The Kingdom ★☆☆☆☆

thekingdom (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Kingdom
Series: Elseworlds
Author: Mark Wade
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 232
Words: 23K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

20 years after the events of Kingdom Come, a survivor of the Kansas disaster is granted power by four members of the Quintessence (Shazam, Ganthet, Zeus, and Izaya Highfather), who dub him Gog. The power drives him mad, and he takes out his anger on Superman, killing him and carving his “S” shield on the ground. He then travels a day backward in time and kills him again…and again. A shadowed figure vaguely resembling the Phantom Stranger, the fifth Quintessence member, opposes this action, as Gog now intends to accelerate the Kansas Holocaust, but the other four are prepared to let things unfold; Shazam hopes that Captain Marvel will no longer have to die, Ganthet hopes that Green Lantern will avert the catastrophe and become more renowned than Superman, Zeus hopes that the ancient gods may be ‘worshiped’ once more as Earth seeks something to believe in, and Highfather feels that a new war may fracture Earth in a manner similar to New Genesis and Apokolips.

As Gog travels closer to the modern DC Universe, the Linear Men panic when they see that their ordered index of time is unraveling; Superman is dead in the 21st century, yet alive in the 853rd, and their instruments register no error. When Rip Hunter, acting upon the orders of the shadowed figure, tries to stop Gog from killing Superman on the day his and Wonder Woman’s child is born (that being a day when ‘anything seemed possible’), Gog manages to steal the infant (named Jonathan), whom he plans to raise and name Magog (in issue #2, this was revealed to be a red herring. The child did not grow up to become Magog; instead, he became the shadowed figure, whose true identity is then revealed to be Hyperman, a Hypertime-traveling superhero wearing a costume based on the costumes of his parents and his godfather, Batman).

Although the other Linear Men object to the idea of the heroes of that time travelling back to defeat Gog, Rip Hunter recruits Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from the Kingdom Come era to stop Gog in 1998, the heroes concluding that, since innocent people will die if they do or do not take action, they will take the heroic option and go back despite the apparent loss of their own reality by having them interfere in their own pasts in such a manner. Four young heroes-Kid Flash, Offspring, Nightstar, and Ibn al Xu’ffasch-come together to try stopping Gog on their own, and are recruited by Rip Hunter to assist in his plan. When Jonathan is seemingly erased from existence soon after being rescued, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman team up with their ‘past selves’ and battle Gog to a final confrontation in a “Planet Krypton” restaurant outside of reality, where they use various weapons gathered from across Hypertime against Gog. During the fight, the future Wonder Woman reveals to the Superman of the present why Gog is after him, and Superman vows that the timeline of Kingdom Come will never happen in his universe, as he strikes back at Gog, finishing the battle once and for all. As the heroes return to their proper places in time, Hyperman reveals himself, assuring the future heroes that his infant self actually hid himself within the stream of Hypertime upon being rescued from Gog, and Rip Hunter explains the existence of timelines, so the Kingdom Come reality still exists, but it will no longer be the future of the DC Universe.

My Thoughts:

Well, after my experience with Kingdom Come you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. I guess I’m either really stupid, a glutton for punishment, a Completist or A Genius the Likes of Which the World has Never Yet Seen. I’ll leave it up to you to pick the, ahem, correct interpretation.

While I had none of the problems from the previous comic, I had a whole new bunch to contend with. This was not an actual miniseries by one writer and artist. It was bookended by The Kingdom and then had a bunch of new DC titles that were all #1’s in the middle, and all were the children of other superheroes. Considering this was in ’98, that was at the tail end of the Comic Boom in the 90’s and it was easy to tell that DC was trying to get some more comics into circulation and grab what cash they could. I don’t think it was considered an Elseworlds story until after the fact. None of the titles took off, nor did they deserve to.

The art was also atrocious. Well, maybe not atrocious, but pretty sad. With each book being a different title, obviously the artists changed and hence the artwork, but it never improved,it was all uniformly junk. The only exception I noticed was the Kid Flash comic. That seemed pretty sleek.

The story could have been interesting. Gog, the main villain, looked just like Magog, the villain from Kingdom Come. He was trying to kill all the possible Supermen throughout all of time. Now doesn’t that sound like it has a ton of potential? Sadly, it was all wasted as the intervening comics were just as much about trying to introduce the new kids on the block as they were about advancing the storyline. Plus, it dealt with a multiverse and ever since the New52 I feel like DC over uses the reset/reboot button way too often. So my bitterness about the new direction of DC bled over into this older story. Surprise!

Kingdom Come I found abhorrent. The Kingdom was simply a bore.

