Tag Archives: DC

The Three Faces of Supergirl

Before I begin, I just want to say a few words about season 2 of Supergirl. In fact this whole post has spoilers—look at it as kind of a review mixed with thematic discussion. I highly recommend that you do not continue reading if you haven’t seen it yet, but if you have or do not care, just go ahead. I won’t judge.

Season 2 was considerably watered down from season one, and although there were plenty of exciting moments it was hard to get into. About half the cast of season 1 inexplicably disappeared, and while I enjoyed some of the new characters, particularly Lena Luthor, it seemed like there was too much going on, that the story wasn’t really about Supergirl anymore. The story arcs did not mesh together very well. A lot of the plot revolved around on-again/off-again relationship drama. Also they made James Olsen a vigilante, the Guardian. I didn’t really like that except for in one of the episodes closer to the end of the season where he gets to be a hero for an alien boy. The conflicts mostly involved fugitive aliens and either protecting or apprehending them. There was a Flash crossover but it was kind of lame and it kind of served to prop the love interests in both shows.  Livewire came back for one episode and she was awesome. I liked Kara’s relationship with Mon-el, and I’m sad about how that ended…for now.

But I think one thing to keep in mind about entertainment in general is that, when it comes to what happens next to your favorite characters, don’t expect more of the same. Writers have to keep changing the story, raising the stakes, and creating conflict to keep their usual audience engaged.

This is one of those blog posts I’ve been planning on for a while that kept getting pushed back. But I figured I’d better write down this important post about my homegirl from the DC Universe before I get around to other topics (*ahem*, Marvel and Star Wars).

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Clark Kent and Kara Danvers, S2 Ep. 1, Comic Book

Something I found while watching Season 1 of Supergirl, and occasionally reinforced during season 2, was the fact that the individual we know as Supergirl has to balance multiple identities. We’re pretty familiar with her alter-ego, CatCo reporter Kara Danvers who wears cute clothes, has an awesome sister and loves food. Supergirl, on the other hand, is known for the cape and the skirt and the S-logo, the superpowers, fighting bad guys, and saving the day.

But sometimes in the show we get a glimpse of a third face: Kara Zor-el, the girl from Krypton, an alien refugee who lost everything–her culture, her home, her family–when her planet was destroyed. We see it when she talks to the holograms of her parents at the Fortress of Solitude and the DEO. We see in the flashbacks to Alex Danvers’ newly-adopted sister struggling to find her place on a new planet, struggling to adapt to having superpowers. We see it in the face of a Supergirl forced to confront the truths about Krypton’s end and her family’s legacy.

A few people on the show—Lucy Lane, Winn, J’onn Jonzz, James, Cat Grant, and as of Season 2 Maggie Sawyer and Lena Luthor—have the privilege of knowing both Kara Danvers and Supergirl, and maybe more or less knowing that the two are the same. But very few people have seen the part of herself that Kara brought with her from Krypton—although it’s safe to say that Alex Danvers might be more aware of it than some.

One thing I liked about Season 2 bringing in Superman for the first two episodes and the finale was that Kara had someone she could be open with about her Kryptonian side. Kal-el had discovered his true identity and studied his lost culture secondhand at the Fortress of Solitude. But that had happened in Clark Kent’s adulthood. Kara Zor-el left Krypton as a teenager and got stuck in the Phantom Zone until Kal-el was a grown man. She is old enough to remember her family and her culture. She has an awareness of that lost identity that Kal-el can’t come close to, at least in this version of the DCEU. If Superman comes back at all in Season 3, I want to see this developed. (And for the record, I am googlie-eyes for over Tyler Hochelin’s Superman/Clark Kent).

Kara also has to come to grips with her Kryptonian past a little when she makes the acquaintance of Mon-el of Daxam, a rival planet of Krypton–in other words, having to confront a cultural prejudice she inherited from her planet against his. But, and this was one of the reasons I liked her relationship with Mon-el, she brings out the best in him, and she shows him that it’s not too late for him (or his world) to make a new start.

