Batman: The Three Jokers #1 – Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

In Batman: The Three Jokers, Geoff Johns sets out to answer a mystery, that he set in motion several years ago during the climactic story arc of his Justice League run. In the story, Batman interfaces with an alien super computer called The Mobius Chair, that can answer any question in the universe, no matter how seemingly impossible the question may be . One of the questions Batman asked was, “What is The Joker’s true name?”. Through it’s omniscience, The Mobius Chair gave an answer that threw even The World’s Greatest Detective for a loop: There are 3 Jokers. This three issue miniseries sets out to finally answer the mystery of The Three Jokers. I’ve read the first issue and while it answers some questions, it leaves us with even more. 

Batman while using The Mobius Chair, a repository of al the knowledge in the universe

There is no doubt that DC has two of their absolute best creators working on this book. There are very few comic book writers who have had the level of influence on modern comic books in the way that Geoff John’s has. With very few exceptions, there isn’t a major character in DC Comics that he hasn’t left his mark on. His enormous talent and impact on comic book storytelling, put him in rarefied air among legends like Stan Lee and Frank Miler. Geoff Johns is without a doubt one of the best superhero writers in the medium. No one does big, epic storytelling like Geoff Johns. Yet for some reason, he has always, in my opinion, struggled when writing Batman. Don’t get me wrong, even some of his weakest stories have fun and interesting elements at play. Despite any criticisms about his writing that I may have, John’s never fails to deliver an entertaining story. 

   Then there’s artist Jason Fabouk, who’s done some of the best superhero artwork I’ve ever seen in “The Darkseid War”, one his previous collaborations with Geoff Johns in the pages of Justice League. In a comic book, the storytelling done through the artwork is just as important, sometimes more so, than the storytelling being done in the script. It’s one of the things that makes the medium so unique. This issue opens with an exceptional example of how vital a fantastic artist is to telling a great comic book story. The issue begins with a close-up, on a large “W” engraved in stone. As the image pulls out, we see that this is the grave of Thomas Wayne. Surprisingly, the Batmobile suddenly crashes into it, partially destroying the gravestone. A seriously injured Batman emerges from the vehicle and stumbles towards Wayne Manor. A flurry of bats eventually reveals the Batcave. Filled with Batman‘s equipment and trophies, old costumes of allies and enemies. Finally, we see Alfred. Steady. Always there. We see both men from behind, as Alfred hauls Bruce in an improvised shoulder carry. Holding up his son, as Batman struggles to make it to the medical area. In a wavering voice Bruce says “My parents…” Referring to the gravestone he crashed into moments before. Again, Alfred steady as ever replies “I’ll fix their markers as soon as I fix you.”. Piece by piece, Batman‘s armor is removed, Alfred using surgical tools to remove parts of the uniform to get at Bruce’s wound, so Alfred can begin to treat whatever Bruce has suffered from this time. 

  Alfred begins to treat a puncture wound in the side Bruce‘s torso. “What was it this time?” Alfred asks. “An umbrella” Bruce replies. The image pulls back again, Bruce is naked from the waist up, with his back turned to the reader as Alfred begins stitching his latest wound. The image is stunning. What makes the artwork so powerful Is the dozens, maybe even hundreds of other scars and burns covering Bruce’s body (and we can only see him from the back). This is a grim ritual these two men have gone through together far too many times..Each scar is a dark reminder, a souvenir, of the nightly torture Bruce Wayne subjects himself to. 

However, despite all the monsters he fought in the night, only one has left more scars than any other. Both on the inside and out. The Joker. As Bruce recalls each battle, each fight with The Clown Prince of Crime, the monsters horrifying laughter builds in his head until, for the first time in the story, we see Bruce’s eyes. And they are filled with fury… and something more, something dark.

Regardless of any criticisms that I may leveled at other aspects of this comic book, the art by Jason Fabouk is incredible. There are many amazing artists out there, who draw stunningly beautiful images, but it takes more than that to be an excellent comic book artist. A comic book artist is a storyteller just like the writer. The analogy I like to use, is that a comic book artist needs to be the director, the actors, the cinematography, and the editor all wrapped in one. Like a director they need to set up every image, the angle, what will be in the shot, etc. like a cinematographer they have to establish the look and visual tone of the story, and like an actor they need to convey all of the subtle emotions of every character in the story. An artist who can do all of that well and still make every image absolutely beautiful, is less common in the industry than you might think. I think somebody like the late, great Steve Dillon (Preacher, The Punisher)  is a great example of an artist that was incredibly gifted at storytelling and conveying complex array of human emotions. With this comic, I think Jason Fabouk has taken his first step into becoming one of the most elite comic book storytellers in the business. The work on display here is some of the best visual storytelling I’ve seen in a comic book in a long time. 

