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I recently saw the newest James Bond film, Skyfall, and during my enjoyment watching Bond kick-ass and taking names, I couldn’t help but ponder where on Earth do these bad guys find these henchmen?
How exactly does a person become a henchman? What inspires a person to commit themselves to violence for a villain, a villain whose plans usually have extremely low success rates?
I believe we can all agree that henchmen tend to be low-life, mercenary, gun-for-hire types, but still what draws them to such an unpromising career field? Surely, it can’t be the health plan. Most henchmen will presumably die on the job, yet they deliver their services with such an unrelenting conviction to their cause. Look at the Bond villains through the years. Each one has an organized plan to divide and conquer, with a side vendetta to kill James Bond in the process. Even though each one fails, time after time, a new villain arises with a plethora of guns-for-hire to throw at Bond. Yet, each time Bond fights a henchman they fight him with such purpose. Purpose, as if, they truly believe they will be the one to defeat Bond, or perhaps it’s their way of fighting for a promotion. I’m not quite sure, but the henchman’s sense of duty is captivating none the less.
Although, I have to give props to the villains who hire such men/women for the job; the villains have a unique ability to have their workers believing in their desired cause of action. Now such belief may be fear induced, but is still highly effective. For example, Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has ruled the Foot Clan with an iron fist for decades and despite the usual low success rate against his rivals, he still has willing henchman lining up, suiting up and fighting the TMNT.
Granted, Shredder does hire mostly troubled teenagers with the promise of escape and a certain brotherhood they can’t obtain in the real world. His control and training of reckless teenagers is, nonetheless, impressive. He’s able to systematically recruit and train drones of teenagers to fight mutated turtles, who just happen to be trained in the martial arts. Really think about that. Shredder is able to convince young kids to fight highly trained mutated turtles. He simply invites them into the Foot Clan hideout, offers them a carton of cigarettes and sells them on this new promising line of work where they can learn how to fight like a ninja, all for the purpose of destroying mutated reptiles. Somehow, someway Shredder is able to rile up enough support for his cause to eliminate the TMNT and his fellow Foot Clan members are more than willing to oblige.
It’s not quite manipulation that villains use to inspire their henchman, but they are somehow able to instill a unique sense of unity among their troops with a dose of unfiltered inspiration to outperform each other. In a way, a henchman is like a child fighting for their parents’ attention. Look at Cobra, in an ongoing never-ending battle with G.I. Joe, Cobra Commander is able to control a unified, highly organized terrorist organization with specialized sectors of expertise, each solider and combatant has the same goal: destroy G.I. Joe. Yet, each solider and Cobra specialist (i.e., Destro, Zartan, Storm Shadow) serves Cobra Commander with devoted loyalty. After each encounter with their leader, they look at him with admiration, thus the kid-to-parent like enthusiasm to harvest their attention. Cobra henchmen aspire to be the Cobra Commander’s right-hand man, in essence his favorite son, it is within this realm that Cobra Commander rallies and inspires his troops to help him obtain his goal of global domination.
There’s also the Megatron approach to keeping your loyal comrades in check. Megatron lead his Decepticons through fear. He is the strongest and enforces his will over his comrades-anyone who challenges him would ultimately die. Course his loyal sidekick, Starscream, helps keep his reign of fear in order, but none the less the Megatron’s system of fear-implemented loyalty is a useful tool in keeping henchmen motivated and loyal. The same tactics have been used by Mr. Sinister, Lex Luthor, and numerous Batman villains.
Perhaps the most notorious of Batman villains who used fear as their main form of recruitment and supplier of loyalty is The Joker. I never quite understood how anyone, even a low-life criminal, would align themselves with a homicidal maniac, but then again the use of fear and recruiting mentality unstable lunatics is a useful tactic implied by The Joker. His men are loyal because The Joker presents a plan and a level of stability they didn’t have prior to their enlistment. He presents them with a purpose they didn’t exactly have before, but unlike Cobra and the mercs who fight James Bond, these henchmen are not fighting to gain favor, but rather to stay alive because a failure doesn’t just mean job termination, but also an untimely death.
