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Monday, August 6, 2018

PERFECTLY BALANCED - AN INFINITY WAR OBSERVATION


Marvel Studios released a little film called Avengers: Infinity War (you may have heard of it). It was the culmination of 10 years worth of build up into the most ambitious crossover film ever produced. Lucky for them, and REALLY lucky for us, it was super bad ass. The film has been deconstructed and pulled apart since its release and likely will continue to be until at least Avengers 4 comes out next year.

Usually I'm good at picking up on Easter Eggs and other nods to the comic books, TV shows, etc. However, there's one theme in the film I picked up on that I haven't seen anyone talk about yet. All throughout the film, Thanos goes on and on about how the universe needs to be perfectly balanced in order to survive. It's his mantra for whatever reason. But the theme of being perfectly balanced extends to more than just Thanos's mission. Stay with me here:

There are six Infinity Stones. Throughout the film six characters are given the option to either kill to protect a stone or to save a life and sacrifice the stone to Thanos. The only stone exempt from this is the Power Stone because Thanos has it at the beginning of the film. But still six for six. Here we go:

LOKI - THE TESSERACT/SPACE STONE - SAVES THOR

The film's jarring opening sequence starts with Thanos and his homies decimating what's left of the already small band of surviving Asgardians following the ending of Thor: Ragnarok. In an unsurprising turn of events, we learn that Loki stole the Tesseract from Asgard before it was destroyed. Thanos says he'll kill Thor if Loki doesn't give it up. Loki says, "Eh kill him." Then he follows up with, "Jk lol." Thanos takes the Tesseract and kills Loki in the process. Bummer.

STAR LORD - THE REALITY STONE - ATTEMPTS TO KILL GAMORA

Honestly, this one surprised me a lot but made me love Peter Quill more in this franchise. The Guardians go to Knowhere to try and take the Reality Stone before Thanos can get his hands on it. On the way there, Gamora tells Quill that she knows something Thanos doesn't know and if she's captured he needs to kill her. Quill reluctantly agrees. While on Knowhere, Gamora is captured by Thanos and she begs Quill to keep his promise. After a long mental debate (expertly acted by Chris Pratt) and sarcastic coaxing by Thanos, Quill does pull the trigger. However, since he waited like 2 years to do it, Thanos turned his bullets and gun into bubbles. Still . . . Quill knew the cost and he was willing to pay it to protect the universe. Until later that is when he fucked it all up . . . 

GAMORA - THE SOUL STONE - SAVES NEBULA FROM TORTURE

While captured by her foster daddy Thanos, Gamora goes on and on about how she doesn't know where the Soul Stone is. But ya know, Thanos ain't no pushover. He knows what's up. He shows her that he's kidnapped Nebula and is torturing her. He shows her Nebula's memory banks and Gamora's confession that she knows where the Soul Stone is but she'll never tell Thanos. Which brings me to my previous point that Nebula is useless and ruins everything. I know I haven't mentioned here before but I've mentioned it in my personal life enough that it's probably gotten around to you at some point. In any event, Thanos uses the Power Stone to torture Nebula. Gamora can't take it and says she'll take Thanos to the Stone if he leaves Nebula alone. Personally, I think these characters are too forgiving of people that have tried to murder them in the past but . . . whatever. 

THANOS - THE SOUL STONE - WILLING TO KILL GAMORA

Whew . . . Father of the year right? Yikes! Gamora leads Thanos to Vormir where they meet the Red Skull (cuz why not). Skull tells them that he is the Guardian of the stone and to take it requires a sacrifice, "a soul for a soul." Gamora laughs thinking that Thanos doesn't love anything enough to sacrifice it to obtain the stone. Turns out, Thanos actually did love his "daughter" Gamora and is willing to give her soul so that he can save the universe. I mean . . . she just asked her boyfriend to kill her . . . Maybe she has a type? I dunno. Either way, he throws her over the edge like any good father would and gets his bangin ass Soul Stone. Which does . . . I don't know actually. Completes the set?

DOCTOR STRANGE - THE TIME STONE - SAVES IRON MAN

While flying through outer space, Tony Stark (Iron Man, in case you didn't know) says he thinks that the best course of action is to take the fight to Thanos on his home turf. Strange reluctantly agrees and then adds that if it comes down to protecting the Time Stone, Stark, or Spider-Man he won't hesitate to let either of them die to keep the stone out of Thanos's hands. Stark agrees to this. Because . . . I would too? I dunno, these guys are mean to each other. Just be friends already! 

Anyway, later in the film, Thanos comes back to Titan and faces off against Spider-Man, Iron Man, Star Lord, Dr. Strange, Drax, and Mantis. They are barely a match for him. Then Star Lord goes and fucks everything up. You know what happens. Anyway, Thanos takes a piece of Stark's armor and stabs him with it. Which I was convinced was the end of Iron Man. I was like, "There it is! His contract's up!" But Strange begged for Stark's life in exchange for the Time Stone. He hands it over to Thanos and Thanos true to his word leaves Stark alone and then travels to Earth to get the last stone. One could argue that Strange gave up the stone because out of the 14 million outcomes he saw it was the only way to stop him but I'd like to think that Strange's medical oath of "do no harm" stayed with him. But I guess we won't know till Avengers 4 comes out and makes fools out of all of us. 

SCARLET WITCH - THE MIND STONE - WILLING TO KILL VISION

In a tragic turn of events, Shuri is not able to save Vision's consciousness despite being kind of a smart ass to Banner about it (that's what you get for being cocky, kid). Vision pleads with Wanda to destroy the Mind Stone because it's the only way to stop Thanos from achieving his goal. Wanda recognizes that there is no other way and uses her power to push Thanos aside and destory the Mind Stone/Vision in the process. Like holy shit, that's some power. Thanos tells her that he understands her pain and then much to the surprise of surprisingly a lot of people (cuz I totally saw it coming), Thanos uses the Time Stone to reverse Vision's death (Yay!) and then kill him all over again to get the Mind Stone (Damn it!). 

Then Thanos does the finger snap and wipes out all the Avengers that still have movies left on their contracts and leaves the ones behind we're about to say "Bye, Felicia!" to. In all seriousness though, it's a heart wrenching ending. Thanos is a dick and I hope he gets his in Avengers 4. 


Again, this observation is a little uneven due to Thanos already having the Power Stone at the start of the film but we chalk that up to the filmmakers wanting to get the film started as quickly as possible. A smart move considering that it would have been repetitive to show Thanos destroying everyone and everything. As much as I'd love to see John C. Reilly and Glenn Close from Guardians of the Galaxy again . . . well it wouldn't have been worth it. 

In any event, we are three for three. Did the filmmakers intend for this? Maybe. Even if not, it's an awesome thing to think about and adds a new layer to an already fantastic film. What does this mean for Avengers 4? I dunno . . . But I'm willing to bet that Cap's line, "We don't trade lives" will come into play. We'll find out soon enough!


Till Next Time!


JJ - the Comic Junkie! 


Friday, August 3, 2018

10 REASONS TO BE EXCITED FOR TITANS


At San Diego Comic Con a couple weeks ago, the first available footage for Titans was shown to the world and the response was . . . divisive to say the least. Unfortunately, it seems all too common for a DC property these days. I'll be the first to admit that the initial footage took me off guard and I was surprised by the dark tone. I expected something more along the lines of The Flash or Young Justice. Instead, the show is skewing closer to the tone of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or the first season of Arrow. Is that a bad thing? No, of course not. It just means they're going a different direction than I anticipated. The more I thought about it and the more times I watched the trailer I grew to really like this dark, gritty take on the property and came up with some reasons I think we should all be excited for this new series.

