On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I review the new HBO series WATCHMEN, from creator Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers)! This new series serves as a quasi-sequel to the original WATCHMEN comic book, a brilliant deconstruction of the superhero genre. Written by the legendary Alan Moore with amazing art by Dave Gibbons, Watchmen is a true masterpiece of the comic book medium. TIME Magazine listed the graphic novel among their list of 100 greatest novels of the 20th century.
The graphic novel was adapted into a 2009 film by director, Zack Snyder to a mostly positive reception. DC Comics has published multiple prequel comic book miniseries’ under the banner “Before Watchmen”, telling stories about classic Watchmen characters like Rorschach, Doctor Manhattan, The Comedian and more.
Set 30 years after the classic graphic novel in an alternate 2019, police wear masks to protect their identities from a brutal terrorist organization. Following a shocking crime, characters both new and familiar find themselves in the middle of a vast conspiracy. Who Watches The Watchmen? Thanks for listening! Enjoy!
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Starting this week, World’s Best Media begins our 2019 Fall TV Preview! On our website, podcasts, and social media we’ll be covering all of the coolest new and returning shows on TV and Streaming for the rest of the month! Please let us know what you think of our coverage and what series you’d like to see us cover! For our first article we’ll be covering one of my most anticipated new shows and one my favorite returning series…
Watchmen – New Series (HBO)
HBO’s upcoming series Watchmen is, by far, one of my most anticipated film or television projects of the year. It comes to us from Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of LOST and the creator of The Leftovers. Despite some of the haters out there, I think Lindelöf is extremely talented storyteller. Here’s HBO’s official synopsis for the series:
“Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own.”
Check out the new trailer here:
Despite any missteps taken throughout the series, I still believe LOST is on incredible achievement in long form storytelling. In fact, warts and all, it’s probably still one of my all-time favorite TV shows. So when I heard Lindelof was developing a Watchmen series for HBO I wasn’t that enthusiastic, but not for the reasons you might think.
When Zack Snyder released he is 2009 film adaptation of the classic graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, many felt that the film was too slavish to the source material. So I felt that after receiving an adaptation of Watchmen that was so close to the comic book, what more could this HBO series really say? Of course my assumptions were all wrong and the story Lindelof is telling isn’t a direct adaptation at all, but more of a sequel. While shrouded in mystery we do know certain characters and story elements like Laurie Jupiter, Mothman, Hooded Justice, Ozymandias, Doctor Manhattan, and even Dan’s Nightowl ship Archie are a part of the show.
While on the subject of the 2009 Watchmen, though flawed, I think Snyder’s take is ahead of it’s time and a truly excellent film. This is just my opinion, but I think it’s a great adaptation of a phenomenal comic book. Ironically my largest problem with the film, is the change that most people felt was necessary. I strongly felt that Ozymandias’ grand plan didn’t work, as presented in the movie. Veidt’s plan in the comics is a master stroke. Despite how insane it may seem, you can’t deny the twisted logic of it all: Show humanity a clear and present threat that is completely “other”, totally “alien” and it will bring the species together like never before for the sake of mutual survival.
The way Veidt’s attack went down in the graphic novel could in no way be mistaken for anything other than some type of alien invasion. He teleports a giant alien monster (that he spent billions to create using cloning and the minds of some of the world’s best artists) into the heart of New York City, the creature dies on arrival but not before telepathically kills millions of people. No one could mistake this catastrophe for a nuclear launch.
However, in the film Veidt blows up multiple major cities around the world (both in the U.S. and U.S.S.R.), using bombs he’s designed to mimic the energy signature of Doctor Manhattan. This is just as Russia and The U.S. are on the brink of full on nuclear war. My problem with this version of Ozymandias’ plan is that, in the graphic novel there’s no actual explosions that could in anyway be misconstrued for a bomb of any kind. Blowing up multiple major cities both in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. seems incredibly risky considering how close to nuclear annihilation the world is at that moment. The success of his whole plan and the survival of the human race, rests on whether or not “the powers that be” will somehow take the time to analyze the energy signature and determine it’s from Doctor Manhattan. What if they just panic when one of the cities explode and one of the two superpowers launch there nukes? It seems like an awfully big gamble for the so called “smartest man in the world” to be taking. I think changing Veidt’s plan in the films takes away from it’s genius and ultimately hurts the film, fortunately it looks like the the HBO series is sticking with the graphic novels version of events in this department. With Oscar Winner Jeremy Irons taking on the role of Adrian Veidt, I cant fucking wait to see what role he plays in the series. I can’t imagine a man like him sitting on the sidelines…
Regardless, that’s just my two cents on a Watchmen film we’ve already seen. This new series has nothing to do with the 2009 film. As you’ll see in the new trailer and behind the scenes video below, it’s almost a quasi-sequel to the classic graphic graphic novel. As a weekly comic book reader, I’m really primed for a story like this. DC Comics has been doing a lot with the Watchmen characters lately with fantastic stories like Before Watchmen and the incredible Doomsday Clock, DC’s own quasi-sequel to Watchmen. Unlike some other fans, after reading spectacular comics like Doomsday Clock, Watchmen isn’t the sacred cow to me that it may be for some other fans.
The past few years have shown me that excellent stories with the characters and world of Watchmen can be told without Alan Moore. I’m pretty sure Dave Gibbons, Watchmen’s artist is involved with the show in some capacity. The cast looks great and I’d like the creative team involved a lot. HBO is the perfect network for something like this, but check out this very cool behind the scenes video below and judge for yourself. It sheds a little more light on exactly what’s going on with this series…
Watchmen premieres on HBO on October 20th.
