Here comes some news in a half-shell! The new TMNT movie trailer will debut in the previews for Captain America: Winter Soldier – one more reason to get geeked for Cap. The TMNT movie has been under a lot of scrutiny (the whole Michael Bay alien thing), so this will be it’s time to shine.
Cowabunga! Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are reuniting for a 30th anniversary issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This doesn’t seem to be a one-time thing, as they and the voice actors from the original TMNT cartoon will be making appearances on the Nickelodeon series.
Sarah Michelle Gellar was the top hit on Yahoo! this morning, and for good reason. After years of fan debate, Buffy herself has finally answered the age-old question: Angel or Spike?
Better Call Jesse Pinkman? Not quite, but Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul has been rumored to be making appearances on the straight-to-Netflix series, Better Call Saul, released this November.
The Pokémon series that raised a generation in the 90s is now streaming via Netflix. Now you can Catch Em All at your own pace!
Barry Allen’s Flash costume has been revealed – at least the mask has, anyway. CW has done such an extraordinary job with Arrow that a Flash series has got to be worth watching.
In preparation of the film, a mobile game based off the X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released in May. They’re really milking this story-line, but it looks to be a fun play-through.
The DC MMORPG Infinite Crisis will be getting comic book and collectible tie-ins. We’re particular fans of Pajama Party Harley – sounds festive!
Telltale’s story-driven The Walking Dead game releases its next installment (Season Two: Episode Two) on Tuesday, March 4th. Clementine isn’t the same innocent girl she was in the First Season and we’re excited for more gory glory.
DC is prepping it’s next full-scale event – oh God, here we go again – and it’s called Futures End. Equipped with 3D holographic covers and the whole shebang, I’m skeptical of any of the “events” DC and Marvel push, but the concept of all our heroes in the futures is enticing enough to give a few of them a look.
With the release of the various X-Files Conspiracy books (Ghostbusters, Transformers, TMNT), IDW Comics is looking for collaborating on a grand scale. The Super Secret Crisis War(a bastardization of DC and Marvel events) will include a slew of Cartoon Network characters (Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexter, Ben 10 and Ed, Edd & Eddy) taking on all the villains from their respective series. We’re sold, but… where is Johnny Bravo?
The 86th Academy Awards have begun. We’ll be checking up on it in between commercials of The Walking Dead. Check out our past TWD reviews here, and see how we weighed in with our Oscar picks tomorrow.
Writer: Geoff Johns (Blackest Night & Brightest Day, Flashpoint)
Artist: Jim Lee (Batman: Hush, X-Men: Mutant Genesis, Superman: For Tomorrow)
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 10
Captivity and Length – 9
Identity – 7
Use of Medium – 9
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 8
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8
With the way that DC Comics is rolling out exciting stories with strong, developed characters, it’s easy to forget that less than three years ago, DC relaunched its entire catalog in a brazen attempt to gain more readers. The New 52 term was named after the fifty-two (no, seriously) new series that were launched in September of 2011. The first released and most heavily promoted book in the relaunch was Justice League, and it had a creative team comprised of the two biggest ballers in the entire corporation: Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and Co-Publisher Jim Lee. DC really rolled out the red carpet for our flagship characters in this first volume, Origins.
Have they got a name? Of course they do, you can call them the SUPER SEVEN!!! This is still very early in the Justice League’s career, so early in fact, that only Flash and Green Lantern have actually met before and people actually believe Batman is still a myth. While the story starts off with a bang, it is very mild compared to the type of major events one would think would have to take place to bring seven of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes together. That is actually a point of contention with me because I would have really liked to see Green Arrow in the league to begin with. While he was at least mentioned by the very end along with Zatanna, one of the most important intial members is completely left out of the picture. Martian Manhunter is nowhere to be seen or heard from in these first six issues, although he does make his debut in Justice League of America as a weaponized response to Superman. I get that they try to have one of each hero archetype involved from the start is more than enough, ignoring an original is a bit ridiculous, especially considering they included Shazam! in the animated adaptation.
