Friday, August 30, 2013

Wonder Woman Gets New Costume for JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR

More importantly, Wonder Woman gets ice cream.  Because who doesn't like ice cream?

Gary Mieranu, Warner Bros. Animated head of public relations, posted the above image on his Twitter account earlier today, revealing a new costume for Wonder Woman in the upcoming animated movie Justice League: WarThis costume essentially modifies her current look in DC Comics' "The New 52," removing the silver neck choker and upper arm band, replacing them with blue material covering her upper chest and most of her arms.

Justice League: War is the first animated adaptation of "The New 52" DC Universe continuity, based upon "Origin," the first six-issue storyline of the current series of Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.  The adaptation was scripted by Heath Corson and directed by Batman: The Dark Knight Returns' Jay Olivia.  The featured cast will include:

Jason O'Mara as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Alan Tudyk as Superman/Clark Kent
Michelle Monaghan as Wonder Woman/Princess Diana
Christopher Gorham as The Flash/Barry Allen
Justin Kirk as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan
Shemar Moore as Cyborg/Victor Stone
Travis Willingham as Shazam (Replacing Aquaman in the story)
Steven Blum as Darkseid
(UNKNOWN) as Steve Trevor

The plot for War involves the world being under attack by alien species led by Darkseid.  Superman must gather a group of superheroes and form the Justice League to defend Earth.  This will be the 18th film the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series and is expected to arrive in early 2014.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chinese News Site Shows Battlestar Galactica as Futuristic Aircraft Carrier


China's news media may have frakked up royally.

The South China Morning Post News reports that the Japanese language version of the China Internet Information Centre showed the above image of the Galactica from the 2004-09 version of Battlestar Galactica as an illustration for a piece about aircraft carriers of the future.

The article, titled "4 Major Trends in Aircraft Carrier Development," was posted on the CIIC, a web portal authorized by the Chinese government which features official news translated into a variety of languages, including Japanese, Korean and English.  The piece focused on developments in missile defense systems, stealth fighters, automated drones and electromagnetic catapults, which are important in the construction of future aircraft carriers.

Japanese readers were skeptical of the images, however, commenting that the article’s two pictures, labelled as concepts for "future aircraft carrier designs," looked like something from science fiction.  "Are these graphics from a video game?" wrote one person, while others said that the pictures looked reminiscent of Macross, a Japanese animated program from 1982 that featured futuristic robots and spaceships.

Eventually, they figured out that one of the pictures was a schematic that had been used by Zoic Studios, the animation studio responsible for the visual effects in the American science fiction television program Battlestar Galactica.  Another image was a concept design for a "Lilypad" floating city, created by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut, who also created similar mock-up images for sustainable structures in Taipei and Shenzhen.

"These [designs] are pretty good dreams," wrote one Japanese blogger after the source for the image was determined.  "[The people who wrote this article] should start making comic books."

So say we all.

Apparently, this wasn't the first time that Chinese media used dubious images to accompany military-themed articles.  In March, both Xinhua and Global Times ran a story on a "secret" Japanese military helicopter.  The images of the helicopter in question turned out to be digital art created by a Singapore animation studio employee.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Colin Baker Reads the Akhaten Speech at Fan Expo 2013

What, you didn't think Ol' Sixie was going to let his successor have all the fun, did you?

A couple of years ago at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy read from script for the episode "The Pandorica Opens" in order to give a Seventh Doctor spin on the now-famous scene where Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor boldly calls out the alliance of aliens swarming above Stonehenge in their spaceships.  Well, now it's the Sixth Doctor's turn...whether you like it or not.

At this year's Fan Expo Canada comics, science-fiction and horror convention held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, former Doctor Who star Colin Baker was the featured guest at a Doctor Who panel on Sunday.

The 70-year-old actor was given a piece of Neil Cross' script for this year's episode "The Rings of Akhaten" to give a Sixth Doctor spin on another now-famous scene where Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor confronts Akhaten, a planet-sized parasitic creature, and attempts to overfeed it by offering it the vastness of his Time Lord memories.

