Saturday, 30 March 2013

Chloe Birthday 2013.


Happy Birthday CoCo. And special mention of thanks to Sim Yoon for her ice cream cake. It melted, during the cake cutting but its all a-ok. The incredible melting cake!

Unkle T.

Unkle T dropped by for a few days stay from Houston, TX.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hot Toys DX11 - The Dark Knight : The Joker 2.0


I started a joke.
Which started the whole world crying.
But I didn't see.
That the joke was on me, oh no.
I started to cry.
Which started the whole world laughing.
Oh, if I'd only seen.
That the joke was on me.
Til I finally died.
Which started the whole world living.
Oh, if I'd only seen.
That the joke was on me.
It should have been "will the real 1/6th Joker please stands up?". This is because, if memory serves me correctly and it hasn't lately, I recall that there have been at least three previous releases from Hot Toys on the Joker. Let's see. There's the standard MMS version, followed by the Bank Robber Joker, and the DX01 version, the one which got me into the deep end of the world of 1/6th collection (and near financial ruin). I haven't really seen the original MMS version but the Bank Robber version is on display at BTS xl-shop which looks kinda menacing. Secondary prices are sky rocketing for it during those time, so I am incredibly happy to have DX01 released. All those PERS and additional headsculpt, uniform and accessories, what not makes me feel like a boy whom first laid his ten, skinny little fingers on his very first Transformer (that's the OG Grimlock fyi, now long gone) figure. It doesn't help that the late Heath Ledger's final role and characterisation of the Joker (kudos to the makeup/effect team) is so groundbreaking, even to me, whom had my Batman comic storyline formative years written under the gritty, "for mature readers only" tag by the likes of Alan Moore and Frank Miller to name but a few. The Joker is portrayed truly as a homicidal, sociopathic maniac, instead of the clownish version. 
Hot Toys, which have had evolved from a military/special forces 1/6th figures elitist to Hollywood/Pop Culture 1/6th mass marketing entity, while still retaining the incredible details in their products, has really got everything right and milked them to the last drop and still squeezes out more. The Iron Man movie range comes into mind. Good luck to those fans. Another are the Predator movie series. And very likely characters from The Avengers. Now I would have thought Hot Toys would goes on and release something new, or perhaps even innovative, overlook classic or cult figures but no. When all the supa dupa box office hit figures and variants have been released, Hot Toys, with the Marketing Gurus smiling heavenly at them, decides to re-release so-called "version 2.0". It basically means an upgrade to better products, like cars. Which is good. It would means if there's version 2 of Bruce Lee, he would no longer looks like a stand in or Pan Asian, it means Indiana Jones no longer has that shadowy guyliner, it means there would be hope for a new Rambo or Rocky figures. But it is a double edge swords, working both ways. What about those previous versions or variants? Reminds me of mobile phones and notebooks. Evolution. In figures terms, either it gradually become less realistic when compared to the newer releases or self destruct in the cabinet. Like the Appleseed's Briareos whose knee joint suddenly gave out, Takara's Kerberos Panzer Cop deteriorating uniforms and so forth. Or I could  flog it off to someone (just don't fleece them). By becoming less realistic, I look at the most straightforward example in my display cabinet. Two Face Harvey Dent. Once upon a time, he looked awesome. Now he looks like a caricature of a figure supposedly representing Harvey Dent. Hhhmm, plastic like, on the shorter end with ancient TrueType body and ill fitting wardrobe. The test of time and by logic of improvement are becoming a great, personal concern. At least Two Face isn't popular enuff to be given a take two. No siree. It's the highway all the way. Harvey's gonna be a Ken doll in a couple of years time. Version 2.0 treatments or re-releases include the Predators from the OG movie, its subsequent "it's all downhill from here" sequels, Iron Man MK1 (re-coloured by customiser KAZ?) and of course, here in my hand right now, the DX11 The Joker.  
After the rantings above, and obtaining 1/7th scale Bane, I can smell the burns from the brake pads as I pull off an emergency brake on my wanton orders of any Hot Toys releases. I would still continue purchase Hot Toys stuff for no one can match the incredible details and near likeness of the figures they churns out but not like last time. 220 km/hr kind of purchases.
