Monday, March 28, 2016

12 MONKEYS: “Pallid Man Wants You” at TeePublic and RedBubble!

Pallid Man wants * YOU * for the Army of the 12 Monkeys!

@TeePublic (black fill)
@TeePublic (red fill)
@RedBubble (black fill)

This bit of 12 MONKEYS propaganda is now available on various shirt and case options via TeePublic and additional nouns at the RedBubble! =)

Available in both RED fill and black at TeePublic (red shown below, black fill above). For the next three days, these are *discounted* at TeePublic, which for standard-sized tees means $14 compared to the regular $20.

So get one now! Or twelve (even though it’s not primary, I won’t tell)—and help the Army of the 12 Monkeys recruiting drive! Cuz, man, it is really hard to get anyone to join up. I mean, who jumps at “Be all that you can be… right up until we unleash a plague that kills off most of humanity!”—right?

Join the army and unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

Saturday, March 26, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: Alternate Futurama *SPOILERS* (Batman's "Vision")

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS follow. Turn back now if you haven't fought your way thru BATMAN <3 SUPERMAN yet!

Welcome… to the world of the TOMORROW!~

So, what the heck was it that Bruce saw/experienced in the Batcave? It appeared to be a vision of an Apokoliptian future Earth, delivered via a future Flash, perhaps harnessing some combo of Boom Tube tech and Speed Force, maybe some Martian telepathy or backwards-speaking magicks for good measure?

But how many visions was it? I think there are two, nested within each other. The innermost one, vision 1, is a packet of Bruce's own future memories/experiences. This starts with that view of a desert Earth (future Gotham?), with the "Omega" character branded into the ground… Firepits burning in the distance… An apparent rebel operation run by him to acquire a chunk of Kryptonite, contained in a Lexcorp-branded case… And a betrayal by the courier of his forces and himself to a contingent of armed —in uniforms sporting the Kryptonian character for "Hope" on the shoulders—as well as a platoon of Parademons.

Tangent: RE: The Parademons. I was a little disappointed at their apparent inspect/wasp-like design, but that final Parademon who knocks Bats's lights out looked the part to me. Maybe the waspy ones are a different breed? I really hope the Parademons are all chunky winged Luchador types, a la Kirby's style.

When future Bats awakes, he's chained to a wall in an underground jail. Supes drops in to judge, jury, and execute the prisoners hanging beside him. When he approaches Bats, he tears off his cowl and tells Bruce, "She was my world." Maybe he said something like "and you took her from me," too? I can't be sure now, but that's the kind of line that feels right there, right?

Tangent: "She was my world" is what Jonathan Kent's ghost tells Clark about Martha on his Canadian(?) walkabout.

Then Kal places his hand on Bruce's chest, pauses a moment, and then applies pressure, apparently killing Bruce and snapping him out of the vision and back to the Batcave in 2016, when and where he apparently wakes up at the Batcomputer and sees the head and shoulders of what looks like a future Flash (a scrubby and aged version of the kid we see in the metahumans Lex files), wearing some kind of red armor or tech, ringed by some kind of portal in spacetime, and yelling at him that "Lois is the key!" He also asks/exclaims something like, "Is it too early? I'm too early!" This could be directed at Bruce, someone off-portal, or maybe himself. I think the last things we hear him say are "Find us!" and "You were right about him! You were always right about him!"

Bats was Kal-El Ma'ed!

This is vision 2, and within it, vision 1 was part a payload delivered to Bruce of 2016.

Meanwhile, the portal phenomenon is making a mess of the Batcave, blowing anything not bolted down around the cave, and perhaps wreaking havoc w/the Batcomputer. When the portal closes, Bruce snaps out of this vision, and back to the Batcave in 2016, when and where he apparently wakes up at the Batcomputer and sees… Nothing out of the ordinary.

What happened? What did we see?

I believe we saw events that transpired in two realities or timelines, first an original, or at least, "earlier" one, and then a second one, that diverged from the original due to actions taken by Batman based on the Flash's message.

