Month: May 2013

The Movement and The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires

This month, DC released two new titles that are linked together:  The Movement written by Gail Simone and drawn by Freddie Williams II, and The Green Team:  Teen Trillionaires written by Art Baltazar and Franco and drawn by Ig Guara.  Being a Gail Simone fan, it was a pretty easy decision to check out The Movement.  Green Team was a little trickier.  The fact that it was being paired with a book I was probably going to get helped.  Also factoring in was that I have heard very good things about Baltazar and Franco, especially on Tiny Titans.  So, I picked it up.

And I wasn’t disappointed with either book.  They were both fine #1 issues.  They both introduced their full (probably) cast of characters, establishing a starting point for each of their characterizations.  The Movement is a team of young superheroes that have essentially declared war on a corrupt police department.  They’ve told the police department that The Movement is now protecting that part of the city, known as The Tweens, being that the police haven’t done a very good job anyways.

The Green Team is about a group of, well…teen trillionaires.  The apparent leader is a guy named Commodore, who is hosting a technology expo, looking for gadgets and inventions to invest in.  In the end, it’s revealed that Commodore has had a disc that transforms into a special suit, which he uses when he’s attacked.

Don’t really have much else to say about them.  Just wanted to let you know that they were both good reads, and you should check them out.  Especially if you’re a fan of young superhero teams.

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300 Word Rant – Teen Titans Go!

Finally got around to watching the first couple of episodes of Cartoon Network’s new Teen Titans Go! cartoon.  And it was an inspiring experience.  Unfortunately, it inspired me to write this rant.  The original cartoon had wonderful combination of comedy and storytelling, that worked.  Teen Titans Go! could hold its own when compared to DC’s other animated shows.  And the shorts that appeared during DC Nation were very funny and enjoyable.  So what happened with this version of Teen Titans Go!

In short, Cartoon Network re-tooled it from a DC Comics show to a typical Cartoon Network show.  Gone are the well thought out story lines.  In its place are two separate segments, that each try to stretch out a single gag to fill 10-12 minutes of time.  It’s as if the writers had these plans for their short segments, and stuck with them after finding out that they were getting their own show.  The shorts worked because they kept the jokes short and to the point.  You had the setup, and then the punchline.  Basic joke telling.  With this show, you have the setup, some explanation, some random filler, repeating the setup, possibly doing the setup yet again, and then the punchline.  By the time they get to the punchline, you’re tired of the joke, and it’s not funny.  And the animation is terrible.  Well, it’s comparable to other Cartoon Network shows, which is pretty terrible.  It’s so bad, that it doesn’t really matter that all of the voice actors returned for this, because they’re reciting terrible dialogue.

But maybe I’m just angry because I’m afraid they cancelled Young Justice for this.  Young Justice was a wonderful show, that upheld the tradition of good, animated DC shows.  Maybe I’m just getting old.  A person is old when they consider something to be an assault on their childhood.  Granted, Teen Titans Go! wasn’t part of my childhood.

One of my favorites

If I told you to guess what may favorite comic book based movie was, I’d bet you guess one of the Batman movies.  Knowing my fandom of Batman, it would be a safe guess.  A wrong guess.  That’s right.  My favorite comic book movie is not a Batman movie.  It’s not even a superhero movie.  And while you’re making your next guesses, Sin City is also wrong.  My favorite comic book movie is Road to Perdition.

road_to_perditionThis movie, released in 2002, was based on the graphic novel of the same name and written by Max Allan Collins and released by Paradox Press.  Admittedly, I’ve never actually read the book, but that’s beside the point.  The movie was directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), and stars Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Paul Newman, and Daniel Craig.

The movie takes place during the Great Depression.  Tom Hanks plays a mob (or is it mafia?) enforcer for Paul Newman.  He goes on a job with Newman’s son, played by Daniel Craig.  Things go horribly wrong, and Craig ends up killing someone.  All of this is witnessed by Hank’s son.  Because he witnessed this murder, Hank’s has to take his son and go on run.  Newman hires a hitman, played by Jude Law, to go after Hanks and his son.

Yes, of course, there is more to the story than that.  I just don’t want to spoil anything for anyone that hasn’t seen the movie, yet.  Because it really is a wonderful movie.  Personally, I hadn’t heard about this movie, until stumbling across at a Blockbuster (remember those?).  And with this cast, it’s surprising that this movie didn’t receive more publicity.  Maybe no thought that a Tommy gun wielding Tom Hanks was a marketable thing.  But that’s part of the allure, to me.  It goes against most of the roles I had ever seen him play.

So, if you’ve never seen this movie, I just you find a way to watch it.  I’m not saying that you should do anything illegal to watch this movie.  But you do whatever it takes to watch this movie.

tom hanks tommy gun

Guy Gardner + Putt-putt = ???

from Green Lantern Corps #20, written by Peter Tomasi, drawn by Fernando Pasarin

from Green Lantern Corps #20, written by Peter Tomasi, drawn by Fernando Pasarin

Poor Guy.  Even playing the sport of kings, putt-putt, he is hounded by the uselessness that is Aquaman.  And yes, it is putt-putt and not miniature golf.  Mini golf would not have obstacles in the way.  Well, that’s my definition anyways.

