Review: Justice League
I’ll give you a heads up now. There will be some spoilers in this review, but I will try to keep it to a minimum. If you’d like my rating of the movie without all the intricacies you can scroll down to the final paragraph.
Justice League has finally happened, but the reception is once again split down the middle. DC and Warner Brothers are having a rough streak at keeping the audiences happy overall. I could get into why, but perhaps that’s another article. Here’s what I can say…
This movie will make longtime fans of the characters happy. For those who look at plot and effects, well that may be a different story. Here’s a brief character breakdown:
Batman: Affleck looks tired in the role. Perhaps part of what the negativity is comes from him. I still think he’s a great batman and Bruce Wayne, but there’s no passion in the actor’s eyes. That being said, Batman was very enjoyable and seems to have been set up to eventually phase into either an Alfred like role for the team or being replaced by perhaps Dick Grayson at some point under the cowl.
Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot rocks the role again, and she really is the glue to this whole team. I feel they could have used her more in the film, but there’s only so much you can do with this many characters in a two hour movie.
The Flash: I was very skeptical about the casting of Ezra Miller in this part. He doesn’t look like the Barry Allen that fans have come to know, and the one on TV has been prominent in everyone’s minds. From the second he took to the screen however, I was pleasantly surprised. I hate his suit with a passion. For a character that can run at super speeds, you’d think it’d be more aerodynamic and uniform. This looks like a machine more than something a hero would wear. Other than that, I think he is portrayed quite well in the movie as an up and coming hero.
Cyborg: If it weren’t for the horrible CGI on him, I really think he’d have been great. Unfortunately because he is hard to look at at times, and there is not much about him learning each of his upgrades, it’s difficult to enjoy the time he’s on screen.
Aquaman: This is another casting that I thought was strange, but am completely on board with now. He is easily one of the best things about the movie. Like Wonder Woman, he has limited screen time, but I think he was presented well as far as quickly learning back story. He brings quite a bit of humor and badassery to the plot. I also like how they mention it isn’t the fish he talks to, but the water itself. This actually makes a lot more sense.
Superman: Finally, we get a Superman that is closer to what he is in the comics. He has a brighter costume, and less brooding persona. That may not be the case when he is first brought back from the dead, but what we do get is a very cool few scenes. The moment when he is brought back and faces the League is my favorite part of the whole movie. I could watch it over and over and never get bored. It made the comic book geek in me happy that Joss Whedon took over to give it what fans have wanted. If I had to offer one complaint it would be that I really hoped we’d have seen him in his black and silver suit with a slight mullet. In all reality hair does continue to grow after death for a bit, so him being clean cut made no sense.
Steppenwolf: I was surprised to hear he was going to be the main villain, but excited as well. He was one of my favorite villains when I was a kid, and seeing a proper interpretation of him got me stoked. While the Parademons really worked, however, he wasn’t as memorable. The back story we got felt like it was missing quite a bit, but that could have been forgiven if we’d had something visually fun to look at. The biggest problem I had with the movie was him. The CGI was absolutely horrible. When you are given movies like Star Wars and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and you have these visually stunning fake people, why would computer graphics that look like they belong in the early 2000s be involved. All I could see while watching him was the way Hulk looked way back when Eric Bana played him. It was very very hard to watch him speak or see any close up of his face.
The small roles and cameos of a Green Lantern from ages ago, plus Zeus, Lois, Commisioner Gordon, Marc McClure’s appearance, and the post credits with Lex Luthor and Deathstroke were all welcome additions to enhance the story.
A side note… Whoever markets the toylines for these movies should be shot. All my son wants for Christmas is a Steppenwolf action figure to face off against his League. In order to get one, I’d have to buy all the heroes he currently owns. Needless to say I’m not doing that and ebay will hold the answers for me as I get an older version of the character with no stupid CGI barf face.
