Tag Archives: Lex Luthor

Diamond Select Toys In Stores Now: Batman, Taskmaster, Horror and More!

Comic shops across the North America are receiving a ton of new products from Diamond Select Toys! There’s something for everyone this week, including action figures, statues, Gallery Dioramas and D-Formz, based on Marvel Comics, Marvel movies, DC Comics, DC movies, Godzilla, Nightmare Before Christmas and horror movie classics! It’s the best of all worlds!

DC Classic Movie Gallery Batman 1989 PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of the most iconic Batmen of all time takes the stage with this all-new Gallery Diorama of Batman from Tim Burton’s 1989 movie Batman! Standing atop a distinctive piece of Gotham City architecture, Batman spreads his cape and prepares to dive on some unsuspecting evildoer. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall, this diorama is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Shawn Knapp, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item # MAR202618, SRP: $49.99)

DC Classic Movie Gallery Batman 1989 PVC Diorama

DC Comic Gallery Lex Luthor PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Destroy Superman! Lex Luthor dons his powerful armor to take on Superman in the newest DC Comics-inspired Gallery Diorama! Raising his hand to fire a Kryptonite-fueled blast, this sculpture measures approximately 9 inches tall, is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #MAR202619, SRP: $49.99)

DC Comic Gallery Lex Luthor PVC Diorama

Godzilla Deluxe Gallery Rodan 1993 PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s the ultimate team-up! Rodan joins forces with the previously offered Godzilla to form a diorama tribute to 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II! Sculpted in a pose from the iconic movie poster, Rodan measures approximately 8 inches tall and is cast in high-quality PVC with detailed sculpting and paint applications. Displays by itself or as a pair with the Godzilla 1993 diorama. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Jorge Santos Souza.  (Item #MAR202621, SRP: $74.99)

Godzilla Deluxe Gallery Rodan 1993 PVC Diorama

Horror D-Formz PVC Figurines Series 1 Asst.

A Diamond Select Toys release! The horror, the horror! Three horror legends unite for the first assortment of Stylized D-Formz PVC figurines! Pennywise, Annabelle, the Nun and Regan from The Exorcist fill out the assortment, along with rare variant Nun and Regan figures! Each figurine comes packaged in a blind box, with 12 boxes in each counter display. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Gentle Giant Ltd. (Item #FEB202404, SRP: $7.99/ea. )

Horror D-Formz PVC Figurines Series 1 Asst.

Marvel Comic Gallery Agent Venom PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! We are Venom! Flash Thompson dons the Venom symbiote once again for this new Marvel Gallery Diorama! Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this sculpture of one of Venom’s most popular pairings is cast in high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira.  (Item #MAR202623, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Comic Gallery Agent Venom PVC Diorama

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers Endgame Rocket PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release!  The Guardian of the Galaxy finally gets his own Gallery Diorama! Based on his appearance in Avengers: Endgame, this sculpture of Rocket measures approximately 7 inches tall on a pedestal base, is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #MAR202625, SRP: $39.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers Endgame Rocket PVC Diorama

Marvel Select Black Widow Movie Taskmaster Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys release! The long-awaited Black Widow movie is almost here, and the villain is just as cool as the heroine! Taskmaster arrives on the big screen to menace Natasha this spring, and he’ll be on toy shelves this summer, as part of the Marvel Select toy line! This approximately 7-inch action figure includes multiple accessories and 16 points of articulation and comes packaged on display-ready Select action figure packaging. Designed by Eamon O’Donoghue, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios! (Item #FEB202410, SRP: $29.99

Nightmare Before Christmas Milestones Jack and Sally Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s snowing in Halloween Town, and Jack and Sally have finally gotten together in this all-new statue from DST! Measuring approximately 14” tall, and inspired by the final scenes of the movie, this Milestones statue of Jack and Sally is limited to only 1,000 pieces and comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Designed by Uriel Caton, sculpted by Cortes Studios. (Item #OCT192539, SRP: $199.99)

Diamond Select Toys New York Toy Fair Wrap-Up: Deadpool, Joker, The Nun, and More!

Diamond Select Toys and Gentle Giant Ltd. debuted a variety of items at this year’s Toy Fair in New York City, and many of them are now up for pre-order! New Gallery Dioramas, Legends in 3D Busts and Premier Collection statues can be ordered through your local comic shop or favorite online retailer. Read on for more info on Batman, Deadpool, and a slew of villainous characters, like Lex Luthor, Rodan, the Nun, Scorpion, Mysterio and more!

DC Classic Movie Gallery Batman 1989 PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of the most iconic Batmen of all time takes the stage with this all-new Gallery Diorama of Batman from Tim Burton’s 1989 movie Batman! Standing atop a distinctive piece of Gotham City architecture, Batman spreads his cape and prepares to dive on some unsuspecting evildoer. Measuring approximately 11 inches tall, this diorama is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Shawn Knapp, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item # MAR202618, SRP: $49.99)

DC Classic Movie Gallery Batman 1989 PVC Diorama

DC Comic Gallery Lex Luthor PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Destroy Superman! Lex Luthor dons his powerful armor to take on Superman in the newest DC Comics-inspired Gallery Diorama! Raising his hand to fire a Kryptonite-fueled blast, this sculpture measures approximately 9 inches tall, is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #MAR202619, SRP: $49.99)

