Saturday, March 31, 2012


Written by Keith Griffin and Dan Jurgens
Artwork by Dan Jurgens and Jesus Marino

One of my favorite parts of the 'New 52' relaunch was the potential to make Superman great again. After decades of learning to hone his powers, good ol' Supes was literally unstoppable. God complex stories are nice, but they too can get old after a while. Over in Action Comics, Grant Morrison's origin story has explained that, in his early days as a superhero, couldn't fly or lift more than a car. Also, toning down the boy scout routine was essential; trying to convey a character like Superman into the 21st century meant shedding the "Aww, gee golly shucks!" attitude that was popular when the character was first developed.

Last time, Clark defeated his daemonite doppelgänger after it went on a villain killing spree. This month, the cause of all Superman's worries in the last six issues comes to light. After a couple of run-ins with what looks like a minotaur robot, Supes is teleported to a fortress in the Himalayas where he comes face to face with Helspont, a long-time Wildstorm Comics super villain. One of the reasons for DC relaunching everything under the 'New 52' header was to bring in characters from the Wildstorm and Vertigo imprints that DC owns. Helspont and the dameonites represent this aesthetic. It's nice that the first arc of this new Superman series wasn't a Lex Luthor or Brainiac encounter. The encounter between Superman and Helspont is great. The daemonite warlord doesn't understand, as a Kryptonian far more powerful than anyone else on the planet, why Superman hasn't conquered Earth yet. It's fantastic writing because Helspont is 'technically' new to the planet, so he logically reached out to the most powerful being.  The new creative team of Keith Griffin, Dan Jurgens and Jesus Marino is fantastic. The artwork is solid, with some jagged edges that convey Helspont's authoritative presence, and the writing is still as solid as George Perez's work on the first six issues. The end of the issue sets up next month's the main event: Superman Vs. Helspont.


Friday, March 30, 2012


Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron
Artwork by Frank Cho

For months, Marvel has been teasing it's Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover as the event to read this summer. With a huge 12-issue main series, the all-fight companion series AvX: VS, and countless tie-in issues from across the imprint, Marvel is bringing fans an awesome event without going overboard, an issue that's plagued crossover events - for both Marvel and DC - over the past ten years. And it all starts this week with Avengers Vs. X-Men #0, a prequel issue that features two stories about the Scarlet Witch and Hope Summers.

We start with Scarlet Witch and her fight against M.O.D.O.K. Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel show up to lend a hand and a few words about friendship. Against Wanda's better instincts, they all fly back to Avengers Mansion only to be greeted by Scarlet Witch's ex-husband, Vision who wants nothing to do with her. It seems a bit odd to me that it's been eight years since the Avengers: Disassembled story arc and seven since House of M, and loose ends from both of these events are just now being tied up. Why wouldn't Wanda and Vision have at least seen each other before now? It might be a bi-product of Brian Michael Bendis' writing style. Dedicating twelve issues of a series to a day's worth of events - for example - severely hinders the ability for the entire imprint to keep a consistent timeline.

The second story focuses on Hope Summers, the mutant messiah, as explained to me by the character bio at the beginning in the issue. Holed up on Utopia, the X-Men's island sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco, Hope has been sneaking out to fight crime and Cyclops has finally decided to approach her about it. Before I keep going, I'd like to mention the fact that Scott Summers (a.k.a. Cyclops) is supposed to be the leader of the X-Men and an inspiration for all of mutantkind. It's been 70 years and he still has to wear a visor. Seriously? It's actually kind of annoying that Marvel hasn't allowed Cyclops to evolve beyond needing his visor. Anyway, Hope is set to be the next avatar for the Phoenix Force, which is hurtling through space toward Earth. Scott doesn't want to talk about the Phoenix, due to the whole Jean being possessed by it thing, and Hope wants answers about this mysterious alien force coming to possess her body.

For fans who regularly follow Marvel's titles, Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 is probably an integral issue that offers payoff for months of build-up, but as a jumping-in point for new readers, it fails to give enough backstory to create a narrative understandable enough to continue reading.


Thursday, March 29, 2012


Written by Tony Bedard
Artwork by Tyler Kirkham and Batt

Green Lantern stories have a way of sneaking up on you. With eons of history in which to place new ideas, GL titles tend to introduce a new, mysterious threat that eventually gets explained near the end of the arc. While this sounds like a general storytelling technique, it's used abundantly for GL tales with good reason. Green Lantern: New Guardians #7 starts the 'wrap-up' phase of it's first arc by giving the readers a little history on Invictus and how he fits into the Lantern mythology.

Quick history lesson: Millions of years ago, Larfleeze - the Orange Lantern - attacked the Vega system and it's protectors, the Angels of Vega. After discovering he couldn't steal the Angels' souls to use as orange constructs, Larfleeze slaughtered all the Angels, their souls merged into their lone surviving brother, Invictus. In their final battle, Larfleeze cast Invictus into another universe where he stayed trapped for eons.

Tony Bedard's history of Invictus finally gives some context for the galaxy-inspired orrery ship. In his grief, the lone Angel built a new Vega system for himself in the universe of exile, complete with genetic copies of the species that inhabited the various planets.

The story of the Angels of Vega points to Larfleeze as the culprit behind the creation of the New Guardians. In a somewhat annoying info dump, Kyle Rayner explains how Larfleeze was the one who stole the various-colored rings and sent the team on their mission to kill Invictus. The manic-depressive Invictus finally shows some restraint and decides to not replace the current Vega system with his copy. How nice! Instead, he wants Kyle to kill Larfleeze. Who's ready for next month's issue? This guy.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Written by Scott Lobdell
Artwork by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

I don't know what's going on with Scott Lobdell. With Teen Titans and Superboy both currently his responsibility, Lobdell has managed to totally undo twelve of decent storytelling in a single month. In my review of this month's Superboy, I waxed poetic about how Lobdell was telling us his story instead of showing us, which is a cardinal sin when dealing in graphic arts. This month unfortunately shows that Lobdell is migrating his Superboy style over to Teen Titans, with horribly long info dumps to prove it. Along with an extremely chopped up narrative, Teen Titans #7 might be the worst of the series so far.