All the problems with CGI aside, I really found the movie to be a fun time. Would I say see it in the theater? No. I’d say wait to rent it, but don’t miss out. People who enjoyed Batman vs Superman should enjoy what it has evolved into here. People who hated Batman vs Superman should feel happy that it’s evolved into something better. It is not better than Wonder Woman, but I’ll place it above BvS, Man Of Steel, and that God awful Suicide Squad movie. I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. It would have had another star from me if the effects were done right, and another if they’d managed the story better, but I don’t think it deserves some of the hate it is getting. If this is what the DC extended universe is going to start to shape up to be with its characters, then I’m all for it. What did you think of Justice League?
Review: Superman Unbound
Superman Unbound was flat out in my opinion the best DC animated movie to date. The animation was superb throughout most of it, the story was solid, and the voice acting and action were outstanding. I’ll break it down for you in some detail, but be warned there are SPOILERS ahead.
We begin with the credits rolling and perfect orchestral music to go with it. During the credits it shows the origin of Brainiac. This is the real Brainiac in my mind. Many incarnations show him as a supercomputer from Krypton, but growing up I always knew him as an alien who became computer. He is by far one of my favorite villains of all time, and because of who he is and how he thinks. I never knew of an origin for him, so this was nice to see although quick. As fast as it was shown, it was effective, from ripping out his real eyeballs to drilling holes in his head.
Then our story begins. While Superman is in Belize helping fix earthquake damage, Supergirl is filling in in Metropolis. Using Lois as a catalyst, the writers decided to explain to the audience that Kara is as super as her cousin, but a teenager and filled with teenage emotions. Without being too spoilery and going into unnecessary details, we’ll skip ahead a bit.
When Brainiac’s first drone arrives at earth, Supergirl knows all too well what it is. She explains to Superman who Brainiac is and how he shrunk the entire city of Kandor on Krypton. The animation showing this was pleasing to the eye, but I feel at parts (and during this whole movie) that it shifted slightly. It seemed in areas (and only briefly) that a few series of frames were rushed with shading. It was almost a different style in areas that threw me for a loop, but didn’t impact the movie negatively. It was just a little confusing as to why they did that.
Superman goes to find Brainiac in space and he helps a planet defend against the alien machine. Here you get to see how helpless even Superman is against him, as the man of steel eventually gets captured and placed inside the Kryptonian shrunken city on Brainiac’s skull ship. BTW, the skull ship animation and design was nearly identical to the one in the comics from the 80s.
Eventually escaping and returning to earth where the battle has moved, Superman and Supergirl fight off the invasion to prevent the shrinking of Metropolis. They fail! I never expected to see metropolis shrink, but it was done here, and though it was restored in the end, it was refreshing to see how dangerous Brainiac really is.
In the end, Kara races to stop a rocket from making our Sun go Supernova, and Superman faces off against Brainiac on Earth. The way Superman defeats Brainiac was by far the BEST battle I have seen in a long time, and it isn’t as action packed as you might think. I just don’t want to spoil it that much. Trust me, it is awesome! My only shocker in this movie was Lois Lane flipping the bird with both middle fingers to the alien machine. While I tried to distract my kids from that scene, I was giddy inside with delight. Damn right, she’d be saying F*$& off in that situation.
There was also an underlying theme to go with this story. Lois and Clark have been dating for a long time, but still keep it a secret. Their relationship is being tested because he refuses to go public with it. This causes dispute between them, but in the end all is right.
So is there room for more? Absolutely, and I’m really hoping to see a continuation of this story. Kandor was restored on a new planet that I can only assume would be called “New Krypton” like in the comics, Clark asks Lois to marry him, and Brainiac, although his body is destroyed still has active components. I’d love to see the machine version of Brainiac from the 80s Superpowers cartoon appear as a villain.
All in all I’ll rate Superman Unbound at a 8 out of 10.
Review: Smallville Season 11 Episode 3 “Haunted”
Well, 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 loved 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.
While 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 battle. 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.
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.
Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 2
Where do I begin? I had the opportunity to see an early release of Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. If you have been with me for a few months, you may have caught my review of the first part. In that review, I gave it many compliments and more than my seal of approval. So what did I think of the second part? There are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you want to judge for yourself, skip down to the last paragraph for my spoiler free rating.
I’m not sure what happened with this, but it is definitely a case of “the sequel didn’t stand up to the standards the first one set.” Voice casting was horrible. I still enjoyed Peter Weller as an older Batman, and even the Joker had his moments, but overall it was nothing to write home about.
