Friday, December 25, 2015

Plot Hole in Star Wars The Force Awakens

The main driver of much of the plot in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is the fact that multiple people want the map data that is carried by BB-8. Although it makes perfect sense that Poe put the map into BB-8's compartment and told the droid to get away from Kylo Ren's attack, I think there were many problems with the map tracking after that.

Several times throughout Act 1 and Act 2 of the movie, characters, especially those in the First Order, make major decisions based on getting BB-8 because the droid has the map data. But why would they assume with pretty much complete certainty that BB-8 still has the map? BB-8 could have either given the map up freely or had it forcibly removed (we see that the droid can be captured very easily). The map could have been passed on from BB-8 at several different points while still on Jakku, it could have been passed along in space around the time that Han Solo and Chewie arrive, it could have gone in any different number of directions from Maz Kanata's planet, and so forth.

True, Kylo Ren lets BB-8 go when he thinks he can get the info from Rey, who has seen the map. But even then, they're thinking that BB-8 still has the map, they just don't need it anymore. (And later, Kylo Ren sort of gets admonished for not going straight after the droid.)

Related problems are that the First Order could have accidently incinerated BB-8 and the map when they attacked on Jakku, and since the Resistance seems to have spies in quite a lot of places (and definitely at Maz Kanata's), it actually would have been much smarter for them to have BB-8 pass the map on to someone else who had not already been identified and tracked by the First Order. (For example, they could have sent off a few ships in different directions from Maz Kanata's, with only one having the map, but the First Order would have to pursue all of them.)

Here are my full discussions about The Force Awakens with Jason Book. The first video focuses a bit more on positive aspects of the film, while the second video delves into a series of criticisms.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Batman 47: Duke and Many Blooms

Jason Book and I discuss the most recent issue of Batman, written by Scott Snyder with pencils by Greg Capullo.

The run continues to be strong, and this one moves things a few steps closer to what will probably be a big issue 50. It looks like they're setting up 50 to be the issue where Batman returns to the cape and cowl (and over in Superman, I think it will be when Supes regains his full powers). In Batman 47, Duke connects with Bruce and tries to inspire him to remember his Batman days, Gordon has a partial victory over Mr. Bloom, and we see the return of a surprising character on the last page.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Superman 46: Oh no, Jimmy!

Jason Book and I discuss issue 46 of Superman (DC Comics), by Gene Yang and Howard Porter. SPOILER ALERT

This issue wasn't as off track as the last one, but it still had a lot of problems and didn't seem fitting enough for the big event that happened at the end. Interestingly, the emergence of the sand-clone Superman continues with some connections back to Denny O'Neill's Superman stories in the early 1970s (see also the "Quarmers" reference with Hordr_root's energy collectors).

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review of Batman v Superman Trailer 2

Jason Book and I breakdown the second full trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Brothers).

We loved the interactions between Clark and Bruce, Wonder Woman's entrance, and we talk about why the spoiler freaks need to calm down. I also share several reasons why I am really liking this take on Lex Luthor so far.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Superman American Alien Takes Flight

Jason Book and I discuss the first issue of Max Landis's Superman: American Alien mini-series, published by DC Comics.

We both felt positively about the issue, with Jason calling it the best Superman comic he's read in years.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Batman 46: Batman v. Mr Bloom

Jason Book and I discuss the latest issue of Batman (DC Comics).

This issue began with a showdown between Jim-Bats and Mr. Bloom and also had some nice development for Bruce Wayne's relationship with Julie and for Duke. Things might be building from here on in to issue 50.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Flash S02:E03-07

Jason Book and I discuss the episodes leading up to the fall break on The Flash (CW).

We're still really enjoying the show. We talk about the character arcs for Zoom, Patty, Caitlin, Cisco, and more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Superman 45: Underground mythbrawling what?

Jason Book and I try to make some sense of the Superman issue 45 from DC Comics, written by Gene Yang with pencils by Howard Porter.

The art was a step up but the story went in a crazy direction. I'm not sure how Yang is going to bring it back around to the hordr_root through-line and the themes of privacy and technology.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Justice League 45: Setting Up Darkseid War One-Shots

Jason Book and I discuss issue 45 of Justice League, written by Geoff Johns with art by Francis Manapul. This issue continues the Darkseid War arc with several of the main characters separating and being set up for their one-shots coming throughout November.

The Batman one-shot came out last week, and today sees Superman and The Flash. Finishing it out are Green Lantern, Shazam!, and Lex Luthor, before the main Darkseid War arc continues.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Supergirl S01:E01

Jason Book and I discuss the pilot episode of Supergirl, on CBS.

Jason was disappointed with a few aspects of the show but liked it overall. I was forgiving of some of the special effects and was pretty thrilled with the rest of it. Melissa Benoist is great and they have set up lots of interesting story points and relationships that can be explored into the future.

Here is our video from earlier in 2015 with our original anticipations for the series.

Top 5 Batman Costumes

The Halloween season has gotten Jason Book and I thinking about our five favorite Batman costumes. In the past we've listed our favorite Superman costumes, and as with that list, we focused on comic books rather than movies or television.

Here is our list (in no particular order):
  • Neal Adams blue cape and cowl
  • New 52
  • Gotham by Gaslight
  • Batman Beyond (okay, it started on tv but moved to the comics)
  • Alex Ross Justice

Monday, October 26, 2015

Batman 45: Full arrival of Mr. Bloom

Jason Book and I discuss the most recent issue of Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

Another strong issue shows Gordon teaming up nicely with his mech-suit, Bruce having some restlessness (even though it was pretty great how he reclaimed the debris from Endgame), and the full arrival of Mr. Bloom on the final pages.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Flash S02:E01-02

Jason Book and I discuss the start to season 2 of The Flash, airing on the CW.

Overall, we feel the show is continuing well from season 1 and maintaining its streak of high quality, with a good blend of action and character moments.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Justice League 44: Darkseid War escalates

Jason Book and I discuss the September chapter of the Darkseid War in Justice League #44, by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok.

In short, this arc continues to be really good! This issue contains what will probably end up being the heart of the physical fight between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor. Batman and Green Lantern also explore a bit of Anti-Monitor's origin, and Kalibak and Grail have some sibling issues.

Monday, October 12, 2015

DC Sales Stabilize in September

Following Convergence in Spring 2015, DC Comics initiated a soft relaunch with the DCYou initiative. In the main ongoing titles, the New 52 continuity was maintained but several new titles were introduced with their own separate continuities and the overall editorial position became one geared more toward story freedom and title integrity rather than a tight interlocking universe. They also continued their move toward more diversity in the overall line of books, which seems to be working in terms of bringing in diverse readers, though it might take some time to see the strategy pay sales dividends.

