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Superman: Red Son (comic)

Superman is an American icon. But what if he wasn’t? Mark Millar’s story puts a simple twist on the Superman legend… what if baby Superman was twelve hours late and crash-landed into the Soviet Union instead of America? In this alternate universe, Superman lands in the Ukraine and comes to embrace Communism. Instead on an S on his chest, he sports a hammer and sickle. He makes the Soviet Union the dominating world power, while the US goes on the decline. The story is presented in three acts. The first act is establishes who this different Superman is and what he stands for. He is still a hero, he wants to help people, he is selfless, but he embraces the Soviet ideals instead of American ideals. The first act also introduces the other key characters, like the brilliant American scientist/genius Lex Luthor and his beautiful wife Lois “Formerly Lane” Luthor. There’s a Russian version of Batman who is leading a rebellion against the Soviet dictatorship. There’s a version of Wonder Woman that is also familiar and yet different. The second act is about Superman taking control of the Soviet Union. He doesn’t do it because he wants power, he does it because he feels obligated to help because he can help. Russian Batman is continuing to fight back against a dictatorship that’s headed by an all-powerful alien. With the help of Lex Luthor he lures Superman into a trap and nearly defeats him, but Wonder Woman saves Superman, even though it costs her a lot in the process. The last act finds Superman facing off against Lex Luthor, who is now the President of the United States. Lex is able to bring the US back from the point of total economic and social collapse, but it’s just the first step in his plan to destroy Superman. President Luthor uses Hal Jordan, Wonder Woman, and other tactics to wage war on Superman. I don’t want to give away anything major, but there is a great twist. So here is a spoiler alert – in this alternate universe, Lex Luthor saves mankind and sires a long line of brilliant descendants, one of which is named Jor-L who sends his infant son into the past, where he crash-lands in a field in the Ukraine. Mark Millar does a great job of reimaging Superman as a Russian. He is recognizable, but his upbringing changes aspects of his being. The best part of this story is how they use familiar characters in different ways. You’ll recognize a lot of DC characters, from Oliver Queen to Brainiac. You’ll even appreciate the historical figures that pop up, like Stalin or JFK and his Hollywood lover named Norma Jean. The artwork is great, but it’s the story that stands out. It’s just a cool take on a character that everyone knows. Superman is the most important character in the DC Universe. He affects everyone and everything. You will like this book, even if you’ve never read a Superman comic before, but you’ll appreciate it more if you have a greater grasp of his origin. Critically Rated at 13/17

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Green Lantern (film)

The Green Lantern is an iconic DC comic. The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force that patrols the DC universe. Each Green Lantern has their own sector to protect, and each Green Lantern gets a power ring and power lantern that lets them harness their willpower to control over the physical world. There are a bunch of different Green Lanterns, but this movie is about Hal Jordan. Sorry Guy Gardner. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan and Martin Campbell directs.

Most superhero movies really play up the origin story. As if you can’t enjoy Superman until you see Clark Kent growing up for an hour. This movie doesn’t do that. They give you a little background on the Green Lantern Corps, and you spend a little bit of time with Hal Jordan, but it jumps into the main plotline pretty quick. An evil alien named Parallax fought a Green Lantern named Abin Sur. Abin Sur escaped to Earth and passed his lantern and ring on to Hal Jordan. Parallax somehow comes back and takes infects Hector Hammond’s brain and makes him the antagonist.

Hal and Hammond fight a few times. Hal quits the Green Lanterns for a little bit. Hector Hammond gets more and more powerful. Hal has a change of heart and rejoins the Corps, just in time to beat Hammond and save the world from Parallax.

Hollywood likes to make big blockbusters. But just because you have a $200 million budget and an established character with a built-in fan base doesn’t mean you will have a hit. A decent script is way more beneficial for box office success. The special effects in this movie are sometimes slightly awesome, but they don’t mean anything. It’s just eye candy. And you actually feel bad because everything looks great but sounds stupid because of the half-assed script. It’s not a terrible as you might think, but when you have good comic book movies like the Dark Knight and the Avengers it makes this translation seem even worse.

There is a decent supporting cast. Blake Lively plays the love interest. Peter Sarsgaard plays Hector Hammond. Angela Bassett and Tim Robbins also show up unnecessarily in supporting roles for some reason. Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clark Duncan lend their voices to a couple of CG Green Lantern aliens. Ryan Reynolds should stick to comedies. He’s just not cut out to be an action star.

This movie had a lot of potential. And it was pretty shitty. It’s not the worst superhero movie ever made, it is just really disappointing. You wonder how they blew $200 million to make such a mediocre movie. There are no memorable moments that stand out. No director will ever look upon this shit for inspiration. It’s just a really expensive exercise in futility.

Critically Rated at 8/17

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