SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material

By Drew Mollo

SPOILER ALERT  (Fair warning if you haven’t watched the movie)

I just saw Justice League recently and honestly I enjoyed most of it. Sure there were certain things about it I wasn’t fond of or things that are more results of the well-publicized re-shoots but that’s not what this article is about. This was a comic book movie and upon watching the film I could see elements that were inspired by DC Comics story arcs about the famous superteam. So if you enjoyed the film and you’d like to read stories to give you an idea of what happened or who the heck Steppenwolf was, I recommend you checking these out.

1. Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee: The comic series that basically ushered in the New 52 in 2011 tells a new origin story of how the team got together set five years in the past. Batman is chasing a Parademon and runs into Green Lantern. After the creature explodes, they decide to ask Superman before they all realize these creatures are merely scouts for a bigger invasion. Meanwhile, a Mother Box provided by the Flash decides to go haywire in S.T.A.R. Labs around the same time Silas Stone is having an argument with his son Victor. When the Mother Box opens a Boom Tube full of Parademons, the explosion mutilates Victor’s body while fusing it with all sorts of alien technology (thus eventually making him into Cyborg). The appearance of Parademons attracts the attention of Wonder Woman and later Aquaman as well. The heroes battle back the Parademons and eventually their master, the Lord of Apokolips known as Darkseid. The film had many references to this storyline especially with the use of Parademons, Mother Box’s, and even a direct reference to the evil God himself but its primary influence was that the upcoming invasion was catalyst for getting the Justice League together.

2. Jack Kirby’s the Fourth World: Created by legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby in the 1970s, Kirby imagined a group of entities he called the New Gods who lived on two separate planets. The Gods in New Genesis lived in an idyllic paradise ruled by the Highfather and the Gods in Apokolips suffered in a mechanical polluted dystopia ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. Once beings of a single world, these two worlds were constantly in conflict over Darkseid’s quest to find the Anti-Life Equation which would gain him complete control of all living beings thoughts which was opposed by Highfather and his forces. Although it was intended to be limited series, Kirby’s characters were so successful that DC Comic’s eventually had them interact with other well-known superheroes. Darkseid and his forces including his son Kalibak and his uncle Steppenwolf would become foes of Superman and the Justice League and other New Gods like Orion or Mister Miracle would become allies and eventually members of the Justice League. Characters like Steppenwolf, Parademons, Darkseid and others would not exist if not for the incredible imagination of Jack Kirby. Although Steppenwolf was the main villain and Darkseid was only mentioned in Justice League, the fact that Steppenwolf and his ravenous Parademons were teleported away instead of destroyed suggest this war is far from over.

3. The Return of Superman by Gerard Jones, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern : After Superman was killed by Doomsday, the world mourned their loss and eventually four new characters appeared all claiming to be Superman. As the multiple Superman comics explored and played with the idea that one of them could be a new Superman, it was revealed that Superman’s body was taken by the Kryptonian robot called The Eradicator and placed in a regeneration matrix. While the four Supermen’s identities were revealed, the original Superman emerged alive although greatly depowered. When he revealed his presence and helped the other Supermen fight Cyborg Superman and Mongul who destroyed Coast City, he revealed his true identity to Lois Lane by referencing something only the true Clark Kent would know. After they defeated the villains, Superman’s powers had returned and he used the black Kryptonian battlesuit that had earlier protected him to fashion a new take on Superman’s traditional costume. While some of his powers were the same or stronger than before, Return of Superman is also famously known for giving Superman the mullet that he was portrayed with for most of the 1990s until his wedding to Lois Lane in 1996. Its central influence to Justice League was the idea of using Kryptonian technology among General Zod’s ship along with the Mother Box to revive Superman body to help unite the League and give them an advantage against Steppenwolf and his forces. Thankfully Superman’s mullet did not translate over to the big screen and remained an unfortunate comic book footnote.

Considering DC Comic’s track record over the last few years, I can more than understand everyone’s skepticism and debate over this film. While it’s not fair to compare it to other comic book team films like Marvel’s The Avengers, I thought the film established these characters and had them work together against a common enemy. Hopefully plot threads and questions for some of these characters can be answered in any of the upcoming solo films so I hope you enjoyed the film and if you didn’t, hey at least it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs. Superman, right?

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DC’s Next Animated Film is a Big Deal – Here’s Why

DC’s Next Animated Film is a Big Deal – Here’s Why

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion

 

By Drew Mollo

DC Comics’ 1989 hit Gotham by Gaslight


In July,  Comicbook.com revealed there would be a behind-the-scenes feature in the upcoming Batman and Harley Quinn animated release about the next DC Animated film: Gotham by Gaslight. Based on the 1989 comic written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola, Gotham by Gaslight is a significant story for one important reason: it was the first comic to be published under DC Comics’ alternate-universe Elseworlds line.

In the Nineties, DC Comics started publishing stories that reimagined their classic characters in alternate timelines or environments. These stories (later dubbed Elseworlds) opened the possibilities for iconic characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman or The Flash to be written in stories outside the confines of current day continuity. These characters were given a fresh slate where anything was possible – literally opening up a multiverse of possibilities.

Gotham by Gaslight would be the first Elseworlds book – and for good reason, as its story is widely regarded by critics and fans alike to be brilliant. The first page establishes the tone of the book with a letter introducing the book’s villain, a historical serial killer known only as Jack the Ripper. Jack explains that he will be changing settings from London to a new metropolis in America named Gotham City. The setting is Gotham in the late 19th century and we are introduced to businessman Bruce Wayne, haunted by the highway robbery which stole his parents. His travels through Europe to better his mind and body eventually return him to Gotham, where he witnesses the prominence of crime in his hometown and becomes the Bat-Man to fight those forces- especially when a series of murders announce Jack’s presence. With a few familiar faces sprinkled throughout the story, the Bat-Man’s battle to stop the famous murderer quickly takes a turn for the worst.  Bruce Wayne must not only find his place as Gotham’s protector but also uncover answers tying into the murder which changed his life.

Gotham by Gaslight presented a new but exciting challenge: taking Bruce Wayne and Batman and putting them in the context of a world in the past. Here, we have the story of Bruce Wayne traveling and learning the skills that would make him Batman but in an era and style of genre unfamiliar to Batman fans- now more commonly known as “Steampunk”. There is still Gotham City, there is still Alfred and Inspector Gordon, and even the appearance of a “villain” or two but they are not the same faces we know. Some are similar and yet some are completely different- showing us new ways that they contribute to this Bat-Man and his crusade against evil. The story is completely entertaining and Mike Mignola’s artwork does not disappoint.  This early entry in his career still has elements of his signature style involving shadow, body language, and movement that Mignola would elaborate when he created the character he’s best known for, Hellboy. The book was so successful that it spawned a lesser known sequel Batman: Master of the Future, written by Augustyn but drawn by artist Eduardo Barreto, in 1991; the universe labeled Earth-19 by the DC editorial after 2006’s Infinite Crisis was revisited in 2008’s Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer.

Another reason that this new entry into the already impressive DC animated film’s collection is important is this universe does not need to adhere to continuity. Similar to Justice League: Gods and Monsters, this is a classic story which presents an iconic hero but almost as if he was a new character. We can have different voice actors portray the characters, we can have events relevant to their timeline intersect with the events in the story, and new generations alongside their elders can see their characters in a new light. If Gotham by Gaslight is well-received, it could open the possibilities for more Elseworlds to be developed as full-length animated feature films. (If that happens, I have two words for you regarding the next contender: Kingdom Come.)

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media

 

 

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