31 December 2010

Retrospective 2010 - Part 4


In October, RED aka Retired Extremely Dangerous arrived in theaters and outperformed fellow DC owned (Homage comics) actioner The Losers to the tune of $89 million.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The bigger event in October was the countdown to and debut of Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Disney released one 5 minute micro episode online each day for the 20 days leading up to the series premier. Avengers hasn't held back, airing 16 of its scheduled 52 total episode run in just 2 months giving various main and secondary characters a chance at the spotlight.

Superman / Shazam! The Return of Black Adam

In November, Superman / Shazam! The return of Black Adam headlined a rare misstep release from DC animation. The double short (20 minutes) itself was well done, though once again Captain Marvel and Superman are hardly lesser known heroes who were indicated as the targets for these shorts. The problem was that the DVD only contained this short and "extended" versions of the previous 3 shorts whcih had already been used to encourage purchase of pricier special edition releases throughout the year. In all the full priced purchase got you at most 60 minutes of content and at worst 20 minutes of content. The extended versions of the the shorts were also a joke as someone would have to watch them side by side to discern any difference. Sales were modest, and it looks like the shorts may be on hold, which is a shame becasue it was the marketing, not the quality, that fell short.


2010 may have been the year of the super villain. The Summer offered up a huge hit with Despicable Me and Dreamworks hoped for a similar success with Master / Oober / MegaMind in which a super villain had to become a hero to thwart a bigger villain. In the end, the movie was not a big hit, earning nearly $150 million, and less overseas, in a very competitive computer animated market making a sequel unlikely.

Young Justice
The highlight of the Fall for me had to be the debut of the Young Justice animated series. The double length premiere saw Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Superboy (along with Miss Martian) forming a covert team under the supervision of the Justice League. The show has fantastic animation and a serious tone that played perfectly. The creator is fresh off The Spectacular Spider-Man series, the Web-Head's finest to date, and hopefully this lives up to that standard.


Following the debut of Young Justice, Cartoon Network also released the computer animated Firebreather movie based on a comic series about a kid with a dragon dad. I didn't catch this one.

Joker's Funhouse

One last gem that shouldn't be overlooked was the online animated "commercial" for Super Friends toys from Fischer-Price. The animated short titled The Joker's Playhouse is a work of genius and hopefully will find its way to DVD somehow soon.

And that my friends is a wrap. Twas a busy year but next year is going to be even busier. Imagine 2010, but instead of Vertigo and Homage Comics' unpowered "heroes" getting movies we will have Marvel and DC busting out some top tier super powered heroes. It should be fun.

30 December 2010

Retrospective 2010 - Part 3

Dwight's Crimson Bolt hit the Toronto Film Festival in September in the dark comedy Super. The movie will get a release in 2011, but time will tell if its the next Kick-Ass or the next The Rocker.

Superman Batman: Apocalypse

DC's third direct to video of the year didn't make quite the splash of the first two, but it was still a fairly decent romp. Between the army of Doomsdays, the Female Furies, and Darkseid himself, the fights compensate for a mediocre story.

Green Arrow

Accompanying the Superman Batman: Apocalypse movie was DC's third short film. Although the short was pretty good, it was a bit disappointing the Green Arrow got the spotlight when he is much closer to a household name than the Spectre or Jonah Hex. He has been on Smallville for years for crying out loud. Hopefully next year will bring more shorts focusing on some of the underdogs of the DC universe.

No Ordinary Family

The fall also brought a fantastical take on a super-powered family of four. Dad's got super strength and can "Hulk-jump," mom is the Flash, kid girl is a telepath, and kid boy is smart. I guess this is the closest thing we will get to a decent take on the Fantastic Four, though it feels an awful lot like an ABC Family show rather than a primetime ABC show.

24 December 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Superman Batman: Apocalypse

Fall of 2010 brought the DC direct to DVD line its very first sequel. Superman Batman: Apocalypse was a follow up to Public Enemies, and an adaptation of the 2nd story arc in the Superman Batman comic, Supergirl. True to the source, Supergirl has a big presence here, but unlike the comic, Batman doesn't.

Although Batman is important to the story, as the movie goes along, he becomes more and more of a supporting character giving Wonder Woman and Supergirl a bit more of the spotlight (along with Superman of course).

