Superman and Wonder Woman Tid Bits From Emerald City Comic Con

Emerald City Comic Con kicked off Friday in Seattle. DC’s Bob Harras, Matt Idelson, Will Dennis, Chris Roberson, Marv Wolfman and Sergio Aragones were among one of the first panels to field questions from fans.

Of course, questions thrown their way involved almost everything under the sun that is DC, from DC Universe Online to the upcoming Flashpoint event, but what I found relevant to CBM were the teaser styled responses given to questions concerning the upcoming Superman film and Wonder Woman TV Show.

On whether or not the costumes for the upcoming Superman film and Wonder Woman television series would resemble the costumes from the comics, DC’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras had this to say…

“I haven’t seen anything on ‘Superman. I’ve seen some sketches for the Wonder Woman costume and I will say this today – there is every intent to make them similar. People do these TV shows and these movies because they love the characters. And with DC being able to work much more closely with Warner Bros, I think you’ll be happy with what comes across.”

On what level of involvement DC Comics has with the Superman movie Matt Idelson (Group Editor of the Superman comics) offered the following…

“There’s definitely a connection. Geoff and David talk all the time, so there is interaction.”

Hawksblueyes: Key words… “similar” and…”what comes across.” To see what else panel members had to say concerning upcoming DC events, click on the link below.


Watsonville police arrest teen in Superman sweater robbery

WATSONVILLE — A 26-year-old man wearing a blue Superman sweater was beaten by five people who hopped out of a minivan, robbed him of his sweater and fled Wednesday night, police said.

The attack took place about 11:40 p.m. near Ohlone Parkway and Harkins Slough Road, Lt. David McCartney said, Police said five men or boys drove up in a Mazda MPV minivan and assaulted the man. The victim was wearing a vintage, blue, zippered DC Comics Superman sweater, which the suspects stole before they fled in the van, police said.

About 20 minutes later, Watsonville police spotted a red Mazda van near East Lake and Brewington avenues. An officer tried to stop the van, but it fled north on Brewington and hit a Toyota pickup and a tree near Lincoln Street and Palm Avenue, police said.

The people in the van ran away and a 16-year-old boy was arrested a short distance away, Barnett said. The teen’s name has not been released by authorities because of his age.

The man who was driving the Toyota also fled but was contacted by police afterward, McCartney said.

The victim’s sweater was found in the van and returned to him, police said.

The 16-year-old was booked in to Juvenile Hall on suspicion of robbery, possession of stolen property and fleeing a police officer, authorities said.

Watsonville police asked anyone with information to call investigations at 768-3350 or leave an anonymous tip on the tip line at 768-3544.


Comics: Flaws aside, animated ‘All-Star Superman’ still fun

Scripps Howard News Service

Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely did something relatively new and entirely entertaining with their 12-issue “All-Star Superman” comic book. The animated adaptation from Warner Premiere isn’t nearly as groundbreaking, but still may be the best of the DC Universe Animated Original Movie series so far.

The original purpose behind DC’s “All-Star” line of comics was to put top-flight creators on the publisher’s top characters with no restrictions — free of the restraints of ongoing stories and decades of backstory — and do their best work. It really didn’t work out that way.

Frank Miller’s “All-Star Batman” morphed into a sort of ongoing prequel to Miller’s 1986 “Dark Knight Returns,” and given how seldom it comes out, is practically an annual. “All-Star Wonder Woman” was announced, but never got published.

But “All-Star Superman” was exactly what DC had hoped for. Morrison and Quitely did the near-impossible: 12 issues whose main plots were self-contained to single issues (Lois Lane with superpowers! Lex Luthor escapes jail!), but whose overall themes and overarching storyline (The Man of Steel faces his mortality!) ran the whole of the series. It was a stand-alone story — with a beginning, many middles and a definite end — that could be (and has been) neatly collected into two trade paperbacks.

