It’s not every day that I get nice things. That changed when my friend won VIP tickets to an advanced screening at the Paley Center in NYC last Thursday. Warner Animation and DC have been doing this lately with their animated showings to get the hype going. And for me to see the 16th in DC’s collection of great animated movies and the most anticipated of the batch is the greatest honor.
For us Batfans, we all know how this goes. This is re-telling the Frank Miller story that not only changed the direction of a famed character to a more darker setting, but helped set that same mood and tone for future stories and characters to come. You can say that DC is still trying to relive that aura with all of their books in the New 52 (almost to a fault perhaps), but the industry itself has been greatly affected by what Dark Knights Returns was able to achieve.
Part 1 gave us the first two books in the saga with Bruce Wayne making his way back to the cowl to face the threat of Two-Face and the Mutants. He picked up a new Robin along the way. Saw the Commissioner hang it up. And Joker woke up.
No question that this was the one long-time fans wanted to see. Joker returning to his sadistic roots and the government lackey Superman will do that for you. What really set this adaptation going was that same mood and tone we got from the comic. This just went to darker places that even I didn’t think DC and Warner would have the guts to do even given the material they were working with. You felt it particularly with Joker’s appearances, which should be no surprise to anybody especially if you’re been reading Scott Snyder’s recent take on the character. I’m surprised the R rating wasn’t considered – guess I’ll see when my Blu-Ray copy arrives.
Speaking of the Clown Prince, give it up for Michael Emerson for giving me terrible nightmares. Something about the character just makes the actor playing him – to borrow a line from the flick – “lose control”. Anybody who’s seen Emerson play Ben on “Lost” can see that manipulative and sadistic side that works well with this character. It’s basically “Dark Knight” Joker times 11 – if that is even possible.
And then we have Mark Valley, fresh off a shortened stint on Human Target, taking on the Lackey of Steel. A fine performance where you didn’t expect much of the character to do much other than be the foil for Bruce that represents what he isn’t. He’s not likable here but yet wants to be because of the choices he made. Even though we know the outcome, it makes the final battle between these long-time friends/adversaries all the more sweeter.
Let’s not forget our regulars from the first showing – Peter Weller keeps the gritty going with a man who knows he’s coming to his end soon. I felt he brought a lot more to this than what was complained about in part 1 regarding his monotone interpretation of his lines. I could have used more “oomph” from his rally speech midway through the film, but it gets the job done. Ariel Winter kept providing some spunk to her Robin character, which was a nice contrast to the grim and gritty mentor she followed.
Sixteen movies done with these adaptations and DC and Warner seem to keep getting better when it comes to animation and fight sequences. They somehow have managed to master the pacing of the 75-minute movie and made it feel like it was more. Say what you will about a Batman in his 50s moving as fast as he does, but it sure makes for some well-choreographed battles.
I’m still conflicted on this and Under the Red Hood as my favorites of the batch. The latter still stays close to me because of how it unhinged itself from the source material (Infinite Crisis was prominent during the comic’s run) and made the story arc even better. But this is the granddaddy that the tone of all Bat books is based off for the last 25 years. It’d be hard not to celebrate it as one of the best. I’ll leave it open and say kudos to DC for once again reminding us for why we became fans.
Jonathan Hickman continues to take big ideas and make them more astounding than they should be. We shouldn’t be surprised by that with him, and yet Manhattan Projects #5 keeps throwing curveballs at us. Some great stuff in this issue and the alternate takes on Einstein and Oppenheimer continue to impress. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more intelligent and well-written series.
This issue came out a couple of weeks ago, but Batman Beyond Unlimited #4 is something to behold. Whether or not you’re a fan of the animated shows, you can’t go wrong with 40 pages for $3.99. And since I am a fan of the shows, it made it all the better with interesting stories such as the follow-up to the Apokolips/Genesis war and what Lex Luthor’s legacy has produced.
Onward we go as we approach the end of 2011. After a scary light week in the last week of November, DC rebounded back with some solid offerings:
- Animal Man #4 continues to defy my expectations and really make a case for series of the year.
- OMAC #4 is plain old Kirby fun. Remember the days when comics were fun?
- Action Comics #4 is close to veering off in way too many directions, but it still has a lot to offer to the Superman lore.
As always, sign off with your thoughts on the show!
This is it! The moment dozens of comic book fans have waited for! Comic Book Fury turns 100 years old! Now somebody pass us our dentures…
We’re giving you an extra-length addition of our epic show, as I first reflect on this achievement and what the industry has looked like within that time span.
We then get back into business with a look at the latest releases:
- Supergirl #3 is familiar, but refreshing at the same time. Can’t quite put my fingers on it, but it works
- Severed #4 is trying to tell us not to just trust an oil-peddling salesman who eats kids. Guess that’s a bad thing, right?
- Wonder Woman #3 delves into why she doesn’t want to be called clay.
- Batman #3 takes the honors this week because Scott Snyder makes owls creepy.
We then wrap up with some Q & A where we talk about if DC’s re-launch was an editorial success, the independent comics of choice, and if Superman remembers to wear the essentials when going out to play superhero.
Thanks again for all of your support and looking forward to 100 more shows!
Music provided by DRUGMILE – The Getaway
The Kubert brothers are two of my top favorites in comic artists. So consider me happy to hear when it was announced yesterday (odd day to be reporting comic news) that Andy Kubert, fresh off a hot stint on Flashpoint, will be drawing issues #5 and #6 on Grant Morrison’s Action Comics. There’s talk of the Legion of Super-Heroes appearing in this short arc and will lay the groundwork for future issues of Morrison’s run.
Listen, DC – you said Kubert. That’s all I needed to know.
4 weeks of non-stop rebooted content from the new DCU has come to a close and we have an all-star panel here ready to share their thoughts. CBF’s own Mike Buechele and QAQN’s Daniel M. Clark join me to discuss the good, bad, ugly, and controversial of the 52 new titles that came out of this new universe. Come listen as we ramble on about:
- The sex controversies in the re-boots of Catwoman and Starfire.
- DC’s pick and choose of which characters get a full reboot while others get a soft relaunch.
- The diverse approach of branching out their books into different genres.
- We might also talk about comics on this show too.
All the comics discussed here are in the DC Re-Launch Store if you want to give them a shot. Enjoy the show and let us know your thoughts on the reboot!
Music provided by Unquiet Nights – Shoulda Said Something