30 Day DC Challenge · Challenges

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 · Challenges

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 · Challenges

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 · Challenges

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 · Challenges

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.