Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? (The New 52)

Now that I’ve covered the critically acclaimed New 52 Batman’s first arc it’s time to check out the opposite, Superman. (Some spoilers ahead for the villain origins)

The story takes place five years after Superman first made himself known to the public. Superman is seen as a hero by some and a villain by others, mainly the government, because he took the law into his own hands to arrest a corrupt businessman when he first started. The Daily Planet is bought out by some rival and upgraded into a multimedia building with Lois in charge of television and digital and Clark is still in print. The real important and almost interesting thing is Superman fighting against some aliens that speak only one word, Krypton.

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Wow at first read I didn’t really have a big opinion on this comic but on reflection this was so awful. I don’t even know where to start with this one. There is not one character I cared about in all of this; not Clark, not Lois, and none of the Daily Planet characters. There’s no one at all to humanize Superman, no one who he talks to or someone that matters to him. His parents are dead, Lois basically doesn’t care about him and Jimmy barely talks to him. There is so much dialogue of the other characters just talking about the business or talking about Superman that gets so repetitive and unnecessary.  In general it’s too wordy where everything in the first fight scene has captions for some reason when I can clearly follow it with just the art.

The villains are three generic villains, who aren’t even visually interesting and their origins are so ridiculous I can’t understand it. This is supposedly because George Pérez was told he had to make the story tie into Grant Morrison’s Action Comics which took place 5 years ago in story. During that story Superman acquired his Kryptonian armor and on that armor there was a symbiotic nanobyte from a planet Brainiac had collected. For some reason, five years later the robot adapted Superman’s powers into itself. Then there are three of the robots and they mind link into Superman’s brain, who was at the new Daily Planet, and then make a clone of him that kills some villains around the city. The real Superman is for some reason in the atmosphere and we never find out how he got there. The clone fights Supergirl until Superman arrives and kills it. It’s such a mess I can’t even understand any of it.

The art is the only good quality in all of this, I can’t think of another thing.

Writer: George Pérez

Artist: Jesús Merino

Rating: Rubbish

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Juicy Reviews: Smallville Season Eleven- Volume Two: Detective

 I’d like to thank the Vintage Reviewer for allowing me to review on his site once again!

COMIC REVIEW: We are back with “Smallville Season Eleven- Volume Two: Detective,” which is written by Brian Q. Miller (Batgirl [2009], Earthward) and penciled by Chris Cross (Blood Syndicate, Firestorm), Jamal Igle (Arrow Vol. 1, Superboy Vol. 5: Paradox), Kevin West (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Axel Gimenez (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Action Comics). When Bruce Wayne aka Batman gets a lead on where the man who killed his parents is, he is sent to Metropolis for further investigation. His tactics on finding the murderer may be too destructive, however, as Superman intervenes.

This comic series of “Smallville” seems to be in its sophomore slump with this next graphic novel. With a key player such as Batman, you would think that this would make for a great read, but in fact it isn’t that good. Why? For starters, this feels like more of a coincidental, happy-go-lucky meeting of the two titular characters than something grand. Bruce Wayne needs to interrogate someone, Superman won’t let him, things get messy, and then they begin to see that there is a bigger picture to this. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments in this plot that I liked, but overall it was mediocre. Many things felt crammed in for the sake of it, especially the villains. I won’t spoil who shows up, but they were randomly thrown in for no apparent reason. To be honest, this is one of those stories that is a detour of the main arc, that being Lex Luthor’s evil plan. It wasn’t showcased in this novel whatsoever, and Batman and Superman’s conflict felt like a short confrontation to excite fans. The thing is, I wasn’t really excited. I’ve already seen them face off in this year’s “Batman v. Superman” (which was awful, by the way), so I wasn’t clamoring for another deadly meeting.

