The Man of Steel turns 75 today. To commemorate this event, we would like to share with you some of our favorite images of Superman.
One of the problems with superhero movies is the penchant for writers, directors, and producers to put too much into a movie because they want to appease the fan base more than they want to tell a good story. Comic book characters have long, rich histories making it impossible to include every single thing about them in one movie. But logic be damned, we’ve got to put butts in seats, so put ALL THE THINGS into the movie! It’s why superhero movie sequels tend to suffer the most. There’s always more heroes to add, more villains to add, but little in the way of story or character development. The Batman movies (including Christopher Nolan’s trilogy), the Spider-Man movies, and the X-Men franchise have all suffered from this. In my opinion, the X-Men movies, particularly X-3, are the worst offenders. Way too many mutants for the sake of having too many mutants. Psylocke has like a three second cameo. Psylocke, for crying out loud!
That being said, there are certain features of a character that we associate with them specifically. Case in point, if you were to describe the essential components of Superman’s history and background one of the primary features is kryptonite. Yes, this irradiated hunk of Clark’s home planet that’s poisonous to the big guy (the green version, at least) is so ingrained in our culture that kryptonite is basically synonymous with an Achille’s heel – a weakness. It’s been the means by which any number of villains have managed to damage Superman – a lot of kryptonite bullets out there – and it comes in a wide variety of colors that affect Clark differently. It’s been a primary plot device in the comics, television shows, and the movies since its “official” introduction in the The Adventures of Superman radio show that ran from 1943 to 1951. So of course, with the upcoming Man of Steel set for release in June, there might have been an assumption on the part of fans that kryptonite would be a featured element in the movie.
Not so, says Zack Snyder. In the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, Snyder was questioned about Superman’s ultimate weakness (other than Lois Lane), to which he remarked:
“I’ll be honest with you, there’s no Kryptonite in the movie,” Snyder said. Man of Steel hopes to humanize Superman, but by giving him new flaws and vulnerabilities. Superman actor Henry Cavill said, “Although he is not susceptible to the frailties of mankind, he is definitely susceptible to the emotional frailties.” (Source: Entertainment Weekly)
This, I think, is a good thing. Even though kryptonite is part and parcel of the Superman mythos, the inclusion of it would just add more to a movie that’s already jam-packed with enough Superman-ness to satisfy casual viewers and fanboys alike.
First of all, Man of Steel already has a lot going for it in the way of plot and character beats that it has to hit if the movie is going to serve not only as an origin story, but as a launching point for the DC Cinematic Universe. We’ve all seen the trailer of young Clark struggling with his abilities, the parenting skills of Jonathan and Martha Kent, the military’s suspicions of him, and the threat of General Zod and his ilk. That’s a lot of stuff in one movie, so throwing kryptonite in there because it’s associated with Superman doesn’t make sense. Secondly, his antagonists are Kryptonians! If kryptonite harms Superman because it’s a radioactive piece of his destroyed home world, why would other Kryptonians use it as a weapon against him? How do you win that fight when everyone is lying on the ground in pain? Makes things easier for the military at least.
In fact, the exclusion of kryptonite gives Clark greater odds to beat because he basically has to go punch for punch with a seasoned and experience warrior who intends to conquer Earth. It amps up the action and highlights the emotional stakes of this movie. This is the story of a man making a choice about who and what he is to his adopted planet. Is it worth sacrificing the lives of others to keep your powers a secret out of fear of discovery? Where do you draw the line between being helpful and doing harm? Can you trust yourself to hold back and show mercy instead of going for the easy route of destruction? These are the questions Clark has to answer, the questions that make him into the hero we’ll most likely see at the end of the film. Forcing him to go up against Zod on equal footing pushes these issues to the forefront. Imagine Clark getting the upper hand and just starting to pummel Zod, over and over again. He’s a superpowered being and he’s angry; at Zod, at the military, maybe at his father(s) and he’s just about to give him the final blow when…he stops. He realizes what he’s doing, where that leads, and who he’ll become if he follows through. That’s your movie. That’s Man of Steel. There’s no room for kryptonite. It’s unnecessary and it’s a smart decision not to include it just because.
That’s not to say kryptonite won’t show up. That’s the beauty of sequels (should there be any). And nothing screams “sequel bait” more than an end-credit scene featuring a cameo by Lex Luthor grumbling over the appearance of Superman while being presented with a hunk of glowing green rock. It gives you a glimpse of the next villain and the weapon he could potentially wield against his soon-to-be arch nemesis.
In short, I’m not worried about a lack of kryptonite and neither should you. From what I’ve seen on the internet we’re, again, divided over interpretation and adaptation. The only thing to do about it is to go see Man of Steel in June!
You can’t keep a good amazon down. She just keeps on tryin’.
