Thursday, August 30, 2012


Okay, now we have ourselves a crossover.

After a few issues of introducing Doctor Who to Star Trek: The Next Generation fans and vice versa (as if there aren't plenty of us who follow both already), the central plot to "Assimilation2" is finally engaged.  The Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams are, at last, working with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D to stop the combined universal threat of The Cybermen and their illegitimate Star Trek offspring, The Borg.

Don't worry, there are still a number of indulgent moments for fans of both series to enjoy, starting with the ever-mysterious Doctor meeting the ever-mysterious Guinan in Ten Forward.  It's here that we get full confirmation that the worlds of Doctor Who and Next Gen exist in two separate universes, with Guinan telling the Doctor "You don't belong here.  You shouldn't even be here."  You know, with the same timey-wimey tone she used in the Next Gen classic "Yesterday's Enterprise."  A few pages later, we get the long-awaited scene of the Doctor, Amy and Rory beaming down to a planet using the Enterprise's transporter.  The Doctor remarks the experience is "Marvelous," without even a hint of a "Geronimo!" or even a cheeky nod to Whovians about transmats.

Thankfully, writers Scott Tipton, David Tipton and Tony Lee keep all the characters' voices consistent with their television depictions, apart from the Doctor calling Amy "Pond" a bit too frequently.  The issue's art, however, is more uneven.  Longtime Star Trek comic artist Gordon Purcell pencils this chapter with J.K. Woodward coloring to match the look with the previous three issues.  The resulting product ends up with panels where photo references are obvious and don't quite work with the panels drawn without them in order to convey the story.  It's not a dealbreaker though, thanks to the central plot moving forward and an interesting but not entirely unexpected twist involving the Cybermen's partnership with the Borg.

With four more issues to go, we still need to find out how the Cybermen managed to intermingle the two fictional universes and what their plans for the Borg are.  The cliffhanger with Captain Picard, the former Locutus of Borg, has him going all Team Cybermen and I'm guessing it's going to take more than a hot cup of Earl Grey to settle him down.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ABC Greenlights S.H.I.E.L.D. Pilot by Joss Whedon

Don't yield...Back S.H.I.E.L.D.!

After considerable fan speculation over the upcoming Marvel Comics TV series for ABC, both owned by Disney, Deadline announced today that ABC has ordered a pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D., a live-action series from Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon, Marvel TV and ABC Studios.

The possible series is based on Marvel's espionage and military law-enforcement agency, currently known as the Strategtic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate in the comics and the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division in the Marvel cinematic universe.  The agency first appeared in Strange Tales #135 in 1965 and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The adaptation will be the second made for television, after the 1998 Fox TV movie Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. that starred David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury and was written by Batman movie screenwriter David S. Goyer.  S.H.I.E.L.D. will be written by Whedon, his brother Jed and Jed's wife Maurissa Tancharoen.  Whedon is also set to direct the pilot as long as his schedule permits and production is scheduled to begin immediately, presumably so Whedon can hurry up and start preparing for The Avengers 2 afterward.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Matt Smith Wants Craig from "The Lodger" to be Regular DOCTOR WHO Companion

You would think Craig's son Stormageddon Alfie would be a better companion, but whatever.

While in New York for the United States' premiere of Doctor Who Series Seven, star Matt Smith spoke with Forbes (Forbes?) about the series and his preferred companion for the Doctor.  "I really like James Corden, (who plays the character) Craig Owens.  I’d love him to be a regular.  James is on to Hollywood stardom, I’m afraid.  There’s no way we’d be able to get him." 

Craig debuted in the 2010 episode "The Lodger" and returned last year for "Closing Time," which featured the Cybermen.  On the related subject of male companions not being as popular with fans, Smith remarked, "I don’t see why it makes any difference, but I kind of think people want to tune in to see Doctor and Hot Chick."

Smith was also asked about the show's upcoming 50th anniversary.  "I feel very pleased and privileged to be a part of that year because it’s the biggest year in the show’s history," he said.  "It’s his birthday, so it’s my birthday."  He suggested that the episode may not be in the traditional format.  "It won’t just be a televised event, I think it will be a live event.  The way it’s transmitted on TV will hopefully be an inventive thing, something different."

