City of Scars is a 2010 independent fan film based on Batman, and it’s actually pretty damn good. It’s a Batman movie made by Batman fans for Batman fans. Writer/director/producer Aaron Schoenke perfectly captures the gritty tone of Gotham City as Batman wonders if his crime fighting methods are making things worse in Gotham whilst on a mission to save a kidnapped boy from the clutches of the Joker. Kevin Porter plays Bruce Wayne/Batman and he’s as good or better than George Clooney. A guy named Paul Molnar plays the Joker and he does a decent job, but he’s not intimidating enough. There are a couple of DC character cameos that most fanboys would appreciate like Harley Quinn and Black Canary. Any genuine Batman fan will be a fan of this short film. It’s only 30 minutes long, and there are some cool fight scenes and special effects. It’s pretty impressive for only having a budget of $27,000. You can find it on YouTube, that’s where I stumbled upon it.
Critically Rated at 14/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young
Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis is a “who-done-it?” murder mystery involving superheroes. Someone is targeting family members of the Justice League. What lengths would you through to protect your family? Especially if you have superpowers and actually do something?
Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, is mysteriously killed. But how? And by who? How did someone discover who she was and kill her without leaving a trace? A few Justice League members suspect Doctor Light. There was a little incident a few years earlier where he snuck in JLA headquarters and raped Sue. The Atom, the Elongated Man, Hawkeye, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Flash and Zatanna walk in on it, and decide to erase his memory and alter his personality. Is it ethical to do mind-wipes and personality alterations? Eventually more family members of JLA heroes are attacked and more mind-wipes are revealed. Shit goes down.
There is a very clear story being told. I know a lot of DC loyalists are mad that some characters are changed drastically or killed off, but if you are somewhat new to comics you can follow the story. It’s the most welcoming, least confusing of the Crisis storylines (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis). It’s a good detective story, and the final reveal was pretty shocking. There’s more of a focus on lesser known heroes like the Elongated Man, the Atom, Tim Drake a.k.a. Robin, and their civilian family members that they care about.
I like the Elongated Man’s quick backstory about how he and Sue got together. She was around heroes all the time, big ones like Superman, Batman, and the Flash. But she chose him. “That’s why ice cream stores don’t just sell chocolate and vanilla. Every once in a while someone walks in and orders butter pecan”. Yeah, that’s corny, but it makes the heroes relatable.
Great artwork by Rags Morales and Michael Bair. An intriguing and comprehensive plot by Brad Meltzer. Identity Crisis is a good read.
Critically Rated at 13/17