Tag Archive: CW Arrow


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Strange Adventures is a 12-issue limited series, resurrecting the title of a famous 1950s series, with that familiar DC superhero vibe you’ve seen in series like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s successful All-Star Superman.  Tom King (Batman) is writing the story, and the first issue of the series is available this month at your favorite comic book store.  Much like the CW series Arrow, the series featuring DC Comics space fantasy hero Adam Strange tells its story in staggered flashbacks.  And it has the distinct vibe of the limited series Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer–good comic book fantasy fun with a serious edge.  Many comic book stores and other bookstores remain open, many with call-ahead and drive-up options, and Strange Adventures is one you may want to add to your own comic shop pull list.

Inspired by Flash Gordon and a progenitor of Rocketeer, Adam Strange is a classic, iconic character from the end of the Golden Age of comics, created by Julie Schwartz and Murphy Anderson, with the great Gardner Fox–master adapter of both Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard characters, writing early stories, among others.  It’s space fantasy, more than science fiction–think Guardians of the Galaxy–and in the premiere issue of the new series Strange is a national hero, living with his wife on Earth, recounting images from his war-torn past.

Strange Adventures 1 cover a  Strange Adventures 1 cover b

Strange Adventures even has a similar artistic style as All-Star Superman, courtesy of alternating artists Mitch Gerads and Evan Shaner–you may not notice the difference since they use the same color palette–but one style is a bit more painterly than the other.  That’s Gerads, whose present day world is visually stunning like Mike Grell’s run on Green Arrow in the 1990s.  In images of the past, Shaner seems to aiming at more of a Tomorrowland or Darwyn Cooke look at the character.  Both shuffled together actually work.  Each artist will provide a cover option for every issue of the series.

Here is a look inside the first issue:

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Last night’s episode of CW′s Arrow brings eight seasons of one of DC Comics’ oldest superheroes to a close as the CW aired the show’s series finale.  Focused on Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow–one of the costumed characters off to the sidelines over the years in the shadow of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman–the series would be a resounding success for the network and executive Greg Berlanti, sprouting several other DC Comics adaptations under the banner of the Arrowverse.  And what a long, strange trip it has been.  It’s been seven and a half years since I first watched the premiere of CW’s Arrow in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2012 at the panel featuring the creators and stars Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy (I reviewed the pilot first here at borg).  My initial reaction found the show a “refreshing, intriguing update to the superhero game,” and “even for a fan of the traditional character’s story, updates made for TV were well thought out and did little to detract from the core of what makes Green Arrow the unique character that has survived as a key comic book character for 70 years,” and that the pilot “deftly managed to alter far less of the source material than, for example, the Green Lantern movie released in 2011, and in doing so created a truer, more refreshing story with appropriate nods to the past, and one that promises to survive, should it find its fan base.”  Who knew that survival would mean greenlighting so many more superhero shows, including The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Batwoman, and the forthcoming Superman & Lois?

The series accomplished a lot even if it didn’t get everything right.  Arrow suffered when it veered too far from the DC Comics stories, or when it pursued too deeply the more arcane corners of the DC universe, the biggest side trip being the dominance of fan-favorite minor character Felicity Smoak in the series, ultimately knocking Dinah (or Laurel in this version) Lance aside to be Oliver’s romantic partner, which again took center stage in the finale episode.

This winter’s ambitious Crisis on Infinite Earth’s crossover event killed off Oliver Queen in the grand tradition of killing any superhero character (aka until his inevitable return, which we’ve seen in Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks’ comics story arc).  Although the finale itself, “Fadeout,” was much like an old 1980s “filler” episode (with many scenes spliced from past episodes) and like the final Crisis episodes it was about mourning Oliver and preparing for his funeral.  But the penultimate episode, “Green Arrow and the Canaries” (which aired last week), would make for a good spin-off.  That episode took Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance (the only actor we ever expected to be Black Canary in 2012), and teamed her up with Katherine McNamara’s Mia (Oliver and Felicity’s daughter trained by Oliver last year), along with Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Drake, all in a future world of Earth in 2040 (introduced earlier in the series).  How long will the CW Arrowverse continue without its flagship series?  Only time will tell, but viewership already switched over to make The Flash the CW’s #1 watched show.

