Words of Questionable Wisdom: Random Thoughts
By Paul Sebert
Ok, I wasn’t quite sure what to do a full column about this week, so eh… just a small handful of thoughts I’ve had lately.
Ok so we all know that Superman Returns follows the continuity of the first two Superman movies, but ignores that of Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Here’s something you might not know: in 1984 Supergirl movie Christopher Reeve’s absence was explained by a radio news report stating that Superman was away on a mission in space. So if you really, really wanted to you could actually argue that events of Superman Returns actually spin off from those of the Supergirl movie. Though I doubt we’ll be seeing Fay Dunaway teaming up with Kevin Spacey in any future sequels.
In a side note, I was going to do a review of Superman Returns but well, “Starman” Matt Morrison beat me too it, and his review pretty much covered all of the points I wanted to hit. Also am I the only one who thinks Spacey would look good in Luthor’s Challenge of the Superfriends suit?
Sometimes when I read DC’s books I swear it feels like they don’t even understand the appeal of their own characters. Case in point, Robin. Robin should be the fun member of the Batman family seeing as how he gets to wear a colorful costume, do cartwheels, and play with neato gadgets. He’s the lighter toned character who humanizes Batman. And you know what? After all those years of lame “Holy Handgrenades Batman” Dick Grayson stories and the totally misfired Jason Todd experiment they finally got it right with Tim Drake. So with Robin being placed back in the spotlight by the mega popular Teen Titans cartoon how does DC treat the character? Well they kill his father, his girlfriend, and his best friend in the span of a year. Then in the “brighter” post-Infinite Crisis world of One Year Later, they turn the member of the Bat-family he had been closest to into a blood-thirsty killer. It feels like they’re trying to make him as angst filled, neurotic, and bitter as Batman which strikes me as antithetical to the very concept of the character.
Last week’s Wolverine #43 shot the top of my guilty pleasures list just due to a laugh-out-loud moment which took Wolverine’s healing factor to ludicrous new heights not seen since Daniel Way revealed that Wolverine had atom bomb proof pants. Remember that classic scene from Days of Future Past where Logan got burned until there was nothing left but his skeleton? That happens in this issue, and Wolverine manages to get right back up and fully recover in a few pages. I suppose I should be irked by the artistic license used regarding Wolverine’s powers, but I just can’t bring myself not to like something drawn by Humberto Ramos, even though it looks like Wolverine’s attempting to sodomize Nitro (THE EXPLODING MAN!) on the last page.
One reason why absolutely, positively HAVE to read the final chapter of Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns’ “Up, Up, And Away” run on Superman and Action Comics: KRYPTOCOCUS, the OMN-GERM! Don’t ask, just read.
I’ve been on a major MMA kick as of late, and well… I have to wonder if and when the growing popularity of the Ultimate Fight Championship and Pride FC will begin to affect the way fight scenes are drawn in comics. Pretty much every hand-to-hand fight I’ve seen in a superhero comic revolves around striking, and well… personally I’d love to see Captain America pull out a rear naked choke or an armbar at some point.
Perhaps one of the reasons why Manga has taken root with casual fans is that the series are usually designed to be finite with definite beginnings, middles, and ends planned by their original creator. Meanwhile the more popular ongoing superhero books are intended to go on as feasibly possible, with different writers, and artists picking up right after the last left off. This prolongs the lifespan of characters, but results in long complicated histories which provides increasing burden on writers and novice readers. While I doubt American publishers will ever take on the model used by Japanese publishers, a small part of me takes comfort in the fact that we’ll never see a grim & gritty Love Hina, or Son Goku of Dragonball fame suffering an existential crisis. I would elaborate further but… that’s a column for another time…