And it was, by any metric, a treasure. Morrison’s story touched on everything that makes Superman super. He reminded us of the wonder of superpowers, such as we haven’t seen since the character’s early days. He explored Superman’s two main relationships — with Lane and Luthor. His 12 subplots touched on all the whimsy, humanity and clever concepts of the Man of Steel’s long history, from a small moment where Superman comforts a suicidal teen, to outre silliness like Bizarro World, to imagination-challenging superfeats like saving the sun.

But 12 little stories and one big story is a tall order for a 76-minute animated adaptation. Some of the best bits are left out, and some of the others don’t translate all that well to the screen. And the very nature of the story makes the parade of short arcs seem choppy and episodic.

Still, much of the fun is still there, which makes “All-Star Superman” — which came out on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 22 — well worth it. A lot of credit goes to screenplay writer Dwayne McDuffie, a talented veteran of DC Comics and cartoons. McDuffie died Feb. 23 from surgery complication at age 49, so this film is now the cap of his shortened career. That could cast a pall over “All-Star Superman,” but anyone who has enjoyed McDuffie’s exuberant and thoughtful work over the years should treat it as a celebration of the man’s life and career.

Also from DC:

— Zombies have been so ubiquitous lately as to become tiresome, but Chris Roberson (writer) and Mike Allred (artist) have come up with a fresh take in “iZombie,” a new ongoing series. The first trade paperback, “iZombie: Dead to the World” ($14.99), is a treat for fans of horror, humor … and young romance!

The undead protagonist of the title is Gwendolyn Dylan, 20 and holding, who must eat a brain once a month to avoid becoming the shambling stereotype. She works as a gravedigger, so finding brains isn’t a problem. The downside is that she also ingests the memories of the dead, some of whom demand she find their killer.

So “iZombie” is a sort of undead-detective series, which includes a ghostly go-go dancer from the swinging ’60s, a were-terrier, vampire paintball players and other unusual denizens of the night. Drawn by the pop-art-inspired Allred at his most groovy, “iZombie”is a cross between “Dark Shadows,” “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “Gossip Girls.” Amazingly, it works.


— Brazilian twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon combined on “Daytripper,” a self-contained 10-issue miniseries now collected in trade paperback ($19.99) — and it is a keeper.

“Daytripper” is 10 stories about Bras, an obit writer for a Brazilian newspaper, who is overshadowed by his famous writer father. From that one starting point, the twins tell 10 variations of Bras’ life, each ending with his death at a different age.

Written in the magical-realism style of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Daytripper” is a warm mirage of a story, reminding us that life is random, which can be either wonderful or destructive — or both.


Viggo Mortensen to Play General Zod in ‘Superman?’

Is anyone else extremely disappointed that Superman: The Man of Steel is just recycling villains from the original Superman movies? It’s been 40 damned years, people! In the comics Superman had a great rogues gallery beyond Lex Luthor and other Kryptonians: Braniac, Bizarro, Mongul, Darkseid, Metallo, Parasite, Silver Banshee, Manchester Black… Viggo Mortensen is a great actor. Can’t he play one of them instead? He’d make a great Silver Banshee!

But no, Hollywood Reporter is indicating that Aragorn himself is in talks to play General Zod, a role previously played by the iconic Terrence Stamp. He’ll nail it. But then again he’d also nail Lex Luthor and please don’t read too much into that statement. This fits with our previous story that actresses Alice Eve and Rosamund Pike have been meeting with director Zack Snyder in regards to Zod’s hot girlfriend Ursa. Mortensen may have a tough decision on his hands. He’s already in negotiations to star in Universal’s upcoming Snow White feature, which would likely cause scheduling conflicts with The Man of Steel.

We love Viggo Mortensen and hope he kicks Superman’s ass. Crave Online will return with more Superman news as it changes in a public telephone booth. Hey! Some of us actually have to use the phone!