DX11 has improved, naturally, from DX01, like in the case of DX12 vs. DX02. It is all in the details. But at least unlike in the case of the latter, of which DX12 has an elbow guards which is turned into an elbow blade, with barely there threads linking the slot and the cape together, and DX02 by now infamous "belly oil", both DX Jokers (I like the sound of dat), are defect free. At least for the ones I got (and about "defects", man, more like flimsy material. Case in point, a snapped pneumatic tube on the Batmobile, Sweeney Todd's barber chair, Barney Ross knee joint, Spidey's wrist peg...and they say I got the strength of a fairy...). 
First, the headsculpt. More details, more wrinkles, now with a subtle, wry smile like expression. The secondary headsculpt is alright but I ain't gonna do the interrogation scene anyway. I would still say the un-disguised Joker secondary headsculpt from DX01 takes the cake. Hhmm, with all these headsculpts around, someone out there is definitely building an army of Jokers by now. The PERS are same ole, same ole. The hair, however, still looks like the aquatic plants in my aquarium. Someone gotta do a rooted hair version of him someday I think. Version 2.5? I am not a fan of rooted hair but for the Joker, it kinda suits him more. The body is the same, not the model but in terms of posing, articulation blah blah. The highlight is actually the trademark purple coat. Coz it is commissioned under Hot Toys to the haute couture of 1/6th world clothing designer and customiser, Kato. No, not the Hornet sidekick. And yes, I don't have a single clue about him. But I have seen some of his work, and I must say I am impress with his work. Down to the single detail and within scale. But that's made via his hands. This is the mass marketed ones. Like a repro denim hand made in Japan by a 80 years old artisan through a shuttle loom versus a projectile loom woven stuffs. From my view, the coat looks like a thick piece of velvet. I am not sure whether this is the case represented in the movie per se, but looks like a piece of, uh, carpet/suede? It looks kinda "furry" too. The silhouette is all there, but the inner lining is now orange-ish instead of red. The rest of the garments - vest, shirt, pants, socks - are more or less the same. The shoes are no longer molded, which is good. It comes with a mix of selected accessories from all three previous release, except for the shotgun (did he uses a shotgun? I thought that's the bank manager. Wait, yes, he did take the shotgun from the bank manager) - switchblades, a balisong, deck of cards, a stack of cash, the sub-machine gun, the handgun. It comes with a metal surfaced table, a chair, interrogation room background, a magnetic table lamp for easy pose, and even a pencil for the "magically disappearing pencil" trick. Neat. The chain on his pants are now gold/bronze instead of silver. Or maybe its the lighting. Limited edition comes with the "Grumpy" version clown mask and a handheld detonator as bonus for extra RM70. I opted for the standard version instead. What I really want to be included are the coat pocket and luggage bag frag and smoke grenades. The pocket grenades for DX01 is a killer, no pun intended. Which by the way, it irritates me how nowadays manufacturers loves to milk us customers with so many versions which differentiating factors consists of almost irrelevant "additional accessories" or "different variants", limited or otherwise i.e. battle damage version, clean version, different colour scheme, material, etc. I heard rumours that some upcoming figures even come with voice/sound features. Well, at least it is not insanely limited or play hard to get way of 3A, particularly if I got snagged into a particularly lovely variant which is a random drop or exclusive, exhibition release only. Secondary market kills. What I mean is, couldn't they just pack everything inside a singular figure? I have a feeling that 1/6th is going the route of the comic/graphic novels industry during its heydays. Chrome covers, hardcovers, signed limited editions etc. And that is not a good sign. Does it mean the 1/6th industry has peaked?
The packaging is not as lavish as DX01, like DX12 compares to DX02. But it is the figures which matters. I really don't care about packaging. But then again, how to justify the retail price leh? Overall, this is (currently) the Hot Toys version of the Joker to get if you haven't got any. But I doubt any fans wouldn't have by now, are there?         

