Tag Archive: Birds of Prey


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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Westley The Princess Bride Cary Elwes

Oliver Queen, Supergirl, Firestorm, Captain Jack Harkness, Amy Pond, and Princess Buttercup’s Westley all set to appear

For more than a decade Planet Comicon has been one of the Midwest’s biggest comic book and pop culture conventions and that was no less so in 2014 when it became the largest attended event in the history of the Kansas City Convention Center.  Last year’s show featured William Shatner and the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and this year Planet Comicon is bringing in some of today’s biggest names from TV and movies featuring fan-favorite superheroes.

Stephen Amell Oliver Queen

The star of the CW’s Arrow, Stephen Amell will be attending the event along with cousin Robbie, who starred in Tomorrow People and is the new Firestorm on the CW’s The Flash.  Genre mega-star John Barrowman, Doctor Who and Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness, will also headline the Con this year.  Barrowman played Arrow’s key villain from seasons 1 and 2, the Dark Archer.

Amy Pond

Most famous for playing the Doctor Who companion Amelia Pond opposite Matt Smith, Karen Gillan will make a rare convention appearance this year in Kansas City.  Gillan starred most recently in 2014’s blockbuster hit Guardians of the Galaxy as Nebula. Also appearing from Guardians of the Galaxy is Michael Rooker, who played the blue-faced mentor to Star-Lord, Yondu, along with Sean Gunn, who was the physical on-set actor as Rocket.

Guardians Michael Rooker

Rooker appeared on The Walking Dead, and also appearing from that series will be Scott Wilson, known to fans for his role as Hershel Greene.  Wilson has starred in plenty of TV shows and movies, including The X-Files, CSI, The Last Samurai, The Twilight Zone, and the adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth.

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Batman Night of the Owls hardcover cover

As someone who bailed a few issues into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: The Court of Owls story arc in the monthly Batman comic book which spanned the bulk of the first year of the New 52, I found that I really enjoyed the crossover follow-on story as compiled in the late February hardcover release, Batman: Night of the Owls.  While you are either left scratching your head or enjoying the ride as the Batman “Death of the Family” story arc wrapped last week with Batman Issue #17, this new trade edition is one way to check out some other New 52 titles you might not otherwise try.  And it’s fun watching how several writers can make a crossover take place in one night over 14 issues.

It’s the first crossover of the New 52.  Batman: Night of the Owls collects 360 pages, including Batman Issues #8-9, plus the tie-ins from Batman Annual #1, Nightwing Issues #8-9, and Issue #9 of All-Star Western, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Detective Comics and Red Hood and the Outlaws.

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Katana 1 cover

First appearing in DC Comics in 1983, the character of Katana, formerly a member of Batman’s Outsiders, was rejuvenated as a member of the Birds of Prey in the New 52 last year, replacing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl as the third team member.  If you haven’t seen her before, what you need to know is that Katana’s real name is Tatsu and she has been busy seeking vengeance against the Yakuza for killing her husband.  With her trusty Soultaker sword by her side she’s a force to be reckoned with, and she will be featured as a newer breed of superhero in the new Justice League of America beginning next week with Justice League of America Issue #1 (not to be confused with the Justice League series).  But if you want to get an early look at Katana, you can pick up Issue #1 today of her own new monthly series.  We at borg.com previewed Issue #1 this week and think this series will be an interesting and unique addition to the New 52 line-up.

Katana original art A

Written by Ann Nocenti with art by Alex Sanchez, the story is packed with the spirit of ancient Eastern influences, swordplay and mysticism.  Nocenti counts herself a fan of Akira Kurasawa and Katana’s story will be familiar to fans of his films.  Artist Alex Sanchez has created a modern yet ancient-inspired fictional setting in his Japantown, part of San Francisco.  DC Comics has shared with borg.com some original art pages from Katana, Issue #1 reprinted here.

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First up, John Barrowman, who you may know as the suave Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, has signed on to play a yet-to-be-revealed character in the opening season of CW Network’s Fall TV series Arrow, centered on the classic DC Comics character, Green Arrow.  We previewed the pilot episode here last month, and it looks to be a great series, full of action and energy, with ample nods to Green Arrow’s established canon.

It seems impossible, but wouldn’t he make a perfect Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern?

I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

The show’s creators have only released that Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” (huh?) “as mysterious as he is wealthy” and that he is an “acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.”

  

And now the CW announced that they are adding another familiar DC Comics character to the series in a multiple-episode story arc:  Enter:  Helena Bertinelli, The Huntress.  Part of the classic DC series and trio Birds of Prey (along with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Dinah Lance/Black Canary), which had its own short-lived TV series, Australian actress Jessica De Gouw will play Helena Bertinelli, a “potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.”  Perhaps Barrowman will play her father?

