Roundtable Returns – Part 1

Welcome to the Roundtable!

I was going to write a proper introduction but this thing is so damn long that it would be pointless of me to try and squeeze yet more text into it. Besides, the above covers the essentials – both the ‘welcome’ part and the warm reassurance that this is in fact the Roundtable. Cheers to Jeff, Kevin, Will, Manolis, Logan, Paul, Floyd, Beadle, Eugene, Tim, Coren, myself and those that I have probably forgotten. Our topics are as wide and varied as ever, from the expected (Superman Returns), to the classic (Chuck Austen), to the recent (San Diego Comic-Con), to the informative (The Queen Mother), to the essential (S’mores) and beyond.

Now, have at and direct your comments to the forums

JEFF “ULTRA-HUMANITE” RITTER: In an effort to get the ball rolling–I can’t believe nobody has anything to bitch about for the last two or three weeks–here’s some topics:

1) The Thing comes to end with a fun little poker game. UGH!! I would have been more agreeable to that in the 1st Issue. I never did quite get the gist of how Ben became a rich guy, but other than the Civil War tie-in I don’t buy FF, so that probably explains that. I think it’ would have been great for him to win a World Series of Poker bracelet and a big prize purse or something. Ben has always been more of a “man of the people” sort, and what’s more everyman than a poker game? But to end the series on such a thud: “Is that it?” “Yup, that’s it.” Kinda makes me kick myself for giving it a try in the first place. C’mon, you hook me with an appearance by the Constrictor and then you close the book with the implication of Ben and Alicia settling down for a night of nookie? Ummm…can they even DO that?!?! Wasn’t it Mallrats that established that the Thing’s “dork” is made of orange rock? Alicia sounds like the kind of trick who would do German schaiser films with Liane Cartman.

2) Speaking of that, anybody else see Superman? And anyone else wonder how Lois didn’t get the top of her skull blown off by Clarkie’s Super-Ejaculate? How would she NOT know who the father of her child was? How many aliens does she ever sleep with? J’onn J’onzz? Kilowog? What a filthy whore Lois is, not to mention one horrendous investigative reporter. She can ferret out the machinations of Lex Luthor but can’t figure out who Clark is or who the father of her progeny is? I’d tell her where she can stick that Pulitzer, except there’s probably not any room in that orifice, what with Orion and Lightray coming to shoot some New Genesis porn with her. I’m liberally giving the movie 2 1/2 stars out of 5. It was in many ways little better than Fantastic Four, and certainly not better than ANY of the X-Men movies, including Ratner’s. There, I said it. Flame on.

3) On the flip side, despite having a Wilson brother involved, My Super Ex-Girlfriend looks hilarious. In the preview she flings a giant Great White shark through his window. Alive. That’s worth almost two stars right there.

4) Giant pet-peeve time. I was watching a commercial for Century 21 realtors–and you probably saw this one if you watched the Major League Baseball All-Star Homerun Derby because it was hosted by that company. The lady buying her home was heaping praise upon her realtor for showing her so many houses, at least 20. The realtor, seemingly oblivious to how fragile her customer was, quips, “It was about 34, actually.” GODDAMMIT!! Was it or wasn’t it 34? Thirty f*cking four is a specific number. If you say about 30, it could be 28 or 29 or 31 or 32. You could get away with saying about 35, because it helps to cut down the number of possibilities out of the 10 digit range of thirties. You know it was somewhere between 33 and 37 as opposed to being closer to 30 or 40. But about 34 is COMPLETELY FUCKING RETARDED. I hate that shit. “We’ve sold over 34,700 of these wonderful whatevers.” If you’re going to get that f*cking specific why don’t you just give me the closest actual figure you can at the time of the commercial shoot? 34714. Fine. Fabulous. And don’t get me started on these dot.com assholes who are going to try and make me pay to learn how I mesh with other people’s “29 dimensions of proven compatibility.” 29?!? FUCK YOU! I got 37 and I’m adding more all the time. There’s one for people who actually LIKE Hootie and the Blowfish. There’s one for people who think it’s f*cking polite to check the time on their cell phones every ten minutes during a movie. Are those two included in your survey? You’re short-changing your customers by two right there. Notice I said two, straight up, not at least two, not less than five.

5) Still digging 52. Still haven’t figured out why they bothered to bring back Donna Troy just to narrate the History of the DCU along with Skeet-Skeet-Skeets. And I bet I’ll still be laughing to myself next issue too whenever that poor droid shows up with Booster. Dave Chapelle should join the DCU, he could buy Skeet-Skeet-Skeets from Booster AND give them a high-profile blackman injection. Lois is probably already in line for that though.

