Ah, in what sense is Lex 'good'?
At first glance, that looks to be a *major* format change.
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The gist of this reviewer's opinion is that it's a teen angsty-thing with a "Zone of Weirdness" kinda like Buffy, only not as good. Though Lex is good and Lana Lang is a hottie, to use the vernacular.
You read it... you can't un-read it!
Ah, in what sense is Lex 'good'?
At first glance, that looks to be a *major* format change.
Read the review, and I figured that my "Dawson's Creek-with-superpowers" assertation was correct...
Noted from the article the obligatory Hollywood-style liberties taken with this adaptation (Clark usually was between a mere babe and 3 years old when he landed on Earth in the comics [ignoring the current comics' "birthing matrix/sent-to-earth-as-a-fetus" nonsense/outright lies (IMO ;-)], not 5; Lana's parents (or at least her father) were/was alive in the comics as a teen; already mentioned the change in ethnicities for Lana/Pete...). Seems kind of odd she'd wear as jewelry the thing that killed her parents (and odder that the Superman logo would be on all the school jackets; most of the recent adaptations from the first Superman movie on try to pass off the "S" logo as something from Krypton, vs. the comics' assertation that Ma and Pa Kent designed it).
Re: a "Zone of Weirdness": Well, Smallville used to have all those alien invasions and whatnot in the old Superboy comics, so I guess this isn't too far off course...
As for Lex being a "good guy", my guess is they've borrowed (at least part of) the old origin (the "mad scientist" version) of Luthor, from an early-sixties "Superboy" story: Lex moved to Smallville as a teenager with his family, and was revealed to be a follower of Superboy. The two met, and soon became friends, though (in a 70's-era text novel describing Luthor's origin) Luthor clearly showed that he had some serious problems (obsessiveness with his own genius, signs of growing jealousy of Superboy, etc.). Superboy, deciding to be a pal, builds Lex a lab to conduct his own experiments in, and Lex proceeds to lock himself away to try to create an artificial form of life (along with an anti-kryptonite remedy). However, once he actually succeeds in creating it, he knocks over some chemicals by accident, and a fire starts in the lab. Superboy shows up, and foolishly uses his super-breath to blow out the fire, which agitates the chemicals and makes things worse. Soon, the fire is out, but we see that not only is the artificial life form destroyed, but Lex is also rendered permanently bald by the chemical fumes spread in the fire. Lex, enraged over the loss of his lifeform, decides that Superboy was jealous of his great genius and is irresponsible with his powers and shouldn't be allowed to use them, sets out to become determined to see the Man of Tomorrow was destroyed...
So, either way (millionaire-origin or mad-scientist-origin) Lex's motivation seems to be "you're better than I am"/"a threat to my great power and/or genius, so I'll have to destroy you". Talk about a massive ego problem ;-)
"Birthing matrix?!" What the?[ignoring the current comics' "birthing matrix/sent-to-earth-as-a-fetus" nonsense/outright lies (IMO ;-)
And about Lex... from what I've heard about the series, Lex managed to annoy/dissapoint his dad, so instead of tossing him a nice, juicy part of the family company, he gets to run Luthor properties in an itty-bitty podunk town. Ouch.
You read it... you can't un-read it!
Re: Birthing Matrix
From what I can gather, it seems to be a sort of faux womb that allows the Kryptonians to mix-and-match DNA cocktails, thus artificially "birthing" the baby based on their own specifications. Apparently, Kryptonians are above such natural processes as sex.
Then again, scientists' attempts to perfect our lives seem kinda pointless when they eliminate the few fun things in life... ;)
The show itself sounds pretty much what I figured it would...doubt the WB would've picked it up if it had been any different. The liberties taken seem rather ridiculous, like they went out of their way, although I guess they want to distinguish their adaptation from the million others that have gone before. I guess I'll probably watch the first few episodes, drool over Lana some, write some moderately annoyed reviews on this Board complaining about hackneyed writing and out of character characters and the absence of Magg--er, scratch that last one; and then within a few weeks get bored with the whole thing and switch over to something else.
Knowing me as I do.
Last edited by Craig Marinaro; 06-27-2001 at 09:46 AM.
"Birthing matrix?!" What the?
Hoo-boy...here goes the explanation. Prepare yourself for deep hurting:
Back in the mid-80's, after their "Crisis on Infinite Earths" miniseries, where they decided the concept of parallel Earths which they'd been using was too hard for the average reader to comprehend, so they pulled a "back to the future" and used time-travel to fix it so there had only ever been *one* Earth, this BTTF-time-travel-bit also used to justify a gazillion changes (pointless/gratuitous/and otherwise ;-) to their characters/universe, with the biggest batch of changes being to Superman.
