The Red Hood. The Pale Man. The Clown Prince of Crime… THE JOKER. Without a doubt the best villain in comic book history and one of the best characters in all of fiction.
Batman is the best superhero in comics, so his arch nemesis should reflect his greatness. All of Batman’s villains, the best rogues gallery in superhero fiction, reflect Batman in some way, some aspect of his psyche. Harvey Dent represents Batman’s struggle with duality, Ra’s Al Ghul represents Batman’s temptation to take his mission too far and commit to a darker way of trying to save society, The Penguin represents the idea of the wealth and privilege he was born with turning into something ugly, greedy, and gluttonous, and so on…
Then, there’s The Joker. Batman’s true, broken reflection. To paraphrase better writers than me, Batman is an engine of meaning. He turns tragedy into purpose. As The Dark Knight Detective himself once famously said “My parents taught me a different lesson, dying in the gutter for not reason at all. They taught me that the world only makes sense… when you force it to.” Everything Batman does is built upon the foundation of that idea. That his actions and his mission have meaning.
That’s why The Joker is Batman’s greatest antagonist. The Joker’s point to Batman is that nothing we do has meaning. It’s all pointless. The Joker is trying to prove to Batman that his mission, his ideology, is pathetic. It’s a joke. There is no greater meaning to life. Nothing you do matters. He’s inviting Batman to abandon his beliefs, to come with him and embrace how The Joker sees the world. In doing so, he’ll become truly transcendent and immortal, but most of all, free.
Which brings me to the upcoming film JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix….
Over the past several years DC has announced literally dozens of films. Many of which will never see the light of day. Remember that Flash movie that came out back in March 2018? Yeah, me neither, because they didn’t fucking make it. They’ve announced so many movies at this point it’s hard to take them seriously when they do. So when a stand alone film focusing on The Joker was announced I really thought it would never be made. DC seemed to be trying to build a coherent movie universe like Marvel and I didn’t see them realistically making a movie focusing on Jared Leto’s Joker, who was divisive at best.
Then I started to here that they were going in a different direction. That Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro were involved and my skepticism grew. No way was Martin Scorsese directing a DC film. Finally, it became clear that this was a stand alone movie existing OUTSIDE the established DC movie universe that Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and SHAZAM! exist in. Todd Phillips would be directing, whose credits include Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover Trilogy, and War Dogs. Martin Scorsese would produce the film, co-staring DeNiro, with Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker in an origin movie telling the story of the man who becomes The Clown Prince of Crime. This is the movie hitting theatres this October and you can check out the trailer below:
Looks pretty good, right? However, at no point have I had any interest in this project. Despite the fact that the trailer seems to show a genuinely good movie with what could be a great performance from Joaquin Phoenix, the only reaction I can have to this movie is ambivalence. The reason being that I think telling a straight up origin story for The Joker is kind of missing the point of a large part of the character. If this were “officially part of the DC movie universe”, I’d be genuinely pissed this movie is being made. However, because the movie is it’s own thing, a one off crime story that doesn’t involve Batman (even though we do see a young Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne is a major character) I can live with them telling their fucking Joker origin movie.
Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s a real fucking shocker the movie is drawing inspiration from comic book stories like… wait for it… THE KILLING JOKE! Brav-fucking-vo! How original!
Don’t give me wrong, the comics have hinted at possible origins for The Joker in the past. But that’s what they were: HINTS, possibilities, not a concrete origin. That was one of the reasons The Dark Knight was so brilliant, the story of how The Joker got his scars was different every time he told it, one of my favorite aspects of the film. They had no fucking idea who this guy was. He had no past, he came out of nowhere, he was like the fucking bogeyman. I’ve always said that The Joker is to the normal citizens of Gotham, what Batman is to it’s criminals: a terrifying, unexplainable nightmare.
The only reason DC is choosing to tell an origin story for The Joker is because everyone and their fucking grandmother knows who The Joker is. Even if you fucking hate comic books or comic book movies you know who The Joker is.
