Tag Archives: dc entertainment

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and we’ve got lots of geeky things we’ve got planned. What are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the week day to end and weekend to begin, here’s some news from around the web.

The Wrap – Jaime Reyes ‘Blue Beetle’ Latino Superhero Movie in Development at DC and Warner Bros – Good. This is a smart move.

ICv2 – Lion Forge Restructuring – We’ve been hearing rumors.

CBR – Black Lightning Showrunner Faces Domestic Violence, Copyright Lawsuit – …

iO9 – Adorable Into the Spider-Verse Heroes From Build-a-Bear Workshop Have Arrived – Hell yes!!!

Batman: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray/Digital Now Available

With copies of the popular Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition nearly sold out, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment have made available – effective today – the streamlined, content-only Batman: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray/Digital box set ($89.99 SRP). The 12-disc set (plus a digital copy) features all 109 remastered episodes of the landmark television series along with hours of bonus features, the heralded 90-minute “The Heart of Batman” documentary, and the recently- remastered, fan favorite animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero.

Amazon will continue to offer Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-ray box sets while supplies last.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the Emmy Award-winning Batman: The Animated Series captured the imaginations of generations during its initial broadcast airing from 1992-1995, setting the standard for super hero storytelling for the past quarter-century with its innovative designs, near-perfect voice cast and landmark approach to DC’s iconic characters and stories. The series garnered a Primetime Emmy Award in 1993 for Outstanding Animated Program, along with three additional Emmy wins and 13 total Emmy nominations.

Batman: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray/Digital box set’s enhanced content includes 25 featurettes, two popular animated films; introductions to five episodes by producer Bruce Timm; and commentary on 12 episodes by various combinations of the production team: Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski, Paul Dini, Kevin Altieri, Michael Reaves, Boyd Kirkland, Shirley Walker, Glen Murakami, Dan Riba, and James Tucker.

Constantine: City of Demons is Out Today and We’ve Got a New Clip

From executive producers David S. Gover and Greg Berlanti, The Hellblazer is back in an all-new twisted tale of mystery, intrigue and the occult with Constantine: City of Demons, a full-length, R-rated feature film based on the acclaimed DC animated series from CW Seed. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Blue Ribbon Content, and DC Entertainment, the action-packed movie will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment starting October 9, 2018 on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and Digital.

Constantine: City of Demons is available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP) as well as on Digital ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD). The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the Blu-ray and DVD. The Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the film.

Constantine: City of Demons is rated R for bloody violence/gore, disturbing images, and some sexual content.

A decade after a tragic mistake, family man Chas and occult detective John Constantine set out to cure Chas’s daughter Trish from a mysterious supernatural coma. With the help of the mysterious Nightmare Nurse, the influential Queen of Angels, and brutal Aztec God Mictlantecuhtli, the pair just might have a chance at outsmarting the demon Beroul to save Trish’s soul. In a world of shadows and dark magic, not everything is what it seems, and there’s always a price to pay. The path to redemption is never easy, and if Constantine is to succeed, he must navigate through the dark urban underbelly of Los Angeles, outwit the most cunning spawns of hell, and come face to face with arch-nemesis Nergal – all while battling his own inner demons!

Constantine: City of Demons has been produced in a dual format – initially as animated shorts, the first five of which appeared on CW Seed. With a runtime of 90 minutes, the feature-length Constantine: City of Demons film has over an hour of never-before-seen content including the film’s thrilling climax.  

Doug Murphy (Scooby-Doo and the Gourmet Ghost) directs the film from a script by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman: Bad Blood). Art Direction is courtesy of Phil Bourassa (Young Justice). Butch Lukic (Justice League Action, Batman Unlimited) is the film’s producer. Sam Register and Sarah Schechter also serve as executive producers.

Matt Ryan, who set the standard for the role of Constantine on the NBC live-action television series, returns to the famed trenchcoat in animated form – after reprising the role in both live-action (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow) series and an animated film (Justice League Dark).