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As far as Kara knows, the best way for someone from another planet to blend in is to take on a human identity, join the workforce, and then blend in as much as possible. In the beginning, she tries to make Mon-el fit into the same mold. His misbehavior at CatCo quickly gets him fired. He does okay as a barkeeper at the secret alien bar in National City. But for most of his run in season 2, Mon-el is just Mon-el. He doesn’t change or alter himself to fit into different circumstances. When he goes out to be a “superhero”, he just wears black fatigues (although he doesn’t need much more than that, lbr).  He doesn’t quite get the stakes the way Kara does. But in the end, I don’t think he cares about how Earthlings see him—and I mean that in a good way. Kara, on the other hand, chooses to balance multiple roles, and accordingly has to wear a different identity in each one.

Last fall at Salt Lake Comic Con, I attended a panel called “Behind the Glasses” where several experts weighed in on the importance of secret identities. Our very own Jake was there, as was my friend James A. Owen who really, really, really loves Superman. I took notes, because that’s how much of an over-achiever I am, but in retrospect I’m glad I did because they came in useful for this article, and these ideas are pretty relevant to the idea of superhumans and secret identities.

There is not always an immediate need to rush into danger and save the world–you are going to have some down time. Having a secret identity means creating a space where you do not have to be involved with the ordeals of being a superhero. It’s a way to keep supervillains, stalkers, and the press from your daily routine and from your family and friends. But you can’t always leave your job for superheroics. And you can’t always leave your superheroics to do your day job. Sometimes the people you love can be in more danger from not knowing your secret.

If something bad happens and your “persona” is blamed, is it fair for your secret identity to not have to suffer the consequences?

"I'm trying to decide whether I should blog my article myself" - Kara and Mon-El #Supergirl

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The question of superhero identities ties into the human struggle of having different “faces” or versions of ourselves for different settings. Who you are at work might not necessarily be the person you are at home. And neither of those identities are exactly the same as the person you are when you’re doing something you love. James Owen shared a thought from Superman writer Elliot S! Maggin at the“Behind the Glasses” panel: “Clark Kent is who he is. Superman is what he can do.” That’s actually a really deep thought. Maybe the roles of our different personalities aren’t quite as separate, but it’s one way of understanding the different parts a superhero can play through the day. And it’s a way of understanding their limitations in different settings.

Let’s look at Kara Danvers. She’s a reporter at CatCo Media who is very outspoken about doing the right thing. As Supergirl, she also has principles that guide what she does as a superhero. That part of her personality—her indomitable sense of right and wrong—is in every part of her. But Kara learns the hard way in Season 2 that there are rules for being a reporter that she can’t just ignore. Supergirl may be able to break some of society’s conventions but Kara can’t without facing consequences.

(I wonder how Clark Kent does it? If he uses “Superman” as a source in his work for the Daily Planet when he needs to get the word out? Do they just let him get away with it? Maybe Kara needs to ask him.)

Kara Danvers was once Kara Zor-el of Krypton. A girl from an aristocratic family on another planet. When she first came to Earth, she had to create the persona of Kara Danvers as a way to blend in with earthlings. Kara Danvers, as a rule, doesn’t rescue people from burning buildings, stop robberies and car accidents, and fight rogue aliens and alien-hunters. But Supergirl does. Supergirl is who people on Earth know Kara Zor-el by, byt they know her as a hero instead of a girl from an affluent Kyptonian household. They don’t have that context. Supergirl has authority because she saves the day. If Kara Danvers wants to protest the injustices in society, she can do a write-up for CatCo, provided she has legitimate sources for her boss. Kara Danvers and Supergirl are both kind and known for helping others, but while Supergirl does the big heroic stuff, Kara does the little everyday things for her friends.

Según @andrewkreisberg el nuevo jefe de Kara cree en la palabra escrita, cree en los hechos y piensa, ¿eres buena en tu trabajo o no? #Supergirl

Kara versus her new boss, Season 2 (Pinterest

When she’s at home and relaxing with Alex and Mon-el and friends, Kara is Kara but she talks openly about being Supergirl. She’ll sit on the couch and eat ice cream in her suit if she wants. And she can openly reference her past life on Krypton when she wants to. So there are some spaces where the boundaries of her three identities aren’t as rigid.