The results are pure Colin, especially starting around the 1:38 mark. Here's the video found on YouTube, thanks to Chuck Kahn...


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Christopher Eccleston Up for DOCTOR WHO's Anniversary...the 100th

Oh, Christopher Eccleston...you cheeky bastard.

The most reclusive of the previous Doctors expressed his tribute to Doctor Who yesterday during the British Film Institute's retrospective of the Ninth Doctor's era.  According to Doctor Who News, the London event was the latest in the BFI's year long celebration of Doctor Who with each month looking back at each Doctor's era. 

A screening of Eccleston's final story, "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways" was also featured and the event panel included the story's director Joe Ahearne, former producer Phil Collinson and actor Bruno Langley, who played Ninth Doctor companion failure Adam Mitchell in "Dalek" and "The Long Game."

Typical of Eccleston, he did not attend the event but he did send along a written message that was read aloud to the audience by BFI host Justin Johnson.  The message read:

I love the BFI. I love the Doctor and hope you enjoy this presentation. Joe Ahearne directed five of the 13 episodes of the first series. He understood the tone the show needed completely – strong, bold, pacy visuals coupled with wit, warmth and a twinkle in the performances, missus.

If Joe agrees to direct the 100th anniversary special, I will bring my sonic and a stair-lift and – providing the Daleks don’t bring theirs – I, the ninth Doctor, vow to save the universe and all you apes in it.

For anyone actually wondering, Eccleston will be 99 years old in 2063, the 100th anniversary year of Doctor Who.  Fantastic.

Meanwhile, the BFI also confirmed that both David Tennant and Paul McGann will appear live on stage for the look back at their retrospective eras as The Doctor.  So at least McGann and Tennant can find some time in their schedules.

The Tenth Doctor event on Sunday, September 29th will include a screening of the Series Four two-part finale "
The Stolen Earth/Journey's End," while the Eighth Doctor screening of the 1996 TV Movie will be held on Saturday, October 5th.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Internet Loses Its Damn Mind Over Ben Affleck as Batman

In case you're one of the two people who still doesn't know by now, Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Zack Snyder's sequel to Man of Steel, featuring the returning Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent.  And as you might imagine, people all over the interwebz went into Nerdrage Factor Twelve when the news broke late yesterday evening.

Just a couple of days earlier, I wrote about how Wes Bentley was executive producer Christopher Nolan's pick for Batman, and how Affleck was actually being courted for the role, however unlikely it was to happen given his current body of work and schedule.  Well, guess what?  It actually happened.

Twitter, due to its ability for immediate response, naturally went batshit over the news first, collectively using hashtags #Benman and the more popular #Batfleck in addition to less organized rants such as these:

And so on.  You get the point.

Facebook soon followed, as people posting on Twitter found a comment they liked from someone else and reposted it as their own creation in a Facebook status update.  Over the next half hour, various forums, blogs and message boards picked up on the news, fueling the fire until there was a sudden ideological split between "You've got to be fucking kidding me" and "Hey, remember when everyone hated Heath Ledger as The Joker?" camps.

And to the surprise of no one, there is already a Change.org petition to Warner Brothers asking them to remove Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne.  At the time of this writing, the petition has 2,732 signatures from people with apparently nothing better to do with their lives.  The description for the petition reads "His acting skill is not even close to being believable as Bruce Wayne and he won't do the role justice. He's not built, nor is he intimidating enough for the role of Batman. His portrayal of Daredevil was atrocious and he's not remotely close to an action star. Please find someone else."

In the unlikely event the petition actually succeeds in convincing Warner Bros. to drop the guy winning Oscars and Golden Globes for The Town and Argo, Twitter is currently trending the topic #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck to suggest Ben's replacement.

The still-untitled sequel to Man of Steel is scheduled for July 17, 2015.  Brace yourselves for the next two years...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Producers Discuss Series Superhero Themes

The long wait is almost over.

