Wonder Woman can lead the way out, above and beyond our current state. Wonder Woman commands respect. That respect can carry over to other female characters. It can carry over to respecting all human beings.
That respect is the key to Wonder Woman’s success and popularity. You just don’t mess with Wonder Woman. She is bigger and more powerful than any one person or corporation. With that in mind, it is my pleasure to share with you my interview with Tim Hanley, author of “Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine.” You can read my recent review here. You can visit Tim Hanley’s site here. And you can definitely pick up his comprehensive study of Wonder Woman right here.
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity on ARROW on The CW
Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards on ARROW
“Arrow” is The CW’s #1 show and releases its first season on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013. For those completely new to the character of Oliver Queen, and his superhero role as Green Arrow, all the way to diehard fans, this is a show that will entertain. Some viewers will say, “Hey, enough with the ads for this show, you had me at hello.” And they would be correct.
Arrow (played by Stephen Amell) is an activist. You clearly see him refining his value system and acting on it. There’s a reason this show is simply called, “Arrow.” This places Oliver in his 20s, still finding his feet, and with a journey ahead of him before he becomes “The Green Arrow.” That’s what this show is all about, a journey. It is that specificity that should keep it running smoothly.
Arrow, while incredibly buff, definitely uses his brains quite a bit and is not afraid to be a geek. One of his crew, Felicity Smoak (played by Emily Bett Rickards) steals the show every time as a very capable hacker and great geek role model. I can tell you that, if you’re a “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fan, then you may turn out to be an “Arrow” fan, although don’t expect too much in the way of classic snark.
The show takes a lot of its direction from two Green Arrow comics titles–and no, it’s not the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run from the ’60s, although there’s a clever nod made to it. The titles are Mike Gnell’s 1987 “The Longbow Hunters,” which provides gritty realism; and Andy Diggle and Jock’s 2007 “Green Arrow: Year One,” which provides the backstory of Arrow’s finding himself while lost on a deserted island for five years. Plus writers Greg Berlanti (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Green Lantern,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Marc Guggenheim (“Eli Stone”) and Andrew Kreisberg (“Fringe”) have brought in some intriguing new details like the mysterious role of Oliver’s mother; and Diggle, who finds himself becoming something of a sidekick to Arrow.
You don’t have to know a thing about comics to enjoy this show. There are relationships, rivalries, intrigue, all the timeless elements of power struggles and myth. And, if you are superhero fan, then this is a top tier show just for you. Visit The CW webiste for more details here. And you can get your copy of the first season of “Arrow” right here.
Step right up, boys (and girls, if you insist), step right up and try your hand at depicting Harley Quinn naked in a bathtub with a variety of devices aimed to electrocute her. All those young people eager to break into comics and this is what DC Comics has to offer? They offer up a contest where the aspiring artist draws four panels that depict Harely Quinn in four suicide attempts, the last depicting her naked about to be electrocuted.
This is what DC Comics wants to align itself with? If it wants to come across as your typical corporation, insensitive to humans, it has succeeded. Of course, they can claim it is all in jest. But this tiresome “boys will be boys” mentality is pretty weird.
It’s not like Warner Bros. Entertainment doesn’t care what you think of it. They have an ongoing media blitz to bring attention to their donations to the Horn of Africa. It is called, “We Can Be Heroes.” Check it out here.
Is too much being made of the current contest at DC Comics where aspiring talent are asked to make a devil’s bargain? The concern is genuine and it’s growing. It has already caught the attention of the Huffington Post. You can read that here.
No doubt, there is a huge disconnect at DC Comics right now. Maybe, many years down the road, this contest will be seen as utterly ridiculous…by DC Comics. Maybe, many years down the road, the latest clash between DC Comics editors and talent will be seen as unfortunate…by DC Comics. The decision from DC Comics top brass to kill the story of Batwoman’s marriage to her girlfriend led to the co-writers on the Batwoman story, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, quitting. Read more about it in this excellent piece by Rob Bricken, at io9, here.
If you want the official DC Comics response to this contest, look no further than DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee who got all Twittery. Check that out here. He claims that the writers of the contest script, longtime DC Comics employees, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, were just poking fun at themselves. Sadly, that makes no sense.