On the show's future, Smith offered up a few thoughts about how it evolves over the years.  "If you look at the history and heritage of the show, it’s always changed significantly.  It could never be predictable.  It’s got to feel like it’s marking new territory every season…There’s a certain number of Doctors you can have.  I believe it will be twelve regenerations and thirteen Doctors and they’ll have to invent something then to keep it going, because why would we want to stop making it?…It’s a show that isn’t afraid of change, and I embrace that ultimately."

Friday, August 24, 2012

SHERLOCK Teases Series 3 in Three Words

A Sherlock wedding next year?  Looks likely, but will it be Watson's, Holmes' or someone else's?

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, co-creators and showrunners of the BBC series Sherlock, went on Twitter today and teased the three episodes for Series 3, which is currently expected to begin some time around August 2013.  "So," tweeted Moffat.  "The three tease words for the next run of Sherlock...Rat. Wedding. Bow."

Presumably, Series 3 follows the pattern of the previous two seasons by adpating three original Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  If so, the episodes could be adaptations of the stories "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" and "His Last Bow."

"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" involves Holmes receiving two odd letters that make reference to vampires.  Mr. Robert Ferguson, who comes to 221B Baker Street the next morning, has become convinced that his Peruvian wife has been sucking their baby son's blood.  Holmes also mentions a previous case to Watson known as The Giant Rat of Sumatra, referring to it as "a story for which the world is not yet prepared."

"The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" concerns the bride of the fictional Lord Robert St. Simon disappearing on the day of their marriage.  She participates in the wedding, but disappears from the reception.

"His Last Bow" could be a potential TV series finale, since this story is the last chronological tale in Doyle's series.  Set on the eve of World War I, Holmes is at the end of his career, going undercover as an Irish-American informant named Altamont, with Watson posing as his chauffeur, to feed the Germans some thoroughly untrustworthy intelligence.  After the story is over, we learn that Holmes has retired from active detective work.  He spends his days beekeeping in the countryside and writing his definitive work on investigation.

Here's hoping I'm wrong about this being a series finale, though...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ARROW Casts The Huntress for Multi-Episode Arc

Looks like Oliver Queen's love life is about to get complicated.

Entertainment Weekly has reported that DC Comics character Helena Bertinelli, also known as the Post-Crisis version of The Huntress, will be appearing on the upcoming CW series Arrow as a potential love interest for the emerald archer.

24-year-old Australian actress Jessica De Gouw has been cast in the role and the character will feature in a multi-episode story arc beginning around episode six.  The official description for the Huntress says that "Helena is a potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow."

The Helena Bertinelli Huntress debuted in Huntress #1 in 1989, based on the previous Helena Wayne character who was the daughter of DC Comics' original versions of Batman and Catwoman.  De Gouw will be the third actress to play The Huntress in live-action, after Barbara Joyce in the 1979 NBC special Legends of the Superheroes and Ashley Scott in the 13-episode 2002-03 adaptation of DC Comics' Birds of Prey.

While on the subject of Birds of Prey, it seems we now have Black Canary (sort of) and The Huntress together on TV again.  I don't suppose there's any chance of Barbara Gordon making an appearance during this story arc...?

Friday, August 17, 2012

NIGHTWING 101 Sale at DC Comics and ComiXology

All right, Wingnuts...You've been fans and/or stalkers of one Richard "Dick" Grayson for years now, so it's time once again and step up to show your support for your favorite DC Comics character.

Starting today through 11 p.m. EST on Sunday, August 19th, DC Comics and digital comics store ComiXology are offering another of their terrific "101 Sales," this time focusing on classic stories featuring Dick Grayson as Nightwing and his previous identity as Batman's first sidekick/partner, Robin.

There are some must-have Nightwing/Robin comics here, including Robin's first appearance in Detective Comics #38, his evolution from Robin to Nightwing in the definitive New Teen Titans story "The Judas Contract," the first Nightwing mini-series, and dozens of issues from the first Nightwing ongoing series.

Even better, there are a number of great Nightwing comics that have never been collected in hardcovers or trade paperbacks, such as "Batman: Year Three" from Batman #436-439, Nightwing and Starfire's appearance in The Flash #81-83, Flash Plus #1, Secret Origins #13, Teen Titans Spotlight #14 and others.

