The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Posts tagged “Lex Luthor

Review: Batman v Superman Dawn Of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_posterLet’s start by saying that the reviews from critics sent me into this movie expecting to be upset at something.  I was bothered by a couple of things, but before coming to conclusions on someone else’s word, go see the movie yourself.  Many of the complaints out there are flat out wrong and made by people who either weren’t paying attention to what was really going on or just like to cause problems by hating on something; or they just need to complain like so many do.

With that out of the way I will say that the movie could have been better, but by no means did it even come close to being bad.  What I thought would bother me actually surprised me in good ways, so let’s get down to my breakdown of what went on per character.  Yes, there will be spoilers, so if you want my numerical rating without knowing what will happen, then scroll down to the last paragraph.  Here we go:

Batman/Bruce Wayne: Ben Affleck is the best Batman and Bruce Wayne combo I’ve ever seen.  Yes, I dare say it is even comparable to Kevin Conroy’s animated character.  He embodied everything the character should be from extraordinary fight skills, personality, intimidation, detective work, and gadgets.  People complained that they didn’t like him using guns and murdering in cold blood.  Those people obviously didn’t watch the movie.  He did not once murder anyone.  Yes, there were a few guns he’d used while grappling with thugs, but it was in their hands, and it didn’t look like he was shooting to kill.  Even the guy he stabbed was still alive and you could see that.  There was a dream sequence in the dessert where he was using firearms, but it was also a nightmare of a future (similar to that in the Injustice Gods Among Us video game) where drastic measures had to be taken.  The bat armor and suit were perfect visually and integral to the story.

Superman/Clark Kent/Kal El: Henry Cavill picked up the character right where we’d seen him last.  You saw his struggles internally and that was important to the whole picture.  There were similar complaints with him which blows my mind because he chose the path Superman always chose.  He wanted to do the right thing.  Even when it came to the hero duel, he was trying to convince Batman to help him.  I was shocked at his death, but I’m glad it went down as it did.  I will post my thoughts on where that will take us towards the end of the article.

Lois Lane: Amy Adams seemed more like Lois Lane in this one than in Man of Steel.  It shows how important she is to the mythology, and my issues with the way Man of Steel was handled with her were rectified.

Lex Luthor:I was probably the most skeptical person going into this.  I never liked Jesse Eisenberg as the choice to play the villain, and while many people compared him to Heath Ledger’s Joker I’d say they just didn’t get it.  He is completely different than the Joker in every way.  No, he is not the Lex we’ve gotten used to since the Superman animated series in the 90s.  He is more of a cross between the scientist he originally was in the comics, and what Gene Hackman did in the original movies.  I am now in a position of wrong because my skepticism was blown away.  Eisenberg did an outstanding job and I am sold on this new/old take on Luthor.  Can’t wait to see more of what he will do.  My complaint would be that his overall plan (although well thought out) didn’t make total sense.  Did he have a backup plan if Doomsday beat Superman?  How would Doomsday then be stopped from destroying everything else?  It wasn’t explained, and there I see a fault.

Alfred Pennyworth: Like Affleck, I feel Jeremy Irons fully brought Alfred to life.  I’m eager to see the universe unfold as the older characters have already dealt with Batman’s rogues (as evidenced by references in the movie).

Anatoli Knyazev/KGBeast: although this was more of a glorified cameo, it was worth noting in the review.  He wasn’t exactly like his comic counterpart, but what was there was all that was needed.  Anything else would have been overkill.

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: Is anyone still complaining about this casting because Gal Gadot kicked ass!  She was written into the plot well, and utilized as necessary.  Without her the whole movie wouldn’t have had the same outcome.

Perry White/ The Kents/The Waynes/Senator Finch/Mercy Graves: Small roles, but integral to the world.  I like that Perry was a bit grumpier than he’d been in MOS.  It seemed more his part.  The killing of Mercy was a shocker for me, but it shows Luthor’s determination to meet his goals regardless of the cost.

Doomsday: His origin may have been altered, but it was only done so slightly.  In some parts the CGI looked a bit off, but overall he made the perfect villain.  Here is my major issue with the film though.  The fight was superb, but the emission of those nuclear type blasts were overkill.  Doomsday is powerful enough, but Zack Snyder decided to demolish everything in existence.  The mass destruction is understandable, but it was too much this time.  Doomsday doesn’t need eyebeams and explosive pulses.  I did however really enjoy the character’s evolutions.  It could have utilized 1 more just to make him appear exactly like his comic book self, but I might be getting too picky there.  Despite my complaints I think he was done well for the most part, and by him killing Superman it made the whole struggle throughout the movie make more sense.

