Monday, March 28, 2011

More Cool Costumes!

It's been quite a while since I've looked at cool costumes, so I thought I would shoot out a few more that I think deserve mentioning...


Gar Logan started out as Beast Boy with the Doom Patrol, but it would be his time with the New Teen Titans in the 80's that would forever cement his place in my list of cool costumes. The guy has green skin and can turn into any animal (again, green) but his costume is this cool red-and-white number that gives you no indication whatsoever as to his name or power set. Instead, it's just this neat design that was a vast improvement over his old purple Doom Patrol uniform.

Unfortunately, Gar's back to being Beast Boy and the purple outfit is a regular occurrence. Still, this suit wins for the time it was around, which remains the high-point of the Teen Titans comic run thanks to George Perez.

Captain Comet
Another red-and-white color schemed hero, Captain Comet was a truly cool guy in the 70's to me. He was in the Secret Society of Super-Villains comic book (a title I recently scored a full run of at last year's Wizard World Atlanta for $20) but I remember being introduced to him in his first DC Comics Presents adventure with Superman. I didn't pick up SSOSV until later.

After SSOSV died in the DC Implosion of the late 70's, he pretty much dropped off the radar. He shows up here and there from time to time, most recently in a new incarnation and costume. The new costume pays homage to the old, but I'm still a fan of that 70's look. It's kind of simple, but the blue bands and white highlights are set up perfectly to compliment the color scheme. I have a character in the City of Heroes MMORPG that was modeled after this look.

Blue Shield

This is a pretty understated costume with the blue and white scheme, but it works. This obscure hero hasn't made a lot of appearances in the comics, but he has held the position of security director of Project Pegasus for a while...which isn't too shabby.

His power actually involves a small force field around his body rather than an actual shield. I guess I can see where he was going with the name though.

You'll never see him on a t-shirt or in his own title, but he was good enough to make this list.


I was always a fan of this character's costume. Clint Barton definitely wins as the coolest guy to wear it (yet) and it made sense for him to get to stretch his abilities beyond the bow and into other weapons while he was getting his head on straight after House of M.

Looking sort of like a ninja Snake Eyes (and yes, I know Snake Eyes was a ninja), the costume allowed for swords, nunchaku, throwing stars, and a host of other fun goodies to be pulled out at any moment.

Clint is back to being Hawkeye and Echo (the original) isn't up to wearing it again anytime soon, but hopefully someone else will grab the suit soon and Ronin will be around again!


Say what you will about Hank Pym's constant costumed identity changes, the man can design a really cool costume. Ant-Man has made one of my lists before, and this short-lived blue-and-yellow Goliath suit joins him.

While choosing the name "Goliath" as a superhero name didn't make a lot of sense (hint: Goliath was a bad guy), the costume was a good choice. The antennae from the old Giant Man/Ant Man costume didn't really work.

I'm not sure the goggles were the best idea though. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold would disagree with me, I'm sure.


Paul Kirk was the original Manhunter, and though there have been two since him I still give him the best costume. I know a lot of people were put off by his somewhat garish appearance--especially for an assassin--but I think it works in print. In real life, the flowing sleeves and freaky boots probably wouldn't be the best choices during combat.

I have been reading a lot of Silver and Bronze Age comics again lately (as you'll notice in some of my upcoming posts) and was introduced to this character through his backup stories in Detectice Comics that eventually led up to his teaming with Batman in issue 443 and dying in that mission. It was an incredible storyline that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I've always thought the costume was cool. I bought the statue and the DC Universe figure of this character long before I actually read the stories.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heroes That Need Movies

When you think of superheroes who would get movies, guys like Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman all come to mind immediately. But when we find out Iron Man, Thor, and Green Lantern all get major theatrical releases this Summer, it gives hope for those lesser-known heroes to get some screen time. Here are my nominations for heroes who could probably hold their own in a movie:

Green Arrow

I know he's been a recurring role in the Smallville series, but how about giving the guy a shot at the big screen. I would go for a different feel for the character that was slightly more faithful to the comics version and I'd do a very condensed origin, but the guy has potential.