THIS AIN'T NO TEEN TITANS GO!
 
Right off the bat the tone was set up as a darker setting then I think most of us were expecting. Granted, I didn't necessarily expect it to be a live action version of Teen Titans Go but I was expecting . . . well not THAT dark. I just have to say from my personal point of view that I don't care for Teen Titans Go. I know it has it's fans, and that's cool, but really it's meant to be a silly children's cartoon that can get kids into superheroes at a young age. I have no problem with that, in fact I welcome that thought process, but for me, I got into Batman through Batman: the Animated Series and Tim Burton's Batman. Titans seems to be taking a similar route with the dark, gritty storytelling. Maybe some parents won't want their kids watching such a violent, dark show but hey! I grew up watching violent stuff and my therapist says I'm doing just "fine".

NO BATMAN
 
Yepp . . . we're gonna talk about it. The infamous line from the Comic Con trailer that seemed to either rally or piss off the fanbase. Robin violently dispatches a number of goons and grunts, "Fuck Batman." Well . . . I wasn't expecting that! The line really threw me for a loop until I realized that Dick Grayson and well, quite frankly all the Robins, have had SEVERAL "Fuck Batman" moments during their costumed careers. It just seems new to us because we've never heard those words before. We've heard, "I quit" "I'm done with you" "I'm going solo!" etc, etc. To me, the exclusion of Batman is a good thing for the series. It means we can watch Dick grow from pissed off at his father young man to his own man. I have no doubt we'll see his turn from Robin to Nightwing, probably in the first season. I'd love for somewhere down the line to have Dick finally come to terms with and forgive Batman for whatever falling out they may have. Even if it doesn't, the point of the show is to see Dick and his new friends come together as a family. That's going to be more important than anything else.
 
RAVEN'S COMING OF AGE
 
In just about every iteration of Teen Titans, Raven has had to deal with her evil father, Trigon, coming to our reality to destroy it or enslave it or whatever. Lucky for her the other Titans are always there to back her up. It's looking like this version won't be any different. Raven actively seeks out Dick Grayson because he can help her fight off the literal demons she has haunting her. Granted, this story has been told, as I just said, in every version of Teen Titans but I'm confident with it being done in live action, there will be a new twist or wrinkle in the narrative. Raven is one of DC's best characters. Someone that is trying to define herself as a good person in spite of having a literal monster for a father. As I've stated numerous times, it's the type of coming of age story that people can subconsciously relate to but it's thinly (and not so thinly) veiled as a superhero epic.
 

GEOFF JOHNS / GREG BERLANTI
 
Two names that are undeniably influential in the world of DC on TV, Geoff Johns (my man) and Greg Berlanti. Berlanti is the producer of every superhero show currently running on The CW and Geoff Johns is one of DC's best writers as well as producer of The Flash and other series. If anyone knows anything about how to craft an awesome DC TV show it's these guys. Their track record speaks for itself with all five DC CW shows getting multiple seasons plus Gotham getting to five seasons and now several highly anticipated DC Universe streaming shows in various stages of production. I know that the trailer was divisive to say the least but with these two behind the scenes I'm confident we're going to get another amazing DC show for the record books. Johns (my man) also wrote several issues of Teen Titans back in the early 2000s. It was a long and successful run that most people told him would be a failure when he pitched it. He sure as hell proved them wrong! Multiple threads from that series have shown up in various other media such as Smallville, Young Justice, and the animated Justice League vs Teen Titans film. Like I said, these guys know what they're doing.
 
ROOM TO GROW
 
Dick Grayson's portrayal in the trailer was one of the things people were most upset with. Dick is the leader of the Titans. He's the one with the cool head under pressure. He's the big brother that everybody wants. Well, guess what? That story needs to be told later. We need to start with "How did he get that way?" I'm much more interested in seeing all of these heroes as raw, open wounds from whatever tragedy has come their way. It makes more sense to see them come together and learn from each other to become the family that we're all familiar with from the comic books. Otherwise, we're just telling stories of people that start off liking each other and fighting crime and demons and monsters with smiles on their faces. And that's not good story telling. Let's give them a chance to grow, to fall down, to stumble, to have major screw ups, and then ultimately stand back up and kick ass and be the heroes we all know and love. That's the show I want to watch.
 
SO MANY CHARACTERS TO ADD IN THE FUTURE
 
They say in the comics that "Once a Titan, always a Titan." Well we're going to see the beginning of these awesome heroes on the small screen soon enough. And their numbers are sure to grow and change over time. We know that one episode will introduce the Doom Patrol, already scheduled to spin off in their own series, not to mention Jason Todd aka Robin II/Red Hood confirmed to make an appearance in season 1. Then there's rumors of Superboy and Lex Luthor appearing on the series possibly at the end of this season or the beginning of the next. And that's not to mention characters like Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, Ravager, Kid Devil, Cyborg, Tara, Bumblebee and the list could go on! I'm certain we'll see many of these characters before the first season is over. In my mind, it's not Teen Titans without a Wonder Girl or Kid Flash in the ranks. Only time will tell. Heck, I'm drooling just thinking about it! Then again . . . I also haven't eaten much today . . . Oh well! TITANS!
 
NIGHT IS DARKEST BEFORE DAWN
 
As I mentioned before, I was quite surprised by the dark tone the show was going for. I was expecting a little more Legends of Tomorrow and less Arrow season 1 but hey . . . here we are! At first I was very put off by this. But the more I thought about it, and I've mentioned this before, it's not a bad thing. In fact, from a storytelling point of view, it's probably the best thing the show can do at this moment. The characters don't know each other, as far as we know. They're all struggling with their own inner demons, in Raven's case a literal demon, and that's putting them all in a dark place. It's going to take all of them together to make it out of the darkness and back into the light that we know these characters inhabit so well. But we're gonna have to see them struggle a bit first and that's fine. We'll get there . . .  
 
DIVERSE CAST
 
Much to the chagrin of so called "fans", superhero movies and TV shows are looking much more diverse than they ever have. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Does it bother some people. Sigh . . . yes. I don't understand why. I'm of the mindset that as long as the actor is good in the role it won't bother me what ethnicity they are. Nobody bats an eye when a theatre troupe puts on an all female cast of Macbeth but if you cast a black woman to play an alien princess then you better jump on your keyboards and fuck up her day with your hate. Personally, I love it. When I was a kid, I looked up to Batman. He was rich, strong, and bad ass. As a white kid, it never occurred to me that I wasn't seeing very many heroes of color or hell even heroes of the female variety. Now that I'm older, it warms my heart to see little girls dressing up as Wonder Woman and African American kids talking about how much Black Panther and his cast means to them. It's a wonderful thing to see and I see why it's necessary during a casting call. But also, let's not forget, the Titans are diverse to begin with - an orange-alien princess, a half demon young woman, a boy with green skin, among others that aren't the (for lack of a better word) traditional heroes we're used to seeing. Again, that's a great thing. It's more "butts in seats" as my theater director likes to say.
 
NEW CONTINUITY
 
Believe it or not I LOVE when my favorite comic books are adapted into a new medium. It means I get to meet these characters all over again in a brand new continuity. While I may not always agree with the choices that the filmmakers and actors make, I always appreciate a new direction. The thing that most "fans" seem to forget is that these characters' stories, histories, costumes, etc are always being reimagined. If it's ok to change it in the comic books, why is it wrong to change it on film? Now I'll admit that a drastic, unnecessary change is a bad thing. Like we don't need Batman as a hard core punk rock band leader with a pet bat named Alfred. Cuz that's not Batman. But an angry Dick Grayson, desperate to escape the shadow of Batman? That's perfect. That's exactly what I want to see. But how did they get there? I love finding that out because it tells me that the creators of the show were fans of the material and wanted to put their own spin on it. You know who does that literally all the time? Your favorite comic book writers and artists. The core of the characters we love is there, but this story is brand new and they're finding their way. Whether or not it works is yet to be seen, but I'm excited at the new possibilities.
 
