Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SUPERGIRL Casts Frederick Schmidt as Metallo

The Man with the Kryptonite Heart has been found.

Entertainment Weekly revealed yesterday that the CW series Supergirl has cast Frederick Schmidt as John Corben, better known to DC Comics fans as the supervillain Metallo. Metallo will appear in at least two episodes, starting with the Season 2 premiere.

According to the article, Metallo is described as "When international assassin John Corben is badly injured after taking on both Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), he is reborn by a shadow organization into the Kryptonite-powered supervillain Metallo."

Schmidt is a little-known actor who has appeared in the films Starred Up, Snow in Paradise, Second Coming, Alleycats, Patient Zero, Brimstone, The Marker, and Kaleidoscope.

Created in 1959 by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino, Metallo first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #252 as a journalist (and secretly a thief and murderer) who had just committed what he thought was the perfect murder.  While fleeing from the scene of the crime, Corben suffered a near-fatal accident that mangled his body beyond repair.  An elderly scientist, Professor Vale, happened to come upon Corben, and used his scientific skill to transfer Corben's brain into a robotic body covered by a fleshlike artificial skin.  Corben discovered that his power source, a capsule of uranium, would only last a day, but was told by Vale that kryptonite would provide him an indefinite power supply

After obtaining a job with the Daily Planet, Corben briefly tried to romance Lois Lane, while deciding that he would use his powers to eliminate Superman, the one person who might expose his criminal deeds.  After setting a kryptonite death-trap for Superman, Corben stole what he thought was another sample of kryptonite from a museum as a new power supply, not knowing it was in reality a fake prop.  This mistake caused him to die, just as he was about to kill Lois Lane for discovering that he was not Superman (after pretending to be him, using his super-strength and invulnerability as a cyborg).  Superman eventually escaped from the kryptonite trap, and arrived just after Metallo (John Corben) died.

In 1987, the character was revamped by John Byrne in Superman (vol.2) #1 as a small-time con man who was fatally injured in a car crash, but to his luck, Professor Emmet Vale happened to pass by.  Professor Vale was a pioneer in robotics and erroneously believed that Superman was the first in a wave of superpowered Kryptonian invaders after recovering Superman's ship and mistranslating Jor-El's message to his son.  Vale transplanted Corben's brain into a robotic alloy body, which was powered by a two-pound chunk of kryptonite, and instructed him to kill Superman.  Metallo, now Corben's new moniker, thanked Vale by snapping his neck and killing him.  Despite ignoring Vale's commands, Metallo came into conflict with Superman on various occasions, largely due to his continued activities as a petty thug.  Metallo later lost his kryptonite heart to Lex Luthor, though back-up life support systems allowed Metallo to reactivate himself and escape.

The character was revamped again by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in 2009's Superman: Secret Origin, as Sgt. John Corben, a soldier who served under Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane.  General Lane attempted to push his daughter, Lois into a relationship with Corben, but after one date, she did not return his feelings for her.  Corben signed up for a military option to neutralize Superman, with the help of a powersuit built by LexCorp. However, in his first encounter with Superman, a stray bullet hit the kryptonite rock inside the suit, leading to a disastrous energy cascade within the battlesuit which almost killed Corben.  But through the efforts of Lex Luthor and a crack team of scientists, Corben survived, part-man, part-machine, with the kryptonite rock functioning as his new heart. Driven by a hatred for this alien invader, he became the villain known as Metallo.  Metallo subsequently attacked Superman again, now wearing a green, orange and red armor in a rampage which endangered not only the citizens of Metropolis, but his own fellow soldiers. He was defeated by Superman once more.

As part of the rebooted The New 52 continuity, Grant Morrison and Rags Morales revamped Metallo yet again, placing John Corben is under the command of General Lane and implied that Corben and Lois once had a relationship.  When Superman escaped from the military's custody, Corben enlisted in a military project (co-opted by Lex Luthor, General Lane, and young scientist Doctor John Henry Irons to go against Superman) called "Project Steel Soldier"  Corben donned the "Metal 0" suit with scientists, mostly Irons, trying to help him, and when robotic needles were inserted into his head, Metallo took control and Corben's heart burst.  Although the attack on Superman succeeded, Metallo was revealed to have been subverted by Brainiac as part of his own plans, and his rampage was defeated when Doctor Irons used an armored suit of his own to fight Corben and upload a computer virus that he designed in the event of such a situation.  After escaping and still under Brainiac's control, Corben continued to fight Superman until Superman was able to reason with Metallo to fight Brainiac's influence due to his feelings for Lois Lane.  He was later given a Kryptonite heart to keep him alive since it was the only energy compatible with his cybernetics.