  With that out of the way, what do I think about the comic? I think there are two major issues that ultimately plague this story. First, the problem with telling a story like this, is that part of what makes The Joker so terrifying and so fascinating is that he doesn’t have a definitive origin. Sure, there have been hints over the years. Possibilities of who or what he was before he became The Clown Prince of Crime.  Writers like Alan Moore, Scott Snyder, Bruce Timm,and Paul Dini have all played with possible origins for The Joker. These stories worked because none of them were the character’s definitive origin. It was left ambiguous, the writers placed doubt in the minds of fans about how much of these possible backstories actually happened. Was any of it real? Even the recent JOKER film starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/The Joker, made the audience question exactly how much of the films events actually took place and how much of it was all in Arthur’s head

The questions at the heart of this story are: How are there three Jokers? What does that even mean? Are there literally three different men, who have been The Joker over the years? What is the answer to the mystery of The Three Jokers? At least for me, the answer to that question is: I don’t fucking care. I would’ve been perfectly happy if DC never picked up this storyline again. In the JL story written by Geoff Johns that kicked this whole thing off, Batman asks the all-knowing Mobius Chair “What is The Joker’s true name?”. The chair replies and Batman is visibly shocked and disturbed by what he hears. He can only respond “That’s not possible“. On its own, that’s a cool moment. What the fuck did The Mobius Chair tell Batman? The Joker is already a character shrouded in mystery and darkness and this was a powerful and creepy moment. I think if it was left alone by DC, this could have been an intriguing addition to The Joker’s mythology. A question we’ll never get the answer to would’ve been so much more interesting to readers, because the unknown is always so much scarier than anything a writer can cook up.

To talk about my second major criticism of this story so far, I’m going to be discussing a pivotal scene in depth as an example of a larger concern I have with the project. So MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILER WARNINGS for the rest of the review!!!

Ok, still with me? Great. So, when Jason Todd AKA The Red Hood finally blows The Joker’s brains out, I thought: “About damn time!”.

You see, a common misconception is, that Batman has always adhered to a strict moral code, that kept him from ever taking a life. It’s important to point out that when Batman was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane (It was actually MOSTLY Bill Finger, but Bob Kane gets all the credit). Batman‘s so-called “no kill“ rule, didn’t come from a creative decision by one of Batman’s creators. It came down as an editorial mandate from DC Comics. The Joker was originally supposed to die in his first appearance, but the character was so popular that the creators working on Batman at the time had to come up with a way for Joker to return. Batman couldn’t go around killing the entirety of what would become his whole rogues gallery! Of course this early version of Batman would kill The Joker! For a man willing to take a life, this was the exact situation where you take someone off the board. It was a way to keep Batman’s popular villains returning to the story. Another factor was that DC comics wanted to attract younger readers. Which was why Robin was introduced and Batman’s homicidal edge was softened. The hard-hitting, gritty, noir stores told in Batman’s early days, made way for more colorful and family friendly content. 

So when someone tries to convince you that Batman never kills because of a deep moral belief in the sanctity of life, you can say that’s bullshit, he doesn’t kill because the publisher wanted to make more money by having more readers and reoccurring, colorful villains. From the very beginning of Batman‘s career, he had no compunction about killing criminals. Batman even carried a gun in many of his earliest appearances. Many of the unfortunate thugs he came across found them selves with a bullet in the chest, thrown into a vat of acid, or strangling a man with a steel cable attached to The Batplane and flying through Gotham with the corpse still hanging from The Batplane. While Batman muses that the villain is “better off this way“. In fact here are some fun instances of Batman straight up murdering people…


