Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

Back in the early Nineties, DC Comics wanted to continue to experiment with the stories they could tell with their massive universe of powerful and interesting characters. They wanted to tell new and interesting stories but place iconic characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or other Justice League characters like the Flash or Green Lanterns in alternate timelines or realities. Without the constraints of present day continuity, you could do things to the character that wouldn’t interfere with the current storylines or could be the complete opposite of everything defining the character in the present day. They tested the waters with Gotham by Gaslight in 1989 and when that was a success, they continued to publish various Elseworlds comics until the early 2000s. With Gotham by Gaslight announced as the next DC animated film, there is the possibility that other Elseworld titles could be considered as full length animated films. With that in mind, here’s my list of Top 10 Elseworlds that should be produced as animated DC features.

10. Superman: Last Son of Earth (W: Steve Gerber/ A: Doug Wheatley) In a complete role reversal, Superman is not sent from a dying Krypton but a dying Planet Earth. His vessel crash lands on Krypton and he is raised by scientist Jor-El but remains different from his super powered people. This changes when he discovers the existence of a Green Lantern ring which enables him to fly like the other Kryptonians and after saving the planet, he becomes the Green Lantern of Krypton. This switch of planets and identities could prove an interesting change to a classic character who always drew his powers from his environment and shed light on the society of Krypton which until recent years we had only seen in flashbacks and origin stories.

 

9. JLA: Age of Wonder (W: Adisakdi Tantimedh/ A: P. Craig Russell and Galen Showman) In this story, Superman arrives in Kansas but during 1850s. Twenty or so years later, he reveals his existence as Super Man to the world during the 1876 Centennial Exposition. From that point on, Superman and other heroes like the Flash, Star Man, and the Green Lantern help usher in an age of technological advancement alongside other famous inventors such as Nicola Tesla. As other heroes slowly emerge, the progress these heroes represent is met with opposition from Lex Luthor and other figures who are suspicious and paranoid of the power this League of Science possesses. Focusing not solely on Superman or Batman, this team-centric Elseworld story shows a world where the super human and technological progress go hand in hand and what difference it would make in the early 19th century and beyond.

8. Flashpoint: (W: Norm Breyfogle/ A: Pat McGreal) Yes, there WAS already a Flashpoint animated film… but that’s not the Flashpoint we are talking about. Before there was a Flashpoint changed the DC Universe (i.e. the birth of the New 52 in 2011), there was originally an Elseworlds story about Barry Allen (aka The Flash) who was the only costumed hero in existence. After he loses the use of his legs preventing the JFK assassination, his superpower becomes his quick mind and his inventions advance humanity further especially in its exploration of space. When a mission to Mars involving his nephew Wally West uncovers a strange artifact but at a terrible price, Barry’s investigation puts him on a collision course with the immortal Vandal Savage and will test his understanding of himself as the Flash but also his place in his universe and more. This Flash Elseworld tests the sanity of Barry Allen as he examines his role as the Flash but also what the Flash could mean in other universes full of superpowered allies, family and friends.

 

7. Legacy: (W/A: John Byrne)  Unique in that this Elseworlds story was published as an Action Comics annual issue – Man of Steel writer/artist John Byrne reimagines a Superman who arrives on Planet Earth in the late 17th century when the American Revolution was just around the corner. Siding with the British, this relative of the House of El completely changes the course of the American Revolution resulting in the quick demise of many significant figures in American history. Years later when his actions have resulted in a world devoid of liberty or freedom, his almost human descendant, horrified at the price his legacy has demanded of Earth and its people, leads a rebellion against him. Just like Red Son, Legacy challenges the ideals of Superman with his limitless power and shows what a difference such a person could make in a very vulnerable time in world history.

6. The Devils Workshop: (W: Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore/ A: Mark Chiarello) This story recounts an encounter between the mysterious Bat-Man and the famous escape artist Harry Houdini in the early 20th Century. Children have been disappearing in Gotham City in the area of the city known as the Devil’s Workshop. Exploring Batman’s detective nature as well as Harry Houdini’s later interest in spiritualism, the investigation takes a quick turn into the paranormal and requires our heroes to work together in order to save the city. Narrated by Harry Houdini, this Elseworld entry continues the clever trend of real historical figures working alongside fictional characters.  