Schmidt will be the fourth actor to portray Metallo in live-action, after Michael Callan on Superboy, Scott Valentine on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Brian Austin Green on Smallville.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Malcolm McDowell), Justice League (voiced by Corey Burton), The Batman (voiced by Lex Lang), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (voiced by John C. McGinley), and Justice League: Doom (voiced by Paul Blackthorne).

Supergirl returns for Season 2 on The CW Monday, October 10th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LEGION to Explore New Stories but Respect Source Material

We'll see how far the "respect" goes.

Legion, an upcoming FX series based on the Marvel Comics character, is currently in production for its initial season of eight episodes and will be a standalone series relating to Fox's X-Men film franchise.  The series centers around David Haller, a man diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, who has struggled with mental illness since he was a teenager.  But everything changes when he meets the girl of his dreams—a fellow patient—and is confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.

In a new Q&A interview with IGN, Legion executive producer Noah Hawley is asked about the challenge of overcoming fan skepticism towards the series, if David Haller is aware there are other mutants in the world, and the decision to cast star Dan Stevens in the role. Here are the highlights...

IGN: It’s very easy to be cynical when you see how many TV shows are coming that are based on familiar properties. But then people go, “But Hannibal was great! And Fargo is great!” You’re doing Fargo and now you’re doing a TV show based on a comic book - albeit one that doesn’t have a hugely recognizable name. But still, do you embrace the challenge of overcoming fan cynicism going in, whether it’s Coen Bros. fans or Marvel Comics fans?

Noah Hawley: Yeah, I mean, it was such a bad idea to do Fargo as a show that it was sort of liberating! I look at the challenge with Legion as the same challenge, which was here’s this iconic world - the Marvel world, the comics, and the X-Men world. And as with Fargo, my job was not to remake the movie, to sort of retell a story that had already been told, but to try to tell a different story with the same effect, the same impact. So, you know what was important to me was to treat the material with the utmost respect, and yet at a certain point as a writer, you have to tell your own story. So my approach to the Legion material is similar, which is it’s about a respect for the world, but it’s not about telling stories in that world that the reader is familiar with. It’s about taking that character and really exploring, almost on an existential level, what it’s like… What a television show can do that a movie can’t do is it’s not just a plot delivery device. It’s not about action, it’s about character and theme and as we see in Fargo, you can really play with structure and you can deconstruct the story in a big way. Whereas in a two-hour movie, it’s ‘What’s the problem? Where’s the bad guy? Let’s go get him!’

So, I would be remiss, I feel like, if I didn’t deconstruct this, if I didn’t really try to do something for the genre that feels personal and interesting to me and to really explore if you have a character who for his whole life has believed that he’s schizophrenic, and is now starting to think that he may have these powers, but he doesn’t know and he doesn’t know what’s real – well, that’s the experience the audience should have. To be put into his world is to enter something that’s by definition surreal, because he’s hearing things, he’s seeing things… Are these things real or not real? What can you trust that you’re seeing? And he’s stuck in this moment until he meets a girl [Syd, played by Fargo's Rachel Keller] and he falls in love and now he’s got something to hope for and that’s the catalyst that pushes everything forward. And, you know, I can never predict the reaction to the work. With Fargo, I could have done my best work and the reaction could have been the complete opposite. I have no control over that, all I can do is tell the best story that I can tell.

IGN: You’ve mentioned that Legion is not set in the X-Men movie universe, where the world at large knows about mutants. Does David have any inkling that there’s other people out there that might have abilities? Or to him is it just, “I don’t know of anything like this, so there’s no reason for me to believe that this is genuine?”

Hawley: Yeah, part of the discovery is that he’s not alone – assuming that this is real and that he’s not alone. But again, there’s the mental illness factor of it. That sense that you can never be completely sure. But because the love story is so tied into this discovery – that he’s not sick, he’s got powers – we the audience really find ourselves hoping that that’s true. Because the other aspect of this which is important, I think, to explore is that mental illness is not… It’s a tragic condition that people have, and so I don’t want to use it for entertainment purposes. There really is a sense, and you’ll see when you see it, that once upon a time he was a little boy who had his whole life ahead of him, and then he began to hear voices and to see things, and ended up institutionalized, and there’s a tragedy, a tragic nature to that. So if we can ground that for the audience, then the idea that he’s fallen in love and that he’s not ill, there’s a hope to that that the audience is gonna grab onto. But never forgetting we feel that hope, because the alternative is loss.