Where the book does get it right, however, is in the way they slowly yet awesomely introduce characters one at a time. Each character feels like they were treated fairly with equal time which is no small task considering how few issues they had to work with and the ambitiousness of this particular story. The art by Jim Lee – which really needs no further explanation, but just in case you didn’t already know – is absolutely stunning in every detail. Every page is drawn and colored beautifully; many pages left me staring well after I had read the dialogue. The attention to detail is that immaculate. My only complaint about the art is that Aquaman seems to be the only character that doesn’t match his New 52 reboot design. If people wonder why Aquaman is always getting made fun of, they only need to look at the costume he was given here. It is very hard to take him serious when he has mutton chops and a pearl necklace (like Gangstalicious said, “it’s all about pearl necklaces”) with his trident chained to him with a ridiculously long chain. He basically looks like a frat-boy looking for an S&M party at Red Lobster.
Its not only the art that got this kind of detail either, there are little nods throughout that make it something special for longtime fans of these characters. A little girl calling them the Super Friends or the ever so slight nod towards the Legion of Doom, along with the humor that almost comes effortlessly between the characters. Even though they are meeting for the first time in this book, it feels like they have been fighting evil together for a lifetime.
All this isn’t to say that the book didn’t have its faults, though. While there was an overall cohesiveness that worked really well for the story, it felt at times like there was almost too much going on at once. Since this story was self-contained and didn’t bleed over into any of the main characters solo storys, it felt like a missed opportunity to further explore pieces of the story that were otherwise left out. My main gripe with the story was how we as readers were just thrown directly into the middle of a story with the first panel and never really given much explanation other than Darkseid was coming. Leading up to and even after his arrival, more time is spent on introducing the characters and making sure they get their just due, when it would have been nice to extend the story a few more books and give a more fleshed out story to the reader. The end makes it seem like this is something that may be revisited, but not anytime soon.
Outside of the initial reveals for the characters, there wasn’t very much in the way of character progression. This can be forgiven in this particular instance because it goes along with the major reboot of all the series (which is where most of the character development should go), it just felt like the writers could have used the opportunity as more of a bonding experience then they actually did. I expect from this point forward for the series to build these relationships further and make them a more cohesive unit (We already know Wonder Woman and Supes get busy 😉 ). One of the biggest changes in the characters’ personality is Superman’s disregard for authority. Blue Boy Scout no more, Superman has readily embodied the ethos of the current generation, and a nice touch that has defined his character in the New 52.
Overall, this is an experience that can’t be missed. Even with the minor story and character hiccups, the potential this book has going forward is amazing. With the hint at the Legion of Doom being on the horizon there is the potential to have all sorts of encounters, because not only is this a fresh start for the Justice League, it is also a reboot of their greatest foes. There is also a great opportunity to cultivate relationships that can also be worked into the characters main books as well (Superman/Wonder Woman and Batman/Superman being prime examples but let’s branch out!!). Going forward, I would suggest grabbing Volume Two: The Villain’s Journey, if not for the story, at least for the amazing Jim Lee art. Any fan, casual or long-time will be able to appreciate Origin.
General Reception: It may not have been the reinvention that the Justice League merited, but fans definitely bought into it. While the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee arcs only spanned two volumes, it gave readers like us a whole new universe to go off of. Jim Lee’s art and Alex Sinclair’s coloring are top notch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who didn’t have nice things to say about this book. It’s a great representation of what the relaunch was supposed to be.
Related Books: Flashpoint offers the same familiar feelings with a new origin twist, albeit much more drastic alterations are made. The new Justice League series is still going strong, as well. The current Forever Evil storyline shows the Justice League putting up with the Crime Syndicate. Final Crisis, also written by Geoff Johns, is a great DC epic with Darkseid as the main villain.
More by the writer: Geoff Johns has had quite the run in the past ten years. Notably, his work on Green Lantern books, everything from The Sinestro Wars leading up to Blackest Night and going all the way to Trinity War, Johns has had the rare pleasure of creating a saga. Before the New 52 reboot, Johns also wrote The Flash’s Rebirth (the return of Barry Allen) and Flashpoint. Recently, he had just left the New 52 Aquaman series after building up some credibility for the character. He is also still writing Justice League as it enters the thick of the Forever Evil arc.
More by the artist: Wanna know more about Jim Lee? Check out our new “Respect My Craft!” article, spotlighting the iconic artist, debuting tomorrow!
*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app. Credit to DC Comics for the images.