★☆☆☆☆

Kingdom Come ★☆☆☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kingdom Come
Series: Elseworlds
Author: Mark Wade
Artist: Alex Ross
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 232
Words: 23K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

In this Elseworlds story, Superman and the Justice League abandon their roles as superheroes after the rise and strong public support of a superhero named Magog, who has no qualms about killing—notably the Joker, on his way to trial for the mass murder of the Daily Planet staff, including Lois Lane. In the ensuing years, a newer generation of superpowered metahumans arise; they engage each other in destructive battles with little distinction between “heroes” and “villains.” The narrator, a minister named Norman McCay, receives apocalyptic visions of the future from a dying Wesley Dodds. The Spectre appears to McCay and recruits him to help pass judgment on the approaching superhuman apocalypse.

An attack on the Parasite, led by Magog, goes awry when Parasite tears open Captain Atom. As a result, much of the American Midwest is irradiated, killing millions and destroying a large portion of the United States’s food production. Coaxed back into action by Wonder Woman, Superman returns to Metropolis and re-forms the Justice League.

He recruits new heroes along with older ones. The most prominent exception is the Batman, who resents Superman for leaving the world 10 years ago. Batman warns Superman that his idealist notions are outdated and his interference will only exacerbate the world’s problems, insisting that strategy is required, not force. In response to Superman’s Justice League, Batman activates his network of agents called the “Outsiders”, made up largely of the younger second and third-generation heroes, while trusted veterans, such as Green Arrow and Blue Beetle, are chosen as lieutenants. Lex Luthor has organized the “Mankind Liberation Front”. The MLF is secretly a group of Golden Age villains, including Catwoman, the Riddler, and Vandal Savage, as well as third-generation villains like Ra’s al Ghul’s successor, Ibn al Xu’ffasch, who is Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul’s son. The MLF works to take control of the world from the heroes.

Superman’s Justice League gathers more captives than converts, and his prison (nicknamed “the Gulag”) is filled to capacity almost as soon as it is built. Superman works to persuade the inmates that their methods are wrong-headed and dangerous, but his entreaties fall upon deaf ears. With hostile heroes and villains locked up together, pressure builds. Meanwhile, Superman learns that Wonder Woman’s ardent militant stance may be influenced by her recent exile from Paradise Island: in the eyes of the Amazons, her mission to bring peace to the outside world has failed, and she has thus been stripped of her royalty. Batman and his Outsiders seem to enter into an alliance with the MLF as a united front against the Justice League. Luthor plans to exacerbate the conflict between the League and the inmates of the Gulag; the ensuing chaos will afford Luthor an opportunity to seize power. Batman uses the Martian Manhunter to discover that an adult Billy Batson is under Luthor’s control. Batson, as Captain Marvel, is the only metahuman capable of matching Superman’s power. When the Gulag’s inmates riot and kill Captain Comet, Luthor unwittingly reveals to Batman he intends to use the brainwashed Batson to break open the Gulag. Batman’s forces ambush Luthor and his conspirators, but they are unable to restrain Batson, who transforms into Marvel and flies off. While Wonder Woman leads the Justice League to the superhuman prison riot, Superman confronts Batman. Batman tries to justify inaction, saying the world would be better off if all the metahumans destroyed each other. Superman points out that if all human life is sacred, then logically that includes superhuman life. Superman knows that Batman will act, because his entire crimefighting life is based upon the desire to prevent the loss of human life.

Moved by Superman’s sentiments, Batman tells Superman that Captain Marvel is under Luthor’s control and is on the way to the Gulag. Superman races to the Gulag, but upon arrival is struck down by Captain Marvel. The Gulag is breached, freeing the population, and inciting war between Wonder Woman’s Justice League and the metahuman prisoners. The Spectre and Norman look on as Wonder Woman’s League engages with the prisoners and Superman is kept at bay by Captain Marvel. Batman’s army arrives on site as an intervening third party. Batman is unable to stop Wonder Woman from killing the supervillain Von Bach, which increases the fury of the riot.

