Following on the heels of the exciting espionage and intrigue-filled series The Bionic Man, this year’s The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six unfortunately didn’t pack the same punch needed to continue the series beyond its first six issues. It begs the question of whether five seasons really was enough, or whether it’s just too difficult to grab a modern audience with the story of a cybernetic human from the 1970s and 1980s when technology has moved so far past that era.
The reboot via Dynamite Comics’ license for Steve Austin began with a script by Kevin Smith that was then taken over by Phil Hester and wrapped with Aaron Gillespie. Their series retold Steve Austin’s story of a test pilot crashing and being saved from death via cybernetics in the modern day. It was a great read that blended the best of the TV series with technology of today. The mistake may have been discontinuing that series for a reboot aimed to leverage the current marketing hook that worked so well for other TV series continuing in comic book form, the best being Dark Horse Comics’ multi-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight through Ten, and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season Ten.
Why weren’t readers pulled in for the Bionic retro-fix? The fact the story was necessarily planted in the past? The lack of photo-real interior artwork? With a new Bionic Man movie in the works with Mark Wahlberg, it may be the next time we see a Steve Austin comic book series is an adaptation of that movie.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
It’s a line by Alexander Pope in his 1709 poem, and Oliver Queen played out the saying fully in Arrow’s mid-season finale. Unwisely confronting the League of Assassin’s far more powerful Ra’s Al Ghul and covering for sister Thea by posing as the killer of Sara Lance, Oliver met his end. “Where Angels Fear to Tread” is also the title of the story arc that took the original run of DC Comics’s Green Arrow one hundred issues to get to–the original fall of the Emerald Archer. In the mid-season TV finale it was literally a fall–off a cliff after a pretty undeniable death via Ra’s Al Ghul’s sword.
But we all know that the death of a superhero is short-lived 99 percent of the time. In Issue #101 of DC Comics’ long-running Green Arrow monthly series Ollie met an untimely death in an exploding airplane, and yet the series continued for 36 more issues–without Oliver Queen. Series star Stephen Amell may have given a clue to a similar direction for the return of the series in January via a Facebook post after the show:
“Despite the title, our show is bigger than any one character. We’re going to prove that to you.”
The original, explosive death of Oliver Queen.
So we may see a period during the last half of Season 3 without Ollie. But a note to the show writers: just don’t take it too far.
It feels like the series has barely begun and the writers have taken the big leap. Where can we go from here? Taking a superhero book forward without the title superhero in the 1990s comic book series was a risk, and split those fans who were loyal to the classic Green Arrow and those willing to accept a second Green Arrow–Connor Hawke, Oliver Queen’s son, as a new Green Arrow. Three years was a surprisingly long run without Ollie, but ultimately the series was cancelled. Oliver was to be resurrected years later by Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in a second successful Green Arrow series.
With all the focus on teen and adult readers, you might not know that several popular comic book and comic strip characters are still going strong, and available each week for kids of all ages in your local comic book store. With the annual re-airing of the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, why not see what the Peanuts gang is up to today? BOOM! Studios’ KaBOOM! line has several series catering to the demographic that may not be ready for Revival and Rachel Rising.
This week KaBOOM! is releasing new issues of Garfield, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and yes, Peanuts. And for a slightly older set of readers, BOOM! Studios’ BOOM!Box is releasing the next issue of the 2014 breakout hit series Lumberjanes.
After the break, check out previews for all these titles, courtesy of BOOM! Studios. All these issues hit comic book stores tomorrow.
First up is that lasagna-loving cat Garfield in the trade paperback edition of Garfield, Volume 5. Whether you’ve read the prior books or not, it’s a cinch to get caught up on Garfield, Jon, and Odie.
Funko Toys CEO Brian Mariotti has been revealing some new toy lines coming from Funko in 2015 as part of his 12 Days of Christmas blog posts at the company’s website. The biggest news is after four decades someone is finally making a series of action figures for Jaws. So look for Brody, Hooper and Quint arriving just in time for the 40th anniversary of the film.
An equally big surprise is his news of two new Star Trek action figure toy lines, one for the original series and one for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mariotti did not mention whether designs for any of the figures had yet been developed, or their release dates.
Other series getting the 1970s retro-action figure treatment will be Terminator 2, The Dark Crystal, and Gremlins, along with modern shows Breaking Bad and Boondock Saints. And Mariotti said he planned to release more TV shows and films slated for the ReAction line by Christmas. We’re hoping those lines might include Planet of the Apes, The Last Starfighter, Die Hard, Alien Nation, Blade Runner, They Live, or Big Trouble in Little China.
One of our favorite artists is J.K. Woodward, known for his vibrant and life-like painting style, and his work on several successful series including Doctor Who/Star Trek: The Next Generation–Assimilation² reviewed here and Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever reviewed here.
We haven’t featured any new original comic art lately so what better time than now to share borg.com’s recent commission of a Woodward painting, done as part of his donation to the Toe Tag Riot crowdfunding project (we reviewed Toe Tag Riot Issue #1 here).
Adding to our gallery of awesome Green Arrow and Black Canary original art, Woodward placed the Alex Ross era costumed duo on the streets of Star City. Green Arrow, sporting his classic look and Van Dyke beard, is ready to take out some vile foe off-screen, as Black Canary soars into the picture overhead on her trusty bike. Based on her facial expression, this superheroine means business.
