Archive for Richard Donner

Superman: World of New Krypton #3

Posted in Comics, DC, Superman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12th June, 2009 by Adam Redsell
You will believe a man can fly.

You will believe a man can fly.

Authors: Greg Rucka & James Robinson
Artist: Pete Woods
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Gary Frank
Variant Cover Artists: Howard Chaytkin with Edgar Delgado
Assistant Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson

New Krypton is an interesting little ‘what if?’ scenario for Superman.  What if Superman lived in a world where everyone had the same powers he has?  What if he wasn’t special at all?  What if he was just Clark Kent?  Would he still make a difference?  Except he’s not Clark Kent, the human reporter – he’s Commander Kal-El of the Kryptonian Military Guild.  And yet, this series has done more to highlight Superman’s very human upbringing than any other.  Superman is special, and what’s special about him is his humanity.

This all sounds very poignant for what is essentially a story about a hostage situation.  That we get to see Superman negotiate a hostage situation at all just goes to show how interesting New Krypton’s basic premise is.  While some readers are waiting for ‘something’ to happen, I’m enjoying all the very ‘normal’ situations Superman finds himself in, and how his intrinsic responses differ from that of his Kryptonian colleagues, particularly Zod.  Now, I expect that ‘something’ readers and critics are impatiently waiting for is something along the lines of ‘Zod’s up to something, and it ain’t good’, and this story certainly alludes to that in some small measure, but I want to see this ‘what if?’ scenario explored first and played out to the full.

It’s true, General Zod does risk losing the menacing heights he achieved during Geoff John’s and Richard Donner’s “Last Son” story arc, if he doesn’t do something villainous soon.  It seems that Superman and Supergirl aren’t the only ones who view New Krypton as a new beginning.  Zod, too, has turned over a new leaf, it seems.

(For those not in the know, New Krypton consists solely of the citizens of Kandor, a city which was shrunk and trapped in a bottle by Brainiac long ago.  As a result, the people of New Krypton are still adjusting to their newfound freedom, and are completely unaware of the nature of General Zod’s military coup back on Krypton proper.  They were also completely unaware of Jor-El’s peaceful attempts to warn the Council of Krypton’s impending doom.  Years later, Zod and company are the only survivors of Krypton’s destruction, and the only surviving Kryptonians who were ‘right’ about the whole thing.  His attempt to forcefully ‘save’ Krypton from the Council’s ignorance is thus considered an act of heroism in retrospect.)

Superman and Zod’s new relationship is understandably awkward considering their embattled past, and while this is intended and entertaining, it’s also a little implausible.  Zod seems far too reasonable for a man who was an egomaniacal madman not so long ago.  And Superman seems far too composed for a man who – being the only one who knows the truth about Zod – is required to serve under his command!  Zod appears to admire Superman’s non-lethal solutions to societal problems, and Superman appears to regard Zod as someone other than an egotistical madman.  If they get much more familiar, it’s going to be very difficult for these two to lock fists to faces in the inevitable future.  I suppose I’m just concerned that Rucka and Robinson have written themselves into a corner they can’t get out of (though I feel the same way about the whole New Krypton scenario altogether).

World of New Krypton explores another side of Superman that we’ve perhaps not seen before: Superman the Revolutionary.  New Krypton still operates under a guild system as established on Old Krypton, but the Labor Guild (sound familiar?) is the only without political representation.  Superman, the red-blooded American he is, sees this as fundamentally wrong and undemocratic, and in many ways planted the dissenting seeds that led to this situation.  Members of the Labor Guild take Alura (Superman’s biological aunt and Supergirl’s mother) hostage, demanding reasonable working conditions and political representation.  Before Zod orders their outright execution, Kal-El asks for 30 minutes to find a non-violent solution.  Now this is what makes Superman, Superman!

Rucka and Robinson remind us again what makes Superman so important in the superhero landscape.  There are some forces too good to be polluted by the evils of this world, and one such force is Superman.  Even in a world full of superpowered beings, Superman sets himself apart with purity and ingenuity.  You can have your post-80s grit, but I prefer my Superman squeaky-clean, thank you very much.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4

Posted in Comics, DC, Final Crisis, Legion of 3 Worlds, Legion of Superheroes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
A gold star for anyone who understands this story.

A gold star for anyone who understands this story.

Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: George Perez
Inker: Scott Koblish
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Nick Napolitano
Assistant Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Artists: George Perez & Tom Smith
Alternate Cover Artists: George Perez & Hi-Fi

Legion of 3 Worlds makes my head explode.