DC Comic Gallery Lex Luthor PVC Diorama

Godzilla Deluxe Gallery Rodan 1993 PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s the ultimate team-up! Rodan joins forces with the previously offered Godzilla to form a diorama tribute to 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II! Sculpted in a pose from the iconic movie poster, Rodan measures approximately 8 inches tall and is cast in high-quality PVC with detailed sculpting and paint applications. Displays by itself or as a pair with the Godzilla 1993 diorama. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Jorge Santos Souza.  (Item #MAR202621, SRP: $74.99)

Godzilla Deluxe Gallery Rodan 1993 PVC Diorama

Horror Gallery Nun PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The titular star of the Nun movies is here to haunt your shelves! Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this spooktacular sculpture of the spirit Valak is cast in high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Alterton. (Item #MAR202622, SRP: $49.99)

Horror Gallery Nun PVC Diorama

John Wick Gallery Cassian PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Cassian is chasing down John Wick in this all-new Gallery Diorama! Depicting the hitman and bodyguard running full-tilt with his weapon drawn, this approximately 9-inch sculpture is based on his appearance in John Wick Chapter 2 and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella.  (Item #MAR202628, SRP: $49.99)

John Wick Gallery Cassian PVC Diorama

Legends in 3D Animation Batman TAS Joker 1/2 Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! This bust is no joke! But seriously, no one will be laughing when they lay eyes on this incredible half-scale bust of The Joker, as he appeared in Batman: The Animated Series! Part of the Legends in 3D line of busts, this approximately 10-inch portrait is limited to only 1,000 pieces, and comes packaged in a full-color box with a hand-numbered certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Varner Studios. (Item #MAR202620, SRP: $175.00)

Legends in 3D Animation Batman TAS Joker 1/2 Scale Bust

Legends in 3D Video Game Mortal Kombat Scorpion 1/2 Scale Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Fatality! This killer bust of Scorpion is the next release in the Legends in 3D line of half-scale busts! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, and inspired by his earliest video game appearances, the bust features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is limited to only 1000 pieces. Packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a hand-numbered, full-color box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Salvador Gomes.  (Item #MAR202627, SRP: $175.00)

Legends in 3D Video Game Mortal Kombat Scorpion 1/2 Scale Bust

Marvel Animated X-Men Deadpool Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! The hit bust series continues! Based on the original X-Men animation from the 1990s, this approximately 6-inch bust of Deadpool is inspired by his multiple appearances in the series. Featuring a cartoon-accurate paint scheme and detailed sculpting, this bust is limited to only 3.000 pieces and comes packaged with a certificate of authenticity in a full-color box. Designed by Barry Bradfield, sculpted by Paul Harding.  (Item #MAR202626, SRP: $59.99)

Marvel Animated X-Men Deadpool Bust

Marvel Comic Gallery Agent Venom PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! We are Venom! Flash Thompson dons the Venom symbiote once again for this new Marvel Gallery Diorama! Measuring approximately 9 inches tall, this sculpture of one of Venom’s most popular pairings is cast in high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira.  (Item #MAR202623, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Comic Gallery Agent Venom PVC Diorama

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers Endgame Rocket PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release!  The Guardian of the Galaxy finally gets his own Gallery Diorama! Based on his appearance in Avengers: Endgame, this sculpture of Rocket measures approximately 7 inches tall on a pedestal base, is made of high-quality PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint applications. It comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella. (Item #MAR202625, SRP: $39.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Avengers Endgame Rocket PVC Diorama

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Hulk Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! It’s smashingly good! This approximately 12-inch statue of the Hulk shows him leaping into action, preparing to lay the smash down on his opponent. Sculpted in scale with other Premier Collection statues, this piece features detailed sculpting and paint applications, and is limited to only 3,000 pieces. It comes packaged with a numbered certificate of authenticity in a full-color window box. Designed by Yuri Tming, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira.  (Item #MAR202624, SRP: $200.00)

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Hulk Statue

Star Wars Premier Collection Luke Dreamer 1/7 Scale Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! The dream lives on! Luke Skywalker strikes one of his most famous poses in this all-new 1/7 scale statue. Standing on the sands of Tatooine gazing at the horizon, Luke holds his macrobinoculars in this highly realistic piece features detailed digital sculpting and paint applications. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged with a numbered certificate of authenticity in a full-color box.  (Item #MAR202617, SRP: $150.00)

Star Wars Premier Collection Luke Dreamer 1/7 Scale Statue

Marvel Comic Gallery Mysterio PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Is it real or is it Gallery?! We don’t need hypnosis to convince you that this diorama of Mysterio, master of illusion, is an amazing installment in the Marvel Gallery line! Depicting the Spider-Man foe rising out of a cloud of green smoke, this approximately 9-inch sculpture is made from high-grade PVC and features detailed sculpting and paint details. Packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Alterton. Formerly a GameStop exclusive.  (Item #MAR202629, SRP: $49.99)

Marvel Movie Gallery Captain Marvel Binary PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Captain Marvel goes higher, faster and farther in this new Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama! The star of the Captain Marvel movie hovers above the ground and glows with binary power in this approximately 11-inch sculpture. Featuring detailed sculpting and paint, and cast in high-quality PVC, the diorama comes packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios. Formerly a GameStop exclusive. (Item #MAR202630, SRP: $49.99)

Super-Articulate: Imaginext DC Super-Heroes Series 6 – The Rest

It took my sons and I a few weeks, but we’ve finally put together the rest of Imaginext’s DC Super-Heroes blind bag Series 6. This time out, we got all of them at Meijer and Walgreens stores; Walgreen had the most. Every other local outlet that carries them regularly has been a strike-out; some stores still Series 4 out. This is a shame, because this is a good set and it makes me wonder how long Fisher-Price will stay committed to this format if they simply can’t be found in stores.