You can see the full list of selections here and, as always, all titles are priced at 99 cents each...at least until Monday, anyway.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New DOCTOR WHO Companion's Full Name Revealed

The full name of Jenna-Louise Coleman's character on Doctor Who has been revealed.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Eleventh Doctor's new companion will be called Clara Oswin and she will be a computer expert (Melanie Bush, anyone?) that is "feisty and flirty."  Coleman's first line of dialogue to the Doctor is supposedly "Rescue me, boy, and show me the stars" and the Doctor will initially refer to her simply as "Oswin" just as he called exiting companion Amy Pond "Pond."

In the article, actress Karen Gillan discusses Amy Pond's exit in the upcoming episode "The Angels Take Manhattan."  "I didn’t read the scripts because I didn’t want to make it real," she said.  "I think it was a few weeks before I read them.  I had read the rest of the episode just not that bit.  There is so much I am going to miss, especially as we have become good friends now.  I’ll miss all the running down corridors, that is so much fun.  It is such a life-changing experience, I can’t even describe it.  I didn’t even offer Jenna Louise any advice because I want her to have her own version of that and not follow any preconceptions."

Doctor Who is scheduled to return in "Asylum of the Daleks" on September 1, 2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daredevil Movie Rights Reverting Back to Marvel

The Man Without Fear is coming back to Marvel.

After 20th Century Fox had its extension request refused, the studio will have to allow the film rights to the Marvel Comics character Daredevil to revert back to Marvel.  Deadline and Variety are reporting that Fox is unable to have their planned reboot in production before the October 10th rights deadline.

This follows on last week's news that Joe Carnahan was being considered to direct the film reboot for Fox after David Slade left the project for the NBC TV series Hannibal.  Carnahan posted a comment on Twitter yesterday, remarking "I think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids."  He followed that with "We shall see.  Time is NOT on anyone's side."

Daredevil will be the second character reverting back to Marvel since the company's sale to Disney in 2009.  The first was The Punisher, which came from Lionsgate, and leaves Spider-Man (including Venom), The X-Men (including Wolverine), The Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, Elektra and Deadpool as characters unavailable to Marvel Studios until the other film studios currently holding the movie rights are unable to prove that projects are in active development featuring those characters.

Carnahan continued discussing his Daredevil film ideas on Twitter, saying "DD pitch was tremendous and everyone flipped for it.  The clock ticked down at Fox, that's why it went tits up."  He also posted two versions of the sizzle reel video he developed to promote his take on the character, which you can view below in "NC-17" and "PG-13" formats:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Letter: Unedited Writer's Cut

As some of you know, I recently had a letter of comment published in Entertainment Weekly #1220, cover dated August 17, 2012, in response to the issue shown here that gave a long-awaited cover feature to Doctor Who.

Pretty cool, right?  Well, as nifty as it was to see my fan ramblings printed in a widely-circulated entertainment magazine, what you saw wasn't the full letter I sent in.  Even though the letter was already pretty short, it was edited down even further, presumably just for space requirements, so no hard feelings or declared jihads in retaliation, I promise.

Since my letter was unleashed upon the masses, however, my longtime friend Jesse Jackson (No, not that Jesse Jackson, this is the important one) was curious and asked me I would send him the full, unexpurgated, unedited, more rambling version.  So for anyone else who might be equally curious, here's the letter in full with the final printed lines bolded in yellow for the sake of comparison:

Just wanted to pass along my thanks for finally -- finally -- putting [a] Doctor Who on the cover[!] and for the excellent article, "The Doctor is In," by Clark Collis. As a diehard Whovian for almost thirty years, it's been a bit [I find it] surreal to see the quirky British science fiction TV series I used to watch every Saturday afternoon on PBS die and be reborn into mainstream pop culture.

After SyFy's incompetent handling of the 2005 series' first two seasons here in the United States, I was relieved that BBC America took over and properly introduced the world's longest-running science fiction series to America. As The Late, Late Show's Craig Ferguson so eloquently phrased [put] it, Doctor Who is all about the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. What other TV show is better than [can top] that?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Matt Smith Staying with DOCTOR WHO Through 2014

Geronimo!  Five years of the Eleventh Doctor...at least.

