Complete ‘Smallville’ Series Debuting on Blu-ray Oct. 19

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Superman series, Smallville: The Complete Series will soar onto Blu-ray for the first time ever from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 19.

The set features all 218 episodes along with more than 28 hours of bonus features from all 10 seasons, plus digital copy (U.S. only).

The Emmy-winning, 10-season series based on the DC comics character explored the origins of Superman from Krypton refugee Kal-El’s arrival on Earth through his tumultuous teen years to Clark Kent’s final steps toward embracing his destiny as the Man of Steel.

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Starring Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang,  Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent, John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen, Sam Jones III as Pete Ross, Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer, Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen, Eric Johnson as Whitney Fordman, Laura Vandervoort as Kara, Callum Blue as Zod, Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague and Sam Witwer as Davis Bloome, “Smallville” has also featured guest stars including Terence Stamp, James Marsters, Michael McKean, Ian Somerhalder, Jane Seymour, Brian Austin Green, Pam Grier, Helen Slater, Michael Ironside, Julian Sands, Tori Spelling, Rutger Hauer and Christopher Reeve.

Smallville: The Complete Series — 20th Anniversary Edition includes two DVD discs with more than 28 hours of bonus features originally released on the season DVD sets. They include “The Adventures of Superboy,”  the original 1961 pilot starring John Rockwell; “A Retrospective Look at the Series’ 10-Year Journey,” an in-depth, season-by-season look at the creation of this television series; the “A Decade of Comic-Con” featurette; a Paley Festival featurette; “Smallville’s 100th Episode: Making of a Milestone,” an extended version of the original featurette included in the season five set; “Secret Origin: The American Story of DC Comics,” a feature-length documentary chronicling DC’s 75 years; audio commentaries; deleted and extended scenes; gag reels; and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Smallville: The Complete Series is currently available to own on digital.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 1/26/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence.
Voices of David Giuntoli, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton.

The latest DC Comics animated movie offers a rollicking throwback to the action movies of the 1970s, with a touch of James Bond for good measure, and a supernatural storyline that harkens back to Bruce Wayne’s training before he became Batman.

While it’s billed as a Batman movie, Soul of the Dragon puts less of a focus on the Dark Knight and puts him among an ensemble of DC action stars, primarily Richard Dragon (voiced by Mark Dacascos), a secret agent who seems to have been deliberately drawn to resemble Bruce Lee.

Dragon uncovers a plot by a cult called Kobra to open a portal to a demon dimension. To do so, they have acquired a mysterious doorway once possessed by Dragon’s old mentor, O Sensei (James Hong), who sacrificed himself years earlier to keep it sealed.

To aid him in stopping Kobra, Dragon recruits other students he trained with, including Bruce Wayne (David Gluntoli), Shiva (Kelly Hu) and Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White, who previously played a live-action version of the character on “Arrow.”)

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The movie weaves in some of the more bizarre characters from DC Comics and serves as a nice reminder of how wacky Batman comics from the 1970s could get. The core cast brings some nice chemistry to the proceedings and their mission results in some entertaining, if bloody, cartoon violence that should leave comic book movie fans satisfied.

The only real drawback might be an animation style that seems a bit stilted and modern for the subject matter.

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The Blu-ray includes a great half-hour featurette called “Batman: Raw Groove” — a retrospective about the pop culture of the 1970s that inspired Soul of the Dragon, particularly kung fu and blacksploitation movies.

The making of the film is covered more in the 18-minute “Producer Jim Krieg’s Far-Out Highlights,” which offers several filmmaker interviews, with special emphasis on Krieg, who is known for appearing in costumes appropriate to the movie he is promoting.

Rounding out the Blu-ray package are a pair of “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes — “Day of the Samurai” and “Night of the Ninja” — plus several previews for other DC Universe animated movies, including an eight-minute preview of the upcoming Justice Society: World War II.

In the 4K combo pack, all the extras are on the standard Blu-ray Disc. The 4K disc contains just the movie and its spectacular color palette.

Report: More U.S. Households Streamed Disney’s ‘Soul’ Than Warner Bros.’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Over Christmas Weekend

While Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman 1984 has generated the majority of headlines since its Christmas Day simultaneous bow in theaters and on HBO Max, Disney/Pixar Animation’s Soul quietly pulled an upset.

The jazz music-themed title was streamed by 2.4 million Disney+ households in the U.S. over the holiday weekend — 200,000 more than streamed WW84 domestically on Max, according to new data from Samba TV.