We’ve covered Catman, Zan, and Signal before; let’s get to the final three.

Jayna: It’s honestly kind of amazing how absolutely few Wonder Twins figures there have been. Introduced all the way back in 1977 in The All-New Super-Friends Hour (and making their comic book debut in that same year’s Super Friends #7), Zan and Jayna are alien siblings with the planet Exxor. When they touch, they can activate their “Wonder Twin Powers!” of transformation. Jayna can take the form of any animal, while Zan can become variants of water. Prior to the Imaginext figures, there have really only been two figure versions of the Wonder Twins. One was an SDCC Exclusive for the DC Universe Classics line that was later available online (however, only the con version came with an additional Gleek). There’s also a Mego-style pack of the Wonder Twins and Gleek from Figures Toy Company. And that’s basically it.

The Imaginext Jayna is well-done, and offers a good complement to Zan. Sadly, there is no Gleek to be had; maybe Fisher-Price will roll one into a later blind bag or set. Jayna comes packed with a bird, as her most frequent transformation selection was becoming an eagle that would carry a bucket full of watery Zan. The feet of the bird aren’t that well done; they’re made to grip onto a characters arm when they really should be shaped to hold the bucket. So, the figure itself is nice, and the bird is okay, but it could have used more work. I added some shots of Jayna with the previously-reviewed Zan for comparison.

Superman Armor Lex Luthor: This one’s fine. I like the facial expression; that’s classic Lex. But unless you’re really into the whole Lex in SuperArmor story from the comics, this one might not do much for you. The sculpt is good and the cape is well-made, but it kind of sticks out against all of the other characters that could have been made to fill this lot.

Dr. Fate: Now this is something. Dr. Fate is easily the best figure in this group of six. The collar on the costume is patterned after the Hector Hall Dr. Fate from the Geoff Johns and company run on JSA. The colors stand out, and the cape looks good. The best feature is that they took the care to properly scupt the mask so it looks like there are spaces for ears like there are in the comics. That’s some crazy attention to detail. The clip-on power accessory looks good in the yellow plastic, but it’s too bad they couldn’t work an ankh in there. Still, great figure, best of the six.

I’ve included some photos of all 6 figures from this series together. Overall, it’s a good little group. Fisher-Price’s Imaginext expression has a good thing going in DC Super-Heroes. Going forward, I’d like to see them casting wider nets for the blind bag figure choices, and seeing what they could do to fill some obvious holes (Alfred, more of the Shazam family, the Atom, etc.).

What do you think, readers?

Super-Articulate: Back to DC

After a few straight weeks of Marvel Legends, it’s time to pivot back to DC. Mattel’s DC Multiverse distribution has been spotty in my area; you can find the Aquaman movie figures, but good luck with just about anything else right now. However, I did acquire a Vixen.

DC Multiverse Vixen: This is another straight-up solid sculpting job from the folks at Mattel. What I’m most impressed by is the fact that they were able to capture the look of the hairstyle that Vixen wore in Justice League of America (which was a fun book, now dead). I know I wasn’t the only fan of that title, as a number of Multiverse figures were drawn from that particular Rebirth run (Lobo, The Ray, the forthcoming Black Canary, Vixen). As such, Vixen is sporting the costume from that run, as well. It’s just a figure with overall good presentation.

Vixen comes with one accessory; in this case, it’s a translucent purple eagle that’s mean to replicate the visual from the comics when Vixen accesses one of her animal powers. Going with the bird makes sense because it’s a power that she uses often and it’s small enough to be an easy pack-in. I like the look of the accessory, although I would have liked a stand or some kind of attachment with it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m sad to see Multiverse go at the end of this year after it really got on track. It would have been nice to see this group of sculptors get to the JSA and the Legion after the fine work they’ve done on the League, the Titans, and the Batman family. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

DC Multiverse Vixen

Imaginext DC Super Heroes Blind Bag Series 6:One DC expression that Mattel gets to keep is the Fisher-Price housed Imaginext line. The current series went with some excellent and crazy choices. There’s Zan and Jayna (the Wonder Twins), Superman-armor Luthor, Dr. Fate, Catman, and The Signal (Duke Thomas). My boys and I have only found two so far, so we’ll go ahead and take a look at Zan and Signal.

The Signal is Duke Thomas, one of the Robins from the We Are Robin series. Duke became more involved in the official Bat Family and received his own individual costume and codename. Signal comes packed with a pair of ninja kama. Imaginext has really upped their sculpting game in the past few years, and the Signal is a good example of that. While the bodies are frequently basic with (admittedly  great) paint jobs, the heads are increasingly unique. This has a good look overall and the vibrant yellow stands out.

Zan and Jayna are no-brainers for a line like this. Zan looks like a decent adaptation of his cartoon self; no real surprises. The best thing is his accessory. As you know, Zan can change into forms of water, and would regularly be carried by his bird-form sister in a bucket. So, of course, Zan comes with . . . the bucket. And the water has his face! Yes, they actually did that. Major kudos, Fisher-Price. Major.

The Imaginext line remains a terrific kids’ focus line, though I know more than a few adult collectors that like to display them as well. While this line-up seems to be a little bit harder to find, these two indicate that their commitment to DC is still in good form.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and we’ll be catching up on a lot of geeky things on our end. What will you all be doing? While you wait for the work day to end and weekend begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Splinter News – Cory Booker Playing Pac-Man with the Washington Post Is Surprisingly Fun – This is pretty cool to see.