Check out the full image, after the break…
Review by C.J. Bunce
The one-two punch of Nathan Edmondson’s creative storytelling and Phil Noto’s stunning painted covers and panels have yielded twelve issues of a great comic book series this year. Black Widow gives us an entirely new look at the assassin turned Avenger. She’s decisive and merciless when she needs to be. Yet, troubled by her past, she’s on a quest to atone for past sins even if she doesn’t collect all her bounty along the way.
Accompanied by her lawyer-handler Isaiah, an adept operative in his own right, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill, Natasha Romanova aka Black Widow is a powerhouse superheroine–without the need for any superpowers in a banner year for kick-ass women genre characters. In the past year she has partnered with Director Hill, The Punisher, the wolverine/mutant X-23, and even Bucky Barnes–the Winter Soldier, and taken on both Hawkeye and Daredevil. All the while she has bested the bad guys on every continent, even if at first she can’t determine who to trust.
You often encounter series that are weighted toward a stronger writer or stronger artist, but here the balance is perfect. Edmondson presents the coolest version of Black Widow yet with an engrossing story. Noto’s painted panels, his 1960s color palette, his realistic Natasha and other recurring characters, and his city scenes from San Francisco to Prague are memorable. His Natasha is every bit as cool as James Bond on film–a spy you’d both love to be and love to be with.
Syfy Channel is jumping on the superhero series bandwagon and teaming up with DC Entertainment to launch a new series in 2015 about the family of one of DC Comics’ most popular characters. Krypton will key in on Superman’s grandparents on his father’s side, with Jor-El’s father–Superman’s granddad–as the lead character. One can quickly see a young Jor-El, twin brother Nim-El, and other brother Zor-El (Supergirl’s dad), and perhaps an Eddie Haskell-inspired neighbor kid Zod, as likely key characters in this new prequel story to the classic Superman tale.
Depending on the series you’re following, the grandfather of Superman (known at birth as Kal-El) was Jor-El the First or Seyg-El, son of Var-El and husband of Nimda An-Dor. Will they select one of these names or start from scratch for the series? It’s all being developed now.
The good part? Other than Constantine, recent TV series featuring superheroes Arrow, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, and Gotham have proven to be critical successes. The not-so-good? Krypton is being developed by the scriptwriter (David S. Goyer) for the disappointing big-screen reboot Man of Steel (reviewed previously here at borg.com).
The 1978 Superman movie featured Marlon Brando and Julie Christie on an interesting, technologically advanced planet Krypton.
Here’s the studio description for the project:
Years before the Superman legend we know, the House of El was shamed and ostracized. This series follows The Man of Steel’s grandfather as he brings hope and equality to Krypton, turning a planet in disarray into one worthy of giving birth to the greatest Super Hero ever known.
As reported here earlier this year at borg.com, Bill Willingham’s successful steampunk/steampulp series is spawning three new series coming in February. Starring Vampirella, Red Sonja, and the team of Green Hornet and Kato–as they all were re-envisioned for the Legenderry universe, these series follow the characters after the events in the seven-issue mini-series that wrapped this summer from Dynamite Comics.
We now have the images of the three main covers for each title, shown above and below. Rarer variants will feature original art black and white versions of some of these covers.
The first to be released is writer David Avallone and artist David Cabrera’s Legenderry: Vampirella. Coming February 4, 2015, the publisher has describes the series as:
A return to Bill Willingham’s fantastical steampulp world of LEGENDERRY! Vampirella comes home from the epic battle in The Principality to find that her Scarlet Club has been closed, and powerful forces within The Big City are conspiring to destroy her… but they quickly learn they’ve pissed off the wrong immortal vampire.
February 11, 2015, Dynamite releases writer Marc Andreyko and artist Aneke’s Legenderry: Red Sonja.
The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) will be the title of the next Bond film, SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again. SPECTRE, which stands for “SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion,” is the movie incarnation of the less gritty sounding SMERSH, a Russian acronym for “Special Methods of Spy Detection” in the original Ian Fleming Bond novels. Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain, named Oberhauser. SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld, like the much ballyhooed, almost-surprise villain Khan in the last Star Trek movie.
Although all Bond novel titles have been used for Bond films, unused titles for original Fleming authored Bond works include “The Hildebrand Rarity,” “Risico” or “The Double Take,” “007 in New York,” and “The Property of a Lady.” You Only Live Twice, Never Say Never Again, Licence to Kill, The World is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day, Goldeneye and Skyfall were sourced from concepts within the novels, and A View to a Kill taken from the story “From a View to a Kill.”
Even a slick new Aston Martin, the DB10 (shown above) is being rolled out for Bond for the next film. After the break check out the new title teaser video for the film.
Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger promised in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, he’s ba-ack, starring in another Terminator film. It’s the fifth movie in the series: Terminator Genisys, and yesterday Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures released a teaser for a trailer to be released later today.
The studios also released a digital poster showing Arnold’s famous cyborg, and you can watch it here:
Arnold’s Terminator has the rare distinction of being on both the American Film Institute’s Best Villains (for Terminator) and Best Heroes lists (for Terminator 2).
Busy as the Governator of California, other than brief glimpses of his image as the chiseled cyborg, Schwarzenegger did not make appearances in either Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), or the fourth film, starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, Terminator Salvation (2009).
Okay, maybe Emilia Clarke does look a bit like a young Linda Hamilton.
Terminator: Genisys has an impressive list of genre actors in addition to Arnold: Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Jason Clarke, Jack Reacher’s Jai Courtney, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, RED 2 and G.I. Joe’s Byung-hun Lee, The Hunt for Red October’s Courtney B. Vance, and Law and Order and Spider-man’s J.K. Simmons.
After the break check out the teaser for Terminator: Genisys: