The Binding of Carl

So I watched the Season Premier of The Walking Dead, Season Seven, Episode One “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”. Now that it’s been a few days, I want to share something. The reason why Conservatives and Parents Groups had a problem with the episode is not because of the violence, they couldn’t care less. I mean they loved to watch Jesus being tortured in “The Passion of The Christ”. Anyway, there is a scene in that episode that totally destroys the “Binding of Issac” story as a moral fable. The scene in which Negan pushed Rick to the edge of sanity by demanding he inflict violence upon his own son has a direct correlation to the Old Testament story. He stops Rick right before the assault and states

Negan: “You work for me. I own you. You provide for me”

When you see all the violence, trauma, and psycho drama head games Negan is inflicting upon Rick, it is no different that what the character of Abraham must’ve gone through in the bible story. One that is told with such reverence as to make you think there is something wrong with you if you dare question how messed up the whole situation is and how sadistic god is to ever ask something like that of someone.

If kids start questioning that story because of The Walking Dead, they might just start thinking for themselves, and question other stories.11-1

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Let’s talk Batman

A couple of Friends on Facebook have been in a discussion, on one of my threads, about Batman. It seems one really likes the Nolan pictures featuring Bale and the other thought Affleck was a bad choice. Here is my take, coming from a person who has read Batman comics, watched almost everything filmed or televised offering related to the Dark Knight, on and off, since I was about 9 years old. The one and only Batman, to me, will always be Kevin Conroy [Batman: The Animated Series] with Jason O’Mara [DC Animated Universe] coming in a close second. Batman: The Animated Series, along with Conroy, is the reason we have the Batman mythos we have today… good or bad. Batman’s voice VS Bruce Wayne’s voice, The “No Killing / No Guns” rule [even though Michael Keaton’s Batman has 50 caliber machine guns on the Bat-Wing], and of course Mark Hamill’s take on the Joker. The DC animated films and television shows tend to be much, MUCH better than the Live-Action movies. Now, onto the discussion …

Ben Affleck’s Batman is the best on screen Batman we have been given. Better than Bale, Keaton, definitely Clooney, and, until Affleck, my personal favorite Val Kilmer [a great Batman in an awful movie]. I say that being a fan of Ben Affleck the Actor, Writer, & Director, at the same time loathing Ben Affleck the person. His portrayal of the Dark Knight is a perfect amalgamation of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” Dystopian retiree and Denny O’Neil’s Batman from which Christopher Nolan [along with writer David S. Goyer] took so much influence for his “Dark Knight” trilogy. Affleck’s Batman is brooding, violent, vengeful, angry, willing to kill the vilest amongst us knowing that if he lets them live, he is just as responsible as the criminal for the lives that will be lost in the future. He is utterly charming as Bruce Wayne, whilst at the same time being attentive and aware as the Brilliant Detective we have loved since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, in which he wore a sidearm, and dealt with Criminal thugs, Uncaring Landlords & Petty Immigrant Housing Owners in a decidedly brutal fashion. Affleck sums up the Batman I fell in love with in the 90’s. The one who took on the Genius Manipulations of Bane, fought with and against, The Avenging Angel of the Order of St. Dumas… Azreal, Dealt with the sinister machinations of Doctor Hugo Strange, all the while having to deal with one of the Deadliest and well known Rouge’s Gallery in the Comic Book Universe [DC or Marvel].

The DCEU films [DC Extended Universe] do need a serious overhaul to match up to the level of the first Iron Man release, the Russo’s Bros. Captain America films, the under-rated Ant-Man movie, and of course Joss Whedon’s cinematic circus known as The Avenger’s… and I am sure they will get it right [especially with Geoff Johns heading the DC arm of Warner Brothers films]. Just as a note, Affleck’s Batman is barely in Suicide Squad, but when he is, it is a joy. He seems to almost lament having to take in Will Smith’s Deadshot, especially in front of his young daughter. He is unrelenting, like a Gotham Terminator, going after Margot Robbie’s spot-on Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s forgettable Joker. I am looking forward to what Affleck does in the next few years with my favorite DC Universe Character. He makes up for the misgivings I had about Bale’s interpretation [only a couple of Hiccups, but, they are there] making my inner-child jump up and down with fevered-insanity at the thought of another “Bat-Flek” sighting.