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Chloe - With Mister Todd.

Letting Todd off as part of the ongoing 1/6th collection trimming exercise. Chloe has an opportunity to take a final pic with it.

Chloe and Dylan - Robot vs. Monster.

...a little bit of fun for Robot vs. Monster. Improv from a cardbox. They loved it. I am the unfortunate Monster though. Makes me wanna find time to do up a proper one for them, gears and all.

Hot Toys MMS 183 - The Dark Knight Rises : Bane Part 2

Bane, portrayed by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), the conclusion of the Batman film trilogy by director Christopher Nolan, reminds me of Darth Vader when he took off his mask at the end of The Return of The Jedi. In some media I read, it has been reported that Nolan indeed had Vader partly as inspiration when conceptualising Bane. His voice, which reminds me more of Sean Connery, is partly based on Irish bareknuckle boxer, Bartley Gorman. Tom Hardy puts on weight to add bulk to the character but honestly, he looks kinda fat-ish. He looks more menacing in Warrior (2011). Hot Toys offering of this version of Bane is true to the movie version, including the details of his body down from the scars up to pimple-like bumps. The headsculpt, well, nothing to really comment about since Bane wears mask, but is per Hot Toys standard i.e. veins and whatnot, even though there are again comments of the colours and lack of weathering. Be warned though, coz the figure I got has an unpainted strip along the upper head straps of Bane's baldy head. An obvious quality concern, xl-shop graciously changed it for me but one of the two remaining stocks has the same "defect". The gears are minimal as Bane is purely physical but there's still a tad feeling of hesitance when parting with my moola to David. The one sixth hobby is increasingly becoming a game for the ten percentile hehe. Removing the infamous vest is surprising easy though time consuming compare to other more nightmarish gears I had came across from Hot Toys. And nothing break this time. Like Napoleon Dynamite says, "Luckeee!!!". The hand glaives, sweater, leather jacket (which reminded me of the one Kate Hudson's Pennylane wears in Almost Famous) are nice, and so is the supposedly customised Crye Precision GEN 1 combat pants and modified boots (what do I know about military garbs anyhoo?). Well, I still have a beef regarding Hot Toys molded boots but enough said. It looks nice and precise overall.  Take note that I could not slip in the hand glaive when wearing the jacket coz I find the opening to be too narrow. A pity coz Bane wears it all the time. Now here's the setback for this figure...the size. Yes. Hot Toys' Bane is well, a tad shorter than DX12 Bats. I mean, yes, but no, uh...what the heck? I sees it as a 1/7th scale. And this is the antagonist who breaks Bats? Hahahaha...I couldn't stand it, so I did what I needed to do next. Swap the bods with the just released Advanced Muscular Body. The pants wouldn't fit, that's for sure coz its tighter and smaller, so I just grabbed whatever combat pants available at xl-shop, which happens to be a DML camo pants, coupled with a spare ACI combat boots, and bingo. The Bane I wants. Tall (but maybe too tall, almost near The Predator's height) and bigger (the shoulder width is approximately the same) but what the heck. It's Bane, man! The leather jacket does not "hang" as naturally as the on the original body. Also looks shorter, undersized now but it sill slips in without any pressure.
Maybe down the line, I would try to look for a similar combat pants, I realise there're some from Soldier Story's FCS Multicam figures, DiD, Very Hot Toys but they're incredibly rare and only in camo. The Belfast mercenary coat is non-existent, but I've read that even for the movie, they used a Trialmaster jacket. That could be obtained from MC Toys Will Smith's I Am Legend set. The boots are heavily customised. I have seen the Soldier Story Korean boots, but it's kinda not "brutal" enuff and not the same thing, without the details etc., so I'll probably stick to standard combat boots. But that means more money to be spent, so this will do for now. Or maybe not. Sometimes, these sort of things will nag me. To put it out of me head, I got the DiD set but in camo. Would very much tempted to bleach/dye blah blah but nah, camo is good enuff though not for the hardcore fans and purists. The pants should have knee protector in the form of hardshell but DiD seems to take the lazy route and has glued on piece of plastic. I swapped it with the knee pad from the original which are also glued on. The ACI boots sorta makes Bane looks like wearing a battle ship sized gear, so I swapped back the original ones. I am eating my own words ere but ok, for once, the size and molded boots compliment the figure. Nothing is perfect. Managed to squeezed in the glaives, yes both of em (in the movie he only wears one), an incredible exercise of patience, creativity and dexterity, through the opening of the coat. So, goodbye Bane. Off ya go into the cabinet with the rest of the crew.

Hot Toys MMS 183 - The Dark Knight Rises : Bane.



Home, where I learned the truth about despair, as will you. There's a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth... Hope. Every man who has ventured here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy... So simple... And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Gotham, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe they can survive so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to "stay in the sun." You can watch me torture an entire city and when you have truly understood the depth of your failure, we will fulfill Ra's al Ghul's destiny... We will destroy Gotham and then, when it is done and Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die.
- Bane.

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.
- Will Durant.

A (mis) interpretation :
Name : Unknown.
Alias : Bane.
Age : Late 40s to early 50s.
Affiliation : The League of Shadows.
Abilities : Genius level intellect; Expert hand to hand combatant; Peaked physical condition; Master strategist and tactician; Weapons expert; Photographic memory; Polyglot; Polymath.
Armaments : Various standard issued military weapons and combat gears; Customised body armour; Pain-suppression gas mask.
Current status : Deceased.