IGN: What’s your visual inspiration with Legion? Bill Sienkiewicz’s art for New Mutants [the comic that introduced Legion] was so amazing and distinctive, but it seems unlikely you could do literal translation of that.

Hawley: It has its own visual aesthetic to it, and part of that is being a story kind of out of time and out of place. And the design of a show has to have its own internal logic. You know, you mentioned Hannibal earlier and that show is a great example of something that had this almost fetishistic beauty to everything that you saw, whether it was food or violence. Once we started going down a path of a sort of, for whatever reason, mid-60s British design aesthetic, you have to follow that down the rabbit hole. But those visuals are really powerful. I think that’s why the comics resonate so much, and why those characters are so easy to reinvent by new artists, because suddenly it looks different – it looks completely different. When Frank Miller comes in, that’s a different Batman, you know?

IGN: I’ve seen some Downton Abbey, but I really know Dan from The Guest, which I loved. When he was cast, I was surprised but excited by the idea of him playing this role. What was it that drew Dan to you here?

Hawley: Dan is really accessible. He’s one of those people that is transparent in the best way to an audience. And yet he’s got the ability to close off, and as you saw in The Guest, he can be a very enigmatic character at the same time. But I think what you need in a leading man is their real skill is that you’re able to see what goes on behind their eyes. I’m not a big fan of having characters say their truths out loud, so you have to show them. But still, the audience has to know what’s going on in his head, and Dan is great for that. He’s also a great romantic lead, which I think we’ve seen, and he has a sense of humor, which is important to me. I did ask him, “Are you like a clumsy guy?” Because any version of this show, there’s gonna be some action, there’s gonna be some of that stuff. And I knew from The Guest that he was a physically capable guy but we definitely put him through his paces and he’s great.

Legion is expected to debut on FX sometime in early 2017.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Ben Affleck Teases Deathstroke in BATMAN Solo Film

Is Deathstroke coming to the big screen?  Ben Affleck certainly wants us to think so.

Current Batman actor Ben Affleck lit up his official Twitter account earlier today by posting a brief video of what appears to be DC Comics supervillain Deathstroke, hinting that the character will appear in an upcoming DC Extended Universe movie.

The 27-second video shown below was provided without comment by Affleck, and shows Deathstroke simply stepping forward and menacing the camera to give fans a decent look.

*** UPDATE *** TheWrap is reporting that Deathstroke will appear in the upcoming Batman solo movie directed by Affleck, not in Justice League.

Back in February, Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed that "The character of Slade Wilson is currently tied up in another DC project" and was unlikely to return to Arrow.  It now appears that this project is Justice League.

Created in 1980 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Deathstroke first appeared in The New Teen Titans (vol.1) #2 as Slade Wilson, a former United States Army officer who was chosen for a secret Army experiment, which gave him with enhanced physical powers in an attempt to create metahuman super soldiers for the U.S. military.  Deathstroke became a mercenary soon after the experiment, when he defied orders and rescued his friend Wintergreen, who was sent on a suicide mission by a commanding officer with a grudge. However, Slade kept this career secret from his family, even though his wife was an expert military combat instructor.

A criminal named the Jackal took his younger son Joseph Wilson hostage to force Slade to divulge the name of a client who had hired him as an assassin.  Slade refused, claiming it was against his personal honor code.  He attacked and killed the kidnappers at the rendezvous.  Unfortunately, Joseph's throat was slashed by one of the criminals before Slade could prevent it, destroying Joseph's vocal cords and rendering him mute.  After taking Joseph to the hospital, his wife Adeline Wilson was enraged at his endangerment of her son and tried to kill Slade by shooting him, but only managed to destroy his right eye. Afterward, his confidence in his physical abilities was such that he made no secret of his impaired vision, marked by his mask which has a black, featureless half covering his lost eye. Without his mask, Slade wears an eye-patch.

Deathstroke has a long history as an enemy of the Teen Titans, beginning when his other son Grant received superhuman enhancements from the H.I.V.E., dubbed himself Ravager, and accepted a contract from them to kill or capture the Teen Titans.  However, Grant's enhancements proved fatal, and Slade agreed to complete the contract.  His first mission involved stealing the element Promethium from S.T.A.R. Labs and selling it as the ultimate weapon.  He then kidnapped the Titans and placed them in the path of a Promethium bomb to test his device for the buyers.  The Titans escaped and pursued Deathstroke, but he severely wounded Beast Boy in his escape.  This would be the start to a lasting animosity between the two.

