New Comics Wednesday (10/20/10) & a Movie Review

It’s new comics day! What are you getting?

  • Batman & Robin #15
  • Brightest Day #12
  • DC Universe: Legacies #6
  • JLA #50–This could well be the start of the end of this title for me.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #6

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

With the expectations being raised with every succeeding film, I thought this new DCU Animation film would be at least slightly better than Batman: Under the Red Hood. It’s not, but it is better than the worst of the lot so far (Wonder Woman). The highlight of the film for me is the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Tim Daly as Superman, as well as Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman (in fact, considering how much Wonder Woman is in this film, they should have called it World’s Finest: Apocalypse). It’s a pity that they didn’t/couldn’t get Michael Ironside as Darkseid, otherwise we’d have a Batman/Superman/Justice League animation reunion of sorts. Don’t get me wrong, Andre Braugher does a fine enough job, but Ironside is Darkseid in my mind, just as Conroy and Daly are the heroes (though, Bruce Greenwood did a great job as Batman in Under the Red Hood). Finally, Summer Glau is Kara/Supergirl, and was a really good choice. She can come across as naive and sinister fairly well.

The story–based on the “The Supergirl From Krypton story from the Superman/Batman comic–was ok, though it seemed rushed. However, there was a lot of plot to get through, and only 78 minutes to do it in. You have Kara’s arrival on Earth, her briefly trying to blend in Metropolis, her relocation to Paradise Island, and then the long arc of her abduction to Apocalypse and eventual return to Earth, with a lot of fight scenes thrown in. I enjoyed it all for the most part: for example, the exchanges between Clark and Bruce (and Diana), Batman standing up to and beating Darkseid in a battle of nerves, and the final battle scene on the Kent farm was a doozy. I didn’t care for the opening sequence where we saw the events, and then the radio personality telling us what we just saw! Also, the whole brain washing bit of Kara by Darkseid. I never liked that in the comic, and it’s presented pretty much the same here: Darkseid’s control over you is quick and absolute. At least, that’s the way it comes across. Having said that, this actually makes sense if you consider the events in the Superman animated series where that did happen to Superman (albeit it took a little longer to brain wash Clark), but I don’t recall a similar story in DCU continuity. (I know, I’m mixing my comics and animated series and movies lore.)

The look of the film is based on Michael Turner’s work in the original comic. I’ve never been a fan of Turner’s work, especially the way he draws men. He uses too many lines and out of wack anatomy for my taste. The film’s interpretation of Turner’s style makes for a lot black lines to define faces, giving everyone–Superman included–a heavy eye-liner look. Actually, out of all the characters, I thought Wonder Woman fared the best, looking even better than her depiction in the Justice League series. The colors of this film are very vibrant, which is a nice change since, for the most part, the colors in other films look somewhat muted.

Other observations:

  • In the beginning, Kara accidentally hijacks the batboat, and crashes it into a dock. What, Batman doesn’t have a remote control so he can stop the boat?!
  • The blimps over Gotham were a nice callback to Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Speaking of Gotham, the police sure are trigger happy. They see Kara floating away as they chase her and their first reaction is to shoot her down. No wonder Gotham needs Batman.
  • After Bruce tells Clark of his suspicions about why Kara is on Earth, Clark says: “Always the cynic”.
  • When Clark and Kara are in Metropolis, Kara calls Batman “Grumpy ass”. And Clark repeats it! Speaking of the language in this film, one of the Female Furies calls Big Barda a bitch. I know this film is PG-13, but it seemed a little excessive for a DC cartoon.
  • Diana seemed awfully and overly aggressive towards Clark in the park scene when she announces that she’s taking Kara to Paradise Island. This would have made sense if they had had words before that point, but they hadn’t. However, when push comes to shove, Clark trusts Bruce, and allows the Amazons to take Kara.
  • When that boom tube opened on Paradise Island, I swear it made an actual “boom!” sound.
  • They should have made Barda taller. After Barda says she’s going with the three heroes, she says, “So get over it.” Batman responds: “I’m over it. What about you two?”
  • Batman always knows how to make an entrance, and command the room. After he’s gobbled up by a hunger dog, he emerges from the now unconscious creature’s mouth in front of some guards and tells them to take off their armor.
  • Why is Clark not concerned about his parents? When Darkseid attacks him and Kara, he makes no mention of Ma & Pa. Although, when they drive up after the battle is over, Clark reacts as if he’s done something he know he shouldn’t have and his parents found out. It’s an odd comedic moment.
  • Bruce smiles–slightly–indicating his approval of Kara’s decision to be Supergirl. She really seemed to need that.

Also on the DVD is the latest DC Showcase animation short starring Green Arrow. I really liked this one, and think it is the best of the bunch so far. It’s a simple plot–Green Arrow saves a young princess–but it works well and in only a tad over 10 minutes. Plus, Black Canary shows up at the end to save the day and looks beautiful.

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