Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bat-ffleck, Luthor, Man of Steel 2, and the Justice League Movie!

The hero Gotham deserves

I know a lot of people are mad about the recent announcement that Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. Personally I couldn't be more excited. Granted Affleck's done a lot of rubbish in his time, but I've always found that (like Colin Baker in Doctor Who) the flaws in Affleck's many stinkers have little to do with his actual performance. Also, as many people have pointed out, Affleck has proved himself to be so much more than your average Hollywood meathead, as both an actor, a writer, and a director, with such films as Good Will Hunting, Hollywoodland, Gone Baby Gone, and The Town, to name but a few examples.

But Bat-ffleck aside, one of the other main reasons to get excited about Man of Steel 2 is the rumoured casting of Bryan Cranston as my all time favourite villain ever, Lex Luthor! It'll be interesting to see Luthor operating in a world where Superman inadvertently caused a hostile, alien army to invade the Earth. A world where Superman was only able to stop that army after a battle that destroyed a city, and then only by (spoilers) snapping someone's neck. A world where Luthor's hatred and resentment of the Man of Steel, while still irrational and petty, carries a little more weight than it usually does. It'll also be interesting to see Luthor contrasted with Batman. Two men who have, in their own way, reached the peak of human achievement, one embodying everything good about the human race, the other embodying everything bad.

The number one, main reason to get excited about Man of Steel 2 however is the fact that it brings us a huge step closer to finally seeing a Justice League movie! What heroes would you like to see, and who would you have playing them?

At the moment I'm picturing, alongside Henry Cavill and Affleck:

Idris Elba as Green Lantern/John Stewart: A hardened soldier with an artistic, sensitive side, who won't let the guilt of past mistakes stop him from doing the right thing today. Did you see Pacific Rim? Elba would be perfect!

Ryan Gosling as The Flash/Barry Allen: With films such as Drive Gosling's established a reputation for playing brooding introverts. While Barry Allen is certainly an introvert (particularly since writer Geoff Johns had Reverse Flash go back in time and kill his mother), he's still a bit more light-hearted than the type of character Gosling usually plays. I do, however think that Gosling's a good enough actor to pull it off.

Jennifer Lawrence as Wonder Woman: I loved Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: First Class and I think she's got loads of charisma, an important trait for someone portraying a character as iconic as Wonder Woman.

Gerard Butler as Aquaman: He played a fantastic warrior king in 300. The King of the Seven Seas should be a walk in the park (or a swim in the pond at least) for Butler.

I'd also like to see some less iconic heroes pop up too. Firestorm would look amazing on the big screen and who wouldn't love to see Zatanna? I'd also love to see Black Canary, Cyborg and The Atom.

So there's my dream casting for a Justice League film. What's yours?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

John Byrne's head found in alien trophy collection!

I'm currently making my way through Tom DeFalco & Paul Ryan's excellent (and underrated) '90s run on Fantastic Four. Last night, as I was reading Fantastic Four #359 (1991), I found a particularly entertaining Easter Egg hidden by artist Paul Ryan.

The issue features the first appearance of Devos the Devastator, an alien who has dedicated his life to eradicating any beings that are a potential threat to peace throughout the Universe. Unfortunately Devos sees this potential in pretty much everybody he meets. On Page 4 of issue #359 we see Devos wandering through the trophy room on his spaceship. Upon the walls are the heads of lifeforms he has slaughtered in the course of his mad quest. These heads include Xemnu the Titan, a Skrull, a member of the Elan race, and a Kree Sentry. Particularly observant readers may have noticed the silhouette of another head in the foreground of the panel, a bearded head that seems to be wearing glasses. Could it be that upon his wall Devos has on display the head of John Byrne, the famously truculent comics legend who wrote and drew Fantastic Four from 1981 to 1986? 'Cos it certainly looks like he does!

The amusing thing is that Byrne had previously made himself a character in the Marvel Universe, first in the pages of Fantastic Four....

Fantastic Four #262 (1984)
....and then in Sensational She-Hulk.

Sensational She-Hulk #31 (1991)
Could this then be the actual head of the Marvel Universe version of John Byrne? Could the John Byrne of the 616 (Marvel's designation for the Universe in which most of their stories are set) have been identified as a potential threat to Universal peace by Devos the Devastator, and as a result been given the chop!? Or could it have just been a cheeky little joke hidden in the panel by Paul Ryan? 

Probably the latter.

For more comic book Easter Eggs check out Duy Tano's excellent Comics Cube and Brian Cronin's fantastic Comics Should Be Good!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Paul's Purchases! 07/08/13

A few random thoughts that struck me while reading through my comics purchases. This week I've read:

Action Comics #23
Earth 2 #15
Superior Spider-Man #15

Warning, there may be spoilers!

Action Comics #23

Every review I give of a Scott Lobdell comic basically amounts to "Dodgy dialogue, exciting story." This one is no exception. At one point a character says "Though his body was born 23 years ago on the day of my birth, the evil that consumed my brother had infected his heart long before he began to practice the dark arts." Is it me or does that sentence make no sense? What's the fact that he was born 23 years ago got to do with the fact that he was evil before he started practicing magic? I suppose she could be referring to his newer planet devouring body, but still, it's a messy sentence that pulled me out of the story. Also at one point Superman responds to "Your humility only does you credit my liege" with "My false..wait, your liege?" Where did "false" come from? I know this is nitpicking but such clumsiness can make Lobdell's comics difficult to follow sometimes. Having said that, I still loved the story. Superman fights a gigantic, planet eating monster who's body is made up of dead planets! AND HE KICKS ITS ASS! I love how the alien warriors that are battling the planet eater are initially really dismissive of Superman, but by the end they're pledging allegiance to him (much to Superman's discomfort). The great thing is, Superman didn't just win them over with his powers and fighting skills. He won them over by risking his own life to save theirs. He won them over by being Superman!

Earth 2 #15

My favourite character in this series is still Jay Garrick. I love how during the battle he made saving Wesley Dodd's men his priority. James Robinson's doing an excellent job of conveying the fact that Jay is new to being a super-hero without compromising the natural heroic instincts that are part of the character. I really enjoyed Mr Miracle and Barda's scene too. "You'll have to fight her, I can escape her" was such a great line!

Superior Spider-Man #15

Nice to see a bit of focus back on the supporting cast again. Anna is a great character, and her relationship with Ock makes the Superior Spidey a much more multi-dimensional character. I love the fact that Carlie Cooper's figured out that Spider-Man isn't what he seems. It makes sense that Carlie's the one to figure it out, since she was clever enough to deduce that Peter was Spider-Man. With more focus on Tiberius Stone in this issue and Spider-Man 2099 due to turn up in issue #17, it looks like my theory that Stone is connected to Spidey 2099 (who's father is called Tyler Stone) could indeed be correct.