So, what truly inspires a decent criminal, a marksman, a person with the unique skill set to kill to become a henchman? Is it a sense of brotherhood? The sense you and your brothers-in-arms are fighting for the same goal? Or is it the simple ideal of serving a criminal mastermind just to stay alive and out of jail (or an asylum)? There’s no five-star lodging for a henchman, no unique catering at the workplace, and no health benefits, but still it’s a job market that is constantly being filled and filled with men and women who dedicate themselves to the job. Perhaps, I’ll never understand why anyone wants to be a henchman, but I will have to give a toast to the men and women who are continuing becoming statistics of failure. A toast to the men and women who share an unbreakable will and an un-dying passion towards their job, a passion I could only hope to duplicate. Here’s to all the un-sung mercenaries who make our beloved heroes’ jobs a nuisance and keep our hated villains relevant.
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As the title implies, we indeed see the end of Optimus Prime in this Transformers one shot from IDW. After the rather pointless and lackluster last issue of Transformers: Ongoing we are treated to a real story of consequence in this one shot. Transformers as we know it is gone and IDW is taking the series in a totally new direction; well two actually. The series breaks off into two different titles, Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye.
The long war for Cybertron is over. The Autobots claim victory over the rival Deceptions, but the damage to the planet and the aftermath of the horrors of war make it certain that no one as truly won. Megatron and Galvatron are gone and presumed dead. The damage caused to the planet by the Decepticon gestalt and The Matrix is nearly catastrophic.
A dazed and confused Optimus Prime awakens on a Cybertron he no longer recognizes. At first he thinks he’s dead and has gone to the Afterspark. But what he soon realizes is that he is alive and Cybertron has been forever changed. The Matrix of Leadershipis empty and broken. Prime walks the desolate plains of a ravaged Cybertron and is surprised to find life.
It has been three weeks since the war ended. The Autobots who remained on Earth have returned to help pick up the pieces. The surviving Decepticons, with no leader have lost their will to fight and have been corralled into a makeshift P.O.W. camp. More surprising is that thousands of non-combatants and Cybertronian civilians have returned to the planet to reclaim their home.
The Autobots are put into a precarious position as an occupying force. With no war, no enemy left to fight, the civilians call for their removal from power and that they leave the planet to them. Outnumbered, the Autobots argue among themselves about the best course of action. Do they leave the home they have fought for millions of years to defend, or do they find a way to coexist with the Cybertronian civilians?
As crowds of civilians gather around Iacon, protesting the Autobots claim to the planet, things start to turn violent. Bumblebee, still clinging to the mantle of leader makes a controversial decision and frees the Decepticons to help with crowd control. With no real sense of purpose and no true leader, Starscream and the other Decepticons agree and help the Autobots keep the civilians at bay.
Optimus Prime only stands by and watches as the Cybertron he swore to protect, once again splinters into factions and begins to tear itself apart again. He makes the only decision he can and addresses the population. Being a living symbol of the war itself, he no longer has a place on Cybertron. He makes a compromise; he will leave the planet forever in exchange, the Autobots and Decepticons will be allowed to stay and make a place for themselves.
“When I became a Prime, I wrote two speeches…two speeches to be filed away until the war was over. I would give one in the event of victory, the other in the event of defeat. Standing before you today, I do not know which to give.”
“In your eyes at least, I am the war. I represent everything that you sought to escape from…everything you rejected. As such, I am an obstacle to peace…something I have no wish to be. And that is why, tomorrow morning I am leaving Cybertron forever.”
As surprising and shocking an ending this is, it is somehow satisfying and a fitting end to the war. We all know the premise behind Transformers. A lot of us grew up with them and know it all too well. It was only a matter of time before someone had to win. I am glad that IDW is taking this step in progressing the storyline of Transformers. There are so many other great stories to tell besides Autobots versus Decepticons and this is a chance to see if these characters can find a place beyond the war.
One thing I found very interesting about this issue was how Optimus Prime is certain Megatron is alive somewhere in the galaxy. He knows that at some point his return to Cybertron will be necessary. He will be called back to defend his home again. Plus, to have Megatron just mysteriously die in a blinding white light wouldn’t be fitting for him.
As two new chapters for Transformers are about to being I find that I am of two minds about it. Part of me is excited to see what happens next. The thrill of new possibilities and new adventures to be had. Another part of me is sad to see the Transformers universe as I know it come to an end.
Whatever the writers have in store, it will certainly be interesting and I am anxious to find out what happens.
Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime
Story by: James Roberts and John Barber
Art by: Nick Roche
Colors by: Josh Burcham
Letters by: Shawn Lee
After a twenty-year wait, IDW Publishing today proudly announcedt he return of the original Generation One TRANSFORMERS comics,beginning with the free TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE#80.5, available on Free Comic Book Day, May 5, 2012 as aGold Sponsorship comic. Fan-favorite writer Simon Furman and legendary TRANSFOMERS artist Andrew Wildman pick up right where 1991′s TRANSFORMERS #80 left off, and lead into this all-new month series, kicking off in July with TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #81.
Starting with the free TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE#80.5, OPTIMUS PRIME, GRIMLOCK, KUP, HOT ROD and all the favorite Generation One TRANSFORMERS characters charge into the future. Reflecting back on the dizzying highs and the terrifying lows of the original run of Transformers comics, OPTIMUS PRIME watches over a CYBERTRON that hasn’t faced MEGATRON for decades.But that peace shudders to an end and dives headlong into July’s TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #81.
Artist Stephen Baskerville-the original inker on those classic issues- joins Wildman on interiors as inker, as Wildman also provides eye-catching covers. “The fans asked for this comic, and we listened,” said IDW’s TRANSFORMERS editor, John Barber. “TRANSFORMERS fans are some of the most loyal inthe world, and they’ve been very patient. Now that patience will pay off. And for new readers, the Free Comic Book Day TRANSFORMERS:REGENERATION ONE #80.5 will get you up to speed on the classic TRANSFORMERS universe!”
Here is the Iron-Man trailer footage taken at Comic-Con. I’ve been dying to see this trailer and now I cannot wait for the movie to come out.
The Hulk revealed
This is a very short reveal of what the new Hulk will look like in the upcoming movie. I sincerely hope it is better than the first one. And in case you didn’t know, this Hulk movie WILL NOT be a sequel, but a complete re-do of the series. So we can all just put that first movie (turd that it was) out of our minds.
Superman Doomsday & A New Justice League
Source: Superhero Hype!
For DC fans, the highlight of Thursday was likely the opportunity to catch the world premiere of Superman Doomsday, a direct-to-DVD title coming this September. The title will kick-off a planned line of animated projects, each a self-contained theatrical and mature retelling of popular story arcs directly from classic DC storylines.
For the uninitiated, Superman Doomsday adapts several series of Superman comic continuity starting with the highly publicized “Death of Superman” series from 1993, followed by “A World Without Superman” and ultimately the return of the Man of Steel.
The premiere was played to a jam-packed audience of 4000, with another 4000 waiting in the wings for a second showing. The first showing was followed by a Q&A with writers Bruce Timm and Duane Capizzi, directors Brandon Vietti and Lauren Montgomeri, and voice director Andrea Romano.
Bruce Timm describes his personal mandate on the series to “re-brand Superman as a stand-alone movie that’s not connected to the continuity of the previous shows. Everything about it had to scream ‘this is something new’. This included remodeling the look of the characters, and re-casting all the voice rolls.
Voicing the Man of Steel in Superman Doomsday is Adam Baldwin (“Firefly,” “Day Break”), who greeted the crowd via a pre-taped video segment. Convention favorite James Marsters (“Angel”) voices Luthor, and faked some bitterness in his video greeting. “I probably would be with you if I got to be the hero,” Marsters whined, “but I didn’t get to play the hero, I had to play the villain… again. Apparently, a vampire is as close as I get.”
The movie itself surpassed my high expectations, exposing and overcoming many of the short-comings of Superman Returns, and frankly most of the Superman stories told in any medium.
The first problem with any Superman story is creating a legitimately threatening adversary. Superman Doomsday is blessed with three foes, any of whom will give General Zod a run for his prior “best Superman screen villain” status.
We start with Lex Luthor. Any Lex Luthor you’ve seen before (be it Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, Michael Rosenbaum or Clancy Brown) is a silly inconvenience compared to this Lex Luthor. He is heartlessly mean, legitimately scary and entirely without “camp”.
Then you have Doomsday, the singularly focused and disturbingly emotionally vacant killing machine. The fight between Superman and Doomsday is truly visceral. It starts like the “Terminator 2″ mall fight between invincible Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick, but amps up in scale from there. By the time Superman’s blood appears in battle, you’ll believe he could die.
