Unpopular Opinions: Superboy

OK, I know that by saying the following that I’m going to risk ticking off every fan of the Young Justice animated series, but here it is: I didn’t (and still don’t) like the YJ version of Superboy. At all.

I had become a fan of Superboy (Kon EL) ever since I read the DC vs Marvel comic book mini series, and ever since then, I’ve been wanting to see Superman’s clone Conner make his animated TV debut. Alas, what we got was this.

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“Frustrated grunt!”

It’s bad enough that the shows’ producers went with the T-shirt and jeans look for the character, which doesn’t even look like a super hero costume. It looks like he’s fighting in street clothes. Still, it’s better than his costume in the Amalgam universe where he was fused with Spider-Man to become Spiderboy.

amalgam-comics-spiderboy

No, just no.

YJ gave Superboy a completely different personality than the one that he had in the comics. This Superboy doesn’t make wise cracks. He has no sense of humor. Instead of having tactile telekinesis power that mimics Superman’s power of flight, he just is able to leap considerable distances.He broods all the time and starts dating Miss Martian…and later gets dumped by her.

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Ugh! Teen soap opera drama. Pass me Mr. Bucket!

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THIS is the Superboy that I wanted to see on the small screen. The Kryptonian Kid. The one with the tactile telekinesis powers and the cool black jacket. Stylin’!

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The Conner from the comics was cool. he was cocky and over confident. I imagined someone like Edward Furlong (circa Terminator 2) doing Conner’s voice.

But no, we don’t get the interesting version of Superboy. That would have been too good. Instead we get stuck with this hot headed brooding lame-o with leaping powers. He was like the Hulk, only without the charisma.

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“‘Ooh! Look at how dark and tormented I am!’ Sheesh, what a whiner!”

So now, DC reset it’s universe a couple more times since then and it seems that there’s yet another Superboy out there; Jonathan Samuel Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. I haven’t read any of the current comics yet, so I don’t have a strong opinion on this character yet, positive or negative, nor do I have any idea where Kon-El fits in with this continuity, or if he’s there at all.

rebirth_superboy_design

Hmm…The costume’s OK. I like the jacket with the S shield on it, and the red sneakers are a nice touch. This is starting to sound like a Pop Dream…

I’ll have to read the Rebirth comics before I state how I feel about this version of Superboy, but he already has the advantage of not being the Young Justice version.

I don’t know if we’ll get a Superboy on Cartoon Network’s Justice League Action or on any other DC animated series, but if we do, please don’t let it be the Young Justice version. Even if it’s not Conner Kent, let it at least be a Superboy who doesn’t need to wear nicotine patches for his powers, one who knows what jokes are and who actually SMILES sometimes.

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OK, that’s cute. I’ll give you that one, DC.

 

Confessions of a Superman Fan

Guys, I have to say that seeing the “blockbuster” film Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice a couple of weeks ago, as well as the lukewarm reception  the aforementioned film has received from both viewers and critics has left me feeling a tad blue.

Sadness

“Hello, darkness, my old friend…”

You see, we here at Twinsanity are Superman fans. We have been for years now, and speaking as a Superman fan, I have to say, it’s really hard these days to be one. There hasn’t been a decent take on Superman in the media since Superman: The Animated Series and if one counts it, Smallville. And Big Blue’s latest venture on the big screen has just been one flop after another. Granted, neither Man of Steel nor Batman V Superman bombed at the box office, but the reception for these films has not been stellar. Many fans (myself included) feel that our hero Supes is just being continually dumped on through both of these movies. And while Batman is enjoying the success of the Arkham Asylum video games, Superman’s most noteworthy game Superman 64 is is infamously known for being one of THE WORST video games of all time. In this current society of “Dark, moody and angsty = AWESOME!!” and most kids preferring the darkness of Batman, it’s especially trying on those of us fans who prefer the light.

One can only imagine what must be going through Supes’ head right now…

The thing of it is, Superman used to be The Man, and he can be that again, but a couple of things need to happen first. For one, writers and directors need to stop getting these two guys mixed up with each other.