Supernatural: The Final Season
The returning show I wanted to talk about today is this one of my all-time favorite television shows. A series I have written about here on the site and has been brought up on the podcast so often, it’s a bit of a running joke. I am of course referring to none other than Supernatural. The hit CW series is heading into its 15th and final season in October. Though the fans and The CW network were more than happy to allow the show to continue pretty much as long as the creative team involved wanted, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam and Dean Winchester wanted to show to go out on a high note. So it is tough as it is to say goodbye to the boys and characters like Castiel, as long time, fan I’d rather see the show go out in a blaze of glory than whimper across the finish line.
Courtesy of EW.com, are the first official photos from Season 15. The pictures are definitely from the first or second episodes of the season because last time we saw them, The Winchesters and Castiel were up shit’s creek surrounded by a fucking horde of zombies. Not to mention all the other monsters and spirits Chuck freed from Hell, which was a really dick move. I think it’s a safe bet The Boys make it out of this situation in one piece, but that victory will be short lived. Because when it come to The Winchesters and company nothing’s ever easy or simple. Hey, shit happens when you piss of an all powerful cosmic entity that gets off on toying with people’s lives. Check it out…
We don’t know a ton about the final season (man, that sucks to write), but one thing we’ve heard from the cast is that dead means DEAD. In the past, this is a show that’s seen a lot of resurrections. Hell, Sam and Dean themselves have died literally dozens of times. So expect a lot more finality when one of the characters checks out this season. Below you can check out a brief trailer, but damn if it doesn’t make me excited!
It also appears that the final season will be seeing a lot of returning characters. Already confirmed are, of course, Chuck, Amara, Adam Winchester, Bobby Singer, Ellen Harvell, and that’s just to name a few. Expect to see some of The Winchester’s oldest friends and worst enemies show up before the series ends. Finally I have an interview with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki talking about what sans can expect from the 15th in the final season especially in the first few episodes.
Man, it’s gonna be tough to see this one go, we posted a few more images below. The Final Season of Supernatural begins on October 10th on The CW
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As this year’s San Diego Comic-Con continues, breaking news, trailers, announcements, and other cool reveals keep on blowing minds of fans everywhere! But it can be a pain in the ass trying to find all the SDCC news. So keep it HERE at World’s Best Media, where you can find all of the up to the minuet info, you want the most! We’ll be updating this page all weekend with the breaking news and content that can’t be missed from SDCC 2019!
WOW. We got some killer stuff today! At the Marvel Studios panel, Kevin Feige did not disappoint. He rolled out the next 2 years of Marvel’s PHASE 4 slate, which will consist of 10 projects. They include both theatrical releases and projects to be released on Disney +. Plus, Feige offers up some tantalizing hints on MCU projects coming after the slate of shows and films. It’s all pretty exciting, so I’m going to break it down for you right here…
MARVEL STUDIOS PHASE 4 (The Next 2 Years)
The Eternals – Release date 11/6/20
Dir. – Chloe Zhao
Staring – Angelina Jolie as Thena , Richard Madden as Ikaris. The cast also includes Selma Hayek.
The story of the film, broadly speaking, follows The Eternals, a race of aliens imbued with power and immortality by The Celestials (some of the most powerful beings in the existence of The Marvel Universe). The Eternals are charged with protecting Earth and humanity from The Deviants, an evil, monstrous mirror race of The Eternals. To use a poor analogy. Think of The Eternals and Angels and The Deviants as Demons.
The Flacon and The Winter Soldier Release Date – Fall 2020 on Disney +
Starring – Anthony Makie as The Falcon/Captain America, Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, and Daniel Bruhl returning as Baron Helmut Zemo ( This time he WILL be getting the classic Baron Zemo mask!)
As expected, this series will see Anthony Mackie don his really cool Captain America uniform which is a combination of The Falcon in Captain America’s classic look. So it seems like this series will be about Sam Wilson adjusting to this great weight on his shoulders and Bucky Barnes being with him along the way, like he was with Steve Rogers. All the while having to deal with Baron Zemo not much more than that is known at this time. But I can’t wait for this one, I think it’s going to be really cool.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings – Release Date 2/12/2021
Dir. Denton Daniel Cretton
Starring – Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as The REAL Mandarin
Not much is know about the story at this time. Shang-Chi is the greatest martial artist in the world. He’s a hero and adventurer. In the comics his father was the criminal mastermind Fu Manchu. I can see for racial reasons why Marvel wouldn’t want to use that character. So I strongly suspect that The Mandarin will be Shang-Chi’s father in this movie. A lot of the character drama from Shang-Chi’s story comes from the pain he feels being a hero who wants to do the right thing, when his father is one of the greatest villains in the world. Despite the fact that The Mandarin was smoke and mirrors in Iron Man 3, it’s been strongly suggested that a “real” Mandarin is out there. For several years, Marvel would release fun short films as an extra feature on the Blu-Rays for their movies. The last one Marvel produced was on the Blu-Ray for Thor: The Dark World and called “All Hail The King”. In that short film, it’s revealed that Aldrich Killian co-opted much of his bullshit Mandarin story from some real sources and it turns out that The Mandarin is a very real, very dangerous guy, who is very pissed that his name had been dragged through the mud in Iron Man 3. The film ends with one of The TRUE Mandarin’s disciples, breaking Trevor Slattery (played by Ben Kingsley) out of prison, the actor who played the fake Mandarin for Aldrich Killian, so he can face justice at the hands of the real Mandarin. So, we’ve known for a while that the real Mandarin was out there and it was only a matter of time before we see him somewhere in The MCU. This is the perfect project to use him in. It’s also worth pointing out that the terrorist group who originally kidnapped Tony Stark in the very first Iron Man movie was called The Ten Rings.
