superman

My Man of Steel Review…of Sorts

(SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!)

It’s taken me a long time to write something outside of discussions about Man of Steel. I was conflicted in the theater and I am now. When I first saw it I had a person to the left of me (I’ll leave out names to protect them) who hated it and a person to my right who loved it. They both displayed their feelings for it as they were watching the movie a the midnight release of the movie. It was as close to having an angel and a devil on your shoulders as a person can have and yet…which was which?

Today is the day I knew I needed to commit my thoughts down to be cataloged by Google and indexed for all to find. One reason is that we recorded our Man of Steel Podcast today. I’ll post a link here once we get it up. I was pretty prepared for it because I’ve had so many discussions online as well as read articles, watched videos, and listened to other podcasts on the topic. A month later and the only thing we can all agree on is that it’s one of the most divisive movies in a long time. Most either love it or hate it and for all kinds of different reasons. What can be said is that it was wildly financially successful. So much so that today’s San Diego Comic-Con announcement (second reason for writing this now) that a Superman/Batman: World’s Finest Movie is on everyone’s lips.

I’ve decided so much has been said about this movie in-depth that I am going to just focus on a few items I liked and a few items I didn’t like. Let’s get started:

Liked

Trailer

This is my favorite trailer of all-time. It has so much emotion and is amazingly concise. The Man of Steel trailer brought an honest tear to my eye when I first saw it. I must have watched it ten times in a row when it came out and once every day after. I still think it’s pretty much perfect. Have you seen the original Superman and/or the 1989 Batman trailer? I was trying to get a feel for other super hero movie trailers and Man of Steel is about 1000 times better. Here’s what I mean:

 

Jor-El

Jor-El was awesome. The first words I said leaving the movie theater were: “I want to see a Jor-El on Krypton movie next!”. The whole world of Krypton was really well fleshed out. I felt like I understood his point of view and really connected with him as a heroic character. He was not just a man of science but a man of action and conviction. Similar to the opening sequence in the 2009 Star Trek movie (of which this movie also borrowed a lot of visual devices from), you see a hero father give everything he can to ensure his son has the opportunity to survive and you also emotionally connect with this father. It’s one of the best opening sequences in a super her movie and, like Star Trek, sets up the villain of the piece.

Lois Lane

I don’t think Lois has ever been fully realized in almost any medium. A lot of people have feelings on who she really is but every medium has just as much contradictory behaviors. She is an independent reporter in the comics and YET spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Superman to marry her. The fact that she is constantly in need of Superman to save her from peril also doesn’t bode well for her independence. This movie did, however, do away with one of the problems that has nagged her fans from the beginning – not being able to tell that the two men she is with the most are the same person because of a pair of glasses.

Lois not knowing Clark was Superman made her an idiot to anyone watching or reading her exploits. Superman/Clark use to wink at us, the views, in the Adventures of Superman TV show to underline just how dumb she truly was. The Lois Lane of Man of Steel is a true investigative journalist. She did the work and figured out his identity before she met either Superman or Clark officially. She was capable enough to work with Jor-El to help save the Superman reversing years of her only being the damsel in distress (even though he saves her a few times in this movie too). Amy Adam’s Lois Lane is capable, smart, and someone I want to see more of in future movies. Her importance can no longer be relegated to par of a fake love triangle so there’s a much better chance for her to make a big impact on the story in another way.

Hans Zimmer

I was ALMOST looking forward to the Man of Steel score as much as I was the movie! Hans Zimmer scores are some of my favorite pieces to listen to. Like I mentioned, the trailer blew me away but a lot of that was the theme. Who in their right mind tries to follow John Williams’s Superman theme? Almost not Hans. He didn’t want to do it until Christopher Nolan prompted him to on behalf of Zack Snyder. Zack and Hans had a discussion about themes and the broad strokes of the movie and that sold him on giving it a try. The one note that Snyder gave Zimmer was “It would be cool if the theme was humble”. That’s not really a thing in composition and yet…you can hear it in the finished piece. He did it. It’s really an exceptional score that I’d argue has more heart than the actual film!

Visuals

I’ve never seen two super powered beings fight each other in a movie that looked more spectacular. The best fight between two beings of this power level in my head has been the Superman/Captain Marvel fight in Justice League Unlimited…and that as animated. This was the promise of comics realized in three dimensions. It was a spectacle that then became…something else. Still, for a while, I was enthralled.

Zod

I think this movie gave us a Zod with a real clear motivation beyond conquest for conquest’s sake. He reminded me of the Eradicator when he first appeared in Superman comics. He was built to preserve and defend the Kryptonian way of life even to the degree that he was compelled to try and take over Krypton in order to save it. Zod did things he didn’t want to because he felt he had to. He even showed moments of compassion. I was impressed with this version of the character up until the final third of the movie. I understand why he became a mad dog but…it made him less interesting.

The first Two Thirds of the Movie

Well, most of it any way. The flashbacks worked for me as a story telling device. Lois as our window into his world really worked for me too. Her looking into his past was a conduit for exposition that explained why he was doing what he was doing when we find him. Clark was very brooding but it made sense. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life and Jonathan Kent didn’t give him the tools he needed to decide. It was the story of a man who wanted to do good but was ruled by fear because it’s what he was taught. What came next never really paid off where this was all going.

Didn’t Like

Hope

tumblr_monfc8npX11qb5hhzo1_500Clark/Kal/Superman doesn’t deliver on the promise that Jor-El made. This promise, to me and lot of other fans is the very point of Superman. Here’s what Jor-El says:

 You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

What does he do in this movie to deliver on any of that? The people of Earth no he’s an alien, he has immense power, and that he is willing to kill (more on that later). He never connects with the citizens of Earth while in costume other than Jenny noticing him and saying “He saved us.”…which didn’t feel very organic. He never moves his fight to a cornfield in Kansas (as Mark Waid suggested in his review) nor does he worry about debris in his LONG disastrous battle in Metropolis. He comes into town and people run in doors. His powers are his muscles and not his heart.

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He wears the Kryptonian symbol of hope but it doesn’t seem like hope is his mission. I’ve put this out there before and many people tell me this will come to fruition in the the next movie (how a Superman/Batman movie will have a focus on hope, I have no idea) but that doesn’t change the fact that in THIS movie, he offer nothing to aspire towards. He is a brute who fights another brute. Sure, this brute is fighting for us but why? What are his ideals? What can he teach us that will help us catch up to him so we can join him in the sun?

Disaster Porn

No review of Man of Steel would be complete without the use of the phrase “disaster porn”, right? I made mention that the Superman/Zod fight was the best super powered fight I have ever seen on the big screen but…did it go too far? Was there a diminished return? I think so. I was really into it for a while and then there was a point in all the devastation that I thought…doesn’t he care about the people? Why aren’t they showing him saving anyone?

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The World Machine was created by the writers in order to have a good enough excuse for Superman to be as far as way as possible to maximum amount of destruction can befall Metropolis. Combine that with Zod becoming a mad dog that wants to be put down and you have the recipe for a fight that went on so long it made me go from enjoying it to wanting it to end. It didn’t sit well with me and a lot of other movie goers.

Jonathan Kent

If I had to describe Jonathan Kent in one word it would be “Fear”. His fears were really the main lesson that molded Clark’s life. He lives his entire life going from place to place never really growing or making something of himself because his father told him humanity would reject him.

Clark Kent: My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me… out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?

Then there’s the often quoted “maybe” from Pa Kent:

Jonathan Kent: You have to keep this side of yourself a secret.

Clark Kent at 13: What was I supposed to do? Let them die?[brief pause]

Jonathan Kent: Maybe…

Was he just working this out and saying something he didn’t really mean? Maybe. But, you don’t get it a counter point to this at any other time. He doesn’t really leave Clark with any lessons other than people will fear him and the conflicting story that he was sent there for a reason. It’s too bad he couldn’t take a stab at why he might have been there (to help people?). Instead, the heavy lifting is done by a hologram of his birth  father. Some feel his death was a poignant lesson. I found it close to suicide. I hope that dog was worth it.

Humorless

On the whole, this movie is almost without any semblance of humor. It’s not a comedy; I get that. It does contribute to the “darkness” of this movie (the other ingredients are the lack of inspiration given by Superman, destruction of metropolis, and the no way out execution at the end). Marvel Studios execs have said that they want to create a world where you wish you could be a citizen of. DC has not followed this path. Their modern films are dark places of fear, isolation, and mistrust. This Superman is very much of that world. It almost feels weird when he smiles. The lack of humor in the character combined with his aimlessness at the beginning, plus his fear of people knowing who he is created a very sad person in Superman.

Bechdel Test

The movie fails it. Not something I recognized when I first watched it but true none the less. Don’t know what that means? Google it!

The Jesus Analogy

I’ve never been much for Superman as a Jesus analog (always seen him as more of a Moses and you know his creators did too!). That said, it’s not a new idea. It’s just that the subtlety was completely removed this time around. When he talks to the priest (which felt OK and made sense) the image of Jesus RIGHT OVER HIS HEAD was so in your face I thought it was an IHOP or Sears sign. That is NOTHING compared to Jor-El (the father) telling Kal (the son sent to Earth) “You Can Save Everyone” right before he falls to Earth in a crucifixion pose. My eyes rolled so slow they almost came out! That’s all fine (sort of) IF you pay it off. What’s the payoff of this Jesus-like character? He has no choice but to snap his enemies neck. It just doesn’t work as an analogy. Like a lot of things in this movie, they threw a lot of ingredients into the mixture but forgot to see how it turned out.

Overall

I liked a number of things in this movie but the feeling I had coming out of the theater wasn’t excitement, hope, or inspiration. Maybe that was never the point of this movie but those feelings were the point of the source material. It was an amazing spectacle but it never gave me joy (except the Jor-El on Krypton scenes). I just don’t think it delivered on the promise that brighter days are ahead because we have Superman to show us the way.

Well, maybe things will be different in Superman/Batman: World’s Finest. Maybe adding Batman will make the movie less dark and offer more hope!

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I’ve been collecting memes and links about this movie since I saw it so I can articulate better how I feel. Here’s a collection:

Links:

Images:

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I made this one :)

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This is a good point. I think Batman letting Ra’s die is in some ways worse because he had other options plus…he actually knew him!

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As humorless as Superman is and as masterfully light as Tony Stark is, it would be great to see these two together.

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Every other Lois is dim compared to Man of Steel’s Lois

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Batman lets Ra’s die at the end of Batman Begins. If he had snapped his neck, though, it would have gained a different reaction.

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I’m in the critics corner on both.

Comic Panels

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This never sat well with me when it came out. Superman wrestled with this for a long time after too. At least he didn’t do this during his first few hours as Superman.

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Where was THIS Jonathan Kent?

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Well the kids got what they wanted with Man of Steel

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He’s super because he finds a 3rd way.

 

What Makes A Great Superman Movie?

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Adam and Nick welcome Mikey back to the show to talk about the REAL Superman trilogy: Superman, Superman II, and Superman Returns….and maybe just a little bit of Superman III and IV. Just the tiniest bit.

The Superman movies directed by Richard Donnor (Superman I and the edited “Richard Donnor Cut” of Superman II) and the 2006 movie: Superman Returns (directed by Bryan Singer and inspired by Donnor’s vision). Superman I is the benchmark that all Super Hero movies have been tested against since it’s 1978 release.

This episode is SUPER! Why is the first Superman from 1978 still considered one of the best super hero movies of all-time? Why aren’t movies like this being written today? Why didn’t Superman Returns launch the Superman franchise again in 2006?

These questions will be answered by three big Superman movie fans.

Listen on iTunes.

Or listen/download the file here.

In its 24th year, the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI outside Detroit has grown larger and attracted more fans than ever before.   A recent update on the Con’s Facebook page confirmed that over 30,000 fans attended the 3-Day show.  While it’s true that there was heavy traffic to enter the parking lot and long lines to enter the hall, indie artists reported triple the sales of last year’s show due to the high volume of people through the door.

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This is the front of the line on Saturday morning an hour before doors opened.

Here’s a rundown of the guests that this reporter had the chance to interact with.

Lloyd

David Lloyd

V for Vendetta artist, David Lloyd’s latest project is a 21-page noir thriller in Aces Weekly Volume 1.  Aces Weekly is an exclusively digital comic anthology available at http://www.acesweekly.co.uk/home.

Perez

George Perez

The Great George Perez attended the show, delivering commissions and sketching sharpie headshots in between countless autographs.  Mr. Perez’ latest released work is the cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #20, available this month from DC.

Anyone wanting to catch up on Perez’ past work need look no further than this month’s Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? Tpb and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 Tpb.

If that’s not enough, his influence is felt across the New 52 as characters he created may be followed monthly in the pages of Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Justice League.

Kitson

Barry Kitson

Barry Kitson is currently nailing it on Valiant’s Bloodshot title!  Issue #11, containing Barry’s artwork is out this month along with more Barry pencils in the Harbinger Vol. 2 Tpb.  Furthermore, it was just announced that Barry will be illustrating the aftermath of this summer’s Harbinger Wars event in Harbinger #15.

Kitson cares deeply for his fans and this weekend was a prime example.  When Barry saw gridlock on the road leading to the convention center saturday morning, he chose to make the journey from highway to convention hall by foot rather than keep his fans waiting!

Swierczynski

Duane Swierczynski

Speaking of Bloodshot, the writer for that title and Valiant’s big summer event, Harbinger Wars, Duane Swierczynski, was present!  Duane’s also involved with the revival of X for Dark Horse.

Clark

Matthew Clark

Notice a trend developing?  Bloodshot #11 Variant Cover artist Matthew Clark was stationed across the aisle from Swierczynski.

Manning

Dirk Manning

Horror comic writer and Bleeding Cool columnist Dirk Manning was dressed to impress while promoting his recent release of the Write-Or-Wrong column collected edition.  Dirk’s next project is a flip book called Love Stories (To Die For) containing two comic book horror stories.  The book will be available from Image Comics’ partner studio, Shadowline, in September.

McKenna

Mark McKenna

Industry veteran Mark McKenna’s new creator owned project, Combat Jacks, is about humans terraforming a planet while they’re attacked by Jack O’ Lantern monsters.

Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham

Tyler Kirkham, fresh from delivering the incentives to those that pledged to his successful kickstarter project NAWRG, set up in prime convention hall real estate.  In short, NAWRG is a story about a troll that lives with a family, but the story contains a deeper meaning on how adopted pets bring great joy to people.   Tyler’s recent work includes Red Hood & the Outlaws, Superman, Teen Titans, and Green Lantern: New Guardians.  His next project is Action Comics #22.

Paquette

Yanick Paquette

Yanick Paquette made his DC debut two years ago in the pages of Batman Inc. and continued his DC work with the New 52 Swamp Thing series.  Yanick’s next project is Wonder Woman: Earth One where he’ll reteam with Grant Morrison.   Yanick remarked on how he loves the way that Grant consistently surprises him and he never knows what Grant will put into their stories.

Hunt

Ken Hunt

Ken Hunt is an artist on the cusp of breaking through to the mainstream, currently working on a top secret cover for a future DC release.

Bisley

Simon Bisley

Englishman Simon Bisley was particularly interested in the Detroit Redwings t-shirts that local hockey fans were sporting, remarking on how cool the winged wheel design was.

Kolins

Scott Kolins

Scott Kolins recent Orang Lantern backups in DC’s Threshold title will soon give way to a Larfleeze ongoing series with his art and written by Keith Giffen.

Forney

Sean Forney

Local hero Sean Forney is in the midst of his own kickstarter project The Scarlett Huntress!  The Scarlet Huntress features Sean and his wife Stephanie sharing art and writing duties.  The story is a modern take on the Little Red Riding Hood mythos.  He’s almost at his goal and your pledge could be the one that puts him over the top!  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/838034909/scarlet-huntress-anthology

Defoy

Jay Defoy AKA Jay A.D.

Young talent Jay Defoy recently completed the first issue of his creator owned title Threadcount: The Tale of Norman Crest.  It’s about a man that gains superpowers that seem ridiculous at first but turn out to be a fun crime fighting asset as the story goes on.

Richard

Sara Richard

Sara Richard’s artwork has a fun fairytale influence to it.  She spends her days drawing adorable My Little Pony Covers.  Check her out.

Spaniards

From Left to Right: Ramon Bachs, Miguel Sepulveda, Manuel Garcia, Andrews Guinaldo, and Pere Perez

These five artists traveled from Spain to meet their fans and deliver high end commissions.  They’re pictured holding pieces that they did for comic art connoisseur Ari Shapiro’s Batman on Gargoyle themed collection.  Reportedly they were commissioned as a group since they share a common rep.  Once they started work, the artists competed with each other over whose piece was strongest and which Ari would like most.

Roadkill

Roadkill

Until next time, dear reader!

Another Fix you’ll have to check out! Read more won’t you?

Hello out there again Fix fans it’s time for another week of Comics and Clix with your weekly fix.

 

Heroclix:

Oh enough rhyming already, This has been a pretty HUGE few weeks for Heroclix, there’s been a bunch of spoiled con-exclusive figures for this year, there’s been a delay of a whole heroclix set,  and last but certainly most importantly the new Core Rules and Powers and Abilities Guide was also released, all while only a month away from the Titans set (OMFG!).

Obnoxio_news

My favorite evil clown is still Tim Curry.

First up there’s been a handful of spoiled Con-Exclusive Heroclix figures for this year’s  big conventions. So far we’ve seen a Gentleman Ghost and an Obnoxio The Clown. Gentlemen Ghost is a real DC Character who is the wrong kind of Con-Exclusive Figure. He’s a fairly well known (though not currently popular or used) character that has a reasonable fan following, whom has had 1 clix figure made of them (or even no figures). This both drives up the demand and price for these figures because everyone is scrambling to get their hands on the only version of the character. The worst offender being ConX-Venom, which is the only version of the current and popular Flash Thompson as Venom, even Mac Gargan has had 2 versions of himself as Venom and both are fairly new and easy to get figures.

It’s a strange and irritating strategy of Wizkids, (the producers of Heroclix) to put these figures which are the only versions of characters from popular story-arcs as con-only figures, like Moonstone as Ms. Marvel from Dark Reign , or the Horsemen of Apocalypse. With that said Obnoxio is the right kind of con figure, the kind I don’t give one dang about getting. Who is he?

Never heard of him! Great! Mark that one off my list. The other angle that I like for Con-Exclusives is to make a new version of a very popular figure with many other current or playable  figures, such as Punisher, Wonder Woman and Dr. Fate.

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Who’s house? Ghost’s house!

As you may notice G. Ghost has one of the New Standard Heroclix Powers! Precision strike! (ooooooooh! aaaaaaaah!) It’s actually one the new Powers that’s kinda neat, when you deal damage with it that damage can’t be reduced below 1, or transferred! Watch out Darkseid!

Now if you’re at all in the ‘know’ about Heroclix you probably have already heard and at least glanced at the rules, but there’s a link just in case.

Powers and Abilities Card

Core Rules

The rules are nice, putting a hamper on the reign of Hypersonic, Multi-Attack figures. It also heavily neuters many support figures Probability C0ntrol, Outwit and Perplex limiting the range of said abilities only to their personal range. Looks like Wanda and Sargon will be looking for new Jobs! (Yeaaaaay!)

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Hoorray!

The new rules also limit a lot of Hypersonic reliant figures since you DO NOT automatically breakaway while making a Hypersonic Speed move, which many people are already in ‘crybaby’ mode over, but is this really the death of the Speedsters?

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Death of  Hypersonic Speed?

Uuuuuhmmm…Nope, just like the Flash who lives on so shall the Speedsters of Heroclix! It’s just going to increase the value of Pure Speedsters like many of the Flashes who have a “Faster Than Hypersonic” ability (like most of them do now) or an improved movement ability like Both Kid Flash, and The Flash in the Upcomming Teen Titans set both have. This will allow them to ignore characters as well as other terrain hazards and not be hindered by it or breaking away.

However for your Supermanz it’s a different story, each time you base an opposing figure you’re going to have to roll to breakaway in order to continue moving. This sounds bad when you would have had to roll a 4+ previously, but under the new rules you get to run free on a 2+ on 1d6 when using Hypersonic. Good odds… but not something I’d want to bank on EVERYTIME. Which means the old ‘rush in, smash ‘em with a heavy object, run out’ strategy is gonna be more of a gamble. However this really doesn’t change the problem/strategy of rushing around shooting people then running away. Since you’re not basing them and will not have to breakaway.

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“Good now it’s time to run away and hide!”

Cynicism of people’s cowardly tactics with Superman aside, I really like the cut of the new rules. I want to play them first (tonight in fact!) before I talk about how they effect and change the game at it’s Core, but it’s definitely going to be a much more intimate affair. With support figures squashed against main attackers so as not to get out-ranged on their powers, and this means their going to make tasty treats for fighting style characters. We’ll see though…

imagesLastly, the Ironman 3 Heroclix set is being delayed by Marvel,  Marvel claims the figures in the set have spoilers to the new Ironman 3 film which is coming out May 4th. It’s not a huge issue since it should only be a day or two for the delay (Possibly). It is however personally annoying for myself and the other players at my “No Man’s Land Heroclix: Venue.” We were going to use the new rules to do this month’s No Man’s Land Sealed with the new Ironman 3 stuff, but due to the delay we’ll have to play…

STREETS OF GOTHAM! OH GOD NO!

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I wish Scarlet Witch would make them go away!

I’ve had quite enough Batman heroclix, and personally the figures I wanted from the 3 FULL Batman Sets of last Year I already have (or have destroyed). Not to mention the Nu 52 Justice League set, and the DC 10th Anniversary set both  featuring 2 Batmans each, Batman is the Wolverine of Heroclix…and I’m so tired of him. Especially the completely heinous Common Batman from…the Batman set (that’s confusing) which has 10 clix… And can take down Supermans solo in only a single “Outwit, Charge, Flurry for 6 Damage.” Which as you might imagine doesn’t sound a lot like Batman right? Not mention the almost BAFFLING Batman dial from the Fast Forces from the same set with Psychic Blast, Sharpshooter and 3 Targets…

Comics:

…I really need to get off this topic before I am reduced to a quivering-ragegasm. And for that I’m going to need something great to calm me down, what have you got for me comics from 2000′s?

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Oh sweet merciful…..thank you!

Do you like Batman? Then you’ll love All-Star Superman, because he’s not in it, just an amazing Superman story by comic writer superstar Mr. Clean, I mean Grant Morrison !

All-Star Superman is one of those comics that so good even people who don’t like Superman will find a new found respect and love for the character. It’s just that kind of comic. There’s a very optimistic attitude but with a very bittersweet feeling held throughout. If you’re like me (Illiterate) you can even grab the DC Animated film of the same name, which is a fitting and still completely awesome and competent retelling of this Else-worlds Gem by Morrison, READ IT! WATCH IT! LOVE IT!

As for me I have to go fight crime in another part of the city, see you next time.

Who was the best Superman actor?

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Let us know in the comments below?

What’s Your Universe?

Immortalized by the Adam Warrock song “Marvel vs. DC”, it’s a question a lot of us have asked each other for most of our lives. Which universe is better the 616 Marvel or the contemporary DCU (they tend to have reboots)?

