TV Runback – Green Lantern Animated Series

Soooo we have those days where we catch up on a show. We missed the buzz. We become busy and forget an episode. Some of us are just plain old lazy. Thanks to the wonders of DVD box sets, Netflix, and the internet, more people are watching television shows than ever. This is what I’ve been catching up on.

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The show debuted in 2011 alongside Young Justice and unfortunately, I was wary of this series for a few reasons. One of the reasons was Cartoon Network’s notorious history with ending DC shows abruptly (Young JusticeBeware the Batman, Teen Titans) and getting attached to doomed shows is the worst. Secondly, although I love The Incredibles style and direction, I enjoy traditional two-dimensional animation (Avatar, Batman, Dragon Ball, Full Metal Alchemist) over heavy CGI (Star Wars Rebels, Cubix, Donkey Kong CountryIron Man: Armored Adventures). So when I decided to give the show a chance, I went in with high hopes for one of my favorite characters. By the grace of Oa, the show is incredible and every episode makes an impact in this 26 episodes series.

spoiler-alert

The Lanterns Aren’t Just Green

The show opens up by introducing test-pilot Hal Jordan, who at this point is an established Green Lantern. If you don’t know Green Lantern, he is one of many that is equipped with a ring that is powered by will and can create any construct the user imagines. It is considered the most powerful weapon in the universe and each Green Lantern is given a sector in the universe to patrol (akin to cops and precincts). Hal meets up with fellow Green Lantern Kilowog to answer a distress signal and the two board a secret spaceship to investigate the murders of Green Lanterns in outer sectors. Turns out these murders are caused by an opposing faction of Red Lanterns, whose rings work by tapping into the rage in their hearts and letting anger run rampant. From there, each episode slowly builds to an overall arc, while developing each character on even grounds. Red Lantern Razer, ship A.I. and honorary Lantern, Aya, and the Guardians of the Universe all become major parts of the story. After the first few episodes of the season, it is discovered that there are more emotions in the spectrum that are synced up to corresponding Lantern powers, introducing a whole new world of the galaxy that allows characters of all archetypes to find a place in the overall narrative.

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The Orange Lantern taps into one of the darker powers in the Green Lantern lore and this image does a fantastic homage to Green Lantern Volume 3 #50.

The Source Material does Geoff Johns Proud

Famed DC writer and a man of the people, Geoff Johns is a key architect in reviving great DC characters and reinventing them for the modern era. He’s taken Justice Society, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern to the forefront by bringing their rich universe to the forefront. His run on Green Lantern introduced many new key elements, including the introduction of the elemental spectrum and connecting every element into the Green Lantern mythos. Episodes dig into his characterization of Hal Jordan and his post-Spectre days (Green Lantern: Rebirth), but we also see some spotlights on other planets and Lanterns, such as Iolande, Guy Gardner, Solaak and more from the Green Lantern Corps comics. There are plenty of deviations from the comics (such as introducing Red Lanterns before Yellow), but the right inspirations and tones are taken with the overall handling of the universe, leading to another point…

There’s more to the show than the Main Man

I enjoy Hal’s character and story arc, but luckily, we’re also treated to spotlights on many of the characters in the Lantern Corps. Learning about Aya’s struggle to humanize herself, Razer’s struggle with Anger and his past, Kilowog’s dedication to duty over family, and Hal’s leadership role often leading him headstrong into trouble, the teams bounces off each other well and it feels natural that the teams works off each others strengths and shortcomings. The plot of the villains, the Guardians of the Universe, and of the non-Lantern characters create a much larger universe that stands on its own. You never wonder what Superman could do in this situation, because the problems call for the work of the Lanterns and the threats are conquered by teams, not necessarily heroes. Serious problems such as soldiers sacrificing themselves for their families, mind controlled attacks, and cover-ups that lead to rebellions and war are heavy in the store and the show delves into these risks with incredibly emotional payoffs. Planets are revisited, supporting characters stay relevant, and every detail seems to come full circle by the big finale. The saddest thing about the show is that it was cancelled due to its coincidence with the live-action film, but for one season, Green Lantern proves itself worthy in every episode.

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While the series has been taken off Netflix, the Blu-ray release has the full season on 2 discs, and it definitely worth it if you’re a fan of the DC Comics Universe.

