Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero

I saw this movie years ago, but didn't really remember it, and certainly didn't post about it. It is from the old Batman animated series, so the art style is awesome and distinct although everything looks like it's from the 50s which may turn some people off. Mass murderer and brilliant scientist, Mr. Freeze, needs to revive his ailing wife, and if that means he has to kill innocence to do so, so what? It's up to Batman and Robin to stop him. This is an enjoyable enough Batman adventure, but I do get the feeling you're supposed to forget, at least at times, that Mr. Freeze is a mass murder.

Superman: Doomsday

Having no real stories to tell, DC comics decided to kill Superman (spoilers, he comes back (something I really think may screw up kids who grew up reading comics)). This animated version of the story, which I never read, has a lot of punching, but not a whole lot of anything else. If the story is about anything, it really is about Lois Lane and her relationship with Superman (and not at all with her relationship with Clark Kent) and, to a lesser degree, with Lex Luther's obsession with Superman. With those aspects, we're actually getting towards an interesting story, but it is incomplete. Overall it's not horrible, but it's nothing... super.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

We all know the Justice League and its main member, Superman, and how he is the son of general Zod, was sent to earth, narrowly missing capture by Lex Luther, and raised by migrant farm workers. Okay, maybe you don't know this version, which has a much darker, bloodier group of superheroes, and now someone's trying to frame them for the murders of scientists (shockingly, murders they did not commit, this time). This was an enjoyable, animated film, but I think you'll enjoy it the most when you have a least some general idea how the DC universe is being turned upside down, otherwise it is just a bunch of meaningless names with much less impact. Definitely worth it if you're a DC comics fan, but otherwise probably not. See if you catch the references to drug use and sex.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

Based on the death toll and the cursing, I suspect this movie isn't for kids. I don't care what you say, I like Aquaman! Super strong, invulnerability, can breathe underwater, is a king, and can talk to fish; what's not to like? This animated film focuses on introducing Aquaman, while exposing viewers to the Justice League (whom they presumably already know). The plot involves a conspiracy to pit the underwater kingdom of Atlantis against the surface world. Pretty good, and the art is nice although I'm jealous that everyone has amazing deltoid muscles .

DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the young boy who could turn into a superhero with a magic word, and for his evil counterpart, Black Adam, the one time god Emperor. But this short film that has the man of steel, AKA Superman, and Shazam isn't what won me over with this little collection. Instead, it was a short on the spirit of vengeance, otherwise known as The Specter, as it was wonderfully done with the look and sound of a 70s crime drama. There is also a short on The Green Arrow, which was a fun action romp, and Jonah Hex, a nicely done, sexualized, dark western. A great collection with the irony that the title feature was the weakest.

JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time

An often very funny, if not overly interesting movie, about the Justice League, or to be more precise, about two would be heroes: Dawn Star and Karate Kid, who must travel back in time from the 31st century to undo the mess they made of our time. The art is a little off-putting and I think the plot of the movie is simply to introduce young viewers to various DC characters, but the only actual characters in the film are Dawn Star and Karate Kid which really makes this a Legion of Super Heroes movie and not a Justice League of America one.

Gotham City Sirens (Book 2) - Peter Calloway

This comic deals with three female villains: Poison Ivy, the man-hater that controls plants and men; Catwoman, the cat burglar; and Harley Quinn, the insane former psychiatrist. At first I was concerned that it might be the cheap way of appealing to your average comic book geek's libido, but it was actually pretty good, with stories (mostly by Calloway) focusing more on the relationship between the women and the problems the men in their life have caused. There was a bump in the road when one issue in the collection got sidetracked due to some company wide story, but other than that I approve. Gothan City Sirens

Batgirl (vol 1): Batgirl of Burnside - Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher

I wanted to like this comic, I really did, and there are some good points. It is a cute comic about the genius vigilante, daughter of the police commissioner, who's moved to a hipster neighborhood, and has to deal with some "Real" problems (such as boys, school, and old friends). I really liked how Barbara Gordon uses her photographic memory to review a crime scene (although some of those images could've been actually given to us, so that readers can try to solve the crime as well). I will be brief in my problems of the collection because I can nitpick for probably pages. Far too much of the story is devoted to desperately attempting to appeal to tweens through thinly veiled references to popular Internet sites and applications (so this comic will be dated all the sooner), there are events that occur that are only really explained retroactively (maybe an editor finally caught the problems (for example, if you need crutches you probably will use them going up and down stairs, if you are a computer genius you probably have your most important files backed up and/or heavily encrypted, etc.)), the main villain turns out to be an incredibly clichéd trope, some of the character interactions are absurd, there appears to be some unflattering commentary about transvestites (although I may be reading too much into that), for a comic that is supposed to be a jumping on point it is incredibly reliant on the old DC universe, and... Well I said I try to keep it short--but I have to make one last point that I was pissed that the writers abandoned Barbara's working on a PhD in library science, as the focus of her new thesis is actual very similar to work being done right now in PhD library science programs! I guess my biggest problem is that I felt it had the potential to be a good comic, and just fell short by relying on cheap gimmicks. batgirl

Grayson (vol 1): Agents of Spyral - Tim Seeley

I guess, having run out of ideas of what to do with Robin/Nightwing, DC decide to turn him into a secret agent. Yes, it's a stupid idea, and this first volume brings up more questions than answers, such as: What the heck is Spyral? Is it a religious organization, based on outfits at least two agents wear? Who is this clown that's running it? (why is he sitting in Marvel comic's Mojo's chair?) Why is he a clown (not literally)? Is that Huntress? What exactly is this organization trying to do? Why are Wild Storm characters in this book? And why are they pointless? I'm pretty sure these questions should have been answered within this volume. The only real character is the boy wonder, former vigilante, former circus performer, which I guess is fine for now. While I honestly do not care for this, the final issue in the collection has enough going for it to make me consider looking for the next volume: the story is told backwards from the future (which is always a mistake because it implies certain consistencies, such as at the very least that the character does not die prior to the story), but it was cleverly done (although they should've used the Cluemaster concept more) and well-written enough to convinced me that Seeley does have skill and I should not write him off too quickly. grayson

Batman (vol 4): Zero Year - Secret City - Scott Snyder

I know, I know, I keep saying I'm never going to read another Snyder book about the vigilante Batman. On the plus side, this is the best of his works I've ever read. He doesn't make the mistakes of the past such as the nonsensical plot line of the Court of Owls, or the ludicrous Joker story, but simply attempts to tell a straightforward story of Batman fighting against a gang. Here's where the problems are. Just as an aside, the introduction of this volume didn't make any sense to me: it takes place six years ago in what is clearly the future, to only then say five months earlier (then the six years or today?); in any event it has no value to the story proper. I don't understand the purpose of making this a Batman begins story; it is so clear that Frank Miller did a much better job telling the definitive version that this story is so obviously beholden to it, and quite frankly this story is much weaker than that one. I didn't mind that Batman is up against the Red Hood, spoiler alert, he becomes the Joker, just not in this comic, but it is a little too silly: Red Hood has literally hundreds of people (how he magically keeps track of everyone even though they are all dressed exactly the same and masked is ridiculous) blackmailed or otherwise convinced into doing his bidding, so it seems pretty straightforward that anything he wants to get away with he could simply have one of his cronies do it (e.g., rather than have a gang steal something, a blackmailed individual can simply give him what he wanted, which does take place at times), but this is the Joker we're talking about so I suppose it's acceptable. Batman talks far too much to the point of pure irritation on my part (and Bruce makes a really boring speech at one point (and what's with the crewcut?)), and has no real personality: there's no pathos with this character, his successes and failures do not seem to mean much, and if someone he loves dies he will forget about it a frame later. By the way, never have a verbal password that is just a different spelling of your own name, someone will say that word inadvertently and set off that event, which is why no one would ever do such a thing. And why would someone go through so much trouble to blow up a house, assume the person inside it was alive, and then go into the house (risking their lives) to finish him off, only to leave without checking? Anyway, I'm going on for too long and my nitpicking is presented somewhat randomly here. The point is that this wasn't a bad comic, I'd give it a C which is passing and satisfactory, but I wouldn't give it the praise and adoration everyone is giving the series. The dialogue, plot, and action is just not stupendous and I think Snyder needs a strong editor to help him make his works makes sense and simply be better. Maybe if people praise him a lot less he'd actually become a good storyteller. As for now, I guess the public wants mediocrity. zero year