Jessica De Gouw to be the new Huntress

Adding the Huntress opens the possibility of including Batman at some point, because of their long connection, but I’m also not getting my hopes up about that.  Because of the Birds of Prey connection, the Huntress is a natural fit for fleshing out Dinah Laurel Lance’s storyline, allowing her to operate separately from Oliver Queen if the writers want to go in that direction. And how about making her look like Cat Skaggs’s drawing of Huntress in her classic costume shown above?

So we now have Green Arrow, Black Canary (who the creators seemed to indicate would get her fish-net clad supersuit in the first season in their Comic-Con panel interview), the villain and now the Huntress. CW’s Smallville had its own established set of DC characters, so what better place to experiment with a Justice League story than this new series?  If I was writing it, I know I would try to free up as many JLA characters as possible to share a vision of the JLA long overdue, and finally respond to the pleas of DC Comics fans around the world wanting something to match Joss Whedon’s hit 2012 movie, The Avengers.  Unlike Smallville, the pilot revealed that this new series will be a superhero show, not just another CW soap opera.  Moreover, we have established genre character actors in key roles lending some credibility to the series with former Star Trek Voyager Borg Queen Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and The Dresden File’s Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres on the CW Network Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

Three years ago Barbara Gordon was shot and sustained spinal damage by the Joker.  The crime was detailed in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s controversial Batman: The Killing Joke, the first slick prestige-formatted comic book and one of the best looking comic books of all time.  Since then Barbara Gordon has been in a wheelchair. During the past three years Barbara had dropped her Batgirl costume for a computer and became the brains behind the Birds of Prey as the character Oracle, along with Dinah Lance/Black Canary, and Helena Bertinelli/Huntress.  She’s been living with her father, Commissioner Gordon, all the while.  And a miracle happens–she can walk again.  Now she wants to “spread her wings” and move out on her own.  That is where we meet Batgirl in the new DC Comics “New 52” Batgirl series.

It is only fitting that Gail Simone, who in recent years has spent more time creating Barbara Gordon’s voice than anyone, scripted the first new universe Batgirl story.  She understands the character and is my argument for why writers should stick with characters longer than they seem to be allowed at DC and Marvel.  Especially when the writer gets it right.  If you invest a lot of time in a character, you get in his/her skin and begin to think the character’s thoughts.  You get that feeling with Batgirl.

Obviously the “three years” in the wheelchair as Oracle is in DC universe time, since Batman: The Killing Joke was published 23 years ago, back in 1988.

The new Barbara is funny and endearing.  She shares her inner voice with us to contrast with her Batgirl exterior.  We don’t know what will come of it, but she finds a new roommate and a place she can afford to rent.  Her inner voice is determined, and she forces herself to be confident, even though we sense a lot of doubt in her about her abilities.  She’s young, but not too young.  She is a straight arrow, not gritty and also thankfully not vapid.  In the first story we see her crash a home crime, similar to what Gordon faced with the Joker.  She hasn’t been in the superhero business physically for years now.  She is successful, but she’s nervous.  Simone shares that the shooting will never leave this character, although we get the vibe that this series will be about moving on.  The art is clean, Batgirl looks good in her costume and the panels and design are creative.  Nice work all around by artists Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes.

Fans have asked numerous questions: Why pull her from the wheelchair?  As a model for disabled people, what is DC saying about people with disabilities–to be heroes do you need to be able to walk?  All these are fair questions and Simone has attempted to answer them this summer.  Ultimately this is a character and maybe DC thought every piece of her story as Oracle had been written.  And where else but comic books can a character live a dream that may not be able to be fulfilled with a person in an actual, similar circumstance?  It is difficult to say anyone but Simone could have handled this transition with the same level of grace and alacrity.  But it shows that no fan is free from the change in this new set of series.  The risk with so much change at once is simply human nature–humans don’t like change.  So everywhere you look in the new titles, something will be off-putting to everyone at some point.  What Issue #1 of Batgirl does successfully is wade right through those questions and deliver a new, fresh story that has promise.

The new Batgirl could be the lead in Veronica Mars. She could be a character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or the writers will create someone who makes her own mark.  Not the Batgirl from the TV show, or the Batgirl from the Batman and Robin movie, but someone with the same energy and optimism.

First off she will need to encounter a new villain called the Mirror, who she meets at the end of Issue #1.  And her first big encounter is brief–and a failure.  Luckily for us readers, Batgirl Issue #1 is not.  Looking forward to Issue #2 next month!