I know they were tossing around a movie called "Supermax" that would supposedly have Green Arrow having to escape from a maximum security prison filled with supervillains, but I'm not sure that's the best way to go. For one thing, in prison he obviously wouldn't get his costume or arrows (until maybe the last ten minutes of the film).

And definitely give him Deathstroke as his nemesis in the film. No one else would do.


I know you're thinking this could never work without appearing in a Batman film first, but it could be done. Consider the opening moments of the Birds of Prey series. We saw Batman, the Joker, and Barbara Gordon's infamous crippling shot all in a matter of moments in a blurry flashback. The same could be done to give any backstory necessary without changing the origin too drastically.

Why would this be better than just another Batman film? Well, Nightwing had a more light-hearted personality in costume than Batman. His fighting style was much more acrobatic as well. Now add to this the fact that Christian Bale is still up in the air about a fourth Batman film and you are paving the way to replace him in the fourth film without a reboot. Instead, Dick Grayson takes the mantle with an already-established film history.

The Invaders

Look, we have a Captain America movie set entirely during World War 2 and he flies solo the whole time? We established the CGI for a Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies, so there's the big hurdle beaten down.

Let's go ahead and fill up the roster. Union Jack and Spitfire would be there, with the regulars of Namor, Torch, Toro, and Bucky. That should be more than enough fodder to make a great movie.

I think the key to this would be skipping the Red Skull as the villain. Instead, give us a straight-up confrontation with Hitler, Master Man, or Baron Zemo.

The Flash

Another hero from a series that has been rumored for a big-screen role, the Flash is long overdue for a film.

Ryan Reynolds was mentioned for the role before taking the Green Lantern part, and I think Bradley Cooper would be a great second choice. Their personalities would really mesh well for a team-up movie later on down the line if it came to it since Barry Allen and Hal Jordan were such good friends.

The villain here is obvious: Professor Zoom. Most likely he'd be saved for a sequel though, and we'd get Captain Cold. He could give a few good moments in the fight, I suppose. I've never understood how a man moving so fast could have such a running dialogue with his rogues though. They'd carry on complete conversations in what was supposed to be the space of seconds while he's a blur. Go figure.

The Justice League of America

I know this is one that will probably never happen, but if we can get the Avengers I can't see why DC won't budge on this. After crafting the CGI for the Green Lantern film, I can't see anything to stop this.

Yes, the Avengers will be a geekfest for most comic fans, but to me this would be the franchise I'd love to see. The massive fight scene at the end of the film with Batman attacking from the shadows while Green Lantern and the Flash tried finesse, and Superman and Wonder Woman were taking the frontal assault, would be intense.

The villains to face? I don't think the Legion of Doom would be the way to go for the first film. In the old JLA comics they usually had one major villain that was enough to give the team trouble. My nominee would be Darkseid. I know he's in Smallville, but let's put him in the movie and show what a real invasion from Apokolypse would be like.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Plot Twists That Didn't Work - Fantastic Four #587

Last time we talked about a bad plot twist, it was a comic book from the 70's. This time we're going to look at one that's just a couple of months old, but it telegraphed the "twist" just the same.

When Marvel announced the imminent death of one of the members of the Fantastic Four, they put a lot into the marketing. They even went so far as to put the issues in a black poly-bag (not done since the "Death of Superman" issue) and told retailers they would not be publishing any extra copies of the issue. In other words, what didn't get ordered for a specific person wouldn't be coming out. It was a brave move meant to draw attention and sales to the comic series that had at one time been Marvel's flagship title and their first foray into a team book.

The stage seemed perfectly set to allow them the chance to really keep the reader guessing. All four members of the team were purposefully put in dire straits and there seemed no easy way out for any of them. Reed was facing Galactus alone, Sue was facing a sacrificial moment with Namor, while Johnny and a powerless Ben Grimm were facing hordes of enemies from the Negative Zone. Any of the four team members could have died and it would have made sense.

The problem came when Marvel decided to make this a big news event and invite the non-comics-related news sources into the party. The cat would be let out of the poly-bag too soon.