At one point in season one, Cat Grant—the boss of Kara Danvers and the critic/patron of Supergirl, fully aware that they are both the same—asked her to quit her job and be a superhero full-time because she could help more people that way. Kara begged Cat to let her stay on at CatCo because her normal job gave her a link to a normal life.  Having a day job is how you pay the bills when you put the glasses on. Not everyone gets paid to be a superhero. Kara has nothing material to gain from it—or at least Cat doesn’t offer to PAY her to be Supergirl. But Kara doesn’t see herself as someone who can be a superhero full time. It matters to her to still lead a normal life and to be with her family and friends in her down time. And she needed an income to pay for food and a roof over her head when she wasn’t wearing the cape.

In Season 2, the premise was supposed to be that she would figure out how to be Kara. Looking back, I think the show approached that issue in some interesting, albeit indirect ways.  So who is Kara Danvers? What does Kara stand for, can Kara push the same limits that Supergirl can? Can she work within the lines that society sets? Or is it more important for her to get the truth out because that’s just who she is, as both Kara and Supergirl. It’s really not that tacky for her to follow in Clark Kent’s footsteps: a writer can make a real difference through the ideas they share.

Kara having a love interest has to address all three sides of her. The girl from Krypton has to figure out how to get along with the guy from Daxam. They can put their differences aside and find solace in both being exiles on a strange planet. Does he get along with her Earth family? Most of the time. He can be as outspoken at times as she is. As Supergirl, how does she balance protecting him from her enemies that would endanger him and protecting her city? And does he necessarily need to be a superhero just like her? Can he help her save the day? I think Mon-el was a great addition to the series because he was a good foil for Kara.

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Supergirl continues to hold a special place in my heart, even after a rough season 2, because she still has to balance a lot of the same issues of family, friends, and identity, albeit in different ways. Kara Zor-el, Kara Danvers, Supergirl—at the end of the day, what ties all three together and make Kara who she is are the virtues of honesty, respect, compassion, and valuing life. She always sees the best in others. In season 1, she did her best to reach out to and rescue her last surviving Kryptonian relatives, and although she failed, she was a better person for having made the effort. And now in season 2, she gave Mon-el the benefit of a doubt when he came to earth and she showed him that being the spoiled prince of Daxam didn’t have to be his legacy. I know from my friends who are Superman fans that that is who Superman is supposed to be, and Tyler Hochelin’s brief appearances this season as Clark really made a good impression on me—but more importantly, Supergirl not only lives up to her cousin’s reputation but she is the kind of person that I want and need to be.

Supergirl can continue to be a great show that explores the themes of identity and heroics—as long as we don’t get too caught up in the drama.

Can Wonder Woman Save the DCEU?

The DCEU is in trouble. How much trouble depends on who you ask, but almost everyone agrees that not all is well in the house that Batman built. They need someone or something to step up and deliver a solid win in their movie franchise. A win like they haven’t seen since Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. A win they’ve been wanting while watching their competition, Marvel, have success after success. Simply put, the DCEU needs a hero. Or maybe a heroine. Wonder Woman is that Heroine. She can deliver a film that connects with existing fans while expanding the fan base further into the mainstream.

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Villain for a Day at Salt Lake Comic Con

You should never underestimate the power of cosplay in groups.  I’ve been a part of a charity group for a while, but for this Comic Con I planned to do something a little different. Livewire was my favorite villain in Season 1 of Supergirl. Since her outfit didn’t look too hard to imitate, I decided to cosplay her. Then a few months ago, one of my Facebook friends decided to put together a DC Villains/Arkham group for comic con. I decided to volunteer Livewire.

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Soaring with Supergirl

(Spoilers ahead, obviously)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the first DC superhero I have ever really liked. I’m not joking. Batman and Superman both bug me because they are both so popular. And Superman is just so perfect.  But, ICYMI, Supergirl just wrapped up its first season on CBS and it was spectacular. Supergirl is my new favorite superhero because she’s 1) not dark and brooding and 2) a modern (slightly clueless) twenty-something just like me. I didn’t have terribly high expectations for the TV show but it delivered.  It’s not the best-written but it’s still very high-quality storytelling and family friendly to boot. After Star Wars Rebels, this is my second time watching a television series all the way through, but allow me to break it down for you.

