One of the benefits of being off work sick for a couple of days is that I managed to buy my comics on Tuesday, and read the majority on Wednesday (I read the rest this evening). It's also nice when it's a great week of them, with no less than four comics being worthy of being included in the week's best, with others being awesome.
Also, this week's shipment was late... Seems like I'm condemned to never get my comics on time ever again. They made it in today, so I'll write up about them when I'm done.
"Dinah was so excited she faxed me a photo" - Wonder Woman, after hearing about Batman decking Guy Gardner in the JLI days, Justice League of America #0
Best of the week:
Catwoman #57 DC Comics Written by Will Pfeifer Art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez Cover by Adam Hughes
When I first read the solicitations for Catwoman after the One Year Later jump, I was convinced I'd be dropping the title. Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, having passed the mantle on. Furthermore, she's now a single mother of a baby to an as yet unrevealed father.
But writer Will Pfeifer has managed to keep the momentum up. He's managed to make the reader care about the new Catwoman, as well as Selina and her baby. And he manages to keep the ante upped.
This issue wraps up the first post One Year Later story arc, and does so brilliantly. Selina's been flirting with the idea of making a comeback, which leaves her baby in jeopardy. The characterisation in the issue is wonderful, and you really feel the risk associated with the characters. The best issue after the jump by a long way - and they've all been solid reads.
Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #1 Marvel Comics / Icon Written by Lisa Kirby and Steve Robertson Art by Mike Thibodeaux Cover by Jack Kirby
Hail to the King.
I've mentioned at some length what I think of Jack "the King" Kirby, so I'm not going to go there again. I'll just say that I'm a fan. I was a little skeptical about this, thinking that Marvel may simply be trading off Kirby's name with this project co-written by his daughter Lisa.
Luckily, I was wrong. Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #1 is a tribute to all things Kirby. Taken from an unused concept, this has been fleshed out nicely by his daughter, along with co-writer Steve Robertson. They manage to keep a wonderful Silver Age feel to the story, and yet manage to retain a modern sensibility about it. A tough mix, but they pull it off nicely. One can't help but wonder how much of the relationship between the father and children in this story is based off Lisa's feelings for her own father.
Mike Thibodeaux's art manages to keep the essence of Kirby's, while still managing to be Thibodeaux's. The art manages to capture the space opera feel of the story, as well as the mundane suburbia, along with the humour that comes across in the story. The entire issue is nothing short of great.
Justice League of America #0 DC Comics Written by Brad Meltzer Art by Ed Benes, George Perez, Jim Lee, JH Williams III, Gene Ha, Dick Giordano, Eric Wright, Tony Harris, Kevin Maguire, Dan Jurgens, Howard Porter, Luke McDonnell, Rags Morales, Ethan Van Sciver and Phil Jimenez Cover by Michael Turner
Lately, #0's are generally a waste of time and money. You're lucky to get a few pages of story, mixed in with sketches, and character bios. Thankfully, Justice League of America #0 doesn't fall into this trap, with a full story.
But is the story any good? Fuck yeah! It's an #0 as in it sets the scene with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, gathering to decide who they would like on the new Justice League. This leads to Meltzer giving us flashbacks throughout these characters' history together, juxtaposed with a potential future, where things go pear shaped, should these guys not stick together.
After building distrust amongst the JLA in Identity Crisis, Meltzer may seem like an odd choice for a story like this to some. But he handles it wonderfully, showing us just why these characters work so well together. The art is by a slew of talented creators, many of whom have worked on previous Justice League stories from over the years, and works well to differentiate the eras. Added with Ed Benes working on the "current parts", I'm looking forward to his art complementing Meltzer's writing from #1.
Runaways #18 Marvel Comics Written by Brian K Vaughan Art by Adrian Alphona and Craig Yeung Cover by Marcos Martin
With the first volume of Runaways ending with issue #18, in a story about death and betrayal, one could imagine that creator/writer Brian K Vaughan had big things in store for the 18th issue of the second volume. And such imaginings would indeed be correct.
