Superheroes and anti-heroes lead complicated, over-the-top dramatic lives that inevitably wreak havoc on their relationships. No matter what that passionate lip-lock between Wonder Woman and Superman on the cover of Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Day Special suggests — and enough already; we get it — the stories in this collection are not heavy on heart-fluttering moments and sexytime. Continue reading
It’s the “New 52,” and the new Action Comics, and inevitably we revisit fall of Krypton. But how many ways can Krypton be annihilated? In Grant Morrison’s take on Supes’ origin, he makes subtle tweaks to how it all went down in the House of El. With minor adjustments to previous continuity, Morrison paves the road for a plethora of possibilities for future stories. We press pause on the events of issue #4 and focus on baby Kal-El making it to a planet with a yellow sun and less gravity, so he will be super. Superman’s chunky, little baby self is escorted in a rocket powered by an artificial intelligence Jor-El calls Brainiac. It is Brainiac who narrates this issue, entitled, “Rocket Song.” Continue reading
In the world of many superheroes, killing a villain is verboten. Theoretically, doing so would undermine their moral authority and blur the line between angels and demons — even if the target is a cold-blooded murderer with no remorse and a high recidivism rate. Better to break a few of the bad guy’s bones and ship him or her off to the nearest prison or high-security facility for sociopaths. Right? Not always. Sometimes a character does something so heinous and/or is such a threat to society that a hero is justified in choosing the nuclear option. Continue reading
V. knows way more about Smallville than I do, but I was a fan of this show in its early days. Though poor Tom Welling has yet to don a cape, there have been some notable, full-costume appearances by major DC players. But since it’s a TV show and not a big-screen blockbuster, Smallville has never had the budget to provide truly splendid superhero costumes. The best ones look like top-notch cosplay getups. Others, like the recent Blue Beetle reveal, are a bit sad:
Hawkman: In Smallville‘s defense, Hawkman’s comics costume is glorious and therefore very hard to pull off without CGI and big bucks. Again, if I saw this at Dragon*Con, I’d be kinda impressed. However, I saw a Hawkgirl at D*C whose wings were bigger, more feathery, and far more striking than this. The helmet looks like it was decorated with gold spray paint, and overall, it’s a letdown. Grade: C-
Booster Gold: Not awful. Booster isn’t the most serious character in the DCU, but he looks like he’s ready to handle some business in this instance. Snazzy shades, and props for the oh-so-accurate product placement patches. Very NASCAR. Grade: B
Wonder Woman: Even though this is Lois Lane in Diana’s costume, I dig it. In fact, like it so much that I wish David E. Kelley & Co. had gone this route for the TV show. It’s got some warrior flourishes, and it appears classic and youthful. Points off for the cheap-o tiara and star deficit, though. Grade: A-
Zatanna: Fishnets, check. Tuxedo getup, check. Hot boots, check. Matrix-y trench coat, check. This is a fairly simple look, but it’s effective and awfully stylish: Grade: A
Black Canary: I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Dinah looks like a cross between in Val Kilmer in Top Gun and a mannequin at Wilsons Leather. The costume screams “cheap,” and the Ziggy Stardust raccoon mask isn’t helping matters. Grade: D-
Stargirl: The mask is effed up, and the costume is only slightly above Halloween quality. I think had those shorts in fourth grade. Anyway, Stargirl is such an underexposed character that I’m happy to see her at all. By the way, that staff looks like a solar light fixture that was ripped out of someone’s front yard. Grade: C
Aquaman: I really, really got a kick out of this. I’m a tad biased because orange and green are my alma mater’s colors, but Aquaman’s costume looks functional for a guy who spends most of his time in the water, and it’s sleek and modern. Groovy footwear, too! With apologies to my Aquaman-loving friends, “cool” is not a word I often associate with King Arthur, so this is well played. Grade: A+
Clark Ken/Superman: I realize that he has yet to officially become the Man of Steel on Smallville, but at this point, Clark ought to have more than jeans, a blue T-shirt, and a red jacket from Costco. Can’t a Kryptonian get some love on his own show?! Even Welling’s well-documented beauty can’t redeem this. Grade: F
Author’s Note: If fan sentimentality of any kind repulses you, please avoid the following essay.
The relationship between Batman and Superman has fascinated me since I was a kid. Equal parts bickering couple, friends, and teammates, they are quite a combo. Their surface differences are interesting enough — Clark’s pastoral and idyllic upbringing (minus that whole exploding planet thing) vs. Bruce’s youth as the orphaned Prince of Gotham. But when a really good writer brings them together, you get a sense of their mutual respect and understanding, in spite of the way they often grate on one another. Continue reading
Many, many others have written about the genius of the original All-Star Superman, so the series doesn’t need my late stamp of approval. But while I fully expected to enjoy the story, I didn’t anticipate just how much more I would appreciate Superman as a character after finishing them.
I recently purchased the trades in a mad rush to catch up before watching the direct-to-DVD film that was released last week. Several times, I’d flipped through the All-Star Superman collection in a bookstore, shrugged and put it back. Again, I assumed that it was good, but I was convinced there were no more truly interesting stories about the Man of Steel. Even the gushing cover blurbs couldn’t win me over.
My bad. Continue reading
Before I start making fun of Lois Lane’s attempts to understand the plight of my people in the early 1970s, I’ll say this much: A silly as Lois Lane #106 looks now, it was probably quite a powerful comic book when it first published, and I say it’s better to address racism awkwardly than not at all. Continue reading
Ann U.’s illustrations caught my eye the instant I spotted them on DeviantArt, and it led me to even more of her striking art posted on her Live Journal. I cannot resist the work of an artist with a gift for facial expressions and body language, and Ann’s drawings radiate personality. Continue reading
If a picture says a thousand words, the World’s Finest covers of yore are entire novels. Faulkner novels. As in, engrossing and deeply troubling. While this storied title was innocent, action-packed fun for generations of comic book-loving kids, things look very different when viewed from an adult perspective. It’s like when you look at H.R. Pufnstuf clips on YouTube and realize that it’s one big LSD endorsement. Continue reading
The very handsome Brit Henry Cavill is the new cinema Superman, and for the life of me, I can’t tell whether anyone cares. Too soon? It seems like we were just being introduced to Brandon Routh, who did a good job in a flawed movie, Superman Returns. I’m not all that excited about a reboot, but I’m a little bummed that Routh didn’t get a chance to show what he could do in a (potentially) better movie. In any case, Cavill will look great with a spit-curl and a cape. And for the love of Rao, please cast a believable Lois Lane this time around.
Does the unveiling of the new Man of Steel have you pumped for the movie?