Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thoughts On Zack Snyder’s Superman

I’ve always felt that Superman was one of the more difficult superheroes to make good stories for.

I like the old-timey nature of the character, and I appreciate the values he represents, but for the most part; Kal-El of Krypton is just too damn powerful for his own good.

Seriously man, you could probably count all of Superman’s known weaknesses/vulnerabilities on 1 hand,

Taking that into account, it’s hard to deny the difficulty writers face when trying to create drama for the man of steel.

Inevitably, most Superman stories end up being centered around a villain scheming to do destroy the Earth/Metropolis/Jimmy the Cub Reporter; thereby testing the heroes’ mettle in an indirect fashion.

Oh Silver Age comics, how I love thee.

While said storytelling device is indeed effective for the most part, honestly; it gets kind of old after awhile.

Watching Superman race to save Lois, or pick up a mountain to save a busload of school kids is fun, but prefer my superheroes’ biggest threats to be of the more direct sort.

In short, I prefer it when my heroes are in just as much peril as the people they are trying to save.

I suppose it should be no surprise that, of all the Superman trades I own; The Death of Superman is easily my favorite.

FUCK YES.

Which brings me to Zack Snyder’s upcoming film, The Man of Steel.

Very little has been publicized in regards to the film’s plot or cast, other than the fact that it’s a *gasp* REBOOT, but given that Snyder is the director; I think we all know what to expect.

Over-the-top imagery and color correction, an overbearing soundtrack, absurd levels of graphic violence, and more than a handful of gratuitous slow-motion fight sequences.

Bingo.

While all of the above do in fact add up to a pretty extravagant audio/visual experience, the sad fact of the matter is that Zach Snyder’s shtick just doesn’t do it for me.

The man definitely has an eye for angles and gorgeous visuals, but of the films of his that I’ve seen, I felt the pacing was meandering at best, and there was a distinct lack of “heart” to the presentation of the story.

That being said, while I have an idea of what to expect from a Zack Snyder Superman, in truth it’s very hard for me to comprehend why he was selected to do it.

Superman fuckin’ is heart.

That's right Mati, show 'em what heart's all about!

Richard Donner’s first 2 Superman films with Christopher Reeve did an incredible job in capturing this aspect of the character, that to this day many people, myself included; still think of Reeve as the finest representation of Superman in any medium.

That's a pretty goofy smirk, but even so; he's still Superman in my book.

In that sense, the new Superman, Henry Cavill; as well as Snyder himself have their work cut out for them.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off on a tangent.

The reason I started this post tonight came as a result of reading that Michael Shannon will be playing General Zod in The Man of Steel.

While I have no doubt that Shannon will do well in the role, as I was very impressed with his performance in Revolutionary Road; it bothers me to know that General Zod is being re-used for the film.

It’s as if the producers/writers are afraid to stray away from the success of Richard Donner’s films.

Superman has a pretty solid gallery of rogues to pick from, and truth be told; aside from Terrence Stamp’s brilliant portrayal of the character in Superman II, General Zod has never really been one of my favorites.

*Sigh* I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

Knowing Zack Snyder, and his penchant for going over-the-top with things; I’m guessing there’s going to be several villains in the film, if not an entire army or some shit.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t picture a Zack Snyder film without a SLOW-MOTION 100-on-1 fight sequence.

In that sense, I’d bet that the movie will reference the recent Last Son and New Krypton storylines; thereby giving Mr. Snyder an excuse to have hundreds of Kryptonians flying around chucking cars at each other.

Pictured: Promotional art for Zack Snyder's Superman.

While that could be fun I guess, honestly I’d at least prefer to see a different villain take center stage.

How about fuckin’ Brainiac?

He’s pretty much at the top tier of Superman’s list of baddies and his back story has been ret-conned to have ties to Kal-El’s origins, what more could you want!?

 

Holy shit, he looks like fuckin' Kojak...

Better yet, since Christopher Nolan’s been kind enough to put Bane in his upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, why not throw everyone a bone and put Doomsday in the new Superman movie?

Sure, he’s not interesting enough to carry a whole movie, but goddamnit; Superman’s at his best when he’s punching things, and Doomsday’s one of the only baddies he’s got that he can really slug it out with.

While I’m the topic of punching things, why not give us some Metallo action!?

 

Who the fuck wouldn't want THIS in their movie!?

Oh yeah, ’cause Metallo’s boring and nobody likes him…

But c’mon man, he looked like James Coburn in the cartoon, surely that has to count for something:

 

"You know what time it is? Time me for to kick your ass..."

I apologize, I’m rambling.

