We’ll be finishing up the Raging Oscars, Best of 2009 and year in review. Plus we’ll be chatting about some of the great books from the past couple of weeks in a Speeding Bullets segment.
Any time you hear that change is coming on the horizon, you start to get worried. Will there be people in charge that understand the comics and what makes good comics? Will there be someone there who understands the fan base? Will they make sweeping changes to the universe that I am already enjoying and alienate me? Those were just some of my fears.
Now, I am a rational person and I totally realized it was just fear of the unknown and unnamed but I am so thrilled the DC Entertainment made the decisions for Jim Lee and Dan Didio as Co-Publishers and Geoff Johns as Chief Creative Officer.
Blackest Night has been an amazing event, not only because of Geoff Johns, but of how well every creator involved really pulled together to be consistent with the overall event. I think this is a testament of what it is like to work on an event with Geoff Johns and the whole Green Lantern team. Books like Booster Gold, Secret Six, Doom Patrol, and others have these amazing tie in stories that don’t derail their own books but enhance them. This is a great example of solid creative direction looking globally. You don’t disenfranchise the fans of a monthly book with an event. You organically allow their world to echo what is happening in a way that makes sense for that title. This is the kind of creative direction that I want to continue for DC when tie ins feel right.
I am also loving that almost every series has their own major events happening within them. I am loving that each week, it’s not all about Blackest Night. I genuinely want to follow the major happenings of a variety of characters because there is something pretty major and exciting to get involved with. This adds to stories like Blackest Night for me because the diversity of flavors I am getting outside of that event just gets me pumped for the next chance to delve back into the happenings of that series.
Superman’s world is so interesting because there are so many cool threads with both him and his supporting cast. JSA has two titles that are heading in a very interesting direction that is bringing the superhero aspect back to both teams. Batman’s world is just insanely cool right now, where I find myself believing that Dick Grayson could continue carrying that role. I say this as a Bruce Wayne junkie. Don’t get me started on how cool the last year of Wonder Woman has been. This is just great creative direction where all of the eggs are not in one basket and somehow it is just making the comicy omelet so much more satisfying.
Geoff Johns is the perfect person to keep the diverse creativity going but also to make it feel like this universe is still interconnected. It’s a tricky balance but I feel 2009 was a step forward and I think 2010 will continue to push us to new and interesting places with these announcements.
Warner Home Video will distribute the full-length animated Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths on February 23 as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.
Timm, the executive producer on “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths,” has been the creative force behind many of Warner Bros. Animation’s modern-day successes, elevating DC Comics’ canon of super heroes to new heights of animated popularity and introducing generations of new fans to the characters via landmark television series and made-for-DVD films. The latter task includes the creation of the current series of DC Universe animated original movies, which have drawn critical acclaim and further whetted the public’s appetite for comic book entertainment. “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” is the seventh film in the ongoing DC Universe series.
And here’s what Mr. Timm had to say …
What excites you about Juctice League: Crisis on Two Earths?
In a weird kind of way, this is a return to my favorite show Justice League Unlimited. The original script was intended to be the bridge story between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited to explain how we went from seven heroes to more than 50 super heroes. We loved the story and the script, and it floated around here for years while we tried to figure out what to do with it – it was considered for a comic, but fortunately that got shot down. Then we took a look at it and, with just a few slight tweaks, we jumped at the chance to make it a DC Universe movie.
What sets it apart from the TV version of Justice League?
It’s a very satisfying, grand scale adventure movie with a big cast of interesting, quirky characters. It’s amazing how much it feels like a great episode of Justice League Unlimited as a big, epic film with slightly different visual stylings. That’s a good thing.
Did this film present challenges that the first six DC Universe movies did not?
The biggest challenge, and this is kind of esoteric, was that we had to find the line between the original source material and making it feel like a stand-alone movie so anyone that didn’t watch JLU could follow it. We really didn’t have to tweak the script too much – I think about 95 percent remains untouched. In terms of visual styling, we also wanted it to stand on its own and not necessarily as a continuation of the old show. We have this brilliant character designer – Phil Bourassa – who draws in a style similar to my own in terms of simplicity, but slightly different. So it doesn’t look 180 degrees away from the old show, but it definitely feels unique.
What are the benefits of having two directors on the same film?