WandaVision – Release Date Spring 2021 on Disney +
Starring – Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as The Vision, Teyonah Paris as adult Monica Rambeau (the daughter of Carol’s best friend in Captain Marvel)
For some reason people seem to be down on this project, but I think it has the potential to be something special. Kevin Feige he himself has said that this series is very strange. One of the more interesting things about Wanda maxim off is her exponentially growing power and her increased mental stability. Panel confirmed that this series takes place after endgame. Which makes me wonder, have a wonders abilities progressed to the point where she can resurrect vision, as she eventually has the power to do in the comics at great cost.
LOKI– Release Date Spring 2021 Disney +
Starring – Tom Hiddleston as Loki
As we saw in endgame, low-key managed to get away with the space stone. Apparently this show will be a trip through history and Loki is very long life. I’ve heard it described is almost something like quantum leap. It appears that it will involve low-key mixing it up at important historical events with famous historical figures. Which sounds like a whole Lotta fucking fun. I am in.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – Release Date 5/7/2021
Dir. Scott Derrickson
Starring – Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff
OK, this is the movie I’ve been fucking waiting for. According to director Scott Derrickson, this will be Marvel’s first “scary movie“. Which is about as close as you can get to saying you’re going to do a horror movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you don’t think that’s awesome, there’s something fucking wrong with you. Doctor Strange was a great origin movie and in Infinity War and Endgame, we got to see a lot of cool shit from Doctor Strange and what he’s capable of. I can’t wait to see how his powers have progressed. It’s important to note that this director knows how to do a really creepy, disquieting, fucked up movie. Hopefully Marvel will let him embrace that. It’s also really interesting to see Scarlet Witch in this movie, though not completely surprising, because in the comics it’s been suggested multiple times that her powers are magic-based. Maybe she will turn to Doctor Strange after something that happened in WandaVision? Who knows. But I can’t wait for this one! The more Doctor Strange the better!
Hawkeye– Release Date Fall 2021 on Disney +
Starring – Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
This looks like it may be more of a limited series than some of the other shows on Disney +, but it will apparently focus on Clint Barton training a new protégé, a girl named Kate Bishop, making her first MCU appearance. In the comic books, after years of training with Clint Barton and other superheroes, Kate is viewed more as a hero in her own right, rather than simply being Clint’s sidekick. In fact, both Cling and Kate both go by. I know it can be confusing, but hey that’s those crazy comics for, ya! The series will also explore Clint’s time as Ronin in the wake of Thanos’ decimation. This show looks like it’s heavily borrowing from the fantastic Hawkeye comic book run by writer Matt Fraction and Artist David Aja.
Thor: Love and Thunder – Release Date 11/5/2021
Dir. Taika Waititi
Starrring – Chris Hemsworth as Thor/Odinson, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster/Thor
So I love the direction they’re going in with this new movie. First of all, I was thrilled another Thor film was being made, and they were bringing back the same director: Taika Waititi, who gave us the fantastic Thor: Ragnarok. But it also seems like the story will be largely taking it’s cues from the recent and ongoing Thor comic book run by writer Jason Aaron. Which is a good thing, because it’s probably one of the best Thor stories that I’ve ever read.
In that story, due to a complicated series of events, Thor is no longer worthy of wielding his mighty hammer; Mijonir. Meanwhile, Jane Foster has been fighting her own battles, against the cancer that has ravaged her body. In this story, a Parliament of World’s is formed. Like a U.N. for The Ten Realms, set up to keep the peace throughout the realms and it’s people. Jane is the representative from Midgard, so even though she and Thor are no longer dating, she spends quite a bit of time in new Asgard and has made some wonderful new friends in the process. The Parliament meets on New Asgard (a shadow of Asgard’s glory days) which resides on Earth’s Moon. As a sidenote, at this point Asgard has taken up residence on an area near what they called the “Blue Area” of the moon. It’s the only place on the moon that perfectly simulates Earth’s pressure, gravity, temperature , and most importantly, you can breathe there.
So, while on a walk through the blue area of the moon, contemplating her depressing situation, Jane Foster comes across Mijonir and attempts to lift Thor’s legendary hammer (after Thor has spent months attempting to lift it unsuccessfully) and as the inscription says, “whosoever holds this hammer, should they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor“ At which point Jane’s shocked to see herself turned into a beautiful, god-like, female version of Thor. She is unrecognizable as Jane Foster. Now I can already hear some of the assholes on the Internet complaining that a woman will be, in a way, playing Thor. First of all, in the comics, this is one of the best Thor stories they have done in years. A great story is simply a great story. Also, this isn’t just a story about Jane Foster. It’s also is a very profound story about Asgard and Thor himself.
So for you idiots thinking Thor is going to get kicked to the wayside because of some bullshit liberal agenda…relax. The movies going to be great. I am really thrilled to see Marvel is taking some interesting chances with their with their projects. I have a few guesses, but I can’t wait to see who the villain will be in this movie. Gorr The God Butcher, perhaps? We can only hope!
Black Widow – Release Date 5/1/2020
Dir. Cate Shortland
Starring – Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Rachel Weiss and David Harbour appearing in unknown rolls
This movie will be a prequel taking place before Captain America: Civil War. It will feature such classic Marvel bad guys as Taskmaster, who I’m very excited to see. Natasha also faces off against the “evil Black Widow”, Yelena, another product of The Red Room Program. This woman is Natasha if Hawkeye never showed her a better way to live and became here friend. Yelena is a vicious, manipulative killer, a mirror image of what Natasha could have become. This will be the next Marvel movie we have to look forward to. I think this is a long time coming. Black Widow is more than capable of carrying her own film. It will be really cool to see how they incorporate this into some other events in a MCU history.