I read it aloud to my sister over wine and cheese (because I’m all sophisticated, like) just to make sure, and I can now safely guarantee that this story is perceiveable only by those well-steeped in DC history.  Sure, there are a few main threads that can be picked out by the uninitiated, but not without wading through a sea (or seas) of continuity and comic book logic.  In order to explain the events of this comic to my sibling, I had to provide short synopses on Superboy, Legion of Superheroes, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, The Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice Society.  Which I didn’t mind doing, despite making me feel like a nerd of mammoth proportions.  Even then, it was too much for one person to absorb in five minutes, so it only helped a little.  So Newcomers, Beware!  This book is not for you.

If you’re still reading, then good for you!  Either you’re a walking DC Encyclopaedia, or you’re thirsty for punishment.  Seriously, the DC faithful will find Legion of 3 Worlds deeply rewarding.  The more you know about the DC Universe and its characters, the more this book has to offer in terms of fan service.  Geoff Johns proves himself to be the Biggest DC Comics Fan on Earth, juggling the cast of not only three incarnations of the Legion of Superheroes (post-Infinite Crisis, post-Zero Hour, and “Threeboot”), but also Superboy-Prime’s Legion of Super-Villains.  All the while, George Perez proves himself to be the most capable artist of his time, rendering a ridiculously large cast of characters on the same page at the same time with confidence and clarity.

It’s more than appropriate that George Perez should draw this story, because in many ways, Legion of 3 Worlds is the spiritual successor to Crisis on Infinite Earths, moreso than the core Final Crisis series, or even Infinite Crisis.  Indeed, some of the most significant beats pick up story threads from the second crisis, but it makes me wonder: does Geoff Johns regret some of the decisions that were made during Infinite Crisis?  I can’t help but feel that each new crisis weakens the emotional impact, and often negates the literal impact of the crisis preceding it.  That being said, Legion of 3 Worlds feels like a multiverse-spanning epic, and manages to entertain along the way.  It may not claim to be a ‘crisis’ proper, but it serves as a fitting tribute to those stories that came before it.

Legion of 3 Worlds #4 – like its predecessors – is home to some genuinely shocking moments, which I won’t spoil for you here.  The hilariously deranged Starman once again proves to be my favourite in Geoff Johns’ stable of characters.  Superboy Prime once again proves to be the most annoying, though his dialogue is (purposely) so bad it’s good.  Remembering the character’s inherent purity from the original Crisis, Prime’s bratty transformation and motivation for evil has always been difficult for me to swallow, but I think Johns is going somewhere with this.  The rest of the dialogue is pitch-perfect – witty and entertaining – though not entirely free of confusing pseudo-scientific explanations, particularly from any of the three Brainiac 5s.  Nonetheless, the core story is essentially an action-packed battle between good and evil.  The cinematic presentation of Legion is reminiscent of Johns’ and Richard Donner’s “Last Son of Krypton” arc, lending the tale a sense of urgency, particularly in the final sequence.

Confusing though it may be, Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 presents a magical multiverse where anything is possible.  DC readers will have plenty to sink their teeth into.  To anyone else who is interested – I recommend you do your homework first.

A Word of Warning to All Deadpool Fans:

Posted in Comics, Deadpool, film, Marvel, Wolverine, X-Men with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 4th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell

Do NOT see Wolverine. It will piss you right off.

To everyone else: the first two-thirds, then walk away. No malice, no hard feelings, just try to stem your curiousity for thirty seconds and walk calmly out of the cinema. There, that wasn’t so hard, now, was it? And congratulations – you’ve just rewarded yourself with the perfect Wolverine experience.

Protip: if Wolverine is on 'The Island', you've gone too far.

Protip: if Wolverine is on 'The Island', you've gone too far.

You won’t be scarred for life if you don’t (though you may be disappointed), but Deadpool fans WILL.

Fortunately for me, I don’t count myself among their ranks, but I do know that Deadpool is known as the ‘Merc with a Mouth.’ With Stan Lee and Richard Donner executive producing, someone on the set must have known that this would be tantamount to a big, sick joke.

Deadpool: breaking the fourth wall since 1997.

Deadpool: breaking the fourth wall since 1997.

I’m really not exaggerating, but to tell you why would be to spoil the ending which I’m imploring you not to see!

It doesn’t make one iota of sense to me. They hired Ryan Reynolds for the part – lithe, muscular physique, and a smart mouth; a perfect choice – and for the first half of the movie, he nailed the part perfectly. The only thing missing was the mask, and my guess was that Ryan Reynolds wanted to show off his beautiful face.

Tell me you can't imagine Ryan Reynolds saying that.

Tell me you can't imagine Ryan Reynolds saying that.

You know what? If you can forgive the masklessness, Deadpool fans, just do the same: go and see the first two thirds of the film and you’ll have an enjoyable Wolverine experience with a splash of Deadpool.

(I know it’s in the trailer, but it’s worth going just to see the helicopter bit.)

Marvel may not be on their A-game, but Wolvie’s still the best at what he does (and what he does best is take down helicopters).