Captain Catastrophe on Inspirations

The legendary Team-Killer and Goo-Spiller of Paragon City has come up with another video. This time Captain Catastrophe takes on the subject of Inspirations. What are they? How do they work? Where can you get them?

As always, it's good to have that HD button pressed.


Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review #15

Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review
#15: The Dark Knight

At the end of the 2005 movie “Batman Begins”, newly-promoted Lieutenant Jim Gordon talked with Batman in front of a certain iconic spotlight about his fear of criminal escalation now that the city has a vigilante with a mask. To point it out, he shares with Batman the latest case… a double-homicide, with the suspected killer having a taste for the theatrics and giving out a certain calling card.

It is with this scene that the audience knows who would be in the sequel, but nobody, not even director Christopher Nolan, would realize how much of an impact that sequel would have.

“The Dark Knight” is the 2008 continuation of the realistic Batman relaunch. The film was released by Warner Brothers and stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Michael Hall, Eric Roberts, and Maggie Gyllenhall, with cameos by Cillian Murphy, Tiny Lister, and US Senator Patrick Leahy.

Gyllenhall takes over the role of Rachel Dawes from Katie Holmes, who stepped down after a scheduling conflict with another film. Her brother Jake had previously worked with Ledger in the controversial film “Brokeback Mountain”.

The sudden and tragic death of Heath Ledger following the making of this movie only served to magnify the intensity of the character he brings to it. Because of his work, he posthumously received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The movie starts not long from when “Batman Begins” left off. A robbery crew is assembled and converges in groups towards a certain bank. Each group has a specific role to play in the bank robbery, and when their role is done, they are each picked off one-by-one by their partner, as per their orders. We learn from the exchange of conversations that their boss is the Joker. But we don’t know until there is only one robber left standing that HE is the Joker (Ledger). We also find out that this was no ordinary bank, but one exclusive to the mob.

That night Lieutenant Gordon (Oldman) is on the rooftop of police headquarters, shining the Bat-light over the city. He knows Batman would not show; he’s only doing it to scare the criminals. And to a large extent they are scared. But the major crime bosses are still doing business, including one called “The Chechen”, who always has guard dogs with him. He is doing business with Jonathan Crane, aka “Scarecrow” (Murphy), when their deal is interrupted by men wearing capes and cowls. Crane exclaims that they’re not the real thing, especially when they are using shotguns. The real Batman (Bale) arrives and has his hands full disarming the imposters, taking down Scarecrow, and fighting off the Chechen’s dogs. The imposters ask Batman what makes him better than them, to which Batman replies “I’m not the one wearing hockey pads!”

Back at the interim Batcave, which consists of a mostly-empty warehouse basement on the docks, Alfred Pennyworth (Caine) hands Bruce Wayne the breakfast and paper that he didn’t get at the penthouse. Alfred jokes that he would be glad when Wayne Manor is rebuilt so Bruce could spend his mornings “not in his bed” instead of “not in the penthouse at the other side of town”. Alfred helps stitch Bruce’s arm from the dog attack as Bruce looks at the news footage of the new District Attorney, Harvey Dent (Eckhart), along with his assistant, Rachel Dawes (Gyllenhall). Alfred wonders if Bruce’s fixation on Dent’s work is because of Dent’s involvement with Rachel outside of work.

Bruce meets up with Wayne Enterprises CEO Lucius Fox (Freeman), who gives him the designs for a new bat-suit. At this point there is no confusion that Fox knows what Bruce is doing with all of the equipment he gets from Wayne Enterprises, even though they try to keep it as innocent-sounding as possible. Bruce’s seemingly-oblivious and rude reception to a visiting Chinese investor is but a smoke-screen, though, as we discover that Mr. Lau is the banker for the mob’s money. Lau leaves quickly once he is warned about the police making a raid of the rest of the mob banks, taking the mob money with him for “safe-keeping”.

The various crime families meet and talk with Lau via TV, when the party is interrupted by the Joker. He tells them that “television’s” plan wouldn’t work because Batman doesn’t work within the law and would go anywhere to hunt the investor down. Joker offers the bosses to do what they could not, kill Batman, in exchange for half of the money. Some of the bosses refuse to work with Joker and put a bounty on his head.

As Bruce Wayne formally meets Dent, and as Batman later meets Dent with Gordon, the Joker takes out the people who question his plan, and later gives the city an ultimatum, delivered through the hanging corpse of one of the Batman imposters. Batman must reveal himself to the public, the Joker warns, or people will die.

At this point I have to stop, because to try to even explain some of the various twists and turns that the film takes would not do it justice.

