Today DC Comics announced their Batman related titles for the new relaunch in September. Naturally, Bruce Wayne is once again the on and only Batman, but what is really surprising is that Barbara Gordon is once again Batgirl. I thought it was very cool when, in the aftermath of The Killing Joke, Babs became Oracle and I have dearly loved that character, but, honestly, there is only one, true Batgirl and that is Barbara Gordon. I’m very OK with her walking again and taking up the cowl. What isn’t answered here is what’s to become of Tim Drake and Dick Grayson. There is a Nightwing book rumored, so we will update this article with any further announcements. Here’s how it all breaks down:
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Writer: Tony Daniel
Artist: Tony Daniel
BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Pat Gleason
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
Writer: David Finch
Artist: David Finch and Jay Fabok
Writer: Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder
Batman: Arkham Asylum is clearly one of the most anticipated games of the coming year. We previously revealed a few choice screenshots from this game, which caused quite a fervor in the post-Dark Knight Batman fan-base. From what we’ve seen so far, this game appears to reflect every bit the dark, visceral tale of Batman that was so prevalent in Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham City.
Here then, to compound the excitement for this game, is a trailer (courtesy of IGN.com) showcasing the Asylum itself. While this is a strictly a look at the game’s environment, it shows enough to keep my anticipation at an all-time high.
In the wake of The Dark Knight phenomenon comes a new chapter in the seemingly endless canon of Batman games. Earlier this week, Rocksteady Studios confirmed that they are developing the upcoming video game, Batman: Arkham Asylum and whipped fans into a frenzy. The game is being built on Unreal Engine 3 and promises a darker, more gritty look at the Batman universe. The game centers on Batman’s delivery of The Joker to Arkham Asylum and includes popular villains such as Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and Riddler.
After accidentally posting the ‘Worldwide Exclusive’ Game Informer screenshots of Batman: Arkham Asylum on their own site, Rocksteady Studios tried to clean up their gaffe… but they were too late. The leaked images have been picked up and promptly pulled from a few sources, so get them while you can!
Batman: Arkham Asylum is being developed by Rocksteady Studios for the PS3, XBox 360 and PC. It is tentatively scheduled for release some time in 2009.
Throughout his almost 70 years in print and licensing, Batman has survived a 60’s-camp television show, Prince dance numbers and yeah, even the whole nipple-costume thing. He’s an icon that continues to hold up over time. The recently-released Batman: Gotham Knight DVD/Blu-Ray is not only an example of the icon’s lasting appeal, but also a great example of how well he translates through the visual lens of other cultures. There has already been a Batman manga, so this anime seems like a no-brainer (which is made only more cooler because I now I get to to refer to the Batman anime as a Batmanime).
Gotham Knight is made up of six stories, all loosely connected, that take place in the Batman Begins universe. Each story is told in differing styles of anime, similar the Animatrix. On the surface, the Batmanime may seem like a superficial exercise. Even though each segment is directed by Japanese animators, the stories are written by some pretty notable American comic-types like Greg Rucka, David Goyer and Brian Azzarello, as well as (non-Japanese) writers Josh Dixon, Alan Burnett and Jordan Goldberg. But for the most part, the six segments manage to keep the core of the character, while giving the Bat-verse a new look and some anime-inspired misadventures.
The first segment, “Have I Got A Story For You”, is a rehash of sorts of the “Legends of the Dark Knight” episode from the Batman: The Animated Series that saw three kids telling street-level stories of meeting wildly different interpretations of Batman, including Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. It’s easily the most fun segment, as well as the most visually distinct. The director is Shoujirou Nishimi, who was an animation director on Tekkon Kinkreet. He uses the same style as the Tekkon Kinkreet here, as skater-kids explain their encounters with differing versions of Batman, including a shadow-lurking vampire and a robot Batman.
As fun as it is, luckily the rest of stories mostly get past the concept of “Look, it’s Batman, but he looks different!” Even when they don’t, it’s still cool to see anime-inspired Deadshot, Killer Croc and Crispus Allen’s several appearances. One of the best fusions of the Bat-verse and anime conventions is “The Field Test,” which sees Bruce Wayne getting hooked up with some sweet tech that should logically make his Batman-life much easier, but puts the ethics of his one-man war to the test.
The strongest of the vignettes is “Through the Pain.” Written by 100 Bullets’ Brain Azzarello, a gunshot-Batman flashbacks to his early looking globe-trotting days, looking for enlightenment—or at least a way to never be bothered with pain. It’s a classic conflicted-Batman tale that lives up to the premise of the Gotham Knight, by mixing the East and the West. Even if the East in the case is India, it’s still a great twist that sends our hero into a new setting, while still presenting the tragic hero we’ve seen in the funny pages.