Summary: Both sides of the argument for and against Superman’s god like power were presented evenly.  The buildup to Justice League was paced out well.  The Easter Eggs galore weren’t unnecessary and thrown in there, because they play into the whole picture.  People need to realize that there is over 70 years of material to work with.  There have to be creative freedoms in making such a movie.  Even with that freedom, I don’t think Snyder strayed too far from source material (The Dark Knight Returns, Injustice GAU, Death of Superman, etc etc.)  If anything I’m more eager now to see where it goes.  Aquaman and Cyborg look awesome, and I can’t wait to see them.  Ezra Miller is a terrible choice for the Flash in my current opinion, but that could change.

Theories on where it could lead: I have many thoughts on where everything is going, and I could be wrong, but from a writing perspective I think this would be wise.  We know Wonder Woman’s outing will be a WW1 setting.  It’ll be good to have that back story.  Cyborg was definitely created with a Mother Box, not to mention the Parademons and Omega sybmbol in Bruce’s dream, along with Lex’s dark predictions inevitably lead to Darkseid being the villain for at least 1 part of Justice League.  How?  Did you notice at the end the soil rising from Clark’s casket as if some antigravity field occurred?  I feel that Darkseid may be using Superman’s body as his earthly host.  This would make sense as it is strong enough to withstand the evil being.  It would stray from the comics, but would work for the movies, and is a way to ultimately bring back the good Superman for part 2.  Who would part 2 involve?  Brainiac.  If you noticed inside the Kryptonian ship there were not only three circles of light in a formation, but the ship said that it contained knowledge throughout the universe.  Brainiac is already on Earth.  It just is a matter of time.  Flash was in Bruce’s dream as well.  The breach of time and dimensions has been addressed in DC’s tv universe.  It only makes sense that at some point DC’s answer to Marvel’s Infinity War would be to make a Crisis movie.  Crossing over ALL DC properties would blow minds and be a huge way to even the Marvel/DC competition.

In the end there are many ways this could go.  Dawn Of Justice could have been better in very few ways, but it also could have been much worse.  I give it an 8 out of 10 on my rating scale.  What were your thoughts?  Theories?  Complaints?  Comment below so we can discuss.

 

 

Advertisements

Review: Smallville Season 11 Episode 3 “Haunted”

smallville #9Well, 4 more months have passed, and that means that it is time to review another episode of Smallville’s season 11 prints.  Episode 3 is contained within the pages of Smallville Season 11 #9 – #12.  Major SPOILERS are contained in this review, so turn away now if you don’t want to know.

#9 Part one:

Let’s start with the cover art.  I’m not impressed.  Superman looks like a manga character (which I wouldn’t mind if it was supposed to be that style).  The concept is nice, with him and Impulse zooming at the viewer, but it is the art that I don’t necessarily enjoy.  And what is with Bart Allen (Impulse’s) redesign.  I’m not digging the bleached blonde look, but his new suit on the other hand is not that bad.  Thankfully, the art within this issue is much better than the cover.  The shading and ink is especially nice.

Now on to the story.  There is a brief flashback in Lex’s mind of when Tess was being brought in by Granny Goodness.  For anyone who had seen the final season on TV, Granny ran a foster home for girls.  These girls became her Furies.  This flashback scene was great in the way that it reaffirmed Tess’s presence in Lex’s mind.  The “dream” sequence here shows both an adult Tess and her child self running away from Lex.  Luthor here is telling Tess that he knows she knew things, and he plans on unlocking those memories.  As they run from door to memory door, there are a few sights of season 1 flashbacks as well as others when Clark had saved people.  Remember, Tess knows that Clark is Superman.  Lex finding this out could be disastrous.  Tess finally manages to lock a memory door temporarily, which wakes Lex from his “dream”.

Again, the intro was perfect.  Evenso when he woke to find Otis before him, Lex was obviously irritated.  To top off the failure he just had in his dream, his assistant tells him that Superman is handling a situation outside.  I won’t go into this battle in detail, because it speaks for itself.  DC villain Psimon is duking it out in the streets with the Man of Steel.  Psimon’s design is quite different from the comics, whereas instead of a fully exposed brain, he has holes in his head.  Apparently he was another of Lex’s experiments before Luthor lost his memory.  Threatening to kill Luthor for what he had done, Psimon is thwarted by Superman saving his nemesis.  I like that Psimon could stand toe to toe and do battle with Superman.  One thing I always hated was that minor characters seemed to never be able to hold their ground.  Psimon did so, at least for a little while here.  The best part is that it wasn’t Superman who stopped him.  It was Bart.  Impulse is back for a visit, but we do not yet know why.