6) Spotlight: Rosario Dawson. Did you know she’s given a partial writing credit and is very obviously the main character model for Image’s Occult Crimes Taskforce? Not a bad first issue and it’s a 4 part mini, so check it out. Trust me. I don’t recommend stuff that makes your brain haemorrhage. If I did, I’d say check out Battle for Bludhaven. It might just be the worst non-Liefieldian comic I’ve read in a long time. As much as I disliked the Thunderbolts up to and including 100, they weren’t as mind-numbingly boring and disjointed as this mess. And it’s a shame, because Palmiotti and Gray don’t usually stumble this bad. Ah well, at least the covers are pretty, and maybe the Freedom Fighters offshoot won’t be this wretched. And if it is, well, at least I’ll have sepia-toned imaged of Rosario Dawson to keep me warm.

There. Chew on that for awhile.

KEVIN “TERRA-MAN” MAHONEY: Sweet Jesus, Jeff hates the Superman movie more than I hate the character. I am dumbfoundedly impressed.

And GLC is rocking the house. I can’t wait to get my latest Guy fix
tomorrow.

TIM “KEVIN SPACEY” STEVENS: GLC=Good? Surely you jest!

As far as the Super-distaste (ooh, you like how I went there, didn’t you?) goodness that was something, eh? I’ll agree that it’s weird that Lois gets with another guy quick enough after Supes left town that he (being the other guy) thought that she was pregnant with his child. The rest of it though…damn, that was unnecessarily harsh. And not to be the nerd but remember how in Superman 2 Superman wiped Lois’s memory of their magical and brief love affair? Perhaps that’s why she can’t recall if Supes is her child’s father.

Also, did she really not know? I was under the impression she did but just said it was her fiancée’s. Which makes her devious of course, but not unaware.

RE: Thing. For me, I’d rather have 8 issues of a good series, awkward ending or not, than have zero issues of it. That’s just me though.

KEVIN: For my money, GLC is a better deal than Ion (more action, more straightforward, better art) and features several more interesting lanterns than Hal. That Guy, written correctly, is a focal point is a double bonus.

I like the new GL’s and hope they are developed further. I just hope we eventually get Guy’s side of the Blue Beetle beat-down seen in BB #1 (another great new title, alongside Checkmate and 52 as new favourites of mine).

TIM: In theory, I agree with all your points about GLC (well, except the Guy thing). In theory.

In reality, not so much. Patrick Gleason’s art in the mini seemed so rushed and messy that as lousy as Ion’s art in issue #1 was (and as better but still not great the next two issues were) I can’t give either the clear edge in terms of art.

The characters have the potential to be more interesting that Hal, (especially as Hal is being portrayed in his own title now) but they end up being largely flat, stock clichés.

So in theory, you are right. In reality…not so much.

WILL “JON PETERS” COOLING: The mention of Kilowog has reminded me of a brilliant story. I (and Captain Morphine) was at Brighton Comics Con last year and we were sitting watching David Gibbons being interview by British comics legend Dez Skin. Naturally the interview turns to Gibbons’ excellent Green Lantern work, at which point Skin asks Gibbons if he thought Kilowog to be a racist character. Gibbons and the audience look at a bit put out, as if to say “what the smeg are you on about?” Dez Skin then explains that surely having a character called kill o(a) Wogg is racist? Well you could see on Gibbons face and all the fanboys in the room a look of complete horror and shock. Every face just scream “oh my god, I had never noticed that”.

Makes me laugh just thinking about it

JEFF: At the risk of sounding blatantly American, which I am, what is a Wogg?

“BIZARRO” COREN: Wait, did I just read that Mysterio AND Chameleon are back? (and hey, there’s another easy out for Parker. Chameleon back = he was pretending to be me, I’m not really Spiderman). Man, those two were some of Peter’s best villains. Even if this is some third Mysterio who’s a mutant, or whatever the current one is this time around.

I’m definitely going to have to second Jeff’s comment on Morrison and
Bendis. I’m already cringing for the Son of Batman arc.

And yeah, what’s the deal with Lois hooking up with another guy when
Supes has been gone for a month, tops? She’s doing a superhero; she
should be used to him being away for extended periods of time. And
even if she figured he was dead or never coming back, she moves on in
under a month? *coughslutcough*

Ok, there’s your once-a month Roundtable appearance. Now where’s my
damn paycheck?

ANDY “THE ERADICATOR” LOGAN: I haven’t seen Superman Returns yet….I don’t think I need to now, either… ;o)

Jeff, m’friend, “Wogg” or “Wog” as it (used to be) spelt, is a derogative term used to describe somebody of afro-Caribbean descent (man, I feel all PC now I’ve typed that).

