Friday, September 29, 2017

LAZARUS TV Series in Development at Amazon

Lazarus is rising on Amazon.

Deadline is reporting that the television adaptation of Lazarus, based on the dystopian science fiction Image Comics series by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, has landed at Amazon for development.  This will be the third comic book series on Amazon, after The Tick and The Boys.

The TV series was first reported to be in development by Legendary Television back in March 2015.  According to the article, Rucka will write and executive produce the series with Lark and Angela Cheng Caplan.

First released in October 2013 by Image Comics, Lazarus focuses on a futuristic society where 16 wealthy Families have divided the planet into territories that are under their direct control as a new form of feudalism.  Those who provide services for the Families are referred to as Serfs, having been "elevated to Service," while everyone else is Waste, uncared for by those in power, whose only hope for a better future is to be "elevated."  

Each Family has a Lazarus, a genetically engineered, unkillable being, who protects the Family.  Forever Carlyle is a Lazarus, and serves as the central protagonist in the series, using force and deception to keep her Family and their interests safe.  However, as the series progresses, Forever begins to question her role as she becomes aware of schemes and personal agendas around her.

The series has ran for 26 issues so far, along with a spinoff limited series called Lazarus: X+66 for six issues.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 115: "Pax Penguina" is Up!

"Next time, you can get punched in the face."
"This beautiful mug?  No one would dare."
– Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, Gotham: "Pax Penguina"

Beginning Season 4 of The Fandom Zone Podcast, Karen and I are back with another new episode!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Gotham 4x01: "Pax Penguina"  (Season Premiere)
The Defenders 1x03: "Worst Behavior"
The Defenders 1x04: "Royal Dragon"
The Defenders 1x05: "Take Shelter"

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like beginning Season 4 of TFZ, The Count from Sesame Street on HBO, Bruce Wayne fighting crime as Batteen, Victor Zsasz being far better as Penguin's Number One Guy than Butch Gilzean, Bruce starting his sudden disappearance moves on Gordon, Bruce learning how to balance his life as a crimefighter with his life as Bruce Wayne, Selina being the chaos to Bruce's order, the Scarecrow officially being in play, Eastern mysticism being so alien to Luke Cage, the Defenders finally starting to interact with one another, Alexandra not really being a fan of being dead, the return of Scott Glenn as Stick, Matt Murdock's "I wasn't supposed to be here today" attitude from Clerks, Iron Fist's chi needing a lot of energy, Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra being the wrong choice as the Hand's leader, more of each Defender having a color theme, Elektra breathing in the Daredevil-scented pillow, the upcoming DC Comics crossover on The CW, Russell Tovey being cast as The Ray, an update on Karen's reading goaland more!

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

Google Play Music
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iTunes -- HERE
Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
The Fandom Zone on Facebook -- HERE
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And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, 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 Karen and I review the two-part series premiere of ABC's Inhumans, another new episode of Fox's Gotham and more episodes of Netflix's The Defendersright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

GHOSTWOOD 020: "The Return, Part 17" is Up!

"See you at the curtain call."
-- Dale Cooper to Diane Evans and Gordon Cole, Twin Peaks: "The Return, Part 17"

It is happening again...My co-host with the most Xan Sprouse and I are back with a new episode of Ghostwood: The Twin Peaks Podcast!  This time, we review "The Return, Part 17", the penultimate episode from the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks!


In our latest episode, Xan and I discuss things like remembering the late Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd, Brett in the movie Alien, how to watch Repo Man, Gordon Cole finally talking about Judy, Chad being a fan of Get Smart, naked Jerry Horne thinking his binoculars killed somebody, the Fireman giving Mr. C a shortcut to the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Station, more of Drooly McBloodyface, Andy facing off against Chad, that awkward moment when the real Dale Cooper calls Frank while he's talking to Mr. C., the Woodsmen giving Mr. C another bloody body massage, Freddie McRubberfist vs. the BOB orb, wondering if Diane was Lil with the blue rose in Fire Walk with Me, the significance of Diane's nail polish, Phillip Jeffries' tin machine not being a tea kettle, David Bowie getting crap about his Louisiana accent in Fire Walk with Me, Cooper time-travelling back to the night Laura died, the new diverging timeline where Laura never died, Sarah Palmer going all stabby-stabby on a picture of her daughter, the return of Julee Cruise in the Roadhouse, Stefan from Saturday Night Live recapping Twin Peaks, the greatness of Pete Martell, wondering if the continuity discrepancies in Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks book are actually an alternate timeline, our least favorite Indiana Jones movie, wondering what we're going to talk about on Ghostwood after "The Return"and more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

iTunes -- RIGHT HERE
Direct MP3 downloads/Libsyn --  RIGHT HERE
Ghostwood's Facebook page
Ghostwood's Twitter account

Be sure to come back next week as Xan and I review "The Return, Part 18", the final (?) episode of the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks!  Look for more of Ghostwood: The Twin Peaks Podcast on iTunes, YouTube, Libsyn, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SUPERGIRL Casts Amy Jackson as Saturn Girl

Another Legionnaire is coming to National City.

