Posts tagged DC

James Knows…DVDs: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

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Thanks to Geoff Johns, Green Lantern has become one of my favorite super heroes. Unfortunately, my love for the character doesn’t get past the comics. The live action movie last year was pretty lackluster to say the least and the first animated film left something to be desired. I held out hope for the next one though, titled Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. This time the rest of the Green Lantern Corps would get some time in the spotlight as the movie focuses on a few different members of the Corps, none of them being Hal Jordan.

Although I didn’t think it was as good as the main book, the Green Lantern Corps comic was still pretty decent with some interesting stories and more importantly, some characters that I grew to love. That was nowhere to be found in Emerald Knights as each chapter focused on mostly no-name Lanterns aside from Mogo and Kilowag, although the latter wasn’t really the main focus of that segment. The film should have just been called “Story Time with the Green Lanterns.”

The whole thing centers on new Lantern Arisia. Instead of going through normal new recruit stuff like training or learning how to use this immensely powerful weapon that she’s been given, she’s thrown right into an epic battle that has the Guardians so afraid that they’ve moved out of their fortress on Oa. Sounds reasonable. Hal Jordan (who goes on to bang Arisia in the comic, despite the fact that she’s really only like 13) spins a few yarns about past Lanterns to kill time or get into her pants until the big fight against Krona. This guy has a pretty cool story in the comics where he goes back in time to watch the Big Bang only to inadvertently create the Multiverse and the Anti-Matter universe. The filmmakers decided to skip all that interesting back story and just made him a power mad super villain who throws around Anti-Matter. The Green Lanterns fight him by shooting green beams at him. Hooray!

Outside of All-Star Superman, I’ve been incredibly disappointed by all of the DC animated movies. Each one seems to at least try to be a decent film but just misses the mark entirely. They go after name actors instead of professional voice actors and throw together a hodge-podge of a storyline that sort of resembles a popular arc in the comics. I thought this might be my inner fanboy struggling to be free, but it’s not that. I can accept the idea that some specifics need to change in the transition of the story from the comic to the film, but this is more than that. These movies are just bad. There are huge plot holes in most of them and they’re just uninteresting.

James Knows…Comics: Batman: Cacophony by Kevin Smith

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Sometimes two great tastes don’t taste great together. What works with peanut butter and jelly doesn’t work for everything. This was the case for me with Kevin Smith and Batman. I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan and I f-ing love Batman so when I heard that Kevin Smith was writing a Batman story I had to go change my Spider-Man underpants. Smith’s previous comic work on Daredevil and Green Arrow were both great so I was looking forward to what he could do with Batman.

I don’t know if it was the time away from comics or the tremendous exposure I’ve had to Smith lately through the various pieces of the SModcast network but this book just didn’t do it for me. Not only that, but this was one of the worst Batman stories I read. I understand Smith’s devotion to the character and I know how much artist Walt Flanagan put into the story but this was just not a good story. I think Batman was alright in the story but the Joker was where I was lost. It didn’t feel like the Joker. It felt like Kevin Smith in a Joker suit. It was clearly his voice throughout the book so the Joker’s dialogue is filled with poop jokes and thinly veiled gay innuendo.

The art by Flanagan is just OK and adds nothing really to the book. It felt average at best. I want to like it more because I like Flanagan but this was just blah.

Even with all this I’m still planning on picking up the duo’s next Batman book, The Widening Gyre. I don’t know if I’m a glutton for punishment or I’m just a loyal fanboy.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

No One Cares About Wonder Woman So Shut Up Already

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If you’re anywhere near as big as of a nerd as I am, you’re no doubt aware that Wonder Woman got a new costume this week as her comic finally hit 600 issues. The same month saw Batman and Superman reach the 700 issue mark. The reaction has caused a sudden surge in Nerd Rage all over the Internet. I don’t understand this at all.

First of all, these are comic books we’re dealing with. Costumes change for characters all the time. It’s a stunt to sell more issues and keep people talking. It’s happened with Spider-Man at least half a dozen times (Black costume, Iron Spider, That weird metal costume from the ’90s that lasted a single issue, the Scarlet Spider, I could go on), not to mention Superman (do I really have to bring up Electric Blue?) and tons of others. People talk about it for a little while and then after a few months everything goes back to normal because nerds hate change. This will probably happen to Wonder Woman as well. They’ve even thrown out the buzz words like “bold new direction” and “never be the same” which are always surefire signs that nothing will actually make a difference.