It’s a shortened form of the word “Golliwog”, which was a type of doll popular many years ago in this Country. A Golliwog basically looked like a black and white-minstrel, with the white eyes and mouth on a black face, and afro hair. Sometime in the 80’s in Britain, the obvious racist overtones of the doll was finally picked up on, and the sale of Golliwog’s – and their use as promotional figure heads for certain types of marmalade brands (I kid you not) fell out of favour.

The term “Wog” and the Golliwog doll are now seen as exceedingly offensive and racist in this Country.

(Apologies if you’re familiar with any of the above already!).

Back to the comics – “Son of Batman”…I don’t know much about this arc admittedly, but during the close of “Face the Face”, Bruce told Tim he wanted to adopt him as his son…so couldn’t the Son of Batman that this arc is about simply refer to the recently adopted Tim Drake? Or has everybody already figured that out and I’m behind the times again…?

COREN: Ah, I only wish it were so simple Logan. Grant Morrison isn’t referring to Tim at all (although I am interested to see how it plays out with Tim) but rather an actual son of Batman, from some affair with Talia way back when. Apparently it’s back in continuity, and the offspring that no one’s ever heard of for years is suddenly back in the picture. And resentful, and stubborn, etc. Because it wouldn’t be a good story otherwise!

LOGAN: Oh, crap…

PAUL “EFFRON THE SORCEROR” SEBERT: For the record, I thought that Superman Returns was a really beautiful, loving tribute to the Richard Donner films. Oh and I’m really mourning the loss of The Thing. Really great, really underrated book.

JEFF: It was a tribute AND a sequel, when it should have been one or the other. If Singer wanted to send an Ode to the Chris, fine, use it to completely relaunch the franchise the way Batman Begins did. Reimagine the roles. Do you want Spacey to be darker and more nuts like the comics (or the scene where he tells his “plan” to Lois) or do you want him to ape Gene Hackman? One or the other. But doing a “sequel” that uses snippets of dialogue from the old movies is lame. And let the new guy be himself. We all loved Chris, and even if he were alive and walking he wouldn’t have been back for a franchise relaunch. Tributes to the Donner films (and I can’t imagine why the 2nd one deserves a tribute, despite the joy of Zod) are fine, as a TV special on A&E or as a documentary. It didn’t feel fresh, it felt much like John Byrne’s comic works does. Retreaded. (That’s “to tread again”, not retarded, just so you don’t misread that.)

I thought most of the actors did a decent enough job but the script and directing was weak. Jimmy Olsen stole the show. I kept waiting for Frank Langella to turn into Darksied. James Marsden was on screen a good 10 minutes before I realized he wasn’t Cary Elwes. The kid was terrible in every way. He KILLS someone and shows absolutely no emotion. I blame that partly on the fact that most kids can’t act for shit and yet directors still cram them into movies, but even Lil’ Vader in the Phantom Menace was better than this wuss. Lois was prettier than Margo Kidder but I never felt like she had the stones to stand up to Perry. Sure, she worked around him and lives with his son, but she never gave me the impression that she’d stand up to him for the sake of the story, a vibe the comic Lois and even Kidder gave off regularly. Kitty was funny, and Miss Posey usually is, but if this was a loving retelling why didn’t they call her Tessmacher? And for that matter, why didn’t they create a role for Louis Lombardi, the fun and deceased Edgar Stiles from ’24’? He would have been PERFECT as Otis.

But hey, it was better than the Hulk. And maybe Electra.

IAIN “GENERAL F’N ZOD” BURNSIDE: I’ll comment on Superman Returns after I see it on Friday (still pissed about the delayed release in the UK).

For now, I’m just basking in the warm glow of Spider-Girl being saved!

Again!

Go on yersel’, May…

COREN: I’m really pleased that SG got picked up again (even if it was planned from the get go). It’s one of the few titles that isn’t affected by crossovers, isn’t involved in events, and manages to integrate any “shocks” or major twists or whatever seamlessly
instead of it reading as forced to draw attention to the title. And
for once, they’re going to actively promote the thing, so good on
them.

TIM: I hate Spider-Girl! I hate it so friggin’ much! Alright, not really, but I am getting sick of its “oops cancelled, ooooo, not anymore” dance. Especially since I’ve seen a lot of titles that I think were a lot more deserving of resurrection go down while this guy (which is okay, but not great) keeps on trucking. Oh well, I won’t begrudge it since I know it’s a lot of people’s favourites. Even if they are wrong.

