Thursday, May 26, 2016

DAMN Good Comics -- DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1


Fair warning, there will be spoilers here, even though just about every comics news site already spoiled this issue a week ago.

Almost five years ago, DC Comics rebooted their fictional universe as "The New 52," which featured a few successes with Batman, Justice League and Harley Quinn, but largely was considered a creative disappointment.  DC's legendary heroes of hope and optimism were replaced by younger, grimdark versions that lacked the essential charm and appeal of their pre-Flashpoint incarnations, and declining sales soon reflected that.

So at long last, DC is taking major steps to address their mistakes without completely hitting the shiny, candy-like reset button, and who better to set the tone for this "DC Rebirth" than DC's Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns?  Ever since his days writing JSA and The Flash, one of Johns' greatest strengths as a mainstream comics writer has been his ability to zero in on what fans once enjoyed about DC characters and incorporate that into modern storytelling.  Sometimes that comes off as personal self-indulgence or fan service, but for the most part, Johns is great at getting readers to remember why they love comics.

And that's exactly what he does with DC Universe: Rebirth #1.  Armed with some outstanding art from Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez, Johns frames the entire issue around the return of none other than Wally West -- the original green-eyed redhead who many still consider to be their Flash instead of Barry Allen.  DC fans (including myself) were upset when Wally was erased from the DC Universe with The New 52, only to eventually be reintroduced in The Flash Annual #3 as a younger, biracial version that wasn't The Flash anymore, wasn't married to Linda Park, and bore little resemblance to the character we loved.

Johns makes some important statements with Wally's return, primarily that the post-Flashpoint DCU has been missing something, that sense of legacy where a new generation takes over while honoring what came before.  As Wally struggles to return from the Speed Force, we take a tour of the reborn DCU to give readers and jaded DC fans a taste of the greatness to come.  Ryan Choi is tasked with suiting up as The Atom to find a microscopic Ray Palmer, current Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes is working with Ted Kord, Green Arrow and Black Canary are being pulled together once again, Aquaman proposes to Mera, senile old Johnny Thunder is tasked with finding the Justice Society, Dream Girl teases the return of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Pandora (an early symbol for The New 52) is murdered for our mutual satisfaction.  And then we get a final payoff, with references to classic Flash imagery, as Wally makes a connection with his mentor Barry Allen and the two share a heartbreaking scene where Barry apologizes to Wally for forgetting him.

Wally realizes that someone out there in the DCU has stolen ten years from them, apparently to make them inexperienced and weaker for some reason yet to be revealed. That someone, which should piss writer Alan Moore off to no end, appears to be Doctor Manhattan from the classic 12-issue series Watchmen.  Now, we don't actually see Dr. Manhattan in this issue, possibly an important point, but we have a character speaking with his traditional blue Watchmen caption font with some imagery and a "The clock in the DC Universe is ticking down" tease clearly meant to imply the character.

So with all this in mind, I have to wonder, is this mysterious Big Bad really Dr. Manhattan or actually someone else?  Dr. Manhattan certainly has the power to pull off these continuity shenanigans, but as we all know, Watchmen wasn't intended to be set in the DC Universe. Bringing Dr. Manhattan into the DCU would be bold, sure, and makes great commentary against Watchmen, which introduced Grimdark storytelling along with Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns back in the '80s.  Wouldn't it be even bolder if we're meant to think that Dr. Manhattan is the Big Bad?  What if it turns out to be someone like the Time Trapper instead...?

Obviously, To Be Continued.  In the meantime, though, the DC Universe is reborn once again and let's just appreciate that, especially since it happened on the same day that Marvel Comics alienated a good chunk of their fanbase by making Captain America a Hydra agent.  If you're a longtime DC Comics fan that felt burned, bitter and betrayed by The New 52, please give this issue a chance and see what you think.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 059: "The Two Doctors" is Up!


"Jamie, some of the most brilliant scientists in the universe have assembled here to work together in pure research.  I don't want them to know that I've arrived."
"Why not?"
"Just think of the commotion.  They'll all be scrambling around wanting my autograph."
-- The Second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon, Doctor Who: "The Two Doctors"

Returning from the farthest reaches of time and space, my good friend and co-host Jesse Jackson and I are finally back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  In this episode, we review the 1985 Sixth Doctor classic, "The Two Doctors" starring Colin Baker, Patrick Troughton, Nicola Bryant and Frazer Hines!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like why Jamie McCrimmon needs to team up with the Twelfth Doctor, Jesse's regret about not meeting Frazer Hines at Comicpalooza, writer Robert Holmes, making the most out of expensive location filming, the Sixth Doctor working better with a Hawaiian vest instead of his traditional coat of many colors, the Sixth Doctor's various meetings with Jamie McCrimmon, Jesse being a bit pervy about Nicola Bryant, the Second and the Sixth Doctors getting along, makeup for classic Sontarans, the Sontarans being used for comedic effect, metaphors for the condemnation of humans eating other living creatures for food, wondering why the Time Lords recruit the Second Doctor for a mission even though he's supposed to be a fugitive from Gallifrey, my Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segment, First World Problems for Bruce Springsteen fans, my search for a female co-host for a new Twin Peaks podcast, and more!