Marvel didn't try to hide this; instead they promoted the hell out of it, as the cover to your left can attest. "One of these Runaways is about to die", they say. Something that they'd been advertising for months. And one does indeed die.
The death of a major character isn't enough to make a book great, much as both Marvel and DC would like readers to believe. But Vaughan has created such beautifully nuanced characters, that in Runaways, no matter who it is, it will be a tragedy. And it was. The issue is emotional, even if you are reading, wondering when its going to happen. He makes death matter. It matters to the characters, and it matters to the readers. This series is always amazing, but this issue was nothing short of beautiful.
Other bits and pieces:
Checkmate wraps up it's first arc brilliantly
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven ends strongly, leading into the equally strong first issue of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters
The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive picks up the pace in a solid second issue
Finally, a good issue of Shadowpact!
Superman/Batman's new arc gets off to a slow start
Civil War #3 is good, but doesn't live up to some of the related issues
I downloaded the teaser trailer for the upcoming CG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and figured I'd share that - along with the picture above, and posters of the individual characters below - with you, thanks to the wonders of YouTube.
It really is beautiful stuff. Even if you're not a Ninja Turtles fan, you've gotta admit that the animation sure is purdy...
Okay, on with the trailer!
Now, I'm a YouTube lover. I really am. And while surfing for the teaser, I found this blast from the past...
And I also found this. Let's just say that it's a little fucked up.
Okay, so I've just had a little rant about the crappy Legion of Superheroes animated series. But all is not lost. The DC animated universe may be dead, but the guys behind it are bringing some classic DC stories to animation, in the form of direct to DVD movies. And they're bringing some of the original creators with them!
They're not going to shoehorn these into the existing continuity; they'll be straight adaptations (or as close as possible, with around 80 minutes or so to spare with each film), with PG-13 ratings, ensuring that they're aimed for slightly older audiences.
So, what are these movies?
Superman: Doomsday - I'm not sure whether this will encompass The Death of Superman or simply the post death conflict between Supes and Doomsday. At the moment, it's the one I'm least looking forward to. Should still be decent entertainment, though.
Justice League: The New Frontier - Based on the amazing DC: The New Frontier, this should be amazing stuff. One of my all time favourite stories, with a beautiful look and tone.
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract - Already loosely adapted in the Teen Titans series, this is based on the classic story arc within The New Teen Titans, and will feature the rise and fall of the traitor Terra.
I was going to go on a bit more about these, but figured I'd leave it to the press release. Let's just say that I'm looking forward to these, and hope that DC and WB get more out there... and that Kingdom Come's amongst them!
DC Comics--the world's largest English-language publisher of comic books and the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman--Warner Home Video (WHV) and Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) have announced the start of production and distribution of "DC Universe," a series of original, animated PG-13 movies. The announcement was jointly made by Paul Levitz, President, DC Comics; Ron Sanders, President, Warner Home Video and Sander Schwartz, President, Warner Bros. Animation.
The films will be made by DC Comics' creators, including award-winning writer/artist Darwyn Cooke (The New Frontier; Catwoman) and legendary writer Marv Wolfman (The New Teen Titans), along with Bruce Timm (Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Animated Series) and Tom DeSanto (executive producer of the first two X-Men films and producer of the forthcoming Transformers feature), two acclaimed producers who have been instrumental in the creation of some of the most successful translations of the comic book experience into other media. Writer/producers Duane Capizzi (The Batman, The Batman vs. Dracula) and Stan Berkowitz (Justice League) will also be part of the creative team on the DC Universe films, with Timm serving as supervising producer on each of the titles. Working with WBA's award-winning group of animators, the writers will utilize DC Comics' vast history and tradition as they adapt classic comic book stories for the project.