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5 Hard Truths About the Marvel Cinematic Universe

As we get more movies from the popular Marvel Studios, we find that there are some things that are evolving faster than we can process them. Some things are beautiful, some things are not so great, and both casual fans and comic book nerds will have to learn to accept these things. The Marvel train is going full speed and there’s no stopping it now. Here are five hard truths about the MCU, whether you like it or not.

Everything begins and ends with Iron Man (Tony Stark).

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When Marvel announced an Iron Man movie was coming out, People weren’t sure what to expect, as Iron Man wasn’t the poster boy (it was a tie between Wolverine and Spider-Man). Thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s performance and influence, the world of Marvel was born and now Iron Man is at the crux of everything. Building Ultron instead of Hank Pym, becoming the first public hero, and leading the Avengers, Iron Man will have a part in every major plotline in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

There will be humor.

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DC movies (and shows) have been on a streak of seriousness, aside from CW’s The Flash. On the other hand, Marvel seems to work humor alongside the action and drama. Avengers Age of Ultron may have as many humorous moments as it did incredible action sequences, and even Guardians of The Galaxy incorporated humor into its very conclusion.

Everyone is hanging out together.

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Both Steve Rogers and Tony Stark have sidekicks, but Tony Stark is also known to hang out with Bruce Banner. Nick Fury is in everything and knows everybody. Much like in the comics, these characters appear in each other’s stories and with Captain America: Civil War’s casting list, the cameos are endless.

No movie will ever match the comic that inspired it.

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This is both a good thing and bad thing. While Captain America: The Winter Soldier mirrored the comic that inspired it, the movie took some liberties to make sure it fit the time frame of the movie universe. There’s also the case where not so great comics inspire the movies, and the differentiation between the two is a good thing (see 2013 AGE OF ULTRON event).

At least 10% of the movie is setup for the future.

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The initial fun of the Marvel movies was the endings. After the credits rolled, audiences were treated to a small scene that would give a slight nod to the future of the movies. No moment was greater than seeing Nick Fury in Tony Stark’s house to talk about the Avengers initiative. However, as Thor’s cave scene in Age of Ultron was any indicator, these movies also have to make sure everything ties in together. The problem I have is that some scenes, like Thor’s little side-story, seem to detract from the main plotline that was being built over the course of the Phase 2 Marvel movies. In my opinion, these moments may seem more fitting in one movie, at the end of the credits, or to be completely removed altogether. The end scenes used to be fun and surprising, but now they feel expected and the fun seems to be gone.

Going into Ant-Man in July, we’ll see how he fits into this strange new world where everybody knows everybody.

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Things I’ll Miss About Marvel’s Ultimate Universe

Secret Wars hits the shelves this month, and this week marks the release of Ultimate End, the final issues left of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. For those who don’t know, the Ultimate Universe is an alternate reality that updated many of the Marvel mainstays for modern readers. Back in 2000, Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men launched the characters in a new way. As the universe formed, so did the titles, as Ultimate Fantastic Four and The Ultimates (aka Avengers) came to the forefront. With this year being the 15th and last year of the universe, I’d like to note some things I’ll miss about the beloved alternate reality.

Costume Design

Ultimatum05FinchWraparoundCoverWhile some characters maintain similarities to their main universe counterparts, the Ultimate Universe allowed for some much-needed redesigns. The main avengers cast had great updates, with Thor being one that truly separated him from his legacy. The Ultimate Nick Fury is what brought about casting Samuel L. Jackson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as his likeness was used for the design. The designs used for the Amazing Spider-Man movie were closer to the Ultimate designs, and that was a great thing, especially for Electro. Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man, and Moon Knight all had different designs that were used as influences for the main universe’s updated designs. Even the X-Men sported more manageable and realistic outfits that fit just right.

Keeping Things Close

Spider-Man. Fantastic Four. X-Men. Ultimates. While there were plenty of mini-series featuring single heroes, these four books carried the whole Universe. It was much easier to jump into these titles to get a grand sense of the Marvel world. Ultimate Spider-Man alone introduced Hulk, Daredevil, many of the street level heroes, and his whole world on top of all that.

Bold Choices

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The Ultimate universe was a playground where characters can be reworked, within reason. A big change that came was the event titled Ultimatum, which saw Magneto trying to destroy the world when it was thought his children, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, had died. The whole world was affected, and our heroes fought to save a flooded New York. It may not have been the most well-received event, but the writers stood by it and continued on, with the event having lasting effects in every book. Plus, if it wasn’t for Ultimatum, we wouldn’t have J. Jonah Jameson give the best apology to Spider-Man ever.

