Can anything justify bringing the dark universe of Watchmen into the DC fold?
Can anything justify bringing the dark universe of Watchmen into the world of DC?
Rorschach is back, baby. Courtesy DC Comics
Based on its premise alone, the sequel to Watchmen, Doomsday Clock, raises a lot of red flags: It will resurrect a long-dead character, it will tie a grittier, more hopeless universe to the glossy world of Superman and Wonderwoman and perhaps worst of all, it will take a work that the original team never wanted to continue and move forward without them. But… that doesn't mean you shouldn't be anything less than totally amped for Doomsday Clock #1, which is set to go on sale Wednesday.
Within the first few pages of DC's officially sanctioned sequel, written by DC comics president Geoff Johns, the ever-curmudgeonly Rorschach is resurrected. His notorious journal from the ending sequence of Watchmen has not only been published, but has caused a rift between the world powers so large that it makes the Cold War turn red hot. Basically, the world has become exactly what Rorschach thought it would: a violent nightmare full of selfish, stupid people. But, ironically enough, the story of Doomsday Clock is one of hope and the immense value of optimism in the face of sure doom.
Rorschach is joined by other returnees from the original Watchmen squad (we'll save you the specifics to dodge spoilers here) and some new, truly inspired, cast members. Despite its dark premise, Doomsday Clock #1 is not without comic relief or moments of triumph. After all, we are talking about a comic existing in the DC Universe.
HOW DID THIS CROSSOVER EVEN HAPPEN?
If you're not a dedicated acolyte of the DC Wikia and didn't follow the largely reviled "New 52" era of DC comics, you're probably not aware that 2016's revitalization of the DC comic book universe, "DC Rebirth," essentially pinned most of the stuff that people hated about new DC comics on a mysterious version of Watchmen's own Dr. Manhattan.
At the end of the New 52 era, it was revealed that Dr. Manhattan had basically been responsible for the unraveling of the entire DC multiverse. He ripped a decade out the primary timeline, setting everyone back and erasing vital connections between heroes (much to the chagrin of fans). He personally destroyed some more obscure heroes like Reverse-Flash and Pandora. He also created the supervillain Mr. Oz and essentially programmed him to threaten the people of Earth in order to corrupt Superman. The occasionally ambivalent, but mostly pure Dr. Manhattan we knew and loved is now a thing of the past, but, at the end of a brutal era for DC, it may have been their only viable out.
Now, with the Watchmen-verse tied into the main DC reality, we'll see just how the dark saviors of Moore and Gibbons' Earth will work in tandem with the Man of Steel and other mainstays to undo the disastrous work of Ozymandias and Dr. M.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TV/MOVIE WATCHERS?
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
This crossover could spell an interesting fate for the DC cinematic universe or at least their burgeoning TV arm, as a renewed interest in Watchmen means the potential for a reboot feature film or live-action series is significantly higher.
The Crystal Gems return to the Cartoon Network app
Six new episodes of Steven Universe will answer the big questions from the "Wanted" arc finale.
Much like its teleporting title character, Steven Universe has suddenly reappeared.
After months of silence on the progress of new episodes, the Cartoon Network PR team tweeted a trailer on Monday which revealed that 6 new episodes will be available to stream next week, on November 10, via the Cartoon Network app.
https://t.co/s3ax6Qye8q— CartoonNetworkPR (@CartoonNetworkPR)1509387025.0
The trailer stars none other than the Boy Gem himself, kicking it on the beach and explaining to Lapis and Peridot where he's been, a.k.a teasing the plot of the next sextet of Steven Universe episodes. It appears as though there will be no shortage of action in this next bunch. According to the trailer, Steven and Connie's relationship will be put to the test, Mayor Dewey's long-standing reign over Beach City will finally be challenged and Steven will form a new band.
The show, which has been praised for its nuanced handling of important themes like relationships, popularity and prejudice, wrapped up an exciting 4-episode arc last May and has been on a release hiatus ever since, much to the chagrin of its incredibly dedicated fanbase.
According to a press release from Cartoon Network, next week's episodes will pick up right after the last arc (with the first episode covering Steven's return from Homeworld) and will be available on the CN app before they officially air on TV sometime in December.
Is this another "Steven Bomb" situation?
This release plan seems eerily familiar to a similar event from last year, which raises some concerns for fans: namely, that the episodes going up next week on the CN app might disappear the very next day, like the "Steven Bomb" episodes did. Last time Cartoon Network released a set of episodes ahead of schedule, the content was removed less than a day later, leading many fans to believe the "Steven Bomb" episodes were put up by accident or leaked by an illegitimate source. This was denied by Cartoon Network reps, who instead told reporters that these episodes were a part of a special "See It First" designation, which would allow CN app users to get a sneak peek of the forthcoming content.