‘All Star Superman’ burns out on DVD

Superman recently made the news when details of the hero’s next film were announced. British actor Henry Cavil of Showtime’s “The Tudors” will portray the man of steel in a reboot of the franchise scheduled for release in 2012. In the meantime, fans clamoring to see the last son of krypton on film will have to settle for “All Star Superman,” the latest direct-to-video release from DC’s animated movie library. The film is an adaptation of the comic series of the same name by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely, which was acclaimed by critics and fans as one of the best Superman stories ever written. In the movie, Superman finds out he is dying. While on a manned mission to explore the sun (really a trap set up by his arch-enemy Lex Luthor), he absorbs too much sunlight, causing his cells to explode from too much power. As his doom approaches, the man of steel attempts to tie up some loose ends, namely revealing his secret identity and true feelings to Lois Lane and facing Luthor in a final showdown. At only 76 minutes, the movie leaves out several plot points from the comic. Gone are memorable events like the excursion to Bizarro World and Jimmy Olsen as Doomsday, as well as some of the more poignant things, such as a short-but-touching scene in which Superman stops a teenager from committing suicide. What did make it to the movie is pretty faithful to the comic. Unfortunately, though, the transition to the screen left out something more important than a few plot points. In the comic, Morrison explores the mythic themes surrounding Superman such as his godlike powers and his role as a hero. At the same time, the story acts as a celebration of the character and everything that made him so popular in the first place. Set outside the official canon, the comic depicts many crazy and often amusing heroic deeds without having to worry about the strict continuity of the DC Universe. The movie explores the mythic themes somewhat, but has very little of the sheer unpredictable fun that made the comic so enjoyable. The film is too serious and heavy-handed, forgetting to just have a good time. DC animated movies and shows have always been a cut above most so-called children’s entertainment. Featuring strong writing, great voice talent and top-notch animation, they have always kept at least the spirit and tone of the comics intact, making them hits with fans while still entertaining to younger viewers. “All Star Superman” does not break this trend, at least in aesthetic quality. The animation is beautiful, and the voice acting is solid. Unfortunately, it takes itself too seriously for its own good. “All Star Superman” receives a 6 out of 10.


Viggo Mortensen in talks to play General Zod in new Superman movie

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All-Star Superman Blu-Ray Review

Mania Grade: C-

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    • Starring the Voices of: James Denton, Anthony LaPaglia, Ed Asner
    • Written by: Grant Morrison, Dwayne McDuffie
    • Directed by: Sam Liu
    • Rating: PG
    • Distributer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
    • Original Year of Release: 2011
    • Extras: See Below
    • Series:

    Lackluster Adaptation of the Comic Series

    February 25, 2011

    All-Star Superman
    © DC Comics/Tim Janson

    Blu-Ray Extras

    Bruce Timm’s picks: Two Episodes of the Superman Animated TV series, Blast from the Past Parts 1 2 


    LEX Cedes Way to SUPERMAN in Paul Cornell’s ACTION COMICS

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    posted: 24 February 2011 11:54 am ET

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    Superman will be back as the star of Action Comics, but Lex Luthor has had quite a ride as the central character.

    Paul Cornell, the British writer who took over Action Comics after “War of the Supermen,” has been weaving a tale of Lex Luthor’s obsession with obtaining the power of the black rings from Blackest Night, bringing his friend Robot Lois Lane along for the adventure. The story has gotten a loyal fan following, but in April the focus will change.



    Action Comics #900 will feature extra content from a roster of talent including David Goyer and Richard Donner, but Cornell will begin the transition back to Superman’s presence in the title, writing a 50-page story that brings the Lex story to a close while kicking off the comic’s next arc.’;

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    Newsarama talked to Cornell to find out more about what’s coming in Action Comics as the story finishes up in the oversized issue #900.

    Newsarama: What do you think of the casting of Superman by a British actor? I noticed on Twitter that you jokingly mentioned Helena Bonham Carter as a possibility for Lois Lane, to round out the cast with Brits.

    Paul Cornell: I understand how people take it so seriously. I really do. I’m hypocritical about it. I would hate it if Doctor Who was played by an American. So I understand how people want Superman to be played by an American. However, I think they have a good actor. I think it’s really interesting that the Doctor and Superman have the same place in the psyche of the different countries. The alien who is very much like that nationality.