Bane is an infamous and much feared member of  the ancient, clandestine League of Shadows terrorist organisation. His real name is not known, even if he had one. What is known is Bane that was born and raised within an ancient, Middle Eastern underground prison in an undisclosed location known as The Pit. Growing up within the prison,  Bane has come to regard it as his home, a place where he learns "the truth about despair." Bane once said that he was "born in darkness and mold by it" and that he didn't "see the light" until he was an adult. Perhaps, this accounts for his natural adaptation to see and sense movement instinctively in total darkness. Bane is the alias conferred upon him by Henri Ducard. He equates Bane's overall personality to the Aconitum flower, a plant with poisonous or prophylactic properties. The prisoners came to regard Bane as the de-facto leader of The Pit. At some point, he took an interest in the wellbeing of a young female prisoner named Talia, the daughter of another female prisoner and a mercenary, who turns out to be Ducard himself. The father of the female prisoner, a powerful local warlord, disapproved of their relationship and when he learnt that she is pregnant with Ducard's child, he had her banished to The Pit. Bane protected Talia when several of the vicious inmates attacked and killed Talia's mother. Bane became a fatherly figure to Talia and later helped her escape from The Pit. Bane was eventually rescued by Ducard after Talia informed him what happened. Ducard leads a group of the League of Shadows mercenaries and slaughtered all the prisoners there in an act of vengeance. Bane is spared and  recruited as a member of the League. He is personally trained by Ducard, whom has by then assumed the position as the Ra's al Ghul of the League.
Bane is a physically imposing individual, tall and bulky, akin to that of a bodybuilder. He possesses immense physical strength, stamina, endurance, quick reflexes and dexterity. Under Ducard's training, Bane is a master of various deadly martial art techniques. He is an extremely formidable, result oriented based expert hand to hand combatant. He often brutally overwhelms and kills his opponent with clinical precision by attacking vital joints and organs. Prisoners under his personal interrogations are often left literally and physically broken, a sight which would chill even his most battle hardened veteran followers. Bane has an IQ level of 200, possesses photographic memory and is a polymath. These staggering mental abilities makes him incredibly knowledgeable, capable of learning almost anything within a short period. Bane is also a master strategist and tactician, and capable of adapting to any changing situation. A polyglot, Bane could speak eight languages and could psychologically frighten, manipulate and bend others to his will with mere words. He uses his immense presence and commanding personality to great effect, making him an effective militant commander.
Upon the complete indoctrination and training in the ways and principles of the League, Ducard orders Bane to spread the League's primary objective upon the world. Bane infiltrates target group to sow dissention, influence policy, instigated and masterminded political uprisings and revolutions globally. Bane's strategy is gradual destabilisation of the target nation economies, follow by societal upheaval. Bane personally ordered and committed various acts of terrorism - bombings, plane hijackings, hostage takings, biological and chemical weapons attacks, assassinations - and participated in various armed conflicts throughout the 70s, primarily in politically unstable regions of Eastern Europe, Northern Ireland, Middle East, West Africa, South America and Asia. He also resorted to cyber-terrorism as the age of internet dawned.
Bane eventually attracted and recruited like-minded individuals, and formed various mercenary groups and terrorist organisations in quick succession. All these groups are fully capable of operating independently but are ultimately link to the League of Shadows through Bane. These organisations and individuals are nothing but a mean to an end for Bane - the destruction of any civilisation deemed as decadent. Bane's followers are extremely loyal and fanatically devoted to him personally, his various goals and objectives. They would willingly die merely upon his order. Bane lead his followers to gradually infiltrate important national security establishment as sleeper agents throughout the globe. Others would holding important positions within private corporations, owners of profit making enterprises, political bureaucrats and public servants. They established strong networks with front groups, charitable organisations and NGOs. Bane's terrorist networks have strong links with majority of organised crimes, primarily for funds, although he holds a personal contempt for them. The Falcone crime family was one of them. Bane himself was believed to have been at certain point, a member of various special forces, including the Spetsnaz GRU and paramilitary groups such as the Kadyrovtsky Militia. Bane use numerous fake identities and aliases, including Buvaisar Basayev, Mgelika Beridze, Gavriil Zaytsev, Antonio Diego, Mustafar Al Thi'b. Prominent counter-intelligence agencies, including the CIA, once considered Bane to be a non-existing individual. This changed after years of further intel-reports prove Bane existence and evidences begin to emerge that links him to various acts of terrorism. Bane eventually becomes one of the top five most wanted men on the FBI and CIA listings. He remains elusive with no proper photos or physical descriptions are ever obtained until he personally reveal himself to the world during the event of the Third Gotham City Crisis of which he and his men taken the entire Gotham City and its citizens hostage. 
