Now Win <i>This</i>!: The Shot in the Dark Sweepstakes Now Win This!: The Shot in the Dark Sweepstakes Crime HQ These five books will hit you when you least expect it! FM: <i>The Nightingale Before Christmas</i> by Donna Andrews FM: The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews Nikki Bonanni Christmas decorating is serious business. FM: <i>The Counterfeit Heiress</i> by Tasha Alexander FM: The Counterfeit Heiress by Tasha Alexander Angie Barry Not everyone is who they seem... FM: <i>Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld</i> by Jake Halpern FM: Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld by Jake Halpern Lance Charnes Debt collecting is cutthroat.
From The Blog
October 21, 2014
99 Percent of You Might Be Jack the Ripper, Or His Victim
Crime HQ
October 20, 2014
"If You Can Take It, You Can Make It": Trailer for Unbroken
Crime HQ
October 19, 2014
Laughter in the Dark: Nabokov's Original Femme Fatale
Edward A. Grainger
October 18, 2014
Horrific Hijinks: When Abbott and Costello Met Frankenstein
Michael Nethercott
October 17, 2014
Bahia Emerald: 840 lbs, almost 400 million dollars
Crime HQ
Showing posts tagged: Supervillain click to see more stuff tagged with Supervillain
Tue
Oct 21 2014 2:00pm

Gotham 1.05: “Viper”

The full scope of the corruption in Gotham and the impossible task that Jim Gordon has taken on himself becomes clear in this fifth episode, where the series finally coalesces into full coherence.

Instead of unrelated quick cuts between the ever-growing cast, Viper pulls them all into one over-reaching plotline: take down Carmine Falcone.

Falcone controls the police, the courts, the mayor and the underworld. Fish and her bondage-loving new boyfriend want to replace Falcone, as does Maroni. Fish’s new weapon is her baby doll, a lethal lady trained to pull at Falcone’s heartstrings and something below belt as well. Maroni’s new weapon is the newly-dubbed Penguin, our old friend Oswald. (Oswald doesn’t kill anyone this episode. That’s a first. Still, I need to give the writers full credit for finding another fun but gruseome way for Gotham denizens to die: crushed by ATM.)

[Gotham owes a hat tip to Breaking Bad for that one...]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 3:30pm

Gotham 1.04: “Arkham”

Gotham should be subtitled “Rise of the Penguin,” as it’s clear by this fourth episode that this season is all about Oswald Cobblepot’s bid for power.

Focusing on the villain is a tradition in Batman screen adaptations, all the way back to Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. And Oswald is perfectly cast to fill this need. Robin Lord Taylor has on-screen charisma to burn, enough so that while he’s a cheerfully unrepentant murderer, I find myself rooting for him. Oswald took a big step forward with this week’s orchestration of a robbery and then dispatching his hired help via poisoned cannoli. (He takes the gun, the cannoli, and the money.)

As I was watching the double-cross, it occurred to me that Oswald is an excellent suspect for the mastermind behind the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Their deaths caused the chaos he needs to thrive and he certainly tried to use the killings as leverage to get rid of Fish, his one miscalculation so far. If this is the case, it adds more resonance to the scene at the end of the pilot in which Jim Gordon, sworn to find the murderer of the Waynes, refuses to kill Oswald. 

[If only, if only...]

Tue
Oct 7 2014 12:00pm

Gotham 1.03: “The Balloonman”

If one thing is clear from three episodes of Gotham, it’s that the show is going to be obvious in its themes. Jim Gordon is always the “boy scout,” Bruce is the brooding youngster interested in crime, and Gotham officials are corrupt, to the point where a drinking game can be made of any character saying “it’s Gotham,” in the same tone as “It’s Chinatown, Jake.”

If the pilot intrigued me and the second episode disappointed, this third outing, “The Balloonman,” showed some promise that the show is finding its tone: wry humor, some over-the-top situations, and a quick pace.

The return of the humor is particularly welcome after the dreary and dull mystery of episode 2. “The Balloonman” even gets mileage out of the ridiculous idea of rounding up all the street kids to ship them off to juvenile prison facilities upstate, as that serves as motivation for this week’s villain.

[Glad we're revisiting that...]