    Nobody seems to mind Batman being British.

    But I just had fun on Twitter suggesting an all-British cast.

    Nrama: I’d like to talk about Lois Lane, because you’ve done such a fun twist on her character by creating this android Lois Lane. We talked about the character a little bit when you first introduced her, but now that we realize there’s more to her agenda, what was your thinking behind this character when you were first developing her for Action Comics?

    Cornell: The use of an android Lois Lane was the idea of one of my editors. I think it might have been Wil Moss. But she works so well because Lex isn’t going to trust anybody he didn’t build. And it just happened to be Superman’s wife, accidentally, without Lex actually knowing that. I think it says a lot about his unconscious processing, because he certainly doesn’t know.

    I really like the fact that she’s a very sassy Lois. You know, she’s a really punchy Margot Kidder Lois. That’s an aspect of the real Lois Lane that is maybe turned down too much these days. I think people seeing her like that.

    Nrama: Lex and Android Lois certainly make a great couple.

    Cornell: Lex and Robot Lois forever in my opinion! And you know, I sometimes like putting little clues and references in, just to see if anybody will get them. And there was a dirty great hint of a musical nature in the Lex vs. the Joker issue, as to who Lois’ employer is. I don’t know whether anyone caught that, but you might have figured out who was behind her actions.

    Nrama: That Joker issue was a perfect example of what you’re doing here. How do you get to the essence of each villain, because they’re only around for one issue and they share the stage with Lex, yet you seem to portray each in a way that captures who they are.

    Cornell: That’s what I’m enjoying so much. And the fact that I’m doing a gallery of them, what makes them great. That’s one of the real pleasures for me. The Joker was such a tremendous pleasure. I’ve been waiting to write him for so long. And actually, I’ve gotten to write him again immediately in issue #5 of Knight and Squire.

    Lex and the Joker are polar opposites, in a way that Lex and Superman really aren’t. It’s not like Superman is all about the brawn and Lex is all about the brain (although Lex is all about the brain). The Joker’s about irrationality and Lex is about too much rationality. And just putting them in the room together gets the kind of drama I like. It may not be the most action-packed issue, but I think it was one of my best.

    Nrama: This week’s issue put Lex with Larfleeze, together again for the first time since Blackest Night. What was that like?

    Cornell: Larfleeze is great because he gets an itch when someone is after something. He knows Lex is after something, so he wants it. But this issue gave us an opportunity to revisit the cause of what set Lex off on this quest in the first place. That moment he became an Orange Lantern and got to wield the power of a lantern ring. And to check out how much he needs that power still.

    Nrama: What can you tell us about next month’s Brainiac issue?

    Cornell: It’s set in space. The end of it has the most dirty great cliffhanger you’ve ever seen in your life.

    It’s about plots and counter-plots and reveals and chess moves. And some physical violence of a very precise sort. And some old scores being settled. Basically, now, we’re out of the phase where I just pick the villains I want and do fun things with them, and we’re into the let’s use the villains we need to have in this arc to make it work and put the last few bricks in place.

    I’d like to think it’s a really good build toward the final chapter of the story, but you know, good or bad isn’t for me to say, but it’s been thought about. We’ve all thought about this really hard.

    There are some pretty random comics in the world, and some of them are great for being random. But this isn’t one of them. This is really a brick-by-brick story that’s building. It’s like Legos. But it’s not a Lego comic. There is no Lego in this comic. I should clarify this.

    Nrama: And it’s all building toward Action Comics #900?



    Cornell: Yeah. Issue #900 is really the climax of this story, but in a Jim Steinman way. It keeps on going up into another level into #901. So we finish one story and kind of start another act in the same issue, in #900.

    Nrama: Issue #900 is a huge issue. How much of that is your story?

    Cornell: There are 50 pages of main story. All the rest of it is extra stuff. And there’s no Lego in #900 either, although wouldn’t a Lego Lex Luthor be fabulous? I would love a Lego Lex Luthor. And a Lego Lois! That would fantastic.

