Tag Archives: superman

Review: Convergence Action Comics #1

convergence-action001By this point it would seem that Convergence is a bit of a misfire.  Though it is still only setting up the battles between the various saved universes/cities in their own continuities, there has been very little to grab the attention of the readers save for a somewhat flawed trip down memory lane.  As Convergence looks to grab the best of the past and put it into DC’s future, it is not entirely clear if this is even a good idea, as so far the crossover is convoluted and mostly pretty boring.

Although the Action Comics version of the crossover is maybe not much different, it is still indicative of bigger problems which the crossover faces.  The first of these problems can be generally classified as a lack of interest in the characters.  Though they are mostly DC characters, they are also ones who are from a time and place which is already lost thanks to the continued evolution of the characters in their own mainstream titles.  While we might get a chance to see other heroes here such as Power Girl in a presumably pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths setting, it is arguable that her best moments even came before the original crossover.  The other problem is the selection of the cities which are being used to compete against the highlighted cities.  In other cases the other cities have been boring or non-engaging, but in this case the city actually works to debase a great Elseworld tale, Red Son.  This works against the Convergence - Action Comics001series as well because it takes what was an allegory of the hero genre, especially as it relates to the American identity, and turns it into any other superhero story.  The lone spot of interest in this issue was with Power Girl, as she has to learn to deal with a non-Kryptonian physiology in the depowered Metropolis.

The entirety of Convergence to this point seems like it has missed the mark, and it is no different in the Action Comics version of the crossover.  Although fans often clamour for the return of beloved characters that have gone away over controversial creative or editorial choices, if DC promises to do something like Convergence to bring back these characters, then the fans might just prefer that they stay gone.  The Action Comics is not either really good nor bad compared to the other titles thus far, but that most of the others have been misfires is not good for this particular issue to be considered average among them.  A lot more could have been done here, both with this individual series and with the crossover as a whole, but it is mostly forgettable, somewhat as most of the characters involved should have been.

Story: Justin Gray Art: Claude St. Aubin
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Superman #40

superman040Of all the superheroes that have ever been written, there is no hero with as wide of a list of powers as Superman.  Originally conceived based on what is now somewhat flimsy science, the character’s super-heritage was enough to allow for a sequence of expanding powers over the course of his existence.  As he was super, this came to mean that he was super at everything, extending to his five senses and his mental ability.  So too was his strength and speed a forward moving limit, with him going toe to toe with the Flash for speed and showing increasingly complex feats of strength (like moving Earth.)  So too did other powers develop which had little basis on being super, other than they were maybe topically relevant and thus became part of his bag of tricks (freezing breath, heat vision, X-ray vision.)  Part of these powers came because of the serialized nature of comics, where any story had to be resovled in issue, and thus sometimes unconvetional results were used, such as the introduction of new powers.  Regardless over the course of his publication, his powers have generally creeped forward to be more and more fantastic.  This is not always the case though, as it becomes one of the most common stories to dial back or redefine his powers so as to provide some plot.  Such was the case for instance in the 1980s with the Byrne reboot, or in the 1990s with the Blue Superman, and such is the case currently with the new solar flare ability.

It should maybe be said though that as a plot development that this is perhaps one of the weakest inspirations that Superman gets.  It makes sense in a way, because as an overpowered individual it can be hard to find relevant foes for the character, and this way allows for the introduction of new antagonists as his powers waver (even if these episodes are generally very short-term.)  Such would seem to be the case with the new solar flare power, which is somehow tied to his heat vision, though no other Kryptonian has ever experienced anything of the kind before.  This issue deals with Superman trying to get a grasp of his new powers, while also realizing that they have made him more human than ever before, even able to be easily enough damaged.  As a concept it is weak as it has been covered before and even done better.

It is not only as a poorly conceived plot device that this issue fails, but also as an overall concept.  The use of other heroes, especially Batman and Wonder Woman seems almost flippant, reducing them to two dimensional characters that are trying to spout non sequitur one liners relating to Superman’s new powers and new condition.  Thus not only does this not really feel like a normal Superman, but his colleagues from the Justice League also seem out of place.  It begs the question why this approach has been taken, especially when there are a lot of great Superman stories which have been told while working with him at full strength.  As it stands, this issue and the overall plot is a bit of a misfire.

Story and Art: John Romita Jr.
Story: 6.2 Art: 6.2 Overall: 6.2 Recommendation: Pass

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The weekend is almost here. How are folks enjoying it? Getting out now that the weather’s getting nicer?

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The Beat – Ty Templeton in critical condition after a heart attack – We wish Ty the best and a speedy recovery.

