The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen Double Feature Movie Review

Hey guys! How’s it going? I’m doing pretty great today. I spent the afternoon at the movie theatre with Brad seeing a special double feature event. We saw the DC Universe Animated Original Movie The Death of Superman and it’s sequel Reign of the Supermen both based on the DC Comics story arc from 1993, The Death and Return of Superman. Because of the new focus for the blog that I instituted for 2019 I wouldn’t normally be reviewing these two movies, especially not in this way. However since I’m reviewing the trade paperback for The Death of Superman this week, and these movies tie into it as they adapt the entire story arc, I decided to make an exception. Originally I was just going to review the first movie as part of the review of the comic on Friday, but I don’t own the movie so I can’t rewatch it to refresh my memory on the changes made in adapting the comic into a movie, but since it’s fresh in my mind I’m doing it this way instead. So let’s get into it. Let’s start with a history lesson.

superman #75

Way back in the early ’90s Superman was not as popular among the general population as he had been in the late ’70s and early ’80s when the Richard Donner/Richard Lester Superman movies, starring Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, were being released in theatres. At this point there were four Superman comic book titles being published by DC Comics, Action ComicsThe Adventures of SupermanSuperman, and Superman: The Man of Steel. All four books were being worked on by a different team of writers and artists under a single editor. That editor was Mike Carlin, who was one of the major editors and writers at DC Comics in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Every year all four creative teams would get together for a Superman summit where they would outline the next year’s worth of stories that could run through the four Superman books and then bring in other books as needed such as Batman and Detective Comics or Justice League America and Green Lantern.

superman #76

During the 1990 Superman Summit, the creative teams came up with a two or three year story arc that would lead into the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. The wedding would be the 1993 story arc with the actual wedding taking place in The Adventures of Superman #500 at the end of the year. The first couple of years would set everything up by having Clark propose to Lois and reveal to her that he’s Superman (this happened in Action Comics #662). But then Warner Bros. Television began production on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and that changed everything.

lois & clark - the new adventures of superman

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, developed by Deborah Joy LeVine, and starring Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher as the titular characters, Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane respectively, was sold to ABC in 1991, during the Superman Summit that would’ve begun full work on the wedding story arc. Believing there should be uniformity between the different mediums, DC Comics asked the Superman creative teams, by now a single entity, to put the wedding storyline on hold as the TV side didn’t want to do the wedding between Lois and Clark until several seasons down the line (it ended up only being three seasons into the show by the time the wedding happened). Frustrated that a year’s work was down the tube, one of the writers, Jerry Ordway, asked, “Why don’t we just kill him?”. He’d asked that question before, but since they didn’t have a lot of time to come up with a new story for the issues to be published on time, the creative team agreed and, after pitching it to DC Comics, everyone began working on the story.

superman #75

The actual death of Superman happened in issue #75 of the second volume of the comic book titled simply, Superman. The original series, now titled The Adventures of Superman, had ended it’s in run with issue #423 in 1986 before becoming The Adventures of Superman with issue #424 in 1987. The entire issue is devoted to Superman battling Doomsday and ultimately his death. The issue sold more than six million copies at a time where Superman comics were selling only 150,000 copies per issue, which still sounds like a lot, but at the time Marvel Comics, particularly the Spider-Man books and the two X-Men titles, were selling double that amount. The attention that this event received brought Superman back into the collective consciousness of people outside of the comic book reading community, and reminded people that Superman was still relevant.

superman #82

The aftermath also did very well with the funeral issue and the issues following where the Superman team explored what the DC Universe would be like without Superman and whether or not he could be replaced. The answer was no and they brought Superman back by the end of 1993. But it didn’t end there.

superman - doomsday

In 2007 Warner Bros. Animation launched their direct-to-video line of movies based on DC Comics properties with Superman: Doomsday. This movie adapted the three part story arc into truncated form, removing Steel, Superboy, Cyborg Superman and the Eradicator and then combining them into an evil, fully grown, clone of Superman, made by Lex Luthor. This movie was very good for it’s time, but fans of the original story arc, including the makers of this movie wanted a better adaptation. Which they got in 2018 with The Death of Superman and today with part 2, Reign of the Supermen. Now let’s get into the meat of the story.

the death of superman 000

I loved this movie! There were things that were holdovers from Superman: Doomsday like Superman revealing his secret identity as Clark Kent to Lois, and Lex Luthor’s greater involvement in the story than he had in the comics, and there was something that was missing from both this movie and Reign of the Supermen, but I’ll get into that shortly. Right now I want to talk about what I enjoyed about this movie.

the death of superman 001

One of the things that I am continuously fascinated with in the Superman comics is the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor. Maybe it’s because I thought the dynamic between Lex and Clark on Smallville was extremely well done, particularly with Michael Rosenbaum playing Lex Luthor on that show. While it’s not as dynamic here as it is on that show, it’s still fascinating to watch them on screen especially because the New 52 was an era where Lex Luthor wasn’t a villain and had even joined the Justice League.

