Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cartoon Network's Birthday FAIL!!!

After a LOOOONNNGGGG hiatus (months of no new dc cartoons), Green Lantern and Young Justice's animated series both returned two weeks ago and left this viewer wanting more. However in honor of their 20th Birthday, Cartoon Network has placed both shows on another month long hiatus!!! Only 2 new eps in, and back to the doldrums of no new adventures of Green Lantern and the Young Justice team. In their place Cartoon Network is airing Dragons of Berk (some insipid show about geeky viking kids riding weird looking dragons) and I know because when I got up this morning to watch my DC Nation Cartoons (even checked the TV schedule on my DVR to make sure it was recording and it listed that they both had pending new episodes to record today) I saw lame dragons and lamer vikings. I am quite annoyed and will no longer be giving Cartoon Network the time of day...and I encourage anyone who might be reading this to do the same...boycott Cartoon Network until they get their act together and stop pulling good shows for the weird crap that they bloat their network with.

The DC nation cartoon block is set to return this we will how long we get to watch then before the put us on another hiatus

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Shijin (or Shishin) were 4 or 5 (depending on the country) beast gods that protected the four corners of the world, according to Japanese and Chinese mythology. The Shijin were a Blue Dragon (Seiryu/Qinglong), a Red Phoenix (Suzaku/Zhuque), a White Tiger (Byakko/Baihu) and a Black Tortoise (Genbu/Xuanwu). They represented the 4 elements, the 4 seasons, and the 4 points on a compass. Seiryu was East, Wind, and Spring, Suzaku was South, Fire, and Summer, Byakko was West, Metal, and Autumn, and Genbu was North, Winter, and Earth/Water,The Chinese myth also had a Yellow Beast (Ouryu/Huang Long) which was the Center of the Compass, and Aether (or Void). These legendary beasts have made a big impression on cartoons and video games. Here are some notable examples

The Digimon Anime had the Digimon Sovereigns who were embodiments of the Shijin. Ebonwumon (Genbu), Baihumon (Byakko), Zhuqiamon (Suzaku), Azulongmon (Seiryu), and Fanglongmon (Ouryu).
The Beyblade Anime had a team called the Breakers whose Bit-Beast allies were based on the Shijin. Draciel (Genbu), Driger (Byakko), Dranzer (Suzaku), Dragoon (Seiryu), and Gaia Dragoon (Ouryu)

Final Fantasy 10 the RPG video game had the Shijin all appear in the game as themselves, but Ouryu was replaced with a yellow dragon-like animal called Kirin (which, while having yellow dragon traits, was based on the unicorn-like Kirin/Qilin, often closely tied to the Shijin, and in fact replaced Byakko as a Shijin during the reign of the Yellow Emperor in ancient China)

The video game Monster Hunter featured many dragons and 5 of them resembled the Shijin. The tortoise-like Apceros (Genbu), the white tiger-like Barioth (Byakko), the red bird-like Hypnocatrice (Suzaku),  the blue dragon Lagiacrus (Seiryu), and the silver unicorn-like Kirin (Qilin).

The mobile game Guardian Cross had the Shijin appear as hard to kill "Giant" guardians.An interesting fact is that the Shijin in the game had the swirling orbs that the Digimon version of the Shijin had. Also there was no Ouryu, but the Unicorn in the game had golden-yellow armor (similar to Byakko's silver armor) and was huntable in the same zone as the Shijin.
The mobile game Puzzles & Dragons introduced the Shijin as the "Chinese Celestials", 5 animal-themed goddesses. Each goddess represented an element; Genbu Meimei was Earth, Byakko Haku was Darkness, Suzaku Leilan was Fire, Seiryuu Karin was Water, and Kirin Sakuya was Light.
Ouryu was also in Puzzles & Dragons as a "Chinese Celestial", but instead of a goddess, he was an emperor god called Emperor Kouryu Fagan, who shared the light element with Kirin Sakuya.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Psylocke costume history

