Tag Archives: Green Lantern

As the first month of the New 52 winds down…

Well, I ended up buying 13 of the New 52, with 2 more of interest next week.

So far I can safely say, I have enjoyed all of them.  Some much more than others.  Some I will not buy the next issue.  Technically, I will probably only get the first arc for Action Comics, Batman and Detective Comics.  Animal Man and Resurrection Man are still on the bubble.  So here I will do a quick recap for all of the books I have read so far as I may not do full reviews for all of them.

Logo for the DC Edge books

Stormwatch:  This is the only one of the Edge group of books that I have had any interest in, and to be honest, I was disappointed.  I had really been looking forward to this one and found it every bid as bland as most of the old Wildstorm titles.  The various groupings of books is pretty tightly done, with the Edge books mostly being the books brought over from Wildstorm and a few odds and ends.  My high hopes were than they would make Martian Manhunter a little more interesting and less of a fifth wheel.  They didn’t, he is just a dick.

Green Lantern:  I was really not going to bother with this one since I have done just the collected editions of the main series, as well as Blackest Night and Brightest Day hardcovers.  But what the hell.  I grabbed it and it was decent.  I’m not going to get the floppies on a regular basis as I will still just do the hardcovers.  The Lantern books have read better in a single sitting since Geoff Johns started writing them.  A word about the grouping on these.  As far as I know, all of the Lantern books are in their own group, but I don’t recall seeing that officially anywhere.  I may have just missed it though.

Batman group logo.

Batman: This book was purchased based entirely on the creative team.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo drew me in and did not let me down.  The story had several good twists and made for a fun and fast paced book.  Capullo’s art was exactly what I had expected.  Sometimes a bit cartoonish for my tastes, but he has a strong storytelling sense that works well for this book.  Any anything that gets him away from the Spawn books is a winner in my mind.  Now we will see what he can REALLY do.

Batgirl:  Niiiiice!  This is going to be a really interesting book if the editors at DC allow this to go the way I think it is intended to.  This could get really cool.  I would not have touched this book with a ten foot pole if Gail Simone had not been tapped to write it, and I think she has gotten it off on a great path.  The Killing Joke is now officially canon, even though through some as yet unexplained “miracle”, Barbara Gordon can now walk.  Ardian Syaf’s art is perfect for this book, a good sense of action and pacing, while not being too dark and gloomy.  That is what the next book is for…

Detective Comics:  A great book.  See my review here.  A quick word about the individual books logos.  They have redesigned almost all of the books logo for the New 52.  Action, and the other Superbooks have not changed.  Neither has Swamp Thing.  For the most part, they look very nice.  The Blackhawks logo is awful.  Looks like a hight school football logo.  Just crap.  The others are sharp and modern, with some really standing out.

DC Dark group logo.

DC Dark books group logo.

Animal Man:  This is the first of the DC Dark books I read.  My review is here.  I liked all of the Dark books so far and they were the ones that I was most interested in from the start.  I will be picking up Justice League Dark next week.

Swamp Thing:  This one feels odd.  The fact that Superman appears threw me off, if only because Superman is being almost fully rebooted and Swampy appears to be more of a soft reboot, with much of the history being referenced.  If there is any line wide weaknesses in the New 52 it is that Batman and Green Lantern will maintain virtually all of their history, as the continuity will not change for them, but Superman and all the other books are changing.  Some very little and some quite drastically.  Held on its own, without the rest of the DCU attached, Swamp Thing was a good read and I am interested in the continuing story.

Resurrection Man:  If they keep this up, this could be the sleeper hit of the New 52.  I liked the character when he first came out in the 90’s but there was not much done with him.  This book is tightly plotted and strong with Abnett & Lanning (the character’s original creators) looking like they are one the verge of doing their very best work yet.  I have enjoyed the cosmic stuff they have done at Marvel and this looks like it could top even that.  This book has one of the best of the new logos too.  Very cool with a retro feel to it.

DC Superman group logo.

Supergirl:  A lot of fans were bothered by the creative team shuffling of some of the books.  What they came up with for this book is something that looks very promising.  Writers Green and Johnson have a good handle and a potentially interesting take on the most boring heroine in the DCU.  Mahmud Asrar’s art is inconsistent, but engaging.  Stylization sometimes wins over rendering, but not distractingly so.  There is a lot of promise in this book too.

