Tag Archives: heroes and villains

Justice Volume 2 (comic)

The Justice League is under attack by a group of supervillains and it looks like the JLA is in trouble. Volume 2 contains issues 5-8 of DC’s Justice. Jim Krueger and Alex Ross wrote it, and Alex Ross also paints over Doug Braithwaite’s sketches. This is the second act of the story, and the second act is usually the darkest.

The comic starts with our heroes being attacked simultaneously. Most of the JLA is separated from each other and the Legion of Doom seems to be kicking ass. You find out that Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Gorilla Grodd are the masterminds behind everything. They have a diabolical plan and an uneasy alliance. The villains are able to keep a step ahead of the JLA by using mind-controlling worms and kidnapped loved ones to keep the JLA in check. Will the JLA get their shit together and defeat the bad guys? I wonder what Volume 3 has in store…

JLA comics are awesome because DC has so many iconic heroes and villains. A lot of fan favorites get some time to shine in this comic. Even lesser characters are more interesting in an ensemble. Captain Marvel seems like less of a tool when he’s saving Superman. The story is epic: you have superpowers and magic and gods and aliens and humans with utility belts. But the story takes a backseat to the amazing artwork. Larger than life, but still realistic.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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DC vs. Marvel (comic)

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

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The Incredibles

Pixar knows how to make good movies. They don’t always make them (Cars 2, cough cough), but they know how to make them. And The Incredibles is a good movie. Director Brad Bird’s film is about a man burdened with a family trying to relive his old glory days. When he was a superhero. And his family all have powers too, but they aren’t super enough, and so he ditches them on fake business trips to fight crime for a mysterious boss that ends up being his arch-nemesis. It’s not just a great computer animated movie; it’s also one of the best superhero movies to date.

Craig T. Nelson provides the voice for Mr. Incredible, Holly Hunter plays his wife, Elastigirl. Samuel L. Jackson plays Frozone. And Jason Lee steals the flick as Syndrome, the evil villain who turned to crime after Mr. Incredible rejected him as a sidekick. Holly Hunter has a weird lispy voice and it’s not fun to listen to. She’s the only complaint I have with the casting. Everyone else is great and helps out the movie. She’s a decent actress, but her voice makes me want to rupture my eardrums with a sharpened pencil.

Superheroes are larger than life. Especially in this movie. The Incredibles do, well, incredible things. Mr. Incredible is super strong. Elastigirl is super flexible. The daughter Violet can turn invisible and project force fields. The son Dash has super speed. And baby Jack-Jack can do anything. They all have amazing powers and gifts, but it’s the family dynamic that you relate to. It grounds the movie in reality, so that when fantastic things start happening you actually care about what happens to them. If you make your characters believable, the unbelievable seems more likely. This is the first Pixar movie where people are the main characters. People like talking toys and bugs, but they can relate to other people easier.

Originally this movie was going to be traditionally animated. It might have still been a decent movie, but the scope of the movie would have been lost. The action sequences are dynamic, and the sets are impressive and immersive. Computers make better environments that hand-drawn pictures on paper can’t emulate. The Incredibles has to be a computer-animated movie; live-action or traditional animation doesn’t suit the tone of the movie.

This is a movie that you can watch with anyone. You want to share this experience. It’s a great family flick, but you can watch it with your spouse or secret lover, you can watch it after the Super Bowl with a couch full of drunks. Grandma can watch it. Little Timmy can watch it. And everyone will be entertained. People like to be entertained.

The Incredibles is an awesome movie. It is why people go to the movies. They want to laugh and cry, and be thrilled and be taken on a ride. You want to see things that you’ve never seen before, and if it’s a good movie, you want to see those things again and again. If you can watch a movie multiple times and it’s still fresh and exciting, than it’s a good piece of art. Good job Brad Bird. Good job Pixar. You done good. Now make a sequel already.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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