This week DC and Warner Bros. Animation released The Death of Superman on Blu-Ray, DVD, 4K, and Digital. I had a chance to watch the movie a few weeks ago when it was released on iTunes and I really enjoyed the movie. You can read my full review here:
Normally DC releases 3 of these animated films a year, but next year they’ll be bumping it up to 4. 2019 will see the release of Reign of The Supermen, Batman: Hush, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, and Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five. Below is some of the early promo art DC has released announcing each of the films.
The Death of Superman is the first film in a 2-Part story, with Part 2, Reign of The Supermen coming out in early 2019. While the first film deals with the brutal final battle of The Man of Steel, Reign of The Supermen deals with the fallout of a world without Superman. How will Superman’s death affect the people in his life that he left behind? And what heroes (or villains) will step up to take his place?
Below are some images that tease some of the characters from Reign of The Supermen that emerge in Superman’s absence:
Out of all of these projects, I’m most intrigued by Batman: Hush, which is scheduled to be released around early summer 2019.
After already adapting Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke, I would have guessed The Long Halloween or Arkham Asylum would be the next iconic Batman story for DC Animation to tackle. Hush is definitely considered a modern classic among many Batman fans. The story, written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by the legendary Jim Lee, was an epic 12 issue Batman mystery, involving all of the most iconic villains and allies in The Dark Knight’s world. I would almost expect DC to go the 2-Part film route with this story considering how sprawling a tale it is, so I’m sure there’ll be some changes in the adaptation. While it’s not one of my favorite Batman stories, I’m sure it’s the film DC fans will be most excited to see. It definitely has enough going for it to make me very curious to see what DC Animation does with this one.
Not much is known about the other 2 movies announced, Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.
However, the title of the Justice League film would suggest the story involves the Legion of Superheroes in some way (The Legion Of Superheroes being a team from the distant future of the DC Universe). As for Wonder Woman, this just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this story is inspired by Brian Azzerello’s New 52 Wonder Woman run.
Even though these films can be hit or miss, I’m always excited when the new line up is announced. Considering how much I enjoyed The Death of Superman, hopefully the trend of great DC Animated movies continues.
I’ve always been a big fan of the DC Animated movies that come out each year. For those of you that aren’t familiar, they’re animated adaptations of DC Comics stories that go directly to iTunes and Blu Ray. They usually release three a year, around January, April, and July. They’re PG-13 or R-Rated films marketed to adult and teenage DC superhero fans. They’re hit or miss, in terms of quality. They run the spectrum from “Ok” or “Fine” to “One Of The Best Superhero Movies I’ve Ever seen”.
Their latest release is “The Death of Superman” and you may be thinking: “Wait, didn’t they do this one already?” The answer is: Kind of. Way back in 2007, the very first DC Animated Movie was Superman: Doomsday, a very loose adaptation of the classic death of Superman story. So, as far as THIS movie is concerned, this current film I’m reviewing is a much more faithful adaptation. The Death of Superman is the first part of a 2 movie story.With Part 2 titled, Reign of The Supermen, premiering in January or February 2019.
Like I said before, they usually release three of these a year. Starting with 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and 2014’s “Justice League: War” (A JL origin film FAR superior to the live action one we got in November 2017), 2 out of the 3 animated movies they released each year were part of an ongoing cinematic universe, like the MCU or whatever the fuck DC is trying to do in live action at the moment. Including Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, 11 movies that take place in this DC Animated Movie Universe have been released. The other stories are cool one offs, like the recent Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, for example. Which is a what if? tale that imagines a steampunk, Victorian era Batman hunting Jack The Ripper in late-19th Century Gotham. Most of these have been pretty solid across the board. It probably doesn’t say much about the overall quality of this Animated Movie Universe that there isn’t a sense that we got to know these characters over an 11 film continuity. Or that the movies had been leading to something like this.
At nearly an hour and half, this movie is slightly longer the most of the recent DC Animated Movies. However, it’s a smart move because the running time allows for a much deeper film that I was expecting. Going into this, I expected the whole thing to one big superhero punch up. Great animation, cool fights, but at the end of the day just a fun piece of entertainment. So, I was delighted when at least half of the film is about Clark and Lois and the issues that arise in their still relatively new romance. The movie is well paced considering all of the characters in play. Because this movie is about his death, everyone in Clark Kent’s life is in this film and they all get their moment to shine. The Justice League, The Daily Planet staff, Ma and Pa Kent, Lex Luthor, and few other local Metropolis citizens with ties to Superman all pop up in the movie. It’s a credit to the film that even with all these characters, it never feels over stuffed or loses it’s focus on Lois and Clark.
