The new Aquaman will be more Wonder Woman than Superman

One of the most surprising reveals of San Diego Comic-Con 2018 was that Kelly Sue DeConnick will be tackling a new Aquaman story for DC Comics. Granted, that was at least partially because DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio wasn’t supposed to have mentioned it at the company’s traditional Thursday morning press event.

But the fish is out of the net: DeConnick, who famously relaunched Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel and co-created the women-in-prison-exploitation-film-subverting comic Bitch Planet, will be taking over the Aquaman series soon — so when I sat down with DeConnick this week, I had to ask: Why Aquaman?

Not to diminish the hero, of course — I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a dumb character — but when one has been the butt of as many Justice League jokes as Aquaman, you have to ask.

DeConnick told me that that was part of the attraction to tackling a book described by DC’s chief creative officer, Jim Lee, as a Batman: Year One for the Atlantean.

“Aquaman is this character where … he is part of the Justice League, so he’s one of the big seven, right? But he’s also kinda considered second-tier. So he’s a little bit under the radar and I think that that makes him an underdog to start with, which is a place I really like to work from.”

It also doesn’t hurt that the current, most visible depiction of Aquaman comes in the form of Jason Momoa and every single one of his well-tanned mussels muscles. But DeConnick wants to stress she’s not writing Momoa’s Aquaman.

“I’m writing my Aquaman. I’ve done my research, and I don’t want to scare anyone: This is not a reboot! We’re not even renumbering! But there was something about the kind of Momoa twinkle in the eye, the little bit of a swagger. I find that really appealing. And then there’s something really visceral about water and primal about the ocean, and I got really interested in that.”

Taking an interest in a character is one thing, but crafting your own unique approach is another. DeConnick didn’t want to give too many details, naturally, but she could talk about her process, and finding her own take on Arthur Curry, superhero and half-human heir to the throne of the lost city of Atlantis.

“The question I always ask when I’m approaching any character is Where does their pain come from? What is their core wound, and how is that played out in their power set? Can you connect their wound to their gift? and How is it played out in their personality? And then What kinds of conflicts does that suggest?”


The cover of Aquaman #1, DC Comics (2011).

The cover of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Aquaman #1.
Ivan Reis, Rod Reis/DC Comics

She looked at a lot of the traditional themes of the best Aquaman arcs, particularly Geoff Johns’ New 52-era Aquaman ongoing series, which built the canonical foundation for DC’s current version of Aquaman.

“Based on the work that Geoff did,” DeConnick said, “I have a different idea for what the core wound is for Arthur, that I want to play from.”

“The approach for Aquaman has always been that he is essentially mixed race, right? He’s half-Atlantean and half-human, so he doesn’t belong in either place, and the idea is [that] each place rejects him for that. But my feeling is that in contemporary society we cannot play the beautiful, literally bulletproof white boy off as facing bias because of his mixed parentage. I think that is disingenuous at best and, I don’t know, cruel at worst. So, I was like Alright, well, what else have we got to work with?”

Her Aquaman will move the conflicted king closer to Wonder Woman than Superman.

“There’s these different iconic models that we work with in superheroes and he’s always been the alien model, right? Like Superman, [Aquaman] is not of this world. […] I wanted to shift him from that to more of a mythological grounding. More like … Wonder Woman or Thor would be myth-based characters, as opposed to the alien model. So that’s the other shift that I’m making. But it isn’t like I’m rewriting his history. It’s rather sort of a tonal shift or an approach shift. I don’t want to scare anyone. Really, I’m not scary and very nice!”

Many details on DeConnick’s Aquaman run remain to be announced, including the artist and release date, but based on upcoming runs, it’s unlikely to hit shelves until early 2019.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/8/3/17645482/aquaman-dc-comics-kelly-sue-deconnick

The new Aquaman will be more Wonder Woman than Superman

One of the most surprising reveals of San Diego Comic-Con 2018 was that Kelly Sue DeConnick will be tackling a new Aquaman story for DC Comics. Granted, that was at least partially because DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio wasn’t supposed to have mentioned it at the company’s traditional Thursday morning press event.

