26 August 2006

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Calypso

The countdown continues. This week Spider-Man's enemy Calypso gets the spotlight.

Calypso was a nameless voodoo priestess, possibly of Haitian descent. She was a psychopathic woman who was associated with Sergei Kravinoff, aka Kraven the Hunter. Calypso seemed to enjoy driving Kraven into fits of rage and furthering his hatred of Spider-Man, which ultimately led to Kraven's suicide.

The explanation for Calypso's supernatural powers was the sacrifice of her younger sister. She used her abilities to hold Curt Connors, The Lizard, in her grasp, and the two nearly succeeded in murdering Spider-Man. However, the webslinger managed to best them both, and Calypso was apparently killed. Calypso soon returned, and retrieved the Lizard from The Vault so she could control him again. However, the enraged Lizard slashed her throat open and escaped.

Her voodoo preventing her from truly dying, Calypso returned again in Spectacular Spider-Man #251-253. Commanding a squad of savages, she attacked Spider-Man and Aloysha Kravinoff, the son of the original Kraven the Hunter. Desiring revenge for losing Sergei, she used her powers to drive Spidey and Aloysha into fighting each other. Spidey and Aloysha fought off her spell, and shared a handshake. Aloysha said that he would hold Calypso at his mansion, so the villainess could tell him about his long-lost father. However, Aloysha slew Calypso instead.


Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
Boomerang
Calypso



Spider-Man 3 debuts in 251 days!

25 August 2006

Superheroes on Screen - Spider-Man 3 Preview News

Producer Grant Curtis on the official movie blog said of the upcoming Spider-Man 3 film:

In regard to the next time you will get a glimpse of the movie, please know that we will have a trailer coming out this fall. Although I am not at liberty to say when exactly it will hit the theaters and internet at this time, I can tell you that I have seen a rough version of it and I am confident that you are going to be blown away. It is an incredible piece that showcases the full scope of the picture, both in terms of the gripping story as well as the groundbreaking visual effect shots. Be patient, it's going to be worth the wait.

If I was a betting man, I would predict the preview will be attached to one of Sony's biggest upcoming films, Casino Royale, which comes to theatres on Novermber 17th. If the next preview is as good as the last teaser, we are in for a treat. Click here for a refresher in how sweet the first preview was. Spider-Man 3 arrives on May 4, 2007.


Superheroes on Screen - Bats and Wondy Girl

A little news from Joss Whedon's blog about the upcoming Wonder Woman movie

And since I haven't posted (anything real) in some time let me bring y'all up to speed. The Brothers Warner HAVE read Wondy Gal, and are arranging a meeting to tell me that it is a perfect crystalline gem and I must not change a word, nay, not a syllable.

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And in animated Bat news. a high quality preview of The Batman Season 4 had popped up on youtube. The clip features new villains Harley Quinn, Killer Moth, The Everywhere Man (voiced by Brandon Routh), Black Mask, a new Clayface. Also appearing are Robin the Boy Wonder, and future versions of Batman, Oracle, and Nightwing. Lastly, none other than J'onn J'onzz AKA the Martian Manhunter says a quick hello.

Check it here:




MEGAUpdate - Transformers, and the Winners Are (Now with Megatron):

UPDATE BUZZ: Here is the first look at an honest to goodness actual Transformer face, and its Bumblebee.




MEGAUPDATE: I have Megatron. I guess he is not a tank, or a gun, but ... an "Alien Jet." I have full frontal and head shots, enjoy.






UPDATE: I've got a model shot of Starscream!



The names of the Autobots and Decepticons appearing in next summer's Transformers movie were released along with a bit of commentary. I thought that would throw in a few pictures of the robots as an added bonus. Click for bigger version. Sadly there is no ghetto-blaster (or iPod) Soundwave, but I admit the "flame" look on Prime looks A-Ok. Enjoy.

Autobots

Optimus Prime - "The king!"


Bumblebee - "He's the same underdog character we always knew and loved." [Note: Except he's a Camaro in the new movie.]

Jazz - "He's eager to take on the Decepticons."

Ratchet - "Ratchet, who was an ambulance in the cartoon, will appear in a new form."

Ironhide - "The muscle. A tough soldier who can make any Transformer bust an o-ring just with his stare!"


Decepticons

Megatron - "He's been portrayed as pure evil but we're trying to get a little bit behind the evil in this movie. ... He has a slightly less idealistic version of what he thinks humanity is worth."

