05 March 2010

Smallville Saaaaaaaaaaaaved For Season 10

I still enjoy Smallville and season 9 with its Major Zod and the City of Kandor storyline has be decent, but at this point I am just hanging on for the series finale. In fact ever since Smallville was supposed to end in season 7, I get the sense that fans are most anxious for that final story arc leading up to Superman donning his costume and finally flying. Its getting pretty ridiculous that everyone else can fly, including the only recently powered Zod, but not Clark who incidentally could hover sleep way back in season 1.

Having said that, there have been some significant nods to the Superman mythos that we would have missed had it all ended in season 7. Since then with varying levels of success we got Doomsday, the Bottle City of Kandor, Zod as an actual villain lasting more than 5 minutes, Metallo, the Legion of Superheroes, the JSA, Amanda Waller and Checkmate (still in progress), and Lois and Clark with a real relationship. Of course we also lost some ground with the deaths of Jimmy Olsen (retconned to be NOT Jimmy Olsen) and Lex Luthor. Which leads to the next point, which is, what is the point of season 10 anyway?

One rumor going around is that the renewal of Smallville was delayed while a contract was being worked on to bring back Lex Luthor. Not sure how that played out, but having Lex back alive in some way before the series ends is crucial. I hope this turns out to be true. Other than that it seems like all we will be getting is more of the same. I would love to see a live action Darkseid eventually but I am not sure Smallville is the proper forum. What other major villains are left? I expect we will also get more guest stars but the ones we really want are Wonder Woman and Batman, neither or which is likely. If more guest stars just means an appearance by Booster Gold, I could pass. Will season 10 even be the last? Most likely, but that's what I have been thinking for the last 3 years so who knows.

04 March 2010

Cause One Shadow Wasn't Enough

Fresh off of getting the axe from Spider-M4n Sam Raimi and Fox are teaming up on a remake of The Shadow. The 1994 version was listed as one of Entertainment Weekly's 20 Worst Comic-Book Movies Ever. I actually thought the movie was not that bad aside from some cheese. Alec Baldwin was a weird superhero, especially when compared to his current physical state but the story was sort of interesting. It actually reminded me a lot of Batman Begins (though not as good). Anyways this was a decent take on the telepathy superpower.

A remake with Raimi's involvement, based on how his Darkman films turned out, might be worth checking out... and in honesty would be more anticipated than say a Dr. Strange live action film or SyFy's remake of The Phantom.

Infinite Earth's Justice Leaguers

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths was not the first, nor dare I say will it be the last time that members of the Justice League had run ins with alternate versions of themselves.

Universe of Evil

The first such show depicting such shenanigans occurred in the Universe of Evil episode of The World's Greatest Super Friends. In the adventure Superman traded places with a Super Enemy version of Superman from a parallel world.

While the evil Superman was dealt with by the Super Friends, good Superman had to contend with a pink Batman and mustached Robin,

an eye-patch wearing Aquaman, an ugly mug Wonder Woman,

and even an evil Gleek. The episode was a big hit.

Brave New Metropolis

Though not formally introduced, Superman caught a glimpse of himself that could have been had he ever lost his love Lois Lane. In the episode Brave New Metropolis of Superman: The Animated Series, a parallel world Superman teamed up with Lex Luthor to bring order to chaos. This Superman was essentially the same good-intentioned alien, but maybe a bit dumber for ever trusting Luthor. He did have a talented tailor though.


The Justice League animated series loved alternate worlds. The first was depicted in the episode Legends in which League members met up with characters very similar to the Justice Society. This team, named the Justice Guild, contained The Streak an analog of the Jay Garrick Flash, the Green Guardsman, patterned after Green Lantern Alan Scott, Catman a blend of Batman and Wildcat, Black Siren an obvious clone of Black Canary, and Tom Turbine who was a bit The Atom Al Pratt with a dash of Superman mixed in.

The Savage Time

In The Savage Time, Vandal Savage altered history by influencing the outcome of World War II. Fortunately, most of the League was shielded from a temporal ripple that rewrote history. Batman was not. Ever the crusader of justice, the revised world Batman still came to be as leader of an underground movement against Savage.