But the fish is out of the net: DeConnick, who famously relaunched Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel and co-created the women-in-prison-exploitation-film-subverting comic Bitch Planet, will be taking over the Aquaman series soon — so when I sat down with DeConnick this week, I had to ask: Why Aquaman?

Not to diminish the hero, of course — I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a dumb character — but when one has been the butt of as many Justice League jokes as Aquaman, you have to ask.

DeConnick told me that that was part of the attraction to tackling a book described by DC’s chief creative officer, Jim Lee, as a Batman: Year One for the Atlantean.

“Aquaman is this character where … he is part of the Justice League, so he’s one of the big seven, right? But he’s also kinda considered second-tier. So he’s a little bit under the radar and I think that that makes him an underdog to start with, which is a place I really like to work from.”

It also doesn’t hurt that the current, most visible depiction of Aquaman comes in the form of Jason Momoa and every single one of his well-tanned mussels muscles. But DeConnick wants to stress she’s not writing Momoa’s Aquaman.

“I’m writing my Aquaman. I’ve done my research, and I don’t want to scare anyone: This is not a reboot! We’re not even renumbering! But there was something about the kind of Momoa twinkle in the eye, the little bit of a swagger. I find that really appealing. And then there’s something really visceral about water and primal about the ocean, and I got really interested in that.”

Taking an interest in a character is one thing, but crafting your own unique approach is another. DeConnick didn’t want to give too many details, naturally, but she could talk about her process, and finding her own take on Arthur Curry, superhero and half-human heir to the throne of the lost city of Atlantis.

“The question I always ask when I’m approaching any character is Where does their pain come from? What is their core wound, and how is that played out in their power set? Can you connect their wound to their gift? and How is it played out in their personality? And then What kinds of conflicts does that suggest?”


The cover of Aquaman #1, DC Comics (2011).

The cover of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Aquaman #1.
Ivan Reis, Rod Reis/DC Comics

She looked at a lot of the traditional themes of the best Aquaman arcs, particularly Geoff Johns’ New 52-era Aquaman ongoing series, which built the canonical foundation for DC’s current version of Aquaman.

“Based on the work that Geoff did,” DeConnick said, “I have a different idea for what the core wound is for Arthur, that I want to play from.”

“The approach for Aquaman has always been that he is essentially mixed race, right? He’s half-Atlantean and half-human, so he doesn’t belong in either place, and the idea is [that] each place rejects him for that. But my feeling is that in contemporary society we cannot play the beautiful, literally bulletproof white boy off as facing bias because of his mixed parentage. I think that is disingenuous at best and, I don’t know, cruel at worst. So, I was like Alright, well, what else have we got to work with?”

Her Aquaman will move the conflicted king closer to Wonder Woman than Superman.

“There’s these different iconic models that we work with in superheroes and he’s always been the alien model, right? Like Superman, [Aquaman] is not of this world. […] I wanted to shift him from that to more of a mythological grounding. More like … Wonder Woman or Thor would be myth-based characters, as opposed to the alien model. So that’s the other shift that I’m making. But it isn’t like I’m rewriting his history. It’s rather sort of a tonal shift or an approach shift. I don’t want to scare anyone. Really, I’m not scary and very nice!”

Many details on DeConnick’s Aquaman run remain to be announced, including the artist and release date, but based on upcoming runs, it’s unlikely to hit shelves until early 2019.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/8/3/17645482/aquaman-dc-comics-kelly-sue-deconnick

Green Lanterns, Superman, Booster Gold, and What’s Next for Dan Jurgens

Dan Jurgens is often remembered as one of the men who killed Superman, but he’s also someone who gave the Man of Steel as much life as any number of legendary creators. Jurgens’ time with Superman spans nearly 30 years, and his work at DC Comics has allowed him to play with nearly every major character and concept over the decades.