The cast surrounding Ryan includes Damian O’Hare (Hell on Wheels) as Chas Chandler, Laura Bailey (Critical Role) as Trish & Asa The Healer, Emily O’Brien (The Young and the Restless) as Rene Chandler, Kevin Michael Richardson (Family Guy) as Mahonin, Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation) as Beroul, Robin Atkin Downes (The Strain) as Nergal, Rachel Kimsey (Justice League Action) as Angela, and Rick Wasserman (Batman: The Killing Joke) as Mictlantecuhtli.

Enhanced Content

The Sorcerer’s Occultist – Understanding John Constantine – An exciting examination of the powers and abilities used by DC’s working-class occult detective, John Constantine.

Constantine: City of Demons WonderCon Panel – 2018 – Storytellers join City of Demons’ star Matt Ryan at this year’s WonderCon for an inside look at Constantine’s latest adventure.

 

DIGITAL

Constantine: City of Demons will be available to own on Digital October 9, 2018. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices.  Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and others. A Digital Copy is also included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD discs for redemption and cloud storage.

TV Review: Titans S1E1 Titans

DC Universe, DC Entertainment‘s new digital service, is here and with it the promise of original programming, the first of which is Titans. Titans is a live action adaptation of the classic characters and team that debuts October 12. The first season consists of 12 episodes with new ones debuting weekly.

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.

We’ve got an early look and is the wait worth it? Find out!

Positives

One of the first things that you get about Titans is how dark it is, the mood that is set somewhere between the tones of the DCEU movies and Netflix’s Marvel shows, something that pulls you in right away and is quite a pleasant surprise. As even the Netflix Marvel shows restraint in certain aspects, this  show doesn’t as was seen and heard in the show’s first trailer, from a scene in Episode 1 X 01, where Robin/Nightwing verbally disavows Batman in the most straightforward way, something fans thought they would never hear from the character, and as can be seen throughout the first episode he explains the fallout to his partner and how it ha temporarily swore off having a partner because of what happened between Bruce and Dick. The majority of the show focuses on Raven, as we get a good backstory about her , as we see her relationship with her mother, played by the prolific Sherilyn Fenn,  and how she ends up meeting Dick, through an iconic comic book scene .  As in this version, which is much more faithful to the origin story in the comic book, is also being hunted, which at first looks like a child sex trafficking ring but eventually is seen to be a group of zealots who sees her only as the daughter of Trigon.  We also get to meet Starfire, where she wakes up with no memory of how she got there and who she is , as well as why she is dressed the way she is. This part makes sense once you find out what capacity Cory Anders is before she used her powers in this version.  As was seen online in social media, the instances of backlash, regarding Diop’s race and later her look, which as I have seen in this pilot episode, was gravely premature and downright abhorrent. In what is the last ten minutes of the episode, we see out first glimpse of Beast Boy, , which I feel will pay off in the second episode. As far as the special effects, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy uses their powers to what fans can rejoice, as all three characters in this episode, are quite formidable and the CGI used showcases it perfectly.

Negatives

None as the truth is the DCEU movies can take some notes from DC’s first unfiltered not family friendly show, as I feel this show captures the grit is sought to add to these characters onscreen canon.

Verdict

Watch as this first episode pulls no punches.


Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Brendon Thwaites,  Liza Colon-Zayas, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, Mina Kelly, Jarreth J. Merz, Ryan Potter, Alan Ritchson,

Around the DC Universe: So How is It?

It’s an understatement to say that I was excited for the release of DC Universe. Since the service was first announced over a year ago I’ve been regularly scouring the internet for news, checking my email for updates and pestering the company’s customer service department for information through a variety of social media outlets. After a short beta test DC Universe finally launched and I’ve spent almost every single free minute since trying to experience everything it has to offer. 

I’ve gotten more into the specifics of what I’ve been reading and watching but I want to focus on the nuts and bolts of the service itself and discuss who I think will get the most out of it.