Still, their chemistry was pretty good, and Miller knows how to make things interesting, even when working with such a hollow plot. Taking a step back and looking at the whole novel, however, I can definitely tell that Miller found trouble in ending this short story, for the first half was better than the second. Moving on, let’s look at the characters. This time around, everyone seems to be shifting into new forms. Not necessarily physical, but how they act. Everyone is learning new things, and new discoveries are to be found in this novel. One thing that has changed in a peculiar way is Lex Luthor. The man is turning into a much different person than in the show. He is a little nicer, jokes around a lot, and constantly talks to himself (technically it’s Tess, but you know what I mean). I don’t know what to think of this new Luthor. I smile at the jokes, but I don’t know if this is how he should act. I will admit that he is the most interesting pawn on this shallow board though. His issues with Tess are well-written and I am eager to see what happens next with him. As for the other characters, no one has moved forward. Sure, things are discovered, but it’s more for the readers sake than the characters in the novel. This plot is essentially one of those filler episodes of a season where the writers take a break from the main story just so they can meet the episode count of their season. Being as how this is a comic series, this shouldn’t happen. Finally, we get to the artwork, which is pretty bland. The art seemed to be my only big problem with the last graphic novel, and those feelings continue with this one. As you can see, I listed four pencilers above, all of whom worked on the art for the individual comics that make up this graphic novel. What half of them share in common, coincidentally, is they aren’t that good. The artwork in this was pretty bad, in different aspects. Chris Cross (nice name) found trouble in organizing his work.

Even though his drawings of characters weren’t too shabby (they had the likeness of the actors, which was good), his boxes that made up the pages were jumbled and confusing to follow, making it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Plus, some of his characters would all of a sudden have the eyes of a cartoon cat, making it hilariously bad. Kevin West had to be the worst, as his characters looked like mannequins most of the time, showing very little in the face. Axel Gimenez was fine, even though his characters didn’t show much likeness to the actors, and Jamal Ingle was actually good in his work, save for Superman at times, who had the neck of a giraffe. This comic series has a hard time picking great artists, and I hope that the next novel improves upon this. In the end, I thought that this novel was rather flat, especially when compared to the first. It was a nice detour to the main story arc, but it wasn’t needed, and they could’ve done a better job at introducing Batman to the universe. Let’s hope the next graphic novel isn’t so much of a throwaway.

FINAL SCORE: 70%= Buy for a Bargain

 

Juicy Reviews Presents: Smallville Season 11 – Volume 1: Guardian

COMIC REVIEW: “Smallville Season Eleven- Volume One: Guardian” is written by Brian Q. Miller (Batgirl [2009], Eartward) and is drawn by Pere Pérez (Savage Tales, Adventure Comics Special). Not long after the battle against Apocalypse that ended season ten, Clark Kent aka Superman is dealt with a new task when Lex Luthor initiates a space-based system used to stop other-worldly threats from attacking earth, known as the Guardian Defense Platform.

I wanted to thank Vintage Bullet for allowing me to review on this site once again. It was on my own accord to do so since I wanted to voice my opinion on the graphic novel series that is “Smallville Season Eleven,” being that my own site, Juicy Reviews, only analyzes films. Anyway, let’s get onto the review. Before I knew about this comic book series, I watched the television show “Smallville.” Although I picked up on the series a year after the show concluded in 2011, I was intrigued by the universe it created, with its many interesting stories and fun cast to watch onscreen. I adored the show, and when I found out that a comic series was published shortly after the TV show’s conclusion, I knew I had to get it. Granted, this is a graphic novel rather than the single comics themselves, but I prefer it this way nonetheless. I didn’t know what to expect out of this graphic novel. I haven’t read many comic books myself, but knowing that a writer from the television series was the head honcho of this comic eased my worries.

Off the bat, I will say that this is a fantastic read. Not only are the characters and their personalities retained, but a fresh story has been formulated as well. Starting this comic felt like “Smallville” was never gone, and it brought me joy to keep up with these characters once again. The dialogue amongst our figures was written so well, and I found myself visualizing the lines as if they were said by the actors who played the actors who played them. If there is one thing to say about this novel, it’s that it doesn’t diminish the characters “Smallville” fans spent ten years with. Their conflicts and story arcs are interwoven masterfully, as there was no weak link out of the bunch. Everyone had their fair share of interesting moments and they all pushed the plot line further. As for the story itself, it was really good. I didn’t know how they would continue Clark’s adventures as Superman, being as how he has already fought many of his main villains in the TV show, but Miller found a way to bring Lex forth and further his struggle with Superman, offering a diabolical plot that I would like to see continue. There are many twists in this story, some small and some big. All of them caught me off guard and made it less predictable. Of course, the novel ends on a cliffhanger in an attempt to get the reader to buy more (which I am), but I find those endings to be great as they keep my grasp on the storyline and leave me begging for more.