Incredibly accomplished as both a writer and artist, Jurgens just finished his latest run with Superman, wrapping up his time as writer on Action Comics, and writing and drawing the lead story for Action Comics #1000. He’s currently writing Green Lanterns, his first time on a proper Green Lantern book, despite having made his mark on that world (albeit indirectly) back in 1993. 

And while stuff like Superman and Green Lantern are the marquee names, comic book fans also know Jurgens as the creator of Booster Gold, the beloved time-traveling screw-up whose antics often feel like the inspiration for the Legends of Tomorrow TV series. We sat down with Mr. Jurgens at SDCC to talk about what he’s been up to recently…

Den of Geek: So, you just kicked off an arc on Green Lanterns, let’s talk about that.

Dan Jurgens: I’m doing Green Lanterns now, along with Mike Perkins, who has just come over to DC from Marvel. Mike and I have wanted to work together for a long time, and he’s doing absolutely fabulous stuff on it, and it is so much fun to see his interpretations of the entire Green Lantern Corps. I keep throwing more stuff at him, saying, “Draw this character, draw that character,” and he’s doing a great job with it.

What we have done, is introduce a mystery into the Green Lantern Corps, where by the end of our first issue, which is number 50, one of the Guardians is dead, and it starts to look like a murder mystery, with different Lantern characters being pegged as the murderers. So, it’s very much a story about the Corps, it’s about mistrust, it’s about whether or not you can trust each other, and whether or not you can even touch these cool rings that they wear, which is what makes them the Green Lantern. So, we’re having a lot of different things we’re playing things we’re playing with in this that make it, I think, somewhat different then the typical Green Lantern type of story.

And how long is this arc running for?

We’re running from issue 50 to 57, eight issues, and when you have that many characters as we do there, and I want to touch on the entire Corps, certainly with focus on Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz, ’cause they were sort of the cornerstone characters. But we’re using Kilowog, and we’re using Guy Gardner, and we’re using Hal, so we have a lot we want to touch on.

Is this the first time you’ve written any of the Green Lanterns outside of guest appearances in other the books?

Well, and that’s what’s really weird, because it is the first time I’ve done it directly, and the funny thing is that if we go back to Death of Superman days, when we destroyed Coast City, that’s kind what drove Hal off the edge, and turned into the Parallax stuff, which I also did in Zero Hour. I’ve had this relationship with Green Lantern for a long time, but never have done it directly. So, yeah, this is the first time.

I can’t stay away from your Superman work, because it’s just such tremendous body of work that I’ve come back to again and again as a fan. What is your proudest moment as a Superman writer, artist, and creator?

I think it’s really hard to beat Superman #75, and the whole Death of Superman thing, because that was so unique for its time, and these days it’s really almost impossible for those who weren’t there, to try and tell them what it was like in terms of the public reaction to it overall. So, that’s a part of it, but I think also, and not to cheat, because this will sound like a bit of a cheat, is just to have had that long of an affiliation with a character, and continue to be able to add things that contribute overall to the old tapestry that is Superman.

And, through that time, you’ve been a writer, you’ve been an artist, you’ve been a writer and artist. Were there any particular collaborations that you felt where you were really firing on all cylinders with people?

Yeah, well, and I think if we go back to what we were during The Death of Superman, there were four Superman books, and we were essentially a weekly comic book. And, it was a group of writers, it was me, along with Jerry Ordway, and Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern, as well as artists like Jerry was drawing his book, and we had Tom Grummett, and John Bogdanove, and all together it was a very special time for what Superman was, so there was that.

I mean, even more recently, I was so fortunate to have really good artists on the book. Patrick Zircher kinda helped us kick it off with Action Comics #957, because we were doing the Rebirth stuff and everything, and from that all the way on up through, I think I was really fortunate to have really nice, solid artists, each of whom brought something special to Superman.

Do you ever see yourself drawing a monthly again?

