Black Panther

movies No Comments

Wednesday – 18 October 2017
Unless you were under a rock, you know that the trailer for Black Panther dropped Monday.

Black Panther: All Hail the King!

In case you somehow missed it, take a look.

If you want to take a few more minutes and watch it again, go ahead. I’ll wait.

All done?

Let’s just take a minute here to admit how unbelievably amazing that was, so many levels. “What levels,” you ask? How about:

  • This is the blackest thing that Marvel has done since Luke Cage. You think that people flipped over a series about a Black man, set in Harlem? Yeah. Turn that up to “11.” This movie has a nation – arguably the most technologically-advanced nation on the planet – in Africa, run by a Black man who’s not a pusher, pimp, or thug. He’s a king. Let that sink in for a moment.
    • I’m actually half-expecting some portions of the population to kick back reactions like we saw to Luke Cage or even NBC Live’s The Wiz, about it being “too black” or “not diverse enough.” My response to that is simply, “Suck it up and deal with it. This is what representation looks like. Welcome aboard.”
  • This isn’t a Blaxploitation movie.
  • We finally see Wakanda, more than just a scenic hillside vista. See previous statement about African nation. I love the fact that they show what appears to be Birnin Zana, the capital city, as a diverse place  with low and high technology, various styles of wardrobe, and multitudes of people.
  • We’ve already seen Chadwick Boseman‘s T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War. Now, we get to see a feature-length film with him coming into his own as king, a champion, and a man.
  • The Dora Milaje – The King’s personal guard. Oh, by the way: They’re all women. Correction: “They are all highly-trained, bad ass women.” Enough said.
  • Angela Bassett as the Queen Mother Ramonda. She was my first choice for Storm, back when they were casting the original X-Men movies. I’m glad to see that someone realized that she was an excellent choice for Ramonda.
  • Shuri – T’Challa’s sister… at least, I’m assuming that it’s Shuri he’s greeting, while checking out to versions of the Black Panther garb.
  • Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger – I will grant that I’m not very familiar with the character, but I’ve come to appreciate Michael B. Jordan’s acting skills and, from the little we saw in the trailer, I think that he’s going to sink his teeth into the role.
  • Ulysses Klaw – I’ve been looking forward to Andy Serkis’ MCU return since Avengers: Age of Ultron. It looks like they are moving him forward towards becoming the “master of sound,” as he’s known in the comic universe. I appreciated that they didn’t try to make him be composed of “living sound,” as he is in the comics. I am curious to see if they explain how/why his are does not appear to be a prosthesis, though.

There are still four months until this movie hits theatres. I’m sure that we’ll see at least one or two more trailers for it before then – my guesses would be one around Christmas and another during the Super Bowl. I hope that they can tease a little more of what’s to come without giving away the whole movie.

What did you think of the trailer?

“All the world is waiting for you…” – Wonder Woman (2017)

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Monday – 05 June 2017
I saw Wonder Woman this past weekend.

I saw it Friday early afternoon, affording me the opportunity to avoid most spoilers, either in conversation or in the media.

Like many of my previous reviews, this is going to be a two-part review:

  • The first part will be more of a synopsis and spoiler-free.
  • The second part will be more in-depth.

Here we go…

Part One: Synopsis

I thought that this was a fantastic movie. Period. Full stop.

Almost eighty years after her introduction, we finally got Wonder Woman. Leading her own movie. On the big screen. And she was everything that you expect her to be: Warm, kind, and compassionate, but also a passionate seeker of truth, honor, and justice.

It’s in my Top 3 of superhero movies, along with Superman and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Part Two: In-Depth Observations

Now for the spoiler-laden deep dive…

After reading Wonder Woman Shatters Records with $200+ Million Worldwide Opening on Forbes, I had the following thoughts:

I love and hate that it shattered Warner Bros. Entertainment‘s projections of “…maybe $85 million” on opening weekend:

Love: Because it was a fantastic movie that deserves EVERY DOLLAR IT EARNED.

Hate: That WB has so little faith in the film “…because has a female lead,” or “..because it’s a female director,” or whatever thin excuse they offered that wasn’t “Our record with superhero movies over the past three years has been pretty bad, we haven’t really been true to our characters in some cases, and the fans have lost their faith in us.”

Patty Jenkins, the film’s director, struck a fine balance between drama and humor (not comedy), while also presenting elements of empathy, pathos, and tragedy. It was light in just the right places and also somber and dark in the proper places, as well. It was what I would have liked to have seen more of from the Superman side of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The locations had character of their own: Themyscira (“Paradise Island”) was lush, bright, and vibrant, London showed you why it is/was referred to as “The Smoke,” and Belgium pulled the triple duty of presenting a war-torn battlefront, a town – and its war-weary population – all too close to the front, and the lavish and the German encampment, seemingly-untroubled by the ravages of war, in a nearby castle.

The film’s first act opened in the modern day, with Diana receiving a package. She opens it to find the picture that audiences first saw in Batman vs. Superman, with her and four companions in World War I. This sends her on a nostalgic trip that leads to her upbringing on Themyscira…

The movie spent just enough time on Themyscira to show Diana not just as the Princess of the Amazons, but as a young girl – the only child on the island, a fact which was deftly noted, but not belabored. It then jumped to show Diana as a young woman, also. In these scenes, viewers saw glimpses of her impulsiveness, inquisitiveness, passion, and determination. When the veil between Themyscira and Man’s World was torn, she also received a very harsh and grim look at the face of war. Although they showed clips of the battle scenes in trailers, it was still amazing to see the Amazons in action, facing an unknown threat with no hesitation. Steve Trevor’s introduction was handled right in line with the classic version(s), his plane crashing just off the island’s shore. The Amazon’s reactions to him rang very true of a culture who was unsure of whether or not outsiders could – or should – be trusted. I was sad that we didn’t get to see the traditional contest to determine who would travel to Man’s World, but the lack of those scenes did not diminish the movie at all. Instead, Ms. Jenkins took a different, yet no less effective, route to show Diana’s resolve in wanting to fulfill her mission as an Amazon.

In the second act, Diana’s introduction to Man’s World captured the awe and occasionally doe-eyed amazement of a stranger in a very strange land. The scenes walking through London – seeing a baby for the first time and her discovery of ice cream were wonderful touches that served to make her relatable. The ice cream scenes also reminded me of similar scenes with the character in the 2012 animated Wonder Woman feature and 2015’s Justice League: War. Another callback that I appreciated, as a fan of the 1978 Superman, was Diana’s deflection of the bullet and saving of Steve Trevor in the alleyway:

 

© All Things Marvel And DC

When Diana met Steve’s superiors, she couldn’t fathom how they were so willing to sit back, rather than lead their troops into battle and victory. In meeting Steve’s other companions, she was unsure of them, as they did not appear to be the most honorable of men. She appeared to understand them and their natures a little better, as they traveled. Farther along the journey, the shock of seeing people’s lives devastated by the war was clearly visible on Diana’s face. This made for a stark juxtaposition against how Steve and his band appeared to view it as “just another day,” not that they were immune to its affect, more that that had become inured to it.

 

Then it came: Diana’s reveal/”transformation” and her march to face the German army.

©Los Angeles Times

And in that moment, we saw the warrior aspect of the “warrior princess.” Purposeful. Relentless. Strong. I was surprised and pleased at how well movie was able to keep from fully showing her costume/armor for so long. Saving the reveal of the warrior who would come to be known as “Wonder Woman” until then only served to heighten the powerful moment. The fight in the nearby village gave a couple of fine examples of just how physically strong Diana was, in ways that were not displayed on the battlefront scenes.

In the movie’s final act, Diana moves face her foe and fulfill her purpose for traveling to Man’s World. She navigates the various battlefields deftly: She blends in almost seamlessly at the gala, having… liberated… her attire from another attendee and – unable to take on her foe there – advances to the German airstrip, steely-eyed resolve in her gaze. The look distress and lack of understanding on Diana’s face, as she saw that no one/nothing had changed after her foe was defeated and her mission had been seemingly fulfilled, was saddening and a bit disheartening. Having operated under a simple and straightforward notion – no, naivete – her worldview seemed to shatter and the pieces couldn’t be resolved into a coherent whole that she recognized. She lashed out at Steve, whose role as a spy and her recall of his dodges and half-truths along their journey seemed to only further distort the picture… until her true foe revealed himself. Her mission renewed and her true purpose revealed, she rose to meet the new challenge with the same confidence and determination than she showed at the Belgian front.