Deathstroke next appeared in New York, holding officials hostage in order to lure the Titans into confronting him. Terra, a new ally of the Titans, and Beast Boy were the only ones available to answer the call.  Terra knocked Beast Boy out and fought Deathstroke single-handedly in an effort to prove herself worthy of being a Titan.  Deathstroke escaped as the other Titans arrived, but by then, Terra had proven herself and the team offered her membership.  Later that night, it was revealed that Terra and Deathstroke had conspired to fake the fight in a plot to infiltrate the team.  Since then, Deathstroke has had a number of encounters with other heroes and villains in the DC Universe.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

THE WALKING DEAD Was Almost an NBC Procedural without Zombies

If you needed more proof that NBC has no clue about comic book TV shows, this might be the smoking gun.

Variety revealed yesterday that AMC's hit series The Walking Dead was almost an NBC series, and would've been far removed from the zombie drama we know and love.

Speaking at a masterclass at the Edinburgh International TV Festival in Scotland, Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd remarked that before the show was picked up by AMC for domestic and Fox for international, show creator Frank Darabont originally presented the first version of the script to NBC, with whom he had an overall deal.

According to Gale, NBC asked "Do there have to be zombies [in it]" and then asked Darabont if the series could be a crime procedural, where the two main protagonists would "solve a zombie crime of the week."

The Walking Dead: Special Victims Unit, anyone?

NBC, of course, is the same network that buried the DC Comics/VERTIGO-based series Constantine in a Friday Night Death Slot at 10 p.m. EST, where the show was eventually cancelled after just 13 episodes, even with a passionate fan following.  In addition, the DC Comics-based sitcom Powerless was picked up by NBC for the upcoming fall season, but has yet to be scheduled on the network and also recently lost showrunner Ben Queen.

Thankfully, however, The Walking Dead continues to thrive on AMC, having ended it's sixth season.  Hurd also remarked during the masterclass that the humans are at the center of the drama, with people new to the show surprised that "it’s not about the zombies, it’s about the humans."

In addition, Hurd said the drama's focus is on the evolution of the characters.  "What attracted me to [Robert Kirkman’s] comic-book series is that it is a story about characters on a journey into this new world, and constantly trying to figure out not only how to survive but what’s important to them, and some characters give up, some characters commit suicide, and they are constantly evolving, they are constantly meeting new characters. They have to determine friend or foe, and very quickly we realize that it is not the zombies you have to be afraid of, it’s the other humans."

The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its seventh season on Sunday, October 23rd at 9 p.m. EST.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

NEW MUTANTS Reveals Team Roster & New Screenwriters

Self is excited to see Warlock on the big screen!

The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that the upcoming X-Men spinoff film New Mutants has brought in Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the writing team behind YA adaptations The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular Now.  In May 2015, director Josh Boone was said to be co-writing the film with Knate Gwaltney, but that appears to have changed.

Neustadter and Weber have also written such films 500 Days of Summer, The Pink Panther 2, Paper Towns, Me Before You, and The Masterpiece.

According to the article, the movie "will focus on the angst-driven adventures of a diverse group of teens that include Native American Danielle Moonstar, Scots girl Wolfsbane, Brazilian ladies man Sunspot, a Kentuckian code-named Cannonball, and Russian teen Magik.  Also in the mix will be an alien named Warlock."

For those not familiar with the Marvel Comics characters, here's a brief rundown of the team:
  • Cannonball (Samuel Guthrie), a mild-mannered Kentuckian and eventual co-leader, who becomes nigh-invulnerable when rocketing through the air.
  • Mirage (Danielle Moonstar, originally codenamed Psyche), a Cheyenne and eventual co-leader, who can create visual empathic three-dimensional illusions.
  • Sunspot (Roberto da Costa), a Brazilian who gained superhuman strength fueled by sunlight and can store solar energy in his body to use his super strength during the night.
  • Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), a Scot who can transform into a wolf-like creature.
  • Magik (Illyana Rasputin), sister of the Russian X-Man Colossus, an accomplished mystic who can open "teleportation discs" allowing travel to Limbo and from there, any point on Earth.
  • Warlock, an extraterrestrial of the techno-organic race known as the Technarchy.