Portrayal of the Joker was wonderful, aside from the fact that he barely laughed. He was a psychotic maniac killer with no remorse. Other than him though, everything was wrong (and like I said, the voice could have been better – he’s no Mark Hamill).
The story begins with Batman disguised as an old hag in a store. A thug boss named Bruno robs a convenience store. Bruno was drawn horribly. The design was terrible. She wore no shirt with only swastikas over her nipples, and looked like a man. In fact, every female in this cartoon looked transgendered. At the same time, most of the men could have been drag queens. I’m not sure why this was done, but it was annoying. So Batman as the old hag takes out the goons and Bruno, but for some reason never takes a second to remove his old lady disguise. hmmm. Wierd at that.
Then we get to a scene with Clark Kent meeting with Bruce Wayne. Of course Clark hasn’t aged because he is Superman, while Wayne is old. Anyway, Clark is standing on a hill with an eagle on his arm and his shirt unbuttoned. Hair blowing in the wind, this iconic pose makes him closely resemble Fabio more than the hero he is. It is so cheesy, it forced me to shake my head. At the same time, Clark is now working for the President of the United States. By the way, this story is taking place in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan as president. President Reagan’s portrayal is downright awful. From voice acting to design to seeming like a dimwit, it is off on all accounts and downright offensive for some viewers I’m sure.
Finally, we get to a great scene. When the Joker appears on a television talk show, he murders everyone there. I can’t express how great this scene was, and you really get the feel for who the Joker really is. On another note, Batman is a fugitive and facing off against the Gotham City Police Department. On the roof of the building where the murders are happening, the real heroes can’t work together for five minutes, and they just leave the scene without investigating below. Oh, did I mention that Gotham police department is terrible. They can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and never catch their targets.
Apparently Selina Kyle, who is old and obese at this point, is running an escort service. Her cameo here was a little misplaced, but nice to see. While the GCPD is more focused on taking down Batman, he is chasing Joker into a tunnel of love. The amusement park sees its share of death. Joker killing everyone by shooting everything that moves is awesome. Robin’s battle, though short lived, with Joker’s goon ends greatly as well.
Now we get to the battle between Joker and Bats. When Joker gets a batarang in his eyeball, he barely flinches. No pain at all for some reason, and he continues on as if he were wearing an eye patch. At the end of the battle, Batman breaks Joker’s neck, but it doesn’t kill him, it only paralyzes him. Somehow even though he can’t move, Joker manages to finish himself off by making his own neck break sideways. Batman burns his body and is losing his grip on who his is because Joker stabbed him a dozen times in the stomach.
BATMAN SHOULD BE DEAD! but somehow he is immortal and manages to live only to fight Superman a few days later. That’s right I said Superman. After being caught in a nuclear explosion (the animation here is amazing by the way), Superman has not fully recovered. Bats and Supes duke it out, and with a little help by Green Arrow (who now has one arm), Batman beats Superman.
There is a lot I’m leaving out here, because the build up to this moment is great, but I’m not sure how he can even stand against the man of steel since his guts are still sewn together. Ridiculous and useless fight that proved only that Batman is still a force with which to be reckoned.
What really gets me is that Alfred dies of a stroke, which makes sense, and the Wayne manor is burned to the ground. Oh, Bruce Wayne also dies of a heart attack, but at his funeral we find out he faked his death. Not sure how he did this cause it doesn’t explain it. In the end, Wayne, Robin, Oliver Queen and the leftover mutants from part one build a new hideout/cave underground as a Bat-army.
SPOILERS ENDED. Okay, so I skipped a lot of detail, but didn’t want to waste any more of my time talking about something that really disappointed me. Bruce Timm in my opinion is the king of superhero animation, but sadly this interpretation of the graphic novel is not worth the time. Granted, this is only my opinion, but I’m a HUGE fan of ALL the DC animation series and films, and this one has officially replaced “All Star Superman” as the worst one yet. So here I sit, disappointed in something I had very high hopes for. I still recommend checking out part one, but with my rating of 3 out of 10 stars, I can’t say many great things about part 2. Please chime in with your thoughts if you check this one out.
