"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Smallville event “Absolute Justice” hit this week, and the long-awaited appearance of the Justice Society definitely got people talking.
It probably goes without saying that this post contains episode spoilers.
Human Target just made his jump to TV recently and so far the reactions have been interesting.
Johnny from Fan Rants gave the series a positive review:
Frankly the casting is spot on, all solid actors with their own strengths and they thus far have brought solid performances to the show. The main thing they have changed is the fact that Chance is no longer a master of disguise but rather a bodyguard. A highly skilled and connected bodyguard that is.
They have dropped many hints that he may have been a spy at one time, but nothing concrete. What we do know is, he speaks multiple languages, so far Japanese and Russian, knows martial arts, is a master shot and tactician.
I like the show for its action and humor. So far the writing has been very well done and as I said earlier, the casting is very good. They are actually using some quality comic book writers for the scripting, Carmine Infantino and Len Wein have writing credit on the first two episodes. Also they have had some excellent guest stars so far, Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), Danny Glover, Alessandro Juliani (BSG), Sean Maher (Firefly), and Emmanuelle Vaugier (CSI NY).
Graeme McMillan feels that the concept suffers in comparison to the comic:
As announced earlier this week, Gail Simone’s much-missed Birds of Prey is returning, and it seems like everyone has something to say.
Alan of Reilly2040’s blog is excited:
Of course, things have moved on again since Black Canary was in JLA, and I think its fair to say that the move didn’t really do her character any favours, with her automatically playing second fiddle to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and then the eventual Green Arrow/Black Canary book that never really seemed to take off (for the record I was never opposed to the marriage itself, but the book has never seemed to really click).
So the announcement that Birds of Prey is coming back, with the core cast of Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk reunited is brilliant news. I really can’t wait to see how Gail approaches the happenings in the characters lives since the first series ended (and could we please have Helena reinstate the updated version of her current costume. It looked so much more practical).
While the blogger at 1979 Semi-Finalist has some trepidation:
Some recent big news is that Blake Lively has been cast as Carol Ferris in the Green Lantern movie. Naturally this has been getting a lot of reaction among fans and bloggers.
Valerie D’Orazio points out the issue of Ms. Lively’s age:
I’ll be honest, I saw more a brunette like Anne Hathaway, or perhaps even Jennifer Connelly playing the role. And yeah, I think age is a factor here as well as overall “look” – Lively being 22 and my conception of Ferris being somewhere in her late 20s/early 30s. Ryan Reynolds, who is playing Green Lantern, is 33. According to Hollywood, guys in their 3os & 40s are still vital and sexy, while there’s a preference for their female counterparts to be in their 20s. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that’s the way it is – and this is why so many actresses, as they approach 30, drive themselves crazy and get plastic surgery and develop eating disorders, etc; it’s a business decision.
It’s probably not a shock that the first few days of January brings a lot of looking back over the year before. Of course, the fans with their comic blogs are doing it too.
Anj of the Comic Box Commentary gives us a very Supergirl-centric look at his favorite moments over the past year:
So when I was reading Cosmic Adventures #6 and saw the hand emerging from that swirl, I knew just what Landry Walker and Eric Jones were referencing. I knew this was ‘the hand that Krona saw’, the hand of creation. And then we see that the hand belongs to Supergirl!! It was the best mix of DC history and Supergirl that this DC history/Supergirl fan could ask for. Perfect! Readers who don’t know the Krona connection probably did not get as big a bang for this scene as I did. But I had a silly grin on my face for a while after reading it.
So Captain America: Reborn #5 came out this past week, and the miniseries is approaching its end.
Naturally, the linked articles and quotes contain spoilers.
This week we’ve seen some interesting discussion stemming from a scene in the JSA: 80 Page Giant comic, in which Power Girl and Cyclone address Power Girl’s costume.
Esther Inglis-Arkell starts things off:
And I heard the justification about how Canary’s outfit was in tribute to her mother, even when that means she’s in panties and a jacket in the First Wave books. And I’ve heard the one about Poison Ivy being a plant and therefore unconcerned about human modesty. Oh, and I’ve heard the one about Supergirl being invulnerable and therefore not needing pants. There are a few about how Huntress wanted to show off the fact that she was shot, and she lived, and that’s why she fought in a bikini. And then there’s the one about Batman and Superman . . . oh. Wait. There aren’t that many excuses for how Batman and Superman dress because, golly, for some reason, the male heroes in this mostly male-controlled medium put their fucking clothes on when they’re going to fight someone.
Are you kidding me? I’m getting an ‘I choose my choice’ speech from a fictional character? Feminist fans are getting a slap because they won’t accept one bullshit excuse after another for why male heroes are mostly fully-clothed and female heroes mostly walk around in their underwear?
Of this week’s comic haul, Green Lantern Corps #42 seems to have gotten quite a reaction. Mostly due to the end, of course.
(I’m betting he’ll be back in a month.)
This week we’ll be looking at reviews for Brian Michael Bendis’s Dark Avengers #10.
Kirk Warren at the Weekly Crisis Comic Review recommends the issue:
The most significant reason was that this was probably the first instance of all the characters having unique voices. Bendis typically excels in dialogue, but usually only on the street level or with a small cast of characters he has a firm grasp of. However, outside of his work on Powers, this is easily the best team/ensemble cast work I’ve read from Bendis.
Norman continued to be the character Bendis knows best on the Dark Avengers roster, but Venom, Bullseye, Moonstone and Ms Hand were all handled well in this issue. Don’t go in expecting character defining moments from every one I’ve mentioned though. I’m mostly speaking in general terms of character voices and how they are breaking out of the typical ‘Bendis-speak’ that plagues much of Bendis’s team books. In fact, while I actually think he’s taken Moonstone’s character a bit too far beyond Warren Ellis’s Thunderbolts iteration, which itself was a bit exaggerated of the Busiek/Fabian Moonstone, I’m just happy to see her and the others being written in a unique voice for once.
