Discussion and Corrections
1. The actor who played the head of Sector 7 in Transformers was Michael O’Neill.
2. Comic-Con schedule.
1. Laura Vandervoort cast as Supergirl in Smallville.
2. Heroes receives 8 emmy nominations.
3. Heroes named Program of the Year by the TCA.
4. Seth Rogen is in talks for Green Hornet.
5. Seth Rogen wants Stephen Chow for Kato.
6. Gavin Hood (Tsotsi) directing Wolverine.
7. Fox registers wolverineorigins.com and magnetoorigins.com
8. Transformers box office.
9. Jonah Hex news.
10. Who Wants to be a Superhero starts this week.
1. Watchmen casting…again.
2. Dark Knight teaser.
3. Ray Stevenson (Rome) starring in Punisher 2.
4. Avi Arad confirms Sam Jackson in Iron Man (Nick Fury) cameo? Hilary Swank too?
John Constantine began life as a supporting character in Alan Moore’s successful and groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing. The story goes that Moore created the character at the behest of the book’s artists, who wanted to draw a character that looked like the musician Sting. Constantine was envisioned as a streetwise master of magic, foregoing the wooden dialogue and cheesy mysticism of Marvel’s Dr. Strange in favor of a much more contemporary, urban sensibility. The character proved so popular that DC soon spun him off into his own series, Hellblazer, which became one of the founding titles of the progressive Vertigo line (along with Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man and Doom Patrol) and is the only one to have enjoyed an uninterrupted publishing run to this day.
The series’ longevity is likely a result of the strong personality of its main character and his ability to consistently attract some of the top talent in comics, including writers Jamie Delano, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Eddie Campbell, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis and Brian Azzarello, and artists John Ridgeway, Dave McKean, Sean Phillips and Steve Dillon, among others. Each creative team has brought their own unique viewpoint to the character, but Constantine has remained consistent in his characterization throughout the 19-year run of the title.
The current issue begins writer Andy Diggle’s second story arc, and it sees a return to the dark urban horror of the Jamie Delano years. Diggle’s bleak script follows a fairly standard formula for Hellblazer stories, but is no less effective for it: an already horrific situation is made only slightly worse through demonic interference as a group of teenaged hooligans begin a destructive rampage at the behest of the supernatural entity that is controlling their leader. Constantine arrives halfway through the story and, sensing that something is amiss, decides to investigate. Diggle has a good handle on Constantine’s character, which is of course the most important element of any Hellblazer story. The dark artwork by Leonardo Manco and especially the muted color palette used by colorist Lee Loughridge complement the writing nicely and give the story the atmosphere of urban decay that always sets Hellblazer apart from DC’s other supernatural fantasy titles.
As the first part of a new story this is as good an issue as any for new readers. For a book with such a long history, Hellblazer has acquired little in the way of continuity baggage and is an easy series to jump into. And it is always a satisfying read.
Categories: Blog, Reviews Tags: Andy Diggle, Brian Azzarello, Dave McKean, Dr. Strange, Eddie Campbell, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Hellblazer, Jamie Delano, John Ridgeway, Lee Loughridge, Leonardo Manco, Neil Gaiman, Paul Jenkins, Sandman Morrison, Sean Phillips, Steve Dillon, Sting, Strange, Warren Ellis, alan moore, musician, writer
This week’s pick: Justice League of America #11, written by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Gene Ha, lettering by Rob Leigh and color by Art Lyon.
So far, the current Justice League of America series has been characterized by huge, epic storylines featuring a lot of different characters, so it was nice to see a stand-alone single issue story. The story is a simple character piece featuring only two characters and one setting across all 22 pages, a welcome change of pace from the previous JLA storylines, which have featured long, convoluted plots and a ridiculous number of guest stars.
The story finds Red Arrow (formerly Arsenal) and Vixen trapped in a collapsed building. The action and conflict in the story are entirely psychological, as the two characters take turns doubting their abilities in the face of what seems like a hopeless situation. We get to see a glimpse into the minds and motivations of both characters, but primarily of Red Arrow, Green Arrow’s former sidekick who has no super powers of his own but nevertheless chooses to fight alongside the more powerful members of the League. Over the course of the story we also discover a point of continuity concerning Vixen’s malfunctioning powers (she can channel the abilities of any animal) which will no doubt lead to a future storyline.
The gritty, painted artwork by guest artist Gene Ha goes with the story perfectly, and his use of narrow horizontal panels really serves to convey the claustrophobic atmosphere.