Yeah, I do. I think, more and more, I keep telling myself that I’m gonna have to do it again, because one of the realities is, even as I draw more sporadically now. For example I just did the story in Action Comics #1000, that I wrote and drew. And when I got done with that I said, “This was fun to get back and do this, I have to draw more,” so at some point I’m gonna have to do it here.

Do you feel now that your Superman story is complete? You wrapped things up at the end of your Rebirth run, but do you feel like you’ve told that story now? Or do you still feel that you have more stories to tell with Superman?

I think the answer to both of those is yes. I think I told that story and brought it to the conclusion I wanted it to have, but I think that there are more stories out there, and whether or not we’ll ever get around to doing it, who knows, we’ll see. But I think there are always more stories out there.

Superman is such a tremendous character, and what I like about him is that he is so elastic a character, and by that I mean you really can tell a story as small as, it’s his son Jon’s birthday, and Lois is out working on a story and he’s fighting Brainiac or somebody, and poor Jon is sitting there home alone. You can tell a story that is as small as a family moment, and at the same time, tell a story as big as Superman fighting the biggest cosmic threat there is, and that’s what I like about the character.

You are also known as the creator of the creator of Booster Gold, and Booster has been absent from the DC Universe the last couple of years until that story that came towards the end of your run on Action Comics. What was it like revisiting Booster yet again, and are we ever going to see him again, or see you working on him again?

Well, it’s always fun to work on Booster Gold, and it’s sort of like he comes up for a while, then he fades and comes back. Working on him in Action was a lot of fun. Watching Tom King use him in Batman was a lot of fun, and obviously Tom is using him in a new series that’s coming up, called Heroes in Crisis. And, after that we’ll see. Booster is, I think, this fun jovial character who is very complicated on one level, and at the same time very direct. In comics we have characters with secret identities, and all sorts of secrets they try and protect. Booster just wears it on his sleeve, and it’s all out there for everybody to see, both the good and the bad, and he has plenty of faults. I think that’s what makes it fun to work on Booster Gold, so yeah, hopefully out there we’ll see something.

And you’ve been involved with DC’s initiative to get comics out into the hands of casual fans again, with their work with Walmart.

We have four titles that are going into Walmart on a monthly basis, Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Teen Titans. I am writing the Teen Titans lead story. Each of those books are a hundred pages, and they have one new story in the front. I’m writing a Teen Titans story with great art by Scot Eaton, and right now the Titans are in this bit of a renaissance, and even that’s hard to say, because it’s not like the Titans ever really went away. But we have the Teen Titans Go! movie, and there’s a Titans live action TV series that is coming here this fall, and so to kind of be out there in that different sort of venue trying to find a new reader, and kind of find those casual readers so that we can later entice them into a comic book store, it’s a lot of fun.

What do you think it would take to really get Superman to work on the big screen again?

I think they’re very close to it. I think they have the right cast, and I think at the end of the Justice League movie, we really started to see the keys of what could make it work. We saw the Superman/Flash race, which is such a quintessential Superman moment, the color was brighter, the sun was out, it was outdoors, it was positive. We saw Superman smile, we saw Superman have sort of that command presence that I think he has to have, which I think Henry Cavill really embodies. So I think it’s very close.

Green Lanterns arrives every other Wednesday from DC Comics.

From: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/dc-entertainment/275250/green-lanterns-superman-booster-gold-and-whats-next-for-dan-jurgens

DC Returns to The Death of Superman in New Comic

One of DC’s biggest stories is coming back to the comic book page, with a fresh creative a team and a much different angle than what we previously knew.

Today, DC Comics has announced that a new digital-first comic series titled The Death of Superman will be released as a tie-in to the animated movie of the same title. In fact, the announcement was made at the same time as the first chapter of the comic was made available for download online. Written by fan-favorite scribe Louise Simonson and illustrated by Cat Staggs, Joel Ojeda, Laura Braga and more, the digital comic is a 12-part series that will unfold weekly.

