With all the recent excitement surrounding Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, it’s easy to forget that DC / Warner Bros. is busy putting the finishing touches on the TDKR movie that anyone who was reading comics in the late 1980s really cares about: the animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

As someone who owns the first print issues of The Dark Knight Returns, plus the first print of the trade paperback, and the Longmeadow Press leather-bound Complete Frank Miller Batman from 1989 (including both The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, and no, it is not for sale), I am damned excited for this flick… and yet disappointed that we are getting it as an animated feature. Because any comic fan around 40 years old had dozens of conversations between 1986 and say, 1996, about who to cast in a live-action version of Dark Knight. My 1988 money was on Lee Marvin as Batman, Anthony Perkins as The Joker, and Christopher Reeve back as Superman… and given all their current availability, I guess I’ll stick with the animated version.

Anyway, DC and Warner Bros. have released the first complete clip from the first part of the movie (It’ll be two DVDs or Blu-Rays), and despite being only a minute or so long, I think you’ll see at least one familiar image… from both The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Rises.

Share

Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Well, it wasn’t so bad in relation to the July shootings that led to Batman Incorporated #3 being delayed for a month. From a storytelling standpoint, it’s another matter, but I’ll get back to that.

Batman Incorporated #3 has a lot going for it, and that is a surprising thing for a guy who hasn’t been digging Grant Morrison’s Batman stories to say. Morrison delivers us a 70s style detective story, with Batman spending a large part of the issue undercover – Batman doesn’t appear in full costume in a single panel of this issue –  trying to root out Leviathan and Talia Al Ghul. It’s not a perfect issue, but it’s generally a refreshing throwback to Neal Adams / Dennis O’Neil stories from the 70s, with the weirdness for the sake of weirdness that Morrison can’t seem to help himself from chucking into his Batman stories dialed back to a dull roar. Not no roar, but it’s subdued enough for me to alternate between hoping Morrison might be mellowing, and suspecting that his mescaline dealer coughed up a weak batch.

With that said, this issue suffers from a few storytelling problems, and requires a few voluntary leaps in logic if you want to truly enjoy it… which means that the “weak batch” theory is getting more of a foothold with me.

Share

You might have heard that, starting in Justice League #12, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee will be starting a storyline where Superman and Wonder Woman take their relationship, shall we say, to the next level. They go from friends, to friends with benefits, provided my “benefits” you mean “The Kryptonian Armpit Gank.”

We didn’t jump on this story here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives because, after nearly 40 years of reading comics, this isn’t our first rodeo – we’ve seen these two crazy kids bump overidealized comic book uglies in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and saw it intimated in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, plus if you can spell the words “comic” and “slash” and find the enter key on your laptop, you can get all the super sucky-fucky you can shake your stick at. Besides, these things come and go in the comics – remember when Batman almost chucked the Bat Meat to Zatanna? These things never last, and we figured we’d address it in our review of the issue.

That is, until DC decided to hype the story by setting up profiles for Superman and Wonder Woman on Match.com.

Share

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: DC Nation makes me look forward to Saturday morning cartoons again!

This new trailer of upcoming shorts features Bane, Amethyst, Black Lightning, goofy takes on Green Lantern, Shazam, The Flash and his Rogues Gallery, and Doom Patrol, along with a whole bunch of other awesome, if not completely readily identifiable, clips.

I think I saw John Kricfalusi-esque animation in there. Would stuff by the actual man be too much to hope for?

DC Nation runs every Saturday morning on The Cartoon Network, beginning at 10am EST.

via WB’s Comic-Con

Share

I had mixed feelings about Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom going into it, because as much as I love the character, it really belonged almost totally to creator Dave Stevens. Sure, I’ve been enjoying the Rocketeer Adventures books over the past few months, but many of those stories took place around the Rocketeer universe, featuring other characters and how the presence of The Rocketeer affected them. These short stories felt like tributes to Stevens’s character and work, allowing the original to stand on its own without new creators jumping right into that sandbox.

Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom, however, is a full-length miniseries focused firmly on The Rocketeer and his friends themselves. This puts the creative team of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee right onto Stevens’s turf, and when it comes to Dave Stevens, we’re talking about a guy who was such a perfectionist that he only came out with two long form Rocketeer stories between 1982 and 1995. So for a long-time Rocketeer fan, who owns the original movie poster and who still carries his keys on a Rocketeer keyring, a poorly-done Rocketeer story would be a catastrophe; a rotten cash grab on the level of the worst of Before Watchmen, only with an added distasteful element of necrophilia thrown in to boot.

