Thursday, May 26, 2016

DAMN Good Comics -- DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

THE FANDOM ZONE 061: "Legendary" is Up!


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

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

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CBS Debuts STAR TREK TV Revival Teaser Trailer & Logo


Star Trek on TV is happening, people.

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

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

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

So...something new, then.

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

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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

HARLEY QUINN Movie with DC's Female Characters in Development


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

ABC Cancels AGENT CARTER, Passes on MARVEL'S MOST WANTED


There will be a few less agents on ABC next season.

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed yesterday that ABC has canceled the Marvel Comics series Agent Carter after two seasons and did not pick up the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff series Marvel's Most Wanted.

Agent Carter, which starred Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, reprising her role from various Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, debuted on ABC in January 2015 with 6.91 million viewers but recently finished its second season with just 2.35 million.

Atwell has already landed the lead role in another possible new ABC series, Conviction, which seems likely for a series order.

Marvel's Most Wanted was ordered as a pilot by ABC and set around the characters Mockingbird/Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood), who were written out of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. late in the show's third season.  The show's premise had the two on the run, trying to uncover a conspiracy against them without any help from S.H.I.E.L.D.  This would lead them to form an uneasy alliance with rogue adventurer Dominic Fortune (Delroy Lindo) and Fortune's niece Christina Santos (Fernanda Andrade) in order to survive.  Oded Fehr was also featured in the pilot as a "well-known character" from the comics, who exudes a "villainous charm" and is "a force to be reckoned with" for Morse and Hunter.

It's not known if Morse and Hunter will be written back into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or if the pilot will air as an episode of the show's upcoming fourth season.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

SUPERGIRL Officially Moving to The CW for Season 2


Well, at least we'll get to find out who (or what) was in the Kryptonian pod from the Season 1 cliffhanger.

Deadline has confirmed that the DC Comics television drama Supergirl has officially been picked up by The CW for Season 2, moving the show from its initial home on CBS.  This news follows on a report from one week ago that CBS was in deep negotiation talks with Warner Bros. TV about the show's future.

According to the article, the pickup comes mere hours after the deadline for CBS to make a renewal decision.  The CW pickup reportedly hinged on finding a way to produce a show of such a large scale for the smaller network.  Producing studio Warner Bros. TV already made an early effort to cut costs by planning to move production from Los Angeles to Vancouver in Season 2. This will bring the show together with Greg Berlanti’s other CW superhero drama series Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, all of which are based in Vancouver.

The article also mentions that since Supergirl is based on a DC Comics property, it will remain solely owned by Warner Bros. TV and not a co-production with CBS TV Studios.

The downside of such a move for fans of the show, of course, is the probability of additional budget cuts that could affect supporting characters, special effects, and storylines.

One issue that remains to be seen is how Supergirl will integrate with the other Berlanti shows, after the Supergirl episode "Worlds Finest" established that Supergirl and The Flash existed on separate Earths.  Perhaps a Crisis that brings National City from Earth-CBS to Earth-CW?

Supergirl will return for Season 2 on CBS The CW sometime this fall.

DC Comics Sitcom POWERLESS Gets Series Order from NBC


So, will NBC bury this show with a Friday night death slot like they did Constantine?

Variety revealed yesterday that NBC has picked up the DC Comics comedy Powerless with a series order for the 2016-17 TV season.  The workplace sitcom, which was first announced in the works last August, will star Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, Alan Tudyk as her boss Del, Danny Pudi as Teddy, Christina Kirk as Jackie, and Atlin Mitchell as DC Comics superhero Crimson Fox.  

Ben Queen wrote the pilot for Powerless and will executive produce the series with Michael Patrick Jann, who directed the pilot.  Here's the official logline for the series...

In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It’s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it’s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn’t always require superpowers.


Created in 1989 by Keith Giffen and Bart Sears, Crimson Fox first appeared in Justice League Europe #6 as a French superhero whose identity was shared by identical twins Vivian and Constance D'Aramis.  The twins had superhuman speed and agility and could emit pheromones that stimulated intense sexual attraction in men. Their gloves were equipped with deadly steel talons. 