   Which is why I find it so frustrating that certain writers, like Geoff John’s in particular, treat Batman‘s “no kill“ rule is if it was a sacred and fundamental part of the character’s ideology. It wasn’t a creative storytelling decision, it was a marketing one. Most of the other vigilantes in Gotham City have been trained by Bruce or work closely with him, so they also adhere to same, foolish “no kill” rule (with some notable exceptions). So when writers like Geoff John’s put Batman or one of his allies, in this case Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl, in positions where all logic, emotion, and reason would lead to their character taking a life, the writers will go to extraordinary lengths to find reasons for their so-called heroes not to go through with it. This doesn’t make the heroes noble, it makes them look foolish and naïve. I’m not saying that Batman and his allies should start acting like The Punisher, but in extreme circumstances, extreme measures are appropriate. Unless a writer is willing to honestly tackle some potentially uncomfortable questions about his characters, then perhaps it’s a subject that is best left alone. If you’ve been successfully crime fighting crime in a cesspool like Gotham City for years, you’ve probably seen some of the ugliest things that humanity has to offer. Which is why it makes no sense that someone like Barbara Gordon, an intelligent, worldly, capable, and very tough woman would attempt to stop Jason Todd from murdering The Joker. The amount of suffering that The Joker has personally inflicted on Barbara and her family includes crippling and sexually molesting her, torturing her father, murdering her stepmother, and has killing literally thousands of people. Including successfully murdering Jason himself. Even though Jason eventually came back from the dead, as Jon Snow would tell you, that isn’t some shit you just forgive. For Barbara to feign outrage when The Joker is killed, is just silly and poor writing. However, I did enjoy what Jason says to Barbara after kills The Joker, posted below…

I’ll definitely read all 3 issues of Batman: The Three Jokers, but It’s mostly out of sense of obligation. New comic books come out each week and I still read every issue of my favorite ongoing titles. Batman is my favorite comic book character, so for better or worse, regardless of how this story ends it’s going to have a major impact of some kind on the Batman mythology. For that alone, I’d read all 3 issues just to see how it all plays out. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, especially if you don’t read comics every week like I do. I’m certain that DC is trying to attract new readers with a high profile book like this. In that regard, I suppose Three Jokers is successful. Most of my problems with the book were rooted in my long personal history with Batman and how I think the character and his world should be portrayed. As well as certain longtime comics books tropes present in the issue, that drive my nuts whenever they pop-up in a story. New readers might be the ideal audience for this comic book, even with my criticisms, it’s an undeniably entertaining book with beautiful art. Casual Batman fans wouldn’t bring as much baggage to the story as I did and it really only requires a basic knowledge of Batman and The Joker to follow what’s going on.

Final Words:
In a vacuum, taken for what it is, Batman: The Three Jokers is pretty good read, but it fails to justify it’s own existence. This new miniseries suffers because of some poorly written characters and will leave a lot of readers questioning why this story needed to be told in the first place. On the other hand, The Three Jokers is a solid book for casual readers and the art work by Jason Fabouk is gorgeous.

Batman: The Three Jokers #16.5/10

Update On Justice League: The Snyder Cut!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…


    I’m really looking forward to the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League premiering on HBO Max next year. The more I hear about it the more I’m excited by it. Zack Snyder is a very polarizing figure among fans, personally, I find much more to like in Zack Snyder‘s work than there is to dislike. I love Man of Steel and though it’s a very flawed film, I love Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Based on some statements made by Snyder in recent interviews, it sounds like this project is more of a remake of Justice League than a director’s cut. Snyder has said he’s not using any of the material that Joss Whedon shot and the current runtime of The Snyder Cut is around 4 hours. I don’t know if HBO Max is going to release this as one big piece of content or divide it into a miniseries, but the bottom line is there is going to be a shit load of new stuff in this movie. New characters, new storylines, major scenes playing out completely differently. 

A bad ass fan made poster for The Snyder Cut

  A recent clip from The Snyder Cut that was released online is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The scene involved Superman visiting Alfred after his resurrection, to get the information he needed to help the rest of The League win the day against Steppenwolf and his forces from Apokolips. The key difference in this new clip is Superman‘s wearing his iconic post-resurrection, black costume, which is a cool call back to The Death and Return of Superman storyline from the original comic books. In a recent interview, Zack Snyder said that Warner Bros. was vehemently against a black suited Superman, but to keep his options open, he shot the scene with a version of the Superman suit with the traditional red and blue, but the colors and the tone were slightly different from other red and blue suits that were used. This was done because those slightly different color tones are easier to change in post-production using VFX. Now Snyder could go back and change the color of the costume to a sort of “ash” grey cape and Superman emblem, on a black body suit. I posted the short clip below. It’s a small, but cool change. And when it comes to sneak peeks at the upcoming “Snyder Cut”, the changes for the better don’t stop there…

