Category Archives: DC

Pushing the Button: A DC Rebirth Update

Last time we talked, we looked at the recently-wrapped Superman Reborn storyline and what it meant for the ever-evolving post-Rebirth DC Universe. Now that the Batman/Flash crossover The Button has wrapped, now that even more things have changed, it’s time to do it again. I’m going to discuss and build on some of the theories and threads I mentioned in that first piece, so if you haven’t read it, give it a peek. And once again, be prepared, because spoilers are coming for The Button, but also for other stories across the DC Universe.

So That Just Happened

Let’s look at exactly where we are, shall we? In The Button, Professor Zoom attacked Batman in the Batcave, ultimately dying in a spark of blue. Batman and the Flash then used the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to try to trace the mysterious radiation signature on the blood-spattered button Bruce found in DC Universe Rebirth #1. Eventually, the two landed in the Flashpoint universe, where Bruce Wayne got to meet that world’s Batman, his father Thomas Wayne. That universe vanished, seemingly destroyed. Zoom — who can only ever be “mostly” dead because time travel — continued on his race to find those behind the power of the button. He was wiped out again, by still more blue flame, and Bruce and Barry were rescued from the timestream by the timely (get it?) intervention of Jay Garrick, who was only there for moments before the flame got him too. The button itself, judging by the epilogue, seems to have been retrieved by Dr. Manhattan, whom Geoff Johns has told us has a particular interest in Superman. He’ll be telling that story in the recently-announced Doomsday Clock event.

But that’s the Reader’s Digest version of The Button, there’s an awful lot to unpack here. What is it all saying? What does it mean? And how does it play into the DC Universe going forward?

The Manhattan Project

First of all, let’s talk about the Dr. Manhattan connection. Although the fingerprints of Watchmen were all over this story (right down to the first chapter, Batman #21, mimicking Dave Gibbons’s famous nine-panel grid in the artwork), it gave us precious little in the way of revelation. We still don’t know exactly why the button wound up in the Batcave, and although Zoom claimed to know who was responsible, his eradication at the end of the story will make it difficult for Barry and Bruce to interrogate him. In fact, as far as a direct link to Dr. Manhattan goes, the clues can be boiled down to one word: “They.”

Zoom claims to know who is responsible for what’s happening to the universe and, in his own words, “They’ve never faced someone like me!” Granted, it’s becoming more acceptable to use “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun these days (something that makes the English teacher in me shudder — I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a gender-neutral pronoun, just that I wish there was another word that didn’t dilute the meaning of the word “they”), but it’s hard to imagine that’s what Zoom meant. If he’s seen Dr. Manhattan, especially if the latter is walking around without his bikini bottoms again, it’s fairly clear that he’s male, and I doubt Zoom is the sort to walk up and ask him his preferred pronouns before engaging him in battle. If he hasn’t seen Manhattan, his claim to know who’s responsible becomes much more specious. All of this is to say that this one word may support something I suggested last time: whatever is happening, it doesn’t look like Dr. Manhattan is the sole person responsible.

Homecoming

Next up, let’s talk about Jay Garrick. Much like Wally West did in the original Rebirth special, he appears and helps save the day. Unlike Wally, Jay doesn’t stick around. The question, however, is why did he vanish? He disappeared in a nimbus of blue flame, much like Pandora did in the first special, much like the Flashpoint universe did earlier in this story (more on that later). But it’s very hard to imagine that means he’s dead. DC has teased the return of the Justice Society really hard here, not only with Jay but with another appearance by Johnny Thunder in chapter one of The Button. Would they have brought him back just to wipe him out?

Barry recognizes the circumstances of Jay’s appearance as being similar to Wally’s, and when Wally appeared, he needed his emotional connection to Barry to re-ground him in reality. It doesn’t work for Jay. Barry even says that he doesn’t seem to be Jay’s “lightning rod.” Who then, would it be? Who else has a strong enough emotional connection to Jay Garrick to return him to reality?

The immediate and most obvious answer is his wife, Joan. She hasn’t been seen in Rebirth, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t in the DC Universe somewhere: alone, sad, possibly confused by a gaping hole in her life. But Wally West’s lightning rod wasn’t his wife, Linda Park. Who else could anchor Jay? Besides Barry, his best friend has historically been original Green Lantern Alan Scott, but Alan is MIA along with the rest of the Justice Society. All of Jay’s contemporaries are missing.

Everyone except for Johnny Thunder. Johnny, who in Rebirth #1, seemed to imply that he was responsible for people forgetting the Justice Society. Johnny, who in Flash #21 screams at the skies, consumed with guilt. Johnny, who is currently locked away in a nursing home, with everyone assuming he’s a raving old man. In fact, why don’t we take this a step further? What if Johnny is, unwittingly, one of the people who helped Dr. Manhattan remake the universe? He certainly wouldn’t have done it intentionally, but he was never the brightest bulb to begin with. The only reason he was in the JSA is because he commanded a Genie with Mxyzptlk-level reality-warping power. Could he have been tricked into using his Thunderbolt’s power to change the timeline? Or could he have done it independently of what was going on with Dr. Manhattan, and could Manhattan have simply taken advantage of Johnny’s mistake to further his own goals?