Before things wrapped up, Kevin Feige had one more surprise for the crowd. After listing all of these projects, he brought out, the fantastic actor, Mahershala Ali, and announced Ali will be playing Blade in an upcoming movie, introduce The Day Walker to the MCU. No release date has been announced . That is pretty fucking cool nonetheless. Ali is a fantastic actor. He’s perfect for this role. There have been rumblings of Blade in the MCU for a few years now ( even some suggesting Wesley Snipes would return ) so it’s going to be really exciting to see what they do with the character.
Feige wrapped things up by explaining this is what they have in production that will be hitting theatres and screens over the next 2 years. Two years is a lot shorter than any of the previous phases of the MCU, which makes me think that this is just the first half of Phase 4 and more announcements will be made along the way. However, he closed things out by saying Guardians Vol.3, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and (FUCK YES) The Fantastic Four!!! will be coming soon after these projects. He had to drive the crowd wild by mentioning one more thing coming soon, one word:“Mutants.” So that was the Marvel Studios presentation this year. It certainly did not disappoint.
New Trailers For Movies & TV Series
Arrow – The Final Season
Supergirl – Season 5
The Witcher (Netflix)
The Flash Season 6
Star Trek: Picard
Supernatural: The Final Season (Chevy Impala Tribute)
DC Universe announced that their series Young Justice will officially be back for a fourth season.
HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones has come to an end, love it or hate it. Watching the final season of the series and especially the final episode reminded me of another great genre show that captured the imagination of the cultural zeitgeist: LOST. They were both genre shows with large ensemble casts that reached audiences that normally don’t watch genre television. Both shows were pop culture phenomena. They both had people hung up on when and how the show would end and they both had divisive final seasons and series finales.
Much like how Game of Thrones viewing parties have become very common, I’d often go to LOST viewing parties back in the day. When LOST ended, I kept wondering what the next “LOST” would be. For a brief period, I thought The Walking Dead had taken up the mantle, but that definitely didn’t pan out. It turns out that next LOST, was Game of Thrones. So, now that Game of Thrones has ended if find myself asking: What will be the next Game of Thrones?
Time will tell what the next pop culture television juggernaut will be. HBO wisely wanted to remind us that, though we’re saying goodbye to Game of Thrones, they’re still in the business of putting out high profile television programming. Which is why in the minuets leading up to the series finale of GoT, HBO showed us trailers for three of their most interesting and high profile projects. This was a great advertising move on the part of HBO because the series finale for Game of Thrones was the most watched episode of a TV show in the history of the Network. They have to keep those big bucks rolling in after all. Below I get into the details of each series (as well of a few upcoming shows that aren’t on HBO), give you some insight into what the shows are about and what to expect, as well as why you should check these shows out in the first place.
First up, we have the trailer for the new series His Dark Materials starring James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ruth Wilson, and Daphne Keene (AKA X-23 AKA Laura from Logan). Watch the trailer here:
This series is based on the successful novels by Philip Pullman which involve metaphysics and alternate realities, among other strange and interesting concepts. His Dark Materials is actually a very good series of books that were adapted several years ago into the film, The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman in a failed attempt to start a new fantasy franchise. This was around the time everyone was looking for the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
I really like what I see from this trailer. It appears that these fantastic books are finally getting the treatment they deserved. From what we saw in the trailer, the look of the series has a very lived in feel. Which is always important when building a whole new world, with its own rules from scratch. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they clearly have an excellent cast. The story exists in a fascinating universe, or multiverse for that matter, and I will definitely be tuning in.
Then we had Watchmen, the new series based on the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons from Damon Lindelof, the man who brought us LOST and The Leftovers. This wasn’t a new trailer, it it debuted several weeks ago, but I’ve been been looking for an opportunity to talk about it. But first, take a look at the trailer and then we can dive in get into some details about the series:
I love what I’ve seen so far from this new take on Watchmen and I’m very excited about this project. Over the last several years DC Comics has been publishing interesting expansions of the Watchmen universe. Most notably in their quasi-sequel Doomsday Clock and their various prequel miniseries’ Before Watchmen, which fleshed out certain existing Watchmen characters. I’m sure there are Watchmen purists Who think the material shouldn’t be touched and any continuations of the universe is sacrilege. But after reading stories like Before Watchmen and Doomsday Clock, I know there are still excellent stories to tell from other creators, about this universe and these characters.
There’s still a great deal we don’t know about this series, like how it connects to the original graphic novel. From what I can see, much like Doomsday Clock, I think this Watchmen series is probably a sequel of sorts. We seem to be getting characters from the original comic books and some created just for the show. From the beginning showrunner Damon Lindelof has said this is not going to be a straight adaptation of the original graphic novel. However, It’s going to take place in the Watchmen universe. The trailer shows a gang that is clearly inspired by the original Rorschach (they kind of remind me of The Jokerz Gang in Batman Beyond).
We also see Jeremy Irons playing Ozymandias a.k.a. Adrian Veidt, the man who orchestrated the conspiracy that was at the heart of the original Watchmen story. One thing I really hope is present in this new series is Dr. Manhattan. He was always the only superhuman that ever existed in the Watchmen universe and I would love to see what could be done with this character in a sequel series, even if he isn’t used as a main character like in the original story. I just hope he is a part of the series in some way. I was disappointed to see that the show is premiering the fall, I was hoping we’d get the premiere this summer. Regardless, this is definitely one of my most anticipated projects of the year, TV or otherwise.
