So Wonder Woman is finally getting to the Big Screen — an honor she’s so richly deserved for soooo many years it’s downright embarrassing. I gotta say I didn’t expect the Amazonian Princess to make it this way.
My guess — and the popular opinion/speculation among online fans/writers — is that Wonder Woman will have a small part and/or be a supporting character in Zack Snyder’s 2015 (still untitled) Superman-Batman film. (More on that here in a couple paragraphs!)
WW fans shouldn’t be gripin’; getting her on film is something. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. At least Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment finally have been brave enough to put the most popular and widely recognized superheroine on film. For that — Hallelujah! (Can I get an “Amen” from my fan-brothers and sisters?!?)
“Hey Big Green, why don’t we ask questions first this time (and) smash later?” — Iron Man
“You’re one to talk.” — the Hulk
It’s obvious in the newly released Marvel Animation movie, “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United,” that the two heroes know each other and have a joint history.
But that doesn’t stop Iron Man and Hulk from getting into a tussle when they first encounter each other, much less doing some good ol’ fashioned sniping at each other during this fun, brains-and-brute team-up. (After one battle, Iron Man says, “See? You need me.” To which the Hulk quips, “True — you make a good club.”) You could infer the two heroes know each other via adventures with The Avengers even though that’s not stated outright.
So I’ve been catching up on reading some trade paperbacks I’ve bought this year … which brings me to BATMAN: TURNING POINTS.
Named after the 2001 five-part limited series of the only name and only turned into a trade in 2007, it’s based on the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon, as it develops from the beginning of both of their times in Gotham City through the filter of life-changing experiences by both or one of the characters.
What grabbed my attention when I saw the trade in a long box at the Cincinnati Comic Expo was the cover by Tim Sale. That was followed closely by the next three factors: The three writers (Ed Brubaker, Chick Dixon and Greg Rucka), one story featuring pencils by one of my all-time favorite artists, Dick Giordano, and of course, the focus on the Batman-Gordon dynamic.
Here’s a brief recap and my thoughts on each story:
“You keep trackers with you every time you go to a cocktail party?” — Katana
“Doesn’t everyone?” — Batman
And one more question — OK, two actually. Do you enjoy comic books that are just plain fun with straightforward stories and appealing art? Don’t all fans?
If you said “yes” to either of these questions, the new BEWARE THE BATMAN series is for you. Once again, DC Comics has produced a comic book title that not only complements the animated series on which it’s based, the print version is just as good — if not better. (Click on this link for my review of the premiere episode of the “Beware the Batman.”)
On the surface, this philosophy sounds ridiculously obvious — and it is — but DC consistently has cranked out killer Batman animation and equally stellar comics since about 1992 (with the only dud being “The Batman,” which had so-so animation, questionable character designs, childish storylines and sophomoric dialogue). BEWARE continues that fine legacy — one in which the simple stories entertain without ever being insulting the reader’s and/or audience’s intelligence.
Loki: “After all this time, now you come to visit me, brother? Why? To mock?”
Thor: “I need your help. And I wish I could trust you. …”
Loki: “If you did, you’d be the fool I always took you for.”
When a sequel to a blockbuster is released, there honestly are only a couple things fans want to know: Is it a worthy successor? Is there a great story? And most importantly, is the movie fun?
For “Thor: The Dark World,” the answer to each of those questions is a resounding “yes.” As an added bonus, the cast from the first film is back — and the actors remain in top form and have the same chemistry.
The plot line is a bit pedestrian. The first 20 minutes show promise, but drag a bit for my tastes. Once “Dark World” starts rolling, it’s a great time. The sequel starts with a voice-over by Sir Anthony Hopkins’ Odin — a storytelling technique that always makes me nervous. In this case, even as awkward and potentially cheesy as it is, it works getting the audience up to speed instead of having to deal with monotonous amounts of extra screen time.
Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith is prepared to lead the Dark Elves in revenge and destroy Asgard years after Thor’s grandfather helped defeat his people. To do that, Malekith plans to unleash the Aether (pronounced “ether”), an energy source, which resembles a CGI, glob of cough syrup. As the Nine Realms align (a rarity), worm holes appear randomly — one of which astrophysicist itern Darcy (the adorable Kat Dennings, who is just as funny and even more appealing than in the original “Thor”) finds in an abandoned warehouse, thanks to some curious kids. She notifies her “boss,” Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who ends up going through the wormhole and having the Aether attach itself to her and makes Foster its host.
As my CCC readers know, I normally review a superhero film for the second time when it comes out on DVD. Usually, I give a different slant in my follow-up review— maybe covering what I missed before, a new theme that emerged on the next viewing, maybe I’ll give a more in-depth rationalization for the grade I gave it the first time, etc.
