30 Day DC Challenge -Day 14: Favorite Animated DC Show

Justice League Unlimited

As I stated previously, most of the superheroes of DC aren’t well known. In Justice League Unlimited (JLU) the size of the league is increased at least by 50. Most of the episodes focused on a small group heroes trying to solve a situation. Heroes like Captain Atom, Green Arrow, The Question and Booster Gold were introduced to a larger audience. I chose JLU over the Batman: Animated Series largely because it expanded my understanding of the DC Universe. A direct sequel to Justice League, JLU debuted on July 31, 2004 and ended May 13, 2006. JLU is well animated, balances humor with action and is generally when written. Some of my favorite episodes:


Episode 03: Kids Stuff

Loosely based on the DC Comic event, JLA: World Without Grown Ups, Morgaine le Fey transforms Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern into children, after her son Mordred uses his magic to send adults to another dimension. Seeing these superheros as children is as fun as you might think.

Episode 07: The Greatest Story Never Told

This introduced me to Booster Gold. As the Justice League battle Mordru, the narrative focuses on Booster as he attempts to close a black hole, when he’s suppose to be doing crowd control. This episode has to be the funnies in the series.

Episode 11: Wake the Dead

Three high school kids use chaos magic to attempt to get revenge on their bullies. Instead they resurrect Solomon Grundy. Without his memories and more powerful, Grundy goes on a rampage. Doctor Fate, Amazo, Aquaman, Superman, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl face-off against him.

Episode 16: The Doomsday Sanction

Superman battles Doomsday, while Batman uncovers a Cadmus conspiracy to destroy the Justice League. It’s should be obvious why this episode was good.

Episode 35: Grudge Match

Roulette uses the women of the Justice League as combatant in her all-female fight called “Glamour Slam.” This episode is one of my favorites largely because we get to see Wonder Woman fight Huntress, Black Canary, Vixen and Hawkgirl. It’s brief, but great.

Episode 39: Destroyer

This is the series finally. The Justice League and the Secret Society team up to fight against an invasion by Darkseid. Lex Luther, Batman and Superman take on Darkseid directly, with Superman finally releasing his full powers.

Source: Wikipedia

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30 Day DC Challenge -Day 13: Favorite Animated DC Movie

All Star Superman

I’ve stated that I find Superman to be a dull hero. Early seasons of Smallville focused on when Superman was a teen which I think was when he was (in my opinion) the most interesting. Regardless, some writers have manage to tell interesting Superman stories. Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman is one such story. I didn’t read the comic, but did watch the animated version. Generally, I watch animated DC movies out of habit. Some are good other aren’t. I didn’t have too much expectation from this movie, but I enjoy it. Released in 2011, All-Star Superman follows Superman after he becomes even more powerful after an encounter with the sun. However, he starts dying due to radiation poisoning. This is suppose to be the final adventure before Superman dies.

Superman engages in a series of challenges similar to the 12 Labors of Hercules. He reveals his secret identity to Lois Lane. At the Fortress of Solitude, a series of robots concoct a serum that give Lois superpowers for a day. He arm wrestles Atlas and Samson, saves Lois from the Ultra-Sphinx. The animated version isn’t exactly like it’s source material, but it’s a pretty good adaptation. When choosing what to adapt, it’s important to choose carefully. What do you put in, what do you leave out and will you change anything. All Star Superman makes many good choices. One of the most memorable parts of the movie was a scene where Superman as Clark Kent, has to save Lex Luther from the Parasite while maintaining his identity.

Despite the fact that I generally find Superman stories uninteresting, this was one time in which I was proving wrong. While accepting his death, Superman became more human. All Star Superman undermined my expectations. It was funny, clever, and generally entertaining. If Superman stories were more often like this one, I think I would like him more. Finally, the animation was well done, it’s not terrible detailed but that’s fine. If you haven’t seen All Star Superman, I highly recommend it.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 12: Favorite DC Live Action Movie

Tom Welling as Clark Kent

Smallville

Smallville was a television based on Superman. The series focused on Clark Kent (Tom Welling) as he grows up in the fiction town of Smallville, Kansas. The series was meant to explore Clark Kent before he became Superman. The first four seasons focused on Clark and his friends during high school. The series later pivoted to Clark in adulthood, his career at the Daily Planet and his transformation into Superman. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, Smallville was pitched with a “no tights, no flights,” rule. The series was well received. The pilot episode had 8.4 million viewers, the series averaged 4.34 million viewers. When it ended it had set the record for “the longest-running North American science-fiction series by episode count.”

