Crooked Cops, Judge Dredd, and Arkham Origins

Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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30 Responses

  1. Hollins Solomon says:

    DREDD was released in 2012, not last year.Report

  2. Ethan Gach says:

    You caught us! That part was written in December.Report

  3. Hollins Solomon says:


  4. Alan Scott says:

    *(To rectify this, I’ve written a Spider-man movie template that goes something like this: Movie starts in the middle of a fight. Spider-man vs. 2nd Tier Bad Guy. Rhino, maybe. Scorpion. The Vulture. One of those guys. 12-15 minutes worth of pure CGI mayhem. Spider-man wins. Spider-man realizes that the victory comes at the cost of getting to class/job/date on time. Oh Peter! Anyway, the movie proper starts now. We have interactions with Aunt May, with girlfriend, with classmates, and with secret identity of Main Bad Guy who will be the Main Bad Guy for the rest of the movie. Green Goblin. Doc Ock. Lizard. VENOM. And we devote the rest of the real part of the movie to Spidey vs. one of his quintessential baddies who doesn’t have to share time with anybody else. (Note: this formula also works for Batman. Suspect it works for everybody. Need to test.))

    I kinda get the impression that this is exactly what this year’s spider-man sequel is doing, right down to using the Rhino as the gets-beat-up-in-fifteen-minutes guy.

    That said, My favorite is still the Scarecrow Cameos in Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises as a way of illustrating that “yeah, these fishers just keep popping up” (Though I kinda get the impression that they really wish they’d been able to use the Joker instead of the Scarecrow for #3)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Without getting into spoilers, you need to play Origins.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Alan Scott says:

      exactly what this year’s spider-man sequel is doing, right down to using the Rhino as the gets-beat-up-in-fifteen-minutes guy.

      See? If they actually manage to do that, I suspect that the movie will be at least as good as the last one. When you compare the folks who used the KISS principle to the folks that didn’t, the results are downright striking. How many franchises were ruined by the idea that, for the sequel, we need to be bigger, better, and stuff even more storylines in there?Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        In a superhero movie, there’s a simple rule on how hard the bad guys must be to beat: They must be *slightly* harder to beat than it seems plausible the good guy can manage.

        If they’re too easy, the whole thing is stupid. If they’re too far, you require all sorts of ass-pulls to justify how they can be beaten.

        They need to be slightly too hard until some point in mid-battle, at which point something is revealed (Not an ass-pull, a Chekhov’s gun from earlier. Or a *very* small ass-pull.) that can beat them.

        This should repeat over and over in every battle. At least, for important battles. You can show them giving out an asskicking at the start of the movie to establish the character, or to establish new toys, or whatever.

        Often this Chekhov’s gun isn’t even an ability or anything, it’s just some *other* guy from before showing up to help.

        Constantly ramping up the bad guy in new movies is just idiotic when it’s the same hero with the same abilities. In fact, doing that often causes major problems in comic books where the heros get new powers as the plot demands, so it’s exceptionally stupid for that to start infecting movie superheros.Report

  5. Mike Dwyer says:

    I’m playing Arkham City right now and while I am greatly enjoying it, there definitely isn’t a huge change from the first game in terms of story. I appreciate having the controls and basic skills the same for continuity, but the story doesn’t feel that much different. I’m only about 50% through it though so I’m reserving my final critique,Report

  6. Tod Kelly says:

    @jaybird : “Note: this formula also works for Batman. Suspect it works for everybody. Need to test.”

    I think it has been tested pretty successfully a couple of dozen times. I think what you’re referring to is the Bond Model. Every one if those movies does exactly what you’re describing here.Report

  7. Kim says:

    Crooked cops seem to work far better in some genres than others.
    But the problem with Batman is — they’re trying too hard for him to be a good guy.
    And a vigilante.

    He doesn’t ask himself “why did I just do that?” the way the Hulk does.
    So there’s gotta be a reason why he didn’t just let the cops handle everything.

    (personally, I like a mostly uncorrupt police force (if lazy), and a decent amount
    of corruption at the high levels (by Powerful People) — and actually hard crimes
    to solve. Of course, then you have to justify why criminals are being Not Lazy…
    Some sort of criminal hierarchy would do the trick, I think — some sort of vetting
    of crimes.)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

      I think that, in recent years, they’ve really let up on the whole “good guy” thing in order to better explore the whole vigilante thing.

      They’ve even rehabilitated a handful of bad guys in order to explore what that would mean. Penguin is now a guy who sits in the booth in the back of the restaurant with a couple of vacant beauties on either side of him and he works deals with those who come to visit… and he’s explained to Batman that he provides stability at the cost of surely an acceptable level of corruption. They made Riddler a good guy for a couple of issues in which he tried to go straight and be a competitor to Batman’s “Detective”… but they didn’t go half as far with this as they could have before making him a bad guy again.

      At the same time they were doing this, they were pushing some interesting storylines about Batman not being half as good as we had thought, just a hell of a lot better than the things he was fighting. Sort of Lawful Neutral vs. Chaotic Evil storylines that pointed at (though never quite crossed over into) Lawful Evil vs. Chaotic Evil storylines.