The many costumes of Psylocke. At first, she wore a Captain Britain costume that gave her powers similar to her brother, and when her own telepathic powers kicked in, she created her first pink Psylocke costume. Later she added armor to giver her an edge in physical combat. After her mind and DNA got swapped with a Japanese assassin, Psylocke wore a blue-and-gold X-Men training uniform, before donning her iconic blue swimsuit with ribbons over the the gloves and boots, and a red sash. When her telepathy got turned into telekinesis, Psylocke switched to a black bare midriff bodysuit, and when the X-Men later all got black leather costumes Psylocke wore a black leather version of her swimsuit costume. When reality got warped by Scarlet Witch Psylocke got a black suit adorned with a purple dragon. The she got a black-and-purple bare midriff bodysuit when reality returned to normal.After regained her telepathy (and still keeping her telekinesis), Psylocke wore a black-and-silver version of her original swimsuit costume. And finally Psylocke donned a purple bodysuit with elements of her previous costume when she became a member of X-Force (a secret ops branch of the X-Men). Later she witched to a black bodysuit with a white x-emblem and purple sash belt. In the Ultimate Universe Psylocke wore a black-leather bare midriff X-men uniform.

Jean Grey's Phoenix costume history

The many costumes of Jean Grey aka The Phoenix. First Jean wore the black-and-gold uniform of Marvel Girl (later she would trade in the costume for a green mini-dress and a yellow version of her mask), then she bonded with the Phoenix Force and became Phoenix and gained the classic and well-known green-and-gold uniform with the phoenix emblem on a triangular field of black. When she was corrupted by the evil Mastermind, Jean became the Dark Phoenix, and the green of her phoenix costume was changed to dark red with a much larger bird emblem and no black. After she "died" on the moon, Jean came back as Marvel Girl with a green-and-yellow costume. Later Jean switched it for a sleeker red version, and then a blue and yellow version with a tiara. In the 90's Jean reclaimed the name of Phoenix she wore what is considered to be her classic look; a gold-and blue uniform with a tiara and shoulder armor. Once Jean regained the Phoenix Force she switched her costume to a red-and-gold uniform that had aspects of her 90's costume and her Dark Phoenix costume. When the X-Men all got black leather costumes, Phoenix got a black-and-gold uniform. When she fought an evil mutant posing as Magneto, she appeared as a flaming energy version of her Dark Phoenix persona.  When the Magneto impersonator killed Phoenix, a ghostly image of Jean wearing a costume that combined elements of her second Marvel Girl costume and her first Phoenix costume appeared to her daughter Rachel. When the Phoenix Force was damaged it came to Earth and re-bonded with Jean's body to heal itself and placed her in a bright red version of her classic green Phoenix costume, and after Jean asserted her control over the Phoenix she manifested a white version of her first Phoenix costume. And then when a younger version of Jean was transported to the present, young Jean wore a green, white, and black costume as her X-Men uniform. Later she redesigned her costume into a green-and-yellow uniform that combined elements of the classic green Marvel Girl and Phoenix uniforms. In an alternate timeline set during the events of the Avengers vs X-Men, Phoenix evolved her costume into a black-and-red version of her classic Phoenix costume with a golden bird-emblem breastplate. In one proposed comic Jean would have regained the Phoenix Force in the 90s and would have worn a gold-and-black stylized version of her classic Phoenix costume. In an alternate timeline shown in the Mutant X comics, Jean never became the Phoenix and was codenamed Ariel and wore a red-and-gold bodysuit. In the Ultimate Universe, Jean wore a black-and-yellow bare midriff uniform as Marvel Girl, and kept the uniform even when she became the Phoenix. In a parallel universe where events diverged in the 90's with Wolverine's death, Jean had her powers amplified by a villain named Cortez and became the Phoenix again, altering her 90's gold-and-blue costume into a blue-and-gold version of her classic Phoenix costume. In a parallel universe where Jean never left the X-factor team, she wore a black and yellow suit with an x-theme. 150 years from now Jean Grey was resurrected in a dark future world by the Phoenix Force...and found herself in a skimpy and spiky black leather costume and when she used her powers her skin turned to golden flames

