I've recently seen some trailers online for two upcoming animated series and one movie. Here are my quick hit reviews:
"Black Panther" (BET series debuting winter 2009): This footage isn't so much of a preview as it is an extended scene which honestly doesn't give us much information at all.
The first clip is of Black Panther running toward the camera and then cuts to an armed African tribe on the hunt in a field. Chaos erupts when another tribe pulls a surprise attack with a horde of spears. I was stunned at how much blood the footage revealed when the warriors are gutted. The trailer is about 2 minutes long, but ends abruptly after showing the resulting carnage and without giving us any context for this scene or how it impacts Black Panther.
The artistic style of the characters is similar to John Romita; the background was static with the characters moving within it, like the late 1960s Marvel cartoons. Grade: D
"Wonder Woman" (DVD movie coming in February 2009): Judging from this footage, we're going to see Wonder Woman kicking a lot of rear. Expect a lot of epic battles. The only dialogue is one line from Wonder Woman at the very end. This trailer just strings together various scenes, most of which were battles, but doesn't indicate what the storyline will be. I'm guessing it will be an origin tale.
For what I thought about the sneak peek on the "Batman: Gotham Knight" DVD, click here. (It's the third paragraph under "The Extras" heading.)
The artistic style is similar to other DC Comics Universe outings such as "Justice League Unlimited." Grade: C (The trailer doesn't do this any justice; watch the sneak peek and you'll understand.)
"Batman: The Brave and the Bold" (Cartoon Network series debuting Nov. 14): As you could guess from the title, this has the Caped Crusader teaming up with various heroes, much like the classic comics series. Expect to see Aquaman, Plastic Man, Blue Beetle, Dr. Fate, Red Tornado and the Green Lantern Corps.
So far, 26 episodes have been planned for this kid-friendly series that reminds me of the artwork of the 1950s square-jawed Batman by Dick Sprang. The emphasis is on fun with little continuity from one show to another. I really dig the snappy soundtrack and seeing Batman back with the classic gold oval surrounding the Batsymbol. Grade: B
Here's what B&B animation director Michael Chang had to say about to Collider.com at last week's Comic Con: "From what I’ve been reading online, some fans are like, 'Fun?!? It’s gonna be for babies!' But you know, no. It’s fun but not too funny, or real silly. It’s definitely got a lot of dramatic punch to it still despite the fun aspects of it. It’s gonna be good for a really broad range from new kids that really don’t know about Batman to the older fans who grew up with BTAS ('Batman: The Animated Series'), this is kind of a refreshing new take on it. Should be good for everybody."
AN UNRELATED TRAILER: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (in theaters May 1): Not surprisingly, someone used their cell phone to videotape this from the screen during its Comic Con debut. Keep in mind the dialogue was somewhat garbled.
Like "Black Panther," this footage is an extended scene, focusing on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, of course!) and Victor Creed, the man who will become Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). They are imprisoned before they are to be executed by a firing squad. Wolverine going berserk after undergoing the Weapon X treatment looks promising, but there's not enough to tell. The producers better bring their A+ game if they want this to be a blockbuster to open the 2009 summer season. So far at least, this footage is a real snoozer. Grade: D