the death of superman 002

I grew up with the classic Superman/Lois Lane relationship. It was in movies, on TV, and in the comics. And yet, here it came out of nowhere. The last time I saw Superman, in Justice League Vs. Teen Titans, he was happily in a relationship with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman as he was in the comics during the New 52. But, because this movie is adapting a period in the comics where Lois and Clark were together and were engaged to be married, they had to fit this into the movie continuity, even though these movies are primarily based on the New 52 version of the DC Universe. I just wish there’d been a scene in a previous movie where Clark and Diana broke up and Lois and Clark got together. This movie also does the opposite of what Superman: Doomsday did in 2007. In that movie Lois Lane was dating Superman and Superman had to struggle with whether or not he would reveal to Lois that he was also Clark Kent. Here, Lois is still dating Superman, but in his secret identity as Clark Kent, and it’s Clark who has to make the decision whether or not to let her know that he’s Superman. Which is something that Clark struggled with deciding on in the first six years of Smallville while he was with Lana Lang. But, unlike in Superman: Doomsday, Clark has his parents to counsel him on the situation, which is always nice because I love Jonathan and Martha Kent.

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The battle with Doomsday was so much larger in scope than it was in Superman: Doomsday. There it was just Superman vs. Doomsday, which is fine, but it doesn’t really lend itself to telling the audience just how much of a threat Doomsday is. You really need Doomsday to take out the Justice League in order for us to realize just how big the threat is. One of the things that was improved from the source material is the version of the Justice League presented. In the comics we had the weird, ’90s, version of the League which was Bloodwynd, Fire & Ice, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Guy Gardner (one of the other Green Lanterns). Here we have the heavy hitters, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Cyborg, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, and, of course, Superman. The fight worked so well in the Anime influenced animation style and I wasn’t bored at all.

Also, I don’t know if I imagined it or not, but there was a shot where we saw the Flash running and the music changed slightly to Blake Neely’s TV theme music from The Flash for a moment, and then did it again with his TV theme music from Supergirl in a shot where we see Superman flying. It could’ve just been me, but, given the other nods to other DC Comics based movies and TV shows in this and Reign of the Supermen, I wouldn’t be surprised if they incorporated those two TV show themes into the movie even for just a second where you wouldn’t notice them if you weren’t paying attention.

the death of superman 004

This movie was absolutely fantastic! Aside from Lois and Clark’s relationship coming completely out of left field in this movie continuity, there isn’t anything I want to complain about. Though I do wish that Superman’s funeral had been held over until the beginning of Reign of the Supermen and had had more people attending. In the comics the entire superhero community, including the Bat Family, Team Arrow, Team Flash, the Justice League, the Titans, the Outsiders, and the Justice Society of America, not to mention the Superman Family, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Maggie Sawyer, Bibbo Bibowski, Cat Grant, and the Guardian, were all at the funeral. That’s a minor thing though because of how well this story was adapted given the scope of it in the comics. Now, onto Reign of the Supermen.

reign of the supermen 000

I didn’t like this one quite as much as I did The Death of Superman. It was still a really great movie and I really enjoyed it, there were just a few things that I thought could’ve been done better, shouldn’t’ve been glossed over as much, or felt out of place for this storyline because of when it was originally published and where it takes place here in these movies. The biggest problem that I have with this movie is simply a problem with any adaptation and that is this movie felt rushed.

In the comics the full story arc took a year to tell with no hint that DC was actually going to bring the original Superman back, which was the whole idea and why they did “Reign of the Supermen” (The Return of Superman) after they’d done “Doomsday” (The Death of Superman), which showed the death of Superman, and “Funeral for a Friend” (World without a Superman), which showed the impact that Superman’s death would actually have on the world, and more specifically, how Superman’s death would impact all of his friends and family including Ma and Pa Kent, Alexander Luthor (Lex Luthor Jr.), Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Perry White, Cat Grant, The Daily Planet, and everyone in Metropolis.