A Better World

Shockingly, the Justice League episode A Better World opened with Superman murdering a corrupt President Lex Luthor. Turns out, this was a parallel world were the League dubbed themselves the Justice Lords and imposed a stricter order on the world. There were Lord versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern, but their Flash was dead (full disclosure, the image is actually from a different episode, but this was the only picture I could find of the whole team of Lords). Eventually Leaguers and Lords clashed and of course, it was the Batmen that turned the tide.

Deep Cover for Batman!

In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode Deep Cover for Batman!, Batman and Owlman traded places. In Owlman's world, all of Batman's former allies had evil counterparts. forming the Injustice Syndicate. In the mirror world, The Atom, Plastic Man, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, Blue Beetle, Aquaman, and Fire were called Dyna-Mite, Rubber Man, Blue Bowman, Silver Cyclone, Scarlet Scarab Barracuda, and Blaze.

In this world, the villains were good guys with Red Hood replacing The Joker as their leader with other heroic villains resembling Gorilla Grodd and Black Manta.

The showdown with Owlman himself would have to wait until the next episode.

Game Over for Owlman!

In order to defeat the team-up of Owlman and scads of other villains, the Season 1.0 finale of Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode Game Over for Owlman! allowed Batman to assemble a team of elseworlds Batmen to even the odds. Among the recruits were the cowboy themed Batrider, hulking Bat Ape, vampiric Bruce Wayne of Earth-43 mechanical War-Bat, swashbuckling Leatherwing, and thoughtful Batbrain.

The Super-Batman of Planet X!

In another episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold titled The Super-Batman of Planet X!, Batman traveled to the world of Zur-En-Arrh where he met a crime fighting Batman with a secret identity as a mild-mannered reported. Though this worlds Batman had no super powers, the original Batman developed Superman like skills.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

In Crisis on Two Earths, the Justice League crossed paths with a Crime Syndicate - hero doppelgangers that formed a mafia like crime family. Ultraman led the pack along with Power Ring, Johnny Quick, Super Woman, Owlman (fun fact: owls hunt bats), and alien J'edd J'arkus.

Like Mary Marvel, Superwoman was a member of a super powered family, evil versions of Captain Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr. Other Syndicatees included Hakgirl's analog Angelique, Black Lightnings' Black Power, Vibe's Breakdance, Elongated Man's Extruded Man, Vixen's Vamp, Looker's Model Citizen, Katana's Sai, Gypsy's Gypsy Woman, Halo's Aurora, Wonder Woman's Olympia, Lobo's Warwolf, Black Canary's Scream Queen, Green Arrow's Archer, and even little Jimmy Olsen's Mr. Action (click for more info).

Jester and Alexander Luthor were alterna-worlds good guys and in the parallel Earth the President was Slade Wilson better known in comics as Deathstroke the Terminator; His daughter Rose in other worlds is known as Ravager member of the Teen Titans.

03 March 2010

Avengers Assembly Commences

The live action Avengers has a script.

Quoth Joe Quesada, "Definition of “goose bumps.” Pressing enter and watching a screenplay entitled “AVENGERS” come out of my printer.

I guess this is good since it also has a release date just 2 years away. There is so much in the pipe over at Marvel. I can't wait to start getting substantial updates on this, not to mention Thor and Captain America.

Superman Continues to Reign in Animated DVD Sales

Yesterday, I posted figures for the first week of Planet Hulk DVD sales. There seemed to be some interest in how these DVDs were selling overall so today's treat is a look at DVD sales for Marvel and DC to date. These numbers do not include DC DVDs released prior to the current "adult-oriented" line, so no Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo etc.

As you can see in the graph, Superman: Doomsday leads the pack in revenue with Batman: Gotham Knight in 2nd and Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther in 3rd.Probably not the best 3 as far as quality goes but there was a lot more buzz and marketing when these lines were launched. Since then, DC's sales have more or less leveled off and Marvels were in decline but seem to be in a bit of recovery after Hulk Vs big jump (based on the other DVD trends Planet Hulk will still most likely at least double its current revenue).