Kotaku – Skybound Games ‘In Discussions’ With Former Telltale Staffers About Completing The Walking Dead – This would be good to see.

DC Entertainment – Breaking News: Lex Luthor Will Appear on Supergirl – They’ve been hinting at it for a while now.

 

Review

Comics Bulletin – Exorsisters #1

Review: Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1

When the Joker and Lex Luthor team up to harness and control an ancient reality changing force of energy, it’s up to Batman, the Justice League and Rui Aramiya, a young boy from Japan in search of his parents, to stop them and save the day.

Hot on the heels of the Anime Batman Ninja, Batman is no stranger to the manga treatment. Having been manga-nized twice, first in Kia Asamiya’s Batman: Child of Dreams and a short story Batman: The Third Mask in issue #4 of Batman: Black & White by Katsuhiro Otomo, but this new collection is being serialized first in the Japanese anthology Red and is by Shiori Teshirogi, best known for her work on Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas.

If you’ve never read a manga interpretation of a western comic, the style takes a bit of getting use to when looking at it with traditional superhero sensibility lenses. Don’t be confused by the title, much like Bruce Timm’s Batman cartoon, this book makes Batman the lynchpin of the series/universe, with the exception of Superman, we barely see the League and when we do it’s with someone referencing them. Like most manga, it’s filled with a ton of introspective character panels and for a brooder like Batman, it works well.

With elements of post-Crisis DC and the New 52, undies on the inside and references to Jason Todd’s death, the story has that cosmic high stakes feel that we come to expect from most JLA runs. The art is top notch, the anatomy is a bit wonky, Superman’s head is a touch too small for his body, but the action is tight, engaging and energetic, and Teshirogi’s Joker is what a Joker should be, a stylized nightmare skeleton come to life.

The advance digital copy I reviewed from DC was a weird manga hybrid, the book read left-to-right, but the panels read right-to-left like most manga, not sure what the final product will be like. Either way this first collection is a solid fusion of the two genres, worth the read. Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1 is out now at your local comic shop and book stores on October 23rd.

Review: Justice League #1

Dark Nights Metal and Justice League: No Justice were just the first steps in Scott Snyder’s quest to tell a DC multiverse spanning story starring some of its most underrated characters, and in Justice League #1, some of its heaviest hitters. And in his love of bonkers concepts at the expense of clear storytelling, he’s becoming a lot like Grant Morrison, for better or worse. However, he and artists Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, and Tomeu Morey find a way to a bring back the Timmverse era Justice League lineup as well as assemble the Legion of Doom for the first time in comics and successfully please two generations of JL fans. But can nostalgia overcome a loud, sometimes disjointed plot that spends most of its time talking about a big threat? Justice League falls somewhere in the middle of maybe it can, maybe it can’t.

After a cameo filled opening page, Snyder and Cheung jump right into some double page spreads, wide screen heroics as each Justice League “member” leads a small task force to fight different types of “Neoanderthals” as Vandal Savage tries to take over the universe again. Cheung’s figures are dynamic and powerful with the help of superstar inker Morales, but his fights are cluttered and not blocked well. In fact, scenes where characters are talking around a table or are drawn in heroic poses by themselves (i.e. John Stewart packing construct heat.) have more of an impact than the group fight scenes, which is a definite weakness for an artist on a book where readers expect a big pitched, superhero fight every issue or so.

However, Snyder saves these underwhelming sequences that kick off Justice League #1 with a sense of humor and nigh perfect use of Martian Manhunter as team leader, POV character, and comedic straight man riding off his excellent work with the character in No Justice. The Justice League spends the opening battle basically roasting Batman while J’onn dryly riffs off their dialogue and keeps them on task while remaining aware of the big picture because his home planet Mars was destroyed because his people decided to shut off their literal connection with each other. Even if he’s been away for a while and has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, the Martian Manhunter has the temperament and power set to unite the world’s greatest heroes to stop some quite otherworldly threats. He’s also not afraid to get his hands dirty and take some small setbacks if it keeps his adopted home world safe and contributes to a greater plan. Also, Jim Cheung does a great job showing J’onn’s steady, yet sad demeanor and even gets to cut loose a little bit and show him shapeshift into a dragon.

Through the aforementioned cold open and a pretty nifty sequence where they meet a table like the one in the old Silver Age Justice League of America comics, Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung do a decent job establishing the the heroes of Justice League #1. They drop the ball with the villains and the introduction of the Legion of Doom, especially Lex Luthor, who has gone from a complex figure in Dan Jurgens’ Action Comics run and even No Justice to a mustache twirling, “for the evulz” baddie. When he makes his first play for the Legion, Snyder and Cheung throw any kind of interesting characterization out the window other than making Lex do cool and “badass” things like dropping a bunch of Neanderthals through a trap door, for example. These things do have consequences, and hopefully, Snyder gets a handle on these villains’ voices and motivations so they don’t play second fiddle to symbols and MacGuffins. Obviously, he has the Joker down.

Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung are talented creators, and they have their pick of the litter cast-wise: both heroes and villains. Justice League #1 works when the multiverse shattering stakes have a personal dimension too aka every time Martian Manhunter is involved, but mostly, it seems like it might collapse under the weight of these stakes and its forgettable action scenes.