Aside from that, I don’t know what people are talking so much about this anyway. No one actually cares about Wonder Woman to begin with. Despite the fact that she’s one of the Holy Trinity at DC along with Batman and Superman, she’s relegated to the back seat. If the Big Three were the daughters of the Brady family, Wonder Woman would be Jan. Her comic has been canceled a bunch of times because readers stopped buying it. They only got to 600 issues after adding up all of the previous volumes of the comic to get there. Did they have to do that with Batman and Superman? Nope!

Yes, Wonder Woman had that TV show with Lynda Carter in the ’70s but that’s about it when it comes to her breaking into other media or mattering much to anyone else. Superman and Batman have had at least 5 movies EACH and Wonder Woman has had a film in Development Hell for years which will seemingly never see the light of day. And no one cares.

So bottom line: Shut Up. Nerds freak out over change when everyone knows that the comic companies will just go back to the status quo within a few issues anyway because they want your money. Giving Wonder Woman pants is not going to destroy the character or ruin your life. They’re pants. Here’s a newsflash for you: Women have been wearing pants for decades. They don’t actually wear giant star covered panties. Deal with it.

James Knows…DVDs: Justice League – Season Two (2004)

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I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t entirely impressed by the first season of Justice League. Each episode felt like it was cut short or I was watching the abridged version. I wish I could say that this changed in the second season, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

We’re treated to more adventures of the Justice League as they encounter even more villains and come across a few more heroes for an occasional team up. This season features newcomers like Dr. Fate and Amazo along with returns of some of the previous villains such as Shade, Gorilla Grodd, and Lex Luthor. The episodes get bigger in scope though. The danger is greater when evil-doers like Darkseid and the Joker are thrown into the mix. Those episodes felt more like the level that the Justice League should be on. (more…)

Comics Corner – Threepeat – DC Edition (Part 2 of 3)

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Part 2 of 3 in my gigantic pile of comics this week. (Part 1, the Marvel Edition can be found here.) I was surprised to find that this was all I had in the ways of DC comics. I’ve been consistently dropping books from the company as of late. I’m just not really digging what they’re putting out aside from the Green Lantern stuff. Oh well, it’ll all end soon for me anyway.

  • Action Comics #869 – This issue really got some things moving while seemingly not doing all that much. The real Brainiac dukes it out with Superman in deep space while his droids terrorize the people in Metropolis and Supergirl loses it. The end of the issue is actually pretty depressing because of where things end up. What a downer! Recent solicitations for the big upcoming arc sort of give away what’s going to happen though so that sucks. I’m probably going to be dropping the book after this arc wraps up though. I’m not interested in Supergirl or the other Superman book. I might take a look at the trade though. Speaking of Supergirl, I usually dig Gary Frank’s art, but this issue had some of the funkiest and distorted images of Kara Zor-El ever.
    Rating: ★★★½☆
  • All Star Superman #12 – This issue wrapped up this series by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely. Apparently every single person in the entire world that read it loved it. While I dug the story, I can’t really remember the events that led up to this. The book’s spotty delivery schedule has caused me to forget a lot of it. I got the jist I think and the end of the book was actually really good. I’m going to have to go back and re-read them all now. The one thing that I didn’t like, about this issue and the series in general, was the art. I’ve never been a fan of Quitely’s art and I honestly don’t see how anyone can be. Everyone looks like they either just smelled shit or they’re about to drop a big deuce. Not to mention the fact that everyone looks all wiggly like the very ground they’re standing on is constantly vibrating. Aside from the art, which wasn’t nearly as bad as that X-Factor fiasco, it was really good.
    Rating: ★★★★½
  • Booster Gold #12 – This book has just lost it’s shine since Geoff Johns left. Granted, it’s only been two issues, but these have just felt entirely too silly and uneventful. The previous arcs felt like they meant something or at the very least mattered. This arc has just felt like a filler throwaway story and totally not what interested me about the first 10 / 12 issues. It seems like they’re trying to get Booster Gold back to the ridiculous and stupid stories that he used to be involved in years ago. No thanks. Sorry Booster, but you’re among the first to go from my pull list in the great Comics Removal of 2008.
    Rating: ★★☆☆☆
  • Green Lantern #34 – Just when I thought this arc was over, it continues! In what is turning into the longest origin re-telling ever, Geoff Johns continues his story of Hal Jordan’s first days as a Green Lantern. Ok, Sinestro and Hal take care of that big red alien thing. Hal gets some closure and the guy that will eventually become Black Hand disappears. Now they’re called to Oa for some nonsense? C’mon! Get on with it so we can see some more Red Lanterns and get to Blackest Night!
    Rating: ★★★½☆
  • Green Lantern Corps #28 – I think I’m about ready to let this book go. I clung on to it because I love the whole Green Lantern mythos lately, but I don’t see where else it can go until the next big GL event. This issue wrapped up a quick arc looking at yet another Sinestro Corps member killing off family members of rookie Green Lanterns. Problem solved. Issue ends. We get it. There’s a war now. The Green Lanterns have a horrible and ruthless villain in the Sinestro Corps. Let’s do some more with these characters already! You’ve got a plethora of possibilities here and they’re being squandered hunting Sinestro Corps rings with the same 4-6 people.
    Rating: ★★★☆☆