Surprising is the performance of DC Justice League: The New Frontier based on the acclaimed graphic novel. Although it currently has the edge over Green Lantern: First Flight by about $22,000, it will be passed soon as GL has been a more consistent seller over time. Also, even though Wonder Woman's first week sales were weak, Hera has given her strength to eclipse both GL and New Frontier. The Superman Batman: Public Enemies film has not sold as well as either solo film, but it has done fairly well though not quite as well as Marvel's Hulk Vs.

Speaking of Hulk Vs, its performance has been nothing short of amazing, even outselling Iron Man which received a boost from the huge performance of the live action film (maybe this speaks to the poor quality of The Invincible Iron Man). In fact, Hulk Vs has made nearly as much money as the original Ultimate Avengers. There just has to be plans for another "Vs." themed Marvel movie, or could the runaway success be tied to the inclusion of a certain popular X-Man? Its is also apparent that Next Avengers was a real bomb. You have to wonder where a Spider-Man, X-Men, or Fantastic Four movie would land on this chart.

Lastly, just for fun here are the number of times each of the main heroes has appeared in the 7 DC or 7 Marvel movies. Believe it or not Thor actually seems to have the edge over Hulk in number of appearances, though Hulk may win with screen time.

Thor 5.1 - (Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, cameo in Doc Strange, Next Avengers, Hulk Vs., Planet Hulk), and Thor is upcoming.

Hulk 5 - (Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, Next Avengers, Hulk Vs., Planet Hulk)

Iron Man 4.5 - ( Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, Iron Man, Next Avengers, brief but non-integral role in Planet Hulk)

Superman 4 - (Doomsday, New Frontier, Superman Batman, Crisis on Two Earths)

Batman 4 - (New Frontier, Gotham Knight, Superman Batman, Crisis on Two Earths), and Red Hood is coming

Wonder Woman 3 - (New Frontier, Wonder Woman, Crisis on Two Earths)

Green Lantern 3 - (New Frontier, First Flight, Crisis on Two Earths)

Captain America 2.5 - ( Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, cameo and kid version in Next Avengers)

Ant-Man / Wasp 2.5 - ( Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, cameo and kid version in Next Avengers)

Black Widow 2.5 - ( Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, cameo and kid version in Next Avengers)

Flash 2 - (New Frontier, Crisis on Two Earths)

Martian Manhunter 2 - (New Frontier, Crisis on Two Earths)

Black Panther 1.5 - (Ultimate Avengers 2, cameo and kid version in Next Avengers)

Doctor Strange 1 - (Doc Strange)

Wolverine 1 - (Hulk Vs.)

02 March 2010

Planet Hulk Makes a Smaller SMASH on DVD

DVD sales figures for the first week of Planet Hulk have arrived and the folks at Marvel have to be a bit disappointed. The movie sold 153,026 units totaling $2,323,822. By comparison, last years Hulk Vs. mustered 178,894 units for $3,014,221. That's a 17% drop in units and over 20% reduction in revenue. More troubling is the fact that Planet Hulk was following up on a popular release whereas Hulk Vs. came after the poorly received Next Avengers. Check out the graph of first week sales figures for all of the recent animated superhero DVDs below.

What do these numbers mean? Is the public all "Hulked out" and hopping for another hero to get the spotlight? After all Hulk has been featured in 5 of the 7 Marvel releases. Is the DVD market just getting saturated with these animated superhero movies? Even though Marvel has settled in on 1 a year, DC is churning them out at 3 (with rumors of an increase to 4) per year. Was this movie just not advertised well? I know the Planet Hulk comics were a big hit but does Hulk in space turn off more casual fans? I know I was skeptical - though pleasantly surprised. Is the economy just having a general negative effect on DVD sales? What does this predict for next year's teen Thor: Tales of Asgard? I suppose I could speculate all day long, but a good comparison will be the sales figures for the new Justice League movie in the next few weeks.

I suppose the good news is that Planet Hulk still outperformed the 2 Marvel releases previous to Hulk Vs. (Next Avengers and Doctor Strange) and even outperformed Wonder Woman. Maybe good word of mouth and continued sales will give Hulk boost enough to give World War Hulk a "greenlight."

