Monday, December 22, 2014

A.K.A. JESSICA JONES Casts Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Sweet Christmas!

After recent rumors hinted at the possibility, Marvel has officially confirmed that their upcoming Netflix series A.K.A. Jessica Jones has cast Mike Colter as Luke Cage.  Colter joins Krysten Ritter, who plays the title role in the 13-episode series.

"During the course of an investigation in New York City," states the article, "private investigator Jessica Jones encounters the enigmatic Luke Cage – a man whose past has secrets that will dramatically alter Jessica in ways she could never have imagined."

The 38-year-old actor may be best known for his 2004 role as boxer Big Willie Little in the film Million Dollar Baby.  In addition, Colter has had roles in the films Zero Dark Thirty, Men in Black 3 and Salt, and guest appearances on the television series American Horror Story: Coven, Criminal Minds, The Following, The Good Wife and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

"Mike embodies the strength, edge and depth of Luke Cage," said executive producer/showrunner Melissa Rosenberg.  "We're excited to have him bring this iconic Marvel character to life."

"Fans have longed to see Luke Cage brought and in Mike we’ve found the perfect actor," added Jeph Loeb, executive producer/Marvel's head of television. "Viewers will get to meet Luke Cage in ‘Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones,’ and experience why he is such an important superhero in the Marvel mythos."

Created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr., Luke Cage first appeared in Hero for Hire #1 as a blaxploitation character called Carl Lucas, who is betrayed by his best friend Willis Stryker and sent to prison after being framed for heroin possession.  While serving his term at Seagate Prison, Lucas is recruited by Dr. Noah Burstein, a research scitentist, as a volunteer for experimental cell regeneration based on a version of the Super-Soldier process.

A sadistic prison guard alters the controls, hoping to kill Lucas, but ends up giving him superhuman strength and durability.  Lucas uses his new power to escape Seagate, then heads back to New York, taking on the alias Luke Cage and adopting a career as a superhero for hire.
After later proving his innocence, Cage maintained a long partnership with martial artist Iron Fist before becoming romantically involved with Jessica Jones and joining the New Avengers.  Luke and Jessica eventually had a daughter together, Danielle Cage, and later married.

A.K.A. Jessica Jones airs sometime in 2015 on Netflix.


One of the biggest concerns about Peyton Reed's upcoming Ant-Man has been how connected the film will be to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In the comics, original Ant-Man Hank Pym was a founding Avenger who created Ultron, who in turn created The Vision, which makes him pretty damned important.  But in the altered continuity of the MCU where Paul Rudd's character Scott Lang is Ant-Man...?

Well, Starlog (Hey, remember Starlog from back in the day?), has some pretty interesting rumors about Ant-Man, including its connection to the third Captain America movie, Captain America: Civil War.  Claiming that the information "should be taken with a boulder of salt," Starlog cites an anonymous email with some pretty specific details that definitely sound interesting, if nothing else.  So with that caveat in mind, here's what they posted...

According to this anonymous party, ANT-MAN will take place alongside the events of AGE OF ULTRON, the fall-out of which will spur on the Superhuman Registration Act. While ANT-MAN is largely self-contained in nature, the references of the MCU will come from Pym’s past as a scientist for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the ’60s, having worked alongside Howard Stark, Arnim Zola and Alexander Pierce. However, in this flashback sequence, Pym will supposedly also have a run-in with a young military hot-head by the name of Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, who Marvel fans have last seen in THE INCREDIBLE HULK as played by William Hurt.

The party goes on to say S.H.I.E.L.D.’s downfall in THE WINTER SOLDIER forced Pym into the private sector, which makes him vulnerable and essentially serves as catalyst for the events that follow in ANT-MAN. And according to the party, a shooting draft of ANT-MAN’s post-credit stinger shows the older Ross re-appearing to Pym, claiming he’d been sent by Tony Stark. When asked why, Ross allegedly responds, “Haven’t you seen the news? We’re at war.”