If there was anything that I could say badly about this graphic novel, it would be the artwork. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is good. There are just times, however, where it is ugly or cheap. Although the whole graphic novel is drawn by one person, he finds trouble in making characters like Clark Kent look the same throughout. Sometimes he will look like the actor Tom Welling from the show, and others he will look like a creepy man-child. It isn’t too bad to the point where I can’t read the book, but it is notable. In the end, I found this to be a great revamping of the television show as well as a fantastic launching point into the Superman mythos. I can’t wait until I receive to second novel, which includes Batman (that should be interesting).

FINAL SCORE: 93%= Vintage

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman V Superman stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Jason Momoa. After Superman’s (Cavill) fight with Zod in Man of Steel, Batman (Affleck) makes it his mission to take him down and make him pay for the death and destruction he caused. As these two icons of comics prepare for their battle the world has it’s own battle over their statuses as heroes or villains.

I have made a video on the subject of Batman V Superman. In it I described my thoughts and opinions on the movie before my own viewing. To summarize my points I’d say I wasn’t interested at first, but managed to turn myself around after seeing the final trailer and knowing more about the director, Zack Snyder. I admitted in the video that the plot could turn out to be thin, but in reality the movie has just enough plot to keep me interested.

BVS does a great job of establishing the characters of it’s own universe, separate from the previous ones, while still following the familiar beats that make these characters who they are. Superman does what we expect of him: he saves those in need, he doesn’t want to be seen as a god, despite his power he is still a human being, and that he loves Lois Lane(Adams). Batman is a more angry, vengeful Batman who brands criminals and actually kills some of them. I wasn’t annoyed by his killing, just surprised at the number of bodies he wracked up. I can understand why they changed him, they needed more tension in the fight. The stakes are high in their fight, as someone will die no matter who wins.

Speaking of the fight, it’s one of the highlights of the film. Batman has an interesting assortment of weapons and Superman’s pure strength make a great fight. The hits are brutal and the visuals and sound design escalate it to new heights for a superhero fight. While the fight does end in a little anti-climatic way, it did have a powerful impact once I put it all together. Every fight in the movie is amazing, from the Arkham style fight to the final fight which has great cinematography and editing. There’s a great Batmobile chase scene that looks directly from Arkham Knight.

The villain, Lex Luthor, was one of my favorite parts of the movie. His actions are some of the most evil things I’ve seen a villain do in a superhero movie. He has almost complete control over both main characters and I can feel that everything from the beginning to the end of the movie were all part of his plan. While he’s on screen Jesse Eisenberg is just unpredictable and with his twitching and stuttering it feels like he can explode at any moment. My one con for him is that he does go on too much with his religious metaphors.

The side characters that are here were pretty good to me. Jeremy Irons is a good Alfred and keeps his trademark snarkiness. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is great, especially in the later portions of the movie. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White keeps up his good performance from Man of Steel. Diane Lane as Martha Kent while only in for a short time, gives more life to her character. Amy Adams as Lois Lane is still one of the lesser points of the movie but she has good chemistry with Cavill and Swanwick (Lennix).

Now for a couple cons I had. The movie is a little slow in the beginning as it sets up the world currently. The terrorist and Senate meetings were a little boring, but Holly Hunter as Senator Finch is a good character and the pay off to both plot lines is worth the build up. Henry Cavill was still a little wooden in certain scenes, but he’s good in most scenes and his actions are more indicative to his character than his words.

Now, here’s what must be said of the movie. It certainly does meet the intentions that the movie set out to do. It introduces our characters, creates a reasonable enough reason for them to fight each other, has an exciting fight between them, and it sets up the future of the universe. The movie feels like it’s a grand scale and makes the events feel like big and important. Overall it’s a great movie that could be tightened up in a few places and I hope that the director’s cut can make this an even better movie.