IAIN: Maybe you just hate Spider-Girl because you think she’s a guy…

KEVIN: I think the whole SG thing proves that organized fanboys (those unafraid to write letters, columns, guys a lot like us in other words) have more power now than ever, provided it is wielded intelligently and for a purpose. I like that. And I too think certain titles got the axe that were in some ways better than S-G, but that just means the fans weren’t vocal enough, or determined or lucid enough.

Here’s to less trolls, more intelligence!

PAUL: You know I’d be deeply touched by the commitment shown by Marvel and Spider-Girl’s fans if only DeFalco’s writing on that book didn’t lull me to sleep every time I get into it.

EUGENE “IMPERIEX” TIERNEY: I never saw the big deal behind Spider-girl. I read the first few issues and wasn’t blown away. Did it get better over time? Was I just in the minority?

PAUL: I never got the whole “Marvel Doesn’t Promote Spider-Girl” argument that May’s fans use to explain the book’s low sales. I mean when the M2 line first came out Toy Biz released a Previews Exclusive “Famous Covers” action figure of the character, Wizard featured a prominent full-page ad for a Spider-Girl story arc around the time the first Spider-Man movie was in theatres, and Spider-Girl was one of the very first titles Marvel released in its Digest line.

IAIN: Yes, but does Marvel actually do anything to promote its digest titles or does it just shove them into bookstores, sit back and hope that the word-of-mouth effect that helped Spider-Girl and Runaways (and Mary Jane, slightly, and Sentinel, slightly less) will continue to sustain their sales for ever more?

PAUL: To be honest Marvel and DC do very little to actually promote their trades in general. Both companies relegate their trades to the back of the Previews catalogues, and only use press releases and in-house advertising to hype over-sized hardcovers, and other pricey special editions.

MANOLIS “JOHN WILLIAMS” VAMVOUNIS: I don’t agree with you there.

DC treats new TPBs the same way they do any other new issue. In fact when a new trade comes out, they solicit it right next to the current issue of the series, and they usually also ‘re-offer’ the previous trade of the series on the same page. Marvel goes one step further and has full-page solicits for each of is new trades every month.

PAUL: Ok… to be fair DC does do a better job of promoting their trades, BUT… I’d like to both Marvel and DC provide more publicity for their TPBs outside of the Previews catalogue.

IAIN: I’m just going to cut and past this from my Anti-Pulse bit:

I finally got to see Superman Returns and the verdict is… fine. Not bad. Not great. Acceptable. Warrants neither heavy criticism nor glowing praise. Perhaps the giddy anticipation of our collective thumbs means that having them left locked firmly in the middle is much more of a disappointment than a relief, but that was the case with Singer’s first X-Men and his sequel was stellar, so keep those thumbs limber.

But, just because:

The Good:

1. The music. George Lucas can mess with Star Wars to his heart’s content, yet even he knows that you just cannot tinker with the perfect, iconic opening theme. The same applies to Bryan Singer and this new Superman movie franchise. As soon as you hear the opening strains of John Williams’ emphatically marvellous score, you know exactly what is coming. Even better, they kept the same font and swooshing effect for the opening credits (though thankfully didn’t drag them out quite so long as Richard Donner did). I marked out plenty when they used it in Smallville; it was a real trial to sit in my seat in the cinema and not leap to my feet, screeching along with it. Some songs can still turn you into a six year-old; this is one of them.

2. The kid. Played by one Tristan Lake Leabu, who managed to walk the very fine line of being sweet and funny without turning into an overbearing and irritating presence that you end up actively wishing harm on (Dakota Fanning in War Of The Worlds, for instance). Even during the big reveal in the piano scene he simply came across as a natural kid, unsteady and unsure but ever so curious and honestly innocent. Since the character will no doubt be a pivotal part of the sequel(s), this bodes well.

3. The effects. Faux-Krypton Island? Mandatory Action Comics #1 homage? Plane crashing into the middle of a baseball game? The Daily Planet sign tumbling off the roof? The sea-plane rescue drama? The X-ray vision? I could carry on listing more of the mesmerising techniques, but let’s just say that the controversial $204 million budget was at least spent very well.

4. The bit at the end. You know – Superman flies up into space, heads round the Earth, looks to the right, looks to the left, looks at the camera, almost smiles, then soars away? Maybe they shouldn’t have tried to recreate such a definitive Chistopher Reeve moment but, like the theme, it just felt right.