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Marvel's White Tiger history

The mantle of the White Tiger has been used by several Marvel characters. The first White Tiger was Hector Ayala, a martial artist who was empowered by a mystical tiger amulet. After his death, a real white tiger was evolved by the High Evolutionary into a human woman who was highly skilled in several types of martial arts (as well as able to shape-shift back into her tiger form) and was called White Tiger. Unable to cope with human emotions, the second White Tiger was permanently transformed back into a tiger, leaving Kasper Cole free to become the third White Tiger. A scion of the Black Panther, Kasper had a white version of the Black Panther suit (complete with vibranium claws) and was given special herbs to endow him with cat-like abilities until he abandoned his heroics. Hector Ayala's niece Angela del Toro was given his tiger amulet, transforming her into the fourth White Tiger, and she used her cat-like powers and stealth abilities to combat crime until she was corrupted by evil mystic ninjas known as the Hand. Angela's cousin Ava Ayala (Hector's youngest sister) was given the amulet after Angela's corruption, and is the current White Tiger, joining the Avengers Academy and learning to control her tiger-like powers.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Batmobile is a famous vehicle that has been portrayed several times in film and tv, but Batman isn't the only masked marvel in Gotham with a set of wheels...Catwoman has also driven a Catmobile (in fact she has driven several)

The 60's showed Batman fans a bright green fuzzy Catmobile for Catwoman in the Adam West tv series. Then, a sleek black-and-red Catmobile was given to Selina Kyle in the 70's in the comics and later in the Batmobiles toyline. The Batman Returns film released a purple Catmobile for the movie tie-in toys. The DC Universe Hot Wheels toys showed that Catwoman had a very sleek sporty Catmobile. And finally, a Lamborghini with flaming tail-pipes and black armor that resembled the Nolan era Batmobile was considered for a possible vehicle for Anne Hathaway's Catwoman character in Dark Knight Rises but she ended up driving the Bat-Pod.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The evolution of animated Catwoman. The Filmation Batman cartoon series featured a shrill evil Catwoman clad in green and white. This version didn't have any sort of romantic interest in Batman, and primarily engaged in evil plots to rule the world. The second series, loosely based on the Adam West Batman altered her costume to orange with a cat head on her chest, black cat mask, and white gloves and boots. Like her green predecessor, she had a shrill, grating voice and was completely evil and had no feeling towards Batman besides hatred. The Fox Batman series introduced a much more comic accurate Catwoman, a gray cat-suited jewel thief with a husky sultry voice who was romantically involved with Batman. Unlike the previous versions, Catwoman was somewhat heroic (protecting big cats from extinction), and an adept fighter and thief. She wore her gray costume for three seasons, until season 4 where she was changed to resemble the Michelle Pfieffer Catwoman, pale white skin and a tight solid black catsuit. The CW series The Batman made Catwoman a ninja-like thief with night-vision goggles (as Catwoman was then wearing in the comics), and despite her attraction to Batman wouldn't hesitate to double-cross him if it served her best interests. She often wore her whip around her waist, which looked like a cat's tail, and had red accents to her costume that contrasted nicely with her shiny black costume. And finally the Brave and the Bold introduced Catwoman as a villain who attempted to feed Batman to her tiger, lion, and black jaguar. However the two quickly developed a mutual attraction that occasionally led the thief to help Batman. Her costume was based off her early look in DC comics in the 50's, a purple and green dress with a cape and a cat-cowl. Unlike the Catwoman portrayals in the Batman series on Fox and CW, Catwoman in Brave and the Bold didn't use gloves with built-in retractable claws, but instead had perfectly manicured nails that transformed into sharp red-polished talons at her whim.
On my last post I focused on how the characters of the Batman film franchise have evolved and changed over the years. This time I will focus on the portrayal and evolution of the Batman film vehicles

During the Adam West film era, the vehicles of Batman were as bright and campy as the film itself, with red being the predominant color in all the vehicles. The Batmobile, Batcycle, Batcopter, and Batboat were the epitome of 60's style

The late 80's/early 90's Batman films abandoned the bright red vehicles and went with sleeker, black vehicles for Batman to drive. The Batmobile, Batcycle, Batwing, and Batboat were not only high-speed transports for the Dark Knight, but were weapons as well.

