Category Archives: martian manhunter

Justice League Heroes Revisited

When I got the PlayStation 2, my first order of business was playing Justice League Heroes. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed playing this game a few New Year’s Eves ago and wanted to play again.

I jumped right in, and after a half-hour or so of button-mashing I finally figured out what buttons to push and what combinations did what. Of course I was only on the first level so it was just Superman and Batman and I was only fighting Brainiac’s minions and rescuing citizens. Fun, but slow going. I did find a nice tactic in having Superman carry around a car to beat the baddies with. But that’s as far as I got. I played a few more times but couldn’t get any farther than the confrontation with Brainiac (another of his minions actually). I needed help, as I am, after all, The Non-Gamer. I needed Jeff.

Jeff, as I’ve mentioned before, has some sort of supernatural gaming skill, mad mad skilz when it comes to videogames, so I waited ’til the next time he was over and urged him to play.

With Jeff’s help we got quickly through the Superman/Batman phase and into the Martian Manhunter phase against the Queen Bee, and even into the Flash/Green Lantern phase taking on The Key. And that’s when I realized what I liked about the game so much. Unlike DCU Online where you deal with more new player characters than anything else, here you are established characters fighting real villains in a semi-accurate DC Comics continuity.

Now while we saved the game at the point where we stopped, I think I still may need Jeff’s help to move forward. Either way, I definitely give Justice League Heroes higher marks than DCU Online. I can’t wait to get back to playing. Thanks, Jeff!

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Justice League: A New Animated Crisis

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths ~ The evil twin premise is one that is as old as the hills, and this specific premise regarding the Crime Syndicate of Earth-Three and the Justice League dates back nearly four decades, and now it comes to animation in this new DVD. The science fiction (and now probable fact with string theory) concept of the multiverse has been a staple of DC Comics’ Justice League for a long time, and Earth-Three’s evil Justice League has become legend and a fan favorite. This story brings both elements together nicely.

The Crime Syndicate – Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick – aren’t just our heroes with beards a la “Star Trek,” but are fully realized psychopaths with different origins and backgrounds that only resemble the League. They rule their world with an iron fist and have murdered their world’s heroes, the last survivor of which is ironically Lex Luthor. Luthor escapes to our world to get the JLA to help stop the Syndicate. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

All the characters involved in this animated feature are very in character with the comics, moreso to the cartoon of a few years back, but the comics as well, and I happily blame writer Dwayne McDuffie. He was a longtime writer in the comics, and a fan before that, but most importantly he was one of the main writers on the two Cartoon network “Justice League” series. Hal Jordan replaces John Stewart as Green Lantern, for no other reason I can think of other than his recent animated feature and upcoming live-action film. While I’m happy to see Hal, he doesn’t mix as well with the animated Flash as one would hope.

But I should note that this is not a continuation of the Cartoon Network series so this are really unjustified observations. To clarify that, this feature has an all-new voice cast. The voice casting is inspired on all levels, especially James Woods as Owlman. My only complaint in that area would be Mark Harmon’s Superman. It just doesn’t work for me – too brash, not confident or heroic enough in my opinion.

Crisis on Two Earths is filled with Easter eggs. One early on is when the two teams first meet, we get to see not only evil counterparts of the Outsiders, but the infamous Justice League Detroit as well. And the Marvel Family! That was a surprise bonus I was not expecting.

McDuffie has added an intriguing mob mentality to the Crime Syndicate organization, making them more of a real syndicate – a welcome twist. The five primary members are now ‘made men’ (and women), captains of their families if you will, and all the other metahumans are under their leadership.

Another Easter egg/twist is the identity of the US President of Earth-Three (let’s just call a spade a spade even though it’s never mentioned in the flick) – Deathstroke. And his teenage daughter Rose who protests against the Crime Syndicate is another. Her twist is even deeper as a romance blooms between her and the Martian Manhunter. Yeah, not only is he older, he’s millennia older.