Finally, the most pleasant surprise of the evening was a trailer for a show seemingly starring Aaron Paul that was clearly taking place in a futuristic version of our world. The technology; robotics, transportation, and more… This is a very different world than the one we currently live in. It’s hard to say exactly how far in the future this is. The society and city we’re shown is much more advanced than our own, but not so advanced that it looks like a far distant future.
Some things look pretty similar to our world, but so much looks very, very different. Aaron Paul’s voiceover laments feeling lost in a world that he doesn’t recognize anymore. It almost seems as if he may even be involved in some shady enterprises. The whole thing has a very “Blade Runner” vibe.
As I was watching the trailer, I asked myself at one point “What is this?“. Surely a series like this would already be on my radar, if enough had been filmed to have a trailer ready. Then, BOOM! The twist hits. Aaron Paul approaches a woman staggering out of a dark alley. Believing she’s in need of help, he calls out to her to ask if she’s alright. The woman looks up and it is none other than Dolores from Westworld. We’d been watching a trailer for Westworld Season 3 all along. The show logo comes on as the trailer ends to reveal Season 3 will be premiering in 2020. Take a look for yourself:
What I loved about this trailer, was how different it seems from everything that’s come before on Westworld. Westworld definitely needed to make some bold moves after the end of Season 2 to keep things fresh. Changing things so much that, while watching the first trailer for the new season, the show was unrecognizable until the very end of the teaser, is definitely an exciting direction for the show to go in. I wasn’t a massive fan of Westworld Season 2, even though I loved the first season. This was a great way to get excitement and interest up in the show’s third season until it premieres next year.
One other HBO project I wanted to mention is the upcoming TV series based on the novel Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Lovecraft Country uses Jim Crow era America as it’s backdrop and revolves around an African-American family pulled into the world of Lovecraftian magic, monsters, and other dimensions. The narrative is broken into pieces, focusing on diffferent characters in the book that are compelling stories on their own, while still serving the larger narrative of the novel as the different stories eventually converge. Combining horror and a predominantly African-American cast of characters living in Jim Crow America, allows the story to talk about serious racial issues while also being creepy and disquieting. I wasn’t even aware this was in the works until very recently, but I was over the moon when I heard it was being adapted by HBO. Lovecraft Country is one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. The combination of great characters, a unique setting, and Lovecraft horror makes for a fantastic read. To top it off, Jordan Peele and J.J Abrams are developing the show and executive producing. Two of the best genre filmmakers of this generation working on a project like Lovecraft Country is very exciting.
So there you have it, HBO has some very interesting new shows on the horizon. However, It’s important to remember that HBO isn’t the only network with high profile new television series in the works. Streaming services like the upcoming Disney + launching in November, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are all throwing their hat into the ring to create the next “must watch” series.
Disney + will be releasing film quality miniseries that take place in the MCU. So far, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision (focusing on Scarlet Witch and The Vision, obviously), Hawkeye, and Loki have all been announced and are in varying stages of production.
Perhaps the most exciting and high profile new series to launch this year will be the new Star Wars live action TV series, The Mandalorian. Starring Game of Throne’s Pedro Pascal, the show will follow the titular Mandalorian, a lone gun slinger traveling the Outer Rim of the galaxy following the fall of The Empire.
The series takes place between Return of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, a period in Star Wars lore ripe for exploration. The show will apparently skew adult, targeting the audience that grew up with Star Wars, but may be looking for something edgier in adulthood than the largely “all ages” films. With Jon Favreau as showrunner and guys like Taika Watitti and Dave Filoni directing episodes, this looks to be an amazing series. The show premieres with the launch of Disney + on 11/12/19.
As for some of the established streaming services, like Amazon Prime and Netflix, both companies have been producing successful original programming for years now. Netflix has a few big genre hits like Stranger Things, with Season 3 of the fan favorite show premiering on July 4th.
Netflix also has the hotly anticipated adaptation of The Witcher, starring Henry Cavil. Based on the series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowsk. The books follow Geralt of Rivia (Cavil), a badass monster hunter with some supernatural juice inside him, which allows him to face all kinds of monsters that threaten humanity. The series exists in that vaguely “middle ages” type of fictional world that we see in so many fantasy stories from Lord Of The Rings to Game of Thrones. Though The Witcher was also adapted as a popular video game series, the TV show will be entirely based on the original novels. Expect The Witcher to hit Netflix in the second half of 2019. With Henry Cavil playing Geralt and the cool premise of the show, I think The Witcher along with The Mandalorian, are my picks to be the “next big thing”out of all the shows I’ve previewed here. I also think ther’s a pretty good chance that Watchmen could end up being something pretty special as well.
One thing is certain, we live in a golden age of television programming. A world where TV shows can match and even surpass, movies on the big screen in some cases. These are just a few of the major projects in development that could scratch that Game of Thrones itch. It’s doubtful that any of them will have the incredible mega-success that Game of Thrones has had. But then again, someone does have to be the next Game of Thrones, so who knows? The bottom line is that it looks like we’re in for some incredible television over the next 12 months.
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.
It can be maddening waiting for all of our most anticipated shows and movies to premiere, and 2019 has a lot of content coming out that’s worth waiting for. HBO dropped a new teaser today promoting it’s upcoming 2019 slate. They have a stacked fucking deck for the coming year! It’s not much in terms of new content, but there are some juicy tidbits and we’ll take what we can get. This teaser gives us oh so brief glances at Game of Thrones: The Final Season, Watchmen (The Live Action Quasi-Sequel Series), His Dark Materials based on Phillip Pullman’s beloved series of novels, the long awaited Deadwood film, the documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed, Big, Little, Lies Season 2, & more! Watch it here:
Like I said, far too brief, but certainly enough to get you excited! Plus, I found some cool promo images as well. This is just from HBO! We have awesome TV and films coming out in 2019 from Netflix, Amazon Prime, DC UNIVERSE Streaming, Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, & more! Completely contrary to what that dipshit Bill Maher has to say, Goddammit it’s a great time to be a fan!