Created in 1982 by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the New Mutants first appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 as another team of young mutants brought together until the supervision of Professor X while the X-Men were off in space fighting the Brood. After the group received their own monthly series from Claremont and McLeod, the book shifted to a darker tone with the arrival of artist Bill Sienkiewicz.  In addition to very serious depictions of teenage angst and growing pains, the series featured themes of mysticism and psychic boundaries.  The stories also relied on wilder, more far-fetched premises than were typical of X-Men at the time. Locales included demonic dimensions, alternate futures, and an ancient Roman civilization hidden within the Amazon rainforest.  The New Mutants also encountered a secret society called the Hellfire Club, and began a rivalry with their young apprentices, the Hellions.

Sunspot has already appeared in live-action, played by Adan Canto in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past.

New Mutants will most likely arrive in theaters sometime in late 2017.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

THE FANDOM ZONE 073: "Close to Home" is Up!

"It's not every day you get to punch the devil in the face."
– Reverend Anderson to Sheriff Giles, Outcast: "Close to Home"

You guessed it, Karen and I are back with a new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Outcast 1x09 -- "Close to Home"
Wynonna Earp 1x09 -- "Bury Me with My Guns On"

This time, we talk about things like wacky morning radio DJ voices, a slight correction on the first of the original Star Wars cast to die, not making the finalists for the Parsec Award, Megan's downward spiral, Megan's Twin Peaks season finale moment, the lives of everyone around Kyle going right down the crapper, Allison checking into a psychiatric hospital, Archer getting caught in a rope trap, wondering why Reverend Anderson keeps doing really dumb things, getting some demon action while being surrounded by Auton mannequins, the Revmobile, the Stone Witch's resurrection fail, Wynonna being hotter than Waverly, Doc Holliday's tingling Stone Witch Sense, salt being Witch Kryptonite, Canadian snow supposedly looking like the Salt Flats, Waverly finally making a move on Officer Haught, some feedback from the mysterious Xub Xerox, Karen's book-reading progress, some comics on TV news, bonus stuff at the end of the episode, and more!

You can now check out episodes of The Fandom Zone using...

Google Play Music
 -- HERE 
iTunes -- HERE
Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Facebook -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Twitter -- @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 the midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, the Season 1 finale of Outcast, and Episode 10 of Wynonna Earpright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

THE FLASH Casts Todd Lasance as The Rival

Savitar?  Nope, try again...

TVLine reported late yesterday that The CW series The Flash has cast Todd Lasance as DC Comics supervillain The Rival.  Several news sites originally reported that Lasance was playing a different villain, Savitar, until this was debunked by Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti on his official Twitter account.

The Rival will be a recurring character who first appears in the Season 3 premiere, "Flashpoint."

Lasance, 31, is an Australian actor probably best known as Julius Caesar on Spartacus: War of the Damned and as Julian on The Vampire Diaries.  In addition, he's appeared on episodes of Home and Away, McLeod's Daughters, Rescue: Special Ops, and ANZAC Girls.

Created in 1949 by John Broome and Joe Kubert, The Rival first appeared in Flash Comics #104 as Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, who recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, which he called "Velocity 9".  Clariss had heard the Flash's girlfriend, Joan Williams, talking about how the Flash gave his speed to another student, which helped him develop the formula.  Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss became a criminal.  He wore a darker version of Flash's outfit and gave it to several other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula proved to be temporary, however, and he was defeated and jailed.

Through unexplained methods, Clariss regained the power of super speed.  During a second battle with the Flash, Clariss reached light speed and vanished into the Speed Force.  Following the reformation of the Justice Society of America fifty years later, Johnny Sorrow retrieved Clariss from the Speed Force and invited him to join the new Injustice Society in 2000's JSA #16. The Rival, driven insane by his time in the Speed Force, raced across the country on a super-speed killing spree.  The Flash realized that the Rival's path across the country spelled out Clariss' name, and that the final murder would be Jay's wife, Joan Garrick.  The Flash later absorbed the Rival's speed before he could kill Joan.

The Rival eventually returned, posing as Joan's doctor.  Now pure speed energy, he possessed Jay's fellow Golden Age speedster Max Mercury.  After battling Jay and Impulse, the Rival escaped via time travel to an unknown destination, still in possession of Mercury's body.  In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max Mercury escaped from the Speed Force and was rejuvenated by Wally West's energy, allowing him to return to Earth in a new corporeal body. Following the events of Flashpoint that altered the timeline, it's unclear what happened to the Rival and Max Mercury's original body.

The Flash Season 3 premieres October 4th on The CW at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Friday, August 19, 2016

THE FLASH Casts Joey King as Magenta

This latest Rogue has one hell of a magnetic personality.