Rating: 91% – 10 piece chicken bucket

Superman #1

The marathon is over and with it the first anniversary of Vintage Bullet. It’s been a wild ride with many ups and downs. I’d like to thank everyone who got me here. Special thanks to Harrison over at Juicy Reviews for the plug and the idea. With all that over with, what better way to end this marathon than with the first big superhero, Superman.

Superman #1 tells multiple stories about Superman as he does things like preventing a lynching, stopping an execution, fighting in a war, and joining a football team. When he’s not being Superman we get some pages of Clark Kent, Superman’s secret identity who works at the Daily Star. We also get a 2 page origin story for Superman.

Superman #1 is a book that confuses me in many ways. In terms of an actual story with a plot and characters it is terrible. Superman goes to multiple locations under the cover of reporter Clark Kent, but he is also sent to cover a domestic disturbance. Clark himself is boring, his only characteristic is the false cowardice he shows to cover his identity. Lois Lane is in this and she shows the strong she still is today. No other characters like Jimmy Olsen or any of Superman’s big villains appear.

However, things all begin to change when Superman appears. The character of Superman in this book is drastically different than how he is portrayed now. In this story he can not fly, he doesn’t have his super hearing, x-ray or heat vision, or his super breath. His main powers are his speed, jumping, super strength  and his invulnerability. He uses these powers mostly to intimidate and threaten people when he isn’t beating them up. His personality is more like Batman’s than Superman’s.

A perfect example of his bad behavior would be the football story. In order to break up a thug filled football racket, he decides to take the place of a member of the team they are playing next. One of the players, Burke, happens to look similar to Superman so he decides to take his place on the team. He goes to Burke’s house, drugs him so he’s asleep, and then goes to the game. I’m not gonna spoil the rest but he manages to also get Burke kicked from the team. And objectively the art is terrible. Superman’s cape and symbol sometimes disappear completely and most characters have Captain Marvel squinty eyes.

But despite all of this it has the charm of the Golden Age. Seeing Superman destroy airplanes and end a war makes me understand the character’s appeal back in those days. This book also contains the famous scene from Action Comics #1 where Superman lifts the car. I also like how the book balances multiple different types of stories without being so jumbled. I can’t be too harsh on a book like this, it’s just the time period.

Writer: Jerry Siegel

Artist: Joe Shuster

Rating: Borrow from a Mate

 

 

 

Young Justice #1

The marathon continues with a look at Young Justice #1

Three sidekicks: Superboy, Robin (Tim Drake,) and Impulse are hanging out in the Batcave. They’re bored and they bicker back and forth over actually being a team until they awaken Red Tornado, who had withdrawn from society because he believed he had lost his own humanity. Red Tornado says that they annoyed him and that made him realize he still had some humanity.  A crime at an archaeological site gets the team’s attention and they go after it. There’s a lot more here but I don’t want to spoil it.

One of the key elements of any superhero team is establishing a reason for the team’s existence. This first issue of Young Justice manages to do that, while not spending a lot of time dwelling on it. Red Tornado reveals that each member of the team falls into the three Freudian archetypes. This helps set up the origins of each character, while giving some kind of relation to each other. The writing gives every character a unique voice and manages to make each teenage character (who can and usually are written annoyingly,) more depth.

Another big thing in the book’s favor is the comedy. There’s a lot of meta commentary, but it doesn’t break the fourth wall or get distracting. Red Tornado saying he has 19 different files about Hawkman’s origin is pretty funny to me. They also play with the “random person touches an artifact and gets powers” cliche. The banter back and forth is worth a chuckle. In conclusion, it’s a solid, funny start to a series that I look forward to reading.

Writer: Peter David

Artist: Todd Nauck

Rating: Vintage

Vintage Bullet 1 Year Marathon

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Vintage Bullet on March 3rd I have decided to do another marathon. This will be a special #1 issue marathon. From today, February 26th to March 3rd I will review 1 #1 issue a day.

Day 1 – Swamp Thing #1

Day 2 – Young Justice #1

Day 3 – Justice League Task Force #1

Day 4 – Robin #1

Day 5 – Sensation Comics #1

Day 6 – JSA #1

Day 7 – Superman #1