Review: Smallville Season 11 Episode 2: Detective
The moment in Smallville history that I’ve waited eleven years to see has finally arrived. So the question is, was it worth it? Here is a breakdown and review of issues #5-8 of the Smallville Season 11 comic, that make up episode 2. This review will be FILLED WITH SPOILERS. Here we go.
The episode begins with Lois and Clark in a playful bedroom setting in the Fortress of Solitude. As I mentioned in the previous review, I love how they captured Lois’ personality, and Clark’s slightly more serious side. He is so focused on his work as Superman, that he sometimes doesn’t realize how vacant toward their relationship he can sometimes be.
Meanwhile in Gotham city, a group of thugs is in negotiations with Intergang. While waiting for their meeting, they get their asses handed to them by Nightwing. The hero takes down the whole high tech weapon armed group single handedly, but as one man flees, he is stopped by The Batman himself, and Bats wants answers. Here is what I think. Gotham city is drawn the way it should be. It’s rainy and dark, and looks like scumbags would be running the streets. When Batman speaks, I can hear Christian Bale’s barking voice. The way the artists made the word bubbles show that he is growling in his darker tone. It works very well for this comic too. The action and way that Batman and Nightwing take down the group feels just like Batman. Here are the differences… Batman and Nightwing are wearing slightly different attire than what we are used to seeing, but it is close enough to the source material to still be true and exciting. At first I had an issue with Nightwing not being Dick Grayson or Robin not being Batman’s sidekick, but I actually don’t mind it now. Barbara Gordon is the one behind the Nightwing mask. I like this for the mere fact that it gives Batman a counterpart, and adds to the variety of interactions he has to deal with.
After a brief showing of Lex and Otis speaking at Luthorcorp, and Lois at the Daily Planet, Superman discovers that a thug’s laser weaponry was manufactured by Luthorcorp. The writers brought back Detective Dan Turpin for a few frames, and then we are brought to a lunch meeting between Lex and Bruce Wayne. The wealthy business men are discussing Waynetech’s building of a Supercollider in Antarctica, which he is looking for partners. When Lex declines, they are both relieved. Barbara and Otis sit at an adjacent table eavesdropping on the conversation. I love the business meeting, as it was necessary to explain why Bats would be in Metropolis, even though he was there to track intergang’s weapons to the same source Superman found. What I don’t know about is how they portray Barbara here. We know Otis is a loof, but they almost have Barbara as a little quirky and goofy. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it just seemed off in this setting. Not to mention, they don’t explain who she is to Mr. Wayne. Is she just another woman he is using as arm candy? We don’t get to find out because Superman interrupts the lunch to discuss his findings with Luthor.
A small cameo by another Smallville/DC character in his jail cell is shown, and then Batman is interrogating Bruno Manheim in a different jail altogether. Superman appears to show his distaste for Batman’s methods, but Batman is prepared with a defense. Yes, his chest emblem is harnessing red sun energy. The Dark Knight won’t have interference, and cracks the Man of Steel in his jaw, sending him sprawling on the floor. —-end part 1
Begin part 2—–The cover for this comic is definiely world’s finest at its best, but what is inside is better. Chloe and Oliver briefly discuss the Earth 2 issue, and are still trying to figure out what is coming. I have to say, this is killing me. They are talking about this Crisis, and I know I will have to wait for months to find out the answer. As long as they keep teasing it little by little, I’m fine, but I really wish they would just publish the whole episode in 1 large part instead of 4 that lasts for months.
Batman and Superman are still duking it out, but it seems to be more of a test on both their parts as they don’t really try to hurt each other. Batman uses kryptonite centered batarangs and his red sun effect to even the odds. As the battle escalates to the rooftop, Superman discovers what the fight really is about. Batman uses it as a distraction. He wanted Manheim to escape, so that Nightwing could pursue. A quick reference to Checkmate in a few frames, and the Batwing overhead get the fanboy in me going, but even better than the World’s finest duel is when Oliver shows up to take on Nightwing. I won’t spoil how that battle goes, but it is worth seeing.
When Superman successfully interrogates Manheim, where Batman could not, the Bat is impressed. He is shown here in the batwing with nightwing, and apparently when he has his mask off, Batman paints the lower half of his face with black makeup in this version. It makes his cowl appear all the darker. I’m not sure how I feel about this either. I get it, but what if Wayne had to show up really quick after a battle. Does Batman really have time to put on makeup and take it off during transitions? I doubt it.
We get a few pages of non costumed interaction, which fills in the minor plotlines nicely. This is probably one of the best parts of this issue as far as story goes. Okay, well that is until Superman and Batman meet again on a rooftop (I won’t spoil how Bats knows to meet there). When the two agree that their methods are different, but they will work together, an epic handshake seals the deal.
Oliver further investigates Lex for some harassing emails that he is getting from him. Little does he know that Tess is still in Lex’s subconscious attempting these methods of communications.
As Joe Chill, who is old, in a wheelchair and needs an oxygen tank, is confronted by Batman, the Dark Knight keeps his temper in check. After all, this is the man who killed his parents. I love the flashback frame here. They made the young Joe Chill really look like Jack Nicholson in the frame where he aims at Mr. and Mrs. Wayne. I don’t know if this is coincidence, but it is really interesting to think of an easter egg like that. As the heroes discuss happenings with Joe Chill, a pair of villains shows up. It was the perfect way to end an issue, but killed me to wait another month. —-end of issue #2
Beginning of part 3—— Lois Lane, drawn in the sexiest way with Erica Durance’s likeness confronts the Toyman, Winslow Schott, in his jail cell. She believes he is behind some of the criminal activity, but he points her in a new direction. The man he accuses is Oswald Loomis, who goes by the name Prankster. So, Smallville changed his costume, but this is one of the cases where I think it works for the better.
As Prankster and Mr. Freeze (who looks awesome) attack Batman and Superman, their partenering appears to be too much. Chill is taken out, Batman is frozen solid, and Superman is shot with kryptonite bullets. Oliver and Nightwing help the two to get away from the authorities, but now the police believe that Batman is the one who killed Superman. I just need to say, that I missed what the Batmobile is supposed to be. While I enjoyed Nolan’s version, the badass car is always my preference. This entire issue is dedicated to showing how Batman is able to get away from the authorities in order to save Superman’s life. It is action packed, and in my opinion is the best of the four parts. The final frame reveal is Loomis and Victor Fries in a sub zero room, where the Prankster informs Mr. Freeze that his kryptonite bullets have tracking devices in them. Sure, Bats and Supes may have escaped, while hanging onto life’s thread, but with the villains knowing their location, we are left to wonder how they could possibly succeed. —–end part 3
Begin part 4—– Lex and his subconscious conversation with Tess is entertaining, but I wonder how long they can keep this up. It seems like it is going in circles a bit. The only real progress we’ve made at this point is that Lex tells Tess that since she is in HIS mind, he plans to find a way to access her memories, and anything he used to know before losing his own. This would mean that he’d know EVERYTHING about Superman and his past with Clark, Oliver and everyone else. Bad News, but good for the suspense.
Superman has had successful recovery thanks to Batman, and when he awakens, he is approached by Barbara and Lois. Oh, and by the way, I forgot to mention in the previous part. Superman did figure out who Batman is just by hearing his voice. He distinguished the vibrations of his vocals and remembered hearing Bruce Wayne’s vocals in their brief meeting during the billionaire lunch. This was a unique way to do it, and yet careless in a way on Clark’s end. Why? Well Lois is there, because Clark just flat out told Batman and Nightwing who he was and who Lois was. Its good on the trust factor, but a little risky in my opinion.
During Clark’s recovery, Batman was hard at work. He built 2 suits of armor, and tracked the villains to their hideout. How much time has passed here? It doesn’t say, and I wonder how he could possibly do something in so little amount of time. I’d only assume that weeks have gone by. Superman’s new suit is a golden colored lead suit with his “S” on the front. This is to protect him from Kryptonite, while Batman’s new armor will shield and keep him warm from frigid temperatures. Neither suit has a cape either. I do enjoy the designs and variety too.
