Known for his complete lack of proper formatting, seemingly wandering and pointless story, small word count, shameless femslash, and overall sub-par writing, he -- despite a total lack of support -- continued to churn out work week after week for the sheer love of doing so.
Now that he's gone, and has started to fade from memory, I intend to honor that passion for his craft with the Theik2 Library of Ultimate Excellence -- where I will personally reformat, proofread, and edit each Theik2 story into a masterpiece.
Note: If you share my dream of acknowledging Theik2 as the best writer to ever live, feel free to edit stories and link them to me! Be sure to post links to the original story in your remastered version!
When, exactly, do new powers and abilities get firmly considered, despite evidence to the fact that they shouldn't be?
When do inconsistencies become consistent?
...When is it time to move on?
A lot of people can't decide on these, as it seems to fluctuate from character to character how hard fans will hold on to a certain set of feats and abilities. From time to time, we get something like a reboot that firmly establishes a new power level – other times, the change is gradual, yet not pointed, or just seems to come out of the blue. These latter types are a lot more likely to get called out as stupidity on the writers' ends... but when does inconsistent become consistent?
Let me skim over a few characters that have had... issues... with fluctuating power levels.
AQUAMAN: Aquaman is this article's poster child. He's gone from being mediocre-yet-superfluous, to sucking really badly, to being overly edgy yet still unimpressive, to being extremely powerful yet uninteresting, and has finally settled on being immensely tough in addition to being a very flavorful character.
And you know what happened? Everyone loved it. The newest, most physically badass Aquaman has gotten more love from fans than ever before, launching him to the status of one of DC's most popular mainline characters. Almost enough to bring a tear to your eye, isn't it? Yet it raises some questions – Aquaman's look hasn't changed. His attitude hasn't changed. His backstory hasn't changed. Is power level really that important to the popularity of a character? If so, how do characters like the Punisher ever achieve any sort of fanbase? How about...
WOLVERINE: Wolverine's power level has been absurd since his conception, yet everyone seems to pretty much accept that a Wolverine is a Wolverine is a Wolverine, except when it isn't a Wolverine (which is totally intolerable).
From the get-go, and consistently after that, Wolverine has been able to tussle with people like Hulk and Thing, every brick in between, energy-users, telekinetics, and everyone else ever and usually come out on top, or at least not looking too bad. The only exception to this rule is his own villains – if Sabretooth, Omega Red, or other specific Wolvie-centric villains get involved, suddenly everything's different and he actually plays to his pre-established power set.
Yet people tend to not overly care whether Wolverine can jump eighty feet straight up, or whether he can get ripped to pieces by a guy with swords. Wolverine's Wolverine... we've all acclimated by now. If he can fight Hulk – let him fight Hulk.
Which reminds me.
HULK: Hulk doesn't need explanations for wild fluctuations in power level! Hulk can get knocked out by Captain America if Hulk want! Hulk only have small majority of Wolverine – Hulk no mind, Hulk get him better next time! What? Hulk not afraid of Namor! Namor not been able to beat Hulk since the 1970's!
Thing is, Hulk goes from having relatively close bouts with Benjamin Grimm to thunderclapping planets out of existence. He goes from tussling with Wendigo to beating Thor's face in. Whenever he's in close proximity with Juggernaut, go ahead and flip a coin to see what happens. Not that that'll stop Hulk from pummeling Silver Surfer to goop.
Yet... because his power “increases as he gets angrier”, people tend to not much notice the fact that he's grown to a silly level of strength, they just dig it 'cause hey, he's Hulk, and Hulk is badass. Pay no heed to the fact that his level of potential anger has increased exponentially since 1962 (hey, Hulk just turned 50 not long ago – congrats Hulk!).
Though, if someone else had such a radical power increase all of a sudden, it may not necessarily be as well-received. Someone such as...
BLACK ADAM: Since he broke out of the constant struggle with Billy Batson and started establishing himself as a noble anti-hero and a part of the JSA, Teth-Adam's power level has increased exponentially. While Captain Marvel (do people really expect me to call him Shazam now? I'm not sure) and those of his ilk have always been tough cookies, they've never been anywhere near the level that Black Adam's been at over the past ten or so years.
This, however, has been received with... mixed results. While some people, fans of the character, have been “Hell yeah! Adam kicks righteous ass!”, others have found Adam's propensity for defeating seemingly everyone who comes within ten feet of him to be distasteful. Apparently doing things like blitzing Superman, backhanding a Flash, flat-out dominating the entire Justice Society, and during WW3, taking on all of DC Earth, is a bit too much of a stretch in too short an amount of time. Many people still refuse to accept that certain things he's done should even be taken seriously, regardless of whether or not they occurred or are consistent with themselves – despite not being consistent with the things Black Adam had done in the seventy years before them.
Mayhaps DC's reboot will give him a chance to re-establish himself in the image he has been attempting to establish for the past decade. We've seen that the reboot can be very helpful for that, like it was for Aquaman, and like it was for...
CHEETAH: WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO CHEETAH?!
Now I'll be the first to admit that Cheetah is a very tough lady. She's always been able to hang with Wonder Woman (impressive on its own) and she's even shown that she's quick enough to give a challenge to Flashes. That was before the reboot.
After the reboot she became an outright beast, a Leaguebuster capable of easily taking down Superman and the rest of the team. Not only was this totally out of left field, it was her first appearance of the reboot – right off the bat they established her as a very high-tier character, not one to be taken lightly. Wonder Woman herself doesn't even seem to be a suitable adversary for her anymore, which in a way, circumvents the whole nature of the character.
And yet, what's funny, is nobody really... minded. There were no calls of Cheetah being too powerful, barely even a brief gasp of awe at the changes. It was just accepted. “Hey, Cheetah's tough as hell now – cool.” While it was not met with the abundant joy of Aquaman's change, nor the disgust of Black Adam's apparent amp, it just seemed to fizzle away as something unimportant and not worth acknowledging. Much like when the opposite happened to...
ETRIGAN: Even less of a burp (as if that were possible) occurred when Demon Knights came out, starring the Demon himself, Etrigan. Now, before the reboot, Etrigan was a force to be reckoned with, a man who could make Lobo look like he needed to work a little harder.
Yet, in Demon Knights, Etrigan was wholly... unimpressive. Now, he looked a lot cooler. His attitude was awesome. And hey, now he has wings – sweet! But what happened to his teleportation? His off-the-cuff spellcasting? Strength the likes of which can knock Superman out of orbit? Telepathy? ANYTHING?
Nope. Now Etrigan has very standard abilities... flight, fire breath, basic enhanced stats befitting his status. But he's nowhere near the demon he once was... and nobody cares.
At the beginning of this article I wondered how important power level is when applied to a character's popularity. With Aquaman it seemed to be a game-changer. Yet Etrigan's popularity didn't waver (in fact, it may have increased) when he took a severe dip in his mojo. So... what was the difference?
So, while I can go on and on with characters that seem to be a smidge inconsistent (such as Black Panther, Thor, Batman, and a heap of others) I'm going to cut this short and ask you the question. When should new feats take hold? How much does power level change a character? When do feats override on-paper abilities?
Hey everyone! It's me again, with an exciting new installment of... well, my usual reviews. But this one's slightly different! Rather than reviewing a movie, movie series, band, or comic, this time I'm going to be reviewing a TV show! Specifically, my favorite TV show to date.
Now, I know what you're thinking. “Positive reviews are boring! Do something vitriolic like your After Earth review!”
Well, I agree. Negative reviews are funnier. But, as I said, this is my favorite show, even after being canceled after two seasons. And dammit, I'm gonna review it. And, while not everyone enjoyed the show (how, I don't know), I'm still going to talk about how completely fantastic and flawless it is, because I'm extremely biased and don't care about what's wrong with it. Well, actually, maybe I will point out a few small flaws, just to be fair – but know now that despite the fact that I'm going to acknowledge them, I'm still not going to attest to the show being anything other than perfect.