Deadline has reported that the CW series Supergirl has cast Amy Jackson in the recurring role of Imra Ardeen, better known to DC Comics fans as the superhero Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

According to the article, Saturn Girl is described as "a kind, smart, and strong-willed hero who uses her telekinetic ability to help those in need.  She was born on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and arrives on Earth to help Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) battle one of her biggest threats."

Saturn Girl will be the second member of the Legion to appear on Supergirl, after Chris Wood's character Mon-El.

Jackson, 25, is from Isle of Man who works as a model and predominantly appears in Tamil and Hindi language films, better known as Bollywood style films.  She's appeared in the films I, Gethu, Their, Devi, Abhinetri, and Tutak Tutak Tukiya, and will be starring in 2.0, the sequel to the popular Indian film Robot

Created in 1958 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, Saturn Girl first appeared in Adventure Comics (vol.1) #247 as Imra Ardeen, who lived in the 30th century as the most talented telepath among a race of powerful mentalists on Titan, one of Saturn's moons.  Imra left her homeworld as a teenager to join the Science Police, but during her flight to Earth, an assassination attempt was made on the life of fellow passenger and billionaire R.J. Brande.  Using her powers of telepathy, Imra discovered the plot, and with the help of two other teenagers on board, Garth Ranzz and Rokk Krinn, caught the assassin and saved Brande's life.  At Brande's urging, she adopted the alias of Saturn Girl, and joined Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy in founding the Legion of Super-Heroes, an organization of teenage heroes formed to honor the legacy of Superboy.  The Legion soon traveled back to the 20th century and gave Superboy a place on the team after he passed their tests.

Lightning Lad pursued Imra romantically for some time, but she repeatedly rebuffed his advances.  However, after he sacrificed his life for her own until his later resurrection, she understood the depth of his feelings and came to realize that she felt the same way.  After dating for almost ten years, Garth and Imra were finally married and retired from the Legion because of the Legion's charter, which prohibited married team members.  However, a few months after their marriage, war broke out in which all active Legionnaires were captured and the reserves were forced into action.  Imra's telepathic skills were instrumental in the Legion's eventual victory, and as a result the rule barring married members was repealed.  The Ranzzes returned to active duty until Imra gave birth to their son, Graym, after which they both retired once again in order to devote their energy toward raising him.  Unknown to the couple, however, Graym had a twin who was stolen at birth by the Legion's enemy Darkseid and transported into the past, where he was transformed into the monster Validus of the supervillain group the Fatal Five.  Validus fought the Legion on numerous occasions (and even killed the first Invisible Kid), but was eventually returned as a normal infant to his parents by Darkseid at Imra's insistence.

In the current DC Comics continuity known as DC Rebirth, Saturn Girl appeared in the 21st century as a mysterious blonde woman in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.  She was arrested after stealing a sandwich, not realizing that in this era, food isn't free.  She revealed that she's was in the 21st century to meet Superman but the officers told her that Superman was missing in action and presumed dead.  She replied that she knew and that she'll wait for his return, having seen it in the future.  The only item in her possession was a Legion Flight Ring.  The woman was seen again in Batman (vol.3) #9 where she was incarcerated in Arkham Asylum.  When Batman, Commissioner Gordon (who was actually Punch in disguise), and Jeremiah Arkham were passing by inmates, one of the inmates was a blonde woman named "Doe".  As Batman and Gordon glanced at her, she breathed on her cell's glass door and drew the Legion of Super-Heroes symbol from the exhaled breath condensation.  In the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad limited series, it was revealed that Emerald Empress was searching for Saturn Girl.  When Emerald Empress' Eye was damaged by the Green Lantern Simon Baz, Emerald Empress disappeared with it, claiming she needed to find Saturn Girl or she'll be trapped.  During the recent "The Button" crossover between Flash and Batman, she was seen screaming about the death of the Legion of Super-Heroes while watching the accidental death of a hockey player on live television.

Jackson will be the second actress to portray Saturn Girl in live action, after Alexz Johnson on the CW series Smallville, in the episode "Legion".  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including Superman: The Animated Series (voiced by Melissa Joan Hart), Legion of Super-Heroes and Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League -- Cosmic Clash (both voiced by Kari Wahlgren).

