Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wizard World Columbus 2016: Day Two Photos

Wizard World Comic Con Columbus 2016 was all kinds of busy today at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, with James Marsters, Nicholas Brendon, Robert Patrick, Mitch Pileggi, Kevin Sorbo and a few others signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

Even with another pretty embarrassing celebrity guest roster and the lack of major comics creators, Saturday attendance was still pretty heavy.  I did some more bargain hunting, picked up a great copy of Doctor Strange (vol.1) #1, and of course, got a lot of great cosplay photos.

Here are some of my photos from Day Two...

Out of the 21 Suicide Squad Harley Quinns I spotted this year, this one was my favorite.

James Marsters, a.k.a. Spike, Brainiac and Captain John Hart

The Fourth Doctor takes K-9 out for walkies

My favorite pic from Day Two -- Darth Vader and his grandson Kylo Ren on vacation

Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road.  Nope, there's no way I'm gonna mess with her.

Unfortunately, there's not enough comic dealers or celebrity guests to justify attending Day Three this year, but if you'd like to see more pics from Wizard World Columbus, I've set up an album on my Facebook page HERE.  See you next year!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wizard World Columbus 2016: Day One Photos

The first day of Wizard World Columbus 2016 inside the Greater Columbus Convention Center was a warm and muggy affair.  With most comic creators biding their time until the Cincinnati Comic Expo, there was a good-sized crowd for what was essentially half a day at another rather overpriced Wizard World convention.  I only spotted a few of the celebrity guests -- Nichelle Nichols, Sam Jones and Amy Jo Johnson -- but I made my major purchase of the first issue to Marvel's original Star Wars series, along with a bunch of classic and modern era Suicide Squad.  

And yes, I managed to get some photos from inside the convention...Enjoy!

Rey takes BB-8 out for walkies

Mary Marvel or Sexy Captain Marvel.  You make the call.

Nichelle Nichols.  Legend.

Heat Wave & Captain Cold are about to boost the Mystery Machine

Genderbend Joker was my favorite cosplay from Day One

If you'd like to see more pics from Wizard World Columbus, I've set up an album on my Facebook page HERE.  On to Day Two!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

THE FANDOM ZONE 069: "El Valero" is Up!

"When you hear the battle cry, I want y'all to race forward and try real hard not to get your penises shot off."
– Odin Quincannon, Preacher: "El Valero"

With Karen unfortunately on the Disabled List this week, special guest host Phil Perich joins me for a new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Preacher 1x08 -- "El Valero"
Outcast 1x06 -- "From the Shadows It Watches"
Wynonna Earp 1x06 -- "Constant Cravings"

This time, we talk about things like Karen being on the Disabled List, what Phil thinks about Preacher so far, finally learning what Young Jesse saw through the door to Odin Quincannon's office, finding Hell when you put in a swimming pool, the Meat Man who comes back to Odin with some "meat" in his hands, Donnie really needing to try earplugs before deliberately blowing out his eardrums, Odin serving the God of Meat, Tulip sacrificing poor Brewski to Cassidy, trying to figure out how Jesse's Genesis powers work, Reverend Anderson watching his exorcism videotape collection, Reverend Anderson getting jealous that Kyle is better at exorcisms than he is, the awkwardness of having a pentagram carved into your chest, Agent Dolls going through "performance enhancer" withdrawal, Waverly becoming the Keeper of the Bones, some of the big news from San Diego Comic-Con 2016and 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!  Feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back next week, as we review Episode 7 of Outcast, Episode 7 of Wynonna Earp, and Episode 9 of Preacherright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Matt Ryan to Reprise Constantine in Animated JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK

Heads up, Hellblazers...John Constantine's coming back to TV. has word that Matt Ryan, who starred as DC Comics/VERTIGO character John Constantine on the short-lived (but fondly remembered) NBC series Constantine, will reprise the role for the upcoming DC Comics animated movie Justice League Dark.

The project was first rumored last month, with a formal announcement at Comic-Con International San Diego 2016 last week, along with Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman and Harley Quinn.  The special features for Batman: The Killing Joke have leaked online and include a sneak peek at Justice League Dark

According to the 8-minute feature, the principal voice cast includes:

Matt Ryan as John Constantine
Jason O'Mara as Batman
Camilla Luddington as Zatanna
Nicholas Turturro as Deadman
Ray Chase as The Demon/Jason Blood

Other characters featured in Justice League Dark include Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Felix Faust, and the Demons Three.  The House of Mystery will also make its appearance.

Created in 2011 by Peter Milligan and Mike Janin, Justice League Dark first appeared in Justice League Dark #1 as a team of supernatural character in the DC Universe who handle situations deemed unfit for the traditional Justice League.

