Tag Archive: DC Comics


Amell at PC 2015

The three-day Planet Comicon comic book and pop culture convention wrapped yesterday in Kansas City.  The highlight of the day for thousands of attendees was the one-day visit to the show by Stephen Amell, star of the CW Network’s Arrow TV series.  If you’ve been reading borg.com for very long, you’ll know I’ve been tracking the show as the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan, including spending the night with 7,000 other fans in San Diego for the show premiere with Amell and his co-stars back in 2012.

After hanging with his cousin (and CW star of The Flash) Robbie Amell last night at the Elite Comics after party at the Alamo Drafthouse, we got to meet Stephen today.  As you’d expect, fans were happy to meet him, and he kept a cheery disposition throughout a whirlwind day of signing autographs and being featured on a panel at the convention.

Amell and Hyatt shot

Because he was only at the show for one day, that meant plenty of lines to get to see him–lines that barely even looked like lines.

Arrow lines

But as typical with attendees at comic book conventions, everyone handled it all with great attitudes.

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The Flash and Trickster - original series

In light of actor John Wesley Shipp taking on the role of Barry Allen’s dad in CW’s The Flash reboot series, we figured the show’s writers couldn’t avoid doing what we all want to see anyway.  And that would be?  Revealing that the new series isn’t really a reboot, but a sequel–that Shipp, who originally played Barry Allen, is somehow the same Barry Allen, and Grant Gustin is either his son or some part of him, some kind of Kid Flash.

This idea was bolstered when the 1990s The Flash series co-star Amanda Pays returned as Dr. Tina McGee for the December 9, 2015 episode, “The Man in the Yellow Suit.”  They didn’t even hide her as some different character.  For those of us who still view the 1990s The Flash series as the best superhero TV series ever, we couldn’t ask for more.  Well we could, and that would include Mark Hamill returning as The Trickster.  For years fans of Hamill wondered what he was up to, and then he surprised us by showing up out of nowhere as a villain on TV.

Trickster 20 years later

Ask and ye shall receive.

The CW Network has released a new preview for its next three episodes, airing Tuesday nights March 17, March 24, and March 31.  And it looks like Mark Hamill is back 25 years later in a story that flows from his original story line.

Check out the preview, after the break:

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Arrow Heroes Villains cover

Much like was done for the successful Supernatural TV series from the CW Network (like the book we reviewed previously here at borg.com), Titan Books has released a new full-color photographic archive book for fans of the Arrow TV series.  Arrow:  Heroes and Villains is the first of three books coming our way this year featuring Oliver Queen and his cohorts.

More like a fan magazine or souvenir book in trade paperback form, with photos of the actors and details about their characters, Arrow: Heroes and Villains is the kind of book I would have been after for my favorite shows as a kid.  Most of the photos are marketing shots for the characters, but it also includes snapshots from the series.  Enough text is provided to get anyone who missed the first two seasons of the series caught up with each character and the major storylines up to the beginning of season three.  It’s mainly an in-world book about the world of Oliver Queen, but also has interviews with show creators, and offers a behind the scenes look at the character development of key roles.

Arrow and Canary

Grab a copy and get it signed by series star Stephen Amell next Sunday at Planet Comicon in Kansas City.

Split into two parts, plus a look at the Suicide Squad, Arrow: Heroes and Villains provides an essay on each of Oliver Queen, his parents, Thea, Walter Steele, Laurel and Sara Lance and their parents, John and Carly Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Tommy Merlyn, Roy Harper, Barry Allen, Frank Pike, and McKenna Hall.

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Melissa Benoist latest Supergirl

The biggest news so far released by Warner Bros. about the next DC Comics universe TV experiment was that former Superman Dean Cain (Lois and Clark) and former Supergirl Helen Slater (Supergirl) would have guest roles on the series Supergirl, a Smallville-esque series likely to arrive in 2016.  Laura Benanti (Royal Pains, Life on Mars (U.S.) was revealed to play Kara’s Kryptonian mother, Alura Zor-El, leading Supergirl from afar as Jor-El did for Kal-El in the various Superman incarnations.  And Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl, the series lead, will be played by Melissa Benoist (Whiplash, Glee).

Other roles cast include Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss, media mogul Cat Grant.  Kara’s love interest will be Jimmy Olsen, played by Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness, Dollhouse), Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy) has been cast as Kara’s foster sister Alex, and David Harewood (Robin Hood, Doctor Who, Homeland) will play Department of Extra-Normal Operations chief Hank Henshaw.

We now have our first views of the new Supergirl supersuit Benoist will don as the latest superheroine in the DC Universe.  The designer is Academy Award winning costumer Colleen Atwell, who also created the CW designs for Arrow and The Flash.  The suit is similar to many past comic book versions:

Supergirl CBS

The slate of the women’s side of the DC pantheon is finally making some headway.  We’ve had a look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman from Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Katie Cassidy’s Black Canary from Arrow:

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Phil Noto Black Widow

The last day of the year is finally here, and with that the last of our reviews of the best content of 2014.

We’ve previewed comic books each month thanks to publishers like Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, and Image.  We sample the best of all that Marvel and DC Comics has to offer, too, and although we don’t have enough time to review everything we review those titles we think our readers might like to check out, especially those with a sci-fi, fantasy, or retro angle.  And we read plenty of books–sci-fi and fantasy, pulp and spy novels, movie and TV tie-ins, even Westerns and steampunk, as well as non-fiction books about movies, TV, and other genre topics.  This past month we have looked again at these titles, as we narrowed our selections to what we think are the very best.  So here are our picks for Best in Print for 2014.