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen is widely considered to be one of, if not the best comic book ever written. I remember the magic of getting into to comic for the first time and being blown away by the classics of the medium: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and of course Watchmen. Watchmen still holds up as a brilliant, powerful masterpiece of storytelling. I don’t think Watchmen’s impact on the comic book medium can be understated.
However, as comic books have become more and more mainstream, Watchmen itself has become more mainstream. 20 years ago meeting someone else who read Watchmen was special because it was rare. If you read Watchmen, you knew something amazing that everyone else didn’t. As superhero stories and comic books became a part of pop culture in a major way, so did Watchmen. More people started to read the original graphic novel. We got Zack Snyder’s Watchmen film (an under appreciated gem, in my opinion), DC published Before Watchmen (Many of those miniseries’ were excellent), and like anything else, the more there is, the less special it becomes.
I still love the original Watchmen comic book. I’m making this point because Watchmen isn’t the sacred cow to me that it may be to some people. Which is why I’ve been on board with almost everything DC has chosen to do with the Watchmen Universe in the wake of DC REBIRTH. However, I’m mainly here to tell you that Geoff John’s and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock is one of the best goddamn comic books on the shelves right now.
I will be discussing SPOILERS here, so fair warning if you want to remain SPOILER–FREE…
A few weeks ago, Issue #7 of the 12 Issue miniseries went on sale and as the story hit it’s half way mark, it really kicked into a new gear. I wanted to wait awhile for people to read the latest issue before I commented on it. This is arguably the most significant series DC has published since the creation of THE NEW 52 in terms of its impact on the DC Universe.
For the most part I’m not going to recap the previous 6 Issues and instead focus mainly on Issue #7. First if all, hats off to the amazing art by Gary Frank. Frank’s been one of the best artists in the business for years, but he’s doing career best stuff here. He perfectly captures the “feel’ of the original Watchmen with copying the work of Dave Gibbons. I don’t think there’s another artist working in mainstream comics that can do what he’s doing here. He’s walking a fine line between being his own artist while making this series feel very much like a follow up to Watchmen.
The entire series, if not everything since DC REBIRTH, has been building to Doctor Manhattan’s full appearance. We finally get it here and it is suitably epic. You could definitely say this is the chapter of the story where the shit begins to hit the fan. Ozymadias, the new Rorschach, Marionette, Mime, The Comedian, Batman, and The Joker finally come face to face with Doctor Manhattan and the whole issue is pretty fucking awesome.For the most part, Johns makes the insanity of all these unique characters coming together wildly entertaining, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Before I get too ahead of myself, the book opens with a fantastic scene that involves Doctor Manhattan and old school Green Lantern Alan Scott, that’s pretty damn chilling. It not only gives insight into how Manhattan perceive reality, but it also lets us see Jon ( Doctor Manhattan’s real name) as a more sinister character than he was in the original Watchmen. It gives the reader a sense of ominous dread that sets the tone for the story to come.
Johns is one of the best writers of DC Comics characters of all time. He’s so often able to take characters that aren’t that compelling and turn them into some of the best characters in comics. He did it will Green Lantern, The Flash, The JSA, Hawkman, Aquaman, and more. One of the reasons this issue is so impressive, is that Johns beautifully captures the “voice” of each of the Watchmen characters, which is why the comic works so well. However, for some reason the character he can’t quite get right is Batman.
Geoff Johns has an almost supernatural ability to get inside the heads of DC characters, with sole exception of Batman. Batman should always be the smartest guy in the room, but under Johns’ writing he comes across as being 2 steps behind. That is NOT Batman.
I will concede that Johns may be improving when it comes to writing Batman. There’s a moment in this chapter when Doctor Manhattan finally shows up, in the flesh, for the first time. A moment that has been building since DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH. As the closets thing to God himself that Bruce has ever seen teleports into a room full of killers, mad men, and geniuses, Batman immediately glares right into Doctor Manhattan’s eyes and says “I know how you are”. A very cool, very Batman moment.
Each of these characters get some great moments together, but I wish there was a more substantial confrontation between Batman and Doctor Manhattan. I don’t mean physical, obviously, but I would have liked to see them interact more. We’ve still have a fair amount of issues left before the series wraps up, so I’ll probably get to see something like that sooner or later.
Without getting into too much detail, we finally find out why Doctor Manhattan came to the DCU. It’s a great scene where we’re given some answers, but even more questions.The scene also underscores the slightly darker character Doctor Manhattan has become. One thing he makes very clear to Adrian Veidt is that he has no intention of going back to the Watchmen Universe. He believes that world’s time is over. It beyond saving and not worth his attention. Needless to say Veidt is not happy. The scene ends with some shocking revelations about Veidt that fundamentally change his relationship with Reggie, the new Rorschach.
This is perhaps an Adrian Veidt more dangerous than we’ve ever seen. He’s just as ruthless and cunning as he’s always been. This issue shows us that the man who killed millions in service of “the greater good”may not have learned from his mistakes after all. He’s the same manipulative sociopath he’s always been and he’s got a plan. By the end of the Issue it seems like Ozymandias has gone “full villain”.