The issue starts with a jump into the near future. Superboy is once again being held against his will by N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and Director Centerhall decides to bore everyone to death with a five-bubble monologue that takes up the ENTIRE FIRST PAGE. That's right, the first page of the entire issue is dedicated to a lengthy diatribe from a villain in a situation that hasn't been explained yet. It's maddening. After Kid Flash pops up for a second, Lobdell immediately throws the reader back in time.

Then we meet Danny the Street. In Scott Lobdell's new Teen Titan universe, there is a metahuman teenager who is an actual street and has the ability to create doors that lead to random destinations. What. A. Joke. Backed into a narrative corner, Lobdell pens a character, with literally no personality, whose only exists to serve a trite narrative function - get the kids out of a jam. It's such a stupid concept that I kept getting distracted and trying to think of an explanation for why Lobdell would think such a convoluted idea was a good one.

The rest of the issue fairs no better. At one point, the narrative shifts to Wonder Girl as she stands over a defeated Ravager with an editor's note explaining that the fight can be seen in Superboy #8. WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT! This issue is all about Superboy's rescue operation and Lobdell conveniently decides to leave out an arguably vital part of the story (considering the upcoming The Ravagers series) with no obvious reason other than to sell more issues of Superboy.

It's unfortunate that a team as great as the Teen Titans is being dragged through this narrative mud. When a writer treats his audience with little regard to their intelligence, it's apparent and it's insulting. Scott Lobdell has managed to make me seriously rethink Teen Titans and Superboy as A-list titles from the 'New 52.'



Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Produced by Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm and Others

By the time Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was released, DC had already found success in two movies adapted from comic books (Superman: Doomsday, and Justice League: The New Frontier), two well-received origin story films (Green Lantern: First Flight and Wonder Woman), as well as Batman: Gotham Knight, which became wildly popular in the wake of Christopher Nolan's epic second chapter in his Batman reboot, The Dark Knight. It was time to put two of DC's most iconic characters together.

Public Enemies isn't very plot-centric. Though, this team-up tale is important for a few reasons. First off, it's animated in the exact same style as it's comic book forefather, illustrated by Ed McGuinness, which is an astounding feat considering McGuinness' art style is seminally unique. Second is reunion of Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman respectively. While both had voiced the characters since the end of their animated series' in the late 90s, neither had worked together as Bats and Supes. Third, Public Enemies marks the animated debut of some awesome DC characters like Power Girl, Major Force, Night Shade, and others.

This loose narrative centers on Lex Luthor winning the election for Presidency of the United States, and a giant meteor made of Kryptonite heading for Earth. With the country's most powerful position as his weapon, Luthor doctors film clippings to accuse Superman of killing someone. Luthor declares Superman (and Batman because they hang out, duh) a wanted felon with a reward for his capture. This prompts many DC villains and aforementioned heroes to come after the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight hoping to either get the reward or curry favor with Luthor. Eventually, the plot pulls back around the remind us that the Kryptonite meteor is still heading toward Earth. And this is where things start to fall apart.

The boys in blue and black go to see the (new, very young and Asian) Toyman in Tokyo where he reveals to them that he built a robot in their honor some years ago. The robot is half Batman and half Superman. The robot can destroy the Kryptonite meteor where hundreds of nuclear bombs could not. The robot can be manually operated by a person with no training, without a space suit of any kind. It's all hugely silly and really took away from the mood of the film. And after all that, Batman takes the robot into space and smashes it into the meteor, effectively going kamikaze. But he survives! From a nuclear explosion with a radioactive green meteor! What!?

If you skip the last ten minutes, you seriously wont be disappointed because I watched it and I was. The heroes and villains going after Superman and Batman was fun and played well to the artistic style of the comic book. The Kryptonite meteor was superfluos from the beginning (even in the comics!) and just got more and more tired as it kept popping up to remind the audience how annoying it was.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Written by Adam Beechen
Artwork by Ryan Benjamin, John Stanisci

Before I begin, I recognize that 2010 isn't that long ago and that I may be stretching the idea of a 'classic' by regarding such a recent series as such. Since the six-issue run of Batman Beyond two years ago, DC launched a 2011 ongoing series, then relaunched the series as Batman Beyond Unlimited, a web-then-print series that compiled two series, Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond, into a single, monthly title, with an upcoming Superman Beyond in the works. Suffice it to say, Batman Beyond (Vol. 3) was a success.

Batman Beyond (Vol. 3) reintroduced the Dark Knight of Tomorrow to a whole new generation of comic book fans who may not have been old enough to have seen the original TV animated series. With a full decade of new DC universe material from which to draw, Adam Beechen wanted to breathe new life into the world of Terry McGuinness, Neo-Gotham, and the world of Batman in the near-future. When one of Batman's oldest and deadliest enemies reappears in Neo-Gotham and starts murdering Batman's rogue gallery, Terry must track down the new(?) Hush on top of dealing with a new Catwoman and a girlfriend who doesn't know the truth about his after school job working for Mr. Wayne.

"Hush: Beyond" is important for introducing Dick Grayson into the 'Beyond' universe. While Tim Drake was the 'antagonist' of the 2001 feature-length film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Dick was never shown and barely mentioned. Eventually, the new Hush is revealed to be a disturbed clone of Dick Grayson attempting to rid the city of Batman's villains to take the name for himself. As head of the scientific research organization Cadmus, Amanda Waller - a character used throughout DC comics and extended universe - authorized the 'Batman: Beyond' project to make sure Gotham would always have a Batman. Realizing Bruce Wayne's clone would go rogue, Dick Grayson was the next logical template. After escaping before full maturation, the clone's mind cracked and he used the Hush M.O. to hunt down Batman's villains.