Story: Scott Snyder Pencils: Jim Cheung
Inks: Mark Morales Colors: Tomeu Morey Letters: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Action Comics #1000 Captures Superman’s Inspirational Power

In Action Comics #1000, an all-star team of writers, artists, and colorists try and for the most part succeed at getting to the heart of Superman. Some stories touch on different eras of history from his time in the 1930s as a non-flying, slumlord buster and the Mort Weisinger Silver Age sci-fi kookiness to classic comics like Kingdom Come. Others look at his relationships with his parents, wife/co-worker Lois Lane, and his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. One story even looks far in the future of the DC Universe while another acts as a semi-controversial prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming Man of Steel miniseries and his runs on Action Comics and Superman.

To give each story the attention it needs, I will do a short review of each one and score it at the end of the paragraph. A final aggregated score  will conclude this (hopefully not that long) “80 page giant” review.

Action Comics #1000 opens with one hell of a curtain call from writer/penciler Dan Jurgens, inker Norm Rapmund, and colorist Hi-Fi that acts as a victory lap for Jurgens’ DC Rebirth run on Action Comics and his tireless work turning Superman from the edgy, armor wearing New 52 version to his classic role as a heroic hope bringer and a family man too. The story is simple. Metropolis is holding a Superman celebration day, but Superman doesn’t want their praise and adulation and wants to keep saving the day. However, through a little trickery from Lois and the Justice League, he ends up getting his moment in the sun. Jurgens’ writing cuts to the core of Superman and his positivity with a small-time Metropolis criminal named Benning talking about how he got him a job after prison so he wouldn’t keep relapsing and running with different supervillains. His art is a little old school, but that’s not a bad thing, and Rapmund’s inking helps make the crowd shots sharp in a story that shows Superman’s bond with the citizens of Metropolis and the superhero community while not neglecting the family elements that have been a big part of the Rebirth era of Superman. There really wouldn’t be a superhero genre without him.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.8

The next story “Neverending Battle” from the Superman creative team of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Alejandro Sanchez is a tiny bit philosophical, somewhat historical, and definitely epic as a story only done in full page spreads. It’s about Vandal Savage weaponizing Hypertime to trap Superman in his own history so he can’t get back to Jon and Lois to celebrate his birthday. Tomasi’s writing is a little corny at times with adages like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “History repeats itself”, but Gleason and Sanchez’s glorious visuals and the through-line of Superman consistently overcoming great odds wins out just like Superman over Vandal Savage. The first spreads are the most iconic with Golden Age Era Superman punching out gangsters, stopping locomotives, and throwing tanks around with Tomasi commentating on the simplistic, good vs. evil nature of these early stories. But he and Gleason aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with a poignant homage to the scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman is weakened after stopping a nuclear explosion that blocks out the sun or a page where he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. However, despite cunning and powerful enemies and occasionally death itself, nothing will stop Superman from being a hero or spending time with his loved ones on his birthday. Gleason has a strong handle on the moral clarity and goodness behind Superman’s strength and I look forward to his upcoming work as the main Action Comics artist.

Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3

The third story “An Enemy Within” with a script from Marv Wolfman, Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger inking over recently discovered Curt Swan, and colors by Hi-Fi straddles a thin line between optimism and naivete and definitely falls on the naive side. Superman is too busy fighting Brainiac in Japan so he relies on Maggie Sawyer and the Metropolis PD to take out a mind controlled teacher, who is holding his students hostage. There is an opportunity to address social issues, like school shooting, gun control, police violence, and even homelessness in a scene towards the end, but Wolfman, Swan, and Guice gloss over these issues with a simplistic “humanity is good and will save themselves” mantra and use the mind control plot device to cover their asses. Honestly, your enjoyment of this story will depend on how much you believe in the idea of original sin or your tolerance level for after school specials. Guice’s inks bring an interesting grit to Swan’s usually clean, bright pencils, and honestly, the best part of the story is a solemn Superman pinup at the end inked by the late Schaffenberger.

Story: 4.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Olivier Coipel, and Alejandro Sanchez turn in a stoic, 1930s era Superman story about a small time crook named Butch who gets his car beat up when trying to fight Superman. It’s probably the car from the cover of Action Comics #1. Johns and Donner’s take on Superman is a little rougher and little more stern, but he has a solid moral compass and cares for humanity as shown by his empathy towards Butch, who lost his dad in combat during World War I. Coipel’s art is wonderfully rough hewn and is like Norman Rockwell’s work without the sentimentality, and he even plays the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…” line for sardonic, silent comedy. His Superman commands the page and is someone who you would listen to and definitely take seriously. He doesn’t smile either. But the ending of “The Car” has an earned happiness and is a little spark of light in a cynical world. Johns and Donner really get that heroism is about the little things and not flying the world backwards or time travel shenanigans.

Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig tell a quiet, yet time spanning story about the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor, and how Superman chooses to see the good even in his worst enemy. The story starts intense with shadow wreathed art and dark colors from Albuquerque and McCaig as Luthor has assembled some powerful MacGuffins to take out Superman. But he’s actually just star gazing at the Smallville Planetarium? Albuquerque’s art is sharper and sadder after that with a nostalgic orange palette from McCaig as Lex tells Superman that the planetarium was an escape from bad weather and his abusive parents. They seamlessly blend past and present as it’s revealed that a young Clark Kent gave Lex’s space laser a little boost and saved his life. Snyder uses this anecdote/flashback sequence to hold out hope for a time when “maybe” the cycle of hero and villain will be broken between Superman and Lex Luthor as the story fades to black.

Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7

Tom King makes a case for winning back to back Eisners for Best Short Story in his, Clay Mann, and Jordie Bellaire’s contribution to Action #1000, “Of Tomorrow”. It’s a tone poem about Superman’s last day on Earth as he says goodbye to Ma and Pa Kent one last time as the Earth is engulfed in the sun with flames and winds that are reminiscent of the last days of Krypton. King writes Superman as an old man wrestling with his past and legacy, wishing he could save more people, and being supremely proud of his wife and son. And it gets deep at the end when he reflects on his father’s blend of science and faith. Mann captures each tiny, beautiful moment in his artwork as he makes art with his strength, tears, and freeze breath: a frozen statuette of Jonathan and Martha Kent like the one of Jor-El and Lara-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Bellaire goes for Earth tones in her colors as Superman immerses himself in his adopted planet before flying off forever. He loves his parents, he loves Earth, but he realizes that all planets die and all story ends. (Except for his comic book for now.)

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Two veteran comics creators Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway show they still have a lot in the tank in their “Five Minutes” story with colorist Dave McCaig that expertly intertwines Superman’s life as a superhero and Clark Kent’s life as a journalist in five minutes. Simonson’s narration shows that both Clark and Superman’s “powers” come in handy in different situation as Superman is able to dart from a train accident to a hold up and finally to save the city from an asteroid just like Clark is able to write a story and get it in under deadline. It’s a quick, zippy read with a lot of heart and a kind of cheesy “twist” ending, but Simonson and Ordway show how much passion Superman/Clark Kent has for both saving people and reporting. He is precise, efficient, and knows when to fly to next crisis just like a writer juggling different projects. Plus there’s a Bibbo Bibbowski cameo, which will be a treat for Superman fans of the 80s and 90s.

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3

Paul Dini, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, and Trish Mulvihill turn in a cheeky homage to Superman’s history, Garcia-Lopez’s ability to skillfully render almost every DC Comics hero and villain, and most of all, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Mxyzptlk has the ability to wipe out Superman from the existence in the blink of an eye, but he’s more of a prankster than a coldblooded villain and enjoys toying with him instead. Dini, Garcia-Lopez, and Nowlan also provide a little meta-commentary on how stories involving superheroes in comics never seem to end even after they’re killed off or have passed their mantle to sidekicks or legacy heroes. Probably, because they’re too much fun. This story’s kryptonite is Dini indulging his sleazy side towards the end, but the energy and humanity of Garcia-Lopez’s figures and Mulvihill’s heroic colors more than make up for it.

Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0

In a much darker story than the previous one, “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” happens in a very short span of time as Superman tries to stop a domestic abuser from shooting his girlfriend, Lila, in the head. Artist John Cassaday tells the story in a series of freeze frames as you can see the strain of Superman flying to stop the bullet, and the red, yellow, and blue of Laura Martin’s colors as his chances increase. Brad Meltzer starts incredibly dark in his script with Superman running calculations in his head that he won’t be able to save Lila and ends with Superman admitting that he is inspired by humanity as much as they are inspired by him. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” is a taut, mini-thriller that also captures Superman’s essence and the strength of his and the people he inspire’s resolves.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The final story in Action Comics #1000 is Brian Michael Bendis’ DC debut with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair doing the art. Lee and Williams definitely put the “action” in Action Comics, and most of the story is a third act of Man of Steel fight sequence with collateral damage galore as new giant sword wielding alien conqueror villain Rogol Zaar crashes all over Metropolis and tries to kill the last two Kryptonians on Earth. Yes, Supergirl has a cameo in this comic and is there to get her ass kicked as much as Superman. Bendis’ writing is quippy as ever and doesn’t really pair well with the disaster movie feel of Lee and Williams’ art. He seems to be going for an “Avengers Disassembled” type of throughline in his approach to Superman by physically breaking him down and also taking shots at his past. Yes, the final page of Action Comics #1000 is a huge retcon for Superman’s character, and hopefully, Bendis has the reasoning and great story to back it up, or Rogol Zaar might just be a Mongul knock-off with a cooler sword.

Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0

 

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis  Art: Dan Jurgens with Norm Rapmund, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan with Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez with Kevin Nowlan, John Cassaday, Jim Lee with Scott Williams  Colors:  Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Top 25 Fictional Presidents

Happy Presidents’ Day!

With everyone else running their lists of the top Presidents and the worst and because our current occupant of the Oval Office is, ahhem, how do I put it?

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Quite right. So, we thought we’d bring you the list of the top fictional Presidents to help us set our sights higher.

Let’s start with a couple of honorable mentions. While they didn’t make the top list, it’s worth noting that Roy Schieder, James Cromwell, and Bruce Greenwood have all played presidents multiple times. Because when someone says, “We need a President—who’s an actor who exudes gravitas?” the obvious answer is the guy who blew up Jaws, Farmer Hoggett, and. . .well, Bruce Greenwood. Robert Rodriguez also seems to like to cast random people as presidents in his movies, including George Clooney in Spy Kids and Charlie Sheen as the most hilariously named fictional president ever, “President Rathcock,” in Machete Kills.

And with that, I present to you, the Top 25 Fictional Presidents of all time

25. Stephen Colbert / President Hathaway — Marvel Comics/Monsters vs. Aliens played by Stephen Colbert.

Because the Executive Producer of Our Cartoon President has also been. . . a cartoon president. Specifically, a president who decides that the best way to attack aliens is with monsters. This film was genius and I never quite understood why it didn’t take off more.

Colbert ASM variant cover

Also, we should always remember that time in Marvel comics when Colbert (his persona as a loudmouth host of The Colbert Report, not his nicer, more mainstream self as host of The Late Show) ran as an independent, won the popular vote, and lost the Electoral College to Obama.

