Thursday, November 30, 2017

THE FLASH Casts Kendrick Sampson as Brainstorm

Looks like The Flash just came up with a brainstorm.

Deadline reported that the CW series The Flash has cast Kendrick Sampson as Dominic Lanse, better known to DC Comics fans as the supervillain Brainstorm.  The character will be featured in a multi-episode arc, beginning with next week's episode, "Don't Run". 

According to the article, Brainstorm is described as "an affable TSA Agent who becomes the unwitting recipient of meta-human powers. Now Dominic bears the gift and curse of reading people’s thoughts, whether he wants to or not." 

Sampson, 29, is probably best known as Caleb Hapstall on the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder. His other television appearances include episodes of The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Gracepoint, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Greek, and Days of Our Lives.

Created in 2011 by Eric Wallace and Gianluca Gugliotta, the second Brainstorm first appeared in Mister Terrific #1 as Dominic Lanse, a villain who began mentally controlling people, including Mister Terrific, forcing them to commit murder. Getting the sudden urge to kill Senator Gonzalez, Mr. Terrific resisted the temptation to murder by performing a synaptic reboot with his T-Spheres. Considering the experiment a complete success, Brainstorm was able to feed off the minds of those he had under his thrall and with each person under his sway, he was one step closer to the “all-mind' which will supposedly make him an intellectual god who will bring about a new dawn of creation. 

Using his high-tech sunglasses to scan for irradiated airborne particles, Mr. Terrific followed the trail of particles to a mass of mall patrons who were going insane.  Mr. Terrific used his T-Spheres to create a dampening field in order to cancel out Brainstorm's sound wave.  Brainstorm introduced himself to Mister Terrific, then made the crowd believe Mister Terrific was a psychopath who needed to be stopped.  Making a hasty exit, Brainstorm announced that these mind games of his were just beginning.  Unleashing a mass of cables from his body which attach themselves to Mister Terrific's head, Brainstorm began to feed off his cerebrum.  Fortunately, Mr. Terrific's A.I. unit Nola ordered the T-Spheres to come back online and send a 200 db blast of white noise into Brainstorm's ears to knock out his concentration.

During the exchance, Mr. Terrific managed to pick up some disturbing info that Brainstorm was once Dominic Lanse, an elusive member of the Silicon Syndicate in Platinum Flats. Dominic was working in the field of artificial intelligence and transhumanistic interfaces. In short, Dominic was on the verge of developing a method that could download a person's intellect into a machine.  Dominic succeeded with this process but at the same time, Dominic could use the process to ingest intelligence from any human or machine so he could get closer to the "All-Mind".

Brainstorm exacted his revenge by using the extent of his mental capabilities to hold the entire city of Los Angeles hostage.  Deciding there was only one chance to stop Brainstorm, Mr. Terrific turned Brainstorm's mind-leeching on himself.  Brainstorm started to experience mental regression as his mind slipped from adulthood to infancy.  The influx of this reversal caused Brainstorm to spill out his innermost secrets, including Brainstorm's indirect responsibility for the death of Paula Holt, Mr. Terrific's wife.  Brainstorm's first mind-harvest attempt caused an electromagnetic pulse in the area where Paula was driving, and the malfunction in her car caused her to crash into oncoming traffic.  This revelation angered Mr. Terrific to the point that he began to beat Brainstorm within an inch of his life, placing him in a coma.

"Don't Run" airs Tuesday, December 5th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

First AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Trailer Teases Steve Rogers as Nomad

And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes were united against a common threat...

Marvel has officially released the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, the third film in the Avengers film series directed by Anthony & Joe Russo.  

The two-minute, 25-second trailer opens with a shot of what appears to be an alien world with Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) sorrowfully clutching something in his hands.  We see fleeting images of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) finding Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) after he had crashed through the roof of the Sanctum Sanctorum, followed by The Vision (Paul Bettany) looking more human (with hair!) as he caresses the face of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

A series of connecting voiceovers plays over these images from various cast members...

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson):  "There was an idea..."
Iron Man:  "...to bring together a group of remarkable people..."
The Vision: "...to see if we could become something more..."
Thor (Chris Hemsworth):  "...so when they needed us, we could fight the battles..."
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)  "...that they never could."

As we see Tony join Bruce, Doctor Strange and Wong, we hear the voice of Thanos (Josh Brolin) say "In time, you will know what it's like to lose...to feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail all the same."

The hairs on the arm of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) stand up as he senses something ominous with the large hoop-shaped spacecraft hovering near the Chrysler Building.

"Dread it...run from it..." continues Thanos, "...destiny still arrives."  

