Have you picked up your copy of Man of Steel yet? As we mentioned in a press release back in August, Man of Steel was released on DVD (Bluray, DVD, and Ultra Violet) by WB this past week. We had a chance to check it out, and were not disappointed.
I feel I should mention – I am not a Superman fan. I have never been all that into the boy wonder – his whole deus ex machina schtick has always annoyed me. There’s even a site dedicated to his egotistical and often misogynistic nature in older comics called SuperDickery. However, I figured if any line-up could make me like the character and his story, it might be a director like Zack Snyder, and writers such as Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Well, I’m glad I kept an open mind going into the film, because it did turn out to be pretty interesting.
The main reasons I’ve always been bothered by Superman as a character were his invulnerability and my inability to find any way to connect with his struggles. In Man of Steel, they make this latter connection a little easier to find. Clark is portrayed as a very lonely boy with very little to connect to, himself. He has wonderful adoptive parents in Martha and Jonathan Kent, but knows they aren’t his family, and that his abilities aren’t something he can share with other people. He struggles to adjust to his new-found powers, and feels lonelier because of it. Even as an adult, Clark is jumping from job to job, never really finding a friend, and constantly having to hide his traits from coworkers and acquaintances. On an emotional level, there’s something about this incarnation of Clark Kent that I feel almost anyone can relate to in one way or another.
Before we even met Clark, though, I was already entranced by the positively gorgeous depiction of the planet Krypton. While previous Superman stories have always touched on the Planet under the Red Sun, I’ve never seen Krypton be visually displayed in such detail before. Not only were the graphics just absolutely stunning, the amount of work that went into building Krypton is staggering. The technology, architecture, government, history, and culture of Krypton just in the opening sequence really paints a portrait of a very rich civilization. Later on, when Clark finds an abandoned Kryptonian ship, and speaks to an AI projection of his father, we hear more about Krypton’s history, and get to see more of the “geo-liquid” technology that seems to have been used quite a bit in Krypton, as well as learn more about the rich culture that the writers obviously put a lot of heart into building. From WB’s special features, here’s a little bit about that geo-liquid technology:
The only thing that did annoy me about that is.. why is it that any time there’s some kind of alien/extraterrestrial race involved, there are always sharp, metallic tentacles coming from somewhere (see also: Pacific Rim, Alien, Predator)? Surely we can get a little more creative with alien weapons these days. That’s a very small complaint, though, considering the intense detail put into the Kryptonian race in this movie.
Moving forward, we meet Lois Lane. Now, I’m sure the first thing people tend to complain about with this character is that she’s a redhead, when Lois Lane, traditionally, has always had a signature look of stark black hair. However, while this is very different for the character, I think taking risks with a long-standing character can be a virtue. Lois’ interest and determination when it came to finding out about Clark Kent was on point, butf I had my way, she would have had a lot more of her trademark sass and wit. This portrayal of Lois, while determined, was also a little timid, and not nearly as interesting as she could have been.
Then comes Zod. Technically, Zod was in the opening Krypton sequence, but when he comes into the story line with full force, things get interesting. We were given Zod’s backstory in a very satisfying way, and got to see him face off with Superman, culminating in some killer action scenes. Zod becomes a very strong lead villain with a fiery intensity. All villains believe they’re the heroes in their own stories, and that’s definitely something you can see in abundance with Zod. Even if he does need to do something about that hair.
Overall, I very much enjoyed Man of Steel, and was impressed by the acting, writing, and special effects. The packaging options aren’t half bad, either.
There are portions of the story and characters that can definitely be improved upon, but hopefully that’s something we’ll get to see more of in the upcoming sequel, for which we are already seeing a ton of hype for. In fact, recently, Zack Snyder commissioned paintings of Batman versus Superman from three modern, stylistic artists. You can see more about the story here from io9. My favorite is definitely Alex Pardee’s contribution:
The commissions and the cause they’re being auctioned for definitely make the upcoming sequel a little more exciting – to me, at least.
If they won’t say it, though, I will…
BOW BEFORE ZOD.
Review: Doctor Who Prisoners of Time Vol.2 by Tipton, Tipton, Bond, Ridgway, Hopgood, Langridge, et. al
Review by: Prof. Jenn
This newest collection follows a mysterious cloaked figure as he ports himself through time to snatch the companions of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Doctors for some nefarious purpose known only to him. It’s a gripping opening sequence as we are walked through several panels of earlier companions, trapped and apparently sleeping, behind glass and fear for the upcoming companions’ fate while waxing nostalgic about the earlier Doctors.