It’s only been one issue, but I’m already invested in this sci-fi thriller. I have no idea what the hell is going on, but I don’t think our main character, Grant, does either. The Black Science, I correlate to be like Black Magic, but it pays more. The art is very fitting and the monologue is amazing. In an attempt to escape from the weird toad and fish people, Grant sends his team to some inter-species galactic war. I don’t know what’s going on and I love it. I’m super excited to see what happens next.
All New X-Men #19 (Marvel Comics) – D
In this issue, the original X-Men fight off a group of crazy religious zealots who are dedicated to killing mutants in the name of God. With brand new uniforms, a new art team (technically they did #18, but it still feels new) and a new villain, this issue carries almost zero momentum that has made this such an enjoyable book. Also, seemingly for no reason, Illyana AKA Magik is back together with the rest of the X Team after a huge falling out when she joined Cyclops’ team. There was a pretty crazy end scene where a feral (and bald) X-23 bears her teeth to Kitty Pryde, so we’ll see if this is somehow connected to the Murder World that takes place in Avengers Arena. All in all, though, a pretty bland book considering the caliber of the series thus far.
Aquaman #25 (DC Comics) – B-
If you’re not a fan of Aquaman, this issue probably will not sell it. Geoff Johns, in true Geoff Johns fashion, wraps up his tenure with Aquaman taking his place as King of Atlantis. The Dead King has been defeated for now. It might not seem like a big deal, but Johns took Aquaman from being the laughing stock of comic book fans to an almost-respected character in just two years. While I’m skeptical of anything that happens after this, the story immediately points to a new threat, carried into another Geoff Johns penned book, Justice League. I’d say this book is worth checking out if you’re at all curious about Aquaman or the end of Johns’ saga.
Avengers Arena #18 (Marvel Comics) – D
Murder World is finally closed. After seventeen issues full of mushy “let’s be friends” speeches, one of the characters sacrifices himself to save the rest of the characters. However, the biggest worry is what happens after they leave. Arcade, the madman behind the whole debacle, has uploaded the events of the superhero Hunger Games onto the web. What happens now? The issue, and series as a whole, wasn’t stellar in story or art, but the aftermath of the events that unfolded will be pretty interesting to see.
Damian: Son of Batman #2 (DC Comics) – C
When issue one ended, I was thoroughly confused as to how Bruce Wayne was waiting for Damian in the Bat Cave. Issue two clears that up, then expands on it a bit. It’s just done a bit too quickly. The oddest part of the series is that Damian, the grown man, sounds just like Damian, the ten year-old child. I was really hoping for some character development here. On the plus side, it seems that this story is fitting in nicely to explain the events of Batman #666 where Damian faces off with Professor Pyg. As an avid Batfan, I would recommend reading this book, as the art by Andy Kubert is amazing.
The Flash #25 (DC Comics) – C+
The Flash has been one of the best drawn books in DC’s catalog, and usually has held my interest through the storyline. So I figured that when they introduced a Batman: Zero Year crossover, it might be worth checking out. In some ways I was right, and in some I was wrong. While it was awesome to show what a good investigator he was, clashing with the hardened detectives of Gotham City, and meeting (and saving) Iris West to form a romantic relationship, I am just sick of DC changing origin stories for the sake of changing them. All of the changes feel bastardized and not the original stories they should be.
Hawkeye #14 (Marvel Comics) – B+
When Kate went her own separate way at the end of Hawkeye Annual #1, I was a bit confused on how the series would continue after that. This episode shows us that it would continue straight through to Kate’s personal life. As it has been the whole series, Hawkeye does a stupendous job of humanizing the characters, having fun the whole way there. It does get a little deeper at the end, when it is revealed that Madame Masque is the villain behind the whole ordeal. Hawkeye is a guaranteed good read, and this issue is no different – no matter your opinion on Hawkeye, the character.
Injustice: Gods Among Us #11 (DC Comics) – B+
Based on the awesome video game that released earlier in the year, Injustice has become more than a cash-grab “based off” series; it is one of the best alternate universe storylines in recent history. After Batman decides that Superman is too far off his rocker, he and a small group distract Superman and sneak into the Fortress of Solitude to steal a super-serum that Lex Luthor developed to even the playing field. Along the way, we lose two beloved characters. It’s a tragic, yet exciting take on the DC lore. Note: Injustice was actually released as a “Digital Only” series, with each printed issue consisting of three digital ones. So if you really liked this one, the finale issue is comprised of #34-36 and you can find them for $1 each on Comixology.