The mid-90's Batman films added a skeletal, ribbed effect to the vehicles of the Caped Crusader, as well as the making the vehicles themselves seem more stylized. The Batmobile, Batcycle, Batwing, and Batboat all seemed more menacing the the previous incarnations
The late 90's saw the Batman films bring back the 60's feel to the Bat-Vehicles, adding shining red and retro-designs to the previously dark and futuristic transports. The Batmobile, Batcyle, Bathammer, and Batsled all seemed unusually shiny and bright for the Batman.
The 2000's introduced vehicles for the Batman that were angular, black, and militaristic. The Batmobile, Bat-Pod, Batwing, and Batboat seemed more fitting for a soldier than a superhero like Batman

Robin also had a few vehicles over the film franchise, the 60's saw the Boy Wonder driving his tiny R-Cart, and the late 90's saw Robin riding the Robin-Cycle, and dark and sleek Redbird cycle soon after. Then the Attack Skiff Redbird was given to the Boy Wonder, and then the Nolan era introduced the Bustertank in Robin's colors.

Batgirl patrolled the streets of Gotham on her dark purple Batgirl-Cycle in the 60's, however before it was officially revealed on the screen it was given a lace ruffled makeover. Batgirl then raced down the dark city streets on the decidedly more heroic and practical Batblade in the late 90's, and also had the Icestrike Cycle, and then Nolan era released the Jetcruiser in Batgirl's colors

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Over the years, Batman Robin and Batgirl...and Catwoman on occasion...have prowled the nights of Gotham City on the Silver Screen. Here are the different versions of the four heroes as they have appeared on film

The Adam West Era of the Batman franchise was very popular in the 60's, although criticized for its campy nature and bright colorful costumes. Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin, Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, and Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

The late 80s/early 90's introduced fans to a darker Batman with black rubber and vinyl bodysuits instead of brightly colored tights and spandex, and grim humor in place of campy quirks. Michael Keaton as Batman, Chris O'Donnell as Robin, Dina Meyer as Batgirl, and Michelle Pfieffer as Catwoman

The late 90's/early 2000's brought what many considered to be the end of the Batman franchise...from the neon lit backdrops, to the molded nipples and buttocks on the Batman and Robin costumes, to the lack of accuracy in the costume designs. The Batman and Robin film, along with Catwoman film are considered to be the worst movies of the Batman mythos. George Clooney as Batman, Chris O'Donnell as Robin, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, and Halle Berry as Catwoman

Christopher Nolan pulled the Batman movie franchise back into the spotlight with a dark, ultra-realistic tone and dark hi-tech armor. And though Robin and Batgirl didn't appear in the film, costume designs were made by talented fans. Christian Bale as Batman, unknown model as Robin, unknown model as Batgirl, and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

With the success of the film franchise, the heroes of the Bat-Family made their way to the stage. The Batman Live World Arena characters wore suits that combined elements of the Batman movies with the DC comics costumes. Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and Catwoman were portrayed by various theatre actors

Friday, June 15, 2012

So next year we will be seeing Power Rangers Megaforce on Nickelodeon. If you want a sneak peak of is a quick rundown of the good guys

Black Megaforce Ranger, he is an Earth Type Ranger who has the power of the Snake and controls the Snake Mechazord
In Ultra Mode, Black Ranger gains the CrocodileZord
Pink Megaforce Ranger is an Air type Ranger with the power of the Phoenix and controls the Phoenix Mechazord
In Ultra Mode, Pink Ranger pilots the InsectZord
BlueMegaforce  Ranger is a Water type Ranger with the power of the Shark and controls the Shark Mechazord
In Ultra Mode, Blue Ranger controls the DolphinZord