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Mixing Things Up

The Ultimates hate each other. Wolverine gets ripped in half by a Hulk who eats people. Deadpool hosts his own “The Most Dangerous Game” by hunting X-Men on a deserted island. The Watcher pops up all over the world. Kitty Pryde dates Spider-Man? These are a few things that kept the universe fresh and unexpected. The fun of the Ultimate Universe is that it kept things moving and expanding, never stagnating.

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Ultimate Spider-Man

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If nothing else, the Ultimate Spider-Man series is by far the greatest contribution the Ultimate line gave to comics. Ultimate Spider-Man revitalized the hero as a high school student and kept him there. This Spider-Man faced the sinister six, the Ultimates, the X-Men, Venom, Carnage, an actual Green Goblin and everything under the sun, while still doing his due diligence with his Aunt May, in school, and with friends. He passed the mantle to Miles Morales, who made his own impact as a fantastic, if not better, Spider-Man. Both of these heroes made their mark like no one else, and the world they leave behind will be missed. It’s a touch personal for me because my first time reading Spider-Man from start to finish was the original Ultimate Spider-Man run, and for that, I’m forever grateful to have enjoyed it as it came.

I am happy that Mark Bagley and Brian Michael Bendis will be helming the Ultimate Universe’s final moments, as they are the team that created this world that I’ll forever cherish. Thank you for 15 great years.
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ICYMI: Legends of Tomorrow Trailer

First things first. SPOILER ALERT FOR THE CW’s ARROW AND FLASH. 

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Well, we’ve been hearing about that CW Arrow/Flash spinoff for quite some time, but we also heard it got ordered directly to series, and now we know why. Legends of Tomorrow look like a whole hell of a lot of fun, and it looks like DC Comics really just wants to go all out and in on television. But first, let’s check out that Legends of Tomorrow trailer before we talk about it a bit.

Um. Yeah. That is happening. There is so much to talk about and discuss about what may or may not happen, but a more in-depth look is probably for another article. If we’re just talking about what’s happening in the trailer, that’s definitely one of the more odd and interesting groups of villains and heroes I’ve ever seen. I would have never guessed that group to be together for a comic book, but to have their own TV show? Even more surprising, but there isn’t a lot to dislike about what happens in this trailer.

DC and the CW have done a great job of bringing excellent special effects to shows on TV budgets, so I expect no less from this show, and the trailer certainly didn’t disappoint. Expect another article about Legends of Tomorrow soon from Nerd Swole. Until then though, let us know your thoughts!

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The 5 Best Comic Book Shower Thoughts

If you’re wondering what a shower thought is, it’s something that you think of in the shower or really anywhere and you end up having this face. REvelation It makes you think, makes you laugh a little bit, and sometimes pondering your very own existence. And of course reddit being the site that it is (the front page of the internet!) they had to have some comic book shower thoughts.

5. If the Flash was really good at chess, he would be Grandmaster Flash

by TheTwentyTwo character_bio_576_flash     This is just kind of a funny coincidence really.

4. When The Hulk gives up and reverts to Bruce Banner, he just rage quit.

by wildxlion bannerhulk Pretty straightforward, but still pretty funny. Consider a Hulk playing games and getting mad about campers and throwing his controller down through the ground and it coming out in China.

 

3. If Green Lantern smoked some Green, he’d have a lot more creative constructs.

by TheTwentyTwo character_bio_576_greenlantern I mean guns, walls, and jetpacks are cool, but imagine the super psychaledic and hilarious constructs he would make if he were high.

2. Spider-Man is just a boy going through changes shooting white stuff all over the city.

by cmonkey9876 spider-man That’s quite an interesting complex that Spider-Man is going through. Puberty is tough, man.

1. Batman and Daredevil should switch names.

by Skiddle1138 Batman_Daredevil Matt Murdock is blind and relies on his incredible sense of sound to orient his surroundings, something bats are known to be very apt at. Bruce Wayne is constantly grappling hooking around and jumping around off of buildings and just in general doing adrenaline junky type activities (base jumping, driving at incredibly fast speeds, etc) or done by someone you might call, a daredevil.

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Thoughts About Stuff: What if a Male Character was the Hero in Captain Marvel?