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If you’re the type of fanboy or fangirl who can barely wait for the next big screen appearance of superheroes, whether it’s the Avengers, The X-Men, The Guardians of the Galaxy, or Batman, Superman, and the Superfriends, you’re just looking at the wrong medium.  We’ll admit we were slow in feeling the love for CW’s TV series The Flash–last year’s new tie-in series to the wildly successful Arrow.  Initially The Flash was too lighthearted and comic booky and the lead, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, maybe just a bit too nice.  But we soon became believers in The Flash the superhero and the show, which rated as the borg.com Best Superhero Fix for 2015.  And this season The Flash is even better.

Just take the last three episodes.  Finally superfans got to see the famed Earth-2, that legendary otherworld we grew up with in the pages of Justice League of America.   In the two-parter “Welcome to Earth-2” and “Escape from Earth-2” we got to see in full color this great place where Barry and Iris are married, Iris is cool, Barry’s mother lives, Caitlin Snow is Killer Frost, and our favorite Firestorm (played by Robbie Amell as Deathstorm) is back.  You just know everyone is asking the same question:  Can’t we just stay here to play around a little longer?

So many stories, so little time.  But why not keep returning to Earth-2?  Who cares about Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad when you can watch Danielle Panabaker as Killer Frost?  Open up that portal again, Barry!  We’re hoping for “Earth-2 Strikes Back,” “Battle for Earth-2,” and “Conquest of Earth-2” coming sometime soon to a TV near you.

Earth-2

The Flash is such a good series that it can actually pull off those oddities of comicbookdom that may make the average reader cringe.  Like King Shark, making a return visit to Central City as star villain of this week’s episode.  Who would think a villainous land shark and a story resolution straight out of Sharknado could actually work on network TV?  Because we believe in these characters–Barry, Caitlin, Cisco, Iris, Joe, Wells, Jay Garrick–we will go along for the ride wherever the writers take us.  Can you say that about any of the superhero movies in the past five years?

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If you missed the pilot for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow this week you can still catch it now.  Bringing together nine characters from the CW’s Arrow and The Flash, plus the new time traveler Rip Hunter, the CW has provided a venue for a very comic book concept–the weekly team-up.  And other than the Arrow and The Flash themselves, this new series has pulled together probably the best of the secondary characters from those shows.

Doctor Who’s other last companion Arthur Darville leads up this new team.  It’s as if we get to see Darville portray the Doctor himself, at least an American view of the British series.  The Comic Con crowd audience is provided plenty of familiar encounters and situations that reflect classic tropes and scenes.  Seattle’s Space Needle aka Star City is the launch point for this new team composed of Brandon Routh’s Atom, Caity Lotz’s ex-Black Canary now the White Canary, the one-two punch of Victor Garber and Franz Drameh as Firestorm, Falk Hentschel as Hawkman and Ciara Renee as Hawkgirl.  And bad guys Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) play the good side with Arrow and The Flash’s Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) as the series villain.

DC Legends

After about 20 minutes of world building, recruiting and meeting all the players, the show kicks in when the team finds itself in 1975.  Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and White Canary end up in a bar where Canary goes on her own punching spree.  It’s a great play to see the bad guys team-up with a good guy against… anyone else.

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New Speedy Willa Hollans on Arrow

Time flies when you’re having fun.  Seems like yesterday we were up all night on the street in San Diego waiting to see the world premiere of the pilot for CW’s Arrow.  It’s hard to believe Season 4 begins tonight.  Arrow has done something pretty amazing–taking a 70-year-old character and upending his backstory and surrounding characters in a way that stays true to the spirit of the original.  This season the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is getting even closer to his roots.

Tonight Oliver’s sister, Thea (Willa Holland), will take over the Speedy mantle, donning the above slick new supersuit.  Some credit is due to my pal and fellow Iowa boy Phil Hester and Kevin Smith, co-creators as writer and artist, respectively of Mia Dearden, the first woman Speedy in the pages of DC Comics’ second long-running Green Arrow monthly.  This new look borrows much from their original.  It’s not the first time CW’s Arrow has dipped back into the archives to bring out good ideas from the past, and that is what helps make the series so well-received by fans of the superhero genre.

What can we expect from Season 4?

Queen

For one, Starling City will be renamed Star City, one of the comic book homes of Oliver Queen throughout the years.

John Barrowman will return but now as the new Ra’s Al Ghul.  The power will undoubtedly go to his head, but how far, and will he take Thea down into the darkness with him?