The show is Legend of the Seeker, directed by Sam Raimi and very loosely based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books.
Very. Loosely. Based.
When the show was actually noticed (it had TERRIBLE advertisement), it got a lot of flak for many different reasons.
People thought the books it was based on were stupid.
People didn't think it mirrored the source material closely enough (six of one, half dozen of the other, huh?)
People thought it was trying to rip off Star Wars
People have no taste
So, between all of those deciding factors, LotS was nowhere near a commercial success and was canceled after the tidy ending of Season Two. I have yet to emotionally recover from this catastrophic event, and the cancellation has forever left a gaping hole where my soul used to be.
Anyway, where do I start? Why don't I start from the beginning, the first few episodes that made everyone immediately dismiss it as utterly ridiculous.
IT'S STAR WARS!
You heard right, folks! It's Star Wars. Specifically Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The story opens with Luke Skywalker-- I mean, Richard Cypher-- as a totally normal (yet suspiciously awesome) guy, farming moisture-- I mean, chopping wood and building bridges and all that fun stuff. Evil storm troopers-- I mean, uh, evil D'Haran soldiers suddenly come barging in from this unknown world that's been sealed away for centuries, and adventure begins to ensue. We also get a glimpse at Darth Vader-- I mean, Darken Rahl, who is the main villain of the first season and a recurring character of the second.
As events start to unfold, Richard meets a remarkably badass and extraordinarily hot Princess Leia-- I mean, Kahlan, who is a Confessor. She can mind-control people into loveslaves, detect lies, kick ass with a pair of daggers, and telekinetically hold her bodice together while it shows off as much cleavage as she can manage.
Richard gets increasingly confused by the supernatural events around him, and finally confronts his uncle-- I mean, father, about it. His dad tells him to go find the old man who lives in a shack not far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi-- I mean, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, who ends up being a jedi knight-- I mean, wizard.
You still with me? Cool.
Anyway, Zedd and Kahlan tell Richard that he is the prophesied one, the Seeker of Truth, destined to bring peace to the world and destroy Rahl. He tells them to shove it and goes home, only to find that the D'Haran soldiers (specifically one soldier, who is a real piece of work) has killed his dad (gasp, spoilers!) and framed Richard for the crime. In light of the death of his parental figure, he goes back to Zedd and Kahlan and decides that he would like to be a jedi-- I mean, the Seeker, after all.
A lot of people, I think, didn't get past this. It's simply too strikingly resemblant to the plot of the first Star Wars movie (or at least the beginning of it), and nobody took the show seriously despite solid acting, gorgeous scenery, amazing costuming, fun action, and good special effects. Pity.
Now that we've established that – the show is actually fantastic.
The characters totally rock. It has a focused cast that never stretches beyond five central characters, and they're pretty friggin' loveable.
Richard: (Neutral Good) – Richard seems like he's gonna be your standard reluctant everyman hero at first, and for a little bit he is. However, it doesn't really take him all that long to embrace his role as the Seeker, and his personal moral code starts to take hold. Turns out, Richard has a heart of gold and never compromises his own ethics, almost to the point of stupidity. If he wasn't such a badass, his wide-eyed perspective on life would have gotten him killed many times over. However, he is that badass, fair and square, and he manages to struggle past the obstacles in his path (taking his licks when he has to) and never compromises what he believes in.
Kahlan: (Lawful Neutral w/ Good Tendencies) – While she is personally my least favorite character on the show, other fans love Kahlan, and for good reason. She has cool abilities, such as the power to discern lies and the ability to “confess”, which permanently binds people to her and makes them her thralls. She isn't exactly crazy about doing this but she does it a lot anyway, usually against D'Haran soldiers, officers, or other people that are going to get killed anyway if she doesn't confess 'em. She's no-nonsense yet caring, but she does have a traditionalist facet that is intriguing if not endearing – her belief in what must be too often overrides her feelings of what should be, leading to her occasionally making some really distasteful decisions. Still, she's affectionate and compassionate, along with being fierce and strong.
Also cleavage. Sorry, sorry. But seriously: cleavage.
Zedd: (Chaotic Good) – Why hello, Zedd, what do you have in store for today's episode? What do you mean, 'look at the script'? Oooh... I see.
This guy is a wizard of absurd power, which they often try to excuse with the fact that he is also super old and therefore liable to forget some stuff from time to time. This leads to Zedd's abilities fluctuating by the episode, generally being dependent on whether or not the plot demands them. His magical abilities range from the ability to cast massive ritual spells and even stoptime, to just tossing firebolts. However, no matter how useful stopping time might be, when it'd be too convenient for him to do so he seemingly forgets how.
Besides that, however, he's funny, smart, and cool, and he always seems to be the guy who finds the third option when both of the obvious choices seem to really suck.
Darken Rahl: (Lawful Evil to the bone) – Lord Rahl is like, the ultimate villain. He's sinister, intelligent, powerful, skilled, ruthless, and well-groomed, and you can even relate to him in a sort of crazy way (particularly in the second season, where we see more of his human side now that he's not the main baddy). I'll kinda lay off talking about him too much, because spoilers, but seriously, he rules.
Like, a lot.
Cara: (Does Not Compute – Lawful Chaotic – GACK) – Cara Mason doesn't show up until the end of the first season, and she doesn't join the core team until the beginning of the second. However, she is far and away my favorite character on the show. She's one of the Mord-Sith – an ancient order of leather-clad, anti-magic, bisexual dominatrix badasses who are sworn to serve Lord Rahl. For [INSERT REASONS HERE] she breaks away from the other Mord-Sith and joins up with Seeker & Co., where she proceeds to be absolutely fantastic. Not only does she bring a whole new meaning to the word 'badass' (with her pain-resistance, anti-magic, and dual-wielded Agony Dildos), she is tragic while having a lot of really endearing character moments, and even has some of the funniest lines and moments in the show. She is also thoughtful enough to modify the traditional Mord-Sith uniform to show off more cleavage.
Obviously I can't do an in-depth review on the entire storyline of a 44-episode television series, but I can glance over some of the highlights.
Scenery: Holy crap. I mean, it's set in New Zealand, so that pretty much explains its own self. The scenery is absolutely fabulous.
Costuming: This is kind of a weird thing to touch down on but I need to make mention of it. The costuming in this show is really fantastic – like really fantastic. You already get a glimpse from the core cast, but honestly, every lowly henchman or soldier or map-maker or garden-variety Mord-Sith just has truly amazing outfits, be it cool fantasy armor, robes, skintight leather BDSM-suits, or anything in between.
Plot: The overarcing plotline is standard enough – hero fight bad guy, hero save world – with minimal twists along the way, but it's the individual episodes that give the show flavor. Each episode has its own mini-story, its own little quest, its own problem that has to be solved, and each time we get to see how Seeker & Co. handles things. Each new episode shows more personality and more cool abilities, shows more of each character's moral code and shows more of the world around them, and the people in it.
Then, in season two, Hell opens up and zombies start to pour out! YAY!
Relationships: Whether it's the romance between Richard and Kahlan, the devotion of Cara to Richard, the mentor-figure relationship of Zedd to Richard, the tense, subtexty rivalry of Kahlan and Cara, or the “I can save you” relationship between Richard and Darken Rahl, each relationship is driven home with fantastic execution. The dialogue is consistently vibrant and each passing episode cements the characters in your heart – it doesn't scramble for shock value by destroying characters, but instead constantly builds on them by testing, tempering, and rewarding them.
I've probably said enough as is, and there's no way I've held your attention for this long. So, without further ado, I'd just love to recommend the show and tell you that I really love it – it has a special place in my heart, a special enough place to warrant a nearly two thousand word review. The whole thing is even on Netflix's instant watch, so if you are ever looking for something new to sink your teeth into, something with finite size but a satisfying climax, try taking a risk on Legend of the Seeker.
Thank you, and goodnight.
Unless it's morning where you are.
In which case, just... goodbye I guess.