The first few seasons saw Clark develop his iconic powers. Smallville is said to have 3 chapters. The first chapter is considered to be seasons (1-4), focusing on his high school years. Chapter 2, seasons (5-7) sees Clark begin to master his abilities and Lex Luthor begins to turn towards evil. Characters like Brainiac and Bizarro are introduced. The final chapter is known as, ” The Final Trials of Clark Kent.” Doomsday, General Zod and Darkseid are introduced, as are the Justice League. Kryptonite was used as a common plot device. It had a negative effect on humans, resulting in the person mutating or going insane. This resulted in the series having a “freak of the week.” This was mostly used during the first season.

The series also used different colored kryptonite. Green Kryptonite causes Clark to become “physically weak” and can potentially kill him. Red Kryptonite causes him to become a moral and given into his dark impulses. Black Kryptonite splits Clark into two beings himself and a darker Kal-El. With Silver Kryptonite causes him paranoia, Blue Kryptonite removes his abilities and Gold Kryptonite can cause permanent damage or removed his powers all together. Personally, I liked the series up until the fifth one. I lost interest in the series after it started tell more familiar stories from the comics. I preferred the years before Clark Kent was an adult, seeing him become the hero was simple more interesting. Generally, I don’t think of Superman as being an interesting hero, but as a teen he was.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 10: Favorite Civilian Character

Alfred Pennyworth

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: Don Cameron · Bob Kane
First App: Detective Comics Vol 2 #1 (Nov, 2011)


Alfred Pennyworth is the fiction butler of Bruce Wayne. In many ways he’s as iconic as Batman is. Alfred is more than just a butler. He’s his best friend, aid in battle, and he been a surrogate father for Bruce Wayne. Alfred has many abilities outside of house keeping. He’s a classically trainer actor and a former Special Operations Executive. He been called “Batman’s batman.” He runs Wayne Manor and maintains the Batcave as well. He has impersonated Bruce on the phone, can provide tactical support when needed, is able to perform advance medical procedures.

As a close member of a superhero, Alfred has been kidnapped often. If you count comics outside if DCU continuity, he’s been kidnapped 27 times. He’s always managed to use his skills to escape. Due to Alfred’s age, he’s more likely to use a firearm (unlike other members of the Batman family). In more recent comics, Alfred is suggested to have mastered, several fields like rose breeding, computer programming, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology and biotechnology. He credited with having built the Bat-computer. Overall, I think that Alfred Pennyworth is probably the most useful and important civilian in comics.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 9: Least Favorite Villain

Sleez

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: John Byrne
First App: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20 (April, 2018)

To be honest the villains in DC comics can be underwhelming. Sure they great ones like, The Joker, Darkseid, Lex Luther or Doomsday. However, they are many ridiculous villains in the DC Universe, like, Double Down, a former gambler with playing cards sealed to his skin. There’s Orca, a villain that once Grace Balin, a marine biologists. She was paralyzed in a car accident, experimented with Orca tissue. She transformed into a whale like human (with human-whale breasts to boot). She wasn’t even a great villain, as her biggest crime was stealing a diamond to fund projects for the poor. She was killed by another part human, part animal villain, Killer Croc.

However, none of these villain can hold a candle to Sleez. Not a often utilize villain, he was first introduced in Action Comics Vol. 1 #592, A Walk on the Darkside!(1987). In the issue he encounters and kidnaps Big Barda. He forces her to dance for him while he films it. Created by John Byrne, Sleez is an alien from Apokolips. He’s an empath that feeds on the ” baser emotions of the average person and use that energy to bolster his own life force.” He also has the ability to inflame desires. He was so depraved that even Darkseid was disgusted by him and banished him to Earth.

After capturing Superman and Big Barda, he tries to force them into making a sex tape. The only thing that prevents it is Superman’s high morality and intervention from Barda’s husband, Mister Miracle. His hope is to generate enough money to build an army to defeat Darkseid. He makes a return in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China Vol 1 #20 (2018). He attacks Wonder Woman, asking “what’s your deepest darkest desire, baby.” He able to “taste” her sexual desire for Batman. He refers to himself as “uncle Sleez,” and his ability to manipulate results in Superman and the Flash (a female version) kissing. I know that sometimes you run out of ideas, but a perverted villain that forces people into sexual situations is not a good idea.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 8: Least Favorite Hero

Superman

Universe: Prime Earth
Creators: Jerry Siegel · Joe Shuster
First App: Flashpoint Vol 2 #5 (October, 2011)

My least favorite hero is probably Superman. Sure there are most likely more terrible superheroes in DC, but he is by far my least favorite of the ones I know. He’s kinda like DC’s Cyclops to me (but more powerful and less terrible). This is not to suggest of course that he’s not one of, if not the most important superhero in comics. Regardless, If you know why I like Batman, then you can guess why I don’t like Superman.