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Jake’s List of 10 Movies for 2016

2016 is here, and that means we have a whole new year’s worth of movies to look forward to. 2015 was all about The Force Awakens. What will be the big hit for 2016? So far it looks like Captain America: Civil War may be the king of the year, but it has plenty of competition. This is my list of 10 movies I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there are a ton of really cool movies coming out this year. My list may not be the same as yours, but these are the 10 movies I am looking forward to. They are listed in order of when they are coming out.

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Supergirl Trailer

CBS just dropped a new extended trailer for Supergirl, and it looks pretty good. Yes, it looks slightly cheesy, but it also looks like it is worth a look this fall. Plus, it also looks like a show I would be comfortable with my kids sitting down and watching it. My girls especially. They need more heroines like this to watch and enjoy. My girls are all geeks, so I think they would really enjoy something like this. Plus, it’s as close as we are going to get to Supes on the small screen right now.

Superman in Color

Many of you may not know this, but I consider myself a DC guy. You may not know it because of how much coverage I have given the MCU as of late. The truth is, there is just a lot more going on there right now than in the DC Universe, and I still enjoy what Marvel is doing, and I am hoping that somehow DC will pull it off just as well.  Not only am I a DC guy, but my favorite is Superman. He has been my favorite for pretty much all of my life. I went through a phase in High school where I wore nothing but Superman shirts. I was, and, to a lesser degree, still am, obsessed with Superman. I also like some of the more human DC characters, my second favorite being a tie really between Green Arrow and Nightwing. Superman has always been my go to though. For the most part, I enjoyed Man of Steel,  and I am hoping that Dawn of Justice will be a great launching vehicle for Justice League. That being said, there was just something off in the Man of Steel  film that just didn’t feel absolutely right. It wasn’t that he broke Zod’s neck (Superman also kills Zod in Superman II, so it’s not like there isn’t a precedent set here), or that he just stood by and did nothing while a tornado killed his adoptive father (I do still claim that Superman would have saved him, no way would he just sit there and watch him die). There has always just been something off with the film, and I feel the same way when I watch the trailer for Dawn of Justice. I couldn’t explain until I saw this video on YouTube, released on 4/21, and it put into words what I think my real issue is with the latest version of Superman. Check out the video:

I watched that, and it was like something clicked. That is what felt off. The film looked and felt like one of the Dark Knight films. I know that other people have talked about that before, but I guess it never really resonated for me until I watched this video. Superman shouldn’t feel dark and gritty. I get that they wanted to give the character an edge, but this just doesn’t work with Superman. Watching the Man of Steel has always felt really heavy and laborious for me, and I think the darkness of the film may be why.

I get that part of the plan was to create a continuous look and feel for the DC movies, but there are other ways to do it. I have read a great number of comics in my life, not as many as some, and probably too many if you ask my wife. I have always thought that Batman sounds like an intriguing character, and he is, of course, just massively popular. That being said, I have never been able to get into his books. Why? They are so dark. I just don’t like it. Some people go for that thing, and that’s fine. I realize I am being purely subjective here. This was my big complaint with the new Daredevil series. It was good, well written, for the most part, well acted. It was just too dark for me. That is what it feels like for me when I read a Batman title. It is really dark.

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And it’s not just that the character himself is dark. The whole Batman world is dark. I am still unclear on whether the sun ever shines in Gotham City. I don’t think I have ever seen it be daylight in any of the comics or movies. It is night-time all the time. Not just night-time, but middle of the night, pitch black, night-time (this is an exaggeration to make a point. Please do not respond with instances from the films or comics of daylight in Gotham). The villains are darker. In the way the look, and in the fact that hey are all psychopathic, homicidal, maniacs. The whole Batman world is littered with these folks, and they are all dark, bad news. That is the world that Batman exists in, a world that Tim Burton successfully brought to the big screen, and Christopher Nolan perfected it.

