Published: June 24th, 2014 Written by: Geoff Johns Art by: Dale Eaglesham
DC Comics, 128 Pages
After watching the first season of Stargirl on HBO Max, I figured that I’d give some of her more notable comics a read. Being that I really like Justice Society stuff and hadn’t read any in quite awhile, I figured I’d start with this.
The story starts with old Justice Society members trying to recruit new heroes, most of whom are descendants of previous members and have inherited their powers.
Because of that, Vandal Savage is using a team of Nazi supervillains to kill superheroes and their families in an effort to snuff out these bloodlines. However, he doesn’t see the bigger picture, which reveals itself by the end of this short story arc.
I’m a fan of Geoff Johns and dig so much of his DC Comics work. His Green Lantern run brought me back to comics on the DC side after a hiatus of about a decade, back in the mid-’00s.
Keeping with Johns’ style, this was a hell of a lot of fun to read and he once again showed that he’s really good at balancing a large ensemble of characters and letting them all develop and grow, despite having limited time to focus on each one.
This was an energetic and cool comic.
Frankly, I liked it enough to buy the next three volumes to read in the very near future.
Published: April 5th, 2016 Written by: Dan Jurgens Art by: Brett Breeding, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund
DC Comics, 332 Pages
Well, Superman is already alive and we’ve reached the fifth and final part of the Death/Return of Superman saga. With that, this story takes care of the last thing that needs to be dealt with and that’s Superman finally defeating Doomsday without dying and thus, restoring balance the the DC universe.
Generally, I like Dan Jurgens writing but overall, I wasn’t blown away by this saga. However, I did find this to be better than all the big DC Comics Crisis events, which always read like overloaded, convoluted messes to me.
While these stories had a lot of characters in them, Superman was always really the focus and for the most part, this stayed on that thread, even if there were some distractions with new “Supermen” and with checking in on individuals after Superman’s death.
I felt like the art, here, was a bit more fine-tuned and better than the rest of the chapters in this massive saga.
Additionally, the writing felt tighter and more focused, as Jurgens pretty much handled it all and the work wasn’t spread out over a handful of people.
The highlights of this are that Superman is definitely back, we get to see Darkseid mix it up with Doomsday, Cyborg Superman cements his place as a major villain, and Doomsday finally gets some receipts cashed in on his ass.
In the end, I’m glad that I finally experienced this saga in its entirety. It was long but by the end, the total body of work made all of the smaller parts come together, giving them deeper meaning and relevance to the overall DC universe.
Published: April 5th, 2016 Written by: Gerard Jones, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern Art by: Jon Bogdanove, M.D. Bright, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice
DC Comics, 464 Pages
Well, this is a step up from the previous two volumes in the larger The Death/Return of Superman saga. This is also the fourth of the five big chapters but now that Superman is back, we can stop spending time on mediocre replacements and get back to business.
The four replacements are still here, however, but now they have to find their place in the world with Superman reclaiming his mantle.
Two of these replacements remain heroes and two let their villain flags finally fly for all to see. Where these characters would end up wasn’t a surprise, though.
I think that the most impactful thing about this story isn’t simply Superman’s return, as much as it was seeing him return to Lois after all she had been through in the previous three chapters of this multi-year saga.
Once Superman actually returns, you’re not totally sure it’s him but as a reader, you hope it is and it’s really a breath of fresh air, as the replacements just didn’t cut it. I also think that DC Comics knew this and brought the famed hero back earlier than they probably wanted to.
Regardless, it’s good that he did return, as it was like a shot in the arm to this story, which I found myself losing interest in. Had I been buying these and reading them back when they were current, I know that I would’ve stopped before we even got to the return.
In the end, I’m not super keen on these books, beyond the pretty emotional battle that ended with Superman’s death. Although, this did make up for some of the lower points a bit and it sets up the next showdown between Supes and Doomsday, the jerk that killed him.
Published: April 5th, 2016 Written by: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern Art by: Jon Bogdanove, Brett Breeding, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Doug Hazlewood
DC Comics, 366 Pages
There are five acts to the death and rebirth of Superman. This is the second act, which follows The Death of Superman and sets up the third act, Reign of the Supermen.