The positive for Sam and Lauren is that having two directors lightens the workload, because it’s a big movie. They have similar strengths, and they’re both very good at what they do. They’re both all around talented in terms of understanding story, acting, the emotional core of the story, and they’re both really good at directing big crazy action scenes. But they’re methodology is different. Sam thinks a lot, he’s very analytical. Lauren is more intuitive about everything. I just kind of stayed out of it when they had disagreements – fortunately I never had to be the tiebreaker, They just worked things out between the two of them.
What are Dwayne McDuffie’s strengths?
Dwayne is really well-rounded as a writer – he knows comics inside and out, he understands the lore, he knows what makes a good super hero story, and at the same time he’s really good with character dynamics and conflict. Plus he’s one of the best dialogue writers in the business.
Of this fairly huge cast, do you have a favorite character?
In this story, it’s probably Owlman. He’s a fascinating character himself, but the dynamic with Superwoman is so messed up as a couple, and yet really appealing in a weird kind of way. It’s a little similar to JLU’s relationship between The Question and Huntress. Superwoman is this badass hot chick, and he’s the quiet, brainy, nerd guy. They’re an interesting, odd couple. Plus I loved both James’ (Woods) and Gina’s (Torres) performances – they were spot-on. The amazing thing is we like to get all the actors to record as an ensemble, but in this case it wasn’t feasible, So they never met or performed together, but they totally mesh. It’s such an interesting chemistry considering they’ve never even met.
You’ve brought another all-star cast to this film. Anything fans don’t know about the casting choices this time around?
There’s an interesting side note in that Vanessa Marshall, who plays Wonder Woman, came this close to playing the role in Justice League. We were down to the final two choices, and they were neck and neck. The thing about Vanessa is that she sounded perfect for Wonder Woman – exactly what she should sound like. But Susan Eisenberg had this vulnerability. We thought it would be interesting to not play her to type, which ultimately played really well. When it came to casting for this movie, we thought, “What if we go down the road not taken?” So we opted for Vanessa in a full-length movie and she is great.
“Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” includes the premiere of the first DC Showcase animation short, “The Spectre.” How have the DC Showcase shorts changed your work day?
The DC Showcase is fun because it gives us an opportunity to play with characters that maybe don’t have a broad enough marquee value to support their own movie. As much as I like Batman, Superman, etc., the more lower tier, offbeat characters are really fascinating to me. It’s fun to mess around with others characters in the DC Universe. Super heroes are great, but it’s nice to do a change of pace, and that’s a lot of what we’ve done here. “The Spectre” is a supernatural thriller,; “Jonah Hex” is a western, and so on. So the Showcase is giving us a chance to stretch different muscles.
After taking a break from episodic TV for the past several years, are you enjoying a return to the short-form with the DC Showcase?
The interesting thing is these are really short form – they’re half as long as a half-hour TV episode. So the story has to be really tight and condensed – you have to cut away the fat, but it can’t be just wall-to-wall action. It still has to be a story. Fortunately we’re working with some really great writers, and because of that, every time we roll tape on these shorts, they feel like you’ve watched a whole episode of something. There’s a clear beginning, middle and end – a full story. So mission accomplished.
What made Steve Niles the right guy to write “The Spectre,” and how did you lure him into writing an animated short?
I’ve admired Steve Niles’ work for a long time and, honestly, it would have never occurred to me to approach him. That was Todd Casey’s suggestion. He contacted Steve, and Steve was thrilled to get the assignment. He’s a big Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo fan, and a big fan of “The Spectre” – especially that 1970s era of the character. Steve is very into crime fiction and horror, so he was the perfect writer for it.
Does “The Spectre” hold any special significance for you?
“The Spectre” was one of my favorite characters back in the 70s. Even by today’s standards, those comics are pretty hard core, and they were written in 1974, I don’t know how they got some of that stuff past the comic code. It was so different from any other comic on the stands. It’s really dark, really nasty. The character is pretty easy to understand – he’s the dark avenger of the night, even more so than Batman. He punishes bad guys in horrible, horrible ways. He’s like the benign Freddie Krueger. I’ve wanted to use “The Spectre” for a long, long time and we never had a opportunity to do it, and this was our chance to go hog wild with him.
For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at www.JUSTICELEAGUECRISIS.com.
Episode 197b: Raging Oscars Episode Part 1 of 2. We chat about the Best of the Best from last year. We also explore the best issues from almost every title in the DCU in a very special 2 part episode.
This is very spoiler filled over a ton of releases in the 2009 calendar year. We are trying to cover it all.