The families of the made men are made up of numerous evil counterparts of heroes from the Justice League’s world, allowing for not only a myriad of guest appearances, but also evil twisted versions of those characters. But logically I had to wonder, on the regular Earth there are a dozen or more villains to every hero – on this reverse-morality world, shouldn’t it be crawling with heroes? Or did the Crime Syndicate kill them all?

Speaking of killing them all, the story is about more than an evil twin tale or the JLA fighting their evil fascist counterparts, or even about J’Onn making Martian love to the squeaky clean Rose Wilson. The real villain here is James Woods’ Owlman. Batman’s darker opposite number is more than he seems – a sociopath who wants to not only destroy the world, but all worlds, all of reality. His is a philosophical act, the only one that will matter. Man, that’s scary and heavy all at once.

All in all, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an enjoyable romp back into the animated world of the JLA. Fans of the comics, and the TV series will love it, and there’s even enjoyment for mainstream outsiders as well. Recommended. But of course, the real reason to get this DVD is for the Spectre animated short, which I’ll be reviewing shortly…

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The Return of Smallville


Finally we get the Legion of Super-Heroes episode we’ve all been waiting for, also the return of the Martian Manhunter, more Doomsday, the Persuader (???!!!), and just who is that bald guy in the shadows with all the wires? Is it Luthor? Or Brainiac? Or someone even more sinister? Tune in, same Smallville time, same Smallville channel on Thursday, January 15th.

Wizard World Philly – Saturday


WIZARD WORLD PHILLY

SATURDAY

After a bit of a late start I met up with Comic Widows co-horts Anthony and Ray. We began with a strategy meeting regarding some interviews planned for the day. And trust me, it was nowhere near as cool as it sounds, but we were taking it pretty seriously.

In the midst of our war council we also interviewed the young lady we were sharing the pressroom with at the time, Nicole Boose. We also learned she was with Marvel editorial and reviewing art portfolios at the con. Very cool lady, and pleasant informative interview.

As the pressroom overlooked the con floor we also did some costume spotting. From our vantage point we got to see quite a few good ones, and of course some bad ones as well. Among the former were several Marvel Girls in the Neal Adams green mini-skirt, a bright-green Riddler, a foam rubber Galactus, what might have been Nightwind from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Dr. Strange, the prerequisite dozen Stormtroopers that show up at every con, and a bald Robin. Also throughout the day there were many others spotted – a pair of Tomb Raiders, Zatanna, the cast of the new Indiana Jones flick, a baby Batgirl, a flat-chested Power Girl, and, ahem, a tranny Power Girl. And then there was also The Blob. Oh wait, that wasn’t a costume.

Then we hit the con floor and did a kinda noisy interview with Jared Barel of Loaded Barrel Studios. They do a startling and unique melding of photography and comic art that needs to be seen to be believed. They call it making ‘live-action graphic novels’ and it looks great. Check them out, it’s terrific stuff. I really did like their work, and really, it’s not just because they were giving out Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls at their booth, but let’s be honest, that never hurts. Lessons to learned for other folks with booths at these cons.

After exploring the floor for a bit I ducked into the Crisis Now panel in the midst of questions and answers. Dan DiDio was in the house and mocking and ridiculing the characters we all love as if that was his job. Oh wait.

Several different things were addressed while I was there. When questioned on “Batman RIP,” DiDio repeatedly said in staccato fashion, “Batman dies!” then rescinded, “Batman doesn’t die, but he’s gonna wish he was dead.” Other items – the Milestone characters are not available for DC to use, but never say never. We will see Christopher Kent again. Apparently there is an unannounced Zatanna series coming at some point.

DiDio admitted that 2007 was not a year where everything was clicking as well as possible. And he added that it’s his job to make this year as great as possible. He also confessed that Steve Wacker leaving for Marvel was a huge loss for DC.

The Devil also said that Death of the New Gods was a celebration of Jack Kirby’s work on the New Gods. Wtf? Kill them to celebrate them? In answer to the next question, DiDio stated that Final Crisis will involve all Flashes. A fan asked “Even Bart?” and DiDio answered “All Flashes.” Just don’t kill Jay Garrick like you killed the Martian Manhunter, okay? Bastards. And during the lightning round he answered “Yes.” to the question of whether barry Allen was coming back.

