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‘Captain America: Red Glare’ trade review

2014 June 7

Some reviews — of trade paperbacks or individual comics  and certainly some films — I struggle to write. Some reviews I know are there, but they have a tough time getting through. Some reviews require a lot of thought — and those often end getting a lot of ink (or in the case of CCC, take up a lot of screen space).

CAPTAIN AMERICA: RED GLARE fits into a little bit of each of those categories. Mark Waid’s story is a joy for Capheads to read. It’s got almost everything crucial to a great Cap vs. Red Skull story. But after finishing it, I thought, “How should I review it?” Finally, I realized the less-is-more approach would say the most.

So what is that makes RED GLARE (CAPTAIN AMERICA (1998) Nos. 14-19) so darn good?

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‘X-Men: Alpha Flight’ trade review

2014 June 5

Just like The Beatles’ contribution to pop music and of course, what Stan “The Man” Lee has done for the comic-book industry, you can’t say enough about writer Chris Claremont’s contributions to the X-Men mythos.

While he didn’t necessarily create the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight (that credit goes to classic Claremont collaborator John Byrne), Claremont has written several of the most well-known Alpha Flight stories from their appearances in UNCANNY X-MEN.

I love when Marvel Comics releases theme-based trades. Here I’ve offered my thoughts on a collection of Alpha Flight-X-Men stories (which I bought when I went a little crazy buying a whole mess of hardback trade paperbacks a while ago):

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Batman and Superman to usher in ‘Dawn of Justice’

2014 May 31

DC Comics’ World’s Finest duo will be bringing in the “Dawn of Justice.”

That’s the subtitle of director Zack Snyder’s Batman-Superman film. Here are some thoughts, opinions and conjecture on the implications behind the full title, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”:

  • First off, I would have rather had the subtitle be “World’s Finest,” that being an homage to the Batman-Superman team-up title and a great nickname for the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel. And since Wonder Woman will be in this film too, that subtitle could have been an affirmation of her being known as part of DC’s Big Three. But I’ve made my thoughts very clear on the “World’s Finest” subtitle as I pushed for it here, so you’ll have to check that link for more on that topic.
  • Now, let me state the obvious: The word ”justice” makes it abundantly clear DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are setting the stage for Snyder’s Justice League film. ‘Nuff said about that since we knew that move was coming, but

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Bryan Singer hasn’t lost his mutant groove: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ review

2014 May 28

While watching “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” I had a sudden revelation about the mutants’ cinematic universe. It’s a bit bleak.

Sure there’s Professor Charles Xavier’s philosophy about embracing differences and channeling one’s gifts, but the X-Men’s world is one of persecution, intolerance, oppression and prejudice — issues of biblical importance. The beginning sequence of “Days” is as oppressive and dark as anything audiences have seen in “Blade Runner” or the “Terminator” series.

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Talking Captain America at Motor City Comic Con with one of my favorite writers

2014 May 27

This coverage of the Motor City Comic Con is going up much later than I wanted  — but that’s all on for failing to be available. Without further ado …

NOVI, Mich. — I’ve said here time and time again how gratifying it’s been to tell the comic book writers how much I’ve enjoyed the stories they have written.

J. M. DeMatteis was gracious as I told him the 1982-1984 run he did on CAPTAIN AMERICA made me the Caphead I am today. (In this installment of my definitive takes on my favorite comic book characters, I list DeMatteis’ run with artist Mike Zeck as one of the ultimate takes on Cap. Read what I have to say.)

DeMatteis said he was honored to be mentioned “in the same breath Roger’s” run — a reference I had made to Roger Stern’s short, but memorable set of stories with artist John Byrne. DeMatteis told me Stern’s stories are short, but classic.

I also told DeMatteis that with the release of two “Captain America” films and of course, “The Avengers,” people are realizing what I had been saying for years: That Cap is an exceptionally cool character.

The writer agreed with me, saying there’s more depth to the Star Spangled Avenger than he usually gets credit for.

“There’s much more there than people realize,” DeMatteis said.

