Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“Tools Of The Trade”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “Tools Of The Trade”

Metropolis police officers look alarmingly fascist

What Happens: Intergang! Specifically, Superman goes up against crime boss Bruno Manheim’s crime syndicate, who are being armed with super-weapons by a Mysterious Benefactor.

Thoughts:

  • First appearance of Animated Captain Sawyer and Dan Turpin (loved that they modeled him off of Jack Kirby, by the way)

Police. Cops. Police cops.

  • The Superman vs Ultra-Tank or whatever fight’s a nice way to open the episode.
  • Superman unwittingly undermining the legitimacy of the city police is a rather clever idea that I hadn’t really thought about. It also gives Turpin a kind of valid reason to dislike Superman.
  • Kanto! Our first official New God appearance? I love that he’s dressed like a normal dude except for the Kirby-tastic trident thing

Gotta respect Kanto's luscious head of hair.

  • Totally forgot that Michael York voiced Kanto. And then much later on Ares on Justice League. What a sweet voice that man has.
  • They threw in some cool Kirby weaponry. The giant energy hands gauntlet is neat:

Eh?

  • I’m really glad there’s some build-up to Darkseid/The New Gods conflict over time, it sells the enormity of the threat very well.
  • Someone should count just how MANY trains Superman has saved in the various media. Is it even trackable?
  • Superman pushing apart the energy hand construct things so hard that he BREAKS THE DUDE’S ACTUAL HANDS is awesome.
  • You know, “Superman with angry heat vision eyes” has  become a cliche by now, but this is just used perfectly.

Welp. That's that.

  • LOVE how Kanto, evil demi-god from space, flat out just runs away. Kanto doesn’t need this. Kanto can’t deal with this right now.
  • Animators totally outdo themselves on the brief glimpse of Apokolips we get.
  • Michael Ironside’s 10 seconds of Darkseid dialogue = possibly the best part of the whole episode.

Overall?

It’s mostly “Superman vs. crooks”, so I think the episode’s not quite as exciting in terms of action, but all of the Jack Kirby Fourth World concepts that get used are used very very well. The episode’s basically just a trailer for the AMAZING Darkseid two parter we get alittle later on. But a good episode on its own, for sure.

Next Episode: TWO’S A CROWD

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COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 17th, 2011)

Hey! Hi! So this is still a thing I’m doing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, etc etc etc. We’re here. I got a stack of six books to read, lets boogie-ooogie-oogie

Buy a damn toothbrush, A-M

Brightest Day #22

Decent issue! Decently done death of a pretty major DC supporting character and I like the new Firestorm status quo they’re setting up here. “Deathstorm” talking like a bro and quoting Star Wars makes me want to see the character stick around.

How have we not gotten a Superboy/Kid Flash race before now is a mystery to me, honestly.

Superboy #5

This is maybe my favorite issue to date? Lemire’s got a good grip on the Teen Titans if their appearance here is anything to go off of, I’d love to see DC put him on that book at some point. Nice to see Superboy and Kid Flash acting like guys who’ve been good friends for years, the Robin/Impulse/Superboy friendship is something I really liked when I started getting into comics and its kinda fallen by the wayside.  The race itself is well put together, ends perfectly. Pier Gallo’s art’s solid, strong Quietly vibe is going strong. Curious as hell as to how Lemire’s going to tie together the supernatural and sci-fi menaces he’s ramping up to.

Party Bus

Best of the week: Knight and Squire #6 (of 6)

Damn. That’s a helluva ending. Cornell has really just done a fantastic job of creating this little UK corner of the DCU that, despite having a rather different feel to it, feels like it fits. This issue, and really the mini as a whole…I think are Cornell’s way of defending and legitimizing “silly” aspects of British culture and kind of striking back against the gratuitously violent aspects of DC comics as of late. This is a wonderful read, I really hope Cornell has another chance to come back to all of this.

Morrison comics are golden brick into my BRAIN

Batman, Incorporated #3

First off, read THIS, because Uzumeri’s annotations are almost essential to working your way through this issue.

As an issue, it’s Morrison’s Batman, so it’s half of a two part puzzle. It’s not an easy read, but the challenging aspects of Morrison’s Batman stories are refreshing in a genre like Super Hero comics where that kind of thing is way too rare. As it stands, a rich read with a damn fine cliff hanger. Morrison’s skilled at making the international Batmen feel unique from each other.

Thor is like THE guy to put on covers if you want shit to get real.

Avengers Academy #11

WEIRD pacing in this issue. Like, just throws you right into everything. That said, Diggin The new Raney’Hanna art team, perfect fit for this kind of book. Korvac’s a weird and convoluted character to use in this situation but he works well as a believable threat to all the Avengers teams that show up in the issue. Fun issue all in all.

