Turkish comic book artist Mahmud Asrar (M.A.Asrar) first grabbed attention through his work on the independent anthology Digital Webbing Presents, before moving onto much bigger and better things in both the American and non-American comic book markets.
For this particular piece of comic book art, he goes for an awesome stylized Supergirl in action shot, with a rather menacing figure keeping watch!
Iron Man 3 (2013)
A deadly extremist terrorist has now moved from causing chaos in the Middle East to striking out directly against the United States of America, rocking the country with a series of devastating and untraceable explosions. But the Mandarin isn’t the only demon that Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, will have to track and face-down: there is an even more sinister, homegrown plot on the brew, not to mention his own damaged psyche to get under control following the alien invasion of Earth just a few months ago.
In other words, things are going to get quite bad, quite quickly, and quite close to home.
Director Shane Black takes over the reins from Jon Favreau for the final installment of what has been a thoroughly entertaining Iron Man big-screen trilogy, and pleasingly he massively delivers the goods, releasing a relentlessly enjoyable comic book action movie, filled to the brim with story, drama, action, humor and twists galore.
Borrowing heavily on the concepts introduced by Warren Ellis’ epic Extremis story line, this particular script allows Robert Downey, Jr. to once again fully embrace the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man, with his usual combination of fun, intensity, irrelevance, and charm, and as per usual it is pretty difficult not to like the playboy inventor problem child Stark that Downey, Jr has so made his own in this trilogy outing.
Visually Iron Man 3 is epic, the special effects are amazing and as per usual the suits are simply awe-inspiring, especially now with the added trick which Tony has built in for this outing. Added to this, the strong performances from all the actors involved, the great fight choreography, and pumping musical score, all mixed together leaves you with a fantastic action movie that has a great story, delivers on the comic book-fuelled action, and is guaranteed to keep you watching from start to finish.
In other words, every comic book fan’s dream movie.
It certainly ranks right up there in terms of my favourite comic book movie adaptations, snuggled just behind Avengers (which simply can’t be beat).
(Oh, and I can even forgive what they did the Mandarin, that’s how much I enjoyed this one!)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Man_3
Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore (2013)
An enigmatic terrorist wearing an unusual, highly advanced techno-organic white suit of armour appears to have the ability to control both organic and electronic material – and appears to be quite happy to kill, destroy and maim on his way to fulfill his yet unveiled quest.
But it would appear that this new villain shares some sort of past connection with Iron Man, and unfortunately it may just be War Machine who ultimately pays the price for this…
2010’s Marvel Anime Iron Man outing, directed by Yuzo Sato and produced by the famed Madhouse animation studio, was disappointingly a monster of the week type of show, but it was certainly an interesting and not a particularly horrible experiment which I did rather enjoy in the end.
Well it obviously did well enough to spin off a full length direct to video anime film in 2013, this time with Hiroshi Hamasaki taking the directorial reins, and once again being produced by anime powerhouse studio, Madhouse.
Visually Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore is a tour de force, slickly animated with some exceptional choreography, visual style and flair that you only seem to be able to get from a Japanese anime production.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t quite match this, and disappointingly, the voice acting even less so. The story is a bit of a mess, and at times the pseudo-philosophical mechanized angst-driven plot bogs it down badly, especially when you combine it with an antagonist who is simply just too enigmatic and too unmotivated. Luckily the frequent action sequences do make up for this to a degree, and it has to be said, it IS quite a treat to get a bonus showing of Nick Fury, Hawkeye and even the Punisher on screen.
I’m not sure what the Japanese script and dialogue is like, but unfortunately the English version isn’t all that great. A lot of the lines are just a little bit too quick-fire, a little too forced and often insincere, unfortunately meaning that the voice acting suffers accordingly.
Nevertheless, this is a polished animated movie with a pulse-pounding soundtrack and fantastic visuals, meaning that even though it isn’t the greatest comic book related movie out there, it certainly is worth picking up if you enjoy Japanese anime sensibilities.
Superman: Unbound (2013)
A dangerous android probe heralds the coming of a sinister galactic evil to Earth, prompting the Man of Steel and his newly arrived cousin, the young and unsure Supergirl, to take proactive measure to try and ensure Earth remains out of his treacherous and world devouring clutches.
But with the knowledge of literally tens of thousands of worlds at his disposal, there is very little that the all knowing Brainiac can’t overcome…
It’s a bit of a pity that financial risk means that only Batman, Superman and Justice League movies get churned out in the awesome DC Universe Animated Original Movie series these days, but nevertheless, Superman: Unbound is the 16th film in the series and as per usual, it is a strong, enjoyable, and worthy addition to what really is turning out to be a marvellous franchise for comic book fans.
Based on Superman: Brainiac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, Superman: Unbound brings to the screen an updated Silver Age villain and prop in the forms of Brainaic and the Bottled City of Kandor, and does so credibly. The story is entertaining, features the complete Superman cast, brings a lot of Krypton lore with it, and despite a slightly too clean resolution at the end, is a thrilling tail of an overwhelmed and outmatched Superman and Supergirl, fighting against the odds to save our planet.
A classic Superman tale in other words.
As with all the movies in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series, Superman: Unbound features its own unique animation style and I have to be honest, I didn’t particularly like it. I certainly got used to it, but it is not a particular favourite of mine. Nevertheless, outside of the visual style and one or two silly animation gaffes, the actual animation is slick and well choreographed, and the movie is by no stretch of the imagination a poorly animated affair.
