Category: reviews

Doom & Doomer: Man of Steel

Welcome to the latest installment of Doom and Doomer, where Jim Doom and I take a back-and-forth look at comic book movies.

Today we discuss Man of Steel, which most of you probably saw awhile ago. To explain: We live on opposite sides of the globe, so it’s difficult to find times where we’re both awake and not busy with other things. But we finally did it! Enjoy.

DOOM DELUISE: So Man of Steel came out a couple of months ago. Its success in its first weekend led to all of the key players almost immediately signing on to do a sequel, and, in the subsequent time, we’ve learned a lot about where they’re headed with this franchise.

man of steel official posterThe main question, though, is whether or not that direction will be any good, and in order to figure that out, all we have to go on is the quality of Man of Steel.

Based on Man of Steel, how confident are you in the much-hyped Superman/Batman team-up movie?

JIM DOOM: Well, it’s funny you ask it that way, because I think Man of Steel was truly terrible in almost every way, but I don’t know if it necessarily makes me any less interested in the sequel.

I shared my thoughts on the Ben Affleck casting in the comments of Fin Fang Doom’s post, and the basic idea there was that by casting such a well-known name, Affleck has the potential to overshadow the character.

But I also think that he has matured enough as a film presence that I could see him maybe not wanting to be in a movie as bad as Man of Steel was.

I was also under the initial impression that they were going straight from Man of Steel to Justice League, so I’m somewhat relieved that they’re going in these relative baby steps.

DOOM DELUISE: Yeah, it’s interesting how everybody online is reacting to this news as if they just cast Reindeer Games Ben Affleck. He’s changed a lot in the past few years.

Unfortunately, whether his performance is great or not, I don’t see how he can do THAT much to make this series any better or worse than it already is. As far as I’m concerned, as long as they have David S. Goyer writing it and Zack Snyder directing it, we’re in for nothing but absolute crap. Like Man of Steel.

JIM DOOM: So let’s talk about what made Man of Steel such crap. (more…)



All-New X-Men is kind of brilliant

I normally would do a Doomino Effect this time of week (if by “normally” you’ll accept “once every couple of years after previously doing it every week”), but this past week I only bought four comics — two issues of the new Ted McKeever book (my shop only had #2 and #4, because I only just realized there was a new Ted McKeever book, and since I only have #2 and #4, I didn’t read it yet), something I don’t remember, and All-New X-Men #15.

I’m not going to carry out my gimmick so I can write one segue between two issues, so instead I’ll share with you why I think All-New X-Men is such a genius idea.

I was looking at the cover of issue #15, with Beast kissing Jean Grey, and thinking about what this series actually is. It’s Brian Michael Bendis writing adventures of the original X-Men. Let’s say one day Bendis woke up and was like “I want to write some adventures of the original X-Men.” He would have several obvious options, and I probably wouldn’t have read any of them!

1. It’s a series of “lost” adventures, taking place within continuity back in the old days.
The stories might have been fun, but if they took place within continuity, then we’d know that there were really no lasting implications. Therefore the stories are ultimately inconsequential. I would skip it.

2. It’s a series of “What if?” adventures that takes place outside of continuity.
These stories too might have been fun, and they may have lasting implications for the characters, but being outside of continuity, these stories too would be ultimately inconsequential. I would skip this too!

So what has the guy done? He’s figured out a way to write what are probably going to end up being fairly inconsequential stories anyway, but he’s come up with a pretty unconventional way to do it. By yanking the X-Men out of the past and putting them in the present, but establishing from the get-go that they’ll eventually be put back in their normal time with their memories of these events wiped from their minds, Bendis can have all sorts of interpersonal fun with the original X-Men, as long as they remain not-killed, but there can be lasting implications for present continuity without damaging the playthings from the past.

Aside from the fact that this is one of my favorite ongoing series and one of the main reasons I’m enjoying comics as much as I am this past year or so, I’m really impressed by the way he built this playground for himself!



The Doomino Effect for July 31, 2013

So a funny thing happened. I was doing this weekly review called The Doomino Effect, and then I just stopped doing it for about two years. And then there was like a two year gap before that. But before that, I went strong for like three years!

But speaking of things that go on for about seven years and then just sort of end, that leads me to Batman Incorporated #13, the conclusion to Grant Morrison’s epic run on various books with the word “Batman” or “Final” and “Crisis” in them. This run has seen its ups and its downs, but it’s something that has definitely kept me strung along over the years. I think a big part of what hooked me was the belief that there was going to be some kind of satisfying payoff at the end of it all.

But no. In no uncertain terms, there’s not. Much of those oddities cast throughout the series had no meaningful place in the finale. I’m not kidding, but the way this resolves — SPOILER ALERT — is that you find out all along that the drama and suspense didn’t really matter, because Wayne Enterprises had secretly outsmarted Talia Al Ghul all along and her secret death trap wasn’t really a threat. And the final battle between Batman and her didn’t really matter because Jason just tricked Talia into giving Batman the antidote. And the day was saved when someone who was supposed to be dead just turned out to (surprise) not be dead.