Same room, a bit later, Cup O’ Joe with Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, standing room only, much like the DC panel before it. In attendance – (duh) Joey Q, Fred Van Lente, C.B. Cebulski, Tom Brevoort and another person whose name I didn’t catch – he didn’t talk much and ran the slide show though. The slide show announced Marvel Zombies 3 where the fan fave monsters invade the Marvel Universe proper, due in September.

Old news came with slides depicting the new Devil-Slayer series by horror novelist Brian Keene and Stephen King’s The Stand also starting in September. Mystery pics of Lady Bullseye followed (and of course quickly leaked to the internet) who Ed Brubaker is introducing in Daredevil. Nice art, but seemingly just a female version of Bullseye. Yawn.

Um, who brought the baby to a panel? Who brought a baby to a convention? Please just make it stop crying. Great parenting there, folks. Although he/she stopped crying, I wondered if the wonder-parents were still in the room when J.Q. dropped an F-bomb later on in the hour.

Then came, predictably, questions and answers. There will be more Squadron Supreme, written by Howard Chaykin, with a demented twist, and Greg Land on covers. And no, Land on covers is not the twist. Speaking of twisted, there’s been a big secret in the undercurrent of the Ultimate Universe, to be revealed in Ultimate Origins. Something major in their lives is a huge falsehood. Maybe the secret of why Ultimates 3 is so late will be revealed.

More “One More Day” backlash reared its ugly head and Joe explained that all of Spider-Man’s history is intact, save that he and Mary Jane didn’t get married on their wedding day. Something happened and that story just hasn’t been told yet. Joe says he’s seen it and it’s great. In response to another question, Tom B said that Peter and his Aunt May did in fact live at Avengers Tower. Some racy humor about May and Skrull Jarvis followed unfortunately. Either way, Joe and Tom certainly seem tired of doing OMD damage control; it’s in their faces.

My friend Ray hit Joe Q with a good one. He referenced the difference between two Jack Kirby reprint volumes, one from DC and one from Marvel – the difference is that DC paid the Kirby estate royalties and Marvel did not. Joe kinda dodged the question, saying that he doesn’t discuss Marvel policy in public. He added that Marvel is currently working with the Kirby estate and that should speak for itself.

Other items included that Baron Zemo was coming back, and a new Thunderbolts writer has been chosen but unannounced – could these be related and Fabian Nicieza is coming back? There is a Runaways film in development with Brian K. Vaughn involved. There are possible plans for the female Bucky from the Onslaught universe. The sequel to Marvels is coming in October. Whoever is left at the end of The Twelve will remain part of the present MU.

Quesada coined the term “Marvel lifestyle” for the fact that now Marvel does their own comics, movies and videogames – in response to a question about digital comics. I like it. Joe also claimed that he thought Spider-Man 3 was a pretty good movie. “Maybe one villain too many.” Wow, you said a mouthful, Joe.

At the close of the panel, the 18 carat gold Iron Man cellphone was given away. Over $1500 was raised for the Hero Initiative on the raffle for it. Great job, folks!

At this point, I was toast and had to go home, home to my super-cool Avengers glass that the Bride had gotten for me earlier in the day, and home to the Bride too, of course. But I’ll leave you with another quote, this one a bit dated, but it was shouted by a guy in a Nightwing t-shirt exiting the men’s room earlier this afternoon. “Hey, I found Ray Palmer!”

Wizard World Philly – Friday

FRIDAY

Well, I will say this right off the bat, getting in was a hell of a lot easier this time than previous years. I might even go so far as to say it was a pleasure. One hopes it goes as well tomorrow and Sunday when it tends to be much busier.

Upon entering the show floor that Wizard seemed to be so proud to fill earlier in the week, the one thing I noticed is that it seemed both empty and sparse. I’m sure that will change. Or not. I did learn later in the day that the place was so empty because hundreds of folks were still waiting in the VIP lines. Many were there for an extended amount of time apparently.