5. James Marsden. Yet another comic book adaptation in which his character doesn’t quite get the girl (and I can’t have been the only one that expected him to successfully try ‘Wolverine’ as the password on Lois’ laptop, then perhaps start greeting) but, unlike his Cyclops, Richard White was actually established as a worthy character and a decent man in his own right. Possibly my favourite part of the script was the little exchange between him and Lois when he rescued them from Luthor’s sinking ship (Her: “How did you get here?” Him: “I flew.”). He is just bland enough so that we’re not about to start rooting for him over Clark Kent, but at the same time just genuine enough that we don’t want to see him hurt by losing his partner and son, who he risked everything for in the face of unparalleled danger. In fact, he was far braver than the powerless Superman proved to be. Racing into certain death to try and protect your family or staggering around helpless without so much as raising a fist at Luthor’s goons? Which is the bigger inspiration?

6. Kevin Spacey. Honestly, I am in awe at the way they played this depiction of Lex Luthor. If you came into this expecting the either the tongue-in-cheek Gene Hackman version *or* the subversive and understated Michael Rosenbaum version *or* something individual, you were not disappointed. We are thankfully spared the burden of him monologuing his angst, yet it is evident in his eyes and his body language, spilling through the cracks of his slowly dwindling business-class cool at all the right moments. On top of this, Spacey brings his customary, and in this case fitting, dry wit to the role. You’ll believe a man can fly; Luthor will believe it should be him.

7. Brandon Routh. A little far down on the list perhaps, but this isn’t meant to be in any sort of definitive order. Anyway, Routh makes for a tremendous Superman. His Clark Kent is nothing to write home about, however. It’s not exactly as noticeable as the Dean Cain version but he just didn’t quite make the character weak enough to make it believable that nobody would recognise him, not even Lois in the hospital scene. He absolutely did make the role of Superman his own though. No, nobody will ever match Christopher Reeve, but that doesn’t mean Routh cannot carve out his own distinct take on the role. The tone of his voice, the look he gives the man that shot him umpteen times, the exuded calm in the aftermath of the plane/shuttle/stadium near-disaster and, above all else, the “father becomes the son… and the son… the father” moment at the end. Oh, and the costume was just dandy so go pick nits elsewhere.

8. The look on Martha Kent’s face as she stands with the masses outside the hospital, unable to tend to her critically wounded boy. Heartbreaking.

9. Marlon Brando! Who wanted Anthony Hopkins anyway?

The Bad:

1. Kate Bosworth. Okay, it is more a fault of the script than of the actress but, really, is this the best they could do? They tried to take the quirky, headstrong, independent Margot Kidder version and have her struggle to come to terms with having her own family but succeeded only in making her look selfish and petty, substituting herself for the world in her “Why the world does/doesn’t need Superman” rants. One little disagreement with Perry White and one little spelling error does not a Lois Lane make. Treating her fiancé like a worthless dolt does not a Lois Lane make. Foolishly bringing her fragile five year-old child with her into the dodgiest of potentially dodgy situations does not a Lois Lane make. And at the end of it all, what is her big development? Deciding not to smoke. Well, yikes. Things are bad when Teri Hatcher looks to have been a better Lois.

2. The sequel status. Okay, so we’ve all heard the term “unofficial sequel” by now, yet a little clarification would be nice. We are led to believe that Superman and Lois conceived the child in Superman II, when he lost his powers. However, at the end of that movie, Lois had her memory of Clark’s identity removed, which means that she should have no recollection of the event since she went to bed with Clark and not Superman. This would mean that she just found herself mysteriously pregnant one day. Did she just think that Superman must have done something very quickly in her sleep? She certainly shows no sign of knowing who Clark is in the new movie, so she obviously doesn’t think the child is his. To be fair, we don’t actually hear her say that her son’s father is Superman. Perhaps she just whispered that the kid has super-powers too. Perhaps we need clarification on all of this in the sequel.

3. The absence. Why the hell did he turn up in a Kryptonian ship? How the hell did he fit into it considering it was baby-sized? When the hell did he learn to fly it? Since when does Superman need a ship to fly in space? Most confusing.

4. The return. Obviously the concept of Superman coming back to Earth and resuming his role as a saviour is the driving force behind this film. It’s a shame then that they rushed his return so much it felt rather hollow. It would have had far more impact had they actually taken a little time to show how the world had changed for the worse in his absence. We are told many times about Lex Luthor’s trial and how Superman’s failure to attend it led to his release. Could they not have put this in at the start of the movie? We hear Superman say that he hears millions crying out for help all over the world, every day. Could they not have made this evident somehow? What little we seen of this world, which was mainly Metropolis, did not seem to be in bad shape at all. In fact, it seemed rather prosperous. I understand not wanting to burden the franchise with political weight, yet a few brief scenes about rising crime figures, terrorist activity, poverty and suchlike would have made Superman’s presence seem vital rather than optional. He dropped “the American way” but never seemed to pick up the rest. Maybe Singer should have kept the Ground Zero scene in after all.