In the movie, especially in this double feature where there was merely a five minute break in between seeing Superman die, and seeing the impact of his death, leading up to his return about 55 to 60 minutes into an 87 minute movie, we meet Steel, Superboy, the Eradicator, and Cyborg Superman right away and so we don’t get to see how Superman’s death affects Metropolis or the Justice League/superhero community like we do in the comics or in Superman: Doomsday where we saw the Metropolis police be overwhelmed by crime. I liked the scene at the beginning of The Death of Superman where we see Dan Turpin and Maggie Sawyer, Superman’s two friends on the police force, but that doesn’t get paid off in either movie. We barely get anything with the Kents, and most of it is focused on Lois, and even then they just gloss over what made the comic book source material so popular and so good where we got a good month or two before the four Superman replacements were introduced. Which is who I’d like to talk about now. Starting with Superboy.

reign of the supermen 001

In this movie Superboy is kind of a mix of characters. His costume is the costume that Conner Kent wore in the ’90s, right up to the end of Young Justice (the comic book, not the TV show) in 2002 or 2003, and his media popularity is straight out of the ’90s Superboy comics. However, physically and emotionally he’s more like Lois and Clark’s son, Jon, that was introduced at the end of the New 52 and co-starred with Damian Wayne (Robin) in the very popular comic book series, Super Sons, which is a series I’ve heard about and not read. Also, his role as LexCorp’s personal superhero is the role that the Matrix Supergirl, an alien lifeform that shapeshifts into the deceased Supergirl (Kara Zor-El, pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths), played for Lex Luthor Jr. in the comics in the early to mid ’90s. Which makes sense because they avoided using Dubbilex, Tana Moon, Rex Leech, Rex’s daughter, Roxy, and Knockout in this movie. This version of Superboy works better in the age of social media than he does in the ’90s. There’s been teen idols since the days of Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and Shirley Temple, but because of how they portrayed Superboy in this movie, and in the comics from the ’90s, it just seems to work better in today’s society than it did in the ’90s. Now let’s talk about the Eradicator.

reign of the supermen 002

I think the Eradicator is the Superman replacement that they changed the most in the adaptation process. In the comics he was a Kryptonian weapon sent out to eradicate all other cultures, thus preserving the Kryptonian culture. Here, he’s simply a hologram created to eradicate any threats to Superman’s rejuvenation matrix inside the Fortress of Solitude including intruders. Which is more benevolent than what the comic went for, which amounts to Genocide. It’s also a change that I like as I didn’t quite understand his purpose in the comics, particularly in “Reign of the Supermen”. Now, onto John Henry Irons a.k.a. Steel.

reign of the supermen 003

John Henry Irons is the one that was changed the least in the adaptation process. He’s not given much of a backstory and none of his supporting characters from the comics are in the movie, but, his motivation for wanting to fill in for Superman is the same and his personality is exactly the same as it is in the comics too. He’s probably my favourite of the four Superman replacements, with Superboy being my second favourite. I wish I could read more of his solo comic that ran from 1994 to 1998 because I’ve only read two issues. Issue #8, which was the Zero Hour tie-in and issue #0 which was part of Zero Month, where every comic published by DC Comics had an issue published with zero on the front cover, in between the tie-in to the event, Zero Hour and the issue that came after the tie-in issues. I loved both issues and I would like to read more. Finally, let’s talk about Hank Henshaw, a.k.a. Cyborg Superman.

reign of the supermen 004

I’m mostly familiar with Hank Henshaw’s backstory from the CW series, Supergirl. However just reading up on the comic book version on Wikipedia for this review, it appears that the backstory that we saw in the beginning of The Death of Superman is intact from the comic book version. But, that’s where the similarities end.

In the comics, after the accident that kills the crew of the Excalibur, Henshaw’s consciousness was transferred into Superman’s birthing matrix where he creates a ship that takes him out into space. There he comes across Mongul, one of Superman’s villains, on Warworld and makes an alliance with him to conquer Earth in Superman’s absence, following his death at the hands of Doomsday. They destroy Coast City, the port of call for Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, and use the area as the hub for their conversion of Earth into a new Warworld. The plan is stopped by Superman, Steel, Superboy, Eradicator, Supergirl and Green Lantern.

In the movie however, because this movie is set in the New 52 based continuity, there’s a strong tie between the Justice League and Darkseid, so instead of Mongul and Warworld, it’s Darkseid and Apokalips that appear. Here, after the accident, Hank is captured by Darkseid and converted into an agent of evil, so that Darkseid could infiltrate Earth and convert Humanity into soldiers for his empire to compliment the Parademons he already controls. It still works wonderfully, but it’s also a bit of a cliche.

Overall both of these movies were amazing. As I said I liked The Death of Superman better than I did Reign of the Supermen, but honestly, I don’t hate or dislike Reign of the Supermen. I really enjoy both movies, it’s just part two felt rushed and I honestly felt like they could’ve split it up into two parts just so we could have more of how Superman’s death impacted the world, particularly in Metropolis, in the Justice League, and among Superman’s friends and family. Again, both were awesome movies and I had a lot of fun watching them.

Alright folks I’m done for today. I’ll be back on Friday with my review of The Death of Superman the trade paperback that collects the first part of the three part arc. I’m going to split the review up into three chunks, so Friday will be The Death of Superman, and then the comic book reviews that I do for February and March will be World Without a Superman, and then will wrap up the story with The Return of Superman. So until next time have a great week and I will talk to you all later. Goodnight!