01 March 2010

The Justice League: A Super Friendly Tour (Crisis on Two Earths)

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

In February, DC animation experienced its first Crisis event in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. In the adventure, the Justice League crossed over to a parallel world where evil counterparts ran a mafia style Crime Syndicate. Ultraman (a Superman analog) was the mob's leader though his susceptibility was to blue Kryptonite. Superwoman, who at first glance seemed a Wonder Woman mirror actually had more in common with Miss Mary Marvel (of the Shazam! clan). Owlman (like Batman) was the brains of the organization. Johnny Quick was a speedster and Power Ring wielded, well, a power ring.

J'edd J'arkus of green alien descent was also one of the big guns with the Hawk-like Angelique at his side.

Each of these big six had several "made men" and super-powered lieutenants serving under them and a lot of the fun was identifying their Justice League counterparts. Superwoman actually led a Super Family of Captain Super, Captain Super Jr., and even Uncle Super inspired by DC's Marvel family better known as Captain Marvel AKA Shazam!, Uncle Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr.

So who was Wonder Woman's doppelganger you may be asking? None other than Olympia.

Although a glimpse of the organization was revealed with villainous versions of Mr. Terrific, Cyborg, Wildcat, Sandman, Blue Beetle, Zatanna, Metamorpho, Doctor Fate, and others show, Syndicate members that received the most actual screen time were based on obscure members of the Justice League Detroit and the Outsiders.

Breakdance was their Vibe (as seen in Justice League Unlimited cameos)

Animal powered Vamp was their Vixen (a regular on Justice League Unlimited).

Model Citizen filled in for Looker (making her on screen debut).

Sai fought with sai rather than a katana, weapon of choice for Katana (member of the Outsiders in Batman: The Brave and the Bold)

Aurora was inspired by Halo (never before seen outside of comics).

Gypsy Woman had a lot in common with Gypsy (a Where's Waldo of Justice League Unlimited).

Extruded Man had a questionably better name than Elongated Man (who had a couple of lines of dialogue on Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold).

Aside from the core team a few new Leaguers were recruited including Red Tornado, Aquaman, Black Lightning (making his second on screen appearance after his debut in the last DC DVD Superman Batman: Public Enemies), Firestorm (hot off of his first appearance in 20+ years since Super Friends on Batman: The Brave and the Bold), and Black Canary.

Black Power stepped up as the counter to Black Lightning.

Scream Queen filled in as an evil Black Canary.

Though Green Arrow was no where to be seen (though he was a major player n Justice League Unlimited) Archer played a big role for the Crime Syndicate.

The already questionable Lobo's counterpart Warwolf was another of the made men.

And Jimmy Olsen AKA Mr. Action was Ultraman's Pal.

It should be mentioned that the good guys in the counter Earth also formed a Justice League, though it only has two members: Alexander Luthor and Jester (plus Jester's monkey Harley).

The other Earth's President Slade Wilson is better known in comics as Deathstroke the Terminator AKA Slade for fans of the animated Teen Titans series. In comics, his daughter Rose AKA Ravager was a member of the Teen Titans.

Although originally dubbed World's Collide, this tale was penned to fill the gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, explaining bits of tid like how Wonder Woman obtained her invisible jet and how the League grew in numbers. The story was rewritten and stood just as fine on its own though it may end up adopted a s apocryphal to the cannon of DC animated continuity. It was also a treat to see an homage to the classic cover of Brave and the Bold #28, first appearance of the Justice League, showing the team fighting the dreaded Starro.

Green Lantern's Brightest Days #22

#22 Justice League Unlimited: The Once and Future Thing: Time Warped

The DC Animated Universe spanning Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, and the Justice League Series had one huge omission. In that universe it was Kyle Rayner that received the ring from Abin Sur, and there was no Hal Jordan! That is, until a time wrinkle briefly rewrote reality with Hal Jordan being the Justice League's Lantern. Sure it was a brief moment, but the DCAU just wouldn't have felt complete without him. The rest of the episode ain't bad either as we learn of one possible future for John Stewart as it is revealed he is the father of future Leaguer Warhawk.

#25 - Justice League Unlimited: Initiation - John Stewart's new look
#24 - Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Death Race to Oblivion! - Guy Gardner's Lanternmobile
#23 - Justice League of America: Pilot - Doesn't air
#22 - Justice League Unlimited: The Once and Future Thing: Time Warped - Hal Jordan joins the league