And while it has a competent narrative, "Hush: Beyond" makes a classic comic book misstep by relying on clone technology alone to drive the story. While the first four issues offer a fantastic reintroduction to the Batman Beyond universe, the revelation that Dick Grayson's clone as the 'big bad' is sorely disappointing. Grayson's story mirrors that of Tim Drake's in Return of the Joker; instead of a villain taking over his psyche, Cadmus used Grayson's psyche and created a villain. I'm sure this was somewhat orchestrated, and if it was, then it was done poorly. The clone-Grayson offers no real emotion behind his actions, and the nonexistent connection to the original Hush makes his behavior all the more ridiculous.

Obviously, Batman Beyond (Vol. 3) was popular enough to spawn an ongoing series that survived the culling of the September 2011 relaunch by restarting as an even stronger series. DC took some care to connect the 'Beyond' universe to the established DC timeline. But in the end, the results came up short and the series as a whole comes off as unnecessary.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Hello Readers!

As the cold slowly gets more and more scarce, and the flowers start to bloom, summer is rapidly approaching which means we'll soon be kicking off coverage of Marvel's Avengers Vs. X-Men, DC's Night of the Owls" crossover, and Before Watchmen. This week's release of Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 marks the start off all the special coverage coming to "The Endless Reel" and I couldn't be more excited.

Regular readers will have seen last week's (DC NATION) coverage of both Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, one of which I enjoyed, the other I didn't. Check out the post to see which is which! I'll be continuing to cover Cartoon Network's "DC Nation" shows, including thoughts on the various shorts being offered up, from The New Teen Titans to Plastic Man and Superman in Tokyo. I'll be writing monthly compilation reviews for these shorts.

And remember to stay tuned to "The Endless Reel" into May for the addition of Dial H and Earth 2 to the site's list of regularly covered material! I'm looking forward to seeing China Mieville's take on the Dial H for Hero concept, and Earth 2 brings with it the Justice Society, something most fans have been clamoring for since the 'New 52' relaunch.

I would also like to thank everyone who reads "The Endless Reel". I know this might be a small, somewhat insignificant accomplishment, but recently, the site hit 100 page views in a single day. I usually get around 25-50 views per day, so reaching 100 in 24 hours was big for me. Again, it's not much, but in the humble few months of this site's existence, I'm proud of it. So again, thank you all for reading!

- Jay

(DC NATION) MARCH 24th, 2012

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 21 - "Agendas"

Most of the 'Team' takes some time off this week while Superboy runs off to brood, then get right back into the thick of things with the Genomorphs and Double-X and a mysterious 'other clone.' Meanwhile, the Justice League takes some time to discuss new membership into the League - including nominations for Aqualad and Kid Flash.

Conner must fight a second clone of the Man of Steel who apparently has no brain function beyond 'Kill Superman'. The fight sequences are well animated and never feel half-asked. While I'm a little wary that the writers have decided to make Conner less powerful than in the comics, but that's a biased choice based on my love of Conner in the comics (not the 'New 52' Superboy).

It was interesting getting to see images of a bevy of new DC characters animated, some of whom have never been so. The membership drive for the JLA is important because they discuss not only Doctor Fate's recent actions, but the truth that Captain Marvel is actually a ten-year-old boy. Both Fate and Marvel are there for the discussions, which makes the whole thing very awkward and Marvel even mentions it! I feel like the writers could have found a less clunky way to bring up a restructuring of the League and it's ranks. In the end, it seems like some decisions were made, but the audience is never made privy, so it feels like a big waste of time.


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Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 4 - "Into the Abyss"

Is anyone else as disappointed with GL:TAS as I am? Being a huge Green Lantern fan, this new animated incarnation is sorely lacking, both in tone and content. Why don't they use their rings? Why do the Red Lanterns have coherent thoughts instead of being their rage-filled selves? In this week's episode, a transport cruiser is stuck in the gravitational well of a black hole. The writers try to gussy up the language by calling it a "pinhole", but it's a black hole. 

So basically, this cruiser is slowly heading toward the black hole and one of it's engines is busted. Hal and Kilowog (who I'm now fearing will be the only featured players, at least for some time) try to pull it back with their super-awesome-Green-Lantern-plane thingy. The final episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold poked metafictional fun at the integration of toys into an animated series and the Lantern spaceship is definitely a blatant example of this practice at work. I'm sure the producers will say that they had this idea for ages and it's a part of the show and blah, blah, blah. The ship is in the show because it would make a great toy.

My biggest gripe about this episode - and the show at large - is the nonexistent ring use. At one point during this episode, Hal and Red Lantern Razer are trying to escape the transport ship that's slowly being crushed by the gravitational well. Instead of using their rings to blast through the ship or create constructs to dig their way out, they both simply crawl out, squeezing through tight spots and avoiding debris. OH MY GOD, YOU BOTH HAVE POWER RINGS! This was pretty much my sentiment throughout the show's 22 minutes, as it seemed that nearly every obstacle could be overcome with ring use, yet it was only used a few times throughout the episode.

Unless Bruce Timm & Company seriously step up their game, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is doomed to cancellation. The fanboys won't think it's authentic enough and new viewers won't understand it enough.


Sunday, March 25, 2012


Written by Brian Azzarello
Artwork by Cliff Chiang

With the conclusion of the first arc for Wonder Woman under the 'New 52' banner, Brian Azzarello takes Diana, Lennox and Hermes into the mountain on their quest to retrieve Zola from Hades. Diana's adventures thus far have been moving at a great pace with a good blend of action and storytelling. This month, Azzarello introduces yet another god of myth - Hephaestus, god of fire and the forge - as the group seeks out new weapons with which to battle Hades.

One of my favorite parts about comic books is the flexibility in narrative possibilities. With the Green Lanterns, they have an entire Corps and millions of years of history from which to draw inspiration. Wonder Woman is a character that hasn't really had much expounded on her character world - she's an Amazon who was created out of clay and given life. It was a pretty boring origin and Azzarello's take on Diana sets up so much more in the way of new ideas. Within Hephaestus' mountain, Hades sends a monster to attack the lamde god as punishment for speaking with Diana. One of the seemingly automated worker drones is injured and revealed to be a real man, not something of Hephaestus' creation. This leads the group down a dark path of truth and cultural tradition.

