Next week, Warner Home Video releases the feature film version of Justice League: Gods & Monsters on DVD. If you've seen the shorts posted at Saturday Morning Archives, you know what to expect. If you don't have access to a computer, however, take heart. DC is helping with a series of 1-shots, which began this week.
As was established in Machinima's online shorties, Batman, Wonder Woman, & Superman are not the heroes you know & love. For example, in this bizarre alternate continuity, Batman is Kirk Langstrom, who'd otherwise be the Man-Bat, a character introduced in the late 60's-early 70's post-television period. Langstrom's story is even more tragic than before, since he's gone to the other bat-extreme. He's a vampire. A reluctant one, like Marvel's Morbius, which lends itself to the prospect that Langstrom was repackaged here as DC's answer to Michael Morbius, since they're both scientists. Matthew Dow Smith's art is appropriately dark and meant to be scary. I think you'll have to get the DVD to get the full story.
On the other hand, the Batman we all know, Bruce Wayne, somehow lost possession of Wayne Manor (suspect shenanigans), and when Arkham Asylum collapsed, the patients were moved in, leading to the short-lived Arkham Manor series, which launched last fall to much fanfare, alongside Gotham Academy. The book was cancelled after six issues, due largely to writer Gerry Duggan bolting for an exclusive contract at Marvel, as DC's editors weren't comfortable continuing the series with another writer. A better artist would've made just as much sense, really. Shawn Crystal's artwork falls somewhere between underground favorite Charles Burns, and one of my least favorite Bat-artists of all time, Kelley "Along Came" Jones. I get the mood that Crystal was searching for artistically, but it doesn't work. I bought the trade paperback for the story, and found that to be wanting as well, as it fell apart about halfway, leaving me to ask myself, why did I even bother?
Marvel has had their share of clunkers tied into Secret Wars, version 2.0, and now I know I made the right call by not bothering with that miniseries.
Captain Britain & the Mighty Defenders offers up a female Captain, as the original one that has been around nearly 40 years seems to have retired in this continuity. She-Hulk, also prominent in A-Force, shows up here, wielding a gavel that makes her a "Thor", which on Battleworld means she's a judge, I guess. I'm not on board at all with Dr. Doom as a god. I guess that because the Beyonder, created for the original Secret Wars 31 years ago, became a joke himself, parodied by John Byrne during Byrne's run on Superman, Marvel's creative idiots decided to use Doom, who will figure prominently in "Fantastic Four", opening in 2 weeks, but it just reeks of blasphemy in my book. Alan Davis' always lush, beautiful art doesn't save this one from being a loser, however.
I haven't watched The Blacklist in the course of its two seasons, for any number of reasons. That will soon change, now that I've sampled Titan Comics' adaptation of the series. Set during season 2, the comic continues the story of Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader, "Avengers: Age of Ultron"), a rogue who turned himself in to the feds, and now is their ally. Oh, what fun. The DVD's of the series might be pricey for now, but season 2 is On Demand, after all.
Apparently, interest was low for DC's revival of Prez, such that the book's issue count has been sheared in half to six issues, ending in November. Some people just didn't get the political/social satire in Mark Russell's script, but I do. Issue 2 just came out, and skewers Scientology something fierce. Wonder if this Russell is related to the namesake political satirist from the 70's & 80's......! Batman '66 may be on the verge of jumping the shark. Editorial dictums, it seems, are responsible for the insertion of newer Bat-villains who weren't around in the 60's, such as fan favorite Harley Quinn, who debuts as the Harlequin in the latest issue, with Killer Croc to debut in October as a former henchman of King Tut. Not only that, but I'd like to see them explain how they can use both TV Catwomen (the Eartha Kitt model shows up in the new issue as well) and tie it together, something William Dozier and his writers were unable to do nearly 50 years ago.
More bad news from Archie's Dark Circle division, tempered with some good. The oft-delayed relaunch of The Shield has been pushed back again, this time to September, with veteran artist Drew Johnson now on board. A quick check of the Dark Circle web page shows that The Web, also with a female protagonist, will debut after the first of the year. The Hangman bows in October, and looks appropriately creepy. On the main Archie line, the "New Riverdale" relaunch of Betty & Veronica might not be ready until after the first of the year, either, as issue 278 of the current volume is set for October, but we'll see.