 

All Images Taken From:

http://www.worldsfinestonline.com

http://www.dc.wikia.com

http://www.imdb.com

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A Look Back at Star Wars Insider

Hey guys! How’s it going? I am doing very well. I hope you all had an awesome week. I did. The Orville was great this week, Adam Goldberg knocked it out of the park twice with this week’s episode of The Goldbergs AND the series premiere of the spin-off series, Schooled, starring AJ Michalka as Lainey Lewis so now every week I get to go back to my two favourite decades, the ’80s and the ’90s. But, that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Right now I’m taking you on a different kind of journey in time as I revisit a magazine that, while still in publication today, doesn’t really offer anything that the internet offers in a much quicker fashion in terms of Star Wars news and updates on upcoming movies, books, comics, and video games. Let’s travel back to the 1990s and take a look at that era of the magazine known as, Star Wars Insider. But first, let’s go back to 1986 when Star Wars had disappeared and the fandom was quiet.

return of the jedi

Following the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983, George Lucas decided to retire from filmmaking and focus on his family and his companies, Lucasfilm LTD, and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). He collaborated with Steven Spielberg on two more Indiana Jones films released in 1984 and 1989 respectively, and then collaborated with Ron Howard on Willow, released in 1988, but otherwise remained focused on his companies and his daughter, Amanda, and then later his other two children, Katie and Jett. Which meant he wasn’t planning on making anymore Star Wars movies.

By 1986 the Star Wars franchise was almost gone completely. Marvel Comics ended it’s comic book series based on the films, Kenner wasn’t producing any more toys, and even Del Rey had stopped publishing tie-in and spin-off novels having only published novelizations of the three movies, three novels starring Han Solo, three novels starring Lando Calrissian, and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a sequel novel to Star Wars starring Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader, though they would continue to republish these 10 novels individually and as collections over the years. Both Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO and Ewoks ended their run in 1986 as well.

bantha tracks #1 bantha tracks #35

After having existed since 1978, the Official Star Wars Fan Club shut down, and their newsletter publication, Bantha Tracks, ended publication in January 1987 with issue #35. However something new was on it’s way.

the lucasfilm fan club #1

Realizing that they were producing movies outside of the Star Wars saga, and that ILM was also producing the visual and audio effects for other studios, Lucasfilm launched the Official Lucasfilm Fan Club in 1987 as well as their new magazine publication, The Official Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine. The magazine covered everything going on at Lucasfilm, as well as anything that developed with Star Wars.

the lucasfilm fan club #22

As the magazine continued publication, it’s focus began to switch back to Star Wars. Primarily because something interesting happened in 1991. Bantam Spectra Books published a novel by Timothy Zahn called Heir to the Empire and Dark Horse Comics published a six issue series called Dark Empire and suddenly, Star Wars was alive again and the fans were celebrating their beloved franchise’s return. By 1994, George Lucas had announced that he was going to be making a trilogy of prequels to tell the backstory of Darth Vader, how Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side of the Force, and how the Old Republic had become the Empire.

star wars insider #23

Because Star Wars was in full swing with all the novels, comics and video games being made, as well as George Lucas being in full production on both the prequels and the Special Editions of the original trilogy, the Official Lucasfilm Fan Club once again became the Official Star Wars Fan Club and The Lucasfilm Fan Club became Star Wars Insider from then on. It’s also the second longest running genre based magazine and the only one of two that’s been in publication consistently. The other being Doctor Who Magazine. every other geeky magazine from the ’90s all stopped publication sometime in the last decade and a half. Star Trek CommunicatorStar Trek: The MagazineStarlogWizard, and Nintendo Power all ceased publication at some point between 2003 and 2012.

The world was a very different place in terms of Fandom in 1994. The internet, as we know it today, didn’t exist yet, and most franchises didn’t have websites yet. StarWars.com wouldn’t go live until 1996 and StarTrek.com wouldn’t go live for another year. As a result these magazines were the only way fans could get information on the prequels, the Special Editions and the merchandise being put out at a suddenly fast pace.

star wars insider #43

The very first issue that I ever got of Star Wars Insider was issue 43. This was a special issue as it was the final issue to be published before The Phantom Menace came out in theatres in 1999. It was also the issue where the novel series, Star Wars: The New Jedi Order was first announced. I ended up missing issues 44 and 45, then I got 46, 47, and 49 and then somehow I missed several issues until 57 and then after that missed every issue until 80 and from 86 onward I got pretty much every issue except for a few in the early 100s. But by issue 120 I was buying every issue and very rarely missed one, with a few exceptions due to me not getting them in time or because they weren’t available at a specific store I was buying the magazine at. Since 120 came out in 2010, which is when I got out of college, I’ve been able to get out there and pick the magazine up.