A quick note on devices before we begin: I have been accessing DC Universe using the app on my Android phone, streaming to my TV via Chromecast. I’ve tried several time to use the browser on my Chromebook but I’ve had little success.  

Movies and TV

For a lot of fans the movie and TV portion of DC Universe is what will make or break it. Fortunately I think it’s also the strongest category at the moment. I watched a variety of programming this weekend and found that the interface worked well and was user friendly. There were quite a few problems with videos pausing in the middle of the day Saturday but less than I expected given the heavy volume that they were almost certainly experiencing.  There is a good selection of movies and shows for fans of all ages. Choices tend to skew towards older material though so you won’t find any of the current CW shows, Gotham or the DC Extended Universe films.  You can watch the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, the 90s Flash show and most of the DC Animated Universe (with the exception of The New Batman Adventures and The Zeta Project). DC’s original animated features are also very well represented including some of the most recent (Gotham by Gaslight, Death of Superman and Ninja Batman). It’s nice that most of the shows are presented with all of their seasons intact for convenient binging but there are some odd omissions (notably The Dark Knight Rises, the only Nolan Batfilm that wasn’t added for Batman Day). There are also some surprising choices like The Spirit TV pilot and The Human Target series both of which I had forgot even existed until I opened up the app.

Comics

While Marvel has had their Unlimited service available for over a decade, DC has been conspicuously absent from the field of comics streaming, the only major hold out. What most excited me about DC Universe was the ability to read their titles electronically without having to pay a la carte through ComiXology or another eStore. Early on it was announced that the selection available would be curated. What this meant was left vague causing concern for many and prompting some not to pre-order.

Now that the service is available I can honestly say it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The selection of comics is extensive but it doesn’t seem anywhere close to the thousands of titles that were mentioned in early promotional materials. Many series (including stand alone mini series like New Frontier and All Star Superman as well as the recent Rebirth series) have only have a single issue available. Others (like many from the New 52 launch) present incomplete story arcs but a few of the less successful books are available in their entirety. Older titles have more representation but there are few if any complete creative runs (though there are plenty of story arcs including Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Braniac and Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s Batman Year One) which work well outside of the larger continuity. All in all it feels a bit like walking into a public library and browsing their selection of trades but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially for more casual readers who may not have much experience with the characters in their native medium.

The biggest issue with the comics part of DC Universe is that its very hard to keep track of what’s available at any given moment. Unlike Marvel Unlimited you can expect comics to come and go (in the four days since launch I’ve seen several issues and even an entire series vanish) but there is no schedule to it or to the addition of new issues/series (again unlike Marvel Unlimited which has had a regular new release schedule since its inception). There is no indication of what you have or haven’t read unless you create your own list of read titles. The app notes that the entire DC Digital Collection will be available to purchase beginning in October. This makes it seem like DC Universe is following the path of ComiXology Unlimited by offering a few teaser issues to subscribers to entice them into buying more. If that is the case I hope that the app makes it clear what books are available for an additional fee and which are included as part of the subscription. I also hope that they will also do us the favor of offering at least one complete trade worth of material on which to base our choices, at least in the case of ongoing series.

Content aside I think that they have done a very good job with its presentation. The reader works smoothly especially in the panel by panel mode. Guided view has always been Marvel Unlimited’s Achilles heel but DC Universe’s panel by panel mode works very well on my phone. I only had a few problems with some panels displaying out of order on a couple of modern comics. There is an option to set up automatic panel transitions but I abandoned it pretty quickly as it really doesn’t account well for the fact that not every panel will take you the same amount of time to read. The biggest problem with the interface is that it requires you to download comics to read them on the mobile app. This isn’t a huge inconvenience if you’re reading a limited series or a short story arc but it can be aggravating if you’re trying to binge a longer series. It also takes way more effort than it should to get from a finished comic to the list of available series or to the home screen. You also have to go out of your way to read a story that occurs in more than one title, switching back and forth between the books in question. This would be a huge hassle for family wide epics like The Death and Return of Superman or No Man’s Land should such be made available in their entirety. 