Anyway, remember that you heard it here first (unless you didn't)! Be more like me, and do things I do, because I'm cool!
Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a music review, right?
Yes, yes indeed it has. The first and last music review I did was on The Scarlet Ending, and while music may not exactly be my area of expertise I had a blast writing the article, since music is very much something I love.
Now, over the past couple years I’ve been spending the majority of my time in an establishment with a continuously looping soundtrack that doesn’t change. How anyone is capable of surviving this is beyond me, but it quickly became apparent that earbuds were soon to be my best friend. This experience has vastly improved my appreciation of music.
You see, you can fill your head with the stuff you’d rather be listening to, and that assuages the pain of having to listen to Michael Jackson and Ace of Base on the radio. But the thing is, back in those dark days, I only really had so much music I listened to. Once you've played out the ten or so bands you know, a few hundred times, they quickly become just as intolerable as the tripe I’d been avoiding.
This lead to a musical renaissance for me, a time where I was forced to adapt or die. I had to find new music that I enjoyed, a lot of it, and fast. This lead to a lot of experimentation, and lead to me exposing myself to a ton of new artists.
Among the new bands that I found during that Dark Age was a fairly unknown group known as The Vincent Black Shadow, named after the motorcycle of the same name.
The Genre!: A standard glance at Wikipedia tells me that the group is ‘Alt Rock’ which is… well, frustrating. The term ‘alt’ means nearly nothing, since it just means “y’know, it’s a li’l different” without actually saying how.
However, my own efforts to describe the group’s distinct style meet with equal futility. They manage to be dark, yet upbeat — but upbeat without being particularly cheery. On a scale of hardness, they are… firm? While they have a catchy and intense sound that you can tap your foot (or in my case, bob your head) to, they don’t have the ‘noisy’ aspect of metal, nor do they have the consistent speed of punk, or the gloomy pace of gothic music, which puts them in a strange gray area.
On top of that, they have no specific gimmicks (such as trumpet) to auto-slap a new genre into the mix, yet lyrically they deal with some very dark topics such as trauma, surgery, insanity, and possibly rape (depending on your interpretation of the song “Surgery”).
So, when all is said and done, and I’ve attacked this from every angle my limited pool of knowledge allows, I come to… well, alt rock.
The Voice!: My favorite part about this band is its lead singer, originally Cassandra Ford (more on this later). She has a power that is not too frequently seen in female rock vocalists, along with being outright competent. She hits all the notes she can be expected to, is vocally fluid without doing that annoying wiggly thing, and is even able to hold her own with non-lyrical sounds (moans and whatnot — not entirely sure how to describe that; once again, my musical knowledge is limited at best and I speak the words of a simpleton).
Though, with their latest album, Cassie Ford decided to take a hike and work on something else. As a result, the band’s keyboardist, Nikki Hurst, took one for the team and stepped up to the plate.
We haven’t gotten to see a lot from Nikki yet (currently, only a single EP features her voice), but reception has been mixed, as are my own feelings on her. On one hand, I have to give her props — she stepped into a very long shadow by filling Ford’s role in the band, and she does not have the forceful presence of the band’s last vocalist. However, her voice does have… personality, and has been described as “downright funky”. My only real complaint about her is that her voice doesn’t always manage to stand out against the backing music.
The Verdict!: I enjoy the hell out of the band, honestly, and while not every song is a hit I really enjoy listening to them. The roster-change was an unneeded burp in the works but now that I have adjusted, I don’t think it really harmed the band. They’re dark, yet catchy, lighter than some more hardcore stuff but in no way fluffy, and songs bring their own individual melodies to get caught and tumble around in your head. I recommend them — so be more like me, and do things I do, since I am cool!
Metro (Cassie Ford)
In A Row (Cassie Ford)
El Monstruo (Cassie Ford)
Surgery (Cassie Ford)
Stupid Intruders (Cassie Ford)
The House of Tasteful Men (Cassie Ford)
Head In A Box (Cassie Ford)
Watch Out! (Nikki Hurst)
Welcome Home (Nikki Hurst)
For more of my reviews and non-comic-related articles and blogs, come visit me over at Chronicles of a Stoic Maniac, and maybe I'll give you a cookie!
(I've learned a bit more about uploading images and making pretty threads, so here ya go. ^_^)
(Will repeat certain feats if they fit into more than one category)
Left to right:
- Stands on one finger.
- Smushes Bruce Wayne
- Smushes Black Lantern Roman Sionis.
- Brings a grown man to his knees with a handshake.
- Throws a grown man several stories straight up.
Left to right:
- Stands on one finger.
- Flips over the Arkham gate (while dodging bullets)
- Doing flips while firing accurately.
- (The rest) A fight with Batman where she is nearly untouchable and barely fighting back.
Left to right:
- Tanks being shot off in a rocket and crashing. No visible wounds.
- Regenerates from a bullet wound.
- Word of mouth -- is flattened by a mechanical mallet, bounces right back.
Speedblitzes, immune to joker venom, flat-out dominates him.
He thinks he's tough -- she tosses him off a balcony.
Vs. Killer Croc
Croc gets the jump. Harley wins anyway (then passes out).
Vs. Batman (1)
Blocks his punch, gets lost in the chaos, comes back, squashes him.
Vs. Batman (2)
Tanks his hits, creates havoc with minions, catches his rope and drives him through the floor.
Vs. Batman (3)
Missing a few scans from this. He actually does hit her with a batarang once (while she is making faces at him), and another time bashes her into a jukebox. The entire rest of the fight goes like this... she humiliates him.
Vs. Cass Cain and Tim Drake
She's dressed as Babs in this but she handles Cass and Tim pretty easily. Nightwing shows up later as well but they don't interact really. Segues into a chase scene, Harley escapes.
Left to right:
- Her little poprocks manage to distract/blind Big Barda rather effectively.
- Shooting accurately while doing flips.
- Quickdraws her popgun out of hammerspace to shoot Jimmy Olsen out of the way before a Joker-thug can pull the trigger.
- The rubber bullet bounces all over the place, she easily dodges it.
- Turns out that rubber bullet is deadly...
- ...Able to break ribs and whatnot, though again she evades it easily.
- Her Extend-O boxing glove shoots straight through a wall.
Men with guns vs. Harley tied to a chair -- Harley owns, with just shuriken and kunai.
Left to right:
- Threatens Bruce Wayne, who admits she'll probably beat him.
- Kicks Hush in the nerts.
- Out-flips and almost kills Catwoman.
- Underwater, in metal armor, with a spear, BEHEADS that giant shark, while surrounded by others. Is unscathed. Just holding that head up is a strength feat.
I'm back, and it's time to throw another fit. Ready? Good!
So, I'm angry again. Really quite angry. It took a good 20 hours or so for me to even get calm enough to write this in a reasonable way.
If you know me well, you'll know that I am a big fan of the Red Lantern Corps, specifically the character Bleez and, to a slightly lesser extent, Atrocitus. In fact, if you've known me for a while (or are also a fan of the RL's), you'll know that I have blogged on this topic a few times in the past. I tend to get pretty angry about everything that's happened since Red Lanterns #13, at which time the entire series and the entire mythos took a serious nosedive. There've been issues since the reboot, but they were ones I tried to overlook since I genuinely enjoyed the series from #0 to #12, along with the characters' appearances in titles like "Green Lantern: New Guardians", "Rage of the Red Lanterns", and "Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors".
For the sake of consistency, I've briefly edited my past two rants on the topic and am inserting them into this "article", along with an all-new third chapter discussing my feelings on Red Lanterns #19 through #22.
Note: These rants deal largely with the mistreatment of the character Bleez.
Chapter One -- Joy Gets Pissed
This article (read: RANT) includes spoilers for Red Lanterns #16. If you haven't read it yet, and actually care about it, go read it before moving onward. If you don't care about it, or have already read it, read on.
So, people who know me and follow my posts know that I am a Red Lantern fan – a big Red Lantern fan.
