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Precinct1313 Recommends: Batman – Harley Quinn

Batman-Harley Quinn 1

Celebrate the creation of everyone’s favourite mischievous misfit Harley Quinn with this definitive collection of her misadventures. Former Psychiatrist Dr Harleen Quinzel was originally an Arkham Asylum intern, who after prolonged interviews with the Joker decided that it was the Batman himself who was the cause of Joker’s anger and insanity. Gradually falling in love with the irascible psychotic, Harleen eventually helped the Clown Prince Of Crime escape the asylum and joined him on his crusade to dispense murder and madness to the streets of Gotham.

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Harley was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series titled “Joker’s Favour.” Her role was originally conceived as a mere walk on part, but she ultimately proved so popular with the audience that she was granted a larger role as the Joker’s main sidekick and potential love interest as the animated series continued its Emmy award winning run. Harley’s first comic book debut was in issue 12 of The Batman Adventures, where she appeared alongside veteran Bat-Villains Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Her origin story was laid out for the first time in the 1994 Paul Dini penned one-shot “Mad Love” but it wasn’t until 1999 that she was officially accepted into mainstream DC Universe continuity with “Batman: Harley Quinn #1″

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On July 28, DC Comics will release the ultimate tribute to the Clown Princess Of Crime with this 200 page collection of some of her most enduring adventures. The Joker’s main gal takes centre stage as DC collects together some of her greatest tales from throughout her 23 year reign as DC’s consummate ‘bad-girl’ character. This anthology collects together for the first time; Batman: Harley Quinn #1, Gotham Knights #14, #30, Detective Comics #831, 837, Batman: Black And White #1, #3, Joker’s Asylum II: Harley Quinn, Legends Of The Dark Knight: 100 page Spectacular and Detective Comics #23.2.

The 200 page ultimate Harley Quinn compilation will be available in softcover and digital format on July 28 at your local comic book emporium, and is the definitive look at the Queen of Chaos and a great way to familiarise yourself with a character that in 2016 will be making her first ever big screen appearance in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” movie.

Harley Quinn: Copyright – DC Comics.

Batman: The Killing Joke – Animated Movie Announced

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Alan Moore’s 1988 one-shot masterpiece “The Killing Joke” is to become an animated movie, it was announced at the San Diego Comic-con by animator and producer Bruce Timm during the “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” panel, with the movies release date set for 2016.

The Killing Joke was penned by British writer Alan Moore to provide an origin story and psychological motivation for the creation of the Joker. Defined as the greatest Joker story ever told by many critics, the graphic novel won many awards for its deep conceptual story-line and spectacular artwork by Brian Bolland and John Higgins.

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The plot centres on the Joker’s attempt to drive Gotham City’s Police Commissioner James Gordon insane, and is frequently interposed by flashbacks to the titular villain’s past life before his disfigurement and insane criminal exploits. The book explores the Jokers assertion that deep down in everyone there is a lunatic waiting to break forth, and that a tragic past can create both a hero or a villain, with the ‘one bad day’ scenario that turned Bruce Wayne into a protector of the innocent forging meaning from tragedy, but the Joker into a maniacal villain who reflects on the absurdity of being.

Jared Leto’s Joker Reveal… (and why we love it!)

(DC Comics, Warner Brothers, 2015)

(DC Comics, Warner Brothers, 2015)

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the Joker (Happy Birthday Mr. J), and in celebration of this, Suicide Squad director David Ayer released the first image of Jared Leto as the clown prince of crime… and we love it! The above image has been met with both delight and scorn in the comic book community, with a lot of the upset seemingly coming from the fact that it is a complete departure from Heath Ledger’s version of the character.

Ledger’s portrayal of the master of mirth was astonishing, a fantastic version of the classic Bat villain, but it was a variation on a character that has been around since the early 1940’s, it isn’t the definitive version of the character, it is Nolan and Ledger’s own take on everyone’s favourite psychopathic clown.

The many live action variants of the Joker, each unique in their own way. Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto.

The many live action variants of the Joker, each unique in their own way. Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto.

Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger may have portrayed the same character on-screen, but their rendition of Batman’s nemesis was unique to each actor and time period, no live action version of the Joker (so far), has managed to completely encapsulate the Joker as he is depicted in the DC comic book universe.

This explains why Jared's version of the Joker has capped teeth!!

This explains why Jared’s version of the Joker has capped teeth!!

Jared Leto and David Ayer’s rendition seems closer in style to the pyschotic, demented clown from such comic book greats as Alan Moore’s Killing Joke, or Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, which makes their version of the Joker an exciting prospect indeed.