The Community

One of the things that DC promoted most vigorously about DC Universe was the way in which it would allow users to communicate with one another, selling the DC Universe Community as a cross between Facebook and a Message Board. While this is an admirable goal it falls short in several respects.

The nice thing about the DC Universe Community is that it seems to be very well moderated especially given the fact that DC fans have developed something of a reputation for toxicity. I’ve seen none of that in the Community posts and that is all to the good because the last thing DC fandom and the world in general needs right now is another outlet for hatred, ignorance and bile. It’s also easy to mark threads as spoilers for those who care about such things. What’s unfortunate is that a lot of features that made social media platforms like Facebook so successful are missing here. There is no way, as far as I can tell, to reply to a specific user and no means of being notified when someone responds to your posts. This ultimately leads to a bunch of detached comments loosely related by a broader topic floating around  next to each other rather than being a real discussion. It also makes it very easy to ignore as you have to spend time trying to find your old posts to see if anyone has commented on them. It’s a nice idea but not particularly engaging as currently configured.

The Encyclopedia

Pitched by DC as a more reliable version of a wiki, this is probably the biggest disappointment of the service.  Part of the problem is that it is woefully incomplete. This wouldn’t be so bad if the choices they made seemed to have a reason behind them but as of Sunday morning major names like Braniac, the Justice League and Lex Luthor are nowhere to be found. Instead there are articles for Sam Lane and “The Watchmen” (a name that is never once used in the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons comic to refer to any group of characters).  If that weren’t bad enough there are only a few links between the entries that do exist and the content on the service. It would be great if you could use the encyclopedia to catch up on a character’s backstory, diving directly into comics, movies or TV shows as they become available but that’s not an option at the moment. It’s clear that this is a work in progress but it’s also obvious that not enough work or thought was done on this part of the experience prior to launch.

The Shop

Last but not least comes The Shop, which offers a variety of member exclusive products. I wanted to buy something before writing this review but I couldn’t find anything I wanted badly enough to pay the price that DC is asking. The stuff is nicely designed but I don’t really feel like paying twenty five dollars for a t-shirt and I have more than enough mugs. It would be nice to see DC expand this section a bit with more stuff and a wider variety of price points. It’s particularly telling that after writing the first draft of this review I went to a convention and spent almost eighty dollars on DC trades and single issues. 

Overall

I like DC Universe a lot warts and all. There are plenty of problems but I think that between the comics, the movies and the shows I will still get my money’s worth over the next fifteen months of my subscription. That said I’m still up in the air about whether or not I’ll renew. I’m hooked for now but I need to see significant improvement as well as additional content to keep me where I am.  

Recommending the service to someone else is a thorny prospect at present.  For people who are new to DC, TV or movie fans who want to give the comics a try or Marvel fans who might be DC curious, it’s a decent way to sample what they have to offer without breaking the bank especially if you are living in an area without a newbie friendly comic shop.   If you are one of the DC faithful your response to DC Universe will likely depend on what you already own and what you want to read. If you happen to harbor the impossible dream of reading every DC book ever published from the first issue of New Fun Comics to the latest issue of Aquaman  than DC Universe is probably a good match for you but if you are drawn to a particular period of DC history or to a character other than Batman its likely a hard pass. In all cases I would only recommend subscribing on a month by month basis at this point as much of the long term value of DC Universe will only become apparent as it grows and changes. 

Around the Tubes

New York Comic Con is underway and we’re already bringing you some of the news coming from the show! Anything standing out so far? Sound off in the comments below. While you await more awesomeness, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

PCMag – The Tech Behind Your Favorite Comic Books – This is very cool to read and learn about how comics are made.

The Verge – DC has renewed its original show Titans for a second season – This isn’t surprising.

 

Review

Comics Bulletin – Blackbird #1

Around the DC Universe: Week 2 – A Superman Focused Week

Welcome to Around the DC Universe, your weekly guide to the best comics and shows featured on DC Entertainment’s exclusive new streaming service.

