1. Batman: The Brave and the Bold. If you have kids and you’re not watching Cartoon Network’s, “Batman; The Brave & The Bold,” you’re a bad parent. Yes, it’s a little campy (just like the “Batman!” show of the 1960s), but that’s part of its charm: A superhero cartoon . . . for kids! An increasingly rare commodity these days. The second season began with an OMAC episode, and promises an Outsiders appearance, guests like Hawk and Dove, and, get this, a musical. Produced by James “Animaniacs” Tucker, this show proves what has been the rules for years: D.C. does good kids supertoons, Marvel does good superflicks. There are a few exceptions—D.C. is doing a good job with it’s DVD animated movies (Green Lantern, Public Enemies, etc.) and Marvel’s “Kid Avengers” DVD was quite good. But on the whole, kids cartoons are better with Bats and Supes.
2. D.C.’s best writer, Geoff Johns, has publicly affirmed that he is working not only a Smallville episode (which I blogged about last week), but also movie versions of Flash and Shazam. And as for that Smallville, ep, it’s been confirmed that it will feature Hawkman (with a big-ass mace), Dr. Fate, and Stargirl. It will be directed by Glen Winter, who was behind last year’s great “Legion of Super Heroes” ep. Hopes climb ever higher . . .
3. And just so it isn’t all D.C. news: I guess lots of folks already knew this, but I didn’t—a film based on the great indie book “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is currently filming with a 2010 release date, and it stars Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Chris Evans. Cera is certainly a good sign . . .
4. Anybody out there reading the new Brubaker/Epting book, “Marvels Project”? If not, check it out. It tells the tales of the first Race For A Super Human. In this retelling of the early history of the Marvel U, there’s an “arms race” between Hitler and FDR over who will create the first superhuman. Yeah, we all know that the U.S. wins and creates Cap, but along the way we see very cool reimaginings of the early years of the first Human Torch, why Sub Mariner hates humans (Nazis destroyed Atlantis tortured him as part of their arms race, natch!), and we get to see Nick Fury form the Howling Commandos. For fans of old Marvel Comics or those with only passing knowledge of its history, this book should be required reading. What are y’all thinking of it?
5. If you’re not reading Marvels Project, what about the new Geoff Johns Superboy/Legion vehicle, Adventure Comics? Personally, I haven’t liked a Superboy comic since . . . ever. Let alone one about black T-Shirt s-boy. I hated Crisis and so I didn’t read the Crisis/Legion book where they brought Conner back from the dead, so I don’t know that backstory, but, happily, I don’t need to. Johns has made Conner Kent real—just as he was during Johns’ Teen Titans run—and Krypto has never has never been better, either. Superboy’s struggle between his mixed genetic parentage (he’s the test-tube offspring of Superman and Luthor) is handled well, even if I personally don’t believe that evil is an inherited trait. My only problem with this book is the second feature. As someone who hasn’t read about the Legion of Super Heroes in about 15 years, I need a little more story than what I’m getting here. Each issue, we get just a flavor—a sliver of a story—and it’s too difficult to get to know the character, let alone understand the complicated back story. However, this last issue had a great, short Legion feature, so maybe that’s improving. And the main feature, Superboy talking heart to heart with Tim Drake for the first time since Conner found out that his gal Cassie was forming the beast with two backs with his former best friend, was terrific. Who knew a comic book that was mostly just a conversation could be so captivating? A perfect marriage of dialog and art.
6. A book I don’t see too much being written about is Chris Claremont’s “X-Men Forever.” The guys at my store don’t like the book much, but I’ve been enjoying it. Yeah, Claremont is still a little wordy—he really likes to spell everything out in excruciatingly detailed captions and forced dialog—but few people have had better plots and stories to tell. I’m anxious to see what he does with Colossus’ solo-superhero adventure, coming up in 2 issues (after Wolverine’s funeral). Any of you reading it?
7. And what about the upcoming Siege? The hype and chatter is full on. I’ve read several interviews with both Bendis and Queseda, and both assure that after this miniseries The Avengers (all three books) will change dramatically. I hope so. When I was a kid, Avengers was my favorite book, hands down, largely because I got to see most of Marvel’s coolest dudes fighting a lot. Dark Avengers is a bunch of B-list villains (and Venom). Mighty Avengers is a bunch of B-list heroes. And New Avengers is probably worth reading, but I haven’t had time to begin to crack open the large stack of trades by my bed. Since all three books sell pretty well, I doubt they’ll be returning to a single flagship book, but I hope there’s at least a central Avengers book that brings together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to fight World Threatening Menaces. That’s what the book has been about when it was at its best. Marvel’s creative and editorial staff have also been reassuring everyone (like me) with event fatigue that Siege will be self-contained. There will be a few tie-ins, but you only need to buy Siege. That’s how Marvel did World War Hulk. Lots of books tied in, but only WWH was a necessary buy. It’s also how D.C. is handling Blackest Night. I hope they are true to their word.