They hired Marvel comics writer John Byrne to completely revamp Superman's origin, and what he came up with was as follows:
Krypton was a cold, sterile, soulless planet (think the way it looked in the "Superman" movies, which happens to be [along with the old 50's TV show] where Byrne got a lot of his change ideas from), whose inhabitants wore body-covering outfits and didn't touch each other/express emotion/etc. etc. (think second-rate Vulcans). Reproduction consisted of mixing two parents' genes inside of a "birthing matrix", with Jor-El and Lara not even having met each other until they met to do so (in the older comics/origin, both Jor-El and Lara were lovingly married to each other ). When the planet went ka-blooey, Jor-El told Lara he'd send the gestating fetus that would be the future Kal-El to Earth, and at the last minute, expressed that he actually loved Lara (which Lara wasn't comfortable with/found shocking, since there wasn't room for emotions like love on Krypton). Attaching a warp drive to Kal's "birthing matrix" (a gestation chamber containing his fetus), Kal was propelled to Earth.
Landing, his chamber opened, with Kal having fully gestated into an infant during the trip to Earth. The Kents found him, and raised him. Over the years, he gradually discovers his powers, but not before becoming the top jock/all-star football player of Smallville High as a teenager. He soon discovers he's from space. Years later (after becoming Superman---thanks to making his powers kick in fully at around age 17-18, he wasn't Superboy) he discovers (via a crystal containing Krypton's history) that Krypton was a soulless planet, and notes more-or-less how "glad he is to be born on Earth/in America" and more-or-less could care less about Krypton. And of course, since he grew up as Clark Kent (no Superboy career or anything...he doesn't adopt glasses as a disguise until he's an adult and begins his Superman career) he considers himself as Clark Kent first and Superman as "just a costume he fights crime in". Thus, Superman has little-to-no connection with the planet Krypton (no Krypto, no Supergirl, few Kryptonian artifacts showing up, etc.). And thanks to the "Crisis" compressing their history to one Earth, Superman is now the "first hero to show up since the 1940's/50's" (when their 40's-era charcters lived), and thus the world's already *seen* flying people plenty of times before. The end...
Basically, DC/Byrne wanted to make Superman's origin more "relevant" for modern-day readers demanding "realism" (I *know*, I *know*...). They thought that the older origin that 99.9% of the general public knows of (sent from Krypton as a baby [not a fetus], actually gave some fig about the planet, Clark Kent was a mild-mannered guy, etc.) was too "silly", and thus let Byrne write the above. Quite frankly, I think his "new" origin pretty much sucks (the "birthing matrix" stuff being my biggest annoyance, with "Clark as a jock in high school" coming in a close second, since both of these betray what the character stands for/means to me. The whole idea of Clark Kent is a "Walter Mitty"-ish set up, with the common guy (Kent) secretly being a mighty hero (something readers could relate to); making Clark a jock changes him from having *something* in common with most readers into one of those kids I never cared much for in high school...). Being sent from Krypton as an infant by his loving parents was an image that conveyed drama/touchingness; the current origin feels targeted at people like the Comic Book Guy on the "Simpsons": depressed/bloodthirsty/cynical fanboys (or 15-year-olds) who equate replacing silly light-hearted elements (like Krypto the superdog) with silly (or sillier) *dark* elements (like the above origin, or the "Superman-executes-the-Phantom-Zone-criminals" story that Byrne wrote as his last issue on the title before bailing) as somehow "better".... :-x
Though I guess it doesn't matter: between the fact that most of the spinoffs ignore the above origin story for the most part (like S:TAS, which [outside of the outfits Jor-El wore/the way they used Brainiac] pretty much ignores this origin in favor of something resembling the "classic" one), the current comics apparently taking a bit of a "reversing" trend in wanting to go back to something more closer to the "old" origin of Supes (per a recent storyline) and the fact that as far as 99.999% of the general public is concerned, the "old" origin of Supes *is* his "real" origin, I guess it makes ignoring this "new" origin all that much easer...which is pretty much my advice...
Ow. My head hurts now.
Man, that new origin... sucks. Hard. Now I know why everyone was flipping out over Byrne's turn at Supes, and not in a good way. Ech. I pretty much agree with everything you've said, that goes against everything Supes stands for. And so it was Byrne who did the "Superman kills" thing? Figures, that did sound out of character. So how many issues did he last?
Good thing most people are ignoring his take on things... yeesh.
Then again, I'm not all to fond of ole Byrne. His Batman/Superman "Generations" thing was horrible, and his "Marvel: the Lost Generation" was nigh incomprehensible.
You read it... you can't un-read it!
>>Ow. My head hurts now.
Indeed...I said it'd be Deep Hurting...
>>Man, that new origin... sucks. Hard.
>> Now I know why everyone was flipping out over Byrne's turn at Supes, and not in a good way. Ech. I pretty much agree with everything you've said, that goes against everything Supes stands for.
