27 November 2009

Smallville's Stargirl Reveals Her Stars

Because you demanded it, here are more pics of Smallville's Justice Society. Hawkman, Stargirl, and Dr. Fate are the main three Society members who will appear and the looks of all three of them are pretty true to their comic book designs.

It interesting to see the creators coming around with these designs. Could we be seeing some tights and or flights soon? Or maybe at least some more traditional costumes for the Leaguers? Hope so.

26 November 2009

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman Forever

After the odd and dark nature of Batman Returns, The Brothers Warner pushed the pendulum back toward light and campy. Enter Jim Carrey, Robin, and lots of neon. The tone of this film was just a hint of what was yet to come.

In 1995, Jim Carrey was all the rage and his addition to the film as the Riddler helped pave the way toward a profitable $184 million box office take. Overall, the film was fairly well received. I don't know, I think people were just happy to get the taste of Batman Returns out of their mouths, they didn't realize how sour this new entry was, nor did they realize that an even sourer course was in the works.

In the movie, The Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder made acquaintance forming the Dynamic Duo. Although Robin's costume consisted of body armor, his comic book outfit was teased with his circus garb. Batman Forever also recast Batman with Val Kilmer. So, not only was the film given a lighter tone, but Batman himself got a new face. In fact, if it weren't for Alfred the Butler's consistent casting, this movie could easily be seen as a different continuity from the Tim Burton Batmen.

While some people complain about "too many villains" in Batman Returns, I think Penguin and Catwoman were balanced a bit better than were Two-Face and Riddler. I guess Riddler has a bit of a character arc, but Two-Face just seems like a stupid Riddler imitator. In fact, Two-Face in Batman Forever was one of the biggest wastes of a super villain in any movie (aside from Bane in Batman and Robin). And to think this was Two-Face's big screen debut. Still, I guess there are some things to like about this movie. First of all, Riddler's Edward Nigma persona is a very interesting mirrored take on Bruce Wayne. In fact, there is a lot about Riddler to like. His performance was over the top, but at least he made riddles, keeping fairly true to his comic book character (as opposed to Two-Face).

Unfortunately, the film also suffered from some last minute edits- scenes that among other thins would explain the movie's title. In the end, I would say this entry was an improvement on Batman Returns, but as over correction often leads to tragic traffic accidents, Batman Forever set the franchise into a frightful free fall.

Up Next: Batman and Robin

25 November 2009

DC DVD Announcements and Reveals

Behold the cover art for Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths highlighting the parallel reality plot. Looks good. And sure enough, there is the Spectre hocking his animated short as previously announced.

Perhaps the biggest news of all to coincide with these new images was the announcement of the movie to be released after this one with the working title Batman: Under the Red Hood. First off, its about time Batman gets his own movie. Batman: Gotham Knight AKA Batmanime was technically a Batman movie, but it was such an odd project being both a midquel for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and an experimental anthology, that it didn't really satiate my "Bappetite." Having said that, it was the lines best seller thus far, so more Batman was always on the menu.

So what is Batman: Under the Red Hood about? Who knows. Red Hood is a Batman foe, but he has sometimes been the identity of pre-Jokered Joker (as in the acclaimed graphic novel The Killing Joke), and sometimes a disguise for returned from the dead second Robin Jason Todd. My hunch, the word Killing was to explicit for an animated feature, but this is a rough adaptation of the popular Killing Joke Joker origin tale.

On an aside, its odd how these DVDs and the Batman: The Brave and the Bold series are hitting so many common themes. Within a few months both will have given the only appearances in super hero shows to both Owl Man and Red Hood (as seen above) who incidentally was an alternate Earth good version of Joker that teamed up with Bats on Brave and the Bold to take down Owl Mans gang. In any case, keep em coming.

24 November 2009

The Spectre to Kick Off DC's Animated Shorts

An early image of the Blu-Ray box art for the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths revealed a tiny little picture of the Spectre's head leading fans to speculate that he would be the focus of the first in DC's line of animated shorts which will be packaged with upcoming direct to video movies.

The guy has been around since 1940, but really has never gotten his chance to shine (in other words there was never any demand for an action figure, UNTIL NOW - act fast kids)

Basically, the guy is a supernatural spirit of vengeance type. He was merged with Hal Jordan for a time in the comics until Hal redonned his Lantern garb. To be honest, I am counting on the short to fill me in as well. In any case, it looks like 2010 may be a good year for old Spectre as he is also slated to appear in the team-up Batman: The Brave and the Bold series. After years of obscurity, it looks like the Spectre's stock is about to go way up.

23 November 2009

Spotlight on Black Cat

With all the rumblings about Black Cat joining the Spider-Man 4 lineup, I figured it was time for the "felicitous felonious feline" femme fatale to get the spotlight. Felicia Hardy first appeared in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #194 in 1979.

Just a couple of years later, she made her on screen debut on the cleverly titled 1981 Spider-Man series episode, "Curiosity Killed the Spider-Man." Judging by the image above, I think this series nailed the look of the character better than any of the subsequent attempts.

Black Cat returned in the 1990's Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Like many of the characters in the series, her look was close, but somehow off. I guess this can be somewhat explained by the fact that in this version the character had super powers granted by a variation of Captain America's super soldier serum.

In 2003, the MTV Spider-Man: The New Animated Series introduced a character named Talon. The script originally was written to include Black Cat, but with the casting of rapper Eve, the character was reimagined as a variation of the burglar.

2008's Spectacular Spider-Man series reintroduced the Black Cat to television with an interesting twist. In this continuity, the Black Cat's dad who was the petty thief that killed Uncle Ben (a much better idea that retconning Sandman into that role). Although at first friendly with one another, Spider-Man's refusal to let the cat spring her pop from prison introduced a rift between the two sometimes partners.

So, will the cat be out of the bag in 2011's Spider-Man 4? Sounds likely. Stay tuned.