As I said in the Superman Unbound review, DC Comics uber-writer Geoff Johns got his job thanks to his love of those first two live-action Superman films (and The Goonies). Because of this, he talked himself into a job playing step-n-fetch-it for director Richard Donner. Because of this, young Geoff found time to make some friends at DC Comics while he and Donner were in New York, working on that Mel Gibson-led X-Files rip-off no one remembers anymore, Conspiracy Theory.
Within a few months, former Superman writer (now DC Group Editor) Eddie Berganza secured Johns a job penning Justice Society of America. “Written” at the time (though some of us suspected it was “written in name only”) by Notable Hollywood Screenwriter David S. Goyer, JSA evolved, under Johns tenure, into an occasionally-quite-nice microcosm of its home universe. While the modern Justice League is usually composed of characters with true cultural clout, instantly recognizable to even the least-literate among us, JSA thrived by combining characters from comic’s Golden Age with impetuous youngsters either inspired by their example or straight-up continuing some poor dead person’s legacy.
That’s the thing I’ve always liked about the DC Universe: a meta-textual awareness of its own history. Unlike Marvel Comics, where all roads lead back to Captain America and everything else gets shunted a decade or so down the time stream by Editorial Fiat whenever continuity headaches become epidemic, DC’s heroes come in distinct, generational blocks. The Old Guard started putting on masks and punching bad guys at some point in the mid-1920s. They did it for their own reasons, came together for World War II, and then drifted apart again for other reasons no writer seems interested in addressing, save obliquely, through peeks at Wacky Alternate Dimensions (like the Watchmen universe, which outlawed masked heroics in the 70s with its Keene Act). The New Guard of the “perma-modern” world, usually beginning with Superman, chose to go the “thong-and-blanket” route partially because of that preexisting heroic tradition. This adds historical depth to DC’s fictional world while eliminating the need for any one character to bare the full weight of being “the world’s first super-hero” (though Superman’s usually handed that title by sympathetic friends in the media). Continue reading Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)
Immediately, you should ask yourself, What the fuck is up with that title? Are we going after that Quentin Tarantino demographic, Warner Brothers? Because if you are, you missed your chance when you fucked up Superman/Doomsday, back in 2007.
So you look this up on IMDB, because you’re a lazy hack who made the mistake of getting a “real” job back in 2008 instead of reading comic books, which would’ve been more fulfilling anyway, both spiritually and financially. That’s when you find this is based on an Action Comics arc by now-designated wunderkind Geoff Johns. And your heart sinks at the sight of his name. Or it should. Mine certainly does, because Johns is a mixed bag of a comic book writer if ever there was one.
My more conservative colleagues (the ones who still recoil in horror whenever Precious Bodily Fluids appear in comic books – after all, The Children might be watching, and these people can’t go a day without patronizing The Children – all of them, everywhere, including you; yes, you, because you are A Child if you don’t immediately agree with them and submit to their preferred proto-fascist Strong Father archetype) like to criticize his lack of restraint and habit of killing or sidelining characters he doesn’t like. Every writer does this to some degree, but Johns captured himself a fan base by deliberately doing it in the name of “fixing” certain excesses of the 1990s. Especially when it came to Green Lantern. Continue reading Superman: Unbound (2013)
Part 4: More Comic Book History You Don’t Care About But Need to Know in Order to Understand What the Hell’s Going On in This Review:
Since Warner Brothers insisted on adapting this story into two, one hour and twelve minute movies, I made a point of not revisiting The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 in preparation for this review of Part Deux. If it’d been up to me, I would’ve adapting Frank Miller’s four-issue story arc into one movie, and I might just edit these two together at some point, when I get some spare time. Even with everything here, it’d still be at least an hour shorter than the last two live action Bat-films. And make no mistake – the WB’s straight-to-video animation department threw in a lot.
They had no choice. These are adaptions of one of the best-loved Batman stories in history. Find me a Bat-writer and, with a little help from my friend Google, I’ll probably be able to find you a choice quote about how 1986’s Dark Knight Returns either got them into Batman in the first place, or brought them back after a period of apostasy. Current Batman/Superman writer Greg Pak just provided me a perfect example in this interview, dated February 27th, 2013:
I dropped out for a little bit, and I was still picking up indie comics like Cerebus and Usagi Yojimbo, but it was Batman that got me back into superhero comics when I was in college. Specifically it was Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, which then led me to other stuff. It was basically Frank Miller who dragged me back in, and I was hooked. I was obsessed with Batman. Continue reading Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013)