Throw in the fact that he also turned Clark into a yuppie (similar to Dean Cain's version of Clark on "Lois and Clark"...ick...).
Also forgot to mention: Clark told Lana of his origins/powers as teenagers when they were dating...and that's about it for Smallville (there was a three-issue "World of Smallville" miniseries in the late 80's, but other than that, Smallville hasn't been featured much outside of Ma/Pa Kent-centered stories since then, vs. its heavy exposure in the old Superboy stories...). And that (in the same origin revamp) it was established that Bats and Supes weren't friends (the early signs of the stupid 80s/90s "grim and gritty"/"humorless superheroes who treat each other like garbage/act like complete [insert one of Dr. Belch's less-than-nice-vocabulary-words-here]" trend...). And that Byrne's the one who pointlessly/gratuitously changed Lois' hair color from black (as in the old comics/on S:TAS) to brown (presumably to look more like Margot Kidder, seeing as he drew Supes to look like Christopher Reeve...). And that, since Supes gained his powers over years, red sun radiation won't instantly turn off his powers (a la the S:TAS/old comics), but rather, he'll *very* slowly lose them over time (though even in the old comics, how quickly he lost his powers under a red sun seemed to vary...).
Othe things Byrne did: introducing Maggie Sawyer I believe (and IIRC Bibbo), set Smallville as specifically within Kansas (probably his most permanent mark on the mythos; prior to Byrne, Smallville was considered as a small town somewhere near Metropolis), and reduced-in-intensity some of Supes' powers (one big thing he was hired to do: before Byrne, Supes' powers were pretty cranked up strength/invulnerability-wise...he was able to time-travel/travel through interstellar space under his own power, was extremely strong, and had "super-intelligence" [admittedly, I rather miss the intelligence and time-travel :-) ]. Though he still seems quite invulnerable and all...and still has super-breath...and the current comics seem to be cranking up his power-levels again...).
>>And so it was Byrne who did the "Superman kills" thing? Figures, that did sound out of character. So how many issues did he last?<<
Byrne lasted about 2 years, with the issue where Superman killed as his last issue before leaving (he wrote the issue where he killed as his very last issue, before leaving to allow some other writer to resolve the storyline [basically, Supes goes mad, exiles himself into space for awhile, then returns to Earth with his anti-killing code, under the excuse (if the fanboys on the newsgroups who liked this stupid story are to be believed) that he apparently had to have killed in order to learn that killing was wrong. Um...*yeah*. (Head throbbing)]
>>Good thing most people are ignoring his take on things... yeesh.
At least they are over the past year or two's worth of comics from the changes to them (where they actually seem readable), vs. most of the 90's comics being event-driven/having Supes act grossly out of character...
>>Then again, I'm not all to fond of ole Byrne. His Batman/Superman "Generations" thing was horrible, and his "Marvel: the Lost Generation" was nigh incomprehensible. <<
I've flipped through a bit of "Generations" (it at least resolved the issue of how Lois and Clark could have children without Lois being killed carrying it to term...red sun radiation),but never heard of "Lost Generation". Dare I ask what it consisted of/what it was about?
Will have to post a summary of the "old" Superboy/teen Clark Kent's Smallville soon (seeing as the TV show "Smallville" is using some older elements)
When Byrne got rid of Superboy from his revamped origin, he did it under the premise that in his opinion there wasn't any suspense to a Superboy story, since we knew he'd have to survive to become Superman. All while apparently ignoring the fact that there isn't any suspense as to whether Super*man* will survive in a Superman story, since we know he (at least) will have to survive to the next issue (with the matter of *how* he survives being what keeps us entertained....I mean, no comics fan *really* knew that "Death of Superman" thing was permanent...). It was also under the notion that Byrne was setting the "new" Supes up to be a hero with self-doubts and a lack of experience, still "learning the ropes somewhat"...despite the fact that *that's* what Superboy was for ("coming of age" stories)...
Of course, after he got rid of Superboy, it was soon apparent that there were certain, ahem, continuity problems with the Legion of Super-Heroes (who apparently aren't included under the Superman editors' jurisdiction): namely, the fact tha the team was founded under their notion that there was a Superboy (who they had travelled back in time to meet/invite him to be a member). Given the heavy # of Legion stories that Superboy was involved in, it was soon realized there were problems, which they cobbled together a solution to (that pocket universe thing, aka the place where that "Superman kills" story took place), which soon led to them revamping from scratch the Legion during the early-90's...and Byrne actually saying he realized it was a mistake to have gotten rid of Superboy in the first place.
Gah... head hurting... too much callous history re-vamp...