Maybe the biggest Red Lantern fan.
Or the only Red Lantern fan, it's hard to tell sometimes.
I have defended the title from the very beginning against overwhelmingly negative reviews. Cast aside accusations about the title being wayward and poorly written. I have genuinely enjoyed it since #1, I love Atrocitus and Dex-Starr, and I ADORE Bleez. I have (as far as I can tell) read her every single significant appearance. As can be seen in my lists, she is my second-favorite character, behind only Harley Quinn (who has seen enough abuse in the last two years).
So what if the title is wayward? It's using some very new characters, and has up until this point been doing so nicely. Atrocitus is the brooding, sullen, tortured, savage mastermind. Bleez is the cold, haughty, imperious, sarcastic second-in-command. Rankorr is the privileged nancy-boy.
But, more and more, I am starting to suspect that Peter Milligan's first dog's name was “Jack”, and that his mother's maiden name is “Moore”, because Rankorr has become the biggest Mary Sue I have ever seen in my life.
Reasonings? I have many.
Intelligence: Rankorr became the first human Red Lantern a while back, Milligan's only actual addition to the roster. Now, generally, the instant a RL gains the ring, they lose their mind. Become mindless, raging maniacs – or at least, until they get dipped into the Blood Ocean. The only character besides Atrocitus to show sentience before the Blood Ocean dip was Bleez, who, while still borderline-mindless, had enough intelligence left over to retain her ambition and arrogance.
Rankorr, on the other hand, has none of these problems. He attracts a red ring but pretends he doesn't have it, he retains full human intelligence without assistance from Atrocitus or anyone else. He's just better, because why not?
No reason has ever been given for him retaining his intelligence.
Constructs: Rankorr can make constructs. Magically.
Now, he isn't the first RL to make constructs – before the reboot, Bleez was clearly shown being able to make simple constructs and use them to great effect.
But not anymore. Milligan has specifically retconned that because nobody is allowed to make constructs besides Rankorr. Only he can, because he's the best, and if anyone else could do things Rankorr can he wouldn't be as super-duper-special as he obviously has to be.
This has also led to him being 'special' among Atrocitus and the corps. Big Red offers him special tasks because of his constructs, which are strange, foreign things to him, apparently. He gets to be the golden boy... just because.
No reason has ever been given for Rankorr being able to create constructs. Apparently, the secret is in his blood, however. Or at least Bleez guesses.
Too Sexy For His Ring: Rankorr's sexiness and coveted constructs are so powerful that they can easily destroy years of character development and personality. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, here – he has been acting like a Mary Sue since he first appeared, and I found it distasteful but I tolerated it. Now, he is bringing other characters down so that he can look better than them.
Most recently, in Red Lanterns #16, Bleez utterly subjugates herself before him, willing to desperately whore herself out to him in order to get some of Rankorr's blood, which will magically give her the ability to make the constructs she could already make before the reboot.
This was a moment I was waiting for as Jack Moore became a more and more insufferable author avatar who was perfect at everything. The moment when Milligan uses one of my favorite characters to become his personal sex-pet.
It was worse than I had even expected.
I was waiting for Bleez and Rankorr to bump uglies --- it was an absolute inevitability that I knew was coming. But it was worse. So much worse. Bleez tries to buddy up to Jack, saying she knows he wants “what she's selling” and doing a few sexy poses to entice him.
A little history on Bleez first, for those who are unfamiliar with her. Bleez's backstory involves being savagely (and really creepily) gangraped and tortured. Before that, she refused to take a suitor, being too proud to be itemized purely for her beauty. After becoming a Red Lantern, she was sensual – but not sexual. The mask she uses is to hide her face, and her sensuality is more closely tied with her intense, sadistic bloodlust. The closest she has come to a meaningful relationship was with the Star Sapphire Fatality, who offered to convert her to the Violet Corps and show her the way of Love. Despite being close to Fatality, Bleez ultimately declined in a violent fashion, showing that she is still tortured after her subjugation by the Sinestro Corps. She is an interesting character because she is both cold and fiery at once – this inaccessibility is part of her charm.
However, it did nothing to prevent her from trying to spread her legs for Rankorr.
Instead of taking her up on the deal, however, Rankorr says he “can't trust her with constructs” and flies off in disgust, leaving her screaming out in spite like a spoiled child.
This entire affair is nauseatingly out of character for her, and cements firmly in my mind that the writer of this title is willing to do anything – ANYTHING – to make Rankorr the best ever, even if it means destroying the characters Milligan didn't create.
And the more he does it, the more I hate Rankorr.
I'll keep reading until #18, which the solicits claim will have a “fight to the death between Bleez and Rankorr”. After that, we'll see if I keep reading this, now that my favorite character has become a spoiled sex-doll with no shame. I'm sure Rankorr will be leading the Red Lantern Corps by #20 at this rate.
Unless either Milligan gets a clue, or we get a new writer on the Red Lanterns title.
Chapter Two -- Joy Has Had Enough
So as you know, Bleez has been reduced to arm-candy levels by DC, when she isn't being outright EVIL. Yeah, that's right -- since my rant on #16, #17-#18 have been giving Bleez about a single panel per issue. What is she using those panels to do? THREATEN THE LIVES OF INNOCENT PEOPLE OUT OF SPITE.
Yeah, that's right. The vengeance-driven, bloodthirsty, but generally decent Red Lantern and rape victim isn't doing anything helpful to the plot. All she's doing is terrorizing Rankorr by stalking him and hunting down a DEFENSELESS WOMAN.
Yeah. A defenseless, innocent woman.
So far, this will sound like I don't like Bleez. I don't want to give that impression.
I HATE HER. I CAN'T STAND HER. Or more specifically, I can't stand the hateful doppleganger that has taken the place of one of my very favorite characters, who, while previously very angry and hurt, had a sense of pride and dignity, and served the cause of the Corps by hunting down the guilty and keeping the other Red Lanterns in order.
NOT BY TERRORIZING INNOCENT HUMANS, in an attempt to SEDUCE Rankorr into giving her the powers she ALWAYS HAD BEFORE THE REBOOT TOOK THEM AWAY.
So, I've been constantly on the fence with this. Hoping that the genuinely enjoyable and satisfying story that was taking place within Red Lanterns #0-12 would someday return, I held out, suffered through the Third Army. Now I've been suffering through the First Lantern, and good God it's been absolutely terrible in every respect.
But look! A light in the distance! Could it be... a new writer? Taking over the project at #20? Why, it's everything I've always asked for, always hoped for since Milligan suddenly went bonkers and started making the entire title a big Rankorr wank-off in addition to some suddenly horribly-written Atrocitus (yay for tired plot points -- yes, his planet was destroyed!).
I was excited. I was so excited. Some rumors of Guy Gardner joining (or, from the sounds of it, usurping) the corps had me a little bit uneasy but I kept high hopes.
"Guy Gardner has suddenly found himself at the top of the Red Lantern food chain—but in a pack of bloodthirsty animals like these, everyone’s a predator! If he wants their respect, he’s gonna need the nastiest piece of work in the Corps on his side… but Bleez has her own ideas about what Guy Gardner’s got coming to him!"
Where do I begin?
Let's start with constructs. Bleez has had a major hard-on for Rankorr's constructs (WHICH SHE ALWAYS HAD BEFORE THEY WERE TAKEN AWAY, AND GIVEN ONLY TO RANKORR), and was more than willing to spread her legs to get them (WHICH IS STUPID AND OUT OF CHARACTER. It says horrible things about rape victims and women in general, it's crude and awful and distasteful and just... just... TERRIBLE). From that cover, considering by the oh-so-creative hardlight combat knife in her hand (that's the brutal combat tactician I've come to love! A knife!), it looks like, whether by hook, crook, or orifice, she's managed to get them.
Despite having always had them in the past.
How about the fact that now she's kissing Guy Gardner? Now, they actually kissed once before, in Emerald Warriors -- SORT OF. They mashed lips so that he could drink some of her blood-vomit and therefore go full-Red so he could save the day. That's story-telling, I have no problem with that. None at all.
