Posts Tagged ‘ Green Lantern ’

Diversity in Comics- Why I’m Reading DC Books Again

Simon Baz- The latest Green Lantern

With the introduction of the new Green Lantern of Earth, Simon Baz, DC has blown up its fresh universe by introducing a Muslim-Arab American superhero at the centre of Geoff Johns‘ intricate Green Lantern series. This is not the first time DC has explored characters from different backgrounds, as their New 52 reboot has allowed them to emphasise more diversity, shaking up the previous white male role model and female damsel in distress characters that plagued the genre’s early years.

DC has played a major part of the shift, more so than Marvel I would argue. This year, for instance, Alan Scott was introduced as the first gay Green Lantern in the “Earth 2” title series set in an alternate universe away from the main books. Away from the Green Lantern universe, one of reboot’s most critically acclaimed books, Batwoman, explored Kate Kane’s personal struggles as well as her sexual orientation which has been praised by the general public and the character from the Batman universe has often been described as the highest profile gay character to appear in stories produced by DC Comics.

It’s not a matter of what company is taking the lead in the race to push diversity, it’s which one is doing it to craft intricate stories, and not just force publicity stunts. For instance Marvel featured the first gay wedding to happen in superhero comics this year, as characters Northstar and Kyle Jinadu were married in the pages of Astonishing X-Men #51. While it’s a move in the right direction, choosing two lesser-known characters in one of the smaller X-Men titles could be seen as Marvel playing it too safely. For instance, if the wedding was met with public backlash, Marvel could have easily swept it under the rug.

Where Marvel have faired better in the past, is making their black- American superhero Luke Cage feel like an natural part of their Avengers roster. The Avengers have long been based in New York, so it was fitting they had a hero who represented a more realistic modern-day resident of Harlem. It wasn’t so much of a publicity stunt, more so a natural progression of a character. However with The Avengers movie now the 3rd highest-grossing film of all time, logic dictates the Marvel Comics universe is now built to closely resemble their movies. For the meantime that presumably means, Luke Cage takes a backseat, while Marvel focus on making the public believe their new character Marcus Johnson, is the illegitimate son of Nick Fury, who grows up to look like Samuel L. Jackson and later turns out to be named Nick Fury himself. Forget diversity, it’s just cheap storytelling.

One character I’m really looking forward to see further developed is Cyborg from DC’s main Justice League title. What’s stopped me reading Justice League in the past is that it long felt like it was stuck in the past in terms of characters. Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern all came from diverse backgrounds for sure, but in terms of appearance, they all resemble typical white superheroes. With the New 52 reboot, writer Geoff Johns added Cyborg, who had previously been mainly featured in the Teen Titans group, to the main Justice League roster. While initially Cyborg’s inclusion seemed as if he primarily existed within the Justice League to act as their teleporter, upcoming plans reveal there’s more to come from Victor Stone.

If there’s one lesson Marvel can take from DC in how to reboot successfully, it’s focus on story and not what’s happening in other media. With no major films to resemble (yet), the DC reboot has been free to create interesting stories for characters from all different backgrounds. There’s still room for improvement, it would be nice to see a female Green Lantern soon, and perhaps some more emphasis on characters like Supergirl. For now though, the New 52 reboot has me reading DC books again.

 

Green Lantern- Sequel or Reboot?

Mark Strong as Sinestro in Warner Bros. Pictur...

Mark Strong as Sinestro in Warner Bros. Pictures action adventure Green Lantern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that Marvel have proven a superhero ensembles can be billion dollar franchises, rivals Warner Bros and DC look like they’re finally moving forward with a Justice League movie. While making a Justice League movie work is something I’ll write about a bit later on, for now I will focus on what may be Warner Bros biggest hurdle; fixing the Green Lantern franchise.

Before the original film was released, rumour has it that Warner Bros were planning on fast-tracking a sequel in order to keep actor Ryan Reynolds attached, preventing him from moving over to Marvel to film a Deadpool spin-off from the X-Men franchise. A year later, and it seems Reynolds may be out based on the critical and financial success of the last movie, meaning Warner Bros may either be planning a total reboot, or a drastically different sequel.