ABC's new Marvel Comics TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts in just over a month on September 24th and The Huffington Post has provided some more details on what kind of show we can expect to see.  In a Q&A interview with executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, we learn a few things about the series' central themes and overall story structure.  Here are some of the more notable questions and responses, including some comparisons to the classic Fox series The X-Files:

What do you see as your primary next steps, as far as deepening the world and enriching the characters? How will you make the show more and more Whedon-y, if you will?

Tancharoen: Well, I think our tagline is "Not all heroes are super," and we say it a lot, but it's about the real people living in this extraordinary universe. We're going to dive deeper into that. Our team of six, they are real people without superpowers, and they operate within this big, government-like organization; and week to week, they'll come up against these threats and challenges that are beyond what we're able to handle. Everyone has the question, "How do you make a Marvel show on television when the expectations are so high with what you've seen in the movies and stuff?" But I think when you boil down the show, at its core it's about being human, and that's something everyone can relate to.

Jed Whedon: Yeah. Initially, obviously, we need cool stuff and Marvel moments. But we really want everybody to fall in love with these people, and we think that if they do, people will show up to watch it.

The idea behind the show, to some degree, seems to be about deconstructing the superhero mystique and digging in to what that means and how that functions in the world, and also, judging from the pilot, you are interested in exploring how people react to the power and methods of S.H.I.E.L.D. Are those going to be ongoing themes in the show?

Tancharoen: Well, that is something that we're exploring. Because, yes, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s job is a lot harder now that people saw the battle of New York [in "The Avengers"]. They saw an alien portal onto our universe. They saw a huge battle in the streets of New York with aliens and a big--

Whedon: Gods.

Tancharoen: -- green monsters and a god.

Whedon: Superheroes, the cat's out of the bag.

Tancharoen: Yeah, and so there are consequences to that. People are rattled and yeah, so that's what will be explored.

Whedon: And S.H.I.E.L.D.'s job description has sort of changed. They were supposed to keep these kinds of things secret, but that ship has sailed. Now their job is more about helping people deal with this and navigating all those new questions. What happens when there are gods in the world, what happens to regular people? It's not just people wanting to be famous now, they want to be super and there are a lot of questions that come along with that alien invasion. And so that's a lot of stuff that we explore.

Will there be a Big Bad for the season? Is that something we'll see on this show: a villain having a big arc that grows, or will it be more mini-arcs or standalone episodes?

Tancharoen: I don't think we can't be too specific about that but yes, we will have --

Whedon: Recurring elements.

Tancharoen: Yes. There will be threats. How vague can we be? [laughs]

Whedon: Yeah, one of the things that, you know, we've talked about just initially getting into it is, as you start it, you want to tell these self-contained stories. It's a little bit like the "X-Files" model: You can come each week and see [that episode] and not have seen everything, but if you have, it's a richer experience. And as we move forward, those things will start to weave together more and more. But we do want to always have every episode have its own beginning, middle and end, and feel like its own [thing].

Well, "X-Files" or "Lost" would also have straight-up, hardcore mythology episodes, too. There would be, like, five monsters-of-the-week episodes and then in the sixth, it would be much more about the bigger mythology.

Tancharoen: I'd say it's similar to "X-Files."

Whedon: Yeah, we definitely don't want anybody ever to watch an episode and have to have watched all the others. That's definitely a goal of ours. But we think there's a way to do that, [similarly to] the way that they've done it with [Marvel films] where it's just a better experience if you have been keeping track. And also we're pretty sure that we will be asking enough interesting questions that people will want to hear the answers. At least that's our goal.

There's obviously a lot of cool tech in this world, but time and again, I see shows that operate in the sci-fi or supernatural realm using devices or things that allow the characters to magically resolve a situation or fix a problem. How do you make it so that the resolution of a problem doesn't amount to "and then a wizard fixed it"?

Tancharoen: We care a lot about that. Everything is derived from actual science, and you know, a big rule about Marvel is keeping things grounded, and that's something we're completely conscious of going into every story.

Whedon: We have two characters who are obsessed with it on the show. Fitz and Simmons are there in order to make it not feel like that. It's like Bond having to hang out with Q all day. Bond just uses the thing but Q is saying, "Do you understand how I designed that? Do you understand how much time and energy went into that thing?" We care about it. It also raises a question with Thor and other worlds. There are things that are not able to be explained.