The closing scenes returned us to the modern day, with one last nostalgic look at the past and a nod to the future.

Patty Jenkins did a masterful job of bringing an iconic character to the big screen. She did this without making yet another dark and forboding DCEU film and also without making a sloppy or cheesy mess of the production. The pacing was good and the movie found a good emotional balance of drama and humor. I would say that my biggest complaints/concerns were:

  1. Lack of the aforementioned Amazon contest,
  2. Not having a scene where Diana used her lasso to help calm or quiet Charlie’s demons in the camp scene,
  3. No scene where she talked with animals,
  4. The death of Steve Trevor (but I attribute this to my expectation of Steve always being around, as he is in the comics), and
  5. Some of the CGI in the third act wasn’t great. And there was a lot of it.

Gal Gadot’s Diana, Princess of Themyscira and Wonder Woman, was portrayed beautifully; she brought the character to life. Her drive and devotion to learn the truth was apparent. The lack of guile and even her naivete didn’t come off as comical, but as the result of someone who literally had an idyllic upbringing and was then thrust into situations outside her understanding. In Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #170, “A Day in the Life,” Phil Jimenez described Diana (via Lois Lane) this way:

It is a remarkable thing. She’s perhaps THE most powerful woman on the planet. Yet men INSIST on protecting her.

Even certain SUPERMEN I know– 

Last thing I see before J.L.A. Teleporters break us into energy and fire us across the world is HER SMILE… and I’ve NEVER felt more safe.

…and, later…

And THERE it is… That look, the eyes, the everything.. The STORY.

WONDER WOMAN is a MIRROR… a mirror of HUMAN TRUTH.

She reflects the contradictions of the world — of the person STARING at her — takes them onto herself… 

And gives you TRUTH, LOVE, RESPECT in return.

Thank GOD… or GODDESS… for that.

This is the Wonder Woman that Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins brought us.  Thank God – or Goddess – for that, too.

Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor was a charming rogue. Literally. He was a spy and he was charming and a little smug. He came off as a man with his heart in the right place, but willing to stray from the path of angels in order to complete his mission. He was chivalrous, in his own way, until he realized that Diana was a woman that didn’t need his protection and whose protection and help he might need, in turn.

Hippolyta, as portrayed by Connie Nielsen, came off as every bit the warrior queen I wanted to see. She watched her general training troops for a fight she hoped to never see. However, when war came to her domain, she rode fearlessly into battle alongside her fellow Amazons. We also got to see the mother who wanted nothing more for her child than that she be happy… even if that meant curtailing her daughter’s impulsiveness. The joy and pride she felt for Diana was evident, much as the sorrow was when it came time for Diana to leave.

Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, herself) was Antiope, sister of Hippolyta, aunt of Diana, and general of the Amazon army. You understood that she was dedicated to her sister and queen, her country, her duty… and to her niece. From the trailers, I didn’t realize that it was Antiope who was shot when the Germans came to Themyscira, but I loved the fact that it was her headband – not a tiara, not a crown – that Diana wears as Wonder Woman, to honor her fallen aunt.

Etta Candy, played by Lucy Davis, is a character I wish had more screen time. Etta is a staple in Wonder Woman stories; while it was good to see her, I fear that we won’t see her again, aside from possible flashbacks. I was glad that they gave her a strong backbone, a sharp tongue, and a measure of agency – these are things that I expect to see from Etta.

Danny Huston’s General Ludendorff was a proud and patriotic German. His desire for war – along with a clever script – easily made you think that he was the primary antagonist.

I was also disappointed that we did not get more screen time with Elena Anaya’s Doctor Maru (a.k.a. “Doctor Poison“). I’m mostly familiar with the Post-Crisis and Rebirth era comic book versions of the character, but would have liked to have seen a little more about “who” she was and what drove her.

David Thewlis’ Ares was proud, cunning, and manipulative. I think that Ares was a good – if not perfect – choice for Wonder Woman’s first villain. He provided an antagonist who could go blow-for-blow with Diana and also served as someone who challenged her beliefs. I, likewise, appreciated how he engineered events to his liking. As gods are wont to do. When his plans were revealed and his facade stripped away, he became even more ruthless in his drive to see them come to fruition. As one would expect from the God of War.

