Inside Pulse » Smallville http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Smallville http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com Really?! The Criminal Handling of The Man of Steel http://insidepulse.com/2013/06/11/really-the-criminal-handling-of-the-man-of-steel/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/06/11/really-the-criminal-handling-of-the-man-of-steel/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:00:05 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=334041 Superman really

Holy crap, Grey has a second column in a reasonable timeframe? Really? His lazy ass pulled it off? Blasphemous! But it’s true, loyal readers, I’ve found my inspirado and rediscovered my urge to crank out non-review content! Fortunately for all of you, but not necessarily any staffers in the big two that gnash their jaws in contempt at my lack of being political with my rantings. After all, I’m simply a customer of theirs, there’s no need to kiss ass when it’s not due, and I’ve got a sizable list of things that do not deserve anyone getting their ass kissed. Ready? I know I am!

There are plenty of iconic characters in comics, but if you were to ask people of different generations, get a good sample size, there’s a pretty solid chance that you’ll find a much larger consensus for Superman’s recognizability over Batman’s, Spider-Man’s, Iron Man’s, hell, Captain America’s. Superman is a true American icon that is relevant on a global scale. He was the first superhero, and he remains the benchmark that all are held up to. He’s the biggest fictional creation of the entire twentieth century.

Unfortunately, he isn’t treated as such. Writers talk about him as if he needs modernizing, fans talk about him as if his message and abilities make him outdated, and there is an ongoing critique that he isn’t edgy enough.

Really?

Superman isn’t edgy enough? Superman needs to be edgy? Superman needs to get extreme? Maybe change the look up, tweak the color scheme, get some new powers…wait, no, we had that, and Electric Superman was terrible.

Electro Superman

Really?

Red and Blue were worse.

Superman Red-Blue

Really.

Superman is a character immune to modernizing because, frankly, he doesn’t need it. You can tweak the origin, or the specifics of the costume, but who and what he is can’t be changed without bringing Elseworlds into things. Hell, even then, I’ve seen a version of Kal-El raised as Bruce Wayne who ended up being Superman; same goes for the Amish and Soviets. Superman is the champion of those who can not defend themselves, it does not matter where or when you base him, he always does the right thing in the end.

It’s a recurring theme for writers to take over Superman and try to reinvent the wheel. Everyone wants to tell the never before told Superman story of their wildest dreams, but nobody really seems to grasp how to anymore. I grew up with Superman in the 90’s, really, Dan Jurgens and Louise Simonson, Karl Kesel and Roger Stern. I grew up in the era where they had the little markers on the cover to let you know the overall reading order of the entire run, since Superman was coming out at least four times a month across his four different titles. Four different books by four different creative teams telling four different stories, and it was more successful than DC’s attempts the past few years of giving the Man of Steel two ongoing series in an order to not over saturate him.

Really?

Batman, Detective Comics, Batman Incorporated, Batman and Robin, The Dark Knight. Those are the books in the Batman line that feature Bruce in a lead role, and they all have something else in common…every single one of those titles existed before the New 52, and each exists today. Superman has Superman and Action Comics, and the upcoming Superman Unchained.

 June 2013 Solicitations Superman UnChained #1 debut DC Comics New 52

Wait, really? I had forgotten that it’s actually called that. Unchained. Talk about an edgy title to make him seem ‘hipper’ and ‘cooler’. Superman: Off The Chain! Seriously, how hard is it to just call the book “Superman: The Man of Steel”, and mooch off of the easy synergy with the movie title? At least that would bring with it the easy explanation of “Well, he IS the Man of Steel!” Hell, Man of Tomorrow works too, and both sound less eager to please a young audience that finds the greatest icon in comics to be boring.

Because, again, there is no greater pop culture icon in the last hundred years than Superman, and they should be ashamed that anyone could find him boring.

Really.

When Tony Daniel finishes scripting over Andy Diggle’s plots and leaves Action Comics in the hands of Scott Lobdell, it will be the first time since DC took their books ‘One Year Later’ that I haven’t bought an ongoing monthly Superman title. You see, when I got back into comics, up through that point, there was a decidedly ‘let’s be confusing’ mindset with Superman. With four books that only referenced each other when they needed to, and a random short lived Supergirl that never existed, and at one point Chuck Austen showing up to write Action Comics into the ground. By bringing in Gog and Magog and making Superman get Kingdom Come style gray hair, and lose fights to super powered rednecks, and then eventually getting blacklisted from the entire industry and having a ghost writer finish up his Doomsday arc that began with the creature saving a kitten before killing its owner.

Really?

Action Comics 820 pg33

Really.

Seriously, that happened, and the sole highlight was Ivan ‘One day I will draw Green Lantern’ Reis (who didn’t even draw the only issue worth showing off). DC had no real idea what to do with the Man of Steel. Gail Simone was scripting over John Byrne’s plots and pencils, Greg Rucka was trying his best to be Greg Rucka with a story arc filled with twists, turns, and political intrigue, and I believe Joe Kelly was still doing his Futuresmiths stuff. I call it stuff because it was never collected well, and I’ve never been able to get a consensus on what actually happened during that time period. It was so quickly and easily forgotten along with, well, everything else as we moved a year into the future with DC actually attempting to make Superman seem important.

They cut the line down to Superman, Action Comics, and Supergirl. Not going to count Superman/Batman, likely not even going to acknowledge it again after this sentence. The relaunch took off with ‘Up, Up, and Away’, which I’d honestly call the first must read Superman to be published in the 21st century. Superman went into the hands of Kurt ‘Best. Avengers. Ever’ Busiek, who proceeded to have his work dicked around, paused, ignored, and fed into the Countdown crossover machine. He had plans for an arc about an alternate future where things have gone wrong, and Superman must prevent himself from going bad and destroying everything, but that story was lost in the shuffle with Jimmy Olsen gaining superpowers and becoming the feature character to push that awful piece of crap called Countdown.

 jimmy-olsen-countdown

Action Comics went into the hands of budding A lister Geoff Johns, who was coming off of one of the best Flash runs ever, a great run on JSA, a successful reboot of the Teen Titans, the Rebirth of the Green Lantern franchise, and the awesome Infinite Crisis. Alright, so budding is the wrong word, he was a star already, so they let him try his hand at Superman. His first arc, co-written by Richard Donner, was a love story to the Superman films and is best left forgotten. Everything after that? Brilliance. Geoff didn’t spend too long with Superman, but during his time he told one of the best Bizarro stories ever, reinvented the classic Legion for the modern era, and gave us a definitive Brainiac story, all culminating in the creation of New Krypton. One of his coolest ideas ever, and unfortunately, an event he never contributed a page to.

Geoff and Kurt were quickly replaced, as was Superman. Really. Action Comics by Greg Rucka featured Nightwing and Flamebird, while Superman by James Robinson featured Mon’el. Where was Superman? On New Krypton, taking orders from Zod, and being treated like just another Kryptonian.

 New Krypton Zod

Really?

This is the guy that saved their civilization from Brainiac, gave them a new chance at life, a new home, and freaking superpowers, and he’s treated like a third rate citizen. Really? Supergirl is treated like spoiled royalty, but Superman is shunned. New Krypton was the beginning of the end. Shock value deaths, bad crossovers, and an overall acceptance by Earth that Superman didn’t want to be their hero anymore, while Krypton didn’t give a crap about this guy who saved all of their lives from living in a bottle. It was a dark time. War of the Supermen was bloody fucking terrible, as we were supposed to believe that after the Last Stand of New Krypton, all the surviving Kryptonians bum rush Earth and promptly get slaughtered.

Really? A race of people with abilities on par with Superman get killed off by Sam Lane and his Human Defense Corps? Really? They aren’t outclassed at all? Really? On top of that, they manage to dwindle the survivors numbers down to…what? Exactly what they were before Geoff Johns brought Kandor back? Status quo? After a year? No long lasting changes? Really?

Wait, no, there was a long lasting change. Superman spent his last year before getting rebooted walking across America to rediscover himself, and given that it ended with a reboot, wasting all of our damn time. Sure, Action Comics was readable during that time, written by Paul Cornell, but it featured Lex Luthor in a lead role (never a bad idea) and completely fell apart once Superman came on as the lead.

The Reign of Doomsday

Not surprising.