The art in this collection varies widely between the various artists, as you’d imagine, but they’re all equally high quality in both story and art. Well, except for the last one in the collection.
I was delighted to see a story featuring the 8th Doctor–he doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves in the expanded Who canon, and it was neat to see him pop up after 5-7, right in order. But the art quality of this one was too cartoony without being charming (especially after having enjoyed the previous selections), and the storyline was so cliched as to be eye-rolling.
Bottom line: It’s a great collection, the last story notwithstanding. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Comics Review: Crime Does Not Pay vol. 5 ed. by Philip R. Simon
Review by: Prof. Jenn
I enjoyed reading the 5th collection of Crime Does Not Pay for some of the same reasons I enjoyed Daredevil Battles Hitler: it’s a treat to look back in time with these collections. Just as entertaining as the stories themselves (if not more so) are the vintage ads–it’s fascinating to see the wartime admonishments to conserve, etc. Environmental historians would have a field day with just the ads alone.
The collection is a fun romp through the colorful world of 1930s “true crime” stories, both set in what would have been current times, all the way to retellings of crime from Renaissance Rome. The art is cartoony and fun, classic if you’ve looked at any comics from this era, and the recurring ghostly criminal mastermind character is actually creepy. The dialogue is very 1930s gangster movie (“hey copper, you’ll get nothing outta me, see), and the characters are delightfully stereotypical. Of course these were obviously made mainly for a male child audience, so the repeated warning that Crime Does Not Pay does get a bit, well, repetetive but it’s not really a problem, as reading this collection is more like looking through a time capsule than anything else.
Bottom Line: This is a fun collection, particularly for the fan of history, or crime.
Comics Review: Lenore–Purple Nurples by Roman Dirge
Review by: Prof. Jenn
The cute little dead girl is back, with a newly remastered collection of deranged adventures, the central plots of which surround the ghostly Creeping Creepig. Some highlight moments include: the scene with the Harbinger Chop, the origin story of Lenore’s nose, the Greatest Epic Battle Ever Seen, portal trips into Heck and back, and the gorgeous Bonus Material.
The Lenore series is famously two parts silly, one part cute, and three parts sick and twisted. This collection is no different.
Bottom Line: Purple Nurples is a very entertaining Lenore collection.
They always told me never judge a book by its cover. As usual I didn’t listen, because this new issue of The Superior Spider-Man’s cover was comic book love at first sight. Anytime Marvel and it’s creative powers find a way to bring Spider-Man 2099 into a story line I’m in. On this cover, he sits perched high an above a futuristic city with the modern Superior Spider-Man below, crouching upside down and imbued in shadows. A showdown between the Otto Octavius Spider-Man and the cult classic Spider-Man 2099 is just what we need in these strange times of our former friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Part one’s story does the cover justice.
The book opens with us in Nueva York, 2099. Spider-Man is taking on a tear in the timestream, allowing us a reason for how these two Spider-Man’s will meet. Dan Slott tips the hat to former Marvel storylines that have occurred during our “Heroic Age” in which our “incursions into the fabric of space-time” have broken all of time. It’s up to the future Spider-Man to stop an event from happening in 2013 that will end in the eradication of his own existence. The stakes are set.
The rest of the book brings us up to speed on both politics of Peter’s boss Max Modell and how this may plants seeds for the problems in 2099’s world as well. There are also more glimpses of the plans of the Green Goblin and his team in The Goblin Underworld.
We get a fun character scene where Otto revels in his newly donned abilities from the body of Peter Parker by showboating in a friendly charity softball game amongst athletically challenged co-workers. He may not be a super villain anymore, but he’s still a jerk.
I can’t say enough about how awesome Ryan Stegman’s art continues to be. The splash page of Spider-Man 2099’s entrance shows right away how badass he’ll look in this storyline.
Slott continues to wind us through this controversial time of Spidey’s continuity. Again, it’s hard to know how long Octavius will be Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but until it comes to a head, it’s sure to remain interesting. After all, we are set up for a battle between Otto’s Spider-Man and the future’s Spider-Man…
8 out of 10
The Flash #23 finally brings us the face off that’s been building for some time in the New 52 universe: When The Flash crosses path with Reverse Flash.
Reverse Flash is a revered antagonist of Flash and was at the center of the wildly entertaining recent DC/Warner Bros. animated movie release of Flashpoint. Check it out, then go back a read the comics it was based on. Or vice versa… Hey, it’s your life!