Okay, I'm better now. Well, it seems like a few detailes of Byrne's rule have survived, other than the Kansas bit. Lana Lang also knew about Clark's powers in S:TAS, and Bibbo is Bibbo. Having him and Batman not be fond of each other did indeed seem to kick off the "heroes fighting each other" schtick in the 90s, though that paved the way for the S:TAS/TNBA World's Finest, which paved the way for Batman and Superman teamups that were worth reading, because they played upon the heroes differences without having them fight all the time. Though it seems that Byrne has abandoned that as well... in "Generations" (essentially a big long Bats/Supes teamup) the two are more or less interchangable, and Bats tends to grin like an idiot.
As for Marvel: The Lost Generation. From what I can tell it's even MORE incomprehensible than Byrne's other stabs at history revision. Okay. From what I can understand about Hyper-time, Marvel keeps pretending that heroes have existed for less than a decade, depsite the fact that Marvel's been around for what, 40 years? So the heroes' year of origin keeps getting pushed up. Anyway, at the start there used to be Captain America and his bunch (in the 40s), followed by the Fantastic Four and the rest (the 60s). If you follow hyper-time, there becomes an increasingly large gap between these sets of heroes, since the FF now came around in the late 80s-early 90s.
Marvel: The Lost Generation was Byrne's attempt to fill in the gap. Actually, it's worse than it sounds. Check this out: Byrne cranked out scores and scores of heroes and villians for the 60s and 70s within the space of that 12-issue limited series, all of whom were pretty damn forgettable and did nothing of consequence. Meanwhile you've got a teen Reed Richards going on at length about how Star Wars is cool. But then you have to have everybody die at the end to pave the way for the "current" heroes. Here's the real baffler: the series was presented BACKWARDS. #12 was the first issue, with everyone croaking, and going back from there. IGN reviews comics, and they just flat gave up on this one after three issues because it made zero sense. I tried to pick up one issue and was totally lost.
You read it... you can't un-read it!
>>>Gah... head hurting... too much callous history re-vamp...
Okay, I'm better now.<<<
>> Well, it seems like a few detailes of Byrne's rule have survived, other than the Kansas bit. Lana Lang also knew about Clark's powers in S:TAS, and Bibbo is Bibbo. Having him and Batman not be fond of each other did indeed seem to kick off the "heroes fighting each other" schtick in the 90s, though that paved the way for the S:TAS/TNBA World's Finest, which paved the way for Batman and Superman teamups that were worth reading, because they played upon the heroes differences without having them fight all the time. Though it seems that Byrne has abandoned that as well... in "Generations" (essentially a big long Bats/Supes teamup) the two are more or less interchangable, and Bats tends to grin like an idiot. <<
Yep to those details making it to S:TAS (which is way more entertaining than the "real" Super-comics of the '90s [and the same for B:TAS vs. its "real" comics counterpart]).
As for Batsy grinning like an idiot, I guess I never liked much the current insistence on him being ultra-grim and an an "urban legend" (the "urban legend" bit which I hate as much as the "birthing matrix" stuff). From what I've read, I prefer either the Animated Series version or the way he was written in the 70's/80's era comics (where Bats is the "world's greatest detective" and has various globe-spanning adventures with a serious spin, yet has at least Lt. Worf's level of socialization skills / has people he considers friends [i.e. not an emotionless, robotic, arrogant I-don't-need-anyone's-help-since-I-can-do-everything-Bat-god/urban-myth like the current "real" comics version comes off to me as...not fun at all....but I guess that's just me (shrug)...]).
>>>As for Marvel: The Lost Generation...
I think the term for it is the "sliding scale timeline", where everything happens perpetually <i>x</i> number of years ago...several examples:
- the Simpsons: Homer was born ~36-38 years ago perpetually...thus, the Homer of 1990 has different memories of his being a teenager (ex.: it being 1974 in "The Way We Was") vs. the Homer of ~2000 (ex.: his being a young child in that "Homer the Hippie" episode). And as time keeps marching on, we'll see Bart's birth year move up from 1980 (as it was relative to 1990) to (as of 2001) 1991...
- DC Comics: in the old comics, Superman was said to be always 29 years old (which the S:TAS/"Lois and Clark" seem to infer as his approximate age), with depictions of Superboy as a 16-year-old. Thus, Superboy was always supposed to be always shown as around 13-15 years behind Superman...thus, how Superboy's era over the years has been shown as being in the 30's, 40's, 50's (ex.: the first "Superman" movie) and up to the late 1960's (from the comics of him made when I was a kid). Thus, following that assumption, 16-year-old Superboy (relative to 2001) would be in 1988 right now (hence the premise for that PatB/Superboy/Reagan story of mine :-)
(In the current comics, DC follows a "12 year" (formerly "10 year") timeline: It's supposedly been 12 years since Superman made his debut....hence, they created some late-sixties superhero team as a "fill in" for the gap between the JSA's 40's and the JLA's 90's: the "Justice Experience". Don't ask....)
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