Tag Archives: The Flash

Superheroes and the Small Screen

With Marvel and Netflix inking a deal to bring “Marvel’s Flawed Heroes of Hell’s Kitchen” to the small screen (Netflix being an internet version of television), there is the potential for even more heroes to follow the same path.

"The Man Without Fear"  [image property of Marvel Comics]

“The Man Without Fear”
[image property of Marvel Comics]

After regaining the rights to Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Blade, fans have been wondering what plans Marvel had for their darker properties. Now we (sort of) have an answer. Starting in 2015, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones will each have their own 13-episode runs on Netflix, culminating in a “The Defenders” mini-series. Depending on how successful this deal ends up being, it could open a lot of doors for other Marvel characters. And maybe even characters from other comic publishers.

For starters, an unrated Punisher series, made in the same vein of the Marvel MAX imprint, would be phenomenal. An unrelenting, bloody, violent, carnage-filled series showcase how truly badass the Punisher is, is exactly what Marvel needs. The same goes for Blade. It needs to be uncensored, violent and bloody. It’s a story about a half human/half vampire that hunts and kills other vampires. But it should definitely not star Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones. I don’t think Wesley Snipes should reprise the role either. We need a fresh perspective for both Blade and The Punisher.

Marc Spector/Moon Knight [image property of Marvel Comics]

Marc Spector/Moon Knight
[image property of Marvel Comics]

From there they could venture into the realm of a character like Moon Knight. He’s essentially Marvel’s version of Batman but with a few differences. He believes he’s the avatar for the Egyptian god of vengeance, so he might be just a tad bit crazy. Where Batman fights crime to avenge the murder of his parents, Moon Knight will kick the crap out of anyone he thinks deserves a butt-kicking because it makes him feel better about all the people he killed as a mercenary. He’s rich and uses gadgets like Batman, but he fights with a different code of ethics, so that could make for some interesting story arcs. After that they could even branch out to Cloak and Dagger, Black Panther, or Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

Other comic publishers could take notes from this and bring characters from Hellblazer, The Sandman, B.P.R.D., Preacher, 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, and so on to life. DC Comics might have some success with this venture, even though they’ve had some recent success with Arrow and possibly even more success with a Flash spin-off, they still had shows for Aquaman and Wonder Woman that never made it past their pilot episodes. This might be the perfect way to set up their Justice League movie. Characters like Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter might not have what it takes to hold their own on the big screen like Batman (and to a lesser extent, Superman) but they would probably do very well (if written, acted, and directed properly) on the small screen. They shouldn’t be discourage by their previous failures, but be encouraged by the success of Smallville and Arrow.

The big screen has been good for Marvel, and I think the small screen will too. They have been able to dominate the competition quite easily and, from the looks of things, will continue to do so. But in order to stay in the game, the other comic book companies need to step up their game and start trying to make things happen in new outlets. Netflix, HULU Plus, iTunes, Amazon Video…something. The fans want to see their favorite characters brought to life, as long as it’s done well. A season or more of one-hour episodes gives you more time to fully develop a characters story than a few two-hour films would.  A leap to the small screen could be just the way to give them what they want.

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Reading Flashpoint: Three Lessons Learned From A Brand-Wide Comic Event

Most people probably know that DC cancelled all of its titles in September of 2011 and launched 52 #1 issues of their “New 52” brand. I say most people because it was a pretty big deal at the time. While some of their books like Detective Comics retained their number since the first issue was released in 1939, no company had ever done something so drastic as this  before.

What is less well-known is that the relaunch is actually an in-continuity timeline change that followed the company-wide “Flashpoint” event before the New 52 launched. Which means that while DC reset their book numbers they, technically, are working off the same kind of continuity reset that they did during Crisis On Infinite Earths. For the layman, that means we should think of the New 52 like a sequel to what came before instead of a reboot. All the old stuff that was canon before can still be considered so… but as part of an alternate timeline. It’s a subtle difference, but important for a couple reasons.

Continuity Is An Excuse 

My biggest complaint about modern comics is how ridiculous the continuity is. Since 1985 DC has had four universe-altering events that changed the history of their characters. That doesn’t include all of the ridiculous crossovers (Crisis On Two Earths), cameos and smaller events (Death Of Superman). That minor distinction was important considering that the New 52 came with five years of history. Most of what had happened to the characters in the previous timeline still occurred in one form or another.

So despite the reset there’s still continuity.