Finally, the most unsettling revelation is that in one month, Doctor Manhattan will have a fateful encounter with an enraged Superman. We know Doctor Manhattan doesn’t perceive time in the way everyone else does. He sees the past, present, and future all at once. So, what makes this information so disturbing is that Jon cannot see the future beyond the point of his confrontation with Superman.Which means one of two things, either Superman will destroy Doctor Manhattan or Doctor Manhattan will destroy everything. Considering that we’ve seen very little of the Man of Steel in this series so far, it seems like that’s about to change in a big way. It’s hard to see a scenario where Superman comes out on top in a fight with Doctor Manhattan, so I’m anxiously awaiting their meeting. After all, Doctor Manhattan has screwed with Clark’s life in significant ways recently. Most notably “resurrecting” Jor-El, who’s been running around the DCU causing trouble as Mr. Oz.
Though the shipping schedule has been somewhat frustrating, the series began in November 2017 and Issue 8 is slated for release in mid-November, at least it’s picking up slightly. Regardless of these minor flaws, Doomsday Clock has been a fantastic series that has vastly surpassed my expectations. What could have easily been a cash grab by DC has become a truly worthy follow up to Watchmen.
If you were skeptical about what is essentially a sequel to Watchmen, rest assured that these characters are in good hands. I can’t recommend this series enough. It’s a must read.
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.
It’s Paul and I’m very excited to announce my brand new Podcast… PAUL’S PULLS! As you all know I LOOOOOOOVE comic books and superheroes, so this podcast is all comics all the time. It’s a shorter show than “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim”, but it’s perfect for the format. Each episode I’ll be recommending the best comics of the week and talk about comic book or comic book movie, Comic book TV, COMIC BOOK ANYTHING news! I really hope you’ll enjoy it. In the first episode I give an annotated breakdown of the awesome new DC series Doomsday Clock. Then I wrap thing up talking about the very cool new superhero show Black Lightning. The podcast will be available on iTunes soon but for now you can listen to it right here:
Back in 2011 DC Comics made a bold decision. They would reboot the ENTIRE DC Universe, the entire line of comics would start from scratch. All new #1s, new creative teams. Much like Marvel’s successful “Ultimate” re-launch of their characters in 2000. This relaunch of DC’S Comics was called The New 52.
The story telling mechanism they used to reboot their universe was a mini-series event comic called Flashpoint. If Flashpoint sounds familiar it’s because it’s been often used when talking about the cinematic DCU. The idea is if things get bad enough and their movies continue to be failures, they’ll make a Flashpoint film and completely start over the DC movies from scratch. The Flash TV series did a VERY different version of Flashpoint on their show.
So the basic set up for Flashpoint Barry wakes up one morning to find himself in a world vastly different from his own. He’s not The Flash, so no powers, there’s no Superman, no Justice League, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are about to start WWIII, etc. But he’s still a CSI and most importantly for him his mother, who’d been murdered when he was a child is now alive and well. I wont go into details because Flashpoint is a good read, but it’s an even better animated movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. It’s one of the best animated films DC has put out. So Barry gets his powers back and with Batman’s help fixes the timeline. But when changes that massive have been made to the timeline, things aren’t EXACTLY the same. There were a lot of little and HUGE differences from the classic DC Comics people had been following. So, Flashpoint was basically the “IN STORY” explanation for the NEW 52. Almost none of the characters remember the world as it was before Flashpoint.
For the life of me I absolutely cannot understand why some people hated the NEW 52. I don’t interact with a lot of other comic book fans on forums or Reddit, which is where I think much of the NEW 52 hate came from. Sure, not everything worked and some beloved characters didn’t immediately make the transition, but lets run through some of the books the DC published at during The New 52:
• Swamp Thing
• The Flash
• Animal Man
• Green Lantern
• Batman and Robin
• Action Comics
• Wonder Woman
• Batman Inc.
• Justice League
• Forever Evil
• Green Arrow
That’s just to name a few. With excellent creative teams and excellent storylines.For some reason DC felt that they’d fundamentally lost something along the way. They felt like they lost legacy, a sense of family, a sense of optimism that DC had always been known for. I personally don’t agree, I think the stories where great. But one things that did bug me a little, was that several DC characters didn’t make the transition in the NEW 52 and nothing scares hardcore comic books fans more than change. As a response to what they felt was the negative reception the NEW 52 received. They decided to address the problem with a new intuitive called DC REBIRTH. They didn’t reboot the universe, they just began to take their series in a different direction. They just decided that DC line wide would focus on hope, family, optimism.
DC Comics wanted infuse their books with more of that hope and optimism I mentioned. So, DC released a special called DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH. This special planted the seeds of stories that would affect all of the books DC Comics had published. One of the massive revelations of DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH, was the fact that Barry Allen WAS NOT at fault for the timeline being slightly “off” when he fixed the changes from Flashpoint. Certain classic characters no longer existed, people with powerful relationships in the past weren’t together anymore, key figures like Red Robin had their deaths unwillingly faked only to be held captive in a prison outside of time and space. Basically, for whatever reason, certain people were being take off the board. Barry found out that their was a much more powerful Being out there. Someone or something was altering space and time in the DCU. Someone they’ve never encountered before. At the end of DC REBIRTH, they scene cuts to Mars. It’s revealed that the person that has been manipulating the DCU was the God-like DR. Manhattan Of Watchmen.