Technical Issues

I begin this week with technical issues because after almost two weeks of playing with the app I have finally figured out how DC Universe deals with the release of new comics.

Most of the titles are part of the curated library, a selection of 2500 or so issues that will swap out quarterly (though I imagine that a few key issues like Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27 will remain in perpetuity). Special features will be added weekly for shorter runs usually of a week or two.

Special Features

Right now you have three weeks to check out the original Death and Return of Superman  in Action Comics (1938-), Adventures of Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel and Superman (1986). This epic event stands at the crossroads between marketing gimmick and heartfelt storytelling. The writers and artists involved have a deep and abiding affection for the Man of Steel that shines through the hype as they take him as low as a person can go and then bring him back. Superman’s supporting cast, one of the best in the history of comics, really gets a chance to shine in the absence of the series’ main character and there are several moments that still move me to tears. Unfortunately, as of this writing DC Universe is missing several key issues including Superman (1986) #78 and 79 which introduce the infamous Cyborg Superman. It’s possible to enjoy the story despite this gap but it is disappointing that DC could not be bothered to correct their mistake despite several queries on the community forums and at least one query to their customer service department which received no response. Even if you have read the story before be sure and check out Newstime: The Life and Death of Superman (1993). Originally published as a facsimile of a tribute magazine, this is a great artifact from within the DC Universe that offers some interesting perspectives and more than a few easter eggs and has  never, to my knowledge, been reprinted.

Movies and TV

Those who don’t have time to wade through all those comics might find themselves tempted two different animated versions available on the video streaming portion of DC Universe. Sadly the older of the two (Superman: Doomsday) is an inferior adaptation. The original story took up almost a year’s worth of four monthly titles so trying to condense it into a mere hour and forty five minutes is impossible. A lot of questionable creative choices were also made, including a Superman who is perfectly willing to engage in intimate relations with Lois Lane without telling her his secret identity. The generally mean characterization of many of the characters involved robs the feature of all of its poignancy. A double feature of Batman v Superman and Justice League does the original material more credit and is infinitely more preferable to this waste of good talent. I’ve yet to watch this year’s The Death of Superman but it’s on my agenda for next week.

On the other side of the Superman coin I’m surprised by how much I enjoy watching George Reeves in the Adventures of Superman TV show. While it’s very much a product of its time, it’s still incredibly fun to watch in small doses. Reeves is inherently likable as both Superman and Clark Kent has the inherent likeability and the supporting cast is also top notch. There are some interesting wrinkles added to the legend. I particularly liked watching Pa Kent risking his life to save Baby Kal El from the blazing wreckage of his rocket after it crashes to work. The plots are much more down to Earth than we’re used to with Superman taking on smugglers and bank robbers instead of alien despots and mad scientists.  That’s not a bad thing however as it reminds us that Superman was once a much more relatable, down to Earth character, not so much in his power level but in his concerns. It’s fun to revisit that simpler time even if only for a couple of episodes.

Comics

The Legion of Superheroes is one  of my all time favorite teams. The long running drama of a club of teenage heroes in the far future is in turns both goofy and profound with a tangled continuity that makes the X-Men look simple by comparison. If you’ve never experienced the Legion many of their earliest stories are currently available in Adventure Comics. DC Universe has taken a greatest hits sort of approach with some of the best stories from the first few years of the Legion’s run, many of them by science fiction legend Ed Hamilton. Reading the stories as they’re presented does sacrifice the development of on a rich and compelling continuity but these high points, including the death of one of the major players in Legion history, is well worth your time if you’re a fan of DC’s silver age. Adventure Comics was an anthology title that also featured stories about of other heroes and they are included here as as well. Fans of Aquaman  should take note of superior stories in the first two issues with art by the great Ramona Fradon, one of the first women to draw a superhero comic. Available on DC Universe in Adventure Comics (1938-) #247, 267, 300, 304, 306, 310, 312, and 316.

