12 March 2010

Spotlight on Red Skull

Since his first appearance in Captain America Comics #1, Red Skull has been one of the super soldiers greatest adversaries. Red Skull is now set to appear in Captain America: The First Avenger, played by the menacing Mr. Smith / Megatron AKA Hugo Weaving. Despite Cap's limited exposure over the years, Skull-head has managed to weasel his way into a number of shows as a guest villain. Lets take a look at the dude's appearances thus far.

The Nazi loving Red Skull first appeared in 1966's Marvel Super Heroes during the Captain America segments. This version was pretty much right out of the original comic book stories.

It would be awhile before Red Skulls next appearance as a guest villain opposite Captain America in the 1981 Spider-Man series episode "The Capture of Captain America."

The war mongering Skull next appeared in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episdoe "Quest of the Red Skull." By now you may be sensing that there wasn't much variety in his appearance. He was always basically a dude with an actual red skeleton head.

In 1990, Red Skull appeared, or rather didn't appear, in the Captain America live action film that never really saw the light of day. Hopefully this performance is not the model for the upcoming movie.

Next the red one appeared in the 90's X-Men series episode "Old Soldiers" featuring the team-up of Wolverine and Cap.

He was next spotted on yet another Spider-Man series antagonizing Spidey (maybe he just liked Spider-Man's red mask), this time in the 1990's Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

Most recently, Red Skull joined the ever growing cast of the The Super Hero Squad Show.

When pictures of Hugo Weaving as Red Skull emerge, be assured they will be posted right here.


And here he is from Captain America: The First Avenger.

11 March 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman

Released in 2003, Batman:Mystery of the Batwoman was the final DTV built on the DC animated universe. Unlike the previous Subzero, Batwoman was crafted with the designs from The New Batman Adventures including the use of Tim Drake as Robin.

The whole idea is that a new vigilante has appeared in Gotham and is infringing on the "Bat" copyright. She uses somewhat unorthodox methods and so Batman wants to unmask her. Along the way, a couple classic Bat villains are brought in including Bane and Penguin.

The villains are one of the films weaknesses. Penguin and Bane just weren't all that interesting here. A bit more compelling was trying to figure out which of the "random" newly introduced female characters is the one in the Batwoman guise. For the record, I guessed incorrectly.

Overall, it wasn't a bad movie, but of the Batman animated movies, it was easily the weakest. Nevertheless, five years after the end of The New Batman Adventures run, it was still a much welcome treat. As for the DVD extras...

Up Next: Chase Me

09 March 2010

Thor Movie in a Nutshell

An official synopsis for the Thor movie has been released:

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the epic adventure, “Thor,” which spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and is forced to live among humans. A beautiful, young scientist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has a profound effect on Thor, as she ultimately becomes his first love. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Sounds like a movie. Its only a matter of time until some actual photos from the set start popping up and then a teaser trailer. Next year is going to be a good one for superheroes and Thor sounds like a good way to kick off the summer.

Rank Some DC DTVs

#7 Batman: Gotham Knight was an easy pick for last place as it is the one that I really have no interest in revisiting. A classic example of style over substance, Gotham Knight promised a mature bridge between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and delivered a hodgepodge of freakish Batman designs loosely connected with a story that doesn't deserve to be remembered. It pains me greatly that I didn't fall in love with this Batmanime, but try as I might, even on attempted repeat viewing I haven't found much redeemable about this stylish mess.

#6 Superman Batman: Public Enemies while placing sixth on this countdown was still an enjoyable romp. While Gotham Knight was just dumb, this is dumb fun. As an adaptation of the comic book, this was very faithful, maintaining many of even the most obscure cameos with designs that were spot on (for better or worse). Though the story certainly wasn't deep, the movie delivered with one showdown after another. Actually, the plot points that deviated from the comic were actually welcome improvements. Consider this the Twinkie of the DC line. I wouldn't want to eat seven of them in a row, but one now in then hits the spot.

#5 Justice League: The New Frontier was a bit of a letdown on first viewing. There was something noble and nostalgic about the setup but the climax involving a dinosaur spewing flying island was a bit much to swallow. Since then, the movie has grown on me. I realized that the final villain wasn't really the point (though a better foe would have bumped this one up). I really appreciate that even though this is a Justice League film, it was Green Lantern, Flash, and the Martian Manhunter that really drove the story. Those three have never seemed so heroic.

#4 Superman: Doomsday was awfully ambitious in trying to tell the whole death and return of Superman story in a single outing. While the death part was done well, the retelling of Rise of the Supermen arc felt like a cheat. Instead we were basically given a retooled Identity Crisis episode from Superman: The Animated Series. Having said that, without comparison to the original comic or comparison to the animated series tale, this story is enjoyable enough. I probably like this one more than most, maybe I just like mullet Superman. Or maybe it is just the epic way that the opening fight with Doomsday introduced DCs new line movies making me forget just how bad was Brainiac Attacks.

#3 Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths having just come out may settle higher or lower on the list but for now the briskly paced alternate reality adventure lands in number three. Highlights of the film were pretty much everything to do with Owlman including his diabolical scheme his jet, and his main squeeze. Also enjoyable were the evil versions of heroes, particularly notoriously unpopular members of the Justice League Detroit.

#2 Wonder Woman was a real surprise. Unfortunately a lot of people think Wonder Woman is outdated an lame but this movie proved that a big Budget Wonder Woman movie could be pretty great. Wondy offered the most violent outing of the bunch (well maybe second to Gotham Knight- both had beheadings) but was balanced with humor. Of all seven movies, this one exceeding my expectations the most.

#1 Green Lantern: First Flight finally gave the Green Lantern his own title. This was also the first in the line that didn't star any of the big three and the movie proved that GL deserves to be up there front and center. This space based action movie has a setting distinct from the other DC and even Marvel DVDs and in my opinion is begging for a sequel. Nevertheless, this movie felt like more than just a setup for another movie, a trap that many origin stories fall into. I would have liked a few more minutes of setup at the beginning giving Hal Jordan a bit more character, but I was overall quite happy with this movie. Finally, of all the DC movie made thus far GL easily looks the most polished and appealing.

Check out my ranking of the Marvel movies here.

08 March 2010

Onscreen History of Silver Banshee

Um yeah, thats one ugly mug. I hope this plays out better than it looks. She will be appearing in a few weeks on the Smallville episode Escape.

Silver Banshee originally appeared in 1987 in Action Comics #595.

Almost 30 years later, Silver Banshee would finally grace TV screen on Chaos at Earth's Core an episode of Justice League Unlimited.

Inspire by Banshee, a character named Scream Queen appeared by the side of the Scarecrow in the teaser opening of Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Trials of the Demon!

Silver Banshee also appeared as one of the many hopefuls to bag and tag Superman for a billion dollar bounty in Superman Batman: Public Enemies. She failed. In fact, up until now, Silver Banshee's appearances have been pretty lackluster. It seems doubtful Smallville will change that trend.

New Iron Man Trailer is Gold

A lot of this was in the last trailer, but the last few seconds revealing a portable costume is pretty awesome.

Green Lantern's Brightest Days #21

#21 Legends of the Superheroes

In 1979, The Green Lantern made his live-action debut. It was unfortunate that the debut occurred on the Super Friends spin-off, the Legends of the Superheroes variety show. While this moment may be more notable than "bright," a live-action debut is a milestone that most superheroes never achieve. Well done GL.

#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
#21 - Legends of the Superheroes - Lantern goes live-action