Still, Bats did get a couple of good sequences, even standing toe-to-toe with Darkseid before fading away to let Supergirl and Superman finish out the movie.

Up Next: Young Justice

Batman Serial * Batman and Robin Serial * Batman '66 TV * Batman '66 Movie * Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder * Batman on Scooby Doo * Batman the Super Friend * The New Adventures of Batman * Batman '89 * Batman Returns * Batman: The Animated Series * Batman: Mask of the Phantasm * Batman Forever * Batman and Robin * The New Batman Adventures * Boo Wonder * Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero * Batman Beyond * Gotham Girls * Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker * Batman on Justice League * DCAU Crossovers * Birds of Prey * Teen Titans * Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman * Chase Me * The Batman * Batman Begins * Batman Vs. Dracula * Justice League: The New Frontier * Batman: Gotham Knight * The Dark Knight * Batman: The Brave and the Bold * Superman Batman: Public Enemies * Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths * Batman: Under the Red Hood * Superman Batman: Apocalypse

* Special Musical Edition * Special Christmas Edition *
Special OnStar Edition * Special Never Happened Edition * Special Canine Edition * Special Joker Edition * Special Imaginext Edition

22 December 2010

Retrospective 2010 - Part 2

Iron Man 2

Fortunately for Iron Man 2010 was surprisingly light for the superhero genre. The next few summers will be jam packed. But with very little in the way of competition Iron Man 2 wrangled $312 million, falling just shy of the original's take. While the movie was okay, it seemed that the movie was more of a place holder for Marvel buying time to introduce the rest of the team leading up to the ensemble Avengers movie. Perhaps, this should have been titled Avengers Part 0 rather than Iron Man 2.

Jonah Hex

DC countered Marvel's Iron Man with Jonah Hex. This lesser known wild west DC bounty hunter had the honor of following in the footsteps of Steel and Supergirl by ensuring the title character would not soon be returning to cinemas. The movie barely earned $10 million and pretty may have been the final straw for Megan Fox's short lived career. Seriously, Hex's appearance on the kid targeted Batman: The Brave and the Bold and his 10 minute animated short that were released this year were both way better than this pile of garbage.

In June, SyFy finally aired its Phantom miniseries attempted to reinvigorate one of the classic superheroes. The presentation was okay, but it doesn't look like the miniseries did enough to earn the character a hoped or ongoing series.

The Last Airbender

M. Night Shyamalan's name being attached to The Last Airbender didn't do the film any favors. Honestly, this movie never had a chance of capturing the heart or epic scale of the animated series, but it wasn't nearly as bad as people said. Earning just $131 million, the chances of completing the trilogy are unlikely, but hey at least we will always have the series.

Batman: Under the Red Hood

In my opinion, the best offering of the summer, and possibly the year was the animated Batman: Under the Red Hood direct to video movie. The film adapted the comic arc that reintroduced presumed dead Jason Todd (the second Robin) to comic continuity. This movie was really well done and is currently at the top of my list of DC's animated films.

Jonah Hex

Attached to the Batman DtV was an animated Jonah Hex short. This little gem gave the sense that the character just might be able to carry a movie of his own, just not the version that actually got made.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Pulling heavily from video games, the super powered Scott Pilgrim had to defeat seven evil X's to win the day and the girl. I knew going in that this movie was going to be different, but it truly was an original and very worth seeing. Unfortunately, its the kind of movie that is going to make pretentious teens feel like they are cool just because they saw it. It really is a shame it didn't do better in theaters. I haven't read the original graphic novels but the music, animations, and effects of the films were all spectacular and its hard for me to imagine this story in silent, still, black and white. The only thing I would have done is not cast George Michael. He was a real wuss.

21 December 2010

The Disco Superman That Almost Was

Will Superman the Man of Steel looks likely to actually get made, one must ask, "Why is making a good Superman movie so hard?" My enjoyment of Superman Returns seems to decrease with each viewing and by now I wonder if Tim Burton's Superman wouldn't have at least been a glorious disaster:

10 December 2010

Midgard Has Received the Official Thor Trailer

Pretty similar to the leaked footage, and pretty compelling.

Behold, The Monochromatic Thor!