The sisters ran Revson, a major Parisian perfume company (which may perhaps explain the origin of their pheromone powers).  In order to make their heroic actions easier, they faked Constance's death, so that one of them could operate as Crimson Fox while the other attended business functions.  Vivian D'Aramis met her fate at the hands of Puanteur in Justice League America, while Constance D'Aramis had her throat slit by The Mist in the pages of Starman right before the building she was in was blown up.

Powerless is expected to debut on NBC sometime this fall.

THE FANDOM ZONE 059: "Seven Minutes in Heaven" is Up!


"That's difficult to admit, but...you have a gift, Mr. Castle.  I assumed that the stories that I read in the paper about your attacks on the criminal world were apocryphal.  How could one man be capable of such...violence?  But then I saw it...with my own two eyes.  And when one comes across someone with such talent...with such a gift...well...you don't let that go to waste.  No.  No, you don't."
– Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk to Frank "The Punisher" Castle, Daredevil: "Seven Minutes in Heaven"

That's right, Karen Lindsay and I are here once again with another super-sized episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Fear the Walking Dead 2
x04 -- "Blood in the Streets" 
Gotham 2x19 -- "Azrael"
The Flash 2x20 -- "Rupture"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x19 -- "Failed Experiments"
Arrow 4x20 -- "Genesis"
Legends of Tomorrow 1x14 -- "River of Time"
Daredevil 2x09 -- "Seven Minutes in Heaven"

This time, we talk about things like Karen's professionalism making me look bad, Strand in the Kobayashi Maru scenario, Nick experimenting with walkers instead of drugs, Nick being the Pig Pen of Fear the Walking Dead, Karen bonding with Yvette Nicole Brown, Stabby Babs driving Butch crazy with a TV remote, the Riddler figuring out how to survive in Arkham Asylum, everything bad happening at the CC Jitters coffee shop, Karen's huge geek fails of not watching the Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings films, some speculation on the Man in the Iron Mask, Lincoln compromising his own immune system for nothing, why 13-episode seasons are stronger than 22-episode seasons, Genesis being planet forbidden, Arrow inventing a lame supernatural character instead of using DC Universe characters, butthurt Olicity shippers going after Gail Simone on Twitter, Thea being Under the Dome, more Doctor Who connections on Legends of Tomorrow, The Kingpin being protected by staying in prison, Nobu using kids as filtration units, a new Justina review, Marvel's Ike Perlmutter vs. Kevin Feige, some Fandom Zone listener feedback, and more!

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

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

Be sure to come back next week, as we review Episode 10 of Daredevil Season 2, and new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, Gotham, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 058: "The Curse of Fenric" is Up!


"You know what's going on, don't you?"
"Yes."
"You've always known, you just can't be bothered to tell anyone!  It's like it's some kind of a game and only you know the rules!"
-- Dorothy "Ace" McShane and The Seventh Doctor, Doctor Who: "The Curse of Fenric"

Returning from the farthest reaches of time and space, my good friend and co-host Jesse Jackson and I are finally back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  In this episode, we review the 1989 Seventh Doctor classic, "The Curse of Fenric" starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like Ace referring to the Doctor as "Professor," how Sylvester McCoy's Doctor was viewed back in the late '80s, Doctor Who being blown out of the water by Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ace's story arc being brought full circle, Ace's mysterious past, the Seventh Doctor playing chess (on several levels), comparing the Seventh and Eleventh Doctors, the rare Doctor Who subject of faith, Arya on Game of Thrones, the Doctor making Ace his pet project, Judson being the Doctor Who version of Alan Turing, my personal secret origin theory of why the Doctor and Susan originally left Gallifrey, my Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segment, our initial thoughts on new Twelfth Doctor companion Bill, and more!

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

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

Be sure to come back soon for our review of the classic Sixth Doctor story "The Two Doctors" starring Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, and look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Sticher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Syfy Orders Pilot for Superman Prequel KRYPTON


Let's just hope it turns out better than Caprica.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed yesterday that Syfy has issued a formal pilot order for the Superman prequel series Krypton, based on DC Comics characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, which was reported to be in development back in December 2014.

According to the article, Krypton is "set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel's home planet.  Krypton will follow Superman's grandfather — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family's honor and save his beloved world from chaos."

David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will executive produce the drama through his Phantom Four banner.  Sleepy Hollow's Damian Kindler will serve as showrunner and will also executive produce.  Colm McCarthy will direct and co-executive produce the pilot, while Goyer and Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time) will provide the script for Warner Horizon Television.

