of the new Zenescope series, Agon.

Aliens. Gladiator-style competition. Possible genocide.

In January 2010, Zenescope expands their line from fantasy horror to science fiction. One of the first series to premier from their new direction promises action in a series of cinematic alien battles. Screenwriter turned comic scripter Scott Burn gave Newsarama this exclusive interview about his new limited series entitled Agon and what were the inspirations behind his creation.

Newsarama: So, Scott, for those of the readers out there unfamiliar with your works, mind if you tell what you've worked on before?

Scott Burn: I'm primarily an action/science fiction screenwriter. The other projects that I've written include Countdown (which was sold to Summit Entertainment), a story about a group of astronauts who land on a planet and find their own dead bodies. That's in development now and is based on a Richard Matheson short story called Death Ship. Last year I set up a script called Origin (Relativity Entertainment), a different sort of take on black holes and the origin of the species. And the first script I co-wrote called Redline (Bob Yari Productions) was about an FBI agent trying to catch a beautiful thief.

Nrama: What is the story of Agon? Better yet, what is Agon?

Burn: Agon is a Greek word meaning, among other things, "contest". The story is about an alien civilization coming to earth to tell us that we've reached a stage of enlightenment where we're invited to join an advanced alien hierarchy. But to do so, we have to compete against three other alien civilizations in battle. The winner gets to join. The losers have their entire species wiped out.

Nrama: What were the inspirations behind the look and feel of the book?

Burn: I'm a huge fan of the classic sci-fi writers like Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury. They have storylines that are epic in scope, but with many characters who are compelling to watch. And while there may be violence in the stories, they also pose really intriguing questions about the nature of humanity, and that drew me to this story. And I've been very fortunate to work with Joe and Ralph who brought in great artists who were able to capture the images I described almost exactly as I had them in my head.

Nrama: I love history, especially the ancient Greek era, did you take a lot from that time period such as architecture or borrow anything from mythology?

Burn: I majored in history in college, and I'm also very drawn to that period. However for the comic book, because the majority of it does not take place on earth, the story doesn't focus on Greek architecture or myth; except to the extent of exploring our original concept of mythology and Gods from the sky type ideas. There are some interesting theories about whether aliens were mistaken for gods in the early stages of mankind, and in that respect, mythology plays a role.

Nrama: Will this be an ongoing or limited series?

Burn: As of now, the plan is for Agon to be a 5 book series (plus the prequel).

Nrama: What are you hoping readers take with them after reading Agon?

Burn: While I hope readers enjoy the action and suspense of the story, I hope it goes a little deeper as well. The goal is to examine the nature of humanity...and whether you have to be human to possess it. Ultimately, I like stories that explore what is the nature of the species and that's what I've tried to do with Agon.

And finally, interview with Joe Brusha about Zenescope's upcoming Neverland.

Alice Liddle. Red Riding Hood. The Little Mermaid. You can now add Peter Pan's name to the list of characters Zenescope adapts into their popular Grimm Fairy Tales line. Zenescope is so excited about the new series, they recently announced a retailer guarantee, meaning retailers can return any unsold, undamaged copies that they order. The series also stands out as a new fantasy series amongst an expanding line of science fiction and more straight horror in 2010 for the publisher.

Newsarama talked exclusively to the writer of Neverland, Joe Brusha and what his take on the classic story entails in this seven issue mini-series.

Newsarama: How long has this been in the works?

Joe Brusha: This was one of the first stories ideas I had for the Grimm universe. I originally wrote it and did the research a few years so I can't be sure that every character from the original made it into this re-imagined version. But I don't think I missed any of the characters. Tiger Lilly, John & Michael, the mermaids and the Croc are all here as well as some new characters.

Nrama: Can you tell us a bit about those new characters?

Brusha: The main new Character is Johnathon Cross who is the hero of the series. He has elements of Hook from the original story, but basically he's a brand new character. As a boy he was abducted by Pan and taken to Neverland becoming the only victim who was ever able to escape. But he left behind his kid brother and the guilt over having to do that has pretty much destroyed his entire life. He gets a shot at redemption when he returns to Neverland to try to save Wendy's nephews John and Michael.

Nrama: Elements of Hook? How so?

Brusha: He has an actual hook and his hand was also bitten off by a crocodile. In the real world he has resorted to a life of crime and become a petty thief which is kind of like being a pirate. And when he's in Neverland he looks like a pirate.

Nrama: Can you tell us if popular Grimm Fairy Tales antagonist Belinda is involved somehow?

Brusha: Neither Belinda or Sela appear in this story. I actually wrote the first draft of Neverland a couple of years ago, before Belinda was even conceived as a character. Neverland is a very similar to Return to Wonderland in structure and while it ties into the Grimm universe it's a self contained story.

Nrama: What were some of the inspirations that went into the character design?

Brusha: Mostly from recent fantasy and horror films. Films like Lord of the Rings, Pan's Labyrinth and Pirates of the Carribean. For Pan I was thinking of a cross between an elf from Middle Earth, like Legolas, and some kind of Vampire. For creatures like the Croc and the Mermaids I wanted them to have a real monster/horror movie feel.

Nrama: Speaking of the art, can you reveal anything with the artist on board for this title?

Brusha: I can't right now. We had an artist assigned to the project but it hasn't been one hundred percent finalized yet. We should make an official announcement in about a week.

Nrama: This seems more like action/adventure than having Zenescope's brand of horror, were you aiming for that?

Brusha: There may be a little more action in this series than in some of our other Grimm Fairy Tales stories but not much. It has a good blend of horror and fantasy and it fits right into the Grimm universe without moving too far into a different genre.

Nrama: Would you consider this a great book to pick up if you aren't familiar with Grimm Fairy Tales and its history?

Brusha: I would but of course I wrote it so I'm partial. I think much like the Wonderland series this is a story that can be enjoyed even if you know absolutely nothing about Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland or even if you aren't that familiar with comic books as an entertainment medium. One of our goals as a company is to bring new readers and fans to the comic book industry and we've had a lot of success with that with our Grimm Fairy Tales books. I've had a lot of people tell me that Grimm or Return to Wonderland is the first comic they ever read. One of the good things about re-inventing classic fairy tales is that they are universally recognized which I think helps people to take a chance on them.

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