Gotham Academy (vol 1): Welcome to Gotham Academy - Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher

All I want for Christmas as a young adult oriented comic revolving around strong female characters. This title is not it. With manga style art we are introduced to Hogwarts--sorry--Gotham Academy, a mysterious school with a mysterious past and mysterious going ons and a mysterious part of the grounds the students must mysteriously keep away from. Olive is our main character and she's suffering from some amnesia from events over the summer and so she doesn't want to talk to her boyfriend, and there's this rich girl who's mean to her, and her boyfriend's little sister is hanging on to her too much, and there's this mysterious gorgeous boy who reads classic literature, and a wild pseudo-criminal guy--really, the cast of characters seems like a mixed gender boy-band, yet there is really nothing to this story. We know nothing about the boyfriend character except that he's understanding, gorgeous, and a tennis pro; his sister seems to have no friends, yet apparently plays a Dungeons & Dragons-like game nonstop (with whom?); the rich girl secretly is nice (because they all are); the brooding boy is right out of a Gothic novel; oh I could go on, but why bother? This is just not a very good comic and don't understand why I should care about the mystery or the characters involved. gotham academy

Supergirl: Way of the World

This short collection about the cousin of Superman, mainly written by Kelley Puckett, and mainly focusing on her efforts to save a child from dying of cancer is really unimpressive. Yes, Supergirl is the hottest woman in existence, with the most rocking abs ever (and isn't she underage? and doesn't that make you feel kind of scummy?), but the stories lack excitement and, while not actively bad, there is simply nothing to recommend it. Supergirl

Forever Evil - Geoff Johns

Maybe I should start with the positives. This is a story about the super villain Lex Luther, who has no superpower other than genius and egotism. After evil doppelgängers of the Justice League invade our world (the world of The New 52) and declared themselves masters of it, Luther and a small group of B level villains decide to fight back. I do like stories the focus on the bad guys' point of view, and especially those that involve second string characters. There's enough action and characterization here to keep me entertained and so I will recommend reading this. However, time to deal with the negatives. First of all, I thought The New 52 was supposed to be a kind of jumping on point for new readers. I'm pretty well-versed in DC mythology, yet there was a lot here where I have no idea what's going on, so for newcomers I can't think they'll be anything but lost. Additionally, there are really two directions to take a story like this in: Either you have it span over dozens of issues or more and allow the hundreds of characters that you pan over in the art and the first couple of issues to all have their say and matter in the overall story. Or, you accept the fact that the heart of the story really only involves a dozen characters and you immediately focus attention on them, so that you can work on character development and tell a good story. Johns try to play both ways, which accomplishes nothing more than wasting the first couple of issues. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Should it have been better? Definitely, and easily done. forever evil

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Parts One and Two)

This is a two part direct to video cartoon adaptation of the revolutionary comic by the same name. I saw the first part at Kym's place with Cory and stumbled upon the conclusion many months later (and re-watched it many months later for another time). It is the story of the vigilante coming out of forced retirement to deal with new and returned threats (as well as friends). When the comic was first made it was ground breaking in many respects, but let's just deal with the idea of the movie. I thought it was well done, being truthful to the original with enough changes to keep it interesting and probably spark some debate as to whether or not they were helpful (and I would gladly jump in on both sides). I've heard arguments that the story itself doesn't hold up after the generation plus since its publication, but I disagree. Despite that many viewers probably have no idea what the Soviets were, it makes some fun points on ideas of excessive liberalism and blindly following authority. And I think it is still a strong story with interesting characters, concepts, and action scenes. I will say that the voice actors, while not bad, just didn't strike me as "correct."