Samba TV reportedly tracks viewer recommend program data — called Automatic Content Recognition — from more than 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States.

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The Christmas weekend provided the first real test for how blockbuster movies might perform on streaming services when released in movie theaters at the same time. Disney’s Soul was pulled at the last minute from the theatrical slate and given as a freebie to 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers.

Samba said about 651,000 U.K. households streamed Soul, with the peak in both the U.S. and U.K. occurring on on Dec. 26, when just over 1 million households and 135,000 households streamed the movie, respectively.

By comparison, 2.2 million U.S. households streamed WW84 on Max, with viewership highest on Christmas (986,000) and progressively declining each day thereafter. The movie also generated $16.7 million at theaters, making WW84 the highest-grossing opening weekend theatrical release during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Samba said Disney’s live-action Mulan was streamed by 62,000 U.K. households and 259,000 U.S. households through Dec, 27. The peak in the U.K. was on Dec. 26, with nearly 20,000 households watching it that day, while in the U.S. the peak was on Dec. 25, with nearly 85,000 households streaming it.

Warner Pushing Majority of DC Superhero Movies to Theaters in 2022

Despite the relative success of simultaneously releasing Wonder Woman 1984 to theaters and HBO Max, Warner Bros. Pictures plans to return the bulk of its DC comic book-based franchise back to theaters in 2022.

In an interview with The New York Times, Walter Hamada, president of DC Comics and DC Films, said the plan is to return four of franchise’s biggest moviegoer draws back to the big screen, with two lesser heroes’ movies debuting on HBO Max. Each movie will also feature a TV series spin-off for Max.

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“With every movie that we’re looking at now, we are thinking, ‘What’s the potential Max spinoff?'” Hamada said.

Indeed, the spin-offs plan to focus on alternative universes for the same movie superhero played by a different actor, who could be either good or evil. Current DC-themed movies include a Suicide Squad sequel;  Tenet co-star Robert Pattinson in The Batman, and Dwayne Johnson playing a villain in Black Adam. Finally, The Flash, which hits theaters in 2022, will feature two Batman characters, one played by Ben Affleck and the other by Michael Keaton, who played the Caped Crusader in 1989 and 1992.

Pending TV series based DC Comics movies headed to Max include ones based on The Suicide Squad and The Batman, while Warner Bros. Television reportedly has 25 live-action and animated superhero shows such as “Superman & Lois” in production —- the latter earmarked for The CW, which WarnerMedia co-owns with CBS Entertainment Group.

“I don’t think anyone else has ever attempted this,” Hamada said. “But audiences are sophisticated enough to understand it. If we make good movies, they will go with it.”

 

Batman: Death in the Family

BLU-RAY REVIEW:  

Street Date 10/13/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray;
Not Rated;
Voices of Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, John DiMaggio, Gary Cole, Zehra Fazal. 

For this fun experiment in interactive storytelling, the Warner Bros. Animation team has taken a cue from one of the most seminal stories in DC Comics history, as well as revisited one of the more popular movies inspired by the same source.

The short film Batman: Death in the Family, based on the infamous 1988 “A Death in the Family” storyline from the Batman comics, serves as a companion to 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood, featuring most of the same voice cast as well as director Brandon Vietti at the helm.

The most notable aspect about “Death in the Family” in the comics was that the editors held a phone poll to determine whether Batman’s sidekick, Robin, would die at the hands of the Joker. This, however, wasn’t the original Robin, Dick Grayson, who had moved on to become Nightwing in the comics, but his replacement, Jason Todd, a streetwise but hotheaded kid who had grown unpopular with fans. So, by a slim margin, they voted to kill him off, and the writers of the comic obliged.

And since hardly anyone stays dead in comic books, Jason Todd eventually returned in a 2005 storyline that served as the basis for Under the Red Hood, a movie that began by briefly touching upon his death in the earlier storyline, when Joker abandons him in a warehouse filled with explosives.

The Death in the Family short, however, is not so much an adaptation of the precursor storyline to Red Hood as it is an expansion upon the death of Robin elements already used by that movie. In fact, after a striking opening title sequence, the first scenes of Death in the Family offer reused footage from the opening of Red Hood, interspliced with some newly created flashbacks to show how Jason Todd ended up being tortured by the Joker, with Batman speeding to try to save him.