So, in the first timeline, a few years into the future, Darkseid comes to Earth and manipulates or controls Superman into becoming his enforcer after the death of Lois Lane (ostensibly due to machinations of Batman) drives him to Ubermenschism. A group of metahumans (maybe they had enough time to call themselves the JL before Darkseid's arrival?) attempt to resist, but apparently find Darkseid + Superman to be unbeatable (as it would be). Indeed, in this future, Batman is dead, Kal-El Ma'ed. So—executing a plan that I'm willing to bet is future Batman's own last resort contingency plan—the Flash sends his message back to Bruce of 2016. And although the message is delivered too early, it motivates Bruce to do something different—steal the Kryptonite from Lexcorp *now*, in 2016—and thusly change the future, apparently eliminating the need for a future Flash to send that message in the first place (but maybe possibly creating a future in which a future Flash CAN'T?). So, that time-Boom Tube portal dealio (pardon the technical jargon) never opened in the Batcave of the Bruce we see fighting Clark in BATMAN V SUPERMAN.

But, since Batman is an agent of the difference/s that change the future—comic book rules—he retains a memory/vision/echo/dream of the message. And since it's a movie, we get to SEE it. =)

At Clark's funeral, when Diana asks Bruce why he says that they need to find the other metas, why they'll need to come together, he says something like, "Just a feeling" or something, right? Sure, he could be playing it cagey, close to the vest, as is every Batman's nature, right? But what if right then, that's the truth.

Tangent: I think it's kind of funny-slash-bold to assign Batman the job of assembling a team. Classically, while he always ultimately acknowledges the value of a Justice League, he is the last one to be a joiner. It will be interesting to see his recruiting technique (and Wonder Woman's). Man, is Flash gonna be Barry or Wally? If it's Wally, how many times is WW gonna be kindly (or violently? =) shooting down his hormonal behavior?

So, does Bruce remember the details of the events of this earlier iteration of reality? Perhaps they were fresh when he "woke up" from them in the Batcave, and they've been fading since? While I think I'd dig Bruce Wayne retaining the insight of this alternate future—can't trust whoever that courier is in the future, that Flash kid can time travel!—I kinda like him moving forward on instinct and momentum.

When it's still fresh, the vision—of his future hunt for Kryptonite and the "Super-soldiers"—certainly seems like a direct inspiration for him deciding to steal the Kryptonite and confront Superman. "I'm older now than my father ever was. This may be the most important thing I ever do." Something like that, right?

But think of those memories dissolving, or resolving, into a desire, a will, maybe even just a hunch, to find and collect the other metas, to stand together against an imminent threat (Lex can help fill in those blanks), and perhaps keep an eye on Lois Lane. That's enough, isn't it?

And—hey!—who does Bruce NOT keep track of once the Super-$hit goes down? Lois Lane. So maybe those echoes fade quickly.

Maybe we'll get other glimpses into alternate, Apokoliptic, futures in the next couple of DCU movies. The future changes just enough that the Flash (of the same future, or perhaps successively different Apokoliptic futures) needs to try to contact a different hero at a different critical moment in each one.

Keep on keepin' on~

Friday, March 25, 2016


Just gonna ramble here in the afterglow… Well, more like the after-shadow, I guess, of my first screening of BATMAN [hearts] SUPERMAN. So, if you haven't seen the film yet, turn back now, for here there be *SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS*!

Overall, watching the movie felt like work (but then, the second and third Nolan Batman and MAN OF STEEL felt that way, too). It did a solid job of connecting dots and storytelling, especially considering all the items on the film's to-do list (re-establishing Batman's backstory in the MAN OF STEEL universe, introducing Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman and other metas, and of course, pitting Bruce and Clark against one another). Thing is, I'm not sure it was fun. But then, I suppose that's the nature of the DC movie universe, its tone set by Nolan's Dark Knight films and continued in the MAN OF STEEL. It's not just that nothing funny happens, but that nothing not miserable happens. Even the characters are humorless.

Like I said, it felt a bit like work. I heard a kid sitting behind me twice say, "I'm bored." Never got a good read on how old he was.

