NYCC 2013: “Justice League: War” Roundtable Interview with Jay Oliva

At New York Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to sit down with director Jay Oliva to talk about the next DC Animated project, Justice League: War.

Having helmed such projects as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, parts 1 & 2, and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Oliva is no stranger to the DCU.

We talked about Justice League: War, which is based upon the first arc of the Justice League comic book after the New 52 relaunch. We discussed the adaptation from page to screen, Jay’s unique approach to animated action, and much more.


Tell us a little about Justice League: War. Where does this take place in the DC Universe?

Justice League: Waris a loose adaptation of the Geoff Johns and Jim Lee comic book run from issues 1-6 of the New 52. We kind of loosely based upon the events in that book. We didn’t adhere to it as I usually did with The Dark Knight Returns, but that is what we ended up doing with translating that first graphic novel. This is our first true New 52 DCU story that we’ve done; Flashpoint was still the old, but at the end of Flashpoint, we hinted that we’re in the New 52 Universe.

So Flashpoint was the setup?

Kind of. I’m hoping that somewhere down the line we can do some other films that will hopefully connect the events from Flashpoint into Justice League: War and any other films we do in the New 52 universe, which would be pretty cool. I’m hoping that we do that eventually. I’m trying to put in little Easter eggs throughout all the films. If you watch carefully, you’ll see it there.

You said you took this as a looser adaptation. In that case, did it make it easier to compress the first Justice League arc of the New 52 into a 2-hour movie?

When you do an adaptation, it’s never easy. Sometimes, if you’re doing it too close to the source material, then you feel like you’re kind of stifled, but sometimes, in this case, the material that was there wasn’t as deep as say The Dark Knight Returns, where it was four graphic novels trying to fit into two 70-minute pieces. With this one, because it’s only six issues, and it’s really one long fight versus Darkseid, it gave us a little bit more flexibility in how to interpret that. On the other hand, one of the challenges was to try to create set pieces. Whenever I try to do my films, I try to think of it like Raiders of the Lost Ark – there’s the rolling ball sequence, the fight with the Nazis, the ending with the Ark – so whenever I do my films, I always try to figure out what would be a good set piece because you want to keep the momentum going. In the comic books, there were certain set pieces, but how does that translate into the pace of a film? So I had to figure out, “Ok, this is a pretty good set piece, let’s elaborate” or “This sequence went on for too long in the comic and maybe we should scale back” or maybe elaborate on some things that the comic might have glossed over.

Hit the jump for the full discussion with Jay Oliva!

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: Girl in the Flower Dress

This week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes a turn even darker than lasts week’s entry. We’ve seen both a former agent on prowl and under duress, as well as a villain origin, a moment that will doubtlessly bear evil fruit down the line, but this week’s episode, “Girl in the Flower Dress” takes elements from both scenarios and unleashes another Marvel villain on the world.

Flame On

Chan Ho Yin is a struggling street magician, entertaining patrons on the sidewalks of Hong Kong. When his card tricks don’t elicit the tips he hopes for, he resorts to displaying his pyrokinetic ability (manifestation and control of fire, for those playing the home game). Anyone with a casual knowledge of the Marvel Universe might see this individual as a mutant, mirroring the abilities of X-Men baddie Pyro. However, last week’s episode made it very clear that mutants don’t exist on this side of the Marvel media coin, so we’re clearly dealing with something else. Lab accident? Johnny Storm’s Chinese cousin? Regardless, Chan’s ability sparks the interest of Raina, a bystander who is WAY too into him to not be creepy. After luring him back to his own apartment, Raina summons her thugs to abduct Chan. And we’re off!

Back on the Bus, the burgeoning Ward/Skye relationship gets a boost from a friendly game of Battleship. As the pair revel in their peg-based naval warfare, Coulson and May look on, contemplating taking part in their own “team building excersise.” We’ve had a few hints that the pair of senior agents might have some history, but May’s suggestion of going a few rounds “like the old days” may have shed some new light on the situation. I’m curious who has the reach and who has the flexibility… But before any vigorous activities can come about, the team assembles for the obligatory briefing scene and is alerted to Chen’s abduction in China. Coulson wastes no time in answering the question about the origin of the pyrokinesis, dispelling the mutant theory with a flippant explanation that Chen lived near a nuclear plant that caught fire. So that’s all it takes these days? I remember back when you had to be bitten by radioactive arachnids or shot into space to absorb some cosmic rays to gain powers. I miss the Silver Age. The other little pearl of wisdom imparted during Coulson’s briefing is the existence of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Index, the master list of people and objects that make the Marvel Universe marvelous. There’s some great potential there, leaving the door wide open for more Marvel heroes and villains to ease their way into the series. Since Chen was in the Index, all eyes fall on Skye once again as the Rising Tide’s fingerprints are all over the information leak that exposed Chen.