Losing the popular vote but being elected anyway? “Preposterous! Only in comic books!” you say? Sounds right.

Ok, so not exactly a president. But he’s right in that hall of almost presidents with Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Samuel Tilden. And none of them got to team up with Spider-Man. (Yet.)

24. James Dale — Mars Attacks! played by Jack Nicholson.

Stealing a vibe from Dr. Strangelove and other b-movie alien invasion films, Nicholson is able to channel quite well the hapless president overwhelmed by alien invasion. My favorite is how he keeps believing the worst possible advice. For style, not for substance, you made the list.

23. Tom Beck — Deep Impact played by Morgan Freeman. Ok, I know he belongs on this list, but I get seriously confused about which asteroid movie this was? Oh, this was the one where the asteroid actually hits. Ok. Not with Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis. And was Morgan Freeman also the President in “Olympus Has Fallen”? Oh, no, that was Aaron Eckhart. Almost.

Anyway — Morgan Freeman. That is all.

doctorow wheaton22. Cory Doctorow / Wil Wheaton, Ready Player One

Are you ready for Ready Player One?

With the movie coming in just a few weeks, hype is in full gear. Worth noting, in Ernest Cline’s book that the film is based off of, it mentioned the very real people Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton had been elected president and vice-president of the Oasis, the giant online system everyone uses for games, education, second life. At this point, who controlled the Oasis was far more important than who was actually president, as the real world really sucked.

Real people, fake product, fake presidents– but we could use more people like them in politics and fewer like, well, most of the people in charge these days.

21. Preston Rickard / Beth Ross, Prez from DC Comics

Kids elected president? We could do much worse. In this satire where future presidents are elected by Twitter because turnout is so low and kids are allowed to vote, somehow a social media star gets elected president. In the 2015 reboot, they even bring back the original Prez from the 1970’s. It’s great satire because our politics have literally gotten just that bad. You can read a more full review we ran here and also here, and here, and an interview with the writer here. A series that was cancelled too soon, maybe it will get rebooted again in another 40 years.

20. Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day played by Bill Pullman.

Ok, just watch that clip above. That’s the only reason why. Yeah, he flew a fighter jet to save the earth, but so what? Big summer movie speech– the biggest summeriest speechiest movie speech ever. And please try to forget that Independence Day 2 ever happened.

19. Vanellope Von Schweetz – Wreck-It Ralph played by Sarah Silverman. Upon being restored to her rightful place as Princess of Sugar Rush land, Vanellope decides to transition her government into a constitutional democracy and become President. Hey, it’s better than ordering the execution of Taffeta Muttonfudge and the others who were mean to her. For being a president who is able to give up supreme executive power in favor of giving it to the people, you made the list, Vanellope. Also, looking forward to your sequel and you possibly becoming. . . a Disney Princess?

18. Merkin Mufflin – Dr. Strangelove played by Peter Sellers. 

On this list if only for the classic line “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!” And because Peter Sellers.

17. Zaphod Beeblebrox — The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Finally, a president whose narcissism rivals that of our own! Two heads, three arms, and the biggest idiot, he was elected president of the galaxy — a position which has no power and is only there to distract people from who’s really in charge. There are a lot of satirical presidents on this list, but this is one of the best. If he had Twitter, no doubt he’d be tweeting about being “a very stable genius” “despite all the negative press covfefe.” Also, the only president with his own music video (from the 2005 film starring Sam Rockwell as our president) — and he’s better looking, too.

16. President Skroob — Spaceballs played by Mel Brooks.

It’s good to be the king, er, president. Floozies. Unlisted walls. Nobody telling you your ass is so big. Your own canned air supply.

Too bad you run a civilization so dumb that it is running out of oxygen. (I’m betting Scott Pruitt runs Spaceballs’ EPA) But still, hail Skroob!

15. James Marshall — Air Force One played by Harrison Ford. “Get off of my plane!” That’s all you need to make the list. Also, James Marshall seems like a pretty good guy. He’s resourceful enough to contact his people and sabotage his own hijacked plane, he can speak Russian in remarks to the Russian government.

I always thought this was the “President Jack Ryan” movie that we never got (because, let’s face it, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders will never be made into movies) as a follow up to Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Plus, it’s Harrison Ford.

14. Richard Nixon’s head — Futurama played by Billy West. “NIXON’S BACK!!!” Disproving the adage that there are no second acts in politics, Nixon served as President of Earth for most of the run of Futurama, providing some awesome times along the way– brought to you by Shenkman’s Rubbing Compound and the great taste of Charleston Chew.

Corrupt, easy to anger, and also pretty stupid, it makes us almost forget how bad the actual Richard Nixon was. And it also seems pretty spot-on these days.

13. Jackson Evans – The Contender played by Jeff Bridges.

One of my personal and pet favorites, President Jackson Evans spends most of the film trying to outmaneuver a slimy and hypocritical Gary Oldman (the second time he’s been the villain on the list! Whaddya know?!?) to get a woman confirmed as his Vice President. Oh, and also trying to order the most ridiculous things from the White House kitchen staff to show them they’re unprepared. Jeff Bridges is also part of a family of presidential stars, including his father Lloyd Bridges president in Hot Shots Part Deux, and brother Beau Bridges as president three times in 10.5, its sequel 10.5 Apocalypse and an episode of Stargate SG-1.