The BBC World News is reporting that Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been persuaded to stay with the series through 2014.  As long as there is no series hiatus, this will give Smith a total of five seasons in the role and squashes rumors that his Doctor was going to regenerate in the 50th anniversary episode next year.

Smith commented on plans for 2013, which showrunner Steven Moffat is already working on.  "His first episode sounds great," remarked Smith.  "It hasn’t been written yet but the idea is as brilliant and as mental as you’d expect from Steven.  So there’s a lot to look forward to.  When Steven was going to pitch the next season to me not long ago, he said, 'Are you ready to cry?'"

Concerning the show's 50th anniversary on November 23, 2013, Smith added, "We want to do fifty years — and everyone that’s been associated with the show — justice.  We want to go, 'Look, world, here is Doctor Who.  It’s fifty years old, a science-fiction show, still going and going from strength to strength.'"

For those wondering how Smith's extension as the Eleventh Doctor will stack up against previous Doctors, here's how they rank from longest to shortest run:

     Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor, 1974-1981) -- 7 Seasons

     Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor, 1970-1974) -- 5 Seasons

     Matt Smith (Eleventh Doctor, 2010-2014) -- 5 Seasons

     David Tennant (Tenth Doctor, 2005-2010) -- 3 Seasons + 5 Specials

     William Hartnell (First Doctor, 1963-1966) -- 3 Seasons + 2 Stories

     Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor, 1966-1969) -- 3 Seasons

     Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor, 1981-1984) -- 3 Seasons

     Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor, 1987-1989) -- 3 Seasons

     Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor, 1984-1986) -- 2 Seasons + 1 Story

     Christopher Eccleston (Ninth Doctor, 2005) -- 1 Season

     Paul McGann (Eighth Doctor, 1996) -- 1 TV Movie

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ben Affleck Considered to Direct JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie

What a difference directing a critically-acclaimed movie makes.

Variety has reported that Ben Affleck, director of The Town and former star of Daredevil and Hollywoodland, is under consideration by Warner Bros. to direct a movie adaptation of DC Comics' premier superteam, the Justice League.  Affleck is expected to meet with the studio shortly to discuss the project and is the only prospective director so far that has been sent a copy of the script by Will Beall that was first announced back in June.

The article mentions that Affleck might hesitate taking on the project because it would keep him from directing other films for a few years, but he would still be available as an actor.  He received an offer to star in Greg Bertlanti's science fiction drama Replay, based on a 1987 book by Ken Grimwood, but has yet to accept the role.

Affleck has recently finished directing and starring in Argo, a film about a CIA specialist working to free six Americans during the Iranian revolution, and is currently filming Runner, Runner, which focuses on a businessman caught up in offshore online gaming.  He is also reportedly attempting to get a two-film adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand to the big screen.

If Affleck does direct Justice League, the film probably wouldn't arrive in theaters until sometime in 2015.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fox Insiders Claim Galactus Off Studio Negotiating Table

In this high-stakes poker game between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios/Disney, at what point does somebody go "all in"?

Variety reported earlier today that Fox was engaged in "backroom dealings" with Marvel Studios in the hopes of getting a deadline extension to prevent the film rights to the Marvel Comics character Daredevil from reverting back to Marvel.  The reason, supposedly, was that Fox wants The A-Team director Joe Carnahan to direct "a Frank Miller-esque, hardcore '70s thriller" on Daredevil, although Carnahan has yet to receive an official offer.  In order to get that extension, Variety claimed that Fox would be open to giving characters Galactus and The Silver Surfer, last used in the 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, back to Marvel instead.

Well, guess what...Deadline has now come along with another article citing equally-unnamed Fox "insiders" who say that Galactus isn't on the negotiating table.  They claim that Fox is big on Josh Trank directing a reboot of the Fantastic Four movies and wouldn't want to give up a major FF bad guy/cosmic force like Big G.  Another given reason is that Fox isn't all that excited about rebooting Daredevil, so unless Disney is interested in co-financing Carnahan's take, Fox may go ahead and let the rights revert back to Marvel.

I imagine the real story is buried deep in there somewhere, but if Deadline's sources are more accurate, I personally can't see Disney co-financing a Daredevil reboot if Marvel gets the film rights by Disney doing nothing.  To be continued...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

GAME OF THRONES RPG Returns for Season 2

Fans of the HBO fantasy drama series Game of Thrones, get ready for another four-minute round of retro-gaming.

