Between Fox’s Gotham, the Arrowverse on the CW and now the DC Universe streaming service DC Comics fans have a lot to watch these days. Starting next week we will have Gotham, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lightning and Young Justice: Outsiders all releasing new episodes weekly (that’s a lot of television). As a DC comic book fan, it’s awesome to be able to see some of my favorite characters come to life, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Also out this week from Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment is feature animated film Reign of the Supermen, the sequel to last summer’s The Death of Superman animated film.
Thanks to Fathom Events, we had the opportunity to attend a double feature presentation of both films in theaters last Monday, which together cover all three story arcs of Doomsday!, Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen. Being that we have already covered The Death of Superman last summer, we will be focusing our attention on the new film, without giving out too many minor spoilers.
The Reign of the Supermen story arc took place in June 1993 through October of that same year in Action Comics, Superman, Adventures of Superman and Superman: The Man of Steel. The writers for these stories were Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson. Which followed the four supermen trying to take over for the fallen Man of Steel. They were Last Son of Krypton, Superboy, Steel and Cyborg Superman. But as we know by the end of the story there is only one true Superman.
While revising the first film The Death of Superman, there was sense of repetition that took away from the film since we had seen this done previously in an animated film, not to mention the feature battle in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is where Reign of the Supermen has an advantage as it explores characters that most audiences are not used to seeing, specifically the four characters trying to replace Superman in Metropolis which are Superboy, voiced by Cameron Monaghan who we currently know as Jeremiah Valeska on Gotham. Steel aka John Henry Irons voiced by Cress Williams, who plays Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning on The CW series. Cyborg Superman aka Hank Henshaw voiced by Jerry O’Connell and Patrick Fabien and The Eradicator voiced by Charles Halford.
But this advantage also serves as a disadvantage for the film as there are many times during the film where it feels like they depend on the notion that audiences are familiar with the source material. This makes sense as they have to cover a lot of content in a short amount of time. For example, they touch on Superboy’s heritage being that he is made up of DNA of both Superman and Lex Luthor. The Justice League goes missing, Lex Luthor, voiced by Rainn Wilson, who we all know as Dwight from The Office, tries to redeem himself, the tragic story of Cyborg and a developing relationship between Lois Lane, voiced by Rebecca Romijn and Wonder Woman, voiced by Rosario Dawson. Not to mention bringing in the main antagonist and plot to the forefront of the film, oh and the return of Superman of course, who is voiced by O’Connell.
Speaking about the plot, the story does a decent job at trying to stick to the source material, although it does change a key player from the original story in order for this film to fit the current DC animated film universe that started back with Justice League: War back in 2014 and by the looks of the post credit scene will continue to down that path. For me, the strength of the film is its action sequences that often put one Superman against another. The animation is the typical DC house style that we have seen throughout the last few films, although I did notice that in some shots there seemed to be a lack of detail in characters.
Overall, although entertaining, there was nothing special about this film. I thought that the return of Superman was handled poorly and that this was also a missed opportunity to set up a Green Lantern film going forward, why? Well, I will let you research that one yourself. For me the strongest three characters in the film were Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and Superboy, who I hope to see in a Titans animated film sometime in the near future. What is teased for a future film definitely seems a lot more interesting although it could come off as redundant as well. Check out out yourself and let us know what you think! As I said, the film is currently available digitally and will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack January 29th, 2019 as well as streaming on the DC Universe app.
In film news, I was very excited to hear about the New Gods film being developed with Ava DuVernay on board to direct. Out of all the characters in the DC Universe one of my favorites is Scott Free aka Mister Miracle, so I was very excited to find out that the protagonist for this film would be Miracle and Big Barda. Who would have thought that they would get their own film? Especially with other more prominent characters that we have yet to see. The news this week was that the antagonists for this film would be Granny Goodness and the Female Furies. Which makes sense as Granny Goodness raised both Miracle and Barda on Apokolips. Further down the road if this film makes it into production we will cover these characters in depth, if it doesn’t make it… we’ll do it anyway and talk about what it could have been.
Also in the DC film news, this week production on Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn which is being directed by Cathy Yan with a script by Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson and stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina and Ewan McGregor. It is rumored to wrap up production sometime in April with a set release date of February 7, 2020. This means that we will hopefully soon get our first look at their costumes, I am especially curious at what they will have Black Mask look like. We will see soon enough.
By the time this is released there will be three more episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders up on DC Universe. Also don’t miss out on the mid-season premieres of Supergirl, Arrow and Black Lightning that kick off this Sunday and Monday night.
Last but certainly not least, I would like to congratulate Action Comics #1000 for being the best selling single issue comic book of 2018. This amazing milestone was celebrated in a giant eighty page comic book that featured some of the top talent from DC Comics. With that said let’s take a look at my top DC comic books from this week. For more in-depth coverage on these titles and others be sure to listen to The Comic Source Podcast!
5. Catwoman #7 written by Joelle Jones with artwork by Elena Casagrande and Joelle Jones
4. Detective Comics #996 written by Peter J. Tomasi with artwork by Jaime Mendoza & Doug Mahnke
3. Justice League Dark #7 written by James T. Tynion IV with artwork by Raul Fernandez and Alvaro Martinez
2. Red Hood: Outlaw #30 written by Scot Lobdell with artwork by Pete Woods
1. The Batman Who Laughs #2 written by Scott Snyder with artwork by Jock
If you’ve gotten a chance to watch Reign of the Supermen, what were your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below!