ICED EARTH: BURNT OFFERINGS (retro review) – My take

   Last week I played through a new video game entitled “Dates Inferno”. As you might guess, it is based on the 1st part of Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is a really cool game. It is a lot like God of War for those of you who have only an XBOX 360. Anyway, upon finishing it the second time, I played through a mini-game entitled “The Gates of Hell”. I decided what better music to Hack & Slash demons to than Iced Earth’s “Dante’s Inferno” based on the same subject matter. The nearly 17 minute track is the concluding aria to a dark, but brilliant, album entitled “Burnt Offerings”. Burnt Offerings was released April 18, 1995. It is the 3rd studio release and the first to feature new vocalist, Matthew Barlow.  Burnt Offerings is said to have been written during a time of turmoil and anger, particularly focusing on a dispute with the band’s then record label, Century Media. Schaffer himself claims it is his least favorite IE album due to the negativity of that time and his mindset in writing it. But, after nearly 3 years of  legal issues and mistreatment of the band, Burnt Offerings arrives.

    Upon first listening, I was in LOVE with Barlow’s vocals. He is not as technically proficient as “Stormrider” vocalist John Greeley, but Matt has something no other IE vocalist has… emotion. When Matt sings about doomed lovers in “Last December”, I feel their pain. I feel his rage on the title track, and his disappointment on “Creator Failure”. The tragic beauty of his lament is heart wrenching on “The Pierced Spirit”, a track that leads into one of the highlights of the Iced Earth catalog… “Dante’s Inferno”. A brilliant song as epic as the poem itself. Jon utilizes lines from the great work along with relating the enormous 1st act through lyric that convey the main thrust of Inferno, without leaving the listener feeling that something is missing. This was the last album to feature the Trash metal influences felt on the previous albums. With vocalist Matt Barlow firmly entrenched as the voice of Iced Earth, the band became a more traditional metal band… along the lines of Iron maiden or Judas Priest. Though still very heavy (mainly due to Jon’s triple picking style and IE’s subject matter),  they became very melodic. I will probably write of my love of the years following in future blogs.

    Iced Earth’s inclusion of Matthew Barlow cemented my interest forever in Iced Earth. The meeting I had with Jon, Matt, and the rest of the band, guaranteed my devotion to the band. I have rarely met artist who seem so appreciative of their fans and are just genuinely good people to talk too. Here is a story I realted to the readers a Metal Odyssey. I was refering to a song by Death Angel entitled “Veil of Deception” & incorrectly stated “Mistress of Deception”, a song by the Thrash Metal band, Coroner. That’s the set-up, here goes:

My apologies… “Veil of Deception”. For some reason I confused the Coroner song with the Death Angel song. Alot of Metal knowledge banging around in my head and sometimes I access the wrong factoid. On that, the worst situation I could have possibly imagined occured in 1997 with Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth. We were talking about the just released “Days of Purgatory” set when I commented to him how much I liked Matt’s (Matthew Barlow) vocals on “When The Night Comes Down”, as opposed to vocals originally laid down by Gene Adams. As I am sure you know, “When The Night Comes Down” is a Judas Priest song and I meant to say the song “When The Night Falls”. I was mortified. In my world, I am the guy who knows all things METAL. What a slip up. We happened to be listening to Priest on the way to see Iced Earth. That is no excuse. I have to state, Jon was gracious in his correction, to me, of my error. I told him “I am so sorry, I did not mean any insult in stating the wrong song title.” That is literally what I said. His retort “You confused us with Priest, how am I supposed to be insulted by that?” He was so cool to us the rest of the night. Signed album after album, gave us some merch, just really a class act… the whole band. I will never forget that day.