So where’s the love for those of us who just want to read some good Superman? Who want to see the Man of Steel be the iconic role model to the superhero community that makes him the measuring stick for all of comics? There just hasn’t been a market for us, not with Kal-El in the lead at least. However, pretty consistently since about the day Geoff left Action Comics, we’ve had a reprieve.

 Supergirl_JamalIgle

Supergirl has been borderline must read since December of 2008, when Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle took over. They made Kara Zor-El important for the first time since Jeph Loeb and the late, great, Mike Turner brought her back. While Action Comics was focusing on two characters that nobody cared about, and Superman featured James Robinson telling a solid Mon-El story with no long term ramifications, Supergirl had personality. Gates gave her bad guys, a mother-daughter dynamic with her mom, essentially the Queen of New Krypton, and had her spend a lot of time contemplating the morality of taking vengeance in the name of her murdered father. She dealt with Cat Grant, a gossip reporter who had it out for the Girl of Steel, and even received her own temporary arch-rival in the form of Bizarrogirl, who is simply the best Bizarro ever. She took on the civilian identity of Lana Lang’s niece, fought Superwoman (Lucy Lane), and was brought in closer to the actual Superman family as far as stories go than I had ever seen a girl called Supergirl be (I did grow up with Matrix and Linda Danvers). The book was my favorite Superman family title for quite a while, but eventually Sterling left, Nick Spencer came on for an issue, someone else finished his arc, and then KSD came and ended the run. Creative turmoil at the tail end of a book is generally a death sentence, and yet, in this case the book remained something I wanted to read every month. Really.

Then we got the New 52, and with it four new Superman family titles by four new creative teams. George Perez on Superman, Scott Lobdell on Superboy, Supergirl by Mike’s Green and Johnson and Mahmud Asrar, and finally, the focal point of the line, Action Comics by Grant Morrison. It was a new and exciting time with new creatives teams, new status quos, and a chance to exorcise a lot of the confusing crap that Superman had been through over the years. Despite people whinging over the altered costume, it was giving us the potential for a reinvented Superman that many fans felt we needed. Really, it was, without Lois and Clark married we’d have a single Superman for the first time in twenty years, and his new origin could…no, I can’t.

Geoff Johns wrote Secret Origin after he left Action Comics, and in it he managed to cut right to the core of Superman’s character, combine the gold, silver, and modern ages, and create a Superman that worked for everyone. You kept the silly stuff like Superboy, retained the iconic relationship that the Legion was built on, had an antagonistic relationship with Lex Luthor based out of childhood, and built villains like Parasite and Metallo directly into his origin. It even made time for Krypto! It was the PERFECT origin story, REALLY! It was the kind of book that anyone could pick up, read, and not wave too many flags over. It was fundamentally Superman and it worked on every level. Why mess with perfect, right?

 actioncomics

Well, Grant Morrison did. Grant, one of the most talented writers in all of comics, one of the best idea men of our generation, and he tackled modernizing the Man of Steel. Really. First rule of Superman is that you can’t modernize him successfully, no matter who you are, so Grant tried, and the end result? We’ve got a magical suit that is always on in cloak mode, dead parents, no Superboy, a Legion of Adult Superheroes helping him fight an Anti-Superman Army inside of his brain, a Brainiac that isn’t called Brainiac, and what really was an absolutely fine eighteen issue stand alone arc that wasn’t suited at all to be followed up on by anybody not named Grant Morrison. So the end result, when he left Action Comics, was that nobody knew what he was trying to do, and now we have a Superman with an overly complicated origin story that completely eliminates many of the iconic representations that Geoff Johns had managed to seamlessly work in just a few years prior. Really.

George Perez had a fun six issue arc that bore no actual importance, and was followed up by several issue of Dan “King of Superman” Jurgens and Keith “The Workhorse” Giffen, and then Scott Lobdell came on board. Scott, who, I was a huge fan of for years and years and years, but who I felt has been turning in some of his worst career work since coming to DC. Who crafted a crossover for all of the Super titles that was so awful and drawn out that I didn’t even realize it ended. Whose nonsensical story telling has been rewarded by getting the reigns of Action Comics from the recently bailed out Andy Diggle. The Oracle was awful, H’el was awful, and I have no regrets in giving up. Even if it meant not reading Superman.

Really.

Because, once again, I find myself reading Supergirl and enjoying the hell out of it, because Kara is getting depth and characterization and plots that actually make sense. She’s a girl without a world who is making the wrong decisions because she doesn’t think that this is how her life is supposed to be. A reinvented Silver Banshee became her best friend and helped her acclimate to the world (and language) of this foreign planet, while staying in a hard denial that this guy with text book Kryptonian is claiming to be her baby cousin. H’el on Earth may have been a God awful piece of crap story, but Kara desperate for home and someone to love was incredibly believable. So, of course, this book never gets any real hype. She spent the last two issues teaming up with Power Girl and letting total hilarity ensue, a must read arc that got me rolling with laughter. That featured two of my favorite characters that, honestly, I did not care at all about before 2008. Because the strength of the writing and storytelling made me fall in love. It happens, really.

 supergirl20

So what’s the solution? Honestly, it’s a full overhaul, the sooner the better, because there is a freaking movie due out in just a matter of days with a ridiculous amount of awesome early buzz. Something that Superman Returns never had. So this is, literally, the perfect time to do a summer of Superman; not just one book by an A list creative team. This is the time to make Superman and Action Comics into must read books, not let Scott Lobdell continue doing absolutely nothing with them. Hector Hammond is his bad guy when Superman is getting the most exposure he’s received in years. Really? Hector Hammond? Hal Jordan’s nemesis? Really? That awful bad guy from the bomb known as the Green Lantern movie? Really? You couldn’t go with a Superman villain like Metallo, or Bizarro, or the fucking Parasite? Really? Hector Fucking Hammond?

hector-hammond-new52

Fuck it, just use Lex Luthor.

Man of Steel is about to hit theaters, I’m stoked for it, hopefully all of you are as well. There is nothing that we all need more right now than to be reminded of why Superman is so important, that he’s the premier hero, and the buzz is telling me that this movie isn’t just going to be a financial success, but that it could finally be that one story that catapults Superman back to the forefront of popculture, where he belongs. After all, it worked for Batman when Nolan and Bale came around and gave us Batman Begins. It’s long overdue, about time, etc. etc. It’s going to be a must see movie, and really, it has to be. Not because DC needs a hit, or because they need something to build Justice League out of, but because they need something Superman related that finds critical acclaim and financial success.

They need people to remember that Superman is the worlds greatest hero, and that he always will be.

 manofsteel

Really.

Oh, and if DC wanted to REALLY bolster the quality of the Superman line of books (save for Snyder’s book that hasn’t launched as of my posting this)? Here’s a short list of writers that could and would make Superman an intriguing must read book on a monthly basis.

Geoff Johns, who has shown a keen understanding of the Man of Steel in the past, and who really shouldn’t have left when he did as the entire line fell apart without him.

Peter Tomasi, who has made his mark with the Bat family and the Lanterns, but who I feel would bring similar work to Superman.

Mark Waid, who, really, only doesn’t work at DC because they wouldn’t let him write Superman. All he wanted to do was write Superman, and he’s Mark fucking Waid. Easily one of the top five writers of the last twenty years. Give the man Superman and no editorial interference and watch magic happen.

And finally….Bryan Q. Miller. You may have noticed a complete and total lack of mentioning his current (essentially weekly) ongoing title…Smallville. Where he writes the best Superman I’ve read in years, featuring a strong supporting cast, believable villains, and BOOSTER GOLD. So why didn’t I mention it? Because Q has carved out his own little sandbox in the Smallville universe, where nothing syncs up with the New 52 save for Babs being a Batgirl who’s dialog was clearly Stephanie Brown. The book is damn near perfect, and a must read for any and all Superman fans…even if it is very clearly Smallville. It’s a different animal altogether, and that’s why it didn’t really fit in with the mishandling of the primary Man of Steel. There will never be some crossover with the New 52, and it won’t even get promoted due to the need to keep New 52 books hyped, but it’s the best dollar you’ll spend every week, and if Q was given an actual Superman book to write that would be the best three or four bucks you’d spend every month.

Smallville01_cover

Really.