At the DC booth I saw that they were giving away copies of DC Universe #0. That’s right, for free. The book that originally sold for fifty cents and will be sold in reprint for a dollar, was free. I’ll leave you to formulate your own opinion on that.

The Mondo Marvel panel was first and included Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Dan Slott, Greg Pak, C.B. Cebulski, Brian Reed, Duane Swierczynski, Fred Van Lente and was hosted by Joe Quesada. Immediately they threw out the new ideas coming from the House of Ideas. There’s a new X-Men miniseries called Manifest Destiny, a new Deadpool series, Greg Pak’s new origin of Magneto, yawn. Then they brought up Age of the Sentry, a limited series by Jeff Parker featuring a retro look at the Sentry’s Silver Age adventures.

Other than the Sentry deal, there is a noticeable lack of Avengers, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man news. And a sparse showing as well, due to the VIP thing, but then again it is the first panel of the day. Many things were discussed in an extended question and answer session, including one fact from the lips of editor Tom Brevoort, “Mary Jane (Watson-Parker) is not a Skrull.”

A fan who didn’t like the new FF by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch inspired an intriguing response from Brevoort in that not every comic will click with every reader, and that he was sorry it wasn’t working for the fan. Wow. I wonder if that kind of honesty could have come from, say, Dan DiDio?

Speak of the devil, after hanging out a bit with some friends, I attended the DC Nation panel. This panel was mostly held in dim light as host, DC Senior Editor Ian Sattler, didn’t want to be blinded by the spotlights used in previous panels. It should be noted that he never told us who was on the panel, but it did include J.G. Jones, Jimmy Palmiotti, Shane Davis, Art Baltazar and possibly Ethan Van Sciver among others. Like I said, who knows who was there – we were never told.

And although the panel was without introductions, the audience response to the slide show was very positive. It was noted that Final Crisis: Superman Beyond would be partially in 3-D. And of course the Power Girl slide couldn’t pass by without at least one inferred boob joke. Sigh. There are just to many men in comics. Too bad Amanda Conner wasn’t there. And from Palmiotti’s description of the series, I hate to say because I’m really looking forward to it, it sounds an awful lot like the way Brian Reed describes his Ms. Marvel.

And then the questions and some answers followed. A fan question regarding “Batman R.I.P.,” brought up that no one has said that the caped crusader is going to die. No one knows what’s really going to happen, including a few of the folks on the mystery panel.

Another fan, who said he was a DC reader for more than four decades, brought up how dumb a villain Libra was – an opinion I personally don’t agree with by the way, and like him I also read the original Libra story when it first hit the stands. He asked specifically what is the reaction when someone says for the biggest story of the year, here’s Libra, an obscure lame villain. The answer – it depends on who suggests it.

An unnamed artist on the panel, possibly Shane Davis or maybe Ethan Van Sciver, said he’s been begging to do an Aquaman revival. He said he asks once a week, and that he walks into DiDio’s office holding a trident sometimes he wants it so bad.

Other questions yielded the following answers. Sue Dibny will be seen in the upcoming Final Crisis: Reign in Hell miniseries. Despite rumors to the contrary, Jim Shooter is still writing Legion of Super-Heroes, Rich Johnston be damned apparently. J.G. Jones verified that his script for Final Crisis #1 says that “Libra spears the Martian Manhunter through the chest and kills him.” Bastards.

Also today I got to hang with some folks I don’t usually get to hang with as often as I like. Good friends and fellow Comic Widows staffers Anthony and Andrea were both on hand. I also hung with Abraham of the Avengers Forever Forum, and I also got to say hello to Michelle who I haven’t seen in ages and finally got to meet her husband Joe. Good times.

I’ll leave you folks with a quote for today, overheard on the convention floor. There were two older women browsing one of the t-shirt walls of an exhibitor and one said to the other, “Look, another Wonder Woman! I had no idea she was so popular!” Gotta love it.

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