Category: Superman


The day after Christmas, probably one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  Everyone piles into the return lines to replace the things that didn’t work or exchange the things they didn’t want. 

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Christmas is a week from today.  Where has the time gone?  Make sure you avoid all the crazy last minute rush and get your shopping done soon.  You don’t want to be that person in the convenience store on Christmas Eve buying lottery tickets and pine tree air fresheners as gifts.

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Now we can get back to a regular routine for just a few days before we break for the Christmas holiday.  But don’t worry, we won’t be taking that much time off and then we’ll be back with more great comic book news, reviews and other general nerdtastic stuff.

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There are characters in the comic world that are set apart from the rest. Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Spider-man, etc. These characters for some reason have the ability to carry a company. DC and Marvel have lived and died on these characters because they are special, set apart from all the rest. This piece (and others like it) will explore my opinions on what makes these characters special.
Let me start by stating the point that lies at the heart of this article. Batman is special, and he is special because of Bruce Wayne. This may seem obvious, or even applicable to other characters, but Batman is different because Bruce Wayne is broken. Everything about Batman and what he stands for comes from a man who is irreparably fractured. That’s not to say I do not like Dick Grayson as Batman, or even Terry McGinnis. I love them both! But they only exist because Batman exists, and Batman in turn only exists because Bruce Wayne is broken. And Batman is huge; he is a city, an ideal, a model for both heroes and villains alike. Even after DC’s latest reboot, Batman and his family own the show. If you don’t believe me, just look at the numbers. The Batman Family has eleven dedicated to it. Compare that to the Superman Family and all seven corps of Lanterns, who get four titles each. And all of this is because at Batman’s core lies Bruce Wayne, broken, crazy and vengeful. He uses Gotham to meet his ends, and in turn the city has become an extension of Batman. He is the closest friend to one of the greatest boy scouts of them all, and yet they are one step away from being enemies. And his villains, they are especially wonderful because they are manifestations of his broken psyche. They are all part of what makes him dark and on the edge of sanity, but they are also what make him a great hero, and that only further sets him apart.
 