As conditions worsen, United Nations Secretary General Wyrmwood authorizes the deployment of three tactical nuclear warheads, hardened against metahuman powers. In the middle of their fight, Batman and Wonder Woman see the incoming stealth bombers piloted by the Blackhawk Squadron. They break off fighting and manage to stop two bombs, but miss the third. Captain Marvel uses his magic lightning bolt as a weapon against Superman. Superman manages to grab Marvel and allow the bolt to transform him into Billy. Holding Batson’s mouth shut, Superman tells him he is going to stop the remaining bomb, and Batson must make a choice: either stop Superman and allow the warhead to kill all the metahumans, or let Superman stop the bomb and allow the metahumans’ war to engulf the world. Superman tells Batson he must be the one to make this decision, as he is the only one who lives in both worlds: a man (as Batson) and a god (as Marvel). Batson, his mind now clear of Luthor’s influence, turns back into Captain Marvel. He flings Superman to the ground and flies after the missile. Marvel intercepts the missile and shouts “Shazam!” three times in rapid succession, detonating the bomb prematurely, and killing Batson in the process.

Despite Marvel’s sacrifice, most of the metahumans are obliterated in the explosion. Superman is unharmed, but does not realize that there are any other survivors. Enraged at the tremendous loss of life, Superman flies to the U.N. Building and threatens to bring it down atop the delegates as punishment for the massacre. The surviving metahumans arrive, but McCay is the one who talks him down, pointing out how his appearance and behavior are exactly the sort of reasons that normal humans fear the superpowered. Superman immediately ceases his rampage. He is handed Captain Marvel’s cape, and tells the U.N. that he will use his wisdom to guide, rather than lead, humankind. Superman ties Captain Marvel’s cape to a flagpole and raises it among the flags of the member nations of the U.N., suggesting that this role of guidance will be more political and global in nature than the classic crime-busting vigilantism of the past.[6] In the epilogue, the heroes strive to become fully integrated members of the communities. Wonder Woman’s exile from Paradise Island ends, and she becomes an ambassador for super-humanity, taking the survivors of the Gulag to Paradise Island for rehabilitation. Batman abandons his crusade and becomes a healer, rebuilding his mansion as a hospital to care for those wounded by the destruction of the Gulag. He reconciles with both Dick Grayson/Red Robin and his son, Ibn al Xu’ffasch. Superman begins the task of restoring the Midwestern farmlands devastated in Magog’s attempt to capture the Parasite. He comes to terms with his past as Clark Kent by accepting a pair of glasses from Wonder Woman, and shares a kiss with her before she returns to Paradise Island. Norman McCay resumes pastorship of his congregation, preaching a message of hope for humanity. Among the congregation is Jim Corrigan, the Spectre’s human host.

My Thoughts:

Where do I start? I liked the idea and the presentation.

But the damnably perverted and shallow philosophy absolutely killed this for me. I knew this wasn’t going to go well right from the introduction by Elliot Maggin when he starts talking about us all being modern gods and how he takes inspiration from Gandhi saying he would be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian or Buddhist, the idea being that he would do anything to advance his generic ideals even to the profanation of the very religions he’s claiming to want to represent.

Then we get the main narrator, a Christian pastor. Unfortunately, this “pastor” is of the God is just a name and simply represents a higher power to help us become better” variety. He’s not a Christian, he’s a Unitarian. Not once was the name of Christ mentioned. Even during the many, many, MANY out of context quotes from the book of Revelation (which by the way is the Revelation of Jesus Christ) God as a Force was what was shoved down the readers’ throats. I am finding that the older I get, the less patience I have for misrepresentations of Christianity. I’m not talking about differences of opinion of a hard to interpret Scripture, but blatant misuses of Scripture to forward a storyline while claiming TO represent Christianity. Sadly, most of these misrepresentations come from real life people doing the misrepresentation. Can anyone say Jim Bakker or Joel Osteen?

Next, you have Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman. All are portrayed as having been broken by the events of a new world. One thing that really stuck out was the various stances shown on superheroes taking lives. Superman and Batman are known for their stance on not taking lives. It is one of the defining characteristics of who they are. The authors here use that and the new heroes willingness to take lives at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, killing, for any reason, even by the lawful authorities is show as something evil. One of the villains, Magog, killed the Joker in the past and that is portrayed on the same level as him killing Captain Atom and pretty much nuking the American midwest and killing MILLIONS of people. Things are just not that simplistic and I HATE when something serious is portrayed so unreasonably. This got into Message Territory instead of good story telling.

Then the ending. Everyone pretty much just agrees to get along. Pollyana much? I mean, the whole freaking story wouldn’t have happened if the characters had acted in the beginning like they did at the end. But there was no real mechanism to propel their changes.

Everything, from beginning to end, got my goat. This was an Elseworlds story that could have been great, could have been fantastic but completely failed in its execution and was completely bogged down by Message Politics.