Also a huge F'd up negative—alas, that the film itself had no control over—SO MANY PEOPLE UPDATING THEIR FARMVILLES DURING THE MOVIE!?! WTF? One guy in the front row had his phone on and up for everyone to see for like 1/4 of the movie. At least three different people yelled at him to put it away. I'm amazed that people closer to him didn't pressure him. At the end of the film, someone said that "security" came in to talk to the guy, but I didn't see that, and the guy (*and* others) were taking out and using their phones throughout the running time.

F'ing A! Someone's gotta come up w/a fix for this b.s. I almost get that disabling phones can be an issue—gotta be able to get a call or txt from the babysitter, right? But how about if you're expecting to be contacted, you pick up a beeper on the way in. It gets sync'd to your phone/number. And every phone that's inside the movie auditorium is forcibly deactivated or signal-blocked (altho that might not be enough to keep people from Fruit Ninja-ing when someone's not killing or scantily clad on screen : P).

The best part of the film for me was Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Not clear on how practical her armor is, but her weapons are badass and physically, it's plain that she is a heavy-hitter. I love that she enters the fray (repeatedly) with a smile on her face. At the end of the movie, given the hints at her backstory, I wondered if she might have been re-written as a Vandal Savage type, a unique, long-lived, and powerful human, someone who's remembered for her exploits as a mythical figure over the millennia and gone into periods of seclusion.

However/unfortunately, I saw that there was a photo released of the lead Amazons of Themyscira for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. So, not a loner. Unless… Maybe she was orphanated kinda like Kal? Raised by humans in the "World of Man," comes into her abilities as a mystery, then given the armor and weapons she was found with, and sent out into the world to make her way. And perhaps she found (or will find) her way back to her origin on Themyscira. Maybe that's why she's interested in the sword that cut the Gordian knot? Even if it's fake… Tracking her own history and origin thru clues to a lost tribe of Amazons…

Crazy talk? Maybe. =)

Still. Themyscira in the WW film, and the DC movie universe. That's good. Opens up a path to the powers and personalities of Pantheons, as well as a hidden kingdom (or rather, queendom), perhaps to match another—Aquaman's Atlantis.

I wonder—How do their realms fare in the Apokoliptic future of Batman's vision?

I will say that—sucker fanboy that I am—I really liked/responded to the callbacks to comic book moments and story elements.

LOVE that they threw the time travel in there, and, like, without no hoopla. And Bruce doesn't share the info with anyone. Was the warning/advice to Bats from the future actually useful in the events of the film? The Asian guy in beat up red armor or tech (Impulse?) told him that Lois Lane is the key. And, well, maybe she sorta was, but I'm thinking that that info was intended for a later, Apokoliptian crisis. In the events of this film, telling him that Martha Kent is the key would've been useful.

Hrm… I guess that vision/visitation was also more (cryptic) motivation for Bruce to commit to taking down Supes. That he's focused on acquiring Kryptonite in that future implies that the Big Bad of that future is Superman, right? So, cut him down in the present, that future never comes to pass. Actually, pretty good misdirection.

See, I'm getting the idea that this movie wanted to be a few episodes. It's telling a story that would've been a great 4 or 6 parter in a monthly book. And unfortunately, we're feeling it. That may be part of where the "work" is coming from.

The color palette doesn't help any, either, tho.

That vision was pretty sweet, altho a desert New Apokolips/Earth is kind of a downer. It's a good/logical extrapolation, but the overdeveloped tech-ghetto aesthetic of Apokolips of the comics would've been amazing to see realized. Would've liked to have seen a Firepit up close. The parademons were cool, altho again, a departure. I like the chunky wrestler look of them, tho. These seemed way too insecty and drained of any Kirbyness.

Highfather, but I hope they do Darkseid in a properly Kirby-ominous fashion.

Would've LOVED to have seen a spent Lantern Ring on someone's finger, or a the logo on a scrap wrapped around one of Batman's colleagues. Conspicuously absent from Luthor's metahumans files, altho the Corps' existence must be in the Kryptonian database, right?