I think it’s kind of a shame that Joaquin Phoenix looks like he may be giving an excellent performance as The Joker. Wouldn’t it be so much more entertaining to see that performance in a real Batman film?
If he knocks it out of the park in the role, it would be kind of a shitty scenario because we always want to see Batman go up against a great Joker. As I wrote earlier in the article, Batman and The Joker have this very complex relationship that spans years. Yet we’ve only ever seen them face off against one another in one film in their different incarnations. In Tim Burton‘s Batman they killed the character off and the tragic death of Heath Ledger meant we wouldn’t see that character in Nolan’s Batman universe beyond The Dark Knight. One thing we genuinely haven’t seen from the Batman and Joker dynamic on film, is how that relationship plays out over years of twisted, violent confrontations.
Well, that’s my two cents anyway. I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there who will disagree with me and that’s fine. For now, I just needed to comment on this project, but this is not a film I’ll be rushing out to the theater to see.
It’s been a while since I’ve written an article on comic books. As I’ve often said, one of my main goals at World’s Best Media has been to be an advocate for comic books. To champion comics as a beautiful, thought provoking, worthwhile literature. Like all mediums, comics books and graphic novels can run the gamut from complete garbage to transcendent pieces of art. To use television as an example, for every “Big Bang Theory” (ugh) to masterpieces like “The Wire” or “Game of Thrones”. As we head into Spring with Summer around the corner, DC and Marvel are gearing up for some high profile books from their top writers and artists to tell big event stories. Think of it like the comic book world’s version the Summer Blockbuster Season at the movies. This year is no exception and even after years of reading comics for a couple of decades now I still get excited. (Jesus Christ! Wait a second. When did I do ANYTHING “decades ago”?! When did THAT happen?! Time is a cruel mistress, I suppose)
In this article I’m going to give you folks a look at some of the coolest comics DC and Marvel have hitting stands over the next couple of months. There are some pretty damn cool books here and like I said I never fail to get excited about the Summer Comic Book Events.
However, it can be difficult to get into comics especially if you’re a newcomer. So even if this’ll be your first time picking up a comic book or you’re a lapsed fan comings looking to get back into comics, I have something here that I think will help you out. * if you’re a comic book readers and understand the basics, you can skip right ahead to out Spring/Summer Comic Book Preview. Otherwise…
Here’s a quick refresher: New to Comic 101. This will help you appreciate some very sick new comics and graphic novels coming out this spring and summer when they hit stores and Apps. If you’ve seen a Marvel movie, for example, and are trying to decide where to start, it can be intimidating. No is much is I love Marvel, DC Comics is much better at making comic books accessible to newcomers. They tend to make their stories available in simple, easy to grasp formats. They tend to publish their graphic novels as individual stories that you can pick up like a regular novel and understand without having read anything else about the character (more or less). Then you can go out and grab another story featuring the same character and (more or less) be able to follow along. There might be some confusion here and there about small details, but that’s why god invented Google. Let’s say you’ve read one or two Wonder Woman or Superman graphic novels or collected editions, as you begin to read more, you start to understand when stories take place in a a books history, the overall continuity of a character or universe, the best writers and artists. Basically you start to become a comic book reader.
As I’ve explained in the past, what we call graphic novels are really mostly collected editions which are just collections of individual comics that make up one larger story, in easy to read book/graphic novel form. DC seems to really understand that graphic novels and collected editions are incredibly important because they help draw in new readers. Right now drawing in new readers is by far the most important priority of every comic book publisher.