And after reading Flashpoint, continuity feels like an excuse to make you pay for pieces of a story. The Flashpoint event consists of 5 main titles of the same name, but it also has more than 50 tie-in comics. All together, there are 60 books in the entire event:

  • Abin Sur (3 issues)
  • Batman: Knight Of Vengeance (3 Issues)
  • Booster Gold (4 Issues)
  • Citizen Cold (3 Issues)
  • Deadman & the Flying Graysons (3 Issues)
  • Deathstroke & the Curse Of The Ravager (3 Issues)
  • Emperor Aquaman (3 Issues)
  • Flashpoint (5 Issues)
  • Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown (3 Issues)
  • Green Arrow Industries (1 Issue)
  • Grodd of War (1 Issue)
  • Hal Jordan (3 Issues)
  • Kid Flash Lost (3 Issues)
  • Legion of Doom (3 Issues)
  • Lois Lane & the Resistance (3 Issues)
  • Project Superman (3 Issues)
  • Reverse Flash (1 Issue)
  • Secret 7 (3 Issues)
  • Canterbury Cricket (1 Issue)
  • The Outsider (3 Issues)
  • The World of Flashpoint (3 Issues)
  • Wonder Woman & the Furies (3 Issues)

Sometimes you need to see it all written out. Many books of varying quality. And I will grant you, a lot of this stuff isn’t central to the main story. Comics like Hal Jordan, a what if to demonstrate how much things have changed, are pretty optional. There’s really only one key plot point in the book while the rest is context. And others, like Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown and Canterbury Cricket are wholly unnecessarily and pretty poorly written to boot.

But a lot of these are essential and read as if they are missing chapters from the main story.

ToBeContinued

Here Wonder Woman discovered a plot between her aunt and Aquaman’s half brother that caused their two peoples to go to war. Now she’s running off to do something, but as you can see, you need to read the third issue of another book to find out what. This isn’t a small plot point. It’s not a throwaway moment. It’s a good example of why it’s so hard for amateurs to get into the big titles. Even if you only like one book, eventually there will be a crossover or event that forces you to read a bunch of different books or miss what’s happening.

Reading all of these makes it feel like you are paying for the story by chapter, which I suppose you are since that is the nature of comics. But it’s so self-referential and complicated to get one story from all these books at a combined cost of between $100-$300.

Even ignoring the cost, just figuring out what goes where is a total b****. Last spring I tried to read Countdown to Final Crisis, which was a prequel company-wide event to a forthcoming company-wide event, with over 100 books of various numbers. I actually had to research it beforehand and, I s*** you not, draw a flow chart to understand what to read. Once you figure it out, a lot of these could have most of their pages put in a sequential order that would work as a single, mass tome, but even the graphic novels have to be organized by kind.

Quality Control Is A Absent

Some of these books are absolute garbage. Obviously the main title, Flashpoint, is pretty solid and the art for Wonder Woman & The Furies #1 is absolutely gorgeous. Superman and Batman’s books are excellent, but the rest is so too inconsistent from a premier comic book business.

As an example, Booster Gold features a women named Alex. In issue #47 she and Booster Gold are captured by the army and in the span of 3 pages she experiences a seemingly random costume change.

 

LongSleeves

First she has long sleeves.

 

NoSleeves

Then she has no sleeves.

 

ShortSleeves

It’s cool though. She alternates a couple times and then settles on short sleeves.

What the hell? This is within 5 pages of each other in the same book. I get when different books doing the same scene have different art, but the same art team on the same book? Why? And this happens ALL OVER.

The Dialogue Is Awful

Something that really bugs me is that the dialogue feels hokey and out of place. Granted, this is a subjective area, but look at some of these and tell me I’m wrong.

Brain drain? That was your best insult? brain drain?

Brain drain? Your go to insult is brain drain?

 

Ugh, can we go back to brain drain?

Ugh, can we go back to brain drain?

 

 Ozzyreference

Aside from using “thrashing” to describe listening to music and the flippant use of “old farts”, I’m pretty sure that’s an Ozzy Osbourne reference more than two decades out of date. The writer, Scott Kolins, is 44. It’s cool that he was a child of the 70’s, but was it too hard to ask his kids for a contemporary artist? Yes, it’s possible that this guy, who’s name escapes me, may just be an Ozzy fan, but it’s not believable and I’m assuming most kids that read these books won’t know who he is. Actually, do kids still read comics?

Whatever. Moving on.