Rumour online is that Warner Bros may be planning on bringing in another human Green Lantern, John Stewart, adding some much needed diversity to their cinematic line-up. While I’m in full support of Warner Bros adding some diversity to their superhero films, I just don’t believe John Stewart on his own would be strong enough to carry a film critics will be waiting to scorn way before it’s even released.

If Reynolds is out, Hal Jordan should not be re-cast. It wouldn’t do Warner Bros or DC any favours. Instead, Hal Jordan should be killed off away from screen, leaving the new human recruits with big shoes to fill. We saw the total disregard from other Lanterns towards the human race in the first film, so that should not be recycled. Instead, why not have it that Hal Jordan’s sacrifice has earned the human race a huge amount of respect, leading to the Lantern’s recruiting not one, but three new humans.

John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner should be the new Green Lanterns for the next movie. All three have drastically different personalities, and a movie line-up lead by three main characters will help add gravitas to the film where the previous version lacked. Now there is a reason for humans to be among the other Lanterns. Plus with Hal Jordan’s death, it even gives room for Reynolds to film some flashback scenes if he really wanted.

Should the main villain be Sinestro? Definitely not. Mark Strong‘s portrayal as the leader of the Green Lanterns was just about the only redeeming quality to the previous movie, despite the fact that his character received a butchered attempt at giving Sinestro a side-story where he becomes a Yellow Lantern. The next movie needs to properly flesh out Sinestro’s character, enabling him to act as a villain for a third film, or perhaps even for the Justice League movie similar to what Marvel did with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Since Parallax has already been used (terribly) that rules that out. Many fans feel the Manhunters should be the new villains, but they wouldn’t really be interesting enough on their own. While my Green Lantern knowledge is not as strong as it should be, I feel introducing Amon Sur, the son of the late Abin Sur, would be a great way to introduce a villain with a personal connection to the heroes. For those that don’t know, Amon was jealous that his father had given a power ring to a human, and became a powerful interstellar criminal as a result. He even joined the Sinestro Corps later on so that could even be used for a third film.

So there are my ideas on how to fix the Green Lantern franchise. I for one really hope DC doesn’t let the Green Lantern franchise fall into limbo. There are many great Green Lantern stories out there just waiting to become movies. If it was done correctly, Secret Origin, Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night should have been the trilogy.  Despite my prediction, I hope there’s still hope for that.

Do any of you Green Lantern fans agree? How would you want Warner Bros to bring back the Lanterns? As always leave your comments below!

Why Nova Is The Best Character Marvel Have Right Now

Why sometimes taking a chance on an unknown character can do wonders for the comic book fan…

Nova (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

I really didn’t know much about Nova until late last year. To me, he just seemed like a Marvel rip-off of Green Lantern. Cocky superhero, check. Intergalactic police force. Check. There comes a time though when it gets boring seeing characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man dominating the market. A change was needed, and for me it was Richard Rider.

Nova (Richard Rider) is a superhero in the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. Upon becoming a member of the galaxy’s Nova Corps (an intergalactic police force), Rider gained enhanced strength, flight, injury resistance, energy projection and a specialized uniform with life support.

I decided to take a gamble and bought a Nova trade (Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning) as it had received some rave reviews on Amazon. Taking it with an open mind however, I still didn’t know if it was going to be for me. To my delight, Nova instantly struck me as a fantastic hero. What I liked was that he was just an ordinary guy thrust into the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. The character had some amazing powers and lot of weight and responsibility on his shoulders. Not to mention his fantastic dynamic with his inbuilt super-intelligent Worldmind computer. His first arc, post Marvel’s Annihilation event stands as the best comic book I’ve read in over a year. Better yet, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso promises we will see more of Nova in 2012 as Avengers Vs X-Men heats up. Whether or not it’s Richard Rider remains to be seen

What originally inspired me to do this post is how Sony are willing to give Ghost Rider a mediocre sequel, yet no studio has yet to capitalise on giving Nova a feature film. The character rights for Nova are owned by Marvel Studio, so using him would be a great way to development their cosmic universe for future movies. With Green Lantern failing to impress, now is a great opportunity to stake a claim in cosmic superheroes. Providing the casting was solid, Richard Rider would be a more relatable character for viewers. He’s more of a likeable character than Hal Jordan, but still maintains a charismatic edge. The dynamic between him and his computer Worldmind would provide humour with a great dynamic, similar to what was done with JARVIS and Tony Stark in the Iron Man films. If there were any doubts over whether or not Nova would be a viable movie franchise, Marvel still has the opinion of incorporating him into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

He’s not having the best of luck in comics right now, but I urge any comic book readers to pick up the Nova trades. They have everything you could want in a comic book, space battles, high-octane action, comedy and even a lot of drama. I would love to see Marvel create a movie for Nova. It can’t be any worse than Green Lantern…

What Characters Won’t Benefit From The DC Comics Reboot?