Fri
Aug 29 2014 11:00am

Batman at 25: Tim Burton’s Caped Crusader

Ah, 1989. It was a simpler time. Your faithful correspondent was 14 years old—amply pimpled, brazenly bemulleted, and already a devoted movie geek. The best thing that happened to me that year was that Lethal Weapon 2 came out. This was back when one could devote himself unequivocally to the hero worship of Mel Gibson. Like I said, it was a simpler time. Lethal Weapon 2 was a big hit that summer, as was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which gave us the perfect ending to the career of the good Dr. Jones. (Again, I repeat, simpler time.) But these two monster hits were not the big news that year because 1989 was the year of Batman.

Looking back, it’s easy to see now that Tim Burton’s Batman wasn’t simply the biggest hit of that year (grossing 411 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of 35 million, which, adjusted for inflation, might well make Batman the most successful comic book movie in history); it was also the most influential. While Richard Donner’s Superman had legitimized the comic book movie as potential blockbuster material back in 1978, that franchise had been mismanaged by producers who didn’t appreciate the delicate combination of grandeur and humor Donner had brought to the material. By 1989, when producers Peter Gruber and Jon Peters brought the Dark Knight to the screen, the comic book movie was still a gamble.

[But did it ever pay off...]

Thu
Jun 26 2014 8:45am

Pizza-Eating, Reptilian Crime Fighters: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer Reveals Villain

They're funny, charismatic...and reptilian...but they're here to save you! After what seems like the longest wait, we finally have the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie trailer. With Michael Bay as the producer, the movie definitely has an edgier feel to it, however it still has all the fun hijinks that made TNMT so fun to watch in the 80s and 90s.

Are you excited for this reboot? Who is your favorite turtle?

Sat
May 10 2014 12:15pm

Fresh Meat: Sidekick by J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake

Sidekick by J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Madrake is a gritty, blunt comic book portrayal of a superhero sidekick who struggles to succeed on his own after his partner is killed (available May 13, 2014).

Sidekicks have been a staple of the crime genre since Dr. John Watson first started chronicling the adventures of his companion Sherlock Holmes, if not sooner. Often filling the role of muscle, amanuensis or, from the authorial perspective, The Character That Provides Exposition, the sidekick is usually considered indispensable to the hero… but how about the other way around? Watson did alright for himself after Holmes’ reported demise, but he was a grown man with a career and a family when Holmes plunged into Reichenbach Falls. What happens to the (often much younger) sidekick of a superhero when cut adrift of his or her mentor?

J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake’s Sidekick explores the life of Barry Chase, a.k.a. Flyboy, in the aftermath of the assassination of The Red Cowl, guardian to both him and Sol City. Taken in as a teenager after the death of his parents triggered his superpowers, Flyboy spent years basking in the reflected glory of The Red Cowl, all too willing to just tag along and help out where directed.

[It's was just too easy for Flyboy to be a follower...]

Fri
Feb 7 2014 11:15am

So You Want to Be a Supervillan: Maxi-Lair or Mini-Lair?

You must decide if you'll be a truly super villain! Should you go for the mobile 600-foot self-sufficient traveling lair, a projection of gut-rumbling diabolical potential with the huge attendant staff, supplies, and support requirements? Or, should you choose the mini-lair, so small you'll need to extort a scientist into making you a nano-quantum-tech ray to shrink yourself, but one that's completely concealed with no room for dunder-headed inferiors?

Mobile City (Very Large Structure) design via FastCoExist.com, and amazing Bonsai construction by artist Takanori Aiba via ThisisColossal.com.

Tue
Feb 4 2014 9:45am

It’s Good to be Bad: Supervillains Take Over Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl ads are always known for their over-the-top, near-cinematic quality. However, this year, the ads were taken to new heights—of a supervillain proportion. Whether it was the Jaguar British villains adhave you ever noticed that all great villains are British!—or the glimmers of information we got on the villains for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (with an almost unrecognizable Jamie Foxx as Electro) and Captain America's Winter Soldier.

Did you love these ads? What supervillain were you most excited to see? Do you have an even bigger soft spot for supervillains now? I know I do!

Mon
Jan 27 2014 4:30pm

Fresh Meat: Moriarty Returns a Letter by Michael Robertson

Moriarty Returns a Letter, a Baker Street mystery by Michael RobertsonMoriarty Returns a Letter is the fourth in Michael Robertson’s contemporary Baker Street mystery series, and includes the predicament of a brash Pinkerton detective of the past, who adopts the persona of Professor Moriarty to protect himself from a criminal (available January 28, 2014).