At one point in time, Gotham City was meant to be a fictionalized version of New York City. Now, New York plays predominantly in other DC books, but let me just say that if Gotham was real in any fashion, I would never go near the place. The city itself is a character, and in any other context it would be a villain. But when it comes to Batman, everyone is a vigilante, even Gotham. Gotham is a dark and dirty place, and while in the beginning I think DC’s intent was to portray it as a place of crime and debauchery, I think now it has become a giant bat-cave. The city’s dark oppressive atmosphere plays into Batman’s use of fear. Imagine as a petty criminal in a place where you literally never know when a guy in a bat suit is going to jump out and beat you to a pulp. Let’s face it, the cost benefit is just not worth it, like in any industry you need to go where the money and opportunity is. Coast City is bright and shiny, and its everyday hero is normally gallivanting around the galaxy. Same thing with Metropolis. Yes, Superman is… well… super, but he is all over the globe and does not always have time to deal with petty crooks. However, Batman takes those same petty crimes personally. He hates crime with every fiber of his being. Having watched his parents murder at the hands of Joe Chill (a small-time crook) over a set of pearls he asked his mother to wear, he sees that in every punk he gets his hands on. And I, for one, would not want to be living and stealing in a city whose hero would love nothing more than to put me in a hospital. Remember, Bruce is broken, and everything is an extension of that. Would it not then make sense that the very city he prowls would be just as broken as he is? A place whose dark presence serves both to build the darkest criminals in the world, and also as the weapon of its hero. It is a city on the edge, perfectly suited to a hero on the edge.
Now let’s talk about Kal-El for a moment. Superman is great for a lot of reasons, many of which I will cover in a piece dedicated to him, but above all else he is the ultimate representation of good. Take a nerd moment and imagine an all out war between the characters of every fairy tale, comic, movie, video game, etc. Good vs. Evil in the showdown to end all showdowns, and I guarantee you standing on the side of good, right there on the front line would be Superman, cape billowing in the wind and prepared to take on the forces of evil. Now imagine that group in the middle that is not easily identifiable with either side, yup there he is in the back, Bruce Wayne. Don’t get me wrong, Bruce is a good guy, but heroism and villainy are often determined by intent. Batman is not out for the betterment of the world, he is out for revenge. He is trying to fill a bottomless pit of hate and despair that can only be satisfied with the complete decimation of the criminal element. This is why when Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne get together there is a fair amount of awkwardness. They just can’t relate to one another. Clark wants picket fences and golden retrievers for everyone, whereas Bruce wants to hurt as many criminals as the day will allow. Now, I think Clark at one point felt that he could help Bruce, but ultimately they balance each other. At the end of the day Superman is still an insanely powerful alien, and Bruce is a mistrustful psychopath, but there is your balance. Think of all the characters in the DC universe, are there any more similar than Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor? Hell, I would even say that most of the time Lex’s reasoning is more logical, but still Bruce and Clark find a way to not only co-exist, but to be greater because of one another.
And then there are the rogues: Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-Face and the Joker. They are as identifiable as any set of villains, perhaps even more so, and each are simply paths not taken. Penguin is Bruce Wayne if he chose to be a petulant child instead of taking his parent’s deaths to heart. Catwoman is the care free Bruce Wayne using his skills for thrills instead of a mission. Riddler is that logical, deductive mind finally broken. Harvey Dent represents the two sides of Batman, Bruce and the bat. And then there is the Joker. Joker is both a figurative and literal creation of Batman. The original Red Hood’s fall into that vat of chemicals was Bruce’s first and largest mistake. He blames everything Joker has ever done on himself, and at the heart of it I think he knows why. No one knows who the Joker really is, and we may never know. But whoever he was before, what he represents now is a Bruce Wayne who has gone completely off the rails. The Joker is Bruce after he finally gives into all of his anger at what happened that night outside the theatre. See, the Joker is always craziest when he feels like Bruce is not playing his game with him. He becomes angry and depressed, willing to go after anyone in his way. Now imagine Bruce Wayne with no mission. Imagine all of that anger and rage boiling over. The Joker is frightening because there is no reason behind his actions, no method to his madness, just killing for the sake of watching the world burn. Is this not what Bruce would do to the criminal element if he had the opportunity? Watch it burn until there was nothing left? That is why the world needs the Joker, because what would Batman be without his mission? Who might he become? It is Batman’s ultimate question.
Now I know there have been times when everything I said has been less true, and times when it has been more true. Frank Miller’s Batman is everything I’ve described and a whole lot that I haven’t. But at the core, this is who Bruce Wayne is. He is someone who feels so connected to one night, one incident, one moment, that even in his happiest times, he is still a slave to the memory. Batman #1 was fantastic, and throughout the new books we have seen Bruce in his many different personalities, the crazy one coming at the end of Catwoman, but I, like many of you, am just waiting. Waiting for the day when it will all come crashing down around him. Waiting for the guilt and brooding to finally overcome him. Waiting for the day that last thread of sanity breaks. And when that day comes, I will watch him find his way out of the dark, because that, the ability to live and breathe in the shadows, to know the villain and understand the villain, but not become the villain, that my friends is Bruce Wayne’s superpower. That is what sets him apart.
Originally posted on http://www.comicbooked.com. 
By JP
Action Comics #4
Penciller: Rags Morales
I love Steel. He is just an awesome character that, for me, has always been a  truly great addition to the Superman mythos. So with his official arrival to the DCnU in Action Comics #4, I was as giddy as a Beiber fan on Youtube. John Henry Irons actually made his first appearance a couple of issues ago when he called Lex Luthor out on his torture of Superman. Shortly thereafter, John Corben was transformed into Metallo, and within an eyes blink became the ‘Voice” of Brainiac. And then comes my man Steel to save the day. Knowing he built the machine that Metallo has now become, Irons decides to become a hero himself and defeat his creation. The best part of this is that the fight itself is used as a back up to this issue. Morrison just shines as he writes the story from Irons point of view. He really gives great insight into who Steel is and why he wants to be a hero. As much as I was skeptical of Morrison’s portrayal of Superman in issue one, I am just loving everything since, especially here..
Brainiac is still tormenting Earth and we finally get a glimpse of him in this issue. In this issue he manages to take over the world’s technology, including Metallo, and complete his collection of Earth. Of course he selects Metropolis to become his next Kandor, the resolution of which we will have to wait for. The bad news is we will be waiting for a few issues. Action Comics will start a mini arc for issues 5 and 6, returning to the current problem with issue 7. 
Like I said before I was a little skeptical of Morrison’s portrayal of Superman in issue one. He just felt a little too petulant teenager for me.  However, everything since has put a smile on my face. I love the quick introductions of both Corben and of course my friend Steel. Not to mention the clever other bits and pieces he throws out there. Like Irons’ love for Richard Feynman and Lex’s possible deal with Brainiac. I have never felt that Superman comics were ever really reliant on great dialogue, and you won’t find a lot here either. Let’s face it Superman is a little stiff and cliche so his books tend to be as well. Where Superman books do excel is in exposition and story, and that is really what Morrison has mastered here. 
The art by Rags Morales is a mixed bag for me. I like it in the sense that if I look at just a single page or panel it is a very cool stylized look. The problem comes when you are reading through panel after panel, and it is almost like his drawings are elastic. Like the actual physical dimensions of the characters are shifting and changing. It again is just hard to explain but what it does is make the action sequences less appealing. They almost tend to take away from the book and that is a shame, because again I am really enjoying this one. I will reiterate I like Morales’ style in a single frame, but trying to go page to page causes it to fall apart. 
Overall I really am enjoying this Action Comics and suggest you read it. Plus at the rate Morrison is going, if you blink an eye you might miss something or someone!