All in all this issue was a sharp contrast to what the Justice League of America has been so far, but with so many large stories about epic events, it is that much more important to have an occasional small story about something as simple as why a man fights day after day to be a hero, and how being a hero is sometimes just the ability to keep fighting even when the situation seems hopeless.
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a weekly review of my top pick of the week’s new comic releases. This week’s pick is Countdown #42, written by Paul Dini, Sean McKeever and Tony Bedard, pencils by Carlos Magno, inks by Mark McKenna and Jay Leisten, color by Rod Reis.
For those of you who don’t follow DC Comics, Countdown is the follow up to 52, last year’s hugely successful weekly series about a year without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I didn’t read 52 as it was being released, largely because it was introduced as the follow up to Infinite Crisis, an “event” miniseries which I fould so tedious that I stopped reading after a few issues. But when I heard that Paul Dini, one of the masterminds behind Batman the Animated Series, was the head writer on Countdown, I decided to give it a try.
Countdown is a weekly series with backwards numbering (counting down, get it?), so issue 42 is actually the 10th issue in the 52 issue series. The series jumps back and forth between multiple plot lines concerning Jimmy Olsen, Donna Troy (formerly Wonder Girl), Jason Todd (formerly Robin, the one that died), Mary Marvel (the sister of Shazam’s Captain Marvel, with similar powers of flight, invulnerability and super strength), Karate Kid from the Legion of Superheroes, the Trickster, and others. So far there is little linking the various plots together, but the hope is that the gradual unfolding and linking of these seemingly unconnected events will be the point of the series as a whole.
Issue 42 distinguishes itself mainly by introducing what is probably the most unlikely superhero team up ever: Mary Marvel and the Riddler. In recent issues of Detective Comics the Riddler has supposedly reformed and now uses his considerable criminal experience as a freelance detective and security consultant. Of course, no one seriously believes that he’s reformed, certainly not Captain Marvel’s sister, but nevertheless the two enter into an useasy alliance to track down Clayface. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The rest of the issue moves forward plotlines concerning Jimmy Olsen discovering that he might have super powers, Jason Todd and Donna Troy’s search for Ray Palmer, the original Atom, Batman’s macho feud with Karate Kid (the kid beat him in a fight and his ego really can’t take it), the Trickster’s apparent remorse over his part in the death of Bart Allen (formerly Impulse and until his sudden demise the current Flash), and, most interestingly, former Joker sidekick Harley Quinn’s new job as assistant director of an Amazon-themed women’s shelter.
So far, Countdown has been an intriguing look at the ins and outs of the DC Universe, seen through the eyes of some of its lesser known characters, and the themes of redemption and change are ones not often seen in comics, especially at DC where most of the major characters have remained relatively unchanged for 60 years or more. It will be interesting to see what permanent effects the events in Countdown end up having on the DC Universe as a whole.
Categories: Blog, Reviews Tags: Amazon, Bart Allen, Captain, Carlos Magno, Detective, Donna Troy, Harley Quinn, Jason Todd, Jay Leisten, Jimmy Olsen, Legion of Superheroes, Mark McKenna, Mary Marvel, Paul Dini, Ray Palmer, Rod Reis, Sean McKeever, Shazam, Shazam's Captain, Tony Bedard, assistant director, batman, freelance detective and security consultant, head writer
Opinions and corrections
1. Mob boss in Batman Begins was Carmine Falcone.
2. What Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are doing next.
3. Jonathan rants about Fantastic Four 2.
1. Spider-Man box office post Pirates 3
2. Several scenes of Dark Knight will be shot in IMAX format.
3. William Hurt playing “Thunderbolt” Ross in Incredible Hulk.
4. Iron Man going for PG-13.
5. Supergirl coming to Smallville.
6. Matthew Fox is Racer X in Speed Racer.
7. Heroes Season 2 casting.
8. Teen Titans movie, for Warner Brothers.
9. Hasbro renews deal with Paramount for feature film of GI Joe.
10. Transformers moved up 1 day.
11. Warner Bros developing Thundercats,
12. Walt Disney in deal with Stan Lee.
13. Role Playing videogame “City of Heroes” being developed.
14. Superman vs. Doomsday will premiere at Comic Con.
1. Criss Angel (Mindfreak) In Mandrake
2. Zach Snyder still wants Butler in Watchmen.
3. John Cusack wants in Watchmen.