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Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory (Review/Retrospective)

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. We’ve got a special treat for you this week, which is “Seven Soldiers Week”, so check back each day for a review of one of the Seven Soldier miniseries that Morrison put together.

Seven Soldiers of Victory is perhaps the strangest comic book “event” that we’ve ever seen. It’s essentially two issues, with a series of seven four-issue miniseries unfolding between them. The idea is that the seven books each follow one of the eponymous seven members of the superhero team destined to save the world from an evil invasion. Of course, this is a Grant Morrison story, so there’s far more to it than that, but perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the crossover is that (with one exception) none of the seven members of the team actually meet each other.

Seven is a magic number...

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Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory: Frankenstein (Review/Retrospective)

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. We’ve got a special treat for you this week, which is “Seven Soldiers Week”, so check back each day for a review of one of the Seven Soldier miniseries that Morrison put together.

Sometimes we all get too caught up in Morrison’s wonderful symbolism, mysticism and deeper meaning. Sometimes comic books don’t need to be anything more than a ridiculous premise executed in wonderful style. The covers to this miniseries tell you all you need to know, as does the opening splash page, featuring the monster striding into action as an off-screen character declares, “Die, Frankenstein, die!” You know you’re in for a wonderful high-concept action adventure which isn’t going try to be anything more than effortlessly cool. It’s moments like this which remind you, quite simply, that Grant Morrison loves comics, just as much as you and I do.

Words cannot describe how awesome this is...

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Justice League International: Volume 1 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

In light of the massive DC reboot taking place next month, launching with a Geoff Johns and Jim Lee run on a new Justice League title, I thought I’d take a look back at another attempt to relaunch the Justice League, emerging from the then-recent Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Once upon a time — there was a Justice League of America. But that was another era, when the world could afford borders and boundaries. When heroes could claim national loyalties and feel justified in their claims.

But in today’s world there’s no longer room for borders or boundaries. The walls between nations have to fall if our planet is to survive. So, for the new era — a new league: Justice League… International!

– Introducing the Justice League International, Justice League #7

Unlike the upcoming Johns/Lee relaunch of DC’s most famous superhero team, or even Grant Morrison’s tenure on JLA, it’s clear from the outset that Justice League: International was never going to be a powerhouse team. As the introduction states, in the wake of the massive restructuring of the DC Universe following the near-reboot of Crisis on Infinite Earths, many characters were tied up in events in their own titles. George Perez was working on Wonder Woman, while John Byrne was putting his own slant on Superman in Man of Steel. So the only returning iconic Justice League founding members were Batman and the Martian Manhunter. The team had to make do with Guy Gardner as the resident Green Lantern. It wasn’t exactly an all-star line-up, to be honest.

The Unusual Suspects?

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Non-Review Review: All-Star Superman

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.

From the outset, it’s immediately clear that All-Star Superman is immensely faithful to the twelve-issue miniseries that inspired it. There are a few key deviations from Morrison’s core text – some of which were made simply to save time or money, but others which are interesting of themselves. Still, this is pretty much as direct an adaptation as we are ever likely to receive – right down to the eight-word introduction (intercut here with the opening action sequence), the power of the origin distilled down to its core attributes. So the movie, based on perhaps the finest Superman story ever told, obviously has a lot of power drawn from its roots – but one has to wonder what the real point of making an animated feature of it ever was.

Shine on...

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Justice League – Twilight, Parts 1 & 2 (Review)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. Earlier today, I looked at Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, so I thought I might explore a Justice League episode which was heavy on Superman, Darkseid and Batman…

One of the things that Bruce Timm and his talented bunch of writers found when producing Superman: The Animated Series was that the Man of Steel simply didn’t have as strong a supporting cast of bad guys as Batman had. Without such a recognisable and eclectic collection of rogues to act as foils to their lead, the guys at the DC Animated Universe decided to co-opt in some outside help. In particular the creations of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. Sure, these characters had been related to the Superman mythos all along (first appearing in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen of all places), so it wasn’t a stretch. Although Twilight certainly isn’t the last appearance of the New Gods (as Kirby named them) within the DC Animated Universe, it is perhaps the climax. And, quite possibly, the best.