Funeral for a Friend is definitely emotional in spots and it does show how great of an impact that Superman had on the DC Comics universe. However, even with every major hero coming out and paying their respects, this collection is bogged down by some smaller, side stories that don’t really need to be there.
This reads more like an anthology, as opposed to one coherent narrative and that hurts the overall flow of this chapter in the larger saga.
I did like the parts that dealt with the fallout of Superman’s death in regards to those who were actually closest to him from Lois Lane, the Kents, Jimmy Olsen and even Lana Lang. I also liked seeing how his former friends and allies in the Justice Leagues of the past and present came together to honor him and reminisce.
Overall, this isn’t bad, it’s just somewhat of a mess that tries to wedge in short stories of D-level characters that don’t need to be there.
Published: April 5th, 2016 Written by: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern Art by: Jon Bogdanove, Brett Breeding, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens
DC Comics, 212 Pages
I have read the Death of Superman issue several times over the years. However, I have never read the full story with everything leading up to that iconic issue, which took the world by storm at the end of 1992.
The story is pretty good, even if it’s really just several issues of the weakest Justice League lineup in history trying to stop Doomsday until Superman shows up. Every issue is action-packed as this entire story is just one massive fight between several heroes and one, seemingly unstoppable enemy.
And that’s certainly not a bad thing, as this did a superb job of telling an action-filled story and keeping each chapter interesting and new. It also adds in some subplots around the larger story, so that it can be broken up a bit.
Some subplots creep in, though, where I didn’t know what was really going on, like the stuff with Lex Luthor II and Supergirl. I wasn’t reading Superman in this era, so I was at first confused as to why Supergirl was with him and why Lex had ginger hair and a beard.
I thought that the art in this was good and the pacing of the story was pretty superb.
All in all, this was a pretty good read, better than I thought it’d be, and it features one of the greatest Superman throwdowns in the history of the character. And it was a hell of an introduction to Doomsday.
Published: July 26th, 2016 Written by: Kevin Smith Art by: Phil Hester, Ande Parks
DC Comics, 367 Pages
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this as much as I remembered liking it back when it was new. However, it was pretty good and I found it to be much better than my opinion of Kevin Smith’s Daredevil run, which people seem to hold in higher regard.
This story starts with Green Arrow being alive after he had died years earlier. The thing is, he doesn’t know he died and in his mind, no time has passed and the world he finds himself in is now strange and foreign. In fact, at first, he is a bit crazy and looks like a barbaric hobo playing Robin Hood.
As the story progresses, we learn that he’s being cared for by a nice old guy. We also learn about what happened to Oliver Queen and the DC universe in his absence. If you hadn’t read the Green Arrow stories where his son took over for awhile, this does a good job of filling in that void. We also see Oliver discover the truth about himself and his best friend Hal Jordan, a Green Lantern who ended up falling to the darkside pretty hard.
Towards the end of this lengthy collection of issues, we learn the sinister secrets of the nice old man who has taken Oliver in and we also get to see a young girl step up to the plate in an effort to become Green Arrow’s new sidekick, a female version of Speedy.
I wasn’t a massive fan of the art in this run, though. It’s not bad but I don’t feel like it was up to the quality of what was common at the time. Coming out of the ’90s, mainstream comic book art was evolving pretty quickly but this looks more like an early-to-mid ’90s book. I feel like they really could’ve paired Kevin Smith up with one of the top artists and turned this into a massive hit.
The art doesn’t wreck the story but I think this would’ve had more oomph had it looked more realistic and less cartoony.
In the end, I feel like this was a much better effort by Smith than his Daredevil run and maybe that’s because he learned from his missteps on that one or he simply had more mileage by the time he picked up his pen for DC.
Rating: 7.25/10 Pairs well with: the ongoing Green Arrow stories that followed Smith’s run, as well as his work on Daredevil for Marvel.