In the next scene, we get a great angle from the artist.  They emphasize Lois using her attractiveness to her advantage.  She puts the heat on Otis, and then Luthor.  Lex is witty with this confrontation, but as cliched as it sounds, his right hand doesn’t know what his left hand is doing.  Tess is writing “Help” on a note, and Lois sees this.  She does not yet know what it means, but she knows that something is not right.  The duality continues to be played well here.

After a brief romp around the world, and some catching up, Superman and Impulse have a discussion about how Bart has gotten faster.  Emil Hamilton has told Bart that he worries about him turning into raw energy because of how fast he has become.  Their conversation is interrupted by a call from Watchtower telling them about a break in at an art gallery.

As the heroes race off, Lex pays Psimon a visit.  Locked in a cell, the psychic villain has a bicycle helmet of sorts holding his powers at bay.  Lex wants his help unlocking the secrets of his own amnesiatic mind, but Tess wards the psychic off.  With no cooperation, Luthor leaves.  I’m not sure I like this scene.  Why would Psimon back off, just at the sight of Tess?  I get that he hates Luthor, but it just doesn’t add up.

Next, we get to the art gallery scene, and we find out that Mallah and the Brain are using an army of monkeys to do the dirty work.  Again, I lovedSmallville #10 the cameo villains, but I’m not sure we would have ever seen this in Smallville.  If we did, we would have gotten some kind of origin, which here we didn’t (at least not enought of it) so it was a bit misplaced.  For the last few frames of this issue, we have Superman taking out the army of apes, while Bart is haunted by a mysterious dark figure.  It races towards him wanting his speed.  Can you say, “Black Flash”?  Yes the death racer appears for the first time, but other than a slight demonic silhouette, you don’t get much of a view.  And of course we are left wondering what this means.  Out of 5 stars, I give this issue a 2.5.  To me it didn’t seem like Smallville as much as the others, but let’s see where it goes…

Issue #10 part 2:

And another crummy cover.  Still, the concept was awesome, but the anime style doesn’t fit.  It is not conveying the “realism” that the stories are trying for.  SMH.  It somehow even translates into the first few pages of this issue, and I hope that it doesn’t continue on this path.

Anyway, Chloe is working on her archery accuracy as Oliver is drawing up a blueprint.  After his meeting with Batman in the previous issue, Oliver decides he wants an arrowcar.  Okay, it is cheesy, but a well deserved laugh moment was needed.

We then skip to Superman carrying Bart.  Bart explains that this Black Racer or Speed Demon first arrived when he was locked in a trap by Luthor in one of the previous seasons.  That little room, where he had to run in circles for hours, caused him to hit a new tier of speed, attracting this thing.  We see more flashbacks to the previous seasons here, and it was reinterpreted quite well.  Actually it was accurate to the point of me remembering those scenes the exact same way.

Many more flashbacks continue, and we get to see that the Black Racer is there to steal the speed force.  It is what fuels him.  While Clark takes Impulse to Hamilton, Bart’s speed has affected areas around the world, causing some kind of kinetic disturbance.  The disturbance is beginning to take lives due to the Black Speedster.

The next few pages tell us a little more info, but all in all it becomes very bland.  Then we get to see Bart and Clark racing on treadmills in STAR Labs.  The goal here was to get up to speed so that Clark can see the Black Flash with his own eyes, and that he does.  We finally get a full shot of it, and like I say “it.”  They don’t really explain in this episode WHAT he is.  He is very demonic looking however, and I love the design they did for it.  Black Flash tells CLark that his speed is not “puuuuururrrrrreeee”.  I get the feeling from the text that the dark one speaks like a whisper.  Kinda cool in my opinion.  He clocks Clark across the room and then vanishes.

smallville #11While Clark and Bart head off to the old Justice Society’s headquarters to find Jay Garrick, Chloe is linked to Chloe of Earth two’s mind.  In this way, Hamilton can show her the last few moments of Chloe 2’s life, and what she was trying to warn them of.  All we get to see is a large ship and destruction, and Chloe 1 screaming at the sight.  End of part 2.  My rating?  Still, I can’t go above a 2.5 out of 5.  It was great in spots, but there was a lot of buildup with no real satisfaction.  Don’t worry it gets better.