Now, without further ado…
2019 SPRING/SUMMER COMIC BOOK PREVIEW
DC’S YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1 (One-Shot)
Release Date: 5/1/19
Writers – Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, & James Tynion IV
Artist- Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, & Francis Manapul
Cover- Greg Capullo
This is the must buy comic book of the season. This special one shot is made up of three separate stories from DC’s top writers and artists. Each of the three stories serve to set up the major story arcs and plot points in DC‘s biggest books, featuring their most prominent characters. With a theme like “Year of the Villain“, these stories feature some of the most dangerous and deadly threats that have been brewing in books like Justice League, Action Comics, Batman and more all year. Threats like The Batman Who Laughs, the terrifying and powerful secret society/terrorist group Leviathan, and Lex Luthor’s continuing quest to unlock the secret cosmic powers of the Universe with his Legion Of Doom. Considering the wild cards at play here, expect some big surprises and shocking reveals in this book. Plus, you can’t beat the rock bottom price of $0.25. This book is a good jumping on point if you have been a DC Comics reader in the past and want to start reading them again. This is a MUST READ. Below we have some fantastic art, each of whch accompanies the different stories in this book
Doomsday Clock #11
Release Date: 5/22/19
Writer- Geoff Johns
Artist- Gary Frank
Man, this great fucking series. Don’t listen to the haters. What’s interesting is Doomsday Clock is kind of a microcosm of all superhero comics. It’s a big gimmicky “Event”, it’s a crossover, it’s messes with classic characters and stories that were previously viewed as untouchable sacred cows, surprise character returns, there are big deaths, surprise resurrections, RETCONING! You find each of those thing a lot in superhero comics. However, none of that takes away from the fact that Doomsday Clock is a fucking incredible comic book. In fact, It’s one of the best books currently being published. When the story was first announced, it was presented as a story that would’ve been about a sort of battle for the soul of the DC Universe. With Superman‘s hope and optimism versus Dr. Manhattan’s cold, inhuman, rationalism. While that still seems to be an element of the story, it quickly became apparent that this story was really a Watchmen sequel. Some fans will always be against the idea of a sequel to Alan Moore’s superhero masterpiece, but I am of the opinion that if there has to be a sequel to Watchmen, this is the best one we’re going to get. It’s a fantastic story that feels both very true to the world Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created all those years ago as well as the DC comics universe. The art by Gary Frank is beyond phenomenal. I have no idea where the story is going to end up and that’s one of the things I love about it. At the time of writing this, issue # 10 will have been published, With the penultimate chapter (Issue #11) of this saga hitting spinner racks in May. With the grand finale following issue #11. Will we finally get the epic confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan that the series seems to be inexorably heading towards? I’m sure there’s going to be at least some confrontation, but what kind…. I don’t know, but I can’t fucking wait to find out.Though we’ve seen a lot of delays on this series, it seems to be getting back on track with a pretty regular shipping schedule.
Batman: Last Knight On Earth
Release Date: 5/29/19
Writer- Scott Snyder
Artist- Greg Capullo
For nearly a decade, writer Scott Snyder has become the definitive Batman storyteller of his time. Frank Miller had the 80’s, the 21st-century belongs to Scott Snyder. Snyder has often told the story of, how when he was first starting out on the New 52 Batman and how he asked legendary writer Grant Morrison for his advice on writing Batman. Morrison himself had his own successful Batman run and wrote the classic Batman graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth. Morrison told Snyder that the key to writing Batman is to write him as if he created the character himself. Morrison then asked Snyder if he knew HIS version the beginning or “birth” of the character and the ending or “death” of the character. Snyder followed this advice and his story about Batman’s birth is the excellent Zero Year story. Now we’re getting Snyder’s story about Batman’s “death” or the last story of Snyder’s Batman with Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1. It if Scott Snyder is telling his version of the last Batman story, there can be only one artist to draw the book, and that is of course Greg Capullo.
His New 52 Batman run with artist Greg Capullo Is probably in the top two or three best Batman runs of all time, if not number one. A massive part of that book’s success was his collaboration with artist Greg Capullo. Not all comic book artists and writers work this way, but the right artist and writer come together who are an absolute perfect match, you get magic. That Batman run would not have been the masterpiece it is had Snyder not worked with Capullo on the book. There are several more, but it’s more rare than you’d think. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s work on Preacher together comes to mind as a similar example of what you get when you put the right creative people together.