Damian Wayne as Robin. Promotional art for Bat...

Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned yesterday, the DC comics reboot is creating a large buzz in the comics industry right now. With 52 titles hitting stores next month, DC is going full out in their attempts to bring in new readers. The relaunch will surely benefit characters such as Superman and Green Arrow, who have long needed an overhaul. However, there are sure to be some characters that don’t benefit from the relaunch, and just who do I think they will be?

1) Damian Wayne (Robin)

The Batman and Robin series is one of the lucky few titles able to escape total relaunch. Instead, the title will be given a sense of restricted continuity, where old readers will be able to follow the new books fine, whilst the revamped title will also serve as an entry point for new readers. With Bruce Wayne back as Batman, he is set to battle evil alongside his son Damian. Having Damian as Robin in the relaunch might not be DC’s greatest idea. For many readers, Damian is a marmite character. Some say he’s a badass assassin who adds a whole new dynamic on the Robin character, whilst others say he’s nothing more than a bratty ten-year old. I enjoyed his dynamic with Dick Grayson as Batman, but with Bruce back as The Caped Crusader, it’s definitely going to have a father/son theme, and unlike the interesting reverse dynamic between Dick and Damian, it’s fairly easy to see where Damian and Bruce’s relationship is heading. Only time will tell if Damian gains more or less popularity after the reboot.

2) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

The Green Lantern books are in no danger. Writer Geoff Johns constantly delivers one of the best comic book series on the shelves. Older fans aren’t going anywhere, now that fan-favourite Sinestro is back in the picture. The only problem is, Hal probably isn’t going to benefit from the reboot at all. The likely hood is any potential new readers for Green Lantern would have already seen this year’s disastrous movie on the character. Whilst I’ll admit, the Green Lantern movie did not do justice for such a great character, but it’s likely left a stink in any one’s mouths looking to know more about Hal and Corps. Some say movies don’t really influence comic book sales massively, but I have a feeling the Green Lantern series won’t benefit from a massive influx of new readers.

3) BatGirl (Barbara Gordon)

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl in a series that see’s her facing old secrets and new villains. Regarded by many as the definitive Batgirl, the decision is to put her back in the role has likely pleased many fans. I personally feel it’s a shame we won’t be seeing her as her wheel chair bound Oracle character anymore. I mean this in the sense that, Barbara represented a minority that rarely gets any treatment in comics. Her story of coming from being shot by the Joker, to becoming one of Batman’s most valuable allies, giving him crucial support from the Bat-Cave was a welcome break. Having Barbara back fighting crime (no matter how DC explain her recovery) seems a little cheap, and it’s personally thrown away any interest I had in her character. The new Batwoman series starring Kate Kane looks far more appealing, and it’s a horror/espionage tale that will likely make Kate the preferred female Bat character on the shelves.

So there you have it. These are the top three characters I feel won’t benefit from the DC comics reboot. Their books won’t crash and burn by any means, but with such high expectations on the first two I mentioned, if new readers didn’t flock in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another shake-up in the future.

Would A Nightwing Movie Work?

Cover to Nightwing #100 (2004). Art by Scott M...

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing with my Batman themed posts, I’ve decided to explore if a solo Nightwing movie would work; now Nolan‘s Bat trilogy is wrapping up next year. To start with, let me explain that I do not actually think there’s any chance of seeing a Dick Grayson/Nightwing movie anytime soon. DC isn’t going to take a gamble on a lesser-known character after the disastrous result from this year’s Green Lantern. However, if the unexpected were to happen, and the movie was given the green light, how would a Nightwing movie successfully translate to the big screen?