One of the worst things about the theatrical cut of Justice League was it’s villain, Steppenwolf. Not only was he an uninteresting and boring character, but the CGI design was terrible. When Batman V. Superman came out, a deleted scene called “Communion” was released online that showed Lex Luthor using the Kryptonian ship to communicate with a very different looking Steppenwolf. Much cooler and much scarier. You can watch that below if you haven’t seen it:

I loved this design, Steppenwolf is one of The New Gods, a servant of Darkseid. I loved this almost demonic, monstrous take on the character. Thanks to these images released online, we know that Steppenwolf has been completely redesigned for The Snyder Cut. This is clearly much more in line with the creature we see in “Communion”. Take a look…

Zack Snyder posted this image of a WAY cooler looking Steppenwolf from The Snyder Cut
Steppenwolf concept art
More Steppenwolf concept art. A much cooler design, in the vein o& the “Alien” films

 I thought it would be very interesting to see that same aesthetic applied to Darkseid and the other New Gods. Now, with Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it looks like I’ll get my wish. Darkseid was originally going to be the main villain of the film and with the added emphasis put on The Lord of Apokolips in the first teaser for The Snyder Cut, we should expect to see Darkseid as a prominent figure in the film. Early in the theatrical cut of Justice League, we’re show an ancient battle sequence at the beginning of Justice League, which features Amazons, Atlanteans, human armies, the old gods, and even a Green Lantern, fighting together to push back the forces of Apokolips, lead by Steppenwolf, during their first invasion of Earth. In the teaser for The Snyder Cut that I just mentioned, the invasion is now lead by Darkseid. Here’s that teaser to refresh your memory:

A low res image of Darkseid during the first Apokolips invasion of Earth
Rough concept art of Darkseid during his invasion of Earth. In his younger days, Darkseid was known as Uxas.

Interestingly, in one of his recent interviews Zack Snyder mentioned that the film won’t even be called Justice League anymore. I’m not sure what the new title will be and if the change is for legal or creative reasons, but we’ll find out sooner or later. DC  is currently gearing up for a big event on August 22nd called DC FANDOME. The 24 hour online event will be showcasing DC characters and properties across all mediums. There’ll be some big announcements about upcoming DC projects in film, comics, TV, and more. We should definitely expect to get an update on The Snyder Cut in some form or another. It could be another trailer or new information, but regardless we will be comprehensively covering the DC FANDOME event here at World’s Best Media. For more on DC FANDOME, go to http://www.DCFanDome.com !

A young Darkseid battles Ares.

So are you looking forward to The Snyder Cut? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!

This concept art shows an alternate design for the Parademons. This look will not be in the new film, it’s just a cool
“what if” that I wanted to share..

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK: Justice League: The Snyder Cut!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

There’ve been few things in recent popular culture that have been more divisive than Zack Snyder‘s foray into the DCEU. Personally, I’m a big Zack Snyder defender. I think, with the exception of Sucker Punch, he’s never truly made a bad movie.

   Man of Steel is easily my favorite live-action Superman movie. Henry Cavill is much better in the role than people give him credit for and the movie is underrated in general. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a very flawed film, but I love it. Particularly the R-Rated Ultimate Edition. It’s sad that the films reception and his personal issues forced Ben Affleck to walk away from the character because he was arguably our best live action Batman to date. The only thing in that movie that was truly terrible was the decision to cast Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and his god awful subsequent performance. I understand that, as fans we all have our own beliefs about how beloved character should be portrayed on screen, but I was pleasantly surprised by Batman V Superman, especially because the film was getting such mixed reviews at the time. 

I don’t count Justice League because at the end of the day that wasn’t really Snyder’s film. Almost everything with Superman in that movie was shot after he left the film, for personal reasons. Henry Cavill was well into filming Mission: Impossible Fallout, where he sported a thick mustache. You can tell that all of Superman’s scenes were shot after Zack Snyder left the film, because Paramount, the film studio that was making Mission Impossible, wouldn’t let Warner Bros. shave Cavill’s mustache for JL reshoots. So, instead of choosing the much simpler, cheaper, and smarter option of shaving his mustache and having Cavill wear a fake for the remainder of shooting Mission Impossible, Warner Bros. had to remove the mustache digitally. The god awful result is that the whole bottom half of Superman’s face in JL looks like a creepy mannequin come to life. Of course none of that is Zack Snyder‘s fault because he already left the movie at that point, but it’s a funny story if you haven’t already heard it.