The men are revealed as the unwanted sons of the Amazons. After (basically) raping men on boats, the Amazons would slaughter the crew and go home to wait and give birth. If they bore a son, it would be removed and sold into servitude under Hephaestus in return for the weapons used by the Amazons. Diana can't abhor this and decides to set her brothers free. In one of the best series panels of the issue, Diana throws the bound god through the wall to their barracks and says, "Get up, brothers! That is a word I've never used, but it brings me joy to use it...BROTHERS!" It's a bittersweet moment as the men beg her to stop hurting their master.

The truth comes out that if Hephaestus didn't save them, the Amazons would have drowned them simply for being male. It's a harrowing moment for Diana as she has to come to terms with the fact that her people murder innocents on a regular basis. By the final panel, Diana is weeping into her hands. It's a solemn end and a dramatic set-up for next month's journey into Hell.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Guest Artwork by Claude St. Aubin and Scott Hanna

Green Lantern Corps #7 deals with the aftermath of the conflict against the Lantern Keepers. Guy must answer to the Guardians for murdering two Sinestro Corps members to defeat the Keepers, while John fights his personal demons over being forced to murder his fellow Lantern, Kirrt. Tomasi has been pushing out great material in Green Lantern Corps and Batman and Robin, showing an adeptness with multi-character titles. Many writers have difficulty managing page time between multiple characters, while Tomasi seems to excel at it.

The confrontation between the Guardians and Guy goes just as any GL fan would expect - the Guardians pitch a fit and Guy uses hard-lined logic to justify his actions before flying off. To be fair, this time, Guy basically murdered two sentient beings in order to quell an insurrection. Guy's stance boils down to the ends justifying the means while the Guardians disagree. Murder is always a touchy subject, and Guy, unfortunately, comes off very conservatively in the debate.

John Stewart has been carrying around his guilt over Kirrt since the moment he did it, and this issue sees Kirrt's memorial service, prompting a need for his body to be returned to his family. Against his own better judgment and the opinions of others, John decides that he must transport Kirrt back to his home planet, a way to somewhat atone for his actions. Unable to give the man he murdered a bad name, John tells his family that Kirrt died a hero, giving his family some comfort in the face of their loved one's departure.

An excellent 'epilogue' issue if there ever was one, if a little light on the plot advancement.



Written by Geoff Johns
Guest Artwork by Gene Ha and Art Lyon

Has enough time passed that I can say I'm disappointed in Justice League. What could have been an intimate and worthwhile re-introduction to the greatest superhero team ever has been sorely lacking. The narrative style makes the reader feel like an outside observer instead of being connected to the drama and action unfolding. It's unfortunate that a writer as talented as Geoff Johns has lowered his standards to be more visually appealing and cater to the lowest common denominator. Obviously, everyone knows what the Justice League is, but the whole point of the 'New 52' was to reset everything and start from (near) scratch to build something better and more cohesive. Justice League relies too heavily on readers being invested in each characters' individual titles for character development and emotional connection. If you don't read The Flash, you'd honestly have no idea what kind of person Barry Allen is from the pages of Justice League. And if you've never read a Green Lantern book before, Hal Jordan comes off as the biggest douchebag in the universe. All this being said, this month's issue was hit a bit closer to the target, but still misses the mark on a few key points.

Now that the League is an established entity, it seems like some time has passed since their fight with Darkseid and they now have some semi-partnership with the United Nations. In a clever and insightful one-off, Johns explains that the UN provides the League with food and living necessities as part of their working agreement. This might seem like a small detail, but it's one that was never really talked about before. Much like Tony Stark and the Avengers over at Marvel, many assumed Bruce Wayne's coiffeurs were paying the JL bills. But in this modern age, it became increasingly unlikely that the Wayne fortune could sustain the basic needs of the League, let alone a giant, orbiting space watchtower.

Steve Trevor takes center stage this issue as the UN liaison to the Justice League and a possible romantic interest for Wonder Woman. A bulk of the issue proper deals with Trevor's relationship with the League. After the requisite fight this issue - against some rando infected by some spore-based leech monster - Johns turns the focus to the real-world issues that would plague an organization like the Justice League. At Trevor's press conference, reporters begin to suggest that the League should take over governmental operations, that the American people trust Superman and Batman far more than their elected officials. It's another clever moment for Johns as he comments on the current state of the government-population relationship.

Unfortunately, we still get almost no team time or deeper understanding of the characters outside of Steve Trevor who isn't a League member anyway. The first six issues did little to give these six individuals reason to come together (really, Darkseid's appearance was way too convenient), and this issue gives nothing more by way of meaning. Again, the 'New 52' was supposed to be about bringing in new readers. Without giving context, Johns is stripping away the Justice League of everything that makes them awesome. The Avengers - at least in the comics these days - are getting super lame because Marvel keeps adding new spinoff teams (and ongoing series'), switching members and not providing emotional connections. Johns needs to step up the quality on Justice League before readers begin losing interest.


Thursday, March 22, 2012


Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Artwork by Mahmud Asrar

Supergirl has been an interesting title thus far. Unlike it's sister title, Superboy, which continually stews in it's own victimized mess of a story, Kara Zor-El's tale has been interesting, fun to read, and informative since issue one. Along with most DC heroes, Supergirl's origins were rebooted. But unlike, say, the Blackhawks - which didn't really need a reboot - Supergirl's mythos has been hacked and chopped to oblivion over the years. Not only have there been four different Supergirls (all of whom have since been washed away), a fifth incarnation went on to become Power Girl! Needless to say, Kara was in desperate need for a definitive backstory.

Michael Green and Mike Johnson have taken the most essential elements of Supergirl's history - being from Krypton, Superman's cousin, etc. - and worked them into a fantastic new story about the Worldkillers, a group of genetically-modified warriors synthesized from Kryptonian technology and created to destroy entire planets. It's a bold move to create new characters like these, but Green and Johnson walk the fine line of power levels and successfully give readers enough information without being overbearing.