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Warner Bros Website & Tie-In Toys Reveal Man of Steel Movie Reboots Not Just Superman Shield, But A Lot More Glyph Shields? http://insidepulse.com/2013/05/27/warner-bros-website-tie-in-toys-reveal-man-of-steel-movie-reboots-not-just-superman-shield-but-a-lot-more-glyph-shields/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/05/27/warner-bros-website-tie-in-toys-reveal-man-of-steel-movie-reboots-not-just-superman-shield-but-a-lot-more-glyph-shields/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 04:00:14 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=333025 I was at a Toys ‘R Us this weekend and did my usual walk-through the action figure and Lego / Kree-O building brick toy sections.

With the Superman movie reboot hitting the silver screen less than a month away on June 14, 2013, Man of Steel toys are noticeably populating shelves and other nooks in the store. While there have been a few intriguing movie trailers released, much of the scuttlebutt has been in the restitching of Superman’s suit, particularly losing the external red underwear (which is less of an issue now perhaps since Superman has not been sporting the red thong since late 2011 in the comics) the tie-in toys I spied reveal more changes in Kryptonian fashion.

The General Zod action figures, modeled on Superman’s film foe who is likely still an escaped Kryptonian villain via his Phantom Zone dimensional prison, have a pronounced unique shield on their chests. We still have the familiar five (5) sided pentagon Superman shield shape, but within the borders a very different crest. Turns out Zod’s robots also wear his crest, coat-of-arms, shield, whathaveyou.

In the Lego section, the “Battle of Smallville” set includes Superman alongside General Zod and his Phantom Zone co-escapees Foara and Tor-An. They too have unique crests on their chests. In relooking at the Man of Steel trailers, I can see some of these shields, but they are more subtle and mono-chromatic in the film footage released thus far.

After further e-digging, it would appear that there is answer for the varying fashions. It would appear the movie studio has set up a website called Glyph Creator / Generator where you can create your own “Glyph”. This is what these pentagon shields are now called. They are specific “ancestral” crests and appear to be unlike the most recent pre-DC Comics New 52 reboot which had the shields varying by core occupation / caste. This tie-in website, accessible through the main Warner Bros. official Man of Steel website too, opens with a blurb explaining the Glyph concept from the Man of Steel film.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)


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Demythify: Top 10 Questions From DC Comics New 52 July 2013 Solicitations With Justice Leagues’ 2013 Trinity War of Sin, Seeding 2014 Multiverse Cross-Over & More http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/08/demythify-top-10-questions-from-dc-comics-new-52-july-2013-solicitations-with-justice-leagues-2013-trinity-war-of-sin-seeding-2014-multiverse-cross-over-more/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/08/demythify-top-10-questions-from-dc-comics-new-52-july-2013-solicitations-with-justice-leagues-2013-trinity-war-of-sin-seeding-2014-multiverse-cross-over-more/#comments Mon, 08 Apr 2013 11:00:41 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=329373

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

It is that time of month again! DC Comics started releasing its July 2013 comic solicitations through various sites across the ‘net over the weekend. I’ve combed through those solicits and present the Top 10 Questions from those book teases.

Beware, some SPOILERS may follow. You have been warned. ;)


10: Who or What is Clayface Really in Batman The Dark Knight #22?

IGN has DC Comics’ Batman Family solicitations.

Artist Alex Maleev joins writer Gregg Hurwitz to unveil the origin of the New 52′s Clayface. The solicit:

    “Picking up from recent issues of BATMAN, the origin of Clayface is revealed—and a new mystery is introduced!”

I hope there will be a legacy element to this and that maybe we might see the multi-generational “family” of Clayfaces a.k.a. the Mud Pack (see right) from the 1980′s and 1990′s.

With so little legacy left in the New 52, maybe we’ll finally see some on the villains side of the ledger? That may be wishful thinking on my part, but I am still curious about the origins of this Clayface that will be revealed in July.

Um, also, doesn’t that solicit spoil events yet-to-occur in writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo’s Batman series?


9: Flash Has The Will of A Green Lantern In Flash Annual #2?

Newsarama brings us the tease for Flash Annual #2 from regular Flash co-writer Brian Buccellato and artist Sam Basri. The solicit:

    “Find out how The Flash and Green Lantern first met when a case they teamed up together to solve years ago rears its head again in the present! It involves a foe neither of them can defeat on their own, and they might not have much luck together either! The outcome of this will affect The Flash for years to come… Plus, a backup story by Nicole Dubuc (the Young Justice cartoon)!”

While I am intrigued to read this story, it looks like Flash is too easily wielding Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern ring.

My fave portrayal of a novice ring slinger was in Green Lantern: Rebirth (see right) when Green Arrow used the ring and was in excruciating pain in creating a construct by focusing his will to form an arrow. Not everyone should be able to use the ring, but we’ll see how this Annual plays out.


8: Gardner A 2-Corps Guy in Red Lanterns #22?

Comic Vine has the new creative team era of the New 52′s Green Lantern Family with solicits for July 2013. The Red Lanterns solicit is interesting:

    “Guy Gardner has suddenly found himself at the top of the Red Lantern food chain—but in a pack of bloodthirsty animals like these, everyone’s a predator! If he wants their respect, he’s gonna need the nastiest piece of work in the Corps on his side…but Bleez has her own ideas about what Guy Gardner’s got coming to him!”

So, Guy Gardner still has a green ring, but a red one too that has led to a leadership role with the Red Lanterns? Now, I do think that a recognizable human lead for the Red Lanterns would make it more accessible and a better seller, and Guy is dream casting, but what about Rankorr? I thought he was going to be the novice human Red Lantern lead of the book eventually? A POV character for us?

Anyhow, at the same time Hal Jordan is leading the Green Lantern Corps and training new recruits (see right). And the Green Lantern Corps series, that Guy used to co-anchor, seems to be become a John Stewart centric title? Kyle Rayner is no longer a GL, but THE White Lantern in New Guardians – in some distress in July – while Green Lantern Simon Baz, who I assume is the reason DC editorial made Kyle a White Lantern, is on the JLA.

This sure isn’t your daddy’s or your older brother’s GLC, is it?


7: Threshold #7 & Series is a Sleeper Book for DC New 52?

MTV has DC’s Edge solicits. It includes the sci-fi adventure Threshold under the pen of Keith Giffen and pencil of Tom Raney. The solicit for Threshold #7:

    “When the Hunted fight back against their persecutors, a connection between Blue Beetle and Apokolips sparks a riot! And don’t miss the start of a new backup tale spotlighting Star Hawkins!”

Threshold has been a breath of fresh air in the DC New 52 with its look at the final frontier of space. Giffen did this successfully for Marvel Comics and I hope he’ll be as successful or even more so with DC Comics. Jediah Caul as a rogue Green Lantern is a compelling character as is this “Hunted” backdrop. What is interesting – and has led to a mixed reception by long-time DC fans – are the repurposed classic DC characters we’re seeing Stealth of L.E.G.I.O.N. fame, Captain K’Rot and others.

It looks like in July 2013 Blue Beetle’s seeming ties to Apokolips surface and cause problems for his fellow “The Hunted” contestants. This connection to the New Gods may make Threshold a book to watch since the Fourth World is playing a big part in several DC series: Earth 2, Wonder Woman, WTF Superman, Justice League’s opening arc, to name a few.

Will this book be part of or seed in part the James Robinson teased Earth 2 / Prime Earth cross-over in 2014 (see numero uno Q below for more on that)? What role will all these New Gods play in this series? Keep your eyes on Threshold.


6: Doomsday takes on Superman in Smallville Season 11 #15?

Writer Bryan Q. Miller has many fans here at the Comics Nexus. His Smallville Season 11 series is part of the Beyond DC solicitations for July 2013 over at Newsarama.

Artist Daniel Hdr is on art for issue #15. The solicit reads:

    “Krypton’s past, present and future collide in the skies over New Krypton as the clock ticks down to oblivion. Superman, Supergirl, Booster and the Legion battle the unthinkable! “Argo” comes to its explosive conclusion in part 3 of 3.”

WOW. Doomsday! On the cover even.

This is the character that defined a generation by killing Superman (see right). What does the future hold for Smallville’s pretty boy Superman?

I am intrigued.


5: Who is The Wrath in Detective Comics #22?

The Batman Family solicitations also includes the DC New 52 debut of a fan fave character from the 1980′s in the pages of Detective Comics #22. Writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok with artist Andy Clarke in a back-up bring us the following:

    “Meet The Wrath! In Gotham City, he’s the anti-Batman, and the body count is about to shoot through the roof! And in the backup story, Man-Bat makes a startling discovery!”