You know what is really funny though? I read a review of this on another site where the person went off the rails because they were convinced this was all right wing politics, because it featured a “Christian” main character, had Superman, Batman and Wonderwomen as the good guys. They also claimed it was pro-gun, pro-life and pro-death sentence. Oh, oh, they also stated that from this they figured Wade was a Republican and thus this was a complete piece of garbage. Isn’t that awesome? I have no idea how they came to the conclusions they did but it made me do a little happy dance inside. Call me sick, but seeing someone else being miserable just made my day.

Just so you can get an alternate take, ie, a more positive one, feel free to visit’s Lashaan Review.

★☆☆☆☆

Superman IV: The Quest for Peas, errr, Peace

Superman_IV_(1987)

 

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released in 1987 and was co-written by Reeve’s. That should have been enough of a warning to anyone. Of course, Matt warned me that it was a stinker, so I knew going in that I was in for rough weather. And indeed, this movie was bad. It was bad enough that another Superman movie wasn’t made again until 2006. Almost 20 years of stinkitude!

The basic premise is that “everyone” is concerned that Nuclear weapons are going to destroy the world but Superman won’t do anything about it because of his instructions from Krypton not to change the fate of his adopted world. Then a school boy writes to him asking him to save everyone.  At the same time a greedy capitalist buys the Daily Planet and starts turning it into a tabloid while he gives it to his daughter to run.  The daughter falls in love with Clark Kent while Lois is still in love with Superman. Hijinks ensue as Big Blue has to switch from one to the other on a double date.

Supes gets permission from the UN to take all the nuclear weapons from everyone and throw them into the sun. There is where Lex Luthor gets involved. He steals a hair of Superman’s and creates a genetic package that needs the sun’s power to give it life. Luthor installs it on one of the nuclear weapons and when Supes throws it into the sun Nuclear Man is born, quite literally. Luthor reveals him and he and Supes fight, in the city, on the moon and in space. Supes gets scratched by nuclear nails and gets sick and everyone thinks he’s dead.  He comes back and throws Nuclear Man into a nuclear power plant and lights up a whole city while Nuclear Man is consumed.

The movie ends with Superman giving a speech about everyone getting along and realizing we all live on the same planet. Also, Perry White takes out a loan from the bank and buys back the Daily Planet.

 

I actually watched this 3 times to make sure it was as bad as I thought it was. There was no mistake, this was a B-A-A-A-A-D movie.

Hollywood politics dominated the storyline to the point where it wasn’t much of a storyline but a piece of propaganda. Superman taking nuclear weapons away from everyone, though glossed over, made him the worst of tyrants and excusing it by putting the responsibility on the UN’s shoulders was just as bad. That corrupt body of filth has NO power to make such decisions.  (As an aside, just so you know where I stand about the UN, if UN Peacekeepers EVER set foot on American soil on a mission, it is my duty and right as a Citizen of this country to destroy them. No Blue Hats in America!!!!) Ahem….

Helmets belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian army are seen as part of preparations for deployment to Mali, at the Nigerian Army peacekeeping centre in Jaji

Any American wearing one of these on U.S. soil is a TRAITOR and will be treated as such

 

The plot line about the capitalist’s daughter & Clark and Lois & Superman was just ridiculous in the worst way.  It was stupid and silly. Those two words describe most of the movie though.

mv5bngyzmzbmmjmtntg4os00mtezlwixmdqtzguzm2fhztrmmgezxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyotc5mdi5nje40._v1_sx1777_cr001777740_al_

I felt bad for this woman, on so many levels

 

Superman and Nuclear Man, oh where do I even start? Nuclear Man goes around the world destroying things, like the Great Wall of China. Superman comes after him and makes video game bleeep noises and undoes all the damage. It was like Superman had Control Z (keyboard shortcut for undo) Vision. Then Superman figures out Nukes is powered by the sun and traps him in an elevator where Nukes immediately curls up in the fetal position. So Superman releases him on the Moon, in the sun. Come on!!!! Then the end where Nuclear Man gets all his energy sucked up by the power plant? I can’t even begin to count how many things are wrong with that, even from just the story point side of things, much less any other point of things.

nuclear_man

Nuclear Man could have been awesome. But he wasn’t

 

By the end of my 3rd watch, I was simply listening to the movie and even then I was rolling my eyes. I really don’t have anything good to say about this and I don’t know whose fault that even is. Was it the directors, the story writers? I don’t know.  Honestly, it was bad enough that I could see this getting the Rifftrax treatment.

Don’t waste your time, period.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Next month I’ve got a choice between Peter Jackson’s extended edition of King Kong or Alien vs Predator.  Feel free to give voice to your choice in the comments or feel free to mock Superman IV. It deserves it!