Farewell Dial H and Demon Knights

I don’t really read through the solicitations for each month.  It’s more of a skimming.  I will glance through them and see if anything catches my eye.  Today, when reading through DC’s solicits, something definitely caught my eye.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind of eye catching.  Within the solicit for Dial H #15 and Demon Knights #23 were those 2 dreadful words:  FINAL ISSUE.  This now marks back to back cancellations that I was unable to avoid.  But, I am definitely more disappointed about this set than the previous one.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Team 7 and Firestorm right until the end.  (Well, Firestorm has one more issue.)  But I know that I can easily find books like them to read.  Spy team books are not difficult to find.  Hell, that’s essentially what Justice League of America is.  And Firestorm is a young Superhero doing young Superhero things.  Not that uncommon.  But Dial H and Demon Knights were something unique within the DC Universe.  With Demon Knights ending, I can’t simply move on to the other Medieval fantasy series in the DCU, because there isn’t one.  With Dial H ending I can’t just move to another book that…well, I can’t actually describe the type of book.  I just know that there isn’t another book like it.

These aren’t just cancellations.  They’re a decrease of variety.  People complain about how many Batman family books there are, or how many Avengers books there are.  But when something comes out from one of the Big 2 that is truly unique, it doesn’t sell well.  And we’re not talking about poor for a title sold by DC.  These books were not selling well at all.  In April, Dial H was at #149 with 13,355 issues sold, and Demon Knights was at #155 with 12,941 issues sold.  And both those numbers are pathetic.  And I blame you.

Yes you.  I haven’t been this mad at you since The Circle was cancelled by Image many years ago.  You should have been buying these books because there were fantastic.  But seriously, I think there are a couple of factors for why these books didn’t find an audience.  People that would like these series aren’t really looking for them within DC, and there isn’t a very large market for these types of books.  Yes, yes, we all know that comic books are more than superheroes, but let’s be honest.  Comic books are mostly superheroes.  Look at what dominates the sales charts.  Numbers don’t lie.  Well, mostly.  They can be manipulated, but sales figures show what is in demand.  (Yes, there’s some discrepancy between what is sold to shops, and what they sell, but that gets weeded out over the life of a series.)

Oh well, such is the risk of buying some of the unusual offerings by the Big 2.  Honestly, I’m surprised that Dial H will make it to #15.  I was guessing it’d get the axe around #8, like Team 7 did.  With Demon Knights, I’m not certain how long I expected it to last.  Making it to issue #23 isn’t bad for a book like this, I guess.  In the end, I don’t regret spending time and money on these titles.  It was a fun journey while it lasted.

Farewell Dial H and Demon Knights.

WTH WTF Certified April

Several months ago, DC had announced that every title in April would have a theme, and that theme would WTF Certified.  Each issue would have a shocking moment, with a gate-fold cover teasing that moment.  DC was roundly mocked on the series of tubes that make up the Internet, and never really mentioned it again.  But even without the “WTF Certified” floating around, they still had these special covers on all of their books.  And while they’re just harmless covers, a lot of it felt very, very forced.

Keep in mind that I don’t read every single title that DC releases, but I felt that one of the rare times it actually worked was with Dial H.  For those that don’t read Dial H, which is probably most of you, it is about two people that are trying to uncover the secrets of a magic telephone dial that will give them the powers of a hero when they dial H-E-R-O.  For the life of the title (previous 11 issues), they have all been random heroes that no one had ever heard of.  It’s revealed to Rosie that these are real heroes from other dimensions/Earths/whatever, previously.  However, Nelson figures this out when he dials and becomes The Flash.  It’s something that’s revealed on the cover, and had actual ramifications within the comic, and was fairly well done.  It was an a shocking moment that fit in well with the story.  Job well done.  Unfortunately, there aren’t really many other instances that I saw where this gimmick worked as well.

Another good instance, more of a nod and a wink, was Detective Comics.  This issue would have been issue #900, so you have in second section of the cover, the question of who are the 900, with “900” in very large font.  Now, the 900 aren’t anything that’s going to hang around, but it was a good way to celebrate the milestone of reaching issue #900 without going through the hassle of re-numbering.

Most other instances seemed very forced.  Like in Earth 2, where Mister Miracle and Big Barda are shown on the cover, but are only on one page in the issue.  And it’s not even the last page leading to a cliffhanger.  It’s in the middle of the issue, and has nothing to do with anything going on in that issue, or the issue after that.  It could have easily been left out of the story.  Another instance was in Action Comics.  You get a tease that Superman will be fighting Jimmy Olsen at some point.  Well, as it turns out, he only hallucinates for 2 pages that he’s fighting Jimmy.

The worst usage of this that I saw had to be in Justice League.  On the main cover, it asks “who is killing Superman?”  The second section shows Batman, holding Kryptonite.  Guess what.  There’s nothing even remotely close to this in the entire issue.  Not that the issue itself is bad, but that is an incredibly misleading cover.  I can only hope that no one actually bought that issue based solely on the cover, because they’ll be sorely disappointed.

In the end, it just seemed pretty much useless.  Of course, most gimmicks are pretty useless.  The only bright spot is that this seemed like one gimmick that could easily be shoehorned into plans the writers already had.  Though, things shouldn’t need to be shoehorned into stories, but that’s a subject for another time.