... and his red cape. In all seriousness, this is a pretty cool poster. It will be interesting to see which does better next summer, Thor or Captain America. The Cap (to me) seems better known and more accessible, but Thor is getting the real marketing push. Maybe we will see Captain America get some publicity as summer nears. The Avengers are indeed assembling.

08 December 2010

Transformers Trailer Makes Me Want to Give Em One More Shot

Transformers was pretty enjoyable despite some over-the-topness and a shortage of bots. Transformers 2 was a "car-wreck" with too many bots and way too much racist jar-jar twins. Maybe Transformers 3 will be just right. I'm sure it won't be actually, but this trailer makes me want to believe.

03 December 2010

Azarath Metrion Zinthos, Has the CW Conjured a Smallville Replacement with Raven?

Apparently putting rumors of a Blue Beetle live action series on the back burner, word now is that the Teen Titan Raven may be in consideration for CW's Smallville replacement. I don't know how true this is, but it has a ring of truth. I mean, I could see Raven fitting in nicely with the CW core demographic of teen girls. It also has the supernatural element going for it as well as much team-up potential down the road. But would Colonel Tigh appear? Only time will tell.

Just for the record though only Birds of Prey has actually made it into production and all of the following have fallen short at various stages of development attempting to join in Smallville's success: Bruce Wayne (from whose ashes Smallville actually arose), Starman, Aquaman, and the Graysons (featuring Robin). Rumors also persisted though plans never materialized for Supergirl, Green Arrow, the Justice League and Blue Beetle.

Retrospective 2010 - Part 1

2010 was a prolific year for superhero shows; and while bigger isn't always better, among this year's output of nuggets there were a fair number of gems. On the other hand some of these nuggets should be tossed aside last last week's left over McDonald's 20 piece. In this part 1, we will revisit shows that arrived during the pre-summer season of 2010.
Human Target

In January, Fox launched the second attempt at a Human Target television series based on the Vertigo (DC) comic book series. Although the series found a big enough audience for a second season, dwindling numbers seem to forecast a dim outlook for the show's future.

Black Panther
The Black Panther animated mini-series created in the motion comic style was intended to debut on BET, but ended up hitting airwaves in Australia in January, later arriving online in the US. I am not sure what all the issues were, but the Marvel Disney merger may have had an effect on this release as it did on other animation projects. In any case, its always nice for a new character to headline his own series. Hopefully Daredevil won't be far behind.

Planet Hulk

February's Direct to Video debut of Planet Hulk was one of the year's early surprises. Many fans of Marvel's animated movies may have felt some Hulk saturation after the Jolly Green One appeared in 4 of the first 6 films. But the 5th time was the charm as this interesting variation offered a fresh take on the character while keeping in plenty of "smash!"


Woody's realistic take on street vigilante's found its way to the US in February earning $44,000 in its theatrical debut and somehow paving the way for a similar themed project for Dwight in Super.

The Justice Society of America

Even though Smallville has been on for years, the 9th season featured the first onscreen appearance of the classic Justice Society of America team, the first superhero team in comics (debuting in 1940). Although members of the JSA had appeared elsewhere previously either solo or as members of the Justice League, this was the first time the JSA got some well deserved attention. Hawkman, Dr. Fate, and Stargirl got most of the focus along with nemesis Icicle.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

In late February, DC countered with a Direct To Video of its own. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths made use of a long dormant script originally planned for as a movie for the Justice League animated series. The story inspired by the Justice League Earth 2 comic saw the League taking on alternate Earth evil counterparts, known as the Crime Syndicate led by the nefarious Owl Man.

The Spectre

Accompanying the Justice League movie was The Spectre, a fantastic ten minute short ushering in DC's new and possible short lived Showcase line focusing on lesser know heroes.

The Losers

As summer neared, a couple of clunkers hit the big screen starting with The Losers. This A-Team wanna-be team of underdogs failed to capture a mainstream audience. On the other this film gave DC's Vertigo its second live-action adaption of the year.

Kick Ass

Spring ended with the ultra violent adaptation of the Kick-Ass comic which earned decent enough reviews and a fair box office earning total of $48 million. Though there is talk of a sequel, its doubtful that hard R heroes are the next big thing.