We see Loki (Tom Hiddleston) holding up the Tesseract he reclaimed in Thor: Ragnarok as Thanos arrives.  This is followed by fleeting images of Spider-Man wearing the Iron Spider suit that Tony Stark gave him in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

"Evacuate the city," begins Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), "engage our defenses, and get this man a shield."  Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) steps into view, now sporting a full beard under his possible Nomad identity from the comics.  The Hulkbuster Iron Man armor from Avengers: Age of Ultron makes a return, while Black Widow now has short blond hair instead of her traditional red.

"Fun isn't something one considers while balancing the universe," remarks Thanos as he takes the Mind Stone from the Vision's forehead for his Infinity Gauntlet, "but this does put a smile on my face."

An impressive shot follows of Steve, Black Panther, Okoye (Danai Gurira), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Black Widow, and the Hulk leading a charge of the Wakandan army into battle.

In the final scene, we see a breathless, one-eyed Thor asking "Who the Hel are you guys?"  The camera turns and we see none other than the Guardians of the Galaxy, with Mantis waving hello.

If you'd to check out the trailer, you can view it below thanks to the official Marvel Entertainment account on YouTube...

Avengers: Infinity War is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 4, 2018.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 099: "The Five Doctors" is Up!

"You mean you're deliberately choosing to go on the run from your own people, in a rackety old TARDIS?"

"Why not?  After all, that's how it all started."
-- Tegan Jovanka and the Fifth Doctor, Doctor Who: "The Five Doctors"

Celebrating the 54th Anniversary of Doctor Who, my partner in time Jesse Jackson and I are back with a new episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast!  In this episode, J
esse and I review "The Five Doctors", the 20th Anniversary Special from the original series of Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, Richard Hurndall as the First Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka, Mark Strickson as Vislor Turlough, Nicholas Courtney as The Brigadier, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman!

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like Jesse screwing up the schedule to go see Thor: Ragnarok, the universe balancing the tragedy of John F. Kennedy's assassination with the debut of Doctor Who, reactions to the Thirteenth Doctor's costume, Tom Baker and Christopher Eccleston's reluctance to return to Doctor Who, Frazer Hines' reduced role forcing a reshuffling of Doctor and companion pairings, the Doctors not getting along with one another, the missed opportunity of not having the Eighth Doctor in "The Day of the Doctor", the great pairing of the First Doctor with Tegan, Jesse's dislike of Tegan and the First Doctor, the Master's motive for going into the Death Zone to help the Doctors, the Master revealing that he and the Doctor were at the Academy together, Borusa suddenly being revealed as a bad guy, Rassilon's immortality trap, the Fifth Doctor ducking out of being Lord Presidentmy Reverse the Reverse the Polarity segmentnew feedback from Paul from Australia, wanting to see the return of the Raston Warrior Robot in the modern era, teasing Episode 100, 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 soon for the big 100th Episode of Next Stop Everywhere, as Jesse and I are joined once again by Ken Schaefer to review An Adventure in Space and Time, the 2013 biographical TV film about the creation of Doctor Who, starring David Bradley as William Hartnell, Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert, Sacha Dhawan as Waris Hussein, Lesley Manville as Heather Hartnell, and Brian Cox as Sydney Newman!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Friday, November 24, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 122: "3 AM" is Up!

"Welcome back, Frank."
– David "Micro" Lieberman,The Punisher: "3 AM"

That's right, we're back with another HUGE new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  So huge, in fact, we're splitting it up into two parts!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

The Walking Dead 8x04: "Some Guy"
Lucifer 3x07: "Off the Record"
The Gifted 1x07: "eXtreme measures"
Supergirl 3x06: "Midvale"
The Flash 4x06: "When Harry Met Harry..."

Legends of Tomorrow 3x06: "Helen Hunt"
Arrow 6x06: "Promises Kept"
Gotham 4x09: "Let Them Eat Pie"
The Punisher 1x01: "3 AM"  (SERIES PREMIERE)