Newsarama – George Reeves’ SUPERMAN Returns to Network Primetime… Sort of – This is pretty cool.

New Voices – Retconning History: Comic Books and the Holocaust – A really good read.

 

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CBR – American Vampire: Second Cycle #7

CBR – Bloodshot Reborn #1

The Beat – Bloodshot Reborn #1

CBR – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2

CBR – Ei8ht #3

CBR – The Tithe #1

Talking Comics – Uncanny X-Men #33

The Importance of Faithfulness in Comic Book Costumes

It wasn’t that long ago that the world’s first glimpse of a new superhero costume for a live-action project would premiere in, say, the pages of a fan magazine, or even an early trailer. Now, we live in a time when every major news outlet scrambles to score the first run of such an image. The recent debuts of Jason Momoa‘s Aquaman costume from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Melissa Benoist‘s Supergirl costume from the upcoming CBS show got me thinking.

With so many examples of superhero costumes for fans to examine, which have been the most faithful to their four-color roots? And is there any connection between the loyalty of a costume to its source material and the quality of the adaptation; that is, do they go hand in hand? Let’s take a look through some of the most reverent examples and see what we can find. All of the costumes I considered for this article were from live-action projects, as animation doesn’t carry as many challenges for transitioning a costume. I also omitted CGI characters such as The Hulk and The Silver Surfer, since their creation was primarily digital.

685635SupermanChristopherReeve

1) Christopher Reeve as Superman, Superman: The Movie (1978): What better place to start than with an icon? While the suit doesn’t conform expressly to any one comic artist, it does replicate all the hallmarks of the widely accepted Superman look: spit curl, wide “S” on the chest, secondary yellow “S” on the cape, thin yellow belt with circular buckle, even the subtle “M” shapes cut into the top of the red boots. The thorough translation of that look, along with Reeve’s heartfelt performance, lifted Superman: The Movie to its status as both the first serious superhero blockbuster and the grandfather of the entire comic-book film landscape.

Andrew-Garfield-Spider-Man The_Amazing_Spider-Man

2) Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): Another iconic hero, another familiar costume, though perhaps not from a film afforded the same affection as Superman: The Movie. Whatever your thoughts regarding Marc Webb’s second stab at Spidey, you have to admit that the costume is hard to criticize. It’s all there, as if he just swung in from an early Stan Lee/John Romita Sr. issue: the rounded white eyepieces (not pointed; a detail that bugged me about the Raimi films), the bright blue and red in their classic configuration, even the black web-rings that encircle the web-slinger’s fingers. If anyone ever thought that the Spider-Man costume wouldn’t work on film as is, here’s proof to the contrary.

CAPA011_covcol captain-america-the-winter-soldier-poster-sebastian-stan

3) Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): A more recently created character, but another successful translation from page to screen. The Winter Soldier springs from the mind of Ed Brubaker into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, complete with metal arm and a half-mask that makes him look like a Cobra trooper. The comic design of the Winter Soldier already lent itself to cinematic copy, and the recent debut of the character allowed much of the general audience to experience the character on film without prior knowledge.

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4) Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman (1975 – 1979): Much like Christopher Reeve’s super-wear, this costume was a crystallization of Wonder Woman’s history of slightly modified battle attire (sometimes shorts, sometimes a skirt, etc.) by cementing the “swimsuit” style look in the public’s mind. Like Reeve, it helped that Carter was a solid physical match for the character. This is generally what springs to mind when one thinks of WW: golden tiara with red star, gold and red top, blue star-spangled lower piece, bullet-stopping bracelets and striped red boots. While the show suffered from an overabundance of camp and the absence of a generous budget, the costume would continue to appear in much the same form across multiple media formats for decades.

adi-granov-iron-man-marvel-170985-480x320 iron-man-32

5) Robert DowneyJr., Iron Man, Iron Man (2008): An instant classic. Utilizing Adi Gradov’s Extremis-era armor design from the comics (which made sense as Gradov worked as a concept artist on the film), the Stan Winston Studio delivered a detailed, believable armored battle suit that filtered the multitudes of Iron Man suits into a crowd-pleasing singularity. Bonus points for the design of the Mark 1 armor, capturing the DIY feel of a clunky, first-draft walking tank with panache. A rare example of all elements of a film working together to produce something special and unexpected.

4336738-art10 The-Crow-brandon-lee

6) Brandon Lee as The Crow, The Crow (1994): While admittedly a relatively simple look to replicate on film, the late Brandon Lee’s striking performance leapt out from behind the rage-mime makeup to create a truly memorable character: raw, emotional, caring and vengeful. The unadorned black clothing kept the focus on the power of the character and his mission while satisfying the fans of James O’Barr’s graphic novel.