    Nrama: I think now, someone will build it.

    Cornell: I hope so!

    Nrama: Superman is returning to the pages of Action Comics now. Is there any hesitation in messing with this great formula you have with Lex as the central star?

    Cornell: I can hear millions of fans who’ve popped up on message boards saying, “No!! We want Superman back!!” Because they have been saying that fairly consistently.

    So no, I don’t think there was a moment’s hesitation in finishing this arc and bringing him back.

    Nrama: You talked about issue #901, so you’re staying on after this arc for a while?

    Cornell: Yes. I will be at the helm in #901 with Superman in the comic.

    Nrama: Do you have more to tell in the “Reign of Doomsday?”

    Cornell: Yes, I do. It plays through issue #900 into #901.

    Nrama: Let’s talk about Pete Woods. What does he bring to this comic?

    Cornell: He’s awesome. He’s one of my favorite artists I’ve worked with. What I really like is that when I write a conversation, he not only get the emotions of the participants, he’ll add to it. It’s been a positive loop in that the more emotions he plays with Lex Luthor’s face, the more I start writing to the ability to do those emotions. And also, he can do the dirty great action stuff as well.

    Because he does all this digitally, he has no original art! I’d love a page of his for my wall, but this is never going to happen. I guess he could print one out for me. I must ask.

    But he’s a delight to work with. He works really hard, especially on designs. He’ll send us designs and change them quite a lot until we’re all happy with what’s going to happen. His Robot Lois designs are amazing. He loves the fact that she can change her outfit on a moment’s thought, so suddenly, she bursts into that Secret Six issue dressed like an aviator. [laughs] The sudden arrays of special weaponry she pulls out. I couldn’t be happier. And he has a David Tennant fetish. I was quite amazed when I saw some likenesses popping up in that comic, which are all accidental, I’m sure.

    Nrama: We’ve seen so many great interactions with villains and Lex. Will we see some of these villains return for the end of this arc?

    Cornell: It depends what you call a villain.

    There’s certainly a prominent guest star from one of the previous issues who will be back in issue #900. In fact, let me count them…. one, two, three. Certainly three, perhaps four. But only very, very briefly.

    Nrama: You’ve just finished a story in Batman and Robin, and you’re finishing up Knight and Squire. Can you tell us anything about what’s coming up next for you?

    Cornell: No. But I certainly will be writing more for DC.

    C2E2 Chicago

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    All-Star Superman Blu-ray Review

    The Movie

    The “All-Star” concept over at DC Comics is a bold one: What happens when you assign your absolute best artist/writer team to some of the greatest fictional heroes the world has ever known? The answer, in the case of Superman, was, well, All-Star Superman. With words by Grant Morrison and art by Frank Quitely, the twelve-issue, closed-ended series presented a relaxed, god-like figure confident in his near-invulnerability, while expanding upon the timeless aspects of his character.

    Leave it to his nemesis, Lex Luthor, to finally figure out a way to destroy The Man of Steel. He remotely sabotages a manned space mission to the sun, and when Superman is overexposed to its radiation during the subsequent rescue, he is at first imbued with the greatest strength of is life, but then sentenced to his inevitable doom.

    All-Star is set outside of the strict continuity of the more established Superman books, and so Morrison had license to shake things up in a profound manner. As a single, epic storyline, it was ripe for dramatic adaptation, and so this animated movie (with a softer PG rating than this mostly PG-13 series) explores the surprising ways Superman chooses to spend his final days, with an emphasis on closure. It’s a contrast to the recently popular dark and gritty superhero style certainly, exploring his classic roots in an almost philosophical fashion. I might have enjoyed a bit more action, but Superman purists will surely find a lot to like here.

    The Picture

    All-Star Superman was digitally created but with the look of traditional animation, an excellent fit (literally, at 16:9) for Blu-ray and HDTV. The colors are vibrant and the image is remarkably stable in most scenes. Even the ringing in soft glows, common to this series, appears reduced on this newest title, although I noted some strobing in fast motion. Text on the front page of The Daily Planet or on a computer screen is razor-sharp.