The DC Universe is often sited as being a modern day version of Greek Mythology. Whereas the Marvel Universe prides itself on being more human and real. Superman lives in Metropolis while Spider-Man lives in New York City. Mutants are hated and feared in the Marvel Universe where metahumans of the DCU are often loved and admired. The differences are bountiful so we have to ask you: Which do YOU like better? Comment Below.

This week the New 52 trading cards, created by Cryptozoic, came to my local comic store. I was really excited when I heard that they were going to release these cards, which urged me to write a previous article about collecting trading cards here at ShortBoxPodcast.com. So, when the day came for them to be sold at store, of course I had to get some packs of cards.

New 52 CardsFirst off, these cards are not game cards like Magic, they are trading cards. The have a certain character of group on the front and a description or bio on the back. The bio is the up to date bio of the character for New 52 continuity. Each pack contains 5 cards and usually costs between $3.00-$4.00. In each box of trading card packs, there is always a chance that you could get a special sketch cardbecause there is one inserted into one of the packs.

The main cards that you can get in a pack are the normal character cards. Some of the characters are harder to find than others. For example, I have bought a few packs already and not once received a Batman card, but I have received a few Flash cards. I actually seem to hardly get any doubles. This could seem like a good thing, but it is also a bad thing if you are wanting to trade. Doubles are usually used for trading purposes. You will also come across some foil cards from time to time, which are just foil versions of regular character cards. Recently got a Wonder Woman card call “Work In Progress” (WIP) which shows you the process of drawing, inking, and color when you look at the card from different angles. Of course, there is the sketch cards which are incredibly rare to find, but are cards the are actually drawn by artists. There is also a group of cards called “Lantern Cards” which are few but contain characters from different Lantern Corps.

Hal Jordan Lantern Card

My biggest complaint is that the cards don’t have that much information on the back. I mean, the updated New 52 bios are nice, but I would like to have a little more. Back in the day a company called Fleer used to make the DC Comics and Marvel trading cards. The backs of the cards would have all sorts of stuff on the back. The cards would have some character stats on them and the artist name who drew the card. My only way to see who drew the card is by reading their signature on the art, which is sometimes impossible to figure out, or by knowing who the artist is already like Greg Capullo’s art on the Batman card. Sometimes it is a total unknown. It may have been a change to put a QR code onto the cards to make it more interactive with the internet.

Fleer Marvel Canonball Card

Fleer Canonball Card Back

So far I have really enjoyed the packs that I have gotten. One of the first packs I opened had a Talon card in it which was pretty cool. I epically like getting characters that I really enjoy. That is really why I was hoping to open a pack and receive a Batman card, being one of my favorite. My biggest complaint is that very few people are buying packs, so I really have no one to trade cards with. There are over 60 normal cards to this first series to collect and it is a good way to understand who some characters from DC are.

Cryptozoic also makes the Walking Dead trading cards. You can usually find these cards at your local comic shop and if they don’t, check and see if they can get some in. They are a fun pass time and it is fun to see what characters you can get. Also, this is a good way to get your kids into reading comic books. A lot of people that I know got into reading comic books because of the Fleer trading cards back in the day, so give them a shot and see if you get some of your favorite characters.

Continuity Notes From A New Universe

Instead of reviewing the DC Comics #0 issues, I am going to just give you the facts of what we’ve learned. The Zero Month initiative is suppose to give us more information on the history of this new universe. Let’s see what we’ve learned about the new continuity.

Week 1

Action Comics #0 -

  • Clark purchased 200 Superman shirts. He knew he was going to get into some scrapes!
  • Clark’s first job was at the Daily Star.
  • Jimmy Olsen is rich.
  • Superman’s cape can’t be destroyed.
  • Clark lives in an apartment owned by a Mrs. Nyxly who’s husband is a magician known as “Mystic Mr. Triple X” who wears a derby. Have we seen the first of Mxyzptlk in the New 52?
  • Lois coins the name Superman. Classic!
  • Captain Comet is briefly introduced before he heads to space. He warns that Earth is on a list of planets that will be destroyed.

Animal Man #0 -

  • Arcane killed the previous Animal Man
  • Buddy Baker was never going to be chosen as Animal Man. He was only a temporary solution until his daughter came of age.
  • Buddy Baker was an actor who believes he gained his power from aliens. The aliens were a ruse created by the Red in order to get him active as their avatar sooner.
  • He had a career as a super hero, actor, and animal activist.

Batwing #0

  • As soon as David left the the the rebel army he was forced to join, he started fighting criminals (as a child).
  • David was raised by Rene Diallo and Matu Ba to be responsible and help others.
  • David spent his days on the police force and nights as a vigilante working with other heroes against criminals and super criminals.
  • His war on crime caught the attention of Batman who trained him further and gave him the tools he needed to become Batwing.