We’re not asking what if Captain Marvel was a guy, she is going to be Carol Danvers. When I say hero, I mean the person that saves the day at the very end with the city/country/world/universe in danger. So then what would happen if Carol Danvers was in a situation where she went toe to toe with her villain, and almost won, but ended up in a dangerous situation, and was saved by a supporting male character?

Would the internet explode in a huge rage? I’m pretty certain it would, but why? In the very first movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s Pepper Potts that kills Obadiah Stane, not Tony Stark. In Thor: The Dark World, it’s Jane who creates the weapon for Thor to use to kill Malekith, in Iron Man 3, it is again Pepper Potts who actually kills the villain Aldrich Killian, and Black Widow closed the wormhole in The Avengers and certainly had a lot more to do with killing Alexander Pierce than Cap himself did in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

So why would it upset people if Captain Marvel was saved by a male supporting character? It’s a question I’ve given a lot of thought, because recently there is an e-mail going around from one of the CEOs of Marvel listing unsuccessful female-lead movies.

If you haven’t seen it, this is what it says:

“From: “IP” 
To: “Lynton, Michael”
Subject: Female Movies
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 05:32:50 -0400

Michael,
As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples.  There are more.

Thanks,

Ike

1.  Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elektra.htm

2.  Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film
was a disaster.  http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=catwoman.htm


3.   Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie
came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.

Best,

Ike

I have not seen other e-mails in this conversation or the context, so if they are out there please correct me, but I don’t see anything in here about not doing female movies because those were movies were unsuccessful. This could just as easily be an e-mail about what to avoid doing when working on Captain Marvel. Like I said, I absolutely admit, I haven’t delved into deep research about the context, so if there is more to it proving that this e-mail is an argument against female lead movies, please let me know. But as of right now, it appears a lot of assumptions are being made.

The reason I’m discussing this in relation to the question posed in the title is that I’m just wondering if maybe, just maybe people are looking for a reason to be mad with Marvel sometimes. I understand getting behind Mark Ruffalo’s comment about the lack of Black Widow toys (a totally legit complaint), and Scarlett Johansson’s spoof on Marvel’s lack of a female lead movie, because Black Widow has proven she is incredibly popular among fans.

But why is it assumed that everything Marvel does now is in some way anti-feminist? This article about the e-mail above is one example, I’ve seen tweets where people are upset that Ant-Man has only one female character (even though it is slated to also have Haley Atwell and Judy Greer), and the anger over Black Widow being captured in Age of Ultron. And if Captain Marvel doesn’t deliver the finishing blow to the villain and is saved by a male character, I’m 99% there would be an internet rage shitstorm, even though Iron Man has never defeated any of his villains on his own, and twice where he was saved by Pepper.

All I’m saying is that there are reasons to be mad with Marvel like I mentioned earlier, the lack of apparel/toys for Black Widow is really disappointing and having no solo movie is also a letdown (it is worth noting Hawkeye doesn’t have one either though). But there are also things that people probably need to dial it back a bit on, the e-mail above is one example (again, if there is proof that this is an e-mail about not greenlighting female movies, let me know), and being mad at Ant-Man for only having Evangeline Lily on the poster seems pretty grumpy for the sake of being grumpy.

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Arrow’s John Diggle as John Stewart?

David Ramsey’s character, John Diggle on Arrow has been a solid right arm to Oliver Queen.  In fact, many fans, including myself, often wonder “when is Diggle going to get his own costume?”  Well, for many weeks, there have been rumors about John Diggle possibly becoming John Stewart aka the Green Lantern and I believe it could work for many reasons.

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We know very little about John Diggle.  So far, it is known that he served in Afghanistan and his brother was killed by Deadshot.  Other than that, he has a baby daughter and took part in a mission with the Suicide Squad.  Therefore, it’s possible to expand upon Diggle’s backstory and perhaps even suggest that Diggle is an alias and that his real name is actually John Stewart.  Some similarities include military backgrounds and standing their ground in the face of adversity.

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Furthermore, Diggle consistently represents the voice of reason within Team Arrow and his leadership skills are eminent during Oliver’s brief absence in season 3.  Personally, I think it would be awesome to see another well known DC Comics character within the shared DC TV universe.  Consequently, a power ring fueled by will power may be too much for the streets of Arrow.  A Green Lantern could easily deal with most of Oliver’s grounded adversaries.  On the other hand, the success of the show opened the door for the supernatural with The Flash spin-off yet, I’m positive many fans of Arrow wouldn’t like to see Diggle leave the show or Team Arrow for that matter.