Kick Ass 3 #5 (Marvel Comics) – B
If you’ve ever seen Kick Ass, the movie, then you know what you’re getting yourself into. Believe me, the comics are way better. There’s less censorship as far as what the characters say and do, the costumes don’t look as ridiculous and there are tons of namedrops; it takes us less than four pages to get somebody to compare the 21st Century Robin Hoods to Omar from The Wire. With Dave finally getting a normal girlfriend, he seems to have abandoned his superhero team. They have bigger troubles, however, as Rocco puts a hit out on every single masked character, ending the issue in sad, disturbing fashion with the death of one of my favorite characters.
Saga #16 (image Comics) – B+
It seems like we’re finally picking back up steam here! Equipped with murder, lies and naked unicorn women, issue sixteen is a thoroughly fun ride the whole way through. We’re finally brought back to the events in #13, where Prince Robot IV is closing in on our favorite pair of space fugitives. There’s quite a bit of story going on here, especially the new development of the war correspondents that seem to have trouble coming their way soon. It’s hard not to recommend a book that kicks this much ass, month after month.
Superior Spiderman #22 (Marvel Comics) – C+
Since (SPOILER!) Otto Octavius has taken over Peter Parker’s body and carried the mantle of Spiderman… Wait! Don’t leave! It’s not as bad as it seems, I promise. Anyway, since Superior Spiderman has begun, all the quips and sarcasm that made Peter Parker our Spiderman have been replaced with techo-babble infused cold-hearted insults. More than twenty issues in, Otto finally begins to develop a personality, even falling in love, a storyline which is starting to make me like him again. But just when things get cozy again, his arrogance frustrates me even further, making a Flash Thompson-Spiderman confrontation way more annoying than epic.
Last we left our turtles, the Foot had just unleashed Bebop & Rocksteady. While the rocker duo don’t really get the homecoming I had hoped for, there are plenty of other characters to help bring this issue to a close. The turtles manage to save Leonardo and break him from the brain-washing that the Foot had put him through, but by all means, he is still broken in every other way. One of my favorite conflicted villains also switches her attitude and saves their lives during the fight. And you can’t forget about Old Hob, Splash, April and Casey Jones. It was an entertaining and meaningful issue, albeit with no real conclusion to the threat at hand, that reminds me why I’m still in love with the heroes in a half-shell.
The Walking Dead #117 (IDW Comics) – A
When Negan and Lucille burst onto the scenes in The Walking Dead #100, he immediately become our enemy, killing off a beloved character in the most disturbing fashion of the entire series (which is sayin’ something). However, as time goes on, we realize that maybe Negan isn’t quite the Governor that we initially painted him to be. Through this episode, we find that Negan does indeed have a very strong moral compass, as does he want to be the leader of a strong community. It’s really shocking to learn this about one of Rick’s enemies, and it will serve to make Negan more complex of an adversary than we’ve ever seen in The Walking Dead. Bravo, Kirkman.
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week. We hope you had fun stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
DC has no shortage of stories set in an alternate universe, with most of the play going to Infinite Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and other Elseworldstories. So when Geoff Johns came out with the Flashpoint arc in 2011, fans were initially skeptical. Not only was Johns trying to reconstruct the DC comic lore, but he was doing it with Flash at the helm. While Barry Allen has been a staple character in the Justice League since his mid-1950’s induction into DC Comics, he remains out of the spotlight. The premise of the Flashpoint storyline is that, in a desperate move to change events in time to save his mother from being murdered, he taps into the Speed Force (it’s a long story; basically, the best way I can describe the Speed Force is an energy that the Flash can pull from to manipulate time… or some crazy shit like that), unknowingly creating a Butterfly Effect, saving his mother but putting himself right in the middle of a world war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Flash has found himself in a world without allies and without his powers. It’s a bit far-fetched of a story, but it really works out. So many questions about the DC Universe that begin with “What if” are addressed in the Flashpoint Paradox. What if Hal Jordan never was given a Green Lantern ring? What if Superman’s Kryptonian shuttle passed Smallville and landed in the hands of the government? What if Aquaman and Wonder Woman never got to interact with humanity before their rise to power? Maybe it’s just the fanboy in me, but there’s just something thrilling about not knowing what will happen next – an entire realm of new possible outcomes.
