10 November 2007

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Jim Gordon

In almost every incarnation of Batman, Comissioner James "Jim" Worthington Gordon is there as the police force liaison to the bat. Usually, Jimbo serves as police commissioner, but in Batman Begins, he was introduced as a sergeant and promoted to lieutenant, with the expectation that he will eventually become the comish. Gordon is also well known for being the daddy dearest of Batgirl. On occasion he is also known to "drink a beer and cheat on his wife."

In modern continuity, Gordon was transferred back to Gotham after spending more than fifteen years in Chicago. A man of integrity, Gordon found that his only ally against the mob-controlled administration was the Batman. Batman was never deputized and Gordon's relationship with him was kept out of the public eye whenever possible. Gordon was also a Special Forces veteran who was more than capable of hand to hand combat.

When Gordon needs to summon Batman, he uses the Bat-Signal, a specially modified Klieg searchlight with a stylized symbol of a bat placed on it so that it projects a large emblem shaped in Batman's bat insignia on the sky or buildings of Gotham City. Batman often disappears silently when Gordon's back is turned, often while Gordon is in the middle of a rant about legal red tape.

Gordon, during his tenure in Chicago, struggled with his wife over conceiving a child while taking university night classes in criminology. He faced brutality among other officers after uncovering corruption within the force. Later, Gordon uncovered evidence of rigging the mayoral election and brought down two of his fellow officers, which leads to his commissioner recommending to him that he transfer to Gotham quickly.

Gordon has a daughter, Barbara, who, unbeknownst to him, fights crime as Batgirl. At one point, the Joker kidnapped Gordon after shooting and paralyzing Barbara. He then caged Gordon in the freak show of an abandoned amusement park and forced him to look at enlarged photos of his wounded daughter naked in an effort to drive him insane, thus proving to Batman that even the most grounded, seemingly normal people can lose their minds after having "a very bad day." Batman eventually apprehended the Joker and rescued Gordon. Despite the intense trauma he endured, Gordon's sanity and code of ethics is intact; he insisted that Batman apprehend the Joker without harming him in order to "show him that our way works."

After Gotham was destroyed by an earthquake and isolated from outside assistance, Gordon struggled to maintain order amidst rampant crime. Batman was mysteriously absent for the initial three months, and Gordon felt somewhat betrayed. He forged an uneasy alliance with Two-Face but was later double-crossed, kidnapped, and put on trial by Two-Face for breaking their "legally-binding" alliance. He escaped punishment, and later met with Batman once again. In this confrontation, Gordon expressed his disgust towards Batman for letting Gotham "fall into ruin". Batman offered to prove his trust by revealing his secret identity, but Gordon refused to look when Batman removed his mask. Eventually their relationship was repaired.

Gordon fell in love with and married fellow officer Sarah Essen. However, Essen could not comprehend why Gordon needed Batman so much, which occasionally put a strain on their relationship. Unfortunately, she was fatally shot by the Joker. An enraged Gordon wanted to kill Joker, but instead was persuaded to shoot him in the leg, in revenge for Joker's shot which had paralyzed Gordon's daughter. Not long after this, Gordon was gunned down by a crook seeking revenge for a previous arrest. Though seriously injured, he eventually pulled through.

Gordon retired from the police force after having served more than 20 years in it. He remained in Gotham, and occasionally enjoyed nighttime visits from Batman who came to him for company and advice. Commissioner Michael Akins took his position.

After Barbara required surgery to save her life from the Brainiac virus, Gordon visited his adoptive daughter in Metropolis. She revealed to him her current role as Oracle, as well as her past as Batgirl. Gordon admitted that he knew of her life as Batgirl, but was pleasantly surprised to know of her career as the computer information broker of the heroes. He is very proud of her accomplishments.

Gordon has returned to the role of Commissioner. The circumstances behind this are currently unknown. Most recently, Gordon survived an attempt on his life by the Joker who had drugged him with Joker Venom in an attack on the GCPD. He was taken to the hospital in time.

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Friend and Foe Profiles:

Ra's al Ghul
Talia al Ghul
Baby Doll
Bat-Hound (Ace)
Black Mask
David Cain
Calendar Man & Calendar Girl
Clock King
Crazy Quilt
Floronic Man
Mr. Freeze
Jim Gordon

The Dark Knight returns in 251 days!

09 November 2007

And the Losers Are...

I don't know how exactly the process works for selecting the best animated picture, but it seems that of the 12 features submitted for consideration, some of the movies should have just saved their postage and not even have tried. Here is the list:

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
Bee Movie
Meet the Robinsons
Shrek the Third
The Simpsons Movie
Surf's Up

I admit I haven't seen some of these, but based on the trailer where Alvin eats Theodore's feces, I can guarantee that Alvin and the Chipmunks (which is really a CG live action blend) is a piece of garbage. I don't really imagine that Aqua Teen Hunger Force is going to go home with an Oscar either. Even TMNT, which I enjoyed, isn't really a best picture.

Frankly I would be surprised if Ratatouille didn't win, but maybe some of these other choices, like Persepolis deserve a nomination. I just can't belive anyone really thinks Alvin deserves any form of non-joke award.

06 November 2007

Ink Blots - Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme

This animated film is the fourth in a series of Marvel DtVs including Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2 as well as The Invincible Iron Man. While this movie gets a lot right, it still lacked a little something that kept it from being an animated series classic like those in the DC line. The movie does get extra points for taking on a hero I knew not too much about and making him interesting. It would have been easy to just give us Captain America or Thor.

Once again, we are given an origin story. Doc Stephen Strange is a cocky surgeon who happens to be in tune with the paranormal. He is involved in a car accident, losing control of his fine motor skills in his hands, and thus his skill as a surgeon. He is then trained by the ancient one in the mystical ways and eventually has a showdown with good guy turned bad Mordo and the demonic Dormammu. His journey is actually quite engaging. We learn that as a young doctor, he was unable to save his sister and thats when he sorta turned into a jerk. There are also some well choreographed sequences involving psychic sword fights and showdowns with giant demons. The problem is, all of this leads up to a ridiculous ending where Strange decides he can simply absorb Dormammu's powers.

So, basically, the film is a pretty well animated romp with some decent action, but it again feels like more of a setup for a payoff in a "part 2" that isnt coming. Hopefully the next of these Marvel films avoids the orgin story which takes half of the movie and really doesnt payoff. Marvel could learn from the recent Superman Doomsday that started off with Superman already an established hero, allowing for a more fleshed out adventure.Like previous Marvel efforts, Strange (mostly cause I am a sucker for comic book films) conjures a B.

Oh and by the way, the next film being "Teen Avengers" seems to have thrown out the whole "animated films for mature fans" mantra out the window. Hopefully its not a total turd.

BUY IT NOW: Doctor Strange on DVD