"Marvel: Their Biggest Year Ever!" I mean, really. Wizard already sucks face with Marvel monthly; did they really need to make it a theme?
"You like pickles?" p. 114. Am I the only person who doesn't get these?
"Hand over your corn nuts." p. 110. Okay, does anyone get these?
"rich but complex character dynamics" p. 106. Um, "rich" and "complex" are more like synonyms than antonyms, making "but" an inappropriate conjunction between them.
P. 108. If I got to ask Mark Waid any four questions I wanted, "When's the last time you had to be brave and/or bold?" would not be one of them.
P. 21. "Should Barbara Gordon be Batgirl or Oracle?" It's not the subject that bothers me; it's an interesting topic. Their debate topics usually are. It's that such potentially interesting articles are truncated at three paragraphs a side while there's an entire page with nothing but "THE BEST OF 2007" written on it (and other wastage, like a page on Cobra Commander). This is why people read blogs instead of Wizard. Well, that and wit.
P. 30. Nerdcore's "Naked Superchicks" Calendar. Sigh. The only way something this tawdry should be covered is with a large blanket.
I have been asked to opine on the new Justice League movie. And so I shall.
Some of you may be expecting me to be snarkocritical about it and the casting. Or perhaps you're just hoping for me to be. But, on the whole, no. I don't expect-- or even want-- the studios to make perfect superhero movies for me. Sure, I'd like it, but I can make the movie I want in my head, anytime I want; we all can, and don't really need the studios to do that for us.
What we need is for the studios to help inspire another generation's interest in these iconic heroes of our common culture. If it's not exactly to your taste -- or mine-- so what? I don't care. And you know why?
Because what saved Batman was a ridiculous tongue in cheek show with some ham actors, almost none of whom were even remotely sensible choices for their parts. Yet it inspired a generation of Batman-fans, me included. You wouldn't have thought to do the show that way, and neither would I. In fact, we would have been outraged. Would you have chosen an old Latin lover matinee idol to play the Joker? Would you chosen the doughy thin-haired Adam West as Batman? No, you would not have.
Yes, the cast is young. GOOD. Sure, we usually think of our superheroes as being in the 30-35 age range, but that's in their prime with experience. When do you think they got all that experience? In their twenties. So please shut up about the cast being young. Maybe they'll be able to get more than one movie out of them before they became way too old for the roles. If I had my druthers, no one would be allowed to play any of the DC icons more than once, for a wide variety of reasons.
Arnie Hammer as Batman. Big thumbs up.
He's handsome. He's tall (REALLY tall). He's got a deep voice, blue eyes, and hair that can easily be dyed black. That's pretty much all you need, plus the suit. Besides, he can do charming but secretly creepy.
For those bitching, I have two words: shut up. No, wait, let me change that: Michael Keaton.
Scott Porter as Superman. Thumbs down.
I hate to do that, because Scott Porter is a great guy, and he loves comics. But, unlike be-suited Batman, Superman is all about The Look. Porter is handsome, of course, but it's the wrong kind of handsome. He's too ... cherubicky. He needs to look more like, well..
Come to think of it, we ALL need to look more like Jeff Pickel. Sigh.
Okay, Pickel's a bit Italiany and unshaven here, but you know what I mean. He's dark, slightly squinty-eyed, square-headed, square-jawed with a dimpled chin and eyebrows that are an inkers dream. That's the Superman look.
Megan Gale as Wonder Woman. Big thumbs up. Just exotic enough to be from Themyscira and she's still got that Linda Carter twinkle thing going on. I love her. All she has to do is to be able to act when not deflecting bullets.
Face it, guys, with at least five Leaguers in the movie, there's going to be lots of action and fighting and not tou much soul-searching acting. Unless, of course, they have Brad Meltzer write a screenplay for Brian Singer.
Common as Green Lantern. Thumbs up. Looks right; can act; has street cred. In fact, more street cred than John Stewart himself, who (as written for the last 20 years) is a Big Old Oreo who conjures disco ball constructs and has all of Abba programmed into his ring.
Adam Brody as the Flash (Wally West). Thumbs up. He's cute. He's funny. He's got a whiny voice. He''ll be a fine Wally West.
Of course, the REAL question, the crux of everything, the toughie is
WHO WILL PLAY AQUAMAN?
Whoever puts on a batsuit is Batman. CGI will take care of Superman, GL, and the Flash. Wonder Woman is about the smile. But to play Aquaman you need not only the Look, but intelligence, humor, charm, depth. Someone like
Although, if his schedule does not allow, they may have to go with someone else.
But who else could do justice to Aquaman, if not Pickel?
As unlikely as it may seem, I spent the majority of the weekend in an elf costume. Why is not important, but it has made me focus on How To Make the Best of A Non-Ideal Task... .
Actually, as a comic book fan, that's something I do anyway. Sometimes, as an intellectual exercise, I try to imagine what I would do if DC assigned me to do something I really, really hated. Because any writer can write a character they love (well, anyone but Phil Jimenez), but it's a true test of a writer to write a character they hate.
It's an illustrative exercise. Not only does it help you identify and label what precisely you don't like about such characters or concepts, it helps you to realize that they might not be irremediable after all.
Nor do I hate the concept of the Outsiders; a team created by gathering characters on the periphery of the established DC "families" and groups. Linking otherwise "free radical" characters into some core is consistent with the thesis of my pet concept, the Dynastic Centerpiece Model: that characters become greater when they are framed by their relationships with a larger group of characters. This is a recurring tack at DC, and has often revived moribund characters (Shadowpact, Suicide Squad, Secret Six, Dr. Thirteen's Limbo Squadron).
If my one arm were twisted to write the Outsiders but my other arms free to do so as I wished, I would start with gathering some of the real "outsiders", characters who've been pushed out of regular Dynasties and groups. Then I realized: I actually did that once, tongue in cheek.
If I wrote the Outsiders, here's roughly who might be in it.
NOT Black Lighting (who has graduated to "insider" in my mind, and should remain in the JLA)
Man-of-Bats and Little Raven
Red Tornado (who should not now be, or ever have been, in the JLA)
Reverb, renamed as Vibe II (end of subject)
Ralph Dibny (yeah; you heard me)
Vixen (I really can't believe I just wrote that)
Phantom Stranger (in his way)
Baron Winter (an idea so dumb I figure it has to work)
Super Chief (dead or not)
(1) Yes, I'm aware of the Detroit thing in there, and the Global Guardians thing. (2) I really do NOT like some of the characters in the list; but I'm still entranced with the idea of including them. I consider that a good sign. (3) I imagine it more as a co-op than a "team" per se. Picture a member proposing a mission at a meeting, and then other members volunteer to participate in that mission or not. No formal "leader"; just a facilitator, probably a civilian one.
I think a book about this group of "outsider" would be a good Outsiders. What do you think?