As I covered before, the DCYou launch and its associated marketing push led to a bit of a dip in sales rather than a boost. But there were positive underlying signs related to readership and quality indicators. Now, Diamond has released the September 2015 sales numbers and I think things are looking okay for DCYou. Here are some observations:
  • A significant portion of Marvel's success relative to DC stems from its Star Wars titles rather than its mainline Marvel universe. In a sense, there are two big players (Marvel and DC) and two mid-sized players (Star Wars and Image), though certainly the success of Star Wars feeds Marvel from a business perspective.
  • DC only posted 34 books in the Top 100, whereas they usually post between 35-45 on that chart (37 in August, 34 in July, 44 in June). A slight piece of silver lining is that 19 of the 34 DC books were in the Top 50 (up from 18 in August).
    • Marvel: 57 in the Top 100, with the 4 Star Wars books posting in the Top 11.
    • On a personal note, I was happy to see all 4 of the Superman books posting in the Top 50, with an average Diamond index (i.e., metrics relative to sales of Batman) of 34.16 (similar to the 35.0 in August). But this is down from late summer 2014, when the same four Superman books averaged 46.8. Perhaps the new take on Superman has not panned out as DC had hoped.
  • DC maintained a 26% market share for retail and 26% share for units (25|27 in August, 24|24 in July, 28|25 in June). Retail, of course, is the more important of those numbers and so 26% is a fairly good number, down only relative to the June numbers in the last 4 months, and June was boosted by a flurry of #1's with the DCYou.
    • Marvel: 33% retail and 38% units in September, benefiting from the continuing Secret Wars event and those 4 Star Wars books in the Top 11.
  • Continuing a recent trend, DC fared well on the trade paperback / graphic novel side of the market. DC had 5 graphic novels in the Top 10.
    • Marvel had 0 graphic novels in the Top 10.
Two of the new books that I have really enjoyed are Prez and The Omega Men. Both are politically a bit risky but, I think, very well done. The Omega Men has been a critical hit, but was nearly canceled after its first arc. Luckily, the fans spoke out and DC agreed to continue the series for at least 12 issues. I hope Prez is able to continue, as well.

Superman 44: First day without a secret identity

Jason Book and I discuss Superman #44, written by Gene Yang with pencils by John Romita Jr, published by DC Comics.

Overall, we enjoyed this issue, which wraps up the "Before Truth" story arc that precedes the other "Truth" stories that have already been printed in Action Comics, Batman Superman, and Superman Wonder Woman. This issue explains a bit of Perry's hard feelings toward Clark, which has surfaced in other books, and also ties in with the Divergence Free Comic Book Day preview where we saw Lois and Clark interacting at a hotel. The art is still not good, but somehow I've gotten used to it over the past year.

We've also covered previous issues in the arc.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gotham S02:E01-02

Jason Book and I discuss the first two episodes of Season 2 ("Rise of the Villains") of Gotham, airing on Fox.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Homages in Man of Steel

As I've watched and rewatched Man of Steel, not only does it get better with each viewing but I've also noticed more and more nods that Zack Snyder and company gave to various movies and comic books that came before. In the video below, I show 29 homages that can be seen in Man of Steel. Of course these can't be something as generic as "Kal-El is sent to Earth by his parents" or "Krypton was doomed to be destroyed" or "Jax-Ur is a Kryptonian scientist" because things like that are just facts about the mythos of Superman. What I considered to be homages are things that are more specific and could have easily been otherwise -- implying that the fact the filmmakers made these specific choices is either to pay homage to some source material or because they drew inspiration from it and thought it was a wise story or character decision.

Admittedly, I could have easily missed other homages because I haven't read or seen the entirety of the Superman canon. So if you have caught other homages, please leave them in the YouTube comments. Mine draw on the movies and the comic books that I've appreciated over the years, but I also think these are ones that were close to the filmmakers' minds (e.g., David Goyer wrote the forward to Superman: Secret Origin and talked about how certain scenes by Geoff Johns really made him connect with Superman in new ways).

If you're curious about what prior material had the biggest influence on Man of Steel, here's my tally (though they aren't necessarily all of equal importance):
  • Superman: The Movie (Donner) - 8
  • Superman II (Lester) - 5
  • Superman: Earth One (Straczynski) - 5
  • Superman: Birthright (Waid) - 4
  • Superman: Secret Origin (Johns) - 2
  • Superman: Last Son of Krypton (Johns) - 1
  • All-Star Superman (Morrison) - 1
  • Action Comics #1 (Siegel) - 1
  • Superman #1 (Siegel) - 1
  • Superman: The Animated Series (Timm) - 1
  • Superman Lives (Peters) - 1

Credit goes to Man of Steel Answers (MOSAIC) for catching the Action Comics #1 tribute.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Screentime Breakdown in Batman v Superman

Jason Book and I discuss the ratio of screentime for Batman and Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

We also can't help but speculate about Wonder Woman's role in it all.

Here is a previous post where I analyze in detail the purported plot description, which, if true, would answer the question about Batman and Superman's relative screentime.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Batman 44: A One-Shot with a Classic Batman Style

Jason Book, creator of the Me + Him web comic, joins me in discussing Batman #44, written by Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello with art by Jock.

We both enjoyed this issue. It's a nice one-shot that gives the reader a strong detective story with a great art style, and just a touch of connection to the Mr. Bloom storyline that is going on up to issue 43 and will continue in issue 45. This issue also takes on the topic of police killings and does so in a way that we felt was quite appropriate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reactions to Action Comics 44 and Batman Superman 24

Greg Pak has been writing both Action Comics and Batman Superman and issue 44 of the former and 24 of the latter brought the simultaneous conclusion of the respective "Truth" story arcs. In Action, that's the Hard Truth story of Superman being rejected by the fortress of solitude, traveling back to Metropolis, dealing with animosity but finding his home block sticking up for him, led by Lee Lambert. Superman stands together with street protesters and is goaded into lashing out at a violent police officer, only to find out (SPOILER ALERT) that the officer is one of the shadow creatures that have been causing trouble for Superman recently. In issue 43, we learned that the shadow problem ran all the way to the mayor's office in Metropolis.

In Batman Superman, the story arc is Truth Hurts which has involved Superman and the Jim Gordon mech-suit Batman figuring out how they are going to operate together and whether they can get on the same page as they try to figure out who is behind Dawn Command and their energy-stealing attacks. Ukur and the subterraneans become involved and in issue 23, Superman went down into Subterranea to see if he could work out a win-win.

Overall, I've been enjoying Pak's Truth stories much more than I expected. Issues 41 and 42 of Action had some especially heartfelt moments. The third issues of each of these 4-issue story arcs built things up to a nice peak of suspense. In Action, it was the question about the mayor's involvement and what the endgame was for the shadow creatures. In Batman Superman, it was the question of whether the mini-sun energy source was going to explode or be captured by the Subterraneans (and how was Dawn Command involved) and how was Superman going to deal with not only Ukur but Aquaman. Those questions had me looking forward to the concluding issues, both out on September 9th, but I did not expect Greg Pak to go beyond simply concluding the stories... he tied both of his books together!