If you'd like to check out this episode, we're now available on Google Play Music RIGHT HERE, or you can find us on iTunes RIGHT HERE, or Stitcher RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and rate us!  If you're looking for direct MP3 downloads, you can find them RIGHT HERE as well. Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

And hey, if you'd like to pick up the officially official Next Stop Everywhere t-shirt, you can find it on TeePublic right HERE!  Help support the show!

Be sure to come back soon as Karen Lindsay returns to help me review the classic Fourth Doctor story "The Robots of Death" starring Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, and look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Monday, May 23, 2016

THE FANDOM ZONE 061: "Legendary" is Up!


"My name is Rex Tyler.  I'm a member of the Justice Society of America."
– Rex "Hourman" Tyler, Legends of Tomorrow: "Legendary"

You guessed it, Karen Lindsay and I are back with another HUGE episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Fear the Walking Dead 2
x06 -- "Sicit Cervus" 
Gotham 2x21 -- "A Legion of Horribles"
The Flash 2x22 -- "Invincible"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x21 -- "Absolution"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x22 -- "Ascension"
Arrow 4x22 -- "Lost in the Flood"
Legends of Tomorrow 1x16 -- "Legendary"
Daredevil 2x11 -- ".380"

This time, we talk about things like Karen being freaked out by a Weeping Angel, poisoned communion wafers, Daniel's traumatic background, Chris becoming a sociopath, Celia being the new Hershel, Clayface, the unwelcome return of Fish Mooney, some background on the Court of Owls, Katie Cassidy appearing as Black Siren, Cisco and Caitlin cosplaying as Reverb and Killer Frost, being upset about Henry Allen, Fitz going Andy Serkis in a motion capture suit, the hot potato cross necklace, why hacker battles are totally boring on television, Felicity again causing death and destruction by not paying attention, the surprise appearance of Hourman and teasing the Justice Society, Madame Gao setting up the Iron Fist series, a new Justina review, wanting Rip Hunter to meet Dinah Lance, and more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone on Google Play Music right HERE, or for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us!  If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well.  In addition, you can Like us on The Fandom Zone Facebook show page, which you can check out HERE.  And yes, we're also on Twitter with our account @FandomZoneCast.

And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!

Be sure to come back next week, as we review the series premiere of Preacher, the Season 2 finales of Gotham, The Flash and Daredevil, the Season 4 finale of Arrow, and the midseason finale of Fear the Walking Deadright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CBS Debuts STAR TREK TV Revival Teaser Trailer & Logo


Star Trek on TV is happening, people.

At the CBS Upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York, CBS Studios released the first teaser trailer and logo for the 2017 revival of Star Trek, which will premiere on CBS before moving exclusively on digital platform CBS All Access.

The 50-second teaser is little more than rocketing through space with a Voiceover Guy, who simply says "CBS presents...a new adventure" as we spiral through the universe before coming across the familiar Starfleet logo.  And then, we're promised...

NEW CREWS (Crews, plural?)
NEW VILLAINS
NEW HEROES
NEW WORLDS

So...something new, then.

The new series will reportedly be set between the final film featuring the original cast, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint."  Bryan Fuller will serve as showrunner, while Nicholas Meyer, writer and director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI, will be a writer and executive producer for the series.

If you'd like to check out the 50-second teaser, you can view it below thanks to CBS' official YouTube account...



Star Trek
will premiere on CBS in January 2017 before moving to CBS All Access.


Geoff Johns & Jon Berg to Run DC Films as DC Extended Universe Fix


Move over, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios...Here comes Geoff Johns, Jon Berg and DC Films.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Warner Bros. is changing how it handles its DC Comics-based films, giving oversight to two executives and creating a specific division for the films.  In an attempt to replicate the way Marvel Studios has produced its films under the supervision of Kevin Feige, executive vice president Jon Berg will be teaming with Geoff Johns, DC's chief creative officer, to co-run the newly created DC Films and oversee the DC Extended Universe.

According to the article, the move is "part of a broader refinement of executive roles at Warners, which has suffered a disappointing run of movies and has vexed producers and filmmakers, some of whom complain about a murky greenlight process.  Now, instead of a broad range of movies to oversee, executives will be charged with managing 'genre streams' while reporting to Warner Bros. Pictures president Greg Silverman."

Berg has already been a part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League Part One.  He also serves as a liaison to Ben Affleck, after working with him on Argo and Live by Night, a crime thriller that Affleck recently wrapped as director, writer and star for the studio.

Johns, of course, has been working with showrunner Greg Berlanti on superhero TV shows such as Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, and is overseeing DC's upcoming creative relaunch known as Rebirth.  The article states he's not leaving DC, but adding film to his portfolio, since he was already co-writing the next Batman solo film with Affleck

Berg and Johns will become producers on the Justice League movies.  Johns will still report to DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, while Berg will report to Silverman.