The party also claims Ross will play a supporting role in CAPTAIN AMERICA 3, begrudgingly helping Tony Stark enforce the Superhero Registration Act and giving him military aid as Stark’s hesitant to use his own technology post-ULTRON. The party claims that rumors of Black Widow’s limited involvement in CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 is also true, as her character will be arrested for aiding fugitive superhumans in a power play by Stark (which will give actress Scarlett Johansson a break from the MCU to focus on her family), though the source says a potential Black Widow jailbreak in a future Marvel film may help bring Scott Lang’s Ant-Man into the AVENGERS fold.

Now, John Slattery is scheduled to reprise his role of Howard Stark in Ant-Man, so that part of the rumor, if nothing else, may be true.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015, with Ant-Man arriving on July 17, 2015, and Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Six Suggestions to Salvage GOTHAM

As we wait for the Fox series Gotham to return from its midseason hiatus on January 5, 2015, I thought now would be a good time to address a number of issues that some viewers (including myself) are having with this Batman prequel ten episodes into its run.

Since the show's premiere back in September, Gotham has performed pretty well for Fox, earning a full season order of 22 episodes, up from the original 16.  And with Fox's current ratings woes across the board, Gotham seems pretty likely to earn a Season 2, provided it can finally stop the gradual decline from the 8.21 million viewers that tuned in for the pilot to the 6.05 that watched the midseason finale "Lovecraft."

The thing is, though, in our new Golden Age of Comic Book Television, Gotham finds itself competing for attention with The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Constantine and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and often comes up lacking by comparison.  There are enough talented actors and the production values are pretty top-notch, so there's simply no excuse why this series can't be considerably better than it is.  With all this in mind, here are six suggestions of mine to help Gotham become the Batman prequel we deserve:

1.  This isn't 1966 anymore, so lose the camp -- While Gotham is obviously a huge improvement over the Adam West Batman series, it feels like some actors are deliberately hamming it up just to make their characters stand out more.  Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney is a perfect example of this, overreacting to practically everything and delivering her lines as if she's a modern-day Eartha Kitt.  Donal Logue's Harvey Bullock isn't much better, shouting his disapproval of Jim Gordon's moral stances just about every chance he gets or exaggerating Bullock's streetwise nature into a cartoonish buffoon.

2.  Develop Barbara Kean into an actual character -- If there's one regular character you wouldn't mind being killed off, chances are pretty damn good that it's Erin Richards' Barbara Kean.  That's nothing against Richards -- she does as good of a job as the writers allow -- but her character is so tragically one-dimensional that all you can do is shake your head every time she's on screen.  All Barbara seems to be good for on Gotham is lounging around the penthouse apartment all day drinking wine or smoking pot offscreen and waiting around for former/current lover Renee Montoya to tell her how horrible Gordon is just for the sake of getting back into her bed.  And since Barbara is the future mother of Batgirl and James Gordon, Jr., she probably isn't going anywhere, so let her help Jim with research in his battle against police corruption or put her to work at the Wayne Foundation -- anything that gets her out of that damn penthouse.

3.  Embrace the dynamic of Gotham Central -- When Gotham was first announced, Batman fans were hopeful that we would see a reasonably faithful version of Gotham Central, the police procedural comic book series from Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark exploring the world of the GCPD.  And to some extent, we've gotten that, with Gordon and Bullock investigating some unusual crimes.  However, while Gotham Central featured a wonderfully diverse cast of characters interacting with one another as a surrogate family, Gotham focuses primarily on Gordon and Bullock, with Major Crimes Unit detectives Montoya and Crispus Allen serving as antagonistic douchebags, and Captain Sarah Essen constantly looking confused or incompetent.

4.  Amp the changes to Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne up to eleven -- One of the good things we're getting from Gotham now is the gradual shift from Gordon being a naive goody-two-shoes into a determined crusader against police corruption and Bruce Wayne taking his first awkward steps on the path to becoming Batman.  When Gotham first started, Ben McKenzie was a bit of a bore as Gordon, but is finally starting to show the edge his character desperately needs.  David Mazouz, meanwhile, has been a pleasant surprise when displaying young Bruce's emotional detachment, obsessive tendencies and resentment towards his helplessness during his parents' murder.  But we need MORE of this.