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like getting your money's worth with The Fandom Zone, the tasteful death of Shiva, Karen's World of Warcraft inventory, King Ezekiel's epic fail, Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, Jerry bisecting Gunther with his battleaxe, Jerry as the new Shiva, why Carol would've been perforated hiding behind a car, Rick and Daryl as The Dukes of Hazzard, not caring about Eclipse working for his ex-girlfriend's cartel, Blink feeling violated by Dreamer, revising my Strucker family tree theory, Amy Acker being totally wasted as Schoolteacher Caitlin, interacting with Dr. Linda and Ella from Lucifer on Twitter, Dr. Linda's ex-husband's obsession with Lucifer, Dan's obsession with Lucifer eating his pudding, Lucifer not being responsible for sending people to Hell, Supergirl's big Smallville tribute, the potential spinoff featuring Young Kara and Alex, Karen's Native American heritage, Elongated Man's creepy hand balloon animals, the Council of Wells, Helen of Troy constantly having dudes fighting over her, Professor Stein's crush on Hedy Lamarr, the island of paradise known as Theymscira, the TV debut of Richard Dragon, Deathstroke having hallucinations of Shado, my grudge against Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Wild Dog's costume upgrade, Professor Pyg as Sweeney Todd, Bruce being a teenaged douche to Alfred, Professor Pyg's big Hannibal meat pie scene, Frank trying to call it quits as The Punisher, the Punisher 12-issue maxiseries by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the introduction of Micro, why stepping on the Punisher's sandwich is a really bad ideaand more!

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

Google Play Music
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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 Episode 2 of Netflix's The Punisher, along with new episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead, The CW's The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, and Fox's The Gifted and Lucifer, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE 098: "The Time of the Doctor" is Up!

"We all change, when you think about it, we are all different people, all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good!  You've gotta keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be.  I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.  I will always remember when the Doctor was me."
-- The Eleventh Doctor to Clara Oswald, Doctor Who: "The Time of the Doctor"

You guessed it, 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 2013 Christmas Special, "The Time of the Doctor", featuring Matt Smith's final story as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald!  

This time, Jesse and I discuss things like Jesse's health update, Jesse's son Chris getting engaged, Karen Gillan and Matt Smith both having shaved heads, the letdown of having the regeneration episode shortly after the 50th anniversary special, Steven Moffat tying up some of his loose plot threads in Matt Smith's final episode, wondering why the Doctor couldn't figure his way out of the Trenzalore stalemate a lot earlier, ranking the modern era regenerations, wondering why the Eleventh Doctor has to be naked on a regular basis, Amy Pond upstaging Clara during the Eleventh Doctor's regeneration, the powerful moment of Matt Smith dropping his bow tie to the TARDIS floor, wondering how the Doctor got Handles the Cyberman headmy Reverse the Polarity segmentnew feedback from YouTube user Doch Ry and Holly from Wisconsinand more!

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

Google Play Music -- RIGHT HERE
iTunes -- RIGHT HERE
Stitcher -- RIGHT HERE
Direct MP3 downloads/Libsyn --  RIGHT HERE
Next Stop Everywhere's Facebook page
Next Stop Everywhere's Twitter account

And hey, if you'd like to pick up the officially official Next Stop Everywhere t-shirt, you can find it on TeePublic right HERE!  Help support the show and feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page of you or some other cool person you know wearing the shirt!

Be sure to come back soon as Jesse and I review "The Five Doctors", the 20th anniversary special from the original series of Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, Richard Hurndall as the First Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka, Mark Strickson as Vislor Turlough, Nicholas Courtney as The Brigadier, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman!  Look for more of Next Stop Everywhere on iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube, Libsyn, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and the official Southgate Media Group website!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

DC Digital Service Orders HARLEY QUINN Adult Animated Series

The DC Comics digital service is getting a bit more animated.

Deadline reported that the still-unnamed DC Comics digital service has given a straight-to-series order for 26 episodes of a half-hour adult animated series based on popular DC Comics character Harley Quinn.  The series is the third DC Comics adaptation to receive a greenlight from the upcoming digital service, after the revived animated series Young Justice: Outsiders and the live-action series Titans.

According to the article, Harley Quinn will "also feature Poison Ivy and a cast of heroes and villains — old and new — from the DC universe."  The animated series follows Harley, who "finally has broken things off with the Joker once and for all and attempts to make it on her own as the criminal Queenpin of Gotham City."

The article also mentions that Australian actress Margot Robbie, who portrayed the character in the 2016 film Suicide Squad, is "at the top of Warner Bros.’ wish list for actresses to voice the title character in the animated series, and she is expected to be approached for the gig."

Harley Quinn will be from Powerless executive producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey via Warner Bros. Animation.  Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series, will also serve as executive producer. Jennifer Coyle (DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year) will be a producer with Halpern and Schumacker’s Ehsugadee Productions in association with Warner Bros. Animation.

The project is still in development, so the above artwork from Harley Quinn comic book artist Amanda Conner may not be representative of the series' final design.


That's right, I'm back once again with another movie take, this time on the movie Justice League, the fifth film of the DC Extended Universe.  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...come together, right now.