To start with, the movie would need to be treated extremely seriously so that it can be connected to Nolan’s trilogy. Warner Bros aren’t going to start a DC cinematic universe anytime soon, so connecting at least two or their franchises together would be a nice touch. I would set the movie in the fictional city of Blüdhaven. The city can be depicted like a cross between Gotham City and the Narrows area seen in Batman Begins. There would need to be a sense of corruption and evil surrounding the place, perhaps even making it the base of the new organised crime criminals, who were beaten out of Gotham by the Batman. It can’t under any means be as glamorous as Gotham. Blüdhaven should feel like the slums compared to Gotham or Metropolis.

Enter Dick Grayson. Would Grayson necessarily need the Robin gimmick as for Grayson it did come before he took on the persona of Nightwing? The Robin gimmick wouldn’t work unless he was a sidekick to Batman. It definitely needs to be a more adult Nightwing flick. The story could follow a teenaged Dick Grayson, inspired by the stories coming from Gotham about the Batman. The real task lies in creating Dick’s character. As readers of the comics will know, Dick is not necessarily a dark character. He’s actually one of the more light-hearted allies to Bruce Wayne. So Grayson shouldn’t be as dark and broody as Batman, but he shouldn’t be a wise cracking Spidey rip-off either. His origin in the circus should be kept, as it’s the only logical reason to explain his acrobatic fighting style that is essential to the character. Grayson’s origin should be that he was raised in an orphanage, only to run away during his adolescent years searching for the criminals responsible for his family’s death. Would the comic book villain Tony Zucco (who is responsible for the death of the Grayson family) be the main villain? I’d rather use a pre-established criminal such as Sal Maroni (providing he’s not dead already) who was last seen in a car crash in The Dark Knight. That way it ties the films together and adds some much needed depth to the Sal Maroni character.

Grayson is quite a ladies man in the comics, and that’s the hardest thing to translate onto screen without damaging the overall tone of the film. I’m a big fan of the The Huntress character (who had a great scene in Batman: Hush), and although she’s not an original love interest for Dick in the comics, she could be Nightwing’s answer to Hit-Girl. A young woman who uses a variety of gadgets and weapons she steals from criminals. Unlike Catwoman though, Huntress is more reckless and careless. If Batman has Catwoman, Nightwing should have Huntress.

And lastly, who would direct it? At the risk of sounding delusional, I’m going to say Frank Miller. A Nightwing film needs a director who can capture the serious tone of the film. Whilst Gotham’s been getting all of the attention, its sister city Blüdhaven has been ignored and left to ruin. The legend of the Batman needs to be a recurring theme throughout the film as it’s what will drive Grayson throughout his crusade. Miller would capture that perfectly, whilst adding some real importance to Nolan’s films.

It’s a shame Warner Bros own of all DC’s cinematic properties. Under their ownership I really doubt that we’ll ever see a Nightwing movie. Perhaps if DC gave some of their properties to other studios we might eventually one day see Nightwing fighting crime on the streets of Blüdhaven on screen. Do you think Nightwing deserves his own movie? How would you do it? As always leave your comments below.

*Update* (July 23rd 2012)

Spoiler alert: The ending of The Dark Knight Rises hints at the John Blake character (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) taking on either the mantle of the Batman, or his own costumed persona. Blake taking up the mantle would be an interesting way to continue the Nolan Batman franchise without resorting to a total reboot now Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have gone. What do you guys think? Do you want a John Blake Nightwing film, or would you prefer a fresh Nightwing movie, more based on the comics?

What’s With All The Dark Knight Rises Hate?

The Dark Knight Rises

Image by Brett Jordan via Flickr

There’s been a lot of criticism lately towards the scoops coming from Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises. Set pictures, film footage, audio leaks, you name it, we’ve seen it. With fan boys across the globe already branding the film ‘just another terrible third movie’, I wonder, is all the hate justified?

To start with, I do find all the leaked snippets unusual for a Nolan film. Things were kept so secretive when The Dark Knight was being filmed; it was impossible to put any plot details together until we saw the first official trailer. With just under a year to go, we have rumoured plot spoilers as well as official and leaked photos. Whilst the plot spoilers should be taken with a grain of salt, could all the official Dark Knight Rises coverage be coming from Warner Bros efforts to over promote the film, due to their early failings with this year’s Green Lantern movie? Or perhaps Nolan is in on this and is deliberately toying with his audience.