 

Superman III (1983 Movie)

supermanIII

So, Superman III with its boring as all get out bluray cover. That barely looks like Christopher Reeve anyway!

This was released in 1983, has no “directors cut” and as far as I know generated ZERO controversy.  Let’s look at an alternate cover, shall we?

 

 

supermanIIIA

 

Now THAT cover does a MUCH better job of showcasing just what kind of movie this is going to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Pryor is an out of work bum whose unemployment benefits have been denied. He sees a computer programming training course on the cover of a book of matches and next thing we know he is working at a computer coding computer. Oh, we get sequence from his training where he makes his computer do something that even the trainer thought was impossible. Thus is set the stage for Pryor’s genius as a computer programmer. He gets his first paycheck and sees that 1/2cent is missing. He wonders where all those 1/2cents goes and programs the computer to put them all into his account. Next payday he gets an extra paycheck for $85K. Of course, this doesn’t go unnoticed by the Big Evil Capitalist running the company but they have no way of tracking who did it. Until Pryor screeches into work driving a new ferrari.

A lot of silliness ensues. Trust me, it isn’t worth typing out. But needless to say, a secret government satellite that can control the weather is involved.

Pryor, under the direction of the Evil Capitalist, creates a supercomputer capable of destroying even Superman. It attacks Superman, Pryor has a change of heart and rescues Supes. Supes gets some super acid and one little canning jar’s worth sends the entire computer system (about a large cave’s worth) crashing into a fiery, lava’y pit of destruction.

superman319

Yep, one little canning jar destroyed all of this!

 

Supes fixes all the problems his silliness caused (synthetic kryptonite was involved) and is once again the world’s hero. The movie ends with Lana Lang moving to Metropolis and working at the same paper as Clarke and Lois, as a secretary.

Now, I had memories of this being silly, campy and almost stupid. I definitely got the silly and campy part right. I think the “stupid” would depend more on just how mean you were feeling at the moment. Pryor was supposed to be comedic and in many ways he was, but it was over the top, rub most people the wrong way funny.

There was one scene where Superman has to fight himself, as he’s possessed by the kryptonite. I thought they did an excellent job and that Reeve did an absolutely fantastic job of showing a mean, brutish, 5 o’clock shadow drunk Superman. He looked mean and animalistic. I’m not one to usually notice an actor’s ability, but between Reeve making Clarke Kent and Superman truly different people and this time around portraying a good and bad Superman, I have to admit that the man was an ACTOR! It was also pretty fun to realize that the actress who plays Lana Lang is the same actress who plays Martha Kent in the tv series Smallville.

This was definitely the campiest of the movies so far. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this but I’d only recommend this to others if they are a huge Superman fan or like watching the acting skills of Christopher Reeve.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980 Movie)

220px-supermaniiricharddonnercutI guess that directors and studios having tiffs isn’t a new thing. While Zack Snyder and Warner Brothers parted ways with the recent DC Extended Universe movie franchise, Supes has experienced this kind of panty-twisting before. Hence this version of Superman II.

Most of the differences are in timing and tone. You can tell that this and the first Superman movie were meant to be a two-part story. That wasn’t evident from the theatrical release. In this, the missile that frees Zod and Co was the missile Lex Luthor launched, not a hydrogen bomb in Paris. In fact, that whole terrorist scene was cut from this version, or technically I guess, it was never filmed. Another difference was in how Lois realized Superman and Clark Kent were the same. Her life threatening stunt was different too. She throws herself out of a window on the 30th Floor of the Daily Planet instead of jumping into the river at Niagra Falls.

However, I found one of the biggest changes to be the inclusion of Jor-El as the brain at the Fortress of Solitude.

spacedad

Marlon Brando played Jor-El.  This riff on that never fails to amuse me. This is from Mega Mind, an animated movie I plan on reviewing in the future.

I guess there were money/rights issues with Brando and his ego, so the theatrical release cut everything with him out and replaced most of his dialogue with Supe’s mom. If you ever read much of the comics, the scanned brain of Jor-El tended to be an arrogant ass-hat. Well, that was true here for sure. He was a pompous, arrogant control freak who would have been a horrible father. He basically kicks Supes in the yarbos when he returns asking for his powers back. It was down right unpleasant to watch. Him sacrificing himself to give back Kal-El his powers didn’t move me at all like I’m guessing it was supposed to. It made me feel glad that the jerk was going to be gone!

Finally, the ending. In the theatrical release Clark super-kisses Lois so she forgets he’s Superman. In THIS version he flies around the world and turns back time, just like in the first movie. It made me roll my eyes so hard but in many senses it simply tied the first and second movie together even tighter, like it was originally supposed to be.