Supergirl will return to The CW for Season 3 on Monday, October 9th at 8 p.m. EST.

Monday, September 25, 2017

DAMN Good Television -- STAR TREK: DISCOVERY - "The Vulcan Hello"

It's time to go back to the final frontier.

After twelve long years, Star Trek finally returned to television with last night's premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS.  If you haven't seen the show's first episode 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 reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...live long and prosper.

As many of you know, it's been a rough road for Discovery, or STD if you're feeling a bit snarky.  The show was first announced by CBS in November 2015, with an original premiere date of January 2017, and immediately found resistance with the additional news that every episode after the first would only be shown on CBS' "We want to be like Netflix" subscription service, CBS All Access.  In February 2016, Trek fans received some encouragement with the announcment that former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager writer Bryan Fuller would serve as showrunner, because hey, bringing in the former showrunner of Hannibal, Dead Like Me, Heroes, and Pushing Daisies seems like a really good idea.  Oh, and let's just add Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country director Nicholas Meyer as a writer and consulting producer, and Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, while we're at it.

Well, the show started running over its per-episode budget, and Fuller was busy dividing his time with his other new show American Gods, leading to the series' debut being pushed back to May 2017.  Fuller's choice for the lead role of Michael Burnham, Sonequa Martin-Green, was finally selected after a difficult casting process, but she wouldn't be released by AMC from her contract with The Walking Dead until her character was killed off in April 2017, meaning yet another delay.  In October 2016, CBS asked Fuller to step down as showrunner, although he would remain as an executive producer to keep a hand in the production.  Akiva Goldsman, often the scourge of sci-fi fans for his previous work, joined the series as a supporting producer, while Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts were made the new showrunners.  In May 2017, Discovery was formally presented at the CBS upfronts with a first season of 15 episodes, split between episodes 8 and 9 to give the second half more time for completion, and soon received the new premiere date of September 24, 2017.

And that's the short version.

So, with all that creative behind-the-scenes chaos, what was the final result?  Set in 2256, roughly ten years before the original Star Trek series, "The Vulcan Hello" begins, rather awkwardly, with a Klingon named T'Kuvma preaching to a group of Klingons to "remain Klingon" and unify under the religious teachings of Kahless. These Klingons aren't the human-looking offshoots from the original series, nor the armored, hairier versions from the Star Trek films and the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation.   No, these Klingons are bald with distorted faces and mouths full of marbles as the actors struggle with long sequences of speaking Klingon with mouth makeup appliances.  Even hardcore Trek fans who understand Klingon are probably thankful for the subtitles.

We cut to the First Officer Michael Burnham and Captain Phillippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) of the Starfleet vessel U.S.S. Shenzhou, who are on a desert planet looking for a well. There's a race on the brink of extinction from a storm and Starfleet is trying to save them. Georgiou says she believes it is time for Burnham to get her own command.and quizzes her on what she would do if they were stranded.  Burnham says she would adapt to fit in, while Georgiou says she would simply escape.  The scene provides an interesting contrast between the two, but also shows their close friendship that ends up being severely tested later on.

After the two are picked up by the Shenzhou, thanks to Captain Georgiou's apparent superpower of creating a perfect, gigantic Starfleet symbol by leading Burnham through desert stand during a storm, we see the Discovery opening credits.  Jeff Russo, who did some impressive work on FX's Legion, turns in a solid theme that borrows just enough from the original Alexander Courage Star Trek theme while remaining distinctive.  The visuals, meanwhile, are surprisingly unusual for a Star Trek series, essentially an animated design sketchbook that look very artistic, as one might expect from a Bryan Fuller series, but fail to capture any sense of exploring space.

Next, a First Officer's log entry informs us that the Shenzhou is investigating a relay that was damaged while orbiting a binary star.  We see the bridge and are introduced to Science Officer Lieutenant Saru (Doug Jones), a new alien called a Kelpian that was presumably created to be Discovery's "alien exploring humanity" character similar to Spock and Data. Right from the start, Saru and Burnham show a contentious relationship as both officers attempt to impress Captain Georgiou.  The Shenzhou picks up some readings and struggles to pinpoint the source, with a sensory dead zone blocking the ship's ability to bring up an image.  Burnham suggests that something is lurking is out there and suggests going outside to do a flyby to investigate the source for herself.

Now that we're in space, we really see Fuller's influence on the series.  The production values look top-notch and positively stunning, easily making Discovery the best-looking Star Trek series to date.  Actually, it's possible the visuals look too good, because if you recall, Discovery is set between Star Trek: Enterprise and the original Star Trek, but the Shenzhou bridge looks far more advanced than anything Next Gen, DS9 or Voyager had to offer.