Detective Comics‘ “Elegy” storyline has come to a close, and it’s interesting to see what different readers have to say about the ending.
Johnny Flash at btalkworld.com mostly liked the issue, but had a few nitpicks:
While there was a lot of Batwoman in action this issue, there wasn’t much in the way of character development with Kate herself. Or at least it didn’t appear overtly until the end. At one point Kate’s dad seems to recognized the pale Alice, calling her “Beth”, but Alice turns away. As the issue wraps up, Alice is headed toward a classic “Joker” moment by falling from the plane to the waters of Gotham below but not before addressing Kate and making a remark about “Our Father”! In classic comic book fashion, we can be assured to see Alice again someday, but I love the cliffhanger! A perfect tease to make me want to know even more about Kate’s origin and see how Beth/Alice fits in!
The backup feature, Renee Montoya’s Question finally feels like she is getting somewhere in her investigation by conferring with her associate Toth, but then quickly finds herself in yet another skirmish where the bad guys would rather take out one of their own than let her find out the next bit of the puzzle. I’m just really not sure if I’m not getting into this because of the limited pages and the pacing. I think that when compiled in an eventual trade it will seem to go on endlessly with a lot of the same. I think I need to set up a weekend task of reading all the Question back up’s in one sitting to see if they are more cohesive when read that way.
Costume changes always makes for interesting discussions among comics bloggers. This time it’s Batgirl getting the makeover.
Diamondrock of Title Undetermined does not like the costume:
All the practicality has been thrown out the window in what I would see as a misguided attempt to tie Steph’s Bargirl costume to her Spoiler costume. The purple just doesn’t work. The leg pouch is all 90’s “anti-symmetry.” It just looks bad. And again, the free flowing hair is just going to get in her way. Couldn’t she tie it back in a ponytail or stuff it in her cowl like she did with her hood? Honestly, how many women athletes do you see competing with their hair loose? If a runner or a soccer player doesn’t do it, then a vigilante certainly shouldn’t.
The Disney-buying-Marvel announcement was the biggest news this week, and it’s been discussed pretty much everywhere. Which means that naturally, it’s being featured in this column too.
Blogger Nicki Marvel examines what she percieves as the pros and cons of the deal:
# Pro #1 – Disney will probably let Marvel be the brains behind their movies and animation industry, a la Pixar/Disney, since they know that the experts are the better movie makers. The success of “Iron Man” certainly proved that Marvel could handle its own characters well, and although “The Incredible Hulk” did not perform to ridiculous numbers, it did alright.
# Con to #1 – On the other hand… there is the possibility that one wrong move on Marvel’s part, if a movie fails rather than surprisingly succeeds like “Iron Man,” that Disney will step in and sell the soul of the comic in order to make the money back. Just look at FOX to see something like that in motion, and can we say “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and leave it at that? Sure they might be given freedom … at first, but Disney is a smart studio and it will take control if things aren’t working out. Thus sending millions of fanboys crying to bed.
All summer, we’ve been wondering about the identity of the new Batgirl. And now we know, thanks to Batgirl #1, which just came out. Naturally, everyone has something to say about the issue.
It probably goes without saying that the following links and excerpts contain spoilers.
A particular scene from James Robinson’s Cry for Justice #2 has sparked a lot of interesting discussion.
Jason Fliegel at Howling Curmudgeons thinks it’s boneheaded:
First, I understand that in real life, sometimes people have threesomes. So I’m not going to automatically cry “sexism!” just because some writer decides to have one of his male characters get in bed with two women. There probably is some amount of … sexism is the wrong word, so let’s go with pandering … there probably is some amount of pandering to the typical readers’ fantasies in describing a M-F-F threesome instead of a F-M-M threesome. And while one incident does not sexism make, I’d be willing to bet that if we got 100 threesomes in mainstream superhero comics, damn near all 100 of them would involve two women. So while each of the individual writers describing these threesomes wouldn’t necessarily be sexist, it does (I would think) create an environment that probably makes women less likely to read mainstream superhero comics.
Second, this just seems inappropriate for a comic like this one. This isn’t even a “mature readers only” comic. Even if it were, I’m all in favor of mature comics, but a mature comic doesn’t just throw out sexual references for titilation purposes. If you want to do a “mature readers” Justice League comic that explores human sexuality — well, I think it’s probably a bad idea, but a good writer could make it work. But this is just a one-off crude joke.
Third, it is completely out of character for Green Lantern, it is completely out of character for the Huntress, and I don’t know a damned thing about the current version of Lady Blackhawk, but from what I hear, it’s completely out of character for her, too. So now we’re ignoring the nature of the characters in order to shoe-horn in an inappropriate joke that panders to our readers and helps create a climate of sexism.
This week saw the debut of DC’s newest big event: Blackest Night.
Jeff Adams thought found Blackest Night #1 refreshing:
Blackest Night #1 is an odd beast. Usually with reviews and most certainly with crossover epics, writers who review these things feel compelled to give a lengthy explanation of what exactly this story is about. Who the main characters are, why the story exists, and most importantly, what the hell is going on.
Blackest Night simply doesn’t need that explanation. Every part of the story is meant to take the reader on a journey and help you understand a great many things about the very universe it is operating in. The comic focuses on the various aspects that the story will be touching brilliantly, and also manages to focus on the characters. Something that is missing in a lot of epics, is the characters who participate in these epics. I can see the reasoning, there is an assumption that if you are reading this epic, you already know the characters basic traits. Geoff Johns avoids this by introducing the characters and through dialogue, individual moments and interactions, he imbues the knowledge of the DC universe into you, without you really knowing it.