This three issue prestige format miniseries follows Bruce Wayne waking up in Arkham Asylum; young, fit, and very much sane. Without any memory of how he got there or what has happened before, he finds himself in a post apocalyptic, ruined DC Universe. With a frozen, severed, but very much alive Joker head as his only companion, Batman begins in his trek across what was once the DC Universe he knew, to you find the answers he needs. Considering the pedigree of the talent involved in this project and what phenomenal Batman stories they’ve already told, I’m going to say this is one of the Top 3 absolute MUST BUYS of the summer.
The Flash: Year One
Begins in issues #70 and #71
Writer- Joshua Williamson
Artist- Howard Porter
Release Dates: 5/8/19 & 5/22/19
I’m actually really looking forward to this one. I don’t read The Flash on a monthly basis, but I check it out every once in awhile and Joshua Williams is a great writer. May kicks off the first two issues of The Flash: Year One. There’s not a whole lot to say with this one. It’s pretty much all in the title. I’m a sucker for a good Year One story and we haven’t receive one of those for Barry Allen before. The art is phenomenal. The creative team is excellent; Williamson had been putting out some good Flash stories since DC REBIRTH and Howard Porter is an all time great Flash artist. If you like The Flash TV series or you dig The Flash in general, I’d say this looks like a pretty sure bet for a great book.
Superman: Leviathan Rising Special #1 (One-Shot)
Release Date: 5/29/19
Writers- Brian Michael Bendis
This is a special prelude to the next comic book event, I’ll be talking about below….
Release Date: 6/12/19
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist- Alex Maleev
LEVIATHAN is rising. Seemingly out of nowhere, intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, cults, some of the most powerful organizations in the DC Universe are taken out by a powerful secret terrorist society, Leviathan. A.R.G.US. Headquarters (DC’s version of SHIELD) is destroyed in a powerful and mysterious blast, the terrorist group Kobra Cult, The D.E.O. (The government organization Supergirl works with if you watch her show on The CW), and more, all destroyed. This story has been building up in the Superman books for the past few months and it was only recently revealed that the Leviathan storyline would have a larger affect on the DC Universe.
A few years ago, in an attempt to take the Batman concept global, Bruce Wayne started Batman Inc. An organization in which Batman and Wayne Enterprises would give vigilantes who had been inspired by Batman, in cities all over the world, access to Wayne Tech resources and technology. Batman was going global. As part of their very twisted and fucked up love-hate relationship Talia Al-Ghul, daughter of The Demon’s Head, Ra’s Al-Ghul, mother to Damian Wayne, Son of Batman; created a terrorist organization called Leviathan specifically to counter Batman Inc., it’s not clear how much, if any connection this Leviathan has to the previous one, but there appears to be some. The books leading up to this have been a lot of fun and I like how Bendis seems to be opening up the story into the larger DC Universe. You should be reading all of Bendis’ Superman books right now, so definitely check this one out as well. Event Leviathan will be a 6 Issue miniseries that Bendis has described as more of shadowy thriller than a typical huge, bombastic event comic. I’d definitely recommend checking out Action Comics also written by Bendis which looks like it’ll be a key tie-in book. Action Comics is great anyway so you should definitely be reading it, event or no event. In fact Action Comics by Bendis vol.1 hits comic book stores on 4/3 and it get my highest recommendation.
Superman: Year One
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Release Dates: 6/19/19, August, & October
Like many comic fans, after train wrecks like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder, I found myself thinking “What the FUCK happened to Frank Miller?”. Where was the man who gave us Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns? The answer, as far as I was concerned as a comic reader, was that he was long gone. The Frank Miller we knew was no more.