Issue #11 Part three:

Okay now I’ve given up.  Cover number 3 I have to give credit to only because it sticks with the crappy art theme.  Let me reclarify… I don’t think the art is bad, but WTF is up with the Manga style for this?  It doesn’t make sense.

Then, the highlight of this episode happens… Jay Garrick is shown.  His attire, though is not convincing.  The design is great and perfect, but would we really see him sitting around his house in a red jacket with a lightning bolt on its front?  Not in reality.  The retired hero is not happy to see his visitors and explains a little bit more about being a speedster.  Finally, we get some answers about the speed storms and Bart’s stalker.  The answer though is that Jay says Bart has to die in order for the Black Flash to be gone, and the storms to stop killing innocents.

Chloe begins having more visions of Chloe 2’s memories.  These are more violent.  Here we see Ultraman (Clark of Earth 2) literally killing people.  He is unrelenting and very brutal in his search, but is deterred by Chloe 2’s Kryptonite.  We get some more Earth 2 action with Chloe 2 and Oliver 2 talking about how to kill Ultraman, and then another speed storm occurs, which rips Chloe back to the here and now.

In this world, Lex fires his staff, including Otis, and Clark dons a new Blue suit.  If you look back in DC comics, after Superman died in 1992 Death of Superman, there was a brief period where Superman was a red energy and a blue energy.  This suit is very reminiscent of that Blue suit.  It is explained here that Hamilton says it can collect energy.  In this case, if Superman were to move fast, the energy would build and accelerate him to an even faster pace.  I’ll accept that.  There is a quick cameo by Barbara Gordon (always welcome) and then the battle begins.  Blue Superman and Black Flash collide.

While we don’t know what happens from this collision, we do know that Jay explains a little more to Bart, and mentions the other flashes by name “Max Mercury, Barry Allen, and Wally West.”  I give this issue a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It was well rounded other than the art in places such as the cover and first few pages, but overall pleasing.  Now for the final part

Issue #12 Part Four:

Although still cartoony, this is the best cover of the 4.  We have a clear image of Black Flash, Superman in his Blue suit, and Impulse in an epic smallville #12battle.  While the depth of the image is not all too perfect, it is nice to see it fully presented.

Beginning on Earth 2, Oliver 2 presents the citizens of Metropolis with Kryptonite rings, but in return, Ultraman snaps Oliver 2’s neck completely backwards.  This was unexpected, but done well, and it was reiterated that here, his Ultraman’s real name is Clark Luthor.

On our Earth, Superman in his Blue attire continues to battle with Black Flash, who is beating the Man of Steel.  No worries, Bart shows up, and grabs Superman to race off.  He uses the speed collected by Superman’s Blue Suit and accelerates himself literally out of existence.  Before he evaporates into the Speed Force, Bart has some flashbacks to when he and Clark first met.  Again, this was reinterpreted well from the early season.  As a result of his speed, Black Flash is gone in the same way.  Now that that threat is over, I want to mention that this was very touching.  The battle was epic for Smallville and Impulse was shown as a true hero.

With that threat over, we are given some answers about Earth 2.  The Crisis is still a mystery to the Smallvilleverse, but the cause is revealed as a race of “Monitors”.  For any DC fan, this reaffirms that they are going to presenting in some way, the Crisis storyline.  With Earth 2 now destroyed, and Chloe 2 dead, the only remnants are in Chloe of Earth 1’s mind.

And we are presented with the end of the issue.  Clark no longer has to fear Lex finding out who he truly is for two reasons… 1: Bart’s acceleration destroyed the radiation tracker in Clark’s bloodstream, and 2: Green Arrow, Lois and Superman confront Lex and Lois knocks him out.  While he is unconscious, they use a device to collect Tess’ consciousness from Lex’s mind.  Tess Mercer is then reborn as a hologram in the watchtower.  With her there to be the oracle figure, Chloe finally announces that she and Oliver are leaving Metropolis for Star City AGAIN.  I would assume that we won’t see any more of Green Arrow and her maybe for the rest of the series.  They were written out in a way that they want to be parents to their soon to be child.  Clark wishes them luck, and the episode is over in a Smallville finale type of way.  I give this issue a full 5 stars.