Green Arrow is questioned by police in the meantime, and Prankster betrays Mr. Freeze. Now, Freeze is being controlled by Loomis, and is literally a walking nuclear freeze bomb that will detonate and kill everyone within a mile radius. There is also a very creative and cool “toy” here that is a Captain Carrot action figure. Another geek out moment on my end.
Now for the final showdown. Superman takes on Prankster in a giant robot that sort of resembles an oversized Megaman likeness. I’m not for the look, but the battle is pretty cool. Of course, Supes’ new suit is destroyed, but he bests the Prankster. In the meantime, Batman works to save Mr. Freeze’s life and those lives of the people in the city. We get to see a real quick use of Green Arrow’s Boxing glove arrow. It had been mentioned earlier in the series as a joke, but has since come to fruition. Batman of course makes fun of Arrow’s new toy, but it was effective.
And what about Nightwing and Lois? Well, they team up to kick some armed bad guy butt, and boy do they hold their own. Well, that is until there is an explosion, that literally rocks the boat. Superman lifting the whole yacht out of the water was nice because we got to see Batman’s reaction to such an amazing sight.
At the end, Bruce is shown in Crime Alley. Superman finds him, and there is a brief mention of Alfred. They basically thank each other here and Bruce offers his assistance whenever Superman might need him. Clark says he’d offer the same, but knows Batman would never ask. They shake one final time and part ways.
Oliver thinks about training Mia Dearden to be his full time sidekick, Speedy, but as he talks about this with Chloe it begins to snow. This is all courtesy of Mr. Freeze’s gun which Clark is flying high over the city. It is implied that this happens around Christmas time (and perfect because it was released in December). As the perfect final Christmas gift, Chloe announces to Oliver that she is pregnant.
All in all, it was what I would expect from Smallville. They created their own versions and story based on what we all know and love. There were some down moments, but for the most part, it was everything I wanted it to be. I’m not sure if they modeled Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon after any specific actors, but they fit right in with the CW “pretty person” syndrome, if you know what I mean. I recommend picking up these issues, but do it as all 4 parts. You will want to read straight through instead of waiting for the next issue.
Episode # 3 review of “Haunted” will come in 4 months.
SDCC 2012: DC Coverage
Here are some pretty awesome highlights from DC’s panel coverage at San Diego Comic Con. Obviously it is not ALL of the coverage as I am not there, but these are some of the things that caught my eye and interest.
A new Poster has been released for Man Of Steel, which I’ve included in this post. Footage and Q & A panels were full, and it IS confirmed that the first official trailer will play with The Dark Knight Rises next weekend. What did people think of the footage they saw? Overall consensus seems to be that this will be unlike any incarnation of Superman we’ve seen yet on the screen. It is a very dark take, but true to the character. Though much of the plot remains shrouded in mystery, the trailer has enough in it to make you want more.
The Dark Knight Rises only has one week until release, and a reporter at www.mania.com as well as some of the other comic book movie sites have seen an early screening. Although they were sworn to secrecy through tons of pages of nondisclosure agreements, the overall thought is this… The trailers spoil NOTHING. This is unlike any of the third chapters we’ve seen on screen so far (ala Spiderman 3, X-Men 3, Superman 3, batman forever.) It may be considered the best entry yet, and if you thought that the Dark Knight was dark, then perhaps you should not take your kids to see TDKR. It is said to be much more violent and adult oriented than any of the others.
Arrow debuts in October on the WB. What has been shown so far of footage has grabbed my interest. It is very Nolanesque in that it is based in the “real world”. It has been announced that you should keep your eyes open past the pilot episode for many hero and villain appearances. Most of these will probably be B listers or characters not showing off SUPER powers. For example if Superman were to appear (which he isn’t supposed to at this point) but if he were, then he would probably show up as Clark Kent, and not exhibit any of his abilities. I like this idea, and look forward to the possibilites this show has to offer. There is also a free digital comic tie in download available at: www.comixology.com
Finally, Anthony Ruivivar has been announced as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the coming animated series “Beware The Batman.”