By contrast, there is nothing dark about Superman, or the world he lives in. I have always felt that Superman and Batman have been opposites in some ways. One big way is that Batman has worked hard to become darker and scarier than his opponents, dropping down to their level in some ways, and sometimes even lower. Superman has always worked hard to be that beacon of hope. I know that makes him cheesier than Batman, but when you are more powerful than everyone on Earth combined, then you can afford a little cheese. Besides, how scary would it be for the world if Superman had gone the Batman route? That would be terrifying.

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Here’s the crazy thing, though: Both of these characters have been like this for a long time, and they have both successfully lived in the same universe for a long time. There is no reason it can’t work like that in the movies. In fact it would be a nice contrast, a good juxtaposition. It would demonstrate how different the two of them are, even though they are on the same side. That contrast works really well, Superman in his bold primary colors flying across a blue sky, sun behind him, and Batman in his dark grey and blacks, hidden in the shadows. It is a contrast that has worked for years in the comics and could work on film too, if they went for it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it  is going to happen. Looking at the new trailer for Dawn of Justice,  it looks like we are getting more of the same. It just feels so dark and heavy and depressing, compared to what we are getting from Marvel. I saw someone post that this is because DC has always been a lot darker than Marvel generally speaking. I don’t think this is true. There are plenty of dark and light comics on either side. Just like both exist in the real world. Right now, though, one might think that’s the case because that is what we are getting in the theaters. Here’s hoping that what we have seen so far from Dawn of Justice  is not a good indicator of everything we will see in the film. Here’s hoping they choose to work that contrast between Batman and Superman instead of forcing Superman into a dark, gritty role. One can always hope, right?

A St. Patrick’s Day List of 10 Comic Book Characters

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. This is the holiday if you like the color green. You will see it everywhere today, of course, from shirts to tie to hats to a river, if you happen to be in Chicago. So, in honor of this annual obsession with green, I thought I would compile a list of 10 comic book characters who are famously green. It’s not a “top ten” where I am  counting them down, but simply a list of 10 characters, in no particular order.

Brainiac

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Brainiac is one of Superman’s big bad guys- right up there with Darkseid and Lex Luthor (who is obsessed with green too, but didn’t make the list). He is most commonly depicted with green skin, and an unpleasant demeanor. Not a happy way to start our list, but he is also not the last baddy on the list either.

Beast Boy

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The quirky, lovable shape shifter from the Teen Titans, both in comics and animated TV. What’s not to like about Beast Boy? I know I used to enjoy watching him on Teen Titans because he reminded me of myself as a teenager, and every other teenage boy I have ever met.

Martian Manhunter

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The stoic, ultra powerful psychic from the Justice League, the Martian Manhunter is a personal favorite of mine.  I know, he fits the stereotypical picture of a martian with green skin tone, and that almost seems racist and unoriginal, but he is still pretty awesome. And, obviously, he was the World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion on Mars in his former life. I mean look at the guy’s outfit. It’s like he came straight from the ring.

The Riddler

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Riddle me this: Who is the Bat Villain who is always dressed appropriately for St. Patrick’s Day? Easy, it’s the Riddler. He also wins the prize for being the character on this list that most resembles a leprechaun. Congratulations, Mr. Nigma.

The Swamp Thing

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Made famous by Alan Moore, Swamp Thing has been around for a while. He may look like a creature from some black lagoon, but he is the good guy. I mean, as long as you’re not attacking nature. He first appeared in 1971, which makes sense, he seems to be a character that only makes sense in the 70s and 80s, but somehow he has endured all this time.

The Vision

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The original android (sorry Data). The Vision was created by Ultron to infiltrate the Avengers and get at Hank Pym, who created Ultron. Eventually, the Avengers turn Vision to their side, and he becomes a member of the team. Eventually he falls in love with Scarlet Witch, and they get married. How much of this will play out in the Age of Ultron movie? Probably just the Vision showing up, the rest will happen with time in the MCU. Unfortunately, Vision is dropping his green attire in favor of grey in the new movie.

Doctor Doom

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Doctor Doom is one of the most feared villains in the Marvel Universe. He’s right up there with Thanos or Ultron or Galactus. One of the biggest tragedies with the whole split of Marvel characters amongst studios is that Doctor Doom is in with the Fantastic Four deal with Fox, and they have totally ruined him on film. I have always thought of him as the classic, essential Marvel Villain and would love to see him square off against the Avengers on the big screen someday.