RELATED: REVIEW: Animated Death of Superman Film is A Worthy Adaptation of a ’90s Classic

The Death of Superman: Part 1 is meant to be a prequel of sorts to the animated film The Death of Superman, which was already released digitally last week. The events that unfold in the comic take place hours before Superman’s fateful battle with the raging monster known as Doomsday. Some of the chapters are said to follow the heroic feats of Superman prior to the confrontation, while subsequent stories will examine what Jimmy Olsen was up to during that time, or deal with the fallout of the death of a major hero.

“These are never-before-told stories of what happened before, during, and after the conflict with Doomsday that cost Superman his life,” the writer of the series, Louise Simonson, said. “Each story will explore what power means—for someone like Superman who wields it for the good of humanity, or the villains who use it to further their own selfish agendas.”

The original Death of Superman comic book was one of the most important in the history of DC Comics’ publishing. The loss of the character made national news, and it established a path for an equally epic story that unfolded in the Superman comics the following year with “The Reign of the Supermen” — a storyline that is set to be turned into an animated movie in 2019.

RELATED: Reign of the Supermen Trailer Breaks Down the Man of Steel’s Successors

The first chapter of The Death of Superman digital comic series, written by Louise Simonson and illustrated by Cat Staggs, with colors by Wendy Broome, lettering by Carlos M. Mangual and cover by Jerry Ordway and Wendy Broome, is availble for download now. The Death of Superman animated movie was released digitally on July 24. The film will be available on Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD August 7.

From: https://www.cbr.com/death-of-superman-digital-comic-prequel/

‘The Death of Superman’ Director Compares His Movie to the Comics

In 1992’s “Doomsday!” storyline, which ran over seven parts through four weekly Superman comics and Justice League America, the writers and artists famously ratcheted up the tension from week to week by reducing the number of panels on the story’s pages, ultimately culminating with a final issue — Superman #75 — which was made up entirely of splash pages, including a final, four-part fold-out splash of Superman’s actual death.

During a conversation with reporters at Comic Con, Sam Liu — who directed the second half of the just-released animated film The Death of Superman — praised that storytelling device, and explained that while there was no 1:1 translation of the effect, within the context of the film he and his co-director Jake Castorena tried to approximate the impact by changing up their shot selection as the fight between Doomsday and the Justice League got more intense and brutal.

“I think comics are smart when they do that because they start playing with something that is not really inherent in the medium, which is pacing and timing,” Liu said. “Inherently, that is something that was very smart of them but it’s a little bit more noticeable, obviously, in film. It’s a moving media. So it’s faster cuts or longer shots or closer shots, more dynamic shots. All of those things I think have the same feeling, whether it’s timing or whether it’s composition. I think it’s something that they used to a great effect in the comics, but I think it’s easier in film.”

The movie — a loose adaptation of the “Doomsday!” story but still far closer in its execution to the original material than was the 2007 animated movie Superman: Doomsday — tracks Superman and the Justice League as they battle Doomsday in an epic smash-em-up that leaves the League down for the count, Superman and Doomsday dead, and the world reeling.

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The story has been adapted a few times — not just in Doomsday but also in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and on some of the animated series that The Death of Superman producer James Tucker has overseen for Warner Bros. Television over the years — but the latest movie is the first to really use the comics as a template and to see the death of Superman as a storyline to be adapted, rather than just a concept to be absorbed into an unrelated tale.

The Death of Superman is available on video on demand services now, and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray August 7.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2018/07/27/the-death-of-superman-director-compares-his-movie-to-the-comics/

Superman Reportedly Doesn’t Have a Cameo in ‘Shazam!’

The world is riding high on Henry Cavill after his appearance in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but many fans are wondering about his next turn as Superman after the disappointing Justice Leauge.

There were rumors of the Man of Steel possibly making a cameo in Shazam! but now it’s sounding like Cavill will sit that movie out as well, according to Mark Hughes of Forbes. The writer appeared on the Superhero News podcast and revealed he’s also heard nothing about a another new Superman movie.

