Fantastic Four Fiasco

You could just tell by the first trailer.

Neither the numbers nor the reviews are pretty, unless you mean pretty awful.


The Problem with The Fantastic Four Trailer

Christopher Cocca

The Fantastic Four teaser trailer has been released by 20th Century Fox/Marvel, and there are problems.  First and foremost, it mimics the gravity of the Man of Steel promos (a tone that translated well to the film) unconvincingly.  The Richards family may be superdom’s “First Family” and represent an important moment in the history of comics (which, are, of course, an abiding part of American folklore, just as Brian Wilson is our greatest folk musician), but you don’t get that feeling from the teaser.  Comparisons to Superman don’t help.  There’s even the classic car shot from the Star Trek reboot, making all of this feel re-tread.

Reed’s outsider-genius status will always evoke a certain pathos, but the downright absurdity of his acquired powers sort of ruins everything.  Using IN CINEMAS SUMMER 2015 instead of simply SUMMER 2015 is another stab at unearned weight, and the most egregious.

Yes, this is just a teaser reel, but the best thing about it is the way the title is rendered at the end.

The Batman Singularity Revisited

This post from 2009 about the Batman Singularity still gets traffic just about every day.  More recently, the internet has been asking if Batman would embrace transhumanism in his war against crime and injustice.

We know that Batman augments his strength with tech when he has to. Fights against Superman (The Dark Knight Returns), trips to Apokolips, contingency plans against a Justice League gone wrong.  But would Batman cross the threshold the singularity represents?

I think he’d upgrade within the confines of his own humanity.  I know he wouldn’t trust his deepest secrets, or the use of his particular set of skills, to tech he didn’t invent or wasn’t able to completely control.  He could already be Iron Man, but chooses Kevlar and Batropes over alloys and thrusters.  Pushing his limits is part of the deal.

I think about the so-called Batman singularity in another way: is it possible for a human being to be so physically and mentally advanced as to render the possibility of Batman meaningful in the real world?  Physically, Bruce Lee proves a vigilante Batman could exist on the streets of our Gotham analogues, at least for while.  But Batman isn’t Batman without almost unlimited wealth and a super-genius intellect.  See also Oliver Queen, Tony Stark and Ted Kord, none of whom are Batman.

It stands to reason that someone with enough resources and enough intelligence could, if born with the right genes, transform his/her body toward peak performance and master various physical disciplines enough to approximate Batman. A next-gen tech zillionaire.

Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 Reviewed

I’m late to this party, but it gives me some perspective.  There are spoilers below, and I don’t mean Stephanie Brown.

If you’re reading this post, you likely already know that the Injustice comics run was a digital-first release by DC in 2013 and a prequel to the eponymous game.  I’ve never played the game, so this won’t be about that.

Issue #1 itself.

The strongest thing in this book was the interaction between Clark and Bruce on the rooftop when Clark tries to tell Bruce that Lois is pregnant and of course, ball buster that he is, Bruce beats him to the punch.  When Clark asks how he knows, you’ve already been down this Batman always knows road so many times  you sort of just want Bruce to mess with him.  The interaction ends beautifully, though, and perfectly.

As for the conceits that get Jimmy and Lois to the docks, I’m not buying.  Do reporters risk their lives to uncover the buying and selling of elected officials?  Have they ever?  Should they?  And if the journalist in question happens to be married to Superman, is it really a step back for feminism to maybe have him ride along on things like this?  Maybe, except for the fact that “I’ll have Jimmy with me.  Because I need a picture,” is offered as reason enough for Superman to go ahead and hang out with Bats instead.  Shoehorning aside, the message seems to be “I don’t need Superman to come with me.  Any man will do.”  So, that’s really a net loss for the cause.  If you hated The Killing Joke for all of the reasons we shouldn’t have read it as 4th graders, what goes down at the docks is hard to take.  Maybe its the Joker’s get up or his evil snark, but the death of Jimmy Olson, shocking as it is, also feels like a cameo from that book.

The biggest take away from this issue, for me, is how awful Superman’s New 52 costume really is.  All of the embellishments take so much away from the sheer grandeur of Superman as an icon.  In a book like this, that’s fine, telegraphing all kinds of complexities.  But as the default visual markings of he most iconic superhero ever, it’s a needless story-telling hurdle.  Two-and-a-half years into the design, I’m convinced it needs to go.   It’s too distracting, too busy, too much.  It gets in the visceral way.

If we’re going to embrace flying men anyway, embrace this.  There’s no reason not to.

Speaking of better versions of Superman costumes, have you seen Val-Zod?