Yellow Megaforce Ranger is an Earth type Ranger who has the power of the Tiger and pilots the Tiger Mechazord
In Ultra Mode, Yellow Ranger pilots the ElephantZord
Red Megaforce Ranger is an Air type Ranger who has the power of the Dragon and pilots the Dragon Mechazord
In Ultra Mode, Red Ranger pilots the CondorZord
Green Megaforce Ranger is a Water type Ranger who has the power of the Porpoise and pilots the Porpoise MechaZord.
In Ultra Mode, Green Ranger pilots the OstrichZord

RoboKnight is a Knight (Earth, Air, Water) type Ranger who has the power of the Lion and controls the Lion Mechazord
Gosei Great Megazord, formed from the Dragon, Shark, Phoenix, Snake,and Tiger  Zords.

Gosei Jet Megazord, formed from the Condor, Dolphin, Insect, Crocodile, and Elephant Zords
Gosei Green Megazord, formed when the Porpoise replaces the Tiger in the Gosei Great Megazord.

Mystic Gosei Great Megazord, Gosei Great Megazord with the Crane attached
Gosei Grand Megazord, LionZord combined with the Jet and Submarine Leozords

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nightwing the Animated versions: Batman Animated series' 4th season introduced the first cartoon appearance of the former boy wonder. He wore a modified version of Nightwing's 1st late 90's black-and-blue comic costume, with the blue V design changed into the now iconic bird emblem. Then the Teen Titans introduced Nightwing as the adult version of Robin in a dark future. This incarnation had an appearance similar to the first animated Nightwing, with a redesigned bird emblem, belt, and gauntlets. Then "The Batman" followed the Teen Titans' lead and had a dark future episode with Robin as an adult Nightwing, wearing the Batman animated series costume with some minor enhancements. Under the Red Hood DC DVD showcased Nightwing in a suit that was very similar to the Nightwing 90's black-and-blue comic costume..with the addition of blue cuffs on his gloves and boots. Batman: Brave and the Bold had Robin trade his Earth-2 Robin costume for the original bleu-and-gold Nightwing costume. Finally Young Justice has Robin becoming Nightwing, wearing a suit that embodies elements of the Batman Animated Series and Teen Titans cartoon costumes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Many Hosts of the Phoenix Force

Jean Grey (Phoenix) may be the best known host of the Phoenix Force, but she isn't the only person to wield the cosmic flame of creation. Her daughter Rachel Grey (Marvel Girl) and son Nate Grey (X-Man) both have manifested the Phoenix Force, as well as Emma Frost (White Queen) and her daughter Celeste. Charles Xavier once channeled residual Phoenix Force energies, and Hope Summers has manifested the Phoenix Force firebird. In the 30th century Giruad of New Haven became the Phoenix Force's host, while Wolverine was given temporary Phoenix powers when he touched a bullet forged from a Phoenix Force fragment. In an alternate reality future, Franklin Richards (son of Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four) was the host of the Phoenix Force. In another alternate future Psylocke was shown to be among the Phoenix's hosts. In a parallel dimension, Storm became the Phoenix Force's host instead of Jean Grey. Quentin Quire hosted the Force in two alternate futures. When iron Man developed a device to shatter the Phoenix Force, he unknowingly separated it and forced the Phoenix fragments into Cyclops, Colossus, Magik and Namor, as well as Emma Frost again. In a divergent timeline where the Iron Man wasn't able to separate the Phoenix into pieces, Magneto became the Phoenix. Iron Fist briefly came into contact with the Phoenix Force. When the Phoenix Force was pulled into the Ultraverse it possessed a young pyrokinetic named Amber Hunt. And Spider-Man briefly manifested Phoenix powers when he fought a robotic duplicate of Rachel Grey as Phoenix.
The Phoenix Echo...if the Phoenix Force is too much to handle, this pale blue "shadow" of the Phoenix Force seems to be more "user friendly". First (and only) used by Rachel Grey aka Marvel Girl, the Phoenix Echo was created when a sword containing a fading shadow fragment of the Phoenix Force was used to attack Rachel. As daughter of Phoenix (and once was the Phoenix herself), Marvel Girl possessed a natural spark of the Phoenix Force, which called to the piece in the sword. When the two combined inside Marvel Girl, she manifested a Phoenix Echo (a burning bird effect similar to the Phoenix Force, only the flames were blue instead of gold). Her Phoenix Echo made her almost as powerful as her mother, until the Phoenix Echo left to rejoin the Phoenix Force.
Psionic constructs are a relatively new comic term. Essentially they are physical manifestations of mental powers. The best known psi-construct was the telepathic psi-knife (and later telekinetic psi-katana) of Psylocke. And her body-swapped double Revanche had a psionic sword. Later, Cable gained a psimitar ( a psionic energy spear) and Jean Grey (after she assumed the codename Phoenix) developed the power to manifest a psionic firebird ( a sparkly pink version of the Phoenix Force effect). And most recently Kid Omega manifested a psionic shotgun. Also some characters mental powers ONLY manifest as constructs, Bunker of the Teen Titans projects his psychokinetic energy as bricks, and Fixx of X-Factor has some telepathic talents that manifest as fairies. The psi-contructs aren't limited to heroes, the Black Queen of London's Hellfire Club can generate psychic skinning blades on mental chains.
Quentin Quire...Kid Omega or Kid Phoenix? I wasn't a big fan of Kid Omega when he first appeared. I mean sure I liked his power set (omega-level telepathy, hyper-intelligence, and later he developed telekinesis), but he was a mean little punk who irritated me even before he started a riot at Xavier's Institute. However this borderline psycho has grown on me thanks to the new comic series "Wolverine and the X-Men". I mean if you think Psylocke making a psychic knife and sword is cool...Quentin can make psionic shotguns. And in two futures it is shown that Quentin will be a host of the Phoenix Force (and I loved his future Phoenix costume in WaXM 4) and I do have a weak spot for any Marvel character who has the Phoenix.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nightwing Costume Evolution