One of my favourite things to do when I go back to these old issues from the ’90s is read the letters columns. This was before the internet and this was the only way Star Wars fans had to complain about things and interact with each other. There’s a letter in issue 47 and in it the guy said that the magazine had destroyed his enjoyment of Attack of the Clones because in an update article, the trilogy’s producer, Rick McCallum, revealed that Padme was going to be the mother of Luke and Leia. This letter was written and published barely even a year after The Phantom Menace had come out, and a little more than two years before Attack of the Clones would come out. They hadn’t even announced that Hayden Christensen had been cast as the older Anakin in Episode II yet.

I thought it was amusing because we get people like that all the time in the online fan community, who complain about everything and claim that their enjoyment of a movie, that hasn’t even come out yet, is ruined because of a piece of information, that isn’t even a spoiler (George Lucas wanted us to know that Padme/Queen Amidala would be Luke and Leia’s mother), is revealed by the movie’s producer. I mean I had a discussion about it with some friends up at the cottage the summer Episode I came out so it wasn’t like it was a secret or anything. Especially since George Lucas had said in a few interviews before Episode I came out that Luke and Leia’s mother would be in the prequels.

Today that person’s letter would be a comment on Facebook or Twitter. So this magazine was the internet, before there was the internet. As were the other magazines like this. It was our way of interacting with other Star Wars fans, especially if we were in the Official Star Wars Fan Club or the Official Lucasfilm Fan Club, didn’t have any local comic book conventions, and couldn’t afford to travel anywhere that did have them. I wasn’t in either fan club, but, I could read the letters written by other fans and see what their thoughts on Star Wars were at the time.

So that’s a look back at Star Wars Insider, a magazine that is still being published today even though it’s almost redundant. The ’90s was the perfect time for magazines like this due to there not being the internet and things like social media or blogs like this that present news about your favourite movie, TV, video game, and comic book franchises. But now that we have all those things, these magazines just repeat everything we can find online so it’ll be interesting to see how much longer Star Wars Insider will be around for. Especially since it’s approaching it’s 200th issue, 32 years after it was first published as Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine.

Alright guys that is it for me for this week. I will be back next week with my review of the trade paperback Superman: The Death of Superman which contains the story arc that put Superman back on the map in 1992. So stay tuned for that coming up on Friday. In the mean time have a great evening and a great weekend and I will talk to all of you later. Take care.

The Plan for the Review Basement in 2019

Hey guys! It’s Saturday! I’m not too busy right now so I thought I’d come on here and talk about my plan for the blog in 2019. I’ve talked a little bit about it in earlier posts, particularly yesterday’s VHS Reviews post. I hope you enjoyed that post. I realize it wasn’t quite a review, but, given that I don’t have either tape in that series anymore, or if I do, I can’t watch it because I don’t have a VCR, I couldn’t watch the tapes before talking about them. I just wanted to give you an idea of what exactly I’m going to be doing in terms of the movie and TV show reviews from now on. So here’s exactly what I’m going to be doing on the blog and why.

So starting about a month or two ago, I began watching the YouTube channel Cinemassacre, the home of AVGN or the Angry Video Game Nerd if you want to use the full name for the show. His real name is James Rolfe, and he has his basement set up like an old video store like Blockbuster and Rogers Video (which is where my family always rented movies from). He calls it Cinemassacre Video, and that’s where he and some friends do a weekly review series called Rental Reviews. On this show they talk about old movies that you would’ve found at the video store on VHS in the ’80s and ’90s. They also share the memories they had of seeing the movie of the week if they’d seen it before. James has also done a few videos in the Cinemassacre video store where he has people over to see the collection and to show it off to the audience as well.

And that got me thinking about the stuff that I review and talk about on here. I realized that it’s too broad. While I don’t have a video store in my basement like James Rolfe does, the vast majority of movies and TV shows that I have on DVD, on Blu-ray, and digitally, as well as those I tend to watch on Netflix, are ones that were on VHS at some point in my lifetime and more than a few that had more than one release on VHS between 1980 and 2005, which was the year that VHS finally died as a major home video format, though a few Disney movies still got VHS releases in 2006 and 2007 as well. Anyway I’ve decided to focus on those movies and TV shows in my collection. Yes, I no longer have those movies and shows on VHS, and there are a few that I didn’t have or rent and didn’t see until I was an adult, but, I still remember watching the ones I did have and the ones I rented on that format in my bedroom or the living room or at the hospital, depending on the year I saw the movie in. That’s not all I’m doing though.