On the Action side of things, we learn that Wrath is behind the shadow creatures and the overall events have been aimed at bringing out the anger in Superman. This nicely explains what some people viewed as a plothole in issue 42 -- at the time, we thought Officer Binghamton was goading Superman to lash out so that there was an excuse to take out the block. But that seemed irrational because when Superman did lash out at Binghamton, it only revealed Binghamton's secret -- that he was a shadow creature. Now, in issue 44, we learn that the real reason he was goading Superman was because it's all this larger effort to bring out Superman's wrath and anger. And because Superman is depowered, it has allowed him to let loose a lot more and lose his calm, which ties in well with Truth overall. Action 44 also brought a nice conclusion to the story of the bond between Superman and his home-block supporters. And there was a very dramatic moment of Lee seemingly getting overtaken by shadow, only to later see that she is a serious, positive force to be reckoned with. I'm excited about her as a character going forward. Another LL in Superman's life.

For Batman Superman, we learn that Aquaman has some rationality for his partnership with Ukur, and Ukur and the Subterraneans also have rational motivations (connecting back to Pak's earlier story where the great character of Baku was introduced). Superman saved the day for a couple different characters, but ultimately Dawn Command left with the mini-sun. And we find out that Vandal Savage was behind the Dawn Command efforts and is in league with Wrath, thus linking up Action and Batman Superman going forward. (It also seems as though one of Wrath's compatriots is, sort of, none other than Hordr_root from the Superman book.) Pak, you clever devil.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Correcting Time's Praise of Marvel Comics

In the September 7th/14th double issue of Time magazine (with Stephen Colbert on the cover), Eliana Dockterman had a feature article praising the moves toward diversity that Marvel Comics is making. While I share in the positive sentiments toward inclusiveness in the comic book industry, especially with regard to gender and sexuality (these are great moves all around and are long overdue), there were several inaccuracies in the article with regard to Marvel being the leader in this regard. Below are a few quick clarifications:

  • On page 77, Dockterman states that "Marvel is winning new fans by bringing diversity to comic books." This is probably true in a technical sense, but it leads the reader to think that Marvel is bringing in more diverse readers with its new approach. In fact, according to social media analysis, Marvel's readership is regressing slightly toward the white male majority. It is DC Comics that is currently making substantial gains in female readership, African American readership, and Hispanic readership. And relatedly...
  • On page 78, Dockterman cites Marvel's recent uptick in sales, "up 8% from the previous year," as a big indicator of the success and benefits of their increase in diversity in the pages of their comic books. But this is a correlation, though it invites the reader to think that the diversity is causing the increase. The problem here is that most, if not all, of the 8% increase at Marvel Comics is entirely due to their launch of Star Wars comics (Marvel is owned by Disney who also now own the Star Wars universe) and those SW books have been strong sellers all around.
  • On page 80, Dockterman gives a slight nod toward DC Comics by saying that "DC is, in fact, increasingly mirroring the strategy of its big rival Marvel." This clearly positions DC as the follower and Marvel as the leader in this positive social justice trajectory. Actually, there is more evidence that it's the other way around. In Dockterman's own article, she writes about how a few years ago Marvel had zero (0!) ongoing series that starred a female hero. At that same time, DC already had six (6!) series starring female heroes. Gender and ethnic diversity was an explicit part of the New 52 initiative, which preceded Axel Alonso's initiative at Marvel that is described in the Time article.
So overall, it is good that Time is recognizing the positive steps the big comic book companies are making to be more inclusive, but it is very misleading for them to act like Marvel is leading in this regard rather than DC Comics... and the article misses the fact that independent publishers have been pushing this envelope even earlier, putting pressure on the "big two" to be more diverse. And another big step is to not only have diversity on the pages of the comics but to also get more diversity, especially with females, in the creative offices and the executive suites.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Superman 43: Why does Lois reveal Clark's secret?

Jason Book and I discuss Superman #43 by Gene Yang and John Romita Jr. This is the landmark issue where (SPOILER ALERT) Lois outs Superman to the world.

There were some strengths to the issue, but we also discussed some miscues. And we talk about the report from BleedingCool that John Romita Jr will be leaving the title.

Check out our previous reviews of Superman issues (42, 41).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rumors about Justice League movies (SPOILER ALERT)

I am pasting the following for posterity so that I can check back in a few years to see if any of this information turned out to be true. This was posted as purportedly leaked info by redditleaker6307. POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW
  • A full screenplay written by Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio is definitely complete and will start filming by April 2016.
  • The film will not feature Brainiac as a villain but instead will have Darkseid as the villain. Darkseid's presence will echo throughout films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman and Aquaman share a deadly connection to Darkseid's home planet, Apokolips.
  • David S. Goyer's 2014 outline did feature Brainiac ( but ever since his controversial comments, Chris Terrio has taken his position in crafting the DC Extended Universe which may have been the reason of change of Brainiac to Darkseid. Goyer is still involved in some capacity.
  • The script already has Victor Stone as Cyborg as opposed to an origin story. The plan for Cyborg (2020) is suppose to fill in the gaps of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League Part One. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will only feature Victor Stone in a cameo.
  • Nightwing has an appearance in Justice League Part One. Warner Bros already have an actor set for Dick Grayson for multiple pictures.
  • Unsurprisingly, Viola Davis will reprise her role as Amanda Waller in Justice League Part One and Two.
  • Wonder Woman and Aquaman will have a major fight sequence in the film.
  • Thanagar will be a planet destroyed by Darkseid in the film.
  • Superman will be controlled by Darkseid in a scene which will cause the whole Justice League take him down. By the end of the film, Batman will have access to each of the Justice League member's weaknesses because of that event.
  • Vicki Vale will be referenced heavily by Bruce Wayne as a sort of love interest.
  • Gary Sinise is eyed to play General Wade Eiling for JL Part One even though rumors stated him in Suicide Squad.
  • Superman and The Flash have a race in the film.
  • Barry Allen and Victor Stone will be the comic relief of the team as they are younger. A bond between both characters will ensue.
  • The climax will have Flash break the speed force and travel back in time after a major catastrophe.
  • Lois Lane will only have a cameo in the introduction of Superman.
  • The titles for Justice League Part One/Two may change as both films aren't necessarily a continuation of one another.
  • Green Lantern will not be featured in Justice League Part One as Dan Ambroyer will not play Hal Jordan in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice unfortunately but rather an extra. EDIT - Warner Bros is choosing to go with John Stewart as Green Lantern in the Justice League, yet he isn't featured in the finished screenplay. (DEFINITELY take this with a grain of salt), it is a possibility he may be included in Justice League Part Two.
  • Take this with a grain of salt as drafts and outlines as early as this are a subject to change; Justice League Part Two has a four page outline by Snyder written. The outline will feature the return of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor forming a version of the Secret Society of Villains with villains like Deathstroke and Black Adam with the help of Amanda Waller.
  • ^ Again, take it as a grain of salt but this adds credence to the time when Dwayne Johnson said that Black Adam "will join Justice League," and fight Batman and Superman ( ( It's clear he knows something