This, on the other hand, is STUPID.
The solicit clearly states that he needs to "get her on his side" (by having sex with her, apparently -- I know that always works for me), and yet she has "her own ideas". Not that it's stopping her from going for a frenchie on the cover. Yay, yet another instance of a badass female character being nothing more than arm candy for the male hero, and/or using sex to get what she wants.
Because that's the only power women actually have, right? Screw power rings, they have vaginas and can make (much stronger and more efficient) men do whatever they want FOR them, so they don't need to do anything.
Yeah, Bleez has always been a cold-hearted, ambitious, and capricious character. It's what I love about her. But part of that cold-heartedness includes her not going down like an asthmatic 12-year-old at a Black Friday sale. She's better than that. She turned down a chance to join the Star Sapphires because, and I quote, "stick your love"
So, stick your love, literally? Stick it right up in her if it gets her what she wants? What does she even want in this scenario?
I'm done with this title, possibly forever. I held out hope for a new writer and this is what DC gave me, after a continuous stream of rapid, unending kicks to my shins, baby-toes, and other sensitive areas. So I'm out. They can take their character-ruining and misogynistic ways and keep them. Unless things seriously change with the title and DC in general, I will never buy another issue of this book.
Chapter Three -- Joy Gets Really, Really Pissed
Well, I did technically keep my word on that last thing. I didn't buy another issue of the title but, when I started hearing an increasing amount of talk about how "amazing" the new run on the title was, I decided to... otherwise acquire them. A straight injection of four issues directly into my veins created a very, very large amount of rage, and I keenly await the Red Ring that is assuredly rocketing through space towards me as I type this. When I get it, I'm going straight to Milligan's and Soule's houses to exact my righteous vengeance, and use their unworthy blood to feed the power battery.
Since 18, there have been a number of... developments. Big developments. I'll do my best to calmly list them.
Remember how much Bleez wanted to be the leader of the RLC? And y'know how she basically leads and acts in the Kilowog/Arkillo role whenever Atros isn't around? The way she torments and drills the lesser members, causing them to be terrified of her? And leading to scenes like this one? ^^^
Well, that corps that she was willing to fight to the death with Atrocitus over? Skallox offers it to her when Atros seems to be totally off the rails. It leads to this scene. <----------------------
"Tempting, but I'm not the only candidate. Rankorr has shown himself to possess the cunning that humans are renowned for. What do you say, Rankorr? Would you wish to wear the red crown?"
Now I could be a little confused here, but is she talking about that Rankorr, the one who stole Sweet Tooth's hairstyle? The one who's been a lantern for like... a week? The one who has accomplished absolutely nothing of note? The one whose only impressive ability is the power to make constructs that everyone else could make before the reboot -- that ability that he was given for absolutely no reason?
Surely she doesn't mean that Rankorr.
Nope, she does. She offers it to him and he says there's nothing he'd want less, and she doesn't step up to lead the corps. As soon as Atros actually returns, we get to see this. ------->
Mhm. Happy to serve. As always.
Because Bleez has always been happy to serve in the past and DEFINITELY didn't try to murder Atrocitus and steal the corps out from under him. Nope, that wasn't Bleez.
WHO THE F*** IS WRITING THIS?!
Why Peter Milligan of course, the same guy who's been writing it since #1. He just apparently totally forgot anything he had ever written prior to this.
I'll let one scan speak for this entire section.
That. Just. Happened.
First I want to point out that Atrocitus already solo'd the entire RLC, sans Rankorr and Bleez. In addition, Bleez is (was) a feared leader and officer of the corps, and as stated above, the other reds fear her.
Well, when Atrocitus decides that, in order to become stronger, the RL's will have to drink Rankorr's blood, he's not impressed with the idea. In fact, he decides that he and he alone should be allowed to have constructs (wow, Milligan and Soule agree on something, that's odd). So, despite the fact that in one scene we can restore the Red Corps to its glory days when everyone that was actually lucid could use constructs, we, instead... get this scene. ------->
Sooo yeah. Apparently the fact that Rankorr, who has been a Lantern for like twenty minutes in-universe and has done nothing of note, is able to easily solo the entire Red Lantern Corps.
Because of, y'know, the constructs.
I think it's kind of funny, however, that those constructs give him such a gigantic advantage... seeing as Red Lanterns have always had an enormous advantage against, and in fact specialize in killing, construct-users. Much like Rankorr.
But nope. The ability to create constructs obviously means that he can defeat anyone, including the man who one-shotted Abin Sur.
Most of you have already heard about this. He kills Atros and is immediately elected leader of the Corps. Just in case you haven't heard about it already, here's the scan where he does the deed... enjoy. <-----------------
Yeah. Atrocitus. The guy who nearly destroyed both the green and yellow corps. The guy who had his heart ripped out of his chest and didn't stop fighting. The guy who held his own against Larfleeze. That exact same Atrocitus was killed by the guy who got decked by Hal Jordan's statutory rape victim.
If you've read the past two chapters you understand what's wrong with this already. But here's the scan, have fun.
We've already come so far, why stop now? While the Corps tries to decide what to do with a Red-ified Guy Gardner, Rankorr holds him in a construct above the blood ocean.
Then, making up his mind without the Corps having come to a real decision, he just drops him in, causing Guy to regain his intelligence and therefore become a serious threat once again. After this, Guy is pretty much instantly elected the new leader (since he killed Atrocitus, after all).
So yeah, what you're seeing in this scan is Bleez getting pissed off (hah, that's funny, because she's fuelled by rage), shouting at Rankorr, and Rankorr going "hahaha whatever, I've already owned you before because I'm the most powerful creature on earth and could easily solo the Justice League if I felt like it" and proceeding to dominate her and make her look like an idiot. More later on why this should absolutely never ever ever have happened.
But it still happened.
Ready for more?! Well you're about to get it, so have fun.
Yup. Guy grab's her wing and makes her submit with it, with the addition of the world's most childish taunt ("You wanna keep this?"). She submits fully and doesn't cause any more problems.
Beside the obvious, here are some problems with this:
1. Bleez's bone-wings are not actual bone. They're constructs, and they always have been. If either of the writers ever actually bothered to read her origin story (written by a much better person than they), they would see that Bleez's wings were completely removed by the Sinestro Corps, before she became a Red Lantern. She used constructs to recreate the bone wings we know now -- and yeah, I realize that their constructs were retconned. But it's still stupid. Because it's still not a real wing. Note the fact that it's red and glows.
2. Bleez has killed hordes of Green Lanterns and has slaughtered so many Sinestro Corpsmen she had to stand atop piles of them. In addition, she is (was, before Rankorr) by far the most powerful Red Lantern besides Atrocitus. "But Guy has a green ring too!" you shout. "That makes him doubly powerful!"
No, I'm afraid he doesn't. His green ring is empty. He is a full Red Lantern, and doesn't have constructs like Rankorr.
3. Bleez has beaten Guy before. She's shown that she's more powerful, more durable, and even more intelligent/efficient than he is (and this was before her Blood Ocean dip).
So this entire scene is just a blend of sick power fantasy and terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE writing.
Just like this entire series has been ever since Milligan stopped taking his meds, somewhere around #13.
So there you have it folks. Just read all of that. Look at the scans. And taste my pain and fury. Know why my heart is beating so hard, understand why my blood burns with rage.
I want you to fully comprehend why this is so wrong, and I want you...
Earlier today I was thinking, “hey, aren’t certain nuts like, beans or whatever?” and I decided that it may be helpful to me, and maybe other people, if I were to do a little research and comprehensibly list what nuts were “true nuts”, and which were not, and categorize the others as well.
Categorizing each different thing that is, in culinary terms, considered a nut? Is like drawing a map of Cedar Point by memory. From what I can tell, about 20% of what we consider nuts are actually nuts, and the others are… different things.