During a covert operation resulting in an uprising in the Middle East, Bane was severely injured by a shrapnel bomb. His lower jaw was shattered and pieces of shrapnel shred through his back and subsequently embedded into his lungs. Nearing death, Bane orders his men to bring him back  to the fortress monastery of the League of Shadows in the Himalayans to die. He didn't. Through an ancient method of recovery, Bane survives from the ordeal but has to perpetually wear a customised gas mask which continuously pump a form of anaesthetic gas into him to keep the pain from the wounds at a threshold. It also acts as a breathing device for Bane. He could remove the mask for food and water consumptions but under intense pain and controlled, laboured breathing. Years of wearing the mask and exposure to the gas causes Bane's nerves to be numbed to the point that he develops a low level congenital insensitivity to pain.
After the demise of Henri Ducard during the event of the First Gotham City Crisis as the result of the direct actions of the city's infamous masked vigilante, The Batman, Bane collaborates with a grown up Talia, whom has been nominated as the new Ra's al Ghul, beginning a series of meticulous plans and actions to continue and complete his former mentor's objective of ensuring the utter destruction of Gotham City and annihilation of its entire population. More importantly, Bane and Talia want to personally avenge Ducard's death by killing The Batman personally. Bane nevertheless has lost his once great respect for his former mentor, due to what he perceives as his memtor's failure at the hands of The Batman. Bane personal anger and hatred are further driven by the fact that he knows The Batman real identity is Bruce Wayne, and was formerly a student of Ducard and would be member of the League of Shadows until Bruce discovers the real objective of the organisation. Bane sees in Bruce Wayne as a traitor to the League's cause and betrayer. Yet he recognises the fact that in a curious way, both Bruce Wayne and himself possess similar capabilities and skills. Bane sees in Bruce Wayne's weakness as investing too much emotions, the hope for redemption and societal recovery for a city of which is ripe for destruction. He recognises Bruce as an equal but at the polar opposite, each occupying one end of the spectrum in terms of personal principle.
Ten years after the last sighting of The Batman, Bane seizes the opportunity to implement his intricate plan and systematically carries out acts of terrorism upon Gotham City, taking advantage of the unprecedented period of peace, partly due to the economic and societal recovery, and the Internal Security Act implemented after the death of Harvey Dent. Bane has his mercenaries posing as a local militia to turn over rogue Russian nuclear physicist Dr. Leonid Pavel and three other hooded prisoners, including Bane himself, to the CIA in Uzbekistan. Dr. Leonid Pavel had previously worked on an revolutionary fusion reactor which could replace conventional fuels as an alternative. Bane's plan is to find out how much Pavel has told the CIA about them. After killing all the CIA agents, Bane brings in a cadaver to transfer Pavel's blood to fake the latter's death. Bane also has one of his mercenaries to stay behind in order to ensure they have the expected death toll. Bane then crashes the plane with no survivors.
Bane and his mercenaries later arrive at Gotham City by exploiting his working relationship with John Daggett, CEO of the Daggett Industries. Daggett had previously engaged the service of Bane and his army to instigate a military coup in West Africa which ultimately gives Daggett exclusive access to the resources there. In return, Daggett  fulfils Bane's demand for manpower to commence "construction projects" which are rigged with explosives across Gotham City through "explosive cement." Daggett collaborates with Bane further in order to have Bruce Wayne removes from the Wayne Enterprise Board by bankrupting the billionaire, as part of the his plan to take over the Wayne Enterprise. The Wayne Enterprise is in financial difficulty after Bruce Wayne invested in a clean energy project designed to harness fusion power. The designer of the fusion reactor happened to be Dr. Pavel. Bruce embarks on the project in a joint venture with Miranda Tate, businesswoman and heiress but shut it down after learning that the core could be modified to become a nuclear weapon. The true identity of Miranda is Talia Al Ghul, whom not only gains Bruce's trust but also breaks through his emotion and becomes his lover and companion. 