To conclude, I think that this was an excellent bit of cinema. It moved well, it hit the right beats, and it stayed true to the characters it brought to the screen.  In short: It was pretty much the polar opposite of what I’ve come to expect from from a DCEU movie. I’m sad that it took so long to come to fruition, but I am conversely glad that there is a movie with a strong female protagonist (who “just happens” to be a character of whom my daughters are very fond) that I will be happy to share with my girls when they are a little older.

As Gail Simone wrote in 2008’s Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #25, “A Star in the Heavens – Scene 2: Personal Effects”:

This movie was worth the wait.

Quick hits

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Friday – 24 February 2017
There’s been a lot of comics-related news in the past couple of weeks… and I’ve had very little time to post anything about it. But, I’m carving out a couple of minutes here to do that very thing.

sdfskfsj

Salt Lake Comic Con 2016: Coda

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Saturday – 03 September 2016
Salt Lake Comic Con
2016 has come to an end.

This was, quite possibly, my most fun time at the con to date. I had a great time seeing friends, reacquainting with others, meeting new people and being a panelist for the first time! (Hopefully, I’ll get to do it again next year!) There were some things and people that I did not have the opportunity to see, but I really can’t complain about this year’s con experience.

This morning, Sara and I took Team DiVa to the Con (ahem… “the costume party”), so that they could see people in costumes. We found “a few” Captains Marvel, to Diana’s glee, but we had a hard time finding a Ms. Marvel for Vanessa. I was hoping to see the young lady (also pictured below) that I saw on Friday; she was nowhere to be found today. Sara managed to find both a Captain AND a Ms. Marvel – at the same time – who were both happy to take pictures with the girls. This happened while I was having a brief meet-and-greet with Phill LaMarr (Pulp Fiction, Mad TV, the voice of Green Lantern John Stewart on Justice League). WHEW!

We left Comic Con, so the girls could have lunch and some down time. I realized that I needed some recovery time, as well.

I returned to the Con a little after 5 PM… to find that the main floor was closing at 7 PM. Fortunately, I had managed to check off most of the boxes on my “To Do” list during the earlier visit. I visited with the Dr. Volt’s crew and managed to get more than three pictures of cosplayers today. I wrapped up the evening attending a panel with three-fourths of the lovely ladies from the Hello Sweetie Podcast, and three other panelists.

I think that Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 was fantastic convention and hope that it was a great success for all involved. I’d also like to thank and congratulate the staff and crew of Salt Lake Comic Con for putting on a great event… and for letting me be a part of it this year! I look forward to what SLCC 2017 brings.

And here are the pictures…

 

 

 

Review – Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

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Tuesday – 12 April 2016 Monday – 18 April 2016 Monday – 27 April 2016
I finally saw Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this last week two weeks ago. I’ve been trying to write this summation of my thoughts since then. More or less. At times, it just felt like too much drudgery to finish. But, here it is.

I managed to avoid most spoilers, either in conversation or in the media, before seeing the movie. There was one nominally big one that slipped through the cracks, but I thought it might have been a misinterpretation. (It wasn’t.) I will most likely pick up that thread later in this post.

Like my Man of Steel review, this is going to be a two-part review:
The first part will be more of a synopsis and spoiler-free.
The second part will be more in-depth.
Consider yourselves duly warned.

Part One: Synopsis
I mostly enjoyed this movie.

It appeared to draw from the following sources, among others:

Some would contend that there were too many moving pieces in this film and that never works. I’d counter with a look at X2: X-Men United. That story took four storylines from over 20 years of X-Men lore and wove them into a compelling story. This, however, threw a lot at the audience in its two-and-a-half hour runtime and there’s still (at least) thirty minutes of footage that will be seen on the DVD/Blu-Ray release.

And, seventy-five years after her introduction, we finally got Wonder Woman on the big screen. She was introduced with an air of mystery that I hope will be expanded upon in her feature film, due out next year. For the in-costume screen time that she did have, I was pleased with how she was presented: She was a warrior and one, it seemed, who enjoyed a good fight.

I give this movie five SuperBats… possibly six:

Superman BatmanSuperBat!SuperBat!SuperBat!SuperBat!   (SuperBat! )

Part Two: In-Depth Observations
Now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

This was a dark movie. Granted, Batman is in it, but I expected a Superman with a much lighter tone to juxtapose against the Dark Knight’s… darkness. That was not what audiences got.