By JP

Wow!  Can you believe it is the first of December?  The Christmas season is upon us and before you know it it will be 2012.  Lots of great things have happened this past year, so why dwell on the negative when so many good things have happened.

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Hello Nerdites! Here is your daily dish on all things geek!

The Lizard Concept Art

This concept art was released for Rhys Ifans’ Lizard in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. The movie scheduled for release on July 3, 2012 is an updated take on the character and will star Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. Via Spidermedia.ru

This movie appears to be a more serious take on the character than anything before. I just hope that they do not forget that Spider-Man is a wise cracking kid and it supposed to have some humor in it. I am about over the whole angst ridden Spidey bit. I have included the trailer as well.

Action Comics #1 Up For Auction

Fox News has a report about an Action Comics #1 that is set to go to auction today. The book is expected to break the previous sale record of 1.5 million dollars. This particular copy is currently the highest rated copy in the CGC census coming in at a 9.0. The book was originally lost 11 years ago when it was stolen from a collector and then was found last April when someone bought a storage unit and the comic was inside. Due to confidentiality issues the auction site ComicConnect.com cannot tell us who the owner was, but it is probably not a coincidence that Nicholas Cage had his Action Comics #1 stolen from him in 2000, it might be though. Either way this is a super awesome find, and if you happened to have recently won the lottery then buy this comic, and then adopt me!

Man Finds Rare Comic In Attic

In a similar story that appeared last week via LaGrangePatch, a man in Illinois was rummaging through his attic and found an Amazing Fantasy #15. The book featuring the first appearance of everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-man, is expected to sell for approximately $12,000. This is much less than the 1.2 million other copies have sold for, but hey this was laying around in a stack of comics in an attic for who knows how long, it is not going to be mint. It seems to be that I really need to go out and start rummaging through other people’s crap! 