Rocketeer_Flying the-rocketeer82120125

7) Billy Campbell as The Rocketeer, The Rocketeer (1991): Such a period-evocative costume design that feels as if it could only have exploded out of the 1930s, yet Dave Stevens’ high-flying aviator first appeared in 1982. Disney’s 1991 film followed Stevens’ lead exceptionally well, nailing the thick-buttoned leather jacket, jet pack, puffy pants, boots and that Art Deco helmet that looks like Dr. Fate’s blue-collar cousin. This adherence to Stevens’ design helped the film achieve its rollicking derring-do and high adventure as an energetic throwback to the early days of cliffhanger serials.

677586-ghost_rider ghost-rider-2-release-date

8) Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider (2007): Ghost Rider’s costume design isn’t necessarily the most eye-popping, from the neck down. From the neck up, well, it’s just hard to beat a burning skull that can talk, laugh and spew brimstone. But the filmmakers did an admirable job of equipping that flaming skull with all of his comic-accurate accoutrements: lots of leather (with buttons that transform into metal spikes), a long length of lethal chain, and of course, that seriously intimidating bike. While the film may have stumbled with wild shifts in tone, the look of the main character was handled with aplomb.

Hellboy_The_Wolves_of_St_August Ron Perlman stars as Hellboy. Photo credit: Columbia TriStar Films

9) Ron Perlman as Hellboy, Hellboy (2004): A great example of an above-and-beyond creation of costume design. The Hellboy design team, under the direction of Guillermo del Toro, duplicated Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comic design even down to the underbite that gives him that tough-guy profile. The devil’s in the details: the filed-down horns, the symbols cut into his skin, the worn duster jacket, and of course the Right Hand of Doom. The character’s relative human-like size allowed practical effects to create him believably in live-action, as opposed to Michael Chiklis’ Thing in Fantastic Four, who was rendered much smaller than his on-the-page counterpart. Coupled with Ron Perlman’s surly yet lovable performance, Hellboy translates improbably well into our world.

2002920-watchmen_window_rorschach Rorschach

10) Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Watchmen (2009): Aside from the shifting mask, the rest of Rorschach’s ensemble may seem a bit pedestrian. But this one’s all about the little touches: broken belt loops, old bloodstains; all the effects of an obsessive crime-fighting mission on a man without Bruce Wayne’s resources. This wear and tear, combined with Haley’s mastery of the character’s objectivist rage and bulldog tenacity, made Rorschach as much of a standout in the film as he was in the graphic novel.

 

Now obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, or even particularly ranked on a subjective scale of comic-faithfulness. It’s simply my opinions regarding the examples that bridged the visual gap between comic and film in the best way. But within these picks there seems to be one through-line that pertains to the best examples: attention to replicating a character’s costume usually runs parallel to attention paid to the character’s inner workings and personality. Not always the case (Ghost Rider may be an exception) but many times a commitment to the legacy of a character’s outside equals a respect for the character’s inside.

Review: Superman Wonder Woman #17

sww17With the onset of Convergence, DC Comics’ newest Crisis level event, it is interesting to look at the progress of this series in particular.  The romantic union of Superman and Wonder Woman is after all one of the biggest changes post-Flashpoint in the new 52, where readers were promised a lot of changes but mostly got a lot of new costumes.  The pairing of these two was hinted at even before Flashpoint was over, and while it took about a year to realize, the two were destined for each other.  The concept at first was even one of almost childlike execution, with the two falling in love with each other over flimsy reasoning, and the application of their feelings for each other was often presented in what wouldn’t make it past the editing room for a Harlequin romance knock-off (for instance the Young Romance Valentine’s Day special).

With Convergence promising to come back into the DC universe and to shake things up again, it kind of remains to be seen whether this pairing is one which should stand after the event, or if it is an experiment which is failed and should be removed.  The inherent problem with the association has never been Superman.  He has Lois, but a different route is being taken for him and her romantically.  The problem was and is Wonder Woman, how one of DC Comics’ strongest heroes is reduced to knee shaking quivering schoolgirl at the sight of Superman.  This presentation is one which has been more evident in the Superman focused titles.  The opposite approach has been that of the Wonder Woman monthly which has barely addressed the romance at all (even going so far as to suggest a better pairing of her with Orion.)  The middle ground of course is this series.  The series can be said to be somewhat of an evolution of the pairing, with Wonder Woman in the first few issues being presented as a damsel in distress and not so much of a hero, and even less of the person behind the tiara.  That there has be a shift in the attitude is evident in this issue as it ties into Wonder Woman’s history more than Superman’s, as they battle Circe and one of her agents Magog, with a mind controlled Superman to boot.  It is Wonder Woman that is left to save the day, as Superman is left as a mostly helpless bystander.