This month, Kara finally faces off against all four Worldkillers, with Reign (whom she met back in issue five) taking point as their leader. I want to quickly point out the use of title labels to provide information to the readers. Each one of the Worldkillers is named and described by ability and function when destroying worlds. Normally, I'm staunchly against blatant 'telling' instead of 'showing' when it comes to basic information like that; I'd rather the characters convey the information to each other. In this case, readers are given an idea of who these creatures are simply to provide a basic narrative framework. Eventually, Kara learns that the plant dinosaur (their names really aren't important) secretes a powerful poison, but beyond that, all she needs to know is that they're kicking the crap out of her.

And really, that's what this issue is about; Kara vs. the Worldkillers. Some choice words from Reign inspire Kara to use the Worldkillers' abilities against one another. After successfully wounding the strong one (again, not concerned about the names), Supergirl successfully sends the Worldkillers on their way, but not before learning that there was a fifth, empty containment pod when the four of them awoke in the Kryptonian lab all those years ago.

Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of a conclusion, with Green and Johnson instead opting to give those last few pages to Reign's "I will be back" speech. If the writing and artwork stay as consistent as they have through this point, Supergirl might just become one of the 'must read' books from the 'New 52.'


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Written by Scott Snyder
Artwork by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion

It's been a few months since Scott Snyder has given readers much exposition in the pages of Batman. Of course, this wasn't bad at all. In fact, issues five and six were some of the more cerebral issues in recent history. But it's nice to get a little more framework for the coming "Night of the Owls" crossover event. At the end of the last issue, Bruce finally escaped from the Court's labyrinth and his own nightmares. Back at the cave, Alfred found the body of the Talon in the ice of the Gotham River. And because Batman almost literally never gets any sleep, he goes to work immediately with the autopsy.

The Talon is discovered to be a reanimated corpse doing the Court's bidding. Throughout the "Court of Owls" arc, the Talon's strength and voracity have been shockingly powerful, so it's nice to get some explanation as to why. Snyder throws a curveball this month by identifying the man as Dick Grayson's great-grandfather, William Cobb. After a weird emo-meltdown from Nightwing in the cave, Bruce matches a tooth of Dick's to a tooth of William's, confirming Bruce's suspicions that Haley's Circus provided agile young men to the Court to be trained as Talons. Bruce's quick connections feel a little sloppy in execution. One moment, Bruce is explaining the reanimation process (similarly sloppy, but this time because Snyder rushes through it), and the next, Nightwing is lambasting Batman for trying to shake him up.

Next month's Batman and Nightwing both act as prelude issues to May's giant "Night of the Owls" event, and from the looks of the last few pages of issue seven, things are about to get a lot more messy for Batman.


Monday, March 19, 2012


Written by Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco
Artwork by R.B. Silva, Rob Lean, and Iban Coello

A few months ago, a friend recommended I read The Hunger Games. If you haven't heard of this franchise by now, let's just say it's getting pretty big. So, I downloaded the ebook, loaded it onto my Kindle Touch and sat down to check it out. I had already been to the Wikipedia page, so I had a general idea of what I was getting myself into. After three sentences, I turned my Kindle off and I haven't attempted to read it again, nor will I. The Hunger Games is written in a terrible point of view; first-person present, making all the pronouns and verbs present-tense. First-person present is like the frat boy douche of narrative modes; they think they sound sooo good, while in reality they sound cocky, pretentious, and narcissistic. Unfortunately, Superboy falls into this category.

On a personal level, I despise first-person present tense because it makes me feel that the author thinks his audience is dumb, unable to make connections and infer ideas on their own, like they absolutely need a guiding hand to make sure the terribly super-complicated superhero story plot can be conveyed appropriately. It's insulting and belittling. Of course, the narrative point of view is only one of the bad parts about Scott Lobdell's Superboy.

Tactile telekinesis is the worst. It's such a vague, overly-used power that it's lost any real definition and simply become an amorphous idea that gives writers an easy out for a variety of situations. Stuck in a cell?; telekinesis. Not strong enough?; telekinesis. Have all the powers of Superman and still a whiny little brat?; in Lobdell's case, Superboy and his telekinesis. It's hard watching a character who used to have conviction and a strong base be turned into the 'New 52's version of Connor Oberst with superpowers.

"Whew! Centerhall's energy barrage hurt a lot more than I let on!" thinks Superboy in the least-convincing though ever. EVER. No one talks like that let alone has thoughts like that in their heads! It's preposterous that Lobdell hopes to keep readers engaged while treating them like infants. All in all, Superboy continues to leave me wanting more, whether it's actual character development, something close to an advancing narrative, or even a good reason for things to happen would be nice.

Even the cover looks unbecoming!


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Written by Dan Abnett
Artwork by Fernando Dagnino

Mitch Shelley's journey thus far as been pretty fragmented, taking readers from one location to another with little explanation as to why or how. Sure, sometimes Dan Abnett throws us a bone and gives us a flashback or connector panels, but for the most part, Resurrection Man has been about cool comic book writing and action, more than actual plot-driven narrative, which isn't exactly a bad thing. Too often these days, writers forget the roots of comic books and how powerful a simple story can be. Abnett uses Mitch Shelley's unique ability to do just that; tell stories that are minimal and fun, but that all exist within the larger DC universe.

Mr. Untouchable is the antagonist in this issue's vignette. Shelley has (somehow) made his way to Metropolis and finds himself - quite by coincidence - in an apartment building that quickly becomes the setting of a firefight between the police and a group of thugs led by Untouchable, who gets his namesake from a red force field suit. Yah, it's pretty campy and straightforward, but that's the point. Let Batman and Green Lantern deal with Earth-shattering events - Mitch Shelley just wants to figure out who he is.

Shelley's death and resurrection this issue gives him telekinesis. I wouldn't be so averse to this power if Scott Lobdell wasn't shoving TK powers down my throat over in Superboy. Telekinesis seems like such a cop-out power; it's range and scope change depending on the writer, and there's no uniform consensus on how the power should be portrayed. Even here, Shelley uses his TK to disarm the previously untouchable Mr. Untouchable without even breaking a sweat.