PlaneSpeed

That is Hal Jordan asking someone how fast his plane goes. I’m not an aircraft expert, but I expect a pilot to have some idea how fast his own plane can go before he gets into it. And the “gigahertz and nanoseconds” comment makes him sound like he’s trying not to be smart. If you can fly a supersonic jet you can, hopefully, do some math too. I fully expect him to ask “where are the brakes on this thing?” after reading this. No wonder he crashes his plane in everything I’ve ever seen him in.

Lessons

Yes, there’s some wiggle room here since comic books are the first pay-as-you-go form of entertainment, but it’s not about the observed problems as much as what we learn about DC. First, I have no idea how much money it costs to organize, create, produce and distribute a company-wide event, but it feels like a lot of money that’s going into a very niche form of entertainment. It doesn’t have to be niche, but the interconnected nature of the titles, ridiculous continuity and prohibitive cost make it so.

Now extrapolate that. Since 2006 I’m pretty sure DC has had somewhere between 4-6 company-wide events depending on how you count the Green Lantern craziness that ended in Brightest Day. Who can keep track of all those stories? The funny thing is that it’s so complicated it’s kind of brilliant. All these stories do come together by the end which is a real accomplishment. A very exclusive accomplishment.

Second, I’m not surprised DC properties haven’t been able to tie together a unified movie universe. Launching a brand-wide comic event is way smaller and it’s not a great experience unless your a die-hard fan. Actually, that’s a guess. Maybe die-hard fans didn’t have so much fun with this either.

There has to be a better way, right? Or am I just complaining about the necessary evils of the comic book industry?

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The Fate of the Justice League Movie

According to some online sources [here and here], the fate of the upcoming Justice League film (and by upcoming, I mean a few years from now) depends on the success of the new Superman film, Man of Steel. So any DC fans out there who have been eagerly anticipating a Justice League film to compete with Marvel’s The Avengers, whether you believe in a god or not, should probably start praying. Not to mention, plan on seeing Man of Steel whether it sucks or not.

Superman himself doesn't look too sure about the WB's decision.

Superman himself doesn’t look too sure about the WB’s decision.

Now as I’ve said before that I’m looking forward to the new Superman flick. I think it will be phenomenal. Excellent cast, director, producer, and Hans Zimmer. I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of it, but that’s just me. It’s gonna take a lot more than just me for this this to be successful enough to convince Warner Bros to greenlight a JLA film, as well as any other DC superhero films to follow (ahem…Aquaman!). And given the success of past Superman films, the JLA film’s fate seems a bit shaky. I don’t think there’s been a successful one since maybe Superman II. Even Smallville was a bit rocky at times. That whole season with “Doomsday” made me want the CW to cancel the series. So banking on Superman to save the day might be a longshot.

I haven’t really had much faith in a Justice League movie happening in a while anyway. The only successful character on the big screen has been Batman (obviously), no one else can touch him. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns bombed, Green Lantern flopped, and no one can get a Flash movie going. Wonder Woman can’t even get a pilot on TV, let alone a movie. Green Arrow’s doing alright on the small screen, but the Oliver Queen/Super Max movie is pretty much canned. And Aquaman gets no respect whatsoever in any media, except for maybe the New 52. So yeah, I haven’t really had much hope or anything to give me any hope in a JLA film in a while. Plus, DC and Warner Bros seem to be scrambling to get this film made just because the Avengers and all the other Marvel films did so well and they wanna make money too.

Wait….didn’t Warner have the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, and The Dark Knight Trilogy? Those were all done well and time was taken with each of them, so why rush JLA? Geeks and nerds aren’t going anywhere and superheroes aren’t a passing fad. They’ll be around. But if you piss them off by making their heroes look like crap, they won’t be as dedicated and won’t be as will to fork over their money. Think about that.

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Could/should JGL be the right Batman for the JLA movie?

Take the time and build the back-stories on some of the characters that people don’t know as much about. You’ve done enough with Batman for now, let him rest. You can’t have Bale, but you’ve got Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’ll do pretty damn well, even though I really want him to be Nightwing or Batman Beyond. Fix Green Lantern – recast, let Ryan Reynolds be Deadpool and find someone else. Give Aquaman and Flash their due and find someone that can make Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter work on the big screen. Honestly, I’d save Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter’s films for after the JLA movie.