The myth had it that these fabled non-nuts were essentially legumes (beans) but that doesn’t actually seem to be true. They are just… seeds. Seeds from different things. Fruits, flowers, bulbs, beans, pretty much whatever. If any given plant has a little hard nasty thing inside of it, and people eat it, it’s a nut.
What I propose is that we collectively do away with the word “nut” altogether — since nuts, as well, are seeds. They are all seeds, every last thing we call a nut. Peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios… only a few of them are actually nuts, but all of them are seeds.
So, allow us to reduce the word “nut” to the same state as legumes, drupes, pods, and all of the other things seeds come from.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat a white chocolate and macadamia seed cookie!
An eons-old blood mage, creator of the Red Lantern Corps, sole survivor of Sector 666 -- Atros, better known as Atrocitus.
A champion of the ancient Egyptian deities, leader of Kahndaq, a man of godlike power -- Teth-Adam, better known as Black Adam.
The last survivor of Czarnia, a ruthless intergalactic bounty hunter, terror to heroes and villains alike -- the maniac called Lobo.
And an immortal knight and expert demonologist, one who just happens to be bound with one of Hell's foulest convicts -- Jason Blood, also known as Etrigan theDemon.
Together, these four ruthless men are The Slaughter League!
Men of honor, but not men of morals, these four have found each other in one great struggle, forming a single unstoppable team... as the Slaughter League, Atros, Adam, Etrigan, and Lobo, will match their might against the greatest foes of every world. They've set aside their differences and work together to the best of their ability -- and the universe will tremble for it.
With that out of the way, I'd like to warn you that I'm going to openly spoil the film (not that you can spoil something that's already rotten) and encourage you to not see it, and tell all of your friends how bad I said it was, so that they don't see it either.
This includes Netflixing it, Redboxing it, purchasing a DVD, pirating it, watching it online... etc. It's not a price thing. It's a time thing. Watching this film will do nothing but consume hours of your life and leave you hating the world (not in a gritty, soulful way that makes you feel important – but a way that makes you go “mother of Christ why did this movie have to be so horrible?”).
This movie also proves that M. Night Shyamalan's bad reputation does not soil the movies he does – it is in place with excellent reason. Going in to see this, I couldn't see past the Will Smith name, and had no clue that the dark mind truly behind this pile of filth was that of Mr. Shyamalan.
Now, there is a lot that is wrong with After Earth. Pretty much everything. I'm gonna try to glaze over the boring bits (of which there are many) and just flat-out bitch about the movie's highlights.
Jayden Smith: I hate this little bastard. He is utterly without worth as an actor – while I can go on a rant about how Will Smith seems to be violently thrusting his talentless spawn into every movie he can find, that is a topic for another day. The point of this is to say that, considering that he is the movie's star, he is a terrible actor with a stupid-sounding voice. His performance is utterly flat (a Shyamalan trademark I can't really fault him for), and then when he does finally get the umph to actually give acting a shot, he over-emotes with big fat crocodile tears and wild gesticulations. Will Smith's performance is... well, again, flat, but I blame Shyamalan for that, since Willy has shown that he's capable, even if his choices in films can be... questionable.
Adapted to Destroy Humans: The premise of the entire film is that mankind left Earth several thousand years ago (and don't even have cool phones, so much for technological development) – during the time we were gone, all of Earth has adapted to kill humans.
There are not one, but two problems with this.
1. Why?: We've been gone. We didn't destroy the Earth and then leave, Earth seemed pretty much fine when we left. So, why, after we've been gone for thousands of years, did everything on Earth specifically adapt to be lethal to humans? Why did they wait until we left if it was so important the entire planet had to adapt? You're a few thousand years behind, Earth. You should have started adapting to kill us several thousand years earlier if you actually wanted to accomplish anything. Now all of your millenia of specific adaptations seems silly and is really no more than a nuisance. Which brings me to my second issue with this.
2. It's All Crap: Beyond the brief exposition regarding Earth adapting to destroy all of mankind, it really doesn't show. They could have just as easily said “Earth has regressed to its natural progression and has evolved accordingly” and it would have made just as much, if not more, sense. Throughout the course of the movie (besides our lungs no longer being adapted to the atmosphere, which would have happened anyway), we get to see:
Totally normal baboons acting the way totally normal baboons should act.
A totally normal large condor-like bird, acting slightly more nurturing and peaceful than a totally normal large condor-like bird should act.
Totally normal large, unpleasant lions, acting exactly the way totally normal large, unpleasant lions should act (except that they can apparently scale mountains).
An evil slug that can kill you within minutes, apparently. More on this later.
And, ah, yeah. That's about it. I mean, there's also a giant horrible alien, but that's specifically not a native of Earth, and therefore does not count.
Also it gets really cold at night, which also effects all of the plants and animals and is in no way a strictly-human environmental hazard. So, yeah. None of this, in any way, equates to or even mildly suggests/hints that the planet has adapted to kill humans. Just seems more like we left and Earth got on with life.
Tired, Transparent Story: The film is loaded with foreseeable cliches. From the salute scene (and its end-of-the-film counterpart, which could have been heartfelt but was instead hamstrung by awkward writing), from the entire “no fear” premise, to the aliens, to the personal, familial conflict (“Blah blah blah, my sister was killed by aliens and you blamed me for it.”), to the magical telepathy.
Wait, magical telepathy?
The answer to that, my friend, is a loud, resounding, echoing, “...Maybe?” After his brat's radio breaks, Will Smith (or rather, Fatherfigure McBadassname) stares at the screen and gives orders to his son anyway, who proceeds to, within seconds, perform exactly as he had just been commanded without responding. Whether or not he came up with these ideas on his own (possible, since most of them are really stupid, along the lines of “I'll just head over to that active volcano, that will work and definitely not kill me”), or whether Fatherfigure McBadassname was able to somehow, without explanation, telepathically communicate with him, is left up to interpretation. I like to go with the latter option, since it further justifies how utterly, terribly written this pile of refuse is.
The Aliens: The aliens (which are called “ursas” – yay for originality, ursa means “bear”) can smell/sense fear, and that's how they hunt.
That already doesn't make sense, since in order for something to excrete fear pheromones at all, they have to already know something's after them. So what, do they wander out into the open and wait for people to be afraid of the awkwardly stumbling monsters that don't really seem to be much of a threat at all? I don't feel like they would have progressed that far along their evolutionary path if they couldn't hunt anything that wasn't already afraid.
However, that's the tip of the iceberg.
If you stop being afraid, the aliens (I'm just gonna call them aliens, since I refuse to call them ursas and they're the only aliens in the movie anyway) forget you exist. Sort of. Maybe. In the sense that they can have a direct physical hold on you and drop you once you “disappear”, but will then continue to look for you, really actively.
So, what is it? Do they forget where you are once they can't see you, but immediately remember that they were looking for something? When the little Smith kid falls down and “ghosts” for the first time, the alien goes berserk, smashing everything in the (very small) area except for the kid. He obviously knows he's looking for something, but can't just, y'know, find him? Using, I don't know, maybe, his hands? In Fatherfigure McBadassname's backstory, he “ghosts” while the alien is actively drowning him, and the alien immediately lets go and bolts. Rather than just continuing to drown him. Which would have made for a much better movie.
Gloves Would Have Totally Altered The Entire Storyline. Gloves.: Li'l Jayden Smith has a magical enviro-suit that can do anything!
As long as “anything” involves “changing colors”.
Or “not coming with gloves”.
In fact, it is the absence of gloves on this full bodysuit that results in the entire plotline unfolding (not that anyone in the film mentions it). The aforementioned evil, lethal slug manages to (impressively, as it appears to be quite immobile) attach to the kid's hand (the only part of his body, besides his face, that is exposed) and immediately inject him with a toxin that threatens to kill him within about, oh, three-to-four minutes. Industrious little fella. I wish the movie had just been about the slug, since he is obviously the baddest-ass in the film.