5. The plot. Was there one? Again, for a two-and-a-half-hour movie, things were too hasty in all the wrong places. Luthor’s reason for concocting his evil scheme is, um, the fact that he is Lex Luthor and therefore must have an evil scheme (that and the symbolism of Superman hurling it into space, which will no doubt come back to haunt him in future instalments). After Superman saves the day, following a rather lame confrontation with Luthor and a Lois-led rescue that really irked, the hospital scene feels wholly unnecessary and drags on for far too long. And I’d really like to know how the doctors got his costume off without tearing it (or how those bullets from earlier didn’t pierce the costume). The first act takes about ten minutes, the third act about forty-five and split jarringly in half, leaving the longest second act in recent memory to pad it out.

6. The script. Things were far too serious for their own good most of the time. Luthor had plenty of subtle humour in his scenes, the bit with the dog was spot-on, and there were a couple of chuckle-worthy moments later on (the burrito scene, for instance) but for the most part the film came across as leaden, po-faced and ever-so-slightly pompous. Yes, Superman could be an allegory for Christ, we get it. Still doesn’t compare to Superman getting a little girl’s cat out of a tree for her (or the black comedy of the girl getting a smack from her parents after he flew off).

7. The logic. Obviously in a superhero movie there is a lot that needs to be taken in good faith. I mentioned above about the magically unharmed costume, which is one. In a completely different league of illogic, however, was Superman being so weakened by being in the presence of Kryptonite that Luthor could deck him with a single punch… then not long after that being able to lift an entire island embedded with Kryptonite and chuck it into space. In short – huh?

8. The stalking. Superman should not invade people’s privacy to the extent of floating outside their home, using his X-ray vision to watch them in secret. Thank goodness Lois wasn’t on the toilet. And even though it was a tremendously well-acted scene, his chat with the kid was still rather creepy. Wouldn’t Lois have anything to say about a man coming out of her son’s bedroom in the middle of the night? Or is she, as all evidence seems to suggest, simply not that keen on being a mother?

So, there you have it. The score winds up being 9-8 in favour of The Good. Not bad, is it?

Could certainly have lived without being propositioned by some random Caribbean bloke on the walk home though.

Now for the new stuff…

Going back to Coren’s bit about the timeline of Lois’ pregnancy: Well, Superman was depowered in Superman II when he slept with Lois but he still had Kryptonian physiology. Maybe their sperm just take the scenic route to get to the eggs, so it was a little while until Lois realised she was pregnant. Maybe she just went with another guy on the rebound, as people do. Maybe the combination of the two and her obvious insecurity about an Earth without a Superman made her feel like she ought to try and form a proper family. Maybe she remained ever-hopeful about Superman returning and so had the kid with the new guy but only got engaged to him, never married.

Or we could just call her a slut, whatever.

COREN: Maybe Kryptonian kids take longer to gestate or something?

TIM: I don’t think we need to call Lois a slut. That is terribly backward of us, isn’t it?

That said, the movie timetable still doesn’t make sense (and not because Lois is easy or anything). If Superman ditched without a word (as Lois repeatedly suggests) would she really be on the rebound less than a month later? If kryptonian babies take longer to gestate could explain it, I suppose (giving her a, let’s say, three month window to meet Perry’s nephew and sleep with him on the rebound), but how did that work the rest of the pregnancy. When Lois was pregnant for 12 months, didn’t someone get worried?

And so on and so on we go with endless over analysis. It didn’t ruin the movie for me or anything. It was just one of those things that, once acknowledged, was difficult to explain in a satisfactory manner. But, it is a superhero movie so maybe airtight logic isn’t a concern.
It was not Lois’s decision to sleep with someone else that I question; it was the timeline as dictated by the script. The script was in error, not the character.

IAIN: Maybe there’s another Kryptonian somewhere on Earth that impregnated Lois just to f*ck with Superman?

Maybe the villain in the second movie will kill the kid?

What would you guys like to see in the next instalment anyway?

Another bout of Luthor, or some other bad guy? Someone told me they had seen Apokolips during the opening credits but I can’t recall seeing it. Still, a big-screen version of Darkseid after all this time would be quite something…

JEFF: Since the sequel is probably inevitable (despite the fact that it really is doing disappointing box office numbers), I would like to see another villain. The problem is after all these years; Superman has SHIT for a rogue’s gallery. But I came up with a scant few candidates:

1) Brainiac. Having typed that, I now have the song “(She’s A) Maniac” from Flashdance stuck in my head. Don’t ask me why. My pick would be Kiefer Sutherland, shaved bald. Then again, some versions of Brainiac have hair, so that’s not a requirement. People might think Superman has it out for bald guys. But I think Kiefer has a menacing monotone that would be perfect for the part. If you want to tie this or any other sequel villain into a returning Luthor scheme, be my guest.