Donning a Starfleet thruster suit, Burnham allows herself to laugh with excitement as she rockets towards the source.  She eventually stops after losing contact with the Shenzhou but sees some kind of structure.  Burnham records that the structure is very old, centuries old, a singular, uninterrupted form that may have been carved rather than built, appearing as stone with metal outer alloy.  Burnham uses her boots to connect to the structure and it responds by fanning out.  A proximity alert sounds in Burnham's suit, as a Klingon in an armored suit suddenly attacks her with a bat'leth.  As the Shenzhou attempts to transport Burnham back aboard, we see that Burnham's helmet is damaged, with the First Officer unconscious and floating through space.

After a commercial break, we find T'Kuvma preaching over the dead body of the Klingon "Torchbearer", who T'Kuvma says was murdered by the Federation.  He asks their ancestors to welcome him into the "Black Fleet" as they fight their enemy.  So at this point, you're probably asking yourself "What happened after Burnham was attacked?" and the simple answer is, we don't know.  We may never know, but something happened between the Torchbearer's initial attack and him ending up all kinds of dead and ready to join the Black Fleet.  A deliberate oversight, paying off down the road perhaps?

While Burnham is unconscious and recovering on the Shenzhou, we get a flashback of her as a child on Vulcan, taking a test at the Vulcan Learning Center.  She answers correctly until a question about a Klingon attack makes her emotional.  Sarek (Yep, Spock's father, now played by James Frain) offers her guidance, telling her to rely on logic when "ghosts from the past" haunt her.  We later learn that Sarek apparently took Burnham in after a Klingon attack killed her parents and raised her on Vulcan.  The revelation is important, not only as a controversial retcon that Spock had an adopted sister we never heard about, but also that Burnham has a Vulcan background that influences her thinking.

Burnham suddenly wakes up, still covered in radiation burns, and goes to the bridge, where she's stunned that no one is freaking out about the Klingons.  Georgiou reminds her that nobody has seen a Klingon in a hundred years and tries to get her to go back to Sickbay. Realizing that she killed her Klingon attacker, Burnham suddenly wants to target the Klingon structure to make them think they will attack, while Saru instinctively wants to retreat.  A Klingon ship abruptly decloaks in front of them and the Shenzhou attempts communication.

On board the Klingon vessel, T'Kuvma calls on the Torchbearer's brother to take over. Another Klingon, an albino named Voq who claims to be of no family, steps forward.  He expresses his faith in "the light of Kahless", burning his right hand in the flame to prove himself.  T'Kuvma says he sees himself in the outcast albino.  He gives his own blade to Voq and names him Torchbearer.

After Saru reveals that his people evolved on a planet with a binary food system, where they were prey and evolved to sense death, he explains that he senses death coming.  Thanks, Mr. Ominous.  Georgiou confers with a Starfleet admiral, joined by Burnham.  Burnham suggests the only option is to fight, but the admiral orders them to remain in place because the Europa and other Starfleet ships will be there soon.  That's all well and good, until a tremendously bright light from outside the ship blinds their optical sensors and a sharp noise pierces the crew's ears.

Burnham realizes the light flare and the sound are a signal and thinks the Klingons might be calling for backup.  She decides to leave the bridge, in the middle of a crisis, and begins a holographic transmission to Sarek.  (Anyone wondering why the original Star Trek didn't have holographic transmission yet?)   Burnham explains what happened, and Sarek thinks it's odd for them to be calling for backup since the Klingon empire has been in disarray for some time.  Sarek believes there is a Klingon leader looking to instigate war to gain political favor.  Burnham asks how Vulcans accomplished diplomatic relations with the Klingons, but Sarek warns her the tactic may not work for humans.

Coming back to the bridge, Burnham suggests firing on the Klingons.  She explains that the Vulcans manage to gain the respect of the Klingons and achieve peace only through a show of violence.  Captain Georgiou rejects her suggestion, causing Burnham to make an unexpectedly emotional outburst that forces Georgiou to pull her into the ready room.  Yes, let's go off and have a quick sidebar conversation while everything is about to go to hell.

Hitting the privacy mode option on her office windows, Georgiou chastises Burnham for her sudden eagerness to battle the Klingons and starts to talk her down, until Burnham suddenly knocks her out with a Vulcan nerve pinch.  Wait...What?  Burnham returns to the bridge and takes command, outright lying that Georgiou is busy talking with the admiral. Burnham gives the order to fire on the Klingons, but Georgiou arrives on the bridge and aims her phaser directly at Burnham.  At that moment, the Shenzhou picks up warp signatures as more Klingon vessels arrive in the area, and...

To be continued on CBS All Access for the price of $5.99 a month.  Thanks a lot, CBS.

