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Category: Superheroes


Green Arrow Volume 2 Here There be Dragons trade cover

At long last DC Comics has released a trade edition of the 1980s Green Arrow monthly comic book series.  The series that sprang out of Mike Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters is some of the best storytelling work by Grell on the relationship between Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance.  We previously reviewed the first trade edition re-released by DC, Green Arrow: Hunter’s Moon, last December here at borg.com.  When borg.com readers have requested recommendations for the best of Green Arrow, I’ve pointed them to back issues of this series along with the classic O’Neill/Adams “Hard-Travelling Heroes” books as a starting point.

Unlike the events of Volume 1, which piled on heavy issues ranging from sexual assault, to child abuse, to gay-bashing, prostitution, armed robbery, and biogenic weapons, Volume 2 is a more intimate look at Green Arrow and Black Canary behind the scenes, very similar to the approach taken by writer Matt Fraction in the successful modern Hawkeye series from Marvel Comics.

Green Arrow 9 cover

Green Arrow Volume 2: Here There Be Dragons, which reprints Green Arrow, Issues #7-12 from 1988, finds Dinah continuing to try to forge ahead on her own and move beyond her violent attack in The Longbow Hunters.  She and Oliver have issues to work out, Dinah with determining what she wants from life and Oliver being haunted by his past.  Together they make the perfect team, like any couple living in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying their town, Oliver perfecting his chili recipe, both commenting on the fact that PNW residents don’t use umbrellas despite the seemingly constant rain.  Dinah is focused on her business at the floral shop, Oliver uses his resources to ward off criminals in Seattle one thug at a time.

This period of the Green Arrow series hit its stride without your typical superheroism, and although Oliver dons his costume a few times, finely crafted storytelling without the over-the-top action is why Green Arrow’s stories are unique among the medium.  Oliver heads to Alaska to pursue a lead and inadvertently tracks a drug smuggling and car theft ring.  Dinah, much like Laurel Lance in the current Arrow TV series, is feeling the pull to help others in the city outside the law.

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Black Panther

In a press briefing in Los Angeles today, Marvel Studios laid out the release dates and titles for the next eleven movies in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” what they are referring to as Phase 3.  While rumors continue to circulate that Benedict Cumberbatch will be tapped to play Doctor Strange, the studio introduced the actor who will play Black Panther on the big screen, Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in last year’s film 42.  We’ll see Boseman first don the Panther suit in the third Captain America movie, Captain America: Civil War, coming in 2016.

And in the past hour Marvel released a new scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron, previewed below after the break.

The studio also revealed the costume design for Black Panther (above) in a poster released at the press event, attended by Boseman, Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr. and Captain America Chris Evans.

Iron Man Black Panther Cap

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Ultron from Avengers Age of Ultron

Earlier than planned, Marvel Entertainment has just released the trailer for the second Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron.  All your favorites are back: Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man, Hawkeye… plus Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch!

Better yet, we get our first look at borg.com Hall of Fame inductee and living automaton Ultron, who looks great in this first preview for the movie.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch from Avengers Age of Ultron

After the break, check out the full nearly 2.5 minute-long preview:

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Grant Gustin as The Flash

Gotham is now two episodes past its pilot, with the premiere for Season Three of Arrow this week along with the pilot for The Flash.  There’s one more DCU series–Constantine–coming later this month.  We’ve seen the first entries of the DC Comics universe on TV for the Fall 2014 season, so how did the first of the season openers fare?

We had low expectations for Gotham.  A series in Gotham with all the Bat-villains and Jim Gordon, but no Batman?  Whose idea was that?  Yet, tight writing and a story that proceeds at a fast pace coupled with a superb supporting cast of characters and actors behind the roles really make this a series we’re looking forward to each week.  That “boy scout” lead role for cop Jim Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, must be a thankless job, and far less fun to play than all those villains, including the best reason to watch Gotham in Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue.  We reviewed the pilot earlier here at borg.com and we’re still happy with the direction of the series.