Again, I have faith that Man of Steel will be huge. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan have never let me down, and I’m really hoping for a super-sweet Superman/General Zod fight. I’m sure they’ll deliver it. But banking everything on a Superman film is like shooting fish in a barrel. Batman did do well because it’s easier for people to connect with Batman. Yes, he’s a millionaire, but underneath it all, he’s still human. Superman just acts human. Deep down, he’s essentially a god and people have a tough time connecting with that…unless you’re egotistical like Kanye West.

I may have said the majority of this before, but it needs to be reiterated as Warner Bros gets closer to making the final decision. Pull your heads from your collective asses and things properly. It’ll pay off more in the end.

But anyway, here’s the Man of Steel trailer. You should go see it. Not to up the chances of JLA being made but because it looks frickin’ awesome!

 

[featured image source: Alex Ross]

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DC Comics Reviews — Red Hood and The Outlaws

Alright boys and girls, it’s time for another DC comic review. I’m still playing catch up, so let’s get straight to my ratings on the number 2 issues.

DC’s “New 52” Issue 2

Green Lantern – 4/5
Green Lantern Corps -4/5
Green Lantern: The New Guardians -4/5
Red Lantern -4/5
Batman -4/5
Batman And Robin -5/5
Batman: The Dark Knight- 3/5
Detective Comics – 4/5
Superman – 4/5
Action Comics -5/5
Wonder Woman -2/5
The Flash – 4/5
Aquaman -5/5
Justice League -5/5
Nightwing – 4/5
Suicide Squad -5/5
Red Hood And The Outlaws -4/5

Now that the ratings are out of the way, I’m going to do something different and review a comic that has not gotten my “Best Of” criteria.  It’s one of the brand new titles, Red Hood And The Outlaws.

Image courtesy of ing.com

Sidekicks going anti-heros…how cool is that?  I say it’s pretty amazing.  Since the release of the animated film Batman: Under The Red Hood, Jason Todd has been gaining a following of fans.  That’s kind of surprising for a guy that was voted by the fans to be killed a few years ago.  But thanks to a retconned DC universe, the former Robin is back, armed to the teeth with a take-no-prisoner attitude and a few deadly weapons.

He’s not alone. Joining him are two former teen heroes: Arsenal(Formally Speedy/ Red Arrow) and Starfire.

The whole first issue is introduction and serves to establish each character’s personality; Jason is the detached brooding protagonist, Arsenal is the clingy wannabe best friend/ comic relief, and Starfire is the alien that views us from an outside perspective.  All in all, a fun team.

This issue focuses on their relationships with each other.  But, of course, it shows how The Outlaws fight crime. They make sure that when crime goes down, it stays down…with a few bullet holes…and maybe an arrow through the throat for good measure.

I love this team.

You have two former sidekicks who had a hard past: one with heroin and the other with…you know, death. You also have
an alien princess who has no idea about human morality.

I wasn’t around when Arsenal was addicted to drugs or when DC set up a 1-800 number to vote whether or not Jason Todd would die, but I’m with them now and loving the anti-hero perspective.  And yes they all live up to their anti-hero label. There has not been an issue when a “bad guy” hasn’t died.

Also, I’m going to say that this is a title for a more mature audience.  First, you have the violence that is in each issue. Then, you have Starfire, who basically stays half naked throughout both issues.

Adult.

The second issue sets up the story arc, following Jason Todd as he retraces his steps from the beginning to figure out why he was resurrected. A few witty remarks and a flashback later, the team is surrounded by zombie warrior monks. Violent showdown time, with Red Hood chopping through people like they were butter alongside Arsenal shooting arrows and Starfire blasting…I guess…fire.

Violence sells and I’m buying.

Maybe it’s because I really don’t know much of the backstories of all these characters, but I have no idea where the current story is going. That excites me.  It’s been too long since I’ve read a story that I haven’t been able to predict the ending.  I’m usually pretty good about guessing what is going to happen, but with Red Hood I have no idea.  All I can say is that this is shaping up to be one of my new favorite comic books.  Sex, violence and adventure: what more do you
need out of an anti-hero type comic?

My favorite thing is the artwork.  It has a roughness about it that I absolutely adore.  It’s mostly in the gritty inkwork of Kenneth Rocafort that makes this book stand out amongst the rest of your average super-team book.  It makes it look like the world is dirty and pockmarked.  And something about Arsenal wearing a domino mask and a truckers hat just tickles me pink.

Nothing makes me happier than new material and not the same regurgitated stories that we all know.  I know I’m beating a dead horse since I’m rooting for the underdog, but old sidekicks getting their own book? Fantastic. Characters that were thrown to the wayside by their former audience have a chance to shine in this new series.