Resurrection Man is consistently one of my favorite titles offered under the 'New 52' banner. Mitch Shelley's journey mirrors the narrative style of comic books in the 1960s, when characterization was shown not told and readers could make inferences themselves without needing to be led through cosmic event after cosmic event.


Saturday, March 17, 2012


Directed by David Bullock
Written by Stan Berkowitz and Darwyn Cooke
Produced by Michael Goguen, Stan Berkowitz, Sander Schwartz, Gregory Noveck, and Bruce Timm

Original artwork from the comic book series.
As long as superhero movies have been made, fans have been critical. Even the best of films - like, say, The Dark Knight - have their detractors who wished it were more like the comic book. At to an extent, they can't be blamed; the point of adapting a comic book into a film is to please the fans while simultaneously attracting new fans. When a studio thinks too much about mass appeal (like with Green Lantern), the results were horrendous. And while staying as accurate as possible can have it's downsides (Watchmen got a little long in the tooth), a screenplay faithful to the source is usually better.

One of the best examples of this theory is Justice League: The New Frontier. The 2004 six-issue limited series was such an astounding achievement; it re-imagined the origins of the Justice League of America under the McCarthy-era scrutiny of communism and secrecy, with vintage American-style art that complimented the story perfectly. When DC announced the animated film adaptation of The New Frontier, many were skeptical. With such a unique story and art style, could Cooke's tale of intrigue and mysticism be successfully adapted? The answer is a resounding 'Yes'.

Set after the Korean War, the film follows the founding members of the Justice League as they make their ways toward a first meeting to battle an enemy called the Centre, voiced by the commanding Keith David. In an age of distrust, all the members of the Justice Society have retired, and superheroes are a thing of the past. The New Frontier explores superheroism as a metaphor for the USA's own fear of the unknown during that time. It's an interesting juxtaposition to the real-life decline in popularity of comic books during the 1950s, after the 'Golden Age' of the Justice Society, and before the 'Silver Age' of the Justice League.

Cooke also provides alternate histories for Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Martian Manhunter. Jordan is re-imagined as an ex-soldier who fought in Korea before becoming a test pilot for, you guessed it, Ferris Aircraft. J'onn J'onzz, on the other hand, keeps his arrival on Earth intact, but alters the way he connects with humanity by giving him television as a means of absorbing information. J'onn morphing into Bugs Bunny and the dead air Native American chief was just as nostalgic and Americana as in the comic.

Overall, the central plot of The New Frontier isn't the focal point. So much so that the Centre is hardly delved into beyond being old as sin and spawning dinosaurs, for some reason. To a degree, the Centre somewhat resembles Lovecraft's Cthulu in it's design and raw, evil nature. The New Frontier is more about how a new generation of heroes comes together to save the world. As a Green Lantern fan, it's hard watching the entire film with Hal Jordan resisting the ring. But when he finally puts it on, it's game over. Cooke is one of the rare writers that understands the scope of Green Lantern's power, and it's refreshing to see that conviction animated.

Justice League: The New Frontier is by and far my favorite DC animated film. Existing outside the flimsily-connected world of all the other films, Darwyn Cooke's epic tale exceeded it's expectations by keeping true to the source material, using the comic book's same visual style, and casting a great team of voice actors to bring the characters to life (I mean, Kevin Conroy's great for Batman, but Jeremy Sisto? Awesome). Bringing actual panel scenes into the mix is the icing on top of the cake that makes this film just so damn good. It's an homage to a great piece of graphic literature that does the original justice.


Friday, March 16, 2012


Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Artwork by Fiona Staples

This marks the first review of a title not published by DC Comics on "The Endless Reel". Since I began this blog, I've focused exclusively on the 'New 52' relaunch. Starting in April, though, I'll be branching out a bit, with coverage of Marvel's Avengers vs. X-Men. But right now, I'd like to offer a look at one of Image Comics' newest titles, written by the masterful Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) with artwork by Fiona Staples (Jonah Hex).

Saga is fantastical as it is minimalistic. Within this first issue, all the information you want to know is given, without informations dumps or overly-descriptive introductions. In so many ways, Saga represents the best of what comic books can offer - as a medium - moving forward, right alongside titles like Locke & Key, The Cape and Powers. Melding fantasy and sci-fi elements with natural storytelling has given Saga a unique style that's simply engrossing.

In a nutshell, beings from the planet - called Landfall - are at war with beings from the planet's moon - called Wreath. After much fighting, both sides realize that destroying the other would cause them to spin out of orbit and be destroyed. It was agreed that the war would be outsourced to other planets until the entire galaxy became engulfed in the conflict, forced to choose a side and fight.

It's a pretty intense setting, but one that Vaughan introduces slowly, through context clues and a journal-like detached voice poking metafictional holes in the story. He understands that his new world is a bit complex, but also that being led through it is no fun. The issue begins with a birth and includes a police chase, a battle between magic and robots, robots as royalty, and a look at the religious and political views of both sides of the war. Again, this seems like a lot of information, but again, Vaughan brilliantly shows what he's trying to say.

It would be easy to rely on Fiona Staples' artwork, as it perfectly convey's this new world of science and magic. He lines are rough and her style could come off as messy to many readers, but her technique is indicative of a deep understanding of her form. It's hard to look bad if you're trying, normally, but Staples makes the unkempt look of the book feel natural and organic.

Already I'm excited at the prospects for Saga. With such a wide open (literal) universe to work with, Vaughan and Staples have large shoes to fill with this series' second issue. I'll be covering the rest of Saga as it continues, month to month.


(COMIC REVIEW) Green Lantern #7

Written by Geoff Johns
Artwork by Doug Mahnke, Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy and Mark Irwin

Ever since the Geoff Johns and Co. introduced the extended spectrum of emotional colors into the DC pantheon, the Indigo Tribe is given the least amount of panel space. At first, this seemed like an storytelling decision, one made simply because there were too many characters interacting at the same time, and the Indigo's were mysterious enough to be kept vague. After a while, I assumed the lack of content featuring the Indigo Tribe was an editorial decision, one that came from polls and marketing numbers that showed readers preferred the Red Lanterns or Agent Orange to the enigmatic tribe that doesn't use English on a regular basis.