Lost and Found

Let’s take a moment to do a little census here. A lot of fan-favorite characters were missing at the launch of the New 52 universe. Some of them have returned: Wally West, of course, but also Stephanie Brown, Donna Troy, Cassandra Cain, Ted Kord, and probably several others I’m forgetting at the moment. Others, like the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Ray Palmer Atom, were there for the New 52 launch but have gone notably missing since then. Still others have been taken away on-panel. Doomsday, Prophecy, and Tim Drake have all been “removed” from action, and we know they’re in the clutches of Mr. Oz. Of those still unaccounted for, the Justice Society has been particularly notable in its absence. And with its absence came the absence of other characters derived from the JSA: Alan Scott’s children Jade and Obsidian, for example. If the JSA returns, can they follow suit?

And there’s one other big one that needs to be mentioned. After he was “Reborn,” Superman needed to give the readers a rundown of what his history was in this world where the older, married Superman merged with his younger New 52 counterpart. Action Comics gave us two issues where he asked his little robotic buddy Kelex (and who wouldn’t want a Kelex as their own personal assistant?) to go over his past with him. It was kind of odd, in a meta way, for Superman to essentially ask the robot to read him his diary, but it worked. The big questions were answered: Jonathan and Martha Kent are both dead in this continuity, Superman never had a relationship with Wonder Woman. He did fight and was killed by Doomsday…

…but that’s where it gets odd.

As we all know, after Superman’s death he was replaced by four different people claiming the name. John Henry Irons, Steel, is part of the cast of Superwoman these days. The Eradicator and the Cyborg Superman are both in the Superman books right now in villain roles. The fourth? Connor Kent? Superboy? Nowhere to be found, even in the history that Kelex relates to us. Superman himself notes, as he listens to his own history, that something doesn’t feel quite right. Is Conner going to be lost to the void, or is DC planning to give him his own Wally West moment, bringing him back in triumph? If, as Geoff Johns promises, Rebirth is about restoring hope and legacy to the DCU, wouldn’t Doomsday Clock be a hell of a place for Connor to come back?

Of course, Jonathan Kent the second is Superboy now, but I’d be fine with changing Connor’s name and moving him into sort of a Nightwing-type role in the Superman family. Superteen? Superkid? Ugh, those are terrible. Superguy? Sequel? Okay, maybe we have to look beyond the letter “S” for a new name.

I hear “Valor” is available.

The Dark Knight Redacted?

Anyway, let’s talk about what this story has done to Batman. Back in Flashpoint, when Barry Allen was (he thought) restoring the timeline he had damaged, Thomas Wayne gave him a letter to deliver to Bruce. It was one of the high points of that story and created a grand emotional link for Bruce to his past. In The Button, that link was made even stronger as Bruce had to face a version of his father who chose the same path he did, that of the Batman. Thomas’s Batman was darker and harsher than Bruce’s (not surprising, as Flashpoint was a darker and harsher world), and as Bruce leaves, Thomas asks him to give up being Batman, to put this life behind him, because no father would ever choose a life like that for his child. As the story ends, we have a very pointed moment where the Bat-signal blazes across the sky of Gotham, and Bruce ignores it.

What does this mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean that Bruce is hanging up the cowl, let’s start there. There have been plenty of post-Button stories solicited already where he’s still Batman. (Heck, Batman #23 came out on the same day as The Button ended). There are also two other strikes against this notion of Bruce giving up. First, they did that story just two years ago with James Gordon taking over as Batman (not to mention the countless times in the past when Dick Grayson, Jean-Paul Valley, etc. have worn the cowl). Second, Rebirth has been all about bringing DC’s heroes back to their purest, classic form. Does anyone really think that means shelving Bruce Wayne? Certainly not for any length of time.

So what does it mean?

For that, let’s take a step back and look, once again, at the apparent meta-message of Rebirth Geoff Johns (I’m assigning this thesis to him, as he seems to be the architect of the story and is the author of both DC Universe Rebirth #1 and the upcoming Doomsday Clock) seems to be arguing that the darkness that has infected the DCU started not with Flashpoint, but could be traced back to Watchmen. Last time, I argued that this is only partially true, and that there are other culprits as well, but I didn’t mention one of the bigger ones, as it didn’t appear to be relevant at the time. Now it does. I’m talking, of course, about The Dark Knight Returns. Frank Miller’s magnum opus was a masterpiece of the form, like Watchmen. Also like Watchmen, people took entirely the wrong message from the story and, for years, turned the mainstream Batman progressively darker, gloomier, and more brooding than ever.