But people, here and now, understand that something is wrong and are not afraid to voice their opinion. There are exceptional voices of dissent, like the always eloquent Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress. Read her piece here. Or check out this awesome piece by Aja Romano, at The Daily Dot, here.
So, here’s the thing, I’m smart enough to not go completely Wertham Comics Code bonkers about this. You have to imagine that the boys at DC Comics want to stir things up. But the “boys will be boys” method is just so creepy and should off itself.
At a pivotal moment, our hero (played by Henry Cavill), asks a pastor for guidance. His advice on whether or not to trust the humans is, “You must take a leap of faith. Trust will follow.” “Man of Steel” proves that a leap of faith will be rewarded. Both Warner Bros., and its audience, have taken the big leap. Warner Bros. chose to create a movie with some bite to it. And audiences have chosen to give it a chance. Since “The Dark Knight,” it seemed all superhero movies were destined to go dark. However, the script by the same talent behind “The Dark Knight,” David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, remains true to Superman’s innate power to uplift.
“Man of Steel” mines fertile ground in what is far more than just an origin story. This is simply one of the best Superman stories, period. The trailer and the publicity photos don’t do it justice if you can imagine that. You really just need to see it. I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is an exceedingly good movie. It’s as if everything you know, or thought you knew, about Superman has been cleared aside and you go into this completely fresh.
Come to think of it, you do briefly see a young man out in the Alaska wilderness in one of the trailers. That’s the spirit to this film: cut to the chase, rough and tumble, direct and honest. You’ve got Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) directing so you can expect a gritty vibe. Snyder lets all his men be manly men with a strong sense of purpose. You get impressive male performances, notably from Russell Crowe, as Jor-El; Kevin Costner, as Jonathan Kent; and Michael Shannon, as General Zod.
Looking back to 1978 and Richard Donner’s “Superman,” what “Man of Steel” accomplishes is to naturally present a thoroughly contemporary Superman. There is room for pauses, and even hesitation, but it’s at a quicker and steadier pace. There is a sense of urgency running throughout “Man of Steel” that is a lot of fun to watch. Does Henry Cavill measure up to Christopher Reeve? Does Amy Adams measure up to Margot Kidder? Yes, in very different ways. It’s a more no nonsense approach. You won’t find Henry Cavill endlessly fumbling with his fedora or Amy Adams looking just a bit hung over from partying with a rock star. There just isn’t time for it. Even the name, “Superman,” is barely uttered by Lois Lane before the plot pushes us elsewhere. There is so much invested in this very purposeful story that we don’t even need to worry about Clark Kent, ace reporter, at all. Save that for another story.
Krypton is anything but window dressing in the story. The opening scenes on Krypton are so vivid and well put together that you feel you could linger there much longer. Russell Crowe commands the screen as Jor-El. The dispute over how to save Krypton escalates out of control. Michael Shannon, as General Zod, makes for a satisfying villain with just the right sense of menace. In this case, it’s not mere jealously or some maniacal thirst for power that drives the bad guy. General Zod sincerely believes in what he’s doing and will stop at nothing to get there. The fact he’s trying to save his people gives our plot that added weight and clarity.
Thankfully, this Superman movie got it right. It just feels right. It’s the Superman movie for these times without trying too hard to be so. Henry Cavill gets to be a young man trying to find himself without once coming across as a brooding self-loathing Eddie Vedder wannabe. Maybe if he’d worn a hoodie that would have been too much. But no hoodies to be found here. Amy Adams is so natural as Lois Lane that we don’t even care that she’s not a traditional brunette Lois. And yes, she’s every bit a woman matched up to the salty Margot Kidder. And leading the Daily Planet is editor-in-chief, Perry White, played with gusto by Laurence Fishburne. An Afro-American as Perry White in 1978 would have raised some eyebrows but not today.
1978’s “Superman” seems to have had the luxury of playing things a bit slow and off tempo and hardly veering off the well-worn path Superman movies and comics had known since they’d started. But, in 2013, you snooze and you lose. Superman might have appeared a daunting task to get right but “Man of Steel” found a way to make it look easy.
“Man of Steel” keeps that leap of faith flying steadily in the air. It will not only make you believe a man can fly. It will give you faith in more Superman movies to come.