Dumb Secret Identity

I know that in comic books you should suspend disbelief, but I always found his Clark Kent “secret identity” to be hard to tolerate even by comic standards. It’s not the nerdy clumsiness, but the glasses. Or the fact that those glasses ARE the disguise the makes his secret identity. Sure you would look different with or without glasses, but you wouldn’t look like a completely human being. It has spawned the term, Clark Kenting. It’s defined as “the process by which a Secret Identity and/or cover story is maintained over a long period of time by asking the audience to go along with a paper thin disguise.” Several heroes have commented on his weak disguise, Barry Allen states “I still don’t get why you don’t do more to protect your identity. This new Lantern? Kyle? His mask covers most of his face. Smart kid.”

Art by Alex Ross

Too powerful

I generally don’t mind powerful characters, but Superman has been portrayed as so uber powerful that he deliberately has to limit himself. This often suggests that he chooses not to end fights quickly. Sure, the story would suffer if he did. However, you could just limit his power or make the villains stronger, right? I’ll admit that on the few occasions that he let’s loose it has been epic, but I have seen situations get out of hand wondering when he was going to increase his power. This is a limitation that happens with a lot of comic book characters, but with Superman it’s his choice (in the comic universe) to hold back. In other comics it necessary to keep the story interesting. He also is considered to be highly intelligence, but because he’s too powerful he doesn’t use his intellect. Instead he has to focus on only using his fists to fight.

Too good

Is being too good really a bad thing? Yes. Or at least when you trying to make an interesting comic book hero. Superman is a goody good (except in alternate realities), and that makes him boring. He’s also profoundly judgmental of other heroes (although sometimes he’s right). Superman believes that there’s good in EVERYONE, which make him profoundly naive. He’s considered the moral center of the DC Universe. He is also considered by some to be THE nicest character in DC. This often results in the stories told about Superman being dull and uneventful. There never any question about his morals, which means there’s no complexity. Superman’s purity makes him simply uninteresting.

Art by Alex Ross

While its necessary for someone to be the “moral fiber” it can come at a cost. This makes him a dull character. Many writers have attempted to make him more intriguing, by making him into a secret authoritarian. Who secretly believes he better than humanity and that’s why they need him to save them. The truth is that Superman is suppose to represent an ideal that humanity will never reach. However, Superman seems to believe that this is a possibility. This isn’t to say that there has never been an interesting story about Superman. However, most of them require drastically changing his personality or motivations (when they don’t make him outright evil). When Superman has shown a darker side it hasn’t been pretty.

So what do you think. Too unfair? Got any Superman comics that prove me wrong? Who’s your least favorite comic book characters?

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 7: Most Underrated DC Hero

Martian Manhunter

Universe: Prime Earth

Creators: Joseph Samachson · Joe Certa

First App: Stormwatch Vol 3 #1 (November, 2011)

In my opinion most of the heroes in DC are probably underrated. Generally, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are largely relied upon for “saving the day.” That said, the MOST underrated superhero is the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onnz/John Jones). The last survivor of the martian race, John came to Earth. He would join the Justice League under the name of Martian Manhunter. I’m mostly familiar with John from the Justice League animated series where he largely remained in the Watchtower. This is where he’s the most underrated.

From the Watchtower, John is responsible for manning the Watchtower and serving as mission coordinator. He is able to determine which heroes go to which conflict, based on how effective their abilities are. This is a passive but very important job that he’s been given. Obviously, this isn’t the most gratifying and admittedly “heroic” thing for a hero to do or at least that’s how it will be received. John himself is quite powerful. He possess the standard group of powers. superhuman strength, durability, flight, regeneration, shape-shifting, invisibility, telepathy and telekinesis. The grouping of these powers are somewhat different, but they’re among the most common powers for superheroes.

He is the most powerful telepath on Earth, he can link minds of all superheroes at once from the “distance of the Moon to all corners of Earth.” He can even read all inhabitants of Earth simultaneously. His mind control abilities is so profound, he was apparently able to temporarily make the Joker sane. John can see across the electromagnetic spectrum, has X-ray vision, project energy beams and according to Batman he’s an “amalgam of Superman and Batman.” If this doesn’t convince you that he’s underrated I don’t know what will. While, he’s underrated he’s not ignored. He has had a number of series to his name. However, unlike, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, he’s mostly known by comic book fans.