Perhaps part of the purpose of The Button — that part of it, at least — is to do specifically for Batman what the larger Rebirth story is doing for the rest of the DCU. I’m not saying that we should go back to the days when Batman was cutting ribbons at supermarket openings or encountering aliens with huge insect heads on the main street of Gotham, but there has to be a middle ground. For much of the Bronze Age, in fact, we lived in that middle ground. Go back and read some of those great Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams Batman stories. You’ll see a character who lives in the darkness, but carries a spark of light within him, a Batman who was not above making a joke. (Indeed, in the years since The Dark Knight Returns pretty much any time Batman has displayed a sense of humor, it’s come as a total shock to whoever he was talking to at the time.)

Bruce Wayne, we know, will never quit. Not forever, anyway. But that doesn’t mean he has to live a life totally devoid of joy. Tim Drake (who himself was thinking of hanging up the cape to go to college when he was abducted) was often living proof of that. Maybe that’s  another reason he, as Mr. Oz put it, had to be “taken off the table.”

It’s a long way until November, guys, and there are plenty of things that could happen between now and then that could cause me to adjust these thoughts (I’m looking at you, The Lazarus Contract). But for now, at least, I think I’ve tackled all the big concepts, and we’ve got an awful lot to chew on while we wait for the next course.

TLH Episode 82 – The Changeling and The Haunting

This week it’s just Bryan and Doug. (Scott’s busy working on a secret clown related fanfic.) They manage to keep things together long enough to discuss a couple ghost movies; The Haunting and The Changeling [spoilers from 56:41-1:13:27].

Be sure to stick around for some very worthwhile thoughts on The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins, Blood Mania, Batman: The Killing Joke, Pet, and Kong: Skull Island.

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.

Geek Nerdery Podcast: Top 5 Animated Batman Films

I am once again joined by Sometimes Co-Host Mike and Michael from the Awesome 80s Podcast as we’re breaking down our Top 5 Animated Batman Movies!  Some claim to have the best list of everyone, some made their list just before we started.

After all that we chat about Wrestlemania 33.   Is it really Undertaker’s final match?  And the guys give their reactions to the new trailer for Stephen King’s IT.

In usual podcast chaos Sometimes Co-Host Mike and I knock equipment around and my cat seems to ring its bell a lot which I did not noticed while recording.  We aim for high quality here!

Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.  Catch them this summer at Warped Tour.

Joss Whedon To Direct Batgirl?

According to Variety Joss Whedon is in talks to jump over to DC and direct a standalone Batgirl movie.  So what does stand alone mean?  I don’t know as in the same article they say that it will be part of DC’s extended cinematic universe.  Who knows.

Usually I’m annoyed by news that so and so is “in talks” but I think this would be pretty big so wanted to comment on it.  What do you all think about Joss Whedon joining DC in bringing her to the big screen?

Of course Whedon has worked with them before trying to get a Wonder Woman movie off the ground.  He really wanted to set it during WWII and DC told him that a period piece Wonder Woman movie wouldn’t work and scrapped it.  My how times have changed.

Read the article for yourself:

Variety Batgirl!

Post-Superman Reborn: What’s next for the new DCU?

With the Rebirth era of DC Comics approaching its first anniversary, recent issues of Superman and Action Comics seem to have reset the playing field. This seemed like a good time to discuss the new status quo for Superman, how it reflects the greater DC Universe, and some wild speculation as to what’s really happening in the larger Rebirth mystery. Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Superman Reborn story arc, as well as other stories across the DC Universe.

A Reborn Man of Steel

As promised, the four-part Superman Reborn storyline has answered some major questions. We know now that the false Clark Kent was, in reality, Mr. Mxyzptlk, having recently escaped the clutches of the enigmatic Mr. Oz. We also know what Mr. Oz meant in DC Universe Rebirth #1 when he told the Pre-Flashpoint Superman that neither he nor the New 52 Superman were what he thought. In fact, they and their respective Lois Lanes were two halves of the same whole, split in Superman Red/Superman Blue fashion. Now the halves have been rejoined, and all is well in Metropolis. Except, of course, for the new question raised here: who split them and why? Not to mention, of course, how this impacts the rest of the DCU.

Action Comics #976 reveals that not only the characters, but also their respective histories have been merged. Presumably, this means that when they return to the Daily Planet they’ll encounter a Perry White who remembers attending their wedding, a Metropolis that knows all too well the destruction of Doomsday, and a Supergirl who once again recognizes her cousin in this man. But what about some of the elements that are harder to reconcile? Wonder Woman has already moved past her romance with Superman, but will those characters still remember it? Will the Teen Titans have memories of their former teammate, the time-tossed Superboy cloned from Lois and Clark’s son? And what about Martha Kent? In the Post-Flashpoint New 52 Universe she was dead; in the DCU that existed prior to Flashpoint she was still alive. If Clark goes back to the family farm now, will she be waiting for him?