So, for about five minutes, Death in the Family serves as the prequel to Under the Red Hood a lot of fans might have been expecting. Then, however, it gets to the point where, just like the comics, fans can choose to see whether Jason lives or dies.

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The movie is only interactive on the Blu-ray, and through various branching points can arrive at seven different possible endings. The digital presentation of the short offers four pre-assembled versions of the story. And here’s where things get tricky.

The primary version of the Death in the Family short would seem to be based on the version where viewers allow Jason to die, just as he did in Under the Red Hood. This version is dubbed Under the Red Hood: Reloaded, and is basically just a half hour of Bruce Wayne narrating the events that unfold in Under the Red Hood, with a nice surprise at the end involving who he’s telling the story to.

In the interactive version, the other options viewers have at the first decision point are to have Jason merely survive the explosion, or to have Batman save him at the last moment. The more interesting “what if” scenarios come with having Batman save him, as that leads to more alternate possibilities down the pike, and take advantage of a lot of references to various developments in the comics that happened in the wake of Jason’s death. This is the aspect of the short that comic book fans are likely to derive the most enjoyment from, rather than just the rehash of Under the Red Hood.

In its digital presentation, these alternate realities are represented by pre-edited shorts called Jason Todd’s Rebellion, Robin’s Revenge and Red Hood’s Reckoning.

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To round out the presentation, the Blu-ray includes four additional DC Showcase animated shorts that were originally released as extras with other recent DC animated movies.

These include Sgt. Rock, an Army hero battling Nazi zombies story that came with 2019’s Batman: Hush; Death, which came with 2019’s Wonder Woman: Bloodlines and is based on the character from Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”; the 1970s mystery The Phantom Stranger that came with 2020’s Superman: Red Sun; and Adam Strange, a tale of a space adventurer remembering his heroic past, which came with 2020’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Interestingly, while a plot thread of the comic book version of “Hush” inspired the “Under the Hood” story to resurrect Jason Todd, the movie versions of each are not related and are set in separate continuities.

The only extras on the Blu-ray are enthusiastic commentaries on all five shorts by a pair of former hosts of the DC Daily talk show that used to be presented by the DC Universe streaming service. They’re essentially fans reacting to seeing the adaptations of the source material and providing a bit of comic book history for the benefit of viewers. For their Death in the Family commentary, the Blu-ray plays it with the Under the Red Hood: Reloaded version of the short.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Available With:
Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Batwoman: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Arrow: The Complete Eighth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;

Warner;
Sci-fi/Action;
Not rated;
Stars Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist, Caity Lotz, Ruby Rose, Brandon Routh, Cress Williams, David Harewood, Tom Cavanagh, Tyler Hoechlin, John Cryer, Matt Ryan, David Ramsey, LaMonica Garrett.

Multiverses are all the rage nowadays.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the live-action DC movies are scrambling to introduce the concept in their upcoming blockbusters, filling the Internet with casting rumors of the return of previous versions of certain characters. And one reason they may be motivated to do so is how popular the idea proved in the CW Arrowverse’s big crossover event last season, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought together characters from six of the DC superhero shows and featured cameos from several more, and even referenced a few from the big screen.

The TV Crisis is based on a major DC Comics storyline from the mid-1980s, which redefined and modernized all the publication’s classic characters while seeking to streamline convoluted histories that went back decades. In doing so, characters encountered versions of themselves from parallel realities in an epic battle against a villain called the Anti-Monitor who was destroying entire universes.

The CW networks’ “Arrowverse” shows adopted the same basic premise. The series have been doing annual crossovers for a while, and have been laying the groundwork for Crisis on Infinite Earths for years.

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The crossover itself is structured like a miniseries, though each of the five parts are actually an episode from one of the participating series: part one is an episode of “Supergirl,” part two is an episode of “Batwoman,” part three is an episode of “The Flash,” part four is an episode of “Arrow,” and part five is an episode of “Legends of Tomorrow.” Though they use a unified Crisis title card instead of the individual show, the main credits still reflect the cast of that show. This is likely more a matter of contractual obligations, since it probably would have made more sense to produce the crossover as a separate production outside the purview of any of the shows. The fact that these are technically separate episodes of different series makes for some awkward distribution scenarios.

For home video, Warner has chosen to include a special bonus disc containing all five episodes and bonus materials with the relevant season Blu-ray releases of each of the series. It’s the same disc for every show, so “Arrowverse” fans who pick up the Blu-ray for each show will get it five times.