In 1893, the Sherlock Holmes stories are newly popular, and when a detective is pursuing a criminal name Redgil, it's desperation that makes him pretend their fictional villain is a real man, and that he is Moriarty in the flesh:

If the shackled man was just who he claimed to be—a great crime organizer extraordinaire, a deviser of illicit schemes, a money launderer with international resources at his disposal—then everything was fine. Redgil thought himself a great crime organizer extraordinaire in his own right, and he did not fancy competition.

But will his subterfuge be successful?

“If I were working for the Yard, you’d have all been in the nick a month ago.  And so would everyone else in the Whistler pub. Use your head, man. This was Holmes’ doing.  He thwarts me at every turn! It had to be him! There’s no one at Scotland Yard with a mind like that!”

[I am Spartacus!... Moriarty!]

Fri
Jan 17 2014 9:45am

Before the Cape: Fox’s Gotham Provides Batman Origin Story

A young Bruce Wayne as depicted in Dark KnightIn Fox's winter press tour, chairman Kevin Reilly revealed some information about the Batman show, Gotham, that made headlines a few months ago. While the show has no official premiere date, yet—but slotted for the 2014-2015 season—we now know that it will follow a young Bruce Wayne as he makes the journey from orphaned 12-year-old to The Caped Crusader. Reilly also let slip that some classic villains will be featured in the show, including The Riddler, Catwoman, and, of course, The Joker.

The idea of the origin story is not a new one in the past year. A&E also dove into the origin story idea with its eery look at a young Norma Bates in The Bates Motel. No matter what the plan turns out to be for the show, we're already excited for the series finale, as Reilly gave us one last hint: “The final episode of the series will be Bruce Wayne putting on the cape.”

What origin stories would you love to see on TV or film? What are some of your favorite origin stories that you read or watched?

Hat tip to Yahoo! TV for the information.

Fri
Jan 3 2014 9:45am

Luke, I am Your Refrigerator...

Han Solo FridgeRight before Han Solo was frozen in carbonite he issued one of the most famous lines in cinema as Princess Leia says she loves him: he knows. In fact, Star Wars is full of some of the most memorable quotes and also gave us one of the most timeless villains.

For any Star Wars fan, that carbonite Han Solo is iconic, and what's a better way than to have Han become your fridge? Or even have Darth Vader chill your beers and give you a vodka fountain!

Fri
Dec 20 2013 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: The Victories, Vol. 2: Transhuman by Michael Avon Oeming

The Victories Transhuman by Michael Avon OemingThe Victories, Vol. 2: Transhuman by Michael Avon Oeming is a superhero thriller graphic novel (available December 24, 2013).

Michael Avon Oeming builds on the success of his first solo volume of superhero comics, Touched, with the even better Transhuman. In Volume 2 of the on-going series, Faustus has mostly come to terms with the events of Touched. The Jackal however is still on his mission of terror, targeting the dystopian future’s infrastructure and plunging everyday civilians into chaos and penury, even as the ultra rich and well-connected hide in their enclaves. Everyone, super-powered or otherwise, seeks solace where they can, with some finding comfort in the messages extolled by street preachers.

One unlikely prophet is the former-hero turned recovering drug addict known as The Strike. The worldwide energy shortage has given him the courage to leave the hospital he’s been committed to and start spreading his truth instead:

[You can't handle the truth!]

Tue
Dec 17 2013 12:30am

Holiday Havoc: 5 Warped, Weird, & Wonderful Christmas Graphic Novels

Christmas is a time where an overweight immortal man pilots a sleigh of flying reindeer across the globe, an angel shows a suicidal man the impact he’s had on the world, and spectral entities show misers the error of their ways. So, we’re used to Yuletide tales of strange and in some cases frightening phenomenon. Watching these tales unfold on the silver and small screens has become a holiday tradition for many, but there’s another medium that tells these kinds of stories in a powerful, unique, and exciting way that Hollywood can’t approach, and that’s comic books and graphic novels. We'll start this list with some hilarious, warped, and bloody Yuletide fun:

 

The Last Christmas by Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan, artist Rick Remender

Imagine a mash up of Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, The Road Warrior, and The Walking Dead. If you're horrified by that, then move along! But if you like your Christmas cheer blended with twisted black humor and over-the-top violence...

