News Bites from the Past Week (January 15-21)

While not much new was announced last week, there was additional information given out about things we already knew.  The most notable of which regarded price changes at DC, and the inclusion of digital codes to certain books.  A number of trailers also dropped this week, but none of them were the first for their respective movies so they didn’t get quite as much hype.  It wasn’t just movies that got the trailer love, though, and details about Injustice 2 are starting to come in rapidly.  Television shows and animated movies will round out the news for the week.  Let’s take a closer look at these stories, and more.

Injustice 2

First up let’s talk about video games, and more specifically about Injustice 2.  The original Injustice came out in 2013 at the tail end of the previous console cycle.  It was made by the same studio as the Mortal Kombat franchise, and racked up quite a few accolades.  The game was fun and fluid, and the story wasn’t godawful — no small feat for either a fighting game or a license property, let alone both.  There were issues with the game, but it has stood the test of time well and the second game is highly anticipated.  We have had teaser trailers before, but this is the first real trailer to give us a hint of what to expect in terms of story and the character roster.  We still haven’t seen much gameplay, but from what we have seen it is very similar to the original (as expected).

In related news a prequel comic was announced by DC set to begin on April 11th, a bit over a month before the game’s launch on May 16th.  The book will reunite the creators of the original Injustice comic tie-in, writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo.  Like the first game the Injustice comic was well received by fans, and bringing back the original team should hopefully result in a great second round of comics.  The first comic series was released digitally and ran for 40 issues, plus one annual, and collected into a smaller number of physical issues (often three digital issues to a single physical issue).  The series was replaced by Injustice: Ground Zero, which retells the story of the first video game from the perspective of Harley Quinn, and is still being actively being published.

Incidentally, Amazon/Comixology is currently running a digital sale on Injustice comics, and if you were a fan of the first game it is definitely worth checking out.  If you haven’t played the game then you’d be better served doing that first.

Source (for the comic news): Newsarama

Source (for the video): PlayStation Youtube Channel

Powerless Trailers

(Disclosure: I work for NBC/Universal, however this site is my own personal page and is in no way affiliated with NBC/Universal.)

With only a few weeks to go before the official launch of NBC’s new series, Powerless, the promos are starting to come out in rapid succession.  The series was originally pitched as a team of people at a life insurance firm handling people injured by superhero battles in DC Cinematic Universe, but has since changed to them being a research team for Wayne Enterprises.  No reason has been given for the switch, but I imagine it is for that Batman name recognition that Warner Brothers is so desperate for.  Additionally one of the biggest concerns regarding Man of Steel was the massive (implied) body count for the final fight, and it would probably be best to keep some distance from that.

In any event, the show is getting a big push and will air on February 2nd.  For my money the promos have been a bit lacking so far, with a lot of the humor coming across as forced.  We will see how it actually does once it is released, and I’ll hopefully post some thoughts on it after we’ve had a chance to see it.

If you want to check out the promos NBC opened a youtube page specifically for the show and posted all of them there.

Source: Powerless Youtube Channel

Feeling the Good Omens

While not strictly speaking comics news, it has been announced that the novel Good Omens has been picked up by Amazon and the BBC to be turned into a six-episode mini-series.  The book was written as a partnership between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  Gaiman is most famous in comic circles for his work on the Vertigo series Sandman, but is also well known around the world as an author of all sorts of types of books.  Terry Pratchett was an author of fantasy and surreal novels before his passing a few years back.  Good Omens, which I coincidentally just finished reading prior to this announcement, is their take on the birth of the anti-Christ and the end of the world.  It is at times dark and disturbing, and others hilarious.

No further details about the adaptation have yet been announced, but with Amazon’s own projects steadily increasing in quality and the participation of the BBC we can expect good things.  Unlike some other works by both authors the book should be fairly straightforward to adapt, with only some bits being hard to translate across.  With the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods set to air on Starz in April the timing of this announcement is appropriate.  While that book is far darker than Good Omens I would not be surprised to see a lot of unofficial cross-promotion going on between the two.

Source: Comics Alliance

Comic Prices and Digital Codes

It was not long ago that Marvel announced their plans to adjust how they handled the digital comics that come bundled with their physical comics.  For the past five years or so any book priced at $3.99 or higher has included a code to redeem a digital copy of that book on Comixology.  However, starting soon that code will instead belong to a different book.  So far no details have been announced on what we can expect the connection between the book and code to be.  Fan reaction has been extremely negative thus far, and I would not be surprised if Marvel backtracked on this one before the plan actually gets implemented.

