Saturday, September 10, 2011

Well, I didn't really plan on this review, but hey, that's life, right?

I stumbled upon this magazine whilst perusing a 7-Eleven rack in Vancouver on the long weekend. I made a rare impulse buy [BTW: 10 EFFING DOLLARS] because I figured “hey, it could help with the blog”. And has it? Well, it inspired this post, so there's that...

What follows is my review of Life Story: Superhero Spectacular [apparently a “collectors edition”!]:

Now, I had never heard of this magazine prior to seeing it at Sev, so I did not immediately hold it in high regard. The only comic book-related publication of which I am aware is Wizard [which reminds me, I haven't seen one in awhile... I should get on that][UPDATE: Wizard has apparently folded as of March, 2011! Bad news bears...]. Also, Superhero Spectacular doesn't really cover comic books so much as it covers other forms of media that have been taken by comics. But this, in essence, is what comic books have become today: a massive, multi-pronged marketing campaign. The comic begat the cartoon, which begat the movie. And movies hardly stand alone these days if there is potential to make money off of a video game adaptation. Often, the producers don't even wait to see if the film is successful before making the game. It is a blitzkrieg from all sides. And here, a tool in the endless assault: Superhero Spectacular!!!!1 or as I like to call it: your pointless guide to comic-related media!

To start, the cover boasts “Comic Book Histories!” That's nice, but Wikipedia has all of this info as well [FOR FREE!], and there are even franchise-specific wikis now [Wookiepedia, the Star wars Wiki is one of my personal favourites].

The cover also says “KA-POW!!! MOVIE HEROES BATTLE EVIL & SAVE THE WORLD!” which isn't really a feature or an article, and leads me to the sneaking suspicion that this is a magazine aimed at a younger demographic.

Let's take a gander inside... the pages are all bright colours. My suspicion grows.

There are some very high-quality pictures, but there are also some incredibly poor-quality screen shots from the featured films. The resolution looks like they got them from Youtube or something. Tsk tsk.

One of the main features early in the magazine is their compilation of the “25 Greatest Superpowers!” Here's where the problems truly begin.

First off, they categorize Spider-Man's “web-slinging” as a superpower, saying he “gained this ability when he was bitten by a radioactive spider”. Well, that is false. He built web-shooting devices himself and wore them on his wrists. Sure, in the Tobey Maguire films, it shoots out of his actual wrists as a result of the radioactive spider bite, but that is stupid. A spider's webbing comes out of its ass, not its tiny spider-wrists.

Also, is “mental telepathy” redundant?

Huge mistake here: two almost-identical entries on the list for “mind control”. Seriously, who is editing this thing? Do I blame Editor-in-chief Karen L. Williams, or Executive Editor Edward Gross? Managing Editor Bill Lieberman? How about all of the above?

Upon reaching # 5, which is “time travel”, I became enraged. The entry references one of the most ridiculous plot twists of any of the Superman films, and probably most films in general. I am, of course, talking about the end of Superman I, when Supes travels back in time to save Lois Lane by reversing the rotation of the Earth. Ladies and gentlemen, this makes absolutely no goddam sense. I can't even... ugh. It baffles me that somebody wrote this down in a script and nobody stared at them for a long time without saying a word and then slapped them in the face. Just thinking about it gets my “logic-rage” all riled up. And don't even get me started on all the complications that are implicit when introducing time travel into your story. It's kind of one of my “plot-device-pet-peeves”.

Anyway, I should wrap this up before I bust a blood vessel.

The “Greatest Superpowers” are followed by “The 10 Strangest Superpowers”, which is actually a far more interesting list. Entries include “umbrakinesis” which is “the ability to mentally repulse photons to create darkness”. COOL!

There is an article about the Green Lantern game, but I was not really impressed by the film, nor do I have any gaming platform that would support the game, so I didn't read it.

There are full season guides to DC's Young Justice and Marvel's The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoons. In my current [debatable] state of adulthood, I find them largely boring. But I thought back to when I was a wee lad and in love with X-Men: The Animated Series, and I realized I would've loved to have a complete guide to each episode. Hm.

The only ads in the magazine are for teenybopper magazines. Hmmm.

The interviews have some decently big names. Ryan Reynolds is probably their biggest star, but goddam if I am not sick of that guy right now. Overexposure. Also featured are Chris Hemsworth and Kenneth Branagh, the titular character and director of Thor, respectively. In a more loose sense of the term “big name”, we have Chris Evans and Nathan Fillian.

I'm still surprised these celebrities gave interviews to a magazine that is so sub-par.

Or maybe this magazine is meant for children. Either way, I'm down 10 bucks.


  1. "Umbrakinesis" — I'm guessing Cloak, from "Cloak & Dagger".

  2. Or possibly the Ghost Rider villain, Blackout. ???

  3. umm, let's see... the magazine name drops Shade and Shadow Lass in the entry!