Now all of a sudden he’s giving Superman the Year One treatment after years of being a longtime, vocal Superman hater. What to make of all this? Hmmmm…
Well, unlike many of you, I kind of loved The Dark Knight III The Master Race. So, are we seeing a Frank Miller comeback? Well, one good piece of work does not a comeback make. Even if we all agree that The Dark Knight III The Master Race was a very good Batman/DC Universe miniseries, a big caveat comes along with giving Frank Miller any points in the comeback column from this project. There’s a big metaphorical asterisk next to Frank Miller’s name on this book. TDK III was co-written with Miller by the very talented Brian Azzarello and the book was drawn by the legendary Andy Kubert. I strongly suspect that Frank Miller’s contribution to that book consisted of some variant covers, the brief back up stories at the end of each issue, and giving his input to the very broad outline of the story. While Azzarello was responsible for truly writing the issues. However, I could be wrong, who knows?
Now having said all that, will I be reading Superman: Year One? Absolutely. I am a complete sucker for a Year One story and John Romita Jr.’s art looks fantastic. That’s got to be worth the price of admission alone. Even if it’s garbage, it’ll be beautiful garbage. Also John Romita Jr. handling art duties on this miniseries tips things positively in the book’s favor a little. The first of the three prestige format issues will be released on 6/19/19, with books two and three being released in August and October.
I’m a pretty optimistic guy when it comes to my pop-culture. I want it to be good. That’s why I enjoyed The Dark Knight III The Master Race so much, I allowed myself to be open to enjoy it. However, though John Romita Jr.’s art is definitely a huge draw. Hopefully, he’ll be able to help Miller tell a solid Superman story. This miniseries has been described as being Frank Miller’s story, unlike the collaborative nature of TDK III. Basically, he doesn’t have the help he did on his last major project to catch him when he falls. I have great respect for Romita Jr., then again Jim Lee produced some of his best work on All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder and look how that turned out. Finally, even though I’ll definitely be picking up at least the first issue of this series, I have come to the conclusion that this is going to be a shit show. Everything I know about Frank Miller makes me think Superman: Year One is going to be another massive, flaming, Hindenburg-like failure from the once great Frank Miller. I’ll be the first to tell you how happy I am to be wrong on this one.
I hope you enjoyed my spring/summer comic book preview and as always thank you for reading! This article focused on DC Comics exclusively. DC does a better job of Marvel than putting out accessible, more or less self contained, easy to explain event books and mini series. So if you enjoyed this preview and you’d like to see what Marvel Comics has cooking for the spring and summer, please comment below
So there you have it, a lot of exciting comics coming out over the next few months. Word has it there are some even bigger things coming on the horizon and this is all just from DC Comics! I’ll probably write up a similar article highlighting Marvel’s spring and summer comics to check out this year. Comics are an incredible medium. So, whether you’re reading single issue comics, waiting for the collected editions, reading them on your tablet, or going to your local comic book store, as long as you’re supporting the medium, that’s all that matters.
This was a big week for film and television. There were some big announcements (good and bad), we got a few interesting interesting new trailers (Stranger Things Season 3 being my personal favorite) and reviews for some of the year’s most anticipated movies.
The biggest story of the week was probably the Disney/Fox merger. It’s official, the Disney/Fox merger has completed. What does that mean? Well, basically Disney now owns all of Fox’s entertainment intellectual property. The big thing most people have been focusing on, especially here at World’s Best Media is how this will affect Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fox had control of a lot of very cool characters from Marvel Comics most notably (and most excitingly) the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
The timing is perfect for the MCU. After Avengers: Endgame blows our collective minds, this Chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will come to a close and a new Chapter will begin. Marvel announced earlier this week that EVERYTHING in the MCU from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame will be known as The Infinity Saga. I actually really like that they’ll be one name for this huge story instead of just Phases 1-3.