As the first episode of a Star Trek series, "The Vulcan Hello" is decidedly different.  We're only introduced to four characters, two of which aren't even going to be members of the Discovery crew.  Oh, and we haven't even seen the Discovery yet.  More spoilers, we don't see it in the second episode, either, so we'll have to wait for the regular series dynamic with the rest of the main cast.  

And yes, the adjustment from an episodic to a serialized storytelling format is a big one for Star Trek, especially for a fanbase that typically hates change, but I have to think it's time to try something new and Discovery seems ready to do just that.  Let's hope that this latest look backward actually moves Star Trek forward into the future...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The CW Arrowverse Casts Russell Tovey as The Ray

The CW Arrowverse is beaming a ray of light into its upcoming crossover.

Entertainment Weekly reported yesterday that "Crisis on Earth-X", the upcoming 4-part crossover taking place across Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, will feature Russell Tovey as Raymond "Ray" Terrill, better known to DC Comics fans as the superhero The Ray.  Tovey will also voice The Ray in the upcoming CW Seed animated series Freedom Fighters: The Ray.

The Ray is described in the article as "a reporter who discovered a group of government scientists working on a secret project to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction.  But before he could report on his findings, the project head exposed Ray to a ‘genetic light bomb.’  The bomb failed to kill him and instead gifted Ray with light-based powers.  With these abilities, Ray realized he could go beyond reporting on injustice — he could take action to help stop it.  Calling himself The Ray, he was recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight violence and oppression wherever it exists."

Tovey, 35, is an openly gay, English actor best known as the werewolf George Sands on the BBC series Being Human.  He's also appeared as Midshipman Alonso Frame on Doctor Who and currently appears on Quantico as Harry Doyle.  His other television work includes the Sherlock episode "The Hounds of Baskerville", and episodes of The Night Manager, Drunk History, Him & Her, Little Dorrit, Gavin & Stacey, Holby City, and Agatha Christie's Poirot.

Created in 1992 by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada, the second Ray first appeared in The Ray (vol.1) #1 as Raymond "Ray" Terrill, a young man told by his supposed father that exposure to direct sunlight would kill him. Privately tutored in his window-darkened home, he was dubbed "Night Boy" by the media.  At the age of eighteen, Ray learned the truth about his heritage while at the deathbed of his father, Lanford "Happy" Terrill.  The dying man admitted that he was the Golden Age Ray, and that exposure to sunlight would activate Raymond's own light-based super powers.  As a child he would have been unable to control such power, and thus had to be kept in darkness.

At the funeral for "Happy" Terrill, Ray met his cousin, Hank, who urged him to become a superhero like his father.  When he refused, "Happy" showed up, very much alive, in his classic Ray costume and looking far younger than he should, to meet his son.  He told Raymond that he was actually raised by his uncle, Thomas Terrill, and that he must use his newfound powers to save the Earth from a powerful cosmic light-entity. Raymond eventually decided to take up the mantle of The Ray, defeated the evil Doctor Polaris, and succeeded in dissuading the light entity from its destructive purpose.

In the current DC Rebirth continuity, Ray Terrill was told that exposure to direct sunlight would kill him. Running away from home as a teen, he soon discovered that exposure to light granted him light-based superpowers, including flight, light projection and invisibility. Ray eventually settled in Vanity, Portland, where he saved a childhood friend from a supervillain hate-group. This version of the Ray is openly gay.  He was later recruited into Batman's new Justice League of America team, which includes the Atom, Vixen, Black Canary, Killer Frost, and Lobo.

Although this will be the first time the character will appear in live-action, he previously turned up in background appearances in the animated series Justice League Unlimited.

The "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover will air across two nights, Monday, November 27th and Tuesday, November 28th on The CW.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The 2017 DC Comics CW Crossover is "Crisis on Earth-X"

The good news:  Barry and Iris are getting married.  The bad news:  Nazi supervillains from an alternate Earth are crashing the wedding.

KSiteTV has revealed that this fall's 4-part crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow will be "Crisis on Earth-X"!  The crossover will air across two nights, Monday, November 27th and Tuesday, November 28th on The CW.  Arrow will air on a special night at Monday at 9 p.m EST following Supergirl, just for the crossover only, while the other DC television shows will remain in their regularly scheduled time periods.

The official logline for the crossover states "With all of the heroes in town to celebrate Barry and Iris’s wedding, villains from Earth-X crash the festivities with a deadly agenda."

"We conceived this year’s crossover to be evocative of the annual Justice League/Justice Society crossovers we grew up with and looked forward to as kids," said executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg.  