Routh on Arrow as Ray Palmer

If the season opener is any indication of the course of Season Three of CW’s Arrow, then consistency is the theme for this series.  We know these characters well now, and the actors all solidly fit in the shoes of our heroes, from Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen to David Ramsey as John Diggle, to Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Paul Blackthorne as Captain Lance, Arrow is a proven commodity.

Mix up Diggle’s role in Oliver’s team?  Taunt us with a relationship between Oliver and Felicity?  Kill off a major series hero?  The writers are sure going to keep us on our toes this year.

The highlight of all the DCU series so far is the introduction of Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer–the man who would be The Atom.  It’s not lost on anyone watching that we are seeing the former big screen Superman face off with the Green Arrow right before our eyes.  As we saw with the NBC series Chuck, Routh is one of the best actors to pop in for guest starring roles.  Let’s just not take too much time before we see him transform into The Atom.  Please?

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Legenderry07-Cov-Benitez    legenderry-a-steampunk-adventure-7-concept-cover-a

We say “first” in a hopeful way.

Legenderry is the seven-issue mini-series from Dynamite Comics written by notable Fables writer Bill Willingham.  Legenderry is also the steampunk setting where in Issue #7 Red Sonja joins up with Six Thousand Dollar Man Steve Austin, Zorro, Vampirella, the Green Hornet and Kato, Captain Victory, Silver Star, and the Phantom, all to face off in a final showdown with Ming the Merciless, Queen Flor Zora, Kulan Gath, Lydia Valcallan, General Tara, and Doctor Moreau.

And we hope this is the first of several series with these classic characters in their newest and most creative incarnations.

The best character development in the series is that of Red Sonja, who has spells leaving her to think she is actually the mild and citified Magna Spadarossa, sister of Sonja.  By the end of the series her primitive side breaks through and she is the savage we’re all familiar with.  A close second is Willingham’s Six Thousand Dollar Man and his then-pricey 19th century prosthetics.  Including Oscar Goldman as his companion was a brilliant move.

Legenderry heroes

Artist Sergio Fernandez Davila creates a visually stunning location, and Willingham’s fun take on these classic characters makes the series one of the best steampunk stories to enter the comic book medium.

Issue #7 hits comic book stores this week.  Take a look at the first five pages of this final issue after the break.

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Gordon and Bullock

Review by C.J. Bunce

Creating a Gotham City derived from the dark and sleazy world of the 1989 Batman film, but with a “Gotham Confidential” film noir spin, Fox’s new series Gotham managed to hit all the right notes in its Monday night premiere episode.  Like LA Confidential, it even stars a ringer for Russell Crowe, actor Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C.) as the rookie cop James Gordon.  But it’s the supporting cast and some tight writing that sticks to key parts of the DC Universe backstory that will have us back again next week.

Some elements are modified for this TV adaptation, of course, like the presence of a young Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) at the murder of the parents of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz).  And Batwoman Kate Kane’s girlfriend and cop Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartegena) shows up far earlier in the DCU and, if we’re picking up the innuendo right, seems to have had a similar relationship with the would-be Barbara Gordon (now Gordon’s fiancée, not his daughter).  Will this Barbara Gordon (Erin Richards, Being Human, Merlin) go on to be Batgirl and/or Oracle?

Bruce Wayne in Gotham

But the most riveting and engaging performances in the pilot come from Gordon’s senior partner Detective Harvey Bullock, played by the ubiquitous Donal Logue (Vikings, Sneakers, The X-Files, Ghost Rider), almost reprising his gritty cop roles from the short-lived crime drama Life and the film Zodiac, and the introduction of a new villain, mid-level mob moll Fish Mooney, played in a sultry Eartha Kitt-inspired performance by Jada Pinkett Smith (Hawthorne, The Matrix Reloaded).  Logue proves again he could carry a TV series all by himself, and Smith also owns every scene she appears in.

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Agents of SHIELD season two clip

Late Friday night Marvel Entertainment released a clip featuring a full scene from episode 1 of Season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  If you bailed on the series after the initial glitter of the Marvel Comics universe drama started to fizzle mid-season, you may have at least one good reason to give the series another try.  Agent Coulson’s team returns, this time joined by genre fave Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, Veronica Mars, Burn Notice).