WHV will be the exclusive worldwide home entertainment distributor for all DC Universe movies which will include a slate of 2-3 action-packed films per year. To kick off this impressive venture, WHV, WBA and DC Comics are proud to announce the first three films to be released in late 2007/early 2008:
Justice League: New Frontier - written by Stan Berkowitz (Justice League), with Darwyn Cooke serving as story and visual consultant
Superman: Doomsday - produced by Bruce Timm and written by Duane Capizzi, from a story by Timm & Capizzi
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract - written by Marv Wolfman and Tom DeSanto, produced by DeSanto.
"We are working closely with WHV and WBA to insure that the films honor the legacy of our great heroes. And we are lucky to have Marv Wolfman and Darwyn Cooke, two of the writers who created the source material for the films, involved in the project," said DC Comics President & Publisher Paul Levitz. "The creators bring a passion for the material and a level of creative ambition that will resonate with both DC Comics' fans who treasure the original stories and adults who love adventure, heroics and top-notch animation."
"We are thrilled to announce this unprecedented venture with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation," said Ron Sanders, President, Warner Home Video. "This initiative is a testament to our commitment to bringing fans new and innovative content created by the most revered names in the comic industry."
"As producers of the finest animation in the action/adventure genre, we are very excited about bringing the iconic DC Comics characters to an ever broader audience through this series of films," said Sander Schwartz, President, Warner Bros. Animation. "We've teamed with the greatest authors, artists, producers and directors working in comic book publishing and animation to bring great pictures to life for the current generation of fans and for many generations to come."
Other DC properties with films in development include Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman
Maybe I'm bitter. Justice League Unlimited has been canned, ending the fine 14 years of the DC animated universe. Granted, there are other DC cartoons out there, including:
Teen Titans - amusing, but never reaching the heights of the DCAU proper
The Batman - a shoddy first season, which is all I've seen, though apparently gets better
Krypto the Superdog - I'm not going to dignify that with my time
And now... Legion of Superheroes. The final season of JLU, which I'm watching at the moment features an excellent Legion episode. When I heard that WB was doing a Legion of Superheroes cartoon, I'd hoped that they were going to spin it off from here, continuing the universe.
Turns out I was wrong...
So very wrong. Now, they're trying to appeal to the kiddies, and that's fine. I don't have a problem with that. But the whole animated DC Universe before this managed to appeal to the kids, and managed to maintain quality.
This doesn't look like it'll manage to. Atleast not to the same standard. They've felt the need to shoehorn Superman into this cartoon. Yes, in the old comics, Superboy was an honorary member. That was fine. If they decided to do it with this, I'd be okay with it.. But SuperMAN? I mean, this is supposed to be about teen superheroes. But then, it wasn't Superboy who just had a movie out. It was SuperMAN...
Anyhoo, check out this little bit of footage, thanks to the wonders of YouTube.
Last week's shipment hasn't yet arrived (should be tomorrow, but I don't think I'll be making it out to grab comics), so it'll probably be a bumber double - and inevitably late - post about them at some point...
"Ha ha, how could I forget? You'd trick me into looking at 'em by telling me the toilet needed fix'n. I'd go in there and, man... who'd have guessed a little guy like you could produce such enourmous turds?" - Actually a heart felt conversation between Bethany and Bloato, Strange Girl #9.
Best of the week:
Strange Girl #9 Image Comics Written by Rick Remender Art by Eric Nguyen Cover by Eric Nguyen
Not only did this issue of Strange Girl feature the week's best quote, it was far and away the best comic of the week. Before getting to this issue towards the bottom of my pile, I was wondering how the Hell I was exactly going to mention a comic being great this week. There was some good stuff, but nothing that really stood out and slapped me in the face yelling, "Hey look at me! Aren't I great?"
But that changed when I read this issue. It's the end of Bethany's first big arc, and man, did it go out with a bang. The story was amazing, it was heartfelt, and it was very poignant. And sometimes sad. In the interests of both brevity and not spoiling it, it was simply great. Creator/writer Rick Remender has stated quite clearly that he's proud of this issue. And so he should be.