Because I am quite adamant that I’m going to stick to the posting once a week format, I’m only going to be posting a VHS Reviews post once a month. The rest of the time will be dedicated to video games, comic books, and other things from my childhood that I want to talk about. For example, next week I’m going to be looking at Star Wars Insider, the officially licensed magazine for the Star Wars franchise that has been published since 1987 when it was known as The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine, and is still being published to this day. I’ll mostly be talking about the issues that came out in the ’90s and early 2000’s, when I started reading and collecting it, what my favourite issues are from that period, and what my first issue was.

In terms of comic books, I’m going to be focusing on the storylines/trade paperbacks/hardcover collections and single issues I own that were published in the ’90s. “Knightfall”, “The Death of Superman” and “Masques” are all examples of story arcs that I have in trade paperback and hardcover that I’ll be covering on the blog.

As for video games I’m going to focus on all the Nintendo games for the NES, Game Boy Super Nintendo, Game Boy Color, and Nintendo 64 that I owned as a kid. As well as a few games that we rented or played when friends brought them over. I might also cover the Xbox games I own as well, but we’ll see how I do talking about the Nintendo games first. The only problem with this approach is that I don’t have any of the games released for the NES or Nintendo 64, so those will mainly be giving my memories of playing them at the time I played them rather than reviews based on playing the games currently. It’s a little easier with the Game Boy and Game Boy Color games because I still have all of those and I’m still able to play them on my Game Boy Advance.

Although I did play the original Super Mario Bros. game for the NES last week, on Christmas Day, because my sister got the NES Classic Edition for Christmas and she set it up on my TV so we could play it for a while, and I played the original Mario Kart last year because my brother had brought his Super Nintendo Classic Edition console with him last week. I also still have the Super Nintendo and all of the games for it that I’ve owned for twenty years or more, so I could hook that up and play those if I want to. My priority will be for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color games though, just because those are the retro games that are the most accessible to me right now. I’ll do the first three Pokemon games in a single post though, just because they are the exact same game with only minor differences between them.

So basically I’ll have a wider variety of content even though I’m only posting once a week instead of three times a week or every day like I was doing for the majority of last year. That’s all I wanted to say today folks. I’ll be back on Friday with next week’s post, which will be my post on Star Wars Insider like I mentioned before. So until then have a great rest of the weekend and I will talk to you all later. Take care!

VHS Reviews – Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Collector’s Edition

Hey guys! Happy New Year! 2019 has begun and I can’t wait to show you what I’ve got planned for the blog this year. Right now I’m unveiling a brand new series as part of the All-New Review Basement, which is the idea I came up with for my focus in 2019. This new series is called VHS Reviews. Basically, what it is is a series where I take a look at movies that came out in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000’s that were then released on VHS as well as movies from before 1986 that had a home video release, specifically on VHS sometime during my childhood and teenage years in the ’90s and early to mid-2000’s. A lot of these movies I have on DVD, on Blu-ray or digitally now, but, these are movies that I either owned on VHS or rented from the video store during my childhood. So without further ado, let’s talk about this first VHS that I’d like to talk about.

star trek - the next generation - the collector's edition

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Collector’s Edition was a series of videotapes that you had to order from Columbia House and subscribe to in order to get them regularly. I had the first two tapes in this line which contained the episodes, “Encounter at Farpoint”, “The Naked Now”, and the much maligned episode, “Code of Honor” which are the first three episodes of the Television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Technically it’s four episodes, but I always count “Encounter at Farpoint” as a single ninety minute episode (two hours with commercials in it’s first airing back in 1987) rather than two 42 minute episodes as it’s aired on TV as since it’s first rerun airing. And since it’s the original, full, ninety minute version on this tape, I’m counting 3 episodes, not four.

So when I was a kid, I owned these two tapes and this is how I remember watching these three episodes. I owned the individual retail tapes as well, the “Encounter at Farpoint” tape will be a subject for review later on down the line, but they were kept at my grandparents’s place for me to watch over there. Unlike with the opening for the “Encounter at Farpoint” tape I have never seen the openings for these tapes on YouTube. Probably because they weren’t widely available and so not very many people had them. I think my tapes are still in a box somewhere here in the basement, but they might have been gotten rid of a while back. Either way I don’t have a VCR to play them on anymore anyway, so I wouldn’t be able to watch the beginning of the tapes even if I do still own them.

As I said, this was how I saw these episodes for the first time. Though to be honest I think I only watched “Encounter at Farpoint” and “The Naked Now” more than “Code of Honor”. Mostly because “The Naked Now” was first on the second tape and often times I would turn off the tape and either save it for later, or rewind it to watch from the beginning another time. There isn’t really a reason for it, I just preferred the other two over “Code of Honor”. None of them are the best episodes of the show mind you, but, they’re also not the worst episodes either (“Night Terrors” still holds the title of ‘worst’ episode of TNG).

star trek - the next generation - the collector's edition (back cover)

I’m going to talk about this more when I do my review of the single tape of Star Trek: The Collector’s Edition, which was the series of tapes from Columbia House that collected the original Star Trek series from the ’60s, but the back of the cassette box contained the same two pictures, one of Geordi La Forge hiding behind a rock from the season 1 episode, “Hide and Q” and the other of the crew on the Bridge from the season 1 episode, “Lonely Among Us”, and then a description of each episode on the tape. As you can see from the picture I’ve used for this review, there’s no indication on the front of the case which episodes the tapes contain. You basically have to look at the case’s spine or the back of the box to know which episodes are on the tape and hopefully you didn’t have more than one of the tapes out at a time or you might’ve gotten them mixed up if you weren’t paying attention.