0:00 Show opening, http://www.heroinitiative.org, http://www.DCBService.com, http://www.Instocktrades.com, our ongoing contest (Ragingcontest@gmail.com), firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.geturgeekonradio.com, show voicemail line 1-440-388-4434 or drnorge on Skype,and more.
8:00 Segment 1
1:50:10 Segment 2
2:53:45 Show Closing
We’ll be back in a few days our next episode. Check Ragingbullets.com and the forum for regular updates.
Summit City Convention
David Baron’s Blog and Twitter for the contest
Our Raging Oscars show will finally be here on Monday Night or Tuesday at the latest. We look at the best issues of most of the titles of the DCU. We will be chatting about favorite moments, creators, characters and what we want to see continue in 2010.
This one has been a lot of work to put together but we are thrilled to present it to you.
If you have any comments for this show, drop them in by Sunday night.
Some interesting news for the Green Lantern books. There is certainly room for another Green Lantern title, plus Tony Bedard of R.E.B.E.L.S. fame taking over GLC. I am so glad that Peter Tomasi is remaining a part of the Green Lantern universe. Bedard will make an excellent addition. With his experience at Valiant with Rai and book like R.E.B.E.L.S., he clearly understands a sci fi epic. I was wondering if we’d be getting more from the Green Lantern Universe.
Bat Casebook by Jared Kardos
Welcome to another addition of The Bat Casebook. I’m sure you know the score by now—I read whatever new bat-related comic came out during the week and I review them. Why should you read my opinions? ‘Cause I’m that bloody awesome, is why! Anyway, this was a really light week, so let’s just blaze through these books.
BATMAN & ROBIN #8
Written by Grant Morrison
Drawn by Cameron Stewart
Colored by Tony Avina
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
Covers by Cameron Stewart and Frank Quitely
Is there any way to make it so that Batman & Robin always ships bi-weekly? I mean seriously, this has been a pretty sweet deal so far. It’d probably completely destroy the chance of Quitely ever doing another arc, but still!
Anyway, question—well, one, at least—were answered in this that we’ve been wondering since the end of Final Crisis—the body of Bruce that they’ve had here in the present? One of Darkseid’s clones from when they had Bruce imprisoned and were siphoning his memories to create the perfect minions. That makes a lot of sense—and is far more explainable then the “Bruce’s body died, but his mind was transported in a new body” theory that I had—and it really puts into place why this is a “spiritual” cross-over with Blackest Night—like Nekron, Darkseid downloaded the memories of Bruce into this body and it was resurrected, but twisted and nothing like the Bruce we all know and love.
But none of our intrepid heroes know about this—it isn’t until “Bruce” tries to kill one of them that Dick realizes this and they try to take him down. Unfortunately, that only really works to bring down part of the cave and seemingly kills Batwoman in the process—though that’s part of her plan. Meanwhile, Clone-Bruce hijacks their plane, heads back to Wayne Tower, and is out to get Alfred and Damian, who’s still confined to a wheelchair.
Overall I dug this issue—it answered a big question, had some amazingly rendered fight scenes, and it makes you want to see how Dick, Kate, Knight and Squire are going to get back to Gotham in time to save Alfred and Damian, which is what a great serialized superhero series should do. However, if we don’t see Alfred lay into Clone-Batman with his trusty shotgun, I will be a touch disappointed.
Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Penciled by Lee Garbett
Inked by Trevor Scott
Colored by Guy Major
Lettered by John J. Hill
Cover by Phil Noto
Speaking of great cliffhangers, the previous issue of this book ended with a pretty good one: Batman’s out of commission, with the super-villains Riot, Doctor Phosphorous and Roxy Rocket going after him, with the whole world watching thanks to the villainous Roulette—will the two young superheroes we love as much as they hate each other, Batgirl and Robin save him in time? Find out, true believers—right now!
Overall this was a great issue—very exciting, full of funny little moments, and really cements Stephanie as a full-fledged, down-right competent super-hero. She definitely gets the “Big Damn Hero” moment for using Roxy’s rocket to take out Doctor Phosphorous. Even “Batman” had to admit that was a pretty clever way to take out two villains in one swoop, even if it was the kinder, gentler Batman—but I’m sure even Bruce would have gruffly nodded in approval. I also loved the further establishing the sibling rivalry between Stephanie and Damian.
Overall it was a great issue and a solid end to a cool arc. If this was any other week when Batman & Robin wasn’t on in the same week, this probably would have been my favorite bat-book of the week. I eagerly await this upcoming cross-over between this and Red Robin.