In 1984, DC released Batman Special #1 that featured the debut of The Wrath. It was a self-contained story with a beginning, middle, and a seeming end for the anti-Batman. Years later in 2008, in the pages of Batman Confidential, someone else dons The Wrath garb to avenge the original. I won’t spoil the stories, but would recommend that you check out the tpb that collects both stories which are solid on writing and art. However, the character did not live up his potential and was essentially a two-hit wonder.

Here’s hoping The Wrath becomes a big deal in the New 52. Being an anti-Batman doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a villain. Maybe an anti-hero? If successful, I’d be up for a Wrath ongoing series! With Deathstroke, Team 7 and other edgy books cancelled, there is room for The Wrath.

Let’s start a hashtag twitter campaign: #New52WrathSeries. :) Who’s with me?


4: Will Suicide Squad #22 Explain Team’s Role in the New 52?

The Edge family solicitations also include my fave DC Comics franchise: Suicide Squad. July 2013′s 22nd issue continues the run of the new creative team of writer Ales Kot and artist Patrick Zircher formerly of Valiant’s Shadowman. The cover by Body Bags’ Jason Pearson is eye-catching. The solicit:

    “An anarchist group has a monstrous plan to rewire the brains of the American public, starting in Las Vegas! So it’s up to Amanda Waller’s team to shut them down—but a surprise new squad member with a grudge against Deadshot threatens to wreck everything!

Previous writer Adam Glass had been carrying this book on his back with a parade of artists that didn’t allow for the visual look of the book to be established. While I am sad to see Glass go, I am pleased DC seems to be supporting this book more and have a firm creative team in place.

Also, with so many dark or government sponsored teams in the DC New 52 including Justice League of America also run by Amanda Waller, what is the role of the Suicide Squad in the DC Comics Universe? With Waller’s JLA involved in Trinity War, will the Squad bat clean up?

And, where is the Unknown Soldier who DC pumped up with so such fanfare during its April 2013 WTF Certified Gatefold Covers?


3: Time Travelling Hex in All Star Western #22?

The July 2013 Edge solicits also include All-Star Western #22 by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with Moritat on art. The solicit:

    “After being locked in Arkham Asylum, Jonah Hex goes on the run with a partner, who’s family he’s all too familiar with from his days with Amadeus Arkham. And in the backup story, the epic of the 19th century StormWatch continues.”

Looks like the rumors about the cover to All-Star Western’s WTF April cover are true. Booster Gold takes Jonah Hex through time. Notice the horseless carriages ;) prominently featured on the cover (left)? Once DC reveals the full April gatefold it will be part of the several WTF covers released so far.

I can’t help but think back to the futuristic Hex series DC did in the 1980s (See right). I’d love a trip to the future as an easter eggy nod to that old series.

All Star Western remains one of the best books in the New 52. Purists may not welcome a time traveling Hex arc or two, but many will be intrigued.


2: Trinity War Begins In Justice League Dark of America #22′s ;) , BUT There’s More To It?

Looks like we were correct when we set up the Trinity War scenarios and chronciled recent events in support of them. Check out the interlocking July covers to Justice League #22, Justice League Dark #22 and Justice League of America #6 below.

USA Today confirms that Trinity War begins in July 2013 pitting the Justice League vs. Justice League of America vs. Justice League Dark. It will be a six-issue story crossing all three DC New 52 series in July and August 2013. In the mix is also the Trinity of Sin: Pandora, Phantom Stranger and Question. Beyond that, we’re told a hero’s death ignites the teams tensions. Who could that be? More to come clearly.

And, where are Hal Jordan, Shazam, Black Adam and the R.B. Silva teased Justice League International?

That said, it looks like the new look Zatanna is present and accounted for on the right. And is that…. Dr. Light… a bloodied female one at that… on the left battling Madame Xanadu?

What we’ve also learned is that Trinity War is a beginning, not a finite ending, according to writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer:

    “It’s not going to end wrapped up in a bow. Something really, really major happens that kicks off some pretty crazy stuff at the end of August.”

What is that big impending danger? Is it the teased 2014 multiverse event (see number one question below) or something else? Interesting.


1: Earth 2 Batman/Superman #2 Secret & More Books Seed 2014 Event?

CBR has July’s Superman Family solicits. Batman / Superman, a new ongoing series set in the past of the New 52 when Batman and Superman first met and teamed up, is getting interesting. Check out the issue #2 solicit.

    “Batman and Superman travel to Earth 2, where they find familiar heroes who are trying to kill them!”

Hmmm. This multiversal travel to Earth 2 begs so many questions. It seems to have happened before the Justice League formed, and presumably before Darkseid decimated Earth 2. Could Prime Earth’s Superman and Batman open Darkseid’s eyes to the multiverse and be somewhat responsible for all the violence that stems from that? What else could be going on here? It looks like this Greg Pak written title with Jae Lee art is pretty integral to DC’s New 52.

Plus, courtesy of BC, we have the Worlds Finest #14 cover that shows New Gods’ Parademons, Wonder Woman #22 with Orion still around and possibly joined by Highfather, plus a very cryptic Earth 2 #14 “War” cover.

Could all of these books being setting up events for what James Robinson is building to in the Earth 2 series? There is that multiverse cross-over between the heroes of Earth 2 and Prime Earth coming in 2014.

Also, in terms of Batman/Superman #2, I don’t recall Supes or Bats mentioning Earth 2 in any other “modern time” New 52 series. What past secret will be revealed in the Batman/Superman series? And why is it a secret?

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)


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Wednesday Comments – Constantine Could Be DC’s Buffy http://insidepulse.com/2013/02/20/wednesday-comments-constantine-could-be-dcs-buffy/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/02/20/wednesday-comments-constantine-could-be-dcs-buffy/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:30:09 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=326033 Hellblazer ends today. As someone who jumped on the title roughly halfway through, I’m less than thrilled that it’s coming to an end.

Obviously the end of Hellblazer is the end of an era and you can’t really pin it on one specific thing. I’m sure a dwindling readership and increasing issue number played a factor, just as I’m sure John Constantine’s inclusion in the New 52 played a role. And of course Karen Berger stepping down came into play.

But there’s no point in bemoaning it’s demise. I’m not going to proclaim that I’m boycotting the upcoming Constantine DCU book. Sure I believe Hellblazer is superior to Constantine, but having lived through the “Jason vs Ronnie” on the old DC Boards, I know there’s no reason to get nasty about things.

Instead I’m going to be an optimist. I’m going to look forward and suggest DC capitalize on John’s relative clean slate; give him a tv show.

Yes, I know John had a movie once upon a time. It, distractingly, starred Keanu Reeves as a brunet American John Constantine. If you could get past his hair color and American-ness, it really wasn’t a bad film. It was successful enough that a sequel is still possible (there were rumors a few years ago.)

But DC should nix the thought of a sequel and turn their eyes toward the small screen because Constantine would make for a great television show. What’s more, the concept is flexible enough to fit formats for broadcast, cable or even premium cable outlets.

If you go the premium cable route you get to keep the nudity, language, smoking and probably even his accent, though in all likelihood John would have to transplanted across the pond, probably to NYC. Constantine would be a perfect fit on Showtime; he’d be like Dexter with demons. This would be cool, but it’s not my favorite option.

With regular cable the nudity is gone (but you can have some suggestion of sexual activity) the language has to be toned down, but the smoking and accent could possibly stick around. And I’m betting that black humor would be transformed into a more run of the mill kind. This one is probably my least favorite option.

My favorite option? That’s the broadcast network option.

I’m sure you’re wondering why this one is my favorite. After all, on broadcast network tv nudity and language are out of the question. So is the smoking. And there’s really only a slim shot at getting away with the accent (thanks Elementary!)

Well, this my favorite option for a few reasons, but primarily because DC has been having success with their small screen translations. Smallville literally kept Superman viable for a decade, while Arrow has done the impossible and made me interested in Green Arrow. But Superman is still Superman and Arrow is basically Batman Year One. Since DC has a track record, they need a curveball.

But another reason why I think it’s a good idea is because it’s been done before. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was originally a movie, that became a hugely popular and influential television show and is now a comic book. Granted, Constantine would get the order a bit mixed up, but I think it could be just as successful.