We don’t know much about the new direction the MCU will be taking except that it kicks off in Phase 4, which will begin with Spider-Man: Far From Home opening this July. Marvel Studios like to make big theatrical announcements about their upcoming films. Considering how secretive they have been about Avengers:Endgame. I imagine the events of the film will drastically alter the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a degree that they won’t be able to announce much without spoiling Endgame in someway. I expect we’ll see a big press conference/announcement from Kevin Fiege, the head of Marvel Studios. How long until we see X-Men and Fantastic Four characters in the MCU? Time will tell…
In the meantime, check out this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast where I discuss all the big movie and TV that hit this week. In this episode I talk about Supernatural ending it’s run with next year’s Season 15, so here’s a link to an article I wrote about the series last year if you want to learn more about the series: https://best-media-world.com/2017/09/25/must-watch-supernatural/
Also, I posted each trailer that I talk about in this week’s podcast, below so check them out. Listen to the podcast here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
This morning Marvel dropped, what is most likely, their final Avengers: Endgame trailer. This is easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year, so I was really looking forward to doing this trailer breakdown for you guys. We’re less than a month and a half away from Endgame and after seeing Captain Marvel, I only became more hyped up! Now, with this new trailer we have another reason to be counting the days on the calendar until this baby hits theaters! But have no fear! Because I’m here to help you navigate the twists and turns of the (probably) final Avengers: Endgame trailer. In this World’s Best Podcast episode, I breakdown the trailer and give you the details on everything you need to know before seeing this movie. Such as offer up some character backstory, clarify and explain a few things, talk about influences from the comic books, some personal predictions, and get you up to speed on the status on your favorite characters (FYI A lot of them are dead)! So please enjoy the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! The full trailer is posted at the bottom of the page, for you’re viewing pleasure. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
The MCU’s Phase III has been, so far, Marvel’s best set of films yet. Phase III began with Captain America: Civil War and will wrap up with this April’s Avengers: Endgame. All of Marvel’s movies have been, at the very least, solid & fun at their worst and masterpieces at the best. The current renaissance of Mavel’s flicks has largely been the result of the creation of Marvel Studios, an independent movie studio that produces and has complete control over creative choices. Kevin Fiege, the head of Marvel Studios, has bee a huge part of the MCU’s success. Disney bought Marvel a few years ago, but Marvel Studios still remains independent and free to produce films in anyway they see fit.
Don’t get me wrong there are some great movies here, some of the best in Phases I & II include:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guadians of The Galaxy
but they don’t compared to the level of quality and experimentation that we saw in Phase III:
Capain America: Civil War
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant-Man & The Wasp
That a pretty fucking great set of movies in Phase III which culminates in Endgame. Phase IV starts with Spider-Man: Far From Home FYI.
I’m happy to say that Phases III has not disappointed us with Captain Marvel. This episode of The World’s Best Podcast is all about Captain Marvel. We are doing a deep dive review of Captain Marvel with full spoilers, so we were there. Please enjoy the show! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
First of all I feel I have to apologize yet again for being a little late in putting out our latest podcast. It’s been a busy month, but we try to get episodes of The World’s Best Podcast on a more or less weekly schedule at a minimum, if not more. So I really appreciate your patience with our unorthodox podcast release schedule over the last few weeks and I want to reassure you that the release schedule will be getting back to normal. As a small consolation, this week will see the release of not one, but TWO pretty great episodes of the Podcast (today’s episode and our Captain Marvel SPOILER-Filled Deep Dive Review)! I am particularly excited about our upcoming Captain Marvel episode! Not only because I am very psyched to see the movie, but some of the concepts and elements that we will see in this film, have the potential to open up so many different interesting possibilities for the MCU! Much in the same way Guardians of The Galaxy and Doctor Strange did.
Anyway back to today’s episode! Most excitingly, HBO FINALLY dropped a full trailer for the EPIC final season of Game of Thrones premiering on April 14. I’ve posted the trailer below if you want to check it out (As if you haven’t already watched it a dozen times 😉). Needless to say, we were super excited to talk about it and we needed to do a breakdown of the trailer right away. I really dug it, the trailer was exciting and just substantive enough, without giving too much away.