This Superman was still rather aloof and somewhat removed from the people. Yes, there have been stories around that concept, but for the most part, Superman has seemed to enjoy not only being a role model, but also just being with and around people. Well, more people than just Lois Lane and Martha Kent. There was talk of – and a little lip-service towards – him being a symbol of hope for people… but it seemed more like they were just trying to convince the audience of that than anything else.

The Batman we saw could have been lifted directly out of The Dark Knight Returns: Older, world-weary, hardened. He perceived Superman as a threat to be negated and he also gave action to the growing sentiment of wariness and fear… even if he was pushed into this action through Lex Luthor’s machinations. That point, I’ll come back to in a few paragraphs. While I can understand Bruce’s rage-filled dream about Superman taking over the world, what I cannot fathom is why he would have any notion of parademons, the firepits of Apokolips, or Darkseid at this stage of the game. Hell, he shouldn’t even really have an inkling until Lex started ranting at the end of the movie… if even then.

Lex Luthor. There are many ways to get him wrong. Richard Donner didn’t do it. Bryan Singer didn’t do it. Hell, even the writers on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman didn’t do it. But, this Lex… I don’t know. The genius was there, but there was something missing. Perhaps it was in the way that he came off as a bit manic in some/many scenes. Perhaps it was an attempt to show the smartest man in the room, whose mouth literally couldn’t keep up with all of the lines of thought going on in his mind. I don’t know. I think that he did morph a bit from a less manic Lex and more of the cold, calculating Luthor that I was used to seeing in scene on top of the LexCorp tower with Superman.

Once again, I found that I enjoyed Amy Adams’ Lois Lane. She was tenacious and willing to fight for the stories that she felt needed to be told. You could see that she truly cared for Clark, with his best interests at heart, but also saw the dangers in the shadows that he didn’t – or wasn’t willing to – see.

The brightest spot, in terms of characterization, was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. To be honest, I was worried about what we would get. This, they got right. We didn’t get a lot of backstory – that’s being left to next year’s movie. While I would have liked to have known a little more about what she does for a living – she’s an antiquities expert/dealer, a fact I discovered from the packaging of a Wonder Woman figure for the movie – I was happy that Snyder got the “warrior princess” part right. And that was done very well. I loved the fact that, once she got into the thick of the fight, you could see that she was enjoying it, almost reveling in the ability to cut loose.

A friend pointed out something that I hadn’t considered: Snyder used Diana to effectively stop the plot (or at least put it on “Pause) while she “…watched trailers for the next movies.”  True. For those who aren’t following: After Bruce Wayne decrypted Luthor’s file on metahumans and sent it to her, the story got derailed to show clips of the three unknown metas.

I mentioned Bruce Wayne’s buttons getting pushed by Lex Luthor above. Here’s where I come back to that point. I’ll grant you that Lex is traditionally considered one of the most intelligent characters in the DCU. What I would love to know is how did he figure out the identities of two of the most guarded figures in the DCEU?! Granted, if you watch Lois Lane’s movements enough, pick up on the fact that “where goes Lois, so too goes Superman.” Put that together with the fact that she started dating a guy – roughly Superman’s size and build – about the same time he showed up on the scene and it’s arguable that you could deduce that Clark is Superman, given enough time. In fact, Lex figured that out in comics in the second issue of Superman (1987), but rationalized it away, thinking that no one with Superman’s powers would waste his time pretending to be… just human. But, figuring out that Bruce Wayne is Batman? Nope. Can’t see it. And, being able to lead “the world’s greatest detective” on a snipe hunt for a man who not only doesn’t exist, but there’s a ship in the harbor that he’s been staking out with the exact same name and he can’t figure it out?! Nah, man. You lost me there.

Then there’s Zod Doomsday. I’m amazed at how quickly Lex not only wrapped his not-yet-bald head xenotechnology and took control of the ark/Fortress of Solitude, but let’s also give him a hand for mastering xenobiology in about 10 minutes. “Lex E. Coyote, super genius…

And the death of Clark Kent was handled even more ham-fistedly than in the comics. And that’s saying something.