Even better, The CW and Warner Bros. commissioned artwork from comic artist Phil Jimenez, best known for his work on Wonder Woman and The Invisibles, to create a custom comic book cover paying homage to the annual comic book crossovers.

Jimenez said, "Some of the first DC Comics I ever read were those insane crossovers with a dozen characters from alternate earths and dimensions — the kind of stuff I later became known for!  So when CW asked me to do an homage cover inspired by those amazing team up covers, I couldn’t resist, the chance to draw all of The CW’s DC superheroes in one crazy action sequence was insanely fun and exciting.  And Romulo Fajardo’s colors brought everything to life!"

"Phil was the perfect choice to bring the comic book cover iteration of this idea to life," remarked Guggenheim and Kreisberg.  "You can count on one hand the number of artists who could compellingly represent so many characters in a single image.  Phil is one of them. And his design invokes the cover of Justice League (of America (vol.1)) #207, which was the 20th Annual JLA/JSA crossover.  Our ten year-old selves are in heaven.”

Here's the full artwork from Phil Jimenez...

Created in 1973 by Len Wein and Dick Dillin, Earth-X first appeared in Justice League of America (vol.1) #107 as a parallel Earth in the Pre-Crisis multiverse, where Nazi Germany won World War II instead of the United States and the Allies.  The Freedom Fighters, originally from Earth-Two, migrated to Earth-X in 1942 to help fight Hitler, but Earth-X's American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away from a heart attack in 1944, leaving the country in such a state that Nazi Germany was able to develop atomic weaponry. By this point, both countries were reluctant to use such destructive capabilities against the other for fear of retaliation that the conflict continued using conventional warfare. The war dragged on until Adolf Hitler's Nazi war machine had developed mind control technology that weakened the opposition's willpower ending the war in 1968 with complete Nazi victory. However, some proved to be immune to the effects of the mind control devices, and small resistance pockets began to form in various cities.  Japan was originally an ally of the Nazis, but after winning the war and laying down their arms, the Nazis betrayed them.

In 1973, members of the Justice League of America from Earth-One and the Justice Society of America from Earth-Two arrived on Earth-X by way of a Transmatter Cube accident. They paired off with various members of the Freedom Fighters and helped them fight the Nazi threat.  It was revealed that a computer brain had taken control from the Nazis and replaced the leaders with android replicas.  

During the event known as Crisis on Infinite Earths, some of the history of Earth-X was merged with Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, and Earth-S to form one composite universe. A similar reality (called Earth-10) was created at the end of the series 52 and a reality called Earth 10 appeared after the event known as Flashpoint.

GHOSTWOOD 019: "The Return, Part 16" is Up!

"What the f#@% kinda neighborhood is this?!"
-- Bradley Mitchum to Rodney Mitchum, Twin Peaks: "The Return, Part 16"

It is happening again...My co-host with the most Xan Sprouse and I are back with a new episode of Ghostwood: The Twin Peaks Podcast!  This time, we review "The Return, Part 16" from the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks!


In our latest episode, Xan and I discuss things like Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible, Jerry Horne's bad binoculars, Twin Peaks Season 3 on Blu-Ray and DVD, Richard Horne getting zapped out of existence, unfortunately being right about Mr. C raping Audrey Horne, actor Jonathan Pryce, mashing up old animation PSAs with Twin Peaks, Hutch's horrible decision to ask Chantal if she's "on the rag", the Polish Accountant vs. Chantal and Hutch, FINALLY getting the return of Dale Cooper, Diane going all Manchurian Candidate, Diane telling the story of what happened when Doppelgänger Cooper showed up at her door all those years ago, Diane being revealed as a tulpa, Cooper promising to walk through Janey-E's red door and be home for good, wanting to know how Candy, Mandy & Sandy hooked up with the Mitchum brothers, me not being Pearl Jam Guy, Audrey's dance at the Roadhouse, my pet theory about Audrey waking up to reality, David Lynch hinting that Season 4 could happen, Xan not liking Back to the Future Part II, more Strong Bad and Homestar Runner referencesand more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

iTunes -- RIGHT HERE
Direct MP3 downloads/Libsyn --  RIGHT HERE
Ghostwood's Facebook page
Ghostwood's Twitter account

Be sure to come back next week as Xan and I review "The Return, Part 17", the penultimate episode of the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks!  Look for more of Ghostwood: The Twin Peaks Podcast on iTunes, YouTube, Libsyn, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

HBO Orders Pilot & Backup Scripts for WATCHMEN

We're one step closer to watching the Watchmen.

Deadline has confirmed that HBO has given a formal pilot green light to the proposed Watchmen television series and has also ordered backup scripts.