You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry…

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Non-Review Review: Wonder Woman

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. This is one of the animated feature films involving the characters from the creators of the original animated shows.

Did you… did you stop Ares?

No. I didn’t. I couldn’t.

What? Why not?

I had to save you.

(slap!)

Ow!

– Diana clarifies to Steve that she isn’t a damsel in distress

I have to confess, I’ve never been grabbed by Wonder Woman as a concept. Is she a feminist? A socially conscious superhero? A female superman? A superhero who is willing to take a life if it’s necessary? A diplomat? She’s been all these things and many more, which is perhaps why it’s hard to get a handle on her – which is perhaps why it’s difficult to care for her. Her origins cannot be summed up in a single sentence like Batman (an orphaned “rich kid with issues… lots of issues”) or Superman (who Grant Morrison managed to sum up in eight words) – her origin will likely eat up at least a paragraph of this review. As such, you can understand my surprise that Wonder Woman is perhaps the best DC comics animated adaptation they have produced to date.

Taking a swing at the character...

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Superman: The Animated Series – The Late Mr. Kent

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. With the review of Superman: Doomsday yesterday, I thought it might be worth taking a look at some of the other times Superman has “died” in these animated stories.

Superman: The Animated Series wasn’t quite the huge success that the earlier Batman: The Animated Series had been. It was still a superb animated adaptation of an iconic comic book property, but perhaps Superman is just a tougher character to get a handle on than the Dark Knight – there’s no denying the popular perception that Superman is “boring” by virtue of the fact that he can do just about anything. We can debate that idea back and forth, but I’d argue that the a really good Superman story makes his powers irrelevant by avoiding (or at least downplaying) the physical threat. The character isn’t necessarily defined by how hard he can hit things or how fast he can fly, but by who he is. (Of course, this doesn’t really excuse the “emo-Superman” approach DC seem to be so fond of with Superman Returns and all that.) The Late Mr. Kent is – for my money – one of the most fascinating episodes of the animated series by virtue of the fact that it finds a rather interesting and deeply personal angle on the Man of Steel, without feeling the need to be “grand” or “epic”. Sometimes it’s enough to be intimate.  

Clark was blown away by the story he uncovered...

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Superman: The Animated Series – World’s Finest (Parts I, II & III)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. What with reviewing Superman/Batman: Public Enemies earlier, I figured it might be worth our time to take a look at the original Superman/Batman animated team-up. 

Thank you. I couldn’t have saved Lois without your help. 

I’m aware of that. 

– Superman and Batman share a moment of mutual Batman appreciation 

Superman: The Animated Series meets Batman: The Animated Series. How is that a tough sell? 

You can't outglower me, boy... in one of these animated movies I was played by Billy Baldwin...

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Non-Review Review: Superman/Batman – Public Enemies

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Explain our guy love, that’s all it is.
Guy love; he’s mine, I’m his.
There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes. 

You ask me ’bout this thing we share…
…and he tenderly replies:
It’s guy love…
…between two guys. 

– Turk & JD explain “guy love” 

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is essentially a superhero bromance. It’s part buddy cop movie, part long-term married couple, but all action. It’s not really anything more, but would you want it to be? 

He ain't heavy, he's my superpowered bro'...

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern – First Flight

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

In case you weren’t aware, director Martin Campbell (the man who saved the Bond franchise twice – with both GoldenEye and Casino Royale) will be bringing a big screen adaptation of DC comic’s Green Lantern our way next summer. I am really looking forward to it, which might seem odd – Green Lantern has never really had the popular exposure that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Flash has had. Of course, that might be down to the fact that nobody has produced a television show based entirely around the character – hell, even Aquaman had that aborted Ving Rhames pilot and that fictional movie. So, it’s understandable if Green Lantern isn’t exactly lighting up the radar in the same way that, say, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is. That said, if you’re looking to get a taste for the character, you could do a lot worse than checking out Green Lantern: First Flight.

Shoulda put a ring on it, indeed...

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