Detective Comics #0 -

  • Bruce Wayne studied under a Zen-Buddhist Monk Warrior named Shihan Matsuda.
  • Shihan Matsuda was trained in mind control and martial arts.
  • Bruce came to see Shihan Matsuda and his wife Matsuda Sama as a surrogate mother and father during his training.
  • Bruce learned a cold lesson that closeness to someone can bring misery.
  • Alfred held together the Wayne Corporation while Bruce was training.

Dial H for Hero #0 -

  • The H-Dial actually steals the powers of super heroes from other universes and bestows them to whoever uses the dial.

Earth 2 #0 -

  • Terry Sloan was one of Earth 2′s greatest champions and the smartest person on that Earth known as Mister 8.
  • Terry Sloan discovered the multiverse.
  • Terry Sloan turned on Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman and destroyed cities and countless lives to win a victory against Darkseid.
  • He survived and has plans for Earth 2 based on his knowledge of other Earths.

Green Lantern #0 -

  • Simon Baz is a Arab American living in Michigan who experiences years of prejudice in America after September 11th.
  • Simon Baz was a car thief who was set up to steal a car with explosives in it. He is picked up by the authorities and detained.
  • As he is about to be tortured, Simon gets a Green Lantern Ring that says “Simon Baz of Earth. You have the error ability to overcome great fear.
  • Amanda Wallar and Cyborg both know about Simon.
  • His ring has a message for him but he is passed out.
  • Sinestro and Hal Jordan are in a world of shadows.

G.I. Combat #0 -

  • The Unknown Solider finds out that there has always been an Unknown Soldier in all wars. He may be the reincarnated soldier.
  • Before he flatlined in combat, his fighting skills were not nearly what they were when he was revived.
  • His superior inherited fighting abilities and his scientific enhancements make him one of the most dangerous people alive.

Green Arrow #0 -

  • 19 year old Oliver Queen was rich and irresponsible when his father sent him to run one of his oil rigs.
  • Oliver pays Tommy Merlyn to train him in archery.
  • A super villain “Iron Eagle” shows up to the oil rig and attacks. Oliver fights him off but ends up getting the rig destroyed and his friends killed.
  • Oliver wake up on an island and makes a bow to survive.
  • Oliver makes it back to the United States somehow and find Roy Harper. He bails him out of jail and asks him to use his skills with weapons and hacking to fight crime.
  • Tommy Merlyn ends up alive and scared.

Phantom Stranger #0 -

  • A man tries to commit suicide in the distant past for betraying his closest friend.
  • This man is judged by Wizards along with two others and are called “The Trinity of Sin”.
  • We know the other two as Pandora and The Question. The star of this title will become the Phantom Stranger.
  • His punishment is to walk the Earth until he works off his crime and to be a stranger to all of Humanity.
  • He sets in motion the creation of the Spectre

Stormwatch #0 -

  • Adam One is still alive (thought to be killed in issue #5).
  • Adam tells Jenny the story of the Century Baby from A.D. 1013.
  • That Century Baby fought with an early incarnation of the Demon Knights.
  • The Demon Knights were the first incarnation of Stormwatch.
  • Adam One is centuries old and possibly immortal (and it looks like he physically ages backwards).
  • Adam One is actually Merlin.
  • The 12th Century Century Baby was taken by the Shadow Lords (masters of Stormwatch).

Swamp Thing #0 -

  • Arcane killed many Avatars of the Green (Swamp Things) including the one of 1897.
  • Arcane killed Alec Holland before he could be the prophesized warrior king and greatest Swamp Thing of all-time.
  • The Green re-creates Alex Holland so he can embrace his destiny.

World’s Finest #0 -

  • Earth 2 (E2) Catwoman helped train her daughter to be E2 Robin against her husband’s (E2 Batman) wishes.
  • E2 Lois Lane died in the war against Darkseid.
  • E2 Supergirl is E2 Superman’s secret weapon.
  • E2 Catwoman died in the war with Darkseid.
  • E2 Supergirl (Power Girl) met E2 Robin (Huntress) right after Catwoman died.

The Superman Trilogy

films short box podcast review

Adam and Nick welcome Mikey back to the show to talk about the REAL Superman trilogy: Superman, Superman II, and Superman Returns….and maybe just a little bit of Superman III and IV. Just the tiniest bit.

The Superman movies directed by Richard Donnor (Superman I and the edited “Richard Donnor Cut” of Superman II) and the 2006 movie: Superman Returns (directed by Bryan Singer and inspired by Donnor’s vision). Superman I is the benchmark that all Super Hero movies have been tested against since it’s 1978 release.