Since the individual parts are also episodes of the shows, they are also included with the regular episode runs for each show on disc. Since the miniseries version is exclusive to the Blu-ray, anyone wanting each part just on DVD has to buy each show’s separate season, and those don’t come with the special “Crisis” extras.

In years past, the crossovers on disc were handled a bit differently, with Warner including all crossover episodes on the Blu-ray for each show’s relevant season as part of the regular episode listings, so that they’ll come up in a “play all” binge.

Either way, it kind of points to a more common sense solution being to release the Crisis disc as a standalone miniseries, and not part of any of the shows’ seasons, but contracts are what they are.

The fact that these are individual episodes of each show makes for some messy plot developments in terms of where certain events happen in relation to what show they are technically happening on. Major life events affecting Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) happen on “Supergirl,” and not his own show, “Arrow.” However, “Arrow” does get a monumental cameo involving The Flash, rather than that bit of fan service actually happening on “The Flash.”

With the central conceit that every TV show and movie ever based on a DC Comics property exists alongside the others in a multiverse, producers have packed in cameos from a number of these other shows, in many cases offering a reunion or update for some of the characters. These range from quick glances at other current shows such as “Titans” and “Stargirl,” as well as drop-ins on the worlds of Superman Returns, the 1989 Batman movie, the 1960s “Batman” series, “Smallville,” the 1990 “Flash” TV show and even the recent Justice League movie.

It’s all in good fun for the fans of these characters who have been following them not just on the CW, but on the other shows as well, not to mention the original comics. The idea of using “Batman: The Animated Series” star Kevin Conroy to play a live-action version of an older Bruce Wayne is just a marvelous idea. As is putting Brandon Routh back in the Superman suit to play an older version of the character. Routh already plays the Atom in the Arrowverse, but physically he seems much more suited to play Superman now that he’s a bit older than he did in 2006, which he was a bit to thin for the part.

For comic book fans, the looks of Conroy’s Bruce Wayne and Routh’s older Superman borrow a lot of influence from the 1990s Kingdom Come miniseries.

Tom Welling also makes an appearance as the “Smallville” Clark Kent, and between him and Routh they just make the Arrowverse’s Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, seem way too undersized for the role.

In addition, Cress Williams shows up in a couple episodes to play Black Lightning from his own CW show. While “Black Lightning” doesn’t have one of the Crisis episodes, it did do its own prelude to Crisis episode similarly to the other participating shows. That episode isn’t included here, but it is available with the third season of “Black Lightning” which is available digitally now and coming to DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive Oct. 27.

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Nostalgia aside, Crisis does a lot to resolve several of the storylines from the various shows, not the least of which is to finally put Supergirl and Black Lightnine in the same universe as the other heroes (though that has raised its own plot problems as the shows have continued post-Crisis). It’s an ambitious piece of television that should satisfy fans of the series involved, but the various crossovers and nostalgia bait do a lot to distract from flaws that become apparent on subsequent rewatches.

Primarily, the quaintness of plotting that persists on the five main shows carries over here, and the dialogue can get a bit grating the more one hears it. In some instances the collective writing teams may have been in over their heads coordinating such a big production, as there are many attempts to cram in the supporting casts of the various shows in their series’ respective episodes with subplots that end up going nowhere or having no effect on the larger storyline. Some of these are excuses for cheap cameos, while others just seem like they are giving the characters busy work.

When these shows are syndicated to various stations and streaming services in the future and have to stand on their own, I can only imagine the confusion some viewers might having when encountering the crossover episodes in the middle of a binge and seeing partial storylines that have little to do with the rest of the show they’ve been watching. But, a happy fan is an informed fan, and they should know what they’re getting into with the Arrowverse to begin with.

The extras on the Crisis bonus disc are fun backgrounders typical of the kinds usually found on Blu-rays of DC-based content, particularly the DC Universe animated movies.

Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Architects Return” is a 12-minute featurette that reflects on the original comic book, featuring interviews with its original creators, plus a look at the new comic book tie-in created for the Arrowverse version.

“Crisis Management” is a 13-minute making-of featurette looking at how the five shows coordinated to bring the crossover together.

“Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend” is a three-minute profile of Conroy and bringing him to play a live-action Batman for the first time.

“Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman” is a four-and-a-half-minute featurette about a showdown between Routh and Hoechlin for super-supremecy.

“Characters in Crisis: Pariah” is a four-minute video about turning Tom Cavanagh’s “Flash” character into the Pariah role from the original comic.