Hulk

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What list of green comic book characters would be complete without everyone’s favorite giant green rage monster? He is a fan favorite for sure. He hasn’t always been green and there is now a red Hulk as well, but the most famous version of the Hulk is by far the green version. I can’t wait to see this guy smashing stuff up again on the big screen.

Green Lantern

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Green Lantern is probably the most well-known “green” superhero. There’s not just one green lantern, though. This is an intergalactic police force, each member wielding a ring that harnesses the green light of will power. With that ring they can form constructs out of the green light. The limit is only their imagination. Hal Jordan was the first in the DC universe to wield this power (I know Alan Scott was the first Green Lantern, but his was a different power), but he has been followed by Guy Gardner and Jon Stewart.

Green Arrow

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Green Arrow was originally conceived as an answer to Batman. He was wealthy, just like Batman, and he used that wealth to turn himself into the Green Arrow. He obviously may have been influenced a little bit by Robin Hood as well. Now, Oliver Queen exists in the same world as Batman. With the CW series Arrow, Green Arrow has never been more popular or more mainstream. And now he is on my list. Who knows how much that will boost his popularity. I mean, the sky’s the limit there.

Well, there you have it. My list of green comic book characters. What characters would you include in a list like this? Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments. We love hearing from you.

DC’s Multiverse vs. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Part 2

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Yesterday, I began my look at the two big comic book companies’ future movie plans with a look at Marvel. I think, at this point, the only thing you can really call Marvel’s attempt at creating one cohesive television/movie universe is a big success. Well, more like a giant success. With GOTG being the major blockbuster it was last year, it became apparent that Marvel can do no wrong (as long as you forget Iron Man 2). They are the reigning champs, and it doesn’t look like they are looking to give up that title any time soon. Avengers: Age of Ultron looks amazing, and somehow, Ant-Man is picking up steam. DC has only put one movie out there as part of their cinematic universe, and that was a couple of years ago. It will have been 3 years by the time the next one, Dawn of Justice, comes out. By comparison, in that same span of time, Marvel will have released 7 films total. 7. It almost seems like DC isn’t even trying.

That’s not totally true. The idea for DC to put together their own universe like Marvel’s has been around for a while, but they just haven’t been able to get it off the ground. The original plan was to launch the DC universe with Green Lantern (2011), and begin building from there. Unfortunately, we all saw Green Lantern and it was just painful. That put the stop on the whole one universe, Justice League idea for a while. DC started going in a different direction, called TV, as it launched Arrow. The series became a hit, leading to a spinoff series, The Flash. These two series, however, were not attached to the Green Lantern film. Or to the Nolan Batman trilogy, which was also not connected to the Green Lantern film. Leaving DC with three different universes in which their heroes now resided. Enter Man of Steel (2013). This introduces yet another universe, and DC’s first hit movie of this century not starring Batman. In the time between 2011 and 2013, it became apparent that Marvel’s whole plan is coming together nicely, and with MOS’s success, DC revisits the idea of creating one big universe where all their heroes can reside. They decide to go for it, but they still take a different approach, as Geoff Johns refers to their productions as being part of a Multiverse, instead of a universe. Oh bother, DC.

What is it?

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Basically, it was DC is calling their upcoming productions, both Films and TV shows. Marvel had their catchy “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” so DC had to come up with something catchy to compete. Hence, the DC Multiverse. Think of it as being similar to when DC started their “New 52” in the comics, so Marvel had to respond with “Marvel NOW!” The good news for comic book fans is that both companies have kept both stupid monikers going for way to long. (What is the rule for how long something can be called “New”?) To be fair, DC isn’t just trying to come up with a clever name. They are also trying to cleverly sidestep a major issue. They don’t want to tie in Arrow and The Flash  with their upcoming films. They want them to be totally separate. So, because fans eat this stuff up, they have decided that DC will have a multiverse in their Television/Cinematic world just like they have in the comics. In other words, don’t expect to see Stephen Amell or Grant Gustin sharing the screen with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In fact, they have already cast Ezra Miller to play the role of the Flash in the Justice league and Flash movies. No special appearances by the heroes in the big movies on the small screen either. It’s just not happening.