Showrunner Damon Lindelof teased the news two days ago with the following Instagram post captioned "Day One".  The post featured a real-life replica of the statue that Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl, was killed with by the Knot-Tops street gang.  The statue of himself as Nite Owl was given to Mason as an acknowledgment and reward for his service as a costumed adventurer.

Created in 1986 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen was a 12-issue maxi-series set in an alternate reality that closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s, but with the presence of superheroes that has altered the outcome of real-world events.  In keeping with the realism of the series, the costumed crimefighters of Watchmen are commonly called "superheroes", but only one, Doctor Manhattan, possesses superhuman powers. The war in Vietnam ends with a U.S. victory in 1971 and Richard Nixon is still president as of October 1985.  When the story begins, the existence of Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the two nations. Eventually, superheroes grow unpopular among the police and the public, leading to the passage of legislation, the Keene Act, in 1977 to outlaw them.  While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and a veteran superhero known as The Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents.  Another, Rorschach, continues to operate outside the law as a vigilante.

In October 1985, New York City police investigate the murder of a man named Edward Blake.  With the police having no leads, Rorschach decides to probe further.  Discovering Blake to be the face behind The Comedian, Rorschach believes he has discovered a plot to terminate costumed adventurers and sets about warning four of his retired comrades -- Dan Dreiberg (formerly the second Nite Owl), the emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan and his lover Laurie Juspeczyk (the second Silk Spectre), and Adrian Veidt (once the hero Ozymandias), a successful businessman.

After Blake's funeral, Manhattan is accused on national television of being the cause of cancer in friends and former colleagues.  When the U.S. government takes the accusations seriously, Manhattan exiles himself to Mars.  As Manhattan is one of the United States' greatest military powers, his departure throws humanity into political turmoil, with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan to capitalize on the perceived American weakness. Rorschach's concerns appear vindicated when Adrian Veidt narrowly survives an assassination attempt, and Rorschach himself is framed for murdering Moloch, a former supervillain, and imprisoned.  Nite Owl and Rorschach work to uncover the conspiracy surrounding the death of The Comedian and the accusations that drove Manhattan into exile.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 114: "The End of the Road" is Up!

"I didn't sign up for this shit."
"Spoken like a true Messiah."
– Jesse Custer and Herr Starr, Preacher: "The End of the Road"

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors, Karen and I are finally back with a special Preacher themed episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Preacher 2x11: "Backdoors"
Preacher 2x12: "On Your Knees"
Preacher 2x13: "The End of the Road"  (Season Finale)

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like Karen's life being a dumpster fire, Preacher's closed captioning fail, why Miss Mannering needs to guest star on Lucifer, Cassidy having zero effs to give about what he wears, Jesse's escalating prayers, Young Jesse being lowered to the bottom of the swamp in a coffin, Hitler's epic man fail, a personal Dan Quayle anecdote, Jesse and Cassidy being sexist, that awkward moment when you're trying to scalp Jesse Custer and Miss Mannering shows up to bring you back to Hell, Cassidy's unicorn story, Herr Starr wanting Jesse to be the Messiah, teasing Gran'ma, T.C. and Jody for Season 3, confusing Charon with Sharon, Hitler's inevitable betrayal of Eugene, Cassidy's daydream of making out with Tulip and biting her, Banjo from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, our rant about people not recording cell phone video in widescreen, finally seeing Cassidy with his fangs out, Jesse and Cassidy's fight over Tulip's life, Cassidy telling Jesse that he hates him, wondering if AMC is burning through Fear the Walking Dead, convincing Karen that she's awesome, Karen hoping to see Peter Capaldi at New York Comic Con, and more!

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And if that isn't enough for you, you can also check us out on YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, 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 Karen and I review the Season 4 premiere of Gotham and more episodes of The Defendersright here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 094: "The Caves of Androzani" is Up!

"You better turn this ship around, Doctor!"
"Because I'll kill you if you don't!"
"Not a very convincing argument actually, Stotz, because I'm going to die soon anyway, unless of course I can find the antidote…I owe it to my young friend to try because I got her into this.  So you see -- I'm not going to let you stop me now!"