Dick Grayson was the original Robin, sidekick to Batman. When Batman dismissed the need for Robin, Robin decided to become his own hero and fly solo. Taking his father's dark blue-and-robin's egg blue trapeze artist costume and accenting it with yellow feathers (as a nod to his yellow cape as Robin) and a mask, Robin left the nest as took flight as Nightwing. Later Nightwing's girlfriend Starfire would modify it, making the yellow feathers a wing emblem, adding a utility belt, and adding yellow cuffs to the gloves. Starfire also installed functional glider wings under the arms to allow Nightwing to fly short distances in the new costume. When Nightwing left Gotham to further remove himself from Batman's shadow, he became the hero of the city of Bludhaven. Feeling his suit was too bright for a vigilante, he developed a black suit with a blue wing emblem similar to Batman's bat symbol, and mini-utility belts hidden in the cuffs of the gloves and boots. Later, Nightwing would streamline his suit into a sleek black costume with a robin's egg blue bird emblem, and a mask that resembled Batman's bat symbol. Finally, after the events of New 52, Nightwing's suit is a black armored body suit with a red bird emblem that is very similar to the Batman bat symbol.

Gosei Green, an unsung hero. In addition to loving comics...I love sentai and Japanese cartoons. One such show was Goseiger. In the series, there were three sets of two heroes...two air, two land, and two water Goseigers (or Power Rangers if the sentai ever gets adapted). The Blue Goseiger (Gosei Blue) was a water (Seaick) hero had a giant blue shark mecha  (or Zord as they are called here in the states) called Gosei Shark, and the second of the Seaicks was Gosei Green..who had a five second battle scene in a flashback where it was revealed that he died before the Goseigers all teamed up. Green's suit was a recolor of Blue's, and his mecha was a recolor of Blue's second Dolphin mecha (Green's mecha was called Gosei Porpoise).
The Phoenix Force...power incarnate...the thing that got me reading comics. In 5th grade a kid brought in the "Dark Phoenix Saga" trade and I fell in love with Jean Grey and her Phoenix Force...and through her, I fell in love with comics. To this day my favorite heroes are still the bearers of the Phoenix (Jean, Nate, and Rachel Grey)