Why it Works

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image by LoganChico at loganchico.deviantart.com

It will work for one big reason. We, the fans, want to see it. We finally got to see the Avengers come together, and it was awesome. Now we get to see the two biggest superheroes ever come together for the first time on the big screen. That alone is worth all of it. At least I hope it will be. DC really has an opportunity to make all of this something special, just like Marvel has. Let’s just hope they don’t screw it up. In addition to seeing Batman and Superman together, we will get to see Wonder Woman for the first time on the big screen, as well as the Flash, and of course, everyone’s favorite, Aquaman. DC has so many characters that we have not seen up on the big screen before, so it will make for some exciting, fresh characters.

It will also work, because this model allows DC to do whatever they want on the big screen as well as the little screen. They have a good thing going on Arrow and The Flash,  but they aren’t tied to making that world the same for every character. In fact, it seems like Gotham is taking place in another universe as well. The result is, Gotham is not hindered by what’s happening in Arrow or The Flash. The studio doesn’t have to give any explanation for any kind of inconsistencies fans will see when Batman is on the screen in Dawn of Justice and something doesn’t match up to what is happening in Gotham.  The studio has already provided us with the answer to any of those questions-it’s a multi-verse.

Why it Doesn’t Work

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To be clear, The Flash and Arrow are not reasons why this model does not work. Well, maybe indirectly. More like examples of a potential issue. That issue is that it is going to get confusing. Right now, DC has 3 different universes going: The movie universe, the “Flarrow” universe, and the Gotham universe. Wait, 4. I forgot Constantine. 4 different universes right now. That could potentially grow with other projects that DC has announced, like Titans on TNT and Supergirl for CBS. Both of these series could be set in a different universe. A different universe from the 4 mentioned, and a different universe from each other. That could bring it up to 6 different universes. That is going to be hard to keep track of. Who is in which universe? And who knows about whom, and so on. Maybe the plan is to have a universe for each network that DC has a show on, and then the plan is to have a show on 52 different networks (they seem obsessed with 52). I doubt that is really the plan, but hopefully you get the point. It seems like, at least on TV, there is little to no cohesiveness, and that is kind of lame too. At the very least, keep all the TV properties in one universe and the movie properties in another.

That wraps up my look at the two different models, at least for right now. It is really hard to tell what will happen with DC because we just don’t have enough from them right now to make any kind of judgement. All we can do is speculate on how it will all play out. I am hoping for the best. I am not really interested in who “wins” between the two companies, because in the end,I am hoping I win and we have years and years of quality superhero entertainment coming our way. What are your thoughts on the whole thing? Do you like Marvel’s or DC’s model better? Let us know in the comments.

 

DC’s Multiverse vs. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe Part 1

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Before you start thinking that this is going to be another post trying to determine which comic book company is superior, let me just stop you. I really like both. If I had to pick which way I have traditionally leaned, it would be DC. I don’t know why. I think I have always felt that their superheroes have always been more iconic, more regal, more superhero-y. Marvel’s seem to be more like regular folks with super powers. I guess I just prefer my superheroes to be more superhero-y. That being said, I really like Marvel still. Growing up I read my fair share of X-Men, Spider-Man and whatever other hyphenated superheroes Marvel had. I like a lot of the characters in the Marvel Universe just fine. In addition, I have really enjoyed almost every movie Marvel has released, while I admit that DC’s attempts have been, well, not very good at times. Green Lantern, I’m looking at you (ironically, Ryan Reynolds is on tap to possibly ruin a popular Marvel character next. I guess that’s as ironic as Ben Afleck being cast as Batman, after ruining Daredevil). This is not a post about which one is better, but more of a discussion of how they’re very different, and what that means. This is part one, which is all about Marvel.

