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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Comics 411 7.30.14: Best Batman Gadgets Edition
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 07.30.2014

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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week. Check out my Hollywood gossip (and anything else!) Hollywood 5 & 1 and my weekend movie recap The Big Screen Bulletin!

Click and read my interview with Playboy'sMiss June, Jessica Ashley! While you're at it, check out my interview with Playboy's 2014 Playmate of the Year, Kennedy Summers!

SAN DIEGO COMIC CON! Another year, another...year. Here is some B-Roll footage directly from Marvel for their Comic-Con Hall H Panel. The first video is footage of the Ant-Man panel, while the last two are for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Obviously the footage does not include the footage screened from either movie. Look for 411mania's own recap of Comic Con tomorrow!


Last week Nick Fury took center stage and I paired up two different Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. covers. Which one do you like more?

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Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 62.84%
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 37.16%

Looks like #4 was the clear winner here. I'm still a huge fan of both these gems here and think they're a cool example of the potential comic covers have.

This week Captain America comes forward.First up is his first cover appearance ever with Captain America #1. Right across from it is the return of Captain America to comics, leading the Avengers! Which one is more iconic to you?

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Last week we discussed the funniest out-of-context comic book panels. I had a list of 15 but could have had 100. Here's the results:

Wait. Does it matter which one won? They all were pretty funny. If you really want to know, the Hawkeye/Tigra picture got the most votes. But Batman definitely has some explaining to do. Here's what you all had to say:


Not sure how Gustafson came up with the idea or how he found such hilarious examples, but kudos to him.

I'd say it's a multi-way tie between options 1, 2, 3, 5, 6-10, and 12-15. How does one grade humorous, unintentional sexual innuendo?

I suppose, if I were forced to choose, I'd have to go with #2. That one's not just an unintentional pun, it's unintentional sketch comedy. Batman being the only one to mention a guy, and Batman coincidentally going last...is just too much. Brilliant stuff."

Wrestling Fan: "How can I pick just one???"

AO: "Aunt May wins it for me!"

BobSacamano: "I got a great laugh out of some of these haha. Especially when everyone is listing off people they've touched and they are all women until Batman says Robin. Also, there is no right context for the one where Bruce and Dick wake up in the same bed next to each other."

CMWolf: "The Aquaman Home For Seamen......priceless!"

Caliber_"Nickname"_Winfield: "Joker's Boner is like the Holy Grail of out of context comic panels, because even in context it's funny. I use to see that panel all the time in the early internet days, and always thought it was a fake, because, c'mon, it's just too good to be real. But hell, it is."

FR3: "This was a tough one. I thought the funniest was the Joker's Boner."

gooched: "Hilarious, that golden rain one had me cracking up on an awful day. I read Batman #33 the last couple of pages actually gave me man tears, it's really profound."

CyberVenom: "Awesome! Totally awesome! All are great! Any of the DC or Marvel comics in the WW2 era until the 60s where someone says "Daddy Spank" are always gold too!"

PocketCommie: "10 for the gold (showered with it, coincidentally), 6 in the Mckayla Maroney position, and 15 with the bronze."

Murr Hurr: "How telling is it that almost half of these are Batman and Robin? The implication has always been there, but it's like they really wanted to just come out and say it."

KipSmithers: "Good thing I never could get into comics as a kid. I'd be even more confused!"

AG Awesome: "15 had me crying I was laughing so hard. The "..." followed by the "waist down" line and the way his face looks =PERFECTION!"

furedogg: "that was laugh out loud funny. Thanks"

Gil: "Funny poll!!

But what is Joker's "boner" refering to? Can't think of any other meaning to boner than a hard on and that cannot be what the Joker meant. Right?"

James M. Fabiano: "I will pay someone money if they meet Mark Hamill and get him to recite the "boners" line in his Joker voice, AND they have recorded proof that he did so."

Thanks again everyone. OK, first piece of business:

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With that out of the way:

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?" While Batman doesn't have superpowers, he doesn't let that stop him when it comes to inspiring fear in the hearts of the cowardly. Batman stays one step ahead of his villains rogue by using his money and know-how to create a wide assortment of weaponry, technology, and vehicles that fall under the umbrella of Bat-gadgets.

With our caped crusader turning 75, let's take a look at the...

Best Batman Gadgets

I'm sticking with ONLY gadgets from the comic books. Sorry, no Bat-ice skates. Other than that, let's have some fun! Which one is your vote for the Best Batman Gadget? Did I miss one or two? Vote and let me know below.

Underwater Boot Propellers
Grab Jeph Loeb's Batman #611 and check out how slick Batman is. Poison Ivy has Superman under her spell and she orders him to attack Batman and Catwoman. Supes attacks and sends both Catwoman and the Bats into the water and their doom. Never fear. Not only is Batman an excellent swimmer but he has miniature propellers built into his boots that allow him to glide through the water.

Bat Signal
Perhaps one of the most well known gadgets, the Bat Signal is the surefire way for Commissioner Gordon to get in touch with Batman. Depending on who you ask, either Gordon came up with the idea or Batman created it because a bright light shining in the sky is the best way to draw the attention of the caped crusader and warn bad guys that he's on the case.