Again, I’d set the show in New York if only because it’s a place that’s got enough history and character really be a part of the story. London is such a huge character in Hellblazer. Also in NYC a cab is a viable way to travel, so you could still have Chas involved.

Also, I enjoyed John’s trip through America when Brian Azzarello was writing the book. Yes, I liked it. It’s how I began collecting the title. And if we’re set up in the U.S. it makes it that much easier for that storyline to take place. It could even take up the thrust of an entire season.

I’d make Constantine a guy in his late 20’s. He’d be British, though he came to the U.S. either to go to college or just to travel about (sort of the way people travel Europe after graduation) and ended up staying here.

But in terms of character he’s be basically the same. He’d be a conman, with a taste of the supernatural. It would be sort of like a mystical Rockford Files.

It works best if his family is still in the U.K., though I could see Gemma popping up to visit after a couple seasons. But apart from that, you’d still get John’s exes and villains.

Plus, think of all of the other Vertigo guest stars that could be worked into the title? You get Tim Hunter, which means you’d also get Mister E, Doctor Occult and Phantom Stranger. You could even work in Deadman, Shade and naturally Swamp Thing.

Just writing about this makes me want to see this show.

I know that Guillermo del Toro is trying to a “dark” DCU film off the ground and I whole-heartedly support it. But I think these two projects could work concurrently.

So…yeah, that’s my idea.

Um, I’m done for the week. It’s Wednesday, go and buy some comic books from your local comic shop. And maybe pick up an issue of Hellblazer or two.
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Demythify: Scott Lobdell & Kenneth Rocafort Usher In Silver Ageish Fantasy & Fun For DC New 52 Superman? Plus… Mr. and Mrs. Superman, Bruce Superman Wayne, Superman 2020 &… Vartox? http://insidepulse.com/2012/10/01/demythify-scott-lobdell-kenneth-rocafort-usher-in-silver-ageish-fantasy-fun-for-dc-new-52-superman-plus-mr-and-mrs-superman-bruce-superman-wayne-superman-2020-vartox/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/10/01/demythify-scott-lobdell-kenneth-rocafort-usher-in-silver-ageish-fantasy-fun-for-dc-new-52-superman-plus-mr-and-mrs-superman-bruce-superman-wayne-superman-2020-vartox/#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2012 03:30:38 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=312997 Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

The Superman comic book franchise has seen better days. While DC Comics is named after “Detective Comics”, a series most associated with their most successful franchise in Batman, it and the comics industry’s first “super-hero” is Superman. The character’s popularity has had its ups and downs over the years to be sure.

In my reading lifetime his popularity reached its peak in the 1980s with John Byrne’s Man of Steel Reboot, the classic Death of Superman arc by Dan Jurgens and many other collaborators, as well as the wedding of Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane to coincide with the same nuptials in the popular TV series at the time: Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Since then, despite some solid creators, memorable arcs, and a decade spanning TV series called Smallville featuring the coming of age story of Clark Kent sans costume, the comic book franchise has sputtered. That’s a good 15 years, but likely longer, since the comic book has been relevant.

The reboot of the DC Universe dubbed the “New 52″ in 2011 saw Superman become younger and un-married among other changes that also included a new costume. However, despite a solid effort by comics legend George Perez and later Dan Jurgens, the Superman-proper New 52 series didn’t ascend to its rightfully place as a lynchpin book for the DC Comics Relaunch.

Enter writer Scott Lobdell and artist Kenneth Rocafort. Their work on Red Hood and the Outlaws series – featuring Jason Todd (former Batman sidekick Robin as the adult Red Hood), Roy Harper (former sidekick to Green Arrow and now the rebel called Arsenal), and the galactic princess Starfire – was a recipe for what the Superman book needs. Unexpected locales, surprise team-ups and adversaries, snappy dialogue and strong yet controversial characterization, and genre-evolving, dynamic art. Red Hood had its fans and detractors, but it was a book followed. It is on my must-read list every month.

Superman needs the fantasy and fun that the team of Lobdell and Rocafort have developed a reputation for on Red Hood and the Outlaws. Their’s is a collaboration on Superman that has the potential to carry on a tradition of fanciful stories and high concept sci-fi begun in the Silver Age of Comics.

To that end – allow me a slight segue as it will make sense in the end - I had the pleasure of attending the Baltimore Comic Con this past September. It remains one of the best Comic Book conventions in North America. It may not be the biggest, but it focuses rightfully on comics, and around that nucleus brings in other pop culture draws, actors, etc. They have the right balance and I appreciate that they have not shunted comic books to the side like many other conventions in North America.

This year at this con, I was able to pick up a lot of back issues to plug holes in collection. That includes some fun Superman issues – see I told you my segue would make sense – from the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics. These are stories whose tone, if not substance, should inspire the Lobdell and Rocafort era of Superman in the DC Comics New 52. Yes, let’s be more serious in 2012, let’s consider continuity, but let’s also remember Superman isn’t Batman and that is ok. Batman can keep grim, gritty and sleuthing. Let Superman be sci-fi, fantasy, fun and full of surprises. Play up the multiverse. Introduce new sci-fi concepts. Redefine the super-hero genre. THAT is what I expect from a Superman comic in 2012.

To move forward, let’s look back on some of my recent finds at the Baltimore Comic Con and on eBay, from when a Superman comic was supposed to be “fun” first. :)


Mr. and Mrs. Superman

1978′s Action Comics #484 saw Superman and Lois Lane wed in a classic story that took place on Earth 2 as part of the series’ 40th anniversary. The cover is quite iconic.

Many folks remember the Earth 2 Superman and his wife from the mid-1980′s Crisis on Infinite Earths, where we saw a greying Superman deal with the collapse of the multiverse and fly off into the sunset with his Lois, Superboy-Prime (from Earth Prime) and Alexander Luthor (from Earth 3).

However, despite my long reading history, I only discovered this year that following the 1978 marriage, a young Mr. and Mrs. Superman had further adventures before I encountered their older selves in COIE.

The married couple returned shortly after their 1978 marriage that same year in Superman #327 and #329 and had further adventures that continued into the Superman Family series (renamed from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen series with 1974′s issue #164). Mr. and Mrs. Superman were a fixture in that series from 1980′s #201 through to its end in 1982′s #222.

Interestingly, one of my fave issues from the young couple’s adventures was their attendance at the wedding of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in 1981′s Superman Family #211. I was a bit surprised about this issue even existing since 1983′s The Brave and The Bold #197 had been regarded as the definitive Earth 2 wedding of the two.

These adventures were a nice surprise to discover. Fun, fanciful stories. Some days, while I like the ongoing narrative and de-compressed storylines, I do miss done-in-one stories. I think we need a better mix of these kinds of stories in 2012.


Superman 2020

In my efforts to find Mr. and Mrs. Superman stories, I discovered another back-up feature in the old Superman series. This one featuring “Superman 2020″ who later became “Superman 2021″ a.k.a. Superman III. This aged and multi-layered family tree debuted in a back-up to Superman 1980′s issue #354. I can not do appropriate justice to Superman’s grandson’s origin, so I will let the in-story panels do it for me below. The narrator is the villain of the opening story; the leader of a xenophobic paramilitary cult called the Purists.

When we first see Kalel Kent – Superman 2020 – he has no Superman shield. He has to earn it. His adventures took place in Superman #354, #355, #357, #361, #364 and #368. He becomes Superman 2021, since at the end of #368 we enter that new year, in his last adventure in Superman #372.

So, it looks like DC Comics did the whole earn-your-stripes/shield-thing well before Geoff Johns did it with the Green Lantern Corps in his reboot of all things Green Lantern that started in Green Lantern: Rebirth.


Bruce (Superman) Wayne

When I was sifting through the back bins looking for my Superman 2020 issues of the first Superman series, I noticed on the cover of Superman #353 the back-up story about “Bruce (Superman) Wayne”. That concept just grabbed me. I soon learned that in this alternate Earth story, James Gordon finds Superman’s rocket ship and hands the boy over to Thomas and Martha Wayne. They didn’t have a son of their own and adopted Kal-el and named him Bruce.