 

NEXT 5 ==>

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (last)

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (last)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

 

1. Kingdom Come:  (W: Mark Waid/ A: Alex Ross)  Superman has retired following the tragic death of Lois Lane. This alternate future is full of conflict – the former traditional heroes are at odds with the new generation of undisciplined and irresponsible vigilantes, most of whom are children of many classic heroes themselves. When Superman decides to return to active duty, he encounters opposition from Lex Luthor and his group of supervillians.  A nearly-paralyzed Bruce Wayne, who is also attempting to bring down Luthor and prevent an apocalyptic superhero war, does not agree with Supes’ methods and pursues his own agenda. All of this is witnessed by our narrator, minister Norman McCray, who has to put aside his wavering faith and play a crucial role in the events that will unfold. Waid’s now-classic story alongside the gorgeous artwork we’ve come to expect from Alex Ross continues to be a bestseller and would make an inspiring addition to the DC animated library if adapted properly.

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media

DC’s Next Animated Film IS an Elseworlds >

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (cont.)

Top 10 DC Elseworlds that Deserve an Animated Makeover (cont.)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Opinion

 


10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see

By Drew Mollo

 

5. Scar of the Bat: (W: Max Allan Collins/ A: Eduardo Barreto) Noted crime fiction writer Max Allan Collins composed an Elseworld that has more to do with history than it does DC comics. Narrated by famous Prohibition agent Elliot Ness, he tells the story of a masked vigilante who assisted Ness in taking down Al Capone during Prohibition in 1920s Chicago. Complete with moments you’d expect in gangster movies and practically no other DC characters appearing in the issue, this unique Elseworld simply stands out because without the mask, it’s a creative crime tragedy told by someone who stood against the very crime and corruption Batman would rise to resist.

4. Golden Age: (W: James Robinson/ A: Paul Smith) The Golden Age of Comics was an era where DC Comics heroes were not only combatting the evils of war abroad but also the evils within their own country. We return to that era where we see classic DC characters struggling not only with fallout from World War II but also the rise of McCarthyism in America. While they all transition into retirement, a sinister plot involving one of their own will require them to put aside their individual problems and join together as a team if they are to preserve their country and its future. James Robinson assembled a classic team of iconic DC characters with Paul Smith’s artwork to tell a story that is one part pulp mystery and one part American history about humanity and its struggle to adapt to change in the face of great tragedy.

 

3. Red Son:  (W: Mark Millar/ A: Dave Johnson and Killian Plinkett) This story ponders a simple question: What if Superman’s vessel crash landed in Soviet Russia instead of on American soil? Superman grows up to become a symbol for everything the USSR represents and his presence creates a new arms race. Struggling with his position of power, his dreams for a utopia encounters resistance from Lex Luthor of the United States, the terrorist Batman and former allies Wonder Woman and Brainiac amongst other definitive DC characters. Millar spent years working on the intricate amalgamation of politics, history and references to Superman into a story that shows what vast difference a few hours in Earth’s rotation could mean for one of comic’s most iconic American heroes.

 

 

2. Red Rain:  (W: Doug Moench/ A: Kelley Jones) Originally titled Batman & Dracula, Batman discovers vampires are responsible for terrorizing Gotham and is “converted” (a.k.a. turned into a vampire)  to give him the strength necessary to stop them and their leader, the legendary Dracula. Later sequels will show the return of Batman as he is awakened from his slumber to battle foes aligned with the vampires continuing his transformation from Gotham’s protector to Gotham’s bogeyman. This horror movie Batman has shown up in other comics and animated series and would make for a fantastic adaptation full of shadows, blood and monsters.

 

*Special*. Honorable Mention: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? ( W: Neil Gaiman/ A: Andy Kubert) Now I know this last story isn’t technically an Elseworld but if we’ve learned anything from Neil Gaiman it’s that you can’t judge a story until it’s over. Taking place between the events of Batman RIP and Final Crisis, Batman is seen attending his own funeral where different characters tell stories about the famous Caped Crusader, ones that are so bizarre that Batman neither remembers or believes they’re true. The story itself is a reference to the classic Alan Moore story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? which told the final story of Superman and this conclusion of Batman pays homage to the character and the artists that made him what he is today. Upon learning the moral of these stories is Batman’s persistence and perseverance even in the face of Death, Batman finally accepts his fate and says goodbye to his world in a manner that is both touching and symbolic. If anything else, the conversation Batman has with a famously haunting Gaiman character is something fans have wanted to see on any big screen for.

 

#1 Elseworld we want to see animated ==>

 

 

 

 

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NOPE, NOT WOLVERINE… But who IS Batman’s new SIDEKICK?

