08 January 2010

Animated Avengers Assemble, Does Anyone Care?

The trailer for The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has arrived even though the actual series probably wont debut for a year or so. My thoughts? The show looks OK without much to go on. I will give it a chance, but I have never been a huge Avengers fan. To me, they pale in comparison to DC's Justice League and as far as teams go I even much prefer Marvel's own X-Men or even the Fantastic Four.

Don't get me wrong, Iron Man and Captain America are fine, but Hulk isn't much of a team player and Giant Man and Wasp just aren't that interesting to me. Thor is just kind of a weirdo. The Avengers seem more of a Justice League Detroit (Led by Aquaman featuring Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Vixen, Gypsy, Steel, and Vibe) than an actual all-star team. Where is their Batman or Superman or even Wonder Woman? I would rather see a team of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, Captain America, the Human Torch, and a couple of X-Men. I guess that's not what the Avengers are, but like I said, I've never been a big fan.

07 January 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman Beyond

What if Batman was a kid? Sounds like a terrible idea, but that's exactly the premise that spawned 52 episodes and three seasons of Batman Beyond starting in 1999. Rather than just throwing out Batman's history and making him a kid, the show creators decided to add to existing Batman history and continue the established DC Animated Universe continuity begun with the Batman and Superman Animated Series. Ironically, this kid focused series is easily the darkest of the bunch.

The series opens with Bruce Wayne wearing a futuristic batsuit and battling not only thugs but old age. During a fight, Batman's heart starts to give out and in an act of desperation he crosses a line breaking one of his rules and grabs a gun to finish the fight. After this he vows, "Never again," and retires from crime fighting.

Eventually a teen named Terry McGinnis meets up with Wayne, discovers the batsuit and takes it to avenge the murder of his own father at the hands of Derek Powers who coincidentally was also a foil for Wayne having taken over Wayne Enterprises for his own wicked purposes. In the end, Powers becomes the supervillain Blight, a nemesis for the new Batman who operated with the mentoring of an aged Bruce Wayne. As the series progressed, the differences between Terry and Bruce were apparent and Terry never became a Batman clone, but was a hero nonetheless.

As the series progressed, it was fun to see the ultimate fates of many classic Bat-foes such as Bane, Mr. Freeze, and R'as Al Ghul. Additionally, Barbara Gordon has become the new commissioner and even though she has grown to disapprove of some of Batman's methods, she is a frequent collaborator with Terry.

A series highlight, The Call, featured the future Justice League under the leadership of Superman battling Starro. Not only was this a great two-parter, but it served as a testing ground for the Justice League series.

Full disclosure, the series had some stinkers mostly in season 2. Take for example the episode, Rats, described as "Dana (Terry's girlfriend), who feels she has been ignored and let down by Terry once too often, begins receiving roses from a secret admirer. When she is abducted by the mystery man, a boy named Patrick who lives in the sewers because of his rat-like appearance, Batman may be the only one who can save her." This one was horrible. Also, Terry ended up with his own sidekick Max, an annoying know it all that sucked the life out of all her scenes. Watch out for episodes with her...

Up Next: Gotham Girls

06 January 2010

UPDATE: Vulture Defeats Spider-M4n

Word on the street is that Sam Raimi REALLY wants the Vulture and Sony really doesn't for Spider-M4n AKA Spider-Man 4. Disagreements have derailed the start of film production and Spider-Man 4 will likely not make its May 2011 release date.

Just a couple thoughts on this. This delay will be costly. Summer 2011 is already full of superheroes with Thor in May and Green Lantern and Captain America in July. May 2012 has already been claimed by the Avengers. So unless Spider-Man wants to cannibalize other Marvel films or take on GL head on, something will have to move.

Also, as I have said before, either let Sam make the movie he wants or don't. After his treatment of Venom it doesn't seem wise to force in a different villain than he chooses. Having said that, Vulture is lame. If they are that against Vulture then just hire someone else and settle for an X3 style disappointment for the Spider-Man franchise. I am sure Brett Ratner and McG are both available.

Update: Thor has swooped into the May 6th release date. Sorry Spidey. At least the Marvel tradition of opening the summer movie season will continue.

04 January 2010

What to Expect in 2010 - Part 1

2010 is upon us and this is your guide for what to expect from:

02 Feb 2010 - Planet Hulk

One of 2010's first treats will be the animated Planet Hulk DtV described as, "When the Hulk becomes too dangerous for the Earth, the Illuminati trick Hulk into a shuttle and launch him into space to a planet where the Hulk can live in peace. Unfortunately, the Hulk's struggle to escape and a malfunction in the shuttle causes Hulk to land on the planet Sakaar where he is sold into slavery and trained as a gladiator. With the aid of fellow gladiators Hiroim, Korg, Miek, and Elloe Kaifi, the Hulk forms the Warbound in a plot to overthrow the Red King." The last Marvel DtV, Hulk Vs was well received and this one will probably be as well. Unfortunately, this will be the solo release from Marvel this year.

05 Feb 2010 - Absolute Justice

Anticipation for the Smallville two-parter featuring the Justice Society was so high, the network decided to build a movie event. Absolute Justice will feature Dr. Fate, Stargirl, Hawkman, and cameos by other Society members including the Green Lantern and Sandman.

23 Feb 2010 - Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

Also in the jam-packed yet tiny month of February will be the release of the Justice League alternate Earth movie. Not sure if this alternate Earth Joker is supposed to be good or bad, but either way, he should be entertaining.

23 Feb 2010 - The Spectre

Packaged with the Crisis movie will be DC's first in a new line of hero shorts featuring lesser knowns like SeƱor Spectre. Not sure he is going to be the next big thing, but these shorts are pretty nice way to sell a few extra DVDs.

16 Apr 2010 - Kick-Ass

Yet another take on "real" superheroes. I guess this one is supposed to be extra violent. Sounds fun.

07 May 2010 - Iron Man 2

The most anticipated superhero show of 2010 has to be Iron Man 2. I hope this doesn't pull a Spider-Man 3 because its stuffed full of characters. You get not only Iron Man, but War Machine, Black Widow, Whiplash, Justin Hammer, and of course Nick Fury. Either way, its going to make a ton, possibly becoming the biggest movie of 2010.

18 Jun 2010 - Jonah Hex

Rather than releasing a new Superman or Batman movie or even going with the Flash, Wonder Woman, Blue Beetle, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, or even Aquaman WB opted for Jonah Hex- basically an old west bounty hunter that looks like Two-Face. This one might get lost in the summer crowd.

Classic Show DVD releases

On January 5, Wendy and Marvin will finally make their DVD debut on the Super Friends Season 1, Volume 1 release. Not really sure how the folks at Warner decided the release order for this show but I guess its finally season 1's moment.

On March 3, its rumored that the final volume of the X-Men animated series will be released including the Captain America / Wolverine team-up. And that's a look at whats coming in the first half of this year, stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.