    The Sound

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is highlighted by the multichannel whooshing and ample bass that are necessary for a proper Superman story. Trebles too are clean for a spacious overall soundfield, and the often-subtle 360-degree presence is marked by occasional discrete touches in the speakers in addition to the large-scale action of the major battles. As with the video, the audio here is well-suited to the Blu-ray medium.

    The Extras

    Fans and newcomers alike will find the pair of short documentaries fascinating “Superman Now” (34 minutes, HD) explores in detail the reimagining of the iconic hero, and “The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison” shares his original sketches (ten minutes, in a low-bitrate AVC). Producer Bruce Timm joins Morrison, an endearing Scot with an unmistakable brogue, for the lively audio commentary.

    The All-Star Superman Digital Comic allows us to flip through the first issue via our remote control. “Blasts from the Past Parts 1 2” from the Superman animated series, introduce us to a couple of power-drunk Kryptonians reminiscent of those in All-Star. The two episodes run 41 minutes total, in the same low-bitrate AVC we see on a lot of Warner Blu-rays.

    Disc Two is a hybrid DVD containing the movie in standard definition as well as a Digital Copy for iTunes and Windows Media.

    Final Thoughts

    While not exactly what I was expecting, All-Star Superman is nonetheless a stylistically faithful representation of the well-received comic book series, technically well-produced and generously supplemented. Super-fans will want to pick it up, and curious outsiders would likely enjoy a rental.

    Product Details

    • Voice Actors: James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, Linda Cardellini, Arnold Vosloo, Finola Hughes, Alexis Denisof, Edward Asner, Matthew Gray Gubler, Frances Conroy
    • Director: Sam Liu
    • Audio Format/Languages: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, German), Dolby Digital 2.0 (Spanish, Portuguese)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, German SDH, Spanish, Portuguese
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rating: PG
    • Studio: Warner
    • Release Date: February 22, 2010
    • Run Times: 77 minutes
    • List Price: $24.98
    • Extras:
      • Audio Commentary by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
      • “Superman Now”
      • “The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison”
      • All-Star Superman Digital Comic
      • Animated TV episodes “Blasts from the Past Parts 1 2”
      • DVD
      • Digital Copy

    Where to Buy:


    The ‘All Star Superman’ Animated Movie: One of the Best [Review]

    This week, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman became the latest DC Comics storyline to be made into an animated feature, and for many fans, myself included, this felt like something that was going a step beyond the stories they’ve adapted in the past.

    All Star Superman isn’t just a story that has that great hook — Superman’s last adventure before he dies — it’s also one of the best Superman stories of all time,

    When you get right down to it, most of DC’s previous animated releases, Crisis on Two Earths, Under the Red Hood, Public Enemies and Apocalypse, have all fallen into the same broad category. They’re stories with great hooks — the Justice League fights their evil opposites, Batman’s sidekick comes back from the dead with a chip on his shoulder, Superman and Batman punch some dudes, Superman and Batman punch some other dudes and also Supergirl’s there — but they’re also stories that, for obvious reasons, felt like they were the easiest to pitch to the mass market, but not necessarily the best.

    As a comic, All-Star Superman is an incredible testament to the craft of comic book storytelling, and also something that synthesizes itself out of decades of comics in a way that’s still fairly accessible to unfamiliar readers. Tthat simultaneously makes it an obvious choice to see adapted, and also something that’s incredibly difficult to pull off without losing what makes it special. And now, having seen it, I’ve got to say, they did a pretty great job.

    I’m pretty sure that anyone reading ComicsAlliance has probably read All Star Superman before, and anyone reading a review probably doesn’t mind getting spoiled, but on the off chance that neither of these things describe you, watch out: Spoilers Follow.