Action Comics:  Boo-yah!  If you read only one of the new DCU, this should really be the one!  I have re read this since my original review here, and like this book even more.  It is too bad they didn’t launch with this instead of Justice League.  Superman #1 is out next week.  Still have not decided if I am getting it or not.  And NO.  If I do not get it at my LCS, I will not waste my money buying it on ebay.  That’s why DC is happily reprinting the really hot books.

DC Justice League Group logo.

Justice League:   Speaking of hot books, this is on a 3rd printing, and it looks like a 4th coming.  Good for you DC.  I just wish the book had been better.  My review is here.  Just not as strong as it could have and really should have been.  May turn out to be the first book to start losing readers quickly if it does not find its footing fast.  I know this is intended as a prequel of sorts to the rest of the DCU, but so is Action Comics, and it is much better.

Captain Atom:  Of all the old Charlton characters, this is the one I wanted to like the most and ended up not having any interest in.  Since Alan Moore did his version in Watchman, the Captain seemed poorly handled at best.  I was not going to pick up this book.  I’m mostly glad I did.  This is one of the books that I have seen so far (animal Man and Swamp Thing being the other 2) that could actually have a finite run and work well that way.  They are books that seem like a real beginning, middle and end to the run would be in the best interests of the title.  I can see all 3 with a clear arc.  If I thought that they would actually DO that, I would sign up for all 3 without a pause.  That is what would work best for these and serve the characters as started in the New 52 perfectly.  But all creative options aside, I know these are, first and foremost, properties.  They will not take a book to a logical and intelligent conclusion and end it when it could continue for more issues.  It is a mentality I have never wanted in my comics.  Why CAN’T Animal Man run for a finite number of issues and be an end to the character for a while.  Finish telling your story then let the book rest until someone comes along with a new take on things.  But DC, like Marvel, has the quantity over quality model going, despite what they say publicly.  The fact that they are more interested in getting books out on an arbitrary schedule than keeping a creative team is evidence of that.  The way to solve late books is not to replace teams, just hold off printing until more issues are in the can.  If the artist or writer feels like they are getting screwed, then they are in the wrong industry, and it IS an industry.  They do not print these things for fun.  They are there to make money and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there is a middle ground where the creative side and the corporate side CAN meet, they just never seem willing or able to.  Captain Atom is a book with a lot of style, sometimes to its detriment.  The art is sometimes more distracting than it should be, and the visual storytelling is spotty.  There are more positives than negative though.  The characters are still bland, but there is time for fleshing them out going forward.  The art has moments of being very off model, but the dynamic styling is powerful and hard to ignore.  If this WERE a finite story, I can see it really working well.  But I see this first arc being paid off and then just more issue coming where the premises being set up here will get watered down and made on-going.

Justice League International:  This book is a mess at times.  Dan Jurgens can be very hit and miss.  His best, can be classic.  This is not that book.  They have chosen the most B-listy bunch possible to people the group and they are not well written here.  Booster Gold has always been one of those guys with lots of unrealized potential.  So now for this reboot, he seems to have very abruptly realized it.  That does not really work well.  Fire and Ice are a team that have only really worked well when…well…they have never worked well.  If you look at their past stuff, they really are just plot hammers.  Or they are there so someone else can react to something about them.  They themselves were never all that interesting.  Guy Gardner seems like they are playing him as less of a prick, but since I never liked the guy no matter how they played him…  Rocket Red is fun to have here, and so is August General in Iron.  Having Batman at all is just silly.  He is being repositioned in the new DCU to being back to the dark shadow in Gotham, and he is just not a good fit here.  Fortunately, he is not likely to get  much play and can be more or less written out.  His presence here is to add some connection to other characters for the reader, like propping up Booster a bit with the readers as well as the other members of the team.  I can see this book always being in flux until they find the right mix.  With team books though, that is not a bad thing.

All in all, a good start.  I want to see risks.  Like the ones I have seen in other books of the relaunch like Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws.  These are books that will push away long time fans, but maybe they will bring new ones in with stories that are daring and new.  Detective and Action look like they may be off to similar starts.  Here is hoping the New 52 changes the game as much as I think it can.  If it does, we are all in for a Hell of a ride!

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The New 52 Starts here-ish. Justice League #1: Review

Justice League #1

August 2011

DC Comics

$3.99 comic only/$4.99 With digital comic included.

