Thursday, August 16, 2012

Top 12 DC LEGO Sets I'd Want To See

Same as the Marvel post but with one less entry (because I didn't want to pad it out).

12. Thanagarian Warship

Estimated pieces: 750
Includes Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Thanagarian soldier (male), Thanagarian soldier (female)

11. The Daily Planet

Estimated pieces: 500
Includes Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Metallo

10. JLA Watchtower

Estimated piece: 1500
Includes Martian Manhunter, Red Tornado, Booster Gold, Prometheus, Zatanna, Vixen

9. Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet

Estimated pieces: 500
Includes Wonder Woman, Cheetah, Steve Trevor

8. Oa - Green Lantern Headquarters

Estimated pieces: 800
Includes Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Ganthet, Manhunter

7. Atlantis Invasion

Estimated pieces: 600
Includes Aquaman, Mera, Black Manta, Ocean Master, shark

6. Titans Tower

Estimated pieces: 1000
Includes Deathstroke, Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg

5. Hall of Justice

Estimated pieces: 1000
Includes Green Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Black Lightning, Amazo, Blue Beetle

4. Hall of Doom

Estimated pieces: 900
Includes Brainiac, Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd, Toyman, Gentleman Ghost, Captain Marvel, Snapper Carr

3. Fortress of Solitude

Estimated pieces: 750
Includes Superman, Krypto, Mongul, General Zod, Supergirl

2. The Flash Museum

Estimated pieces: 800
Includes Flash, Iris Allen, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Trickster

1. The Kent Farm

Estimated pieces: 600
Includes baby Superman, Pa Kent, Ma Kent, Krypto, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DC Film Series Wave 1

With the Avengers finally coming and going, Disney and Marvel have shown us what a shared universe of superheroes looks like. Now fans are just waiting for Warner Brothers and DC to do the same. Word has it that they are planning to do Justice League first, THEN produce more individual films about its members, but part of the reason Avengers worked is because those characters were well-established in their own films. And, let's face it, DC superhero movies have a very spotty track record to overcome. Doing Justice League requires faith that they will do each of the characters well enough that they can hold their own films. If they can't, its going to lead to bigger problems later on.

So I decided to play studio executive and see if I could do better. Below are my picks for the next wave of DC films to compete with the new Marvel films. I included a villain (or villains), general plot synopsis, suggested director, and my reason for choosing them. The only rules were to choose directors who had not done superhero films and to choose villains that hadn't yet been seen in a major film.

So, without further ado, my DC film series (wave one):

Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky)


Reboot the franchise based on a combination of Birthright, Secret Origins, and the recent Action Comics reboot. This isn't about Superman moping about his powers, but rather trying to find the right way to use them. Downplay Lex as a lesser antagonist. He’ll have time to shine in sequels. Brainiac serves as a soulless reflection of his Kryptonian heritage which has come to threaten his new home.

Why Crowe?
Cameron Crowe has a great sense of optimism, characterization, and American culture in his work that definitely suits Superman. Although he doesn't have any experience with action, Vanilla Sky showed that he could direct a complex narrative as well as excel at interesting visual effects.

The Flash

Doug Liman (Swingers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Bourne Identity, Jumper)

Captain Cold, Trickster, Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard

When crime scene investigator and “slowest man alive” Barry Allen is hit by an electrical bolt from a kinetics experiment, he discovers a connection to the Speed Force, a limitless source of kinetic energy. In order to unlock the secrets of the speed force, a group of colorful mercenaries have been sent to capture and contain the Flash.

Why Liman?
As the most human of the Justice League, Barry Allen should feel grounded and human so you need a director who can make his life relateable while also able to capture the intensity of high speed action.  While I chose Liman for his superb action work in The Bourne Identity, his background in both Swingers and Jumper would also lend itself well to this movie.

Green Lantern

The Wachowskis (The Matrix, Speed Racer)


Following the plot of the animated movie (and ignoring without contradicting the previous film), Hal Jordan is partnered with and trained by Sinestro even as he plans to betray the Corp, using Jordan as the fall guy.

Why the Wachowskis?
Simply put, they love comics, present great action, and they know how to work with a mostly green color palette. Green Lantern needs an epic scale that the last movie lacked and the Wachowskis can do epic.

Wonder Woman

David Yates (Harry Potter 5-8)


This film would center around the history of the Amazons, Diana’s upbringing, and her introduction to “man’s world” from the incidental crash landing of Steve Trevor. As Diana leaves paradise and enters man’s world, she finds that the spirit of Ares is strong and Steve Trevor’s crash was simply the opening gambit to destroy Themiscyra.