Unlike Marvel's decision to kill Captain America a few years back and get all the mileage out of it they could, this particular death was meant to be a surprise to the reader. They knew someone was going down, but not exactly who. Unfortunately for Marvel, some guy who probably never reads comics gets this story across his desk on a slow news day and decides to publish it. "Some guy named the Human Torch is getting killed in a comic book somewhere. Ok, whatever, print it."

The problem? The news broke the story the day before the comic book hit the retail stores! Suddenly all the secrecy and hush-hush marketing tactics were thrown out just 24 hours before the big reveal. Granted, in the age of the internet it's just about impossible to keep anything secret for long, but to have gone that long and have it spoiled was a bummer.

In a poll we ran here in the days leading up to the issue, our wise Comics in Crisis readers voted Johnny as most likely to be killed. It turns out you guys were right, but it was all just speculation until the issue itself came out...but then the news media got it.

In a desperate attempt at damage control, Marvel gave the unprecedented okay for retailers to sell the issue on Tuesday if they had it instead of waiting until Wednesday. Of course, the only way to find that out was to go into the comic shop on Tuesday instead of Wednesday (and who does that?), or to see it in the the same news story that told you who died in the book in the first place. Marvel got crushed by its own marketing machine.

So in the end, even though the Human Torch went out in a blaze of glory (Ha! Couldn't resist...sorry), the big moment itself fizzled out. Of course, his death was a useless act anyhow. The door was closing behind him already. All he had to do was fly up there, shoot a few fireballs to throw them off, and then just fly away and stay alive for a few days until Reed got back and got him out! Instead, he pulls this macho "me against the millions" routine and gets killed. Like a dog staring down a truck and saying, "I think I can take him", Storm got smashed like roadkill for no reason.

And in all honesty, who really believes Johnny Storm will stay dead? No comic book character ever stays dead, right?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Wolverine 2

No, this isn't the real trailer, but it's pretty cool! If the movie turns out this good it may be able to swing the tide for Marvel back out there again.

Wolverine Vs The Hand from Gary Shore on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Comics That Should Be Better

The whole point of this blog is to highlight things about comic books that we miss or that really stand out as noteworthy (or cringeworthy, as the case may be). I want to look now at a few titles that should be a whole lot better than they are, but for one reason or another are floundering badly and in need of a push.

Captain America

After they killed Steve Rogers, it seemed like Marvel was taking a big step forward by allowing Bucky to take the suit. In much the same way that Wally West stepped in as the Flash for his mentor when Barry Allen died, Bucky would be the sidekick who became the hero. Unfortunately, it took Marvel almost a dozen issues between when Steve "died" and Bucky put on the suit. The Falcon stepped in as main center character, but he couldn't keep the momentum of the book going. The trip to him finally "suiting up" was good enough that we'd give them a chance to improve in future issues, but it wasn't the best story ever told for Cap.

Then Marvel decided to put Bucky on trial for his crimes as Winter Soldier. Okay, we knew it was coming so that was expected a little. Then we entered this same costume-less abyss of storytelling that started us into the "Bucky as Cap" run. Once more, Marvel brought the Falcon and Black Widow front and center to handle the "action" parts of the story while they buried Bucky and the now-alive Steve Rogers under page after page of dialogue. Now the trial is over, but Marvel spent so much time dragging the fans through the mud in their desperate attempt to be the next Grant Morrison story that we don't care about the character anymore.

Yes, I understand the whole point of the ".1" Marvel stories last month was to give new readers a chance to jump on board...but honestly, what's the point of taking six months to reboot a series no one really cared about anymore? We've had Steve Rogers limited series as "Super Soldier" and an old Captain America story, but we know with the movie coming out Steve will have to put the suit back on by the summer anyway.

All in all, I think Marvel gave up on this title last year and just decided to take a two-issue arch and turn it into a six-issue storyline so they could fill space until it got closer to the movie. It really wasn't fair to Bucky (who had started out doing a great job as Captain America) or to the readers who suffered through the incredibly long process it took to get him in costume.

Comic books like this show the weakness Marvel has when forcing every single storyline into a 6-issue arc. Some plots are made for short and sweet stories only. Flooding them with filler pages just to get it into a trade paperback just kills the title's momentum over time.

The Flash

Finding out Geoff Johns is taking over a title you love is like winning the lottery. With the return of Barry Allen as the Flash added to the mix, it seemed like there was no way this could lose.