We recently had our first official look at Selina Kyle, and the reception has been mild at best. Fans are complaining about the lack of headgear, and how the costume doesn’t resemble anything cat like. If Anne Hathaway in leather isn’t enough to satisfy fan boys, then we really are ruining movies for ourselves. I personally couldn’t care less about Hathaway’s costume. I’m more concerned with her portrayal of Selina Kyle rather than how comic book accurate her costume looks. Notice I said Selina Kyle and not Catwoman. That’s because as far as we know the official image could just be Selina mid transformation to Catwoman. There could be way more to this costume then what meets the eye, it’s too early to judge. It’s worth remembering though Heath Ledger‘s Joker was far different from the Joker we’re used to seeing in the comic books, yet that worked perfectly.

As far as Tom Hardy‘s Bane goes, we’ll just have to wait and see. Official coverage and leaked footage show that Bane is quite small compared to Bats, therefore I imagine some altering will take place in post-production. I certainly do not expect Bane to look too monstrous due to Nolan’s efforts to ground the films in realism. It’s a different take for sure, but it’s worked so far right?

I’m not declaring my utmost certainty that The Dark Knight Rises will be one of the best comic book movies ever made. Yes it could suck, but it doesn’t deserve the hate it’s receiving. I understand fans want to see their favourite characters portrayed as best as possible, but maybe it’s time audiences stopped ruining movies for themselves. Comic book movies will eventually slow down, so we should just enjoy them whilst we can.

DC Characters We Will Never See As Movies

Green-arrow sig

Image via Wikipedia

The summer comic book movie season started off with a hammering bang. Thor was superb, offering cinema audiences a slightly different superhero movie to what they’re used too, but still managing to be dramatic, compelling and fun. X-Men: First Class was dramatic, intelligent, and filled with youthful energy. The pressure was on for DC’s Martin Campbell‘s directed Green Lantern, and did it deliver? No. The movie was universally panned by critics and now faces a struggle to avoid becoming a box office disaster. With Warner Bros putting such high hopes on Green lantern for it to instantly fail, the ramifications will undoubtedly halt future DC movies for B-List characters. But which ones?

The Flash

The adventures of DC’s Scarlett Speedster would undoubtedly have been DC’s next superhero film in line. With a huge comic book fan base, The Flash could have easily translated well to the big screen. Whether the film followed the origin of the always late Barry Allen, or the story of his nephew Wally West, it was a certainty that the film would be announced after the success of Green Lantern. With Hal Jordan not causing much of a storm at the box office, the film starring the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong struggling will undoubtedly have Warner Bros pushing the panic button on their smaller franchises, meaning we probably won’t see a Flash movie any time soon. It is however the most likely character to avoid the fall out of the Green Lantern movie.

Wonder Woman

This will undoubtedly be the certain casualty of the fall out of Green Lantern’s failure. With Joss Whedon the only likely candidate to successfully helm the Wonder Woman film and get results busy on Avengers business, the Amazon Princess will likely stay in development hell for the mean time.

Aquaman

Lampooned by comic book fans as the ‘useless’ hero who talks to sea animals, the cinematic potential for Aquaman likes much deeper. Aquaman could have been an underwater epic, to rival the likes of Avatar. The story could have followed a young Arthur Curry as his human father raised him in the under water city of Atlantis, where Curry develops healing powers along with other powers suited to his aquatic surroundings. What also makes this film standout is that of all the superhero movies getting the 3-D treatment, this was probably the film that could have benefited from it most. If Green Lantern can’t strike cinematic gold, there’s no chance of seeing Aquaman on cinema screens, unless a director such as James Cameron or Steven Spielberg gets behind it.

So these are the main DC films that will probably never see the light of day. There are tons of other DC properties that could have benefited from films, such as Green Arrow, Black Canary, Atom and Hawkman, but these certainly won’t be made if the big three I mentioned can’t escape development hell. Also to take into account, is that Warner Bros are behind the upcoming DC comics reboot, as they wish to start turning a profit on comics books, meaning money saving now seems to be on their agenda.

They do certainly not seem like the type of company to give us a Martian Manhunter film anyway.