It's been ten long years to bring Justice League to the big screen.  In 2007, Warner Bros. cancelled Joss Whedon's proposed Wonder Woman film and David S. Goyer's adaptation of The Flash, both of which gave way for a project called Justice League: Mortal.  The film would've branched out into separate sequels and spinoff films and even had Mad Max: Fury Road's George Miller slated to direct.  The project even made it all the way to the casting stage, with D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody as The Flash, Common as Green Lantern/John Stewart, Teresa Palmer as Talia al Ghul, and Jay Baruchel as the film's villain, Maxwell Lord.  Yeah, that almost happened.

However, the 2007 writers strike and various production delays doomed Justice League: Mortal, with Warner Bros. deciding to focus on developing individual films instead.  The first was 2011's disappointing Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, followed a year later by the less disappointing but still disappointing The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.  In 2013, Zack Snyder's Superman reboot film Man of Steel, became a financial success, bringing in over $668 million worldwide, despite mixed reviews from both critics and fans.  The decision to make a sequel was obvious, which resulted in Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 as the second film of Warner Bros. new DC Extended Universe, intended as the DC Comics equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, Batman v Superman was widely panned, giving fans serious concern about Snyder's ability to direct the announced Justice League film as his next project.  Snyder ended up stepping down during post-production as a result of his daughter's tragic suicide, but Joss Whedon (remember him from 2007?) took over as director to oversee two months of reshoots, as well as write some additional scenes.

The movie opens with a kid's cellphone video of Superman, which unfortunately features some really bad CGI covering up Henry Cavill's mustache that he was contractually obligated to keep during Whedon's reshoots.  A terrible and depressing cover Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" follows, as we see a world without Superman following his death at the end of Batman v Superman.  Things have become rather bleak, with racism, crime and a sense of hopelessness permeating everything.  And if things aren't bad enough, Superman's death somehow activated three dormant Mother Boxes, powerful supercomputers familiar to fans of Jack Kirby's Fourth World saga and the New Gods.

It turns out that thousands of years ago, Earth was invaded by Steppenwolf, a member of Darkseid's elite who attempted to conquer and remake Earth with the help of an army of winged zombie creatures known as Parademons.  (Yes, for those paying attention, these are the same creatures featured in the nightmare sequence in Batman v Superman.)  Thanks to a unified resistance comprised of humans, Olympian gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, and even alien Green Lanterns, Steppenwolf and the Parademons were repelled back to Apokolips through a very cool-looking Boom Tube, and the Mother Boxes were hidden across the globe.  Why didn't the Green Lanterns just take the Mother Boxes with them when they headed back into space, you ask?  Great question, if only we were given an answer.

Attempting to regain favor with Darkseid, Steppenwolf decides to make a second invasion attempt and retrieves the first box from Themyscira, home of the Amazons.  Queen Hippolyta warns her daughter Diana, better known as Wonder Woman, and Diana looks up her flirting buddy Batman for help.  As we learned from Batman v Superman, Bruce Wayne and Diana have been researching/stalking a number of superpowered metahumans for just such an emergency, so they set off on a recruiting drive.  Bruce finds Barry Allen, The Flash, in Central City, who eagerly signs up because he needs friends, but his attempt to bring in the brotastic Aquaman fails in epic fashion.  Wonder Woman, meanwhile, tracks down Victor Stone, better known as Cyborg, but also has trouble convincing him to help out until Cyborg's father Silas and some other S.T.A.R. Labs employees are kidnapped by Steppenwolf.

As we head into the Second Act, Steppenwolf makes a side trip to Atlantis to retrieve the Atlantean Mother Box, giving us our first good look at what the Aquaman solo movie is going to be like.  Now that Atlantis has been attacked, Aquaman finally decides that maybe Steppenwolf is something that needs dealt with, so he hooks up with the other four heroes and together, they rescue Silas and the other employees.  It's a solid geek moment to see the five Justice Leaguers in full action, although The Flash is uncomfortably hesitant and of little use for someone who moves faster than everyone else.

In an expected addition to the team's "To Do" list, Batman (who has spent most of the movie so far feeling guilty about his part in Superman's death) decides hey, let's resurrect Superman from the dead using the remaining Mother Box that Cyborg tucked away for safekeeping.  Even though Wonder Woman and Aquaman point out this might not be a good idea, Batman plows ahead and gets The Flash to charge up the Mother Box, which will do something sciency-wiency to the incubation waters aboard the Kryptonian ship that Lex Luthor used to create Doomsday in Batman v Superman.  Superman returns (See what I did there?), but isn't exactly himself until Batman brings in Lois Lane to help him regain his memories.  And while everyone's so preoccupied with the resurrected Superman, Steppenwolf just casually walks in and nicks the final Mother Box.