Henry Cavil Talks About Being Superman

Also last week the LA Times’ Hero Complex released an interview with Henry Cavil the soon to me Man of Steel. The interview covered the actor’s view of the character and the weight of portraying such an icon. In an interesting comment we come to learn that Cavil also learned a lot from the Red Son storyline. He talks about how the opposing view of Kal-El helps him to find what the writers felt were the most important aspects to his personality. This seems to give me pause. I for one do not feel that Mark Millar was trying to give an opposing view, in as much as he was trying to show us that Superman’s ideals are both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. I always felt it seemed to highlight how important morality is to Superman and in turn how important his raising was in creating the hero he would become. Either way we shall see how this effects Cavill’s take on the character when the movie releases June 14, 2013. 

Muppets: A Movie for Adults?

In other movie news The Muppets domination last week was not enough to knock off sparkly vampires, but it did earn 42.3 million over the holiday weekend. If you have not yet seen Disney’s reboot, then you should as it is fantastic. Interestingly it graded much older than one might expect with only 35% of the audience under the age of 18. This does not surprise me as I think I enjoyed it more than my kids. I think I might have teared up at least 3 times during the movie. If there is a flaw it is only that Kermit did not sing Being Green. Everything else was perfect!

Anne McCaffery Passes

Lastly an obituary I am devastated to write. Last week all of geekdom lost a great in Anne McCaffery. The author of the long running and popular Dragons of Pern books died at age 85 from a stroke. Her books where among my first fantasy books and are probably an expansive shadowed only by the greats like Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time. I am particularly partial to Ms. McCaffery as she was nice enough to email back and forth with me when I was younger. My mother worked for her nephew and I was luckily enough to interact with her and she was amazing. To imagine a person as famous as she taking her time to email a little kid half a world away, is what fandom is all about. I am saddened by this news greatly and know that you will all share with me in missing such a wonderful writer and person.

By Jason Padua

Superman faces tough criticism from the media and thegeneral public as another strange alien menace attacks Metropolis.  The Nerd reviews Superman #3.

Clark Kent visits the grave of his adoptive parents Jonathan& Martha Kent.  Meanwhile the mediais preparing a piece on him debating whether his presence in Metropolis iscausing more harm than good.  Lois Laneis angry at the anti-Superman bias of the piece and argues for a more balancedand fair slant.
Superman is not the only mystery to Lois and others at theDaily Planet.  Lois and Perry White talkabout the change in Clark Kent’s behavior lately.  Work is the furthest thing from Clark’s mindas he struggles to find any clues to the two recent alien attacks.  Why are the targeting him and why is thestrange language they are speaking sound so familiar.
As Clark rushes to meet his obligations to the Daily Planetanother alien appears.  This new alien ispowered by cold and ice and starts to freeze anything and anyone in itspath.  Superman immediately arrives onthe scene, but isn’t able to do much to stop this latest threat to Metropolis.
Will Superman be able to stop this new threat?  How will he react when he learns a closefriend is involved?  And what do thesealiens want with Superman and Clark Kent?
“Remember the first time we saw that strange shadow up inthe sky?  Silhouetted against the morningsun, it looked to many like some large swooping bird.  Others reported that it was a small plane, orairship or some other UFO.  But no, itwas a man.  A man in a red cape.  A superman…who seemed to drop from the skyout of nowhere.  No history.  No past.”
Never being a big Superman fan in the past, I have to admitnow that I have added this title to my pull like that I am liking this newSuperman.  He’s not quite the big blueboy scout we’ve seen for so many years. This new Superman isn’t quite sure of himself nor do I think he’s fullyaware of just how powerful he really is. In some ways he reminds me of Batman and that isn’t necessarily a badthing.  He’s cocky and a little arrogant,yet unlike Batman, he isn’t always certain of whether he’s doing the rightthing.
This new Superman series makes references back to the newAction Comics which I don’t regularly keep up with.  I like the idea of Action Comics and Supermanhappening at different points in time. This Superman is much different than the one portrayed in ActionComics.  I like what George Perez hasdone with Superman; enough that I added the title to my pull list.  I am completely caught up in this story arcand I am intrigued with what Perez has in store for the readers.
I’m also quite impressed with Nicola Scott’s artwork,particularly in this issue.  The way shedraws Clark and Lois are especially brilliant.  Nicola’s Superman reminds me ever so vaguely of Christopher Reeve when he first appeared as the Man of Steel in 1978.  Her backgrounds are wonderful and the choice of angles helps the storyflow more like a movie than a comic book.
Superman #3, was written by George Perez, with artwork byNicola Scott and Trevor Scott.