YOUNG JUSTICE
 
One of the best animated series of all time is without a doubt Young Justice. This "cartoon" like Batman: the Animated Series before it wasn't afraid to tell mature, dark stories that were still safe enough for kids to watch and enjoy. In my mind, Justice League: the Animated Series was the perfect template for telling animated JL stories and Young Justice was how you do perfect Teen Titans adventures. I have no doubt the producers are aware of this and will craft an exciting show that's the best parts of Young Justice and the better live action DC Films. Keeping the show an ensemble of DC's best young heroes is the best way to treat this new series. As with any first season of a show, I think there will be some stumbles in storytelling but lucky for the producers and writers they have a perfect template to draw inspiration from and that's Young Justice. I mean that show worked so well establishing each character as an individual and an essential part of the team. Titans would do well to learn from that. Hopefully, we'll see more of the characters in future trailers before the series hits this fall.
 
 
 
As a lifelong DC fan, believe me when I tell you that I'm just as nervous as I am excited for this new series. Is it what I was expecting? Hell no. Does that mean it will be bad? No. Personally, I've loved the darker DC Films and I'm glad the producers weren't afraid to start Titans off that way. Like I said, I think these characters will start in a dark place and then help each other back to the light. It's what families do.
 
 
Till Next Time!
 
 
JJ - the Comic Junkie! 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

8 THINGS A BATWOMAN TV SHOW MUST DO


The CW shocked the internet (well maybe not shocked) the other day with the announcement that Batwoman was getting her own TV series. This is exciting news for a number of reasons: First it will be the first time the lead hero is openly gay, second it's a Bat-family TV series which has not been done (Gotham technically doesn't count as Batman is not in it), and third it's another step forward in the same vein as Supergirl and Jessica Jones to have a female led series, both in front of and behind the camera.

The Kate Kane version of Batwoman is a relatively new addition to DC Comics. Sure there have been Batwomen in the past, and more famously Batgirls, but Kate is different. She's a veteran, Bruce Wayne's cousin, and already primed for leadership due to harsh training by her father, Colonel Jacob Kane. She's interesting to me because she simultaneously stands apart from the rest of the Bat-family and yet is one of two characters (the other of course being Damian Wayne) that is actually blood-related to Batman. Literally any of the Bat-family members could lead a compelling and exciting TV series but since Greg Berlanti and co. have decided to go with Batwoman, I want to offer some unsolicited advice and what I think could make it a fantastic TV show.

LEARN FROM THAT OTHER VET'S SHOW


There's plenty of drama to be mined with a television show about a war vet. You know what hasn't been done yet? A show about a lesbian that was dishonorably discharged from the military suffering from PTSD. THAT is brand new territory for prime time television to cover and the producers would be remiss to overlook that in favor of more superheroics (although that's obviously important and we'll come back to that).

The Punisher on Netflix has been regarded as one of the best television stories about veterans suffering from PTSD. It's a touchy subject that maybe people don't want to talk about or even hear about but with thousands of vets taking their lives every year from trauma associated with war, I think it's important to showcase what it's like for them and how they can cope. In the comics, when Kate was discharged she spent her nights partying, getting drunk/high, and other such self destructive behaviors. It wasn't until she was rescued by Batman that she decided to get her life back on track and become Batwoman to save Gotham City.

ROMANTIC INTERESTS
 
Speaking of touchy subjects . . . Yes ladies and gentlemen, Kate Kane AKA Batwoman is gay. While I don't think her sexuality defines her, it is a part of her character and will be addressed going forward. So far, the CW has done an excellent job of showcasing out-gay characters such as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific, Alex Danvers, Sara Lance, Anissa Pierce/Thunder to name a few. During Supergirl's second season, Kara's sister Alex went a journey of self discovery and came out of the closet. It was one of the best stories of the entire series because it was portrayed as realistically as possible. Alex's journey was scary for her and she was worried about alienating herself from her family and friends. Ultimately, they all embraced her new status quo. Being gay didn't change anything about Alex other than the dates she might bring to family dinners or game nights. These types of experiences are not as unique as you would think. It's a story that feels unique to the individual because it's so terrifying and ostracizing but the amazing truth is that there are so many people out there that can relate to that experience. To have their story told in a prime time, action packed superhero television series is so exciting. Comic books and science fiction are great at telling exciting stories cleverly disguised as social and political issues. And sometimes the stories aren't disguised. They are blatantly stated for the world to see. Even in today's more accepting society, it's still a bold statement to make and I'm proud of the CW for embracing it with these wonderful characters.
 
FEMINISM/EQUAL RIGHTS
 
These days I fear that the word "feminism" is sometimes also a touchy subject. True feminism is all about equal rights, which of course is admirable. Unfortunately, like any social movement, there are bad apples that give the whole group a bad name. I think it's great that we have heroes like Supergirl, White Canary, Vixen, Black Canary, and now Batwoman that can stand shoulder to shoulder next to Green Arrow, the Flash, and the other Legends. I'm not saying that I want Kate to be marching down the street in every other episode in protest for women's rights. I don't think that's a bad thing, I just think the actions of the character speak loud enough. She's been trained in combat by both the military and Batman. Basically - she's someone you don't want to mess with. I think it's important not just for little girls that will watch the show but for boys too. They need to see that things like "fight like a girl" isn't an insult but a compliment. I mean, if anyone can fight like Batwoman they deserved to be praised . . . and maybe feared a little.
 
SHADOW OF THE BAT
 
Much like Supergirl, Batwoman will have to work to get out of the shadow of her more famous cousin. In the comics, it's easy enough. She can be in her own world away from his activities and have her own adventures. On TV though, with a much larger audience, let's just say there's a reason Superman's name came up more than a few times during the first season of Supergirl. It's not to say that Kate can't handle her own, it's just that with the BAT in the title, audiences automatically expect a Bat-cameo. Personally, I'm all for Batman to show up at some point down the line, but it's important for Batwoman to find her own voice. One of the issues I had with Supergirl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during their first seasons was that there were too many references, winks, and downright name dropping of Superman and the Avengers. Batwoman wouldn't exist (literally) without Batman and Agents wouldn't have been popular without the Marvel brand attached. So yes, a reference and acknowledgment is fine, but you're on your own now kid. You gotta find your voice and be your own hero. Eventually, Supergirl and Agents did just that. Supergirl went the entire season three without needing a guest appearance or even much reference to Superman. Truthfully, I barely noticed because I was so excited to see Kara and her heroics.
 

SYMBOL OF HOPE
 
In The Dark Knight Batman says to Harvey Dent, "You're the symbol of hope I could never be." To me, if they have any reference to Batman it should be that. Kate is a very different type of hero than Batman. She doesn't have to stay in the shadows and strike fear in the hearts of criminals. She stands up tall in the light in front of them. Batman's goal is to inspire the people of Gotham and that is shown perfectly with Batwoman. After all, she's proof that he is an inspiration. But unlike Batman, she can have a more gentle touch with the public. I'm not saying she's gonna be going to public events like Adam West's Batman did (and please God no), but she will be a more, for lack of a better word, approachable hero for the people of Gotham to admire. Of course, like Bruce, she has her inner demons (such as the PTSD we discussed earlier) but she's much more than just a female Batman. That would not be a compelling story, otherwise why not just do a Batman show? Having the star be Kate means she can lead in a way that he can't.
 