That’s Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Collector’s Edition. I thought it would be a fun review to start off the new year with. It wasn’t something you could rent at the video store, and you couldn’t buy it in a store either. You had to get it in the mail. As I said, I only ever had the first two tapes in the series. I think my grandmother had a subscription to Columbia House for a short time and she ordered these two tapes and then cancelled the subscription or something like that. I don’t really remember because I was very young when I got these tapes. I was only four or five years old when these tapes started coming out, and I’m pretty sure I got them right as they came out so in 1991. It might’ve been 1992 at the latest, because we moved out to the country in the summer of 1993, and I know I had both tapes before we moved because I remember watching them when my brother and sister were toddlers. After these two tapes, my grandmother started buying me the regular retail tapes that you could get at K-mart and at the video stores and I got the majority of season 1 on VHS but I’ll talk about that later on when I talk about the “Encounter at Farpoint” tape.

That’s it for me for this week folks. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk more about my plans for the blog in 2019 and give you a better idea of what exactly I’m hoping to do this year in terms of my focus and why I chose to take this new approach to something that I’ve been doing for four years, two years as the Geek Outpost, and two as The Review Basement. So until then have a great night and I will talk to you later. Take care!

The Review Basement in 2019!

Hey everyone! I’m back again with one more post. This time I’m going to talk about the plans I have for The Review Basement in 2019, which starts in less than a week. So let’s get right into it.

It’s been nearly four years since I started this blog as the Geek Outpost. When I started I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with the blog or how long I would be able to keep it going with what little I had on DVD (I didn’t have any Blu-rays yet) and the number of comic books that I had. Especially since I was planning on posting once a week and I wasn’t really planning on reviewing brand new movies as I saw them in theatres. I figured I had enough material to keep the blog going for a maximum of three years. It’s now been close to four years since I started the blog, and I’ve got plenty of material to keep the blog going for another ten years if I play my cards right. Which leads into my plan for 2019.

For the first part of the year, I’m going to focus on movies and TV shows that I owned on VHS that I now have on DVD, on Blu-ray or digitally. There will be some overlap with reviews that I’ve already done, but I love this material so I am always up for talking about Star Trek: The Next GenerationMighty Morphin Power RangersStar Wars, and Disney movies, so fair warning I will be revisiting movies I’ve already reviewed on the blog. I’m also going to take a look at the single issue comic books that I owned as a kid too, so that should give you an idea of what I’m going to be focusing on in 2019.

Otherwise I’m only going to post things once a week, on Fridays. I’ve been able to manage three times a week, but I really only need to review one thing in a week and I rarely have appointments on Fridays, so I won’t have to rearrange the schedule very often to accomodate them. That schedule is also going to be flexible because obviously I won’t always be going to see a new movie on Thursday nights to review the next morning, so I’ll modify things as I go along. There’s lots more to come here in the Review Basement in 2019 so stick around and have fun. Until next time have a great rest of the holidays and I will see you all in the New Year. Take care!

Cool Christmas Presents Part 2 – Doctor Who: The Complete Matt Smith Collection Overview

Hey guys! I’m back with part 2 of my Cool Christmas Presents series of posts. Last time I talked about the awesome book, Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual History. Now I’m going to be talking about Doctor Who: The Complete Matt Smith Collection, which is a DVD set that contains Matt Smith’s entire run as the Doctor on the British Sci-Fi Television series, Doctor Who. So let’s get into it.

Doctor Who - Matt Smith

This set covers seasons 5, 6 and 7 of the current version of the show, as well as all of the Christmas specials done during Matt Smith’s run as the Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, which went from 2010 until 2014. There aren’t any bonus features on this set. Just the episodes and the specials spread out over ten discs. Which is fine, because as good as the bonus features are on Doctor Who DVD and Blu-ray sets, I just wanted the episodes, and this was a less expensive way to get the entirety of the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who.