“Superman, I can tell you as of three to four weeks ago, last time I checked in, there is not movement on Superman,” Hughes said. “It’s not currently sitting on the table as a project that they’re looking at moving forward on and there’s no expectation of imminent movement on a Superman project… that’s the situation.”

He added that while it could change in the future, fans shouldn’t expect to see Cavill suiting up in any upcoming DC Films projects.

“I know for now it didn’t work out getting Superman into Shazam!, apparently. Maybe that will change and they’ll be able to film something. There’s still a lot of time before it comes out. As of right now, there’s no Superman in Shazam! and there’s no movement on a Superman solo movie. All this stuff is going to wait until they know for sure.”

That will likely be disappointing for many fans who were hopeful of seeing Cavill back as Clark Kent, especially after his villainous turn in the new Mission: Impossible movie. And though it sounds like all parties in involved want to make it work, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome before it happens.

Geoff Johns, who used to be one of the heads of DC Films before Warner Bros. Pictures latest reshuffling, said at Comic-Con that he’s unsure what the future holds for the character, but that the studio is determined to get the character right.

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“Look, working with [DC Films president] Walter Hamada and [Warner Bros. President and CCO] Toby [Emmerich] over there at [Warner Bros.], they feel the same way. Everyone loves Superman and knows how important Superman is,” Johns told Collider. “It’s not in my wheelhouse now to really say anything beyond that but… I got into this business because of Superman: The Movie, because Dick Donner directed what I think is still an amazing superhero film but an amazing film — it’s an American film, it’s a classic.”

Hopefully we learn more in the near future, because DC Comics fans are eager to see the Superman back on the big screen.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2018/07/30/superman-not-in-shazam-no-man-of-steel-sequel/

The Comic Source Podcast Episode 434 – Superman Sunday: Action Comics #1001

In this episode we discuss;

The Comic Source Podcast

Episode 434

Superman Sunday: Action Comics #1001

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis, Artist – Patrick Gleason, Colorist – Alejandro Sanchez

From: https://lrmonline.com/news/episode-434/

Henry Cavill Knows Which Superman Comic Should Be Adapted …

There’s been plenty of talk about a potential Man of Steel 2, but DC and Warner Bros. have yet to confirm in any official manner that a movie is in development. That hasn’t stopped people from asking Henry Cavill about a sequel, with the actor expressing a desire to lead his own solo film again, but not confirming anything. Superman has no shortage of comic books stories that could make for an awesome movie, but if Cavill really had to pick, he’d want to adapt a comic book known as Superman: For Tomorrow.

From: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2454714/henry-cavill-knows-which-superman-comic-should-be-adapted-for-man-of-steel-2

Superman Taps Into His Inner-Batman in Action Comics #1001

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Action Comics #1001 by Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason, and Alejandro Sanchez, on sale now!


When the super-sized, jam-book Action Comics #1000 was released in April, it was nothing short of a milestone in comic book history. The issue was impressive not just due to the four digit number plastered across its cover — it also heralded the arrival of Brian Michael Bendis to DC Comics’s monthly schedule. But somehow, despite this, Action Comics #1001 almost feels like a bigger deal. If issue #1000 was the summit of a mountain, then this issue marks the beginning of a new climb, which feels like something that should be celebrated as well.

This summer has involved comic readers becoming acclimated to Bendis taking up the reins on Superman. Some fans were apprehensive about how the prolific comic scribe would embrace the most iconic superhero ever created, but thus far, his tenure at DC (which has included the six-issue miniseries The Man of Steel and Superman #1) has proven that not only does Bendis understand the character on the fundamental level, he can also incorporate his own story telling devices to make the Kal-El feel new again without betraying the last eighty years of Superman comics. Action Comics #1001 is no exception.