So it seems that characters from Watchmen, at the very least Dr. Manhattan, will be interacting with DC characters. At this point I think it’s important to say that it’s real easy to be cynical about a project like this. But every little piece we’ve been given from REBIRTH leading up to Doomsday Clock has been handled very well. Most of the talk about this project coming from DC wasn’t about a fight of any kind between the DC and Watchmen characters, but an ideological conflict between the cold, clinical view of the world held be Dr Manhattan and the hope and optimism of Clark Kent… Superman.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON…
CONTIUE AT YOUR OWN PERIL IF YOU DONT WANT SPOILERS…
The thing that surprised me most about this book was how much of it was a Watchmen book. I figured this story would mostly be set in the DCU with Dr. Manhattan visiting that reality and maybe an appearance from one or two other characters. Instead the majority of the story takes place in the world of Watchmen, years after we last saw these characters. It’s a world on the brink of annihilation once again. The first line of dialogue is from our narrator, who tells us it’s “ December 22 1992… or is it the 23rd?” Geoff John has been quick to point out that from the first line of dialogue we’re dealing an unreliable narrative. It’s also been pointed out multiple times in other places that December 22, 1992 is the day that The Death of Superman came out (obviously this date wasn’t chosen by accident). You see “The Great Lie” has bee exposed. Rorschach’s Journal at the end of Watchmen eventually showed the world that Veidt’s attempt to save humanity from nuclear holocaust, was built on an atrocity. Adrian Veidt AKA Ozymandias is now the most wanted man in the world. Then we’re shown a prison full of men begging to be released. The Soviets and the U.S. are minutes away from launching their nukes and beginning nuclear Armageddon.
The story cut to chaos at a prison, with the inmates screaming to be let free. The news is telling everyone to get to “Safe Zones” , but this seems like bullshit that the government is pushing on people through media and the guards are cutting and running. One of the inmates manages to grab a guard as he runs past his cell and the inmate demands for the guard to unlock the door. Before he can do anything, the guard is knocked out by someone else in the hallway with him. This is the books first huge reveal: the man who knocked out the guard and who’s now stealing the keys to the prison is Rorschach. Suddenly the inmate isn’ t quite so eager to get out of this cell.
From here on out, I’m going to give you the very broad strokes of the issue. The first six pages of this book were released by DC at NYCC and the Rorschach reveal was one of the last scenes in the promotional material. As I expected as soon Rorschach was revealed, later in the story were shown (without revealing his identity) that this is NOT Walter Kovacs, the original Rorschach. Someone else has taken up his “mantle”. Even if it wasn’t explicitly revealed, if you’re an avid Watchmen fan, you would have been able to tell that this isn’t the Rorschach from Watchmen. There are subtle, but noticeable differences.
Basically Veidt sent Rorschach to break one very specific criminals out of prison: Erika Manson AKA The Marionette. Manson won’t leave with her husband Marco Maez AKA The Mime. From what we briefly see of The Mime in prison he seems like a very dangerous psychopath. Rorschach reluctantly takes them both and they head to Nite Owl’s old hideout. Once everyone’s gathered Veidt reveals a key piece of personal information and explains his plan. Adrian has a brain tumor that is killing him and as bad as things are on their world, there’s still one man who can fix everything: Dr. Manhattan. No matter where he is Veidt intends to find Dr. Manhattan in an attempt to save his world (if that is indeed his true motive). It’s unclear how he intends to accomplish this and why he needs these SPECIFIC individuals. The last scene is Clark Kent asleep in bed next to Lois. He has a horrific nightmare of his adopted parents dying in a car crash (I’m honestly not sure if this is the current continuity, so this could be a memory or something else entirely). He wakes up startled and Lois asks him if he’s ok. Clark’s not really sure. It was just a nightmare, but as he says to Lois, he’s never had a nightmare before.
Bottom line, I really liked this story. I get that to some people Doomsday Clock will always be sacrilege, but if you go in with an open mind you’ll realize this is a great book. If the first chapter is an indicator of what’s to come,. this could potentially be something special. The art by Gary Frank is incredible. I already considered Geoff Johns to be an excellent comic book writer, but it seems like he stepped up his game here. If you didn’t know any better, you’d be forgiven to think that this is Alan Moore is Watchmen.It was a great set up to the miniseries and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Several interesting details stood out to me. We’ve been shown that Batman was told that somehow it’ s an irrefutable fact that there are “three Jokers“. Both The Marionette and The Mime are clown themed villains. At one point, you see The Mime smiling with blood smeared across his face and mouth, which is very evocative of The Joker. Is this a version of Joker and Harley Quinn?
Another interesting point was when Rorschach was asked to prove that he is not in fact Walter Kovacs the original Rorschach, he takes off his glove and his skin is brown. We all know the original Rorschach was white. This is a complete wild guess here, but could this be the psychiatrist that Rorschach seemingly warped so deeply in the original miniseries? (However, I’m pretty sure that character died in the original Watchmen, so I don’t now)
I also found that it spoke volumes that Ozymandias seemed to be genuinely frightened of this new Rorschach. He explains to The Mime and The Marionette that Rorschach is not a man to be pushed. Veidt explains he doesn’t have limits like the original Rorschach did. Which is scary because it didn’t seem like the original Rorschach had many limits beyond his black-and-white code of justice. Especially considering that Adrian so easily physically overpowered Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, and the original Rorschach in Watchmen, this guy must be a pretty big bad ass for Ozymandias to be genuinely afraid of him.
Anyway those are my initial thoughts and impressions. My biggest questions are: How many of the Watchmen characters are we going to ultimately see in this story? How does Adrian intend to actually breach through the multi-verse to find Dr Manhattan ? Why is all this causing nightmares for Superman? and how does the rest of the DCU fit in? I definitely recommend reading it twice. Even though it seems slow at times, there’s a lot more going on than you may think after initially reading it. Personally I can’t wait for #2.
P.S. Below are the covers for some of the upcoming issues!