2) Parasite. Could be played by anybody. Think about this for a second: nobody bats Batman because Bats is smarter than everybody. Detective skills, deductive logic, keen scientific mind about a variety of subjects. Mind over brawn every time. And yet most of Superman’s opponents are arguably smarter than him (not sayin’ Kal-El ain’t bright, but he ain’t Brainiac either) and he wins by brawn over brains most of the time.

3) GENERAL MOTHERFUCKING ZOD BITCHES!! They killed Joker before and he’ll be back next Batman movie. Maybe he could be a version of an Eradicator, modelled on Zod, since Daron tells me Zod was killed in Superman 2. Hell, I don’t mind if Stamp does it again, but does anyone else have ideas for a Zod ver 2.0? Hmmm….all I can think of is Christopher Walken. Hell, he could play HIMSELF and I’d see that! Oh man, can’t you see the monologue: “Hello there, little man. I knew your grandfather. He imprisoned me, with a Eurotrash hooker and Frankenstein’s Monster, in a place called the Phantom Zone. But I outsmarted him, you see. I took a piece of crystal from your grandfather’s fortress and hid it in the one place those cold, scientific bastards wouldn’t find it–up my ass–for centuries as I floated around the Phantom Zone. The Monster ate the hooker and then died of dysentery. But I escaped, you see, and because of the rectal cancer this Red Kryptonite gave me, I decided to seek revenge on the offspring of your grandfather, Jor El. So before I go out to kill his son, your old man, Kal El, I’m giving this to you.” After all, what are comics if not….wait for it…pulp fiction! Royale with cheese, mothaf*ckas.

4) Um…yeah, after those guys it gets dicey in terms of what would work on the screen. Do you really want Myx? I don’t think it’d go over real well, no matter what funnyman you put in the mini-derby…Robin Williams maybe? Or any other more magically flavoured foe–explaining Kryptonian magic allergies will come off weak as Hell on screen. Or the aforementioned Darksied, there’s an awful lot to explain there. If you’re not a comic person, or you are but not a DC person, you still know Superman and Lex and maybe Brainy, but the New Gods would require a bit more explanation than folks at the theatre, especially non-comic moviegoers, would be comfortable with. I thought about Deathstroke, but then I thought how much better he would be against Christian Bale’s Batman. Oooh…World’s Finest…probably best as a third movie for both franchises, but a Bat-Cameo would be interesting! Just say no to Doomsday. Maybe Perry White could be the villain–Frank Langella scares the f*ck out of me. Not quite like Vincent Price, of course.

Back to the movie and the birth of the Piano-Killer, Daron explained to me that she got pregnant when Superman lost his powers in Superman 2, so I needed worry about yellow sun-powered semen blasting her frontal lobs into the lower atmosphere–AND FOR YOU SUPERMAN CREATORS OUT THERE I WILL PAY FULL PAGE RATES IF YOU ACTUALLY DO THAT SCENE SOMETIME!! But I retorted with, “I’m not worried, I’m waiting for Batman and the DEO to show up and take that murderous delinquent into custody…in the Phantom Zone. And it brings me back to my other point: how does the Pulitzer winning journalist not know? Did she f*ck a guy in a cape or a guy with glasses in the weeks prior to continual nausea and regular vomiting? Or did the Daily Planet’s star whore (say, that’s almost a pun) sleep with so many guys that Eric Cartman’s father is more easily known? I bet she made Jimmy’s tie spin like a propeller at least once in the 5 years Superman was crashing rare Kryptonian spacecraft into fertile Kansas farmland. But I guess it’s quicker than using that balky old tiller in the barn, eh? You know, I think I’m warming up to the movie more and more each day. I’m having a surprising amount of fun skewering it. I usually don’t like something, like 5th Element and Timeline, and I say, “Good God that sucked like Thunderbolts 100,” and move on. But Singer fumbled the ball on this one (or for my friends across the pond, give him a Yellow Card).

IAIN: Parasite? The hell? I don’t even know who that is…

I love the idea of Deathstroke appearing in a Batman sequel though. In fact I’d much rather see that than yet another version of The Joker, but Warner must do as the masses wish.