5.  Take the time to focus on neglected characters -- Yeah, Barbara Kean certainly falls into this category, but so do other characters -- Edward Nigma, Sarah Essen, Crispus Allen and Ivy Pepper spring to mind.  We get little glimpses of them here and there, but don't really know them all that well because we need to focus on Gordon, Bullock, The Penguin, Bruce and Selina.  One of the things The Walking Dead does so well is mix their big cast episodes with smaller, more personal stories focusing on two or three characters at a time.  It makes the storytelling seem less repetitive, while giving neglected characters some time in the sun.

6.  Kill off someone fans would never expect -- One of the biggest structural flaws in Gotham being a prequel is that you know that Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon, Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nigma, etc. will never be in any sense of real danger because they continue to exist in the adult Bruce Wayne's life as Batman.  Killing one major character who shouldn't be killed may piss off a few diehard comics geeks, but think of the story advantages to be gained by making the show that much more unpredictable.  And hey, if you ever need to bring the character back, just introduce the immortal Ra's al Ghul and his Lazarus Pits the way Arrow is currently doing.

SUICIDE SQUAD Casts Viola Davis as Amanda Waller

At last, "The Wall" has arrived.

Latino-Review is reporting that the upcoming David Ayer film Suicide Squad has cast Viola Davis in the key role of DC Comics character Amanda Waller

According to the article, the role is hers as long as the filmmakers can work around her television schedule for the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder.  If so, Davis will join Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as (Captain) Boomerang, and Cara Delevingne as The Enchantress.

In addition to her current TV series, Davis has appeared in numerous film and television projects, including the upcoming Blackhat, Get On Up, Ender's Game, Beautiful Creatures, The Help, Eat Pray Love, Disturbia, Solaris, Kate & Leopold, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Threshold.

Created in 1986 by John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne, Amanda Waller first appeared in Legends #1 as a former congressional aide and government agent placed in charge of Task Force X, a government-supervised group of supervillains who serve in dangerous missions in exchange for amnesty.  An often ruthless and manipulative leader as the warden of Belle Reve prison, Waller later served as the Secretary of Metahuman Affairs during Lex Luthor's Presidential administrationan and as the White Queen in the espionage organization Checkmate.

In the current New 52 continuity, Waller has been reimagined as a younger, thinner woman who was once involved with Team 7 before assuming command of the Suicide Squad.  After an operation Waller was involved in resulted in the death of all other squad members, including several she had personally recruited, she requested command of a unit she could send to their deaths without regret.  Waller later formed the Justice League of America as a team separate from the main Justice League that she could control.

This will be the second time Amanda Waller has been adapted for film, after Angela Bassett portrayed her in the 2011 film Green Lantern. The character has also appeared on the television series Smallville (played by Pam Grier) and currently appears on the CW series Arrow (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson).  In addition, Waller has appeared in the animated projects Justice League Unlimited and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (voiced by CCH Pounder), and Young Justice (voiced by Sheryl Lee Ralph).

Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Peyton List as The Golden Glider

Once Captain Cold arrived in Central City, you knew his sister wouldn't be far behind...

According to Access Hollywood, the hit CW series The Flash has cast Peyton List in the role of Lisa Snart, younger sister of Leonard "Captain Cold" Snart, better known as the DC Comics Rogue named (Golden) Glider.  Lisa Snart will first appear in "Rogue Time," the sixteenth episode of the series airing sometime early next year.

The article reveals that "while Leonard is cold and calculating, Lisa is a wild child and anxious to prove to her older brother she’s got what it takes to be in his criminal gang.  She is sly, charming, and even a little sadistic.  She's also not afraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants, which will put her on a collision course with S.T.A.R. Labs employee and friend of The Flash -- Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes)."