On Thursday, Vulture reported that the CW, Warner Bros., and DC Entertainment are developing a script for a new Wonder Woman TV show by veteran writer Allan Heinberg (Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C.) under the working title Amazon. This latest Wondy-centric small screen attempt comes about a year after the last one failed from famed TV creator David E. Kelley.
The article doesn’t name sources, so it’s basically a rumor, but if it’s true, we could be in the early stage of something big for the most famous superheroine in comics.
Heinberg, who also wrote five issues of Wonder Woman’s comic a few years back, is penning a version of Princess Diana’s story that’s never been televised before. It will focus on young Diana as an up-and-coming superhero before she’s the established Wonder Woman we know and love. (Sort of like Smallville focused on a young Clark Kent before he became Superman).
That means origin story, but Vulture points out that it could come with a soapy spin. After all, Heinberg worked on Grey’s Anatomy and The O.C., so, y’know, there could lots of angst and all that stuff. Heinberg also wrote the popular Young Avengers comic book for Marvel, which featured a group of teen superheroes and the expected amount of emo shenanigans.
Wonder Woman has had an interesting time in TV land. Her live-action 1970′s TV show is iconic, but it’s been tough for her to reclaim her spot in network cinema ever since. It took more than three decades for her 2011 show to come along, and it was killed after the pilot failed to impress. Now we have this one, and it’s too early to know if it will become something substantive.
Wonder Woman has had a better time elsewhere, though. She was featured in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series’, and she has been a fixture in comic book adventures since the 1940s. Her most recent comic book stories by writer Brian Azzarello have been critically praised and garner healthy sales. This year alone, she’s received media buzz for her budding, in-comic romance with Superman, and you can bet she’ll pop up in a Justice League movie once it finds a director. So you definitely can’t say that Wondy hasn’t been getting attention.
If Heinberg’s vehicle is the one to drive Wonder Woman out in front for a new generation of viewers, then it could be great:
For some unknown reason, the theater I saw The Dark Knight Rises in last night was not graced with the Man of Steel teaser trailer. But now thanks to Yahoo! Movies, the trailer is now online. Enjoy!!!!
Here is an alternate version of the trailer. This version features a different voice over by Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe.
There are a lot of mixed feelings surrounding the latest offering in the Superman movie franchise. Man of Steel is still a long way off, release date in July next year, but with Superman Returns leaving a nasty taste in the mouth of some fans will Man of Steel bring the franchise back to its former glory, or be another nail in the coffin?
I have to be honest, I enjoyed the last Superman movie. I thought the story was inventive, if a little slow, and the moment when Clark Kent ran out of a bar and pulled his shirt open to fly off and rescue Lois from an ill-fated shuttle launch made the hairs on my neck stand on end and made me feel like a ten year old again! With this in mind and being a fan of all things Superman I don’t think I will be disappointed with the film no matter what.
But, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will be worth a look for the cast alone:-
Henry Cavill – Clark Kent
Amy Adams – Lois Lane
Michael Shannon – General Zod
Diane Lane – Martha Kent
Kevin Costner – Jonathan Kent
Russell Crowe – Jor-El
Ayelet Zurer – Lara Lor-Van
Laurence Fishburne – Perry White
Antje Traue – Faora
Harry Lennix – General Swanwick
Christopher Meloni – Col
Not to mention its written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Christopher Nolan (wow) and of course directed by Zach Snyder. All in all a planet destroying amount of talent! (Oh……. Sorry Clark!)
And then there is the new gear. Superman has a new suit and we get a look at some Krytonian wear that I am sure will be all of the rage at next year’s comic cons all over the world. Some of the costumes were on show at Licensing Expo 2012 in Vegas and some alright-ish snaps have surfaced. See what you think.
Photos from ComingSoon.net.
Even with its moving pictures, sound and increasingly believable special effects, television still has storytelling limitations. If you’ve been a Smallville fan since it first aired on television, then you are all too familiar with what some of these limitations can be. One major one: the Batman was simply not permitted to be on the show.
Producers worked around it, bringing in as much of the DC crew as possible as Smallville’s farm boy, Clark Kent, grew closer and closer to the mild mannered reporter we all recognized from the comics that inspired him. In an interview with Smallville Magazine (before he left the show), Alfred Gough, co-creator said, “We earned the right to incorporate a lot more of the DC mythology, which really lit a fire under the show. We introduced the future Justice League, Brainiac, Bizarro, the Fortress and Lois Lane. Suddenly we earned the right to use these toys from the DC toy box to great effect.” He was right. The fire was lit, but many fans still awaited the inferno that could only be ignited by the Dark Knight, himself.