While I’ll save the details in the name of spoilers, in the end Superman must fight himself. We are all our own worst enemy.
Next, Bruce Timm and his team took the decision to go for a PG-13 rating and ran with it. There’s never been a DC adaptation with this much on-screen violence. But what was amazingly effective was taking a lot of it off-screen to make the psychological effect even stronger than PG-13 would normally allow.
The mature themes attitude also extends to a more complex relationship between Lois Lane (voiced by Anne Heche) and Superman in ways fun for the adults in the audience without initiating awkward questions from younger viewers.
The story covers three years of DC continuity with a page count equal to a few phone books. Paring that down for the big screen is akin to the task facing the “Harry Potter” screenwriters. Co-writer Capizzi explains that the decision was made early on to go with the spirit of the story, “hopefully capturing all the emotion, tragedy, intensity and drama”.
In fact, a list of similarities might be shorter than a list of differences, but two effective changes are worth noting as advance warning to comic purists.
While comicbook Doomsday snacks on the Justice League before moving on to the Superman main course, Bruce Timm explained later that this movie takes place in a continuity where Superman is Earth’s only hero.
Similarly, we are spared from the four “Supermen” who take up the mantle after Superman’s death (Steel, Superboy, cyborg Superman and Last Son of Krypton), but are instead served with a single being who fills the void. However, those in the know will recognize direct lifting and the tips of the hat.
In live action, this would likely be a $400 million movie. It has raised the bar very high for any Superman Returns follow-ups.
After the Q&A, a teaser trailer was played for the next project in the new DC Universe series — Justice League: The New Frontier — to be released in sprint 2008. It adapts the 2003 limited series retelling the origins of DC’s greatest heroes in a period setting of the late 1950s.
The teaser officially announced the casting of Kyle MacLachlan as Superman, Lucy Lawless as Wonder Woman, Jeremy Sisto as Batman, Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash, and David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern.
Bruce Timm commented, “I see you guys are a little unsure about Jeremy Sisto as Batman. Everybody else got a big clap and as soon as Jeremy’s name came on you went, ‘Huh?’. I’m going to make a prediction right this minute… when you guys see this movie and hear what he sounds like as Batman, you guys are going to lose your sh*t.”
A third film in the series has been confirmed as Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. The creative team craftily dodged questions about future films, with the names of well-known comic storylines thrown about including Hush, Long Halloween and Kingdom Come.
Further announcements on the DC Universe line are promised for Wizard World in Chicago.
Official 30 Days of Night Site Launched
Source: Superhero Hype!
Ahead of Saturday’s Sony Pictures presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con, the studio has launced the official new website for director David Slade’s adaptation of Steve Niles’ graphic novel, 30 Days of Night. Opening October 19, the thriller stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster and Manu Bennett.
At the site, you can learn more about the film, cast, filmmakers and graphic novel. You can also download new wallpapers. As you scroll through the isolated town of Barrow, Alaska, there is a cool shooter game that you’ll find. In the coming weeks, a multiplayer game with characters designed by Ben Templesmith will be launched, so stay tuned!
UPDATE: The Dark Knight’s WhySoSerious.com Updated
Source: The Tamuza
UPDATE: The site has updated one last time. You now get taken directly to the teaser trailer. You can still see the case file report for The Joker and if you click on ‘My Wannabes’ and ‘Surveillance’ you can see what happened yesterday that led to the reveal of the teaser trailer.
Scooper ‘The Tamuza’ alerted us that WhySoSerious.com has updated:
I didn’t see the info posted yet but whysoserious.com has changed! The site now shows what happened to the lucky “winner” of the contest and is complete with a case file report from Gotham’s Finest. You also might wanna look for the little shiny dot on the page…wink wink.
Megatron Origins #2 REVIEWED
The second issue in the Megatron Origins series was released this week. It continues the origin behind one of the best villians of all time: Megatron. We get to see his “transformation” from a quiet and almost shy energon factory worked into the evil, plotting menance we know today. We also get to see the background behind some other famous Decepticons like Soundwave, Ratbat and the Constructicons.
The story is superb, but the artwork was a little hard to deceipher into the story. I can’t say I care much for how artists Alex Milne and Marcelo Matere drew either this issue. The art is dark and difficult to make out. Ultimately this book is worth getting, especially if you are at all curious about the history behind Megatron.
$3.99 from IDW Publishing.