A slight drawback for me was Eric Nguyen's art, which really resembles a poor man's Mike Mignola. Much as I love Mignola, I wanna see Mignola do Mignola, not someone else. Ah well, the artist's shifting next issue, so maybe that'll be rectified.
Other bits and pieces:
Green Arrow was as fun as always
Superman features a solid story by the new creative team, but not as good as I was hoping
Green Lantern kicks it up a notch; the best since Rebirth
While the current JLA: Classified arc started strongly, it's deteriorated savagely
Ghost Rider's new #1 was solid
Transformers: Infiltration was the most readable issue yet - and also the last of this particular miniseries
I read the original:
Superman: Infinite Crisis collects a nice story arc about the similarities and differences between the Supermen of Earth 1 and Earth 2. Fun stuff, though not the most memorable Superman story ever...
I should have my weekly comics rundown tomorrow, once I've finished reading everything (and with this week's not making it til Tuesday, I may do a double write up with this week's and next) , and I was going to slap up some Marvel covers for October... But both Newsarama and Comic Book Resources are down right now. Hopefully I'll get these up tomorrow night aswell.
But to chuck something up here, I present you with a promo pic for Spider-Man 3... with that disturbingly goth looking Peter Paker.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... I've heard it all before, and from guys a lot more unconscious than you! Okay... that didn't make much sense... But who cares?" - Michaelangelo's attempt at a witty retort, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #28
Best of the week:
Detective Comics #821 DC Comics Written by Paul Dini Art by JH Williams III Cover by Simone Bianchi
DC's been making a huge hullabaloo about Batman kicking off with Grant Morrison writing, and Andy Kubert drawing. This hasn't quite started yet, so I can't imagine what the quality will be like. One thing is certain though, and that's that it's a shame that Detective Comics is comparatively flying under the radar.
Paul Dini, the mastermind behind Batman: The Animated Series has kicked off his tenure on Detective with a standalone mystery - something he'll be doing every issue, and something against the grain, especially when superheroes are involved.
Combined with JH Williams III's beautiful art, the results are amazing. The villain's revelation is a bit of a disappointment, but it's forgivable, considering the quality of the issue on the whole. Tales of the TMNT #24 Mirage Publishing Written by Murphy Art by Mike Hawthorne Cover by Mike Hawthorne
Tales of the TMNT is a great little title, which may sound a bit condescending. It's an anthology title about the Ninja Turtles, and features some great stories. And quite often, it's a better read than the core Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title.
And this issue is one of those occasions. Michaelangelo and Raphael are out watching construction, before two giant robots show up, and start attacking the workers. But are they going out on the offensive, or are they acting more defensively.
While a cool Ninja Turtles story, the strength of this issue is really the commentary on human nature. I won't say anything more at the risk of spoiling it, but it's a heartfelt, thought provoking tale... of the TMNT.
Hey, there's a movie out:
Superman Returns: The Movie and More Tales of the Man of Steel DC Comics Written by Martin Pasko, and various Art by Matt Haley, and various Photo cover
The image to your left issn't the actual cover... just the one DC used for the solicitation
Okay, so I loved Superman Returns. And I enjoyed the prequel comics. So, how does this adaptation of the comic hold up? In short, it sucks.
There really isn't much else to say. 2 1/2 hours of movie crammed into 48 pages, and it's not handled at all well. The art's nice, but that's about it.
You'll notice though, that the title features "and More Tales of the Man of Steel" (two versions are available, with and without the extras), which make this worth a read. It features a reprint of Superman's origin, as told by comics legends E Nelson Briddell, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, as well as some more recent stories about Superman, and what an inspiration he is to the world.
So check this out if you want some cool Superman stories - just skip the movie adaptation.
Other bits and pieces:
I got a few #1's with this lot, but only The All-New Atom and Beyond! held my attention
Batman: Secrets ended strongly
ArchEnemies' finale was surprisingly serious and touching
Blood of the Demon and JSA both wrapped up with a decided whimper
At 25 cents US, you can't go past Dark Horse: 20 Years, featuring pin ups by Dark Horse creators of Dark Horse characters...
