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Tag Archive: Grant Gustin


  

Review by C.J. Bunce

Primarily in-universe looks at the first three seasons of ABC/CW’s series Supergirl and the first four seasons of CW’s The Flash, two new books offer up a complete look at the superheroes, their encounters, and the extensive and diverse world of supporting characters in the shows.  The last of the series to round out CW’s Arrowverse–the live-action world of DC Comics characters outside the movies–Supergirl, the series, revolves around the famous daughter of Krypton created by the performance of Supergirl aka Kara Danvers actor Melissa Benoist.  The character’s personality comes to the surface in Supergirl: The Secret Files of Kara Danvers, a diary style guide to the TV series, which includes a three-season episode guide.  It’s a companion to both Arrow: Oliver Queen’s Dossier (previously reviewed here at borg) and S.T.A.R. Labs: Cisco Ramon’s Journal, and another new book in the series, The Flash: The Secret Files of Barry Allen, another diary style book documenting the latest incarnation of the superhero aka Barry Allen, as portrayed by Grant Gustin.

The first takeaway of these books is the breadth of stories that have been adapted from the comic books into these series.  The guest actors fill in the world from the comic books, and for older viewers, they conjure a bit of nostalgia, several from past superhero incarnations, from the movie version’s Helen Slater to Smallville’s Erica Durance and Sam Witwer, Lois and Clark’s Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain, Heroes’ Bruce Boxleitner and Adrian Pasdar, Hercules’ Kevin Sorbo, and the original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter.  The wealth of villains alone in The Flash series makes The Flash: The Secret Files of Barry Allen a must-have for CW Arrowverse fans.

Both books feature dossiers of the good guys and the bad guys you need to know about, whether based in National City for Kara Danvers or Central City for Barry Allen.

Here are previews of each book, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams:

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Flash a

CW’s The Flash proved to be the best comic book adaptation to any size of screen in 2015, and it looks like it could be heading that way in 2016, too.  Where Arrow soared into the lead spot in prior years, The Flash and its less dark story unfolded in its second season as the cast began to gel.  This year the all-out fun circumstances marked it as a favorite among fans of the source material–comic books.

As The Flash–which ended with a great appearance of 1980s Flash actor John Wesley Shipp donning The Flash suit once again–returns for Season 3, Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is entering the realm of a loose tie-in to DC’s “Flashpoint” series story.  As previewed at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend, that means Barry Allen finally does what we all would probably do–go back in time and prevent the death that changed his life.  But what will this action, this manipulation of the timeline, mean for the future, and his relationships with all those around him?

Wally West

For one we get to see Wally West as The Flash.  But what else?  Check out this preview for The Flash Season 3:

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killer-frost-and-deathstorm-the-flash

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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Flash Arrow crossover

With the above photo released Tuesday by Arrow executive producer Mark Guggenheim, DC Entertainment is finally filling in the stray gaps of the Justice League.  Who would you rather watch?  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in one two-hour flick, or most of the Justice League every week on three TV series?  Both Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin have now established themselves as the real thing with their Arrow and The Flash series.  We already know Henry Cavill was a bust as Superman and early looks at Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot aren’t too exciting.  The answer should be easy.

If you haven’t been keeping track, along with Amell’s Green Arrow and The Flash (Gustin’s Barry Allen, Teddy Sears’ Jay Garrick, and Keiynan Lonsdale‘s Wally West on the way), we’ve seen two versions of Black Canary (played by Caity Lotz and Katie Cassidy), two versions of Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal (played by Colton Haynes and Willa Holland), The Atom (played by Brandon Routh), Firestorm (played by three actors: Robbie Amell, Victor Garber, and Franz Drameh), Huntress (Jessica de Gouw), classic Justice League staple Jean Loring (Teryl Rothery), Vibe (Carlos Valdes), and an Earth-2 version of Doctor Light (Malese Jow).  Each of these were featured in at least one version of the League over the years.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

And now we have a first look at Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee), coming in three weeks as part of an Arrow/The Flash crossover event and lead-in to the next DC Entertainment/CW Network series Legends of Tomorrow.  Still no view of the hawk wings yet.  The other guy in the mask above is CW creation John Diggle (David Ramsey).

So who is still AWOL from the League?

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dc-comics-flash-season-zero-tpb-1

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 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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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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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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Mauro Cascioli Ray Palmer The Atom

DC Entertainment released yesterday the news that Brandon Routh will be portraying Ray Palmer, and his alter ego The Atom, in season three of CW Network’s Arrow TV series, adding one more Justice Leaguer into the current live-action DC universe.  Since Routh previously played Superman in Superman Returns, the continuation of Christopher Reeves’ 1970s Superman role, it also seems unlikely The Atom will appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice two summers from now.

But it’s not the first time a movie star has played two roles in the same superhero universe.  Chris Evans played Fantastic Four member Johnny Storm AKA The Human Torch in Marvel’s two Fantastic Four films, then came back to headline The Avengers as Steve Rogers AKA Captain America in three big-budget Marvel Universe movies.  He was great in both roles.  Fans accepted it and never even questioned Evans playing both roles.

Chris Evans Human Torch Captain America

DC Entertainment previously released Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice casting decisions for the Justice League with Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman from Man of Steel, Ben Affleck will dawn the cowl as Batman, Gal Gadot will handle the golden lasso as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa will wield the scepter as Aquaman AKA Arthur Curry, and Ray Fisher will play the next live-action borg as Justice Leaguer Cyborg.

CW Network already features Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen aka the (Green) Arrow, and introduced Grant Gustin as Barry Allen aka The Flash to be spun off in a Fall 2014 TV series.

Brandon Routh in Chuck

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Flash to the rescue Flash costume CW series Grant Gustin

This morning we revealed the first teaser here at borg.com for CW Network’s Fall TV series, The Flash. The general consensus seemed to be that the preview, first shown on Wednesday night’s season finale of Arrow, and the new Flash costume was underwhelming.

Never fear.

The CW Network just released a full-length trailer for The Flash.  It’s no Arrow, but it has promise.  Seeing Grant Gustin walking down a city street with Jesse L. Martin will have you thinking Law & Order is back.  Tom Cavanaugh appears to have a much bigger role than initially expected.  Danielle Panabaker looks as if she can fill in for the Felicity Smoak energetic friend and Candice Patton’s Iris West looks like she will step in as Barry Allen’s love interest early on in the series.

So check out this first real trailer for CW Network’s The Flash:

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