You don’t need to have seen any of the other DC Animated Movies to enjoy this wonderful film. All of the great character work and storytelling come straight from THIS movie. Real life husband and wife Jerry O’Connel and Rebecca Romijn are perfect as Clark and Lois. O’Connel has voiced Superman to good effect before in other animated movies and Romijn makes a solid debut as Lois Lane. They’re real life chemistry definitely translates into the film. We have all the usual suspects from the other films back to play their respective roles in the Justice League, as well as other returning supporting characters.
Before getting into the movie there’s one other bit of voice casting I want to touch on. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) voices Luthor and is surprisingly effective as the character. Lex is an interesting presence in this film. He’s not that dissimilar to the Lex we’ve seen in the comics over the past few years. He’s undeniably despicable, arrogant, and cold, but there’s a glimmer of something more underneath. Inside him’s the shadow of a man who could be better than he is. He adds a little something special to the overall film.
I’m going to make a bold statement here. I think this is the best film about Clark Kent that I’ve ever seen. This movie is Clark Kent’s story. Lois is very important, but this is Clark’s tale. This man’s death shows us who he is. This was just one more reason I loved this movie. Outside of the fights with Doomsday, I deliberately refer to the character as Clark, not Superman, throughout this review. This is one of the better onscreen portrayals of Superman I’ve seen and that’s because they understand who Clark Kent is. The kid who grew up on a farm in Kansas, that’s the real character. Not Kal-El, not Christopher Reeves’ mask of Clark Kent as pathetic buffoon, not Superman. He’s Clark Joseph Kent. Jonathan and Martha’s son. Even when he’s in costume at the beginning of the movie, interacting with the League or stopping bad guys with high tech weapons. He seems more man than god. He’s happy to stop and take a picture with a man he’s gotten to know, because he’s saved the guys life so many damn times. In these scenes before the fight with Doomsday, while he’s in costume as Superman, he feels like a citizen of Metropolis. Not a distant god, but more like a cop on his beat that gives you a nod and smile. Superman knows these people and they know him. It’s a brilliant way to humanize the character in a way live action films always struggle with.
At the heart of Clark’s story here is his romance with Lois. Unlike other takes on the Lois and Clark/Superman dynamic, Lois is into Clark, NOT Superman. She wants their relationship to move forward but she knows something’s holding them back. She knows there’s more going on with Clark, but doesn’t quite know what it is. She’s a little taken aback when, while asking Clark to dinner, he tells her he cant because his parents are in town and he’s having dinner with them. Lois is understandably a little insulted when Clark didn’t even mention the possibility of meeting his parents. It’s clear that they’ve been dating for at least several months if not more. But what she perceives as Clark being aloof and having an emotional wall up, is actually Clark wrestling with the idea that he’s falling in love with her and that he should tell her he’s Superman. He’s afraid that his parents will accidentally let something slip before he has a chance to tell Lois the truth about this part of his life. After all, besides a few fun DC Easter Eggs mentioned by Ma and Pa Kent, Clark’s ex- girlfriend knew had superpowers from the jump, this the first time Clark has been in a relationship like this. Not just with a normal person, but someone he’s falling in love with.
The movie does an excellent job of showing the audience exactly what an unstoppable, terrifying force Doomsday is. We’ve seen Doomsday in live action and animation before, but the threat he represents is much more impactful here. This is a creature that kills every single living thing it sees.
The Justice League faces Doomsday before Superman gets into the fight and they have some pretty heavy hitters. We see Doomsday go up against Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Cyborg, and Batman all before the Monster’s fateful Confrontations with The Man of Steel. Even with out Superman, that’s a fucking stacked roster. Despite how powerful the Justice League is, they’re simply not up to facing Doomsday. They’re completely helpless to stop him.
So, when the fight between Clark and Doomsday finally goes down, there’s no backup or cavalry coming. Superman is the “last watcher on the wall”. If he doesn’t stop this Monster there and then, there will be no end to the death and destruction Doomsday will unleash. There’s an inevitability to Doomsday. As he slowly kills his way to Superman. We all slowly march towards death and this story shows us The Man of Steel is no different, but for him Death comes in the form of Doomsday.