Smallville fans, your time has come! In season 11, which is taking place not in the limited media that is television, but instead as a comic book, Batman will be coming to Smallville. According to Comic Book Resources this morning:
“I feel like I’ve been sitting on a Christmas present for everyone since January,” Smallville Season 11 scribe Bryan Q. Miller, who was a staff writer and executive story editor for The CW series, said on his blog. According to the solicitation text for the story arc, appropriately titled “Detective,” “The hunt for his parents’ killer puts a vigilante known only as ‘the Batman’ on a collision course with the Man of Steel.”
Look out for Smallville Season 11 #5 hitting shelves on September 5, to get that long awaited Christmas gift we’ve all been waiting for written by Bryan Q. Miller and with the art and cover by ChrisCross and Marc Deering!
Forward by The Nerd!
When DC Comics announced that they were relaunching their entire line of comics, essentially rebooting the DC Universe as we knew it, I was optimistic. Unlike a lot of DC fans who flooded the Internet with complaints and gripes about continuity and alternated story lines and such, I remained hopeful that things would work out. I will admit to a certain level of frustration with DC for cancelling some titles that I was invested in, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
There were a few titles that I had given up on. The stories had become so unusual and convoluted that it was more painful to try to stick with them than it was to just let them go. With a relaunch, some of those titles I had given up on would start new story lines and new origins. The possibility of being able to start reading new titles was also intriguing. I was full of hope that this move by DC would be a good thing.
Now we are six months into DC Comics’ New 52. As with all things, there is some good and some bad. Old favorites are fresh and new again. New discoveries abound with potential. There have been some bumps in the road, a few casualties and some replacements. As a comic book fan I would say that DC’s New 52 is a huge success, as a fan I have been disappointed. As a comic book critic would also give DC high marks for their marketing strategy and attention to quality and story.
So as the sixth issues hit the stands, we here at Word of the Nerd invite you to come along with us as we review each title in DC’s New 52 and see where they rank with our writers.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Rags Morales
Before I go any further, I have a confession to make. Up until last year I had never read a Superman title. Shock/horror! I know you’re probably asking, “Why Chris? Why!?” and the simplest answer I can give is, I didn’t want to! Sure I’d read stories which involved Superman, I just hadn’t ever read a stand alone Superman book.
That changed with September 2011′s reboot of the DC universe. It was a fresh start for the company and although I wasn’t too happy with the reboot, I thought I’d open myself up to more titles. I suppose another reason for me picking up Action Comics was the involvement of my all time favourite writer (God, I really do bang on about him a lot) Grant Morrison. So, I gave it a shot which brings me to reviewing Action Comics so far. Here we go….
Issue one was such a revelation for me, straight out of the gate, Grant Morrison and Rags Morales had me suckered in. I loved fact the young Superman in this book was hated and feared by everyone and wasn’t welcomed with open arms, the citizens of Metropolis think he’s a menace and he behaves in a fashion that makes you feel they have a real reason to. This is a completely different take on the character, he’s not the all American hero we was, he’s more like a naughty school boy acting up.
I was completely sold by the time it got round to Superman dangling a guy off a balcony. It was at this point of the story I thought to myself, “This is the Superman I want to read about! He’s not as efficient in getting the job done as the old Supes, he’s careless and doesn’t really have a sense of how to handle the bad guys yet”. He’s young, brash and arrogant, which works so well for me in Action. All of those traits and his attitude lead to his capture by the military and Lex Luthor at the end of the first issue. I put this book down, sighed and looked at my girlfriend then uttered the words “…Awwww, I really want to read number two now” in the same fashion as a small child asking to stay up ten minutes longer would, but I obviously had to wait it out like everyone else who loved the book.
Quality persisted throughout the coming months, and Morrison has laid the foundations for a solid run. Art from Rags Morales and a two issue stand-in from artist Andy Kubert (I think Gene Ha did some guest art in an issue too) make this title one of the best looking books of the relaunch.
Nerd Verdict: Great! I strongly recommend jumping on this title if you’re not reading it already, it’s one of my personal favourites from the reboot, and I’m not even that big of a Superman fan, so it must be good! A definite buy for this one.’
By Chris Tresson
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: RB Silva
Admittedly my relationship with Superboy is not extensive; however, he does own a special place in my heart. I was a child of the 80′s, and so growing up nothing was bigger or more memorable than The Death of Superman story arc. For those of you who were comic fans of the time, you remember just how big it was. More over you also remember how much of a disaster Reign of Supermen was. It was just so all over the place. However, there were two things that came out of that story arc that were truly great, Steel and Superboy. If you have been paying attention to our coverage of Action Comics then you know what a big fan of Steel I am. I cannot say that I am as big a fan of Superboy, but there is still some attachment to a time when comics were helping to get me through adolescence.