Selina "The Cat" Kyle is recruited by Daggett in return for a "clean slate" programme after the collapse of the criminal empire in Gotham City due to the ISA. Selina is tasked with retrieving Bruce's fingerprints for them to accomplish the financial fraud to leave Wayne penniless. Masquerading as a waitress during a fundraising dinner at Wayne's Manor, Selina succeed in her mission and escapes upon being confronted by Bruce. Leaving with a congressman whom she used her charm on, Selina drugged and uses the former as collateral in case Daggett reneges on the deal, which he did. Furious, Selina set up a phone sting regarding the location of the congressman whom had been reported as missing. The GCPD officers and SWAT teams move in but comes under heavy fire from armour penetrating assault rifle. As the police officers, including GCPD Commissioner James Gordon, search for the shooter, he ends  up stumbling upon Bane's hideout within the network of sewers. Bane executes one of his henchmen for drawing him to the place, before shooting Gordon. He also retrieves Gordon's written speech that reveals the truth regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of former DA Harvey Dent. Gordon, barely alive, thrown himself down the rapid sewer waters to escape. He is rescued by patrol officer Robin J. Blake before Bane's men arrive. Gordon is admitted to the Gotham General Hospital's intensive care ward under heavy security. On the way there, a delirious Gordon keeps repeating that a new evil has risen and The Batman must return. Robin later pays a visit to the Wayne Manor where he informs a reluctant Bruce Wayne on what happened to Gordon. Robin also revealed that he knows Bruce is the masked vigilante as he was an orphan whom grew up at the Thomas and Martha Wayne Orphanage. During a visit to the manor, Robin had accidentally seen Bruce in his dark knight persona. Robin implores Bruce to return as the symbol of justice before leaving. Bruce then secretly visits Gordon and learns about Bane. Bruce decides to comes out his self imposed exile, marking the returns of the dark knight, much to Alfred Pennyworth's protest. He proceeds to investigate the intention of Bane's presence in Gotham City. 
Bane and his men openly attacks the Gotham Stock Exchange to complete the plan of putting Bruce Wayne into bankruptcy. He uses the stolen set of Bruce's fingerprints to place a number of risky investments under Bruce's name, bankrupting him overnight, forcing him to relinquish control of the Wayne Enterprise. Correctly deducing that Daggett is responsible for engaging Bane's service to aid an aggressive take-over of the company, Bruce entrusts Miranda Tate to keep full control of Wayne Enterprise, to prevent Daggett from being a major shareholder. During the attack, Bane strategically places several cement trucks in major route manned by his henchmen as obstacle and as distraction. He and his men take hostages with them. With the GCPD in pursuit, the Batman emerges on the Batpod and intercepts the mercenaries but could not stop Bane, whom escapes.  
After Daggett's betrayal, Selina secretly attempts to find the clean slate drive at Daggett's penthouse only to find the safe empty. Furious, she is confronted by a gloating Daggett. She wants to kill Daggett but stops when Bane and the mercenaries arrive to secure the area. She manages to slip quietly away. Once Talia, masquerading as Miranda Tate, succeed in having total control over the Wayne Enterprise, Daggett furiously confronts Bane on his failure to put him in control of the company as promised. Bane reveals the true nature of his plan to Daggett before crushing Daggett's head with his bare hands.  
The by then bankrupted Bruce tracks down Selina to her escort service agency in order to find out more about Bane and his where about. Selina offers Bane a deal to lead the Batman to him directly in exchange for survival insurance. Bane agrees and the Batman is lured by Selina into a trap within the sewers. Encountering Bane for the first time, both of them began to instinctively fight each other in a contest of personal hand to hand combat. The Batman fights valiantly, delivering all he has against Bane but the ten years of isolation, lack of trainings and strings of physical injuries accumulated throughout the years has left Bruce in a weakened state. He is unable to keep up with Bane's superior resiliency, stamina and speed. Every moves are countered by Bane. Bruce retaliates relentlessly, punches for punches but the blows seem to do no damage at all upon Bane. Bane mocks The Batman. He brutally overpowers The Batman. Bane then lifts a barely conscious Batman up and breaks his back. Bane then reveals that he was using Daggett's construction firm to stage a heist on Wayne Enterprise Applied Science Division and his plan to use the equipment to fulfil the League's objective to "bring justice" to Gotham City. Bane wants Bruce to know his plan and to witness the destruction of Gotham City and its population before killing him. Bane intends to psychologically torture Bruce. He then proceed to punch The Batman's mask until it is broken, tearing it off, revealing the real identity of the man behind it. Selina Kyle is shocked and suffered from guilty conscious of what she had done.  Bane imprisons a crippled and semi-conscious Bruce Wayne within the ruins of the Elizabeth Arkham Institution, ironically, within the cell of the late Joker.