So, anyway, before he gets the (very convenient) antidote that works perfectly, he falls down, smashing his doses of magic gel that lets him breathe without dying. Because it smashes his magic gel doses, he no longer has the time it will take to get from Point A to Point B (cutting it close, don't you think? He gets just enough?), and has to do a crazy flying squirrel routine that leads to him being kidnapped by a bird and a bunch of other boring, poorly-planned crap. Too bad he didn't have gloves on his enviro-suit... then, y'know, none of that would have happened. He would have just made it all the way.
Now, I have no problem with adding conflict to a story to make it more interesting. But make the conflict work within the parameters of the story. These highly-advanced, smartphone-less civilizations would never have created environment suits that could change color but didn't feature gloves as a part of the design.
All in all, After Earth is...
And has the consistency and exposition skills of fan-fiction. Not good fan-fiction either.
Boycott this movie and mock it openly wherever you go. Tell your friends you got your information from the least reliable source – yours truly.
I get around. I hear stuff. And a lot of what I hear has some basis in truth. The sad fact is that certain mediums are just more... important than others. Superman's rogues gallery has gotten pretty big over the near-century he's existed, but only a fraction of his enemies have escaped the pages of comics.
Now, obviously, I am a big fan of comics, and I know a good few of these villains. What they're capable of, how they challenge Clark Kent, and why they are better, or at least equal, villains compared to... certain others.
But I digress, slightly. The point I'm trying to make is that, while Superman himself has had a great amount of films -- both live action and animated -- his rogues gallery has barely been dipped into. The Man of Steel has had more feature-length brawls with Batman than, say, Bizarro. Hell, he has had rumbles with characters who are not even his rogues gallery at all; for instance, Black Adam, or The Elite.
So, the purpose of this to put a bit of a spotlight on a few of Kal-El's foes that have not been in a feature-length film, live action or otherwise. The underdogs who, despite being awesome foes in the comics, have had little to no attention in any other medium.
WHO?: At this rate, Lobo will get a movie of his own before he shows up as a Superman nemesis. He was skyrocketed into popularity when the baleful 1990's rolled around, to the surprise of absolutely nobody -- while Lobo started out as a Superman villain, he was a parody of Marvel's 'gritty' heroes, specifically Wolverine and the Punisher. Lobo used chains and hooks and guns, rode a motorcycle, smoked cigars, wore black leather, and had a cool Hulk Hogan mustache... so in the gloomy mindset of the 90's youth, obviously, nothing could be cooler.
Problem with Lobo is that he got... sorta too popular as time went on. He completely shed his status as a Superman rogue and, outside of the odd Action Comics appearance and his single episode spotlight during Superman: TAS, has pretty much left his days of battling the Man of Steel behind him. He had his own solo series for pretty much the entirety of the 90's, and nowadays he's even a part of Stormwatch (which seems a bit weird to me but hey, I haven't been reading the title).
WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie Lobo could fill a lot of roles, though this film would likely have no choice to be a bit more light-hearted and comedic than some others. Lobo's funny at his core, and to quash that would make it more worthwhile to simply use another character.
However, not only is he a great source of humor, he's a great source of action. He's one of Supey's most powerful physical threats, and since he is nearly completely immortal this would lead to endlessly amazing brawls. Volleys of fully-automatic alien ammunition bouncing off of Clark's chest, gigantic planetary attacks that would seem devastating, but eventually leave their recipient striding (or riding) back out through the dust. The kind of brawls that these two could have in a film would be absolutely amazing and, done right, would leave audiences salivating.
Another thing Lobo brings to the table is SPACE. Superman is an alien, a space-hero, so why is he always grounded on Earth in his films? Even animated movies where new landscapes could be drawn just as easily as normal ones, he stays in Metropolis. And sure, that's his home city, and his humanity is a large theme of his core character. But honestly, besides the occasional glance at Krypton, why can't he get into some trouble on another planet? Lobo brings new planets as a necessity. Even if Czarnia is not used (and it shouldn't be, unless they are doing a lot of character-meddling), Lobo is an intergalactic bounty hunter. He has a motorcycle that is specifically designed for interstellar travel. A movie starring him will not be able to get away with staying in Metropolis, and it will benefit from it in a big way.
As I said though, this is wishful thinking. While Lobo very well may end up getting a movie of some sort, the chances of him starring as the lead villain in a Superman movie are approximately 0.15%... increased to 17.3% if you count animated films.
CASTING: I've already heard a few rumors milling around concerning Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being considered for the part, but I have absolutely no clue what may end up coming from that. Technically, I still feel like Dwayne would be better suited to play Black Adam – but I can't really think of anyone for Lobo right now, so I'll leave it at that.
WHO?: This one, I'm... well, not too sure about. He's goofy and awkward in his way, but there's no denying that he is an iconic enemy, especially among the older readership. Big in the Silver Age, Mr. Mxpshkdjfhak is a borderline-omnipotent, reality-warping, Fifth Dimensional Imp.
Oddly, considering how wacky and absurd the character seems in his futuristic orange jumpsuit and purple bowler hat, he is remarkably straightforward when you think about it. He's a trickster who comes in and wreaks havoc, which obviously only Superman can stop by tricking Mxy into saying his own name backwards (which is drastically less challenging than one may think). This sends the goofy little gnome back to his own world and prevents him from returning until, y'know, the next time he returns.
WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A FILM?: While an appearance from Mr. Mxyzpaodjlajdhkkll in a film would surely excite a lot of more oldschool fans, it would likely leave a sour taste in the mouths of newer readers who are expecting something more cerebral or action-packed. The only action that Mxy could bring about would likely be environmental, similar to what went on in Superman Returns – Supes would have to use his great power to repair constructs and rescue people before eventually using his amazing wits to trick the Fifth Dimensional Imp. This set-up would make for what would inevitably end up a flop, even in an animated film.
However, it isn't totally unheard of to see... um, 'revamps' done with certain characters. Turning Mxy into a more malicious creature who is more interested in doing evil than causing mischief may turn him into a more plausible villain, but at this point the essence of the character will be lost, and he may as well be replaced with a more popular and likable rogue. Sadly, I have to count this off as another loss as far as films go – Mr. Mxyzptlk (hey I got it right that time) may still be a lovable and popular rogue within the pages of Superman's comics, but his chances of getting into anything other than a low-budget animated film are all but nonexistent. He's simply too... silly, to use for a long and serious story arc that doesn't at least include another, more maliciously-minded supervillain.
Any comic reader who has even a cursory interest in Superman knows about it... Red Son, Kingdom Come, For The Man Who Has Everything – it's a huge story, written by Alan Moore.
Now, since it was written by Alan Moore, it wasn't entirely action-packed. It was steeped in emotion and the human condition and stuff like that, it was a deep look into the darker psychology of the Man of Steel, a story about loss and despair and hope and grief.
But a lot of people forget who was behind this story, for it starred a character besides Superman: it starred Mongul as the chief villain. Mongul hasn't been a huge threat to Superman since Crisis but then again, neither have a lot of people – it doesn't mean Mongul couldn't be used to great effect in a motion picture.
Now, a problem may be that Mongul Jr., the spawn of the original Mongul, has been tied deeply into the Green Lantern mythos for a while now, and that it is probably more likely that he'll end up there than in a Superman movie. Still, despite Junior being a star member of the Sinestro Corps, Daddy was an enemy of Kal-El, and boy did he lay a pounding on that poor little kryptonian farmboy.
WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Mongul, in his hey-day, was basically a more personal, less KNEEEEEEL-y version of Darkseid; he was big, he was beefy, he was yellow and the power of his punches alone were enough to make the Man of Steel feel pain.
He was also, however, an intellectual threat, which makes him an even more viable villain for a motion picture or other feature-length story. Mongul was a thinker, a planner, a warlord, and even on top of his great intellect and great strength he had another tool: Black Mercy.