The Flash #23 issue is part 4 in a storyline in which Wally has been trying to track down the culprit who is murdering anyone with access and powers through The Speed Force. What works in this issue is we finally get to the exciting reveal of who the Speed Force Killer– The Reverse Flash and who his true identity is.
Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato continue their well balanced writing of both superhero business with Wally’s personal life as we get a glimpse of how his girlfriend Patty is handling Wally’s busy extracurricular running schedule in a nice character moment between her and her father. She’s at her parent’s anniversary party alone, as Wally is too tied up saving time itself to be able to attend. Coupled with some exquisite frame work and continued exciting artwork, Flash maintains itself to be one of my favorite current DC books.
I won’t spoil the ending of this issue, but I will say this, it leads up directly into September’s Villains month at DC, where all the titles will be taken over by the character’s major villain. The next Flash issue will actually be Reverse Flash’s comic.
The ending is dramatic in some big ways and worth the cliffhanger it sets up. The storyline concludes in four weeks, after the Villain’s month issue.
Comic Review: “Rat Queens” #1 by Kurtis Wiebe
Review by Prof. Jenn
Here’s a list of why I immediately adore the Rat Queens:
1) They are a very D&D rooted adventure group, and are bad-ass, diverse, and all-female.
2) They are Postmodernly self- and pop-culture-referential.
3) They are exquisitely drawn: action, character, and setting well-rendered. The art is exciting as well as easy on the eyes.
4) They are action-packed as well as hilarious.
5) Publicity copy has called the Rat Queens: “like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!” I wouldn’t actually put the Tank Girl reference in there, though I do see where they’re coming from. They’re not quite as gritty as Tank Girl. They are certainly raucous, boozing, and bantery, but there’s more joy there than nastiness.
Bottom Line: I love the Rat Queens, and I want more!
“‘Man of Steel’ soars high.”
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
A HERO WILL RISE WHEN
Man of Steel
ARRIVES ONTO BLU-RAY 3D COMBO PACK,
BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, DVD 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION, 3D LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON NOVEMBER 12 FROM
WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Blu-ray Combo Packs include nearly 4 hours of special features
All disc versions feature UltraViolet
Burbank, CA, August 19, 2013 – The fate of mankind is in the hands of one man when “Man of Steel” arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition, 3D Limited Collector’s Edition and Digital Download on November 12 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. In “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent is forced to confront his extraterrestrial past and embrace his hidden powers when Earth is threatened with destruction.
The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master,” 2012), Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” 2008), Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves,” 1990), Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful,” 2002), Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It,” 1993), Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, and Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” 1992).
“Man of Steel” is produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer & Nolan, based upon Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and published by DC Entertainment. Thomas Tull, Lloyd Phillips and Jon Peters served as executive producers.
“Man of Steel” will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, on DVD 2-disc Special Edition for $28.98, and as a 3D Limited Collector’s Edition for $59.99. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition and standard definition; the DVD 2-disc Special Edition features the theatrical version in standard definition; and the 3D Limited Collector’s Edition features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition, and also includes a limited release metal “S” glyph with lucite glass stand. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-disc Special Edition and 3D Limited Collector’s Edition include UltraViolet* which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.
A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.
BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
· Journey of Discovery: Creating “Man of Steel” – This immersive feature-length experience allows you to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.
· Strong Characters, Legendary Roles – Explore the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.
· All-Out Action – Go inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses. Includes interviews with cast and crew.
· Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in “Man of Steel.”
· Planet Krypton – The world’s first exploration of Krypton and its lost society.
“Man of Steel” DVD 2-disc Special Edition contains the following special features:
· Strong Characters, Legendary Roles
· All-Out Action
· Krypton Decoded
San Diego Comic Con International 2013 has been over for a few weeks now. Attendees have finally recuperated from the chaos and excitement that is SDCC. As exhausting and chaotic as the pop culture convention is, the experience is also an extremely rewarding one for many. One of my favorite aspects of SDCC is the sense that not only are you part of a massive geek/nerd community, but you can also create your own world within that community. Whether you love steampunk cosplay or consider yourself the ultimate TV geek, there are different experiences for any fan at SDCC, you just have to make it. This is the first post in what I hope to be a couple of interviews with women who helped create their own personalized mini-universe within the zeitgeist that is SDCC.