RELATED: Action Comics Is Poised To ‘Redefine’ Superman Lois’ Relationship

In this issue, we pick up a loose plot thread from The Man of Steel surrounding a series of mysterious arsons plaguing Metropolis. The fires have been the bane of not just Superman, but Clark Kent. And yes, there is a dichotomy there, despite the two of them being the same person. Clark can interact with certain groups of people in ways Superman never could, and vice versa.

As the logline on the cover of this issue proclaims, “As Metropolis burns, only one hero can save it… Clark Kent.” This isn’t some cheeky nod to the power of investigative journalism. It’s stating a fact. Despite all his power, there are some thing Superman can’t get done on his own. The string of fires burning his city down is a something he can’t solve by punching it into orbit.

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From: https://www.cbr.com/superman-action-comics-batman-detective-work/

‘Teen Titans Go! To The Movies’ is wacky DC Comics fun – TwinCities.com

Compared to their dark and dour live-action brethren, the Warner Brothers/DC Comics animated features are a breath of fresh air. Much like “The Lego Batman Movie” (which one could argue is the best Batman movie — full stop), the wild, wacky and self-aware “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” bursts onto the screen like an attention-addled sugar rush. It absolutely nails the humor and self-referential material that is so sorely lacking from the likes of “Batman Vs. Superman.” So yeah, it is possible to make a funny DC Comics movie.

Based on the wildly popular and long-running Cartoon Network series “Teen Titans Go!,” the feature film adaptation is directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail, written by Horvath and Michael Jelenic. “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is a deliriously demented and gleeful skewering of DC Comics characters, superhero movies and Hollywood in general that’s one long inside joke — with musical numbers!

It’s a classic story of big Hollywood dreams, wherein Robin (Scott Menville) goes on a quest to attain what seems impossible — a meeting with a big-time movie director, Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell). He wants to be a real superhero, along with his crew, the Teen Titans: Cyborg (Khary Payton), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) and Raven (Tara Strong). Based on anecdotal evidence, Robin deduces the way to be taken seriously as a real superhero is to have a movie made about you. And to be a real superhero and have a movie made about him, he needs an archnemesis — enter Slade (Will Arnett).

One of the great things about “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is the team behind the television show, including the filmmakers and voice actors, have been transplanted to the big screen and given a bigger platform, rather than replacing the creators with higher profile names. That deep knowledge and comfort with the characters shows, as it’s the rapid-fire chemistry within the group that keeps the film moving at a breakneck pace.

There are cheeky body-humor jokes and rousing musical numbers, including an absolutely epic ’80s jam called “Upbeat,” complete with a Lisa Frank-inspired aesthetic. There’s a hilarious recurring Stan Lee cameo (voiced by Lee), roasting the Marvel publisher’s thirst for screen time. Most importantly, there’s a willingness to poke fun at some of DC’s most iconic characters, like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. It may blow your mind that Nicolas Cage voices Superman, considering his obsession with the character and his failed Superman movie, “Superman Lives.” His son, Kal-El Cage (yes, named after Superman), even voices young Bruce Wayne. This is the kind of mind-boggling depth of reference going on.

But after such a promising start, it becomes clear that when stretched to an hour and 33 minutes, the relentless, frantic energy of the Teen Titans can be rather exhausting. The film becomes busy, loud and harried, never letting up on the pace or making room for lines or jokes to land. The Teen Titans overstay their welcome just a hair, as they most likely shine brightest in a half-hour format. But the film is incredibly smart, and funny, and a refreshingly lighthearted take on these characters and cinematic universe. Here’s hoping their attitude is infectious.

‘TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES’

Directed by: Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail

Starring: Scott Menville, Kristen Bell, Khary Payton, Hynden Walch, Greg Cipes, Tara Strong, Will Arnett, Nicolas Cage

Rated: PG for action and rude humor.

Should you go? It’s a smart, lighthearted take on DC characters. ***

From: https://www.twincities.com/2018/07/26/teen-titans-go-to-the-movies-is-wacky-dc-comics-fun/

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