"Krypton is one of the most iconic stories in the comic book universe," said Bill McGoldrick, executive vice president of scripted content at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.  "In the talented hands of David S. Goyer and the DC Entertainment/Warner Horizon Television team, this exciting Syfy project will take viewers back to Superman’s home to show how the timeless legend began."

If Syfy picks up the pilot for a full series, Krypton will be the second series on the network based on comics, along with Wynonna Earp.

Created in 1939 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the fictional planet Krypton first appeared in Superman (vol.1) #1 in a brief origin that merely stated, "Just before the doomed planet, Krypton, exploded to fragments, a scientist placed his infant son within an experimental rocket-ship, launching it toward Earth!" Over the years, the history of the planet was developed further, with revelations that in addition to Superman, his cousin Supergirl, Supergirl's parents Zor-El and Allura, his dog Krypto, Argo City, and various Phantom Zone criminals had escaped the planet's destruction.

The destruction of Krypton has been reimagined numerous times, including the limited series Man of Steel by John Byrne, Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu, and Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.  It's also featured prominently in the films Superman (1978), Superman II, Supergirl, and Man of Steel, and has appeared in various television series including Adventures of Superman, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanSmallville, and Supergirl.  In addition, Krypton has turned up in animated projects including the Superman cartoon shorts from Fleischer Studios, Super Friends and Superman: The Animated Series.

Monday, May 9, 2016

DAMN Good Movies -- CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR


You guessed it, I'm back once again with another movie take, this time on the movie Captain America: Civil War, the third film based on the classic Marvel Comics character starring Chris Evans.  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...choose your side...

After the well-received Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014, it was a no-brainer to bring directors Anthony and Joe Russo back for another tales of the Sentinel of Liberty along with returning screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.  Most of us pretty much expected that Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier would continue to be explored, but with the announcement that Robert Downey, Jr. was returning as Iron Man in an adaptation of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Marvel Comics event Civil War, fan expectations for the film practically skyrocketed.

The movie opens in 1991, as we see Hydra operatives in Siberia sending the brainwashed Winter Soldier on a mission to intercept an automobile whose occupants are transporting a case of super-soldier serum.  We don't get a payoff for this until very late in the film, but it's an important one.

Shifting to the present day, we find Cap, The Falcon, Black Widow and the Scarlet Witch in the Nigerian city of Lagos, as they attempt to stop Cap's enemy Crossbones from stealing a biological weapon.  After an impressive chase sequence, Crossbones blows himself up, forcing the Scarlet Witch to displace the blast upwards into the sky.  The down side?  The act destroys a nearby building, killing a bunch of Wakandan humanitarian workers.  D'oh!

And apparently, this is last straw for the United Nations, as the Avengers are notified by Secretary of State Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross from The Incredible Hulk movie that the U.N. is about to pass the Sokovia Accords, named for the mass destruction of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  This, of course, is on top of the mass destruction in New York during the first Avengers movie and the mass destruction in Washington, D.C. during the The Winter Soldier.  The Accords will establish an international governing body to oversee and control the property value-challenged Avengers, which quickly divides the team, with Iron Man supporting oversight because of his feelings of guilt for creating Ultron and Cap trusting himself and his team to do the right thing without the U.N. telling them what situations they can and can't address.

This is a pretty significant deviation from the source material, which used a botched attempt by the New Warriors to stop the supervillain Nitro for a reality TV show as the catalyst to divide the superhero community, but it makes perfect sense in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity.  The themes of accountability and freedom are still there, however, giving us a story with more substance and depth than the predictable Marvel "superhero vs. supervillain" movies we've become accustomed to in recent years.  

As you might expect, things quickly escalate when the Winter Soldier is framed for a bombing in Vienna, where the Accords are about to be ratified, that kills Wakandan King T'Chaka, father of the newly-introduced superhero Black Panther.  It turns out another of Cap's enemies from the comics, Baron Helmut Zemo, was actually responsible for the bombing, and we eventually learn that Zemo is Sokovian and wants to punish the Avengers for the death of his family by turning them against one another.