Bane interrupts a Wayne Enterprise board meeting where he force Miranda, Lucius Fox, and another board member to the fusion reactor bunker to activate the device. He then forced Dr. Pavel to turn the reactor into a nuclear bomb. Bane removes the core, turning the device into a time bomb which would detonate within five months. 
Bane and his men then interrupt a football match at the Gotham Stadium, which is broadcasted live throughout the nation's sports channels. Bane explains and self-rationalises the actions of himself and his men which is based on the greater good of Gotham City's citizen. Like all demagogue, Bane oratory prowess keeps the audience silent. He explains of how the normal citizens are being exploited by the wealthy, keeping them in perpetual servitude. Bane adds that the true evil is not him, but the corrupted councilmen, police officers, bureaucrats, rich corporate figures and the upper class whom continuously deny the middle and lower income percentage of the population the opportunity to rise and keep them perpetually in debt and servitude. He then reveals the content of Gordon's letter, saying that the city is ran by liars and thieves under a quagmire of lies. Bane demands that the ISA to be abolished as it is a pretext to deny justice to the population and their rights, a fascist law that should not exist. He then has Dr. Pavel brought out. After forcing him to introduce himself and what he does for a living, Bane shoots him. Bane shares that there is a nuclear bomb out there within the city, and the trigger is in the hand of a responsible citizen of Gotham. The city now belongs to the citizen themselves. He warns the President of the nation not to send any National Guards nor special forces into the city or the bomb would goes off. Suddenly a series of explosions go off, effectively cutting off all major routes in and out of the city.
Simultaneously, he also has his mercenaries lured approximately three thousand GCPD officers to the hideout in the sewer of which they are eventually trapped within. Bane intends to starve them to death. Those whom survive would perish in the coming nuclear holocaust. Any GCPD police officers left on the surface are to be hunted down and killed.  
Bane and his men
Bane then detonates the explosives laced cements around the city, killing thousands of people, including Mayor Anthony Garcia and isolates the city from the rest of the world. Anticipating that Gordon is still alive, Bane sends his men to kill Gordon, although the commissioner manages to kill them all with the help of Robin. 
At the entrance of the Blackgate Penitentiary, Bane orders his men to storm the prison and liberate the prisoners, whom had been incarcerated under the "corrupt" laws meant to protect only the interest and welfare of Gotham's elite groups. Those escaped include Selina Kyle whom had been capture earlier while attempting to leave the city.  
Bane's speech begins a series of riots lead by Gotham's criminals and working class members. They raids the homes of the wealthy and set-up a court, where the rich and wealthy are sentenced to choose between either death or exile through the crossing of a deadly frozen river. Bane himself anticipates in excitement. He can't wait to see the bomb goes off as he observes from the sky. He looks at Gotham's own citizens tearing their city apart and collapse of social fabric. One news commentator reported the current situation in Gotham City is akin to the French Revolution, and Bane shares similarity with Robespierre's reign of terror. A few months into the occupation, the military sent the Special Forces to infiltrate the city in order to gather intel on fighting back against Bane, even learning of the bomb true nature. However Talia, in her Miranda Tate guise, tipped off Bane whom had the Special Forces killed and then ordered their bodies hang over one of the Gotham bridges for the world to see.
The President of the nation decides against the zero tolerance policy, unwilling to put twenty millions lives in danger and a city under hostage.. The government blockaded Gotham, with National Guards stationed outside the city limits as the city regress into a state of anarchy. Foods and basic essentials are sent into the city as per demand by Bane through secured route.  
Bruce Wayne is rescued by the combined effort of Robin and a reluctant Selina from the asylum. Back in the cave of the destroyed Wayne Manor, the by now paraplegic Bruce appoints Robin to be his protégé and successor to the Batman. Robin refuses but accepts after Bruce explained the importance of the Dark Knight persona to save the people from themselves. Robin begins an intensive crash-course training under Bruce whom imparts everything he knows to Robin. On the night before the dateline, Robin emerges as The Batman and announces the return of the vigilante by lighting up one of the Gotham bridges with the symbol of a bat. Helping him is Selina, whom successfully cut off the bomb's ability to be remotely detonated while Lucius and Gordon fights against time in locating the bomb. They also free the trapped surviving police officers.