      (Those got a little dark, actually.)

      They seem to be edging back into the good guy vigilante stuff. We’re all better off for them doing that.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:


        What are the top 3 comic titles on the market right now? I’m desperately wanting to start reading a few again but cannot decide where to plug back in.Report

      • E.C. Gach in reply to Jaybird says:

        I know you asked JB, but my two cents:

        “Batman Superman”

        “Sex Criminals”

      • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        That reminds me, I need to catch up on Saga.* I only have the 1st TPB. Vaughan’s the man.

        (And I will recommend his Ex Machina, as I always do.)

        *I am starting to have a problem though with TPBs. The releases are so spread out (even further when I forget to pick up the newest one), that I basically forget what was going on in the story by the time I read the next installment/arc/TPB.

        They either need to start adding “previously on”‘s, or I am just going to have to wait until a series ends and pick it all up at once**, which I hate to do because a good series might end early for lack of sales.

        ** Yes, I know I could buy them and just not read them until they are all available***, but who has that kind of self-control?

        ***Or, I could re-read the prior installments each time I get a new one, but who has that kind of time?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’d tell you to read the new Spider-man collected issues.

        The Ultimate Spiderman title was a real treat (and real easy to give to a 10 year old when we were done with them). Now we’re collecting the stories of Miles Morales and those are fun too and, yep, no problem giving them to a 12 year old.

        I’d recommend picking up Batman storylines the same way. They’ve got collections that have *ENTIRE* story arcs between two covers. You know that you’re not going to be left with a cliffhanger. Well, too much of a cliffhanger, anyway.

        You can pick up Batman: Year One and then pick up Batman: Death in the Family and then pick up something else entirely without feeling like you have to go back.

        Heck, pick up Bone and cleanse your palate.

        And then say “I wonder what happened with the Death in the Family story line” and then jump ahead and read Hush.

        And here’s the good news, if you remember being a fan of Iron Man, or The Hulk, or Green Lantern, or The Flash, they’ve got collected volumes of each of those. You can pick up an entire storyline for pretty much any of those guys.

        I’ve pretty much stopped collecting titles. I *DO*, however, collect collections.

        (Oh, and you should read Sandman.)Report

      • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        @JB – in your estimation, what would be an appropriate age for a child to read Bone? I actually DID buy that one and put it on the shelf, to read with The Boy.

        He loved Monster on the Hill; is Bone comparably scary, or more/less?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh, as for the Top Three Titles on the market?

        I’d probably have to say All-New X-Men, Avengers, and either Superior or Amazing Spider-man.

        But I’d only get back into comics via TPB collections (I disagree with Glyph’s take… your kid’s in college! You DESERVE to read that last book again!)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Glyph, there’s some really scary stuff in there but you don’t realize how scary some of it is until you’re in your 30’s and have Adult Responsibilities. I think that 10-12 would be just right for the accessible scary stuff.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:

        The last time I was reading Batman regularly was in college and the whole storyline with Bane and Azrael. One of the Batman titles had really trippy art for a while that I loved. Detective Comics maybe?

        Iron Man was my first love. I got my first subscription just a few issues before the Armor Wars storyline back in the 1980s. It was great timing. My best friend also subscribed and we would call each other when they arrived every month.

        I would love to pick up some collections but the problem is that I would just plow through them in a few days. I kind of want that anticipation I had when i was younger of that new title coming in the mail once per month.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Dwyer, the Batman artist you’re thinking of is either Kelley Jones or Brett Blevins. Blevins was kind of odd and was drawing Shadow of the Bat throughout at least part of Knightfall(/sQuest/sEnd). Jones was really out there with ten-inch ears and an extreme gothic look. He was doing covers during that time, though, and not the interior. He did do the interiors some time after Knightfall though.

        I myself have started getting back into comics in the periphery. After the death of Ted Kord and then Flashpoint, I don’t think I can go back to DC, which was my home. So I’m getting some third-publisher superheroes. Working through Dynamite’s Project Superpowers. I’m thinking about getting Red Circle’s New Crusaders.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jaybird says:


        I just did an image search and it was Kelley Jones. Man, I loved that stuff. Have to see what he is doing now.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        Fully acknowledged that the memory issue is mine. 3 small kids shoots your memory (and free time for re-reads) all to heck.

        I’m stalled out in the middle of both Unwritten and Wasteland; in each case I haven’t even read the most recent TPB I have, because I can’t remember what the heck was going on previously.Report

  8. Mike Schilling says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, nut I don’t understand quite what it’s for. My main problem with superhero stuff is that there’s way too much of it.Report

  9. North says:

    Out of curiosity have you read any of the Hellboy TPB’s? I love em myself though the wait for the TPB for his newest arc is -agonizing-.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      Mignola runs hot and cold for me. I can read one of his stories and be engaged to the point where I’m hepped up as if on goofballs for the rest of the day. Other times, I put the book down and want my 2 hours back. It makes me gun shy, recently.Report