Starscream - "Always secretly plotting to dethrone Megatron..."

Brawl - "An extremely pissed off Decepticon."

Bonecrusher - "The closest thing to a Constructicon in the film."

Barricade - "The hunter of the group -- a cop car."

Scorpinok - "Closest thing to Beast Wars or Dinobot in the film."



Frenzy - "A smaller form able to infiltrate spaces -- a stealth spy."

Blackout - "The guy who takes out our ability to fight back."



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The Transformers - The Movie (20th Anniversary Special Edition)

24 August 2006

Superheroes on Screen - Same Bat Time, More Bat News

Here is a snippet from an interview with Chris Nolan, director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight:

Horowitz: Batman Begins dealt with a range of themes from revenge to how we confront fear. What themes will you be exploring in The Dark Knight?

Nolan: I suppose in loose terms I can say it’s about things having to get worse before they get better.

Horowitz: It’s that note the first film ends on of escalation?
Nolan: Very much.

Horowitz: Is there anything to be inferred from the name you’ve chosen for this film, The Dark Knight?

Nolan: Ultimately yes. [Laughs] But I’ll leave that for people to infer.

Horowitz: This is the cryptic portion of our chat.

Nolan: Yeah. [Laughs] The title has been chosen very specifically. It’s quite important to the film.

Horowitz: I take it [the Joker] will be less Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson than the Joker we saw portrayed in a comic like The Killing Joke?

Nolan: Yes. I would certainly point to The Killing Joke but I also would point very much to the first two appearances of the Joker in the comic. If you look at where the Joker comes from there’s a very clear direction that fits what we’re doing very well.

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In Spider-Man news, the new head of Marvel, Kevin Feige addressed rumors to MTV that it might be the final film for the friendly neighborhood web-slinger. Sounds like SM4 is all but a sure thing in some form (please no clone saga).

"There will be many more Spider-Man films to come," he promised. "We already have stacks of ideas for the next one because of the wealth of stories in the comics. We could be making Spider-Man movies for the next 20 years, based on the 50 years of Spider-Man history we have."

That doesn't necessarily guarantee, however, that Tobey Maguire will continue as the man under the mask.

"When you're concentrating on one movie at a time, there's a beginning and a middle and an end to that process," Feige reasoned. "We've been topping each one as they go, [and if that happens again], that's the time for those discussions."

23 August 2006

Ink Blots XXVI - Justice League: Secret Origins


Put together, the first three episodes of the series Justice League comprise a feature length depiction of the formation of DC's premier superhero team -- The Justice League. The team consists of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman along with the Flash (the fastest man alive), Green Lantern (has a green ring that gives him powers like flight, green lasers, force fields, etc.) Hawkgirl (has bird wings and a powerful mace that she uses to smash things up), and the Martian Manhunter (can read minds, change form, and phase through solid objects).

The plot revolves around your typical alien invasion including War of the Worldesque tripods (but they also have dogs). Batman is the first to become wise to the alien plan, and he and Superman form an uneasy alliance. But when full scale invasion begins, the World's Finest need back up. Enter the Justice League. Of course, for the rest of the film, the heroes must learn to work together to defeat the aliens. Pretty standard alien invasion fair. The story would have been more compelling by putting a face on the enemy, or by having a more recognizable menace. Still, at least the aliens didn't just roll over. They made the unification of the heroes a necessity. There is a good deal of action spread amongst the various heroes throughout the show, but none of it is terribly jaw-dropping. Lastly, knowing the excellent stories to follow in the Justice League series, I can't help but enjoy seeing the beginnings here.

As an introduction of the team, Superman and Batman are brought in as continuations of the characters from their respective series. Wonder Woman is shown defying her people to don her armor to help the "outside world." The Martian Manhunter is the last of his kind, after his race fell to the aliens long ago. The wise cracking show-off Flash (voiced by Smallville's Lex Luthor), militaristic Green Lantern, and warrior Hawkgirl basically just show up to help.

The overall plot here is similar to that of the more recent Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, only here the aliens put up a better fight, the League are less complex characters and have less issues, and they are also sans Hulk menace. Your preference for the films may depend on your fondness for the team members. Personally I think Batman and Flash are cooler than Thor or Captain America, and that may explain my leaning toward Secret Origins. Still, both films are more likely to please fans of superheroes than general audiences. Thus, I think the films deserve the same grade of a solid B.