Not all of these questions can simply be handwaved away, but more and more it’s feeling like this is by design. DC has been attacking discrepancies head-on in books like the Superman titles or Wonder Woman. Diana has learned that she’s been manipulated for years, sent to a false Paradise Island whenever she attempted to return home, and as a result her entire history is suspect (Wonder Woman #11). In another huge contradiction, the original Wally West has returned. Rather than attempting to eliminate the New 52 Wally West, a solution was found to keep them both. And all of this, of course, seems to connect back to the central mystery revealed in the first DC Rebirth issue: someone has “stolen” ten years of time from the DC Universe, and as a result, everything is off-kilter. Now, the Rebirth story appears to be accelerating. Superman Reborn was the first part of that. The next part, the Batman/Flash crossover “The Button,” begins in April.

Put a Little Love In Your Heart

After the two Superman families merged, Mr. Oz ponders, “That family has done the impossible. Proven that true love really can conquer all… Is it over? Or is there more?” The question here seems to be if “love” truly can repair the damage done to the DC Universe when whoever did whatever it was they did. I would argue that this is already happening, both literally within the DCU and in a more metafictional way. Rebirth has largely been about restoring the lost sense of hope and love to the DC Universe. DC Universe Rebirth #1 began with the return of Wally West, a character who literally uses his love for others as the anchor to keep him in reality. Immediately the romances between Aquaman and Mera, Green Arrow and Black Canary, and Barry Allen and Iris West were all pushed to the forefront of those respective books. We’ve also seen Batman working with his “family” in a much closer, less secretive way, even revealing his identity to his cousin, Batwoman (in Detective Comics #934. She already knew, it turned out, but the moment it creates between the two of them is both funny and inspiring.) That’s not all, though: he’s taking an active role in the rehabilitation of several criminals and killers: Clayface, Killer Frost, and Lobo (the former in Detective Comics, the latter two in Justice League of America). He refused to believe it when Catwoman was convicted of murdering hundreds of people and finally, after decades of dancing around it, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle professed their love for one another (Batman #15).

Love – or at least mutual admiration – is also in the air in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. If you thought Batman was a mensch for trying to rehab three bad guys, the Green Lantern Corps has actually partnered up with the entire Sinestro Corps, trying to turn the yellow Lanterns into partners in policing the universe. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan has told Kyle Rayner that he sees Kyle as the greatest Lantern of all, just before Kyle dropped his New 52 Status Quo as the White Lantern and rejoined the Green Lantern Corps (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #17). Oh, and did I mention all of this is set against the search for Saint Walker and the restoration of the Blue Lantern Corps – the DCU’s embodiment of hope?

It can’t be a coincidence that all this is happening now. One of the most consistent and justifiable criticisms of the New 52 era was that the world had grown too dark. A pre-merger Superman even pointed this out when comparing notes with Nightwing, declaring the villains of this world to be far grimmer than the ones he remembers (Nightwing #9).

Who’s Watching the Watchmen?

This, of course, leads us back to the biggest question of Rebirth: who, exactly, is responsible for the 10 missing years of the DC Universe? For the first year of the storyline, the evidence has overwhelmingly pointed in the direction of the characters from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen invading the DCU. Both the Rebirth special and Superman Reborn ended with knowing glances towards the planet Mars, which played a large part in that story. Also in the special, Batman found the Comedian’s blood-stained smiley face button embedded in the wall of the Batcave. The Titans even located their new headquarters in New York because Omen received a psychic impression of the word “Manhattan” (Titans #6).

Then there’s the mysterious Mr. Oz, he whom the comic book media has declared to be Watchmen’s Ozymandias. He’s been watching Superman for some time, he seems to know who’s really behind everything, and he’s taken some major players “off the table.” Red Robin, for instance, was captured early on in Rebirth (Detective Comics #940, specifically), leaving Batman and the others to believe he’s dead. Why Red Robin? Because he somehow was helping other people make connections that Mr. Oz didn’t want made.

This is where I think the wheels start to fall off the Ozymandias theory. Ozymandias was, of course, the smartest man in his world, but that was a world where only one person had super powers, and it wasn’t him. I can believe Ozymandias would be able to imprison Tim Drake. I can even believe he could think of a way to contain an ultra-powerful tank like Doomsday (as in Action Comics #962). But how could a man with no powers capture a fifth-dimensional imp like Mr. Mxyzptlk?

(Yes, I know that this is a comic book, and therefore some nonsense technobabble ass-pull is always a possibility, but I’m building towards a point here, so bear with me.)

