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Superman: The Animated Series – Legacy, Parts 1 & 2 (Review)

To celebrate the release of Man of Steel this month, we’re going Superman mad. Check back daily for Superman-related reviews.

It seems like I’ve spent far too long comparing Superman: The Animated Series to its direct predecessor, Batman: The Animated Series. However, it’s interesting how radically different Bruce Timm structured of the two shows. Batman came and went off the air with episodes that could only barely be described as a pilot and a finalé. On Leather Wings featured a Gotham still coming to terms with Batman, but it wasn’t an origin story. Judgment Day teased the possibility of closing Harvey Dent’s arc (and maybe killing off some recurring bad guys), but it didn’t offer too much else in the way of closure.

In contrast, Superman: The Animated Series opened and closed with two large-scale multi-part episodes designed to bookend the show, opening and closing the character’s arc. While Legacy doesn’t feel absolutely final, with plot points leading directly into Timm’s Justice League television show, it does offer a fitting end for Superman: The Animated Series.

He comes in peace.

He comes in peace.

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Justice League Unlimited – Destroyer! (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Destroyer is the last episode of Bruce Timm’s shared, massive DC animated universe to air. Beginning with On Leather Wings, two decades ago, the producer brought an animated version of the publisher’s pantheon to the small screen. It’s certainly an impressive accomplishment, and I think that Timm’s work provided the definitive versions of many of the company’s characters and concepts. That said, the entire final season of Justice League Unlimited seems like one giant epilogue. The first season of the show finished on a triumphant note, with a four-part story that would have provided a nice finalé for the shared universe, and a one-episode coda to the entire world that Timm and his staff had brought to life.

Destroyer, the actual final episode, isn’t nearly that good. At best, however, it serves as a fond farewell, conclusive proof that, as Wonder Woman promises, “The adventure continues.”

Talk about an unlikely team-up…

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Superman: The Animated Series – Apokolips… Now! (Parts 1 & 2) (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

It seems fair enough to concede that Superman doesn’t really have the strongest selection of bad guys ever invented for a comic book character. You can definitely see that in the production of Superman: The Animated Series. While the writers did the best with the material at hand, you get a sense that they knew they didn’t have as many characters to play with as they did on Batman: The Animated Series. So they did two things to help compensate for this fact. The first thing was the decision to structure very clear character arcs for big bad guys like Luthor or Brainiac, where it becomes clear the audience can’t watch the series out of order. The second thing, and the one most relevant to this review, was the decision to incorporate Jack Kirby’s Fourth World mythos into the series.

Feel the power of the Darkseid…

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Geoff Johns’ (and Jim Lee’s) Run on Justice League – Origin (Review)

It has been a year since DC revamped their whole line, cancelling all their on-goings and launching 52 new series each with a shiny new “#1.” Okay, technically the first in the line, Justice League #1, was published at the end of August, but I figure it’s appropriate to look back on DC’s flagship book and reflect on that first six-issue arc that served to launch the new DC universe (which is being affectionately referred to as the “DCnU”). Putting Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on the Justice League title just seems like common sense.

Johns has, after all, written pretty much all the characters already, and Jim Lee is respected as one of the greatest artists of his generation. However, Origins is far from the perfect reintroduction to DC’s iconic superheroes. While both writer and artist are doing solid work, there’s a sense that these first six issues are simply trying to do too much.

Chains that don’t quite bind…

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman – Time & The Batman (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium. Every Wednesday this month, we’ll have a Grant Morrison related review or retrospective.

I have, I’m not entirely ashamed to admit, grown quite fond of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. Despite the fact I’m still not overly fond of Batman R.I.P., I really appreciated The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman & Robin was perhaps the most fun I’ve had reading comics in quite a long time. So I found myself somewhat underwhelmed by Time and the Batman, collecting Morrison’s work on Batman #700 and the two-issue follow-up that served to make explicit the ties between Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. It’s not that the book isn’t packed with ideas or even that it’s quite short. I think it’s more that Morrison seems to spend a lot of time here providing exposition and filling in information that perhaps couldn’t fit elsewhere in this tapestry.

Joker puts the gang back together…

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Paul Levitz’s Run on The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Review/Retrospective)

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way.

The Great Darkness Saga is regarded as perhaps the classic Legion of Superheroes story. If you could preserve one of their adventures for the ages, this would likely be it. So it’s great to see DC pulling out all the stops and collecting it in a lavish Deluxe Edition, which includes not only the story arc and extras, but the complete build-up to the saga as well. This collection begins with the first issue of Paul Levitz’s second run on the title (and the recent solicitation of a Curse deluxe hardcover suggests that DC will be collecting all of that very popular run) and goes all the way through to the end of this epic storyline.

The book has its legions of fans...

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Possible Villains for the Zack Snyder Superman Reboot…

March is Superman month here at the m0vie blog, what with the release of the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison’s superb All-Star Superman. We’ll be reviewing a Superman-related book/story arc every Wednesday this month, so check on back – and we might have a surprise or two along the way.

This being a month dedicated to Superman and all, I thought I’d put together a “rogues gallery” of Superman foes that Snyder might possibly consider using for the upcoming Superman reboot. After all, Luthor and Zod are the only Superman foes to really get a shot at a big-screen adaptation so far, so there’s a whole range of choices out there. Superman might not have as deep a selection of foes as Batman or Spider-Man, but he’s not exactly short on major threats, either.

A viable threat to the Man of Steel?

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