After The Batman's return to Gotham City becomes apparent, a perplexed Bane has some mercenaries stay close to Talia at Gotham City Hall, anticipating that Batman would eventually comes to rescue her, unaware that it is Robin whom has undertaking the mantle of the dark knight. Soon after, his mercenaries engage in an intense fight with the recently freed GCPD police force. Many from both sides died in the ensuing battle of attrition. The Batman confronts Bane as he is about to leave. Immediately Bane senses that the man beneath the mask is not Bruce but another person. Robin acknowledges and engages the terrorist leader. Although Bane possesses advantage over Robin, the latter fights more patiently instead of trying to match Bane's ferocity and savagery, based on knowledge imparted by Bruce on Bane's primary weakness. Robin tries his best to counter and defend himself from Bane's attack but still suffers from injuries. Nevertheless Robin takes any opportunity and focus on punching Bane's mask repeatedly, eventually damaging it. It causes Bane to descend into an agonizing pain. Bane attempts to futilely repair the mask, but is unable to do so as Robin relentlessly continued his attacks upon him. Blinded by rage and pain, Bane turns a mindless, berserk fury as he unleashes a brutal barrage of punches at Robin. His attacks became stronger and faster, but also desperate and less coordinate. Robin remains focus as ever and finally manages to defeat Bane after incapacitating him by tearing off the mask. He then breaks Bane's arms and legs. A massive torrent of pain overwhelms Bane, causing him to suffer from uncontrollable spasm which nearly breaks every bones in his body and turns him  semi-conscious and delirious. Meanwhile Selina confronts Talia whose real identity has been exposed and engages each other in a combat. Both are severely injured, resulting in Talia successfully escaping from the city with the assistance from her special guards. Hunted by the authorities for the next ten years, Talia would eventually be killed upon locating her hideout by a team of black ops.
After Lucius and Gordon locate the bomb, a prototype urban pacification aircraft customised by Bruce arrives, known as "The Bat". Robin, against the protest of Bruce, straps the dying Bane onto the bomb itself. With little time left, Bruce haul the bomb beyond the city limits, where it detonated far away over the ocean.
In the aftermath of the event, The Batman is officially recognised as a sacrificial hero. Bruce Wayne is declared officially dead as a casualty of the riot. Later Lucius finds out that Bruce had fixed the autopilot on the Bat, hinting that he may not be inside the Bat when the bomb exploded. The National Guards moved in to sweep and clear any remaining mercenaries and restore order to the city. Bruce's estate is divided up, with Alfred as the primary benefactor. During his annual sabbatical, Alfred thought he witnessed Bruce, alive and well in a cafe in Italy. Robin is later appointed Captain of the Major Crimes Unit, and continues the legacy of Bruce Wayne as The Batman. The Wayne Manor is restored and converted as a new site for the Thomas and Martha Wayne Orphanage. Selina Kyle receives the real clean slate programme from Bruce and starts a new life away at another country. She knows where to find him as she unconsciously plays with Bruce's mother pearl necklace. Commissioner Gordon resigned and relocated to Smallville, Kansas to reconcile with his estrange family. Lucius Fox continues to be the CEO of the Wayne Enterprise and focus on rebuilding the organisation to its former glory. The citizens of Gotham City look back at those dark days and the survivors continue to be scarred by what is known as the Third Gotham City Crisis. The Internal Security Act is abolished. Nevertheless, the criminal elements are ever present and make a comeback into the city. And Robin, as The Batman, continues to battle these criminals and injustice in order to uphold the symbol of justice and fear.   

Thursday, 7 March 2013

CNY 2013 pt. 3

CNY comes to a close, with Chap Goh Mei around the corner. Took the opportunity to go back to Malacca as everyone's from Esther family were there too. Spent the weekend relaxing and catch up with them. Kids having fun. Incidentally, Esther's mom turned 70 this year, it's kinda big thing, so we had a nice dinner and presents for her. Esther's mom have had gone through alot, and I kinda sad to see her left leg literally bent i.e. bowlegged due to a previous accident involving her right leg, thus walking in crunches, the body weight caused the bent.

CNY 2013 pt. 2

...Pearl Bay, Silverstate, Day 2 and 3. The cousins are backed, adding the festive atmosphere. Chloe and Dylan are particularly afraid of the "soccerball" firecracker. They are reaaaallly loud, trust me. So much so, Dylan leaves a "standing order" at me not to, ever, let off the "soccerballs".

CNY 2013. Pearl Bay, Silverstate. The kids are having real fun. Me? Uh...