This feeds a nagging doubt I’ve had for a while regarding Watchmen and its involvement in Rebirth. It feels… well… too easy. Too well-constructed, especially for a story that is ostensibly only approaching the halfway point. And it doesn’t exactly work, in my opinion, with DC’s meta-message here. The Rebirth special was, in many ways, DC’s mea culpa. Through the characters, writer Geoff Johns basically told the reader that DC understood where things went wrong and that this is the story that’s going to fix it. However, by capping this special with the reveal of the button, Johns essentially seemed to make the statement that DC’s problems weren’t recent (true), that the roots of the darkness Superman would later comment on go back well before Flashpoint (also true), and that in a way, you can trace it all back to when Watchmen changed the comic book landscape in 1987.

Sort of true.

The thing about Watchmen is that it was the book that proved to countless people comics could tell deeper, more sophisticated stories. But like any success in entertainment, it spawned a wealth of imitators. It never should have become the template for other comics that it did, but it’s not the fault of Watchmen itself that so many subsequent writers treated it as such.

So the notion that the meta-message of Rebirth is “It’s all Watchmen’s fault” has three problems:

  1.       It’s only partially and indirectly responsible, if at all.
  2.       I think Geoff Johns is far too good a writer to cast that aspersion in such a simplistic way.
  3.       Even from a business standpoint, it’s hard to picture DC devoting two years of publishing towards denigrating their best-selling graphic novel of all time.

All of this is to say that, while the Watchmen characters are almost certainly involved in the rebirth mystery, I’m almost equally certain that things are more layered than “Dr. Manhattan messed with the world.”

Crazy-Ass Speculation

We’re about to get into some wild and almost totally unsupportable theories here, friends, so buckle up. The last major element we haven’t discussed yet is the DC Multiverse, which is still following the rules established in Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity and was central to the most recent pre-Reborn storyline in Superman. That multiverse contains 52 worlds and a hell of a lot of metatextual commentary, including a world where the former Charlton characters are more like their Watchmen counterparts. (Watchmen, for the three people who didn’t know it, began as a pitch to DC utilizing the recently-acquired Charlton Comics superheroes. Alan Moore reworked them into original characters at DC’s request.) One may wonder if it’s those characters from The Multiversity: Pax Americana– and not Dr. Manhattan and company – responsible for the missing decade. However, I think we can throw that out as it doesn’t account for the presence of Watchmen’s most iconic image: the smiley face button.

There’s an aspect of Multiversity, though, that has rarely been brushed upon since. The DC Multiverse has 52 worlds, that’s true, but it’s also true that there is more than one multiverse, each with its own Orrery of Worlds. In fact, DC even announced stories from the “other” multiverses would be told in a series of yet-unproduced original graphic novels by Grant Morrison.

Here’s how, metatextually, DC can have its cake and eat it too. Let’s say the Watchmen Earth is in one of those other multiverses where the worlds (as in “our” multiverse) are to some degree or another derivative of each other. If – in the real world – it’s Watchmen’s influence that tainted everything that came after, what if in-story the true threat comes from a Watchmen derivative world that drew on the original world in the wrong way, just like so many writers did?

Or, in simpler terms, if Watchmen is its multiverse’s Earth-1, what if the real bad guys of Rebirth are from their multiverse’s Earth-3?

It’s just a theory, of course, and probably completely wrong, but it’s awfully nice to be pondering and analyzing DC Comics again, and to a degree that hasn’t been possible for years. And if nothing else, we can look forward to “The Button” next month in the hopes that the clues it gives us will keep us going into Rebirth Year Two.

Blake M. Petit has been nerding up the internet for over a decade. You can nerd along with him at BlakeMPetit.com or at his Facebook page.

The Flash/Supergirl Crossover Musical: So that’s out of the way now. (Spoiler Free Review)

So from the title, you might surmise how well this article is going to go. Please do not judge too quickly though. We promise we will try our very best to be objective and cover it as fairly as possible. We good? OK.

From the screeching, hormonally charged, twittering brains with bank accounts behind the show-crushing beast that was and most assuredly will be again Ollicity, comes the inevitable response to hiring two former Glee castmates as your leads.

What? We said we would TRY to be objective. Not our fault that it didn’t take. Alright, fine. Come back. We’ll try to salvage this. Admittedly, we didn’t come into this with the most open of minds so maybe we’re not giving it a fair shake. Let’s try again and break this down to the good and bad.

Well where to start? The only place one should start with a musical: the singing. There is no doubt that the cast members of these shows are very talented musically, and they get to show off exactly what they can do with this episode.

While everyone who sang did a genuinely good job, the stand out for us was John Barrowman, normally playing Malcolm Merlyn in the Arrowverse, but this time playing club owner Cutter Moran. He didn’t have a lot to do, but he took what little he had and made the very best of it. Unsurprising really from such an amazing stage performer as he is. In a scene whose random and awful lyrics caused us to physically look away, his voice actually brought us back with eyebrows raised. Not damn bad, Captain Harkness. Not damn bad at all.