Like I said, this was a light week, but packed to the brim with some awesome stuff. Next week is definitely not going to be light, with Batman #696, Batman: Streets of Gotham #9, and Azarel #5.
I was browsing the Source this evening and came across this cover for Brightest Day.
I know this doesn’t necessarily mean a for sure return of Aquaman but Blackest Night reinvigorated me with the possibilities of his return. I am 100% behind more Mera storytelling. I was a huge fan of the Peter David run on Aquaman and really loved the character ever since. The Sub Diego stuff that introduced Aquagirl was good fun as well.
Atlantis is always an interesting place to read about because of the politics involved. This is a different nation with VERY different concerns from the surface world. This often leads to deep conflict over different ideologies. Combat is also quite different under water and there are some interesting chances to bring the vastness of the sea to life. The fantasy style of the most recent version began to explore some of this.
Will this be the same Aquaman that had the hook hand? Will this be the Silver Age version? Will I know it is technically the same guy but what will still be considered part of his past?
Will Dolphin and Tempest also return?
If this preview is a hint at his possible return, it also makes me wonder what other characters that were Black Lantern’s might come back?
Updated with covers from issue 5 and 6. Bookmark the Source, if you haven’t already.
If you are a Batman fan, check out the Source. They have some VERY cool covers from the upcoming Bruce Wayne mini. I am really excited to follow the journey of Bruce. This is an interesting story because I had no doubt Bruce would eventually return. The part I am anticipating is going on his journey with him. I want to know what the Omega Effect did to him. I want to see what it will take for him to overcome it. The covers have only added to that build.
I am a big fan of the show Heroes. Season 1 was steller and the rest of the seasons have been enjoyable. This season is worth checking out on DVD or Blu Ray if you missed it. I truly felt it was a return to the excitement that I felt with Season 1.
Samuel made for an interesting villian. What worked for me was that you were never quite sure if he was a hero, villain or something more complicated. In the end, while his intentions were evil, his story was tragic. The tale of lost love that was found and lost again. I have to wonder if he didn’t bring some of that upon himself by trying to force her into his world. The boy who didn’t fit in, wanting to be something more, in his brother’s shadow, and never quite escaping, even in the brother’s death. Just truly engaging elements to a complex character.
While I knew he was gathering the carnival for his own purpose, I do think he wanted their love. The problem was that he put his own interest of being an all powerful leader, before what was best for them. He could have had so much more power if they truly were embraced as a family of equals. Samuel never got that and it was his undoing. I loved that. It felt real.
Peter was really “fixed” this season. I felt like he was returned to the likable, accessible character from Season 1. Peter should be the character you admire because he keeps trying. He tries to find solutions when most wouldn’t. Sure, he makes mistakes, but he ultimately picks himself back up and comes at the problem from a new angle. He always felt the most like a comic book hero in this real world. A bit of that was lost along the way, but came back big time this season.
Sylar was the MVP of the last two episodes. I want to see more of his transition to trying to be a hero. He hurt a ton of people along the way. They will want him accountable for what happened. I have to admit there is something cool about seeing this “formerly” evil man use his powers on the bad guys for a change. I am also interested to see if he really can maintain that change.
Hiro and Charlie resolved, Noah surviving, Claire revealing them to the world, it gave me hope for some more stories that interested me this season.
I hope Heroes gets another season. I know there has been some net write ups of numbers dropping this season but I think the quality of the show was so much better this go around. If marketed right and kicked off with an accessible opening, I think it has a lot to offer the audience members that left. It’s a show that I hope gets the chances to be bookended for DVD and Blu Ray viewing. I’m sure I’ll share more thoughts in the future but it was a very satisfying end to this season.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from
award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League)
rooted in DC Comics’ popular canon of “Crisis” stories depicting
parallel worlds with uniquely similar super heroes and villains. Bruce
Timm (Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern) is executive producer. Lauren
Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman:
Public Enemies) are co-directors.
The movie features an all-star voice cast led by Mark Harmon(NCIS) as
Superman, James Woods(Ghosts of Mississippi) as Owlman, Chris Noth
(Sex and the City, Law & Order) as Lex Luthor, William Baldwin(Dirty
Sexy Money) as Batman, Gina Torres(Serenity, Firefly) as Superwoman
and Bruce Davison(X-Men) as the President.
Warner Home Video will distribute the full-length animated Justice
League: Crisis on Two Earths on February 23 as a Special Edition
2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD,
and On Demand and Download.