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February 25, 2008


Thomas Aylesworth

Thanks for the review. I'll definitely check this out. I didn't see Superman Doomsday but I loved Batman: Mask of the Phantasm which I think was the first of the modern DC animated movies. Although it was only PG, it was still darker and more aimed at adults than other animated superhero cartoons.

Have you seen Mask of the Phantasm and, if so, how does it compare?

Mark Engblom

I really enjoyed the Mask of the Phantasm story (very loosely based on Batman: Year Two), but it lost points with its mediocre animation. Granted, the movie was originally intended for straight-to-video, but I saw it during its limited theatre run...so the animation's many flaws were much more noticeable blown up onto a large screen.

I think New Frontier is an equally good story, but far surpasses Mask in the animation department. Frontier clearly benefits from the intervening 14 years of experience in adapting superheroes to animated form.

Joe Lewallen

Thanks for the review. I was reading up on my copy of Absolute New Frontier last night in anticipation of picking up the movie on Tuesday. I’m sorry the Losers and the Challengers won’t be in there, but understand the movie would be twice as long.

Hal Jordan, Fighter Jock and pacifist. I have a hard time buying that. Not to mention that in real life, you would find your self up on dereliction of duty charges. Also, your fellow pilots would have a problem with a guy unwilling to pull the trigger. What if the enemy pilot that Jordan didn’t take out, turns around and shoots down an American? Logically, it never really set well with me.

But I love NF and can’t wait to see it tomorrow. And I’m glad they gave it the treatment it deserves.

Mark Engblom

"Hal Jordan, Fighter Jock and pacifist. I have a hard time buying that."

Yeah, I think this is one of the weakest aspects of New Frontier. The stunning moral incoherence of this section nearly derailed the story for me. For those of you unfamiliar with this section, or if you've forgotten about it, here's an excerpt to make it more clear what I'm talking about:

(from a report by Jordan's senior officer, Ace Morgan):

"Airman Jordan is, without question, the most naturally gifted pilot I have ever known. The issue is his refusal to use lethal force during enemy engagements. While this refusal would normally result in grounding and possible court-martial, the usual reasons or motivations don't apply. Airman Jordan has shown bravery and courage under fire unlike any I have witnessed during my fourteen months in Korea. During enemy engagements he continually puts himself in harm's way, baiting enemy pilots and drawing them into position for his squadron-mate's guns."

Got that? "The usual reasons or motivations don't apply"? According to who? Ace? Hal? All of his fellow squad members? Their commanders? Which pilot (or soldier, sailor, or Marine) gets to decide which parts of their job they do or don't do?

Would a police officer be commended for drawing fire from a gunman while refusing to use deadly force to bring him down? Would people view such an officer as "brave" and "courageous"....or narcissistic, foolish, or deeply disturbed?

How Cooke thought this made Jordan somehow more heroic or "less tainted" is completely beyond me. It just looks reckless, arrogant and naive...three things a superhero's resume' shouldn't include.

Joe Lewallen

And I’m not saying you can’t serve honorably as a Conscientious objector. Conscientious objectors did great and honorable service in the Medical Branch during WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. However, if you are going through flight school on Uncle Sam’s dime, and they stick your butt in a plane carrying six .50 Cal Machine Guns, then a Commanding Officer has the expectation that you will pull the trigger.

I think Darwyn could have made Hal Jordan a guy who was torn up over his service in Korea, and people he had killed. I would have bought that take on the character better than what was on the page.

It was the weakest part of what was an otherwise fantastic, well told story.

I'm not trying to Monday morning quarterback D. Cooke in anyway. His story, he gets to make it however he wants to.

But I do know how the military works, and how military justice works. And this version of Hal Jordan just wouldn't fly.

Pat Curley

Sounds very cool. Yeah, the whole pacifist Hal Jordan bit bugged me too, especially since it wasn't setting the stage for anything later in the story, other than (perhaps) to indicate why he was worthy of the ring.

The Silver Age GL loved to fight, probably because Gil Kane could draw a punch better than any artist at the time.