Check out these names:
I read the original:
Batman: City of Crime is an interesting tale... For the first few issues. And then it becomes a meandering mess. It may have been a decent read if limited to around four issues... Or maybe not.
Everything I got this week:
52 Week 9
The All-New Atom #1
Batman: Secrets #5
Blood of the Demon #17
Dark Horse: 20 Years
Detective Comics #821
Grimm Fairy Tales #7
Occult Crimes Taskforce #1
Secret Six #2
Superman Returns: The Movie and More Tales of the Man of Steel
Okay, I like movies. I love reading screenplays. So I figure I'll try and read some scripts for movies that didn't quite get off the ground...
Among the long line of attempts to get a Superman movie off the ground, Warner Bros were strongly considering a crossover between Superman and Batman, figuring they can hit two birds with one stone, and kickstart two franchises.
They hired writer Andrew Kevin Walker (8MM, Se7en, Sleepy Hollow) to write a screenplay for director Wolfgang Petersen (The Perfect Storm, Troy, Poseiden). Together, they were poised to be the creative team behind Batman vs Superman (codenamed Asylum in this version of the script, dated June 21, 2002).
So, is it any good? Well, the telltale sign could quite possibly be the "Current Revisions by Akiva Goldsman" credit. In all fairness, Goldsman has written some great stuff. But he also wrote the Bat-abominations Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
That isn't to say though, that the screenplay is a one liner-laden, action figure selling bonanza, though. It's major problem is trying to make the film too relevant.
Superman and Lois Lane are now divorced. Robin's dead. So's Commissioner Gordon. So's Alfred, though Batman does have a holographic version of his aide assisting him in the Batcave.
And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The film opens up with a terrorist attack in Metropolis, an obvious ploy for apparent gravity, and a look at a darker world presented in this script. Soon after, Bruce Wayne, now retired from his life fighting crime, gets married - only to have his wife murdered on their honeymoon.
These events lead Superman, and Batman (now out of retirement, naturally!) to the Joker. But the Joker's dead, or is he? At this point, the script starts to become confusing - is this following the Burton/Shumacher continuity, or is it something different? In many respects, it follows the precedents set by these films, and in other ways, it manages to ignore them...
But, I guess Walker didn't want audiences to worry about such trivial things, and instead wants us to be engrossed in the proceedings, as Batman slips over the edge into oblivion, out on a mission solely for revenge, while Superman tries to stop him, while renewing his unrequited love with Lana Lang.
This script manages to virtually side step every supporting character in Batman and Superman's world. The "Bat family" is dead, though we get a holographic Alfred, and Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon is now police commissioner. As for Superman, Lois Lane fails to make a single appearance. Perry White appears in one scene, and Jimmy Olsen manages to muster a single line offscreen. These characters are part of what makes the respective mythologies great, but they're all ignored here.
In all fairness, the Clark/Lana relationship works, and invokes some great stories about the two. Before it takes a nosedive as someone figured "Hey, you know what this movie needs? A sex scene!"
Even the characterisations for Superman and Batman are way off base. I can get past the fact that these two characters are best friends, but to have them chatting about going out for a beer after a hard night's crimefighting is plain ridiculous.
The pre-climax fight between Superman and Batman is fun, and would no doubt have looked great on screen. In many ways it's an homage to Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and even manages to get a kryptonite arrow in there (sans Green Arrow, though).
And that's the size of it. A couple of little nuggets of goodness, covered in dreck. I'm glad this never got off the ground, as it would have kickstarted two terrible franchises. There's talk of Warner Bros coming back to a Superman/Batman movie after the current franchises have run their course. And I would love to see them on the big screen together. After seeing Superman Returns, I thought that while completely different to Batman Begins, these two have potential for a crossover. But it'd have to be far superior to this piece of shit.