The fight between Superman and Doomsday is easily the most brutal and bloody Superman fight I’ve seen in any medium. I found myself wincing or exclaiming “Jesus..”, as conflict went on. At a certain point, it stops being a fight. You realize you’re watch Superman slowly be beaten to death with each blow and it’s hard to watch. The fact that there’s such emotional heft shows that the storytellers did their job with this film. The movie is called The Death of Superman, OF COURSE HE’S GOING TO DIE! But the movie magic was that the filmmakers had me so engrossed in the story onscreen, I almost forget that there was no question to the outcome of this fight. The battle’s hard to watch not just because of the level of violence, but because you really care about Clark Kent and it’s heartbreaking seeing this man die in front of us.
The animation in this film is top notch. When the action goes full tilt there’s a level of detail that comes close to resembling anime, without completely going over into that style. Every once and awhile a western animation superhero project will use anime influenced sequences, Justice League Unlimited comes to mind for example. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s used well here and only adds to the already visceral fight scenes. For those of you who aren’t fans of that animation style, It’s not so noticeable that it takes you out of the story.
I think its was smart that DC decided if they were going to tell this story, it should be a 2-Parter, like they did with their fantastic adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. As impactful as the death of Superman is, the story of how the world, his friends, his enemies, his family, and his fellow superheroes react to his death is arguably more compelling . Who or what will step up to fill the void left by The Last Son of Krypton? Considering how well this story was told, I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers do in Reign of The Supermen. If you’re a DC Comics fan, there are some Easter Eggs in the movie that hint at some of the story and characters elements that’ll be used in Part 2. Make sure you stay for the end credits, there are multiple mid credit tags setting up the next movie.
I didn’t want to end this review without mentioning something I noticed that the writers chose to add to the story. As I said before, this movie is part of a DC Animated Movie Universe, this story doesn’t exist in a bubble. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone and I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but pay attention to EXACTLY how Doomsday comes out of space, ultimately crashing on Earth. Also be sure to pay attention to the details when STAR Labs examines the high tech weapons Superman takes off the thugs at the beginning of the movie. None of these story elements are from the comics, so the writers deliberately chose to add them in. I have my own theory about what’s going on, but I wont spoil the fun here.
This is top notch superhero story telling from DC Animation. This movie is the best DC Animated Movie since Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (which is high praise). This a surprisingly moving story about love, death, family, friendship, and sacrifice. No DC fan worth their salt should miss this one. I know I cant wait to see Part 2, when Reign of The Supermen comes out early next year. The Death of Superman is an excellent film, the best DC Animated Movie in years, and a must watch. Don’t miss it.
The fans have been clamoring for Part 2 of, the “World’s Best Podcast” presents, Iron Man & The Dark Knight: 10 years Later! Ryan and I have returnedfrom Gotham City and The Marvel Cinematic Universe to finish our discussion of these film icons. As well, the impact Iron Man and The Dark Knight have left behind. Enjoy and thanks for listening! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
This year is the 10th Anniversary of Iron Man and The Dark Knight being released in theatres. Two very different superhero films that not only changed the genre forever, but filmmaking in general. So, on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, co-host Ryan McDonald and I take a trip from Gotham City to Stark Industries and dive into these epic movies. This the first of a 2-Part episode! Is Robert Downey Jr. perfect superhero casting? What theories are there about the secret origin of The Joker in The Dark Knight? What legacy have these films left behind? Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
In this episode I make multiple references to an article I wrote about the villains of the MCU, I thought I’d put a link to the article here in case anyone wants to read it after listening to the episode:
Have you ever wanted to pick up a comic book or graphic novel, but didn’t know where to start? Well you’re in luck! Because on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Uncle Paul recommends some of the BEST graphic novels to read if you’re COMPLETELY new to comics!
With all of the superhero movie in theatres, deciding what comics to read for the first time can be intimidating. Especially when there are literally thousands of graphic novels out there to choose from. But fortunately you first time readers, the TV shows and Movies have only scratched the surface of all the amazing stories told in the comic book medium. If you’re a long time reader, you might be inspired to revisit some of the classics covered here (or check out one or two of the unexpected picks)!