A long wait for the New 52 or DCnU (DC new Universe) as it has been called.  With the end of Flashpoint setting off the end and the beginning for DC Comics, and all the hype surrounding this reboot/restart/cajigger or whatever you want to call it, the expectations for these new number ones could not be higher.  For every whining fool out there that swore he would never pick up a book from DC (the popular phrase was “oh look, 52 jumping off points!”) there must be at least one that is interested to see what is going to happen.  With an initial print run of over 200,000 and 2 reprint runs already scheduled, this book is going to be the big seller for august (or Sept, depending on how they calculate it)  and one of the biggest of the year.  DC’s attempt to grab back market share from Marvel is off to a promising start, at least from a sales standpoint.  (SIDENOTE:  does anyone else recall the halcyon days when a book that sold ONLY 200,000 was not a great seller?  Ah for the return of the 70’s and 80’s!)

This book, by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee is fun, I will say that much.  But I have to be honest, it is ultimately disappointing.  I was really hoping for a huge game changer.  Not just in story, but in the whole approach.  I had been hoping that this book might change the way we looked at comics.  Something that was such a clear shift of perspective in how we read and perceived comics, that the entire industry might follow suit. No.  That didn’t happen.  What did happen was a decent comic that will make me pick up the next issue, and ultimately that is what the goal is.

The book is a sort of soft boot for the rest of the new 52, as this book (and Action #1) take place 5 years prior to what will be current continuity for the rest of the books.  This issue really plays out as a team-up between Batman and Green Lantern.  Where Batman seems more and more like the Dark Knight Returns version, all-knowing and all-confident, with everyone around him managing to look like fools or amateurs in comparison, the Hal Jordan Green Lantern is a bit of a clown.  No experience and no subtlety, pushing with all his power to keep up with Batman, the Lantern comes off as an arrogant lightweight.  There is also a brief look at the pre-cyborg Vic Stone.  Does anyone but Geoff Johns really like this character?  I certainly don’t think he belongs in the Justice League.  As the issue ends, we see Superman, clearly post-Action Comics, but before his solo series starts presumably.  Not the intro for the most powerful hero in the DCU.  Next issue promises Batman vs Superman, but I don’t really expect much that I have not seen in other books.  I am hopeful, but not very.

Many of the moments that need to be done well are not.  They are glanced over for bigger action bits.  The first instance where Green Lantern realizes that Batman is “just a guy in a suit”, with no special powers, should have been a strong character moment, but Lee is just not that subtle.  While there is some visual storytelling going on (more than usual for a Jim Lee book), I really missed those smaller moments that define what the characters are going to be.  This is the chance to make real change and develop these guys into something special.  More than just a retelling, and right now, that is what this feels like.  It is a retelling of a story we have never heard.

A quick word about the digital version.  I looked briefly at the book on my friend Kurt’s smart phone and was impressed.  The panels, formatting and the interface were easy and seamless.  There was a lot of versatility in the way you could read this.  One way the digital score over the paper version is the depth of the color and the black levels.  This looks much darker and richer than the printed comic.  It is a natural limitation of the print medium.  The best comparison I can make is what we all saw when we first opened the books in the 90’s that were utilizing the better paper and computer colors.  Like when you first opened Spawn #1 (ugh!) and were blown away by the visual quality of the product, if not the actual art or story.  I think the biggest likely benefit from day and date digital, will be the people, not that want one or the other, as those demographics will not change.  Many of us are in one camp or the other now.  Where the benefit will be felt is from the people who want both.  And there are those people out there, more I suspect, than anybody realizes.

This is a fun book.  It just isn’t worth all the build up.  But given the hype and press these have gotten, I am not sure that anything would have genuinely impressed me.  Sad to say, but true.

I am still very excited to see Action #1.  It holds most of my hopes for the main body of the DCnU, and after that, it will be up to the fringe books, like Justice League Dark to keep me on board.

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The 2011 Comic Book Movies.

The summer 2011 movies season is winding down.  At least as far as comic book films is concerned.  Here are a few thought, not that you asked, on the good and the not so good for 2011…

In review, the main list for 2011 is…

1.  Green Hornet–Oh holy God!  Did anyone really take this movie seriously?   Seth Rogan?  Really?  I know the original TV show was pretty camp, but i would think we would be past that and want to make a good adventure movie.  There was a lot of potential for this one that was simply lost once they didn’t take the casting seriously.  You cannot spend $120 million to make a movie and do it as a comedy adventure based on a 40+ year old TV show that few really remember and expect to make money.  This was a bad idea from the start.  Also, it is not a comic book film strictly speaking.  The Green Hornet started life as a radio program in the 1930’s.  Comics came later, but today’s journalists are just plain lazy and like to group this in, so here you go, for what it’s worth.

