25 January 2014

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - Super Pets: World's Finest Bark

While not as action packed as Bat Man of Shanghai or as Stylish as Wonder Woman, these Super Pets shorts are undeniably cute. Riffing on the dog from Up, Krypto and Ace had a hard time remaining professional when Green Lantern B'dg was called to assist (in his onscreen debut). I do in fact hope there are many more of these in the pipeline - though I hope to see some of the more obscure pets sooner rather than later. Bring on Beppo, Comet, and Bat-Cow!

24 January 2014

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - Escape From Space City

"The problem with building kingdoms is that they tend to get taken over." Words of wisdom from Darkseid. Not a lot redeemable about this one which may easily be the worst of what has been a surprisingly strong season - that is except for Aquaman fans as the Atlantean finally made a contribution. By this point, a robot rebellion was a little cliche even if Darkseid was involved. Its not that this was horrible, it was just boring with the team going from one modest peril to the next inside space station. On the plus side, no marriage proposals.

23 January 2014

War of the Justice Leagues: DC's Newest, Ranked

The League Double Header

 We are going to try something a little different this time seeing as how, oddly, two Justice League movies were released on the same day. Perhaps it made sense for a simultaneous release since one was released ubiquitously via iTunes only (for the next two weeks at least) and the other was released in sort of the opposite way, in a single brick and mortar chain without promotion as a "stealth release." Maybe the logic was that the two were not cannibalizing each other's sales since they were targeting different distribution streams or demographics. Well, jokes on them because I got both! On to the reviews.

Let’s just say, live action quagmire aside, it’s a good time to be a fan of DC movies. In fact, both movies were enjoyable, with their own shining points. Rather than declaring one the victor, I will lay out a few notes for each. In the end both deserve their place in the solid middle of the impressive pack of DC animated films.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - Light, a la JLU season 3 with goofier humor but still legit action. Not what I want every time, but a nice change up in the animated movie formula. Focus on the younger heroes, but not at the expense of the grown-ups. 

Justice League: War - Going for an Avengersy tone and probably more broadly appealing than some previous Justice League movies. Adding a mix of quipy humor and action with touches of more graphic violence. This reminds me of the Superman/Batman animated movies, but is more satisfying than either. Wall to wall action with highlights for each League member.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - Although inspired by Secret Origins of the Super Friends, less rehash than one might expect. 

Justice League: War - Fairly straight up adaptation of a fairly mediocre story. Better in motion than on the page. Some plot changes, the biggest of which being the addition of Shazam which I do think worked better for the movie.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - League lineup: Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Where's Green Lantern? I was worried about the inclusion of Legion members Karate Kid and Dawnstar, but they were one of the movie's strengths - though other Legionnaire cameos would have been a treat. Classic Legion of Doomer's Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Captain Cold, Cheetah, Bizarro, Black Manta, and Gorilla Grodd were fine. Fine without Scarecrow, Riddler, Sinestro. Giganta, or Brainiac. Only gripe is if you add Cyborg to the League, there should be a new counterpart in the Legion.

Justice League: War - League lineup: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg Shazam Green Lantern. Where's Aquaman? But like I said, it worked without him. Villain: Darkseid. And as in the comic, he was not developed very well as a character beyond being a big physical threat.

-Designs and Animation-
 JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - Given the nature of the release I was expecting a low quality production reminiscent of an animated Happy Meal commercial tie-in. This actually looked pretty nice. The quality may not have been up to the level of other DC movies or even Young Justice, but in my opinion it looked better than any of the Justice League or JLU episodes. 

Justice League: War - Very nicely animated. Perhaps the palate was a bit dark and gritty, similar to The Flashpoint Paradox, but it worked better in that movie.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - Although there are some serious plot holes, there are also a fair share of clever ideas that sort of make sense if you don't overthink. 

Justice League: War - Story?

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time- Reminded me of the "Ape-raham Lincoln" ending of Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, but better. 

Justice League: War - Only good if you are familiar with the Justice League: Throne of Atlantis comic arc. If so, very tantalizing. If not, pretty lackluster. You might as well just have placed text on the screen saying, "The Justice League will return in Throne of Atlantis." In fact, they may have been better.

-Title Nonsense-
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time - No one actually got trapped anywhere. My cheesy alternative would be Peril of the Time Trapper.

Justice League: War - No war was officially declared. My copyright infringing title would be Justice League: Assemble.

Read on to see the new rankings

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - The Case of the Stolen Powers

Oh great, the Penguin. I was considerably less happy to see this fellow making his Super Friends debut than I was to see the Joker. The series would have been just fine with no Pengy-Poo. At least Penguin's one appearance would be in a half length episode and at least Felix Faust was also around for his first official onscreen appearance (aside from the cameo in The Wild Cards). It was funny that even Faust couldn't stand the Penguin... and for good reason. Even a super power Penguin is lame.

22 January 2014

Super History of Superman: Super Pets (2013)

While the crotches of both Kal and Kara appeared in the Super Pets shorts, their faces never did. This series instead featured the heroic super powered pets including Krypto the Superdog and Streaky the Supercat.

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - The Brainchild

Brainiac the maniac made his Super Friends swan song in this epic 500th installment of the Infinite Episodes feature. Fear not. Being infinite and all, Brainiac will return in future series, potentially an infinite number of times. And even though this episode did not live up to the classic status of the previous two episodes, pitting Cyborg against Brainiac was another clever idea. At least the writers were trying by focusing on the humanity of the human machine hybrid by placing Cyborg's brain in a fully robotic body. Even though Brainiac was never really used successfully, this was still probably the redesigned versions best attempt.

21 January 2014

First Look at JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time

Despite having to brave a snow storm, I was able to make my way to Target this morning for the exclusive DVD movie, JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time. From the snowy parking lot, I was able to capture a few images on my laptop and upload them using Target's Wifi - ah technology.  More are coming, but for now enjoy a few images from the first half of the film.

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - The Wild Cards

After over a decade the Joker's rights issues were resolved allowing him this single appearance in the Super Friends / Powers franchise... which really is a good thing since the series would have felt just a tad incomplete without one of DC's most iconic villains. Fitting also is the association of the Joker with the Royal Flush gang. I may be wrong but I don't think Joker was ever a member of the gang in the comics and so this was a pretty clever story point (there was a sometimes member named Wild Card in the comics who was actually GL villain Hector Hammond, but we are getting way off track). A little less expected was the relationship between the Joker and Darkseid... not exactly a match made in heaven, nor was it really needed.

20 January 2014

Crisis of Infinite Episodes - The Fear

For the very first time outside of comics, the origin of Batman was finally told and the use of Scarecrow was inspired. I suspect that Batman Begins elected the villain for the same reason 20 years later; Batman's origin is so tied to fear and the Scarecrow is the self-proclaimed master of fear. Also, at least according to my recollection, Scarecrow is one of the Legion Members that had not yet been given a return appearance. He was due. This was pretty much a perfect episode and one that stands out as being much darker in tone than was typical of the Super Friends. DVD special features reveal that this was intended as a pilot for a Batman spin-off.