 


ROGUES GALLERY
 
Batman has the best Rogues Gallery in all of comic books and if you disagree I'm prepared to fight you on this. But I'm pretty confident you will agree. Gotham has done a really great job of showcasing a lot of Batman's wonderful, wacky, and evil adversaries. As much as I would love to see Batwoman take on Clayface, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, and even the Joker, I think it's best if the producers focus on the lesser used Bat-villains and Kate's own enemies from her comic book series. Again, the worst thing the show can do is treat it like "a female Batman series". She has to be more than that. I wouldn't mind if she had a female Joker (of sorts) to fight but it wouldn't be very interesting if all the villains were just gender-bent to fit the female Batman. Granted, I'm not worried and more often than not, the producers have proven that they know how to make exciting and interesting villains for our heroes to fight. Kate only has about an eighth of the comic book history that Batman has, but she's still a vigilante in Gotham and has made plenty of enemies.
 
Speaking of . . .
 
LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTER
 
One of the more recent, and best, stories to come out is how ex-Colonel Jacob Kane tried to make a Bat-army of his own. These were military trained men and women that were also trained in stock news footage of Batman and his allies. Their goal was to take the concept of Batman and weaponize it. Technically speaking, that's pretty bad ass, but then again, not everyone is going to harness the skills of Batman for good. Jacob might have the best intentions but it puts him in direct conflict with his daughter. Jacob's plan is basically "you're either with us or against us cuz this is happening either way." For a strong, independent woman that's not exactly the thing she wants to hear, even if it is coming from her father that she loves very much. One of the best subplots throughout all of the CW shows is that of legacy and family. There's the family you are born with and the family you make. In the case of the Bat-family they have all come together through some sort of tragedy and made each other their own adopted family. I have no doubt that Kate's story will touch upon that in her series. Kate's legacy and family is compelling enough for a great series.
 
LEGACY
 
If there's one thing the CW shows love to do, and have done well, is build a legacy and partners for their heroes. Seeing characters like Spoiler/Stephanie Brown, Orphan/Cassandra Cain, or even Barbara Gordon herself would be super exciting for longtime Bat-fans that have been craving for more of the extended Bat-family to get their due on screen. Personally, one of my favorite comic book series of all time was when Stephanie Brown was Batgirl. If she got to play some role during Batwoman I would be over the moon excited about that.
 
Either way it's safe to say that Kate will definitely be getting back up in some way whether that's from Renee Montoya either as a cop or as the Question or any other random characters that the producers can dig up from the DC archives. I mean, Cisco Ramon wasn't a Flash supporting character in the comic books but that didn't stop them from putting him front and center for a heroic journey on The Flash. It will definitely be exciting to see who the producers choose to give a new spotlight to next to Kate.
 
 
 I really can't stress enough how exciting this announcement is. I knew we would be in for a treat when Stephen Amell first announced that Batwoman would make her debut during this upcoming year's crossover event, but I didn't think we'd actually get a full-fledged spin off!
 
 
 
Kate is a perfect fit for the already diverse and ever expanding DC-CW universe. I think the show will definitely play up the BAT part of her name but, if done right, it won't be long before people are saying, "You mean there's a BatMAN too?" Ok ok maybe that's a stretch! But given the producers track record for telling relevant, compelling, and all around incredible stories, I'm not worried. Time to start the countdown!
 
 
 
 
Till Next Time!
 
 
JJ - The Comic Junkie! 





Friday, March 9, 2018

7 SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEXT DC CW CROSSOVER


As I may have mentioned before (once or twice) I'm a pretty big fan of the CW superhero shows Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and now Black Lightning. I think they are lots of fun to watch and it's amazing to see characters I never thought would be done in live action brought to life like Mr. Terrific, Black Canary, the Atom, Firestorm, Kid Flash, and so many others. Ever since Barry Allen guest starred on Arrow four years ago (damn that feels forever ago!) I had a feeling we were going to be in for a real treat. Little did I know that we would get yearly crossovers with all of these incredible heroes. It's like having a Justice League movie every year! I'm a pretty happy nerd to say the least.

The first crossover between Arrow and the Flash was simple enough a basic "they fight, then team up" story that is common ground for superheroes. The next year we got to see the Legends of Tomorrow start to come together. Then the next year the heroes had to team up against the Dominators and their Invasion! This past year saw the biggest, and best in my opinion, crossover yet with Crisis on Earth X. It's one thing for the heroes to have to fight each other, but to fight evil versions of themselves from an alternate Earth? That's going to be tough to top next year! But I have faith that the producers will think of something. In the meantime, I'd like to share my thoughts on what would be cool to see next year:

DARKSEID

This one is probably not very likely but given the current state of the DC Films (IE: they're kind of a mess) I'd say the timing is right to give Darkseid some much needed TV exposure. He was the primary antagonist during Smallville season ten but given the restraints that they had on their budget he wasn't much to behold. A strong presence sure, but not as intimidating as the Lord of Apokolips should be. 

In the 7 years (lord in Heaven I'm old) since Smallville ended there have been major advancements in TV CGI and I think that the writers and producers could figure out a clever way to bring Darkseid and his minions to Earth 1 or Earth 38 or any in between to fight our CW Justice League! I mean one way to up the ante from fighting aliens and doppelgangers would be to fight the most evil being in the universe. Am I right? And if he is fully CGI then maybe recast Michael Ironside (from Superman: the Animated Series) as the voice. Plus it's a cool way to bring in Mister Miracle and Big Barda into a live action setting! There's a lot of possibility here!

POWER GIRL

One character that has been strangely absent from both Supergirl and the other Arrowverse shows is Power Girl. During Crisis on Earth X, Wells says that there are 53 Earths and 53 Kryptons. So that would mean that Earth 1 has a Kara, right? Somewhere on Barry and Oliver's world is a Kara Zor El. Or should I say Kara Zor L? During Infinite Crisis, Power Girl discovered her true origin. She was one of the only survivors of a long forgotten Earth 2 where she was Kal L's cousin and was raised as the daughter of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. She tries her best to unite the two worlds but . . . long story short it doesn't go well.

Ouchies

Probably when Supergirl was on CBS the producers had loose plans to bring her to the CW verse by having Power Girl a recurring character. Or maybe she would have appeared on Supergirl. I mean who knows? Either way, I think it's past time for Karen Starr to make an appearance during one of these events. I mean if they can't reach Kara on Earth 38 they're gonna need a "big gun" of their own, right? 

ANOTHER MUSICAL

I had a previous blog post where I mentioned all these different talented singers that have played superheroes. That's never been more evident than in the casts of The Flash and Supergirl. They decided to use their wonderfully talented casts to the best of their abilities and have them sing, dance, and save the day all in one unforgettable episode. It was a really exciting experience for me because I'm a huge comic book fan (obviously) and a musical fan. So to see these actors I love so much sing and dance during a Flash episode was amazing. The only downside to me was how short it was. 

I really think that between Darren Criss's Music Meister and Mr. Mxyzptlk, they could cause some mayhem for our heroes on one or both of their Earths. Plus this would be an opportunity to bring back Joss Whedon to write some more original music like he did for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. There were rumors of him doing that for the Duet episode but those obviously weren't true. Since he's "failed" at making a Batgirl movie, maybe now he can focus his attention on a different corner of the DC Multiverse and write some awesome new episodes of the DC CW shows. I mean otherwise what is he good for? Seems like light hearted TV shows are a bit more his speed anyway . . . 