The thing is, Zemo's plan actually works.  Captain America and the Falcon go rogue, adding the Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Ant-Man to their team, while Iron Man recruits his ol' buddy War Machine, Black Widow, The Vision, and the Sony-approved Spider-Man, who makes his MCU debut.  Being Marvel superheroes, they soon end up in a superbrawl at the Leipzig/Halle airport that makes Batman v Superman look tame by comparison.  It's here that the Russos showcase their résumé for directing the next Avengers movie, in an insane free-for-all that features Spidey trolling Captain America about his shield, Ant-Man going all Giant-Man, Black Widow switching sides to Team Cap, and the Vision partially paralyzing War Machine (again, d'oh!) while trying to take down the Falcon.

Zemo plays his final trump card by revealing to Iron Man that the Winter Soldier was the one who murdered his parents, who were in that aforementioned automobile from the beginning of the film.  (See?  I told you it was important.)  This results in a final throwdown, as Iron Man faces off against the tag-teaming Cap and the Winter Soldier, which essentially ends in a draw with a ton of lingering resentment.  The Avengers, as we knew them, are left disassembled...at least until we need them to battle against long-simmering big bad Thanos in a couple of years.

So yeah, there was a lot going on in this film, with a number of Marvel Comics characters interacting with one another on screen for the very first time.  Here are some of the things that stood out:

CAPTAIN AMERICA/STEVE ROGERS -- As much as Downey owns Iron Man, Chris Evans has defined the role of Captain America.  Once again, he nails Cap's command of The Way Things Ought To Be, without coming off as preachy and cartoonish in the process.  He embodies Cap's uncompromising morality and principles, grounding the character in a way that makes him extremely relatable.

IRON MAN/TONY STARK -- In his sixth outing as Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr. puts a different spin on Tony Stark this time as Cap's primary antagonist.  As you root for Cap (seeing that it's his film, after all), you find yourself pretty much hoping that Cap kicks Iron Man's iron ass for letting things play out as they do.  Tony's still trying to be a hero, but his egocentric arrogance makes it far too easy to become a villain without even realizing it.

THE WINTER SOLDIER/JAMES BUCHANAN "BUCKY" BARNES -- Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier was essentially a brainwashed Terminator in the previous film, so I was glad to see Bucky finally snapping out of that and talking to Steve again as old friends do.  A post-credits sequence reveals the character ends up back in the fridge once again, tucked away in Wakanda, so I'm wondering if he'll get thawed out for the solo Black Panther movie.

THE FALCON/SAM WILSON -- As Cap's current partner, Anthony Mackie's Falcon proves his loyalty to Steve over his military oath, but he doesn't sign up until making sure that Steve knows what he's getting into.  His working relationship with Ant-Man continues to be fun, as the two smacktalk one another, but there's a great little scene where The Falcon is sitting in the back of Steve's classic VW Beetle and tries (and fails) to get the Winter Soldier to scoot his seat forward.

BLACK WIDOW/NATASHA ROMANOFF -- Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow ends up playing both sides of the superhero fence in this film, as she buys into what Tony is selling with the Sokovia Accords until she realizes that Team Cap is where it's at.  Natasha is friends with Tony and is loyal to him up to a point, but there's something much deeper going on between her and Steve. She makes a point of being at Peggy Carter's funeral service for Steve and actually hugs him, then later flips on Team Tony to allow Steve and Sam to escape in a Quinjet, not giving a damn about Tony's warning that "they" (whoever they are) are coming for her now.

BLACK PANTHER/T'CHALLA -- Chadwick Boseman makes a really impressive debut as the Black Panther.  I was never that big a fan of the character in the comics, but it's great that another African superhero besides Storm is getting the chance to shine on the big screen.  I'm looking forward to seeing him in the Black Panther solo movie, especially to see Boseman's T'Challa presumably squaring off against Andy Serkis, returning as Klaw.

SPIDER-MAN/PETER PARKER -- The other major superhero debut in this film is Tom Holland as the third big-screen Spider-Man.  While it was great to see a high-school Peter Parker who actually looks like he's in high school, Holland sounded almost too young at times, especially in the airport superbrawl scenes with older superheroes.  Ah, well.  Maybe the Spider-Man: Homecoming film will fully win me over.