DVD Review: Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

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One often wonders what it would be like if some of the greatest heroes in comic books were to show up in our world. Would they lord over us like oppressors or truly help us grow the human race? What about through history? Justice League: The New Frontier answers that question in a way. Here is our world on the brink of reaching into the stars and where would people like Superman and The Flash fit in when we’re questioning the trust of our fellow man?

The film, based on the comic book of the same name written by Darwyn Cooke (which I have yet to read) takes the Justice League and puts them right in the middle of all the hubbub of the 1950s. With McCarthyism running rampant and causing many masked heroes to go into hiding, what is the world to do? New Frontier really shows a great perspective from each of the major heroes. Superman is the government man through and through, always fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way…even if that way isn’t necessarily correct. Wonder Woman is out for Justice while The Flash has doubts about whether or not he can ever reach the level of someone like Batman or Superman. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan struggles to come to grips with the events of the Korean War and the Martian Manhunter is trying to find himself. This is all happening during this turbulent time.

Oh yeah, and there’s a mysterious creature called “The Centre” that’s looking to destroy the human race. We’re not really given much of a backstory for The Centre, or for any of the other characters for that matter. We’re thrown right into the story, hitting the ground running. I loved this. There’s no need to go through the origin story of each character as well as their motives for doing what they’re doing. If you’re watching this movie, you know who Superman is or why Batman wheres a cape. I mean Green Arrow had one line in the whole movie. That’s one more than Adam Strange had too. The same thing goes for The Centre. While I don’t know anything about it, I found I didn’t have to. I don’t need to know why the giant dinosaur-spewing living island has decided to eradicate mankind. It’s definitely evil and it needs to be stopped and who better to do that than combined powers of the Justice League?

The animation of New Frontier was nothing short of top notch. The art was based on the art from the comic itself which has a very nostalgic feel to it. That really made everything fit well into the time period. The animation itself just worked so well. The colors were bright and vibrant and there weren’t any sections that seemed like they weren’t polished. DC really did a great job with this film. Marvel should take a few notes from this one as animation is something that they definitely need to work on.

My only qualm with the film is that it felt a little rushed towards the end. The battle was supposed to be epic and while it felt that way at times, the final moments of the battle just felt thrown together, especially the last minute appearance of Aquaman.

As with the Superman: Doomsday release, this DVD is packed with special features. There are 2 documentaries, one about the heroes and one about the villains. Each featured insight from several DC creators and really gave you a great history of DC comics and it’s heroes since the creation of Superman in the 30s. There’s also a sneak peek at Batman: Gotham Knight as well as 3 episodes from the Justice League cartoon and 2 commentaries.

Justice League: New Frontier is definitely a must see for any comic book fan. While I haven’t read the comic that the film is based on, the trade was immediately added to my Amazon wishlist at the conclusion of the film. It’s hands down one of the best animated comic movies I’ve seen.

Rating: ★★★★½

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