This film is full of triangles. We have the love triangle between Bruce, Rachel, and Harvey. We have the professional triangle of Batman, Gordon, and Harvey. We have the Batman triangle of Bruce, Alfred and Fox. We have the mob triangle of the Chechen, Maroni (Roberts), and Lau. And we have the Joker somehow managing to stay one step ahead of everyone, as well as being able to destroy ALL of the triangles.

Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker as an agent of chaos really took the iconic villain to the absolute extreme. Much like Director Nolan and co-star Bale, Ledger did his homework on the Joker, including reading Alan Moore’s chilling graphic novel “Batman: The Killing Joke”. He also isolated himself for a month until he got the mindset down just right. This wasn’t some strutting circus clown looking to make everyone white-skinned, green-haired, and laughing to death. This was as amoral and anarchistic of a person as you would ever find! You can almost understand, then, what kind of a toll such a role played on the late actor. He clearly EARNED his posthumous Academy Award. It’s just a pity he had to die to get it.

Christian Bale’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman continues to be spot-on. You can see how the Joker’s mechanizations have an effect on Batman, destroying his dreams of finally passing on the burden of being Gotham’s guardian, and forcing him to go to levels that alienate him from everyone. You can see how he hates being driven that far, but that he has to.

Aaron Eckhart does an equally good job as the new “White Knight” of Gotham, including how that image of Harvey Dent is inevitably corrupted and turned.

Gary Oldman also continues his spot-on job as Jim Gordon, seemingly the only cop smart enough and ethical enough to win everyone’s trust. Morgan Freeman also continues his role as Luscius Fox masterfully as Bruce Wayne’s corporate manager and as Batman’s reluctant assistant. Maggie Gyllenhall’s portrayal of Rachel Dawes is more credible than her predecessor’s version.

Sadly, as Freeman’s character gained more ground in the movie, Michael Caine’s Alfred lost that ground. He provides some key philosophical advice, but his role at this point is reduced to bringing people stuff.

The wild-card in this movie is Anthony Michael Hall, who plays a Geraldo Rivera-style character whose push for ratings eventually gets him in hot water. While his role is extremely limited in this movie, it certainly plays a key part leading into the finale.

“The Dark Knight” is definitely a superb follow-up to “Batman Begins”, and is also a must-have movie for any hero’s library.

Capes: This film easily earns all five capes. Iconic heroes and villains, as true to their comic book counterparts as you can get.
Cheese: Nothing but American Cheese (0) here. The realism kept the cheese factor at bay.
Books: This movie easily earns all five books. It has a realistic story and more than enough twists to keep you at the edge of your seat.



Paragon Studios has announced its latest expansion project since its formation a few weeks ago.

City of Heroes - Going ROGUE

Once upon a time it used to be simple. There were heroes and there were villains.

But with the merging of City of Heroes and City of Villains into one game system and the introduction of cooperative missions and cooperative zones, the lines between good and bad have begun to blur. What was once black-and-white now had shades of gray mixed in.

Going Rogue introduces all new shades of gray.

Going Rogue allows heroes and villains to cross over from traditional lines, to become rogue operatives. Now their alliances will be determined by their actions. Heroes can become Rogue Isle villains, and villains can redeem themselves and stay in Paragon City as heroes.

Going Rogue will revisit the Praetorian Earth, where Marcus Cole did not become the hero Statesman, but instead used his powers to become the dictator Tyrant and rules the world with an iron fist. Going Rogue will bring Tyrant's world into prominence instead of being just a high-level mission.

Going Rogue will also introduce two key characters who play a key role in the redemption or corruption of a character. Maelstrom is a gun-wielding hero gone bad. He is seen at Tyrant's side. Desdemona is villain who has redeemed herself. She is seen with Statesman observing the Praetorian Paragon City. Desdemona's powers, described as "demon-summoning", are quite possibly a new powerset for characters.

The ability to straddle the line between good and bad is something that has been long anticipated and requested in the "City Of" MMO for many years now, and could very well redefine MMO playing as much as the Mission Architect system.

Visit the official Going Rogue website for the teaser video and to sign up for future updates. And visit the FAQ page for more details.

City Hall - Part 2

With the Hamidon goo cleaned up, Captain Catastrophe gets to finish that tour of City Hall.


5th Anniversary - the Video

Just some of the visual challenges on the 5th anniversary of City of Heroes.


Origin Story - Battle of the Jens

Jen Glamour and J-Star have three things in common...

1) They share the same first name: Jennifer
2) They are both bikini/lingerie models for Glam Bunny Magazine from 1994
3) They both have a little secret about staying fit and trim.

They barely tolerate each other. They're often pitted against each other. And for a while it was to the benefit of the magazine.

Then there was one event that brought it all to a head. One event that would define them both. One event where there would be a definitive winner.

This is the story that turns one into a hero, and the other into a villain.

Click here to read the story (PDF Format).