Jesse L. Martin nailed his part as well. Another great stage presence, the man can sing. We saw some of in last year’s Earth 2 episode, but he doesn’t get enough to do we didn’t feel for reasons we will come back to later.

Kara, Barry, Cisco and even Winn: They all sounded terrific and it was nice that they got to show off their great singing abilities. Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) does a beautiful rendition of Moon River right at the start and even though we knew she could sing, it was still a pleasant surprise to hear how well.

The Barry/Kara song at just over the halfway mark (the title we’re withholding for the sake of the reveal) did start to win us over, despite everything that came before it. Rao help us, the two have brilliant chemistry and you can’t help but love them together.

Darren Criss, this crossover’s villain Music Meister was a lot of fun to watch. Again, he didn’t have a huge amount of stuff to do as they tried to get in as much as they could, but the guy has charisma and charm oozing out of his little boyish face. He won us over fairly quickly in his introduction on Supergirl. His few minutes of screentime on that show actually had us anticipating what was to come.

There’s an action sequence here with Martian Manhunter teaming up with Wally and Vibe, and it is on par with the fun and excitement of the Flash’s usual action scenes. That was another great moment from the episode.

Now let’s get to it.

The biggest obstacle that this episode faces is time. It has 45 minutes to pull off a musical, as well as tie up subplots from both The Flash and Supergirl, and boy can you feel the time crunch. They have Kara and Barry play it off a few times with the meta joke that “wow, everything is so much easier in musicals”. Luckily, we were able to unstick our eyes after they rolled so hard up into their sockets, otherwise we’d have had to start the episode over.

So beyond skipping what should have been a longer, more complicated conflict, we got too easy resolutions for the sake of moving the plot along. If the resolution is so simplistic, it begs the question of why even bother? Individual shows’ subplots is why, but still.

What needed to be done, and once again wasn’t, is it being a true crossover. We had exactly 2 minutes of the plot discussed at the tail end of Supergirl, same as it was with the Invasion crossover last fall. Musicals take time to get everything explained, broken and fixed again. This is going to sound hypocritical after everything that’s come before it, but there needed to be more time for more songs. And the one thing this didn’t have was time. Were they to have stretched it out fully across both shows, we would still spend two hours cringing, yes, but the story would be a lot stronger than it was. It wouldn’t feel so hastily duct taped together.

If crossovers are going to be a consistent thing in the Arrowverse, (YES PLEASE) they have to let Supergirl come out to play for the whole recess. Her being on another universe isn’t excuse enough to hinder that relationship, especially now with Cisco’s doohickey.

The other bit, the one we’ll close with, was the writing. All the actors that they have hired in the Arrowverse are exceptional. If the actors don’t have long careers in the stage/fim business like Victor Garbor, Jesse L Martin, and John Barrowman, they have proven their abilities on these shows. They can act. We’ve seen it. But watching them try to choke back some of the dialogue from this episode made them look like amateur dinner theater workers.

We noticed it specifically with a few of David Harewood’s
(Supergirl’s Martian Manhunter) lines. He gets through them, same with the others, but it pulled us out of the moment with how clunky it was. Also, don’t get us started on the jokes. You want to? OK, fine. At one point Supergirl said, “My sister says I put the Kara in Karaoke.”
We literally almost closed the laptop and walked away at that. It was early in the episode though, and we thought of your faces, your sweet reviewless faces, and we knew we had to press on. So we did and what was our reward?

Honestly, we can’t tell you. Partially due to not giving away the ending of the episode, but mostly due to we don’t genuinely know what happened. Nothing is really explained, it simply transpired for the sake of transpiring. They knew they wanted to sing, but they didn’t know how to make that fit into a cohesive, solidly written story. It was like the ending of a Stephen Moffat Doctor Who episode: aggravatingly underwhelming.

Look, there are a lot of good moments in the episode. It was a fun little one shot stuck in the middle, but they once again did not utilize Supergirl’s hour to help flesh out their crossovers and the time crunch really cripples them from making a solid story. Perhaps though, given the rush job they did with the script, that’s for the better.

Our final analysis of this crossover is the same as our analysis of BvS’s handling of the Death of Superman: Everyone has been wanting it for so long, and yeah, that was not the best way to handle it, but hey, it’s out of the way now and we can move on to bigger and better things.

Supergirl returns Monday March 27th and The Flash Tuesday March 28th.

TLH Episode 75 – Blade Runner and Equilibrium

Welcome to the sci-fi episode of the podcast. This week we look at Blade Runner and Equilibrium. In addition, we discuss Ouija: Origin of Evil, The LEGO Batman Movie, Rings, Santa Clarita Diet, The Monster, and a bunch of random TV.

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.