2.  Priest–Based on the Korean comic of the same name, this one was never going to make much of a splash in the box office.  Having made $76 mil WW, this technically did clear a profit, but not much of one.  Since the cost figures do not always include promotion (it depends on who is doing the math) there is nothing on the face of this Earth that makes this movie a success.  It is on video in a couple of weeks, maybe it can bring in enough money from the overseas markets to make this one a little better for the studio.  My thought was, why go see Paul Bettany in a role that I have seen him do a few too many films now.  Go back to the artsy comedies Paul. 

3.  Dylan Dog–So obscure, most people (even fans of the book) didn’t even know it was being made.  Based on an Italian comic.  This on e looked fun and I do like Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington.  I have yet to see it and plan on at least giving it a rental.  The real fault here was that there was very little marketing on the run up.  Really, I spoke to several comic fans and some were fans of this book, they had no idea that there was a film.  Too bad, this one might have found an audience, had the potential audience been aware of its existence.

4.  Thor–The first big release in the genre and a great film.  (see review posted May 17)  As of this post the film has a WW gross of just under $448 mil.  The US gross was a little low according to some at $180 mil, but a sequel has been greenlit and even without Kenneth Brannagh directing, I will be there.  This film met every expectation for me and exceeded some of them.  This was a treat from start to finish!

5.  X-Men:  First Class–This was the best of the year for me, but only by a slim margin.  (see review posted June 5th)  There is almost nothing I could find to fault this film.  There were some possible continuity issues with some of the other films, but since this is the better film in those cases, I will defer to this one.  I like the casting of the leads and of most of the supporting cast, and I thought this one hit all the right notes.  Somehow though, this film is not being viewed as a success.  At $100 million less in total WW grosses and an opening weekend that was just shy of expectations, I suppose I can see the issue.  But I am willing to be this film does very good business on video.  Come on FOX, give this one another chance!  I would have put the poster up for you, but the posters campaign (all the marketing really) for this film was crap!

6.  Green Lantern–Ugh!  This was a HUGE disappointment.  It wasnt that this film was bad, just that it failed to be what it should have and could have been.  Ryan Reynolds, while good, just was not right for the role.  I know, I know, the studios want the film to skew a little younger, but maybe a better casting choice would have saved this one.  that and a script that committed to the premise instead of skirting around it.  there is a lot of money and talent up on the screen, it just failed to gel into a decent movie.  The money this film has made tells pretty much exactly that.  At a WW gross to date of $154 million, this film will have to rely on its video release to cover the rest of its $200 million dollar cost.  Remember when Titanic was the first film made for $200 mil, and we all thought that it was way too much to spend on a movie and that it would surely fail?  Ah, the good old days!

7.  Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon –IS NOT A COMIC BOOK MOVIE!  I wish all the reviews that think they know what they are talking about would do a little research!  Lazy pricks!  I will see this on video, but only to be a completest.  But that was my thought on the second and third Pirates movies and I regret seeing those crap sandwiches to this day!

8.  Captain America:  The First Avenger–Another winner!  This film did not disappoint in any way, other than that it just left me wanting more!

9.  Cowboys & Aliens–Looks like this one will end up disappointing at the box office too.  Another one with great potential that will be largely unrealized.

10.  Conan the Barbarian–ALSO not technically a comic book film, but almost everyone familiar with the character today either knows it from the Ah-nold movies or the comics so this one I will give a pass to.  (If you have not read the original Robert E Howard stories, you are missing the best Conan stuff available)  When this releases, I would expect about a $35 million dollar opening.  Anything less and the movie will be considered a failure.

This year has been a mixed bag, more than most.  From the varied performance to the movies left standing  like the ugly girl waiting for someone to dance with, to a real lack of fan support in some of the cases, I am left asking if the bubble has not burst for the comic book films.  There was plenty of deserving, quality stuff that failed to perform, so the old chestnut about putting a good product out there will be enough to fill the seats just does not hold up.