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Justice League 43: Darkseid War part three

Jason Book and I talk about the third issue of the Darkseid War story arc (there were also some lead-ups in Justice League #40 and the FCBD Divergence issue). In short, it remains solid and epic! (Previous review)

The issue culminates in the beginning of the big showdown we've been expecting all along -- Darkseid v. the Anti-Monitor. The developments with Superman and Lex are just as exciting (and leave us on a bit of a cliffhanger), and we're wondering what wrenches Kalibak and Metron are going to throw into the action. They both seem like loose cannons.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Batman 43: Mr. Bloom and the Reemergence of Bruce

Jason Book and I review Batman #43, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. This is part 3 of the Superheavy story line which features Jim Gordon in the mech-batsuit.

As usual, there was a lot to like in the issue. But we were a little concerned by the introduction of Bruce's final (though incomplete) invention.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Top 5 Comic Book Movies (1998-2015)

Jason Book and I each run down our own list of our favorite live-action comic book movies from the era that began with Blade and recently ended with a whimper in Fantastic Four. But don't let the poor reviews of Fantastic Four fool you, there were way too many good movies in this timespan to fit into one video.

In the video we talk about our separate lists, which definitely contained some differences (only one of us had The Avengers, for example), but here is a rough version of our combined list:
  1. The Dark Knight (2008), directed by Christopher Nolan
  2. Spider-Man 2 (2004), directed by Sam Raimi
  3. Man of Steel (2013), directed by Zack Snyder
  4. Sin City (2005), directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
  5. The Avengers (2012), directed by Joss Whedon
  6. Iron Man (2008), directed by Jon Favreau
  7. X-Men (2000), directed by Bryan Singer
  8. V for Vendetta (2006), directed by James McTeigue
We also mentioned some other honorable mentions in the video. Previously, we covered the Top 5 for the earlier era of 1978-1997.

Now let the new era begin! Deadpool and especially Batman v Superman will get us started off next year in a big way.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Top 5 Comic Book Movies (1978-1997)

Jason Book and I run down the list of our 5 favorite comic book movies from the era that started with Superman: The Movie and screeched to a halt with Batman & Robin.

Here's our list, which we discuss in detail in the video:
  1. Superman: The Movie (1978), directed by Richard Donner
  2. Batman (1989), directed by Tim Burton
  3. The Crow (1994), directed by Alex Proyas
  4. Men in Black (1997), directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
  5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), directed by Steve Barron
This era had as many bad CBMs as good ones, and even the good ones haven't all held up over time. But it paved the way for the surging era that was 1998 to 2015 (ended by the Fantastic Four bomb). The year 2016 will kick off an exciting new era, we think.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Superman 42: How does Lois find out about Clark?

Jason Book and I discuss issue #42 of Superman, which is part 2 of the "Before Truth" story arc that explains how Lois came to reveal Superman's secret identity, leading to the "Truth" stories in Action Comics, Batman Superman, and Superman Wonder Woman.

Overall, we felt the issue was adequate but not stellar. The art is always a liability with John Romita Jr. on the book, so that puts pressure on the writing to be superb. In this case, Yang was good but not great. But the villain is creative and explores some relevant themes, and the arc still has potential going into the final two issues. We also discuss the big moment between Lois and Clark.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Batman 42: Is Bruce Wayne back already?

Jason Book and I review Batman 42 (DC Comics), by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

We have a lot of faith in this creative team, so we're sure that this is not actually Bruce Wayne casually returning to the scene and these villains of the week are probably going to lead to something interesting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top 5 DC Announcements at Comic-Con

In the video below, Jason Book and I discuss 5 exciting announcements made by DC Comics (and Warner Bros.) at Comic-Con 2015 in San Diego.

The announcements we focus on were the following:
  1. The Batman movie, co-written by Affleck and Johns
  2. Justice League: Gods and Men tie-in comics for "Darkseid War"
  3. Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, Fall 2015
  4. New Superman mini-series and series, Fall 2015
  5. Green Lantern Corps movie coming to the DCEU

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Analysis of purported Batman v Superman Plot - SPOILERS

Because the Entertainment Weekly coverage and the Comic-Con trailer have recently given us a lot more insight into the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the purported full-plot synopsis that was posted on an IMDB comment board a couple months ago. It appears below in block quotes, section by section. If you prefer to see it all in one piece, go here. [NOTE: IMDB administrators have since removed the posted synopsis. If this was requested by WB, it adds further evidence of the probably validity of the synopsis.] [NOTE: the full-plot synopsis appeared even earlier than IMDB at 4plebs last winter.]

Even though the BvS trailer gave us lots of good snippets (and seriously, it is an amazing trailer!), we still don't ifficially know anything about Luthor's plot, how Wonder Woman factors in, and what the big threat to Earth is going to be. If the purported synopsis is accurate, then what follows has lots of SPOILERS. I am going to take the purported synopsis section by section, assessing how likely I think it is that each section will actually play out in the movie and giving my analysis of the plot, character development, and themes.

Three years after the Battle of Metropolis, Clark Kent is protecting the world as Superman and working as a reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. Superman has become a controversial figure, with some blaming him for the destruction caused by General Zod and others believing him to be a hero.
Likelihood of Legitimacy: 100%.
These tensions were confirmed in the teaser trailer and even further in the Comic-Con trailer. I think this is a great way to move forward from Man of Steel -- a movie I loved but that I know not everyone was on board with. One thing that is undeniable about MoS, though, is that it got lots of people talking and the debates continue even two years later. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that MoS did not skirt difficult moral questions by making it seem like there was one easy answer. I appreciate the creators for taking that approach, but it is more controversial. Now the controversies are showing up in the DCEU itself.
We are going to see more Daily Planet scenes in BvS, which I think will be a good addition to Clark's development in this universe.

Lois Lane is covering the civil war on Khandaq in the Middle East, while Clark is forced to cover minor stories. He befriends Jim Olsen, a photographer who lost his legs in Zod's invasion, but doesn't blame Superman, and applied for the Daily Planet because they defend Superman, and they cover a football game between Metropolis and Gotham City in which Clark meets Victor Stone, a quarterback for the Metropolis team whose father, Dr. Silas Stone, is an robotic engineer at S.T.A.R. Labs who spearheaded a new high-tech prosthesis program which includes Jim's legs.

