Jared Leto's Joker Has Tattoos....SO WHAT!?

By Kevin J. Kessler

We've all seen Jared Leto as The Joker by now. The below image was released to celebrate the character's 75th anniversary in comics, and to say that it caused some controversy would be QUITE the understatement . 

But why did the fandom universe have such a visceral reaction to this never before seen, inked up version of one of the most iconic characters of all time? Let's take a look-see. 

There you have it. Pretty different, huh? No wonder comic book fans reacted as they did. This is a rather extreme departure from the days of Jack Nicholson, or the much beloved Heath Ledger. Different indeed....But to that, I pose the question, is different such a bad thing??? 

There's no denying Nicholson's Joker was iconic. For many of us, he was our first Joker. But I have always held true to the belief that while he's playing an excellent character, he's not playing THE JOKER as the character is classically portrayed in the comic books.

Heeeeeeeeeere's Joker!

Heeeeeeeeeere's Joker!

Jack was a gangster. Albeit a deformed gangster with a penchant for laughter, but he was a gangster none the less. He was a crook, a criminal, a common hood (pun intended for you comic fans!). Did he murder anyone just because it was funny? Nope. Everything had an element of crime to it. 

No let's look at Heath. I'm going to take the unpopular opinion on this one and say that Heath Ledger was not a strong Joker. He was PHENOMENAL at playing the face painted scarred terrorist written for him in this film; but he is not The Joker.

Why so serious? SMILE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!

Why so serious? SMILE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!

He's an anarchist for sure. He's a deranged psycho killer who wants to prove that everyone is just like him under the flesh masks they wear every day. It's a remarkable concept and character. But it isn't The Joker. Heath wasn't Joker because he found nothing FUNNY. That's the whole spirit of the character. He finds EVERYTHING funny. Everything is a joke to him. Murder, blood, death, it all gives him a case of the yuck-yucks.

So, with that being said, no one as of yet has combined that perfect amount of crazy, sadism, and humor. Who is to say that under all of those tattoos, that isn't Jared Leto? But we will get to what lies beneath in a moment. For now, Let's examine some of the physical features everyone seems to hate. 

The Tear Drop: On Joker's cheek, there seems to be a tear drop in the shape of the letter J. In the criminal world, one brands themselves with a tear drop when they've committed a murder. I'm sure Joker has taken MANY lives at this point, so what one death could have been so poignant that it merits this display of body art? Well for that, I give you....

The Robin's Wing: On Joker's right arm, we can see what appears to be a Robin's wing. This can mean one very important thing. This is a Joker who has killed Robin. Specifically, if we're going by comic book lore here, Jason Todd, the second Robin. That's one of The Joker's crowning achievements. Of course he remembers it fondly, and brands it onto his flesh permanently.

Chest Tattoos: Ok, yes, they're a little one the nose. The HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA's drawn all over his left pectoral and the Jester skull on his right are reminiscent of something a fan-boy might have done on himself to show that he is a Joker fan. But to that point I raise, who is a bigger Joker fan than THE JOKER himself!? He's the ultimate narcissist, plastering his face on EVERYTHING from vehicles to weaponry, to his various abandoned lairs throughout the years! He believes his own hype. That being said, how often will you see him with his shirt off? These don't really matter as much. 

"Damaged": Ok, this is the one I'm with you guys on. The cursive "Damaged" written across his forehead is a little odd. First of all, nobody this side of Mike Tyson can really pull off a full out face tattoo anymore. But my main problem stems from the fact that Joker would NEVER see himself as Damaged. To him, he's the normal one and we're all just uptight morons who don't get his humor. So this one, to me, seems a bit out of place. Unless of course it's meant to mock us all. "You think I'm damaged? Let me show you how much your labels mean to me!" Actually, by putting that spin on it, I kinda like it! 

The Grill: This is far and away my favorite aspect of Leto's Joker appearance. People need to chill about this. He doesn't have a grill because he's a thug! He has a grill because BATMAN PUNCHED HIS TEETH OUT OF HIS STUPID FACE IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE! Seriously, one of my favorite shots in any Batman/Joker comic is when Batman beats Justice into his arch enemy's face, usually knocking teeth out. Yet he always has teeth again next time we see him! How is this possible? HE GETS FAKE METAL TEETH! It's perfect. Honestly I'm shocked the comics have never used that concept as a design. It gives his smile (the most important aspect of the Joker, which Ledger never did) a more unnatural and terrifying appearance. I freaking love it. And, If Batman punched out his teeth post Jason Todd murdering, OR even the paralysis of Barbara Gordon, then all the better! 

