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.
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?
Nerd HQ wrapped this weekend’s panels for charity with some good Q&A sessions. If you haven’t seen earlier Nerd HQ panels, we at borg.com have been covering them since 2011 here when we saw Scott Bakula in San Diego at the inaugural event. Check out this link for past panels. We even got immortalized at the beginning of Zachary Levi’s introduction of Bakula as Levi was momentarily startled by a certain Tenctonese alien in the crowd in this video (“Ma’am, do you realize you have no hair on your head?”):
We’re still finding photos on the Web Comic-Con visitors snapping photos of us in that Alien Nation cosplay.
This weekend posted the first days of the panels from this year’s Nerd HQ here and here. Nerd HQ wrapped with more panels Sunday. Making his first appearance at Nerd HQ was the man playing one of our favorite characters, Arrow’s Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell:
The Winchester brothers returned again for this Supernatural panel with Mark Sheppard:
This week Stephen Amell, star of CW’s Arrow, again expressed his interest in being part of the movie version of the DC Universe, and that he could stand up against Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and fans would be good with it. We agree, and in fact, we think Season Two has so far exceeded our expectations, and Amell’s performance as Oliver Queen far surpassed what Cavill did with Superman this summer in Man of Steel, that the producers would be wise to consider including Green Arrow in the Batman vs. Superman movie. Much of Amell’s success in his role comes from his visible belief in his character, his physical skill and acting ability, all which comes through on the small screen. The rest of the series’ success is the good writing, and fans of the TV series who can’t get enough each Wednesday have had another option this year via a weekly comic book digital tie-in series that was reprinted in twelve monthly issues.
Consisting of 37 chapters that read like short stories, Arrow the comic book was created by writers from the TV series including Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg as well as guest writers, and drawn by classic Green Arrow artist Mike Grell and a host of other DC Comics artists including Sergio Sandoval and Eric Nguyen, and photo covers and new art covers by Mike Grell, Phil Hester, and others. The book expanded the series by giving fans insight into each week’s TV episode. One week you could find backstory on Helena Bertinelli, the next a flashback of John Diggle’s experience as a soldier, and some weeks featured Oliver’s encounters back on the island. With so many opportunities to touch on Oliver Queen and the series supporting characters, the title turned into an anthology series with plenty of potential.
Oliver Queen is dying, out in the desert, left for dead and we don’t know why. Jeff Lemire takes us back three weeks to Seattle to understand what led to this moment. From Lemire’s first issue writing for Green Arrow to today, he has given us an entirely new Green Arrow, and although he chose to keep the trick arrows, not a lot of characteristics would make the new angry young man familiar to long-time fans. Over the last ten issues, 2013 has seen what the New 52 sees as Oliver Queen.
In the five-issue story arc titled “The Kill Machine,” a mysterious hunter, also an archer, called Komodo has destroyed Queen’s life, causing his business and friends to be taken away. Komodo brings along his psychopath of a daughter, too—think Hit Girl and Big Daddy or Boba and Jango and you’ll get the idea. Komodo even has the image projected to him of an even badder bad guy a la the Emperor called Golgotha. Queen has been set up—Oliver Queen is a wanted man for the murder of the leader of the old Queen Industries. Lemire then pulls us back into the history of Queen’s father, his friend, and that island where Queen was stranded for years. Like the ghost of Obi-Wan, a spirit guide of sorts called Magus is trying to steer Oliver on the path away from destruction, to the truth. And going along with the Star Wars metaphors, Oliver confronts Komodo to learn the truth about his father.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Sexual assault, child abuse, gay-bashing, drugs, prostitution, armed robbery, biogenic weapons, and street gangs–what dealt with all of these subjects in its opening chapters? A comic book series? DC Comics is finally compiling Mike Grell’s definitive Green Arrow comic book series that began in February 1988 and ran for more than a decade to November 1998. Gritty and real, it’s the Oliver Queen fans cheered for as he cleaned up the streets of not Star City or Starling City, but the dark alleys of Seattle, Washington.