Overall, I actually enjoyed the theatrical version better. I thought the story flowed better, the lack of Jor-El the ass-hat was a huge plus and while super-kissing is stupid, turning back time AGAIN is even stupider (and if you think stupider isn’t a word, you’re stupider!).  I’d only recommend this movie if you’re a huge Superman movie buff. Or if you want to see Superman grovel before his over-bearing father.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman II (1980 Movie)

superman2 Yee haw!  This was a fun movie. A direct sequel to Superman, things start out with a big bang. Terrorists have a hydrogen bomb in the Eiffel Tower and Lois Lane is there investigating. Supes saves the day and takes the bomb into space where it explodes. However, said explosion intersects the Phantom Zone crystal the 3 criminals from the first movie were exiled into. They are set free and head to Earth. Lois Lane figures out Superman is Kent, Supes gives up his powers to be with Lois and the Kryptonians take over Earth. Kent gives up Lois and gets his powers back in the Fortress of Solitude. Lex introduces himself and promises to give them the son of their old enemy Jor-El.  A big fight ensues in Metropolis before Superman flies away when he realizes how many people will die.  Everyone ends up in the Fortress of Solitude where Lex betrays Superman only to have the tables turned. The Kryptonians are turned into ordinary humans and fall to their deaths in the depths of the Fortress.  Superman super kisses Lois and makes her forget knowing he is Clark Kent. The World Is Safe, Once Again.

Yee haww again I say! I had so much fun watching this. It was definitely bordering on the campy in places but considering it was 1980 it was no surprise. The villains were appropriately tight leather’y shininess and they looked bad ass. Having 3 other beings with the same powers as Superman was a fantastic move.  Luthor was comic relief more than anything and his continued demands to be King of Australia had me rolling.

The idea that Superman couldn’t be with Lois unless he was a human was a bit foreign to me, as I’d grown up with Lois and Superman as a couple. Heck, in the Death and Rebirth of Superman storyline in the comics in the 90’s, Clark and Lois were engaged. There were no reasons given, it just was “one of those things”.  It was refreshing to see a hero simply do something without spewing all his inner thoughts to the audience.  When Superman gives up his powers I was expecting a monologue from him or Lois about his duty to the rest of the humanity.  Imagine my pleasant surprise when it simply didn’t happen.

The film’s biggest weakness is what most superhero films suffer from. That is, not being an origin story.  Once the creativity has been expended on the origin story it seems like most movie story writers can’t write themselves out of a paperbag. This also had more in common with the Adam West version of Batman than any of the more modern superhero movies. Actually, if you do the math, it is literally closer to Adam West too, sigh.

You know, reviewing movies is tough. I could never be a movie reviewer. With that being said, I’ll be watching the director’s cut of this movie and reviewing the differences in a week or three.  I wonder if doing this counts as some sort of disability on my part? Maybe I can get money from the government!

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Superman: The Extended Edition (1978 Movie)

268x0wThe last time I saw this movie must have been back in the 90’s in highschool when I borrowed a vhs tape from the library.  Whoooo, it’s been a while.

I wanted something to watch that had some hope, some decency, something that lacked the darkness that a lot of more modern movies seem to exude.

This was an origin story and this extended edition was 3hours long. I have very vague memories so I couldn’t really pin down what was added to the movie and if that was good or bad. I think the opening with the destruction of Krypton went on longer.  Marlon Brando was very distinctive and it made my enjoyment of the animated movie Megamind even greater as the main character in that pretends to be the villain’s “space dad” and chooses the appearance of a clownish Jor-El. Just thinking about it makes me laugh.

spacedad

 

There was a long sequence of Clarke Kent as a teenager, played by some actor other than Christopher Reeve. It was actually rather tedious.  Then we move on to Metropolis and Lex Luthor is revealed. Gene Hackman plays a very campy Luthor but he’s still smart. It is really weird seeing a super villain portrayed thusly.  He’s nutso enough to send a nuke to drop California into the ocean so all the property he bought in Nevada will become Lexland but he employs a drunk idiot as a henchman and is more concerned about his wig fitting and feeding his mistress to the lions than in actually being cut throat.  It is just weird 🙂

Reeve made a fantastic Superman and it isn’t any wonder that he came to represent the face of Superman himself for decades. Tall, muscular, black haired, clear eyed, with a charming smile. He was everything that Superman was in the comics. It was great to see Reeve switch between Superman and Kent. His voice subtly changed, his posture and even his facial expressions. He really was 2 different people.