What a weak, uninspired ending. As if, nearly a decade ago, Grant Morrison was sitting down thinking “I have this great climax where Batman loses a fight but somebody gets him an antidote and then someone else just walks in and shoots the bad guy. But I’m going to need about seven years of story to build up to it.”
(more…)



Review: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Based on “Flashpoint,” by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert

Directed by Jay Oliva, Screenplay by Jim Krieg
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Release Date: 30 July 2013
Running Time: 75 minutes

The Plot: An alteration of the timeline for the superhero, The Flash, creates ripples that disastrously alter the Universe. The Flash must team with other heroes to restore the timeline while the Earth is ravaged by a war between Aquaman’s Atlantis and Wonder Woman’s Amazons. (via the Internet Movie Database)

justice league flashpoint paradoxReview:

This is the latest installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, and, compared to the other titles featured under that banner, it’s quite good.

Parts of it are unsettling, and parts of it are just flat-out weird, but, overall, if all you’re looking for is a thumbs up or a thumbs down, I can say that this movie is a solid 75 minutes of superhero action and adventure, well worth the cost of a DVD.

One thing that this movie continues is the trend of late, where DC’s focusing more and more on staying true to the source material from which it’s based; in this case, this is an incredibly faithful adaptation of “Flashpoint,” by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert.

If you remember, Flashpoint is the last major crossover in the Old 52. Its fallout led everything screaming into the New 52. To say that it was a huge event for the DC Universe is fitting, as is the title of the series in describing its impact on the company’s overall direction for the past two years.

So, let’s talk about what works in this little flick. (more…)



Worst to First: 10 July 2013

It’s that time of week again! No, not Wednesday. Well, I mean, yes, it’s Wednesday, but that’s not what I was trying to get at.

I mean I’m going to review some comics. From last Wednesday. At least I think they’re from last Wednesday. If I’m wrong, blame international date lines for the difference.

This isn’t going well.

Forget all that noise, let’s get this bad boy fired up! Top to bottom! Worst to First!

WORST

Justice League #22, by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

justice league 22 coverThe Trinity War is here.

And it’s off to a bad start.

Ok, so, in this issue, Billy Batson decides that Black Adam deserves to be properly buried in his home country of Kahndaq, which has some sort of No Fly Zone in place for superheroes, ever since Wonder Woman and Superman intervened there a few issues ago.

Billy doesn’t know about this, though (just kidding), so he turns into Shazam (I think that’s what they’re calling Captain Marvel nowadays, anyway) and heads over to the country (because he’s a jerk), where some sort of international incident will play out upon his arrival (without a doubt).

Here’s where this issue goes from stupid setup to stupid actual story.

To sum up the issue so far: The superhero community will catch a lot of heat if a cape shows up in Kahndaq. Shazam is flying there as fast as he can. An international incident is imminent.

So, what does our ingenious superhero team do to prevent this? They… fly to Kahndaq as fast as they can!

Wait, what? (more…)



Worst to First: 26 June 2013

Welcome back to “Worst to First,” wherein I give short capsule reviews of each of the past week’s comics that I ended up buying, starting with the week’s worst issue and building up to what I consider to be the week’s best.

If it’s not on the list, it’s because I don’t read it. If you think something’s missing from these reviews, by all means, point it out, and I’ll maybe start picking it up (unless you have terrible taste and recommend I start reading… I dunno, something like Deadpool or something).

WORST

X-Men #2, by Brian Wood & Olivier Coipel

x-men 2013 2I mentioned recently that I’ve been catching up on all the comics I’ve missed out on these past few months, so it should go without saying that I’ve been reading a LOT of comics, including multiple series starring the X-Men.

I read the first issue of this, truly for no good reason, and, by the time I got around to reading this issue, only a couple of days later, I had completely forgotten what happened in that first issue.

Now, about two days after reading issue number two here, I can honestly say that I don’t remember what happened in this issue, either.

Before you start thinking that I must just have a terrible memory, I assure you that’s not the case. There’s something in this about Jubilee adopting a baby (or finding it, or giving birth to it, I really can’t say). And I’m pretty sure there’s a scene on a train.

It’s just entirely forgettable and uninspired. If a series can’t engage me after two issues, I generally give up on it. So, good-bye, X-Men! I’m done with ya!

Verdict: DROP (more…)



Mondo Makes Really Cool Movie Posters

Are you familiar with the company “Mondo?” They make some of the most consistently cool stuff I’ve ever seen. Seriously. Every few months, I go visit their blog, and it always just blows me away. According to their website:

Mondo creates limited edition screen printed posters for our favorite classic and contemporary films, in addition to vinyl movie soundtracks, VHS re-issues, and apparel. We also have a permanent gallery space in Austin, TX featuring a mix of original artwork and limited edition screen prints.