Finally, “Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor” is a five-minute examination of the main villain of the story.

HBO Max Greenlights ‘Suicide Squad’ Spinoff Series ‘Peacemaker’ Starring John Cena

HBO Max ordered the production of eight episodes for new action-comedy series “Peacemaker,” starring actor and WWE superstar John Cena, reprising his character from the upcoming Warner Bros. movie, The Suicide Squad.

The movie’s writer-director, James Gunn, will write all eight episodes of “Peacemaker” and will direct multiple episodes, including the first. Gunn and The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran will serve as executive producers of the series, with Cena as co-executive producer.

John Cena

Based on characters from DC Comics, “Peacemaker” is scheduled to begin production in early 2021, prior to Gunn beginning work on the next Disney/Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy film.

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While details about “Peacemaker” are being kept under wraps, the series will explore the origins of the character that Cena will play in the upcoming film, a man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he has to kill to get it. The series will extend the world that Gunn is creating for The Suicide Squad movie, which is scheduled to be released in theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on Aug. 6, 2021.

“‘Peacemaker’ is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world’s biggest douchebag,” Gunn said in a statement.

Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max, said Gunn has the unique ability to create an expansive universe while also bringing to life the soul and wit of each character.

“We look forward to a deep dive into the world of ‘Peacemaker,'” Bloys said.

DC Universe Retooling as Comic Book Service; Originals Moving to HBO Max

DC Universe’s time as a streaming service is coming to an end.

Beginning Jan. 21, 2021, the WarnerMedia-owned SVOD service dedicated to comic book-themed programming will transform into DC Universe Infinite, a premium digital comic book service with access to more than 24,000 digital comic books at launch. DC Universe Infinite will expand globally in Summer 2021.

Video content based on DC Comics characters, such as the original television programs offered on DC Universe, will move to WarnerMedia’s new HBO Max SVOD service, which launched in May.

Indeed, the phasing out of DC Universe as a streaming service was seen as inevitable by many observers after WarnerMedia and parent company AT&T announced they were leveraging their considerable content library to form a new SVOD service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. The consolidation of Warner’s various services began over the summer with the discontinuation of standalone HBO app HBO Go.

DC Universe launched in September 2018 with original programming, catalog superhero movies and TV shows, a rotating selection of digital comics and a merchandise store. The service’s “DC Daily” news and discussion show was canceled in June, another portent of the ultimate fate of the service.

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HBO Max will be the new home for all seasons of DC Universe originals such as “Titans,” “Doom Patrol,” “Young Justice,” “Stargirl” and “Harley Quinn.”

This includes the upcoming third seasons of live-action “Titans” and “Doom Patrol,” and the fourth season of animated “Young Justice,” which has been dubbed Young Justice: Phantoms.

In addition, HBO Max has ordered a third season of the popular animated series “Harley Quinn,” starring Kaley Cuoco as the voice of the famous Batman villain. Marketing for the third season implies the show will explore a potential romantic relationship between Harley and her longtime pal, Poison Ivy.

Previously, availability of the second season of “Doom Patrol” was shared between DC Universe and HBO Max when episodes were released on a weekly basis over the summer. The first two seasons of “Harley Quinn” became available on HBO Max Aug. 1.

Episodes from the first season of DC’s “Stargirl” were presented on DC Universe on a Monday and aired on the CW the next day. For season two, all episodes will originate on the CW. Season one will be available on HBO Max.

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For fans who want to keep the DC originals shows, through Oct. 30 DC Universe subscribers can upgrade their service to include HBO Max for an additional $4.99 per month. DC Universe Infinite is offered at $7.99 per month or $74.99 per year. Subscribers will not need to create a new account as their DC Universe login will automatically transfer to DC Universe Infinite. Fans who keep their subscriptions or sign up by launch date will receive DC Shop voucher that can be used to purchase DC merchandise: $25 for annual members, $10 for monthly members.

DC Universe Infinite subscribers will also have access to digital-first comics, member access to DC fan events, as well as a steady stream of recently released comics six months after their physical versions hit store shelves. The fan-community area will be free to all registered and premium DC subscribers, with a full calendar of events planned for 2021.

“Our fans love the platform’s robust library of comic books and, with the transformation, we will not disappoint,” said DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee. “I’m excited to share that not only will DC Universe Infinite members still be able to read all of the great comics that they’ve enjoyed but new issues are debuting on the platform quicker than before, digital first exclusives are being created, and the members-only events will begin as soon as possible. There has never been a better time to be a DC fan!”