Mark Engblom

"And I’m not saying you can’t serve honorably as a Conscientious objector. Conscientious objectors did great and honorable service in the Medical Branch during WWII, Korea and Viet Nam."

Exactly. I've got nothing against conscientious objectors, either. But like you say, not in a fighter jet. You're also right that Cooke could have set up Hal's war-haunted nature without resorting to such an unlikely extreme.

Joe Lewallen

One thing D Cooke did with GL that I liked was he cleaned up GL’s origin a bit. As a ten year old, I could never figure out why Abin Sur was using a spaceship. It bugged me for 30 years! Apparently it bugged Darwyn as well and he got rid of Abin Sur's spaceship. Good Job.

Mark Engblom

Yeah, losing the spaceship didn't hurt the origin at all. That said, there was an excellent (and creepy) story written years ago by the great Alan Moore that explored why Abin Sur was piloting a spaceship when he had the ability to fly unaided through space. It's a great example of how seemingly ill-fitting details can be fashioned into a great story with a little imagination.

I believe the story appeared in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 (1986). Many of the elements from this story have been referenced over the past year's "Sinestro Corps" storyline...so you might want to hunt it down.

Joe Lewallen

I looked up Abin Sur's entry in Wikipedia and it had a summery of the Alan Moore story. I think I have read that one. Creepy indeed how Abin was suckered by the demon. I think the story is reprinted in one of the Alan Moore DC Universe Collections.

Picked up the NF DVD at lunchtime. Best Buy was selling the 2 discer with a cool little Hal Jordan GL figure. He can hang out at my desk at work with Optimus Prime.

Mark Engblom

Great, glad you followed up on the Moore story. Yeah....very creepy, especially with that amazing Kevin O'Neil artwork. It brought a dimension to the Green Lantern Corps that hadn't been seen before (giving us a glimpse of what the "Darkest Night" line in the GL oath might really entail). Brrr!

Enjoy your copy of NF...and the little Hal figure! I saw a photo of one in the Best Buy ad...cute!


Joe -- yes, that Abin Sur story is reprinted in the DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore TPB. I read it for the first time about a year ago, I guess.

New Frontier is at the top of my Netflix queue, so I'll see it soon enough. :)

Robby Reed

This movie was a disappointment for me. The animation was crude, particularly the faces. The voice actors were terrible, and used monotones throughout. The only standout was Batman, and maybe Flash.

Given the amount of available heroes, there should have been a costume in literally every scene. Sadly, that was FAR from the case. Costumes were few and far between. There is NO EXCUSE for this. IS DC embarrassed by their own superstars' costumes?

The original NEW FRONTIER comic series was bloated with tons of filler, but overall it was a great read. The movie version was boring. The plot was reduced to sketches of origins of a few key DC heroes, who team up to fight a bunch of dinosaurs at the end.

There is NO WAY a non-comic fan would have a clue of what is going on at any given time. For example, Adam Strange is shown a few times with no explanation whatsoever of who he is. Ditto Green Arrow, and others.

For me, this movie was no better than the average Justice League Unlimited episode, and in many ways it was much worse. DC's videos are turning out to be one trainwreck after another.

Mark Engblom

How do you really feel about it, Robby?

Just kidding. Yeah, I can see how it might be crazy for a non-comic fan to follow some of the goings-on, or identify every character...so I guess I'd have to defer to an actual non comics fans for their opinion (a good source would be a more general DVD review site), but I guess my review was from my own perspective as a hopeless comic book fanboy.

I think the reason why there weren't "costumes" in every scene was because Darwyn Cooke didn't include a costume on every page of the comic book version (which you admit you liked...so I'm a little confused by your wish for more costumes). It was about as faithful an adaptation as anyone could make in the 75 minute time period they had to work with.

I'll agree with you that Superman: Doomsday belongs to the "trainwreck" category, but I think New Frontier turned out pretty great. But....they were bound to not please everyone, and I think I can safely assume you're in the "not pleased" camp.

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