The weakest segment of the bunch is unfortunately “Crossfire”, written by Greg Rucka, which more or less condenses a Gotham Central plot down to 10 minutes, and has the two protagonists accidentally drive literally into the middle of a massive gang shootout. It still works as atmosphere piece, with lots of foreboding shadows. And it also has a really creepy spin on Arkham Asylum.
For a running time clocking in at 70-plus minutes, you’re not likely to be disappointed. Also, according to the sticker on the case, it’s the first PG-13 Batman cartoon, which means a decapitation, some dude being shot in the head, and abdomen-blood spillage… just in case you’re really into gun shot wounds. Gotham Knight also serves as a nice warm-up to the upcoming feature film The Dark Knight. After this, the Final Frontier DVD and after a preview for the next Wonder Woman animated movie, DC seems to have a solid focus on the direct-to-DVD market.
What a day it has been for fans following the Dark Knight ARG. The viral marketing campaign took an interesting turn this morning when it was revealed that free pizzas would be distributed throughout the country, courtesy of Dominoes. Only available through the Gotham City Pizzeria website, strategic Dominoes locations were given a mystery prize pack that was to accompany the first pizza ordered online from from their store?
This prize pack (one of which we were able to get our hands on) contained a Citizens For Batman rubber bat-cowl and a note containing a clue to be shared with ‘other concerned Gotham citizens’. Once all the clues were found and pizzas delivered, fans gained access to a secret level of the Citizens For Batman web forums (hint: nycticeious/merritt).
Of course, since this game started with a text message from the Joker, it only seems fit that he should have the final say.. right?
The day’s Dark Knight ARG madness culminated with yet another clue. Around noon, the Joker cell phones began receiving a number of cryptic text messages that included an image and a note to “Share this piece where *any* clown can find it”.
Our cell phone received one as well, which included this image…
After a bit of research, it was determined that all the pictures received spelled out a new message.
DOMINOES COMMERCIAL 6/16
Also unveiled at mid-day were a new edition of The Gotham Times, which announces that Harvey Dent has won the election for Gotham District Attorney. The issue also included an advertisement for Gotham City Pizzeria, a new business whose website promises a “special promotion” on June 16. Closer inspection of the site reveals that it ‘powered by Dominoes Pizza’.
What could this mean? Well, the Gotham Cable News site was updated with a message saying that the latest edition of Gotham Tonight would be appearing online on Monday at noon. Fans are expecting the Dominoes commercial to be available then.
To make a little more sense of this madness, these images were slipped in our inbox. Could this be what is in store for people who place an order with Dominoes on Monday?
The first episode of Gotham Tonight is available to Comcast customers via their On-Demand service. Not a Comcast subscriber? You’re in luck…
Want more? How about a new trailer? Not much new footage here, but there are a couple new voiceovers by the Joker. Good stuff!
Original Story – 6/9/08
Here we go again! At 11:47 AM PST we received the following text message on our Joker cell phone…
“OK clowns, are you ready for some laughs? (y/n)”
We of course replied with an emphatic YES!!!
A few minutes later came this response…
“You make me smile. Hope you’re not superstitious”
What does it mean? Where will the game go next? I think its safe to assume that whatever Mr. J has up his sleeve, it will be unveiled this Friday the 13th. You can bet that we’ll be providing step-by-step coverage here.
Also, a few other sites involved in The Dark Knight ARG have been updated…
Plus, we just received this email from Harvey Dent’s campaign manager…
It’s been an incredible last few weeks. Ever since the vicious smear campaign collapsed and Harvey Dent’s remarkable courage at the hostage crisis at Rossi’s Deli, our campaign has ridden a wave of support I have never seen in all my political life.
Our Headquarters reopened and thousands of volunteers show up here every day, every night, fighting for change. Fundraising has reached incredible heights, with over 100,000 Gotham citizens contributing their hard-earned money in support of Harvey Dent’s vow to take back Gotham.
We’ve expanded our reach, opening branches in neighborhoods that haven’t seen political campaigns take them seriously for decades. And we’ve harnessed the incredible grassroots support by sending volunteers to knock on doors throughout the city. Amazingly, we will achieve our two millionth door knock sometime in between now and Election Day.
Harvey Dent has committed himself to lead the charge to take back our city, face down the criminal and corrupt and restore hope for our future.
Now, we need your help. We need to get out the vote!. And we need you to vote yourself. If you can’t make it to the polls, go to www.gothamelectionboard.com and find out how you can vote online. Working together, we will take back Gotham!
If you need to get caught up on this Alternate Reality Game, head on over to the Dark Knight ARG Wiki.