Source: dc.fandom

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 6: Favorite Green Lantern

John Steward

I’ll admit that I haven’t always had the highest respect for the Green Lantern Corps. Particularly, their weakness to yellow. I spent a lot of my childhood superhero conversations, making jokes about Green Lanterns being defeated by yellow crayons or pee. Juvenile jokes aside, a weakness to the color yellow is ridiculous and deserves to be mocked. Regardless, this is about which Green Lantern is my favorite. They one thing that I like about the Green Lantern Corps is that they don’t discriminate. I mean they REALLY don’t discriminate.

They are willing to recruit just about anyone. Gender, race or species doesn’t matter. There’s, B’DG (pronounced Badge), a squirrel-like being and Mogo, the sentient planet. There are probably too many Green Lantern to really care too much about many of them. The Guardians were surprisingly terrible for “good guys.” Positioning themselves as Guardians of the Universe they have no one to answer to. They decided that they should destroy all magic and magical beings, left Darkseid alone because he’s too strong, and exiled Hal Jordan for protecting the Earth “too much.”

He’s kinda cute though

Anyway, there have been a few human Green Lanterns that I’ve liked. I’m torn between John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. I liked Rayner because he was funny and he was an artist that was more creative with the ring. John Stewart was one of the first black superheroes, that also didn’t have “black” in his name. The third human Lantern, he was introduced in 1971. Unlike Kyle, John was featured in the DC animated series. He was a bit uptight but had a since of humor. I liked his romantic relationships with Hawkgirl and later Vixen. He would become the first human Guardian of the Universe. When the Guardians were absent he became the leader of the Green Lantern Corps.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 5: What is your Favorite DC Team

The Justice League (Prime Earth)

Art by Alex Ross

Universe: Prime Earth

Creators: Geoff Johns · Jim Lee

First appearance: Justice League (Volume 2) #6

After choosing a newer DC character for my favorite female villain, I’m back to my clique path. The Justice League is hands down the best DC team. How could it not be. It features the most iconic and important superheroes in the DC Universe. It’s almost unfair. If Justice League Unlimited the animated series is to be believe eventually almost every hero joins the League. Regardless, I’m focusing on the founding members of the Justice League. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Green Lantern (the animated series added Martian Manhunter).

I’ll admit I’m neutral on Cyborg, and have made fun of Green Lantern for his weakness to yellow and Aquaman for his somewhat useless ability to talk to fish. However, watching the Justice League animated series and becoming more familiar with the Justice League changed that. Together the Justice League acts as the first line of defense against inter-dimensional and extra-terrestrial threats. The often came into conflict with Legion of Doom and the many forces of Darkseid.

30 Day DC Challenge -Day 4: Who is your Favorite Female Villain

Bryce Wayne (The Drown)

Universe: Earth – 11

Creators: Scott Snyder · Greg Capullo

First App: Dark Days: The Casting #1 (Sept, 2017)

Don’t be the victim who drowns. Don’t sink with the rest. Be active. Rise up, … reclaim the light, … and be the one who does the drowning

 The Batman Who Laughs

I was going to choose Catwoman, but technically she’s not a villain. However, recently a new character has been introduced to the DC Universe. Bryce Wayne is the Batwoman of Earth-11, also known as The Drowned and she is one of Barbatos Dark Knights. She became a crime fighter after her boyfriend Sylvester Kyle is murdered by metahumans. She became a murderer as a result. After a year she had killed all the super-powered beings on land. Aquawoman arrives to offer a treaty, however, it’s a hoax and war breaks out. Bryce sides with the surface and defeats the Atlanteans, including killing Aquawoman with her own trident.

To get revenge, the Atlanteans “drown” Gotham City. Bryce performs several surgical and genetic procedures on herself. She was able to “imbuing her human form with vast biochemical augmentations, such as the ability to breathe underwater, heal faster, and bolster muscular, skeletal and bodily tissue density, along with the capability to perform a type of dark hydrokinesis which could corrupt and convert those fighting against her into ravenous sea beasts under her command.” With the trident, she was able to conquer Atlantis, then drowned the rest of the world.

The Drowned is a vengeful mass-murderer that has a tragic backstory. She also has cool abilities and her appearance is a combination of epic and hideous. I loved her “destroy them all mentality” and was strangely on her side throughout her war with the Atlanteans. She doesn’t really say a whole lot and it’s difficult to gauge her personality, but I was instantly hooked on her story, appearance and abilities.