Other members of the team included Andrew Bennett, Amethyst, Doctor Mist, Frankenstein, Madame Xanadu, Mindwarp, Nightmare Nurse, Pandora, the Phantom Stranger, Shade the Changing Man, Timothy Hunter, and Zauriel.

A live-action film adaptation of Justice League Dark is reportedly still in development at Warner Bros., although director Guillermo del Toro, who had been working on the project since 2012, is no longer attached to the project.

If you'd like to check out the 8-minute feature, you can view it below thanks to Mr. Marbles on YouTube...

Justice League Dark is expected to arrive on home video and video on-demand sometime later this fall.


Yes, it's time once again for another of my movie takes, as I run down the film Star Trek Beyond, the third in the rebooted/alternate timeline Star Trek universe (a.k.a. The Kelvin Timeline).  As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...ahead warp factor one...

With previous Star Trek director J.J. Abrams off to helm Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the third Trek movie (and more importantly, the 50th Anniversary movie) was left in the hands of screenwriter Roberto "Bob" Orci, a controversial choice for a number of reasons.  The suits at Paramount somehow came to their senses and relegated Orci to a producer role, opening the director's chair up to a number of candidates that included Edgar Wright, Rupert Wyatt, Duncan Jones, and even Jonathan "Will Riker" Frakes.  However, Justin Lin of the Fast and the Furious flicks ended up with the gig, leaving quite a number of fans feeling uneasy at the thought of what the end result might be.

As it turned out, they didn't need to worry.  With Simon "Scotty" Pegg and Doug Jung rewriting Orci's screenplay to make the film more inclusive to non-Trekkies, Lin crafted an adventurous action movie that brought back some of what it used to feel like to explore strange new worlds and new civilizations.  Sure, Lin's fondness for rotating the camera sometimes became a bit disorienting (especially to those of us who suffer from motion sickness), but it also brought a stylish change of pace after Abrams' bizarre fetish for lens flares.

After Captain James Kirk has another comical first contact with a new group of aliens, the film opens nine hundred and sixty-six days into the USS Enterprise's five-year voyage, with the ship arriving at Starbase Yorktown, a massive "snowglobe"-like station with its own internal atmosphere and cityscape straight out of Inception.  Mopey about his upcoming birthday and feeling burned out after over two and a half years in deep space, Kirk has applied for a promotion to Vice Admiral of Yorktown, and plans to name Spock as his replacement aboard the Enterprise. The rest of the crew enjoys the opportunity for shore leave, with Lt. Sulu reuniting with his husband and daughter, while Spock and Lt. Uhura come to terms with ending their relationship.  And in a development many of us hoped would never come, Spock also receives word from New Vulcan that Ambassador Spock, his elder counterpart from the original timeline, has passed away.

Things quickly get going when an escape pod emerges from a nearby nebula and the sole occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded on Altamid, a planet within the nebula.  The Enterprise is sent on a rescue mission, and as anyone who's watched a bunch of Star Trek over the years could tell you, the rescue goes inevitably, horribly wrong.  The Enterprise is quickly overwhelmed by a massive swarm of one-person ships that batter the hull while the swarm's alien commander, Krall, boards the ship searching for an alien artifact that Kirk brought back from a recent mission.  The sequence is pure, unbridled carnage, as the swarm rips the Enterprise into sectional pieces, with the saucer section crashing to the planet as the crew is forced to abandon ship in escape pods.  Yeah, that could've gone better.

So with the modern Enterprise totaled in just the third movie, the separated bridge crew struggle to survive and find their way back together in time for the film's third act.  Kirk ends up paired with Ensign Chekov along with the increasingly shady Kalara, Spock is wounded and thankfully teamed with Dr. McCoy (as it should be), Scotty encounters a talented scavenger with a fondness for classical rap music named Jaylah, while Sulu, Uhura and the rest of the surviving Enterprise crew are captured by Krall and his goon squad so there's people to rescue.  As a result, we get a number of great character moments and some of the supporting cast members get some time in the spotlight for a while.

As you might expect, the separated crew ends up rescued and reunited, and with the help of Jaylah, events soon take us back to Yorktown, because you can't have a setting that interesting and not do anything with it.  Krall's big Bad Guy Plan turns out to be using a ventilation system to distribute a bioweapon all over Yorktown, so that means it's time for Captain Kirk to save the day, which (Surprise!) he naturally does.

With Krall defeated and Yorktown saved, all that's needed is to tie up the film's loose ends. Kirk decides to pass on the Vice Admiral promotion and remains a captain, Spock decides to remain in Starfleet and hook back up with Uhura, and Jaylah is accepted to Starfleet Academy on Scotty's recommendation so she can potentially return for the next movie.  Ah, but what about the Enterprise, you say?  Well, Lin quickly rushes us through a time-lapse construction of (You guessed it!) the USS Enterprise-A.