The Third Act has our team (minus Superman) heading to a Russian village that happens to have a nuclear reactor to help Steppenwolf with his plan.  Here, we see another jarring contrast between Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon's directing styles, with the League battling Parademons left and right in pure Snyderian battleporn mayhem.  They eventually reach Steppenwolf, distracting him long enough for Cyborg to separate the Mother Boxes.  Superman finally joins the team during a great moment, with Henry Cavill finally being allowed to play a Superman who's more colorful and smiling.  Steppenwolf suddenly becomes fearful at the thought of being defeated by the League, or perhaps is more fearful of Darkseid's wrath, and his fear rings the dinner bell for the Parademons, who end up turning on Steppenwolf just as all of them are Boom Tubed back to Apokolips.

In the aftermath, Batman donates the ruined and not-so-stately Wayne Manor to the League to serve as their headquarters, with Wonder Woman teasing that there's "room for more".  Wonder Woman decides to finally step from the shadows as a public hero, while The Flash lands a job at the Central City Police Department that may prove useful if The Flash solo movie ever happens.  Aquaman returns to Atlantis because he knows he's getting his solo movie, and Cyborg goes off to explore his new abilities with his father and hope that he can someday get some decent character development.  The film brings us full circle with Superman, as Clark Kent rips open his shirt and flies off, presenting a much more hopeful and optimistic tone for the DC Extended Universe.  As Superman soars into the air, Lois tells us, rather fittingly, to look...up in the sky...

You can tell there was a lot going on here, with various DC Comics characters finally making it to the big screen.  Here are some of the things that stood out:

BATMAN/BRUCE WAYNE -- In his third movie as Batman (counting his Suicide Squad appearance), Ben Affleck doesn't seem any happier to be doing what he's doing.  Despite being paired with Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman in some lighthearted scenes, Affleck feels like he's just going through the motions.  He's not a horrible Batman, certainly not in the George Clooney sense, but he's still not great.

WONDER WOMAN/DIANA PRINCE -- Gal Gadot, meanwhile, shines once again as Wonder Woman.  With her solo film being the strongest and most successful DCEU film to date, the decision to emphasize Wonder Woman was a no-brainer.  Diana finally gets to step up and be a leader, although maybe someday she can do that without the other Leaguers (except Cyborg) commenting on her appearance.

THE FLASH/BARRY ALLEN -- Like many Flash fans, I had some serious misgivings about Ezra Miller as The Flash and I'm sad to say I still have them.  Relegated to the Comic Relief role, Miller's Flash deviates far too much from his traditional depiction in the comics.  Initially introduced as squatting introvert for some inexplicable reason, we soon learn this Barry Allen is fearful and hesitant of just about everything and his only real contribution as a League member seems to be that he can relocate innocent bystanders from one place to another.  No rapid punching, no cyclone winds, no running on water...just awkward reactions to everything going on around him.  At least we still have the TV show with Grant Gustin...

AQUAMAN/ARTHUR CURRY -- Unlike Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa genuinely seems to be enjoying himself as Aquaman.  His laid-back "bro" version of the character also deviates from the comics, but Momoa's imposing frame and bad-boy look make Aquaman seem a lot cooler to people that simply dismiss him as "the guy who talks to fish."  Naturally, his underwater scenes are a particular highlight, but Momoa also has decent comedic timing as well, such as the scene where Aquaman unwittingly sits on Wonder Woman's lasso and unloads his true feelings to everyone.

CYBORG/VICTOR STONE -- Ray Fisher makes his full debut as Cyborg, but the character doesn't quite click enough to make you stop wondering where Green Lantern or the Martian Manhunter are.  I think it's mainly due to Cyborg being underwritten as a character, making viewers not as emotionally invested in him, along with too much of a reliance on CGI to depict him.  Fisher's Cyborg looks like a leftover overdesigned Michael Bay Transformer, with Fisher's face poorly animated by CGI to make even his human face come off as fake.

SUPERMAN/CLARK KENT -- In his best appearance as Superman since Man of Steel, Henry Cavill makes the most of what little screen time he actually has.  When not forced by Zack Snyder to portray Superman as a scowling sourpuss hovering above everyone, Cavill proves he's a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve.  The mid-credits Superman/Flash race scene is great showcase for Cavill, and a great geek moment for DC Comics fans.  

STEPPENWOLF -- CiarĂ¡n Hinds of Rome and Game of Thrones fame provides the voice of Steppenwolf, a rather underwhelming villain for the Justice League's first film.  Presumably, Warner Bros.' plan was to save Darkseid for the sequel, but with the way the studio keeps second-guessing itself, who knows if we'll ever see him.  Being a pure CGI character, Steppenwolf's face looks odd when he speaks, which makes him feel even less like a villain of substance.