29 November 2010

All Star Box Art for Superman Revealed

Pretty nice to look at... too bad the release seems to be DC Showcase short-free. Look for it on Feb 22, 2011.

22 November 2010

Green Lantern's Parallax Comes into Focus

Parallax, originally the supervillain identity of Green Lantern gone bad Hal Jordan, was eventually revealed to be the cosmic embodiment of fear. Still with me? Well this yellow, nasty, space bug has been revealed as one of the primary antagonists in next year's live action Green Lantern movie and here is your first look.

I like it. Thanks TheDailyBlam.com.

19 November 2010

Less to Dread from New Judge?

Compare the new Judge Dredd (above) with the old one (below). Surprisingly similar... How does that bode fro the new attempt at bringing the character to life on the big screen? And when do I get my remake of Steel?

12 November 2010

Green Lantern Trailer Trailer is Here

This is a nice treat to hold me over until the real trailer appears next week. So far so good.

08 November 2010

Marvelous Animation Tour - Fantastic Four (1994)

Hoping to repeat the success of 1992's instant classic X-Men animated series, The Fantastic Four received their 3rd animated series in 1994. Although this series lasted just 26 episodes spread over two seasons, it did survive longer than the previous two animate attempts.

The first season is pretty much what did the series in. Even though stories were adapted from classic comic tales including the coming of Galactus, they were just not done very well.

After the poorly received first season, season two received much quality improvement in the form of better animation, less annoying humor, new costume designs, and a new intro song and sequence.

Indeed, the second was markedly improved. The Inhumans became recurring characters and whereas Galactus first season appearance was brutally boring, his appearances in the second season episodes were epic.

Many characters from the Marvel Universe stopped by during the series run including Hulk, the Black Panther, Daredevil, Thor, and Ghost Rider. Alas, The Fan 4 would return yet again in the next decade for another attempt to get a third season.

04 November 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman: Under the Red Hood

In July of 2010, Batman: Under the Red Hood drew from not one but two classic Batman arcs and delivered one of, if not THE greatest animated Batman film to date.

The movie's brief pre-credits opening summarized the 1980's Death in the Family storyline in which the second Robin, Jason Todd, was brutally murdered by the Joker (as a result of a phone-in campaign in which fans opted for the bratty side-kick to die). Unfortunately, the inclusion of this sequence, though vital to the story, kinda spoils some of the movie's mystery.

Soon enough the masked Red Hood is introduced. This anti-hero's identity is not immediately revealed, but I will just say its the same guy it was in the more recent Under the Hood comic book arc.

Fortunately, the movie gave Red Hood a much improved origin than the comic, opting to include Lazarus pit loving Ra's Al Ghul rather than continuity punching Superboy-Prime (don't ask).

Much of the story focused on Red Hoods quest to take control of crime in Gotham from the gangster Black Mask, an underused and lesser known on screen Bat villain.

Of course, no classic Batman movie would be complete without the Joker, this time played as a real creepy and lethal psycho who gets some comeuppance.

Dick Grayson also appeared in the Nightwing persona.

Throughout the story there were lots of dark moments, making the lighthearted flashbacks featuring a young enthusiastic Jason Todd as Robin (as well as a campy Riddler) all the more tragically heart wrenching.

Up Next: Superman Batman: Apocalypse

Batman Serial * Batman and Robin Serial * Batman '66 TV * Batman '66 Movie * Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder * Batman on Scooby Doo * Batman the Super Friend * The New Adventures of Batman * Batman '89 * Batman Returns * Batman: The Animated Series * Batman: Mask of the Phantasm * Batman Forever * Batman and Robin * The New Batman Adventures * Boo Wonder * Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero * Batman Beyond * Gotham Girls * Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker * Batman on Justice League * DCAU Crossovers * Birds of Prey * Teen Titans * Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman * Chase Me * The Batman * Batman Begins * Batman Vs. Dracula * Justice League: The New Frontier * Batman: Gotham Knight * The Dark Knight * Batman: The Brave and the Bold * Superman Batman: Public Enemies * Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths * Batman: Under the Red Hood

* Special Musical Edition * Special Christmas Edition *
Special OnStar Edition * Special Never Happened Edition * Special Canine Edition * Special Joker Edition * Special Imaginext Edition