12 Things to be Excited About in 2012

By Matt Peters

This year is scheduled to be one of the biggest of note in the world of comics, video games, and all-around geekiness. We here at Pads & Panels would like to give you twelve reasons that 2012 will be awesome. Let’s hope our Mayan overlords don’t return from outer space until we get to experience most of it. Take a look below for some of the highlights:




Why (500) Days of Summer is the Geekiest Film You’ve Never Seen or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Excited About Spider-Man

By Matt Peters

After much convincing by my friend John Castro, I finally sat down and watched the 2009 movie (500) Days of Summer. I’m not a big fan of romcoms, and I was determined to avoid yet another film that features the typical formula: the guy is a bumbling, macho fool who changes his ways thanks to a strong-willed independent woman who softens her man-hatin’ stance and eventually swoons for the still rough-around-the-edges schlub. Why would I waste my time watching that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun fall in love with a girl with cartoonishly huge eyes?

Mark Webb directed the film who, at the time, didn’t have much feature-length directing experience under his belt. The movie feels a little like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World without all of the game and comic references in the sense that the characters are very well spoken and have depth beyond what’s immediately shown on the surface. Webb’s directing style, combined with various slapstick elements and a witty script make for a comedic experience that may surprise some viewers. He even went so far as to direct a short to accompany one throwaway line featuring the stars in a Sid & Nancy parody. (more…)


#2 Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360, PC)

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment — Developer: Rocksteady Studios

Our Review

Batman Simulator 2.0 doesn’t disappoint, as it hits all the high spots gamers loved in Arkham Asylum and scatters them across an entire sandbox of a city to find. Rocksteady Studios is to be commended for continually getting what makes Batman fun. The double-edged sword here is – even though Arkham City is more robust than Asylum, gamers won’t get that stunning moment again where they realize that finally someone finally got a Batman game right. But the overall quality of the game is vastly improved, making it one of the year’s best. (more…)


Title: Batman: Arkham City

Platform: 360, PS3, PC (to be released)


Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Developer: Rocksteady Studios

Review By: Eric Stuckart

Rating: ★★★★★

When it was released, 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was perhaps the greatest superhero game ever made, and for good reason. It was stylish, stuck to the source material pretty closely — despite the ending getting a tad bit too video gamey — courtesy of Batman scribe Paul Dini, was graphically impressive, and had some excellent voice work, bringing in Batman mainstays Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to voice the titular character and the Joker.

Now, that would all be for not if it weren’t for the gameplay, which did a damn fine job of making the player actually feel like the caped crusader. One of the greatest feelings that Arkham Asylum was able to evoke was that of combining action, adventure, stealth, and subtle detective elements into the gameplay to create something that was not only fun to play, but highly addictive as well. In all honesty, the only problem that many players had with the game (ending non-withstanding) was the fact that the game was limited to Arkham Island, which meant that most of the action took place indoors, save for the random encounters on the small stretches of land between the buildings of the asylum. Fortunately for bat-hungry gamers, Arkham City took the fight to the streets, and what a fight it is. (more…)


Product: Batman Money Clip

Company: ThinkGeek

Price: $39.99

Review by: Bill Jones

Batman has always been a man of gadgets. With the seemingly infinite wealth of Wayne Enterprises behind his nighttime crimefighting, Batman has a gadget for nearly every situation. So it stands to reason that with all of the money, the man probably uses heavy duty clip to keep it all together.

ThinkGeek and DC Comics present their version of the Batman Money Clip, a miniature batarang that bends in half to hold the money, with the aid of two powerful magnets. It’s the metal of the batarang itself, though, that makes it so cool. It’s a heavy die-cast metal that’s coated in a black rubberized finish. So the money clip has a hefty weight to it, but feels relatively smooth and soft to the touch. (more…)


Title: All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder: Volume 1

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Frank Miller

Artist: Jim Lee

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

It’s hard to imagine with this being the first series published under DC Comics’ All-Star banner that the imprint lasted long enough for Grant Morrison to produce the fantastic All-Star Superman. All-Star allows the writers and artists to tell stories with key DC characters outside the general continuity of the DC Universe (or any other continuity DC has going, for that matter). And with creators of the likes of 300, Sin City and Batman: Hush, one would think this would be met with promising results. Jim Lee’s art gets the job done, for sure, but it’s hard to believe Volume 1 of All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder was written by the same Frank Miller who produced The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. (more…)



Chicago Bears Lance Briggs gets charitable

By Bill Jones
Photos and Reports by Matt Peters and Thomas Braaksma

Right now, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs has to have only one thing on his mind – an NFC Championship showdown with the Green Bay Packers in Chicago this Sunday. But as the Bears were still working to clinch a spot in the playoffs in December, the avid comics fans held a weekend of charitable events in Chicago to bring in comics and cash for CHA, the armed forces and underprivileged children in the city.

Matt Peters stopped by The Chicago Comic Vault Dec. 11 for Briggs’ Comic Book Day, where comics readers and football fanatics packed the building to capacity and spilled out the door waiting for the appearance of linebacker. When he finally arrived, it was to tremendous applause of the crowd, and Briggs took time to shake hands with everyone in attendance. (more…)


Title: Super Friends! Season One, Volume Two

Format: DVD

Publisher: DC, Warner Home Video

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Aaron Ray

When earth’s four greatest heroes are Superman, Batman (& Robin), Wonder Woman and Aquaman, we can assume one of two things. Either “Aquaman” really means “Any other super hero wearing an Aquaman halloween costume” or, you’re watching the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends! cartoon. Unfortunately, the answer is the latter. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – Beyond the Games and Books: High-End Tastes

By P&P Staff


The Art of God of War III Special Edition

For the Ultimate God of War Fan, Ballistic Publishing’s The Art of God of War III lives up to the standard set by the company’s Uncharted 2 book. The Special Edition is beautifully bound in black-suede leather, with embossed lettering and the iconinc image of Kratos’ eye up close. Inside, 272 fantastically-printed pages feature different stages of character, environment and gameplay design, plus some really awesome commentary and extras. For some truly “epic presentation,” as Ballistic puts it, the super-limited Folio Edition is fantastic, but runs with a price tag of $300. A paperback is also available, with almost identical content, at a more reasonable $65. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – Beyond the Games and Books: Fun Collectibles

By P&P Staff


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Play Arts Kai Snake “Jungle Fatigues”

It may cost a little more than the Toys R Us packaged-variety action figures, but Play Arts Kai makes a meanly detailed figure for the hardcore fan. Its Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Snake in Jungle Fatigues is a perfect example. With accessories and plenty of ways to pose the combat veteran, this camouflaged figure will blend right in with the rest of your collection. (more…)