Take, for instance, this limited edition alternate poster for The Man of Steel, created by Mondo’s Ken Taylor:

ken taylor mondo man of steel

Click the image for full size. (more…)



Worst to First: February 20, 2013

It’s the return of Worst to First! I think I did, like, two of these once. But they’re back!

To the uninitiated and painfully stupid: I’m going to review the comics I bought last week, starting with the worst one and working my way up to my favorite one. It’s pretty simple, really.

Let’s start ‘er up!

WORST

Action Comics #17

action comics 17I guess this is the worst issue I read last week. I still kind of liked it, though, so prepare yourself for some mostly positive reviews.

This is the last issue of Action Comics that Grant Morrison is writing, according to DC’s website (that is what “penultimate” means, right?), and it’s sufficiently chalk-full of confusing, freaked-out gobbledegook, but there’s also something very endearing about a story that combines a trio of time travelers trying to warn Superman of his fate with a giant fight between Superman and an enormous Superman-killing robot. Whatever flaws there may be, I’ll forgive, because that premise just screams “Classic Superman Fun.”

Y’know, this brings up an interesting point. I’ve been arm-chair quarterbacking about Superman movies for years, and I always argue that, in order to make a great Superman movie, they need to have Superman fight something enormous, whether it’s a robot or a monster or a robotic monster.

Too often, his big struggles in the movie are just him trying to fly really fast or lift something really heavy. Kind of lame, ya ask me. Take note, Hollywood! I’m tossing out pearls here. (more…)



THIS is the Captain America I remember!

The first issue of the post-Brubaker run on Captain America came out this week. As Doom DeLuise wrote, and I agreed with, Ed Brubaker made Captain America cool again. So who’s the creative team on the relaunch? Rick Remender (don’t know him), John Romita, Jr. (not a fan) and Klaus Janson (I dig him!). It also still stars Captain America, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I can’t put it any more clearly than to say that this is the Captain America I remember from my childhood: a really stupid character on stupid adventures I couldn’t care less about. I cannot imagine a bigger departure from what Brubaker did for this character.

Within the first eight pages, which includes a brief flashback and the opening scene, we are treated to not one, not two, but three really lazy cliches! We have a drunk Irish man; we have a slutty woman trying to flirt her way out of a ticket; we have a team of environmentally conscious supervillains who toss out jargon like “Fascist!” and end sentences in “Man!” Because that’s how environmentally conscious people talk! It’s also what Irish men are like and what women do, for the record.

(As a side note, what’s actually kind of tragic about this was that I got to the “Green Skull” part and thought “That’s actually kind of cool!” I could see a Green Skull villain — someone calling on the iconic history of the Red Skull but having some kind of planet-wide genocidal agenda — being kind of awesome in a “Dark Knight Rises”-Bane sort of way. I encourage some of you less-lazy writers to do something with this character.)

The story was so bad I forgot to even be bothered by John Romita, Jr.’s art. It’s been worse, I guess. Probably anyway. But man — I say like an ecoterrorist — what a way to kill off the revived Captain America brand. Jeesh. Bring on issue #800 or whatever big anniversary reboot they’re building up to.



All-Star Western: Year One (New 52)

Doom DeLuise and Jim Doom mentioned in their podcast a few weeks ago that they had not read All-Star Western from the New 52. Well I have read every issue to date, so I feel I have an obligation to tell you folks how it is. So here goes nothin’.

I’ll start off by explaining the basic premise and format. All-Star Western is, as the name would suggest, a comic set in the Old West. Each issue has a “main” story arc and a much smaller “mini-comic” whose arc usually spans 2 issues. The main story arc follows Jonah Hex. Some of you may be familiar with him (I wasn’t) as he used to have his own series.

The premise for Jonah Hex is a bit different this time around. This time, Jonah teams up (albeit very unwillingly) with Dr. Arkham– whose name is engraved on Arkham asylum in present day Gotham. As you may have guessed by this point then, the comic also takes place in Gotham City…..back in the Old West!! Bruce Wayne’s ancestor with some order of magnitudes of ‘great’ in front of it is there, as are several names you’d welcome from the powerful in Gotham today (e.g. Cobblepot!).

Jonah Hex in old Gotham

The first year has a very long arc that starts with Jonah Hex (aka world’s greatest badass) teaming up with Dr. Arkham (aka C3PO) trying to solve a few minor crimes. As they start digging further in, however, they accidentally expose huge conspiracies, including the Talons (yes, it has a ‘Night of the Owls’ tie-in!) and followers of the ‘Crime Bible’ (which sounds like a second grader made it up). Eventually, Hex meets up with other old friends, and they work together to try and bring these criminals to some Texas Justice.
(more…)