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Justice League Unlimited – Panic in the Sky (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.

Panic in the Sky is an interesting episode, essentially serving as the climax of the conflict between the Justice League and Cadmus. Divided We Fall would focus more tightly on the League confronting Brainiac and Luthor, with an after-thought given to the question of their authority to wield such power. Panic in the Sky, as such, feels a bit torn between positioning all the players (“the big seven”) for that final confrontation, while offering the inevitable conflict between the Justice League and the United States government. As such, it’s really one big extended fight sequence, allowing McDuffie to avoid some of the more complex and compelling issues he’d raised. Still, it’s an effective episode of the show, a fun confrontation, and an illustration of just how skilled McDuffie is at structuring these gigantic arcs with so many plots and characters in the air.

Power Girl Power…

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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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Superhero Movie Fatigue? I Tire of This Argument…

It’s becoming a frequent complaint that there are “too many” superhero films. When Green Lantern crashed and burned last year, there were a rake of articles lauding it as “superhero fatigue.” Even before this summer kicked off, people were asking if “fatigue” had kicked in. Ignoring for a moment that The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are the two most successful films of the year, I’ve never quite understood that argument. There were, after all, three (or four, if you count the dire Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) superhero-themed blockbusters this year. Do audiences get “period drama fatigue” if more than four high-profile period dramas are released in a year? Are there widespread cases of “cop movie fatigue” if more than half-a-dozen movies feature a law enforcement official in a lead role? Is there a cap on the number of films that Ryan Gosling can produce, lest he inspire an epidemic of “Ryan Gosling fatigue”?

Twilight of the superheroes?

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The Stars That Never Were: The “Next Big Thing” That Never Quite Happened…

I was watching Safe House over the weekend. It was fairly okay, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I was watching Ryan Reynolds headlining a film with Denzel Washington. It was only last year that it seemed Reynolds was being given a massive push by Hollywood. It’s always interesting to look at the actors who received a very substantial push from Hollywood, only to barely miss their shot at legitimate stardom – those actors and actresses heralded as “the next big thing”, seemingly the subject of every talk show and newspaper clipping for the better part of a year, only to fall a little bit short of the mark and to end up fading. It’s a cruel industry, and it is sometimes a little disheartening to see the way that certain performers get swallowed up whole by it.

Not quite playing it Safe (House)…

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Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives, Vol. 2 (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

DC’s archive line for their Silver Age Batman and Detective Comics line begins considerably later than it does for most of their other superheroes, including Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern. The Archives series are devoted to offering readers a chance to browse various comics from a character’s history in a chronological manner, often from the first book published featuring a character or at an appropriate point. For Batman, in the Silver Age, the point was deemed to be editor Julius Schwartz’s “new look” Batman.

The first collection of these comics showed potential. It was clear that the editor who had revived The Flash and Green Lantern was trying to pull Batman away from the wacky alien adventures of the fifties. While the creative teams hadn’t yet refined the darker avenger that would take root in the Bronze Age, it felt like a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the second collection of the “new look” Batman and Detective Comics run feels like something of a regression, a step backwards rather than forwards.

“This looks like a job for… err… Batman, I guess!”

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Doing Justice to the Justice League: 10 Tips For Warner Brothers in Building the Justice League…

Rumour has it that Warners has made superheroes their top priority again. I wonder why that might be. Anyway, here’s 10 tips that might help them make the perfect Justice League film.

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Avengers Disassembled: Thor (Review/Retrospective)

Thor: Disassembled is easily the strongest solo arc to stem from the events in Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers Disassembled. It’s  full of interesting and clever ideas about the nature of stories, and serves to wrap up Thor’s story fairly efficiently, leading into the big reshuffle of the Marvel Universe. Rather than merely treading water waiting for J. Michael Straczynski’s Thor, writer Mike Avon Oeming takes advantage of the unique set of circumstances before him to present that rarest type of superhero story: one with an ending.

Thunderbolts and lightening, very, very frighteningly…

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Geoff Johns Hawkman Omnibus: Volume 1 (Review/Retrospective)

I’m always glad to see a nice, big and thick DC comics omnibus. Marvel have cornered the market in putting out over-sized gigantic collections of modern and classic runs on iconic characters, and I’m disappointed that it has taken DC so long to follow suit. After all, they have any number of long runs on iconic characters by acclaimed creators deserving some nice love. Geoff Johns’ Hawkman run is perhaps the writer’s run that I was least excited about, but it’s still nice to get the majority of Geoff Johns’ character-defining and continuity-clarifying run on the character handily collected in one gigantic package.

Hawkin' his wares...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Booster Gold – 52 Pickup & Blue and Gold

I guess when you’re as popular as Geoff Johns you can pretty much pick your own projects. He’s pretty much the driving force at the company, having helmed two of the bigger more recent “event” crossovers (Infinite Crisis and Blackest Night) as well as managing the return of Hal Jordan to the pages of Green Lantern and Barry Allen to The Flash. He has always skilfully walked the line between a hardcore nerd who knows everything there is to know about DC’s incredibly complicated history and the source of some of the company’s most accessible output. His runs on the “big” name characters (such as Superman) are some of the easiest to read comic books currently published, however it’s clear he has a somewhat deeper level of knowledge and understanding of the way that the DC universe works, and is read to dive into the nooks and crannies of obscure characters and half-remembered trivia with the fervour of a pure geek. Booster Gold is perhaps the best example of this sort of work.

That logo is so money...

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern – War of the Green Lanterns (Review)

I think that Geoff Johns deserves to take the majority of the credit for pushing the Green Lantern series forward as one of the mostly highly regarded properties in DC’s stable of intellectual property. That the Green Lantern continuity was allowed to remain almost entirely intact represents a huge vote of confidence in Johns as a creator, and the work that he has done. Still, War of the Green Lanterns can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment. An attempt to do a “mini-event” contained to the franchise (similar to the successful Sinestro Corps War), War of the Green Lanterns suffers because it doesn’t have the same thematic through-line as its predecessor, one that engaged the reader throughout the carnage and crossovers. That’s not to say War of the Green Lanterns doesn’t have any good ideas, but that it’s too jumbled and mixed up to be great.

Mogo doesn't socialise...

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