Thursday, February 11, 2016

shorts SHORT Review: Thunder and Lightning

DC Nation: Thunder and Lightning

Character Designed, Written, and Directed by Lynell Forestall
Executive Produced by Sam Register
Produced by DC Entertainment
Production Company and Distributed by Warner Bros. Animation

Detective Comics saw that their animations were popular and finally decided to give the creative people of the animation world a chance. It was a great way for Warner Brothers to see what short got people interested in and if they should make more superhero shows. There's been a rising increase in superhero shows in production since the end of the DC Nation shorts. This has lead to successes and failures, though the majority of the media has been flourishing and exposing fans to more heroes.

Black Lightning goes way back with me, all the way to the Super Friends, Hannah-Barbera made a lasting impression on me and the characters in this series. Now he wasn't apart of the series till The All-New Super Friends Hour and even then he was a guest, but by the 80's he became a core member of the team as Black Vulcan. Black Vulcan was Black Lightning's name in the show, though it was confusing to why they renamed the character at the time. With a little research it seems there were disputes between the creator of the character (Tony Isabella) and DC, this is something that happens. New characters are made for Superhero shows if they don't match up with what is needed for the series. It was a great selection for the roaster, since he's proven himself as a hero and a protector of justice.

Ever since I saw Electro (Spider-Man Rogue) I wanted a Hero version of that character, then Static Shock came around. An awesome show about an electricity powered hero, I saw him in a different outfit and different media first. It was in a crossover that showed me Rocket and Superboy teaming up (in his leather jacket). That's the time that I started to look up more heroes and learn more about the DCU. DC Animation has always been a favorite of mine, so seeing Black Lighting in motion was an exciting venture into nostalgia, but also excitement in seeing the family adventures of the first DC African American Superhero.

Black Lightning has two daughters in this series, I know Thunder from the Outsiders comic, she was an interesting character that could change her density. She was a strong character though she mostly had her strength in her personality. A confident and take charge type of person, unfazed by the weird world of Superheroes. Anissa was the metaphorical glue of the Ousiders' team, keeping them together and strong, her Dad even popped in to see her at her best. Also she was an amazing "death from above" bomber, dropping her body's full weight on an aggressor. Lighting on the other hand I'm unfamiliar with, though I know her design well from Kingdom Come, she seems to have her Father's electricity manipulation power, though it's unclear if she has his Force Field generating ability.

In the Clothes Make the Hero, we see a cutout standee of the Black Vulcan, showing off the old attire of the Hannah-Barbera, though this wasn't the original costume, just the one that he's most known for having because of the 70's cartoon. Black Lightning's costume has always been a favorite of mine, it's a wonderful design and it's strong appearance make it powerful in the eyes of the wearer and his opponents, even the 1977 version.

The short is about 1 minute long, though is a wonderfully designed and animated feature. The daughters are different from their comic counterparts, though I do enjoy their take on the two siblings and single Dad. Thunder was defiantly close to the strong woman that becomes a core member of the Outsiders. The ending of the short shows how strong the hero is and how tough of a character he can be, though superman like throwing around his weight and less attacks with his powers, but still showing how effective he is as a hero against a heavy hitter like Doctor Polaris.

Lauren Montgomery was the storyboard artist for this short.
(She has a Blogspot and DeviantArt that's defunct)

In Under the Weather we see that the youngest daughter is feeling a bit sick. It's a classic single parent deal, since he needs to work, he gives his oldest daughter the role of parent. A great show of skill and strength from the Father as he delegates between his working life (battling the scum of the neighborhood) and family life. Showing that he's a force in the Superhero world and a caring Dad to his daughters. As our hero is flinged back to his home his littlest daughter sneezes a blast of lightning taking out the robotic threat. Jefferson Pierce smiles to the camera congratulating his daughter's winning battle.

Michael Goguen was the storyboard artist for this short.
(Can't find any social media connected to him, though if you can, post in the comments)

Tea Steeping is trying to relax after a hard day of keep Gom entertained.
The little automaton is (literally) full of energy when it comes to Supers.

I don't know Blair Underwood, that's a shame, since he was able to give a wonderful performance within 1 minute. I believed enough that he was Black Lightning, since his strong voice and heroic approach to this character was spot on. I hope that I see more from him and his work in the future.

Masasa Moyo, again is an actress that I don't know her body of work, though I've thumbed through her credits and I've been exposed to most of her employment. She preformed an excellent little sister and kept great energy for the 1 minute shorts. I'll keep a finer eye on her in the future, since I enjoy a lot of Canadian actors.

Then there's Cree Summer, I know this woman's voice in every form, since I've been following her career for awhile. She's been in just about every cartoon or TV show I've seen growing up. From Susie Carmichael to Freddie Brooks to Queen Kida to Foxxy Love to Numbuh 5, and that's just her diversity as an actor, she's a wonderful singer too. Within the shorts her performance and experience shows, embodying the role and showing great skill in her emotional range while keeping her voice confident as the oldest sister.

In short if you like fluid and beautifully designed animation, then this is for you, if you like strong characters, this is for you, if you like super short toons that are crafted as if they could become something longer than a minute and change, then you'll be watching these over and over.

Black History Month is an important time, not only for the past, but for the future. Celebrating and honoring those that should be remembered for their accomplishments and their achievements. Here at Cartoon Cyborg Cinema we give respect to this month and to everyone that's apart of Black history and Black Culture. This is a blog for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Weird, we'll be reviewing media of influential figures, fictional and real.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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