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.
Zero Year has finally kicked off for the non-Batman titles for DC and its been pretty good so far. Lots of interesting stories to say the least and this coming week promises to be even better with Batman #25 and Batgirl #25 hitting the stands as well, so good times to be had. Didn’t read too much outside of DC this time around, which is fine with me since I like my superheroes a particular way and other comics don’t interest me all that much really.
Read another graphic novel this week, mostly to catch up with a series I’m following right now, so that’s a bonus for the most part. I’d say I have a good thing going here if I can scrape in a graphic novel a week. Could be more, depending on certain things, but I’m fine I suppose.
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, the latest Superman flick Man of Steel has been out for a while, and it has been causing a few waves here and there. One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, right alongside G.I.Joe: Retaliation (god-awful terrible), Iron Man 3 (big, big disappointment), and Star Trek: Into Darkness (not too bad a sequel). Of all the films to come out this year from Hollywood, I was looking forward to the latest adventures of Superman the most, because he’s one of my favourite DC characters and because I’ve been a fan of the Christopher Reeves films (yes, even the terrible ones) and I loved the Tom Welling-starrer Smallville live-action series which did much to update the character for a more modern audience.
Like I said, Man of Steel has been causing a few waves. It has the highest June opening of any Hollywood film ever and it grossed over $200 million in its opening weekend alone. It has also set a few records in overseas territories and as of yesterday, the film has officially crossed the $500 million mark in global box office revenues, standing firmly at just a little over $520 million.
And in recent memory, no superhero movie has proven to be as divisive among critics and fans as Man of Steel has. From everything on my social media feeds, I’d say that the split between the yays and the nays is at 40/60 respectively, which means that most of the people on my social feeds didn’t like the movie.
So, as an amateur critic, what do I say to all this? As a fan of Superman fiction in all its forms, what do I say to all this?
Be warned however, there very well might be spoilers here.
About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.
It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.
Really weird how these things work out.
Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.