Tancharoen: But in "Thor," they even said what you perceive as magic is science that you have yet to understand.

Whedon: Right. And so we will deal with two scientists facing things like a hammer that only one guy can pick up and trying to piece that together in their minds and get a grip on a world that doesn't make sense.

Will most of the threats originate from otherworldly dimensions or other planets or things like that?

Whedon: They're going to come from all over the place.

Tancharoen: Yeah, it's not just otherworldly.

Whedon: And, you know, on Earth there have been the origins of a couple superpowers in scientific experiments, either successes or experiments gone wrong. But [the threats are] going to come from all over. There's enough to deal with in a world where those things exist. You know, if a house got stepped on by a giant, it's a huge tragedy. It doesn't have to be about the giant. So while we will be tapping into all the supernatural stuff, there's plenty of human stories to be told in that world where this stuff exists.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Christopher Nolan Recommends Wes Bentley as New Batman

There's a chance Batman might become an American again.

The search continues for Christian Bale's successor as the Dark Knight to join Henry Cavill in Zack Snyder's sequel to Man of Steel.  Several names are currently under consideration, but CosmicBookNews claims that 34-year-old actor Wes Bentley was recommended for the role by none other than Man of Steel executive producer Christopher Nolan.

Bentley certainly seems open to comic book roles, having played Blackheart in 2007's Ghost Rider and Adleman Lusk in 2010's Jonah Hex.  In addition, he's appeared as Ricky Fitts in American Beauty, Seneca Crane in the first Hunger Games movie, and perhaps most importantly, is featured in Nolan's upcoming film Interstellar, which is presently filming.

Citing an unnamed DC Entertainment source, CosmicBookNews also reports that one of the spare Dark Knight trilogy Batsuits will probably be used for the screen testing, which should begin next month with an announcement expected somewhere between mid-September and early October.

Other potential Batmen include Jake Gyllenhaal, who reportedly was screenwriter David S. Goyer's pick for Batman Begins, Luke Evans and even Ben Affleck.  Affleck's casting seems highly unlikely, however, considering he's slated to direct and star in Live by Night next year and will be appearing in Gone Girl after that, but CosmicBookNews claims Warner Bros. is "still asking."

The still-untitled sequel to Man of Steel goes into production next year for a scheduled 2015 release.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE DAILY SHOW's John Oliver Geek Rants Over NBC's Iron Man Fact Fail

Memo to all media -- If you're going to use geek references in news reporting, be prepared for the inevitable shitstorm when you don't do your homework.

That's what happened last night on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, when summer fill-in host John Oliver geek-ranted over a report by NBC that didn't do enough fact-checking on the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man.

During a segment called "Track to the Future," Oliver discussed Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's proposal for the "Hyperloop," a high-speed train that would run from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  All fine and good, until a clip from an NBC news report on the Hyperloop was shown.  "It may sound crazy," said the NBC report, "but consider Elon Musk's track record -- the 42-year-old billionaire who founded PayPal, invented the breakthrough Tesla battery car, and was the first to dock a commercial rocket with a space station.  This is Elon Musk we're talking about, the inspiration for the Iron Man's Tony Stark character."

Oh no, they didn't...

"No, no, no, no, NO!" responded Oliver, thumping his fists.  "Wrong again, Lamestream Media!  There is no possible way that Elon Musk could have inspired the Tony Stark character, because Elon Musk was born in 1971 and Tony Stark first appeared in 1963!"  The cover to Tales of Suspense #39, the first appearance of Iron Man, was then displayed on screen as Oliver continued his geek rant, much to the audience's approval.  "This is basic fact-checking!  These kinds of mistakes have to stop!  This is a catastrophic error and you've pushed me too far!" 

Oliver then proceeded to rip up his script in frustration as the audience cheered their approval even louder.  Calming himself down, Oliver smiled and said, "I wasn't expecting quite so many people to empathize with that rage."