I was struck by something that Christopher Tapley wrote in his review of the movie for Variety:

… given that Snyder is obsessed with iconography, a visualist more than a storyteller. 

That phrase triggered something for me. After reading it, I considered some of the movies that Snyder has directed: 300, Man of Steel, Sucker Punch, and Watchmen. While I enjoyed all of those films – and even purchased three of the four – I realized that Mr. Tapley was right. Snyder has a keen ability to make something look visually stunning… but, unless he is (more or less) directly adapting something – 300 or Watchmen, for example – the story is kind of thin. And this movie was no exception to that rule.

As much as I enjoyed Man of Steel for the things that it did differently with the character, I just couldn’t muster that same satisfaction out of this movie. Wonder Woman pulled a lot of this movie’s fat out of the fire for me. I am not disappointed that I paid to see it (in IMAX, even) for the spectacle, but I’m on the fence whether I’ll be putting down money to buy the DVD/Blu-ray… unless the extra footage seriously helps the story. And that’s a pretty strong statement, coming from the guy who saw Green Lantern in the theatre twice(!) and bought the movie on Blu-ray.

World’s Finest

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Wednesday – 02 March 2016
For those who don’t know: the name “World’s Finest” or “World’s Finest Team” is usually applied to the pairing of Batman and Superman.

World's Finest Team

Batman and Superman: World’s Finest

If we look at the way the trailers have presented the introduction of the Dark Knight to the Last Son of Krypton – antagonists rather than reasonably amicable crimefighters –  it is (somewhat) understandable why Warner Brothers chose to go the “Batman versus Superman” route.

That said, YouTube user Adeel of Steel has created a mashup of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s Batman teaming up with Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve’s Superman to take on The Joker and Lex Luthor (Jack Nicholson and Gene Hackman, respectively). And it is fun. See for yourself…

 

“Alone and bored, on a 30th Century night…”

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Tuesday – 01 March 2016
For a team/comic that hasn’t had their own title in nearly two-and-a-half years, the 30th Century’s  Legion of Super-Heroes has been popping up in a bit of comics-related press in the past few weeks. (As far as I’m concerned, this is far from a “bad thing.”)

There was a cover shot of LSH #300 in DC Comics’ press video for the upcoming “Rebirth” event/non-event

30th Century super-team

LSH #300

…apparently, there was a nod to the Legion in last night’s episode of Supergirl

Some of the 30th Century's finest technology...

Legion Flight Ring

…and the team – or, at least, the founders – are featured in the upcoming LEGO Justice League: Comsic Clash… which means it’s pretty much a shoo-in that I will watch this video.

After watching the above clip, I went to heat up my lunch. Waiting for the microwave to do its thing, I noticed I was humming Madonna’s Material Girl. In and of itself, that’s not so bad… but not really Legion-related. The thing is: I caught myself reparsing the lyrics from:

‘Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

to

‘Cause we are living in a material world
And I’m an immaterial girl

…referencing Phantom Girl and her abilities.  Thankfully, I stopped before I started changing the verses to fit a 30th Century theme. For now.

Send help.
Please.

Tim Miller + Justice League = Deadpool ?!?

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Wednesday – 17 February 2016
Today is “New Comics Day” across the land. Amen.

Today is also the day that I learned a bit of news that I found interesting. Over the past week or so, people have been flocking to see Fox’s Deadpool. (Yes, some people have even taken their kids to see it, but that’s story/issue for another time.) Tim Miller, the film’s director, has also gathered accolades for not only bringing Marvel’s “Merc with a Mouth” to the big screen, but also for not pulling the punches (um… sorry) and bringing an R-rated superhero movie to the screen. What I did not know, until earlier today, was that Miller directed a short film featuring the Justice League that attracted the attention of the-powers-that-be at Fox and put him on their radar as a candidate to helm Deadpool.

DCUO-Wallpaper

What was the short film?

This:

That’s right. Miller, during his tenure at Blur Studios, directed the promo trailer/intro cinematic for DC Universe Online, a long-time favorite game of mine.

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Metropolis

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Metropolis


 

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Gotham City

The Hand of Nefer-Tem in Gotham City

For more information on how the Justice League helped Miller get the Deadpool job, check out this article on Comics Alliance.