And the adventure continues...

So what about the performances from the cast and the characters they portrayed?  Well, as you might expect, I have a few thoughts...

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK -- Chris Pine's Kirk seems to have finally settled down in this outing.  He's stopped going around slapping his senior officers hard on the shoulder, and you can feel his burden of command more than ever before.  I would, however, like to see Captain Kirk actually outmaneuver an enemy for once, instead of getting his ass handed to him in each movie, which forces him to claw his way back into a position where he ultimately triumphs thanks to a team effort.

COMMANDER SPOCK -- In his third movie as Spock, Zachary Quinto continues to distinguish himself from the late Leonard Nimoy while remaining faithful to his important legacy.  He's given the opportunity to say goodbye to the original Spock (representing all of us, really), before moving forward as Nimoy's approved successor.  This time, instead of having another movie of Spock and Kirk trying to figure each other out, we finally get to see Spock sharing some long-overdue time with Bones.

DR. LEONARD "BONES" MCCOY -- And speaking of Bones, Karl Urban gets a little action in the field this time as Spock's new bromance.  One of the best things from the original Star Trek was the dynamic between McCoy and Spock as two polar opposites that bicker with one another like an old married couple, and it's so great to see that continued here.  Once again, Bones gets all the best lines and his cynical snark is great comic relief for a franchise that occasionally takes itself way too seriously.

LT. COMMANDER MONTGOMERY "SCOTTY" SCOTT -- Simon Pegg co-wrote the revised screenplay, so I guess it's not surprising that Scotty has a more significant role in this outing. After being forced to watch the Enterprise being taken apart by Krall, Scotty rebounds surprisingly well when he's partnered with Jaylah.  And mercifully, their new partnership isn't ruined with some form of forced romance, but enhanced with Scotty's respect for her technical skills.

LIEUTENANT HIKARU SULU -- The major news for Sulu in Beyond is obviously the subtle revelation that the character has a husband and a daughter, who is hopefully named Demora.  And no, the film doesn't try to beat you over the head with some "gay agenda," it just finally brings a franchise set in the 23rd century more in line with the 21st.  Sulu has always been a great helmsman and third officer, but now he gets to be something more.

LIEUTENANT NYOTA UHURA -- After getting some decent action scenes in Star Trek Into Darkness, Zoe Saldana is pretty much sidelined as Uhura here.  Her main purposes as a character in Beyond seem to be breaking up with Spock and being Krall's hostage, neither of which flatters Uhura as the crew highest-ranking female member.  And for some inexplicable reason, when a communication signal is key to disrupting Krall's swarm of ships, the one who takes care of this is Jaylah, as opposed to oh, I don't know -- the actual Communications Officer.

ENSIGN PAVEL CHEKOV -- Yeah, this is heartbreaking.  As many of you know, Anton Yelchin tragically died after making this movie, and with the announcement that the role won't be recast, this is obviously the last time we'll see Chekov.  Fortunately, Chekov gets paired with Kirk for the film's second act, so there are a number of fun moments, such as when Chekov and Kirk are snared in Jaylah's booby-trap.  Rest In Peace, Anton.  We'll miss you.

KRALL/BALTHAZAR EDISON -- As the movie's Big Bad, Idris Elba is practically unrecognizable under prosthetic makeup with suspiciously resembles Ambassador G'Kar from Babylon 5.  Following the what-a-twist revelation that Krall is actually Balthazar Edison, captain of the USS Hamilton, we get to see glimpses of Elba trying to breathe life into his character.  Unfortunately, Krall is a rather forgettable villain with an overly simplistic motivation (Revenge against the Federation!), so a talented actor like Elba is pretty much wasted here.

JAYLAH -- Sofia Boutella, who seriously impressed in Kingsman: The Secret Service, is the film's lead female character, a scavenger with attitude, intelligence, and serious fighting skills.  (No, not Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.)  As Jaylah, Boutella pretty much steals every scene she's in, whether she's draped across the Hamilton captain's chair that Kirk naturally covets, or when she's blasting "Fight the Power" from Public Enemy as the 23rd century version of "classical music."  The movie ends with Jaylah headed for Starfleet Academy, so maybe we'll see Ensign Jaylah replace Chekov in Star Trek 4?

KEENSER -- Scotty's three-foot engineering assistant makes his return, played once again by Deep Roy.  However, with Jaylah around, Keenser gets even less screen time than he normally does.  He appear at Kirk's birthday party at the end of the film though, accompanied by a miniature version of himself.  (Keenser's child, presumably?)