This episode is SUPER! Why is the first Superman from 1978 still considered one of the best super hero movies of all-time? Why aren’t movies like this being written today? Why didn’t Superman Returns launch the Superman franchise again in 2006?

These questions will be answered by three big Superman movie fans.

Listen on iTunes.

Or listen/download the file here.

Poor Aquaman

geoff johns aquaman super friends cartoon

When Seth Green and Matthew Senreich team up with Geoff Johns and Zeb Wells, you know that there is everything needed for a definitive DC parody. With this pedigree helming the project, they were able to get to get the A-List voice talents of Neil Patrick Harris, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Megan Fox, Breckin Meyers, Alex Borstein, Tara Strong, and Paul Reubens!

comic books parody episodeInstead of getting too into the overall story (an unusual element to a Robot Chicken episode in the first place), let’s get into the broad appealing jokes and then spend more time with the fanboy Easter eggs.. The jokes that were approachable to non-fanboys were mostly centered around Aquaman. He has been the butt of both Family Guy and Robot Chicken jokes for years. What I found great was that one of the writers of this, Geoff Johns, is currently writing a Aquaman series that directly deals with these jokes in a somewhat meta way. Besides the Aquaman jokes, the other very approachable parodies include call backs to the much-loved Super Friends cartoon. Much of the set-up of the universe is based on Super Friends and it works.

As a hardcore comic fan, I’m more interested in the more niche jokes.

Let’s go over a few of them here:

Hot off the heels of his Dark Knight Rises role, Bane gets to show everyone what he’s famous for:

batman adult swim short box action figurescomic books tv shows short boxparody comic books short box

As a Green Lantern fan, I’ve put up with some extremely goofy characters over the years without even thinking about it. If I explained that I like and have an action figure for a alien squire-ll space cop…well…I wouldn’t win anyone over to trying comics. Especially if I said I like Ch’p better than B’Dg.

What? You don’t have a favorite H’lvenite?

dc comics parody robot chicken H'lvenites

Ah…the Super Kiss. One of the weird powers made up for the Superman movies. This gets a lot of criticism from modern fans but trust me…the Silver Age was rife with random powers Superman just happened to have (super-hypnosis and super-ventriloquism to name just two). This one, though, seemed REALLY convenient and weird. Robot Chicken masterfully takes this odd scene to the next level of creepiness all while dropping a shout out to the insane golden age origin and motivation of Lex Luther from Adventure Comics #271 (Superboy causes a lab accident that cost Lex his hair).

robot chicken parody dc

There sure are a lot of ice-themed characters in comics. Sure DC has a ton but so does Marvel What’s nuts is that the ice villains of the DCU seem to rarely team-up (notable exception in the first Superman/Batman arc: “Public Enemies”). That story was their high point and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ice puns (referenced perfectly here) must have been their low. This isn’t even all the ice villains in the DCU!

When a museum in the DCU opens an exhibit that plays to a popular villain’s theme they must just expect it, right? The 60s Batman show would have the Gotham museum constantly adding exhibits that were cat, joke, and riddle themed! Why not just stop showing this stuff off? King Tut, I get but this…come on!

robot chicken parody short box

Earth-C

Here we go! I love the more obscure stuff and Earth-C is that. The Death of Captain Carrot? How can anyone take this characters serious…even at a funeral? Hal just loses it here and Nathan Fillion (everyone’s favorite Hal Jordan voice) really sells the struggle to attempt not to laugh in the faces of these absurd characters. The Zoo Crew was the JLA of this funny animal world. They were they best their world had to offer. Imagine what their version of The Outsides must look like! “We’re so sorry Little Cheese.”

zoo crew earth-c dc comics

Of all the amazing voice actors on this project, one stands out for me – Paul Reubens as the Riddler. He really sells this character as insane and laughable. He’s practically the Legion of Doom’s Aquaman, if you think about it. On a team full of geniuses, he only offers a built-in mechanism to get caught. That’s what makes Paul Reubens shine in this…he does pathetic so well! His new team, the Punctuation Posse, needs to show up in a comic series somewhere. I think Grant Morrison could make it work.

dc comics robot chicken

Mister Banjo is a real character. Seriously. He was an early Captain Marvel “villain” who leaked sensitive government secrets to the Nazi’s during World War II via…his banjo. He even had a very very small cameo in Kingdom Come. This character might be so lame he wouldn’t make the cut of our D-List Discussion except for this Robot Chicken appearance. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of him…

d-list villains short box books

There was a lot more to this story because it was a rare Robot Chicken long-form arch vs. just the quick parodies. Everything tied together at the end and you could tell that Geoff Johns was committed to redeeming Aquaman…just a little. As a big DC fan, I loved this and I’m hoping for a sequel…maybe with Batmite!

that's bane batman parody