Hit the jump for our full recap of Girl in the Flower Dress!

NYCC 2013: “Batman: Arkham Origins” Preview!

We’re no stranger to the “Arkham” series of games around here.  We were hooked way back in 2009 when Batman: Arkham Asylum first introduced us to freeflow combat and overhang takedowns.  With two excellent games come and gone, how will the third one, Batman: Arkham Origins, stack up? Coincidentally wearing

NYCC 2013: Kyle Stevens Talks Kirby Krackle!

If you’re not listening to the music of nerd rock sensation, Kirby Krackle, you’re missing out. With such memorable tunes as Nerd Money, Booty Do Math, Cozy Pants O’Clock, and Ring Capacity, the Seattle-based band has tapped into every facet of geek culture, exploring comics, video games, television, and everything

NYCC 2013: “Justice League: War” Roundtable Interview with Andrea Romano

At New York Comic-Con, we had the opportunity to sit down once again with the wonderfully sweet Andrea Romano to talk about the next DC Animated project, Justice League: War.

The legendary, eight-time Emmy Award winning voice director, wearing earrings with the word “peace” in them (which somehow just seems right), is responsible for just about every major animated project that has been worth watching over the past few decades.  That’s only slight hyperbole, when you actually look at her IMDB page.

We talked about Justice League: War, which is based upon the first arc of the Justice League comic book after the New 52 relaunch.  We discussed the challenges that came from this movie’s New 52 footing, the movie’s cast list, and much more.


What does Batman sound like to you?

That’s an excellent question. Because it was my first, Batman sounds like Kevin Conroy to me. That’s always the basis that I start from. Whenever I read a new script and I’m looking at Batman dialogue, that’s Kevin’s voice I hear. The trick is always to change my view, based on what my directive is by my employers, as to what they want for the new Batman. They want a different voice; they want a younger voice; they want this; they want that. But it’s always Kevin’s voice – that’s what Batman sounds like to me.

Speaking of Kevin, you have your grab bag of actors that you always like going back to whenever you have the opportunity, such as Kevin Conroy for Batman or Mark Hamill for Joker. Now because this is the New 52, they’re younger, a little more inexperienced—

Exactly.

I imagine you had change out the entire cast.

I did.

So when you were looking for these new people, what was one of the things that you really wanted to find? Was it youth? Was it a type of energy that they bring to the table?

Both. Youth and because they had not been superheroes for very long or worked together, there had to be kind of an innocence. So that energy is different. You know, you play Superman very, “I’ve been around. I know what I’m doing. I’m tough; I’m strong. I can knock you out.” Or you can play him (innocently), “Who are you? What are you doing?” You know, that kind of thing. That innocence. So there was a different energy and a different tone that we had to set for this one. Visually, as well as vocally.

Hit the jump for the full discussion with the legendary voice director!

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: Eye-Spy

I hate feeling like an apologist when I tell people that a show needs a few weeks to get some traction. It is very nice, however, to have your faith rewarded.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hulked out with its pilot, drawing viewership from Marvel fans and casual TV viewers alike, but in the weeks that followed, the adolescent series showed its awkwardness with a couple lackluster outings. Thankfully, this week’s episode, Eye-Spy, finally feels like AoS has found its footing, landing fewer blows to head to remind you that we’re in the MCU and focusing more on how this group of agents is learning to function as a team.

Blast From The Past

Eye-Spy kicks off with a much more ominous tone than what we’ve seen thus far. A group of identically dressed men, sporting featureless red masks march through Stockholm, Sweden, turning heads as they make their way to the subway. Are these terrorists? A gang? Potential flash mob? It a mystery? What we do know is that one woman has their number and follows them onto a train where she promptly dispatches the lot of them…with her eyes closed. It’s not really an incident that screams S.H.I.E.L.D., but Coulson and Co. are on the case nonetheless.

As we catch up with the intrepid band of misfits this week, we find Coulson trying to befriend Agent May with little success, Fitz-Simmons perfects their latest addition to the “Night-Night” arsenal, and Skye enjoys some “me time” by hiding out in the backseat of the team’s SUV. Agent Ward gets the last laugh as he adamantly rejects the moniker given to the super-tranq pistol and fills Coulson in on Skye’s combat training, dryly commenting on her inability to discern the safety from the clip release. However, it’s not Skye’s gunplay skills that Coulson ultimately seeks as he takes her along to investigate the scene of the mystery assailant’s assault on the masked mob, which, as it turns out, was transporting diamonds. As Coulson, Skye, and May speculate as to how the plan was executed, Skye throws out the possibility of ESP or telepathy, a skill not uncommon among the more genetically advanced in the Marvel Universe. However, it seems that the X-factor has been taken out of the equation on this side of the licensing fence, keeping mutants firmly situated under the Fox banner. Someday we will have unity…

Anyway, thanks to the miracle of social networking, the team identifies the culprit as Akela Amador, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and protégé to Agent Coulson. Phil takes it upon himself to find Amador, bring her in, and find out why she’s has gone rogue. 