Utility Belt
When the Dark Knight needs something when he's exploring, investigating, or fighting, he always relies on his trusty belt. How he fits everything into those pouches is a mystery for another time but this is his go to accessory.

Bat-Shark Repellent
"But, But, But, But Steve! That was from the 60s TV show, not the comics!" Actually, this gadget was first introduced in 1958's Batman #117. Batman pulled this one out while he and Robin took on an underwater sea monster on a strange alien world. He eve identified it as his Shark Repellent. That's how cool he is. It's both shark AND alien sea monster repellent.

Since it's introduction, the Bat-Computer has had the capacity to do just about everything. Police scanner, clue analyzer, fingerprint checker, you name it, this machine can do it. It's linked with a special satellite, contains info about Batman's foes AND friends and used by writers to move along the action when they write themselves into a corner.

Bat Call
You will remember this one from Batman: Year One. Our young Batman is cornered by the Gotham PD and he activates a high-pitched sonar device. After a few minutes, hundreds of bats flood Gotham, cause chaos, and allow Batman to make his escape. A cool visual and a created a cool little niche in the Dark Knight legend.

Spider-Man has his webs and Batman has his grapple. Depending on the occasion, he either throws it with his own Bat-strength or shoots it out of a gun for bigger distances. You almost can't think of Batman without thinking of his Bat-Grapple.

This one will win the poll but I had to include it. No matter what model (convertible, speedster, tank), the Batmobile is almost as famous as Batman. It's legacy runs through comics, film, animation, live action, and video games. It's proven essential for Batman and his exploits as he can tap into the Bat computer, control it by remote control, and hold some of his other cool toys. keep spare gadgets.

Another piece of Batman mythos that is as Batman himself. Also like Batman, the Batarang has gone through several incarnations and had a number of uses. It's weapon capabilities include being electrified, explosive, remote controlled, and a number of other surprise uses. He's used it to knock guns out of bad guys hands and cut rope to save someone. Throw a rope on it and you've got a grappling hook. Most importantly, it's Batman's calling card letting the villains know that it's about to go down.

Cowl with Built-In Lie Detector
Didn't know about this one? Catch it in use in Batman #3. Hidden in his cool cowl, Batman has a built-in lie detector that can read a villain's heart rate and body temp. Then it relays to Batman if they're being straight up or not. Go, Batman, go!

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Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! If we can get enough people doing a weekly review on a consistent basis, I would love to spin it off into it's own column. One step closer to getting a Comic Book section back at 411mania! Take it away, RobF!

Superman #33

By RobF

Geoff Johns, John Romita, Jr and Co. continue the story of Ulysses in Superman 33. The compelling story plus the outstanding artwork is making the Man of Steel a must read. Superman has always had big events and anticipated story arcs throughout its historic run but this has the potential to be one of the biggest.

Johns is devoting the early part of his Superman run to reacquainting us with the Daily Planet crew, which was something sorely lacking in recent issues. In this issue Perry White takes center stage. Gone is the old fatherly newpaperman, replaced by a hard-nosed city editor. Also of note is the debut of the confident journalist Clark Kent. For someone like me who hasn't read Superman in ages these changes are far overdue.

This issue focuses on the mystery of Ulysses: It's interesting to note how much of a secondary player Superman seems in this issue. Superman 33 spends a lot of time with Ulysses trying to understand and become acclimated with being on Earth. It makes for an interesting dynamic as the alien Superman has to teach the human Ulysses how to be more human.

The art is what drew me to this series and Romita does not disappoint. He is the perfect artist for this type of book. The rest of the art team compliments him well as Janson and Martin help make the book a beautiful, bright spectacle that pops.

As we move forward the mystery of Ulysses grows but the real story here is the character development of the secondary characters. Johns continues to present a strong story with sharp dialogue and the right mix of action. Kudos to all.

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Batman and Robin #33

By Rob Bonnette

The story starts off where Robin Rises: Omega left off. Batman and the rest of the Justice League, alongside Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, fought some of Darkseid's forces to a relative standstill, but were unable to stop them from returning to Apokolips with Damian Wayn'e body. Batman is ready to go after his son's body but the rest of the Justice League objects. Whereas Bruce was originally trying to retrieve Damian's body just to give it a proper burial he sees a chance to revive him on Apokolips.

The rest of the league isn't going for it, though. First they argued it was too dangerous, then that by going there to bring back the dead they were trying to play God. And as he is wont to do, Bruce immediately calls them on their BS. First he asks Aquaman how he would feel if this was Mera, which prompts a ‘that was unfair' in response and a ‘yeah, that's the point' retort from Bruce. Batman then heads for the Watchtower to make plans to go himself. The newest League member, Lex Luthor seems amused by the way in which Batman seems to be making his own rules and doing whatever he wants. Lex of course believes that he and Bruce are one in the same, albeit with different methods.