Time will tell if the romance between the two will endure or just be a flash in the pan of comic history, but at the very least if this is the route being taken for their time together then at least it is one which does the characters justice.  Instead of this being the Superman comic featuring Wonder Woman as his main squeeze as it started out, it is now much more balanced between the two, and that it has reached this status by the time of Convergence is an indication that maybe the gamble worked to put these two together.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi  Art: Doug Mahnke and Ed Benes
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Fashion Spotlight: Frozen Banana, “S” for Saiyan, and NEW(s) Team Assemble

Ript Apparel has three new designs today. Frozen Banana, “S” for Saiyan, and NEW(s) Team Assemble from DJKopet, ES427, and AtomicRocket will be for sale on March 28, 2015 only!

 

Frozen Banana by DJKopet

Frozen Banana

“S” for Saiyan by ES427

S for Saiyan

NEW(s) Team Assemble by AtomicRocket

NEW(s) Team Assemble

 

 

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DC Comics Superman/Wonder Woman Heroclix in November

Superman Wonder Woman HeroclixThis November, Wizkids releases their latest DC Comics Heroclix set, Superman/Wonder Woman.

DC Comics Superman/Wonder Woman features the first DC Comics in-booster Colossal figures! Each DC Comics Superman/Wonder Woman booster bricks have 8 regular 5-figure boosters and 1 super booster which randomly contains one of six different colossal figures to collect!

The DC Comics Superman/Wonder Woman set showcases allies and enemies of Superman and Wonder Woman – with featured sub-themes of Earth 2/Wonders of the World; alternate/evil versions of Superman; and the long-anticipated debut of characters from the Red Son storyline.

The set includes 76 figures including 16 commons, 16 uncommons, 16 rares, 12 super rares, 6 chase, 4 primes, and 6 colossal figures.

 

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The weekend is almost here! What’s everyone doing to enjoy the days?

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The Beat – D’Orazio v Sims: Dawn of Justice – A great read as to what went down and the timeline.

Fusion – New feminist Thor is selling way more comic books than the old Thor – Awesome to see.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Archie vs. Predator #1

CBR – Batgirl #40

Comic Vine – Black Widow #16

Talking Comics – Silk #2

CBR – Superman #39

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So, it was new comic day yesterday. What’d everyone get?

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The Outhousers – Here are Some Statements on the Valerie D’Orazio and Chris Sims Cyber-Bullying Story – A very solid roundup of the latest blow-up in comics.

Engadget – The Pirate Bay’s new network is making ISP blocks useless – Interesting.

Lifehacker – How to Get Started Reading Comics That Have Been Running For Decades – Great to see this article on Lifehacker.

The Rainbow Hub – Opinion: What We Can Learn From Chris Sims’ Apology – A very good read.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – All-New Captain America #5

Comic Vine – All-New X-Men #39

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Comic Vine – Batgirl: Endgame #1

Comic Vine – Batman Eternal #50

Comic Vine – Batwoman #40

Comic Vine – Chrononauts #1

Comic Vine – Divinity #2

CBR – Ei8ht #2

The Beat – Giant Days #1

Talking Comics – Giant Days #1

Nothing But Comics – Invisible Republic #1

Talking Comics – Invisible Republic #1

CBR – Jupiter’s Circle #1

The Outhousers – Postal #2

Comic Vine – Princess Leia #2

Comic Vine – The Punisher #16

Comic Vine – Punks the Comic #5

The Outhousers – Rebels #1

Talking Comics – Red One #1

Comic Vine – Secret Identities #2

CBR – Shaper #1

Comic Vine – Silk #2

Talking Comics – Spider-Gwen #2

Comic Vine – Spread #6

Comic Vine – Superman #39

Comic Vine – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44

Comic Vine – The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3

Nothing But Comics – We Can Never Go Home #1

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Check out som news and reviews you might have missed in our morning roundup.

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The Valley Gazette – American Legion donates comic books to Ansonia schools – Good on them.

Asbury Park Press – How Superman helped save Salty’s after Sandy – Great story.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – All-New Captain America #4

Comic Vine – Giant Days #1

Talking Comics – Love & Rockets: New Stories #7

CBR – Lumberjanes #11

CBR – Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #10

CBR – She-Hulk #12

CBR – Silver Surfer #9

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