Last September, the fine comedians at CollegeHumor unleashed this video, a sendup of Game of Thrones done in the style of a classic Nintendo 8-bit role-playing videogame (RPG) that currently has over 500,000 views on YouTube.  Yes, it was wrong on so many levels, but absolutely hilarious if you're able to laugh at certain aspects of the TV series and the original novel by George R.R. Martin it was based upon.

Well, now that Season 2 of the TV series has ended, CollegeHumor has just released "'A Clash of Kings' expansion" for all of us to enjoy.  Just as before, nothing in this Season 2 version is sacred.  We go from Daenerys Targaryen going on and on about her missing dragons, to King's Landing peasants throwing poo at King Joffrey, to the battle of Blackwater, and finally the series' season-ending cliffhanger with poor Samwell Tarly witnessing an army of White Walkers.

Another well done effort.  Feel free to check it out for yourselves below, but keep in mind that it's probably NSFW thanks to the occasional Gratuitous Breast Interlude.

Littlefinger Dance Party!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Second DOCTOR WHO Series Seven Trailer Debuts

Not a good time to be a Dalek, apparently.

Early this morning, the BBC released the latest trailer for Doctor Who Series Seven, which is still showing as returning in Autumn even though some sources believe the premiere date will be August 25, 2012.

Rory Williams finally meets the Daleks.  "So...how much trouble are we in?"  The Eleventh Doctor gives the Daleks some of his best Stonehenge smacktalk.  "You've got me...What are you waiting for?  At long last, here I am!"  "Dinosaurs...on a spaceship!"  The Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.  Times Square in New York.  "Today, I honor the victims first -- His, the Master's, the Daleks'...all the people who've died because of my mercy!"  "See, this is what happens when you travel alone for too long."  Weeping Angel cherub blowing out Rory's match.  "We'll get through this, I promise...Don't be scared."  "Scared? Who's scared? Geronimo."  River Song.  The same location on Alfava Metraxis that the starship Byzantium crashed in "The Time of Angels."  "Who killed all the Daleks?"  "Who do you think...?"

Here you go, fellow Whovians.  Enjoy...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DAMN Good Comics -- HAWKEYE #1

No, no way.  I'm not going to say this book was "on target" or "hit the bullseye" or some other lame archery-related pun.  You can't make me.

What I will say is that after several attempts over the years to produce a Hawkeye series actually worth your valuable time and money, Marvel finally got it right.  The first issue of this post-Avengers movie take on the character features Clint Barton in costume for only two pages, while the rest focuses on what happens all-too-rarely in Hawkeye comics, namely giving Clint a substantive personality.

In "Lucky," writer Matt Fraction reminds us what we loved so much about his run on Immortal Iron Fist and the first few years of Invincible Iron Man.  Once again, we have a classic Marvel hero somewhat down on his luck, with the entire universe seemingly stacked against him, but still forging ahead to Do The Right Thing.  Clint is seriously injured as Hawkeye early on, during some unexplained skirmish, and as soon as he leaves the hospital six weeks later, he's mixed up with Russian "tracksuit mafia" goons threatening to evict his neighbors from their building.

So essentially, Clint is the one looking out for the little guys who can't stand up for themselves, just not in the traditional Robin Hood way that his DC Comics counterpart Green Arrow tends to favor.  No, Clint's way is to try to make the Tracksuit Mafia problem go away with money and when that fails, only then does he step up and physically resolve the issue.  However, a dog that befriends Clint over a slice of pizza also ends up seriously injured in the process, making Clint extremely sympathetic as he becomes determined to save the dog's life.

Reuniting with Fraction is his Immortal Iron Fist artist David Aja, who alters his traditional style somewhat with thicker lines.  The resulting effect resembles David Mazzucchelli's work in Batman: Year One, with colorist Matt Hollingsworth reinforcing this style using a very similar color palette.  That's definitely not a bad thing, mind you, because it complements this gritty New York in August setting nicely.

Longtime Hawkeye fans should absolutely love that the character finally has a series that looks sustainable for the long term.  If this first issue is any indication, Fraction has done some considerable thinking about how he wants to handle Hawkeye and it's going to be highly entertaining to see where he and Aja take the series from here.