As a grown-up, Bruce marries Barbara Gordon. Then tragedy befalls our leads. James Gordon, Bruce’s father-in-law, dies and in a bid to turn back time to rewrite the tragedy, Bruce (Superman) Wayne fails and disappears. That leaves Barbara to take business into her own hands as the new Batwoman to avenge her losses. The devil is in the details and it plays out over Superman #353, #358, and #363. The issues are well worth seeking out.


Vartox

While Vartox isn’t on an alternate Earth, but a neighboring galaxy, it is an example of some fantasy and fun that should be a hallmark of the Superman franchise today. ;)

In the pre-Crisis DC Comics Universe, 1974′s Superman #281 features Vartox’s first encounter with Superman; he is attempting to avenge his wife’s death. It is a bit convoluted, but very much sci-fi inspired, as apparently on Vartox’s planet of Valeron his wife dies due to a physic and biologic link to a twin of sorts on Earth who is actually the one murdered. They are/were unknowingly metaphysically tethered, so they share the same tragic fate. Vartox comes to Earth to seek out the killer that unknowingly killed two women across two planets and Superman gets in his way. Hero-on-hero battle ensues, the villain pays a penalty – but still lives – and Superman befriends his “hyper-powered” rival Vartox.

Vartox would go on to pop up in several pre-Crisis stories:

- Action Comics #475, #476, #498, #499 and #583.

- Superman #281, #356, #357, #373, #374, #375, #389, #390, #391 and #392.

He ends up falling for Lana Lang which drives many of his remaining appearances prior to COIE.

The character also popped into the post Crisis DC Universe in Superman #148 and #150, but his most prominent portrayal was in the more recent issues of the Power Girl ongoing series in its #7, #8 and #12 books.

So, what is the appeal of the character? Well, his utterly RIDICULOUS costume, receding hairline, along with his Superman rivaling powers. He is corny, but somewhat entertaining and plain old fun.

What do you think? Any other fun back-up Superman features from the Bronze and Silver Ages worth seeking out?

Lobdell, Rocafort, please take note. Superman NEEDS to be chock full of fantasy, fun, relevance and raise the bar for the comics industry. I have faith that there are good times ahead for the Man of Steel!

Thanks for reading. As always, all feedback welcome. :)


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DC Entertainment Plans For Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s The Dark Knight Rises Detective John Blake? Batman Or Robin Or ??? http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/14/dc-entertainments-plans-for-joseph-gordon-levitts-the-dark-knight-rises-detective-john-blake-revealed-batman-or-robin-or/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/14/dc-entertainments-plans-for-joseph-gordon-levitts-the-dark-knight-rises-detective-john-blake-revealed-batman-or-robin-or/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2012 04:00:55 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=308979 Well, that didn’t take long. It looks like DC Entertainment is prepared to capitalize on the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises film and the buzz surrounding Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Detective Robin John Blake.

The character appeared to be an amalgam of all of Batman’s Robins: Dick Grayson’s courage and skill (Nightwing), Jason Todd’s passion (Red Hood), Tim Drake’s detective skills (Red Robin), and Damian Wayne’s impulsiveness (Robin).

DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has teased on his facebook page that the character will pop up in DC Comics on a “mission“.

Will it be a digital comic first continuatuon of The Dark Knight Rises continuity a la Smallville Season 11? Followed by print version?

Or will the character make his debut in the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52? Stay tuned.

No official word yet on a sequel to The Dark Knight Rises or a reboot of the movie franchise.



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Demythify: The Dark Knight Rises Ending & Sequel, Total Recall 2012, 1990, 2070 & NASA Mars Mission (Spoilers) http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/06/demythify-the-dark-knight-rises-ending-spoilers-sequel-total-recall-2012-1990-2070-nasas-mars-mission/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/06/demythify-the-dark-knight-rises-ending-spoilers-sequel-total-recall-2012-1990-2070-nasas-mars-mission/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 04:01:31 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307890 It has been a tragic few weeks in the United States.

First, we had the senseless shooting rampage in Colorado at the film debut of The Dark Knight Rises.

Now, this past Sunday, there was a senseless shooting rampage in Wisconsin by another crazed gunman at a place of worship, a temple of the peaceful Sikh faith. Up-to-date information available at Time.com.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those killed in Wisconsin and I pray for a speedy recovery to those injured. I also continue to mourn with those impacted by the Colorado shootings.

Tragic. Sad.


This week’s Demythify column is a potpourri edition tackling bits about The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, and NASA’s current Mission to Mars.

And, fear not, I’ll be explaining why it makes sense to include these two films in the same column.

Read on…


The Dark Knight Rises Novelization Answers Key Question?

Since The Dark Knight Rises hit theatres and marked the end of Director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale‘s work with the franchise, questions have been raised about whether Warner Bros. will reboot the movie franchise or continue the Dark Knight continuity. The discussion about a The Dark Knight Rises movie sequel gained more ground based on the ending of the film.

Not sure if I need a spoiler warning, but I did include one in the title of this column.

Anyhow, in it, ex-Detective John Blake played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose real name is Robin John Blake, is guided to the Batcave behind the waterfall. There is no dialogue or exposition in the movie scene. That left many to wonder whether Blake would become Batman, Nightwing or Robin. It also led to a debate whether a sequel featuring Blake in a lead role could or would be next.

The possibilities, teases, and words of the creative team were dissected and led to heated online chatter.

With all that, it would appear that the official The Dark Knight Rises novelization penned by acclaimed writer Greg Cox for Titan Books, enhances that movie scene with some interesting internal monologue by John Blake. He is in the Batcave contemplating the future.

    The bats were everywhere, screeching in the dark. [John] Blake crouched defensively as their wings and bodies swirled around him like a living cyclone. An instinctive sense of panic bubbled up inside him, but he forced it back down.

    He knew why [Bruce] Wayne brought him here.

    Bats were more than symbols of fear. In Gotham, they had come to stand for hope and justice and a legend that was bigger than just one man. A hero who could be anyone. He raised his head as the bats welcomed him to their abode.

    He rose and was swallowed up by the darkness of their wings.

It would appear that the definative intention of Christopher Nolan’s ending for The Dark Knight Rises film would have Robin John Blake assuming the cowl of the Batman. Will this see the light of day on film? I hope so, but it seems unlikely. What does seem likely is that a John Blake as Batman could be continued in novel and/or comic book form. DC Comics is doing this kind of thing already with Smallville Season 11 – following the TV series characters post finale – as an online comic first and print comic too.

Time will tell, but I certainly hope to experience the next chapter in John Blake’s pop culture existence somewhere. I also think he’d be a great addition to the Batman Family – in costume or not – as part of the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52.

Interestingly, beyond the enhancement of that John Blake / Batcave scene, the novel also alludes to the Joker as has been reported across the internet. The novel noted the following.

    The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumour had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate.

    Or perhaps he escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina [Kyle].

Despite the tragedy surrounding Joker actor Heath Ledger’s death, his interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime could return to any John Blake as Batman adventure in novel or comic book form, with a silver screen return unlikely.


Total Recall 2012, 1990 and the TV Prequel – Does Mars Matter?

I just watched the Total Recall: Ultimate Rekall Edition on Blu-Ray. I remember why I enjoyed the film when I saw it 20 or so years ago. We get sci-fi and action, the latter in a way that only Arnold Schwarzeneggar and director Paul Verhoeven of Robocop can deliver. It was also nice exeriencing actress Sharon Stone in her prime dishing out action and exuding massive amounts of sexiness.

What got me as well was how integral to the movie plot the planet Mars was for the 1990 film. In fact, the TV series that spun-off from the movie – the TV series was a prequel set in 2070 (actually called Total Recall: 2070) while the film was set in 2084 – also had a core element of it being Mars.

Why is this a concern in 2012?

Well, Total Recall’s 2012 installment by Director Len Wiseman does NOT involve Mars at all! In Total Film #196 magazine, Wiseman notes the below as it relates to his initial reading of the new Total Recall’s script.

    “I was like, ‘Holy Sh*t, if it doesn’t go to Mars, then what’s happening?’ I was turning the pages so fast that by the time I got done, I was almost leaving the offices going, ‘Call my agents, I have to do this.’”

I haven’t seen the new Total Recall movie yet, but it is on agenda for this week. Since my wife and I enjoyed the Blu-Ray edition of the 1990 film, we’re both intrigued by what a Mars-less Recall film would be like. Plus, for me, I have enjoyed Wiseman’s Underworld films, so his sci-fi / fantasy geek credentials are established for me.