There you go. I will keep looking for more info that I feel is necessary to post, and update accordingly.
Superman vs The Elite: DVD review
“SUPERMAN VS THE ELITE” Review by Rick Pipito
Runtime: 76 Minutes
Warner Brothers pictures 2012
Starring: George Newburn, Pauley Perrette, Robin Atkin Downes, David Kaufman, Tara Strong.
Produced by: Bruce Timm
Directed by: Michael Chang
This review will have quite a few SPOILERS, so if you don’t want to know them, and are only looking for my rating of this animated movie, then scroll down to the last paragraph. That being said, let’s begin.
Two words can describe this film. “Fresh” and “Air”. That is exactly what it was. Superman is one of my all time favorite heroes, and while many people dislike him because of his over usage and too much power, Bruce Timm has made sure that another of his DC Animated Universe movies (the 14th to be exact), has hit its mark.
The movie begins with disasters abound. It truly shows the world and everything that is beyond human control. Fires, earthquakes, and even a small cameo by Dr. Light doing some terroristic type things. No matter how protected the world is with a Superman, this opening shows that he can’t do everything. And even when he does stop catastrophies, there will always be more.
Opening credits begin by showing all of the past animations of Superman. I think that this was a way to show how much of an icon he has been throughout the last century. It’s always been him. Once that ends, they begin by showing an animated Superman cartoon. It is in a different art style so that you know right off the bat, it is a cartoon inside the cartoon. Lois and Clark briefly discuss its quality.
Having George Newburn return as Superman’s voice (he was the voice of Supes in the animated 90s cartoon) was great. Like Kevin Conroy is to Batman, I really feel Newburn is the Man of Steel. I did not like; however, Pauley Perrette as Lois Lane. Sure, she still had typical Lois attitude, and it felt like Lois Lane, but Pauley’s voice was all wrong for the part. The only positive side to this is that she sort of sounded like Margot Kidder in places, but the delivery seemed off.
Clark has to leave his wife mid conversation as the Atomic Skull begins a killing spree in Metropolis to lure Superman out. Highlight of this battle? Superman shouting at the top of his lungs “Let GO!” His commanding voice blows out windows and the Skulls equilibrium; something you don’t see the man in blue and red tights utilize, almost at all.
Now we get to the core of what this story is about. There is a brief moment where Superman is standing over the Atomic Skull. He has to exhibit control over his emotions and this is evident as his fist is shown shaking. The last son of Krypton could very well use that emotion and kill the villain right there, but he chooses not to. When the United Nations confronts him about this, Superman defends himself by explaining that he believes there is core good in everyone, and he is not the one to play judge, jury and executioner. He is only there to intervene and protect others. The U.N. questions this by saying “Is this the Superman that the world needs?”
After leaving the conference, he zips at super speed across the world to break up a war, but a group of four young heroes show up to assist in stopping the chaos. Before Superman gets to ask who the other four are, they teleport away. Of course this puts Perry White in an uproar because he wants his top 2 reporters to find out more about the mysterious group. Jimmy Olsen is shown briefly, but is utilized appropriately. Perry is dead on par with how he should be, and the banter between Lois and Clark really does emanate not only their relationship, but the playful jabbing of a married couple as well.
Finally, Superman gets to meet the others as they show themselves to him. Manchester Black leads the group. ColdCast, The Hat, and Menagerie are the other three. I love the fact that they did this storyline. Although it was taken directly from the pages of DC’s back issue “What’s So Great About Truth, Justice & The American Way?” the characters and content are something we don’t typically see in animation. For once we aren’t stuck with Lex Luthor or an origin story. By the way I do love Lex as a villain, but I just want to see him utilized differently, as it gets abit redundant.
Superman mentions another of his forgotten about abilities here as Manchester explains his origin telepathically. An emotional and effective one at that. They are interrupted as Manchester hears hundreds of screams echo in his head. Now all five heroes have the chance to work together again, and Superman really pushes them beyond their limits. When the disaster is averted, Superman has to stop Manchester from almost making soup out of the brains of the ones responsible.