SPOCK PRIME CAMEO -- Leonard Nimoy was essential in Star Trek (2009), to pass the torch from the original Enterprise cast to the latest version, then he surprised us with a follow-up appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness, his final film.  As a result, Nimoy's death needed to be addressed in Beyond, so we learn here that the original Spock also passed away off-camera.  In an affecting tribute, Quinto's Spock opens a box of personal effects left behind by Nimoy's Spock, which contains a photograph of the Enterprise crew from the original timeline, taken from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  

All in all, Star Trek Beyond is worthy of Star Trek's 50th Anniversary celebration.  The movie recaptures the adventurous spirit of the original TV series, with director Justin Lin providing a fresh and action-filled take on the current series of films.  With the passing of Nimoy and Yelchin, the Star Trek film series now feels like it's in a period of transition, and it'll be fascinating to see where Star Trek 4 takes us next.

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my favorite Star Trek movies:

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
2. Star Trek (2009)
3. Star Trek Beyond (2016)
4. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
5. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
7. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
8. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
9. Star Trek: Generations (1994)
10. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
11. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
12. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
13. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,


Sunday, July 24, 2016

CBS All Access Series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Announced at SDCC 2016

The USS Discovery has made her initial test flight at San Diego.

During yesterday's Star Trek 50th Anniversary panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2016, moderator Bryan Fuller revealed the name and first look at the ship for Star Trek: Discovery, the new Star Trek series debuting first on CBS and then moving over to the digital platform CBS All Access for the remaining 12 episodes.

Stars from previous Star Trek series were on hand for the big reveal, including William Shatner (Star Trek), Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager), and Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise).

Star Trek: Discovery will be overseen by Fuller as showrunner, along with Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's son Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth also executive producing.  David Semel will direct the pilot.

The series will take place primarily on the USS Discovery (NCC-1031) and will have new characters to the Star Trek universe seeking new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the franchise's signature contemporary themes.

A one-minute, 15-second teaser for the new series also debuted during the panel, showing the Discovery launching from what appears to be a hollowed-out asteroid orbiting a planet. The new gold-plated ship resembles concept art from Ralph McQuarrie, artist on the original Star Wars film, that was made for a Star Trek movie in 1976-77 that failed to happen.

If you'd like to check out the teaser for Star Trek: Discovery, you can view it below thanks to the official Star Trek account on YouTube...

Star Trek: Discovery is currently scheduled to premiere on CBS in January 2017, with the next 12 episodes airing on CBS All Access.

Second DOCTOR STRANGE Trailer Debuts at SDCC 2016

It's almost time to question reality.

At yesterday's Marvel Studios' panel in Hall H at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2016, Marvel unveiled the second trailer for Doctor Strange, the Scott Derrickson film based on the Marvel Comics Master of the Mystic Arts.

The new 2-minute, 20-second trailer opens with fleeting images of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as a surgeon in New York, until the brutal car accident that costs him the use of his hands.

A voiceover from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) begins "Dr. Strange, you think you know how the world works?  What if I told you the reality you know is one of many?"

We see Strange stepping backward into a shattering mirror-type special effect, as he says "This doesn't make any sense."

"Not everything does.  Not everything has to," replies the Ancient One.

Next, we see a psychedelic Marvel Studios graphic, as the Ancient One continues speaking. "Through the Mystic Arts, we harness energy and shape reality.  We travel great distances in an instant."

Doctor Strange follows the Ancient One through a portal to a hidden monastery, where he asks the Ancient One "How do I get from here to there?" as he gestures from himself to her.

"How did you become a doctor?" asks the Ancient One.

"Study and practice," replies Doctor Strange.  "Years of it."

We see Strange mastering his new abilities, followed by a conversation between Karl Mordo (Chiwtel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong).  "There's a strength to him," admits Mordo.

"But is he ready?" asks Wong.

"Be care which path you travel down, Strange," Wong remarks as we see the film's Big Bad Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).  "Stronger men than you have lost their way."

"I am death," Kaecilius states as we see him warping reality around him, "and pain.  We'll die protecting this world."

As the threat of Kaecilius becomes apparent, Doctor Strange tells Mordo, "I can't do this."

"There is no other way," Mordo replies.

Fleeting images of Doctor Strange using his mystical abilities follow, as the Ancient One remarks in a voiceover "I've spent so many years peering through time, looking for you."

Strange's Cloak of Levitation flows onto his body and he enters the battle against Kaecilius with Mordo at his side.

Lastly, we see a quick scene at the monastery where Mordo gives Doctor Strange a slip of paper with the word "Shamballa" written on it.  "Oh, what's this?  My mantra?" Strange asks.

"The wi-fi password," smiles Mordo as he closes the doors to Strange's room.  "We're not savages."

If you'd like to check out the new trailer, you can view it below thanks to Marvel Entertainment's official YouTube account...

Doctor Strange
is scheduled to arrive in theaters on November 4, 2016.