He tried . . . 

Whether it's Joss Whedon or someone else writing some original songs for the casts to sing, I think we are due for another awesome musical experience. 


GOTHAM

If there's one thing that fans of Arrow have been asking for since day one, it's a Batman guest appearance. We've gotten Ra's Al Ghul, Talia, Firefly (kinda), and even a name drop or two but never an actual full blown appearance by the Dark Knight himself. Well . . . here's a chance. Now, I'll admit, I have no idea how this would happen. Like at all. Gotham films in New York and the CW shows, save for Black Lightning, film in Vancouver, Canada. Right off the bat (no pun intended) it's already a technically difficult endeavor. However, that didn't stop them from having Barry Allen guest star on Supergirl when they used to film in Los Angeles! Granted they had the same producers but hey - they still pulled it off! 

Now it doesn't necessarily have to be a full blown crossover. After all, Gotham looks and feels completely different from Arrow and the Flash. So maybe we don't need a weird crossover where Oliver and Barry are teaming up with Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Maybe instead what we need are the Bat-villains invading Star City or Central City. How cool would it be to see Oliver have to fight Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, the Penguin, the Scarecrow and all those other wacky Gotham citizens? I'm sure it will never happen but it's not TOTALLY out of the realm of possibilities. 

BLACK LIGHTNING

Let's be honest here, this one is a matter of when not if. Black Lightning films in Atlanta, Georgia so again it's going to be technically difficult but not impossible. It's just a matter of Wells and Cisco discovering which Earth Jefferson Pierce and his family live on and then asking for their help during some sort of Crisis. Or maybe Jefferson accidentally crosses to Earth 1 and helps the other CW heroes during one of their fights. It doesn't need to be a long drawn out explanation. After all, Barry met Kara just by running like REALLY fast. 

At this stage, a crossover would be a bad idea. Black Lightning has a very different tone and, let's face it, it's much more topical than the others. While Supergirl and the Flash will use phrases like "fake news" and "make Earth great again" to add that sense of realism (so to speak), Black Lightning is much more political such as having protests like Black Lives Matter and the events from Charlottesville, VA as a part of the actual plots they are telling. It's a bold move and very brave in my opinion. Also, I think the stories are handled well. I think the heroes of the other CW shows could use that extra dose of reality every now and again. I mean as real as we can be when the main character has lightning powers. You know what I mean . . . Again when not if. 

SMALLVILLE 

Of all the suggestions on this list, this one I think has the most potential to become a reality. Tom Welling has already expressed interest in appearing on The Flash and he strongly hinted that he would reprise the role of Clark Kent. For me, it goes back to Wells saying that there are 53 Earths. One of them is most likely the Smallville Earth. Now that Smallville has been off the air for a while, it would be a good time to bring back Tom Welling as Superman and Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. Plus, and I don't think I'm alone here, it's way past time that Barry, Oliver, Sara, Ray and everyone else meets Superman! I mean for crying out loud, they've established Bruce Wayne as existing in their universe, it's safe to say that Clark Kent does too! 


Oh and there's that too. Before he was making you cry every week on This is Us, Justin Hartley was the first live action Green Arrow on the CW. He did a pretty damn good job too. There was talk originally of his character from Smallville having a spin off but the producers decided instead to craft their own version of the Green Arrow mythos. In hindsight, I think that was a great idea. However, I do miss Smallville's version of the character. I think it would be great to bring him back. Also, it doesn't have to be hard to explain why this version of Clark and Oliver look different from the ones our characters know. I mean . . . they look different because their parents look different. Or something. I don't know dude. I ain't gettin paid to write this shit. You figure it out Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim! 

But seriously, I think it would be great to get these characters all together again for another battle against Darkseid or the Anti Monitor or the Injustice League or Lex Luthor or Mongul or something! I don't know man! There's so many options!

THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN

Controversial opinion - Supergirl's version of Superman needs to die. Why do I say that? Three reasons - 1) he doesn't seem to contribute much to that universe since Kara arrived. After all, most of his rogues are being adapted to fight Kara instead of him. 2) The Legion of Superheroes has now been inspired by Kara instead of him. Don't get me wrong, that's all well and good but it doesn't fit comic book lore. I don't mind the change but I can't help but feel like it diminishes Kal El's impact on Earth. 3) Kara has been doing a great job protecting the Earth without him. I mean seriously, she has so many fights where he is nowhere to be found. Again, not a bad thing as it is her show and she should be the reason we all tune in, but I can't help but feel like we're missing out by not having him as a regular character. 

So the solution? Kill him. I'm not saying he's useless, I'm just saying he's not needed. Plus his death would be a good reason for the heroes to reunite (weddings and funerals bring family and friends together). They could inspire Kara to take up his legacy as the World's Greatest Hero. Like I said, it's been said that her ideals and heroism is what inspires the Legion of Superheroes, so why not cement that fact by having Superman be killed off permanently? 

I'd be very sad if it happened because I love Tyler Hoechlin and his take on Clark/Superman. But he's gotta go so that Kara can take his place. Is this likely to happen? Probably not. Then again the animated series, the films, the comics, and everything in between has adapted this story in some way, shape, or form. My gut tells me it's likely that Supergirl will tackle it eventually. And what better way than during an epic crossover where the other heroes are their to support their friend's loss. Man I have problems don't I? . . . Yikes . . . 


Will one of these ideas make it to the small screen this fall? Maybe. Maybe not. I think they are all plausible in some way. These crossovers have gotten successfully bigger and better and I can't wait to see what they cook up next year. 


Till Next Time!


JJ - the Comic Junkie! 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

5 STORY IDEAS FOR THE MAN OF STEEL SEQUEL


To say that it's been a wild and slightly frustrating ride with the DCEU is an understatement. I'm in the minority that I've enjoyed all of the films that have been released. I see the flaws, I hear the rumors, but for the most part the films have been entertaining or exciting to me in some way. Man of Steel in particular was a highlight. I enjoyed the grittier, harder take on Superman. Within the context of the story they were telling it worked for me and I loved it. Even the follow up with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I enjoyed because it was what I felt that film should have been. Justice League gave us a more "traditional" Superman where he was a bit more optimistic (I guess being resurrected will do that for you). For my money, Henry Cavill is a great actor that can do whatever is thrown at him. I felt like the character had a natural progression throughout his three movies.

Every so often there is talk of when the next Superman film will be released. I think we are long over due for another solo Superman adventure. He's the original superhero and has the potential to tell the most exciting and inspiring stories. I don't know what the hold up is, but I do know what stories Warner Bros should consider using. There have been so many great Superman comics over the years, I'd love to see one of these adapted.

SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES
 
Geoff Johns (my man) has told some of the best superhero stories over the last 15 or so years. I know because I've read a good chunk of them. One of my all time favorites is Superman and the Legion of Superheroes. In this story, Superman is reminded of childhood friends he had from the 31st Century. They are the Legion of Superheroes, a gathering of alien heroes from across the galaxy inspired by Superman's legacy. This story features Superman brought to the future to help them reinspire Earth which has been overrun with xenophobia and Superman's legacy as an alien has been written as a superhero born on Earth.
 
Now that I think about it, this is the PERFECT story to tell in Trump's America. Superman is a character that represents all life. His motto is to "preserve life at all costs." I've stated before how Superman fights for Truth, Justice and the American Way but not America the country but America the idea. The idea that human beings have the right to live with peace, security, and dignity. In the book, Superman is shocked to learn that his legacy is being tarnished. He sets out to prove that he represents everyone and even the bad guys are worth redeeming.
 
Honestly this would be the perfect story to tell post Justice League. What better way to keep a traditional, optimistic Superman then by showing him that he inspires a literal legion of heroes? It's the type of story that could probably only done on the big screen with a massive budget. Let's just hope that the visual effects improve.
 

Yeesh . . .

UP, UP, AND AWAY!
 
Another Geoff Johns (my man) gem, co-written by Superman alum Kurt Busiek. The best part of this story and why I think it would make a great film is that it's more of a Clark Kent story than a Superman story. It takes place after Superman has been "missing" for a year. In reality, it's just that Clark has lost his powers and has been able to focus all his attention on his job at the Daily Planet and with his wife, Lois. Given that Justice League has resurrected Superman I think this type of story would be a great way to reintroduce the new, optimistic Superman to the world. It would be a great way to see him enjoying the little things in life, like a couple scenes where he eats a pretzel with mustard and calls it "heaven." Little character pieces like that make Clark much more human than some critical fans give him credit for.
 
On the other side of things, this story features Lex Luthor coming across Kryptonian artifacts and using them to build weapons and machinery to wreak havoc on Metropolis (as one does). I think it would be so great to have more Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Let's say in the film, he's found a way to beat his charges and is rebuilding LexCorp. Of course, with the return of Superman, he's on the warpath again and intends to kill him, permanently this time. Man that would be a fun movie. It would also be a great way to include some lesser known villains to fight Superman like Bloodsport, Silver Banshee, Riot, and Neutron. It's one of my favorite Superman stories and possibly my favorite Clark Kent story.
 
REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN
 
Since Batman v Superman and Justice League have tackled the Death and Return of Superman, it seems to me that the logical continuation of that story would be the Reign of the Supermen. This story featured four different people saying they were the new Superman: Superboy, a young clone of Superman, Cyborg-Superman, a pilot whose consciousness was merged with a Superman robot, the Eradicator, a Kryptonian artificial intelligence, and Steel, an African American male inspired by Superman's influence to become a hero. I think a feature film adaptation of this story would be really exciting and a lot of fun. It could also address the questions of "What does it mean to be a hero?" and "Who deserves the title of Superman?"
 
Each character has some sort of aspect of Superman. With Superboy, he literally has his DNA. Well, half. The other half is Lex Luthor, which would be a great wrinkle in the story if they go this route. The Eradicator is Kryptonian and can mimic Superman's powers but not his ideals. Cyborg-Superman is just as powerful as Superman but starts to go insane. In the comics, he's partially responsible for the destruction of Coast City, Green Lantern's home town. What a dick! Despite being human, Steel has the right moral values and his suit gives him flight and super strength like Superman. Each one may represent a piece of Superman but does that mean they deserve to be called Superman? This story would be a great way to keep the film located in Metropolis and deal with how the citizens deal with him. It's something the recent films haven't touched upon yet and this story would be a great way to do it.
 
SUPERGIRL
 
This is probably a long shot considering that Supergirl currently is starring in a successful television series on the CW. But then again Justice League featured Barry Allen/The Flash and Superman has guest starred on Supergirl so . . . Maybe?
 
My favorite Supergirl comic was the Jeph Loeb/Michael Turner story where she was reintroduced during Superman/Batman. In that story, she arrived in a Kryptonite meteor, unaware of how long Krypton had been gone. She is trained by Wonder Woman and the Amazons but eventually kidnapped by Darkseid and turned into a minion for his evil plans. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Barda rescue her and bring her back to Earth, introducing her to the hero community as Supergirl. If the film were to take that approach then it would be a cool way to have another film featuring DC's Trinity with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
 
Another option is how Supergirl was introduced during the Injustice 2 comic tie in. Her space ship crash lands in Kahdaq and she's adopted by Black Adam. Given that it was announced that Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam would not be introduced in Shazam but in his own film, it would be interesting to see this particular take done on the big screen. It's a way to separate the story from what was done on the TV show in terms of her origin. Plus, and I don't think I'm alone in thinking this, seeing Black Adam and Superman duke it out in live action would be pretty fucking amazing.
 
Of course the other option is the Man of Steel prequel comic book where Kara arrived on Earth and I don't know. Some shit happened I think. I read it in poor quality 5 years ago when I pre ordered my tickets for them on a crappy website and literally haven't been able to find it since. I mean I liked it and everything but it's gone, dude. It was reference, slightly, in Man of Steel when he finds the ship in the Arctic and there's a pod that's opened but I'd be surprised if the filmmakers followed up on that. After all, there are far more interesting ways to tell Kara's story in the films than following up on that old thread.
 
PUBLIC ENEMIES
 
I've mentioned before how Batman: Hush got me in monthly comic books but Superman/Batman kept me around. The first arc by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness was Public Enemies. In this story, President Lex Luthor discovers a meteor made of Kryptonite is heading toward Earth and he blames Superman. Batman tries to help Superman clear his name, which of course involves fighting multiple supervillains, other heroes, and eventually Lex Luthor himself in his Lexo-suit. It's an exciting story with a ticking time bomb as the Kryptonite meteor is hurtling toward Earth, weakening Superman, and scaring the people into believing Lex's lies about how Superman is the cause of their impending doom.
 
It's not hard to believe that a story can be told where Lex Luthor is released from prison and becomes president. I mean I don't want to be political here but we do have a current president accused of several crimes and he happens to be a billionaire, xenophobe. #JustSaying
 
In any event, this story could easily be told with Batman as a main character or he could be substituted for another character like Steel or Superboy or someone else we have not seen yet. I think this particular story has the potential to be an extremely exciting blockbuster film. It was already adapted as an animated feature and is one of my favorites that Warner Bros Animation has produced. I mean who wouldn't want a more traditional team up film with Superman and Batman where they have to fight a dozen or so supervillains? As a great man once said, "Shut up and take my money!"
 
Yeah that's the one!
 
 
These are just a handful of ideas that I think would make really exciting, fun, and unique Superman films. These comics are among my all time favorite Superman stories. I think it's safe to say we can put to bed the brooding, doubting Clark Kent and see him start to embrace a more fun, optimistic Superman. Again, I'm a big fan of Man of Steel and BvS but I agree that it's time for a more traditional Superman. More than ever, I think we need a hero we can look up to that inspires us in trying times. Superman has always been good at that. Let's see that happen again! Make Superman great again!
 
 
Till Next Time!
 
 
JJ - The Comic Junkie!  
 

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

15 SUGGESTIONS FOR THE DC STREAMING SERVICE


Later this year will see the release of DC Entertainment's very own streaming service. Basically it will be Netflix but exclusive to DC related content. So instead of Netflix and chill we'll be able to DC and chill! My kind of night . . .

Ahem . . . anyway! Like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime before it, DC intends to make original content exclusive to their platform. So far only a few original shows have been announced, Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, an animated Harley Quinn series, and Metropolis a series revolving around Lex Luthor and Lois Lane solving crimes in Metropolis before Superman arrives. Which is the type of show that every super-fan wants to see (I guess). I'm kidding, maybe it will be good! This got me thinking, what else could they cook up? Netflix has everything from comedies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to dramas like Ozark to family friendly entertainment like Fuller House. In my opinion, if the DC platform is going to be successful it should adopt a similar pattern. Here are my ideas for what DC should produce next.

