Young Sentinels nears completion, and I am as impatient as many readers to see it finished–there is nothing like holding a complete manuscript in your hands (metaphorically speaking). There is still work to be done, but you’ve reached the top of the mountain and can enjoy the accomplishment and the view for a while. Of course I can’t give any spoilers, but I will say that I think fans of Wearing the Cape and Villains Inc. will not be disappointed.
I took a short break last weekend to man a table at my first comics convention, the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con–you’d think I would have done this sooner than summer 2013. It was a very interesting experience, and a lot of fun so I think I’ll be doing more of them; a couple of my readers even brought books for me to sign!
The other big thing was, of course, Man of Steel. Since I’d planned on seeing it anyway–Superman had been my favorite superhero growing up, and I had to see how they handled the superpowered fight scenes–I ignored all reviews so I’d go in with no preconceptions. My verdict?
Spoiler Warning! If you haven’t seen it yet, do not proceed.
Man of Steel is a solid entry into the Superman canon. While it wasn’t perfect (and what movie is?), it retold Superman’s origin in an imaginative, compelling way while breaking new ground; the single greatest departure from canon–which sets it solidly in an alternate reality from all of the comics–is Louis Lane. An intrepid roving reporter who goes where the action is (she says something early on about getting writer’s block when not wearing a flak jacket), she does her investigative thing and figures out who Superman is before he’s even Superman. In fact, it is implied by the end of the movie that quite a few people know who Superman is and are helping him keep his secret.
There were a few motivation and plot problems, but only one serious “oh c’mon” moment–and that’s when it is revealed that breathing a Kryptonian atmosphere weakens Superman. Wait, what? And then General Zod proposes to terraform Earth into New Krypton, complete with Kryptonian atmosphere. Because of course a genocidal dictator doesn’t want to be a demigod, right? A real head-scratcher, that.
That aside, however, in my opinion Man of Steel succeeded wildly. It delivered the noble Superman we all know and love, and if the dialogue wasn’t always clever the action was bone-shaking and visceral. The fight-scenes used CGI to its full potential to show us gods at war. Superman was in all ways super here (side note: just as in WtC, when Supes went supersonic they showed him forming the distinctive vapor-halo, which was awesome), and although I would have liked to see more of the aftermath the movie ended in a good place, well positioned for multiple sequels.
A last note: I really enjoyed the movie’s take on Krypton. The whole “Krypton is doomed because we have selfishly and stupidly tapped the core for energy” thing aside (an environmentalism anvil dropped very unsubtly), the portrayal of Kryptonian society is actually extremely technocratic and totalitarian. Krypton is very much a Brave New World distopia where life itself is under government control, and Jor-El and Lara are rebels; they have the first naturally conceived, non-genetically tailored child born in centuries. Indeed, while Krypton might have been destroyed by “greed,” Kryptonian civilization was destroyed by, near as I can tell, a monolithic and all-encompassing government that halted interstellar exploration and expansion, instituted rigid population control and a genetic caste system, and generally caused Krypton to stagnate so that, when the end came, all their race’s eggs were in one basket. Oops.
But then when it comes down to it, Superman has always been a libertarian idealist; he wants to help mankind generally and save as many as he can individually, but while he respects authority, it has to be on his terms. Knowing what happened to his homeworld, he doesn’t trust the government.