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Superman is NOT Batman! The 2 heroes AREN’T the same! They’re at opposite sides of the DC Heroes’ spectrum. Batman is dark, brooding and gritty. Superman is not!  Superman represents hope, light, idealism. Supes is the hero that other super heroes aspire to be like. And while we’re on the subject, Superman’s city Metropolis does NOT look like this:

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This is Gotham City. Gotham is the seedy, crime infested hell hole. Metropolis, by contrast, is a beautiful city.

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You see this? Notice the bright colors, the blue sky and how everything here isn’t shades of gray?

My point: Don’t write Superman the way that you would Batman because they AREN’T  the same. Superman averts Armegeddon while Batman deals with the crazies. I’m not denying the awesome-ness of Batman, Wolverine and their ilk, but not every super hero needs to be Batman or Wolverine. Much like how you can’t have a top without a bottom or a front without a back, dark super heroes can’t exist without the light ones. A world in which every single super hero is dark and angst ridden is not a world that I’d want to live in. I can’t put it any better than JustSomeRandomGuy voiced through Spider Man on his YouTube channel:

“The light super heroes compliment the dark super heroes and vice-versa. If every super hero were dark, that would be boring because they’d all be exactly the same.”

There is a ray of hope, though. Reportedly, after the lukewarm reception of BVS,  DC plans to be more “hands on” with the future DCEU films, and there’s even talk of bringing in the likes of Bruce Timm as a consultant for the Justice League movies. It’s too late for Warner Brothers to give Zack Snyder the boot as director (as much as I’d like for that to happen), but word is that while Snyder will still be directing Justice League Part 1, there may be a different director for JL Part 2.

You see, Superman used to be The Man, and he can be again, but Big Blue needs to directed by someone who understands the character and who respects the character’s mythos and just plain gets Superman. I’d like to see another good Superman movie in my lifetime, so it’s time to step your game up, WB.

Wouldn’t you like for things to be like this again?

 

 

Talkin’ Nerdy: Batman V Superman — For Realz

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the kinda sorta not-quite-but-that’s-what-we’re-calling-it sequel to Man of Steel, is a noteworthy event in nerd cinema: not only will it serve as a launching pad for a DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU), but it will also be the first time that DC’s 2 premier superheroes, Superman and Batman, will appear together on the big screen. But of course, this event has also sparked a debate that’s about 10 years older than Europe: namely, who is better, Superman or Batman? And if Batman were to fight Superman, who would win? It’s an argument that’s as old as the hills.

“BATMAN!” “SUPERMAN!”

“NINTENDO!” “SEGA!”

“COKE!” “PEPSI!”

“LESS FILLING!” “TASTES GREAT!”

Unfortunately, far too often these debates invariably just detour straight in the realm of pure fanboyism.

FANBOYISM (n): The belief that Batman would win any and every hypothetical battle he could ever be placed in.

So to avoid the usual cries of “Batman could easily beat Superman!” “Batman could beat Magneto!” “Batman could beat the Hulk!” “Batman could beat the entire Justice League and all their sidekicks and pets!” “Batman could beat Jesus and his pals Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva!” that we know we’re gonna hear when we go to the theater to see this movie, Twinsanity would like to take this moment to debunk some common Batman V Superman myths that fans like throw at us.

“Batman could just bring some kryptonite, and it’s all over.”

Urgh! Whenever I hear or read this, it makes me want to tear what’s left of my hair out! First, kryptonite is the last remnants of a dead planet and not a substance that’s readily available for just anyone to find and pick up. You can’t just go to the garden section of Walmart and buy some. Second, let’s try to be clear here: is Batman trying to kill Superman in this scenario, or just defeat him? Because if we’re talking about Bats facing Supes in a fair fight, then Bats isn’t allowed to bring any kryponite. If Batman needs kryptonite to defeat Superman, then that proves that Batman can’t beat Superman on his own. Furthermore, if this is a fight to the death, then Superman could kill Batman in so many ways that it’s almost pointless to list them all here.

“Batman could just call in Robin or Batgirl, who could attack him from behind with a poison-laced Batarang or a sneak attack from the Batcycle or Batjet.”

Again, it’s not really a fair fight if Batman is allowed to cheat. If you’re going to allow Batman to bring in assistance, then Superman has to be allowed the same courtesy. Anyway, if Batman has to bring in other people to tip the scales to his advantage, then you’ve just proven than Bats can’t defeat Supes on his own, thus you’ve defeated your own argument. Check and mate. That statement makes about as much sense as this exchange:

“Hey Freakazoid, who would win in a fight between Superman and Fred Flintstone?”