Now, Zack Snyder is finally getting a chance to give us his vision of his Justice League film, or at least something pretty close to it. Justice League: The Snyder Cut is premiering on HBOMax next year, sometime in 2021. It might not be much, but HBO released a brief teaser for the project that you can watch below. Of course, you can’t judge a movie after only seeing less than 60 seconds of footage, but I already dig the darker tone. We’re only shown two quick scenes, one involving Diana played by Gal Gadot that was not in the theatrical cut at all and a quick look at a alternate version of the ancient battle sequence that opens the film where Steppenwolf has been replaced by… Well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s someone much scarier and much more interesting. The thing that both of these scenes have in common is that they’re extremely ominous and they both serve to focus on the appearance of a certain iconic DC villain, not featured in the theatrical cut. Take a look below, I’d love to hear what you guys think:

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

PODCASTS: DC’s Stargirl (TV Series) Review & Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

We’ve had a lot of great content on the site lately, so I wasn’t in a rush to post individual pages for the last couple of episodes of The World’s Best Podcast. Regardless, I still wanted to make sure I posted something about the latest episodes of the show. The first episode is my review of the DC Animated Movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. The 2nd and latest podcast is my review for the great new DC live-action superhero series, Stargirl. We have the links for both podcasts posted below. I like to go out of my way to create a webpage for each of the episodes of The World’s Best Podcast, so I can add some cool new content, some additional insight into the episode, or bonus material. I have trailers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and DC’s Stargirl posted below, along with some interesting stills, photos, and concept images to give you a closer look at the projects I’m reviewing in these 2 episodes. You can check out that content right here.

First up, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War…





Justice League Dark: Apokolips War! Superman and the Justice League decide to take the fight to Darkseid and lose… badly. 2 years later, with many of the heroes dead and Earth decimated by Darkseid’s forces, a desperate and de-powered Clark Kent turns to John Constantine for help with a suicidal plan to end the threat of Darkseid once and for all.

Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/28915924 Or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes/Apple Podcasts:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000476577055

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=185563

Next, our latest episode reviewing the new series, DC’s Stargirl!

The new series based on the DC Comics hero, Stargirl created by Geoff Johns, will be airing on The CW and the DC UNIVERSE Streaming Service. The new show stars Brec Bassinger and Luke Wilson, the series also heavily features the heroes and villains from the classic DC comic book, JSA. Over the course of the first season, High School student Courtney Whitmore takes up the mantle of superhero, Stargirl with the help of her stepfather Pat (Luke Wilson), formally an unofficial member of the JSA who wears a giant robot super suit that he built, called S.T.R.I.P.E.

Together they’ll form a new generation of The JSA since the original JSA were killed by The Injustice Society. The society includes villains like Icicle, Solomon Grundy, Sportsmaster, Tigress, Brainwave, and The Dragon King.

Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/29775621 Or subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…

iTunes/Apple Podcasts:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000477050333

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=185563

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

NEW TRAILERS: Marvel’s Black Widow & Justice League Dark: Apokolips War!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

It’s Movie Trailer Tuesday here at World’s Best Media! We have some new trailers and featurettes from 2 very different, but very cool upcoming superhero movies: Marvel’s Black Widow and the new film from DC Animation, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War!

First up, we have the final trailer for Marvel’s Black Widow, opening May 1st. Fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow movie for years and early projections have this film doing big numbers for Marvel.

Personally, I’m most excited to see Taskmaster make his big screen debut. Taskmaster is a mercenary and assassin who can perfectly mimic the fighting style and ability of any combatant he encounters. It was especially cool to see Taskmaster studying the surveillance videos of Natasha’s big fight with the guards at Hammer Industries during the climax of Iron Man 2 (her first appearance in The MCU). We also see Taskmaster breakout moves mimicking the some of the best hand to hand fighters in The MCU, like Captain America, Black Panther, and Hawkeye. I think this is going to be a blast, but check out the trailer for yourself right here…

    DC Animation just released their adaptation of Superman: Red Son, arguably one of the most beloved Superman stories ever told. I loved the film, it was a return to the glory days of fantastic DC Animated Movies. Even though I love the DCAU, lately they have not been on par with the amazing work they’ve done in the past. However, it looks like they may be back on track. While Red Son was excellent, I found myself even more excited by the sneak peek at the next DC Animated film, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. 