In my last Best of the week post, I mentioned that I would likely give a rundown of two week's comics in a row. Between a delay of last week's shipment too (only a day, due to 4th July but I digress), and getting pissed off at work on Wednesday, I ended up getting two shipments separately. I'm finally through the first lot, so here we go!
"Fine. You want my opinion? The war is a big oil-sucking lie and people are dying by the truckload because of it. The whole world knows there were no warehouses packed with nuclear warheadsm no underground vats of bio-toxins, no super-agents dropping from the sky like human bombs. Our nation is anesthetized and divided, but somehow our leaders are not ashamed." - Firebrand, spouting opinions all too similar to what we face outside of the DC Universe, in DCU: Brave New World
Best of the week:
Southland Tales Book I: Two Roads Diverge Graphitti Designs Written by Richard Kelly Art by Brett Weldelle
When I first saw this in my standing order, I was disappointed by the digest size. Granted, 96 pages is a decent read, but I'm not a fan of digests. And at $12.95US (around $25, give or take, here in Aus), it's not exactly a cheap read, either. Not to mention it doesn't take long to get through.
And by now, it's really not coming across as "best of the week" material, but it is in so many ways. If you've seen Donnie Darko, you'll know that Richard Kelly can cram comedy, drama, wacky science fiction, and emotion into one, while completely fucking with you. And here, in the first of three prequels to his upcoming Southland Tales movies, he's done it again. This comic is amazing; and simply has to be read to be believed.
Incidentally, the comic (and movie) feature a porn star named Krysta Now. The comic references her website, www.krysta-now.com, where she tries to get herself taken seriously. And it exists. There's not much there, but it looks like there'll be a bit added as the movie approaches. Good for a giggle.
Young Avengers #12 Marvel Comics Written by Allan Heinberg Art by Jim Cheung and Robert Stull Cover by Jim Cheung
Okay, the image is scrambled. I couldn't quickly find a better one, so this'll have to do.
Young Avengers #12 acts as the "season finale", before the series goes on hiatus for a while. The series thus far has been consistently one of the best reads out there, and this issue doesn't disappoint.
It manages to wrap up dangling plot threads, bringing character arcs full circle. The plot works, featuring Hulkling having come to terms that he's half Skrull/half Kree (two alien races in the Marvel Universe, for the un-initiated), and dealing with the reignited war over his heritage.
And let's not forget the tease at the end of the issue, building towards the next arc. Brilliant stuff.
Hey, there's a movie out:
Superman Returns Prequel #4 DC Comics Story by Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, and Dan Harris Written by Marc Andreyko Art by Wellington Dias and Doug Hazelwood Cover by Adam Hughes
So the fourth - and final - Superman Returns prequel comic hits, and how does it fare? Pretty bloody well. This issue, focusing on Lois Lane, manages to surpass the previous issues by a wide margin.
Superman left Metropolis. He left Earth, in search of Krypton. And he didn't say goodbye - not even to Lois. This issue is about Lois still dealing with the loss five years later. When Perry asks her to write an article about what Superman meant to the world, she reflects on what it was like with him, and what it's like now that he's gone.
This issue isn't a bad read at all, and serves to expand on the Lois and Clark relationship in Superman Returns.
Two "preview" comics hit the stands:
DCU: Brave New World, which includes lead ins to Martian Manhunter, Trials of Shazam, All-New Atom, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, and OMAC. Martian Manhunter and Trials of Shazam are looking great, though it didn't quite build any anticipation for the others. 80 pages, with a US cover price of just $1.00.
Virgin Comics #0 hit with a lead in to Devi, as well as another series, whose title escapes me. Devi's all that grabbed me here - that looks pretty cool. Around 24 pages, and free.
That missed comic:
I don't even know why I bought Angel: The Curse Cover Gallery. There are some amazing images, but it's a little ridiculous that IDW charged full price for something that simply reprints covers!