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David Ramsey has neither confirmed nor denied that he could eventually become Green Lantern.  He did admit the producers of Arrow are exploring the possibility but even he doesn’t know any details.  As for me, I’m all for expanding the TV universe and admit that I would totally geek out if Diggle appeared in costume reciting the Green Lantern oath.

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Spider-Man Is Joining The Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Welp. Here we go. The prayers of fanboys and fangirls everywhere has been answered. Here is the press release in full if you want to read it.

The deal basically goes to say that first Spider-Man will be introduced in an MCU film and then have a standalone film that will be co-produced by Sony and Marvel in 2017.

Most of the wording and phrasing in the press release would suggest we will be getting a brand new Spider-Man and creative team (sorry fans of The Amazing Spider-Man). This will be especially fun to follow to see who we may see cast as a new Spider-Man. #DonaldForSpiderMan coming back maybe?

The common and easy speculation is that he will appear in Captain America: Civil War. However, it would not surprise me if Marvel wanted to get Spider-Man in the game as soon as possible. An Age of Ultron end of credits reveal/appearance doesn’t seem out of the question. Afterall, if there is so much global fighting, surely someone is defending New York right?

We’ll await more news as it comes out, but there is definitely a perfect panel to describe what’s going on here.

MaryJane

Obviously, we’re all excited, but we have to pause and really commend Sony and Marvel for coming together on something I never imagined happening with the way the deals were structured.

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Cool Stuff: Batmobile Phone Case

I’m sure everyone has wondered what it would be like to have a batmobile cell phone that has incredible features with LED lights and such. Oh, just me? Maybe you’ll change your mind after this video.

While I could do without all of the over-the-top dubstep, and while it is definitely a novelty and not practical at all, it is pretty dang cool. Phones are getting pretty big anyways, whats a little bit more lost pocket room?

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Roundtable: Cosplay in 2015.

With a new year it means new cons, and with new cons you can definitely expect some pretty incredible cosplay, and with that Nerd Swole wanted to talk about what to expect in 2015.

What cosplay did you see in 2014 that blew your mind?

Brian: 

Hulkbuster
’nuff said.

Alex:

Even more terrifying when you see this in person.
Even more terrifying when you see this in person.

Yeksson: 

Jessica Nigri, primarily because she cosplay as my 2nd favorite Eeveelution, Umbreon.
Jessica Nigri, because she cosplayed as my 2nd favorite Eeveelution, Umbreon.

What cosplay do you expect to see the most of in 2015?

Brian: I’d expect to see a lot more Star-Lord, considering the smash success that Guardians of the Galaxy was and the relative ease with which the costume could be made/obtained. I’d also expect Flash to be pretty popular considering the success of the TV show.

Alex: I’d say the Star Wars fan-base is about to triple due to the new comic, new trailer for Episode VII, and new projects such as Rebels and the upcoming Battlefront.

Yeksson: I honestly have no idea.  Maybe Little Mac will be up there due to the recent release of Super Smash Bros 4.

Which cosplay would you like to see in 2015?

Brian: Seeing a close to scale Ultron would be pretty dang cool.

Alex: I hardly see a few of these guys alone, let alone together, but a unified Green Lantern corps with all 5 lanterns, plus any of the other corps, would be incredible.

Yeksson: Seeing a CW Network inspired Flash would be really cool.

Sometimes a celebrity walks around on convention floors dressed up (Maisie Williams as Spider-Man, Bryan Cranston as Walter White), what celebrity-cosplay combo would you like to see?

Brian: It would probably make my life if Danny Pudi (Abed from Community) was dressed up as Batman.

Alex: It’d have to be Kevin Conroy as Batman. The voice alone is fanboy worthy.

Yeksson: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and him being in character would be a plus!

If the Nerd Swole team were to do an ensemble cosplay, what should it be?

Brian: As Team Nerd Swole, where we just wear our Nerd Swole shirts. Or maybe the non main 7 of the Justice League, considering I have an Arrow costume.

Alex: It’s more of a game than the costume, but if the Nerdswole team dressed up as sneaking characters in gaming (Batman from the Arkham series, Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, Joel from The Last of Us, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell, etc) and tried sneaking around the Con floor, trying to get the jump on each other.

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Yeksson: 

For trolling purposes
For trolling purposes

…or three members of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,

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