Plus, if you’re a Batman reader, I suggest buying this book because it deals heavily in the Batman/Gotham story.  That  should be expected with a former Robin leading the way.

Do you think that these sidekicks turned vigilantes deserve their own book?  Do those of you that have read it have any predictions?

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DC Comics Reviews – Aquaman Focus

Welcome to my first comic review. Here is how it’s  going to work. Each week I will read the comics that I get and rate each one on a scale of 1-5, then pick one to review in depth. Most times the comic I will review will be what I think is best that week, other times it will be the worst. Additionally, any comic that gets a rating of 4/5 should be considered on par. Ratings of 5/5 will be given to books that I think are going above and beyond the expected story. If anybody disagrees with my ratings, I am open for discussion at most times. I am always willing to voice my opinions and debate. Also, you may notice that I concentrate on DC Comics.

For this first article, I will rate all of the issues 1’s of “The New 52” that I am currently getting. Since both issues 1 and 2 are out for all my titles the next article will rate number 2’s. After that it will be a weekly thing with only a few issues on each list. For now though I’ve got a lot of ground to cover!

This ain't your daddy's Aquaman. Image courtesy Toledo Free Press

“Green Lantern”- 3/5
“Green Lantern Corps” – 4/5
“Green Lantern: The New Guardians”- 4/5
“Red Lantern”- 3/5
“Batman”-4/5
“Batman And Robin”-5/5
“Batman: The Dark Knight”- 3/5
“Detective Comics”- 3/5
“Superman”- 4/5
“Action Comics”-5/5
“Wonder Woman”- 4/5
“The Flash”- 4/5
“Aquaman”- 5/5
“Justice League”- 5/5
“Teen Titans”-4/5
“Nightwing”- 4/5
“Red Hood And The Outlaws”- 4/5
“Suicide Squad”-5/5

As you can see a few issues earned a perfect score. When “The New 52” came out I had no idea what to expect, but I went in with an open mind.

The one that exceeded all of my hopes was Aquaman. Maybe being written by Geoff Johns has this effects on superheroes who aren’t as popular.

Years ago, I was one of the masses that considered Aquaman to be a useless superhero, all he could do was swim well and talk to fish. I hadn’t really read that much Aquaman, but after reading this first issue, it made me realize that I was missing out on one of the better stories in the DC universe.

It’s people like me that Geoff Johns was obviously trying to prove wrong in this issue. The first half of the book shows Aquaman interacting with the world and the world looking on in confusion. He stops an armored car robbery, kicks the crap out of the robbers and gets shot all in the first few pages. The whole time he has to listen to people’s misconceptions about him. They ask him if he talks to fish, and wonder why he is so far away from the water. Basically think of a group of people that only know about Aquaman from watching “Super Friends.”  It’s almost as they expect him to come riding in on a giant seahorse. There is even a guy that asks Aquaman while he is sitting in a restaurant, “How’s it feel to be nobody’s favorite superhero?” To which Aquaman quietly picks up his trident and leaves. And all throughout the book you see these creatures that look like humanoid angler fish rising up from what they call the “Trench.” I don’t know about you but those kind of fish with the huge eyes and uneven teeth creep me out to no end.

And I love it; this looks like the making of a horror/action arc that will hopefully introduce a new group of enemies to DC. It’s almost if Geoff Johns was using this first issue to dispel all of the stereotypes that have surrounded Aquaman for the last 30 years or so. For that he has my thanks.

Aquaman shows his worth. Image courtesy Comic books, Movies, Comic Book Movies

I think it is good for DC to try to promote what we would consider their “B List” heroes. For too long the Dark Knight and the Big Blue Boyscout have had center stage. Green Lantern had his revival and so has The Flashl it’s about time that we start to focus on heroes that have never been offered a movie deal. Get Aquaman’s name out there, give him a crossover series like “Blackest Night”.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m sick of Batman. Maybe I’m still resentful that the “Green Lantern” live action movie didn’t do that well. All I know that it’s refreshing to see a hero take his criticism in stride and still go on to save the day. Every person reading this article should go out and buy “Aquaman” number 1. It only costs $2.99 (thank you DC). I’m just saying give the issue a chance, and you will be surprised at how much you enjoy a guy in a fish scale shirt and green pants flipping an armored car like it was a tinker toy.

Disagree? Agree? Sound off in the comments. Or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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