Although Marvel owns the cinematic superhero universe, it takes a backseat in TV land.   The DC Comics universe counterpart Arrow on the CW Network firmly established audiences would happily accept a series full of superheroes and supervillains.  With Arrow competing for viewers again this season, Warner Bros. is also adding The Flash, which looks to be great.  Will S.H.I.E.L.D. finally embrace the key element of the genre it represents?

Agents of SHIELD season two cast

Check out this first look of a scene from Season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

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Wheaton Binderup McDaniels at Planet Comicon 2014

Why are you here?

To read?  To learn something?  To kill time?

OK, not why are you “here” at this website.  Think Big Picture:  Why are you here?  To narrow the gap between the rich and the poor?  To help people?  To have fun?  To create?

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels from Run-DMC, who we met at Planet Comicon last year, asked himself that question after returning to a hotel after a night on a European tour.  He’s pictured above with Wil Wheaton and my pal William Binderup.  McDaniels asked himself that simple question and wrestling with that question set him on a path that he recounted to a crowd of college students years later.  National Public Radio located an audio recording of that talk that they re-broadcast this past Wednesday night.

The result is a great story, and may serve as inspiration for anyone suffering from depression, anyone who was adopted, and it surprisingly serves as a great message about the power of fandom.  It also should cause you to consider the possibility that you can do anything you want to do with your life, and sometimes you may even surprise yourself if you aim high.  Maybe there’s more to who you are, who you like, and what you know–and don’t know–about yourself.

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Scotty in kilt

That is, if you’re in Scotland.

Census records estimate that more than twice as many people of Scottish ancestry live in the United States than in Scotland.  Is it the destiny of Scotland to declare its independence from Great Britain?  If not now, then when?  At the beginning of the day everyone has been waiting for, polls show the likely outcome as a dead heat.  We’ll soon learn the answer we’ve all been asking:  Will they or won’t they?

Of course there are all sorts of implications to a yes vote, not the least of which is what kind of economic impact it will have on England, on the United States, and the world.  If Scotland wants to make a statement to the world this could very well be Scotland’s day.  So if you’re one of those Scots that are 16 years old or older and done voting or you’re in the States and can’t vote today, then what better than a brief celebration of all things Scottish?  As Mike Myers’ character Stuart Rankin, proprietor of the store “All Things Scottish,” said on Saturday Night Live, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap.”

Sean Connery

Scotland is well known for its inventors and their inventions.  You wouldn’t be reading this website or surfing the Internet at all without the communications technologies that sprouted from Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone.  John Logie Baird would invent the first television.  Scots invented the refrigerator and the flush toilet, the kaleidoscope and the lawnmower.  And–shazam–James Goodfellow invented ATMs so we can get money to buy stuff on nearly any street corner.

Our future is defined in part by the adventures of a Scot in space–James Doohan’s Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott from Star Trek, an engineering miracle worker who exemplifies Scottish ingenuity.  And of course, there’s James Bond, the character, whose parents were Scottish, and Sir Sean Connery, the Scottish actor, the most famous Bond, and a supporter of today’s “yes” vote.

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BWSF01-Cov-Chen

Review by C.J. Bunce

Starting next Wednesday, September 17, 2014, the Bionic Woman is back.  This time, in her third comic book series in the past two years, following Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and The Six Million Dollar Man, it’s a continuation of the original television series, right where the series last left our bionic heroine.

Dynamite Comics is publishing the new series written by Brandon Jerwa, with interior art by David T. Cabrera.  Issue #1 features cover art by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes and a photo incentive cover featuring Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers.

So how does Issue #1 fare?

Bionic Woman legs

They have the introduction right, presumably to begin each issue like an episodes of the series.  As to moving the series forward in continuity of the era, the tech gets a slight–but only slight–upgrade, with walkie-talkies replaced with wireless comm-links in Jaime’s ears.  Dr. Rudy Wells and Oscar Goldman are back, too.  So the setting checks out.

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