      This is the culmination of at least a dozen or more movies that began with Justice League: War, which was about how the Justice League was formed to repel the forces of Darkseid and his invading armies. DCA puts out at least 3 or 4 movies every year and at least 1 or 2 of these films have taken place in this shared DC Animated Universe that started with Justice League: War (The other films released each year tend to be their own standalone stories like Superman: Red Son, Batman Gotham by Gaslight, or The Killing Joke). This new film looks like the DCAU version of Avengers: Endgame. This video was previewed as a feturette on the special features of Superman: Red Son, just give it a watch and you’ll see how cool this movie looks…

If that wasn’t enough, DC Animation also released a trailer for the new film as well which you can watch right here…

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be available digitally on iTunes on May 5th and on Blu-Ray/4K on May 19th.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!

-Paul,

MOVIE REVIEW: Reign of The Supermen

Hey Everyone,

Paul here… 

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  This month DC Animation is releasing the second movie in their two part Death of Superman saga, Reign of The Supermen. Reign of The Supermen begins roughly 6 months after The Death of Superman. The world is still in morning, but none more so than Lois Lane. Shortly before his death, due to his injuries sustained saving the city from Doomsday in the previous film, Clark and Lois’ relationship had reached the point where they were deeply in love with each other. Which makes Clark’s death all the more tragic, but more on that in a moment.

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    Even with the fantastic action sequences we come to expect, I’ve really enjoyed the small character moments in both of these movies that give the films some heart. For example, the developing friendship between Lois Lane and Wonder Woman added a nice layer to the film. Superhero comics are often so male focused, we don’t get to see enough positive female friendships. Even though it’s Clark’s death that brings them together in this film, it’s great to see their bond develop throughout the film. Even though they are very different people in many ways, it makes a lot of sense that they would like each other, that they’d hit it off. 

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Lois and Diana just chillin’

   A problem DC characters face that most Marvel characters don’t, is the fact that the Justice League are almost a modern day pantheon of gods. Which can make them seem distant, inhuman and unrelatable. Seeing Lois and Diana together in civilian attire bonding at a local pub is a great scene that humanizes these larger than life characters. It’s a small moment, but I hope the writers take the opportunity to grow this relationship. There’s great dramatic and comedic potential in pairing Lois and Diana in this and future films.

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   As, I touched upon earlier, when that film began, Lois and Clark have been dating long enough that they both knew some serious choices needed to be made in their relationship. Was this just a fun office romance? Or is it something real? They love one another, but Clark struggles with how and if he should tell Lois that he is Superman. Their love story is a key story aspect of that film.

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   I think the decision to make this story into two films really works and you see that decision pay off here. Considering the ambition of the story they were telling, this does feel like one film, cut in two, instead of two separate movies. I hope they put out a deluxe edition with both films together like they did with The Dark Knight Returns Part One and Two. There are so many callbacks and little moments connected to the first film, that if you haven’t seen The Death of Superman, you may not understand the emotional impact of certain moments.

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   Following Superman’s death, four new “Superman themed” heroes appear. The question to some is, if somehow one of them could be the real deal. First there’s Steel, a scientist named John Henry Irons we’d met in a few previous DCAU films. Irons has essentially built Superman-themed Iron Man armor. He has a particularly cool mechanized hammer, almost like a high tech version of Thor’s new ax/hammer in Infinity War. With his flowing red cape and the S on his armor, he cant quite reach the power level of the original Man of Steel, but he certainly holds his own.

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  Then there’s the teenage Superboy, a LexCorp sponsored hero reveling in his celebrity and all too eager to prove himself to be the hero that Superman was and so much more. Unfortunately, he finds out the hard way that a cocky attitude and bravado can’t compete with the years of experience the original Superman had under his belt. His origin is pretty dark and I won’t spoil it here, if you don’t know it already. Some may find his character to be a little bit annoying, but I found there to be an underlying tragedy to the character and I thought his relationship with Lex Luthor was particularly interesting.

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Superboy and his complicated relationship with Lex Luthor

  I don’t want to go into full spoilers, but there are 2 other contenders for the title of the new Man of Steel: The dangerous Eradicator and Cyborg-Superman. Both are much darker figures than Steel and Superboy. Strangely, it seems that if any of these new “heroes” are Kal-El of Krypton reborn, Cyborg-Superman seems like the best bet, but like all of the new Superman figures there is more to him than meets the eye.