The Eyes: Ok so there lies the physical, but to me, as I've stated on Geek WatchTower MANY times, the costume or appearance doesn't mean as much to me as the EYES of a character. When I look into Jared Leto's eyes in this photo, I see perfect absolute nothingness. I see a sociopath. I see the mania that has been missing from the eyes of all Jokers who came before him. He gets this role. You can tell. And if you were lucky enough to see the leaked set videos which showcase his conversation with Harleen Quinzell, you'll see he has the mannerisms down perfectly as well. He has a flair for the dramatic. Broad arm gestures are the name of this game!

Ledger's Joker was very quiet and terrifying in his awkwardness. Nicholson chewed the scenery to shreds (which works in that movie!). But the Joker is theatrical. He is LOUD. He is OVERBEARING. And judging by what I see, this may be just that!

Just remember one thing before you all judge. Everyone hated the idea of Downey Junior as Iron Man. Everyone hated Heath Ledger being cast as The Joker. Everyone hated Chris Evans being cast as Captain America. But didn't they all work out fine? 

When Suicide Squad releases, I will be there opening night with BELLS on! (not literally) And once we see what Mr. Leto has in store for us as the new clown prince of crime, I will be there to say it. "I informed you, thusly!" 



By Chris Pribilski

I’ve been a movie theatre manager for a while now, and one of the perks is the early screenings.  Studios don’t do it for all features, but for most they’ll offer an early screening of a movie for booking agents to attend.  The process has gone through many changes over the years, but I still get the invites, and I’ve never had to sign a disclosure agreement, so let me tell you what I thought without spoiling anything!

It’s my first review, and it’s a big one!  Let me tell you about Disney’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON!

**Any plot points that I allude to or flat out tell you can be gotten from the previous Marvel movies, TV shows, and the various trailers.  NO SPOILERS!!**

If you’re one or two minutes late to the movie, you’re going to wonder if you got directed to the right auditorium.  Don’t sweat it, you’re where you need to be and you didn’t miss anything. We start right in the middle of an intense action sequence that shows our heroes doing what they do best: kicking butt.  

Apparently over the past few months the team’s been hunting down Baron Strucker, a Hydra villain we saw after the closing credits of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”  They’ve been trying to recover the lost object Strucker acquired in that final scene (an object you’ll recognize from the first Avengers flick that also makes an appearance in a trailer) and apparently we’re in the middle of a raid on the Baron’s last stronghold.

This opening film sequence shows off Whedon doing one of the things he does best: balancing individual character screen time in an ensemble film.  We get to see each hero doing their part.  There are one or two occurrences during the battle that seem strange to our heroes, mainly caused by two characters we’ve been anticipating since their appearance in the first teaser trailer.  Since it’s the beginning of the film I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that the Avengers win the battle, acquiring the item they’ve been trying to recover.  Thinking that the war on Hydra is over, all agree a celebration is in order.

Just a head’s up: Stan ‘The Man’ Lee’s cameo is during the Avengers’ celebration, and it’s probably one of my favorites!

As we all know from watching any popcorn action movie, when our heroes are celebrating, that’s when the crap’s about to hit the fan.  If you’ve been following the buzz on this film at all, you know what’s going to happen to lead up to this moment.  If you haven’t been keeping up, let’s just say we’re introduced to our villain: Ultron, an artificial intelligence housed in the body of one of Stark’s “puppets.”  

He makes his presence known to the Avengers, and after breaking a bunch of their stuff, he escapes with the recovered relic to begin his master plan. The rest of the film has Whedon taking us through a standard ensemble hero story; however, he does such a good job with the pacing you’ll never notice the 145 minute run time.  Whedon throws plenty of surprises our way that make us forget for a moment we’re watching a very familiar story.  All the characters are balanced, and each has a significant role to play.  If you still haven’t learned your lesson about canon in these movies, I’ll just tell you to shut up now.  It all works within the universe and is all fun; we really don’t want to listen to your complaining.  It’s not like Greedo is shooting first or anything.

I also liked how Whedon doesn’t treat you like a child when telling this story.  He establishes and references events that have occurred between the two films without adding a ton of unnecessary exposition. Unlike other writer/directors, Whedon does so without making it feel like he’s just throwing information in to make his story work.  Whedon’s just expecting you to pay attention; each second is precious in a movie of this scope and he doesn’t want to waste a moment.  He’s a great storyteller, and everything flows with few hiccups.  Just like with the first Avengers movie, there are points where Whedon pokes fun at the insanity of it all (most notably in a scene between Hawkeye and one of our new characters), but he does so without completely pulling back the curtain.  He’s having fun, and inviting you along for the ride.