LOIS LANE -- In her third outing as Lois, Amy Adams primarily serves as Batman's contingency plan to bring Superman around following his resurrection.  A great deleted scene shown in the trailers that was cut from the final film had Clark noticing that Lois was wearing his engagement ring, so I have to wonder what other great Lois and Clark moments were cut as well.  At least Lois is given the final narration as Superman flies off into the Metropolis sky.

MARTHA KENT -- Diane Lane returns as Martha, who became a popular meme following the derided moment in Batman v Superman when Superman and Batman both realize their moms have the same first name.  Martha is shown having fallen on hard times after losing both her husband Jonathan and son Clark, then losing the Kent farm to foreclosure.  She gets a nice scene meeting with Lois and considering Lois family, but I think the scene where Martha is reunited with Clark could've been a bit more emotional.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH -- Jeremy Irons' second appearance as Alfred comes off considerably better than his first.  With Joss Whedon lightening Terrio's script, Alfred feels more like Alfred this time and gets off a couple of good digs at Bruce while serving in his usual role as tech support.  

COMMISSIONER JAMES GORDON -- No longer at the Daily Bugle, J.K. Simmons gives us the most traditional take of Commissioner Gordon we've ever seen on screen so far.  He gets a rooftop scene where Batman (and the other Leaguers except for The Flash) abruptly disappear when Gordon's back is turned, then praises Batman for playing with others again.  

HIPPOLYTA -- Fresh from the Wonder Woman solo movie, Connie Nielsen reprises Queen Hippolyta and gets a solid action sequence where the Amazons are playing "Mother Box Keepaway" with Steppenwolf and the Parademons.  It was good to see her as the warrior queen this time, although I did wonder if Steppenwolf was going to kill her at one point.

HENRY ALLEN -- Billy Crudup, who played Dr. Manhattan in Snyder's underrated Watchmen adaptation, is the big screen Henry Allen, framed and imprisoned once again for the murder of his wife Nora by the Reverse-Flash.  Henry's role is to help set up the Flash solo movie and encourage Barry to do more with his life, something that wouldn't be needed if Barry was depicted as he should've been.

MERA -- Amber Heard makes her debut as Mera, the future wife of Aquaman and Queen of Atlantis.  In addition to help set up the Aquaman solo movie, Mera is the one who successfully goads Aquaman into stepping up and taking Steppenwolf's threat seriously.  Interestingly, Mera and Aquaman seem to have a rocky relationship, so it may be a while before these two make it to the altar.  And if you're an Aquafan, you had to really enjoy seeing Mera use her powers of water manipulation.

SILAS STONE -- Best known as the creator of Skynet, Joe Morton serves as Cyborg's supporting character and also provides necessary exposition about the Mother Boxes.  There are hints of the distance between him and his son Victor, but Silas' best moment is probably when he defiantly refuses to tell Steppenwolf where the final Mother Box is, impressing Cyborg as he watches from the shadows.

DEATHSTROKE AND LEX LUTHOR CAMEO -- Joe Manganiello and Jesse Eisenberg turn up in the post-credits scene, with Luthor having escaped from prison somehow with no one noticing.  Luthor mentions to Deathstroke that hey, maybe it's a good idea to form their own League, presumably teasing the Injustice League for a potential sequel.

All in all, Justice League is the film we've been wanting but not quite the film we deserve.  Warner Bros. made another misstep with its DC Extended Universe by inexplicably giving Zack Snyder a third attempt to destroy it along with screenwriter Chris Terrio.  Joss Whedon's efforts to lighten things up and salvage the film are successful enough to make it watchable and occasionally even enjoyable, but you have to wonder how much better it could've been without Snyder and Terrio mucking things up once again.  Unfortunately, with the movie's opening weekend being something of a disappointment considering the amount of money that went into making it, a Justice League sequel is anything but a given right now.  

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. The Avengers (2012)
4. Batman Begins (2005)
5. Logan (2017)
6. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
7. Man of Steel (2013)
8. Doctor Strange (2016)
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
10. Wonder Woman (2017)
11. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
12. Spider-Man (2002)
13. Iron Man (2008)
14. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
15. Watchmen (2009)
16. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
17. Justice League (2017)
18. Thor (2011)
19. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
20. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 121: "Girls Night Out" is Up!