Hero Unabridged: Spectre #7

More Fun Comics #57

Zor returns to take vengeance against the Spectre.  Murf takes a brief aside to talk about Justice League Dark.  Can Jim stop a man with eye bullets?  If a man shaped tree falls in the forest does it bleed?  Find out this week as we take a look at More Fun Comics

 

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As always a big thank you to Mikes Amazing World at http://www.dcindexes.com/ and http://comicbookdb.com/ without whom the research alone for the podcast would be so time consuming as to make it impossible.

Supergirl Gets Hitched And Flash Attacks Gorilla City Next Week

Next week we’ll be seeing a few awesome super villains showing up in the CW DCverse.  First up on Supergirl that trixter from the 5th dimension Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up wreck havoc.  Turns out he has a little bit of a crush on Kara and even tries to get her to marry him.

And while not a NEW villain on Flash we finally not only get the return of Grodd but the reveal of Gorilla City.  In a two part story we’ll see the Flash team head to another earth looking for the Earth 2 Harrison Wells and end up facing down this classic mind reading foe.

I’m usually pretty stoked to watch these shows anyway but with these stories coming up I’m pretty excited.  Can’t wait to see what they bring.

Hero Unabridged: Spectre #6

All-Star Comics #1

The Specter leaps into the pages of a new comic.  Jim Corrigan sets forth to save the city from an arsonist, but who is setting the fires and why?

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Send all of your feedback to herounabridged@gmail.com or give the voicemail a call at (401) 552-4376

As always a big thank you to Mikes Amazing World at http://www.dcindexes.com/ and http://comicbookdb.com/ without whom the research alone for the podcast would be so time consuming as to make it impossible.

This weeks background music provide by “Creative Commons Serenade for String Quartet, Op.14 (Busch, Adolf)” by Steve’s Bedroom Band is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Trailer Drops

I’m a life long Marvel fan boy but one area that I think most can agree that DC is rocking Marvel’s socks off is its recently minted shared animated movie universe. Now, following amazingly quick on the heels of long anticipated Justice League Dark, DC is wasting no time in keeping its fans salivating by dropping the trailer for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.

When the DC animated universe was originally conceived, the Judas Contract was one of the first story lines that WB Animation wanted to adapt. However, there were worries that an animated movie that didn’t involve big hitters of DC (Supes, The Bat, The JLA etc…) wouldn’t not be able to move sales of the flick.

However, after extremely positive reviews of its Justice League movies and most recently the great reviews and sales numbers of Justice League Dark, DC is dropping one of the Teen Titans best story lines straight into our collective laps.

The story is said to be thus – “Tara Markov is a girl who has power over earth and stone; she is also more than she seems. Is the newest Teen Titan an ally or a threat? And what are the mercenary Deathstroke’s plans for the Titans?”

The story has been done before in the Teen Titans animated show to high acclaim but with a family friendly bent, Now that the movies are taking on a more mature tone, it will be interesting to see how the Titans handle the betrayal and the coming of one of their biggest villains.

The Judas Contract is helmed by Jay Oliva, who is no virgin when it comes to art work and super heroes having done art work and story boards of Deadpool, BvS, the upcoming Wonder Woman and Thor: Ragnarok.

Hero Unabridged: Spectre #3

Hero Unabridged returns back to 1940.  The Immortal Reader digs into More Fun Comics #54.  Jim Corrigan is brought in by his ex-fiancé to investigate a spiritualist fraud.  When he gets there, things turn out to be much more deadly.  Will the Spectre be able to save the day?
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Send all of your feedback to herounabridged@gmail.com

The show is now available on iTunes and Stitcher.  Or is available to stream or download.

As always a big thank you to Mikes Amazing World at http://www.dcindexes.com/ and http://comicbookdb.com/ without whom the research alone for the podcast would be so time consuming as to make it impossible.

 

Hero Unabridged: Spectre #1

More Fun Comics #52

Our journey into the history of the Spectre begins with issue 52 of More Fun Comics.  The untimely violent death of Jim Corrigan leads to an encounter with the supernatural and a new mission.

The show is now available on iTunes and Stitcher or is available to stream and download!

Don’t forget to like and share us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/HeroUnabridged/

Send all of your feedback to herounabridged@gmail.com

As always a big thank you to Mikes Amazing World at http://www.dcindexes.com/ and http://comicbookdb.com/ without whom the research alone for the podcast would be so time consuming as to make it impossible.

Hero Unabridged: Spectre #0

More Fun Comics 51

Welcome to Hero Unabridged, a podcast dedicated to creating an issue by issue history of our favorite comic book characters.  In this first episode we discover the secret origin of Murf and Hero Unabridged.  We take a brief look into the pages of More Fun Comics #51 and establish the mission of the show.  Available soon on iTunes and Stitcher!

The episode is available for download or streaming!