The highly anticipated Hulkbuster scene lives up to the hype, and the introduction and inclusion of The Vision, while brief, works within the story (the immediate trust the Avengers have in Vision is handled BRILLIANTLY).  Even though we meet several new characters and have a number of fun cameos, the focus remains on our principal players.  Most of the additions feel like they contribute and aren’t just crammed in to set them up for the next movie (though Marvel die-hards will notice several scenes that serve to set up future movies, all well incorporated).  We also get the first recognition from our characters that there is a much larger threat on the horizon.

Now let’s be real, it’s not a perfect movie.  There are one or two CG scenes that don’t work (riding a Hulk bareback for one).  Unlike the first movie the humor is clunky at times.  Some of the exposition scenes were a little rough or felt forced.  Still, these occurrences are few and far between, and considering how much story is crammed into this movie without losing pacing, action, or character development, the job Whedon did is pretty impressive.  The movie is just fun, plain and simple.  If you like the superhero genre, or even just a good popcorn flick, you’ll like this movie.

Watching the standard 2D version is fine, but I thought the 3D was great and worth the extra price tag.  

IMAX is fun, but not worth the price bump, save your money. You want that experience, just sit closer.

There were a lot of awesome moments and observations I’m dying to share with you (I didn’t see Raphael in the bathtub), but I really don’t want to spoil anything!  I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did! 

** As you will forever hear me say, please, please watch the movie at an independent/local movie chain if you can, and be sure to buy SOMETHING from the concessions.  I know concessions are expensive, but the building doesn’t make much money off the tickets.  If you like the theatre you go to, support them by buying at least a small popcorn, that alone will be a huge help.  Sneak the rest of your stuff in ;).**

Spider-Man To Officially Enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

By Kevin J. Kessler

Well folks, it's officially official! Everyone's favorite web head will be gracing the silver screen once more, but this time, he won't be alone! Yes, the deal has finally been struck, and Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, will return to movies as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

According to a news article listen on SuperHeroHype.com, listed at http://www.superherohype.com/news/329465-its-official-spider-man-enters-the-marvel-cinematic-universe:

"Under a new deal, a new Spider-Man will first appear in a currently-unspecified Marvel film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films."

I can't even begin to emphasize what a "get" this is for the MCU. As recently reported by my friend and co-host Spider-Denny on a recent episode of WDPN's BatSquad Radio, Spider-Man is the highest grossing super hero in the world today, surpassing his closest rival, Batman, by Spider Strength sized leaps and bounds! 

Now, the MCU, already a titan in the film industry, has this powerhouse hero on its side, in a move that I don't think DC will ever be able to match. In terms of fan impact, I'd dare say this announcement resounds more loudly even than the announcement of Batman vs. Superman. The difference? Fans knew we'd eventually see Batman and Superman together on the big screen. But I know, personally, I never EVER thought we'd see Spidey cross the studio line. 

And the deal holds amazing rewards for EVERYONE. Marvel gets a major pad onto the Avengers, adding into this team the single most popular hero in the world, making an appearance I'd liken to a cinematic miracle. Sony will now clean up, producing Spider-Man stand alone films set in the MCU. When even unknown properties like Guardians of the Galaxy are pulling 700k at the worldwide box office due to its MCU association, what will freaking SPIDER-MAN bring in!? It's an amazing move on both ends, and kudos to both parties for allowing their egos to take a back seat to good business!

I say bravo to both SONY and Disney, and wish them well on this new partnership and endeavor. As a fan, I cannot wait! 

Expect discussion on this exciting topic this week on Geek WatchTower (www.whitedragonpodcastnetwork/com/geekwatchtower) and BatSquad Radio (www.whitedragonpodcastnetwork.com/batsquadradio) 

What are your thoughts on this? How can DC counter? Respond below and let me know!



WDPN One Year Later

By Kevin J. Kessler

This won't be a long one, folks. This is just me wanting to reflect a bit on one solid year of the ultimate labor of love ever undertaken in my life. One year and one day ago, the White Dragon Podcast Network was born, and as I sit here tonight, I'm overwhelmed at how this simple idea has grown thanks to the support of the wonderful amazing folks who listen to WDPN shows each and every week.

I'm a big believer in following your dreams (unless you dream is to wear the flesh of infants or something equally horrifying). I've tried to follow every dream I've ever had. I've been on television, in a feature film, and in the pro wrestling ring, but when I discovered the medium of podcasting, I knew a passion was instantly born in my heart. 