 

DC FanDome Returns Sept. 12

The DC FanDome virtual event is returning for a second installment Sept. 12. The first FanDome took place Aug. 22 and showcased movie and TV news from Warner Bros. and DC Comics properties.

Called “DC FanDome: Explore the Multiverse,” the 24-hour event will allow fans to create and control their own viewing experience from more than 100 hours of on-demand content from television, films, comics, games and more — highlighting the work of more than 500 artists, writers and other talented individuals from around the globe.

Fans can also access exclusive behind-the-scenes content across TV and film, an extensive DC comics library, as well as fan art and cosplay.

The content can be streamed exclusively at DCFanDome.com and is available globally, across desktop and mobile, in nine languages.

Among the offerings:

  • WatchVerse: Panels include the official introduction of WBTV’s “Batwoman,” as well as “Superman & Lois,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “DC’s Stargirl,” “Black Lightning,” expanded versions of “The Flash” and “Titans” panels that debuted during the previous FanDome, plus breaking news throughout the day.
  • InsiderVerse: Fans can go behind the scenes with the master artisans who bring DC to life in all its forms, from comic books to games, TV, movies, theme parks, consumer products and more.
  • Blerd & Boujee: Blerd & Boujee programming celebrates Blerd (aka “Black nerd”) culture and its impact around the globe, featuring diverse artists, voices, musicians and content.
  • FunVerse: Read hundreds of free digital comics, strike a pose at the selfie station, explore the Joker Escape Room, and more.
  • YouVerse: Check out more than 17,000 pieces fan art, cosplay, and user-generated content submissions from around the world, and vote for your favorites.

 

Superman: Man of Tomorrow

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/8/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, some bloody images, suggestive material, language, smoking and brief partial nudity.
Voices of Darren Criss, Alexandra Daddario, Zachary Quinto, Ike Amadi, Ryan Hurst, Brett Dalton, Neil Flynn, Bellamy Young, Eugene Byrd.

The latest DC Comics animated movie takes a look at young Clark Kent’s early days as Superman as a fresh-faced potential journalist newly arrived in Metropolis.

This version of Clark, while aware of his powers, has no clue about his Kryptonian origins. He begins attracting the attention of the press through a series of heroic deeds, though he has yet to be branded Superman or even don his iconic costume (though his reasons for needing the costume provide one of the film’s biggest laughs)..

However, his exploits also get noticed by the notorious intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, who comes to Earth looking for a fight. Though Clark finds an ally in the mysterious Martian Manhunter, his battle with Lobo ends up unleashing a deadly creature known as Parasite, who grows stronger by absorbing energy and draining the life force of his victims.

To stop Parasite’s rampage, Clark (voiced by Darren Criss) must enlist the help of Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto), a man destined to one day become his sworn enemy. But this story occurs before all those pieces fall into place.

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The movie also gives some attention to the young Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario), a recent graduate looking to establish herself as the top reporter at the Daily Planet, where Clark has been working as an intern bringing everyone their coffee.

The film does a nice job of establishing Clark’s eagerness to fit in. He knows he’s an alien, but isn’t sure from where or who else knows, so he knows his heroic excursions come with an element of risk. In fact, one of the big motifs of the film is finding the humanity in beings who otherwise aren’t human, particularly as Superman tries to re-connect with the man Parasite used to be.

Man of Tomorrow, the 40th entry in the DC Universe series of animated superhero movies, is a standalone film, not connected to the brand’s recent string of interconnected movies, though it could very well prove a good jumping off point for a new continuity.

The animation is crisp and lively, and the colors pop in high-definition. The filmmakers have crafted some exciting action sequences, including the initial all-out brawl between young Clark Kent and Lobo. The third-act battle against Parasite takes on much of the flavor of a typical “Godzilla” movie, but for the most part this is a pretty entertaining Superman adventure. Fans of Lobo should get a kick out of finally seeing him in action in one of these DC movies.

The Blu-ray includes two Lobo-centric episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series,” plus a 10-minute featurette on the history and popularity of Lobo.

There’s also a nine-minute featurette about the legacy of the Martian Manhunter.

Rounding out the extras are a trailer, featurettes for earlier DC animated movies, and a 12-minute preview of the next animated DC movie, a kung-fu-style Batman adventure set in the 1970s.