Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Martian Manhunter, DC Movies & SDCC 2013
This year's San Diego Comic-Con International did not offer much in the way of news on the Sleuth from Outer Space. The big pull quote was Jeff Lemire saying at a panel "I have huge plans for Martian Manhunter next year... And it's going to be great." However, he later stated on his Twitter feed "not writing a Martian Manhunter book," though he added a "maybe :)" with regard to J'Onn J'Onzz appearing in one of his other titles. Given the current environment at DC, Lemire could very well have gone into the panel thinking he had a book, only to lose it by his 3:37 PM tweet, but it's more likely fan expectations simply overreached. I really disliked Lemire's Atom strip, but I've been fine with other stuff he's done, and he seems to appreciate the Silver Age heroes. His indie/Vertigo pedigree also suits the character, but if he simply takes over from Matt Kindt's taking over from Geoff Johns supposedly until Forever Evil wraps, I'm going to have to go with whoop-dee-doo on this disclosure.
The biggest news to not quite/only partially come out of the show was the announcement that Warner Brothers would forgo an immediate Man of Steel sequel in favor of a Superman/Batman team-up movie for release in 2015 against Avengers: Age of Ultron. I think that this is a very good idea, because Man of Steel's reception wasn't universally warm, and we've got to get a new Batman introduced ahead of the inevitable (currently penciled into 2017) Justice League flick. I firmly believe that the friendship between the World's Finest duo ought to be established on film before mixing in further heroes, and rates its own movie to that end. I also think Batman can be used as a fan proxy to address some issues folks had with Superman's movie, plus Bruce Wayne teaming up with Lex Luthor to determine a weakness against an adversarial Kryptonian writes itself. A rushed Justice League flick would have sucked, and this provides Warner Brothers more ammo against the Avengers sequel than either hero could muster individually. Actor Harry Lennix was randomly brought in to take part in the veiled announcement, and one blogger incorrectly guessed that his character General Swanwick might secretly have been the Martian Manhunter. I suppose that could still happen, but it would come off as a cheat and raise questions as to where the Alien Atlas was during the battle against Zod's army in Metropolis. That last trailer for Man of Steel and hints that Kara Zor-El might have a role to play very much piqued my interest, but I ultimately was let down by the film's third act and the lack of significant mention of a greater comic book universe surrounding the events. I'll likely see the combo movie, but given that this is to be a reteaming of the writer/director that didn't quite make Superman fly, I'm hardly buzzing over it. Also, Umberto González of Latino Review was right to gripe about the "rinky dink BATMAN/SUPERMAN logo." Worst looking conjoining of their emblems I've ever seen. The other news, which was broken by The Hollywood Reporter but to my knowledge never announced at Comic-Con, is that a Flash movie is planned for 2016 to lead into Justice League. My initial thought was to set the Hollywood sign afire and begin castrating Warner Brothers executives unto I compiled a set of balls large enough to greenlight a Wonder Woman movie instead. My second thought was that I find super-speed the single least interesting of all the powers, and that the Flash's rogues gallery would be great if they fought Green Arrow, but would be laughed out of theaters against the Scarlet Speedster. Brendan Bettinger of Collider argued that Flash could be the Captain America: The First Avenger of the DC Universe, which struck me as a backhanded comment against the merchandising-friendly Living Legend of World War II and an acknowledgment that Barry Allen was a stuffed shirt that lacked even the modest pop culture recognition afforded to Green Lantern by Wayne Chrebet and Aquaman by Michael Phelps. Mike Ryan of The Huffington Post made a stronger argument for Flash as DC's Iron Man, except you'd need Allen's non-scientist (re: dumbass) layman successor Wally West to mirror Tony's snark, and that the Flash's costume and m.o. are far more difficult to credibly translate to the screen (again, better recalling Cap.) I also find it funny that Ryan thinks moving faster and getting more stuff done is a wish-fulfillment premise offered by the hero. In my experience, most people want to slow down and do less stuff, or be more like Tony Stark in being fantastically rich and well "taken care of" while blowing off responsibility in favor of passion projects. I find the premise of the Green Lantern Corps exciting, so filmmakers had to actively dissuade me from seeing Green Lantern, and did a fine job of turning me off. Conversely, I find the Flash's Speed Force lore stupid as hell, and can't think of a single actor that would turn me on to the hero. Coupled with my deep offense over favoring the Flash against a Wonder Woman film, I'm fairly certain I won't touch that movie with a ten foot pole. I'd seriously see a Cyborg movie before the Flash. They'd have to adapt Justice League of America #144 to get me into that thing.