Around the DC Universe Week One

Welcome to the first installment of Around the DC Universe, a regular guide to what’s available this week on DC Entertainment’s new streaming service. Last time I focused on the ins and outs of the service itself. From here on out though I will be focusing on content and helping you to make the most of your subscription.

Movies and TV

Most of my viewing time this past week was dominated by the four entries in the original Batman film canon beginning with Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. These were movies I had grown up with but it had been a while since I had the chance to revisit them. For all their many flaws, they still manage retain a certain charm that takes me back to when I first encountered them as a kid and remain enjoyable superhero fare. Watching as an adult Batman Returns is my favorite of the bunch. Michael Keaton comes out of his shell, portraying a Bruce Wayne that’s a bit closer to the version from the comics than what was on offer in the original while remaining one of the best actors behind the cowl. Michelle Pfeiffer also gives us what is arguably the finest interpretation of Catwoman in any medium. Her Selina Kyle is a sensual yet ultimately feminist femme fatale and  she is well matched by Danny DeVito’s grotesquely masculine Penguin. The movie that surprised me the most was Batman and Robin. Often derided as one of the worst superhero films ever made, it’s hard to hate this movie in light of the obvious affection that Joel Schumacher has for this franchise. Batman and Robin is not a great movie but if you watch it as an homage to Bill Finger/Dick Sprang comics of the ‘40s and the Adam West TV show it’s still a fun romp through a darkly campy rendition of Gotham City. George Clooney is great as Bruce Wayne and both Uma Thurman and Arnold Schwarzenegger deliver their lines with scenery chewing relish. Make sure to watch these soon as their leaving the service on September 30th (a disappointment since they were heavily billed as a selling point in early promotional material).

DC Daily is also well worth your time. Billed as daily roundup of DC related news it’s far more than just hype. In addition to providing glimpses of upcoming comics, shows and movies, there are also some good discussions about what’s available on the service. Of particular note this week is their three part discussion with the legendary George Perez where he talks about his role in crafting The New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths and Wonder Woman. While much of DC Daily is available free on YouTube, the panel discussion at the end is exclusive to subscribers with a rotating selection of guests discussing DC related topics including Batman Day,  the ‘90s Flash show, and Identity Crisis. In and of itself its not enough to justify subscribing but if you’re a subscriber and you’re not watching, then you’re missing out.

Comics

I bought the third issue of Lonely Place of Dying as Batmania was winding down in the fall of 1989. It’s one of the stories that  cemented my love of Batman in comics but unfortunately I was never able to read the whole thing before. This Batman/New Titans crossover fleshed out the character of Tim Drake (previously introduced in Batman Year Three) and put him into the Robin costume for the first time. Tim seeks out former sidekick Dick Grayson  because he feels that Batman needs a Robin to help pull him back from the edge that he’s been skirting ever since the death of Jason Todd. Meanwhile Batman and Two Face are slowly circling one another in a what we are lead to believe may become a death spiral.  Lonely Place of Dying is great because it makes the case for why Robin is an essential part of the Batman mythos; he serves to keep Batman grounded and more focused on justice than revenge. The artwork by Jim Aparo (on the Batman issues) and George Perez (on the New Titans), both working close to the peak of their artistic powers, certainly helps in this regard. Marv Wolfman’s writing does show its age a bit but its a solid, underappreciated entry in the Batman annals and could make the basis of an amazing Batman film. Available in DC Universe in Batman (1940-) 440-442 and New Titans (1994-2001) #60-61.  