Why Yates?
David Yates' extensive experience directing Harry Potter films shows that he knows (A) how to direct action, (B) how to tell a fantasy story, and (C) how to appeal to a mostly female audience. While this would likely be the hardest of the stories to adapt for a mainstream audience, Yates would be an excellent choice.


James Cameron (Terminator, Aliens, T2, Avatar, Titanic)

Ocean Master, Scavenger

Naval officer Arthur Curry is under investigation after being the sole survivor of a submarine lost in the Mariana Trench and no one believes his stories of a sea monster crushing the hull. Even Arthur himself doesn’t know how he survived, but it seems to be tied to the experiments his father ran on him when he was a child. With the help of his brother, a deep-sea explorer, Arthur searches for the source of the monster only to discover the lost city of Atlantis.

Why Cameron?
James Cameron has his background in science fiction (Terminator, Aliens), deep sea exploration (Titanic, that one documentary), and epic 3D action (Avatar). It only makes sense that he would blend these skills for a 3D take on Aquaman.

Martian Manhunter

Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Blade 2, Pan’s Labyrinth)

Ma’alefa’ak (Malefic), The Headmaster (Thaddeus Romero Hoskins), Professor Arnold Hugo

Due to fracking on the surface of Mars by the Mars rover, a hidden chamber is opened deep beneath the ground containing a living martian held in suspended animation for millennia. Sensing the dead planet and seeing signs of the investigation from Earth, the alien leaves the dead planet for the live one. Disguising himself as a human, J’onn tries to resume his life as a crimefighter (or “manhunter”) as he is pursued by government agents eager to dissect him. In time, he learns that he was not the only martian awakened by the disturbance and that his brother, Ma’alefa’ak, one of those responsible for the martian extermination event, has survived.

Why Del Toro?
Although Del Toro had previously done Hellboy and Blade, he has not yet done a strict superhero film yet. This film would use his monster movie background to tell the story from the "monster's" perspective as he is pursued by an even more monstrous organization.


David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven, The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)

Hugo Strange, Deadshot, Firefly, Professor Pyg, Clock King, the Ventriloquist, Ratcatcher, Zsasz

Avoiding the reboot, this story is set a few years into Batman’s career as he has put numerous villains in Arkham Asylum. This story focuses around rogue Arkham doctor Hugo Strange and his obsession with Batman while at the same time retelling the story of Robin. Essentially, the story asks if Batman is destined to slip deeper into his psychosis or if he has a chance of healing. Strange is determined to break him so he organizes his patients to take Gotham hostage and wear Batman down.

Why Fincher?
I shouldn't need to say anything more than "Seven" and "Fight Club," but I will. Nolan captured the strange psychology at the heart of Batman and, for his successor, you need someone with the same ability, yet not someone who will try to do what Nolan did. By placing Fincher in the role, you get someone with the same sensibilities but a darker and messier approach that might help move the character from the street level up to the superhero level.

Justice League

Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, Hannibal, Prometheus, Gladiator)

Despero, Starro

The story would begin with Aquaman as a “stampede” of violent sea creatures attack Atlantis and ignore his commands. Ultimately, he and the city are overwhelmed and possessed by the alien starfish. All across the world, individuals and groups are targeted by the starro attacks. When Aquaman declares war against the surface world, Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman unite to stop him. Meanwhile, Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Flash are investigating the creatures to find an effective deterrent... only to discover a central mind controlling them all... a mind called Despero.

Why Scott?
 Admittedly, I haven't seen Prometheus, but the man is a godfather of sci-fi movies who can deliver action, horror, or spectacle with equal ability. When blending such disparate characters in the ultimate movie, you need someone who can handle big tonal shifts without drawing away from the epic scale of the film.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top 13 Marvel LEGO Sets I Want To See

Because I couldn't keep it down to ten.

13. Castle Doom

Estimate Pieces: 1000

Includes Dr. Doom, Thing, Invisible Woman, Black Panther, Doombot (x2)

12. SHIELD Helicarrier

Estimated pieces: 3000

Includes Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Maria Hill, Agent Coulson, Major Carol Danvers, Agent Jimmy Woo, Nick Fury LMD (partially damaged), Ultron, Captain America (classic), Falcon, Redwing

11. Apocalypse's Celestial Ship

Estimated pieces: 1400

Includes Apocalypse, Famine, Pestilence, War, robot horse (x3), Archangel, Cable

10. Hulkbusters

Estimated pieces: 600

Includes Abomination, General Thunderbolt Ross, Betsy Ross, Glenn Talbot, Clay Quartermain, Samuel LaRoquette

9. Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum

Estimated pieces: 800

Includes Doctor Strange, Wong, Clea, Baron Mordo, Mindless One, Dormammu

8. X-Mansion

Estimated pieces: 2000

Includes Professor X, Beast, Iceman, Juggernaut (with removable helmut), Colossus, Forge, Jean Grey, Lockheed

7. Baxter Building

Estimated pieces: 1400

Includes Mr. Fantastic, HERBIE, Franklin Richards, Willie Lumpkin, Annihillus, Alicia Masters, Puppetmaster

6. The Daily Bugle

Estimated pieces: 500

Includes Spider-Man (black), J. Jonah Jameson, Ben Urich, Scorpion, Chameleon

5. Asteroid M

Estimated pieces: 1200

Includes Mystique, Blob, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Toad, Psylocke, Gambit, Rogue

4. Fantasticar

Estimate pieces: 500

Includes Johnny Storm, Invisible Woman (clear), Franklin Richards, Mole Man, Moloids (x2)

3. Ghost Rider

Estimated pieces: 100

Includes Ghost Rider & Blackheart

2. Sentinel

Estimated pieces: 400

Includes Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm

1. Galactus

Estimated pieces: 1000

Includes Silver Surfer, Watcher, Human Torch

Friday, March 9, 2012

Doctor Persephone and the Agents of Undermind

Doctor Persephone and the Agents of Undermind is a psychological adventure story taking place in both the physical and mental worlds. The agents are psychics who are engaged in a war of psychic colonization against Overmind, a secret organization who is effecting the world's psyche in ways both broad and toxic as well as specific and controlled.

Doctor Persephone is the leader of this group, but whether or not he is part of anything larger is anyone's guess. He is, by far, their most powerful adept. His most obvious characteristic is his flamboyant personality. He has a very intellectual demeanor which suits his British accent. He also has a tendency towards androgyny and sexual ambiguity (although never flirting with subordinates). Whenever anyone questions his identity, he simply replies that he has "a fondness for pretty things" and leaves it at that. These effeminate characteristics can lead people to underestimate him, but he has a brilliantly tactical mind, a fierce fighting ability, and sublime understanding of consciousness.

In truth, Persephone doesn't even know who he is... or at least, was. He calls himself an amalgamated construct or patchwork personality. As far as he has been able to figure out, the mind which previously ran his body was shattered beyond recognition (presumably in Overmind experiments). Somehow, the shattered remains of a few dozen people were essentially dumped in his head.

After a few months of wildly schizophrenic behavior (where he was still demonstrating psychic ability), he learned how to reconcile his contradictory personality elements in a single persona. He has studied meditation with Buddhist monks and astral projection with Australian aborigines. In creating his entire identity from separate pieces, he has a far superior understanding of what consciousness is and how it works. His work with experts on mental exploration has really helped him more to return to the realm of the mundane rather than to escape it.

He now seeks out psychic adepts of a very certain sort. While Overmind seeks the most powerful minds, Persephone seeks the most creative minds. He seeks those who can harness the abstract and yet give live to it. He also seeks out those with an aversion to authority and tendency toward anarchy.

Fighting a war for mental real estate, Persephone has liberated some of the Overmind experiments including a group of triplets he calls the Wired Systers. They are connected to eachother and then to a computer. Consequently, they look somewhat like they are lounging in a hookah bar while tripping on shrooms, but this is only because their consciousness is always more in the virtual world than the physical. Yet their connection between the digital world and the mental world is invaluable. They provide Undermind with a psychic map that shows psychological currents like a Doppler map. This is the tool that allows them to plan their operations. This sometimes makes them feel more like meteorologists or firemen then a military force. They are just responding to disasters on they can see.

Overmind functions in very direct ways by fighting the war on two fronts - the populace and the individual. Most of their projects involve pushing certain emotions such as artificially raising feelings of need or loyalty in a particular area to create dependency. But when dealing with individuals, they have Dream Doctors, experts in psychic construction, who will essentially live in someone's mind for an extended period of time to spy on someone and/or control their thoughts. They cannot control behavior directly, but they can generate strong desires and obsessive thoughts. They can also twist memories.

But Undermind operates by using the terrain to their advantage. If they are fighting on the collective unconscious, they can use group sentiment and cultural myths as weapons. If they are fighting in an individual consciousness, they can use the individuals identity, memories, and personality to subvert the alien consciousness.

Yet the collective unconscious is not a neutral or benign landscape for this battle. There are entities which have no corporeal form, creations of human imagination given a life of its own beyond its creators. There are goblins, ghosts, and Gods. As Persephone says, "We just got it backwards. They didn't create us, we created them. We just created them thinking they created us and that makes them very difficult to work with."