ComicBook.com has revealed that the CW series The Flash has cast Joey King as Frances "Frankie" Kane, better known to DC Comics fans as the superhero-turned-supervillain Magenta.

According to the article, Magenta will appear in the third episode of Season 3 and is "a metahuman with the ability to control metal...but her powers come with a dangerous side-effect, causing her villainous alter ego known as Magenta to emerge."

King, 17, is best known as Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus and as the young Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises.  She's also appeared in the films Independence Day: Resurgence, Stonewall, The Sound and the Fury, White House Down, Oz the Great and Powerful, Battle: Los Angeles, and Quarantine.  In addition, she's appeared on episodes of Fargo, American Dad!, New Girl, Ghost Whisperer, Medium, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Entourage, Jericho, and Malcolm in the Middle.

Created in 1982 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Frances Kane was the only survivor of a car crash that killed her father and brother.  Her mother blamed her for their deaths, believing her to be possessed by the devil.  It didn’t help that things had started to fly around in the house with Frances as the focal point.  She sought help from longtime friend Wally West, whom she had already guessed was Kid Flash, and Wally brought the Teen Titans in on the case.  Her mother never forgave her, even though it turned out Doctor Polaris was using her latent magnetic abilities to escape from imprisonment.

Frances dated Wally for some time, but was never comfortable with her powers.  She finally left Wally, feeling too pressured to be part of his life as a superhero, and went to S.T.A.R. Labs to deal with her powers.  There, she was treated by an unscrupulous doctor who created a second, lethal personality called Magenta, who could be triggered with a code word.

An evil form of former Titan Raven kidnapped Frances and implanted a portion of her demon father Trigon’s soul into Frances, bringing her into the world of genuine evil. Trigon was eventually defeated separately by the Titans, but his influence left Frances still unstable, and still blaming Wally (now known as The Flash) for not letting her be normal. She later fell in with the Cicada cult, a group that believed that the Flash was saving lives fated to die so that they could take them. She helped the cult capture the Flash, then later joined the New Rogues Gallery.  Her two personalities fought for dominance, and she finally turned on the Rogues—particularly on Girder, who wouldn’t stop harassing her.

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 3 on October 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Casts Zendaya as Mary Jane Watson

Is Peter Parker about to hit the jackpot?

TheWrap is reporting that the upcoming Jon Watts film Spider-Man: Homecoming has cast Zendaya as Spider-Man's best friend, love interest and occasional wife Mary Jane Watson.  Zendaya's involvement with the film was first revealed in March, although she was originally reported to be playing a new character named Michelle.

TheWrap cited "two individuals with knowledge of the project" as sources confirming Zendaya's actual character, with "At least one recent draft of the script has Zendaya’s character dropping several clues to her identity as Mary Jane."

Zendaya joins Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, and Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

Zendaya (full name Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman), 19, is an actress, singer and dancer best known as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up.  She also appeared in the TV movies Zapped and Frenemies, Dancing with the Stars, and episodes of A.N.T. Farm and PrankStars.

Created in 1966 by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr., Mary Jane Watson was first mentioned in 1964's The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #15 but didn't fully appear until #42 two years later.  The character was introduced as a running joke about Peter dodging his Aunt May's attempts to set him up with "that nice Watson girl next door", whom Peter had not yet met and assumed would not be his type, since his aunt liked her.  Peter finally met her, and was stunned by her beauty as she spoke the now-famous line: "Face it, Tiger...you just hit the jackpot!"

Following the death of Peter's girlfriend Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane and Peter become very close friends.  Eventually, upon realizing the feelings that they share for one another, they decided to take their relationship to the next level.  Their relationship had a few initial hurdles, such as M.J.'s hot temper and Peter's activities as Spider-Man.  Despite loving Peter, Mary Jane didn't want to be tied down, and when she allowed the relationship to progress too far, she was left with a difficult decision when Peter proposed to her.  After taking a short time to consider, she turned him down.  After a series of traumatic experiences involving Peter's absences and his costumed alter ego endangering his Aunt May, an emotionally drained Mary Jane left New York for several months.

In the days following Ned Leeds' murder at the hands of the Foreigner, Mary Jane returned to Peter, presumably to patch things up, but Peter surprised her with a second proposal of marriage, which Mary Jane again turned down.  She returned to her family to settle old debts with her father, with Peter following her.  After aiding her sister in having her crooked father arrested, and helping Peter against a Spider-Slayer, Mary Jane had an epiphany on their relationship and agreed to become Peter's wife.  The two were married in 1987's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21.