"You're a Doctor Who fan, Joanie?"
"Well, ever since he became a lady, I am.  Hashtag Feminism."
– Joe West and Joanie Horton,The Flash: "Girls Night Out"

That's right, Karen's back to join me for a HUGE new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  So huge, in fact, we're splitting it up into two parts!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

The Walking Dead 8x03: "Monsters"
Lucifer 3x06: "Vegas with Some Radish"
The Gifted 1x06: "got your siX"
Supergirl 3x05: "Damage"

The Flash 4x05: "Girls Night Out"
Legends of Tomorrow 3x05: "Return of the Mack"
Arrow 6x05: "Deathstroke Returns"
Gotham 4x08: "Stop Hitting Yourself"

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like Karen's trip to Florida to visit her hubs' side of the family, Gregory being the weaseliest of weasels, me getting some Twitter love from Enid, Eric getting a better exit on TV than he did in the Walking Dead comics, trying to brace everyone for Shiva's death, Rick making a scrapbook for Negan, Lucifer giving Chloe the bullet she shot him with in Season 1, Ella ditching her CSI clothes for a hot dress, Ella hiring a stripper cop for Chloe's birthday, Lucifer's wall safe access code, Jace not feeling the usual Sentinel Services bureaucracy, Caitlin's character backslide into Helicopter Mom, figuring out the Strucker family tree, the importance of X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont, Alex and Maggie's big breakup, Karen's Drunk Lena Luthor impression, paying attention to the physics of Supergirl holding up an airplane, fun with lenticular comics covers, Iris' bachelorette party and Barry's bachelor party, Katee Sackhoff as Blacksmith, Elongated Man being given Plastic Man's personality, Rip Hunter: Vampire Hunter, Damien Darhk's resurrection, Zari not being able to use her superhero name anymore, the big nothing burger of the Vigilante's identity, wondering why Oliver is overlooking that Deathstroke killed Oliver's mom and a whole bunch of people, Harvey Bullock sliding into the darker shade of grey, Tabitha's reunion with Solomon Grundy, that awkward moment when Solomon Grundy beats you to death with your own arm, some new Justina feedback, Karen trolling Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor costume, and more!

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

Google Play Music
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Direct Download MP3s/Libsyn -- HERE
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The Fandom Zone on Twitter -- @FandomZoneCast

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 series premiere of Netflix's The Punisher, along with new episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead, The CW's The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, and Fox's The Gifted, Lucifer and Gotham, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Fox Developing X-Men's MULTIPLE MAN with James Franco

Multiple Man, Multiple Man, doing the things that a multiple can...

Deadline has revealed that Fox is developing a film based on the Marvel Comics mutant superhero Multiple Man, with James Franco starring in the title role.  

According to the article, Wonder Woman scribe Allan Heinberg will write the script.  Simon Kinberg and his Genre Films will produce along with Franco and Ramona Films, which Franco runs with brother Dave Franco and Vincent Jolivette.

Franco, 39, is best known for the film 127 Hours and as Harry Osborn in the movies Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3.  His other films include Alien: Covenant, Why Him?, Sausage Party, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oz the Great and Powerful, This is the End, Milk, Flyboys, Tristan & Isolde, and Never Been Kissed.  He's also appeared in various episodes of the television series The X-Files, Freaks and Geeks, General Hospital, 11.22.63, and 30 Rock.

Created in 1975 by Len Wein, Chris Claremont and John Buscema, Multiple Man first appeared in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 as James "Jamie" Madrox, who was born to a family living near the Los Alamos research facility in New Mexico.  The background radiation presumably caused his mutation at birth, when the doctor's slap caused him to multiply into two identical babies.  Professor Charles Xavier, a friend of the Madrox family, suggested that they move to Kansas to raise the boy in privacy.  Dr. Daniel Madrox, Jamie's father, created a suit for him to wear which was designed to absorb kinetic energy, the source of the duplication.  When Jamie was fifteen years old, his parents were killed by a tornado alleged to have been caused by Damian Tryp, and Jamie began to run the family farm by himself along with his duplicates, or "dupes", until his suit was damaged.

Jamie went to New York City for help where he met Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, who contacted Professor Xavier for assistance.  Xavier sent Jamie to Muir Island to work with Moira MacTaggert in her laboratory and help her with mutant research.  He soon helped Moira and fellow mutants Havok and Polaris in searching for the escaped mutant Proteus. Proteus hijacked one of Madrox's duplicates as his own body, although this did not harm Jamie.  Following the X-Men's battle with Proteus on Muir Island, Madrox was invited to join the X-Men, but he declined.  One of Jamie's renegade duplicates later searched with Siryn for the runaway New Mutants Sunspot and Warlock.  Siryn and Jamie briefly joined the mutant group known as the Fallen Angels.