Included in Lex's files:
Wonder Woman / Diana Prince
Cyborg / Silas & Victor Stone — a Mother Box origin/connection
Flash / Barry or Wally? Maybe Wally.
Aquaman / Maybe they won't even bother w/the hybrid origin? Arthur Curry?

Lex got access to the Kryptonian database way too easily. Like the computer somehow WANTED someone to get authorized so that it could do something sketchy. Brainiac?

Lex was kind of a throwaway in this. Crazy and unhinged, but annoying/aggravating. What is/was he? Inventor? Businessman? A genius? A polymath? Annoying, but I guess he kept things moving.

And what did he learn from the database? Information on 10,000 worlds, including, apparently Darkseid? Did he send a message? That bell can't be unrung…ding ding ding ding? Kinda lame.

Is he worth keeping around as a baddie? Maybe he becomes Desaad? Hrm… That could be interesting. How badly did his father abuse him? Wouldn't be worthy of the Desaad of the comics, but could be an interesting adaptation. A Luthor as a snapped, psychotic, Darkseid sycophant. Cuz, yeah, given his state/status at the end of this film, Lex is probably best suited as a husk to be filled by or manipulated by some other villain or force. He sure as heck ain't running for president.

MARTHA! That was nice. That was a little bit of obvious genius. Gotta hand it to them. Martha. =)