DC has taken this opportunity to announce their own digital initiative.  They actually had one before during the New 52 where certain titles could be purchased with a digital code included, but the price tag was a dollar higher than the regular book.  For instance you could buy Batman #1 for $2.99 or buy it with a digital code for $3.99.  This was not nearly as good a deal as Marvel’s all inclusive policy, and it quietly went away prior to the Rebirth launch.  Now they are saying that all of their titles that ship once a month will get a price bump to $3.99, but include a digital copy of the book.  The twice-monthly books will remain at $2.99 and not get a digital code.  If the initiative succeeds then we can probably see it expanded upon in the future.

One thing to keep in mind about this is that savvy customers have been using the digital code to subsidize the cost of their comics.  For some comic buyers the digital code is useless since they don’t want to make the switch to digital, and so rather than let it go to waste they have been known to sell it on eBay or other such outlets for $1-$2.  In all likelihood this is the exact behavior Marvel is trying to crack down on since the person who buys these digital copies is A) not paying any of that money to Marvel and B) paying less than Marvel wants you to pay, thus apparently devaluing their comics.  This has not been the reason given officially, but I’d be amazed if wasn’t a driving factor behind it.

The pricing change for DC books will begin in April.

Source: The Beat

Teen Titans: Judas Contract Image and Voice Actor Revealed

When I talked about the comics movies of 2017 a couple weeks back I mentioned we didn’t know much about this movie yet, but details are starting to come out.  The first thing we learned was the Miguel Ferrer was cast as a voice actor for the movie, but for what we role we don’t know (imdb lists him as Deathstroke, but I do not believe this has been confirmed).  Christina Ricci was also announced as a voice actor, and her character was also not named (I’m betting on either Deathstroke’s daughter or Terra).  Sadly, a day later we learned that Mr. Ferrer had passed away after a battle with cancer.  His lines had already been recorded for the movie so it will not impact that, but nonetheless it is a sad loss for the team and his family.

Teen Titans Animated MovieGetting back to the movie was now know that the roster will definitely differ from the original comic story.  Most notably the inclusion of the Jaime Reyes incarnation of the Blue Beetle in the roster.  The Reyes version of the character wasn’t created until 22 years after the Judas Contract happened in the comics, so you could definitely say that’s a divergence in the story, although probably not a significant one.  Other than that we are still waiting on more details.

The original Judas Contract, running through Tales of the Teen Titans 42-44, is hard to track down at the moment since all the tradepaperbacks for it are out of print.  DC is currently in the process of reprinting the old series, but is currently only up to issue 34 after five volumes.  I expect it will be out in volume 7 of the series, though that is not confirmed.  You can buy the issues à la carte on Comixology for $1.99 each, however if you take that path I recommend getting at least a few issues before that as well to give more context to what is going on in the story.  Remember that in the 80s the trend was very much focused on long-term, open-ended plots.  Getting nicely packaged stories from that era can be rather difficult.

Source: Newsarama

The Ever-Changing Spider-Men

In our last bit of news it has been confirmed by Marvel that the upcoming animated Spider-Man film, not to be confused with Spider-Man: Homecoming, will feature the Miles Morales version of the character.  Miles was originally created as a replacement for the Ultimate Spider-Man in 2011.  When the Ultimate universe was disbanded (both as an imprint and as a reality) Miles made the jump over to the regular Marvel universe.  The character has only been around a short while, but he already has a dedicated fan base, and has appeared in different media outside of comics.  Most notably, so far, he appeared in seasons three and four of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Donald Glover.

We don’t yet know if Donald Glover will continue to voice the character when he makes the jump to the movies.  Given that the star was recently cast as a young Lando Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars movie it may be a good bet that Marvel will want to also keep him attached to Miles Morales to piggyback off the name recognition.  He is also slated to appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which would further cement the idea that he will be playing Miles (his role in Homecoming has not officially been confirmed, and it may just be an inside-joke cameo for fans).

The animated film is projected to have a late 2018 release date.

Source: The Beat

Television Schedule

This upcoming week will be a big one for comics since the four CW shows will be back on the air following their winter hiatus.  They are joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham, which already started back up.  Powerless, as noted above, will get started not this week, but the one after.  Keep in mind that Legends of Tomorrow has jumped to the Tuesday timeslot following the Flash, so the CW is now down to three days of shows instead of five (counting iZombie, which is not currently scheduled)

Supergirl season 2, episode 9: Supergirl Lives
Gotham season 3, episode 13: Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It

Flash season 3, episode 10: Borrowing Problems from the Future
Legends of Tomorrow season 2 episode 9: Raiders of the Lost Art
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 episode 11: Wake Up

Arrow season 5, episode 10: Who Are You?

Avengers Assemble season 3 episodes 23-26: Civil War Parts 1-4
Justice League Action season 1, episode 21: Battle for the Bottled City

And that is it for the week!  Thank you for reading, and I’ll have more stuff for you throughout the week (including a return to some reviews).