Likelihood of Legitimacy: 80%.
The presence of Khandaq as a fictional nation and this take on Victor and Silas Stone aligns well with elements from the New 52 in the comic book universe. But we don't have any hard evidence of the Khandaq elements, though I think it makes sense in terms of bring other worldly controversies into this mix of the controversy around Superman. Is Superman a U.S. hero? Based on the end of MoS, it seems that he does not want to be restricted in that way. But other countries might be nervous about whether they really want Superman operating within their borders. Having Lois be our first link into international affairs makes a lot of sense.
We do know that they shot footage of the Metropolis v Gotham football game, but there have been rumors that that scene has since been excised from the movie. I tend to think that the football game will still appear, because it makes sense for Victor Stone and it makes sense for the Metropolis-Gotham rivalry, especially now that we've learned from Comic-Con that they are sister cities across the bay.
We have also seen on-set photos of Scoot McNairy with green-socked legs. This makes sense in terms of CGI prosthetics and he also seemed to be dressed in a way consistent with a Daily Planet photographer. I have also said from the beginning that he has a Jimmy (or "Jim") Olsen look. So I tend to buy the synopsis in this regard. It also makes sense from a story perspective of putting someone else in place who can defend Superman against Bruce, Lex, and the Senator who seem to be stirring up animosity against Superman.

DC Super Friends YouTube Series - Great for Kids

DC Super Friends is a recent YouTube series of short videos from WB Entertainment and Imaginext. Each video is about 3 minutes of content, with 15 videos in total telling a continuous story about the Justice League facing off against the Legion of Doom, headed up by Lex Luthor and Joker (always an entertaining pair!).

Cyborg, Hawkman, Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and (waving in the back) Robin

These videos are great for introducing the Justice League to kids as it gives each of the main JL members their moment in the spotlight and I think Robin and Cyborg are handled especially well in terms of being relatable for youngsters. (Aquaman or Hawkman fans might not be totally thrilled, but what can you do?) There is also a great set of villains that can serve as an introduction to the rogues in the DC Universe. Even though this is a strong, kid-friendly DC series, I think there is also some appeal to older fans as it is pretty fast paced and actually has some well-executed humor.

One critique is that this YouTube series could have featured more female characters so that Wonder Woman doesn't have to carry most of the load. For instance, they could have used Hawkgirl instead of Hawkman, like they did in the Justice League animated series. I think the story could have remained intact with that change and it would have doubled the number of women on the team.

I absolutely love the direction that the DC Extended Universe is taking in film, exploring deep themes and taking a realistic approach. But my one worry about that direction is that it might not bring in as many kids and families as, say, attend Marvel Cinematic Universe films. If, however, WB and DC continue with things like these DC Super Friends and the partnership with LEGO, then I think things will workout across generations. And we also still have the great animated series (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, etc.) from the recent past that can work for kids, as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Call Batman" Continuity from Man of Steel to Batman v Superman

A lot of people have been impressed by the synchronization between Zod's eye beams in Man of Steel and Bruce's point of view shown in the new Batman v Superman Comic-Con trailer. But it gets even better!

In Man of Steel, they snuck in a "Keep Calm and Call Batman" easter egg in that same scene. Now we find out that Bruce Wayne was literally on the phone at that exact moment. Kudos, Snyder and company. Kudos.

"You don't look very calm, Bruce."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gauging Initial Reactions to Batman v Superman Trailer 2

The Comic-Con trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released online right after the Hall H panel. How has it been received? Well, it was a top Twitter trend in the U.S. for several hours. To gauge reactions, I looked to three places.
  • On YouTube itself, after 5.8 million views (in less than 12 hours!) there are nearly 120,000 likes and only 2,600 dislikes. That's 98% on the positive side. (I know this is biased because fans are more likely to be early viewers of the trailer, but that is still strikingly high!)
  • To check with the Batman fans, I went to Batman-News, which has very active (and often critical) comment boards. I scrolled through more than 100 of the initial posts about the trailer and literally every single one was positive or neutral... 0 negative comments.
  • To check with the Superman fans, I went to Superman Homepage, which has less active comment boards (and fans who are usually very hard to please, especially in the movie realm). Even here, looking at the first 75 posts on their comment board, there were 50+, more than two-thirds, that were positive. (Some of the negativity came from not everyone being sold on Lex, although I think he's sarcastic and disarmingly manipulative, or concern that Superman might be overshadowed by Batman.)

EDIT: I've now included above our analysis of the trailer. One thing to note is that some additional elements from the purported plot synopsis seem to be confirmed, but other things (e.g., the soldiers with the S-insignia) seem to be out of step with that synopsis.

Top 5 Superman Costumes

The "Truth" redesign for Superman has gotten Jason Book and I thinking about our five favorite Superman costumes. We focused on comic books rather than television and movies and we also didn't include the classic Superman suit because that is so iconic it is on another level.

Here is our list (in no particular order):
  • Red Son
  • New 52 Action Comics
  • New 52 Main Suit
  • Black Suit Post-Death of Superman
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Initial Sales for the DCYou

I recently wrote about how the DCYou has gotten off to a strong start from a review/quality perspective. Now, Diamond Comics has released their comic sales figures for June 2015, giving us an initial glimpse at whether DC's big DCYou launch is off to a strong start from a sales perspective. The picture here is mixed and probably not the surge that DC was hoping for with a new ad campaign and a new batch of #1's (although the ad campaign might be part of a longer plan).
First, the good news. DC did bring in the top comic in terms of revenue generated -- the new Justice League of America by Bryan Hitch (a book that I am loving so far, by the way). This book is separate from the main-line Justice League and the success of this book alone might be enough to justify the loosening of continuity that DC is going for post-Convergence, especially if it can hold the majority of its readers through the first arc. (Hitch has said he'd like to do at least 7 story arcs... one focusing on each of the main characters in the league, but we'll see how long his run goes.)

The other big piece of good news is that DC held its recent market share compared to Marvel, even though Marvel is in the midst of some potent Star Wars releases and the Secret Wars event. So when it might have reasonably been expected that Marvel would increase its lead from the Spring into June, instead, DC held steady at a 28% unit market share and 25% retail market share... comparable to what it was doing in February 2015 and May 2015, and slightly higher than March 2015. (The June market shares are lower than April 2015, but this is not a fair comparison because of the 5 Convergence issues in April which were returnable.)

I'm sure DC might have had higher hopes, though. The June 2015 market share numbers are not as strong as they were a year ago in June 2014 (30% units and 33% retail), nor was this soft reboot as strong as the full reboot of the New 52 in September 2011 (43% units and 36% retail).

A minor piece of good news for DC is that they have more books showing up in the Diamond Top 100 -- 44 -- than in Spring 2015 or a year ago in June 2014. They were typically posting 36-40 in the Top 100, so 44 is a strong showing and means that they might be broadening their fanbase slightly with the varied tones of the DCYou books. We'll have to see how many of those books can carry over into the Top 100 next month, given that they might have had some boosts just from being #1's.