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CW’s The Flash TV series is what superhero shows should all strive to be.  Mainly, it’s about fun, with a young actor (Grant Gustin) playing a fresh version of a classic character trying to get his footing with his strange, new powers.  Like the original 1980s version of the series, this series is about Barry Allen working with a small group of friends to do good in his smaller world of Central City.  Unlike the edgier, groundbreaking Arrow TV series, The Flash doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As with Arrow, DC Comics and the CW partnered, as it should, to bridge the TV series with the comic books that the series was derived from.  It’s here, in the print and digital pages of The Flash: Season Zero, available this week in a trade edition, that we are introduced to one of the most vibrant and fun versions of The Flash to be published by DC Comics in years.  Again, not taking the stories and characters too seriously, the writers of the TV series have written the further adventures of Barry Allen that both amplify the humor and camaraderie found in the TV show, but this incarnation also informs the TV superhero–filling in gaps that don’t make it to the TV scripts.

Phil Hester art on The Flash Season Zero

In the pages of The Flash: Season Zero we see what would be more difficult to translate to the moving image, like King Shark, that villainous land shark.  This is done beautifully and in his unique superhero world style by artist Phil Hester, who returns to the realm he illustrated for several years in the pages of Green Arrow (and even returns to his roots by including a cameo of Oliver Queen in one story).  Hester’s pencils and Eric Gapstur’s inks along with some great color work by Kelsey and Nick Filardi provide a visually interesting read for audiences of all ages.

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The Renaissance of movie and TV tie-in action figures arrived in 2013 with Funko’s classic Kenner-style ReAction figure line.  Other companies focus on single licensed figures and getting the likenesses spot-on, but Funko’s diversification of lines meant everyone could find something that fit their personal niche at an affordable price point.  A true throwback series, one of the overlooked features of the line is the incredible variety of no-names-taken, classic kick-ass heroines represented.

In fact you can find here the top of the world’s best, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, genre heroines.  Buy them for yourself, for your friends, or get your favorite as a totem to inspire you each day from your desktop.  And where the early sculpts in Funko’s line admittedly looked nothing like the actresses that made the roles famous, the new lines have only improved.  And nobody has better packaging designs than the ReAction line.

Zoe Washburne scene

Who would you add to the Funko roster of heroines?  Compare your list to our more than 85 suggestions for future kick-ass women action figures below.

First, check out this Baker’s Dozen of our favorites in the current Funko pantheon:

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Superhero Fight Club

If you can’t fit your characters into continuity, why not figure out another way to give fans what they want?

That’s what the CW did with a new promo for the final episodes of the season for Arrow and The Flash.  The trinity of DC Comics’ A-list aside, what does the rest of the Justice League do to blow off steam?  They practice their skills in their own secret athletic club–the “Superhero Fight Club.”  There’s just one rule: There are no rules for the Superhero Fight Club.

CW villains DC

So from Team Arrow, check out Arrow, Black Canary, Arsenal/Red Arrow, The Dark Archer, Ra’s Al Ghul, and The Atom, and from Team Flash, The Flash, Firestorm, Reverse Flash, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave:

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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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Little Green Army Men PC 2015

Plenty of fun was in store for everyone attending Planet Comicon 2015 this weekend.  With the Big 12 Championship basketball tourney between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Kansas Jayhawks, downtown Kansas City was booming Saturday.  At the third annual Planet Comicon at the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall, actors, writers, artists, cosplayers, vendors, and tens of thousands of fans of everything from comic books to toys and from Doctor Who to Walking Dead continued the convention tradition of sharing their common interests in a positive and exciting environment.

Elizabeth C. Bunce and your humble editor from borg.com were back again meeting up with creators and friends from past years (this year as Daniel Craig’s Jake Lonergan from Cowboys and Aliens and Kate Beckinsale’s Anna Valerius from Van Helsing).  Check out the great little green toy army men cosplayers at the show above.

Kent McCord PC 2015

Kent McCord, known best for his role on the classic TV series Adam-12, shared some great stories about working with Martin Milner, Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, and Stephen J. Cannell.  What better than to spend the day chatting with someone who has starred in shows like Dragnet and Unsub?

Pileggi PC 2015

We also had a great time with Mitch Pileggi, co-star of one of the all-time best genre TV series, The X-Files.  He talked about the possible renewal of his role of Director Skinner on a rebooted X-Files series and working with Judith Light on TNT’s reboot of Dallas as Harris Ryland.

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