Okay. Now I'm gonna try and just dump a list of good and bad and try not to ramble too hard, cuz otherwise, everything leads to something else and this'll never come to something resembling an end…
  • The average citizen of Metropolis forgets about one of Superman’s most remarkable powers: Superhair! (Superhold?) I'm here to tell you that this film does not forget. =)
  • I like that we clearly see Gotham and Metropolis treated as cities across a harbor (river?) from each other. Of course, it makes you wonder how these guys aren't always in each others' business, in one or another identity, right? Also dig that it's Detroit that plays both. Given the Smallville-Metropolis geography, it's fitting, and one of the options I always imagined even if it feels odd from the street level. If you just read each hero's books, or even watched most of their films, you'd think Metropolis = NYC and Gotham = Chicago (which I thought worked well for that World's Finest where Bruce and Clark meet at that orphanage halfway between the cities). Would love to see an official map of the DCU, for the comics, TV series, and/or movies.
  • Batman vs. Superman fight wasn't bad when you look at the individual blows, but the steps and tempo of it wasn't great for me. I get that there was a plan to how Bats set him up and softened him up, but after the first two hidden surprises (w/no decoys) it didn't seem all that choreographed until the spear finale. Sonics, artillery, Kryptonite, then some physical abuse. That was okay, but wouldn't the sonics and artillery have been more effective after an initial dose of Kryptonite? And no electricity?
  • I thought Batman vs. Lex's goons was pretty poorly shot. I get that some of the moves were cool, but only after the moves were executed. Just wasn't fun to watch (see episode 3 of DAREDEVIL season 2 for fun to watch).
  • There's a matter of a body count when it comes to Batman v. baddies in this film. I don't think we see him explicitly kill anyone, but he kind of Rube Goldberg's it, by allowing them to most likely die…This Bruce *is* in a place where he is actually *branding* his work, so maybe we're encountering him on the precipice, for whatever reasons. Or maybe it's the "Martha" motivation, which drives him to be extra vicious, to save (a) Martha this time. I think the one death that made me pause during the movie was the grenade. After that, I just told myself that this Batman has a notion of manslaughter vs. homicide, or collateral damage/acceptable losses when it comes to multitasking. Okay. 
  • Superman recovering in orbit from sunlight. Any comics fan is going to get that and appreciate that, but I think it could've been better envisioned somehow. I know, easy for me to say. Why don't I go out and shoot and CG it myself, right? Blerg. How spent is he at that point?
  • Superman vs. Doomsday. Okay. I kind of LOVE that EXCALIBUR is on the marquee of the movie outside Crime Alley in Bruce's flashback to his parents' death. I saw that and was a little disappointed w/not seeing ZORRO, but it said something like "EXCALIBUR NEXT WED," a coming soon message, so maybe they *did* see ZORRO (altho I can't recall any swashbuckling pantomime/horseplay on the way out)? But having that there and then having Kal do the thing with the Kryptonite Spear vs. Doomsday Spike. It worked.
    Is that good filmmaking? Good storytelling? A cheat? I don't know. But it worked on me.
  • I don't get what Lex "stands for." I get that he's got a massive ego, but I didn't really get how Superman offends it. Senator Finch (Granny's Iced Tea was nice and horrible) was more of an archenemy than Superman. He talked about man and god and monsters, but where's the personal connection/offense? I like when Luthor doesn't like Supes moving in on Metropolis. Or when he's xenophobic, considering Supes to be meddling in human evolution and civilization.
    Maybe it'll read better when there aren't a dozen phones lighting up the room. Bleah.
  • The Kryptonian Siri told Lex that the Council outlawed "such abominations," as if they'd happened before. A piece of Kryptonian history that we'll never hear about again? Or are there more Doomsdays somewhere Out There?
  • Don't love the "science" of Doomsday's creation. Zod + Luthor = Doomsday? Would've liked for Krypto-Siri to voice over what we'd expect, or maybe some kind of diagnostic on screen? Doomsday doesn't get a chance to charge up the way a Krypto-Sapien does. Only seconds or minutes of exposure to Earthican atmosphere, and NO direct exposure to yellow sun radiation. But, who wants to add another couple of minutes to 210, right?
  • Did Clark really leave Kryptonian tech all over the planet? What about the one fully intact shuttle that Zod used to get to the 20,000 year old colony ship? Was really rooting for Kal to have created a Fortress of Solitude after MAN OF STEEL. Boo…
  • Clark's coffin. I really would've liked for a reversal on the end of DK. Have Supes come back from the dead, but only Bats knows about/detects it. Alas, not quite.
  • I appreciated the "Nicholson" garage or whatever it was that Bats busted out of w/his Batmobile by the Gotham docks.
  • How the heck did Bruce build this batcave?
  • Loved seeing Robin's costume in its case. I hope someone goes back and tells/directs that story in film. Can't remember what the Joker's graffiti said. "The Joke's on you!" ?
  • Appreciated Bruce telling Diana that he's known women like her, and of course, WW doubts that possibility. Catwoman and maybe Batgirl or Huntress are NOT Wonder Woman. =)
  • Couldn't Kal have kept the Polaroids to show Bats? *sigh* Of course not. Couldn't have a conversation when everyone (except Supes) wants a fight.
  • The spear drama. Necessary? Lois's actions made sense, but maybe she could've waited to talk to Clark about how best to dispose of it, before chucking it into the mystery water below Gotham-Detroit (see ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE =). And then having her nearly drown… Echoing Lois in the Earthquake in SUPERMAN. Could Kal play the time travel card in the MAN OF STEEL universe? Maybe w/help from a Mother Box or the Speed Force, but not on his own.
    Actually, it was good to pull Supes out of the Doomsday battle for a while, for his moment w/Lois before spearing Doomsday. But what about that? Superman stagger-flies w/the Kryptonite a couple of feet from his body? Dramatic, but… comic-book-sensible? I scoffed a bit in the moment. But when he went EXCALIBUR, well, I forgot about it.
  • I enjoyed two Bat-silhouettes. One when he's launching himself into the warehouse to rescue Martha Kent. You see his shadow against the windows for a second before he smashes thru. And two when he's perched on the side of a building, I think it's in battle vs. Doomsday (maybe earlier, w/Supes?) but there's a flash and it's basically one of the DK covers, altho his body isn't actually in the motion described by the pose, since he's hanging on a building.
  • I was hoping that Doomsday and the destruction he causes would be enough to bring the JLAers out of the shadows. But it's right that they're not out in the open yet. Interesting putting Batman in charge of assembling them, tho. The detective loner, doing it in Clark's honor, somehow. And having an even bigger menace be the cause for their formation makes sense. Darkseid… Oh, would love a Starro cold open! =)
Okay. Enough already. For now. Maybe I'll refine this mess in a future post, but if you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed at least some of this brain dump.