The bad news is, however, that those top books may not be selling as many units as in the past. Using Diamond's index system, DC's top 36 books have dropped from an average of around 38 last June to around 35 this June. This is also lower than the 39 average from September 2011 during the New 52 launch.

In my opinion, the DCYou move has probably been better than if DC had done nothing because I think the strength of the competition would have made it very easy to have slipped further behind last month. DC should be somewhat happy that they kept pace, especially given a lackluster showing for Convergence. Now they just have to hope that the strongly positive reviews for DCYou books build some momentum into the next few months and that people have the time to realize that the books are taking on different tones and have a chance to find the ones that fit their interests.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Detailed Plot of Batman v Superman MAJOR SPOILERS

More than a week ago, someone posted a full, detailed plot synopsis of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

I think the synopsis is legitimate for a few reasons, listed below. EDIT (following the release of the second trailer) I think much of the synopsis is legitimate, but not all...perhaps it is the synopsis of Goyer's draft but does not reflect Terrio's rewrite.

In the next few days, I'll post a section-by-section analysis of why I think this plot is excellent and why it would work on many levels for the movie (e.g., character motivations, strong handling of multiple characters, amazing connections to some comic book heritage, good set-up for Justice League).

To be fair, there's still a chance that it's not entirely accurate because it might be a description of a pre-final draft of the script or it might have some key differences from the actual movie meant to throw fans off the scent. But I tend to think it's mostly or entirely accurate. Just in case Warner Brothers has IMBD remove it, I've pasted the full text below (posted by Beatnation):

EDIT (following the release of the second trailer): Although some more predictions from the synopsis below have been confirmed by the second trailer, such as Zod's body and the hearings with Senator Cale, I also have some new doubts because the synopsis does not account for the multiple scenes involving the soldiers/militia with Superman insignia and the Bat-inspired characters.





"Three years after the Battle of Metropolis, Clark Kent is protecting the world as Superman and working as a reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. Superman has become a controversial figure, with some blaming him for the destruction caused by General Zod and others believing him to be a hero. Lois Lane is covering the civil war on Khandaq in the Middle East, while Clark is forced to cover minor stories. He befriends Jim Olsen, a photographer who lost his legs in Zod's invasion, but doesn't blame Superman, and applied for the Daily Planet because they defend Superman, and they cover a football game between Metropolis and Gotham City in which Clark meets Victor Stone, a quarterback for the Metropolis team whose father, Dr. Silas Stone, is an robotic engineer at S.T.A.R. Labs who spearheaded a new high-tech prosthesis program which includes Jim's legs.

Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis during Zod's invasion and believes Superman to be a threat, elaborating counter-measures to disable him if necessary. He's also funding an effort to rebuild a vacant area of Gotham with new housing projects for low-income families. As Batman, he's been active for 15 years, but remains a fugitive of justice that many believe to be an urban legend. Clark has been studying the Batman's sightings despite his editor, Perry White, not seeing any potential in that story.

Lex Luthor funded Metropolis' rebuilding after Zod's invasion and has been contracted by the United States government to reverse-engineer leftover Kryptonian technology for them. Luthor believes Superman to be a threat and runs a smear campaign against him through the media vehicles he owns, and is funding the development of anti-Superman weapons, including Kryptonite, which is created through exposure to energy from the World Engine. Luthor also has collected Zod's body and harvested his DNA, using technology based on the Genesis Chamber to craft a biotechnological weapon that could fight Superman.

Senator Veronica Cale is supervising Luthor's experiments, but believes the biotechnological weapon shouldn't be deployed due to potential backlash given many still regard Superman as a hero, something Luthor seeks to rectify.

Luthor has also been monitoring other individuals with super-humans powers umbeknowst to the government, and has captured and experimented on several of them through Cadmus, a LexCorp subsidiary dedicated on genetic research. A paramilitary team under LexCorp's employ, led by his head of security Anatoly Kniazev ambushes Aquaman after luring him into a trap in a LexCorp oil rig and captures him, bringing him to Cadmus for experimentation. Luthor's activities have attracted the attention of Diana, princess of Themyscira, who is on Men's World masquerading as a wealthy humanitarian. She connects Luthor to the string of disappearances she's been been investigating and decides to pursue that lead to Metropolis.

Clark calls Lois in Khandaq, which doesn't allow Superman in their airspace. The camp is attacked by rebels and Superman springs to action to help Lois and the soldiers, in the process causing an international incident. Lois returns to Metropolis, while Cale uses the incident to convince the American Congress that Superman represents a potential political liability if they continue to harbor him. Superman is later informed by General Swanwick, one of his fiercest supporters within the government, that the Congress has ordered him to attend a summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss his place in the world. The aftermath of Superman's actions in the Middle East are observed by Bruce, Diana and Luthor.

Bruce finds out about Luthor's research on anti-Superman weapons and travels to Metropolis with Alfred Pennyworth under the pretext of meeting Luthor to discuss a partnership to rebrand Gotham's impoverished neighborhoods in order to learn more. Bruce doesn't trust Luthor with alien technology as much as he doesn't trust Superman.

Luthor promotes a fundraiser for the Metropolis Museum, the building where Zod was murdered, something which he makes sure to point out. Clark, Lois and Jim are covering the event, with Bruce, Alfred, Diana, Kniazev and Luthor's private assistant Mercy Graves in attendance. Clark interviews Bruce and questions him about the Batman, Bruce dances and flirts with Diana, who also scans Kniazev. Bruce and Luthor have a brief argument in which Bruce plants a device in Luthor's phone, so he can steal the access passwords to LexCorp Tower and infiltrate it, using a signal jammer to evade security.

Batman steals data about Luthor's projects, but an algorithm projected by Luthor adapts to the jammer and alerts security. Batman evades Kniazev and his men, but is then confronted by Superman, who believes him to a criminal. Batman refuses to surrender and, after a brief confrontation, escapes from Superman in the Batmobile. Batman sightings in Metropolis are enough for Lois and Clark to convince Perry to let them go to Gotham for a more extensive investigation. Luthor later reviews footage of Superman and Batman's encounter acquired by the government's satellites and retrieves the signal jammer Batman left behind, which gives Luthor an idea.

Superman arrives at the summit, with the entire world watching. Senator Cale accuses him of being dangerous, and Superman defends himself and explains his ideals. The Congress pushes for Superman to swear allegiance to them, including disclosing secrets of his identity and upbringing, but Superman refuses, claiming he will not become a tool of the government.

Superman hears Batman's signal jammer and feels weak. He loses control of his powers and the building is evacuated just as it explodes, injuring several people and killing General Swanwick. Senator Cale accuses Superman of being the culprint, and he is forced to escape when the military intervene. Superman is declared a public enemy, while Luthor is informed that the Kryptonite has been a success.