A sporadic publishing schedule combined with a storyline that lacked the fire of anything Johns had come up with for Green Lantern gave fans a little pause. "The Flash: Rebirth" didn't have the punch of Hal Jordan's return, but that could be contributed to the fact that Barry Allen had already returned before the storyline came out (rather than the cool return of Hal Jordan we got with GL:Rebirth), so this was more of a re-introduction to the character for folks who had grown up on Wally West in the scarlet suit.

The first six issues of the series didn't break any new ground either. A recent single-issue story gave us the origin of Professor Zoom that really added depth to the speedster's arch-enemy and paved the way for the upcoming "Flashpoint" mega-event.

2011 is supposed to be the big year for the Flash as "Flashpoint" has no less than 14 different mini-series and one-shots springing out of it. Here's hoping it takes this character to the heights fans have been expecting from Geoff since he took over the character.

Batman: Odyssey
Even though the future of this title is currently in doubt, I had to include it in this list as one of my biggest disappointments.

Tell anyone that Neal Adams is drawing a Batman title again, and they'll immediately have high hopes. Adams is considered by many to be the quintessential Batman artist, having taken the Dark Knight through the tumultuous 70's and made him tough in the process.

Now add to the  mix the fact that DC is giving him a free hand in what he does and you imagine nothing but great things coming out of it all. Unfortunately, the first six issues of this 12-issue maxi-series have floundered horribly.

The story isn't part of the Batman canon. As a matter of fact, there is actually very little of a comprehensible story involved. Batman uses guns regularly, he's actually a Hispanic Bruce Wayne, and so far he's found a way to get shot in almost every issue. I've already written about my total confusion and disappointment in this title before, so I won't beat a dead horse. Suffice it to say if DC finishes this 13 issue maxiseries and Adams doesn't pull a major rabbit out of the hat for the last seven issues, this could be his own "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" rather than "The Dark Knight Returns" that he had envisioned.

Brightest Day

I loved Blackest Night, and one of the key moments for me was when I saw two of my favorite DC characters (Deadman and Hawk) among those brought back by the White Lantern ring, I knew I was going to buy the follow-up story without hesitation.

But where "Blackest Night" moved along quickly and cohesively to a major point, "Brightest Day" seems to meander a lot. I'm sure there is some major point they are leading to, but it seems like they are in no hurry to get there and we've lost sight of the whole purpose of the storyline.

Deadman, Hawk and Dove have the most important storyline, as they are trying to find the White Lantern that the ring is leading them toward. In the process, Boston Brand is adjusting to life as a powerless human again, while trying to figure out what the ring wants him to do. That's good reading, and it's the only reason I've stuck with the series.

The problem is that we have a Martian Manhunter storyline that could have been skipped. The Aquaman storyline existed solely to introduce the reboot version of Aqualad. The Firestorm storyline is really good as Ronnie Raymond is back now, but it has taken a long time to get to this point where it is good. The Hawkman storyline wasn't that compelling either. Now that they've started killing these returned characters off, it could be a promising twist to the otherwise bland story. Time will tell.

I think Blackest Night worked so well because there were those 3-issue miniseries offshoot stories that you could choose to follow if you wanted to. For "Brightest Day" there were no offshoots. Instead, the Martian Manhunter miniseries, the Aquaman miniseries, and the Hawkman miniseries were all integrated into the main storyline, which buried the true theme of the book and dragged it to the point where two or three pages in the book further the main story, while the rest just seems to be telling something else altogether.

This may be one of those titles that can only be appreciated when read as a whole after all the issues are published. The story is almost over now. I still have hope, but I'm afraid few people will look back on it as the same powerful work we saw from its predecessor.

Those are four titles I think should be doing better. There will be more in a future post. What about you? What titles were you expecting more from?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Green Lantern - Emerald Knights

Nathan Fillion has long been my choice for Green Lantern, and while I give Ryan Reynolds props for what we've seen so far, I still believe he'd have been a better Flash than GL. In this new animated feature coming out from DC this summer, we'll get to at least hear what kind of job Fillion would have done. Looking forward to it...

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