I think that throughout my life, my passions often revolved around portraying a character in fiction. Podcasting represented a medium where I could share my own personality and thoughts with people, and most fulfilling was the opportunity it presented me to get to know myself a little better. I no longer imagined myself as a pro wrestling character, or playing the lead role in Jekyll and Hyde, I just saw me; a late 20's child of the 90's with a geeky sense of humor and a big mouth. And for the first time ever, I started to like that person!

When WDPN launched on February 3, 2014 we released 3 shows, none of which still exist today. I tend to dream big and immediately bit off far more than I could chew. When those shows proved too difficult to produce on a consistent basis, I turned to another passion in the world of Disney, and one of the most interesting people I've ever known in Peter Mandle, and a match made in heaven was born. 

Instantly, 2 Men and The Mouse felt different from any other show I had done up to that point. It felt genuine and real and passionate and above all else FUN! 51 weeks later we haven't missed a single week, and I am beyond proud of that. I think what fueled our combined passion was the amount of support we received from the Disney community. You guys opened your arms and accepted two geeky Jersey boys into your ear buds every single Tuesday and changed my life forever. 

After 2 Men debuted, I considered folding the network, and just continuing with that one show, as it was well received and fun. However my passion for creating a network was further fueled when I reconnected with two former co-workers who have become two of my very best friends, BatDave and Spider-Denny, who dubbed me Kev-El, and suddenly BatSquad Radio was born into my life. BSR makes me laugh every time I hear it. I look forward to it constantly, and it reinvigorated my desire to expand this network. 

The network has also afforded me the opportunity to discover hidden talents in those closest to me. Who knew my amazing beautiful wife was such a natural on the air?!? Hearing Jackie develop as an on air personality, turning from a girl with extreme stage fright to the confident strong broadcaster she's become has filled me with so much pride. To share something you love with the one person in the world you truly love is a gift, and I wish everyone could experience that.

To anyone who enjoys or has ever listened to WDPN on any level, I want to send a strong heartfelt thank you, your way! You've given me much more happiness then I can ever repay, and I have so much more to put out there in the coming year! The addition of this Web site is a true boon to the cause, and coming in the next few weeks will be the return of Geek WatchTower and Boss Fight, and the debut of Walker Talkers, Once Upod a Time and Mousellaneous DIScussions!

Thank you all, from the very bottom of my heart. Thank you so much!

New game starts right now! Year 2 is going to be even bigger!

Why Did You Like This Fantastic Four Trailer???

By Kevin J. Kessler

The teaser trailer for Fox's "bold" re-imagining of Marvel's first family of super heroes, the Fantastic Four, has been met with nothing but contempt and anger from fans since the first details of its story were revealed to the public. 

I mean, come on, Johnny and Sue Storm are two different colors? Reed Richards looks like he's 12, and Dr. Doom is a BLOGGER? Seemingly all forward motion on this project turned everyone into this guy...



So when Fox released the first teaser trailer for this film, I watched with no expectations whatsoever, and was met with a completely underwhelming science fiction teaser that looked nothing like the Fantastic Four. Exactly what I expected. While the Fantastic Four, in any incarnation, has never particularly entertained me, one thing I can never get enough of is Nerd Rage. So, I flew to my lap top eager to see the outcry, and what I found was...the exact opposite!

Facebook was flooded with scores of folks writing encouraging posts regarding this potential turd. I saw a slew of "Wow, this might not be so bad," and "I can't wait!" I'm sorry but ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?

First off, Reed Richards is played by the douchey kid from Divergent (which I also hated) who has a baby face. Dude looks like he's 13. And he's playing the patriarch of Marvel's First Family??? Now, I'm no Reed Richards lover. In fact, he's probably my least favorite character in all of comics. But even a fantastic hater such as myself believed this to be rather poor casting.

My next point is, WAS THE THING NAKED!? 

Are we going to see The Thing's thing!?

Are we going to see The Thing's thing!?

I mean look at that! It's his rocky rear end! Did Fox just really want to answer the age old question first posed in Mallrats? Does The Thing have an orange dork? And those costumes look terrible. Maybe Ben Grimm agrees with me, and that's why he's choosing to strut about all natural. 

So tell me, internet, what was it you liked? In all of the comments I saw, there were no specifics. Just generalizations. Am I getting punked here? Did I miss something? Or am I just creating my own Nerd Rage in the absence of the rage of strangers, which so delights me?

Gah, I digress. This is what I'm doing instead of watching the Super Bowl.