Monday, July 27, 2015

UNEXPECTED LINE-UP: Hyundai's Justice League TV Commercial

MAKING A CAR AD 1-0-1: Drive vehicle along a cliff and through forests. Add in splashed puddles. Let a classical singer screech softly in the background. Wait for your awards. Except in South Korea, there they use the Justice League.

There Superman, Batman and The Flash are brought in to sell Hyundai's new Grandeur range. While they miss having the cars race the fastest men alive, the three heroes explode onto the scene as a city falls into chaos. With production values as high as any film trailer, I guess they're leaving Cyborg, Shazam and Wonder Woman for the sequel.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

PANEL BEATER: Random Thinks And My Comic Of The Month

Panel Beater. A pun name short for random thoughts on last month's pull list and the comic that was best of the bunch.

I always relate the rivalry between Canada and America back to that between us Kiwi's and the country the world thinks we are usually a part of anyway, Australia. As the White House burns and the skies above Ottawa full with retaliatory missiles in the first five pages of this series debut, I'm pretty glad this is one 'vision' that can't translate down under.

With Tommy and Amber left orphaned by the above onslaught, writer Brian K Vaughan wakes us up in Yellowknife twelve years later. As Amber walks alone into Canada's frozen wilderness, she stumbles across towering American robotic terrors and the sole Canadian resistance movement who not only offer her rescue, but a whole new path.

Not only is it refreshing to see a futuristic America as the villain, translating the french words of Les Lepage via Google quickly becomes the series' 'Zatanna spell' activity. Zee isn't the only DC tie-in either, as the issue takes an in-plot stab at the Man of Steel - one that just may change your perspective.

Starring tech that will make anime jealous, artist Steve Skroce's long overdue return to comics really highlights the movie camera 'eye' he has perfected in his 'other' job. This means Aurora, that Logan guy and Puck can finally put their feet up, Canada's new flagship heroes have arrived (but there's got to be a Sasquatch here too right?)

While Martian Manhunter hasn't hit the ground running as hard as I thought it would fellow recent DC debut, Midnighter is punching his way right through the goddamn planet.

Midnighter has walked away from Apollo, feeling he was better than he ever deserved, he knew "how this fight would end". Pouring himself into app dating (more for therapy than anything serious), he hunts the stolen arsenal from the armoury of the God Garden - the place that turned him into the limitless weapon that he is.

More than just a hardhitting bone-breaker, Midnighter is a flawed man evolving. Unabashedly firm in who he is, both as a vigilante and as a gay man, he does not shirk in the light of either as he chases the one-of-a-kind weapons now surfacing in a black market near you.

PANEL OF THE MONTH: This splash page from Action Comics #42 by Aaron Kuder
is so perfectly 'Superman' it belongs on the wall of every super-fan.
The bar that now forms his 'home' of sorts, suits the character more so than any Stormwatch satellite base ever did. The scenes change in tempo and geographic location swiftly, helping to miss quiet bits, yet craftily bringing real pace to the sole Wildstorm based title of the new DCU. Yes, Midnighter really gives you your $2.99 worth.

While Alec Morgan's art perfectly suits the grit of #2 as ACO's did #1, writer Steve Orlando is where the book soars. The one-liners and 'Midnighter 'tude' of old are in plentiful supply, but so are his smarts, heart and opinions.

Better yet, the way he handles the character's sexuality are (as a gay man myself), the best I've ever read. Not preachy, not cliche or forced, these thoughts and moments are naturally written. While few I think take their dates through a dimensional doorway to close-minded Russia for a first date, it is greatly appreciated and relaxing to find a book with your 'voice' handled so well (you know, bone-crunching punches and hard hitting strategies aside). *****

 THE TRUTH OF IT  Missing crossovers like The Death of Superman, I quickly strapped myself in for the new DC super-storyline Truth. Sadly, the four titles involved just don't share enough threads to actually seem connected. Despite Doug Mahnke's amazing art, I've quickly cut back to just Action Comics and Superman, where most of the theme's heavy lifting is being done. And that's the truth.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

NOW THAT'S A SPLASH PAGE: Aquaman Gets Frank

Splash pages, you gotta love 'em. A blank canvas where the artist can hit you with a large dose of illustrated 'wow'.

This splashie comes from one of the most criminally cut short runs of any comic - the Sub-Diego storyline that ran in Aquaman, by writer Will Pfeifer and artist Patrick Gleason.

Cut short by the ending to Infinite Crisis and the whole one year later schamoozle, Sub-Diego saw Aquaman become the defender and adjustment helper to the people of San Diego, after their city miraculously sank beneath the waves.

Backed by amazing Alan Davis covers on the launch issues, it really helped give the King of the Seven Seas direction, in adventures that were fresh out of the water.

With a new Aquagirl, Ocean Master, Black Manta and more, the team proved like in this splash page - Aquaman could still be stern and gruff at times, while decked out in his iconic orange and greens!

If you don't have it and want a decent crazy, fun Aqua-read, the storyline is collected and available on Amazon here.

 What do you think?  For more great splash pages, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WORLDS RECOLLIDE: DC Announces Milestone 2.0

If I could jump in a time bubble and go back to the DC / Milestone age of comics this poster signifies, I would in a heart beat. These were great days, before over seriousness took over mainstream comics.

Now those fun days are even closer to returning, with DC announcing that Static Shock, Icon, Rocket, Hardware and Xombi will all return as Milestone Media becomes the official Earth M of the new DC Multiverse.

Always sold as much on creators as it was on comics, the original Milestone was where I discovered the crazy cool dark art of John Paul Leon. In Milestone 2.0, creators will include original co-founders Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, and Reginald Hudlin as well as Christopher Priest. 

Super stars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will also cast their lines into the pool, for as yet unannounced projects, no doubt to help with the new universe's relaunch.

Static will no doubt lead the way, as plans kick off for a series of graphic novels — up to two a year — as well as various one-shots and miniseries. 

 What do you think?