I mentioned at the beginning the desire for a lack of darkness. I definitely got that in this movie. Superman isn’t soul searching, wracked with angst and inner turmoil. He’s been told that he has a purpose, from a young age. From both his human father, Jonathan Kent and his Space Dad (hahahahahaa) Jor-El, he has been assured that his life matters in a greater scheme of things. Neither father can tell him WHAT that purpose is, but that gives him something to strive for. It made me realize how hopeless our world has become in the last 40 years.  A whole generation, or two, has grown up being indoctrinated that they are nothing but a speck of dust, that they are an accident, that they not only aren’t significant but that they are insignificant and that their very existence is pointless. It is no wonder suicide rates are increasing, not in number alone but in percentages.  That darkness of the soul is missing from this movie. It was refreshing and really nice to just hear someone tell another person that they have meaning. Our world needs more of that.

The Superman franchise went on to spawn 3 more movies.  I watched up to III back in highschool and I’m seriously thinking about watching all 4 over the next couple of months. I really have no idea what the quality of the sequels will turn out to be. Wish me luck.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Path of Doom (Superman Action Comics #1) ★★★★☆

pathofdoom (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Path of Doom
Series: Superman Action Comics #1
Author: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patch Zircher, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 144
Format: Paper Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Some dummkopfs are holding some people hostage and Lex Luther, wearing an armored suit emblazoned with an “S” comes to the rescue. He is then confronted by the real Superman, father of Jon and husband of Lois. The REAL Superman. They begin to duke it out when suddenly Doomsday appears from a container and begins his rampage from almost 30 years ago all over again. Lex and Superman team up and manage to get Doomsday out of Metropolis. Lex is left behind to help the citizenry in need and Wonder Woman shows up to help.

Superman has learned from his last fight to the death with Doomsday, at least so he says. But basically it turns into yet another slugfest. Jon is watching on tv and gives a super shout that alerts Doomsday to another Kryptonian and Doomsday sets off to hunt down Jon. Supes convinces Wonder Woman to take Lois and Jon to Watch Tower, the JLA space fortress while he has a plan to deal with Doomsday.

Before he can enact his plan though, a group of humans with some sort of super tech appear, open a gate and begin using energy weapons to push Doomsday through the gate. They almost succeed but then Doomsday simply rips through them all like tissue paper.

With some timely intervention by Wonder Woman, Supes manages to get Doomsday into the path of a Phantom Zone Projector and the world is safe. Or so everyone thinks.

During all of this, a mysterious narrator has been watching everything on screens and at the end, he intercepts the Phantom Zone Projector and captures Doomsday for himself. Who he is, what he wants and pretty much everything about him is a mystery.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, I’d like to first thank Bookwraiths for reviewing this book this last year. Gave me some hope that maybe DC hadn’t totally destroyed Superman. Superman: Doomed was truly an epic fail in the saga of Superman and left me reeling.

This was a return to the Superman who was and always should have been. This was the Superman who fought Doomsday to a standstill and gave his life for those he loved. This is the Superman who clawed his way back from death and kicked the ass of every single other Pretender. This was a Superman who was facing death again and yet would NOT turn away. I have to admit, I almost cried.

So while I loved this return to form for Superman and I had no problems whatsoever believing he and Lois now have a son, the rest of the DC comic world has moved on and made some huge changes and I just can’t accept those changes and enjoy them. This whole multiverse thing? That was supposed to have been dealt with back in the 80’s with Crisis on Infinite Earths. The fact that DC has hashed things up so badly that they have just as convoluted a multiverse AGAIN doesn’t tell me anything good about the state of the plan for storytelling.

The second thing is that I am used to getting a completed story arc in a graphic novel. If you can’t tell a complete story arc in one book, then you have no business telling that story at all. It’s DC’s new business model of selling a whole years worth of comics and all associated comics to get a complete story. I won’t buy into that practice.

I think this is going to be my last comic for the foreseeable future. It used to be that comics were in our world and if you knew the origin of the Hero you could pretty much slot into whereever you started reading. Not any more. With things like Flashpoint, New52, Rebirth, things are so complicated that you can’t just jump on board.

I enjoyed this particular set of comics a LOT and feel like it is an almost circle in regards to Superman and Doomsday. But with everything else I stated, I can’t and won’t be continuing.

Adios Kal. You’ve always been the example of True Manhood to me throughout the years and I’m glad to see you being returned to that state. The world nowadays needs real heroes and I hope you can survive our worlds current penchant for destroying heroes with a sneer and glib mockery.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Red Son (Superman: Elseworlds)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Red Son
Series: Superman: Elseworlds
Author/Artist: Mark Millar, et all
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 160
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: 

Superman lands in the Ukraine and a Communist Collective instead of in Smallville, USA.