We also discuss the trailers for Dark Phoenix and Hellboy released earlier this week, we touch upon some predictions for Captain Marvel, and sadly we wrap things up on a somber note. With a tribute to the untimely passing this week of beloved actor, Luke Perry. Who was taken from us too soon, passing away at the age of 52. Despite the sad ending, as usual we had a lot of laughs recording this episode and we think you will too! So please enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
2019 is going to be “The Year of Streaming Services”. For a few years now I have felt that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are going to massively change the way we consume entertainment content, specifically films and television shows. With Warner Bros. having already thrown their hat into the ring on the increasingly solid and well done app DC Universe. The service not only offers original content like the excellent shows they’ve released so far: Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, and one of the shows will be discussing at length on today’s podcast, Doom Patrol.
Then there’s Disney, coming out swinging later this year with Disney Plus. Which will launch with the release of an original live action Star Wars television show, The Mandalorian produced by Jon Favreau and with incredible talent like Taika Watiti, Dave Filioni, JJ Abrams and Favreau himself directing episodes. Add on to that the already announced Marvel Cinematic Universe projects that so far includes miniseries starring The Vision & Scarlett Witch, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, and a Loki prequel miniseries. Will be covering all this and more on today’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast!
So sorry about the long wait between episodes! Just had some personal stuff to deal with, but we are so psyched to be back! This week Paul Sr. and I have discussion about some excellent new shows: DOOM PATROL on DC Universe Streaming and THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY on Netflix.
We also have a wide ranging, but still very fucking fun discussion about the larger effect streaming services are having on our entertainment. As I said at the start of the article, 2019 is “The Year of The Streaming Services”. We appreciate your patience between episodes and we hope you enjoy this awesome episode! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
“Saving people, hunting things. The family business.” For 14 Seasons, that’s been the motto of Brother’s, Sam and Dean Winchester (played by actors Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles respectively). Driving around in “Baby”, their 67 Chevy Impala, they’ve faced off against pretty much everything that goes bump in the night. Ghosts, demons, demigods, The Apocalypse (A couple a’ times), vampires, black magick, Djinn, Angels, Lucifer, even God himself and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Supernatural is one of the most underrated, well acted, creative, scary, fun, and bat-shit crazy shows on TV.
The good new for fans is that there’s no sign of slowing down. The long running CW series has already been picked up for it’s 15th Season. This week Supernatural reached its 300th episode. A gigantic achievement in itself and when it hits Season 15 later this year, it will be one of top 15 longest running scripted series in the history of television. Needless to say, it’s a special milestone for the cast, the crew, and the fans. Consistent with the magnitude of reaching 300 episodes, the show came out swinging with something special for the fans. The series usually does something special to make a big deal of their milestones episodes like their 100th or the 200th episodes, usually something for the fans, but this year could be their best yet.
Jeffery Dean Morgan who played John Winchester, Sam and Dean’s father, for the first two seasons of the show, with a minor appearance in season 3, finally returned to the series for episode 300. Even though the character of John Winchester has been dead for over 10 years now, anyone who has an even passing familiarity with the show will realize that doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot in the world of Supernatural. Morgan has been wanting to return for guest appearances on the show for years but scheduling had been difficult because he’s become an increasingly popular actor since he left Supernatural.
But he never forgot his roots. He stayed in touch with the cast and crew and frequently discussed in interviews how he’d love to return to the show and it was just a matter of finding the time. So it’s pretty damn cool to have John Winchester back, even if it’s just for one episode. He’s such an iconic character, who is so important in the show’s mythology. There’s a great little joke from a few seasons ago, at the beginning of one episode, Sam and Dean come back from a hunt, covered in the blood and guts of god knows whatever they’d been killing the night before. As they walk into the room, we see that Dean is carrying “Lucille” : a baseball bat, wrapped in barbed wire that is the infamous weapon used by Jeffery Dean Morgan’s character Negan on the AMC series The Walking Dead. Dean puts “Lucille”, which is covered in blood and guts, right down on the table and says “Man, Dad used to love this thing.” It’s moments like this, that make people love Supernatural.