BATGIRL

DC has no shortage of Bat-characters to make an awesome TV show out of. From the Dark Knight himself to all his sidekicks, allies, and even villains, but they seem to be getting the spotlight on Gotham. Now that Joss Whedon has exited the Batgirl film and Warner Bros has put the film on the backburner, it's the perfect time for someone to step in and produce a bad ass Batgirl series. The best part is that there are at least three great Batgirl characters to choose from: Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, or Stephanie Brown. Or, like the picture I used from the Futures' End tie in, use all of them! Gail Simone has reportedly expressed interest in writing a Batgirl film, and while she would be an inspired choice, I think her talents would be better used making a cool Batgirl TV series. Each Batgirl has her fans and in my opinion they are all worthy of television treatment. There's a rich history to be tapped with this character and the possibilities are exciting enough on their own!

AMERICAN VAMPIRE

This is a pretty obvious one right? The comic itself reads like story boards to the coolest vampire show already, so why not just film it already? As part of DC's Vertigo imprint, this series is able to be far more adult and mature than if it was just another DC horror comic. I got into this comic after being a fan of Scott Snyder from his Detective Comics and Batman run and wanted to see what else he had done. Turns out, he has this really cool concept for telling a centuries spanning vampire mythology way more interesting than most vampire stories even bother putting into one chapter.

Ahem . . . 

Seriously though, American Vampire is ripe for today's binge watching serialized story telling. It features multi dimensional characters and creative execution that streaming services thrive on. Plus there was a really cool Dracula story that would be awesome to see in live action!

GREEN LANTERNS

One of the best comics to come out of DC Rebirth, at least in my opinion, was Green Lanterns. It allowed for familiar and exciting Green Lantern stories to be told with brand new characters in unique and fun ways. The two newest Green Lanterns are Jessica Cruz, a socially anxious shut in and Simon Baz, a wrongfully convicted Muslim seen as a terrorist by the people of Earth. Together they make a truly unlikely pair but eventually become best friends and partners protecting the planet from alien menaces. It's not easy given their inner demons but they manage to overcome them and save the day like true heroes. 

Oh yeah . . . THAT. That would be a great show to binge watch. Right away there's the option for more diversity with the lineup as the leads are a Muslim male and a Hispanic female. But like all great story telling these characters are relatable in how they get into situations that are over their heads and have to overcome their own crap to pull through. It's something most people can relate to. Maybe not the fighting space monsters part, but you know . . . the getting over yourself thing. 

I've expressed interest multiple times why I think Green Lantern and the Corps deserve their own show and this would be perfect for a serialized TV format. True the budget may be crazy huge but I have no doubt that in the right hands this show would be rewatchable with its themes, entertainment, and spectacle. 

SWAMP THING

With its current line up, DC has stuck to mostly traditional superhero fare or prequels. Basically, it's what people are used to from them. There's nothing wrong with that, but like I said, they should explore other options. Swamp Thing was one of my favorite comics that came out of the New 52. I had no knowledge of the character other than he was thing from the swamp (seemed like a safe assumption). I got the comic because I liked the artist, Yanick Paquette, and the writer, Scott Snyder, was killing it on Batman. In the first issue, I was hooked. I immediately looked into other Swamp Thing stories like the classic Alan Moore run. I even watched the original movie. While dated, the film was still interesting and fun (directed by the late, great Wes Craven). 

There was a short lived Swamp Thing TV series in the 80s which I believe was a continuation of the films. I think a new take, one that embraces a Cronenbergesque body horror side of things, would be really exciting and something different than is traditionally offered by either DC or Marvel. It doesn't have to be gory but definitely scary and not afraid to take risks just like the comics always have been. Who doesn't love a great love story involving a swamp monster and a white haired bad ass female? Well, not many people now, probably, but if they make this show that will change!

HOURMAN

A few years ago, there was talk of making an Hourman television series on the CW. These plans never materialized, instead Hourman was a supporting character in a couple episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow. While I enjoyed those episodes, I still wondered what this show would have looked like. Granted, I don't know much about the character other than being a fan of Geoff Johns' (my man) run on JSA. However, I do know that there have been multiple Hourmen in DC's history. Sometimes they don't have power, other times they have powers only for a short while - like 60 minutes (get it?). That would make for a fun police-procedural type of adventure show. Plus, with Hourman getting his power from Miraclo, an addictive substance, there's an opportunity to show the type of struggle beyond just fighting supervillains. Inner demons make for the best type of superhero stories after all. Plus this is a chance to explore other members of the JSA that don't normally get the spotlight on the other shows like Sandman, Wildcat, Starman, and all those awesome supporting characters.

ANIMATED LEGO DC ADVENTURES

Hey, it can't all be for the adults right? The Lego DC animated films are actually a lot of fun and a great way to get kids excited about superheroes. I've seen a couple of the movies and they are fun and my nephews get excited for them. Of course, then they just want me to buy them more Legos . . . maybe this isn't a good idea . . . 

But seriously, it's a great opportunity to have some family friendly entertainment and tell, dare I say, safer Justice League type stories. Of course the big budget Lego Batman movie starring Will Arnett was just about the perfect Batman film that 8 year old me could have asked for but these other short films have their value as well. A show like this could explore different story opportunities that a live action counterpart wouldn't be able to do, given the budget, and be a whole lot of wacky fun along the way. I mean, as comic book fans, we're all little kids at heart right? ;)

JINXWORLD

When Bendis made the jump from Marvel to DC, he promised a wonderful partnership with DC where his original creations could thrive. Books like Powers, Scarlet, and Jinx are extremely popular with his fans and have more than enough potential to carry multiple live action television series. Powers was tried on a short lived Playstation platform but that fizzled out because . . . well I don't know to be honest. I assume the viewership wasn't there. Chalk it up to people not wanting to watch movies on a Playstation or possibly some other dumb reason. Either way, I think DC's streaming service is the perfect place to try again. I've read some of Powers and love the way it mixes the outrageous superhero action with a gritty crime drama. It's exactly the type of left field story telling that could set DC's platform apart from Netflix and Hulu. I imagine that some sort of announcement for something like this won't take long to materialize. After all, Bendis spent almost two decades at Marvel, DC had to have offered him something other than just Superman right?

DC NATION SHORTS

In this day and age, how many times a day do you sit and get caught up watching short clips or trailers on YouTube? Not long ago, DC ran some funny, action packed shorts on Cartoon Network with their shows. I don't think those are on there anymore, but you can still find them on DC's YouTube page along with other cool shorts like the Batman and Superman 75th anniversary shorts. The streaming service is the perfect place to bring those back and tell any kind of story that a writer and animator can think of. My favorite was one where Lois Lane was desperate to get a one on one exclusive with Batman, getting into all kinds of hi jinks to get her story. It ended with Batman answering her questions and she helped him fight some crime. Hokey, yes, but lots of fun and made me laugh. Of course, it didn't hurt that Kevin Conroy played Batman in it. 

I'd love to see the DC Nation shorts run the gamut from funny bits like the Lois Lane short to more serious ones like the short films DC used to produce with their animated films. It's the type of stuff that I live for as a comic book fan. Funny, exciting, dramatic, and ultimately unforgettable. 

THE SANDMAN

One of the most famous comic books of all time, The Sandman is an experiment in telling creative and marvelous stories in the comic book format. For some reason, the property remains in development Hell as no one can seem to crack how to adapt it in live action. I think it might be because the comic is so damn perfect, there's hardly a way to expand it without it falling flat. However, I think DC's streaming service is the perfect place to bring Morpheus and the dream world to life. As I've said before, streaming services have proven that they are at their best when they creators go nuts and tell the best stories that they can tell limited only by their imagination (and maybe budget, but that can be worked out). Sandman is something that fans have been clamoring for for years and I think now is the perfect time to adapt it and give us a wholly unique television series just like the comic was unique in its day. I mean, dang! These stories are timeless and still hold up to this day! What the hell is the hold up here??