    When you’re translating something that’s as meticulous as All Star Superman into a different medium, a great deal of its success or failure depends on the strength of your choices: what stays, what’s left out, and what gets changed. Not in terms of just filming a shot-for-shot version of the comic with voices and animation — we’ve all seen how badly that sort of thing can go — but in being able to figure out what translates and what doesn’t, what can be cut out and what needs to be in there to preserve the greater meaning of the work.

    And since I already know this story by heart, it’s those choices by screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie that I think say the most about how the animated All Star works. For one thing, he preserves Morrison’s eight-word intro (nine if you count the “Superman” that accompanies the first image above) from the comics. But again, there are still more choices made here: It’s not just the same images from Page 1 of All Star Superman #1. Those shots are the basis…

    …but they’re intercut with Leo Quintum’s ship malfunctioning as it descends to the surface of the sun. Cutting back and forth between the origin and the action builds up a sense of anticipation so that when you get to that shot of Superman flying to rescue them, there’s a huge pop to it. Plus, the way it’s done ties in to the film’s epilogue, which is almost entirely of McDuffie’s own making, rather than Morrison and Quitely’s.

    But then there are the things that were left out. Since the animated version clocks in at less than 80 minutes — perfectly sized for a two-hour time slot on Cartoon Network once you add in commercial breaks — there are chunks the comics that don’t make it in. I wish I could say I was surprised that the entirety of Morrison’s tribute to Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen in All Star Superman #4 didn’t make it to the screen, but, well, as awesome as Jimmy turning himself into Doomsday to fight an evil Superman is, it’s not strictly necessary to the plot.

    We do, however, get to see Jimmy in drag.

    And that’s always a plus.

    As I expected, McDuffie’s script also skips out of the two-part Bizarro World storyline, but Bar-El and Lilo, the Kryptonian astronauts-turned-Phantom-Zone-jailers actually did make it into the animated version.

    It doesn’t surprise me that they were considered important enough to show, but what does surprise me is that a piece of the story that I consider to be far more significant didn’t: The chapter where Superman gets to say goodbye to his father before he dies:

    Now admittedly, Bar-El and Lilo have a clear advantage in terms of making it into an animated feature. They represent a key aspect of Superman’s mythology, in that Earth and the Kents play an even greater part in shaping Superman than his Kryptonian heritage, underlining the fact that he’s our hero, not an invader from beyond the stars. And more importantly for the purposes of an animated movie, they also present the perfect opportunity to get in a big punch-out fight scene before the final act begins.

    Plus, let’s be honest here, the Chronovore would probably be a pain for animators, and I have to imagine that there was at least some concern a that when you start throwing in time-traveling Supermen from the Fifth Dimension and/or the 853rd Century (complete with telepathy), you’re in danger of getting too insular for the wide audience that drops $20 on a DVD at Best Buy, whether or not that’s actually true.

    But the flipside of that is that in choosing to include Bar-El and Lilo but not the death of Jonathan Kent, it trades a scene that’s intensely personal, reflecting Superman’s own impending mortality and the fact that finally gets to say goodbye to his father, for one that’s resolved with a fight. That doesn’t make it a worse story by any means, but it does take away some of the emotion of it.

    Along the same lines, there’s the fact that most of All Star Superman #10 is eliminated. For the most part, this makes perfect sense. As much as I would’ve absolutely loved to see Superman using the tiny Kandorian emergency squad to cure cancer, I’m pretty sure that Superman crafting a universe without super-heroes in which Infant Universe Jerry Siegel and Infant Universe Joe Shuster create Infant Universe Comic Book Hero Superman was maybe — maybe — a little too meta for Cartoon Network.

    The problem is that this also leads to the omission of what is arguably one of the series’ most important moments:

    Again, I think I can see at least some the logic behind leaving it out. This is pure conjecture on my part, but as much as it’s on DVD right now, I’m sure the endgame is to show this thing on a Friday night between Ben 10 and Star Wars: the Clone Wars, and in that particular arena, an attempted suicide by a teenager is probably a pretty touchy issue that they want to avoid.