SCARLET WITCH/WANDA MAXIMOFF -- It's a credit to the Russos and their screenwriters that Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch is a much better character here than she was in Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The scenes with her and The Vision were absolutely terrific, slowly building their romance that old-school comics fans are dying to see at some point.

WAR MACHINE/JAMES "RHODEY" RHODES -- As War Machine, Don Cheadle essentially serves the Bill Foster Goliath role from the Civil War comic, although at least he's not completely killed off like Goliath was.  He ends up partially paralyzed, however, which is apparently No Big Deal when you're friends with Tony Stark.  I have to wonder, though, if this is the last time we'll see War Machine, barring an entirely possible Iron Man 4.

HAWKEYE/CLINT BARTON -- Jeremy Renner returns as Hawkeye for a welcome dose of much-needed snark in the midst of all the seriousness going on, especially when he's calling out Tony as "The Futurist" from behind his cell window in The Raft prison.  And how great was it to see a live-action version of Ant-Man riding Hawkeye's arrow?

THE VISION -- In his second outing as The Vision, Paul Bettany gets to develop his Android Avenger character a little by putting on a sweater and attempting to cook.  It was nice to see Vizh and Wanda getting along so well, which naturally makes it harder to watch them facing off on opposing sides.

ANT-MAN/SCOTT LANG -- Paul Rudd is back as Comic Relief, a.k.a. Ant-Man, as he fanboys over being recruited for Team Cap and meeting Steve in person.  While having Ant-Man go after Iron Man was an inspired idea, it should be no surprise that Scott growing into Giant-Man was the character's major highlight.  I'm wondering, though, if Scott becoming a fugitive is going to play out in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel, or be completely overlooked.

AGENT 13/SHARON CARTER -- After little more than a couple of extended cameos in the previous film, Emily VanCamp doesn't get much more than that as Sharon Carter in this film. The scene where she finally admits to being Peggy's niece was fun to see Steve's reaction, as was the later scene where she and Steve kiss, much to the thumbs-up approval of Cap's wingmen, Sam and Bucky.

BARON ZEMO/HELMUT ZEMO -- As the film's central villain, Daniel Brühl's Zemo is pretty atypical for a Marvel movie villain.  He's doesn't have a mask glued to his face like in the comics, he's not larger than life with an insane amount of supertech to carry off a big Third Act, but instead works behind the scenes, orchestrating his endgame to surprising perfection.  Yes, the Bad Guy actually wins, making for a refreshing change of pace.

CROSSBONES/BROCK RUMLOW -- Frank Grillo returns from The Winter Soldier as Crossbones, now fully suited up in mask and costumed befitting his character, but sadly is killed off early in the film.  Of course, this is a comic book movie, so who knows...?

HOWARD STARK CAMEO -- At long last, we finally get the death of Howard (and Maria) Stark. John Slattery returns as the older Howard, and it seems a bit fitting that the character goes out in the same film that Peggy Carter is laid to rest.

MAY PARKER -- Marisa Tomei debuts as the third big-screen Aunt May, although this time she's Aunt May the MILF (the AILF?).  As a result, Tomei doesn't feel anything like the character we've become so accustomed to, although she does give Tony another chance to be a complete pervy creep.  So...yeah.

OBLIGATORY STAN LEE CAMEO -- "The Man" turns up as a confused FedEx delivery man who shows up at the Avengers Compound.  I don't know how much longer we're going to keep getting these cameos, but let's just enjoy them while they last.

All in all, Captain America: Civil War officially makes Captain America the Best Superhero Trilogy Ever (Nice try, Batman).  It continues to raise the bar, as The Winter Soldier did from The First Avenger, while feeling like the best Avengers movie that doesn't even have Avengers in the title.  For a superhero movie, it raises some thought-provoking issues and isn't afraid to leave things messy and unresolved instead of hitting the shiny Third Act Reset Button.  And now the Russos move on to the third Avengers movie, which does have Avengers in the title, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

1. Superman (1978)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)

3. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
4. The Avengers (2012)

5. Batman Begins (2005)
6. Man of Steel (2013)
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
8. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
9. Spider-Man (2002)

10. Iron Man (2008)
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
12. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
13. Watchmen (2009)
14. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
15. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
16. X-Men: First Class (2011)
17. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
18. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
19: The Wolverine (2013)
20. X2: X-Men United (2003)