Click here for some of my kooky "before" thoughts.

Keep on keepin' on~

Thursday, March 24, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: pre-screening crazy talk…

Some rambling ideas/predictions before the BATMAN <3 SUPERMAN wave function collapses tonight…

Some clues/assets in MAN OF STEEL

1. Kryptonian armor/exo-suit/encounter suit. Salvaged by Lexcorp and Waynetech. I'm guessing some of this will give Batman the tech to go toe-to-toe w/Supes. Also that Lexcorp might reverse engineer some nano-stone-tech for some mass-produced device or devices.

2. A vial of Superman's blood, extracted by the Kryptonians in the Kryptonian environment of their spacecraft. Ideal source material for the creation of Doomsday, who—I'd love to see this craziness—gracefully degrades into Bizarro after some pummeling? =)

I feel like putting this in the hands of the military/government (Project Cadmus) might be the smart storytelling card. Lex could be the mastermind behind manipulating Batman v. Superman, branding them both menaces, but when he plays whatever Lexcorp/Kryptonian tech ace he has, the government fears the worst and drops their Doomsday bomb in the middle of the fracas.

Could also be used as the source of enhanced human agents or soldiers.

3. A missing/left behind Kryptonian ship. Maybe Supes went back for it, but maybe someone or organization beat him to it while he was distracted or not knowing. Zod flies one of his ships to pick up the original 20,000 year old scout ship, and leaves it behind. Supes doesn't know that in the Metropolis battle of MAN OF STEEL, so if someone was tracking Zod's movements (military, Luthor), they might've disappeared it away before Clark could know.

The trick—where would anyone hide something like that from Supes? Maybe movie Supes has some kind of blind spot, or the "noise" of some already existing environment could shield something. Superman's senses are treated in a Matt Murdock way, where he has to focus to shut things out, so something like that is certainly possible.

Predictions… Well, not all that much, I guess. Broad strokes… Bats sees Supes as a potential threat, and confronts him in civvies to take his measure. Maybe he's convinced that he's a Good Guy. Then Lex engineers some event or disaster that paints Supes as a Baddie, and Bats has to step in/step up physically. Lex seizes the moment to take them both off the board, but using something that escalates the collateral damage potential to something unacceptable, requiring the government to release Doomsday, and basically write off Metropolis. This is when the future JLA cameo/make themselves known, they dispatch the monster and save as much of the city as they can, maybe w/Lex joining in (cuz he loves Metropolis, it's *his* city), in the end pinning the worst of it all on a rogue Project Cadmus.

Huh. Would be great if Supes fakes his death at Doomsday's hands (and of course, only Batman figures it out). I mean, everyone knows, Doomsday kills Superman, right? Supes could become "the blur." =)

Maybe Cadmus can be protected w/a cover story about Doomsday being extraterrestrial, maybe Kryptonian, in origin. One of the last things we'll see is Batman in the cave in front of the computer cataloging vulnerabilities and take-downs for the metahumans he's just encountered. Perhaps exposing some Doomsday samples to a funky green glowing mineral?

But, of course, it could go SO many ways, and I feel I've done a pretty good job of avoiding any and all news/leaks/spoilers, so I'm ready to be surprised. =)

Keep on keepin' on~

Friday, March 11, 2016

THE EXPANSE: Amos Burton's "Rocinante" on a T-shirt

Now available via TeePublic!
A while back, I went looking for a tee featuring Amos's bombshell pin-up art of the Rocinante (he space-paints it on the ship in episode 6 of the series). The closest hits I could find were evidence of EXPANSE crew hoodies on instagram and the twitters. Apparently there were no official/licensed options available. I wanted to give such a shirt to a friend (and fan of THE EXPANSE) as a present, so, I did a somewhat clunky and chunky render of the artwork. It's now posted at TeePublic, available for acquisition by Earthers, Belters, and Martians (sorry, nothing available in Protomolecule…yet). It's *discounted* this weekend (for basic tee, $14, reduced from reg $20)—now thru Sunday night—so grab one now if you dig it!

Flip and burn!
Keep on keepin' on~