Witch-ay Woman

Thunderbolts #155

Luke Cage calling Man-Thing his “dawg”: The Best.

Parker gives us a fun Dr.Strange/Luke Cage team up story and introduces something he’s been building up to for alittle while now with Warden Walker. Felt like a short issue, but considering how quickly this book is coming out (FEELS bi-weekly even though it isn’t), I’m ok with that. Thunderbolts is really the big feather in Marvel’s cap in terms of their top, consistent books.

****

So that’s the last two weeks. I’m really going to miss Cornell’s weird little Knight and Squire mini. Strongly considered picking up the Fear Itself prelude Brubaker wrote but these Marvel events make me wish I waited for the collection. Whatever. A good week (fortnight?) for comics, it seems!

HIVE OF SCUM. STRANGE BONERS AFOOT, GENTS.

 

 

 

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“My Girl”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “My Girl”

What Happens: Hey! Superman’s Childhood Crush, Lana Lang comes to Metropolis! She’s dating Lex Luthor! Explosions! Fashion! Mystery?

Very off-model S-shield

Thoughts:

  • At 20 minutes, is this the shortest episode to date?
  • Clark Kent’s immediate reaction to initials “LL” being to guess “Lana Lang” is pretty funny when you consider how many people he knows with those initials (well, maybe not in the animated continuity). LL dating Lex Luthor: also pretty good.
  • Uh hey there Frank Miller-esque criminal amazon woman

Just missing the pointed teeth and swastika pasties, really.

  • Sort of off-topic but not really: the quality of this episode animation-wise is…off. Simpler than usual, almost. And the transfer on this particular episode is not great. Wonder why that is?
  • I like the way they position Lana in contrast to Lois on the show: Lana’s always been the “girl who got away” but now she knows Clark is Superman, so it makes the romantic tension between alittle more interesting. Logically, he WOULD find a girl from his past who knows his secrets, who knows the real Clark Kent, appealing.
  • Sidebar: I love the character of Mercy. Giving Lex a tough-as-nails girl friday who just does his dirty work is a brilliant conceit.

Creep creep

  • Oh man, Lex’s boner face.

You've seen it. You can't unsee it.

  • While we’re on the subject, you get the sense that Lex genuinely cares for Lana here, which is a change of pace from the disposable women we’ve seen him with so far in the show. The only reason he turns on her is because she’s being unfaithful to him. I like it. Lex is human, after all.
  • This episode feels very noiry, with the whole Lana/Lex/Clark triangle/espionage plot. Batman:TAS gets more associated with this kind of thing (because, yeah) but I feel like a number of Superman: TAS episodes have this feel.
  • Superman saving the deer and delivering the corny “open season on terrorists” line is perfect Superman right there.
  • The reference to Batgirl by Lana is, I think, only the second reference to Batman we’ve gotten on the show thus far. Might be wrong.
  • Oh Lana. Stepping out on Lex Luthor with Superman is like the worst idea of all time.
  • Oo a reference to Central City too.
  • Lana’s plan here of “eavesdropping on Lex, fucking up his plans by telling Superman, and expecting no negative consequences” is a pretty shortsighted one.
  • Surely nothing bad will happen at the LEXCORP LEAD & ALLOY?

Lead & Alloy & Kryptonite & Ghosts

  • I can’t imagine liquid lead flows EXACTLY like water but what do I know?
  • Superman: Forever doomed to be the plaything of loud, outgoing women.

Overall? Decent episode, but nothing too showy. The Lex portions of the episode are fantastic, really great to see an episode where he isn’t motivated by power or greed but, well, LOVE. What the episode lacks in the great villains or set pieces of the past few episodes it makes up for in solid character work. Really, have any of these episodes so far been less than “Very good”?

Next Episode: “Tools of The Trade” (No clue what this one’s about)

Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Main Man – Part 2”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “The Main Man – Part 2″

What Happens: PREVIOUSLY. Superman and Lobo were captured by the sinister alien “The Preserver” and put in his SPACE ZOO. Now they have to team up and escape AHH SPACE DEMON WORM.

Look at that thing.

Thoughts:

  • Weird fact: the first time I ever saw DVR technology being demo-ed was like ten years ago on a news broadcast that used this specific episode to demonstrate pausing/rewinding live TV.
  • The Preserver keeping Lobo satisfied with robot alien hookers in what looks like a college dorm room is the best, man. That concept alone is pure Dini.

Literally my sophomore year dorm room.

AHHH! AHHHH!!!!!!