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‘Batgirl Annual’ No. 2

2014 May 19

BATGIRL ANNUAL No. 2 feels like a BIRDS OF PREY annual featuring Batgirl and Poison Ivy. And that in no way is a criticism.

In fact, this annual is a decent character study without being too heavy-handed. Who knew Batgirl was so quick to judge someone? Or there is more to Ivy than being a femme fatale ecoterrorist?

First of all, I adore how writer Gail Simone describes the Birds of Prey team — or rather how Batgirl does. Because Dinah Lance/Black Canary’s faith in her has “never wavered,” Batgirl “agreed to tag along … when she put together this weird little clutch of oddballs.”

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‘Batman and Robin Annual’ No. 2

2014 May 17
Posted by csa4batman

Strange how I end up writing about the same character within several days without meaning to do so. After “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” came out, it was all Cap all the time here with reviews, interviews and features.

And lately it’s been the most obnoxious of all the Robins, Damian Wayne. (whom I can only hope will stay dead — but I doubt his admittedly noble death will stay permanent. Unfortunately!)

That brings me to BATMAN AND ROBIN ANNUAL No. 2. When I saw the cover at Rupp’s World during Free Comic Book Day, I wasn’t drawn to it because of Damian; it was because I could tell it would contain a “classic” Batman and Robin story (at least as far as DC Comics’ New 52 continuity goes!).

Even in death, Damian taunts Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson and remains as arrogant as always. Basically, Damian leaves a note for Grayson in which he rubs it in the first Robin’s face, letting him know he could track down the first villain Grayson encountered as Robin, one who eluded the first Robin.

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Thoughts on the Ben Affleck Batman costume and the Batmobile

2014 May 16

First of all, director Zack Snyder was smart to finally reveal what Ben Affleck will look like as Batman in the upcoming Batman-Superman film, a project I still contend should be called “World’s Finest.” Even smarter, Snyder first tweeted a picture teasing what the Batmobile looks like (or at least the back of it).

The teaser showing the rear portion of the Batmobile — with the first two-thirds of the vehicle still under a dark tarp got the online fan community buzzing. So when the big reveal arrived … Bam! Snyder didn’t just give us the Batmobile this week  (May 13) — there was Affleck standing beside it decked out as Batman. Brilliant!

Needless to say, but yet still state the obvious, revealing the new Dark Knight with this ride at his side makes sense. First, it kills two birds (of prey?) with one stone. Secondly and most importantly, Snyder — dare I use this adjective again?! — was smart to release the phot in black and white. Sure, we’d rather have seen Batman in color, but the black-and-white pic keeps fans talking. Ingenious.

In short, Affleck looks damn good as Batman.

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Do we need a young Bruce Wayne/Jim Gordon TV series?: ‘Gotham’ trailer review

2014 May 11

It’s pretty obvious DC Entertainment is focusing its live-action TV series properties on storylines in which the characters we know and love are young adults.

With FOX’s “Gotham,” one the main character is even younger. The Bruce Wayne character doesn’t appear to be much older than 10. (Although actor David Mazouz’s IMDb profile indicates he’s “13 as of February 14.”) Ultimately, I’m not sure we even need a young Bruce Wayne-Jim Gordon series, but I’ll get to that soon enough. …

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Blogging the first 11 minutes of ‘Thor: The Dark World’

2014 May 10
Posted by csa4batman

When “Thor: The Dark World” came out on DVD and Blu-ray, it wasn’t high on my purchase list for various reasons.

Not because I didn’t enjoy it (after all, I gave it a “B+” here on CCC!), but mostly I waited because I knew if I waited long enough, I could buy the DVD at a killer price at my local video store (which I did).  So after I finally bought “The Dark World” and then finally got around to watching it — my first time since seeing it in the theater — I wondered how I’d re-review it? Would I even be motivated to do so?

Then I had an idea. I was only a few minutes into watching it and I already had many random thoughts I wanted to express. So why not blog it (provide ongoing, unadulterared commentary as the film progresses) as I have done with the final part “Man of Steel” and the first sequences in Tim Burton’s “Batman” and even the much-maligned “Batman & Robin”?

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