After the episode links, I put a the complete list of all graphic novels discussed in this episode and where readers can find them! As always you can listen below, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher or Itunes:
On this Episode, I bring in the old man, Paul Sr. to discuss the season finales of Arrow, The Flash, Supernatural, and Gotham. We discuss the big moments of each finale, the quality of the preceding seasons, and where the shows go from here. A few of these shows we really love and have suffered from a dip in quality lately. So we have a lot of hot takes in this one! Including some inside info on how the shows connect to some other interesting projects like the Green Arrow movie that almost was called Supermax, the upcoming annual CW superhero crossover event involving Gotham City and Batwoman, the classic Batman stories “No Man’s Land” “Zero Year”, and more! Also, take a look below the link at some cool new images put out to promote the upcoming seasons of the show’s we talk about in this episode. Enjoy! Listen here, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher and ITunes:
When fans look back at the Batman movies that took place in the same universe as the wonderful Batman: The Animated Series, they most likely remember the fantastic Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker or the classic Batman: Mask of The Phantasm. As of last summer, we can add 2017’s Batman and Harley Quinn to the list, but unfortunately that movie sucks.
However, there’s a hidden gem that a lot of people forget about; Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero. This was a direct to video animated film taking in the BTAS Universe that came out in 1998. No doubt hoping to capitalize on the Mr. Freeze buzz in that was in the air after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heartbreaking, Oscar winning performance in the critical darling and mega hit, Batman & Robin. Oh wait, I forgot the movie was explosive diarrhea and killed the Batman live action film franchise for nearly a decade. I’m sure there’s an alternate reality out there where it was The Dark Knight of it’s day.
But I think that was definitely the intention. Animation takes longer than live action to produce especially in the 90’s. Even though this came out in 1998, it must have started production a few years earlier. So Warner Bros. probably thought Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero would tie in to what they believed would be another hit Batman movie. It really feels like somewhere around 95’or 96’, Warner Bros. told Bruce Timm and his crew that if we let you do another Batman Animated movie, it better be about Mr. Freeze. Of course, Batman & Robin was such a piece of shit, people eventually put it out of their minds after the film bombed. Unfortunately I think Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero was forgotten a little as well.
Which is a shame because it’s a hell of a little flick. Nowhere near as good as Mask of The Phantasm or Return of The Joker, but still solid as fuck. It’s certainly about one thousand times better than Batman & Robin, it feels wrong to even compare the two. The movie plays like a darker, longer episode of the show. But at only 66 minuets, it still feels like a movie with a 3 act structure as opposed to a multi part episode of the series.
Basically at some point during Batman: The Animated Series, Freeze found out his wife Nora was actually still alive and being kept in cryogenic stasis. They’re living a peaceful life in the arctic with Freeze’s 2 pet Polar Bears and an Inuit boy that Freeze rescued and adopted after his parents died. There’s an accident involving some poor bastards who stumble onto this little family (it doesn’t end well for them), Nora’s medical equipment is damaged and her condition deteriorates rapidly. Freeze and the whole Fam (including the fucking polar bears) head to Gotham where Freeze meets up with his old colleague, Dr. Benson another expert in cryogenics who’s a massive piece of shit with serious financial debt. Benson tells Freeze that the only way to save his wife is an organ transplant. Nora has a rare blood type so they need to kidnap some who’s alive, kill them, and harvest their organs. Benson the medical professional that he is, gets on board right away when Freeze drops a lump of gold the size of football on his desk and tells him it’s from a mine he discovered in the arctic, which is Benson’s if he successfully helps Freeze. And wouldn’t you know it? The perfect match: Barbara Gordon. Batgirl. Commission Gordons’s daughter and the love of Dick Grayson’s (Robin) life.
There are some great action sequences including the scene kidnapping Barbara while she’s out to dinner with Dick at upscale nightclub, which starts with Freeze coming for Barbara in the club, polar bears and all, and ends with Dick in badass motorcycle chase. The film’s finale on an oil rig that going up in flames is exciting and genuinely edge of your seat tense.
This is also arguably the darkest we see Freeze, who’s always been one of the most sympathetic members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Killing a man out of revenge for murdering your wife and destroying your life is one thing, but butchering an innocent young woman to harvest an organ is pretty fucking dark. Especially considering she was basically already dead and the procedure did not seem to have a high likelihood of success when it’s being performed on an abandoned oil rig by a criminally negligent doctor who hasn’t changed his clothes in days and is solely motivated by paying off his shady debts. We do see glimmers of the honorable man that still exists somewhere deep beneath the ice of Freeze, but his main mission here is kind of unforgivable. And those polar bears aren’t fucking around either!