-- Stotz and The Fifth Doctor, Doctor Who: "The Caves of Androzani"

That's right, my partner in time Jesse Jackson and I are finally back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  In this episode, Jesse and I review "The Caves of Androzani", the sixth serial of Season 21 from the original series of Doctor Who in 1984, starring Peter Davison in his final story as the Fifth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like "The Caves of Androzani" ranking highly in Doctor Who Best Story Ever polls, my recent trip to London and my Doctor Who filming locations pics, my wife's Outlander fan experience in Scotland, Jesse's final chemo treatment, running down other Robert Holmes stories, Peter Davison's final season being his best, Nicola Bryant's American accent, Peri being a better Fifth Doctor companion than a Sixth Doctor companion, the Fifth Doctor feeling responsible for Peri and his determination to save her life, Sharez Jek as The Phantom of the Opera, David Lynch's film adaptation of Dune, almost having Tim Curry and David Bowie as Sharez Jek, the Fifth Doctor's heroic sacrifice to save Peri, the old comics newspaper Comics Buyer's Guide, whether the Fifth Doctor had the best regeneration, finally getting an explanation for the celery in the Fifth Doctor's lapel, my Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segment, Jesse attending Dragon Con in Atlanta, new feedback from Holly from Wisconsin and Paul from Australia, our anticipation for the upcoming DC Comics series Titans, and more!

If you'd like to check out our latest episode, you can find us on...

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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 in two weeks as Jesse and I review the 2015 Big Finish audio adventure "The Brink of Death", the fourth story in the Doctor Who: The Last Adventure set, which features Colin Baker's final chronological story as the Sixth Doctor, Bonnie Langford as Melanie "Mel" Bush, and Michael Jayston as The Valeyard!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

GOTHAM Season 4 Dark Band Trailer Teases The Scarecrow

Gotham City is a getting a bit more scary this fall.

The Fox series Gotham has released a new "Dark Band" trailer approved for "Gotham citizens ready for a Dark Knight", recapping some of the show craziest moments and giving us a good look at what's coming up in Season 4.

The four minute trailer opens with fleeting images of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) as a prototype Batman, standing on a rooftop at night wearing a black mask and some body armor.  We hear a voiceover from Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), who tells Bruce "You gotta find something that you really care about, and you protect it at all costs."  From, there we get an edited recap of the show's first three seasons.

At around the 2 minute, 14 second mark, we hear those same words from Alfred once again, as we begin to see new footage from Season 4.

"I can make a difference in a Gotham, Alfred," says Bruce.  "I know I can."

"It's dangerous," replies Alfred.  "You are engaging villains, Master Bruce."

Next, we see The Scarecrow, who was previously introduced as Jonathan Crane in the first season episode "The Fearsome Dr. Crane", played by Charlie Tahan.  "Jonathan Crane isn't here anymore," says the villain as he sprays various people with fear gas.  "It's just The Scarecrow."

One of Scarecrow's victims is left for the GCPD, trussed up in a field like an actual scarecrow, and he warns Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) that the Scarecrow is coming.

The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) confronts Gordon at GCPD headquarters as the press takes pictures and scribbles notes furiously.  "The GCPD can no longer keep us safe," says the Penguin.

"I am not giving this city over to the Penguin," Gordon tells Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue).

"This is a war," replies Bullock.  "Not one battle."

Meanwhile, we find Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) cornered by a street gang in an alley and she asks them to let her go.  "Not a chance," says the gang leader.

"Don't say I didn't warn you," replies Selina as she pulls out her bullwhip and proceeds to take out the entire gang.

Next, the Scarecrow corners Gordon menacingly.  "All right, Mr. Cop, let's have some fun," he remarks, spraying Gordon with his fear gas.  "I wonder, what scares you the most?"

From there, we go to the Penguin's new Iceberg Lounge, featuring the still-frozen Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) as the club's centerpiece display.  Presumably, this is the Iceberg Lounge's opening night, because Bruce, Alfred and Selina are in attendance.  Alfred tells Bruce, "There is a time for masks and there is a time for Bruce Wayne."

Bruce and Selina share a moment on a rooftop, as Selina balances herself on the edge. "You don't know anything about me," she tells Bruce.

Next, Bruce talks to Alfred about his new nighttime crimefighting activities.  "Alfred, I feel more alive than I've ever felt before."

Later, at GPCD headquarters, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) confronts Bruce about his battered face.  "Rough night, Bruce?  Get into a fight?"

"Rock climbing," lies Alfred as we glimpse images of Bruce in action.

After we hear some various lines delivered by several characters and glimpse Selina wearing a mask, Lucius opens a briefcase, showing Bruce and Alfred some body armor he's designed.  "It is a thin kevlar weave with reinforced forearm protection.  Extremely lightweight, and actually, bulletproof.  You know, for rock climbing."

Bruce is shown on another rooftop, fully garbed in the black mask and body armor.  "I'm going down for a closer look," he says to Alfred over a radio.

Alfred sits in a car nearby, listening to Bruce over a headset.  "How did I know you were going to say that?"

If you'd like to watch the "Dark Band" trailer, you can view it below thanks to the official Gotham YouTube account...

Gotham returns for Season 4 on Thursday, September 21st at 8 p.m. EST.