This creates a full trifecta of villainy. Between Mongul's plotting and scheming, his ability to bring Superman to his knees, and his use of the alien Black Mercy plants to add a deep, painful, personal element to the conflict, he is very nearly ideal. Sprawling, city-destroying action, battles of wits (which can also show some of Superman's rarely-glimpsed intellect) and intense, aching storytelling makes for an obvious choice in a movie.
CASTING: Aw man. I'm bad at casting big guys like this. I don't want to range into pro wrestlers because it seems like a chump's way out, and there are just only so many gigantic lugs I know who are also decent actors. So I'll let the casting directors figure this one out, it is their job, after all.
WHO?: Brainiac is about as oldschool as it gets. In fact, when your neighbor asks if you need the kid down the street to fix your hard drive, and you say “Who, Mikey, that brainiac? He has pimples!” the word you are using (brainiac, not pimples or Mikey) is actually derived from this character... not the other way around.
Now, Brainiac has had... well, quite a few different origin stories, so I don't really feel like getting into all of those right now. The bottom line, however, is that he is a technological, artificial, robotic monster who can outclass Supes intellectually as well as take a good fight to him physically. He brings a lot to the table as a comic character and has shown up frequently – even far into the future, descendants of the same robotic intelligence are still alive (sometimes literally) and kicking.
WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: In a movie, Brainiac is another omni-villain, for several reasons. Given that he has multiple backstories and none of them are all that sturdy, a new canon can be created and nobody's really going to blink, since most people have already forgotten what his last origin story was. This will allow the filmmakers to take as many liberties as they feel is necessary with the character, which should lead to incredible success.
He's Tough: It wouldn't take any effort to make Brainiac an extreme physical threat. Whether he goes full-robot like in JLU, with tentacles and rockets and drones and whatnot, or whether he is merely an enormous, suited, artificial alien who can lay an old-school pounding to the man of steel, he will be scary and impressive.
He's Smart: Very smart, in fact, considering that he collects technology from pretty much everywhere and has a high-level synthetic intellect. If Clark's brains come into play in the film, they will be severely challenged by an enemy like Brainiac.
A Deeper Glance at Krypton: In most incarnations (and almost assuredly in a movie) Brainiac is based on kryptonian technology and culture. So, in a movie like the recent Man of Steel where they want to look more closely at Krypton than Metropolis, Brainiac is a perfect tool to expose more about the alien planet.
CASTING: Considering the fact that Brainiac is artificial, you could easily get away with a lot of CGI. The perfect excuse to get away with utilizing his quintessential voice actor... Corey Burton.
WHO?: Who? WHO?! How could you even ask me a question like that?!
Bizarro is freaking BIZARRO. He is like, the Superman villain behind Luthor and Darkseid, a dark mirror of Kal-El, his opposite in every single way. Flame breath, freeze vision, all of that good stuff. Backwards talk. Yadda yadda yadda. You all know Bizarro, and if you don't, I need you to force your head through your computer screen and out mine so that I can give you the slapping you so obviously need.
Bizarro is disregarded by many, due to a series of very... well, terrible appearances. Like Aquaman and the Wonder Twins, Bizarro was ridiculously bad in the Justice Friends, and continued to have very mixed appearances. While he has been fun at times, such as in the Harley Quinn solo series and the Emperor Joker event, he has more often than not been the Rodney Dangerfield of supervillains – he gets no respect.
WHAT DOES HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: Potentially, everything. There isn't much more gripping in a comic book film than a sympathetic villain, and Bizarro has the potential to literally be the most sympathetic villain in history. Most people don't get this, don't see the potential, but one man has.
During Superman: The Animated Series, Bizarro made a few appearances. During these appearances he was destructive, chaotic, dangerous, and terrifying in his own way, attempting to destroy all of Metropolis and coming closer than anyone else had yet. But that wasn't what made him riveting... what made him a great character was that he believed he was doing the right thing. He thinks he's the hero and Superman is the villain, he believes that every outright damaged thing he does is actually what he should be doing to make the world a better place. A decent filmmaker can take this aspect and use it in a film, make you feel agonizingly sorry for the Thing of Steel as he goes about crushing the world before him – possibly trying to create a new Krypton, as he did in TAS, or some other reason (maybe to capture Lois, or to kill the “villain” Superman).
In addition to the fact that he can be sympathetic, a well-done Bizarro can be strangely “alien”. Whether by use of his backwards-talk or simply the way he acts, or perhaps the way his powers work, he will seem like a hulking, unusual, destructive mirror of the film's hero. He can also be hilarious and will assuredly be a great source of the film's humor (while not being sad or terrifying) – and then there's the action.
Flame breath vs. Ice breath, Freeze vision vs. Heat vision, equal-power beatdowns, destruction of cities and countrysides. Superman, here, can truly fight a foe who is his equal in every way, a monster who can use his powers in every awesome way we never get to see from Supes himself. He can throw people/things into the sun, lift buildings and whack Supes with them, punch things into the Earth's core, and all of that fun stuff.
CASTING: Whew boy, I dunno. Do we want him to look just like Supes? The idea of having the same actor play both the villain and the hero is kind of insane. I suppose it may be better to just go with a heavily-made-up beefcake in a gloomy, purplish Superman suit and make it look like he could be Superman if his face were a little different. That works, I suppose. Though I still don't know who we'd cast him as with Henry Cavill off the table. As I said, I'm bad at casting big guys.
WHO?: “What?! Why the hell is Joker on this list? Joker is a Batman villain, not a Superman villain! He doesn't belong on this list! He'll never be in a Superman movie!”
No, he won't. Not unless Hell freezes over (or we get an awesome animated film – that's possible).
“Plus, he has already been in movies! He doesn't fit the point of this list!”
He's been in movies – lots of them – but he hasn't been in any Superman movies. Nice loophole huh?
Anyway, I wasn't sure who else to add to this list, and I needed someone with a purple banner, and, well... it hit me. Despite the fact that the Man of Steel and the Clown Prince of Crime rarely collide, when they do... things are devastating. Joker has proven multiple times (though usually in non-canon scenarios, sadly) that he can be more than a match for Superman.
Emperor Joker: Hey, this one actually is canon! Joker steals Mr. Mxyzptlk's powers (or, at least, 99% of them) and proceeds to unmake reality. It is up to Superman to stop him, and honestly, he really never does. If it wasn't for Joker's own psychosis and need to have Batman, he would have unmade reality, and there was nothing the Big Blue Boyscout could have done about it.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: This is the most plausible scenario, and it's one I love. Joker uses a deadly combo of green kryptonite, Scarecrow's fear gas (murdering Scarecrow to get it), and a lead-lined Submarine, relying on the rest of the Justice League to speed things along and staying twelve steps ahead the entire time. When all is said and done, Lois Lane (and her unborn child) are both dead, killed by Clark's own hand. Things go downhill from there. There is no reason that Joker couldn't actually pull of something like that in a canon comic (or animated movie). Speaking of animated movies....
Superman/Batman: World's Finest: Written by Paul Dini and taking place in the DCAU, this one is pretty straightforward. Joker screws over Lex, and shows that he is a plenty sturdy threat to Superman, again in ways that are totally reasonable in a normal comic.
Justice League: Wild Cards: Another DCAU entry, in this one Joker takes on the entire Justice League. It isn't quite as much fun, or quite as believable as some of the other examples listed here, but it is another showing that, when he sets his mind to it, Joker is an immensely deadly threat to Superman. Without something truly world-breaking such as the death of Lois Lane, Superman is also going to keep on being a boyscout... and Joker is going to stay alive, keep breaking out of his sandbox, and keep coming back to play.
Now, I love Joker as a Batman villain, honestly. I just think it's time he cracked his knuckles and set to work on something he can have a bit more success with.
WHAT CAN HE BRING TO A MOVIE?: He can't. He will never be in a real Superman movie. This last entry is 100% wishful thinking.
CASTING: I'd like to see Troy Baker give it a shot. We already know that he can do the voice, and deliver the performance... but the creepy thing is that he also rather looks the part, doesn't he?