I rewatched this because it just came out on Blu-ray, which includes all the other Mr. Freeze episodes in the Batman: The Animated series Universe (including Batman Beyond), and I found myself thinking it was kind of underrated. This movie is also notable because it came out in the time betweeen the original Batman: The Animated series ended and The New Batman/Superman Adventures began. It was the same show, same continuity, but there was a big character redesign. Also, there are some big character developments that happen between the change over on the show and this movie hints at some of those upcoming character developments.
I definitely recommend picking up Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, I know I did. Especially if you have the other animated movies on Blu-Ray. It’s very good Batman movie and the Blu-Ray transfer looks good on the traditional animation. They experimented with some computer animation for certain shots and vehicles, that don’t work and look super dated. Other than that, this gets a big thumbs up from me. Give it a watch!
Oh FUCK! I forget about Batman: Mystery of The Batwoman! That’s one of the movies too..
You can pick up the Blu-Ray through our Amazon Affilliate link here:
On today’s episode of Paul’s Pulls I talk about the end of DC’s Big Batman event comic Dark Nights: Metal and the new issue of Doomsday Clock. I also spent some time talking about Thanos not only as a character, but his excellent book that Donny Cates works on, as well. Thanos is basically Marvel’s rip off of Darkseid and Jack Kirby‘s classic creations The New Gods, so we get into that a little bit as well. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
Since the “Death of Superman” in the 90’s, death being a revolving door has been somewhat of joke in the comic world. Unfortunately, frequent deaths and resurrections can often hurt the Superhero genre. Mainly because it pushes people away. To some readers it takes the sense of urgency from the story, they don’t feel any substance in a story they read because this is used so often it’s a trope of the genre. Once I realized how many Watchmen characters would actually be used in Doomsday Clock, I expected immediate negative backlash from the fan community. ESPECIALLY when The Comedian turned up alive. To be honest I wasn’t exactly thrilled by his return. This entire story needs to be handled very delicately to work. The Watchmen characters we saw before The Comedian showed up were used really well, but I felt like The Comedian might have been a bridge too far. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank better have a very important reason for bringing him into the story or else it will feel like bad fan service (I have faith that a good explanation will be given, especially because everything else in this miniseries has been excellent so far).
Having said all that, none of it really has much to do with THIS issue. I haven’t reviewed Doomsday Clock in awhile and since then I’ve noticed that some fans are unhappy with the return of certain characters. But lets focus on Doomsday Clock #4.
This is the most character driven issue of the series so far and it almost exclusively focuses on one main character: “New Rorschach”. I put the name “Rorschach” in quotes because we already know that this isn’t Walter Kovacs, Original Recipe Rorschach. This is Reggie, the young man how took on the mantle of the legendary crime fighter/ infamous lunatic vigilante.
For readers looking for a story that pushes the narrative further in a significant way, you may be disappointed. Otherwise this is an excellent character study of this new Rorschach. We not only get to see how he became the next Rorschach, we also find out exactly who Reggie is and where he fits in the Watchmen story (which I won’t spoil here). All I’ll say is that this person wasn’t even on my list of suspects.
Up until this issue, I was pretty sure that Reggie was an original character because, after going back to the Watchmen graphic novel there really wasn’t anyone who fit what we know about him (which is pretty much just; that he’s a relatively young man, African American, and more than a little bit of a psychopath.). But after reading the issue, I tip my hat to Johns and Frank because they have delivered an excellent vigilante origin story. They did a great job of creating Reggie’s backstory. My one criticism is that even though the creators found a very clever way of showing us how Reggie acquired his fighting skills, it doesn’t seem like enough to make into a fighter that would make even Veidt uneasy. But maybe there’s more to the puzzle coming up.
This was the perfect point to tell us Reggie’s backstory and what drives him. Because among the cast of new characters, we know a relatively significant amount about The Marionette and The Mime and what makes them tick (even though there are still some huge questions surrounding these two). Four issues into a 12 issue series, we need to understand the goals and motivations of all the main characters for the story to work. We also get a great appearance of a relatively obscure Watchmen character that’s both sweet and heartbreaking.
Though other issues of Doomsday Clock have wowed me in a ways that this chapter didn’t, it is nonetheless a beautiful character tale that’s tragic, sad, and illuminating. If you don’t mind one or two comic book tropes, I highly recommend Doomsday Clock as a series. This issue was definitely weaker than others, but it was still great. I can’t wait to see what Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have in store for the next 8 issues.