Other bits and pieces:
The American Way keeps it's strong storyline up
"Face the Face" finishes with a bang in Batman
Solo's final issue is a little hit and miss, which is a shame - Sergio Aragones is usually great
Daredevil is as awesome as always
Runaways builds towards a big finale
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was surprisingly great. I would have included it among the best of the week, though it missed out my a small margin.
I read the original:
Decimation: Generation M is out, and it's an amazing read. It introduces Sally Floyd, seen in Civil War: Frontline, and is by far the best thing to come out of the collective shit-fest House of M. This miniseries is poignant, touching, and manages to get an interesting mystery about a serial killer in there, too.
In Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman, producer Jon Peters admitted that he was a bit of a dick, as per Kevin Smith's comments about working with him on Superman Lives before that got off the ground (though, I have to admit that Smith's screenplay wasn't half bad, even including the concessions he had to make). In the documentary, Peters says "I spent twelve years being wrong about what Superman is", when discussing the differences between what could have been, and what we got in
I'm finding it a little surprising that Superman Returns has been getting mixed reviews. Granted, most of them are positive, but some people are remaining very disheartened by Singer's take on Superman.
Maybe it's because they're inexplicably not fans of Richard Donner's Superman and Richard Lester's Superman II. Maybe it's because they wanted a whole new take on the Superman mythology. Maybe it's because Superman Returns doesn't cater directly to the Smallville generation of fans. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because they don't get what Superman is all about.
Personally, I loved the movie. Yes, you can gripe about Lois having moved on with her life and having a kid, and yes you can gripe that for all intents and purposes, Superman is stalking her (though, that particular scene does work, in my opinion). To up and complain that Superman date raped Lois in Superman II after the memory-wiping kiss fiasco is a complete and total stretch, so let's not even go there.
After watching Superman Returns, one thing is made abundantly clear. Singer is a fan of Superman. The character. The ideal. Not just those two previous movies, which admittedly are prominently referenced, but Superman in general. Bryan Singer simply "gets" Superman.
I'm going to keep this spoiler free for anyone who is yet to see the movie, and has thus far managed to stay away from them. No doubt this will keep my rant/review/whatever a little shorter.
The plot works. It's fairly basic, it's good versus evil. People have complained about the pace, but it builds nicely. The characters and relationships are the real things to get the audience in, and some people seem to forget that a movie - even a superhero movie - should include these. After a five year absense, Superman returns to Metropolis to learn that Lois is engaged, has a kid, and won a Pulitzer for an article entitled "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman".
It's a situation that Supes hasn't faced in the movies, TV, radio, or even comics before. And for comic fans, this can cause a bit of concern, but it really shouldn't. It's a plot we haven't been given, but it does nothing to cheapen who Superman is. And believe me, this film captures the world's love - both the one inside the movie, and ours - for the iconic hero. Make no mistake about it, as presented in Superman Returns, Superman is an icon.
Brandon Routh give an almost perfect impersination of Christopher Reeve in this film, yet makes the role his own. It's a great performance. Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane is softer than Margot Kidder's from the previous films. While people are worried by this, you're forgetting that Lois is now a mother, and has more on her mind. Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor is amazing - far better than Gene Hackman ever gave us. He still retains some humour, but is also damn scary in parts. Sam Huntington steals his scenes as Jimmy Olsen, as does the always great Parker Posey at Kitty Kowalski. Frank Langella is servicable as Perry White, though underused. Surprisingly, James Marsden gives a sympathetic performance as Perry's nephew and Lois's fiancee Richard, showing he's capable of more than the wooden Cyclops in X-Men.
Superman Returns is a must see movie. It mightn't be fast and frenetic with a techno soundtrack, but it's classic filmmaking. Definitely worth catching, just as long as you're prepared for a similar outing to the previous movies.
And, as if two posts aren't enough, I bring to you... an intermission! There were a lot of fucked up covers in the Silver Age, many of which showed Superman to be an arsehole. The following are from Superdickery.com, which has a whole ton more