Duggan, Posehn, and Remender's tale takes readers to a violent, post-apocalyptic world being ravaged by marauding gangs and zombie mutants. When the gangs hit the North Pole and murder Mrs. Claus, Santa decides to give up on Christmas and life, but the belief of one good boy keeps him alive. So will Santa be able to over come his personal demons to save the boy from an army of evil and bring back Christmas to the world? That's the central question in this story that blends festive delight and post-apocalyptic carnage into wickedly funny, perverse, and exciting holiday cocktail.

 

[More visions of sugarplums and flying horses ahead...]

Fri
Nov 29 2013 7:00pm

Iago: A Villain Without A Cause?

Provenda We love a good villain. Villains with complex characters, mysterious motivations, and great resourcefulness are the best. The hero needs to be challenged, right? The better the villain, the greater the hero’s triumph will be at the end. (Going by movies such as Thor and The Avengers, Loki hits pretty high on the villain scale. This is a character that challenged not only one hero, but an entire group. Even Holmes had his Moriarty, a villain so great that they both went over Reichenbach Falls.)

When villains are emotionally sympathetic, we even like to cheer for them at least a little bit; however, appreciating them as characters is not the same thing as wanting them to win entirely. When it comes to criminal stories, we can’t allow the villain to truly win. It’s not in our nature. By the end of the book, movie, or episode we want, even demand the resolution that allows the villain to be brought to justice. In those rare instances where the villain gets away, it is only because at some later date the villain will return and have to face justice then.

But what if that’s not the case? Rereading the story of Jason and Medea got me thinking about how she got away in the end. She murdered her children, Jason’s fiancée Glauce, and Glauce’s father Creon, and then set fire to a city before disappearing completely. She got away. She never faced justice.

Okay, some may say that what she did actually balanced justice. Jason betrayed her, first, and she responded as was befitting (I won’t debate whether acts of murder and arson are equal to casting Medea aside.)

What about a villain who was not wronged first? Shakespeare’s play Othello has a lot in common with Medea's story, especially concerning the villain Iago.

[Some bad just goes bone-deep...]

Mon
Nov 25 2013 5:00pm

Yes, You Must Watch The Blacklist With Me!

James Spader as criminal Red Reddington and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen in NBC's The BlacklistBack in September, I wrote about five new crime TV shows  that I was excited to watch. Of those five: Ironsides was cancelled, Dracula was a disappointment (although I am still watching it) and I like Almost Human, but we haven’t seen much of it yet. There are only two shows of the original five that are absolute DVR Keepers: The Blacklist and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (This post is about The Blacklist, so you’ll just have to set your DVR for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and prepare to laugh really, really hard. You can watch full eposodes of The Blacklist online at NBC, too.)

So, why do I love The Blacklist? Let me count the ways and in the process tell you everything you need to know—without spoilers—to get you up to speed. (I like to do these countdowns in reverse order for maximum dramatic impact.)

Number 5 – The characters:

Red Reddingon, played by James Spader. Red is a Whitey Bulger-esque bad guy who turns himself in to help turn in other bad guys. Red mockingly calls his own super-bad guy list, The Blacklist. And that’s where the show gets its name. Red is a man who gets what he wants even when he turns himself in. He will only cooperate if he gets to work with….

Lizzie and Tom KeenElizabeth Keen played by Megan Boone, also known as Lizzie by Red. Elizabeth is literally on her first day of work as a super-secret badass special agent profiler when super-criminal and bad guy, Red, turns himself in and asks for her. She has no idea why… but she has her suspicions. Everything is suspect in her life, even her husband…

Tom Keen, played by Ryan Eggold. Red conveniently tells Elizabeth that her husband is more than he seems. Elizabeth doesn’t believe him, or does she?  One person who is quick to check out any irregularity in Elizabeth’s life is her work partner…

Donald Ressler played by Diego Klattenhoff. Donald is your typical follow-the-rules, there is no-grey-in-my-world, lawman. We have no idea what he is really thinking behind that square jaw, only the overt rule following that he shows us.

[And that's just the beginning...]

Wed
Nov 20 2013 9:45am

Movie Villains Need Days Off, Too!