The Suicide Squad movie is scheduled to be released in 2016, alongside Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman. 

Suicide Squad Reveal…

Suicide cast

Yesterday morning, film director David Ayer tweeted our first look at the cast of the 2016 scheduled Suicide Squad movie. The cast photo included announced actors, Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Cara Delevinge (The Enchantress), and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller). Interestingly the photo shows other actors also cast in the movie in as yet unannounced roles, but it is rumoured that Adewale Agbaje will be playing Killer Croc, and actors Jim Parrack and Ike Barinholtz,will apparently be playing Deathstroke and Hugo Strange respectively.

Conspicuous by his absence of course is Jared Leto, the actor cast as the The Joker. It is believed he was touring with his band at the time, but this morning David Ayer tweeted this (probably intentionally) blurry photo of Leto, with the clown prince of crime’s trademark green hair on show. 

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The most striking thing about this particular photo is its similarity to the cover of Alan Moore’s classic Batman tale, The Killing Joke.

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(DC Comics, 1988)

The Suicide Squad (aka Task Force X) were created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru in 1959, making their first appearance in Brave and the Bold #25. They are a Government funded, covert black ops team of ex-supervillains and disgraced superheroes. The film is scheduled to be released in 2016, alongside Zack Snyder’s, Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Update: Actress Karen Fukuhara, seated next to Will Smith in the above group photo, has now been confirmed in the role of Katana.

Suicide Squad Revealed…

Suicide Squad logo

Well friends, after many months of speculation  Warner Bros have finally announced the line up for the upcoming Suicide Squad movie and what an interesting and eclectic cast it is. Will Smith will be playing super-assassin Deadshot, Tom Hardy is Rick Flag (and not reprising his role as Bane as I thought he might), Jared Leto has been chosen as the clown prince of crime himself  The Joker, with his partner Harley Quinn being played by Margot Robbie. The Enchantress will be played by Cara Delevigne and Jai Courtney has been cast as Captain Boomerang.

Deadshot

As I said very interesting casting choices here, there is still the role of squad leader Amanda Waller up for grabs but so far I am more than happy with the cast as is, and the inclusion of the unstable yet powerful witch Enchantress is awesome, I love that character. Critically acclaimed director David Ayer will be directing and again he is an inspired choice with previous movies like Training Day, End of Watch and more recently Sabotage being realistic, gritty and violent flicks, his style will suit the Suicide Squad perfectly.

Margot Robbie-Harley

Margot Robbie as Harley

The Suicide Squad were originally created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru in 1959, making their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #25. They were re-booted by John Ostrander in 1987, they are primarily a Government funded black ops team of Super-villains and disgraced Super-heroes, running covert missions out of their home base of Belle Reve prison under the watchful eye of ‘The Wall’ Amanda Waller (who has already been seen on the big screen in the recent Green Lantern movie, played by Angela Bassett). Suicide Squad begins principal shooting in April 2015.

Super-Villain Sunday: Harley Quinn

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Say hello to the delightfully dangerous Ms Quinn

Super-Villain Sunday this week honours the Mistress of  Mayhem herself: Harleen Quinzel better known to her adoring (and terrified) fans as Harley Quinn. Harley’s creation was different to most other comic-book characters in that her first appearance was not in comics but in the seminal Batman: the animated series, specifically episode #8 – Joker’s Favour in 1992. She proved wildly popular with the fans and was introduced into comic book lore in the 1994 graphic novel Mad Love which gives us her origin story as Dr Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist working in Arkham Asylum and treating the Joker, whom she falls madly in love with and ends up joining as his crazy sidekick and on/off love interest Harley Quinn.

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Ooh! right in the unmentionables!!

The story was a huge success and received Eisner and Harvey awards for best overall story in 1994, Harley proved so popular that she has been one of DC Comic’s most loved female characters since. She had her first solo series in 2001 which ran through to 2003, a fantastic 38 issue run which set the standard for the characters quirky, dangerous but loveable personality. She has also been a member of several Super-Villain teams including – The Secret Six alongside characters such as Deadshot and Catman and is an on/off member of the Government run Suicide Squad, which is currently being made into a big screen film by Warner Bros, actress Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) is rumoured to be playing Harley.

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Gotta love those pink bunny slippers!

