Continuing on with the DCAU Spotlight feature is this review I did for the second Green Lantern animated movie, quite a different one in both tone and mood and content than the previous one, which was really good. I didn’t enjoy Emerald Knights as much as I wanted to, largely because the split narrative had bad pacing and some of the characters just weren’t as interesting as they could have been. But there were some really cool moments throughout, and that, I suppose could have been the point.
So here it is, another repost of an old review, from way back in 2011.
So this is another one of my early reviews. It was a part of a feature I ran called “DCAU Spotlight” in which I covered DC’s various animated direct-to-DVD features. The DCAU is a really fun place where a lot of different stories and characters have been covered. Its given us some really great movies, and some not so good ones. 2009’s Green Lantern: First Flight is one of the former, and is certainly one of my favourites from the last few years.
As always, its a rather short review, but I hope it is a convincing one, in that you are motivated to watch the film if you haven’t, or rewatch it if you have. I’ve always enjoyed watching it and it certainly never gets old or boring.
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.
Well, here we are. This will be the final CPoTW post of the year, even though today is the last new comic book day of 2013. Just the way these schedules all work out and all.
Moving on, this was a somewhat light week in some respects since I didn’t get around to as many comics as I wanted to. Quite a few titles slipped through the cracks, which is happening more and more given the sheer volume of how many comics are (generally) released each and every week. Still, one bright ray of sunshine in all of this was that I managed to read three entire graphic novels this week, all of them for Batgirl, with one featuring Cassandra Cain and the other two featuring Stephanie Brown, both characters who are much in demand among several outspoken communities of fans to be revived in the New 52. Having read these graphic novels, I certainly agree with that!
Another Justice League release in December? Heavens, yes! With the delayed release of #25, #26 was definitely affected and it came out this week along with Forever Evil #4, which too had been delayed. Lots of delays on this event, and I’m starting to think that somewhere along the way DC has dropped the ball, in more ways than one. As my Forever Evil #4 review states, I found it to be a dull and disappointing issue at best. Sadly, that seems to be the case for this issue as well, making it two Geoff Johns issues in a row that I’ve found to be subpar. The one saving grace is that this issue is nowhere near as bad as Forever Evil #4 was.
Issue #25 was a character study on Owlman and it gave a lot of backstory on the character. This is in keeping with the other issues of this event across both Forever Evil and Justice League where we’ve seen the origins of the other characters. Ultraman was the first, then Owlman, and now we have Power Ring, Grid, Deathstorm, and the duo of Johnny Quick and Atomica in this issue. In and of itself, this is a decent enough issue but as part of the Forever Evil event, this is subpar because there is almost no plot progression. We don’t really learn what’s happening right now in the DC universe.
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.
An episode of Superman: The Animated Series, in which Superman and Flash have a race around the world to determine who is the fastest among them, was where I first met the character, having had no prior knowledge of him. Then I met him in the Justice League: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited shows and I pretty much fell in love with the character. Wally West made for an excellent foil for pretty much everyone else on the team and his dynamic with the others was one of the best things that the shows did. Much as John Stewart is THE Green Lantern for me, so is Wally West THE Flash for me.
This is why I was rather saddened that there was no Wally West in the New 52 reboot of DC Comics. I was further saddened to hear that Wally West was being considered a “toxic” character at DC editorial. C’est la vie. Still, I was willing to give the “new” Flash a chance and I picked up Francis Manapul’s first three issues of the new series last year. However, they didn’t work for me since I just wasn’t able to get into the story and the character. And I gave up on the book after that, preferring to read about Barry as things happened in Geoff Johns’ Justice League.
But then fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started to praise The Flash, especially the recent issues, and I thought, might as well try it. Seeing that a relatively stand-alone annual issue was coming up, I included it in my “Top DC Comics For July” post, expecting some great things out of it, since it had a different writer than Manapul.
And you know what, I loved this issue!
I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
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.