Hit the jump for our full recap of Eye-Spy!

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: The Asset

 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes another step forward this week as the team begins to solidify and the first of (hopefully) many supervillains emerges. The nods to the MCU feel less like blows to the head and more like passing references, loyalties come into focus, and trust begins to permeate the Bus in this week’s episode, The Asset.

What Goes Up…

Last week we saw Skye beginning to develop a rapport with Agent Ward, the resident boy scout. To further both their relationship and Skye’s training as an agent, Ward puts her to work on the heavy bag and teaches some basic self-defense. These, of course, turn into therapy sessions as the pair opens up ever so slightly to each other. Ward may not trust Skye because of her ties to The Rising Tide, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing a story from his past to help focus her.

While Skye is looking to be the main player in this episode, we still have to check in with the team. Coulson gathers the troops to discuss the kidnapping of a scientist who was taken from his escort convoy in an attack that looked like it was perpetrated by Marvel’s own Master of Magnetism. Not the case, of course, but the name of the scientist in question begins to shed light on the occurrence. Any Marvel fans will recognize Dr. Franklin Hall as the villain Graviton, so that right there should give you an idea about where we’re headed.

Upon investigating the scene of Hall’s abduction, Fitz-Simmons discover a tiny gravity distortion device, the cause of the wacky vehicle levitation that befell the convoy. Through some expert detective work by Ward, Coulson, and FitzSimmons, they identify the perpetrator as Ian Quinn, an absurdly rich entrepreneur who has safely sequestered himself in Malta, a place where S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can’t touch him. Good thing Skye’s not an agent…

Hit the jump for our full recap of The Asset!

Review: Star Wars #10

I am positively amazed by Brian Wood’s continued ability to take characters who have been around for decades – many of whom have been the subjects of innumerable stories – and still make them interesting. Star Wars #10, the latest issue in the ongoing series from Dark Horse Comics, showcases

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: 0-8-4

 

For a show like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the pilot was a big deal. Everyone had questions ranging from “How will it tie into the movies?” to simply “Will it work as a series?” The grandiose first episode had no problem establishing a show that clearly draws heavily from its big screen predecessors, is fairly effects heavy to emphasize its fantastic nature, and even tips its proverbial hat the comic books of decades past. The pilot also presented a few questions of its own, such as the mysterious nature of Agent Coulson’s resurrection, Agent May’s shadowed past, and the biggest question of all: Can this ragtag band of agents work together as a team? Let’s find out in this week’s episode, 0-8-4.

Object of Unknown Origin

All seems well and good aboard the Bus, the team’s mobile commander center, that is, until an explosion tears through the hull and sends one poor soul on a 30,000-foot journey into the wild blue yonder. But let’s not start there. Jump back 19 hours to find Skye unpacking her own mobile commander center (aka her van) to take up residence aboard the Bus with the rest of Coulson’s team. Much to Agent Ward’s chagrin, Coulson endorses the home-grown cyber-terrorist as a valuable asset, choosing to use her as a consultant. Noting Ward’s chiseled frown, Coulson focuses on the latest assignment, the recovery of an 0-8-4 or “object of unknown origin” in Peru. 

Hit the jump for our full recap of 0-8-4!

Batman: The Brave & The Bold Comes to NYCC!

Did you watch Batman: The Brave and The Bold? We sure did. Do you miss Batman: The Brave and The Bold? We sure do.

Ready your Hammers of Justice! To celebrate the Season 1 Blu-ray release of the animated series that left behind the dark tone established for the Caped Crusader in the 90s andbrought back the camp of both the 60s television series and comics of the Silver Age, The Paley Center for Media will be hosting a screening and panel during New York Comic Con on October 11th.

Open the Fridge will be in attendance and we could not be more excited. As much as we loved the style of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini during the run of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League, Batman: The Brave and The Bold gave fans a strong dose of over-the-top humor, featured some of the most obscure heroes and villains in the DC Universe (brought to life by the best voice over talent in the business), and also acknowledged decades of Batman history, both from the screen and the page.

Want to join us? Fans attending NYCC have the opportunity to join as tickets are available free of charge and on a first come, first serve basis to enjoy an episodic screening and discussion with Batman himself, Diedrich Bader.

To snag your own ticket, all you have to do is send an email to [email protected] with:

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • A statement that you heard about the tickets from us at Open the Fridge!

Be sure to make your move soon, though. Only a few tickets remain!

We also have it on good authority that another panelist will be joining Mr. Bader, and if our suspicious are correct, the panel has the potential to be quite OUTRAGEOUS!

Hit the jump to read the press release for full details!