Kiefer Sutherland as Brainiac is a good idea, but I think he’d be much better suited as Zod. Can’t really remember exactly what happened to Zod at the end of Superman II but it doesn’t really matter if they want to bring him back, which they probably will since he’s about the only non-Luthor Superman foe that the general audience would be familiar with, he’s in a fairly epic storyline on Smallville at the moment, his arrival would tie into the isolation theme and the ‘Last Son of Krypton’ idea that the film established and, as ever, it allows for comparison with Jor-El and also now with Superman’s implied role as a father. It would also be quite easy to tie Zod’s arrival into Luthor’s Kryptonian island begin hurled into space, with rogue crystals still on it as well as some Kryptonite, all of which would be exposed to the yellow sun. They could work Jason into it as well, to a greater extent than just hanging around in the background trying to figure out why his mummy is making lovey-dovey eyes at a man other than his daddy. I mean, the kid will seemingly develop super powers but is vulnerable enough to have asthma? Perhaps his rather complicated genetic make-up has, under the yellow sun, left him with a cancer. His only chance of survival is the microscopic Kryptonian land that Luthor has managed to develop, Kandor, which will allow his body to develop healthily until it is ready to tolerate Earth’s atmosphere… and Luthor lets them use it for Jason, but crossing the barrier opens a rift that allows Zod to escape from the Phantom Zone… and he quickly beats the crap out of Superman, then leaves, returning with the remains of Luthor’s island, which he has transformed into a colossal warship… and Superman has to stop this and also get Luthor to make something that will save Jason’s life…

Or whatever, I’m just babbling now.

The important thing is – Keifer for Zod!

WILL: I think the thing the film is getting that Kryptonian bodies develop different to bodies, so for example before Clark showed his super powers he was wearing glasses for real. Same with the kid, he has an inhaler but when he finally shows his powers he no longer needs it.

As for the film, I thing that struck me is how bloody eighties the
damn thing is. Right from the opening credits it just seems very
retro, not so much “you’ll believe a man can fly” more “you’ll believe the eighties had CGI”. And it’s something that’s still present throughout the film, a certain nostalgic reverence for the character. In many ways this shows you what a difficult character Superman is, unlike other superheroes Batman notwithstanding Superman is a genuine icon that people aren’t willing to see reimagined too much. With limitations this must have placed on him, Singer should be congratulated on simply getting the movie out.

Is it a good film? Well I enjoyed it, so as far as I’m concerned yeah. Brandon Routh is excellent, very much a Chris Benoit to Reeves
Dynamite Kid. I actually disagree with Iain, I think he’s Clark Kent
is fine, modern audiences wouldn’t believe Reeves super-bumbling Kent, so the extra emphasis on Kent’s hick-nerdiness is well judged. Routh really hits his stride as Superman, with a majesty and beauty that is perfect for the role. What I particularly loved was the effort Routh and Singer made to make Superman graceful, when he flies it’s near always a gentle soar upwards not the zip-zoon also done. The fact that they made *that* costume work is also cause for celebration.

Whilst the part is slightly underwritten Kevin Spacey does great stuff with Lex Luthor, perfectly getting across the frustrated genius of the man and the reasons for his hatred of Superman. Its a tour de force that makes him one of the best superhero movie villains of all time, with possibly only Judge Dredd’s Mean Machine being better (NB: Shitty movie, but they got ol’ Mean right down to a pat). His scheme is slightly bizarre and outlandish, but hey have you ever read a Superman comic :). The only major character that they’ve got wrong is Lois Lane, whilst the script obviously takes some of the blame I just don’t think they’ve got the right actress. She’s too soft and ‘pretty’ to do Lois properly, you really needed an actress with a bit more ver-ver-voom.

However, what I think will hurt this film with mainstream audiences is how po-faced it is. This really is a serious family superhero film, something that hasn’t been tried since…well…Superman II. I doubt there’s much of a market for that, and the cinema I was in seemed to be bored during much of the film. Personally, I like the fact that it takes superheroes seriously, and there’s a positive uplifting superhero movie but I doubt that’s the peeps want.

JEFF: Jeff, Lois doesn’t remember sleeping more Superman because he mindwiped her (with his superkiss) at the end of Superman II. It’s not that she’s lousy at her job or wildly easy, it’s that Superman took that memory away from her for her “own good” when it became clear that a Lois/Superman coupling was just not a reality.

KEVIN: And Jeff has given me my first ever aneurism. Oh f*ck. I watched about an hour of Click today just for the Walken goodness. And he still has it. I need to get back to rolling around on the floor in hysterics now. If Jeff is ever in Boston, I will buy him beer and laugh it out my nose.

CONTINUED IN PART TWO!

(you have to click the link above for part two; not this, this is not a link)

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