If you'd like to see the full segment, you can view it below...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Emperor Strikes Back in STAR WARS EPISODE VII


"Go for Papa Palpatine!"

If you thought you'd seen the last of Emperor Palpatine in 2005's Revenge of the Sith, get ready to let the hate flow again.  Latino Review has updated some preliminary rumors that 69-year-old actor Ian McDiarmid is slated to return in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Episode VII.

Although the character met his end after Darth Vader threw him down a reactor shaft in 1983's Return of the Jedi, Latino Review claims through an unnamed source that "Palpatine comes back as a Force Ghost..like Obi Wan. (Sith Lords learned similar techniques, which in some cases allowed them to physically interact with their environment.)"

Their source also claims "Palpatine will not be a clone, not in human form" and most interestingly, "Palpatine had a new apprentice before he got killed."

The site goes on to clarify that the Emperor's return will not be taken from any previous storyline, such as Dark Empire or Dark Empire II from Dark Horse Comics.

Star Wars Episode VII is scheduled for release in 2015, probably in May...because Star Wars.  Michael Arndt will provide the script and composer John Williams will once again return to score the film.  In the meantime though, here's a little something to help make the wait just over two minutes shorter...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bryan Cranston Considers Lex Luthor Role for MAN OF STEEL Sequel

With AMC's Breaking Bad ending shortly, Bryan Cranston is about to have some time on his hands and what better way to help fill it than playing one of the biggest supervillains ever?

There's been some speculation over the past few days that Cranston and actor Mark Strong are being considered for the role of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's sequel to Man of Steel that will also feature Batman.  The Philadelphia Metro, meanwhile, asked Cranston about the role and how he feels about possibly playing Superman's arch-nemesis.

"Give me a call," Cranston said with a grin.  "I like Lex Luthor.  I think he’s misunderstood.  He’s a loveable, sweet man."

The 57-year-old actor seems like a natural choice and recently had his first experience as a DC Comics Universe character by voicing Lieutenant James Gordon in the 2011 animated adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One.  He's also voiced characters in other geek-friendly animated series such as Archer, The Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad and Robot Chicken.

However, one potential obstacle to the casting could be Cranston's own wife.  "She wasn’t so keen on the bald head," said Cranston, referring to his Breaking Bad character Walter White.  "The bald head ages a man.  It’s just that she didn’t know me that way, and the last six years it’s all of a sudden like sleeping with a stranger who was less exciting than her own husband.  So I don’t blame her for being upset."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Loki Steals New THOR: THE DARK WORLD Trailer

Maybe Marvel should've titled the movie Loki: The Dark World instead?

Hot off his well-received appearance in Hall H at last month's San Diego Comic-Con, Tom Hiddleston's character Loki turns his smarmy charm up to eleven in the second trailer for Thor: The Dark World released this morning.  The new two-minute UK trailer features considerable new footage, including new scenes of everyone's favorite God of Mischief.

"After all this time," says Loki as his foster brother Thor descends into an Asgardian prison, "now you come to visit me, brother.  Why?  To mock?"  "I need your help," replies Thor, "and I wish I could trust you."  "If you did," counters Loki, "you'd be the fool I always took you for."

Following the familiar shot of a giant stalactite-shaped object carving a path of destruction through the University of Greenwich in London, Thor's love interest Jane Foster asks "What's going to happen?"  "I gave you my word," says Thor as he arrives to face the threat, "I would return for you."  Thor takes Jane to Asgard, the Realm Eternal, where she finally gets to see Thor's home.

Idris Elba's character Heimdall then gives Thor some advice as we glimpse the Destroyer once again, saying "You face an enemy known only to a few."  "Known only to one," corrects Thor.

Meanwhile, no one is happy that Loki's helping out.  "You even think about betraying him..." warns Ray Stevenson's Volstagg, but Jaimie Alexander's Sif finishes the line by drawing her sword to Loki's neck.  "...and I'll kill you."  This is immediately followed by Jane punching Loki squarely in the face.  "That was for New York," Jane says vengefully, which only makes Loki smile in response.  "I like her," he says, still grinning.