Wonder Woman joins the fray as Superman, Batman, GreenLantern and Flash help fight off the mysterious alien attack.

I realize we’re only three issues into this new Justice League series.  This has been a series that was a success thesecond it hit comic store shelves.  Thefirst issue sold faster than they could be handed out and the issue went intoat least three reprintings.  As a comicbook fan and reviewer, I have been anxious every month for each new issue.  This latest issue was well worth the wait.
The heroes have settled their differences long enough tojoin in combating their common enemy. The horde of savage aliens continues their attack.  Oddly enough they aren’t killing but aretaking hostage, helpless civilians.
Public opinion may prove to be their worst enemy.  People are frightened by the sudden appearanceof all the super humans and one in particular is Wonder Woman.  In addition to her outwardly outlandishappearance, she is a newcomer to our modern civilization.  Her government handler, Major Steve Trevorseems unable to control or contain Wonder Woman or Diana as she prefers to becalled.

A curious stroll through the city turns quickly into afight, which Diana more than welcomes. The aliens attack, attempting to take civilians.  Wonder Woman leaps into action to help savethe people so seem to be so afraid and untrusting of her.

Meanwhile, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Flash arebarely holding their own against the never ending mob of aliens.  Only Superman is able to keep the aliens atbay while Batman and the other attempt to figure out what they are after; butthere are too many even for the Man of Steel. Suddenly Wonder Woman appears to help turn the tide of the battle.
That’s only a taste of what this issue had in store.  If you want to find out more, I suggest youpick up a copy of Justice League #3 before it sells out.  This was probably the best issue yet in myopinion and with the league’s roster nearly complete; Wonder Woman isn’t theonly new addition to the team in this issue.  We also get to witness the somewhat disturbing and tragic birth of another young hero as the story progresses.

The comic dream team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make this thestandout issue of the week perhaps even the month.  Amid the ocean of great and positives thingsI have for this issue, I had but only one criticism.  The introduction of Steve Trevor was apleasant surprise, but Lee’s characterization of him make him look more likethe old 1960’s G.I. Joe action figure with the short, stubby life-like hair andless like the character we’re use to.

This new take on Justice League is a fresh and somewhat welcome change to the characters we’ve come to know.  Superman’s complete change of character to include an arrogance that is almost Batman-like; a far cry from the boy scout we’ve seen for years.  Diana’s child-like innocence and hunger for battle makes her somehow more likeable to me.  Hal Jordan’s cockiness and swagger humbled by the knowledge Superman is more powerful than him.  Flash being an all around smart ass are all combined to make up a more likeable and realistic team. It will be fun to see these new characters grow into the heroes they are destined to become.  The fourth issue promises even more surprises and action aswe count down to the reveal of the team’s true enemy, the all powerfulDarkseid.

A little shake up in casting for Superman: Man of Steel.  According to Deadline, director Zack Snyder has replaced Julia Ormond with Israeli born actress Ayelet Zurer for the role of Superman’s Kryptonian mother, Lara Lor-Van.  Deadline is reporting that Zurer is set to begin filming this week.

There was no reason given (yet) as to why Snyder replaced Ormond seemingly at the last minute.  The film also stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne and Russell Crowe and is scheduled for release in June 2013.