Subscribe through your podcatcher app at http://herounabridged.libsyn.com/rss

Send all of your feedback to herounabridged@gmail.com and be sure to follow us on Facebook!

As always a big thank you to Mikes Amazing World at http://www.dcindexes.com/ and http://comicbookdb.com/ without whom the research alone for the podcast would be so time consuming as to make it impossible.

TLH Episode 65 – Slaughter High and Terror Train

Join us as we discuss a couple of cheesy 80s slashers featuring pranks gone wrong, Terror Train [spoilers from 41:22-52:11] and Slaughter High. Warning: if you were a nerd in school who was promised sex by the popular kids and they instead pulled a prank at your expense, don’t listen. We don’t want to give you any ideas.

After the break, we discuss The Blob (1988), The Last Stand, The Prowler, Batman: The Killing Joke, The Elephant Man, and Wishing Stairs.

Listen to the episode here.
(Right-click and choose ‘save as’ to download.)

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.

Is Arrow The Best Batman TV Show?

I’ve always said that how I thought Arrow got on the air was that someone went and pitched a Batman TV show but got turned down as they felt that the Batman property was too big to be on TV.  They looked at each other and said “Is there another billionaire hero we can just put in his place?  Green Arrow is rich right?”

I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing as it has worked out perfectly.  On paper there is no way this show should work.  A super hero show on the CW where we explore the relationship between Oliver Queen, Laurel (Dinah) Lance, and their peers.  Ugh.  Sounded horrible.  I passed until I kept hearing after the first season that it was actually pretty good.  I saw it on Netflix and figured why not.  After the first episode I was hooked.

Since then we’ve seen them borrow plenty from the Batverse.  Deathstroke while not defined as a Bat Villian has played a big part in the Bat mythos.  Rhas Al Ghul and the League Of Assassins were the center point of season 3.  Similar starts being portrayed as a dark vigilante.  A secret headquarters full of gadgets and weapons.  Eventually creating a superhero family around him.  Last season his tech savy girlfriend and side kick Felicity got shot and was in a wheelchair giving her an Oracle feel about her.

This week we’ve been watching a 4 part crossover between all the CW DC shows (which we can thank Arrow for all the spin off shows) called INVASION!  Slight spoilers below.

On Flash we saw that a handfull of the heroes were abducted by the Dominators.  On Arrow we find that the heroes (Oliver, Sarah, John, Ray, and Thea) were hooked up to a machine that put them in a dream state where they were living out what would be their perfect life.  This immediately made me think of . . . yep something from Batman.

Specifically Batman: The Animated Series.  In an episode titled Perchance To Dream Bruce Wayne awakens to find that his parents never died.  He’s happy and it turns out that someone else is Batman so he can just relax and enjoy life as Bruce Wayne.  But of course nothing ever stays happy.  What I didn’t know about this episode was that it was written by horror novelist Joe R. Lansdale.

There is always minor things like this that make me think more and more that I was right about the original pitch meeting.  I’m not sure why I’m okay with that happening on this show as any other show stealing ideas, villians, or storylines I would not be very excited about it.  But with the CW DC Universe I am perfectly fine.  Maybe it’s my distaste of Gotham that lets me enjoy this as my Batman alternative.  Regardless I’ll still be tuning in every week.  What do you think?

CW Drops A Full Length Super Hero Crossover Trailer

The date is finally nearing and The CW has dropped a full length trailer for the Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, and Legends Of Tomorrow crossover.  It shows us a lot more of what the threat is and what we have in store.  How Supergirl makes it onto Earth 1 is still unknown but we’ll get to see what is probably our best bet for the live action Justice League on TV now with the DC movies in full swing.  So feast your eyes below and get ready for November 28th.

New CW DC Crossover Trailer For Heros Vs. Aliens

They teased us before but they released a trailer which clues us in at least a little more on the 4 night crossover event for the CW Super Hero line up of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends Of Tomorrow.

While it doesn’t give us a complete rundown of what will be happening we do see some interesting glimpses of what might be new heros and even returning characters in Deathstroke.  Deathstroke people!  Check it out below.

Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman (to have his own show)

After Tyler Hoechlin’s pitch perfect turn as the Man of Steel on Supergirl’s premiere episode, the internet lit up with demands that Supes return to the small screen with a show of his own. At first glance, it feels right; Hoechlin, as well as the writing team on Supergirl, did such a great job at bringing some levity back to the big, blue boy scout, that naturally, you want more. He took turns doing the day saving with Supergirl, he thanked random DEO agents for their service, and Rao save us, he actually smiled! Refreshing isn’t strong enough of a word to explain the feeling seeing Superman, the REAL Superman, back in action. (Remember when he told that bank robber, “If the bullets didn’t work, right? Why the punching?”? So great.) We get it. We really do.

But let’s not rush into this. Continue reading Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman (to have his own show)