But just before everyone completely forgets who this movie's Big Bad is supposed to be, Christopher Eccleston's Malekith the Accursed begins speaking in a voiceover.  "Thor, your bravery will not ease your pain," says Malekith.  "Your family, your world will be extinguished."

More glimpses of destruction at Greenwich follow, with Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd's Dr. Erik Selvig warning "We're running out of time" and Jane warning "The very fabric of reality can be torn apart."  But hey, don't worry, Thor's here.  "I'll find a way to save us all," he says over trailer music trying hard to pump up your excitement.

A final quick scene shows Thor facing off against a large stone giant that Sif tells him is "All yours."  Thor looks over his opponent for a moment, then lets his hammer Mjolnir fly and quickly reduces the giant to a pile of stones and rocks.  "Anyone else?" he asks.

Thor: The Dark World arrives in U.S. theaters on November 8th.  If you'd like to see the trailer in full, you can view it below thanks to Marvel UK...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Peter Capaldi Announced as the Twelfth Doctor on DOCTOR WHO

In the immortal words of Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, "Well...Here we go again..."

After a half-hour of hype and interview clips, Peter Capaldi was officially announced as the Twelfth Doctor on the BBC special Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, hosted by Zoe Ball.  The 55-year-old Scottish actor is a lifelong fan of Doctor Who and has previously appeared in the 2008 episode "The Fires of Pompeii" as Caecilius and as John Frobisher on the Torchwood miniseries Children of Earth.  Capaldi will make his debut during the regeneration sequence featured in the 2013 Christmas Special.

Before the announcement, Fifth Doctor Peter Davison appeared on stage and briefly discussed how you never really leave the role of the Doctor, his daughter's marriage to Tenth Doctor David Tennant and that Patrick Troughton became his favorite Doctor after being won over during Troughton's first episode in 1966's "Power of the Daleks."

Various recorded interviews followed, including Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, Sixth Doctor Colin Baker, Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Anneke Wills (Polly), Bonnie Langford (Melanie "Mel" Bush), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Professor Stephen Hawking and Professor Brian Cox.

Bernard Cribbins, who played Donna Noble's grandfather Wilfred "Wilf" Mott, then appeared on stage and discussed interviewing for the role of the Fourth Doctor following the departure of Jon Pertwee.  Barry Letts, producer at the time, told Cribbins the Doctor doesn't get into fistfights and then when Tom Baker's first story "Robot" aired, Cribbins saw Baker hitting someone.

Following the announcement, Capaldi joined Ball for some initial questions about his reaction to finding out he landed the role.  "I was performing The Three Musketeers in Prague at the time," said Capaldi, "and I missed the call.  I called back and my agent said, 'Hello, Doctor.'"

"It's so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer," said Capaldi.  "For a while I couldn't tell my daughter.  She was reading the rumors on the internet and getting upset that they weren't mentioning me.  I kept saying 'Rise above it, rise above it."

Capaldi also admitted that he played the Doctor as a child in Glasgow.  "I'm a lifelong Doctor Who fan.  I haven't played it since I was nine.  As an adult actor I've never worked on it.  (For the audition) I downloaded some old scripts from the internet and practiced that in front of the mirror."

Matt Smith shared his best wishes to his successor from recorded footage, then Capaldi continued to grin and share his enthusiasm.  "Doctor Who belongs to all of us," he said.  "Everyone made Doctor Who."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

DC Comics: The New 52 at Two

It's been just over two years since DC Comics rebooted their fictional universe with all-new number one issues into what they named "The New 52."  Looking at the Top 300 Comics sales list for July 2013, it's interesting to see how well the DC Universe relaunch is performing in the long term.

To no real surprise, the big winner of the New 52 relaunch is Batman.  Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been hitting it out of the park every month, with some truly epic Batman tales like "Night of the Owls," "Death of the Family" and the current "Zero Year."  With issue #21 charting at #3 in the Top 300 two years, it's safe to say this is DC's biggest New 52 hit.  Other Batman titles are still doing well, with Detective Comics, Batman and Robin and Batman: The Dark Knight still charting around the Top 20 and Top 30.  Nightwing and Batgirl have drifted down to around the Top 50 mark, while Batwoman and Catwoman chart around the Top 80s and could use a significant creative boost.