NOPE, NOT WOLVERINE… But who IS Batman’s new SIDEKICK?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion

 


The Signal: The Evolution of Batman’s sidekick Duke Thomas

By Drew Mollo

Dark Knights: Metal #1 drops in comic shops next week and this highly anticipated series reuniting Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo has already highlighted important changes ahead for Batman and the DC Universe in general.

One such change has been revealed regarding Batman’s current partner, Duke Thomas. Duke will be given his own suit and codename. No familiar red, yellow and green colors… this is NOT Robin. Duke will be an original character called The Signal featured in the upcoming Batman and The Signal series written by Snyder and Tony Patrick debuting in the fall. Before the days get darker*, let’s look at Duke Thomas and see how he has evolved as a character under the eye of Gotham’s Dark Knight.

(*See what we did there?)

 

We were first introduced to Duke Thomas in the New 52 during the Zero Year storyline. At that time, Gotham was under the control of The Riddler who not only crippled the city but allowed it to become an overgrown kingdom where he challenged would-be contenders with riddles that could restore the city, but failure would cost them their lives. Bruce Wayne met Duke Thomas who not only saved his life but also was preparing to challenge the Riddler with a riddle he could not answer, Gotham ultimate salvation which Batman would succeed in accomplishing.

 

Years later, Duke’s life would be changed forever during the events of Endgame, which had the Joker returning to Gotham ready with the ultimate endgame for his battle with Batman. Duke ended up losing his parents in a similar scenario to Bruce Wayne’s, an act meant to insinuate that the Joker knew Batman’s true identity. While his parents did not die due to Batman’s intervention, their minds were forever lost in the madness of Joker’s trademark laughing gas and Duke ended up an orphan.

 

While attempting to adjust to foster care, Duke Thomas ended up stumbling upon a plot to bomb Gotham’s landmarks while searching for his foster parents. He would help the Robins prevent the destruction from befalling the city, earning him a spot on their team. His assistance to the vigilante team would continue in the We Are Robin book until The Robin War storyline. Duke would also make appearances in Batman’s Superheavy arc investigating the mysterious Mr. Bloom and his connection to other Gotham crime bosses. During an escape gone wrong, he is saved last minute by Bruce Wayne slowly returning to his role as Batman.  Later as a reward for his bravery and assistance, Duke would receive an invitation from Bruce Wayne to be his new partner initially helping him with a case involving Calendar Man. When asked if he was going to be just another Robin, Bruce Wayne (and in some ways Scott Snyder) said “No, I’m trying something different. Something better, I hope.”

 

 

During DC Rebirth, Duke Thomas’s training was featured in main storylines as well as back up stories in Snyder’s All-Star Batman. Wearing a modified yellow and black suit with a Bat symbol and helmet, Duke was training under Alfred’s “Wheel of Pain”, a compressed variation of all the training techniques used for Batman’s previous partners.  Recently in Dark Days: The Casting, it is revealed by the Joker who was imprisoned in a secret compartment in the Batcave that Duke’s place as Batman’s partner is not random. Duke is revealed to be a metahuman with a connection to the mysterious metals serving as important clues to Dark Days: Metal. Duke’s codename is a reference to a label given to him by the Joker, stating that his concealed role in the upcoming event made him a target from the villain who was simply seeking to avert it.

As a character, Duke Thomas has similarities to previous Batman sidekicks but also characteristics that are more aligned with what DC Comics is attempting to do since Rebirth. Like Dick Grayson, he was orphaned by crime; an event he was borne to witness. Like Jason Todd, he struggled with being an orphan and did his best to master survival on the streets of Gotham. Like Tim Drake, he has a level of intelligence and adaptability that with the right training could surpass Batman given time. In some ways, his time as a Robin helped him transition beyond sidekick into the role of partner. It would be so simple to make Duke Thomas a new Robin (which brings to my mind Marlon Wayans unexploited opportunity to play Robin in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns) but instead, he wasn’t a sidekick but an equal partner. Duke had the opportunity to build upon a relationship with Bruce Wayne that took the other sidekicks years to reach. Duke is a new character and that is what DC Comics is trying to attempt with their comic book universe now: pushing classic characters to new heights while respecting their past but also creating new characters that can stand on their own. In the last four years, we’ve watched Duke evolve from a bystander to equal partner in Batman’s world. Hopefully his involvement in Dark Days: Metal will continue that transition and by then optimistically his codename will have grown on me.

 

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media

 

 

 

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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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