Voice acting is actually pretty enjoyable and the musical score is top notch (as expected given the series’ high production values), and overall it is a polished package that makes for an action-packed, enjoyable Superman viewing that is sure to entertain pretty much all the comic book fans out there.
Certainly worth the watch, and quite enjoyable to boot.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Unbound
Comic book artist Phil Noto produces some stunning, clean line artwork on the comic book scene, and is well known for his cover work and beautiful illustrations, often featuring female characters with a very retro feel attached. At one stage a clean up artist for Disney, there is a surprising lack of information surrounding Phil Noto online, but if you are keen, you could always follow the man on Twitter or at his Tumblr blog.
This particularly stunning illustration stars everyone’s favourite Kryptonian lass, Supergirl.
Adam Hughes just has a wonderful knack for drawing the female form, and his ability to craft the most beautiful pin-up cover girls is almost legendary.
As per usual, he certainly doesn’t let the fanboys down with this particular cover he crafted for Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes issue 23 (which was formerly titled Legion of Super-Heroes until the name change come issue 16, volume 5), placing a suitably demure pin-up version of everyone’s favourite female Kryptonian sitting on an asteroid.
She seems to like it.
Despite being renamed to Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes from issue 16 volume 5 onwards, the Legion has always been one of those books that you can’t help but wonder if anyone truly cares about, and yet which always seems to be in DC’s actively published lineup. Weird.
Anyway, maybe adding Supergirl was the ticket to continue it’s success, but for me that fantastic artwork of Barry Kitson was what was holding it afloat. Despite always seeming to be a bit underrated when it comes to interior artists, Kitson’s work has always enthralled me with his square-jawed, solid looking heroes and his simple but highly effective and clean linework.
Like this cover he churned out for issue 23 with the help of Nathan Eyring. See, see what I mean about pretty lines!?
Lex Luthor is president no more, Batman has saved the world from the impact of an arriving meteor, and a strange young woman has made her appearance, confused, unable to comprehend our language and most important of all, wreaking devastating havoc with her uncontrollable powers – which are very similar to those of Superman!
But this girl’s arrival has sparked the interest of another, eager to replace the captain of his honor guard now that Big Barda has defected – Beware. Darkseid is coming.
I’m a big fan of the recent spate of DC and Warner Bros. Animation animated films released directly to DVD, and up until now, the DC line has been particularly strong, with major hits like Wonder Woman, Superman: Doomsday and Batman: Under the Red Hood to name but a few.
However, the 2010 released Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is certainly not one of their best attempts I’m afraid.
The story revolves around the introduction of Supergirl to our world and the forming of her relationship with her adult cousin, Clark Kent, better known as Superman to us. Although Kara Zor-El was older than her cousin Kal-El when they were both ejected from the dying Krypton, her escape pod ran off course, resulting her being lost at space and thus remaining in suspended animation for a far longer period of time than her now adult cousin.
After being initially corralled by this world’s heroes, she gets taken in under Superman’s wing and is soon learning to adapt and survive in our world – as well as getting to grips with her slightly stronger than Superman’s power set.
However, her unheralded arrival and amazing potential does not go completely unnoticed for long, and Darkseid of Apokolips soon finds himself hatching a plan for her capture and eventual transformation into his loyal puppet – though his end goal might be a little more sinister than just that!
Directed by Lauren Montgomery, a rising superstar in the world of animated feature directors, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is based on Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman arc “The Supergirl from Krypton”, with the script being handled by Tab Murphy. Unfortunately, its at this point that the first major flaw for this film hits you – its pacing is just absolutely horrible. The story has enough decent elements to work with, but unfortunately the pace at which events unfold or rather bang together is just too unrelenting and comes across as too hurried, compressing far too much time into the space that viewers are meant to fill in with their imagination. This is a bit jarring and at times you feel that the film is basically just hurtling between all the important bits, hurrying so that it can arrive at the all important battle sequences (of which there are quite a number by the way).
This poor pacing means that emotional connections with characters never really truly form and thus lots of the more emotional moments are simply lost as the film unfolds.
And then we have the art. Based in part on the late Michael Turner’s uber sexy style which presents us with cute girls with very elongated and slim waists, this style unfortunately doesn’t translate quite as well to the male characters and the faces for Batman and Superman really do leave a lot to be desired at times. Also, the particularly poorly CG animated boom tube battle sequence also leaves one gritting one’s teeth as you can’t help but spot the glaring animation errors and lack of fluidity in places.
But it isn’t all bad news mind you. As I mentioned, the female characters are all drawn particularly well and are a feast for the eye, and for the most part, the plentiful fight scenes are all well choreographed and fantastic to behold. And despite my grumblings over story pacing, there is no denying that there is a story in there and most important of all, it contains a major surprise moment which should catch most of you completely by surprise when it finally comes knocking!
In terms of voices, it is nice to see they kept all the voice actors from the previous Superman/Batman: Public Enemies outing (of which this is the sequel by the way), and both Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy are perfect in their roles as Superman and Batman respectively. Also, Summer Glau is a welcome addition in the form of Supergirl’s voice, though Andre Braugher didn’t quite work for me as Darkseid, with his voice simply not having that menacing and overwhelming presence one would expect from the omnipotent overlord.
So in summary, this is a competent, good looking animated film, well worth watching by any comic book fan. That said, it is definitely one of the weaker ones in the current direct to DVD animated film line-up and is perhaps one of the least emotionally enjoyable ones to watch out of the bunch.
In other words, don’t recommend it to anyone looking for the opportunity to rip into animated films and declare just how bad they are. Fans only then.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_superman_apocalypse