List is no stranger to comic book shows, having played Lois Lane's young sister Lucy in two episodes of the WB/CW series Smallville.  She also starred as Cara Coburn in the CW's remake of The Tomorrow People with Robbie Amell, who currently appears on The Flash as Ronnie "Firestorm" Raymond.  In addition, List has had notable roles such as Jane Siegel Sterling on AMC's Mad Men and on 90210 and FlashForward.

Created in 1977's The Flash (vol.1)#250 by Cary Bates and Irv Novick, Lisa Snart was originally a figure skater helped by secret coach and lover, Roscoe Dillon, another Flash Rogue known as The Top.  After The Top died from complications while battling The Flash, Lisa swore revenge, developed ice skates that created ice and allowed her to skate on air, and took on the alias of The Golden Glider.

Often joining forces with her brother Captain Cold, the Golden Glider became a member of the Rogues until she was killed by a later partner named Chillblaine.  In the current New 52 continuity, Lisa is once again alive, but was placed in a comatose state after suffering from a brain tumor.  After being caught in the blast from a Genome Recorder that gave the Rogues metahuman abilities, Lisa became able to move once again through astral projection.  Now calling herself simply "Glider," Lisa serves as the leader of the Rogues in Captain Cold's absence.

This will be the first time the character has been adapted for television.

The Flash returns to The CW on January 20, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

DANGEROUS HABITS Episode 08: "The Saint of Last Resorts" is Up!

"Lamashtu enjoys babies for their nutritional value."

My friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with the next episode of Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast!

We give our thoughts on "The Saint of Last Resorts," the eighth episode and midseason finale of Constantine, including things like the mysterious millhouse, Zed making bad decisions, the Resurrection Crusade, proper self-defense using magical artifacts, Sister Anne-Marie numerous mental issues, Lamashtu, La Brujeria, Pazuzu and Invunches, a special guest appearance by Karen's nighttime alarm, sudden cravings for KFC, the awesomeness of Eva Green in Penny Dreadful, our new show Married with Invunches, Hellblazer switching from DC Comics to VERTIGO, more rants about not having all of the central cast in the same episode, some other podcast called Next Stop Everywhere, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and 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, we have our Dangerous Habits show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @DangerousHabit5 because some bloody arse already claimed @DangerousHabits.

Be sure to share these with all of your friends, enemies, demons, angels, sorcerers, ghosts, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special. Oh, and send us your thoughts about the show or the podcast via Twitter and Facebook. As soon as we get some more, we'll be reading them on the podcast.

Sadly, Constantine won't be back until January 9, 2015, but until then, keep watching the old episodes and hashtagging #SaveConstantine on Facebook and Twitter, then keep checking iTunes, Libsyn and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Constantine review!

Charles Discusses ARROW & THE FLASH on JKL Media!

As you might recall, the lovely folks at JKL Media Podcast were kind enough to invite yours truly over for a lively discussion of four DC Comics television shows currently on the air -- Constantine, Gotham, Arrow and The Flash.  The discussion ended up being so lively, in fact, that it needed to be split into two parts and Part Two has now been posted!

Gathering together from the cosmic reaches of the universe, the four of us talk about how the Green Arrow comic book is mirroring the Arrow TV series, Karen's brutal smackdown of Thea Queen, the redemption of Brandon Routh, Oliver Queen being a playa, calling my shot about Thea Queen switching to the Dark Side weeks before the Arrow midseason finale aired, why Barry and Iris works better than Barry and Felicity, calling my shot about Harrison Wells being the Reverse-Flash weeks before The Flash midseason finale, the upcoming Marvel Netflix shows, which superhero we would pick as a spinoff series, and more!

Once again, my many thanks to Jesse Jackson, Karen Lindsay and Lou Sytsma for providing me an outlet to finally talk about these shows, and for being such fun and wonderful people. If you'd like to check out "DC Universe TV Part Two," you can listen to it HERE in glorious MP3 goodness. And if you'd like to hear more JKL Media, check out their previous episodes right HERE.