    But at the same time, there’s a significance here that it’s really hard to argue against for any reason. It’s not just a moment that shows how deeply Superman cares for everyone, but there’s also a message there that probably should be heard by as wide an audience as possible, done with an elegance that pop culture rarely achieves. Leaving something that significant out just really feels like a missed opportunity.

    One final choice that just completely mystified me comes from one particular piece of dialogue. Most of the dialogue — with a few exceptions, like an added scene of Superman resettling the population of Kandor out in space, taking the place of his trip to Bizarro World — is actually lifted straight from the comic. In the scene where Superman fights Solaris the Tyrant Sun, however, McDuffie makes a change.

    Here’s the original scene:

    “You’ll live” is certainly a pretty harsh piece of dialogue for Superman, but it’s also true: Solaris does in fact live to be rehabilitated in the 24th century (it says so on the previous page). In the movie, however, Superman’s response to Solaris’s plea for mercy is “I don’t think I have any left.”

    This might seem like a small thing — and we all know that as someone who reads a lot of comics, I’d never get fixated on a small thing — but to me, that phrasing seems… well, wrong. Why would Superman claim to not have any mercy? That is his entire deal. It’s the only time while watching the movie that a change pulled me right out of the movie, with the thought “Oh come on, Superman wouldn’t say that!” Silly as it may be while watching something about a completely fictional character who is flying around and punching a sentient sun-poisoning star that is also a computer.

    The worst bit, though, comes from something that’s just completely unnecessary: People dying during Lex Luthor’s prison riot, right in front of a Superman who does nothing to save them. Specifically a group of convicts who get frozen in place by the clever application of a sprinkler system and super-breath, who are then shown to be shattered and killed by the Parasite:

    It’s both completely unnecessary and completely antithetical to the spirit of the character, especially considering that the entire ongoing point of the sequence is Clark Kent repeatedly saving Lex without revealing his identity by pretending to bumble his way through the riot. By having Superman’s plan to immobilize the convicts result directly in their death while he’s fleeing from the Parasite, yet still showing him saving Lex, it gives the impression that Superman values Lex’s life more than the others, when it should be that Superman values all life.

    Throwing that kind of casual violence into this scene represents a fundamental and extremely disappointing misunderstanding of both the character and this story, and could’ve easily been avoided.

    But for all my complaints, the choices McDuffie and the producers made for this thing aren’t just things I disliked. As mentioned before, McDuffie adds an additional epilogue that’s different from what’s seen in the comics, specifically as it relates to Lex Luthor.

    By the end of the story in the comic, Lex is content but “diminished,” having finally gotten a world without Superman. We don’t see him after the final conflict with Superman, but robbed of his foe, he is, for all intents and purposes, done with his campaigns of terror and evil. In the movie, though, Lex has one final act, and it’s something that in the comic is done by Superman himself: he maps out the Kryptonian genome, passing it along to Leo Quintum so that they can build another Superman.

    There are a few different ways of interpreting this, including the idea that Lex is incomplete without a Superman to fight and so he makes one, but as presented, the message here is that his brief time seeing the world as Superman sees it has made Lex actually want to save the world. He becomes the good guy he always claimed to be.

    It’s an interesting change, because this is an explicit victory on a personal level that Superman doesn’t get in the comics — unless, like our own David Uzumeri, you subscribe to the theory that Leo Quintum is actually a remorseful time-traveling Lex Luthor who saw the error of his ways, learned how to grow hair and became Superman’s staunchest ally.

    As to the voice acting, Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks does a good job with Lois, though she lacks the signature sass of Dana Delaney’s pretty-much-definitive version on Superman: The Animated Series. James Denton as Superman, however, is… not great. He does well as Clark Kent, but as Superman, he’s compltely flat, with almost the same tone of voice through everything that happens. His lines all sound like they were recorded in one take. One decent, perfectly serviceable take, mind, but nothing more than that.

    In the end, though, the choices that were made, missteps and all, even out to something that’s a highly enjoyable picture, and one of DC’s best offerings.



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