22 March 2008

A Galactic(a) Endeavor - Razor

The "present" of Razor takes place between The Capatan's Hand and Downloaded during Apollo's early command of Pegasus, but much of the movie fills in Pegasus' back story from the attack to the present through the yes of the new Pegasus XO, and Cain disciple, Kendra Shaw.

We see things that had previously been alluded to, a narrow escape on D-day, the infiltration of the crew by the 6 model Gina, Cain killing her own XO for failing to carry out a near suicide run, and most chilling, the slaughter of civilian family members to facilitate in the stripping of civilian parts and people to carry on the war.

The main story involves a rescue mission of missing crewman, captured by a remnant of original Cylons who are performing experiments on human beings. We learn through an Adama flashback, what atrocities they were performing 40 years prior.

This is a brilliantly conceived movie that gave everyone a little more Cain to hate, filled in the details of the rumored Pegasus past, and offered a gleeful look at retro Cylons who even uttered, "By your command." We may not like Cain or Kendra, but we do respect them.

Also, at the end, the Cylon hybrid warns the ill-fated Shaw about Starbuck, an ominous warning for us viewers as we proceed into season 4.

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Oracle

After getting shot in the spinal cord by the Joker, the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon became Oracle. Oracle has appeared in the Birds of Prey TV series, but Babs has appeared in nearly every incarnation of Batman.

During the early eighties, Batman editors sporadically put Batgirl into retirement; the character resumed her role for special cases. In 1988, in The Killing Joke, she was deployed as a plot device to cement the Joker’s vendetta against Commissioner Gordon and Batman.

The Joker’s aggravated assault of Barbara Gordon has become a classic example of Women in Refrigerators syndrome, in which “severe injury or death of a female comic book character [occurs] as a means to antagonize a male superhero.” Following the release of the graphic novel, comic book editor and writer Kim Yale discussed how distasteful she found the treatment of Barbara Gordon with her husband, fellow comic writer John Ostrander. Rather than allow the character to fall into obscurity, the two decided to revive her as a character living with a disability.

Both Yale and Ostrander would oversee the development of Barbara Gordon's new persona as Oracle for the next several years. The character made her first comic book appearance as Oracle in Suicide Squad #23, anonymously offering her services to the government's Task Force X. In the following two years, Oracle, under pen of Ostander and Yale, made guest appearances in various DC titles until her identity was revealed to be Barbara Gordon in Suicide Squad #38 (1990) and she officially becomes a member of the Squad in issue #48 following an invitation from fictional government agent Amanda Waller. In 1992, Dennis O’Neil gave Barbara Gordon’s Oracle a starring role in Batman: Sword of Azrael #1, where she became Batman’s sole source of information. This newly forged partnership established Oracle’s status as Batman's intellectual equal.

The success of Chuck Dixon’s Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey (1996) lead to the comic series Birds of Prey starring the two title characters. Kim Yale and John Ostrander tell the origin of Oracle in "Oracle: Year One," a story arc contained in Batman Chronicles #5. Since the launch of Birds of Prey, the Oracle character has become a high-profile figure in the DC Comics universe - moving beyond her ties to the Batman Family and forging alliances with groups such as Justice League of America. Gail Simone took over as writer of Birds of Prey with issue #56, taking the series in a "Bold New Direction!" In an interview with Columnist Jennifer Contino, Simone explains her fondness of Barbara Gordon:

Kim Yale and John Ostrander picked up the character and made her into a brilliant master computer operator and one of the most fascinating characters in comics. From there, Chuck Dixon did wonderful things with her in his Birds of Prey run...She’s fantastic because even just sitting in a chair in a dark room by herself, she’s tremendously compelling. The DCU without her would be a much less interesting place.

Throughout the course of the character's history, Barbara Gordon's intelligence has been one of the character's defining attributes. According to BusinessWeek, Oracle is listed as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional superheroes appearing in American comics and is the only female character to appear on the list.

The Dark Knight returns in 125 days!

21 March 2008

Box Cars He Ain't

Yo Joe. Its Snake Eyes! Toad hasn't looked so good since he was Darth Maul.

17 March 2008

Radar Blips - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The Year: 1989

The Players: Indiana Jones, The original James Bond, River Phoenix, a really old knight, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and lots of rats.

The Take: $197 million

Wait, wasn't this his "last" crusade?: The last crusade was actually a reference to the medieval religious conflicts often fought in the Middle East.

Why you should see it: Its Indiana Jones. Need I say more? Well its got a nice look at young Indy, including the origin of the chin scar. There is a good dynamic between father and son, a nice fight against a tank, and many dead Nazis. I particularly enjoyed the three trials to get the grail. Good stuff. The movie is pretty fast paced and even if its not the best of the trilogy, it stands head and shoulders above the Mummy and National Treasure franchises.