A relatively small amount few shows, even good ones, make it past their first season. Hell, most “hit” shows if they’re lucky, get about five seasons. The secret to Supernatural’s success is that, even though it’s not a ratings giant compared to other huge shows on other larger networks, it’s one of the most solid performers on The CW. It also has a very passionate fan base. Supernatural’s fans are among the most unique and devoted in the geek community. Which is something that the stars of the show, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki, fully recognize. All of the main actors on the show are known for being notoriously grateful and gracious when dealing with fans in real life
Any series running as long as Supernatural is bound to have its highs and lows, but over 15 years, they have an astonishing level of consistency. That’s pretty damn impressive. At it’s best, Supernatural has produced some of the best seasons of television I’ve ever seen. I know that a bold statement, but there are 3 or 4 seasons that would be in my top 25 best television seasons of all time list. Even at its worst, there’s never been an episode Supernatural of that’s anything less than solid.
That show’s excellence largely comes from the great writing and the talent and the charisma of the leads on the series. All of the main actors are overlooked far too often and the talent on display in this series isn’t recognized enough. I do you have to tip my hat to Entertainment Weekly because the magazine has frequently done cover stories on Supernatural. Anyway, you can listen to the episode here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
You all know how much I love the MCU, but I think my favorite cinematic universe could be the what I’m going to call TheBatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse. This Universe includes all time classics like Batman The Animated Series, Superman TheAnimated series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Bruce Timm having essentially created this shared universe, is the reason his name is a part of the universe’s title. I love both of these universes so much, it would be really hard to pick which of them I hold more dear.
Honestly you’d have to have a gun to my head and a gun to gun my balls, with the gunman screaming in my face, “CHOOSE! NOW! PICK ONE! CHOOSE! I’M NOT FUCKING AROUND! DECIDE! YOU HAVE TO THE COUNT OF 3! THEN I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU IN THE BALLS AND SHORTLY AFTER THAT, SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD!CHOOSE! 3… ,2… ,1..!” Then I guess we’d have our answer. But until that day comes, I guess I’ll just have to keepthem both very special in my heart.
Which is why I wanted to share this trailer with you guys today. I’m a big fan of the animated movies that DC releases directly to Blu-ray and digital three or four times every year. Some of them are fucking spectacular and are probably some of my favorite comic book movies of all time. The movie I was most looking forward to this year is their adaptation of Batman: Hush, hitting later this year, in early or mid summer. However, while Hush is still my most anticipated DC animated film this year, after watching the trailer below, (which debuted on ign.com) JusticeLeague VS TheFatalFive has my attention in a big, bad way. Check out the trailer below:
It appears, from the animation style, to the voice cast, to the people working on the film behind the scenes, that the movie takes place in TheBatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse. Last year they released a film called Batman & HarleyQuinn that also seemed to take place in what I call the BatmanTheAnimatedSeries/BruceTimmUniverse, but that movie was pretty shitty. While this one looks really great. It’s awesome to hear the original voice cast from these classic TV shows (I love hearing Kevin Conroy as Batman and George Newbern as Superman), in what looks like an extension of this classic universe, but with some new faces as well. New heroes including Ms. Martian, Mr. Terrific (2 of my personal favorites), Jessica Cruz Green Lantern, and Starman. I love see DC’s Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), alongside new and unique heroes.
It looks like this is the next DC animated movie that’s coming out this year and they usually release their second film around March or April, with the summer release reserved for the third film. However this year they are releasing a fourth films, one of which will focus on Wonder Woman, so we may end up seeing JusticeLeagueVSTheFatalFive sooner than we think. I’m sure a release date will be announced soon. I wasn’t super interested in this project at first, but after watching the trailer, I’m psyched. I thought it looked great and I wanted to share it with all of you. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and thank you for reading!
UPDATE: Justice League VS The Fatal Five will be available for Digital Download on 3/30/19 and Blu-Ray 4/16/19! I
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 leavesSuperman 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’tmiss it
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.