Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Doomsday: A History Of A Monster

     This character has always been one of the more “interesting” of the DC Universe. It’s origins and attributes have been altered throughout its history in comics and television. But whether it is a failed experiment of Cadmus Labs, an intellectual serial killer in space or the ultimate weapon/ killing machine from Krypton, there is nothing that can be as powerful, menacing or dangerous as Doomsday.

     Yes, you can obviously make the argument that Doomsday is not the most powerful. The first person that comes to mind would be Superman, of course, but as I distinctly remember, he died at the spike-knuckled hands of this creature.

     Many comic readers may just remember Doomsday as that mindless monster who killed Superman that one time (although it was a pretty great accomplishment, not many people can put that on their resume when applying for a job as a super villain), but Doomsday has a very rich history in comics, a history that began long before The Death Of Superman.

     Doomsday was once a character known as “The Ultimate”, who was born on Krypton during prehistoric times. Through a very hard to understand storyline, this baby would one day grow up into that monster we all love to hate. The Ultimate was able to escape Krypton by hitching a ride on a transport ship. And after years of killing on several planets, The Ultimate almost had a meeting with the infamous Darkseid. Unfortunately, toxic fumes from the planet’s chemicals made for a nasty battle arena, so Darkseid had to leave.

     I don’t want to get into more detail then I have to, but after killing a few dozen Green Lanterns, the inhabitants of the planet Calaton combined their powers to capture The Ultimate in a metallic casket, which was shot into space and eventually landed on a planet where the impact of the crash buried it miles underground. This planet was Earth.

     And thus began one of the best Superman stories ever. After years of new writers and new ideas, Doomsday’s story will change and hopefully improve. But with a character with so much history and potential, I think Doomsday writers will have more then enough ideas to possibly recreate another story as amazing as The Death Of Superman. Doomsday has become a household name (for comic fans), a comic book legend for years to come, one of Superman’s greatest adversaries of all time, and the one that defeated him.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Batman: The Animated Series, Top 5 From Season One

          If you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the mid-90’s or you’re just a big fan, then you know that there is no show like Batman: The Animated Series. In way this cartoon revolutionized the way superhero cartoons were made. Without it, we wouldn’t have Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League or Batman Beyond, which followed soon after. This Emmy award-winning series gave us Batman, the way he was meant to be and the first season of the series was a great example of cartoons at their finest. So, here are the top 5 episodes (in my opinion) from season one of Batman: The Animated Series.

5. P.O.V
If you’ve seen this episode, you’re probably wondering why it would be in the top 5 of the season, but sometimes the best Batman stories are the ones that rarely have Batman in them at all. A disturbance at a warehouse leads to three different point of views from three different police officers, each with their own unique sighting of the Caped Crusader. What made the episode great was the fact that each of their stories intertwined with the other. Batman did make a big appearance at the end to thwart the enemies’ escape, as he normally does, with the help of Officer Montoya.

Favorite Moment: The rookie cop believes Batman to be “unstoppable” by the way he explains how he took down the criminals. Nice to see a cop other then Gordon giving Batman some praise.

 4. Feat Of Clay Part Two
         Normally in a two-part episode, the first is used to establish new characters or introduce a new villain and the second is when the action really starts to pick up. This was the case in the conclusion to Feat Of Clay. Batman has a terrific showdown against Clayface, ending with what was arguably the best piece of animation in the entire series. The effect of Clayface uncontrollably changing shapes at the end of the episode was animation to admire. Even by today’s standards, it was something special.

Favorite Moment: Batman leads Clayface into a room full of TV monitors with pictures of him throughout his acting career. The shock of what he used to be compared to what he has become leads Clayface to become unstable and morph into many different characters at one time.

3. Nothing To Fear
         The Scarcrow was always one of my favorite Batman villains. His famous fear toxins would always pose a threat to Batman just like it did in Nothing To Fear. Just the third episode of the series, Batman has his first encounter with Scarcrow, and his inner most fears. After a dose of fear gas, Batman has horrifying images of his father telling him he’s “failed”. This thought was put in Batman’s head after one of Thomas Wayne’s old colleagues called Bruce “a disgrace to the family name”. But there is nothing like seeing Batman overcome his fears in order to defeat the Scarcrow. As an added bonus, Batman doses Scarcrow with his own fear toxins as Scarcrow believes Batman to be a giant bat-like creature…awesome.

Favorite Moment: After Scarcrow escapes his first meeting with Batman, Detective Bullock accuses Batman of with holding evidence from the police, so when Bullock shoves Batman, he shoves back.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smallville: Less Is More

       I remember it like it was yesterday, the premiere of Smallville. The show that chronicles Clark Kent’s journey from teenager to “super” man. It was a dream come true, to finally see Superman as a kid, roughly my own age. It was unlike anything on television at that time (2001), the meteor shower alone was spectacular. It was safe to say that Smallville showed promise. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, but some series are smart enough to throw in the towel while they’re still on top, not Smallville. They figured, “let’s just see how long we can go with this”. A decision, most of the fans, would regret they made.

         The idea was flawless, perfect, and original enough to gain great reviews. Superman was now just Clark Kent in the minds of many young viewers watching the show, a kid that could never talk to his high school crush or was bullied at school, a kid who many of us could relate to; more then we could with Superman. First season gave us a great look at the origins of Clark and his parents, his friends and even Lex Luthor and newly created character, Lionel Luthor. We also saw a strange but unique friendship grow between Clark and Lex. The series added a new twist by including the fact that the meteor rocks could give certain residents of Smallville extraordinary powers, giving Clark and his friends a new threat in every episode.

         Season two and three expanded on Clark’s kryptonian heritage, by introducing Jor-el and the cave. Honorable mentions include a look at Lex’s twisted past with his father and even Clark’s first meeting with Perry White. Season four, in my opinion, was the big one. Clark is finally introduced into football, while simultaneously being sent on a mission by his father to collect the kryptonian stones, which eventually form a crystal used to create the fortress of solitude. At this point in the series, I expected Smallville to have one good season left in them. We just witnessed Clark graduate from high school, become friends with Lois Lane, and “embrace his destiny”, sort of.