Yet to come later this year and into next are…

Deadpool –Don’t really see the point, but whatever.
Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance–See previous note.
Men in Black 3 Potentially very cool, potentially very bad.

The Avengers–I SO want to see this movie!!!!!!!!

The Dark Knight Rises–I don’t think Harry Potter 7b will hold the record for opening weekend for more than a year.  Sorry Muggles.

Spidey re-boot–Ugh!  Costume looks good though.

In the end, we all need to support the good films and ignore the crud.  Now get out there.

to get you ready, an image of Tom Hardy as Bane…

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Green Lantern and the problem with comic book films

Movie 3 of the comic book movie summer and things are a pretty mixed bag.

 

GL Starring Ryan Reynolds

Thor was a pretty decent film, exciting and fun.  (reviewed May 17th)  Pretty much exactly what I was hoping for and expecting.  It will likely finish its first run domestic showing with around $180 million, with overseas figures nearing double that, and it has yet to open n Japan.

X-Men:  First Class was an even better film (reviewed June 5th) that has been very well reviewed and has managed $123 million in under half the time that Thor has been in release and will likely reach $200 million domestically and is still seen as a financial disappointment by the studio.
This is all bunk of course.  The saturation of the market is killing these films and we will see a serious falloff in both the numbers of these films released and the total box office dollars they generate.
And then there is Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong.  There is no nice way to say this other than, the film is not much to talk about.  The lead roles are all well cast, and if they manage to put out a sequel, I look forward to Mr Strong really being able to cut loose.  The smaller supporting roles are all a bit obvious.  Nobody really does a bad job, there are just no standouts.  There is some fan service, but not all that much.  The mention of Sapphire (as in Star-Sapphire) and the appearance of the yellow lanterns (sort of) and even a very quick look at some of the other lanterns.  While seeing Kilowog in action is fun, he has been done better in all of his cartoon appearances so far.
No, the real issue here, as with most of the comic books films, is dilution.  Be it the dilution of the fan interest or dilution of the pool of worthy characters, these films are getting tired very quickly.
DC/Warners have completely failed in making a real splash with any of their properties with the obvious exception of the current Batman cycle.  Superman Returns, while not awful, was not what we all hoped it would be.  Marvel has fared mostly better, but only the X-Men and Spider-man franchises look to have any life in them, and I really don’t think there are all that many fans looking forward to the Spidey reboot.  There is also no benefit to these films when they throw everything but the kitchen sink at the viewer.  How many bad guys are really needed in these?  Some of these movies are throwing 3 or 4 at you.  All of the 3 recent releases has 2 each, an A and a B villan. There seems to be this need in Hollywood to cram everything they can down our throats in the hope that we will find something we like, when all we really want is a good movie starring characters we love.
With The Avengers next summer promising to be quite the spectacle, I have only the thought that Joss Whedon is directing to keep me hopeful.  Depending on the rumors and posts, this film could be pretty crowded with far to many bad guys and would-be world beaters to keep track of.

 

So here is my plea to Hollywood…Please just make these movies good.  Don’t try to blow us out of the water or dazzle us with stunt casting.  Don’t try to spend as little effort on the script as possible in an effort to make a date.  Don’t try to fill our theaters with the biggest and most splashy characters.  Give the fans and the general public a good movie and we will fill the seats.  Ryan Reynolds was good, but there are at least a dozen other out there that could have been just as good.  The script was pretty lackluster, but boy did the space scenes look good.  Green Lantern is a good character, but there are piles of great smaller ones that would likely make for a better film.  Dr. Strange has been talked up lately, and while I don’t care for the guy in the books, I bet he would be great in a small slightly spooky movie!

 

Hollywood, we love our comics, but even the most die-hard of fans will not keep coming in quantities sufficient to cover the cost of these overblown monstrosities.

 

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C2E2 2.0 is heeeeerrrrreeeeee!!

It is that time of year.  The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend.

Yes, i will post pictures and write about what I see.  I will stay away from the “news” since that will be covered elsewhere.

Leaving bright and early tomorrow and will probably not sleep tonight.  Post or two to follow this weekend!

Stand  by…

To keep things interesting while you wait, a lovely artsy fartsy thing (or two) in the comic book mode.

First, the Joker by Mike DeoDato Jr.

And below, an Adam Hughes con sketch of the original Green Lantern and the lovely Batgirl by Alex Ross

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