The reason my sister got me this set as opposed to the Series 2 set is because my very first experience with Doctor Who was the 50th anniversary special from 2013, The Day of the Doctor, and Matt Smith was the main incarnation of the Doctor in that special, so he was my first incarnation of the character. Plus three of his Companions are actors and actresses that I’ve seen in other things. Arthur Darvill, who plays Rory Williams on Doctor Who played Rip Hunter in the first three seasons of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Karen Gillen, who played Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avengers: Infinity War, played Amy Pond on Doctor Who, and Alex Kingston, who plays River Song on Doctor Who, played Laurel and Sara’s mom, Dinah Lance, on Arrow. So knowing how good they were on those shows and in those movies, I wanted to see them here, because they’re some of the Doctor’s most memorable Companions, for varying reasons. I’ll eventually get the David Tennant era of Doctor Who, but I wanted to jump ahead and watch the Doctor I started with.

Doctor Who - The Complete Matt Smith Years

Back in 2014, the set was originally released on Blu-ray in this gigantic case that opened like a book once you took it out of the slipcase. The Blu-ray has all of the bonus features from the original DVD and Blu-ray season releases, and it includes the Eleventh Doctor’s appearances on the spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which I’ve never seen. It’s also more expensive because of the size of the case. So I’m glad they put out this less expensive DVD edition, that fits nicely on the shelf beside my other DVDs and Blu-rays, even if the bonus material is removed from it.

That’s all I’m going to say about the set for now. I’m going to do a review of the entire Matt Smith era of Doctor Who once I’ve finished watching it and I’ll talk more about the set then. For now I just wanted to talk about it a little bit because it’s a really cool Christmas present that I got yesterday. I’ve got one more post to put up before the day is done so I’ll be back in a little while.

Cool Christmas Presents Part 1 – Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual History Overview

Hey guys! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I know I said I was shutting down the blog until January 4th, 2019, but, I got some really cool Christmas presents yesterday, and there are two in particular that I’d like to talk about. As you can see from the title, this is going to be part 1, and part 2 will come out a little later. Right now, let’s dive into the very cool book that I got.

Power Rangers - The Ultimate Visual History

Power Rangers: The Ultimate Visual History is a reference book that delves into the 34 year production history of the Power Rangers franchise. I said 34 years, because even the show has only been on the air for a little over 25 years, the first chapter of the book covers the nine years that Haim Saban shopped the concept of producing a show using footage from Super Sentai around. Including the process he had to go through with Toei in order to get the footage from Super Sentai. Which is something that the bonus features on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series glosses over. The first chapter also covers production on the original pilot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Which is really cool, because you don’t really hear people talking about it when they’re talking about Power Rangers’s production history.

The Star Trek and Star Wars franchises have had books like this out for years, and in many different forms, spanning many decades. I have two books that cover all of Star Trek’s production history, to a certain point, through all of the TV shows and movies, and two books that focus solely on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Star Wars franchise has a lot of books about the making of each of the films in the saga. And of course both DC and Marvel have had books on the histories of their respective companies, as well as history books for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. But, up until now the only resources Power Rangers fans have had are the Power Rangers wiki, interviews with the casts on various YouTube channels, convention Q&A panels, and the DVD sets which are light on information on the later seasons at least in terms of the writing and development of each season. Which is all fine, but there has never really been a central place to find that information for Power Rangers as there has been for other franchises.

Until now, with this book. The book was actually supposed to come out two years ago, but it was delayed a year so that the 2017 feature film, Power Rangers could be included. But then it was delayed again until this year, probably because this year is the 25th anniversary of Power Rangers, and they wanted to include a little bit of information on that, as well as pictures from “Dimensions in Danger” which was the 25th anniversary episode from Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel. Which makes it complete in terms of the first 25 years of the franchise and everything going on with it.

Not only does it talk about the show, but it also talks about the toys, video games, comics, and other merchandise. In the Star Trek books I have where they cover the franchise as a whole, they have margins/sidebars to talk about the merchandise, including comic books, video games, and toys, or they cover it within the main text. With this book, they have these little fold out sections that are attached to specific pages, that delve into the merchandise.

There are so many pictures in this book! I mean by the title, I thought it would light on words and more heavy on the pictures. But there’s so much information, concept sketches for the sets built for Power Rangers like the Command Center, Lord Zedd’s Chamber of Command, and many other Ranger bases and villain lairs that have been on the show and in the movies over the years, plus replicas of call sheets, and other production items from 25 years of Power Rangers history.

I would definitely recommend this book to all Power Rangers fans, especially the ones who are also interest in Television production and film production in general. It’s a treasure trove of information that I’ve never seen anywhere else. There’s also the information covered in all the sources I’ve mentioned, and the Bibliography in the back of the book lists all of these sources as well. It’s super expensive though. I was just lucky that my grandparents were able to get it for me online. But it’s definitely a good book to have as a resource if you’re reviewing Power Rangers at all. Especially if you’re covering the production side of things.

Okay, so that’s part one finished, and I will be back with part 2 in a little while. So until then I will talk to you all later.