September 2010

DAILY COMIC: I Fight Crime #193

Strip #193 For complete archives of I Fight Crime check out Follow Richard Fairgray on Twitter. Follow I Fight Crime on Twitter. I Fight Crime and all related characters are Copyright Richard Faigray 2010

Review: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Review: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

This one will make a convert out of you. If you are at all open to some high quality superhero animation, you won't be disappointed by "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse." The title is a bit odd but it does grab your attention. The fact is, there is a very well structured story full of the type of entertainment that DC Comics and Warner Bros. do so well. Based on the graphic novel, "Superman/Batman: Supergirl," by Jeph Loeb, Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald, the movie is true to bringing us an action-packed reinterpretation of Supergirl as told in the book and maybe even brought up a notch or two by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist). This movie is also produced by animation legend Bruce Timm and directed by Lauren Montgomery (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths).

I have to say, I have not seen that many WB cartoons. I haven't even watched "The Brave and the Bold." But, the last WB toon I did see, was the recently released "Wonder Woman," and I was impressed. I showed the flick to my comics class, made up of twelve and thirteen year-olds. They loved it. And that's not to say that older viewers wouldn't enjoy too. What I found interesting was the fact that the movie managed to walk a very fine line in appealing to a broad range of audiences. There were some scenes, particularly the scenes between Wonder Woman and Stever Trevor, that I watched with closer scrutiny when I was in charge of a group of kids. The jokes that us adults would find witty or amusing, they found to be totally hilarious.

So, after that pleasant experience with the Wonder Woman toon, I came to this Superman/Batman toon setting the bar farily high and I really was not disappointed one bit. I now want to see more and more. It was that good. It's hands down an impressive piece of 2-D animation and it leaves me confident that we'll be seeing a lot more 2-D in the future. Now, sure, it is superhero genre but, then again, I was enjoying the hell out of it. The pacing, the artwork, and, of course, the actors, the whole package is working perfectly.

What I enjoyed a lot in "Wonder Woman" was the clever banter and the well paced humor sprinkled throughout. We get a even better dose of that in "Superman/Batman." There is one really good example of comic pacing when, between the two of them, Superman and Supergirl completely demolish the Kent farm. And there's the speechless couple, Ma and Pa Kent, just staring at their once happy home and they're suffering through superhero apologies just as the last part of the roof caves in. But, even better than that, and far more complex, is a nice extended look at the low key suburban living that one superhero exile has sought refuge in only to be brought back into action by the triumphant trio of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. As the call to arms is made clear to Barta, you see one suburban dweller after another take uneasy peer into her house.

I save the best part of the movie for last and that is Supergirl. This movie is all about Supergirl, make no mistake. At the very start, once she crash lands into Gotham River like a meteor, this movie belongs to her. She puts Batman, no less, through the wringer, behaving like an untamed wildcat. Finally, Superman talks some sense into her once he discovers they're cousins. Interestingly enough, we get a taste of family dynamics gone awry as Wonder Woman steps in, pushes her way through, and decides she should take custody of the young Kara, who is around eighteen, and still young enough to not know what's best for her. And then things take a really nasty turn when Darkseid kidnaps Kara and take her to, wait for it, Apocalypse. Now, Superman seems to have met his match. If he thought he was in a custody fight with Wonder Woman, wait until he tries to get Kara back from his nastiest foe. And, like a true villain, Darkseid tells Superman that Kara is free to go, if she chooses to. Of course, by then, Kara has been utterly brainwashed and she thinks Superman stinks.

The movie boasts an all-star cast with Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, Ed Asner as Granny Goodness. And, as Supergirl, none other than Summer Glau who any true fanboy will recognize as River Tam from Joss Whedon's mega cult classic series, "Firefly." This movie is awesome. Buy it, view it On Demand, or download it. You won't be sorry.

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