Clark returns to the damaged building and locates Batman's signal jammer, and becomes convinced that Batman framed him and is indirectly responsible for General Swanwick's death. Superman returns to Metropolis in search of Batman, but Bruce manages to evade him. He learns about Kryptonite from Luthor's files and steals samples from it from a LexCorp outpost stationed in the Indian Ocean where the World Engine has first activated.

Meanwhile, Diana lures Kniazev and his men into a trap and confronts them. Kniazev escapes, but Diana manages to interrogate one of his soldiers, using the Lasse of Truth to force him into revealing where the super-humans are being taken.

Batman attracts Superman to the abandoned neighborhood being rebuilt by Wayne Enterprises and fights him with an armored suit, Kryptonite-based weapons and several buildings and vehicles that have been booby-trapped with Batman's arsenal of anti-Superman weapons. The fight is vicious and ends with Superman victorious. Batman urges Superman to kill him, but Superman refuses. Batman then reveals that the fight was designed to test Superman.

When pressed for the signal jammer, Batman declares innocence, and they join forces to locate the true mastermind behind the conspiracy. Simultaneously, Diana locates the Cadmus facility in the outskirts of Metropolis and observers the experiments being conducted therein, particularly on Aquaman, and the ongoing development of the biotechnological weapon, Doomsday.

Wonder Woman infiltrates the facility and rescues Aquaman, but he leaves her behind and returns to the ocean. Luthor's men, armed with advanced weaponry, spring to action, forcing Wonder Woman to flee. Luthor later informs Cale that the Cadmus facility has been compromised, and that they only have no resort to protect their careers.

Batman leads Superman to the Batcave, where they deduce Luthor is behind everything. Diana arrives and reveals that she knows their secret and exposes Luthor's experiments at Cadmus. Superman is infuriated that Luthor has been weaponizing the technology stolen from Zod, as he still blames himself for all the damage it caused.

Superman introduces Lois to Batman and Wonder Woman and they join forces to expose Luthor. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman attack the Cadmus facility to rescue the remaining prisoners, but are then attacked by Doomsday, who has been deployed by Luthor and Cale. Superman fights Doomsday while Wonder Woman helps the remaining prisoners to flee and Batman retrieves data from the Cadmus' servers and fights Kniazev. Meanwhile, Lois infiltrates LexCorp Tower using the signal jammer while Jimmy creates a distraction to find a way to disable Doomsday.

Doomsday marches to Metropolis, and Cale learns that Luthor has sub-programming in Doomsday to maximime collateral damage to further damage Superman's reputation. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman battle Doomsday in Metropolis, and are joined by Aquaman, who wants to repay his debt to Wonder Woman and get revenge against Luthor. Together, the heroes manage to minimize collateral damage and avoid innocent casualties, but Doomsday is still able to adapt to their abilities and overpower them in combat.

Mercy catches Lois and they have a fight, but Lois manages to locate Doomsday's systems and insert a sub-routine that allows Alfred to disable the servers. Cale attempts to terminate Doomsday, but Luthor reveals that she can't. When she attempts to expose Luthor, he kills them and makes it appear to be suicide.

Without LexCorp satellites uploading battle tactics directly into his mind, Doomsday becomes more vulnerable to attacks, but continues wreaking havoc and causing wanton destruction. Victor is caught in the crossfire while helping innocents and severely injured. With Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman all struggling to protect the innocent, Superman realizes what he must do and soars into Space with Doomsday. He flies into the Sun, with Doomsday still trying to kill him, and they disappear in an explosion.

Superman is believed to have sacrificed himself, but emerges from the Sun and returns to Earth as the planet celebrates his victory.

A few days later, Superman speaks to the Congress once again and speaks in favor of his new allies, as Batman is embraced by the public as reality and the police charges against him called into question, Wonder Woman continues helping people in impoverished countries, Aquaman continues fighting for the environment, Victor is transferred to S.T.A.R. Labs' C.Y.B.O.R.G. Program, Senator Cale is framed of having authorized Doomsday's deployment, and, although Luthor covers up his involvement, his role in creating Doomsday and other Kryptonite-based weapons is exposed and his company loses its military contracts as a result. Superman concludes his statement by revealing that "a new age is dawning."

Luthor is drinking in his office when Superman arrives and they discuss recent events separated by a glass window. Luthor accuses Superman of being the end of human achievements, Superman claims that Luthor takes himself as superior to other humans, and is terrified that for all its wealth and power he is still beneath all the heroes that fought in Metropolis and fight everyday for an ideal grander than themselves. The ideal of justice. Luthor vows to destroy Superman. Superman claims he'll be waiting.

The script concludes with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman meeting at Kent Farm to discuss Luthor's actions. Superman points out Luthor won't stop, and there'll be others like him. Aquaman claims to have affairs in his "home", but is willing to assist if necessary, as the heroes have earned his respect. After he departs, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman decide to find others like them of this new emerging race of meta-humans to form a line of defense against Earth and those who seek to bring it harm. Batman points out to reports of a red blur in Central City stopping bank robbers.

Superman asks what happens next. Wonder Woman says "recruitment"."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Strong Start for DCYou

The new DCYou launched in the comic books in June 2015, with a batch of free sneak peeks released earlier in May. It's a soft relaunch of the New 52, with several books carrying directly over into DCYou following Convergence, but lots of other books are starting up and there's a new freedom of continuity across the whole DC Comics line.

I have been very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the books in the DC You. I've especially enjoyed all the books in the Superman family, both Justice League and Justice League of America,  and some of the more unique additions to the line including The Omega Men, Prez, and Martian Manhunter. (You can get recaps of all the books at the DCR podcast.)

But it's not just me reacting positively toward these books. I decided to analyze the comic book reviews thus far, comparing the DCYou reviews to those of non-DC comics in the month of June.

Compiling all the June comic book reviews from IGN, I found 16 reviews of DCYou books and 14 reviews of other books. On a 10-point scale, the DCYou books averaged 8.5! The non-DC books only brought in an average of 7.6. The standard deviation of all the scores was 1.0, so DC brought in ratings roughly one standard deviation higher than the competition. That's impressive! And in fact, only one DCYou book (Batman Beyond) scored lower than the overall IGN average of 8.1.
  • IGN DC average: 8.5
  • IGN Non-DC average: 7.6
 I wanted to corroborate these very positive findings so I went to ComicVine. They reviewed 10 DCYou books and 26 non-DC books in June. And although the DCYou books got high marks (4.2 out of 5 stars, with no book receiving lower than a 4), they were basically the same as the non-DC books (also 4.2 average). So basically ComicVine wasn't especially helpful because they give almost everything a 4 out of 5, and they never gave any 1's or 2's at all in June. But we can at least say that the DCYou books reviewed just as well as the competition.