12. Kang – The Simpsons played by Harry Shearer. When Kang and his sister Kodos take over as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in the 1996 elections, it was only a matter of time before one of them became president. They were sure fire winners, especially with classy campaign rhetoric like: “Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others.” “My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” When it was pointed out that they were aliens, Kodos pointed out it was a two party system. When some idiot said he would vote for a third party candidate, Kang sealed his place in history by saying “Go ahead– throw your vote away.” And that’s what make him so high on this list. Don’t like it? “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

11. President Business – The Lego Movie played by Will Farrell. 

Both greed and conformity personified, President Business is perhaps the most subversive choice on this entire list. Most kids will never get the dystopian overtones, but if Gordon Gecko and Big Brother made a child out of Legos, this would be it.

Also, that awesome hat and those legs.

Those legs. 

Genius.

Also genius– you notice those are coffee mugs on his hat, right?

If only we’d heeded the warning of electing a “businessman” to be president. If Trump invited everyone to a Taco Tuesday, we know something evil is about to happen.

10. Lex Luthor – Superman.

Compared to the other villains on this list (and the current POTUS) who knew that Lex Luthor would be one of the least evil and least overt of the great villain presidents?

The best thing about Luthor as president (and always with Luthor) is he doesn’t think he’s the villain. He even gets the majority of America to agree with him. True genius. 

9. Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation played by Amy Poehler. Ok, so she was never explicitly president on the show. But the show’s finale sure seemed to hint at it. And let’s be honest? She is exactly what we need right now.

Because unlike most of the rest of these dopes in the top 10, Leslie Knope embodies gumption and honesty and has yet to be corrupted by political power. And we hope she never does. We love you, Leslie Knope.

Knope/Swanson 2020.

8. Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons played by Yeardley Smith. 

Speaking of competent, smart, earnest women who could take over the presidency in a heartbeat. . . .

This is the clip everyone knows where The Simpsons predicted President Trump and a huge debt crisis because of his policies. But what we can hope for is the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have the intelligence and empathy of Lisa Simpson. I’m not so sure about Secretary of the Treasury Milhouse Van Houten, though. I guess if (Producer of Suicide Squad) Steve Mnuchin can do it. . .

7. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Comacho — Idiocracy played by Terry Crews. 

The smartest president in the not-too-distant-future (and Cassandra-like warning of our current administration), President Comacho was wise enough to let his Secretary of the Interior, Not Sure, put water from the toilet on the crops, even though we all know plants crave the electrolyes in Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. Also, he’s a champion wrestler, and who doesn’t want that in the White House?

Dave Kevin Kline Sigourney Weaver

6. Dave Kovic impersonating President Bill Mitchell — Dave played by Kevin Kline. 

In the second-greatest Ivan Reitman film of all time, we get to see what would happen if we actually let a regular guy be president. And the answer is a not half-bad job. Dave’s jobs program makes sense to me, and his approach to trimming the budget to keep a homeless shelter open? Would that we could actually do that. While not the most accurate portrayal of Washington, it’s a version I wish we lived in and less like the real world Washington, which is more petty and full of incompetents — like Veep.

5. President Lindberg — The Fifth Element played by Tiny Lister.

As one of the many presidents on this list who have faced destruction of the planet, he handled it the best.

Because what every president should do when facing disaster in the 90’s? Throw Bruce Willis (in this case Corbin Dallas) at it. And perhaps the best part is where he gets yelled at by Corbin Dallas’s overbearing mother.

Wait. . . Gary Oldman’s the bad guy in this one, too! Definitely a pattern. . . and maybe a metaphor for this year’s Best Actor Oscar race, too.

4. David Palmer — 24 played by Dennis Haysbert.

Possibly the most badass of our top 5 presidents, David Palmer stood up to assassination attempts, terror attacks, and Kim getting menaced by a cougar (ok, so not that last one).  He was also the only guy who seemed to be able to control Jack Bauer, which probably qualifies you to be on this list anyway. Also, a crazy murdery wife. And a competent brother who made a good president in his own right. But he was no David Palmer. Few people are.

2. [tie] Josiah “Jed” Bartlett/Andy Shepard — The West Wing/The American President played by Martin Sheen/Michael Douglas.

This is a tie because you can’t truly separate these two characters, as they both personify Aaron Sorkin’s idealized White House full of competent, well-meaning people. Yes, it’s a fantasy in itself. But it’s one we wish we had.

Still one of my favorite tv shows of all time and one of my favorite movies of all time. Also, I think it’s time to reboot The West Wing. Sorkin said he’d reboot it with Sterling K. Brown as president, but I think we could do even better. Pitch: It’s the first two years of President Seaborn’s first term. Except President Seaborn is actually Sam’s wife, and she’s played by, oh, I dunno. . . Gina Torres, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, or Rosario Dawson.  Who’s with me?

Honorable mention here to President Santos, our first Latino fictional president.

1. Laura Roslin — Battlestar Galactica played by Mary McDonnell.

A lot of fictional presidents have faced down apocalyptic threats to Earth. Few of them have had to live on after the apocalypse.

Laura Roslin did that and more. Despite being completely unintentionally thrown into the presidency (she was a schoolteacher and Sec of Education before) she filled the role like few others could. And she held her own against Adama, against Tom Zarek, against those fraking cylons, and finally against cancer. She made mistakes along the way, but she rose to what she needed to do. And that is why she is the best. So say we all.

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So, who did we miss? There’s a couple intentionally left off here for very real, non fictional reasons, but if we missed your favorite, or think we rated someone too high or too low, let us know in the comments!

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