Jamie was one of the residents of Muir Island who fell under the mental control of the Shadow King.  Following the destruction of Muir Island and the defeat of the Shadow King, Madroz became a member of the second incarnation of the X-Factor team, which was assembled by Val Cooper as a U.S. government response team.  Here, he developed a reputation as a prankster, forming a friendship with teammate Strong Guy.  Also on the team was former New Mutant Wolfsbane, who later joined his X-Factor Investigations.  During this time, Jamie and Siryn had sex, with Siryn becoming pregnant as a result.  Siryn gave birth to a boy named Sean, after her own father.  Just hours after Sean's birth, however, he was absorbed into Jamie's body as Jamie held the boy, completely against Jamie's will.  Jamie realized that the baby must have been fathered by a dupe rather than by him, and that "the offspring of a dupe isn't really anything more than a dupe". 

Jamie eventually fell in love with another X-Factor teammate, Layla Miller, with the two later marrying in Las Vegas.  During the Death of X storyline, however, Jamie transmitted a message to Cyclops and his X-Men requesting aid.  Arriving on Muir Island, where Jamie  had been stationed on his own, the X-Men found him dying after succumbing to the Terrigen Mist cloud that had affected him.  Because of his death, the X-Men realized how dangerous the Terrigen Mists are to mutants.

Franco will be the second actor to portray Multiple Man in live action, after Eric Dane in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including X-Men, X-Men: Evolution (voiced by David A. Kaye) and Wolverine and the X-Men (voiced by Crispin Freeman).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sony Developing Spider-Man Spinoff Movie MORBIUS

The Living Vampire may be living on the big screen.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Sony Pictures is developing Morbius, a feature film based on Marvel Comics character Morbius, the Living Vampire.

According to the article, Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, who worked on the recent Power Rangers movie, wrote the script, which was just submitted to Sony after a secret development process.  The two previously wrote the screenplay for the vampire movie Dracula Untold, as well as the movies Gods of Egypt and The Last Witch Hunter

The article also states that Sony is "furiously developing its stable of Marvel-licensed characters that are mostly based off the heroes and villains that are connected to Spider-Man.  The studio, however, is being coy as to whether or not these new movies will be connected to Sony’s Tom Holland movies or connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is being produced by Marvel Studios."

Created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Morbius first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #101 as Dr. Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, who had attempted to cure himself of a rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving vampire bats and electroshock therapy.  However, he instead became afflicted with a far worse condition, "pseudo-vampirism," that mimicked the powers and bloodthirst of legendary vampirism.  Morbius had to digest blood in order to survive and had a strong aversion to light.  He gained the ability to fly, as well as superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. His appearance became hideous, with his canine teeth extended into fangs, his nose flattened more like a bat's, and his skin became chalk-white.

He later sought a cure for his condition, but battled Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and the original X-Men.  In another battle with Spider-Man, Morbius was hit by a lightning strike, which cured him of his pseudo-vampirism while retaining a thirst for blood.  While cured, he was charged with the crimes he had committed as a vampire and was represented by Jennifer Walters, whose dual identity as the She-Hulk was not yet publicly known.  Morbius selflessly saved Walter's life and stabilized her erratic transformations into the She-Hulk with a serum that he had created to cure the remnants of his own transformation.  He eventually resumed his pseudo-vampire state, and first met Doctor Strange.  Alongside Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo, he battled Marie Leveau, and witnessed the resurgence of true vampires.

During the events of Spider-Island, Morbius was revealed to be the mysterious Number Six working at Horizon Labs.  When Peter Parker tried to investigate the identity of "Number Six," he accidentally provoked Morbius, who had been using the cure to try to develop a basis for his own condition, prompting the staff at Horizon to step up building security.  This drove Morbius to leave, where it was revealed that he had been working with the Lizard, presumably trying to find a cure for both of their conditions.  It was also revealed that Michael Morbius was a college friend of Horizon Labs founder Max Modell.  Using DNA samples from the corpse of Billy Connors, the Lizard's son, Morbius was able to create a cure that would restore the Lizard to human form, but he failed to recognize that the Lizard had fully destroyed Curt Connors' human persona.  They left the Lizard alone in Morbius' lab, allowing the Lizard to release blood into the lab's air supply to provoke the injured Morbius into attacking the other Horizon scientists.  This prompted Morbius to flee the lab with Spider-Man in pursuit.  Morbius was captured by Spider-Man and locked up in a cell in the Raft.  While Peter Parker was trapped in Doctor Octopus' dying body, Morbius offered to help capture Doctor Octopus, who was using Peter's body as Spider-Man, but was turned down.  Morbius eventually escaped from the Raft and fled to Brownsville.