  • “Kizz”

Yep.

  • Superman reflecting the red sun lamp light onto some kind of wacky space rhino in order to goad it into smashing through his cell is a clever way to get him free.
  • “The Main Man’s word is his bond, man”
  • Hahaha what the hell?

    " "

  • The dynamic between Superman and Lobo in this episode is really fun.
  • There’s even more really sweet alien designs in this half of the two parter, must’ve been a pain to design and animate but it really adds something. And moar STARRO

Love that guy.

  • Maaaan, Lobo tearing the skin off that giant alien snake thing. How on earth did they get away with that?
  • I don’t know how it took me this long to place it but Sqweak is voiced by David “Squiggy” Lander. Ok!
  • The Preserver transforming from “alien John Hodgman” to “enormous Kirby-esque monstrosity” is cool!

Total Kirby teeth.

  • I like that Superman puts all the animals from the Space Zoo in his budding Fortress of Solitude and that its something that gets referenced from time to time later on.

😀

 

Overall? This is a really fantastic two-parter. There’s so many weird, cool ideas they manage to jam into the story and it all works.

Next Episode: (Talkin’ bout) “My Girl”

 

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK (3/5/11)

….Bob The Goon

If I got a jacket that cool, I'd work for a homicidal maniac too.

Look, all you need to know about Bob The Goon is that in the ’89 Batman movie, The Jacker asks him for a gun, Bob gives him the gun, and then he shoots Bob, seemingly for no reason. AND he got his own action figure WITH POWER KICK ACTION.

He looks so happy.

For more information of Bob The Goon, check out this YouTube video.

Have a good weekend, kids.

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

Max

 

 

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 2nd, 2011)

After a bunch of smaller weeks, I have 8, EIGHT, comics to review for you. Lets do it to it.

No clue why the last like 5 covers haven't been available online. Mine has a fiery Martian Manhunter

Brightest Day #21

Angsty? Oh Yeah. Stuff’s finally starting to kick up, atleast. This issue largely wraps up the Martian Manhunter plot and it does it…interestingly? The best thing about this issue was the panel of Aquaman’s severed hand laying on the beach!

Resident Evil-y

Secret Six #31

It took forever but we’re finally getting a follow up on the whole “Get out of hell free card” plotline from the first story arc. I dunno, issue was alright. Lot of Johnsian melodrama which, frankly, isn’t what I’m looking for in a book like this. I’m going to give this book until the end of the arc and if it doesn’t pick up, I’m dropping it.

Mignola! Rocket Racoon! Groot! Eeeee!

Annihilators #1

This book is really two books thrown together. The lead’s all about what is essentially a Super Band of cosmic Marvel characters (think “Traveling Wilburys” but with Silver Surfer instead of George Harrison). It’s easy to try and put that label on a number of teams (Morrison’s JLA, for instance) but true Super Bands usually are “off” by nature of their existence. This issue of Annihilators kinda goes along with that and it’s clearly something they’re going to deal with along with this great Dire Wraith/Spaceknights plotline. Second half of the issue is a Groot/Rocket Raccon team up. Timothy Green II’s art is very Aeon Flux-y and suits the goofy tone nicely. Excited to see where both these stories go.

"Listen up all you bopp...zzzz"

Heroes For Hire #4

Kinda hard to believe we’re at issue 4 so quickly. The second book from this weeks one/two punch of Abnett/Lanning and it’s a good ‘un. Gives some much needed focus on the Misty Knight main plot and throws a fun wrench into things with the last page. Love this book.

My eyes hurt.

My eyes hurt.

Avengers Academy #10

Disappointed by the down right Silver Age style cover that misleadingly depicts the inside contents but this was a great issue. Nice closure on that Speedball plot thread, good development with Hazmat and Veil. Pretty sure atleast one of these kids isn’t going to survive the next few issues.

Man-Thing is underappreciated.

Best of The Week: Thunderbolts #154

Man, can we just talk about how gorgeous the ART in this issue is? Frank Martin’s colors are perfect and subdued, Shalvey’s pencils are top notch. Thunderbolts is the best book Marvel’s putting out right now and its nice to get a fun one shot story that takes a break from heavy action and lets Parker kind of spotlight why Man-Thing works so well in this book. I’ve said it before, guy is the only writer I can think of who has a handle on how to use the character.

I just wanna frame all these covers

Incognito: Bad Influences #4

I don’t know what else you can say about this book that hasn’t been said by me in previous weeks. This issue was wonderful and Steranko-esque. Brubaker has a knack for bringing in these villain characters, making them feel human, then shows us something that reminds us how fucked up Zach Overkill’s former world is. Jess Nevins: Still the best scholar in comics.