Black-Widow-5

Best Comic Book Series — Black Widow, Marvel Comics.  We were wondering early on what would take the place of Fraction and Hollingsworth’s Hawkeye series for the most satisfying superhero fix.  It didn’t take long to see this other Marvel series looking at another superhero in a similarly personal–but very different–way.  It was a standout in a great year of comics.  Phil Noto’s art and colors were incredible and Nathan Edmondson’s story didn’t let up once.  Full of action, espionage, and intrigue.  A great series to catch-up on in a trade edition.  See our reviews of the series here and here.

AfterlifeWithArchie_07-0

Best Comic Book Mini-Series — Afterlife with Archie, Archie Comics.  Who would have guessed someone could make Archie and friends so accessible to any demographic in the 2010s?  And whose brilliant idea was doing it via a horror genre story of zombies taking over Riverdale?  Smart writing by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and spooky atmospheric illustrations by Francesco Francavilla made for a sumptuous series like no other.  Not technically a mini-series, it feels like one because of its staggered release.  See our earlier raves about the series here.

Wilds End issue 1

Best Comic Book Writing – Dan Abnett, Wild’s End, BOOM! Studios.  Abnett’s Wild’s End really caught us by surprise.  An incredible fantasy read that is truly unique from BOOM! Studios.  Anthropomorphic characters with incredible archaic dialogue that’s witty and smart.  A crazy mash-up of War of the Worlds, Christopher Robin’s neighborhood, and the dark edge and high stakes of Revival.  We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of this series.  Check out our earlier review here.

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Green Arrow issue 100 cover   Green Arrow 101 cover

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.”

Death of Green Arrow

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.

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Syfy Krypton logo

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).

Superman 1978 Krypton

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.

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The Flash Season Zero regular cover issue 1   The Flash Season Zero issue 2 cover

If you’re not watching The Flash on the CW Network there’s no time like tonight to join in and get caught up.  All the DC Comics fans who grew tired of the dark and gloomy nature of the DC Comics universe as realized in television (like Constantine) and the movies (like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) have the alternative they have been looking for from this spin-off of CW’s Arrow.

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen against all prior types.  He’s more like Peter Parker than the Barry Allen of the Silver Age or more recent New 52 incarnations, and little like the older, more serious scientist in The Flash television series from the 1980s starring John Wesley Shipp.  He’s cheery, funny, friendly, and generally a happy guy despite his obsession with his mother’s death years ago, having to deal with his father in prison for her murder, and the fact that his life has been turned upside down by a bolt of electric current from a particle accelerator.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

And if the series isn’t enough for you, check out the tie-in comic book series The Flash Season Zero.  Season Zero provides a supplemental story to the TV show but also is a jumping-on point for those who may have missed the first few episodes.  Now only two issues in, you can get these back issues easily from any comic book retailer.  The best reason to check out Season Zero?  The return of artist Phil Hester to the part of the DCU he drew for many years as penciller on the monthly Green Arrow series.  With multiple crossover episodes this season between The Flash and Arrow, hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Hester’s take on drawing Stephen Amell’s much younger version of Oliver Queen.

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LTPC_Volume_3_Cover    superman_ga_sundays_2_pr

Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and so revisiting history via its primary sources should be no less important in studying the history of comics and animation.  And with the benefit of our own personal wayback machines (spelled WABAC for you Mr. Peabody fans) sometimes our looks to the past are full of imagery and stories that make us squirm as our sensibilities have improved over time.

We visited this concept here at borg.com with our review of the even-too-sexist-for-a-Bond-novel The Spy Who Loved Me and racism-heavy Live and Let Die.  Can you still enjoy these works knowing how skewed the world view was?  I think the answer can be yes, as long as you maintain your critical eye and acknowledge the improvements we have made.  Ignoring or dismissing these works outright would be worse.

Thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. we previewed a copy of Looney Tunes–Platinum Collection, Volume 3, on Blu-ray, and courtesy of IDW Publishing we have a preview for you of Superman: The Golden Age Sundays (1946-1949), after the break.

Gossamer and Bugs

Who doesn’t remember and cherish the great Looney Tunes cartoons of the mid-20th century, recycled decades after their creation for a 1970s and 1980s cable viewing audience thanks to Saturday morning cartoons?  But, like many comic books and superhero movies today, you might use discretion before sharing with young audiences.  Even the originals were intended for adult movie audiences and it’s amazing networks thought these were once appropriate for kids each Saturday.  And where you may think you watched these cartoons and turned out fine and bigot-free, what about that guy across the street?

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Constantine playing with fire

He is a key character in DC Comics Justice League Dark for a reason.  Stress on the word “dark”.  He’s Constantine–John Constantine–possibly the least likely character to emerge from the pages of the DCU and make it to the small screen.  Yet NBC has pulled out all the stops lately with promotions to get new viewers to check out this new series following Grimm on Friday nights beginning tomorrow.

We’ve collected all the promotional videos here for Constantine so you can judge for yourself whether this new series is one for you.  He’s been summed up as “A man struggling with his faith is haunted by the sins of his past but is suddenly thrust into the role of defending humanity from the gathering forces of darkness.”  And there’s plenty of horror and gore, as revealed in the recent previews released.  Will the suspense grab and retain viewers in this onslaught of DC Comics-based TV shows?

Constantine screencap

Unlike CW’s successful DCU spin-off TV series Arrow and the new series Flash and Gotham, don’t expect to see lots of familiar genre actors in this series, but plenty of new faces.  Star Matt Ryan has shown up before in Criminal Minds-Suspect Behavior as well as stints on Vikings, Torchwood, The Tudors, and one of our faves, the Brit film Layer Cake.  And you might recognize Angelica Celaya from her role on the (recently prematurely cancelled!) Dallas.  Lost fans will recognize Harold Perrineau here who played Michael on that series.

After the break, check out all the promotional trailers and previews for Constantine:

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