After Batman, Justice League seems to be the New 52's biggest success.  The main title Justice League was #6 for July 2013, the first part of the six-issue "Trinity War" storyline weaving through Justice League of America and Justice League Dark as well.  Justice League of America is currently at the #20 position, but Justice League Dark only came in at #92 despite being part of "Trinity War."  The recent move to boost the price to $3.99 while keeping the page count the same is probably keeping readers away, and certainly contributed to my decision to drop the title after "Trinity War."

The next successful line is probably Green Lantern.  Issue #21, the first without writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke, comes in at #18 but there's no telling yet if this will remain the norm.  Related titles Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians and Red Lanterns are currently placing roughly between the Top 40 and Top 60 range, justifying their continued existence but not doing much else.  New title Larfleeze debuted at #59, so it's doubtful this will help add more enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, the Superman titles keep floundering, both creatively and saleswise.  During Superman's 75th anniversary with the major box office hit movie Man of Steel, when everyone's attention is the character, the Superman books should be doing much better than they are.  Action Comics post-Grant Morrison comes in at #37, with Superman close behind at #40.  Supergirl is much farther down at #84, while Superboy's current placing at #106 seems destined for cancellation in the near future.  Now, there is a possible bright spot here, with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's Superman Unchained debuting at #1 and Greg Pak and Jae Lee's Batman/Superman right behind at #2.  So obviously, there's still demand for the Superman titles, as long as top creators are there making enough of an effort to justify the high $3.99 cover price.

As for the rest, there are only a few standouts of note.  Thanks to Geoff Johns' decision to remain with the title, Aquaman continues to perform well at #35 and is still managing to do better than books like Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man and yes, Superman.  Earth 2 was a welcome addition to the New 52 that comes in at #44, but its future is now in doubt after writer James Robinson announced he's leaving the series with #16.  The Flash hung in for a while but has recently drifted down to #55, which seems like the time to make some sort of creative change.  That's no guarantee of success however, with Green Arrow turning things around significantly with Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino but only coming in at #79 after five issues into their run.

Here are the New 52 titles I started off with two years ago, with titles that have since been cancelled in bold:

Action Comics                                                Green Lantern
Animal Man                                                    Justice League
Aquaman                                                       Justice League Dark
Batgirl                                                            Justice League International
Batman                                                           Legion Lost
Batman and Robin                                         Legion of Super-Heroes
Batwoman                                                       Nightwing
Birds of Prey                                                   Stormwatch
Detective Comics                                            Superboy
The Flash                                                        Superman
The Fury of Firestorm                                   Teen Titans
Green Arrow                                                    Wonder Woman

And now, here are the New 52 titles I'm currently getting, with new additions in bold:

Action Comics                                                 The Flash
Animal Man                                                     Green Arrow
Aquaman                                                         Green Lantern
Batgirl                                                              Justice League
Batman                                                             Nightwing
Batman and Robin                                           Superboy
Batwoman                                                        Superman
Birds of Prey                                                     Teen Titans
Constantine                                                    Wonder Woman
Earth 2                                                             Worlds' Finest

An overall net loss of four books, but mostly consistent.  The most noticeable losses here are the Legion books, which disappointed from the start and seem primed for yet another creative reboot at some point down the road.  Meanwhile, Dan Jurgens salvaged Fury of Firestorm after a horrible New 52 relaunch that ignored everything fans were promised after Brightest Day.  Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and Jurgens isn't enough of a sales draw these days to bring readers back to a doomed title, so that was that.

DC seems determined to make the line work though, with new books like Superman/Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn arriving soon.  But with Marvel breathing new life into many of their books with "Marvel NOW" and Image capturing more readers with The Walking Dead, Lazarus, The Manhattan Projects, East of West and others, DC needs to put '90s creators and attitudes behind them and step up its game even more.  Let's see how the next two years of New 52 turn out...