Now, it's pretty obvious Johns has had plans for the Indigo Tribe for quite some time. The last time we really saw the Indigo Tribe was way back during the "Blackest Night" event when Indigo One kidnapped Black Hand from under everyone's noses before presenting him as the newest tribe member. It was a haunting scene, one that threw into question everything readers had thus far assumed about the Indigos. Sometimes, not knowing the threat is worse than knowing just how bad it is, and Johns is definitely playing that card with this plot.

Basically, Sinestro read the Book of Black and saw the end of the Green Lantern Corps - an idea that's been seeded throughout Green Lantern since the relaunch - and now he needs Hal's help to stop it from happening. In true Green Lantern style, the Indigo Tribe shows up to corral Sinestro for themselves. Over on Oa, the Guardians are getting pretty hardcore, talking about murdering a Corpsman. It's a little uncomfortable, but I'm sure that's exactly what Johns wants.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

(COMIC REVIEW) Batman and Robin #7

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Artwork by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

And just like that, Batman and Robin picks up exactly where it left off last month; no flash-forwards, no frills. Even from the first pages, this has been my favorite issue of Batman and Robin thus far. I'm sure this is partly due to the completion of Peter J. Tomasi's first story arc and the satisfaction that comes with following a plot for months toward it's climactic conclusion. It's also because this is such a solid issue.

Morgan Ducard and Bruce go head to head this month, a proper bout that brings out the emotional instability in both men. Morgan still blames Bruce for 'stealing' his father away, and Bruce wants to kill Morgan for hurting Damian, and nearly does before stopping himself to show his son the meaning of restraint. The fight is incredibly fun to read, with expert shading from Mick Gray complimenting Patrick Gleason's subtle, yet descriptive pencilling.

The final pages, in which Damian murders Morgan - even after Bruce stopped himself from doing the same thing - are a terrific build-up for the next arc. My only complaint: Damian getting all religious with the "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned," shtick. It's annoying and grating. Other than that small snafu, Batman and Robin #7 sits at the top, in terms of quality, for this series thus far.


Monday, March 12, 2012

(MOVIE REVIEW) Superman - Doomsday

Directed by Bruce Timm, Lauren Montgomery, and Brandon Vietti
Written by Duane Capizzi and Bruce Timm
Produced by Bruce Timm, Gregory Noveck, Bobby Page, and Sander Schwartz

In DC's first 'Original Animated Movie', Bruce Timm is handed the reigns to the Man of Steel's death. Based on the hyper-popular "Death of Superman" storyline from the early 90s, Superman: Doomsday reworks the general premise of the original tale into a more film-friendly version that nevertheless still makes for a great narrative. Instead of mucking up the story with multiple Supermen, and the weird Blue Suit, Timm took the core ideas - Doomsday, resurrection, and a fake Superman - and made them more prevalent.

One of the main issues with Superman: Doomsday, is it's pacing. Within the first 25 minutes of this nearly  90min film, Superman has already battled Doomsday and failed. It all moves so quickly, you barely have time to register the breadth of Doomsday. In the comics, good ol' Grey n' Pokey was a force to be reckoned with, something that couldn't be taken down at all. In this film, all we get is some vague notion that this monster might be unstoppable and that Superman might not even be able to help. The audience is only asked to accept this for a few minutes, though, as the fight between Superman and Doomsday comes to end rather quickly, leading to Superman's death in the arms of Lois Lane.

Violence in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) has always been left off-screen or scaled back, but Superman: Doomsday does a great job taking advantage of the PG-13 rating by adding some blood, some obvious deaths, and some neck snapping for those who want a little more realism in their animated superhero direct-to-video films. After Superman's funeral, things get a bit shaky, not only for the narrative, but also for the general 'fun factor' of the movie. Superman re-appears in Metropolis, and does a pretty good job keeping it safe once again, before we learn that it's a clone Lex Luthor made. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm pretty tired of Superman cloning as a plot device. I understand it was a part of the original story, but so was Cyborg Superman and Superboy. It just seems lazy to rest of the laurels of Clark Kent's copycats. Part of the problem stems from the fact that this movie is based on a story that was 15 years old at the time of production. Everyone knows that Superman comes back and saves the day, and it's very hard to give that same story a fresh take after so many years.

The rest of the movie mostly focuses on Superman reclaiming his city from his clone, whose extreme methods border on fascism. The final battle between the Supermen mirrors the fight earlier in the movie between Superman and Doomsday. As the faux-Superman is operating at peak efficiency, he easily beats down Clark, who hasn't had enough time to fully heal from his 'near-death.' As the two continue to duke it out, it becomes apparent that the real Superman cannot win the fight. As the clone Superman attempts to reason with Clark, he tells him that "I'm a reflection of you, if you were stronger," to which Clark responds, "[You're] my reflection in a cracked mirror" before getting that adrenaline rush that Supes often does right before he defeats the villain.

While Superman: Doomsday doesn't get everything right, it certainly conveys the death of Superman in a fun and entertaining way. The story might not be carbon copied from the comic book pages, but it's spirit is there and that's what mattered. Bruce Timm knew he couldn't recreate months and months of stories in 90 minutes, so he chose the best elements and made them work. If the two acts of the film were more evenly portrayed, it would have been a much stronger movie.


(COMIC REVIEW) Justice League International #7

Written by Dan Jurgens
Artwork by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan

Justice League International quickly became one of my favorite titles to read back around issue four. The team is solid, their relationship is existent, but not fully-formed, and Jurgens was allowed to keep Batman, if only for the first arc - which ended with an explosion that potentially killed them all. My only reservations about the JLI thus far have been about their status quo amongst the superhero world. Up until this issue, Booster's rag-tag team has been backed up by the United States government, giving them just a little bit of legitimacy in a world dominated by bureaucratic red tape and by-laws. This issue explores the aftermath of the explosion and how it has affected the team.

