August 22, 2012 · 10:49 am
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the greatest, most powerful heroes and villains from the DC and Marvel Universes met? How awesome would that be? Well, it already happened in 1996, so you missed out. But you can relive the past and pick up DC vs. Marvel and see the two worlds collide.
There is actually a pretty coherent storyline. Writers Ron Marz and Peter David are able brings some of the biggest characters from two rival companies together in a comprehensive way. So back in the day, these two brothers/entities were controlling their own separate universes, until they learned of each other’s existence. One brother is the DC Universe, and the other represents the Marvel Universe. They decide to have a battle between their top superheroes to determine which universe will be destroyed.
Each separate universe starts to be aware that something weird is happening when heroes and villains start vanishing in a flash of light, and new, different masks start showing up. A young man named Axel Asher finds himself inexplicably drawn to an alley where a crazy homeless guy is trying desperately to keep an inter-dimensional gateway contained in a cardboard box. Axel is the Access, and he just might be the key to solving the crisis if he ever accepts his destiny.
6 Marvel characters are chosen to fight 6 DC characters in one-on-one battles to determine the mightier universe. There are some really obvious fights between similarly powered characters like Aquaman vs. Namor, Wolverine vs. Lobo, and Flash vs. Quicksilver. There are also weird, random fights like Robin vs. Jubilee and Superboy vs. Spider-man. Elektra fights Catwoman, the Green Lantern and Silver Surfer duke it out in space, Wonder Woman somehow loses to Storm, Batman and Captain America are pretty evenly matched, and Superman barely beats the Hulk into submission.
Instead of one universe getting destroyed, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal are able to temporarily merge the two universes together. This buys them some time, and has the awesome bonus of creating hybrid superheroes like Dark Claw (a mixture of Batman and Wolverine) and Super-Soldier (Superman and Captain America’s lovechild).
Access finally gets his shit together and it able to separate the merged universe back to the two separate ones. He gets a little assistance from Batman and Captain America to end the Space Brothers’ hissy fit. And now the two universes can co-exist and life is good.
Yeah, there’s a lot of nonsense about two brother universes using magic humans to end a cosmic dispute, but once you get past that you can appreciate the story. What if the superhero you depended on was powerless to stop the end of the world? What if that superhero vanished and was replaced by a stranger in tights? What if you are a superhero and you can’t simply punch your way to victory?
The art is awesome. The panels spill over into each other, they overlap, it feels very fluid. Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini’s drawings are bold and powerful. And it’s pretty cool to see the Hulk and Superman exchanging blows in the desert.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of, but it doesn’t slow down the momentum of the story. If you like DC, it’s worth checking out. If you like Marvel, it’s worth checking out. If you like comics, then you should have read this already. You’re slacking.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Filed under Entertainment
Tagged as access, aquaman, axel asher, batman, captain america, catwoman, claudio castellini, comic, comic book, comics, dan jurgens, dark claw, DC, dc characters, DC universe, DC vs. Marvel, elektra, flash, green lantern, heroes and villains, hulk, jubilee, lobo, marvel, marvel characters, marvel universe, namor, peter david, quicksilver, robin, ron marz, silver surfer, spider-man, storm, super-soldier, superboy, superhero, superheroes, superman, wolverine, wonder woman
June 28, 2012 · 11:15 am
Smallville is a TV show about Clark Kent before he becomes Superman. Tom Welling plays a young Clark Kent and you see him go from a nerdy high school freshman to a reporter for the Daily Planet over the course of ten seasons. The early seasons are about Clark discovering strange new abilities and learning how to control them and he also starts exploring his origins. The later seasons are about him accepting his destiny, and there’s tons of characters and references to the DC universe. The cast changed quite a bit over the years as well. The early seasons were about Clark’s life in Smallville and growing up on a farm with his parents John and Martha (John Schneider and Annette O’Toole). He hangs out with his friend Pete and Chloe (Sam Jones III and Allison Mack) and has a crush on the smoking hot Lana Lang (Kristen Kreuk). Over the course of the series most of the supporting characters are phased out, but Allison Mack stuck around for most of the show’s run. In the pilot episode Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) hits Clark with his car and they both fall off a bridge and land in the water. Clark saves Lex and they become friends, but Lex becomes obsessed with how Clark escaped without injury. Lex and Clarks friendship dissolves over a few seasons and Lex gradually becomes a bad guy. Lex has one of the best character arcs of the series, even if Rosenbaum left after seven seasons. Clark pines for Lana for a few seasons and they even get together a few times, but eventually Lois Lane shows up. Erica Durance is pretty smoking hot too and you can’t have a show about Superman without having Lois Lane, so she was a great addition to the cast. There are lots of references to the Superman movies. Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder both guest starred on the show. Terrence Stamp (General Zod in Superman II) provides the voice for Clark’s biological father, Jor-El. Other DC characters joined the show. Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) became a series regular and other members of the Justice League show up like Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter to name a few. Bruce Wayne/Batman never showed up though. A few notable villains show up too. General Zod, Brainiac, Bizarro, Doomsday and other DC bad guys make appearances. The first season had a lot of one-time villains. Usually someone from Smallville has an encounter with Kryptonite and transform somehow before Clark tears shit up and gets things back to normal so that next week something else could happen. Later on the storylines become more complex and there’s more story arcs that last multiple episodes or span over a few seasons. Every once in a while there will be a random episode that doesn’t have much to do with the overall storyline, but that happened less and less as the show progressed. The special effects are pretty solid for a TV show. There’s some cool CG work when Clark is using his superpowers and there are some pretty awesome fight scenes. But there’s also a lot of soap opera drama going on. Sometimes the show was a little more Gossip Girls than a superhero series. But I’m ok with it because Clark usually punches something or someone and I like violence. Smallville isn’t the best show of all time, but it’s still pretty good. Ten seasons is a great run for a TV series. They turned it into a comic book, so you can keep following the ongoing adventures of Clark Kent. Give this show a chance if you haven’t yet. Superheroes, hot chicks, cool CG, cool fight scenes… that’s entertainment. Critically Rated at 14/17
Filed under Entertainment
Tagged as allison mack, annette o toole, annette o'toole, aquaman, bizarro, brainiac, christopher reeve, clark kent, cyborg, DC, DC universe, doomsday, entertainment, erica durance, flash, general zod, john schneider, jonathan kent, jor-el, justin hartley, kristen kreuk, lana lang, lex luthor, lionel luthor, lois lane, margot kidder, martha kent, martian manhunter, michael rosenbaum, oliver queen, pete ross, sam jones III, smallville, smallville review, superman, terrence stamp, tom welling, tv, zod
March 25, 2012 · 9:49 am
Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis is a “who-done-it?” murder mystery involving superheroes. Someone is targeting family members of the Justice League. What lengths would you through to protect your family? Especially if you have superpowers and actually do something?
Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, is mysteriously killed. But how? And by who? How did someone discover who she was and kill her without leaving a trace? A few Justice League members suspect Doctor Light. There was a little incident a few years earlier where he snuck in JLA headquarters and raped Sue. The Atom, the Elongated Man, Hawkeye, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Flash and Zatanna walk in on it, and decide to erase his memory and alter his personality. Is it ethical to do mind-wipes and personality alterations? Eventually more family members of JLA heroes are attacked and more mind-wipes are revealed. Shit goes down.
There is a very clear story being told. I know a lot of DC loyalists are mad that some characters are changed drastically or killed off, but if you are somewhat new to comics you can follow the story. It’s the most welcoming, least confusing of the Crisis storylines (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis). It’s a good detective story, and the final reveal was pretty shocking. There’s more of a focus on lesser known heroes like the Elongated Man, the Atom, Tim Drake a.k.a. Robin, and their civilian family members that they care about.
I like the Elongated Man’s quick backstory about how he and Sue got together. She was around heroes all the time, big ones like Superman, Batman, and the Flash. But she chose him. “That’s why ice cream stores don’t just sell chocolate and vanilla. Every once in a while someone walks in and orders butter pecan”. Yeah, that’s corny, but it makes the heroes relatable.
Great artwork by Rags Morales and Michael Bair. An intriguing and comprehensive plot by Brad Meltzer. Identity Crisis is a good read.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Filed under Entertainment
Tagged as atom, batman, black canary, brad meltzer, crisis, DC, doctor light, elongated man, flash, green lantern, hawkeye, identity crisis, JLA, murder mystery, sue dibny, superman, tim drake, zatanna