The argument goes to the Watchtower where Bruce plans to use the special suit that the other League members made for him to go on his own to Apokolips and retrieve Damian's body. After another heated exchange, he appears to relent and goes home. It's here that Superman finds him and they have what seems to be a heart to heart talk where Bruce admits to being out of line and Clark expresses his sympathy for a father wanting to get back his son. After Superman flies away, Bruce goes down to the Batcave where Batgirl, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Alfred await him. In the final panel he begins to explain what he's going to need from everyone. His backing down from the rest of the League was a ruse; his true intention was to gather his own crew to get Damian back should the Justice League not be down for the task.

This issue was short on action and long on dialogue, but it was meaningful. We saw Bruce in uncommon form, acting almost completely on emotion and not on the cold, hard logic that he usually brings to the table. In just a few lines Luthor continued to show us how he's watching and learning how things operate inside the Justice League, and how Bruce really doesn't completely buy into what the other members have managed to convince themselves they stand for. It's always fun to see Bruce call out the other good guys for being either naïve or hypocritical, and the closing scene where Bruce has in essence said ‘forget those losers, I'm riding with people who are down for the cause' is a great setup for the next issue.

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Alpha Flight! Back in June, X-Men veterans of both animation and comics Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle took the reins of Amazing X-Men.

For fans of Alpha Flight, this was good news as they paired up our favorite Canadian superteam with our merry mutants. Newsarama spoke with both these gents and here are the highlights:

On what to expect from World War Wendigo: Yost: "Well, Wendigo mostly. Lots of them. A lot. Ed McGuinness and Carlo Barberi have really pulled out all the stops artistically, but they may have Perez levels of Wendigo here. But on top of that, Craig and I really wanted to kick offwith a big adventure, something anyone could pick up and enjoy without knowing the minutia of the X-Universe. Just a big, fun super-hero epic that people expect from Amazing X-Men after Jason Aaron's kick-off story."

Kyle: "Chris came up with the core concept and I loved it. It's such a huge uncontainable threat with direction connections to our core team and their history. Being old school fanboys, it seemed like the perfect story to tell for new and old fans alike. Readers should look forward to the big action Chris described as well as some fun twists and turns along the way."

On which Alpha Flight members are appearing: Yost: "Northstar's featured, obviously, and Vindicator, Guardian, Talisman and Puck come in early, but we don't stop there. You're going to see the entire, classic team."

Kyle: "This is my chance to work with these characters, so we couldn't resist bringing them all in. That said, we don't plan to sideline X-Men. This threat is absolutely enormous so it's going to take more than one team to stop it. It's all hands on deck for every hero in the title. We also love brining in other classic characters that can reveal other sides of our X-heroes."

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Dark! October is bringing big changes for the DC Comics lineup. I'm sure you're surprised. First is a brand new title for Justice League Dark writer J.M. DeMatteis, who will be writing the monthly series Trinity Of Sin, and a new focus on the members of "Justice League Dark.CBR News spoke to DeMatteis and here are the highlights:

On what he has planned: for the Justice League Dark "Crossovers can be quite a burden to bear, but I have to say I enjoyed "Blight" more than any crossover I've ever worked on thanks in no small part to the pleasure of collaborating with Ray Fawkes. We really tried to make the story matter -- for the DCU and for the individual characters. Still, when you're doing a massive, eighteen-part story, individuals can get lost in the shuffle. I felt we really needed to take a breath, slow things down and focus even more intensely on the characters.

Since "Blight" ended, Zatanna has stepped squarely into the spotlight: we're redefining her place on theteam and her relationship with Constantine. We recently spent two issues delving deeper into the psychology and mythology of Nightmare Nurse and this summer we're putting the focus squarely on Deadman.

Come the fall we jump ahead five years for "Futures End" -- big changes there, especially for Zatanna -- and then we're really amping things up again with the "JLD Annual," which comes out in October. That will lead in to a six-issue storyline that will shake things up yet again. We'll also be bringing back a few characters we haven't spotlighted for a while, so the ranks of the team will be significantly expanded. That said, we'll be doing it in a way that will allow us to keep focus on the individual characters."

On what makes a good JLD member: "Some of it just comes down to my personal favorites. I love the supernatural corners of the DCU; there are so many incredible characters to choose from and I pick ones that excite me. The trick, of course, is making sure that these characters fit in and enhance the team dynamic.

During "Blight," Swamp Thing -- one of my all-time favorites -- joined the JLD and the Demon -- another of my all-time favorites -- will be appearing in our "Futures End" issue in, I think, a very surprising way. In the fall we'll see the return of Frankenstein, Black Orchid (two characters who have worked well as team membersin the past (I felt their presence was missed) and Andrew Bennett. Bennett's a special case; I created the character [in "I... Vampire"] when I first started in the business and I'm really looking forward to writing him again.

One of the great joys of "JLD" is that I can explore every dark corner of the DCU that intrigues me and I have access to some of the greatest supernatural characters in any comic book universe. It doesn't get much better than that."

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Before I say GOODBYE!
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That's all the time I have. See you next week!


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