In the new film, Colin Farrell plays the role(s) of bored blue-collar grunt Douglas Quaid who, after a Rekall memory vacation mishap, believes he is a former spy Hauser. And, as the tag lien of the film goes, the whole raison d’etre of the film is to determine: “What is Real? What is Rekall?”.

Farrell’s Quaid is married to Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale, whose character in the original film was an enemy spy who becomes at odds with Quaid / Hauser after his Rekall mishap.

The third wheel in this relationship is Jessica Biel‘s Melina who was a love interest for Quaid’s Hauser personality and whose character in the earlier film was part of revolutionary forces against a politico businessman Cohaagen, played in the 2012 film by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Actress Kate Beckinsale describes the new film and the absence of Mars in the film as noted below.

    “That was one of the things we made differently from the original… Arnold [Schwarzeneggar] and Sharon [Stone] have this extremely sexy marriage that seems, like, why would anyone need a mission to Mars when you have that? We wanted to give more of a sense of two people who were nor in love.”

And, to ensure that lumping Total Recall and The Dark Knight Rises together in one column can make some sense to you, below is how actress Jessica Biel describes 2012′s Total Recall film with particular attention to a more significant political backdrop than the original film.

    “I feel kind of what [Christopher] Nolan did for Batman, Len [Wiseman] is doing for Total Recall.”

Big props and bigger comparisons indeed!

I’m intrigued by Cranston’s Cohaagen, who is the head of Euromerica in the new film not the Mars colony the character led in the original film, and other supporting actors that pop up in the 2012 Total Recall offering: John Cho as a Rekall employee McClane, Bill Nighy as rebel leader Matthias and Ethan Hawke in a cameo as a scientist.

I’m glad I saw the original film recently, in advance of my viewing of the new film iteration this week. I may have to pull out my Philip K. Dick anthology to see how integral the source material, his “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” short story, is to the new and old Total Recall films.

While Mars may be absent from Total Recall’s 2012 film edition, it is interesting on the same weekend that the film debuts, NASA was planning on landing a rover on the red planet!


NASA’s 2012 Mars Mission!

Total Recall 2012′s loss is NASA’s gain? :)

In November 2011, NASA sent the rover Curiosity on its mission to Mars. The last status update, as of the writing of this column, from NASA on their mission was as follows:

    Curiosity Closes in on its New ‘Home’
    Sat, 04 Aug 2012 07:20:24 PM EDT

    With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft’s navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL’s descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).

At the time of the writing of this column, the results on the landing were not known.

For updates on the NASA mission, check out their dedicated official webpage here.

For those of you that will stay up late into Monday morning and want to watch history in action, NASA will be streaming live here.

UPDATED (2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time)

It looks like the Curiosity Rover landed in the Gale Crater as planned. Below are the first two images from 2012′s Mars landing released by NASA!

Congratulations to the fine folks at NASA for a job well done! Anything is possible.



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Review: Smallville Season 11 #1 By Bryan Q. Miller and Pere Perez http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/14/review-smallville-season-11-1-by-bryan-q-miller-and-pere-perez/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/14/review-smallville-season-11-1-by-bryan-q-miller-and-pere-perez/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 21:00:28 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=296276

Smallville Season 11 #1

Written by Bryan Q. Miller

Art by Pere Perez and Randy Mayor

 

 

The short of it:

 

It’s been six months since Superman debuted to save the world from Darkseid and Apokolips, and we’re treated to a view of what Metropolis is like and where our supporting cast wound up. Ollie and Chloe Queen at Watchtower, Lois sleeping in her and Clark’s apartment in a Superman shirt, and Lex…being up to something. Meanwhile, in orbit, a red light flashes and damages a Russian space station, setting up a critical rescue and on panel debut by the Man of Steel! Superman saves the day and takes issue with people treating him like a hero as he thinks they are the real heroes, and he’s just doing his job.

 

 

What I liked:

 

  • Bryan Q. Miller and Pere Perez! The Batgirl creative team returns!
  • The Superman: Year One feel is…perfect. I mean, yes, that’s where the book obviously had to go now that Clark is Superman, but reading it just feels right. It feels a lot more Superman-like than the other Year One story rolling in Action Comics.
  • The dialogue. If there’s one thing I knew would carry over well, it’s the dialogue. BQM did magic with it in his Batgirl run, and given his history as a Smallville writer, coupled with this being Smallville….I think there was no way this book wasn’t going to be dialogue heavy.
  • Despite one look at the title saying ‘this book is not new reader friendly’, this book is VERY new reader friendly! Being a Smallville fan will obviously help, but I went in with limited knowledge and had no issues.

 

What I didn’t like:

 

  • Despite my really digging the dialogue, there are some ham fisted portions. Like Superman telling an astronaut that he’s the real hero rather than sign an autograph for his kid. The moment is good, but “Your son already has a hero to look up to, Cosmonaut” isn’t.
  • The issue is a quick read, and nothing really happens save for the setup…and even then, there’s no sexy hooking cliffhanger trying to bring me back next issue.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

I’ll admit that I was not the biggest Smallville fan. I mean, I watched a decent amount of it, but it was never a big must watch show for me. In the later seasons Geoff Johns is what brought me in to watch episodes. Lately I’ve been going back and watching random episodes here and there, and I’ll admit that they’ve been the BQM episodes. What can I say? I was missing new material by one of my favorite writers, and those not so new episodes are still new to me.

 

Talk about good Superman, this may very well be the best single issue of Superman I’ve read in a while. It stands alone, tells a good story, and sets up for more.

 

The issue doesn’t have a lot going on, and it really does feel like setup for the future issues, but I can see readers having issues getting hooked just by nature of the book not having a plot to hook on. Instead, this book looks like it’s going to be driven by strong characterization and a likable cast. Given that Q’s Batgirl thrived in that very same way…DIGITAL PULL LISTED!

 

How long until we see Booster Gold in this book?

 

So this book goes weekly starting in June? I think that might actually help it quite a bit. The fact that it’s full sized is a big plus (twenty pages beats eight to twelve), but if it’s coming out weekly then we should have no problem solving any issues with hooks or potential pacing. Smallville worked as a weekly show for a reason. Really, Buffy Season 9 should try this method.

 

Wait, if this book goes weekly, does that mean that Bryan and Pere are locked down? That would suck because I’m still hoping and praying for a return of Stephanie, but at the same time…DIGITAL PULL LISTED!

 

A nice touch is that the characters look like their real life counterparts. Superman looks like Tom Welling able to pull off the suit…while the suit looks like the Superman Returns suit. They could have tried to make everyone look like a generic version of the character, so I’m giving props for the book still looking very much like Smallville.

 

Big props to artist Pere Perez, who does an excellent job here. I look at this issue and imagine that some editor on a New 52 book is kicking themselves wishing they’d acquired him for one of their books. He does great character work, and really captures Superman perfectly. You can see the man as well as the icon, and it’s a nice touch.

 

My biggest weakness really is good Superman. You can tell where I got my start. And beyond that, this book is a dollar to buy digitally! That’s an awesome deal!

 

Overall: 9/10
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DC To Offer New Digital Content Five Days a Week http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/14/dc-to-offer-new-digital-content-five-days-a-week/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/14/dc-to-offer-new-digital-content-five-days-a-week/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 20:00:06 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=296245 From DC Blog:

On the heels of today’s SMALLVILLE SEASON 11 #1 release, DC Comics announced the addition of two new digital first weekly titles, BATMAN digital and AME-COMI GIRLS. The addition of the two new digital titles brings the total of digital series that update weekly to five, meaning DC Comics will offer a new digital chapter every single day, Monday through Friday.

BATMAN digital, launching in June, will take place outside of DC Comics – The New 52 continuity and feature a series of stand-alone stories by various creators that chronicle different cases handled by The Dark Knight. Confirmed creative teams include Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire; Jonathan Larsen and JG Jones; Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott; Ales Kot and Ryan Sook; B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith; Steve Niles and Trevor Hairsine; Joe Harris and Jason Masters; TJ Fixman and Christopher Mitten; Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman; Joshua Hale Fialkov and Phil Hester; David Tischman and Chris Sprouse; and many more!