Lady Steam (aka Dina Kampmeyer) is a co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Ladies and a self-described steampunk aficionado. This year Dina moderated two panels on steampunk at SDCC, The Witty Women of Steampunk and Steampunk 101, in addition to cosplaying as a steampunk Luke Skywalker. If you are interested in hearing more about Dina’s involvement with the League of Extraordinary Ladies, you can read her thoughts in a previous interview NiB had with her (and other LxLers).
1) How did you first get interested/involved in steampunk?
Dina Kampmeyer (DK): I started dating someone that was a steampunk and I had absolutely no idea what it is, but I was instantly drawn to the aesthetic. I jumped in with both feet and wanted to meet other people in LA that were into the same thing. The community was a bit disorganized, so I started volunteering my time to start planning occasional events and moderate the two FB pages that were already up and running.
2) What was your first steampunk costume?
DK: It was a pseudo-military look. I bought this great jacket online and went crazy modifying it. I cut off the sleeves, laced up the sides and added a ton of trim, buttons, epilets, etc. Then I added a bunch of ruching to this old skirt I had from college. Added a straw hat from the Renaissance Faire and boom, (not so) instant steampunk.
3) One thing I particularly love about SDCC is the feeling of belonging while at the same time creating your own reality/dream. Steampunk seems to fit into this idea perfectly. Why do you think steampunk has gained so much interest/traction at SDCC and other conventions?
DK: I think there are a lot of reasons why steampunk has become so popular in general, but in terms of conventions, I would say people just love the aesthetic. It’s so playful and it really allows costumers and cosplays a degree of freedom that they don’t usually have in other areas. Most cosplayers are looking to recreate an exact costume, but with steampunk, you don’t do that. You’re not dressing up as someone else’s character (in general), but rather creating a brand-new work of art. I think more people are getting into the genre now through this new trend of steampunking out existing pop culture characters. This is an easier way for them to explore steampunk while working with an existing product, but with an amazing degree of
creativity and freedom.
4) What kind of advice can you give someone who is looking to create their first steampunk cosplay costume?
DK: Try not to be intimidated. I hear so many people who are interested in steampunk worry that they don’t have the “right”
clothing or accessories. There is very little right and wrong in steampunk and we LOVE to help out new people, give them advice and heck, even loan them clothes. Come to steampunk events even if you’re just starting out, take a look at outfits that you like, and ask people how they created things. Go to local thriftshops and try and use your imagination. You’ll be surprised at how much you can create with an old dress and a sewing machine (or some safety pins and tape if you don’t sew).
5) You recently moderated a panel at SDCC called “The Witty Women of Steampunk.” Can you give a general synopsis of the panel for those who were unable to attend SDCC (or the panel)? What was your favorite moment of the panel?
DK: I was very lucky to have this panel accepted by the lovely folks at SDCC for the 2nd year in a row. Basically, I put together an incredible group of female creators and just let them talk about why they love steampunk and what about the genre appeals to them as a creator. We talked comics, alternate history, video games, costuming, multiculturalism and more.
6) Why “Witty Women” of Steampunk?
DK: Part of what is so appealing about steampunk is a return to the Victorian ideals of the pursuit of knowledge and civility. People were very interested in improving both themselves and the world around them. I think we all long to return to a time when wit was a prized possession and my panelists all fit that bill.
7) You also moderated a panel entitled, “Steampunk 101.” Based on discussions at that panel (and of course your own thoughts), what do see for the future of steampunk in popular culture?
DK: Excellent question. The popularity of steampunk has positively exploded over the past couple of years and we expect to see more and more of it in popular culture. It’s been huge amongst the convention crowd for a long time, but Hollywood is slowly starting to take notice. Fox just gleenlit a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen TV-pilot, so we’ll see if we finally get a big steampunk series. There has yet to be a big steampunk movie and the panelists (and audience) were all interested in seeing one. Steampunk-literature is popping up all over the NY Times bestseller chart, so I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a big film coming out. Until then, we can keep ourselves occupied with all the fantastic literature and webseries that have directly explored the genre.
8) This year you cosplayed as Steampunk Luke Skywalker. What prompted you to do a gender-swap steampunk cosplay?
DK: Well, I have wanted to do a steampunk Star Wars group for several years and I finally managed to do it. I always intended to be R2D2, but time snuck up on me and we were missing a Luke from our core group, so I thought, why not? He was quite a challenge to find a way to make him distinctive since his outfit isn’t that unique and I was already going to confuse people by crossplaying. I hope that I succeeded and we’ll be building up this group for future conventions and adding some new characters.