The narrative bombs starting falling when Fire and Ice are found, both with critical wounds due to the blast. As soon as they're taken care of, August General emerges from the flames with the corpse of Gavril Ivanovich, the Red Rocket. Though he was short lived, this iteration of Red Rocket was one of my favorites. Instead of drenching the character in Russian nationalism, Jurgens decided to give him a realistic, modern take on his home country and how it fits into the world. Kicked out of the actual Red Rockets, Ivanovich was as much a Russian as he was a JLI member, and it really was sad to see him go.

Andre Briggs and Emerson Esposito are the next to go. Searching through the wreckage, Booster finds their scorched bodies and weeps for them. In an issue that could have come off as really cheesy and forced after only six months of storytelling, Jurgens finds a groove and doesn't diverge. The emotion feels real and the subsequent anger and frustration are understandable and relatable. Even Batman's exit leaves you feeling less comfortable, as the team just keeps getting smaller.

The fight between Booster and Lightweaver was fun, but ultimately just the set up to introduce Batwing into series and onto the team in upcoming issues. It makes perfect sense, now that there's a Batman in Africa, but it still seems weird. I'm not a fan of Batwing, and I hope Jurgens keeps his panel time to a minimum in the tradition of the real Batman.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movie Reviews, AvX, Classics Revisited

Hello Readers!

About a week back, I posted a short apology about the lack of TV show reviews, despite my original plan to go live with regular TV coverage starting in March. Due to family circumstances and job-related responsibilities, I've been unable to even begin my TV coverage. Due to my increased workload, along with a general exhaustion, I've decided to cancel TV show coverage for the foreseeable future. Trying to take on a weekly schedule of TV shows was proving much more daunting than I had anticipated, and I did not want to do it half-way. In or out, and unfortunately, this time, it was out.

In an effort to make up for the cancellation of television on "The Endless Reel", as well as giving me more content to write, I'll soon be starting a slew of new special features that I'm really looking forward to! Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting (MOVIE REVIEWS), which will cover movies connected to the DC Comics universe. Starting with animated films, I'll begin with Superman: Doomsday before tackling Justice League: The New Frontier, then the rest of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies before delving into old Batman: The Animated Series-era animated flicks, then into live-action from 1978's Superman to 2011's Green Lantern.

I've already pledged to cover DC's two major events this summer; Before Watchmen and the first 'New 52' crossover, "Night of the Owls", and now I've got a few more special events coming your way. I will also be covering Marvel's "Avengers vs. X-Men" event. I know that this site has been - up to this point - exclusively DC Comics-related. And for good reason, I've stayed out of Marvel's universe for some time. But now, the Big M is looking to really just have a good time. They're only releasing the main series and an AvX: VS. series dedicated to huge fight sequences. As far as events go, it's not massive, and it sounds cool enough to cover without having to read obscure X-Factor issues. These posts will be tagged as (AvX REVIEW)s.

Along with the new events being released this summer, I'd also like to go backwards and review some classic stories that I feel stand the true test of time and resonate with readers, even years later. I'll be covering DC: The New Frontier as a two-part comparison between the comic series and the film, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Batman: Hush, and Superman: For Tomorrow. This series of posts are (CLASSICS REVISITED).

Stay tuned to "The Endless Reel" in the coming weeks for more information about scheduling for these new features. I look forward to writing them and I hope you look forward to reading!

- Jay

Saturday, March 10, 2012

(COMIC REVIEW) Action Comics #7

Written by Grant Morrison
Artwork by Rags Morales and Rick Bryant

After a few issues in Grant Morrison's Fun House, things are back on track for Action Comics, taking us back to the action that fell to the wayside at the end of issue four. And while the Legion side-story-that-connects-to-the-main-story was nice, it's great to get back to the main tale.

New Troy, one of the many massive neighborhoods in Metropolis, has vanished. In keeping with Morrison's look into the evolution of Superman's powers, Clark pushes himself to run thousands of miles per hour faster than he ever has so he can launch himself into the stratosphere and board the alien ship he sees with his "Zoom Vision", as he calls it. Morrison is obviously having fun with Superman's origins, taking almost any opportunity given to convey more specific detail and really give the character a solid foundation beyond his 'boy scout' persona.

It's revealed in this issue (and months earlier to Superman aficionados) that the Colony is simply Morrison's re-envisioning of Brainiac, one of Superman's oldest and most ruthless enemies. And while most of the issue is spent setting up the next issue, which features the fight between Superman and the Colony construct, it does so with grace, giving Superman little room to move - figuratively and literally - until he snaps. It's a wise move giving Clark such a dilemma of morality so early in his career as Superman; it makes him more relatable and easier to not hate. In the artwork department, Rags Morales and Rick Bryant rip it up again. In an issue mostly set on an alien spaceship with mood lighting, Rick Bryant's shading really makes a splash.

The only complaint I can give Action Comics at this juncture, is that it's moving too slow. After two months of (technically) side stories, I was ready for some big action and instead, got the build up to said big action.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Late Start, Kiddo

So, I know this week was supposed to mark the official addition of (TV REVIEW)s to the mix of regular posts. It obviously hasn't happened. And while DC only released Justice League #6 as part of the 'New 52' this fifth week of February, I didn't write up a review. I want to apologize to any and all of my readers who were looking forward to TV critiques and a review of Justice League #6.

Due to a family emergency, I've been working a lot more at my day job recently. The fact is, I've been so exhausted after 10 hour days at a cupcake shop that I simply don't want to write when I get home. I'd rather watch my shows and read my comics then go to bed, so that's what I've been doing.

This next week isn't looking a whole lot better on the day job front, unfortunately. That being said, I'll continue to put out as much content as I can. (COMIC REVIEW)s will be up later this week, but TV coverage may wait until the second week in March. I'll post again with more information as soon as I know it. Hopefully, I can get back to normal and start posting TV reviews sooner rather than later.

- Jay