Supervillains have hobbies too. In a series of images featured in a show at Gallery 88, artist Kiersten Essenpreis illustrated what some iconic movie characters and villains would look like during their off-hours.

So, what do you think? Do you think Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw Massacre would take up wood carving as a hobby? See who else shows up in the gallery at Essenpreis's Etsy store.

Thu
Sep 12 2013 10:13pm

Friday the 13th: The Evolution of a Superstition

Most Americans have known about the superstition surrounding unlucky Friday the 13th since grade school. Some people take this superstition very seriously, refusing to fly on airplanes or even leave their houses. Others joke about it, take flashlight tours of spooky houses, or watch horror movies. But have you ever wondered how Friday the 13th got such a bad reputation in the first place?

It turns out Friday the 13th draws its reputation from many sources throughout history, and our old friend Popular Culture keeps it there. The superstition stems from a marriage between the perception of the lack of luck involving the number 13 combined with a series of bad events that happened on Fridays. Here’s a quick rundown of events taken from history, myth, literature, and popular culture that may have contributed to keeping the superstition alive.

Let’s start with the ancient roots:

Norse Gods

The first reference of unlucky 13 is believed to have occurred in an ancient Norse myth, where twelve gods are eating dinner and an unwelcome guest arrives. The 13th guest, named Loki, schemes to murder Baldur for trying to get him to leave. Killing the most beloved god of light, joy, purity, beauty, innocence, and reconciliation causes the entire earth to go dark in the very first “blackout.”   A worldwide blackout is very unlucky indeed.

 

[Bouncer-hating Loki is not the only unlucky 13th guest...]

Sun
Aug 18 2013 11:00am

The First Femme Fatale?: Don’t Mess with Medea

Opera Singer Maria Callas in her only film role as Medea (1969).

Here's where to start if you haven't already read about Medea's involvement in Jason's Big Heist.

Continuing...

Medea’s adventures didn’t stop just with obtaining the Golden Fleece, though. She married Jason. Now, if this were a modern romantic comedy, the couple marries, has children (which they did), and they live happily ever after. However, we’re dealing with the Greeks, here. Happily ever after is not their forte. Betrayal, murder, and revenge are the stuff of ancient Greek stories, and Medea’s is no exception.

Medea by artist Frederick SandysBut first, we need to know a little bit more about Medea. She is a princess of Colchis, what we consider modern-day Georgia (the country east of the Black Sea, not the place where Sherman marched). This country is around 1,500 miles away from Greece, as far east as a person can get through sailing. The people, according to the ancient Greeks, were uncivilized, tribal, and worshiped strange deities. She is royalty in this foreign land, which allows her character to act in ways outside of the Greek norms for women.

She is also a sorceress, and puts her arcane knowledge to use aiding Jason in obtaining the Golden Fleece through dispensing magic potions and important tidbits of information. She’s also the niece of the witch Circe (the one who transformed Odysseus’s crew into pigs).

[A seriously dangerous femme fatale...]

Thu
Aug 15 2013 8:45am

A DIY Mountaintop Lair for the Urban Supervillain

One man's do-it-yourself mountain atop a Beijing skyscraper is not pleasing his neighbors, one of whom called its builder a “menace.”

The article's author calls Zhang Lin an “eccentric professor,” but around here, we know that's all just code for “supervillain.” Think of the children! Leave the lair alone!

Read (and see) much more at the Daily Mail.

Fri
Aug 2 2013 1:45pm

Bad Boys as Rock Stars

Parody Cover of Rolling StoneSo the latest issue of Rolling Stone arrived in the mail not too long ago.  You know the one I’m talking about—it’s the issue with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing brother, on the cover looking like a rock star because, well, maybe he is.

And he’s not alone.

“Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do, watcha gonna do when they come for you?”

When he wrote that, Bob Marley might well have been thinking of our society’s endless fascination with, and attraction to, bad guys. We turn them into folk heroes, pop culture icons. I was already thinking about this in the wake of the tragic passing of James Gandolfini. His portrayal of Tony Soprano is one for the ages and will be with us forever. Tony will be admired, envied, looked up to and even deified, in spite of the fact that he’s a brutal, two-timing, wife-cheating thug. 

[Why do we (and Carmela) keep forgiving him?]