This won’t be the first live action version of Harley Quinn though as she was originally portrayed by actress Mia Sara in the Birds of Prey television series in 2002. She has also proved hugely popular with video-game fans having starred in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Injustice: Gods Among Us. In fact her gaming appearances go all the way back to the 16 bit era, where she had cameos in The Adventures of Batman and Robin on Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo, she can also be found in MMO – DC Universe Online. Harley’s best friends (apart from her puddin’ Mr J) are fellow Gothamites Poison Ivy and Catwoman, who she regularly meets up with to cause Mirth and Mayhem, you can catch their adventures in the Gotham City Sirens series. So let’s hear it for the Queen of chaos, Harley Quinn … long may she reign!

Super-Villain Rating: 5 comedy mallets out of 5

 

Precinct1313 Recommends: Arkham Asylum – 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

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Warning: May cause insanity!

Has it really been 25 years since the release of the stupendous Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth? Hard to believe it has been so long since this outstanding piece of Batman lore was delivered to us by master storyteller Grant Morrison and comic artist supreme Dave McKean.

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“Enough madness? Enough? … And how do you measure madness?”

This classic tale is considered one of the greatest comic books of all time, garnering many awards at the time for both its dark storyline and the amazingly twisted art. It is also Grant Morrison’s first ever Batman tale, after this Morrison would go on to be one of the most prolific writers of the Caped Crusader’s adventures down the years.

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‘Sometimes it’s only madness that makes us what we are’

It is April fools day and the insane inmates of Arkham have taken control of the asylum, in exchange for the hostages they want … the Batman, and so the Dark Knight must traverse a nightmarish journey into the twisted minds of some of Arkham’s most dangerous denizens including Poison Ivy, Two Face, the Scarecrow and of course the clown prince of crime himself … the Joker in full on demented mode. This is one of the darkest and most disturbing of all of the Batman’s adventures, taking you on a carnival ride of horror and dark wonder. Dave McKean’s artwork on this is sublime, really drawing you into the unhinged and disturbing world of maniacal Supervillains and murderers with its strange and dreamlike visual quality. Also of note is the lettering of the book by Gaspar Saladino, with each of the different characters having their very own font style, this was the very first comic to really do this and it has become a popular trait of the comics medium since.

The anniversary edition is available right now in both hardcover and softcover versions, weighing in at 216 pages in length.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 degenerate Supervillains out of 5

Wedding bells and Mallets: Harley and the Joker get married ?!

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Five years in the future and Harley Quinn and her ‘puddin’, the Joker finally tie the knot (noose may or may not be involved). Retreating to a desert island getaway for their honeymoon … ’til death do us part’ seems like an apt phrase for this dysfunctional couples’ future!

The Harley Quinn – Futures End motion comic is available right now comic-fans, with the awesome motion cover drawn by Amanda Conner, interior art by Chad Hardin and written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

New Comics Spotlight: Batman – Death of the Family – Collector’s Edition

 

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Welcome once again to new comics Wednesday folks, and if you have any money left over this month after buying all those amazing Futures End 3D motion comics, why not take a look at this fantastic (and a little gruesome) Death of the Family mask and book set.

Death of the Family was a 23 issue story released in 2012 which spanned across several Bat-titles including – Batgirl, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Suicide Squad and Nightwing. Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jock and several other writers and artists worked on the epic saga, which saw the return of the Joker to Arkham Asylum after being captured by the Batman.

Unbeknownst to the Caped Crusader it was all part of Joker’s plan to meet up with the villain known as the Dollmaker, who surgically removes Joker’s face as a sign of his rebirth. Upon his inevitable escape from Arkham (they’d may as well replace the cell doors with curtains considering the ease that the inmates have at escaping this ‘maximum security’ asylum), the Joker goes on his usual murderous rampage but this time he’s even more deranged and deadly than before!

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The collector’s Edition of this epic storyline includes the reproduction of the Joker’s removed face in all its gory glory as well as the softcover version of the graphic novel itself. This limited edition is available in your local comic book emporium right now Bat-fans.

Batgirl’s new look

Batgirl's new costume.

Poor old Babs Gordon has definitely been through the emotional wringer over the past two years, her estranged mother returns to Gotham city is promptly kidnapped by the Joker and Batgirl is forced into almost marrying him. On top of this she finds out her brother James is a serial killer, and of course the constant fight against the criminal underbelly of Gotham have taken their toll on her.

So from issue #35, Batgirl will be moving to Gotham’s trendy borough of  Burnside and concentrating more on having a life outside of the cape and cowl. With the move also comes a new costume, and a new creative team for the comic itself with writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher and the appropriately named Babs Tarr handling the artwork. We wish Babs all the best in her new ventures.