“Superman, I guess, unless Barney snuck up behind him and hit him with a kryptonite club or something. You really have no life, do you??”

“Given time to prepare, Batman could beat Superman.”

Well, that’s true, but here’s the thing: given time to prepare, ANYBODY could beat ANYBODY. Heck, we could take down Big Blue if we were given the time to formulate a plan and strategy to do so. One mo’ time, if you’re going to give Batman time to plan and prepare a plan or action or strategy, then you have to give his opponent (in this case, Superman) the same courtesy. Plan your hypothetical nerd battles fairly or don’t plan them at all.

“Superman may be stronger and have powers, but Batman is smarter than Superman.”

Ah, no he’s not. Supes hails from an alien planet boasting technology and science literally centuries ahead of ours. If we’re going by the live-action movies’ continuity, then Kal-El was being fed information about his world, science and technology while in the rocket that carried him to Earth. The guy’s defeated Mr. Myxyzsptlk on numerous occasions not by whaling on him, but by outsmarting him. Supes once even performed Super-Surgery on an injured comrade. So while Superman may not be a great detective like Batman, the dude’s no knuckle-dragger. It always bugs me how Batfans like to tip the odds in their favorite character’s favor by portraying Superman as so stupid he’s almost brain-dead.

The following aren’t necessarily fight arguments, just general sentiments that we’ve heard from hardcore Batfans over the years, but they’re no less debunkable.

“Superman is too powerful.”

Really. It’s funny, on the other side of the pond, Son Goku has just about every power that Superman has and then some, plus his power levels are constantly increasing to the point where the writers and producers have to keep inventing new levels of Super Saiyan for him to ascend to. It’s gotten to where Goku can only fight gods and other divine beings (and even they can be beaten or surpassed) since any lesser being wouldn’t pose a challenge to him, yet I never hear anyone complaining that Son Goku is too powerful. if anything, Wiz and Boomstick of ScrewAttack’s Death Battle have proven conclusively that characters like Superman and Goku shouldn’t be placed in hypothetical battles like this in the first place; after all, how can one properly counter a being whose powers are by design virtually limitless? It’s like going against a giant 3-headed dragon whose heads possess fire breath, ice breath and laser eye beams, and you’re armed with only a flyswatter. Good luck with that.

“Batman is more relatable. You can’t identify or relate to Superman, but you can relate to Batman, ’cause he’s just a regular guy.”

There are 2 reasons why this statement is Grade-A Baloneyum:

1. You’re not supposed to relate to Superman. Superman is an icon, a symbol of hope, an ideal for humanity to admire and aspire to be, he’s not someone you’re supposed to relate to and identify with, that’s what Spider-Man is for.

2. Unless you’re Richie Rich, Tony Stark or Scrooge McDuck, no, you can’t relate to Batman. How many Average Joes and Janes do you know have more money than the mint, have traveled the world learning the skills of master fighters, martial artists, award-winning scholars, escape artists, Tibetan monks, chemists, criminal scientists, illusionists and detectives and can afford to produce the latest high-tech vehicles, gadgets and gimzos? Not many, I’m guessing. Let’s face it: if Superman is an uber-powerful paragon of perfection, then so is Batman. The only difference is that one has a vast array of cosmic super powers while the other has this:

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Cha-Ching!

“Without his powers, Superman is nothing.”

You could say that about pretty much EVERY super hero, but if you really wanna play that card, then I say without his vast family fortune, Batman is nothing. Think about it, Bruce Wayne has traveled all over the world studying and mastering 127 different martial arts and other defense techniques under the tutelage of some of the greatest masters. He’s spent years studying and examining the criminal mind and is master of disguise. Bruce wouldn’t be able to do any of those things if he were poor. And Batmobiles, Batarangs and Bat Computers don’t pay for themselves. If Bruce were just a grocery bagger at the local Stop ‘N’ Shop, he’d just be a guy with unresolved psychological issues and emotional baggage about his parents being murdered. Bruce’s riches are just as much a crutch to Batman as powers are to Superman.

“Batman is more realistic than Superman.”