My point is:

Superman Returns made the mistake of playing it way too safe, and in the process brought nothing new to the table; least of all villains or characters.

While Zack Snyder’s excessive style can be obnoxious at times, he has an opportunity to really try something different with his take on Superman; and I’d hate to see that hindered by a story that recycles villains used in films made almost 40 years ago.

That being said, here’s hoping that for fuckin’ once we get to see a Superman movie with some different villains; hopefully not including Nuclear Man.

Wow, you mean there actually exists a photo of Nuclear Man where he isn't screaming or shooting lightning bolts!?

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Anybody Remember Zen The Intergalatic Ninja?

Anybody remember Zen the Intergalactic Ninja?

Yeah, neither do I.

Well okay, that’s not entirely true, I do in fact remember Zen, I wouldn’t be typing this article if I didn’t; but all of my memories of the character are foggy at best.

I was exposed to Zen via the Archie/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics of the early 90’s.

Pictured: The only Archie Comic I'd touch with a 10 foot pole.

My brother used to get Ninja Turtle comics every so often via some sort of subscription service, though he’d usually end up throwing away the Archie or Jughead comics.

To this day, I fail to see the beauty of Jughead’s soul.

 

Is it just me, or is Jughead the original stoner/hipster doofus?

Anyway, being as I am indeed my father’s son, and never throw away anything, even if it never even belonged to me in the first place, I still have a few of the Ninja Turtle comics somewhere, namely the one’s that introduced Wingnut and Chameleon:

Yup, got both of these... In absolutely horrid condition...

At some point during this era, presumably around ’93-94, (I remember Maximum Carnage was big news at the time, as was Superman and Batman’s unfortunate run-ins with Doomsday and Bane respectively) one of my neighborhood buddies was kind enough to share a new comic he had just bought.

It was called Zen, the Intergalactic Ninja:

AWESOME! But what's up with Oscar the Grouch over there on the right?

That comic, or rather it’s cover; pushed just about all the right buttons in my young, action figure obssessesd mind.

Yes, they are in fact action figures, not dolls.

"New Shia LaBeouf action figure! With easy access "open mouth" action for inserting of donkey balls! Donkey balls sold separately..."

Get it right power-fag, lest my kung fu grip find your larynx.

*Ahem!* I seem to remember the plot mirroring Bucky O’Hare, as well as just about every other 90’s Saturday morning cartoon; in the sense that it surrounded a strange group of colorful and easily action figure-ized characters coming to Earth and seeking the aid of a young boy to whom the audience could easily relate to.

(Insert picture of any mid-80’s to early 90’s cartoon here)

Y’know, standard genre fare.

The few elements of Zen that really stuck with me after all these years were, of course; the name of the main character, his unique and kid-friendly bo weapon, (no sharp weapons or blood-letting for the kiddies, that would be inappropriate!) and the fact that the plot was at least somewhat eco-friendly…

Make that, “eco-obsessed.”

Um, gender = What?

That last part was kind of a deal breaker for me, a robot and violence obsessed little boy.

I honestly liked Zen’s character designs, in fact I remember drawing him at school a few times on my test papers; however the whole “save the environment” thing just didn’t appeal to me all that much.

I remember they pushed it just a little bit too far with Zen, to the point in which most of, if not all of the principle hero characters represented some element of recycling.

Put it this way, I’m pretty sure I remember the yellow dude being named “Pulp.”

Hey, it's Pulp! And Compost Man! And Recycled Aluminum Man! And Plastic Bottle Man, etc...

That’s just fuckin’ sad, being named for mashed up paper byproduct.

Let it be known, saving the Earth is only cool when Captain Planet tells you to do it:

Honestly man, a catchy theme song and green giga-mullet go a long way towards capturing the hearts and minds of children.

Jumping back to my initial dealing with Zen, I honestly don’t really remember much about the comic, (which consequently would be the only Zen comic I’d ever read, let alone see) other than the fact that the art and character designs had a definite Captain Bucky O’Hare vibe to them, and the comic was packed to the brim with advertisements… For itself.

Seriously, if memory serves, there were advertisements for the Zen comic itself, the upcoming Zen NES game, and a line of Zen action figures; all in one comic!

Lord CONTAMINOUS!? "Take out the garbage!?" Good God, it really is a tree-hugger comic/game/action figure line!

That, my friends; is what I like to call “super-liminal marketing:”

Despite all the effort on the part of the publishers though, clearly it didn’t pay off; as almost none of my friends have ever heard of Zen.

Even so, I’ll always remember Zen as being a particularly inspired example of those 20,000 or so highly marketable characters that were thrown at us in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon, only to slip through the cracks like so many others…

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