In 2007, the marriage was negated, per the directive of Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, in the controversial "One More Day" storyline.  Peter was forced to decide whether he would accept Mephisto's offer to save Aunt May in return for wiping the knowledge and memory of Peter and Mary Jane's life together as husband and wife from the face of reality.  This would leave only a single, subconscious piece of their souls to remember, allowing Mephisto to feast on the pain exhibited by those vestiges for eternity.  Mary Jane accepted Mephisto's offer, but only with the caveat that Mephisto promised to restore Spider-Man's secret identity that was revealed during the events of Civil War.  She also asked to put his life back as it was, for a chance at happiness.  Mephisto accepted these terms, and in the revised timeline, which began at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #545, and was further explained in the following issues, Mary Jane and Peter were never married, but instead "dated seriously for years."

Zendaya will be the third actress to portray Mary Jane Watson in live-action, after Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, and Shailene Woodley in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, although Woodley's scenes were cut from the film.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including 1967's Spider-Man (voiced by Peg Dixon), Spider-Man: The Animated Series (voiced by Sara Ballantine), Spider-Man Unlimited (voiced by Jennifer Hale), Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (voiced by Lisa Loeb), The Spectacular Spider-Man (voiced by Vanessa Marshall), and Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Tara Strong).

Spider-Man: Homecoming is currently scheduled to be released in theaters on July 7, 2017.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ARROW Casts Wil Traval as The Human Target

The Human Target is getting a third Chance on the small screen.

KSiteTV has revealed that the CW series Arrow has cast Wil Traval as Christopher Chance, better known to DC Comics fans as The Human Target.  The article states that the character will appear in "Human Target," the fifth episode of the show's fifth season.

The official description for The Human Target states the character will be "a professional bodyguard and master of disguise who assumes the identities of those targeted by assassins. His latest client: Mayor Oliver Queen."

Traval, 36, is an Australian actor probably best known as Will Simpson/Nuke on the Netflix series Jessica Jones.  He's also appeared on episodes of Once Upon a Time, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Rizzoli and Isles, The Inbetweeners, Dexter, Leverage, and All Saints.

Created in 1972 by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino, The Human Target first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #419 as Christopher Chance, a private detective and bodyguard for hire.  Master of disguise and all manners of combat training, he was nearly unmatched in skill. Chance would assume the identity of his clients and personally handle any danger when they believed their life was being threatened.

Chance's father Philip was murdered by a professional killer after he owed money to Amos Sharkey, a local loan shark, and was unable to pay.  To make an example of him, a hitman named Dancer was sent to murder the man late one night.  Although Chris tried to defend his father, he was brushed aside and the gunman fired.  After the assailant was scared off by police sirens, his dad told him to make something of himself like he had never been able to, before passing away.  That day onward, Christopher Chance found himself unable to feel any fear.  He made a personal vow to never again let anyone else suffer the indignity and fear that his father had if he could do something about it.  He spent years obsessively studying martial arts techniques and weaponry, training to become a top athlete.  Then he began his own private business where people could hire him to impersonate them, and put his own life into danger in place of theirs. 

Traval will be the third actor to portray the character in live action, after Rick Springfield in the 1992 Human Target TV series that aired on ABC and Mark Valley in the 2010-11 Human Target TV series that aired on Fox.  

Arrow returns to The CW for Season 5 on October 5th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

THE FLASH Casts Ashley Rickards as The Top

I wonder if she listens to the band Dead or Alive...

E! Online is reporting that the CW series The Flash has cast Ashley Rickards as Rosalind "Rosa" Dillon, a genderbent version of Roscoe Dillon, better known to DC Comics fans as the supervillain The Top.

According to the article, The Top "has the power to make people's heads spin.  She's the Bonnie to Mirror Master's Clyde and one of the most dangerous members of the gallery of Rogues."

Rickards, 24, is best known as Jenna Hamilton on the MTV dramedy series Awkward.  In addition, she's appeared in the movie Behaving Badly, and on episodes of American Horror Story: Murder House, Entourage, One Tree Hill, Ugly Betty, Zoey 101, CSI: NY, and Everybody Hates Chris.

The Top will debut in the fourth episode of the show's third season, which will also be an "an origin story of sorts" for The Mirror Master and feature the return of Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold.

"It's kind of the origin of Mirror Master...We're really excited," said executive producer Aaron Helbing.  