Seriously?? If we’re actually going to play the realism card here, then realistically it would make more sense for Bruce Wayne to become a cop or an anti-crime advocate than dress up in a bat costume and roam the streets smacking the bejeezus out of people. What does this or any comic have to do with reality anyway?

Now I know it may seem like we’ve been purposely tipping the scales in favor of Superman, but truth be told, we like both heroes tremendously. We’re big Superman fans and make no bones about that, but at the same time, we also like Batman. Batsy’s been overhyped and overplayed to death, but we still like him. In fact, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, we’re tired of the 2 of them constantly being pitted against one another. We prefer Supes and Bats as allies rather than enemies or rivals. A colleague of ours put it best: Superman averts Armageddon while Batman deals with the crazies. You wouldn’t send Superman to do Batman’s job or vice-versa. If a volcano was erupting and about to send lava flowing onto a nearby town, you’d want Superman to be around, but conversely if you needed someone to crack down on a serial criminal who’s been leaving envelope bombs at the homes of various public officials, then you’d better call Batman. Both heroes are the best at what they do, and they’re the parentheses of the superhero world.

So don’t hate, appreciate. Superman and Batman both rock!

P.S.: DC, please let this move not suck!

P.S.: DC, please let this movie not suck!

P.S.S.: It DID suck. Better luck next reboot.

A Superman Video Game That Wouldn’t Suck

A few days ago, a member of the Toonzone Forums created a thread asking the question “Should Rocksteady make a Superman video game?”

“How about it, Rocksteady? Where’s my game? There are, like, 20 Batman games and only, like, 3 Superman games! What’s the deal? Do you have to wear a long pointy eared cowl and drive a cool car to star in a Rocksteady game?”

Without a doubt, the most common statement that I’ve heard from people saying why a Superman video game wouldn’t work is this one:
“The problem with Superman is that he’s almost invincible and all of the foes he would have to fight would need to be at boss-level since regular henchmen would be nearly useless against the man of steel.”
or
“Superman is boring and lame because he has a ton of super powers and he can beat anybody, but Batman is awesome because he has no powers and he can beat everybody!”
Sense no make. Sense no make.
Seriously? Superman boring and lame because he has powers? Son Goku (from Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z) is very similar to Superman in terms of powers and abilities, and yet I never hear anyone saying that Goku is too powerful to star in a video game. Heck, there are literally dozens of DBZ games out there currently. Samus Aran from Metroid has powers, but no one says that those games suffer because of that. Having super powers is part of what makes Superman cool. Come on! Supes can friggin’ fly! Flying is cool! That alone is reason why Rocksteady should make a Superman video game. Thus begins my proposal. I believe that a Superman video can work, and that Big Blue is capable of doing more than just flying through floating golden rings and beating up a tornado.
These “issues” with Superman are minor and could easily be dealt with with a certain degree of thought and creativity. For example, Superman can be hurt by someone in his strength class and is vulnerable to magic. The issue of Superman’s powers can easily be rectified in any one of the following ways:
1. Have Superman start out with only a limited amount of strength and powers, so that he would gain more abilities and become stronger as the game progresses.
2. Emphasize Superman’s other abilities besides fighting. Give Superman a series of missions, such as stopping a speeding locomotive from falling off of a damaged bridge or finding several bombs hidden in various parts of Metropolis or saving several citizens from an erupting volcano. Also, the missions could be timed so that Supes only has a limited amount of time to succeed in the missions or else he loses a life or something. Every level of the game doesn’t have to have Supes going a few rounds with a villain.
3. Have the game focus on a younger Superman who is relatively new to the super hero scene and as such, Clark’s powers wouldn’t be fully developed yet. Again, Supes’ strength could increase and he could gain more super powers as he progresses through the game.
4. Have Superman’s more devastating powers, such as heat vision and ice breath, reserved as special moves which can be used, but using them would lower his life bar, so the player won’t be able to just use them all of the time, and should mostly save them for extreme situations.
5. Give Superman a Super Meter, which would gradually build up whenever Supes punches or kicks an opponent. Once the Super Meter if full, Supes would be able to unleash a devastating super power, but the Super Meter would empty as he’s doing it. Also, Supes would have to start each new level with an empty Super Meter.

I’d play a game like that. How about you?