I first read A Death in the Family in its original trade paperback presentation around the same time as Lonely Place of Dying was being serialized and it has not aged well at all. I’d go so far as to say that it’s one of the most overrated Batman stories ever written. While its not as egregious as its contemporary, The Killing Joke, it’s still a problematic arc that highlights many of the problems of mainstream superhero comics in general and Batman in particular. In this story Jason Todd, the second Robin, goes to the middle east and Africa on a quest to find his real mother and runs afoul of the Joker who beats him senseless with a crowbar and blows him up. Technically the book is well written. Jim Starlin does a good job channeling Batman’s feelings for his young charge, taking  concern and affection and metastasizing into grief as the story reaches its tragic climax. Jim Aparo’s art is superb though it does pale when compared to the covers by a young Mike Mignola. The problem with A Death in the Family is the fact that it uses its tropes so artlessly. Talking about this arc on Facebook a friend remarked that it was like a “Canon film” and the comparison hits the mark. Its portrayals of Shiite terrorists and runaway abortion doctors that are completely lacking in nuance. The final chapter, in which the Joker is given diplomatic immunity by the Iranian government as part of a plot to murder the entire UN, is so absurd as to be almost insulting. It’s too grim to be goofy and not goofy enough to be good. While it lacks the aspect of sexual violence found in The Killing Joke, it doubles down on the earlier books flaws by embedding it in continuity (a mistake that DC has doubled down on ever since). It also lacks the technical excellence of Alan Moore and Brian Boland’s work making it worthwhile for only the very curious or the very bored. Available on DC Universe in Batman (1940-) 426-429.

If you’re one of those readers who wants to return to a time before comics were made by liberal social justice warriors than do NOT read the first ten issues of Action Comics Superman stories by Man of Steel creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. In these short yarns, first published between 1938 and 1939, Superman takes on a variety of nefarious no-goodniks including wife beaters, war mongering arms manufacturers, corrupt mine owners, and a college football coach with dreams of cheating his way to a win in the big game. Siegel and Shuster’s Superman may seem quaint and old fashioned by today’s standards but they were creating stories that tackled the issues that were important to them as lower class Jewish kids of the New Deal era in the years before the United States entered World War II. The handful of issues available on DC Universe are not their best but they do provide a nice introduction to their run, one of the best in the character’s history. Available on DC Universe in Action Comics (1938-)1-10.  

Technical Issues

In my initial review I noted that there was a fair amount of slow down and buffering when watching videos. Unfortunately this has not improved and if anything has gotten worse, at least when watching longer movies (anything shorter than a half an hour is okay after some stuttering at start up). Whether this is a problem with the app or with the downfall of net neutrality is hard to say but my opinion is trending towards the former.   

The biggest problem with DC Universe, however, continues to be a lack of alerts and/or consistency with the addition of new material. At the very least a section of new releases or a consistent and public release schedule would be nice. I shudder to think how difficult it’s going to become to track what comics are available to subscribers and when once the full digital library is added in October. The good news is that DC does seem committed to adding complete arcs as both the full run of Identity Crisis and Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow were uploaded.  

Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition is Out October 30 and Comes with a Digital Copy

Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition, one of the most anticipated Blu-ray releases of 2018, will now include a Digital version in the all-encompassing package befitting the series’ revered place among all-time fan-favorite entertainment. Remastered for the first time since its broadcast airing from 1992-1995, the stunning Blu-ray box set ($112.99 SRP) will now be available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment on October 30, 2018.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the Emmy Award-winning series captured the imaginations of generations, setting the standard for super hero storytelling for the past quarter-century with its innovative designs, near-perfect voice cast and landmark approach to DC’s iconic characters and stories. Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition box set includes all 109 thrilling episodes, plus two bonus disks containing the recently-remastered, fan favorite animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, The box set’s premiere bonus feature is, The Heart of Batman, an impressive 90-minute documentary on the making of Batman: The Animated Series that includes interviews with nearly three dozen members of the cast and crew, detailing the intricacies of production behind the landmark animated show.

The impressive Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition package features approximately 2,700 minutes of entertainment spread over 10 Blu-ray discs, plus the two bonus discs – not counting 11 specially-selected episodes with audio commentaries by cast and crew. In addition, Batman: The Complete Animated Series Deluxe Limited Edition includes an exclusive ensemble of collectibles highlighted by three Funko mini-figurines (Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn) and seven beautifully-designed lenticular art cards. The entire box set is housed in a stunning layflat-book with a dazzling slipcase.

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