Summary

Overall I was pleased with how this episode ended and what it opened for future storylines.  It started out rough, but was done well.  Still, I feel it wasn’t the best episode this season, but had some great aspects to it.  All in all, my rating is a 6 out of 10.  I know that doesn’t gel with my other ratings, but I am also factoring in the entirety of the episode here.  I hope you enjoyed this review, and I’ll keep bringing them to you as well.  Chime in with your thoughts.


Superman and Spiderman?!?

PUBLISHER: DC COMICS AND MARVEL COMICS

Page Count: 96 pages

Year Published: 1975

Reviewed by Rick Pipito based on plot points

To show that I am not biased toward either company, Marvel or DC, I will begin my comic book reviews with this issue.  First thought would be, how could that even be a fair fight.  Superman is nearly invulnerable, and though Spiderman has enhanced abilities and a sixth sense, Superman is much faster.  The next question would be, why would these two heroes be fighting each other?  Be warned, that there will be spoilers in my review, so if you don’t want to know, then don’t read this post.

The story begins with Superman battling a giant robot in Metropolis.  This battle to me is a little ridiculous.  The bot leaves a path of destruction and tosses the Man of Steel around a little bit, but he is the Man of Steel.  With almost no effort at all, he is able to tear the giant machine apart.  I’m wondering with Supes’ many powers and if he destroyed such a thing, then how did it’s pilot, Lex Luthor, escape with a microchip from Star Labs?  That’s right, the villain got away too easily. 

At least Clark Kent doesn’t let things slip through his fingers.  After a fellow co-worker tries to pull a prank on the geeky reporter, Kent picks up on the prank and turns it around on his peer.  The bot battle from earlier in the day is all over the news and Kent suddenly gets an idea.  He changes back to Superman and follows the path of destruction left by the bot.  Okay, so why didn’t he do that before?  He finally locates his enemy, Lex Luthor, and outsmarts him to turn him in to the authorities. 

Meanwhile, Spiderman discovers a few thugs and interferes in their plans.  It is all a piece of cake until Doctor Octopus shows up and beats him in a quick fight.  The cops show up and of course blame an unconscious Spidey for the theft. 

The wall crawler can’t catch a break after he escapes the authorities, because as he changes to Peter Parker, his boss Jameson is just using the news to build his case against Spiderman.  Not a big surprise there.  What is surprising is that Parker gets fired from his job, and he ditches his girlfriend Mary Jane, to follow his Spider Sense.  Eventually this helps him to find and stop Doc Ock in an equally boring as the first battle.

Here is where it gets good.  Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor are in the same prison, and have plans to escape.  Clark Kent and Peter Parker are at a convention in New York City, and meet for the first time.  But wait!  Superman shows up and uses his heat vision to disintegrate Mary Jane and Lois Lane!  How can this be?

The men are devastated and show up as their hero alter egos.  Spiderman saw “Superman” commit this horrible act and begins attacking him.  Luthor and Doc Ock are watching all of this, and hit Spidey with a bit of Red Sun light.  This enables his attacks against the Man Of Steel to do great damage.  The battle is pretty cool too.  Watching both heroes at each others throats is amusing enough, but when the Red Sun light wears off, Spidey shatters the bones on both his hands with quick punches to Superman’s invulnerable face.

They soon realize that they have been set up, and go on a worldwide hunt for the pair behind the heinous act.  Here is my issue with this part.  If Spiderman and Superman really were to lose the women they love the most, would they really be as agreeable as they were?  Both barely look upset other than Spidey’s attack on Supes. 

When they locate the villains in a space station, they find that the ladies are in fact alive.  As a reader I was not surprised, but relieved to know that two of the hottest and coolest chicks that don’t have powers in comics, were still safe. 

Watching Superman and Spiderman team up against Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor was spine tingling.  I loved every frame of the action.  Then there is disappointment.  Luthor is one of the most level headed villains of all time in that he thinks his plans through before executing them.  So why in the hell would he want to destroy all of the planet Earth?  It doesn’t make sense because it would gain him nothing.  Even Doc Ock thinks it is insane.

In the end, the villains are carried off to jail and the heroes and their female halfs walk together as mild mannered citizens.  The end even gives a slight hint that we may see the pairing again in the future. 

All in all, this was a very fun read, although slightly non believable in parts.  For the fact of the two companies working together, it is a must read for a fan of either Superman or Spiderman.  An entertaining 6 out of 10 in my opinion.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE HERO: SUPERMAN OR SPIDERMAN?

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE VILLAIN: DOCTOR OCTOPUS OR LEX LUTHOR?