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The Eradicator

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Cyborg-Superman

  When the shit really starts to hit the fan, the movie finds a particularly clever way to take of the Justice League out of the equation for the big final battle at the end of the film. Had the Justice League been present, it definitely would’ve created major story problems, so it was nice to see that was handled well. The absence of the Justice League forces some unpredictable and surprising figures to step up and act more heroically than you may expect, including Lex Luthor.

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     Rainn Wilson returns to the role of Lex Luthor in this film after first playing him in The Death of Superman. I really like how Lex is portrayed in both of these movies. He is undoubtably self-serving, amoral, and even a flat out piece of shit at times. However, he doesn’t want to see mankind destroyed or brought low. He genuinely wants to help the human race and at times, under the right circumstances, he can even act heroically. The film leaves him in a particularly interesting place in this regard and I‘m very much looking forward to see where they take the character from here.

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Lex Luthor himself

In my review for last year’s The Death of Superman (Read it here:  https://best-media-world.com/2018/07/29/movie-review-the-death-of-superman/   ), I mention how the film feels very much like a story about Clark Kent “the man” first and foremost. Not Superman, just Clark Kent. The Death of Superman is about the young man who grew up on a Kansas farm raised by wonderful parents. 

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If The Death of Superman was about Clark Kent, Reign of The Supermen is all about Lois Lane.  She’s the lead in this film. Sure, we have four new Superman “replacements/Wannabes/psychos” running around that are crucial to the story, But make no mistake this is Lois’s film. We get to see you Lois in action playing the hero on a level I don’t think we’ve ever seen her before outside of the comics. Even without the costume and the powers she almost feels like the superhero of the film. I mentioned before that at some point in the film the Justice League are taken out of the equation and there are people seriously fighting out of their weight class. Lois Lane is of course one of these people. She manages to hold her own in against one of the most dangerous super villains in the DC Universe and the movie makes it work. Almost like Batman, Lois uses her cunning and what weapons she has at her disposal to take on some real heavy hitters. Lois and Lex Luthor, as characters are probably some of the strongest parts of this film

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  I don’t really want to get into the method in which a Superman is resurrected. I mean, c’mon! We all knew he was coming back. No one thought he going to stay dead. But the events surrounding his resurrection, put Superman at a slight disadvantage. Which was another creative way to up the stakes for the characters, especially when Superman is often labeled as being too powerful in his stories.

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He’s got the black suit! And the beard! AND THE MULLET!! FUCK YEAH!!!

  There are some really great action sequences in the climax. Some of the animation in particular is very dynamic, fluid, almost anime  . That turns some people off, but I think it looks really cool and I thought it especially worked for this film. 

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SOME SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH 

Beware…

 

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     The Death Of Superman strongly hinted at the mastermind behind the events in both of these films. It won’t be too hard to guess the individual’s identity. SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR FUTURE POSSIBLE FILMS: I really like how the story leaves  Superman and the rest of the Justice League contemplating how to deal with the threat of Darkseid. This was his revenge for his failed invasion of Earth in Justice League: War (Though it seems he blames Superman for that defeat more than the other heroes for some reason). The JL knows that Darkseid is going to keep coming and they’re going to have to do something about him. I’m really excited for the story possibilities this set up for future movies. I hope the folks at DC animation take full advantage of the storytelling potential. Oh, and stay for the post-credits scene! Not only is it important to some potential future films but it’s also just really fun and funny. Don’t  miss it

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It looks like we may be getting an adaptation of The Darkseid War

 

 

END SPOILERS 

 All in all, I loved The Death of Superman, I don’t think Reign of The Supermen quite reached the heights of the previous film. However, it still has a lot going for it that makes it absolutely worth a watch. For a fun and exciting superhero movie with some above average character work and thrilling action sequences, you can’t go wrong with Reign of The Supermen. I definitely recommend you check it out.

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Reign of The Supermen: B-

Thanks for reading!

Review by Paul J. Wright

NEW TRAILER: Young Justice: Outsiders!

The long awaited 3rd Season of Young Justice premieres on 1/4/19 on the DC UNIVERSE streaming service. Check out the new trailer for Young Justice: Outsiders right here!

Podcast: Paul’s Pulls (The Comic Book Show)

Hey everybody,

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:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14433291

 

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*Correction: Several times throughout the episode I refer to a creator named “Donny Coates” , the creators name is actually DONNY CATES.