Zadzooks: The Walking Dead and All-Star Superman

‘Walking Dead’ gratifyingly grotesque

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With the latest direct-to-Blu-ray release, however, I’m still not seeing the gold.

This PG-rated ‘toon taps into an awesome sequential-art spectacle from 2005 orchestrated by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely that shook up the Superman universe. In the 12-issue comic-book series, Superman is dying of solar radiation poisoning, but he still has plenty to accomplish before he dies.

A list of essentials includes revealing his secret identity to Lois, taking her out on the ultimate superpowered date, relocating Kandor (that city in a bottle), helping cure terminally ill children, thwarting a suicide attempt, and facing a final confrontation with Solaris and Lex Luthor.

Dwayne McDuffie’s screenplay tries hard to compact that much comic into a 76-minute feature, but I found it too scattered and too loaded with subplots that weren’t played out evenly enough to appreciate.

That happened because chunks of the comic are left out, many of them very emotional and pivotal moments, led by a visit to Bizarro World, an encounter with Pa Kent and Jimmy Olsen’s major role in the story.

The art design does a valiant job of trying to capture Mr. Quitely’s subdued and emotional style, taking on almost beautiful anime qualities, while the high-definition format enables the animation to pop from the screen.

Although those unaware of the original source material still will appreciate “All-Star Superman,” the hard-core fan base will find plenty of reasons to gripe.

Best extra: I’ll never fault Warner Home Video for the nice selection of extras included on all of the DC-based cartoons.

The Blu-ray includes a pair of episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series”; a 30-minute look at DC Comics’ All-Star comics imprint focused on the Superman title, with interviews with Mr. Morrison and DC co-publisher Dan Didio and lots of art from the books; and a 10-minute brainstorm session with Mr. Morrison that includes his sketch work.

Better yet, check out the optional commentary track featuring producer Bruce Timm and Mr. Morrison, which should satisfy any comic-book geek in the family.

Read all about it:Warner includes the entire first issue of the series on Blu-ray for all to admire, and you’ll only need a 90-inch screen to really appreciate it. A better idea is just to buy DC Comics’ gorgeous hardcover “Absolute All-Star Superman” ($99.99) and soak up a great story and art in pages nearly 16 inches tall and 9 inches wide.

Blu-ray Boo Boo

Another beloved cartoon character has fallen prey to the greed of Hollywood, as witnessed in last year’s live-action-meets-computer-animated-creature film “Yogi Bear.”

Starring the voice of Dan Aykroyd as the famed character and Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo, the story had little to add to the famous character’s mythology and was about as enjoyable as the Garfield movies.

It definitely left the adults who accompanied offspring to the theaters pining for the days of Hanna-Barbera’s original cartoon series.

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