The Man of Steel promotes communism and once Stalin dies, takes over as President Superman. Lex Luthor, last hope of the Free World, makes it his mission in life to bring down the Man of Steel, even at the sacrifice of his marriage to Lois Lane. Superman is being guided by Brainiac and can Wonder Woman, Boris Wayneski, a newly minted cadre of Green Lantern US Marines and even Superman himself stop Brainiac from completing his nefarious plans?

 

My Thoughts:  Spoilers

I enjoyed this the first I read it but I never recorded that I read it, so this is my first time rating and reviewing it.

I always enjoy the Elseworld stories because they do what all the phracking ridiculous and completely unnecessary reboots attempt, and miserably fail at, doing. IE, bringing us the characters we know in new ways with new stories and new variations. In fact, I would say that is the main fun of these, seeing the familiar turned at a 37° angle, just enough to skew everything but still the same enough for you to recognize.

First off, lets get through the bad. Stalin. For all that Hitler is vilified and made the devil incarnate, Stalin was truly worse. He was a butcher, plain and simple. So, for Superman to admire him was a bit of a let down. I’m not talking about Superman and communism, but Superman and Stalin.  Then there is Boris Wayneski. I don’t even know if that was his name in the book, he was simply the Russian Batman. He was almost a caricature and I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been someone else. However, the frenemy status between Supes and Batman goes way back, so it makes sense why it was included.

The good stuff.

Superman looked good. He looked good in his suit and with the hammer and sickle on his chest. I’m pretty picky about my Supes, as I liked Dan Jurgens version from the 90’s, but this was a creditable job and the art didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Lex Luthor. He is portrayed as the smartest man alive here. While his quest to overcome Superman takes the lead, the advances he makes in doing so drags humanity upward, in all ways. In fact, his name becomes so great that his descendants take on his name, as L, or eL. You can see where that is going.

And that brings me to the ending. I loved it. I can see it pissing people off though. Superman is NOT from Krypton. He is from Earth, sent back in time to try to change the future created by Lex Luthor and the House of L. Of course, the story ends with his little craft landing in the Ukraine, hence beginning the whole cycle again.

star40full-custom

Superman: Doomed (Superman)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com

Title: Superman: Doomed
Series: Superman
Author/Artist: Greg Pak, et al
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 544
Format: Paper graphic novel
Synopsis:
Taking place in the New52 timeline. Doomsday has been kept in the Phantom Zone and somehow is allowed out by somebody. He is literal poison to the world and his very presence kills. Superman tears him in half, gets infected and begins a battle with Doomsday over who will control his body.
And it all turns out to be a masterplan by Brainiac to get control of everyone’s minds so he can “change the perception of the universe” and hence, change the universe. Because he misses his dead wife and son. Who he killed.
Yeah…
My Thoughts:

This was first foray into the New52 reboot universe and I didn’t like it. It also relied on the reader knowing the storyline from Reign of Doomsday. At least to explain why Doomsday is still around. Goodness, I hate these reboots.

This was a very messy read for me. The characters I knew were suddenly completely different. Superman and Wonderwoman? Superman and Lois Lane are just friends, not married? I felt like I was reading one huge Elseworlds storyline. Sadly, I wasn’t and this is where things are.
This is a big, glossy book with some gorgeous art. Unfortunately, I had a hard time reading the text and trying to follow the action. There were so few panels used that I had to guess where I was supposed to look next to follow what was happening on ONE SINGLE PAGE. And half the time I couldn’t tell if I was looking at a 2 page spread meant as one, or if I was actually supposed to read it as 2 pages.
The storyline itself just went all over the place and made me wonder WHO was in control at the helm of this idea. Superman and Doomsday argue with each other, Clarke gets angsty, Supes and Wonderwoman are all lovey dovey while making promises of mutual destruction, Brainiac is putting the whole world in a coma while whining about his dead family and there is so much more. It wasn’t a clear, concise storyline. It was a soup with about 67 different cooks all trying to make it “their way”.
It took me 6 months to finally finish this. I just didn’t want to read about it. If this had been from the library I probably would have abandoned it very near the beginning. However, I bought this in February so I was going to get my money’s worth, even if I had to suffer for every page of it. Yankee thrift and all that.
I could probably write a bunch more but it would just be more complaints. To end, I didn’t like this, I didn’t like my foray into the New52 and it will be quite some time before I try out new comics again.