Saturday, December 1, 2012

Retro Review: Ultimate Avengers

If you read Ultimate Avengers by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, you probably felt like I did when you heard this animated movie was being released. Even the cover, reminiscent of Bryan Hitch's work, promised something special. I should have set my bar lower. Actually, I should have sent my bar back to the 70's.

Any single Justice League animated episode makes this film look like the Superfriends from the 1970's, and there simply is no excuse. Animation studios with amazing talent are everywhere, and Marvel certainly has enough cash after successes like the Spiderman and X-Men films. Though they tried to put in elements from the brilliantly developed characters in the Ultimates comic series, each scene was rushed, giving no time for emotional involvement. That, combined with chunky animation, leaves you with little ability to suspend your disbelief and really feel for these characters.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Retro Review: Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Image drawn from
There is a list of reasons why I shouldn't like this show. As an adult, the "classic" Adam West Batman makes me cringe, though it was my favorite show as a kid. When writers can't get past the camp, or try to use "it's a comic-based TV show" as an excuse for terrible scripts and acting, it pisses me off. So, naturally, when I heard the premise of this show I wanted none of it. Batman is never in Gotham? Tons of guest stars? Throwback to the 50's Bill Finger stuff? Yikes. Really?!

I was totally wrong.

The writers have put together something brilliant, hilarious, and a beautiful homage to how FUN comics were when I was growing up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Young Justice

"Season One of Young Justice is one of the best written, plotted and developed pieces of animation I've ever seen on American television." 

I'm a Teen Titans fan.

What I loved about the Teen Titans, beyond the fact that they were led by my favorite DC hero, the Dick Grayson Robin, was that they were not the Justice League.

At first glance, the original team looks like a miniature version of their better-known, older counterparts: Batman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Flash. In the 1960's that's all they were meant to be, but in 1980, Marv Wolfman and George Perez changed all that.

What made the Wolfman/Perez "New Teen Titans" series different and, in my humble opinion, better than the Justice League were their interpersonal relationships. JLA stories were about fighting alien invasions and ultra-powerful supervillains. If you wanted to read about Clark Kent's personal life, you had to read the Superman comics. Since none of the Titans had their own series, Wolfman and Perez could explore the lives of our favorite sidekicks in relationship to one another. The team became more of a family than the JLA could every be, because the JLA had their own lives, their own villains and their own problems outside of the team.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Dark Knight Rises": A superhero trilogy that didn't choke

"'The Dark Knight Rises' fulfills its destiny as an epic a conclusion to Nolan's Batman universe..."

Comic characters possess a particular quality unique to literature. Malleability. Like the stories of the Greek Gods, or Arthurian knights, or Aboriginal animal tales, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are archetypes, icons whose stories can be told again and again in different ways while keeping the heart of the character intact. Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer understand this. Creators like Burton and Schumacher lost, or never understood, the idea that you can mold a Batman story however you like as long as you stick to certain core traits.