Category: Superheroes


Where Marvel Comics has seen its pantheon of characters celebrated both in 20 years of X-Men movies and 11 years of interconnected movies featuring the other major characters from the comics, DC Entertainment has limped along on the big screen, choosing to either go darker than the traditional comics in its adaptations or overlooking the core of its characters altogether.  It’s had a better run on television.  What we all probably want is something getting closer to the heart of why we loved the characters as kids.  And if you want reminded of what that was, you’ll be happy to see that all nine seasons of the animated classic series Super Friends aka SuperFriends are streaming right now on DC Universe.

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One hundred comic book artists have come together over the past year to create the next great joint art project, this time featuring the Dark Knight Detective and Bruce Wayne alter ego, Batman.  Previous subjects have included Adventure Time, Wonder Woman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hellboy, The Uncanny X-Men, and Captain America.  This year a new group of some of the best-known names in the world of comics volunteered an original work of art featuring the Caped Crusader (how many nicknames does he have anyway?) penciled, inked, painted, or otherwise colored on a DC Comics Batman #75 blank comic book cover.  It’s all for a good cause that gives back to–and in effect pays forward–comic book creators that have come before.  It’s called the The Batman 100 Project.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If I updated my favorite characters list, I’m not sure yet whether two of the stars of the television series Longmire would make my top five, but I am sure they’d give my top 10 a run for their money.  Those two stars would be Robert Taylor′s cool, dry, and wise Sheriff Walt Longmire and his best friend, Lou Diamond Phillips′ loyal, clever, and heroic Cheyenne bar owner Henry Standing Bear.  I don’t know how I overlooked Longmire in its run between 2012 and 2017, but I’m grateful, because watching it an episode per day during sheltering at home helped get me through those 150 days.  This is great drama, exciting, often humorous, and as good a modern Western as you could hope for.  It’s airing right now on Netflix.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

After what I viewed as the best superhero series pilot yet here at borg back in May, Stargirl never let up, never let us down, and with this week’s season finale rises to become the very best superhero series yet.  We can slice and dice and compare series like The Flash and Arrow, Supergirl, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but did any of them adapt the comic book mythos to the screen as written and drawn by years of comic book writers and artists?  Or did they all twist the stories to cut away at what made the stories enduring in the first place?  Even Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina–two fantastic comic book adaptations–were nudged aside by thirteen perfect episodes of comic books in TV form.  Not since the heart in the original series The Flash, The Incredible Hulk, and the animated series Superfriends has a series full of superhero characters gotten so much so right.  And one scene in the season finale was so good, so surprising, it may have you stand up and cheer.

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The most eagerly awaited movie in years received some nice treatment this week as part of San Diego Comic-Con@Home.  We’ve previewed and re-previewed new trailers for The New Mutants probably more than any other movie in our past decade of coverage here at borg (just type The New Mutants in the search box to the right and you’ll see it all).  The new and improved, post-merger 20th Century Studios even nicely mocks the delayed release dates in its Comic-Con@Home panel footage below, which features the director, cast members, and the legendary comic artist most closely aligned with The New Mutants by way of his 1980s artwork, Bill Sienkiewicz.  It also previews the entire opening scene and a trailer with new content from the film.  All in all, some good stuff for a very patient fanbase for a film made in the summer of 2017.

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It looks exactly like this is what all the big-budget live-action movies were leading toward: The ultimate destruction for Optimus Prime and the Autobots.  In a new three-season anime series beginning on Netflix this month, Transformers: War for Cybertron gets underway in what’s built up to be like a battle for Gallifrey in the Doctor Who universe.  Its first chapter, Siege, picks up at the end of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons.  In the first trailer, we hear the familiar sound of new Optimus Prime voice actor Jake Foushee echoing the longtime voice of Peter Cullen, who voiced the character from its inception through the tie-in video game for this new era.  We hear despair for the future of the Autobots in his message.  Fans of the five decades of Transformers toys and stories will soon learn his fate against Megatron, who stands ready to reboot them all.

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The great thing about a world with an abundance of superhero series–last year we had more than ever to choose from–is you have a choice.  Two television series from 2019 about superheroes that fell far from our “best of” list were The Umbrella Academy and The Boys.  Both adaptations of comics and graphic novels, they were bleak and lacking in any hopeful or spirited messaging, choosing instead to continue the search for the next Frank Miller or Alan Moore shocker.  One featured Ellen Page as an emotionless sort-of sibling in an apocalypse and the other the rape of a young new superheroine among an irredeemable story reflecting as many real-world horrors as the creators could find.  Oddly (and probably not coincidentally) the two competing networks Netflix and Amazon Studios released Season 2 trailers for their dueling superhero shows both on the same day this week.

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Many a comic book reader was sucked into superhero comics, or any comics, by the compelling stories of one writer: Dennis “Denny” O’Neil, who passed away Thursday, June 11, fifty years after the publication of his most celebrated work.  O’Neil created some of the most admired tales of our favorite superheroes.  His stories ushered in an entirely new, modern era of comic books that historians refer to as the Bronze Age of comics (following on the heels of the Golden Age that introduced the first superhero books with Superman in 1938, followed by the Silver Age in 1956, which gave us new sci-fi and space fantasy stories by the likes of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee).  The Bronze Age began with the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” story arc (illustrated by Neal Adams) that forever re-defined Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow, and Dinah Lance’s Black Canary.  But it would be looked back on as much more than that.

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It was only a few months ago I reviewed Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks here at borg, a film chronicling the challenges and rise of Chinese action movies, including a segment on the legendary martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee.  At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one of the Grand Jury Prize nominees was a documentary exclusively devoted to Lee, a film called Be Water, titled from the personal philosophy he shared with the world, “be formless, shapeless, like water… be water, my friend.”  A documentary that has received much advance praise and film festival kudos, director Bao Nguyen’s film will premiere to general audiences this Sunday as part of EPSN’s 30 for 30 series.

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