Except for Morton Weisinger and George Papp who created Green Arrow in 1941, and Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams who re-imagined the character nearly thirty years later, Mike Grell did more than anyone to define the urban archer for the ages. Grell actually took over after O’Neill and Adams created their landmark Green Lantern/Green Arrow series in the early 1970s. But he made Green Arrow his own with 1987’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, a three-issue mini-series that finally awakened DC Comics to the potential of Green Arrow and his long-time girlfriend Black Canary. In 1988 Grell made Oliver Queen throw away his trick arrows and use penetrating broadheads that actually killed the bad guys. And in none of the storylines was Queen ever referred to as Green Arrow, a component maintained in CW’s Arrow series.
Following its release of hardcover profiles of great comic book artists Alex ross, Sean Phillips, and Howard Chaykin, Dynamite Comics announced this week the upcoming release of The Art of Jock, celebrating the work the British illustrator of works including Hellblazer: Pandemonium, Savage Wolverine, Green Arrow: Year One, and memorable Batman covers. The Art of Jock will include hundreds of illustrations from his years as an artist for comic books, film, and marketing work.
“It will include drawings and paintings from all of my comics projects from over the last ten years, including many sketches and unseen material, plus concept art and extensive promotional images from the various movies and posters I’ve worked on,” Jock announced in press materials announcing the book release. “The quality of the books I’ve seen from Dynamite has been second-to-none, so I’m thrilled to have a home there for this retrospective.”
If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…
…and once you’re back… WOW! What a season opener! We couldn’t ask for more action and drama. CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.
At first… confusion! John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years? Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin. We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business. And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.
By Art Schmidt
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about comic book movies and the slow transition of the formulas for the ones which have succeeded to television format. My friend was grumbling about the lack of costumed heroes on popular shows such as Arrow or the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I have to admit, I hadn’t really noticed the lack of costumes in those shows, loving the first season of Arrow despite very few folks with traditional comic book costumes, and enjoying the first couple of episodes of A.O.S. (can you acronym an acronym?).
But the more I thought about it, the more puzzled I was. Why weren’t there more costumes in Arrow? Certainly Deathstroke’s mask was a pivotal prop in the series, and the Dark Archer had a cool getup, but they weren’t costumes so much as work attire fitting the villain’s nature. And of course A.O.S. is a show about normal people, super spies and highly-skilled to be sure, but not superheroes. And certainly without costumes outside of May’s black leather suit, akin to Fury’s normal wardrobe and the attire seen by many personnel aboard the Heli-carrier in The Avengers.
Speaking of which, The Avengers is a perfect case in point. The evolution of the superhero sans costume. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
Review by C.J. Bunce
When Arrow’s pilot was previewed at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2012 we had our first indication that the series would be a big hit. The pilot remains one of the best first episodes for any TV series, and on its new Blu-ray release viewers get to see what an incredible looking show this really is. This Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Arrow will be released on both DVD and in an awesome Blu-ray combo pack that you won’t want to miss, and today’s your last day to pick it up at its discounted pre-order price. Thanks to Warner Bros. borg.com got an advance preview of the Blu-ray combo pack, and if you missed any of the 23 episodes aired this year, or you haven’t seen the series at all, now is the time to catch the best live action DC Comics effort since 1990’s The Flash. Check out the “Arrow” tag to the lower right of the borg.com home page for past coverage of our favorite new hit.
Optimum Quality. The nine-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes two complete sets of the episodes and features: the DVD on five discs and the Blu-ray on four discs. (One to keep and one to loan to friends?) It also includes a code for Ultraviolet viewing access. The picture and sound quality are perfect, and watching the episodes straight through you realize the series was designed in a very seamless way compared with so many shows that have repeated scenes at every commercial break. Not so here. The navigation menus are the best we’ve seen so far–easy to navigate–and they include a full menu for all the discs on each disc so if you have the wrong disc inserted you’ll always know which one you want.
All 23 Brilliant Episodes. The series started off with a complex pilot, and that was a movie-quality effort to begin with. Subsequent episodes never seemed to let up. Our favorite was the three episode arc featuring Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw, one of the top character retellings in this new Green Arrow universe. We were surprised how much we didn’t mind Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim taking liberties with the 70-year history of the Green Arrow canon. The set includes great episodes featuring characters unexplored before, including the very modern and realistic tech guru Felicity Smoak, played perfectly by Emily Bett Rickards, and the entirely new character, Oliver’s confidant John Diggle, played by David Ramsey.