The article also claims, as most would expect, that the disappointing box office and critical reaction to Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the basis for the move. The studio had high hopes for the movie, which cost at least $300 million to make, but grossed less than $870 million worldwide since its March 25 release.  Critics and fans slammed Snyder, citing the two heroes' unheroic behavior and the overly dark tone, especially in comparison to Marvel's successful films.

This news follows on other recent changes to upcoming DC Extended Universe films, including Affleck being made executive producer on Justice League, increasing his creative involvement in all things Batman.  Warner Bros. also parted ways with screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, who was to have made his directorial debut with The Flash, under the often-cited "creative differences."  The article states "the studio didn’t feel confident in a first-time helmer and is now looking for a more seasoned filmmaker who can not only handle a large $150 million-plus movie but who can also have an authoritative stamp."

And Warner Bros. has been tinkering with the third act of Suicide Squad, the adaptation from director David Ayer which comes out in August.  After the trailers received a positive reaction, the studio reportedly "wants to make sure audiences’ expectations are not only met but exceeded."  The film recently went under major additional photography to clear up the issues, which apparently were not to add humor.  The article claims it was Suicide Squad that escalated Johns’ involvement in DC movies and he's involved in the film’s post-production.

Monday, May 16, 2016

HARLEY QUINN Movie with DC's Female Characters in Development


Another round of Harley Quinn vs. the Birds of Prey?  Maybe.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Warner Bros. is considering a spinoff of the upcoming film adaptation of Suicide Squad with Margot Robbie returning as fan-favorite Harley Quinn.

According to the article, Robbie would also produce the untitled spinoff, which would also feature several of DC Comics' female superheroes and supervillains.  The project has a female screenwriter, and while details are sketchy at this point, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey may be involved somehow.

The article also claims that Robbie was the driving force for the project.  Apparently, when she landed the part for Suicide Squad, she heavily researched the comics to learn as much as possible about the character.  In the process, she reportedly became a fan of DC’s female characters.  Robbie brought on the female writer to help develop the project and brought it to Warner Bros.

Created in 1992 by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor," voiced by Arleen Sorkin.  Initially intended as a female sidekick for The Joker, Harley quickly became popular with fans and the character was developed further.  In the 1994 DC Comics graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, Quinn received her origin story, revealing her as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who fell in love with the Joker and turned to a life of crime in order to be with him.

The character's first comic book appearance was in 1993's The Batman Adventures #12, but Harley's growing popularity encouraged DC Comics to bring her into official Batman canon starting with Batman (vol.1) #570 in 1999.  She soon received her first ongoing series in 2001 that ran for 38 issues and was made a member of the Suicide Squad starting with 2011's Suicide Squad (vol.3) #1.  Harley received her second ongoing series in 2013, which still continues to be a Top Ten book in terms of sales.

If Harley faces off or teams up with the Birds of Prey, this will be their second on-screen encounter, after Mia Sara portrayed Harley Quinn on the 2002-03 Birds of Prey television series as the Big Bad for the series' single season.

THE FANDOM ZONE 060: "The Runaway Dinosaur" is Up!


"I miss you so much."
"What if I told you that she's proud of you?  And the man you've become?"
"Who's telling me that...the Speed Force or my mother?"
"Both."
– Barry Allen and "Nora Allen", The Flash: "The Runaway Dinosaur"

You guessed it, Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with another super-sized episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Fear the Walking Dead 2
x05 -- "Captive" 
Gotham 2x20 -- "Unleashed"
The Flash 2x21 -- "The Runaway Dinosaur"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x20 -- "Emancipation"
Arrow 4x21 -- "Monument Point"
Legends of Tomorrow 1x15 -- "Destiny"
Daredevil 2x10 -- "The Man in the Box"

This time, we talk about things like Karen's new Funko figures, our tribute to the late DC: The New Frontier writer/artist Darwyn Cooke, Jesse McCartney being a douchebag, Alicia having her steak taken away, John Edwards' Syfy career nosediving after South Park exposed him as a fraud, Harvey Bullock's redemption as a Gotham cop, Azrael being a Terminator, Karen accessing my database, Karen's trauma of being called out by Michael "Worf" Dorn, Cisco bringing the humor out of any character, the Legion of Zoom, Glenn Talbot being the J. Jonah Jameson of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Felicity thinking that everything is about her, Felicity multitasking instead of stopping a nuclear missile in mid-air, Rip Hunter's whole outlook being completely shattered, wondering why Captain Cold was killed holding down a button instead of just freezing it in place, the Kingpin being the Kingpin of prison, Daredevil dumping off kids on Claire, a new Justina reviewand more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone on Google Play Music right HERE, or for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us!  If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well.  In addition, you can Like us on The Fandom Zone Facebook show page, which you can check out HERE.  And yes, we're also on Twitter with our account @FandomZoneCast.

And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!  Oh, and if you're interested in an officially official Fandom Zone Podcast t-shirt that all the cool kids are wearing, you can get those on TeePublic HERE as well!

Be sure to come back next week, as we review Episode 11 of Daredevil Season 2, the Season 3 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Season 1 finale of Legends of Tomorrow, and new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, Gotham, The Flash, and Arrowright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!