AME-COMI GIRLS, launching in May, is based on the best-selling product line from DC Collectibles that brings the distinct Japanese influence of anime and manga to DC Comics’ female heroines and their foes. In the new series, the heroines must unite to stop an invasion by the female Braniac, who is aided by a group of “bad girl” super villains. Initially, there will be five individual character arcs with multiple chapters, leading up to united, Ame-Comi girl series. All stories are written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with Wonder Woman art by Amanda Conner and Tony Akins, Batgirl art by Sanford Greene, Duela Dent art by Ted Naifeh, Power Girl art by Mike Bowden and Supergirl art by Santi Casas.

Starting in June, DC Comics’ weekly digital comic book line-up will be:

Mondays: AME-COMI GIRLS
Tuesdays: BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED
Wednesdays: BEYOND series (alternating digital titles JUSTICE LEAGUE BEYOND, BATMAN BEYOND, SUPERMAN BEYOND)
Thursdays: BATMAN digital
Fridays: SMALLVILLE SEASON 11

“The addition of these new titles and the five-day-a-week digital first line-up reinforce DC Comics’ role as a digital leader,” stated Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital, DC Entertainment. “We’re producing high-quality, digital first content at affordable price-points attractive to readers new and existing. We’ve seen from our top-selling digital titles like BATMAN: ARKHAM UNHINGED and the BEYOND series that these books remain very popular when collected in print form, too. In fact, both print issues of BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED have gone back to press within the week of their release.”

Skitch Commentary: Wow, nice to see DC really making a huge digital push here. I love the Beyond stuff, and even though I’ve never seen the show, having Bryan Q. Miller on Smallville definitely gets my attention.

Not really that interested in Batman digital, and I tried Arkham Unhinged which I didn’t like all that much. Does Batman really need more series?? That said Batman digital does have some cool creative teams.

Ame-Comi Girls is a bit of a wild card to me. On the surface, I would be quick to say, “Not interested” but the description and the creative teams sound great, so I will probably end up picking it up.


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Demythify: Dan DiDio’s 5 Things You Didn’t Know About DC’s Multiverse (Earth One, Earth 2, Prime) http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/02/demythify-dan-didios-five-things-you-didnt-know-about-dcs-multiverse-earth-one-earth-2-prime-etc/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/02/demythify-dan-didios-five-things-you-didnt-know-about-dcs-multiverse-earth-one-earth-2-prime-etc/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 04:00:56 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=294818 With the advent of social media, comic companies and their executives have other forums to engage with fans. Corporate websites and select staging of news with comic blogs and sites are more prominent marketing tactics. However, with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, there are more unscripted news tidbits that flesh out further news that has been formally announced or in some cases the social media quips becomes news in their own right.

Following my previous journey through DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio’s Facebook in the 3rd Quarter of 2011-12, comes the first of a few 4th Quarter reports.

This one looks at DiDio’s multiverse related musings. There are a few surprises in his keystrokes. Before I get into that, here’s how DiDio sets the stage for his Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest projects (with a bit of Shazam thrown in):

The main goal fo the New 52 has always been to present contemporary take on our classic character while staying true to the core that made them great. We’ve had a lot of success, and some misses, since our September launch and we knew both Capt Marvel and JSA were going to be a challenge. That’s why we took our time to get to where we are today with these two projects. We are not trying to alienate everyone, quite the opposite, these books are being created to attract the widest audience possible for the long time health of the characters, comics and company.”

Now, what are the surprises? Take a look at the Top 5:

    FIVE: Due to the success of Earth One Superman, DC Comics appears to be quite open to an Earth One Wonder Woman one-shot in addition to the Earth One Batman already announced and Earth One Superman 2. Maybe we can finally get that old All Star Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes, but in Earth One one-shot format?

    Also, while not multiverse related, DiDio did have other Wonder Woman news indicating that while there were no immediate DC plans for Ben Caldwell of Wednesday Comics’ Wonder Woman fame, there may in fact be plans for an all-ages Wonder Woman title in the works.

    FOUR: Despite Shade being solicited as part of DC Comics ‘Beyond New 52′ grouping which includes a very non New 52 Smallville Season 11, DiDio has confirmed that Shade takes place ‘inside’ the New 52.

    Now, the character is so closely tied to the pre-Flashpoint Justice Society and its Golden Starman lineage that no longer exists, legacy wise anyway in the New 52, it’ll be interesting to see if DiDio meant the main Earth that the New 52 books take place on (sans Earth 2 naturally). We understand that the Shade maxi-series was planned pre-New 52 (it was mentioned years before after all) and likely prior to DC finalizing its Earth 2 series plans.

    So, with Shade scribe James Robinson on board for the Earth 2 series, will Shade now miracioulsy be an Earth 2 set mini-series? That becomes a harder sell with the New 52 Deathstroke having stopped by the mini-series and because IMHO the mini-series has done a lot to add diverse international heroes to the DC Comics pantheon. I’d like that diversity in the main universe.

    On one hand I want Shade mini-series to be set on the main Earth, but on the other I’d also wouldn’t mind seeing it on Earth 2, but that Earth has a brand new Justice Society. Will Jack Knight / Starman be on Earth 2 or is he another casualty of the relaunch? And, to make matters even less clear, Dan DiDio has also indicated that [it is] Just a matter of time [before Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore) pops up in the DCU]“. On Earth 2, Prime Earth… who knows?

    THREE: “Surprise” seems to be the watch word with Earth 2. With DiDio indicating that: there are a lot of surprises in store for the first issue of EARTH 2“. In addition, in talking about DC’s multiverse plans he indicated that: [it is] Best to move slowly and see how things work before expanding [into books featuring other multiverse Earths], here’s hoping that people love the plans for earth 2 first. There are a lot of surprises with that series alone.

    Well, we know from the variant cover to issue #1, this new Earth 2 features a Justice Society with a Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. What other surprises could be in store? DC surprised fandom with that Earth 2 variant cover.

    We also already know this is a younger Justice Society, a la the rest of the New 52 books, and noticeably on the cover of issue #2 with a brand new Flash.

    I’m intrigued on one hand, and dreading on the other, further surprises. :) Maybe there will be some non-traditional JSA “surprises”? Too bad DiDio continually indicates DC Comics has no plans for Wally West. He’s still a big Flashpoint casualty.

    TWO: DiDio was confirmed what DC Comics creators call their “main” New 52 Earth: Our Earth is identified as the Prime Earth“. Prior to the Crisis of Infinite Earths and in more modern times with the villainy of Superboy-Prime, DC Comics has indicated that Earth Prime (a different ordering of the two words) existed and it basically was the real world we all actually live in that somehow produced a Superboy who turned heel in his quest to find his way back home to Prime. So, with the main New 52 Earth being called Prime Earth, is Superboy-Prime another casualty of the post-Flashpoint DC Comics relaunch?

    ONE: There was a short line on DiDio’s facebook that has BIG implications: we see it as the entire multiverse has started anew. Prior to this bombshell, many fans had assumed that Flashpoint exclusively impacted DC’s main pre-Flashpoint Earth. A natural extension of that would be the changes to Prime Earth and Earth 2, the latter because that world features the return of the Justice Society; a very different version of which existed pre-Flaspoint.

    While I initially thought this would impact Grant Morrison’s Multiversity project, I soon recalled DC Comics creator hierarchy in the New 52: Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns can do whatever they want. Green Lantern and its ancillary books were not really changed post-Flashpoint. And Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. picks up in May 2012 where the pre-Flashpont series left off (likely sans Stephanie Brown as Batgirl – another Flashpoint casualty). It isn’t a stretch then to believe that Grant’s Final Crisis multiverse explorations will be continued relatively as-is in this New 52 muliverse with his long awaited Multiversity.

    However, while much of DC Comics’ multiverse remains a mystery, we do know one pre-Flashpoint Earth won’t been seen any time soon as DiDio indicated that DC has no plans to… follow up the [Superman / Batman alternate Earth] Generations series [by John Byrne]. :( John Byrne and even Peter David really SHOULD be doing more DC Comics projects IMHO.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens once May 2012, but I am excited!

Lastly, I was pleased – in a fanboy way I guess – that Dan DiDio commented on my previous multiverse column which was published before DC Comics’ Earth 2 news and before the nuggets in this column’s Top 5 were revealed. My previous thoughts were pretty much speculative with Dan indicating: probablities, speculation and rumors. the stuff from which blogs are made of.

So, I learned my lesson and am sticking with DiDio’s own words this time with this column. :)


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