POWERLESS (or something similar)

While it was short lived, I kind of liked Powerless. It was the type of left field show that saw a different side of the DC Universe. I think the show had potential and an audience but ultimately played it too safe. I remember the original pitch being characters selling "Superhero Insurance" and being frustrated with all the collateral damage caused by super fights. The show was then turned into a more traditional work place comedy where the characters worked for Wayne Tech making gadgets to help ordinary citizens stay safe from super hero battles. I like the original pitch better. It's exactly the type of funny concept people are joking about after every superhero film. I mean . . . we all saw Man of Steel right? BILLIONS in property damage! And that was just two dudes! 

While I doubt that Powerless will be revived, after all the show's quality was meh at best, I think there is room for a sitcom set in the DC universe. Whether it's a police comedy like Brooklyn 99 (one of my favorite shows) or a romantic comedy of some kind, there's potential to tell unique every day stories set against the backdrop of the DC Universe. Powerless proved, if nothing else, that the idea is at least entertaining so why not have another crack at it?

ELSEWORLDS

One of DC's most popular brands is definitely Elseworlds. It's a chance for creators to tell creative, different, and surprising stories that they couldn't tell in the normal DC continuity. Stories like Kal El being raised by the Wayne family, Batman fighting Jack the Ripper in the late 19th century, Superman as a Soviet dictator, I mean these are bizarre but really awesome stories. DC recently released Batman: Gotham by Gaslight as an animated feature. I really loved it and it stayed really true to the weird but awesome narrative of the comic. Whether it's live action or animated, I think it would be great to see more of those stories adapted to the streaming platform. Like the Justice League: Gods and Monsters animated feature, it's a chance for creators to go wild and tell stories way out of left field (sorry I use that term a lot). They don't have to fit any continuity but the one they create and that's the type of creative freedom that artists crave. Netflix and Hulu offer that, it's how we can get shows like Stranger Things that a traditional network wouldn't risk but the streaming services thrive on awesome story telling from creative people. 

THE QUESTION

Now here's one that Marc Guggenheim (co-creator of Arrow) and I have in common. The Question, either Vic Sage or Renee Montoya, is a TV show just dying to be created. Just think of the tagline! "Need answers? Ask THE QUESTION!" Oh man, it's sad that I'm not a famous Hollywood writer.

Anyway! This is the type of show that could either "play it safe" as a cool police procedural or be really inventive and twist that narrative till it breaks. Personally, I'm all for the latter. If a show like this premiered on FOX it would be another cop show featuring superhero characters. But give it to the streaming service? Then it has the potential to break the mold and be grittier, nastier, and way more experimental. Think Mulder from The X-Files and his crazy conspiracy theories. He learns that they are true and is willing to go to any lengths to discover the truth! And either Sage or Montoya is the perfect protagonist for this type of show. Vic Sage is a journalist and Montoya is a harden detective. Either or both characters are perfect to tell these stories. Plus it's a way to be different where there doesn't have to be super villains like Deathstroke, the Thinker, or the Legion of Doom. The adversaries are human corruption, greed, and social injustice. That's the type of show that America needs right now. 

DOCUMENTARIES

One of my favorite things to watch are "behind the scenes" specials. When I was younger, I was always willing to spend the extra few bucks on a special edition DVD or Blu Ray if it meant I got to see how the film or TV show was made. DC has released a few documentaries over the years, one about their own origins (pictured above), one about their awesome supervillains called Necessary Evil, and one about Superman released when Superman Returns was in the movie theaters. These features interview not just people involved with the creation of these characters but different celebrities, including Stan Lee, who talk about the impact that the character or events had on them as children and in their professional careers. Freaking Gene Simmons describes his love of Clark Kent in the Superman documentary! 

Maybe I'm in the minority with my love of these documentaries but they're probably inexpensive enough to pad some time and space on the streaming service. I think these types of films are very interesting and always get me excited to not only read more of the comics, or reread my favorites, but they inspire me knowing that there are other people like me that get just as excited about the DC Universe as I do. 

BIRDS OF PREY

Here's a little insight into my brain - I remember watching this show as a kid and kind of liking it but feeling like something about it was a bit off. I recently rewatched this show on the CW Seed app and it hit me: this show was strangely ahead of its time but was afraid to be ahead of its time. Let me explain: The pilot episode featured brief glimpses of Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl and the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) and then moved ahead several years to Batman and Catwoman's daughter, the Huntress/Helena Wayne, and Barbara Gordon, now wheelchair bound going by Oracle, fighting crime in New Gotham (for some reason it was renamed and I hated that). They recruit the original Black Canary's daughter, Dinah, who can sense other metahumans, in their fight against other metahumans. Also Harley Quinn, without signature look save for some wardrobe choices, served as the main antagonist in the first and only season. 

So how was it ahead of its time? Well, the premise is actually pretty great. Huntress, Oracle, and Black Canary fighting Harley Quinn and metahumans and other crime in Gotham City in Batman's absence is awesome. But this was during the heyday of Smallville where executives all thought that no one wanted superheroes so it was better to keep the main characters in street clothes and avoid showing more comic book-esque type set pieces and costuming. That was a mistake as the show could have stood apart from Smallville by embracing those things and showing more masks and supervillainy than it's counterpart. Ironically, Smallville found more success by doing this giving Clark more Superman-like adventures and featuring actual superheroes like Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary, and Zatanna in all their costumed glory. 

I'd love to see this concept resurrected and done right. With the success of Supergirl and Wonder Woman fans are demanding more female led, not to mention solid, story telling and the DC streaming service is the place to do it. While it's cool that Lois Lane will be the main character on Metropolis, and truthfully she deserves it, a more action packed, semi-traditional (but not too safe!) series would be something I'd tune in for over and over again. 


OH AND I'VE SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST!

BATMAN BEYOND

I recently rewatched all of Batman Beyond including the masterpiece film Return of the Joker and it hit me how similar Batman Beyond and Spider-Man: Homecoming are, at least on the surface. They 
have similar abilities in their costumes, both are coming of age teenage hero stories, feature a billionaire mentor, and are a whole heck of a lot of fun to watch (but that's a given). 

It seems strange to me that given Batman Beyond's popularity, it has remained largely untouched following the show's end. There have been comic book revivals that have been successful but no one has tried to make a new animated series, film, or even a live action take. Why is that? It's damn near universally praised as a logical and wonderful continuation to the Batman mythos and features creative, exciting, and menacing villains. Plus it helps that Terry McGinnis is a wonderful character doing his best to use Batman not only as a hero for Gotham City but as a tool to redeem his troubled soul. Man, I'm getting choked up just thinking about it!

If DC decides to do no other series with their streaming service, they should tackle this one. It's a great way to have the best of both worlds with a great Batman series but they don't have to use the classic Bat rogues or even Bruce Wayne's Batman much if at all. Like I said, Gotham is giving us unique and fun takes on the classic Batman rogues gallery and the films have a pretty bad ass version of Batman with Ben Affleck (although who knows how much longer that will last *grrr*). Batman Beyond is the best way to tell really cool Bat-adventures without the baggage of Bruce Wayne attached. Of course, Wayne is a main character, but the show belongs to Terry and his trials as the Batman. OH MY GOD! PLEASE DO THIS ONE, DC!! 



So there you have it! My ideas, and pleas, for what DC should do with their amibitious undertaking. I think this platform has the potential to be successful but only if it does what DC Comics has always strived to do - tell unique and incredible stories that anyone can enjoy. There is so much potential out there within their books that they'd be remiss not to exploit anything and everything they can!


Till Next Time!


JJ - the Comic Junkie