Everything that makes the book work shows up in the film. Foremost, the Flash is an excellent leading character. He’s charismatic, witty and is the one voice of hope in a universe full of darkness. Plus, he can run really fast. But really, it’s Flashpoint Batman that steals the show. Batman (who is not Bruce Wayne in this world) is one of the most rugged and dangerous characters I’ve ever seen. He’s missing the high-tech gadgetry, but he more than makes up for it by being a total badass. Even the President respects his gangster. The rest of the Justice League is also in full effect. Flashpoint Aquaman and Wonder Woman could easily hold their own movie. As the two juggernauts clashed, I almost forgot I was watching a DC Animated movie. Professor Zoom AKA The Reverse Flash AKA… (this could take a while; he has a lot of nicknames) … AKA Thaddeus Thawne plays a crafty villain that is obsessed with bringing down the Flash, even at the expense of destroying the world (Sheesh dude, get a hobby). He presents the perfect match for Flash, as he can manipulate the Speed Force to make it appear that he is going faster or slower. He’s the yin to Flash’s yang and they play off each other well.
The biggest note of discussion with this film is the decidedly adult nature it takes on. Not only is it darker than the comics it adapts from, but it is the darkest DC Animated film released yet. There are tons of violent deaths, and nobody is off-limits. It’s like I was watching The Wire. While some might see this as unnecessary, I feel that the violence and tragedy add to the gravity of the film. It’s not for the faint of heart, and definitely not a family-friendly movie, but the anime-style brutality made me feel more in touch with the characters and the stakes they were fighting for. The animation is complemented by nuanced changes in the storyline to make things fit more cohesively. Die-hard fans can tell, but there are several events that allude to several of the spin-off stories that come from Flashpoint, chronicling the stories of the Justice League in this alternate timeline from hell. On the other hand, though, some of the subtleties may fall off the deaf ears of many of the casual fans that look to these movies to learn more about comic books.
Overall, this is one of my favorite graphic novel movie adaptations that DC Animated has done. It has a solid storyline and a great voice acting cast to carry it throughout the amazing action scenes and large-scale thrills. Its mature content and subtle hints may turn off some casual fans, but do pay homage to the grave nature of the source material. If you want to broaden your horizons in the comic book world and aren’t afraid of graphic violence, this is the DC Animated film you have been waiting for.
One of the best alternate universe stories I’ve ever read, there are a few points in the film you can’t really understand unless you’ve read the source material.
An All-Star cast creates believable characters that carry themselves.
Representation of Source Material
Flashpoint does a solid job of taking the source material and bringing it to life, keeping some of the most memorable moments intact.
The hardcore and anime-like feel of the film fit the dark storyline. They also do a great job of making the Flash’s animations clean.
Sound Effects and Music
Hero-certified music and cool time-warping sound effects fit the ambiance
Flashpoint is broken up into enough segments that it never feels like it’s as far along as it really is.
There is nothing about this film that does not kick total ass.
Even though it’s a remake of a graphic novel, the genius that is Geoff Johns crafted an amazing story that explores an alternate universe with no reservations.
I’ve seen the Flashpoint Paradox three times already, and there are more details to catch everytime
A feature on the Rogues Gallery, a scientific breakdown of the Speedforce and some great DC Vault episodes make this an excellent showcase of The Flash
IF YOU LIKED THIS, CHECK THESE OUT:
Justice League: Doom (film)
All the Flashpoint books!
NEXT FOR DC ANIMATED:Justice League: War will be DC Animated’s first New 52 movie and will reprise the first storyline of Jim Lee and Geoff John’s Justice League. All that I have on my wish list is that it’s animated by Jim Lee (I’m kind of obsessed with his art) and that I get to see the animated version of this. It’s already been released that Whedon alum Alan Tudyk is voicing Superman and DC Animated veteran Jay Oliva will be directing. Check out the teaser trailer at the link below.