Thoughts on the latest ‘BvS’ trailers

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Sunday – 24 January 2016
I just finished watching the latest trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

BvS_Who_will_Win

Yes, I was watching the football games in which they aired. However, I didn’t sit through many/most of the commercials, so yes, I just saw the newest one online. But, that’s not the point. The point is, with this trailer…

…something in the way that Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne spoke to Alfred about the threat that Superman posed struck me as sounding very similar to the origin of the protocols that Batman developed in the pre-New52 DC Universe, as seen in Mark Waid’s “Tower of Babel” (spoilers) storyline in JLA (and whose story was the basis of the Justice League: Doom animated feature):

Tower of Babel deals with Batman‘s perceived betrayal to the superhuman community by keeping and concealing hidden records concerning the strengths and weaknesses of his allies in the JLA, which include plans to neutralize his allies in a fight. His files are stolen by the criminal mastermind Ra’s al Ghul, who uses them to defeat the League through a coordinated attack in order to prevent them from interfering with his latest scheme, the reduction of the global population.

There appears to be a lot of pent-up rage in Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, but it sounds like all that he wants to do is find the key to defeating the heir-apparent to the “most powerful being on the planet” title… and then retire to the Batcave for a Bat-beer. Corollary to this thought, I can’t help but wonder if we will see Batman taking notes on other members of the League (as we meet them) and compiling methods to best neutralize them, as well. As much as I think I’d enjoy a live-action take on “Tower of Babel,”” I think that we will see the League taking on Thanos Darkseid as the main villain of the Justice League movie.

Something else just dawned on me about the Clark Kent/Superman side of the equation… and I’m a little bothered by the fact that it didn’t occur to me sooner. I’ve seen this trailer before:

…but I didn’t think of it in the same comic book terms as I did the Bruce Wayne one. Until now. Listening to Clark and Perry’s discussion after watching the Bruce Wayne clip, I was almost immediately reminded of Man of Steel #3 (1986) in which Superman goes to Gotham City to take on – and take down – a certain “bat vigilante”:

mos3_bvs

Let’s just say that their first meeting was “strained,” at best. It was also very well written and included a couple of twists that made the not-quite-a-team-up work under the tense conditions. Clark’s comments in the trailer seem to resonate with one of Superman’s internal monologues from MoS 3, in which Superman goes over what he knows about Batman.

As I said, just a couple of quick thoughts. What do you think?

Breaking the Radio Silence

comics, creators, movies, reviews No Comments

03 August 2015
Let’s look at comics and comics-related things!

Let’s get a few random items out of the way first.

Okay with those out of the way, let’s talk comic books…

For me, one of the bright spots in comics is the writing and art of Thom Zahler. He first came to my attention for Love and Capes, which billed itself as “The heroically super situation comedy.” And that’s exactly what it was. But, while serving up romance in a world where costumed heroes exist is nothing new, Love and Capes made the romance the focus of the book, rather than superheroics. This doesn’t mean that readers never saw heroic feats; but the real story followed the growth of the relationship between Abby Tennyson, owner of a small bookstore, and Mark Spencer, accountant by day/superhero by… well… night and day, really. The dialog was crisp and the situations in which Mark, Abby, and their friends found themselves felt believable. And, the comedic timing – after all, it did call itself a ‘situation comedy’ – worked in a way that didn’t feel forced. Check out the website, linked above, or pick up issues or trade paperbacks from IDW Publishing.

Mr. Zahler’s latest offering is the four-issue mini-series, Long Distance:

Long Distance #1 by Thom Zahler

Long Distance #1 by Thom Zahler

The description for this series:

From the creator of Love and Capes, Thom Zahler! While stranded in an airport, Carter and Lee meet and hit it off immediately. Problem is, he lives in Columbus and she lives in Chicago. Can they manage to have a relationship separated by three hundred miles, a time zone, and the entire state of Indiana?

As someone who has been in a couple of long-distance relationships, the dialog and the situations feel realistic. Zahler manages to find the proper balance of the giddiness that accompanies a new romance along with the added tensions of distance, work, commentary from friends, and time. Because of the care that he puts into all of that, Carter and Lee go from being “just characters in a comic book” to a couple of people to whom you can relate.

Issue #3 of Long Distance hits stands this Wednesday. I highly recommend picking it up – along with Issues #1 and 2 – as part of your comics haul.

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