Thankfully, Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom is a generally worthy addition to the Rocketeer canon, that continues Stevens’s own addition of period-appropriate pulp canon to the original aviation-based story, with a healthy dose of flying action, a respect toward the vocation of pilot in the early days of flying, and the most dysfunctional relationship since Judd Winick said, “okay” to Catwoman. Of course, being a period pulp adventure story written after 1982, it also borrows some elements heavily from Raiders of The Lost Ark, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Share

There is a convention going on in Toronto this weekend called Fan Expo Canada, which we were not able to attend since we are still paying off our attendance at San Diego Comic-Con, I have no valid passport, and because of that 1991 incident where the Montreal Police were forced to declare that particular location of Peel’s Pub “Unfit for human habitation” after five pitchers of Labatts and a plate of their poutine like it’s my fault that there was already a dude locked in the bathroom when the gravy and beer did what it does.

Anyhoo, there was a convention this weekend, and members of the DC Comics staff were there, and there was a pretty big announcement: writer Geoff Johns and current Batman: The Dark Knight artist David Finch will be collaborating on a new book: Justice League of America.

Share

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do is spoil the living shit out of comic books.

When I was but a young lad, growing up in 1980’s America, things were different. We woke up, put on our parachute pants and our high-top Reeboks, strapped on our Walkmen to listen to the Big Band sounds of Dokken and Triumph, and walked to school uphill through the snow (okay, it was flake cocaine). We didn’t have your damn iPhones or your methamphetamine extracts or your Carly Rae Jepsen (although we did have Madonna; we could have done something about that for you kids before it was too late, and we are collectively very, very sorry)… and we sure as hell didn’t have a Wolverine with an origin story. Not like you little bastards today, who know Wolverine’s name is really James Howlett, and that he grew up in the 19th Century, and what his Weapon X helmet looked like; by God, when we read about Wolverine, we knew his name was Logan, that he was from Canada, and that’s all!

Yup, all we had was a Wolverine with a mysterious past, which kept things simple, exciting, and most importantly: difficult to fuck up with stupid shit. And having read Wolverine #312, I can say with some authority that we had it better.

Share

It’s been an eventful week at the big two this week when it comes to high profile creators stepping away. Earlier this week, Rob Liefeld left DC in what could be called “colorful circumstances”… but which most people would call a petulant display of “Fuck you, Mom! You’re not the boss of me!” via Twitter. And while an argument could be made, given similar (albeit lower-keyed) sentiments about post-New 52 practices by DC Editorial have been voiced by creators like John Rozum and Gail Simone, that maybe there is a logic behind a public airing of grievances, all I can say is, that as a guy who recently changed jobs, I find the airing of dirty laundry in public, and the burning of bridges, to be incomprehensible to me. Don’t get me wrong, I did it – once – and it basically guaranteed that I could never work in that particular industry again. But then again, I was never a particular name in that industry, so there was no reason for anyone to try to keep me, despite the fact that, drunken snit or no, at least I never drew tits on Captain America. But I digress.

Turns out Liefeld isn’t the only high profile creator walking away from a high-profile assignment: yesterday, also via Twitter, Winter Soldier and Captain America writer, and Marvel Architect Ed Brubaker, announced that his current tenure at Marvel is drawing to a close:

Share

Yup. I saw it. I can’t unsee it. Now I’m sharing it with you:

Hey ladies! Check out my Hulk!

You can check out the specifics of why this is a thing that happened over on Sean Howe’s Tumblr. And, you can actually purchase Batman Vs. The Incredible Hulk, which is also a crazy thing that apparently happened, over on Amazon. Most importantly, you can purchase enough whiskey to make you forget that picture over at your local liquor store. I know that’s on my list of things to do right after I hit “post” on this.

You’re welcome.

Share

EDITOR’S NOTE: All the atoms in the test chamber are screaming at once. The spoilers… the spoilers are taking me to pieces.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating: Adam Hughes’s Dr. Manhattan #1 cover looks like the Good Doctor is blasting Silk Spectre right in the shitter.

Now that we have the pleasantries out of the way, we can talk about the issue itself. And a big part of me expected to not like this book. Writer J. Michael’ Straczynski’s work on fellow Before Watchmen title Nite Owl has been disappointing on a good day, and an irritating retcon of various elements of Watchmen continuity as a whole, on a bad one. Further, this book lives and dies based on Manhattan’s preoccupation on quantum theory, which is something that I can’t remember the character ever obsessing over in Watchmen, but which makes sense since Wikipedia’s article on quantum mechanics shows that not only was quantum theory viable in the mid 20th century, but that even in the early 21st century I am still too stupid to understand quantum theory.

With that said, this is an engaging book that captures the ADD nature of Dr. Manhattan’s inner dialogue in a manner that Watchmen fans will find familiar, fills out some of the backstory to the character that makes some sense, and closes on an intriguing mystery that makes me want to come back to see how it plays out. At the same time, it also somewhat overplays those character traits in ways that don’t make sense for a character who can see the totality of time, instills motivations on Manhattan that have never been mentioned before, and uses the word “box” more than an 1974 porno loop.

That’s the hell of quantum mechanics – all possibilities are real, and influenced by the observer.

Share