Primary Colors (1998)
Written by Elaine May
Directed by Mike Nichols
Henry Burton is a young man working his way into the political scene, but almost everyone he meets knows him as the grandson of a great civil rights leader. Henry ends up under the radar of the campaign to elect Governor Jack Stanton president. Stanton is an incredibly charismatic Southerner with a headstrong wife, Susan, who wants nothing more for her husband to attain this high office. As Henry says, Stanton seems like the real thing, and before he knows it, the young man is swept up into the momentum of Stanton’s ascendancy. As the campaign drags on though, Henry begins to learn more about the man at the center of things, about his infidelities, indiscretions, and lies. Henry is forced to face the hypocrisies that are unfolding before him and decide if this is the path he wants to continue down.
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Day of Judgment (1999)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Matt Smith
The Spectre has been present in the DC Universe since the 1940s, the wrath of God bound to a human soul in the form of Jim Corrigan. Corrigan has died, and the Spectre is loose giving into the rage without a human check. Etrigan the Demon sees an opportunity and frees fallen angel Asmodel to help him claim the Spectre. They are successful, and Asmodel begins to use this new power to inflict his anger on Earth. The Justice League find themselves up against a force they may not be able to stop. Cue the Sentinels of Magic, a team of the DC Universe’s top sorcerers, witches, and magic users. Their goal is to find a human spirit that could provide the needed constraints on the Spectre, and they will find it in the most unlikely of people.
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Wag the Dog (1997)
Written by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet
Directed by Barry Levinson
When the President is under the weight of a scandal he gets help from Conrad Brean, a master spin doctor who has an endless bag of tricks to manipulate the media. He creates distractions that get people talking about the spin instead of the scandal. So the President needs his help when he is caught fooling around with an underage Firefly scout during her troupe’s visit to the White House. Brean strikes upon the idea of creating a false war with Albania to fill up the news cycle. Brean gets help from White House staffer Winifred Ames and Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to create a false yet believable war. This war comes complete with footage from war-torn Albania, a star-studded patriotic anthem, and war hero that needs to be brought home.
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The Kingdom (1999)
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Ariel Olivetti, Mike Zeck, Jerry Ordway, Mark Pajarillo, Brian Apthorp, Matt Haley, Frank Quitely, and Barry Kitson
In 1996, DC Comics published Kingdom Come, a four issue prestige mini-series under their Elseworlds banner. Elseworlds was an imprint that DC would use to tell “imaginary” or What If? style stories. Kingdom Come stood out from the pack because it’s painted art came courtesy of Alex Ross, an artist who first made his mark with the fantastic Marvels mini-series. Ross co-wrote Kingdom Come with Mark Waid and delivered a story set approximately thirty years in the future to examine how an elderly Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman dealt with a world that was becoming increasingly darker and more violent. Fan reaction was through the roof, and DC wanted to capitalize on the ongoing buzz around this brief story. So, they decided to greenlight The Kingdom.
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DC One Million (1998)
Written by Grant Morrison (with James Robinson, Ron Marz, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning)
Art by Val Semeiks (with Peter Snejbjerg, Howard Porter, Bryan Hitch, Butch Guice)
In a burst of power, the Justice Legion of the 853rd Century appears before the modern day JLA. This team of the future explains they have come to hold down the fort while Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the others travel into 853rd Century to herald the return of Superman Prime who has been in a self-imposed exile within the sun for millennia. The teams swap places with the JLA rookies (Steel, Zauriel, Plastic Man, Big Barda, Orion, and Huntress staying behind). As soon as the original team departs, all hell breaks loose. The android Hourman releases a nano-virus that was secretly programmed into him and Vandal Savage nukes Buenos Aires. It becomes clear this whole hero exchange was turned into a plan to destroy hope in the galaxy and transcends the present and future.
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Written by John Byrne
Art by Ron Wagner
The power levels of Earth’s metahumans has suddenly begun to fluctuate and send the planet into chaos. It’s revealed that the Godwave is responsible, a force of energy that was born at the start of our universe and is now retracting back to its origins, The Source Wall. This means the denizens of New Genesis aid our heroes against the forces of Apokolips. Darkseid seeks to harness the power of the Godwave for his nefarious purposes. So what we have are a bunch of heroes crowded into different rooms and then confusing action set pieces.
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The American President (1995)
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
President Andrew Robinson is looking for support on a crime bill, having dropped the gun control pieces much the chagrin of an ideological staff member. While his people work on the crime bill, Robinson meets Sydney Ellen Wade, an environmental lobbyist with her bill to push. She accidentally insults the president to his face, and they proceed to spar with Robinson feeling very charmed by her lightly. He’s been a widower for several years, going between being president and raising his daughter. Robinson and Wade develop a mutual attraction and eventually being a relationship that becomes impossible to maintain privacy with as the media swarms. Conservative politician Senator Rumson sees this an opening for presidential election bid and begins to frame this relationship as antithetical with American family values. What throws another wrench in things is that support for the crime and environmental bills is becoming a tug of war in the Senate.
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