***

Whew. That’s it. Very good week, all said. Go buy now.

HIVE OF SCUM. BRIGHTEST DAY WILL BE OVER SOON.


Episode By Episode: SUPERMAN: TAS (“The Main Man – Part 1”)

I now own all of SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES on DVD. Each week, I’m going to work my way through the series one episode at a time.  Dig?

Episode: “The Main Man – Part 1”

What Happens: Superman runs afoul of space-jackass bounty hunter Lobo, contracted by gross alien The Preserver to capture him for his SPACE ZOO. There are double crosses.

Big chins.

Thoughts:

  • It is nuts. NUTS. That the first DC character not in Superman’s supporting cast to show up is LOBO. Not Batman, not any of the members of the JLA. That really tells you how popular Lobo was about 15 years ago, doesn’t it?
  • The character design for Lobo here is pretty much just a cleaned up version of his comics counterpart. You can say the same for his characterization, too.  Obviously he’s not going around killing a ton of characters on screen but I would say its a pretty faithful transition.
  • Brad Garrett’s Lobo sounds more or less like Bibbo Bibowski but how different can they really sound?
  • Forgot that the rocket was just one that brought him to Earth, retrofitted.
  • This is really the first episode to take place off of Earth. Well, if you don’t count the Jor-el portions of the pilot, I guess (I don’t).
  • The designs on the aliens in this two-parter are great, especially Squeaks and his brother.

Pupil is the tooth.

  • The Lobo vs. alien posse sequence is far more cartoony than anything we’ve seen so far in this show. Probably because you can’t show Lobo blowing up people realistically on a saturday morning cartoon.
  • I get a real “Heavy Metal” vibe from this whole episode. Not sure if thats intentional.
  • The Preserver: A floaty alien egg thing. For now, atleast.

Not unlike Marlon Brando.

  • HEY STARRO CAMEO (I know it shows up again in Batman Beyond, hadn’t realized it was actually in this episode. Neat!)

Man, I love Starro

  • The whole bit where Lobo starts wrecking the police station to get Superman’s attention is fun. Honestly, I think the only time I’ve really *liked* Lobo was in the DC Animated stuff (Hitman/Lobo doesn’t really count considering it is…not especially flattering on purpose).
  • This is a weird looking car!

Right??

  • Love the completely unnecessary Lex Luthor running gag. This is a pretty funny episode.
  • Nice to see Lois and Superman/Clark get some good interaction.
  • A lot of well executed fights in this episode. Probably because its a two parter and they have time to spare.
  • The Preserver putting Superman in traditional Krypton garb is a nice touch.
  • And of course Lobo gets betrayed.
  • Kind of interesting how many electric guitar riffs they use in this episode because it’s a Lobo episode. The variation on the theme that plays as the episode fades out is neat.

Overall? Probably the funniest episode to date and a well-paced one. The two parter format means they can pack in fun moments and a more nuanced plot than normal.

Next Episode: Obviously, “The Main Man – Part 2”

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (February 23rd, 2011)

A two comic week! Luckily its two of the better books I pick up every month. Push it!

The secret: dragons.

Secret Avengers #10:

I’m really bummed that Brubaker’s going to be leaving this title in two issues because its only now really starting to get its feet. The first two arcs have been great but I’m hesitant to see whole Shadow Council plot he’s laying down explored by another writer, even if that writer happens to be Nick Spencer (who has just EXPLODED in the last 6 months, it feels like). That said, this issue was a fantastic wrap up to the second arc. The Steve Rogers vs. John Steele/Max Fury takedowns Deodato draws are just nuts and Brubaker gives us some fun little moments with Antman and Valkyrie. Next issue (maybe next two?) are a World War 2 flashback focusing on Rogers and Steele.

THIS ISSUE: CARMEN SAN DIEGO

Power Man and Iron Fist #2 (of 5)

Decent enough issue that moves along nicely. Two things stuck out to me:

*Dazzler having a FAME-esque school for the arts named after her (complete with a statue and mascot) is hilarious and incredibly fitting.

*Ending the issue with the reveal of a villain called POKERFACE and “NEXT ISSUE: BAD ROMANCE” is so appropriately ridiculous for a book that is a love letter to the goofiest 70’s Marvel book there is.

*****

That’s the week. The two issues were very good, I think PM and IF may have been alittle bogged down by (very necesary) plot development but Van Lente pretty much never disappoints.

HIVE OF SCUM. THE GREATEST APHRODISIAC  IS A SUPER-SOLDIER RUNNING UP A STATUE AND KICKING A ROBOT IN THE BRAIN

-Max