But what to do with “Man of Steel”? (My first review of MOS is here.) Aside from realizing it’s a better film than I gave it credit, I don’t have anything terribly new to say. Hmmm …
Then one of my best friends, David Hudson, gave me a superb idea. Actually something closer to a dare — why not literally blog the last 30 minutes since that’s where I had the most issues?
Watching MOS the second time, I decided the last 12 minutes was more of a natural starting point. That’s just after Superman destroyed the world engine in the Indian Ocean and General Zod’s Kryptonian forces have been sucked back into the Phantom Zone. So without further ado. …
• 2:00:25 – The Kiss — much more passionate than I originally remembered it.
• 2:00:27 – “You know they say it’s all downhill after the first kiss.” — Lois Lane
• 2:00:39 – Wait … the noise of a crumbling building interrupts a kiss with a hottie like Lane (Amy Adams, one of my favorite actresses)?!? That soooo wouldn’t happen if it were me. … Just sayin’!
• 2:00:59 – Zod is kneeling. How did he survive not getting sucked back into the Phantom Zone? Where’s the explanation?
• 2:01:10 – “We could have built a new Krypton in this squalor, but you chose the humans over us.” — Zod
Having seen the sweet trailer for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on YouTube, I can’t wait to see it on the big screen when I watch “Thor: The Dark World” on opening weekend.
I don’t review every trailer for every superhero film. (I’d like to do more — but here’s the CCC round -up of trailer reviews.) The ones that get me inspired to put pen to paper — and then fingers to keyboard — are the ones that get me extremely pumped to see the film. That’s definitely the case with “Winter Soldier.”
Below are my favorite and most memorable moments/seconds and what they possibly mean for the storyline:
• Beginning seconds – Here’s Steve Rogers/Captain America about to arrive at a unspecified “drop zone” in the back of a SHIELD quinjet and two Avengers/comrades-in-arms are shooting the breeze about their weekend plans!
• 0:06 — Black Widow: “You doing anything fun Saturday night?”
Rogers: “All the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead — so no, not really.” I’m not very good at picking up on such things, Steve, but this hot redhead is hittin’ on you, dude!
POP! store owner David Baum had requested I choose my favorite THOR issues of all time to go with my upcoming review of “Thor: The Dark World” (out Friday — can’t wait!).
But honestly, most — OK, nearly all — of my reading experience with the Asgardian God of Thunder has been in the context of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which is appropriate since the two “Thor” films take place in the movie continuity established by and around “The Avengers.”
So, without further ado, here are my favorite (mostly) Avengers-centric Thor moments and/or issues:
THE AVENGERS No. 1 (September 1963): Thor tangles, albeit briefly, with the Hulk before helping form The Avengers with the big green guy, Iron Man, The Wasp and Ant-Man. To quote creator Stan Lee, ‘Nuff said!
THE AVENGERS No. 143 (1976, pp. 12-13): What’s better than Thor unleashing a thrashing on long-time foe, Kang the Conqueror? When he disguises himself as Donald Blake to sneak into Kang’s high-tech hideout before he does it!
THE AVENGERS No. 162 (1977): First off, what an entrance! Artist George Perez (my favorite Avengers artist ever) and writer Jim Shooter have Thor flying to Avengers’ Mansion just as his teammates are wheeled into ambulances on the first page. The culmination of the issue is Thor, Iron Man and Wonder Man teaming up for a battle royale with the team’s most formidable archenemy, Ultron. Avengers historians note: This is one of the rare times Thor bellows the war cry “Avengers Assemble!” (As an added bonus, Janet Van Dyne [aka The Wasp] is naked and strapped down down for the entire issue until the one-page epilogue!) One of my all-time favorite single issues of any series I collect.
I knew inspecting the list of the top 50 greatest superheroes in the special COMIC HEROES PRESENTS SUPERHEROES magazine (out now), I was going to have major issues with where some characters were ranked. (After all, what’s the point of making such lists if there’s no discussion or disagreement?)
So I did what any good nerd would do and created my own list.
This actually was relatively easy. Let me explain how my process worked. Basically, I went with the philosophy that the readers — likely hundreds, if not thousands of people — knew more than this lifelong opinionated writer and lifelong comic book reader. So I decided keep the same 50 names and just rearrange them more to my liking. Initially.
Then I saw some glaring omissions — not to mention the inclusions that made me say, “What the f***?” Several times over.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Former comic book writer Sean McKeever would choose to listen to techno — “or something up-tempo”– when he would write Spider-Man stories.
Now a video game writer, McKeever – during his Q&A session Oct. 19 at the inaugural Cleveland Comic Con — talked about what type of music he listened to while to writing comics. (Check out this first CCC installment in which McKeever, a lifelong Spider-Man fan, talks about his 15-year career in the industry and what led him to writing content for “Star Wars: The Old Republic” video games.)
McKeever wrote the first 20 issues of SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE. For that kid-friendly title, he said he would listen to sappy songs or 1980s power ballads.
“Whatever it is to get me in the right head space,” McKeever told the small crowd.