If Fox is going in this direction anyway…

If you are a normal mortal, and not possessed of the ability to read minds (specifically, my mind), you will likely have not the slightest clue what the above means. So let me clue you in.Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Gustav-Fiers-Easter-Egg

You may be aware of the somewhat mixed reception that the recent Spider-Man films have been getting. The first got a tentative ‘good but not great’ thumbs up from most, the second has provoked reactions from ‘well, I liked this part, but the rest was…’ to ‘SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!’ I’m a little ambivalent about them myself, but there is one thing that has piqued my interest, and that few people seem to have noticed (or, if they have, do not seem to appreciate the impact of).

In both movies, a mysterious man has made an appearance, a man who sticks to the shadows and appears to be either working for or acquainted with both of the films’ major villains. In the second, he is identified in the credits as “Gustav Fiers (the Gentleman)”.

As per usual, a good chunk of the Internet immediately jumped to a variety of wrong conclusions based on misinterpretations of the man’s name (‘He’s Daredevil villain Mr. Fear!’ is onegentlemn1 I’ve come across) or simple ignorance of who the heck this guy is. I’ll tell you who he is. Gustav Fiers, AKA The Gentleman, is the main villain in Adam-Troy Castro’s trilogy of ‘Sinister Six’ novels – he is the one who brings the titular group together again, essentially hiring them to carry out his sinister plans. Since the second movie seems to be intimating that at least some of the signature Six members (Dr. Octopus, for one) may well make appearances – also, there is apparently a Sinister Six film in the works, although it remains to be seen how that will pan out – it seems to be a fair bet that he will do something similar in future films.

I’m not going to play the speculation game here, though. Either he’ll bring the Six together or he won’t – we’ll just have to wait and see. However, Fiers’ appearance is significant in and of itself in a whole other way – to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time any superhero novel has been adapted in any way, whether fully or partially, to film.

This could have far-reaching implications. While they’ve never gotten the press that other spin-offs have, superhero literature has been around for a while, and has just as much potential for epic awesomeness as its comic book counterparts. Marvel did a lot of ‘em – there were quite a few X-Men and Spider-Man entries, an Iron Man or two, at least one Hulk novel, plus Daredevil, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, and probably others I’m not aware of. It wasn’t just Marvel, either – DC’s Further Adventures of Batman/the Joker short story collections are excellent stuff (some of these count among my favorite Batman stories ever, in or out of comics), and both Superman and Wonder Woman got similar treatments – and perhaps others as well; I’m not sure.

For the moment, though, let’s concentrate on 20th Century Fox. They own the Spider-Man and X-Men flicks, and they’re the ones who have introduced Fiers – and, as such, are the only ones who seem to be aware of this particular untapped well. So, if Fox is going in this direction anyway (aha! The title!), what else could they do with the literary material available to them? What other books might they turn to for inspiration – and, possibly, outright adaptation?

Well, I do have a few suggestions… Continue reading

American Ninja: Mutoids

Strange observations, weird thoughts, and snarky rebuttals are the domain of Mutoids — Mutant Reviewers’ notated journey through the film of the week.  So what did we notice about American Ninja?


  • This movie really, really needs an establishing text, because I have no idea where it starts out.  Wikipedia says Philippines, and who am I to argue?
  • Brooding loner with fancy butterfly knife skills… we have our lead!
  • Hackeysack is the official pasttime of the US Army
  • Army base doesn’t have its own airport, but must form a protective convoy just to get a single person to her flight.
  • The opening theme is so dang hyper — especially with that trumpet — that it cracks me up

Continue reading

American Ninja: Ninjas in the 80s


Jackson: Have you ever heard of ninjutsu sir?
Colonel Hickock: What’s that?
Jackson: The secret art of assassination.

It’s a well-known trope that pop culture ninjas, like pirates, are nothing like their real-world counterparts.  While there were indeed ninjas, they were assassins rather than warriors who chose to blend in, use underhanded weapons, and kill when the victim was least suspecting it.  Unlike the samurai, the ninja were seen to have no honor nor great status.

Continue reading

American Ninja: Review

Justin’s Review: ninja1If you were to intentionally create the most stereotypically 80s action movie today, there’s no way you could top what’s already been done in American Ninja.

Largely responsible for the elevation of the ninja to near-mythical status, American Ninja is a hodge-podge of admittedly better 80s films, including The Karate Kid, James Bond, and probably anything to do with Chuck Norris.  Yet it pushes so hard the ninja aspect that instead of being mediocre today, it’s actually endured as a cheesy cult classic that features genuinely enjoyable (if ridiculous) action.

Continue reading

10 Batman Animated Series villains that need to be in comics

Well, folks, I finally did it. After years of picking up scraps here and there through cultural osmosis, I have finally managed to catch up on Batman: the Animated Series. Yes sir, all four24-1 seasons and 114 episodes, counting the five crossovers with Superman: the Animated Series, which I have also seen – and it was good, too!

Most of you are probably already well familiar with B:tAS, given that it’s one of the most talked-about and beloved nerd series of all time. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s also one of the most influential spin-offs of all time, with any number of original characters and character interpretations making their way back into the comics. Harley Quinn, the new version of Mr. Freeze, Lock-Up, Roxy Rocket, Renee Montoya – there’s lots of ‘em.

What struck me, though, was not how many characters had made it out, but how many hadn’t. To the series’ credit, it never leaned too heavily on Batman’s already-established rogues gallery, instead coming up with brand new (or functionally new, as with Freeze) antagonists whenever it seemed appropriate – and you know what? Most of them are really good. Sure, a number did make it back to comics, but there’s also a surprisingly long list of foes that haven’t, and in my opinion really should have by now, because they’re cool.

So why waste time talking about them, let’s shoot out our Bat-Ropes and soar into the night. Ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten B:tAS Villains That Should Make It Into Comics! Continue reading