When the New 52 was announced I thought about picking up Superboy, but initially did not. I have since picked it up and read all six issues. My first thought was that writer Scott Lobdell really did not have a clear vision of where he wanted to go with Kon-El’s personality. It seems to fluctuate almost panel to panel and often comes off as a little all over the place. At times Connor seems amazingly confident, independent and strong, and at other times he seems easy to manipulate and lost. Then I realized maybe this was intentional. Maybe he wants to show how confused Connor is and what he is having to deal with as he adjusts. The part of the book I enjoy the most is the inclusion of the Gen-13′s Caitlin Fairchild, the new Rose Wilson, and the early ties to Superboy and the Teen Titans. It seems that he is going to be the center of the teen hero universe, maybe even more than any of the Robins.
The art by RB Silva is visually stunning. His lines are so clean and fresh, the book ends up looking every bit as futuristic as it is meant to be. I think the aliens used in the early arc came off as a little cheesy, but still a lot of fun. I also really enjoy how each situation has a different feel. Matching Superboy’s look to match the situation he is in helps to minimize the randomness of his personality.
Superboy is one of those middle of the road titles. His re-invention is still weeding its way out and I think my not reading Teen Titans is hurting that for me a little bit. I think the book itself will have almost as many critics as it will supporters, but most comic fans will fall somewhere in the, it’s OK range. I would say if you have the money, it is worth reading, but it should not be at the top of your pull list.
Make sure to come back all month long for the rest of this comprehensive review!
Have you checked out the Kickstarter page for “A CON-voluted Story”? Our very own Word of the Nerd team is involved with this awesome project! Show them some love!
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Good Morning Nerdites! Another month in the new DCU and another edition of Justice League comes roaring to us. I have had some folks on Twitter and Facebook akin the team up of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on this book to being godly, and I do not know that I am about to argue that fact. The reality is that Justice League is not only putting out an amazing initial arc, with a villain fitting the need of a team up, but creating a team origin story that is defining how we will see these characters moving forward. Issue 5 is filled with some interesting dialogue (though I do have a complaint) and some incredible action.
The issue starts with Johns giving us Darkseid in all of his evil glory. This Darkseid does not waste his time telling the team anything more than his name before he starts blasting them with omega beams. He is dark, aggressive and really just annoyed by the Justice League more than anything else. I love the fact that for all of Superman’s superiority, the book starts with Flash trying to save him and ends with Batman heading off to do the same. I have had this nagging dislike of the new 52 that Clark and Bruce do not have a relationship going into Justice League. I think their story and friendship would have been better suited to have started prior to this massive team up, but you get the sense that Batman’s traveling to Apokolips to save Supes might be the avenue for that.
There is one bone I have to pick with Johns. Shortly after Superman is taken capture and GL has had his butt whipped, Bruce reveals his identity to Hal. You get the sense that Bruce has a plan and that Hal has at least earned a modicum of respect from Bruce, but the reality is the Bruce Wayne I know would never reveal his identity to anyone this early in the process. Maybe we come to find out that Bruce really already knows enough about Hal and the others that he is a step ahead (would not be surprising), but that would be a stretch. Outside of that, I love Johns portrayal of everyone else. Wonder Woman’s blunt and aggressive personality making her the muscle of the group is great, and Flash’s much more serious nature is still balanced by a bit of humor and sarcasm that is well timed. It all just works, which is normally not the case.
Jim Lee has to be considered the James Cameron of comics. Justice League’s art is epic in a way that sets it apart from most comics as much as Avatar sets itself apart from most movies. That is not to say I do not like other comic artists or that Jim Lee is even my favorite artist. But his work on Justice League has such a universal beauty and flow, matched with a team of inkers and colorists that makes this book pop off the page. They have such a cinematic feel that matched with Johns’ writing, you feel like your reading a summer blockbuster.
Lee does a terrific job of providing a scratchy and sketched feel to the destruction all around and still giving the book a clean look. It is easy for artists to get tied down in being either overly detailed or not detailed enough. Lee balances it well which is not easy to do considering every other panel someone is getting blown up or beat down. And the transition of powers works. Each hero has their own stylized sense about them, and Lee never misses a beat. I am particularly loving his Green Lantern and you can tell Johns and Lee are enjoying being able to give Jordan a little bit of a spotlight.
Justice League is the flagship that this entire reboot is built upon. While I would say the Batman thing is a miss, it is rather minor. No one gets it right every time out, but Justice League is showing a consistency through it’s first five months that is impressive. With its first issue in it’s umpteenth million print you have to think DC is has a smirk worthy of the joker on their faces. Either way the team is together while it is not Captain America yelling, “Avengers Assemble!” Green Lantern’s, ”We Got this!” will do.
“Remember the first time we saw that strange shadow up in the sky? Silhouetted against the morning sun, it looked to many like some large swooping bird. Others reported that it was a small plane, or airship or some other UFO. But no, it was a man. A man in a red cape. A superman…who seemed to drop from the sky out of nowhere. No history. No past.”