Chrissy Lynn is a CA native who began costuming at a very young age. With a major interest in comics and scifi growing up she attended her first comic convention in 2004. She’s always had a passion for the arts; be it charcoal, make-up, costume design or music. She’s used her talents and skills to help fundraise for many non-profit charity organizations and enjoys cosplaying, especially her signature cosplay, Catwoman. Since her first Cosplay at Comicon in 2010 she’s been involved in 6 Cosplay groups, two of which she organized including the DC Steampunk group which debuted at SDCC in 2012. She was introduced to Steampunk in 2007, being a fan of HG Wells, Jules Verne and other scifi authors during the turn of the century she adopted the Victorian science fiction motif and made it apart of her daily style and Cosplay medium of choice. This year at San Diego Comicon she was invited by a good friend to join a Steampunk Star Wars group which turned out to be a hit and will be back at this year’s Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo.
1) Your DC Steampunk cosplay group is amazing! How did that come together?
Chrissy Lynn (CL): It all started with having a passion for both the DC Comics universe and Steampunk Culture. I simply started piecing together the idea shortly after Comicon 2011 and thats when I called upon my very good friend Johnny Bias (Steampunk Riddler), from there we reached out to our close friends who we knew would be interested,and could all work together to make these costumes cohesive and photograph well. We all have a hand in something on everyone’s costumes, it’s a team effort that has grown into a family, some cosplayers retire their character and are replaced with other awesome cosplayers. I couldn’t be more proud of this group, we all did this together.
2) Did you all work together on your costumes? If so, which costume did you find the most challenging to put together?
CL: We all came from different skill sets, some of us are tailors and seamstresses, leather workers and some of us are FX and prop fabricators, or geniuses with industrial glue guns. So far what characters you haven’t seen in the group yet are our most challenging. But I’d say, my occasional challenge is doing our Two Face’s makeup because he is unfortunately allergic to latex, so next time I may need to work with silicone!
3) If you had unlimited resources, what would be your ultimate steampunk cosplay (group or individual)?
CL: I’ve been in talks with several individuals who want to do Disney Steampunk, I was honored to recently be a part of this year’s Star Wars Steampunk group with Dina, and I have to say I’d stick with the DC group, only make it BIGGER. However I wouldn’t mind doing a Steampunk X-men group, just sayin’!
4) Any advice to anyone else trying to put together a cosplay group (steampunk or otherwise) for a convention?
CL: YouTube is filled to the brim on HOW-TO’s and DIY videos, if you are a visual learner check those out, otherwise do what we all have done, trial and error. If I knew 5 years ago what I know now with today’s skill set I would have made ALL the things, at least better. But like any other trade it can take years to master, you don’t always need a sewing machine or unlimited funds, I have a gift for deconstructing pre-existing materials into other objects to fit my cosplay needs. So I encourage everyone to try and remember cosplay is just that, it’s costume play, so play and have fun no matter what!
DC Steampunk Photos by Mike Rollerson
Star Wars Steampunk Photo by Jerry Abuan
Steampunk Malificent Photo by Justin Davidson
Sheltered #1 & #2 Review
Writing: Ed Brisson
Art: Johnnie Christmas
Review by Melissa Megan
Victoria and her dad recently arrived at Safe Haven, a community intentionally removing themselves from ‘the grid’ and preparing for the end of the world, however it may come. They’ve got ham radios, bunkers stocked with food and water and the knowledge to survive almost anything. They’re still adjusting to their new home when things take a major turn for the worse.
Charismatic local boy Lucas heads up a rebellion against the adults of the compound. We’re not talking about throwing the grown ups in the basement here, every single one of them are killed and burned. It’s a shocking basis for the story and issue 2 wastes no time getting to the point. As Victoria and her friend Hailey return from a walk in the woods that caused them to miss the massacre, they are faced with the grim new reality of their situation.
This is heavy shit, folks. Lucas is committed to his mission, although what that is isn’t exactly clear yet, and he won’t let any weepy kids get in his way. He’s already convinced the other kids in the compound to murder their own parents. The question is why and what has he got planned for the community left behind. Victoria is obviously a tough cookie and she isn’t prepared to lay down and start taking orders from Lucas or his child army.
So far, Sheltered is a very interesting read. The art works but it’s nothing that will blow your mind, the writing is the real meat here. This concept is high tension and I love how quickly the action got started. There is lots of potential for a great psychological thriller here and Sheltered has already delivered in a big way on emotional drama. You should definitely be reading this one, I have a feeling it won’t slow down.