DC launched its latest Justice League to some fanfare last month, debuting a look at the future a thousand years from now, when Mankind has stepped out into space, made contact with innumerable alien races, and formed a giant galaxy-spanning Commonwealth government. But, there are always dangers, and hence the organisation known as Cadmus has brought back the original Justice League (sans Cyborg) via cloning to deal with the threat of the Five. The first issue was was a bit poor in some respects, notably the art, but was decent overall, so I was quite cautious about picking up the second issue.
You know what though, I think this is a series that I can stick with, despite the flaws. Its really interesting to read about a Justice League team that is out of whack in a lot of different ways and is different while still being somewhat same. In the second issue, the writers pit the League of the future against their first actual threat and show how things don’t go exactly to plan. And the characters’ interactions with each other remain at the heart of the story. The art is a little better than the last time, but not by much however.
With its latest issue, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained is moving into its climax for the first story arc. After a bit of a rough start, the creators are all in the saddle good and proper, and the recent issues have been really good. Its kind of significant I think that I find this new series to be miles better than what’s been happening in the main Superman series, with its revolving door of creators, none of whom stick around for long or if they do, then the fare is pretty mediocre. A good story and good art can go a long way.
We’ve had some pretty major revelations in the series so far. Some really startling revelations at that, and Scott kicked things off like this from the very first pages of the debut issue. Since then there are a lot of things that have happened that have pretty much redefined Superman for me, especially in the New 52. And I’m loving it all because Scott and Jim have really upped their game. The new issue is more of the same and there are quite a few jaw-dropping moments in it.
When I last checked in with this series, which was back in August with the third issue, the title was just about getting its legs and giving me enough to impress. The first two issues lacked the distinct firecracker vibe that has characterised Scott’s Batman or even his The Wake, and so they were a bit disappointing. But the third issue was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. So much so that I felt this could be an extremely promising series with future issues.
And I certainly wasn’t disappointed at all. The new issue, which was meant to come out last week but was inexplicably delayed till this week, built wonderfully on everything that Scott and artist Jim Lee have done till now to give an issue that is super-fantastic. And a lot of this has to do with how the two of them have portrayed Lex Luthor in this issue, and the big reveals about the global techno-terrorist group known as Ascension that has been harrying the Big Blue for a while now.
So apparently, we are definitely getting a new Batman in about two-years’ time, and the role will be played by actor/producer/director Ben Affleck. For the uninitiated, we saw Christopher Nolan wrap-up his Batman movie trilogy last year with the Christian Bale-starrer The Dark Knight Rises and Ben Affleck has done comic book roles before in Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil.
This is certainly an interesting time for DC/WB since they just recently launched their own cinematic universe with this summer’s hit Man of Steel and we know that there are going to be three more movies in this “phase 1” at the least: Batman vs Superman (2015), The Flash (2016), and Justice League (2017). I blogged a while back about how DC could start building its own cinematic universe to counter what Disney/Marvel have been doing with an incredibly successful line of Marvel movies.
This “plan” of mine, called Justice League: Strange Union, called on WB studios to make movies with characters that we haven’t yet seen in a live action adaptation for the cinemas and to keep any characters they wanted to reboot for the eventual Justice League film where Martian Manhunter could be added in as a new character for people to get to know.
As things stand though, based on the information that came out of San Diego Comic-Con last month and from all Hollywood sources last night, my plan is pretty much what I knew it would be: a mere hopeful fantasy.
Its absolutely no surprise that following the immense success of Marvel Studios’ various superhero movies, DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers have announced their own plans for movies based on DC’s famous characters. Over the last eight years we’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, and Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern. There has been next to no continuity between these films, unlike the Marvel films which have all been connected through various agents of S.H.I.E.D and their infamous Director, Nick Fury. In fact, such interconnectivity has been one of the selling points of Marvel’s films.
You might ask, why is that? What makes the Marvel movies so different from the DC films?
Its straightforward. Marvel Studios stepped into the business with a clear direction of what they wanted to do. I don’t know exactly if it was the intention or not, but all of their films, especially from Iron Man 2 and out, have been building up towards a specific point, The Avengers. One by one, they released movies that would all tie-in together to culminate in the premier Marvel superhero team-up, thereby bringing their “Phase 1” to fruition.
And they’ve succeeded enormously. Which is where DC and WB step in because they want to mirror the success with their own properties. But its not easy to do that. All attempts so far have pretty much tanked. There just isn’t the same vision, and the same ability to face challenges at WB, from what we can see. Their various Wonder Woman projects seem to keep getting stalled for one reason or another. There are talks of a Green Lantern and Batman reboot already, and we are just about to have a new Superman movie that is another reboot after Singer’s Superman Returns from 2006.
A few weeks ago I was discussing this with fellow book blogger and friend, Nick Sharps, and I outlined the basics of what DC and WB should do to make sure that they are able to reproduce Marvel’s success.
It all ends up being about the vision.