Release Date: March 18th, 2021 Directed by: Zack Snyder Written by: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder, Will Beall Based on: Characters from DC Comics Music by: Tom Holkenborg Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Manganiello (uncredited), Willem Dafoe, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Russell Crowe, Marc McClure, Carla Gugino (voice), Billy Crudup (uncredited)
DC Entertainment, The Stone Quarry, Atlas Entertainment, Warner Bros., HBO Max, 242 Minutes
“How do you know your team’s strong enough? If you can’t bring down the charging bull, then don’t wave the red cape at it.” – Alfred Pennyworth
For years, fans of Zack Snyder demanded that Warner Bros. release The Snyder Cut of 2017’s Justice League movie. For those who have read my review of it, you already know about how much I disliked that terrible film, which was taken over and finished by Joss Whedon after Snyder left the production due to a family emergency.
Needless to say, I never wanted this movie. However, it’s release seems like a real victory for fans in a time when they’re being labeled “toxic” by Hollywood and the media outlets that suck the shit straight out of the big studios’ assholes. So despite my feelings on the theatrical version of this movie, I am happy for the fans that demanded this version of it.
That being said, this is, indeed, a much better version of the film. Granted, it’s four fucking hours long, which is way too long. This probably should’ve been cut into two parts or released as an episodic miniseries. There’s just so much material but honestly, a lot of what’s here is also unnecessary. There are so many slow motion scenes that those parts really put an exclamation point on how dragged out this movie is.
It’s also got its fair share of cringe.
The biggest instance of cringe that pops into my mind is the scene that introduces Wonder Woman. She fights some terrorists with hostages but they do this weird thing where they speed up and slow down the film for dramatic effect. It’s weird, hokey and shitty. Also, she blocks every bullet fired from a machine gun with her bracelets like she has the speed and accuracy of the Flash. They’ve basically made her a female Superman with bracelets and a lasso and it’s just sort of confusing. I get that she fits this mold in the comics but in this already established film canon, it’s like her powers have increased to that of a literal god in a very short span of time compared to the length of her life. But I can also look beyond it and sort of accept it within the framework of this movie, which wasn’t supposed to exist.
Regarding other cringe, there’s the dialogue, which often times is horrendous.
There’s also Ezra Miller, who brings down the entire production every time he shows up on screen and tries to be cute and funny but just comes off like that asshole millennial barista that thinks he’s smarter than you but you can see the cat food stains on his shirt from last night’s dinner. Ezra Miller as The Flash may be the worst casting decision in the history of mainstream superhero films.
There is some good with this picture, though.
For one, every time I see Ben Affleck as Batman, he grows on me. Affleck deserves his own Batman movie but he never got one and was instead wasted in multiple shitty DCEU movies. He could be three solo Batman pictures deep now but we’ve got to see him parade around with Ezra Miller and other superheroes that appear lame in his really cool orbit.
I also thought that Steppenwolf, the film’s primary villain was much, much better in this. He feels like a real character with a real story arc. In the theatrical version, he came across as some generic miniboss whose dungeon you could skip in Skyrim. Plus, he looks so much fucking cooler in this version.
Additionally, this film gives me what I’ve always wanted to see and that’s Darkseid on the big screen. Granted, this wasn’t released in theaters so the “big screen” was a combination of a 50 inch television and my tablet screen.
There are also some great new action sequences. I kind of liked the big battle between Steppenwolf and the Amazons, as well as the big war between Darkseid, his minions and the armies of Greek gods, Amazons and Atlanteans. It was a flashback scene but it was still damn cool. Especially, the Green Lantern stuff they added in. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the intro to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I also liked that Cyborg was much more developed and didn’t just seem like a last minute addition added in to pad out the team.
The first act of the film is the worst and I felt like it moved too slow and didn’t really make me care about the movie too much. The second act, however, switched into high gear and that’s where it grabbed me as well as it could and I started to feel like I was finally getting a better, more fleshed out and worthwhile movie.
I also generally liked the third act but I thought a lot of the epilogue was unnecessary and didn’t need to be in the film. It also spends a lot of time establishing future storylines but it’s very damn likely that this will never get a sequel, as Warner Bros. were really determined not to allow this version of the film to be completed in the first place, as they want Zack Snyder to just go away now.
For those who don’t know, it was their parent company, AT&T, that forced their hand, as they needed something huge to help drive potential subscribers to their new HBO Max streaming service. This is also why this probably didn’t get a proper theatrical release.
In the end, this was still far from great and it was too damn long. However, I’d say that it’s the best DC Comics related film that Snyder has done apart from Watchmen.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with: Zack Snyder’s other DCEU films.
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