Soon after, the group of young heroes announces to the world that they are known as the Elite, and basically that Superman’s ways are obsolete. Those who kill or harm others, will be met with harsh punishment and death. The world seems a little frightened, but they eventually almost all side with the way they want to handle things. Those who don’t, fear them, because they are not bound by any laws.
Lois continues to investigate and a really cool shocker is in here that I won’t spoil. Where she finds her information is the twist.
The Atomic Skull breaks free from Strykers Island, and though it takes the combined efforts of Superman and The Elite to defeat him, people die in the battle. Manchester keeps his word and kills the Skull, as a boy (who just lost his father) tells him to. Clark flies off to confide in his parents at the Kent Farm, and this is another cameo of characters that is utilized well. It really shows what Superman goes through emotionally.
There is a quick glimpse of the shrunken City of Kandor in the Fortress of Solitude, and Superman shows the world that he can peacefully stop an overseas war. His efforts are gone however as the Elite show up and announce that they have eliminated both warring countries’ politicians. Superman can no longer hold back as he lets his emotions go, and punches Black. War is now declared among the metahumans and the Kryptonian.
I won’t spoil how the final battle goes, but all I can say is that Superman goes to a place mentally that screws with the minds of his enemies and the viewers. I know that Superman would never cross that line, but this end battle made me put that in doubt. It was very powerful, and well played out. All I can say is that it was a more emotional ride than watching Doomsday pummel Superman to death in the 1992 comic book… At least for me anyway.
All in all, I give Superman vs the Elite an 8 out of 10. The animation could have been better in spots, but there is most certainly no complaint from me. The story was outstanding, and with a different use of Superman’s abilities and new antagonists, this really makes me wonder if the DC Animated Universe will be able to top it in the future. It’s a must see for any fan!
Valentine’s Day advice from Lois Lane
Reviewed by Rick Pipito
Since Valentine’s Day is this week, I decided to review something I found from DC Comics. I was in Barnes and Nobles a month ago and saw on one of the spinning racks, something that I had to buy for my wife. Aside from it containing 16 magnets of classic Lois Lane comic book issues, it has a small book as well.
Guys, “Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane in: Lois Lane’s Guide To Life” is a perfect last minute gift for the woman you love. For the ladies, this book sheds some light on relationships and how men act in certain situations, and tells you how to “bring out the superhero in your man.” This dating guide is told from the experiences of Lois Lane by a narrator.
Sure, it is based on a work of fiction, but the advice inside is something that my wife and I can both agree upon (for the most part). Chapter one is entitled “Meet Lois Lane.” It gives a brief history of the kind of woman that she is and explains that even the world’s most powerful superhero needs to be saved by the woman of his dreams. As perfect as Superman seems to be, it still took him over 60 years to finally settle down with his girlfriend. Lois knows all about doubt, frustration and uncertainty when it comes to love.
Chapter two: “Catch Me, I’m Falling In Love” goes through a series of tips on how to get a man to sweep you off your feet. It touches on everything from knowing what you want and not settling for less to the results of being overbearing or too sheepish. This gels straight into chapter three “Superman vs Clark Kent: The Stud or The Bud.” The highlight of this chapter is a list that Ms. Lane had put together when analyzing the two personalities of the man of steel. It gives the pros and cons of dating a clumsy nerd like Clark as well as the plusses and minusses of dating a dream like Kal-el.
Chapter four: “Time Bandits, Space Invaders and Other forms of courtship Kryptonite,” informs women about what they may be doing wrong. In no way does it bash certain women, but it definitely sheds light on why their man may not be proposing to them or willing to settle down. This is then followed up by a chapter where Lois personally answers letters that she has been sent. Anything not covered in the rest of the book is touched upon here, and of course it includes Mrs. Superman’s personality in the responses.
The end of the mini-book is a chapter showing past key issues of the original Lois Lane comic book. It directly relates to dating and love life situations. The magnets included are fun to look at as well.
At a price of $9.99, I found this to be a great accessory gift to my wife’s birthday present, and it will be a great Valentine’s gift for others to enjoy. This gets a 10 out of 10 in my book for being straight forward and to the point without being too wordy. Look for it by the register spindles at your local book store.
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?