Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dan's Justice League

So, with Man of Steel on the way, the implication from Warner Brothers is that it will set the stage for a DC shared movie universe.  I have to admit, as much as I am anticipating what I have seen of this film, I don't see WB's movie department really being able to build in that way, particularly with they, their TV associates, and right now in my mind their comics, completely unable to come up with a Wonder Woman that works.  It did get me thinking though, who I would WANT to see in a JL project, and I realized, there really hasn't been a project in a while that really captured me outside of the animated shows I have seen on TV, all of which are being cancelled apparently.  So there's that.

So for no other reason than my wish list, here is what I would want to see in any JL project, by bringing together these particular versions of these characters.  One is going to stand out like a sore thumb, but think about it a bit before you declare it "outrageous" (that's a clue).

I have not seen MoS obviously, but for my money, if I need a modern version of Superman I am going to draw from Mark Waid's "Birthright."  To me, it is the definitive origin of Superman from a decade that rewrote the story about five times.  Indeed, it stands out to me as the best telling of it in the character's long history.  I do want to give honorable mention to Grant Morrison's "All-Star Superman" which I love a bit more as a story, but Waid does a better job of giving Superman the god-like abilities, while keeping him human.  Morrison's Superman in All-Star is simply a god.


Nothing against the actor, but after the huge misstep that was The Dark Knight Rises, Christian Bale doesn't make even the short list.  There's a lot of takes on Batman out there, and many I love, but if I can have just one it has to be the version Bruce Timm gives us in Batman: The Animated Series.  Full credit of course to Kevin Conroy who will forever be the voice I hear in my head when reading any Batman comic.  That guy, he IS The Batman.

Wonder Woman:

I saw the 2011 pilot for a proposed Wonder Woman tv series, and I think Adrianne Palicki was a great choice for the sheer physicality of Wonder Woman.  The writing however completely missed the heart. I have nothing but fondness for my delightfully...stimulating childhood memories of Lynda Carter.  If I have to choose a Wonder Woman though, I am going to include the goddess/diplomat/warrior from Greg Rucka's two years on the title.  In a four color land of over-sexual bosomy fantasy archetypes, Rucka's Wonder Woman was a wondrous woman, and definitive in my mind as the hero.  It isn't pants that Wonder Woman needs to be taken seriously; it's heart.


Every few years, someone comes along and says, "but I am going to do Aquaman right."  The result usually entails more brooding, perhaps a hook, and bouncing between more or less hair on either head or face.  Then, a couple years ago, someone really did breathe new life into "the guy who talks to fish."  I give full credit to Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  Many people discounted this throwback series as too kiddy or goofy, but really it was a fine representation of those pre-Silver Age tales that set the stage for all the classics that helped define those characters for us today.  In Aquaman we find someone who is confident, a little arrogant, and absolutely loves the fact he gets to be a superhero.  That really resonates with me as he is the guy responsible for 5/6 of the Earth.   Is it so bad that some of these heroes might actually enjoy what they do, and what a great role in the league for Aquaman to take.  We'll save the brooding for Batman.

The Flash:

Yeah, I know Barry's back.  Hurray Silver Age and all that.  For me though, I am calling on the 90s, and Mark Waid once more along with William Messner-Loebs and Mike Baron, and bringing Wally West to the table as The Flash.  He had a legacy to deal with, his own fears to calm, and a rogue's gallery in the waiting.  Yet, he could crack a joke with the best of them and was truly a hero.  Perhaps I am jaded as I really found The Flash post crisis, and though watching that old TV show, those comics really brought the character home for me.  And, I miss the Kilg%re.

Green Lantern:
GL used to be one of my very favorites.  After the last couple years of rainbows, a movie so bad it made me like the comics less, and the impact of the New 52 being lessened by keeping the GL continuity though it MAKES NO SENSE WITH THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE (see Batman for this problem too), I almost left him off.  Alas, though, Hal Jordan was at the top of my must buy list for a long time, and I do love the hard sci fi elements of the character and the supporting cast.  So, I must harken back to who made me love the character in the first place, and that was Dennis O'Neil.  Hal was a hero who asked questions, and had Green Arrow along like a bearded Jiminy Cricket to point out things Hal wouldn't always want to see.  Added bonus to picking this Hal: we get Ollie as a freebie.

Martian Manhunter:
Yes, I insist on J'onn J'onzz as being on the League.  He links our heroes mentally, and provides nearly as much power as Superman in a fight.  Oh, and he's the last of his race, blasted from another planet alien who doesn't look like he grew up in Kansas.  Sure, many verisons give us a J'onn who can take purely human form, but I prefer the Justice League Unlimited Manhunter who uses his shapeshifting as a weapon while maintaining a distance from humanity.  He's a great foil for Superman reminding him how different people can be, and I want him sitting in the Watchtower.  I dip from the Bruce Timm well again for this one.

So, there's my dream line-up.  Of course I could go on: the "JSA/Kobra: Engines of Destruction" Power Girl.  The Young Justice cartoon Black Canary.  The Jaimie Reyes Blue Beetle post "One Year Later."  As a villains, the Smallville Lex Luthor  and definitely, DEFINITELY Mark Hamill's Joker from B:TAS.  Commence your arguments... NOW!

Oh.  And a pic of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman, just because.  Somebody get this lady a writer!

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