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

image by DiamondDesignHD on DeviantArt

image by DiamondDesignHD on DeviantArt

What it is

The vision (no pun intended) for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is to have one cohesive universe where all of their heroes reside. It doesn’t necessarily follow the comics continuity, but it does have a specific continuity and each movie has a place in that continuity. What happens in one movie will affect what happens in all the movies that follow. With Agents of SHIELD, Marvel extended this universe into television as well. What happens in the movies, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, can and does affect what happened in Agents of SHIELD. Each installment is also another chapter in a larger overall story arc. For example, we have already seen a few of the infinity stones that will be playing a role (a huge role) in the Infinity War movies coming in a few years. It is all leading up to that point, even though each film can also be enjoyed on its own. This universe also includes the Netflix Series (can we really call them TV series, since they will never be on TV?) that will be streaming over the next couple of years, starting with Daredevil this April. The MCU will also, as of this week, include Spider-Man going forward.

Why it Works

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It works because geeks love this stuff. We love the little details. We love seeing a movie and picking up on little details that foreshadow what could be coming up in the next movie, or some other later movie. It makes us feel pretty cool when we are sitting in the theater with a group and we pick up on something no one else in the group picked up on. It’s just cool.

An even bigger reason this works is because of how the stories are going to be told. We get the origins of each of the individual characters in their individual movies, so when they come together in a cross over movie, like the Avengers, we don’t have to clutter it up with each individual members origin. We can just hit the ground running. Much of the character development happens in the other movies, while the big movie, the team up, is all about the action. And what makes that even cooler is that we have the big team up movie at the end of each phase with each of the Avengers movies, and really Avengers and Age of Ultron, although big payoff movies, they are really just two more minor movies setting up the Infinity War movies. It’s awesome because each movie is building on the one previous and establishing foundation for the next movie.

Why it Doesn’t Work

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Up until 2 days ago, the picture at the beginning of this part was going to be Spider-Man. He was really the representation of the biggest problem Marvel has. He is their most well-known character, and up until Tuesday, he wasn’t going anywhere near Captain America or anyone else in the MCU. That, as we know has totally changed now, so we’ll use the next most popular title Marvel doesn’t have the rights to: The X-Men. This is Marvel’s biggest issue, because they are hindered by which characters they can use, and they could start running out. This has been talked about a lot, and honestly, the X-Men and the rest of the Marvel Universe exist pretty separately in the comics as well, so this is not as major an issue. The Fantastic Four is actually probably a bigger deal. None of this, however, has really anything to do with why Marvel’s model doesn’t work.

The biggest reason the model may not work is because it is all so connected. It doesn’t give a lot of liberty to the writers or the directors or any of the creators. Anyone they bring on will need to fit the MCU model so it all feels so cohesive. This has worked fine so far, but will it continue to work well going forward? As they start getting into some of the characters they have coming up, it will be difficult for them to keep it all feeling the same without sacrificing the feel of the character, at least traditionally. Take Daredevil,for example. The trailer looks pretty amazing, but Daredevil is a much darker, grittier character compared to what they have done so far. In fact, most of the Netflix series will be that way. How will that fit in with the rest of the Marvel Universe? They have to find a way for it to work, because it has to fit in with the master plan. There were rumors that part of the reason Edgar Wright left Ant-Man was because working for Disney/Marvel was too constrictive. If that’s the case, then it will only get more that way as the movies continue to be successful. They have a formula that works, and they are going to stick to it. If there is one thing Disney has figured out over the years, it is how to stick to a formula that works, in order to make a lot of money. In fact, nobody does it better.

In addition, Marvel has already revealed their plans for the next half decade. Now they are trapped into following those plans, or face the wrath of the fans. That may sound silly, but it is true. We are all looking forward to the movies coming out, and they better all be amazing. If something goes south for some reason and they drop a film or two, we are not going to be happy about it, and they will look stupid. Movies get greenlit, and then get stuck in pre-production forever and never get made- it happens all the time. What doesn’t happen all the time is these movies get greenlit, and then announced on a huge stage at comic con. They had better make sure they get these films made, or it could be a huge hit to their reputation. (By the way, this is a big hit against DC as well)

That concludes part one of this huge two-part post. Tomorrow, I will be bringing you my look at the DC Multiverse, and how that all works. Stay tuned…