So, if you're hoping to catch all these episodes before they disappear, be prepared to binge them.
Another question fans might have about these new episodes: Are they a part of season 5 or do they mark the start of a new season for Steven Universe? The answer: They're a part of season 5. However, this is becoming a less and less meaningful label for popular cartoons like Steven. For shows like this, which are comparatively more writing and production intensive than other shows in CN's lineup, say Teen Titans Go!, the mid-season hiatuses are more important in book-ending sections of the show than the official season numbers are. This novel approach of dropping episodes in blocks or "bombs" as they're ready might very well be a response to the extreme demands of both the production process and the fans.For more Steven Universe coverage, check out Popdust TV
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Will the real Donald Trump analog please stand up?
Netflix's breakout original series, House of Cards, has always been strangely out-of-step with American politics. This lack of harmony, of course, depends somewhat on your political perspective. However, whether you're a left-leaning Democrat (whose party is portrayed as hijacked by scheming political elites) or a loyal conservative (whose in-fiction party is represented as idiotic and wildly ineffectual), you're very likely unsatisfied with the picture of American politics painted by House of Cards. Even those who might consider themselves outside the traditional political spectrum might find their portrayal offensive (remember that coked-up commie who gives Peter Russo info on the Secretary of State nominee?).
This season showrunner Frank Pugliese told the New York Times that the show would be taking a darker direction in the wake of far-right populism: "We were talking a little bit about a notion of some tyrannical force and some populism and what that would mean."
As is apparent from this trailer, that could not be more true. But the question is unanswered still: Will Frank and Claire win their election? Will the Underwoods become the first truly presidential couple? Let's dive into the trailer and see what we can find out.
Somebody's getting compared to Trump, that's for sure.
The thing about this trailer and the statement that Pugliese made to the Times is that they make one thing absolutely clear: Sombody's getting compared to Trump. However, given that Frank's character is a Democrat and a veteran politician, he seems more of an apt comparison to Hillary Clinton. However, given that Clinton lost the election that seems like a bit of a narrative dead-end (unless, of course, you're Veep).
Wait, isn't Conway supposed to the conservative? Why isn't he the Trump analog?
Well, there's a decent case to be made for Conway being the show's own version of Trump. First off, Conway is the Republican candidate. He's not a politician, but rather a businessman who think he's can apply those skills to government. He's also the result of a rising populist tide turning against the political establishment.
There's also this interesting bit from the trailer, which leaves two key battleground states from the actual 2016 election in-play for the show's antagonist:
Ohio and Pennsylvania still in play with a 10 vote lead for Underwood.
He's not it. It simply cannot be him. First off, he's clearly the more wholesome of the two. He's not apparently sexually aggressive (like Frank), obviously ill-motivated (also like Frank), and, most importantly, he's just not the main character.
This is ultimately a show about the relationship between corruption and power. Does the power corrupt Frank or does Frank corrupt the power? That's the kind of question most viewers hope the show will explore, not "What would it look like if a very powerful man had to retire and scheme from the inside of a hunting lodge in South Carolina?"
No, just no. I cannot bear to see Frank Underwood have his "Hillary Clinton hiking in the woods on November 9th moment."
"The American people don't know what's best for them, but I do."
Underwood is, obviously, an icon of fascism. It's an odd sort of fascism because he's not an ideologue as much as he is a megalomaniac. Underwood doesn't really care about any particular philosophy of government, he's a chameleon who changes shades to blend in with whatever the sniveling children of the populus demand. But in terms of parallels to the contemporary American political scene, does this make Underwood an allusion to Trump?
Final answer: Eh... It's probably Frank.
Look, most of the show was probably written before the outcome of the election was determined, which means that Hillary was the presumed victor. It'd be a cool, albeit somewhat toxic, parallel to explore what it looks likes when a potentially corrupt, "career politician" like Hillary or Frank is in power. Or something like that. Now, what few hints remain of Trump in the show are probably forced comparisons or broad allusions to the dangers of fascism in general.
Like these signs... "Never Underwood"
So, does that mean the show is broken or that it's gonna be trash? No, probably not. The show moved last season into less-than-subtle Shondaland territory and I loved it for that. I hope they continue with the same sort of just-above-pulpy goodness this season. It just probably isn't going to teach us any good lessons about Trump and that's fine with me.