Added executive producer Todd Helbing, "It's the origin story of him, but it's this struggle between Mirror Master and Captain Cold and you get to see who comes out on top."

"We're excited to have Wentworth back because he always brings this amazing presence," said Aaron.

Created in 1961 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, The Top first appeared in The Flash (vol.1) #122 as Roscoe Dillon, a small-time crook who turned his childhood obsession with tops into a criminal persona.  Roscoe taught himself how to spin around fast enough to deflect bullets and produce other semi-useful effects.  The Top soon discovered that the spinning somehow increased his intelligence as well, allowing him to create a variety of trick tops.

He tried to blackmail the world with an Atomic Top that would destroy half the world when it slowed down and imprisoned the Flash inside it, but the Flash vibrated out of it and sent it into space.  His unique gimmick and moderate success in crime soon made him a respected member of the Flash's Rogues Gallery.  He dated Golden Glider, Captain Cold's sister, while coaching her on ice skating.  Eventually, the Top developed immense psionic powers, after years of spinning moved dormant brain cells to the outer areas of his brain, endowing him with mental abilities.

Unfortunately, the newly activated brain cells were destroyed by close proximity to the Flash's superspeed vibrations.  The Top died within days from the injuries sustained by his brain, but not before he planted a series of powerful bombs to destroy Central City as a final revenge.  In addition, he prepared a recording explaining his terminal condition and scheme to spitefully challenge his comrades to attempt to find and defuse the explosives, knowing that The Flash would surely stop at least one of the attempts and doom the city.  Knowing that neither the superhero nor the police would believe them if they tried to warn either of the crisis, the Rogues desperately attempted to find the bombs despite the Flash's unwitting opposition.  Fortunately, the Flash eventually realized the situation and aided the Rogues in stopping the Top's scheme in time.

When Barry Allen's parents were in a car accident, Dillon's spirit was somehow able to take possession of the vacant body of his father, Henry.  Realizing who Barry Allen was, The Top, along with Golden Glider, plotted to kill the Flash and take over his body.  He failed when he tried to take over the Flash's body while he was alive, leaving Henry's spirit to reclaim his body.

In the current The New 52 continuity, The Top appeared as one of the Acolytes of Zoom. This version of the character diid not use the codename of his Pre-New 52 counterpart, however, and also has the ability to control centrifugal force, having created a tornado in his hometown prior to being found by Zoom.

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 3 on October 4th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 063: "Time Reaver" is Up!

"Time-travelers have issues with paperwork."
-- The Tenth Doctor to Donna Noble, Doctor Who: "Time Reaver"

After a final, brutal battle with Skype, we're FINALLY back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  In this episode, we review "Time Reaver," the second Tenth Doctor audio adventure from Big Finish Productions starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like dumping Skype for Zencastr, the problematic writing of Jenny T. Colgan, Terry Molloy as Davros, the TARDIS fluid link story trope, gradually winning over cynical Donna Noble fans, resetting the running theme of something on Donna's back, the Doctor looking for a dangerous place only to find a coffee shop, the nod to "Silence in the Library," my Reverse the Polarity segment, some feedback from Fred Firestine, the insane knowledge of Doctor Who superfans, 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 and feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back soon as Jesse and I review "Death and the Queen," the third Tenth Doctor audio adventure from Big Finish Productions, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

THE FANDOM ZONE 072: "What Lurks Within" is Up!

"You can sit there with your smug self-righteous looks on your faces, or you can open your fuckin' eyes to the devil in your midst."
– Reverend Anderson, Outcast: "What Lurks Within"

That's right, Karen and I are back with a new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Outcast 1x08 -- "What Lurks Within"
Wynonna Earp 1x08 -- "Two-Faced Jack"

This time, we talk about things like the probable return of Jerome on Gotham, Sidney's life before he was possessed, Mr. Herbert from Family Guy, Reverend Anderson being thrown under the bus, wondering why Kyle doesn't say everything is Reverend Anderson's fault, Reverend Anderson being jealous of Kyle, Patricia's son's serious oedipal complex, Outcast finally hitting its stride, why the first rule of Fight Club is not never talking about Fight Club, Wynonna's big Kill Bill Vol. 1 homage, that freaky living autopsy scene, Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" video, Wynonna as the Damsel in Distress, Doc Holliday trying to figure out how to start Agent Dolls' car, Justina finally checking in, paying tribute to the late Kenny Baker, some comics on TV news, 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!  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 9 of Outcast and Episode 9 of Wynonna Earpright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!