So overall, DC should be fairly happy with the start of DCYou because the fans and critics seem happy with the new direction. I know I'm definitely looking forward to a batch of July books from DC, and I'll also be curious to see if the DC June sales are as strong as the reviews.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Superman 41: Before Truth (part 1)

Jason Book and I review Superman 41 by Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr. The art continues to be uneven (putting it politely), but Gene Yang has picked up the reins nicely from Geoff Johns and looks like he has a great "Before Truth" story arc in store for us.

We especially liked the themes of technology and information that Yang is infusing, the presence of the Daily Planet supporting cast, and the continuing exploration of the new super flare power and its repercussions. It doesn't bother us in the least that this "Before Truth" arc is happening along with the other "Truth" stories even though this arc in Superman will explain how Supes came to be outed by Lois. In fact, the parallel chronologies seems to be making for some good storytelling potency.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

BvS - What do we know and what do we think we know?

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is only 9 months away and it is definitely my most anticipated movie of 2016. I happen to be spoiler-friendly in my mentality because I believe the science saying that spoilers actually heighten enjoyment. So I love following the rumors, speculation, and official announcements that come up related to Batman v Superman. But even the spoiler haters should be pretty happy because we really don't know that much about the movie.

Jason Book and I go through the (fairly short) list of things that we know for sure about the movie.

Then we talk about some of the things that seem to be pretty safe to assume about BvS and some of the crazier rumors.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Justice League 41: Darkseid War part one

Jason Book and I discuss the beginning of the Darkseid War, by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok. We cover Justice League 40, the FCBD sneak peek, and Justice League 41.

It is off to a strong start and looks like it could be the event of the summer for DC Comics (an event without a crossover!).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Batman 41: Robo-bunny-batman's first adventure

Jason Book and I discuss the first issue of Batman in the new DC You universe, the first issue following the epic Endgame finale, the first chapter in the Superheavy storyline, and the first full issue (after the 8-page prelude on FCBD) with Commissioner Gordon in the robot-batsuit. All of this is wrapped up in Batman 41, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.

Overall, it exceeded expectations, and we're wondering if Bruce Wayne is actually back this fast!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review of Convergence 8

Jason Book and I discuss the full Convergence event from DC Comics.

This event was a bit of a mystery to me. And I don't mean that I was confused by what happened or how it ended... I think I followed that pretty well (SPOILER: Crisis on Infinite Earths originally led to a collapse of the infinite multiverse but now, because of the efforts of Pre-Flashpoint Superman and Parallax, it played out differently and there was no collapse. The complete infinite multiverse still exists, though the universes therein have evolved since Crisis). No, what I was perplexed about was the fact that I really enjoyed the event and many of the tie-ins but when I analyze Jeff King's writing, it is bad on several levels -- bad dialogue, lack of rising action (or extremely rush set-ups), poor payoffs, and a failure to keep an eye on the ball in terms of Brainiac and heroes we connect with. So although I admit this was a poorly executed story, and I nevertheless had a lot of fun going through it in April and May.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Superman 40 and Divergence: Clark Kent exposed

Jason Book and I discuss Superman's turning point that leads to the Truth storyline this summer. We focus on Superman's 8 pages in Divergence (FCBD) and also touch on Superman 40 by John Romita Jr. Spoilers ahead!

This is definitely a new direction for Supes (and JRJR's art still kind of stinks), and it's understandable if some traditionalists are upset or concerned, but we're both excited to see the new story possibilities that might come from the changes.

Batman 40: Endgame Finale

Jason Book and I discuss the final chapter of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Endgame storyline. Spoilers ahead!

The oversized issue was definitely a gamechanger.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review of Convergence 0-2

Jason Book and I discuss our disappointment thus far with the Convergence event from DC Comics, written by Jeff King, Dan Jurgens, and others, with art by Van Sciver, Paz, and others.

A bright spot, however, was the Convergence: Superman book which was excellent and showed how great this dimensional-crossover event could have been.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review of Batman v Superman Trailer 1

Jason Book and I discuss the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer that was released over the weekend.

Both of us had positive reactions to the trailer, praising its tone and the look of Bats and Supes. I was especially thrilled with the deep thematic content that it lays out. And it did a great job of spurring conversation without really giving anything away at all (we don't see Lex, we don't know Lex's plot, we don't see anything after the BvS fight, we don't know if there's kryptonite, etc.).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bracket Tournament of Comic Book Movies

The folks at AMC Movie News are currently running a tournament bracket to determine, by popular vote, the best animated movie of all time (my final four would be Sleeping Beauty, Up, The Incredibles, and The Emperor's New Groove). This contest reminded me that last year they ran a bracket to determine the best superhero movie. The final four ended up being The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, The Avengers, and Iron Man, with The Dark Knight defeating The Avengers to take the crown.

I was curious about the breakdown of DC-based movies versus Marvel Studios movies throughout the bracket. Here's what I found.
  • AMC Movie News seeded the brackets and they included 9 DC movies in the set of 32, 8 from Marvel Studios, 4 X-Men, 3 Spider-man, and 8 miscellaneous (some of which featured Marvel characters, like Blade, but were not produced by Marvel Studios, and none of which moved on to round two). So to start things off, it's DC 9, Marvel 8.
  • Then the fans took over. In the first round, 6 DC movies moved on, 5 from Marvel Studios, 3 from the X-Men universe, and 2 featuring Spider-man. So DC maintains its lead, 6 to 5.
  • The elite eight featured 4 DC movies to 3 from Marvel, plus X2. So it's still 4 to 3, advantage DC.
  • Then, as mentioned above, we had The Dark Knight versus Man of Steel (DC v. DC) and The Avengers versus Iron Man (Marvel v. Marvel) in the final four. This guaranteed a DC v. Marvel showdown in the final, where The Dark Knight trounced The Avengers, getting nearly 3 times the votes from the AMC Movie News fans. So DC comes out on top, hands down. [See the brackets here]
The fact that DC maintained the edge over Marvel throughout every round of this popularly-voted tournament just reminds me of the fact that, although Marvel has had a solid run of hits in theaters recently, one has to keep in mind that DC had a very large head start, leading off with the original Superman series and the Batman series before Marvel got started. And then even if you restrict your attention to "what have you done for me lately," DC has Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy actually surpassing Marvel Studios according to the AMC results, plus there's Man of Steel right there in the final four.

I do admit that, if you expand out to other Marvel characters, that adds quite a few feathers in Marvel's cap, and I also admit that DC has more than their share of stinkers to go along with their strong showing in the AMC tourney, but I don't think that it should be a foregone conclusion that Marvel Studios is wiping the floor with DC in the film department. If Marvel were the unchallenged king, then I think we should have seen Marvel winning at least one round of the comic book movie tournament!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reviews of Batman 38 and 39

Jason Book and I discuss the latest installments in the Endgame storyline (Part 4 and Part 5, resp., below) by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and featuring a new take on the Joker.

Overall we are both enjoying the story arc because of the continued strong collaboration and execution by Snyder and Capullo, but we're not completely sold on the new backstory for the Joker.