iReview | JUSTICE LEAGUE vs. THE FATAL FIVE

The present is in great peril from an invading threat from the future and the Justice League’s newest members may find themselves paralyzed and unable to stop The Fatal Five from destroying the future.

The future’s most dangerous villains are facing off against the World’s Greatest Heroes in a fight for the fate of all time. The latest DC Entertainment/Warner Bros Animation full-length animated adventure Justice League vs. The Fatal Five takes us back to the much-beloved heroes of the popular Justice League Unlimited television series. Executive produced by Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett this unique exploit introduces several new characters into the ranks of the Justice League roster and further establishes the heroes and villains that populate the 31st Century.

The Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of young people from all across the galaxy that has united to defend their present era in the 31st Century, are facing off against the vile Fatal Five and have succeeded in immobilizing two of their most powerful members. In order to keep the Emerald Empress and the mindless monster Validus prisoner, the Legion decides to imprison them in the only place that can hold them — the past! The remaining members of the Fatal Five travel back to the present day, but they aren’t alone — the villains are followed by the legionnaire Star Boy.

It doesn’t take the Fatal Five’s Mano, The Persuader and Tharok long to exact their reign of terror on the 21st Century, fortunately for us we have the Justice League, but it appears that these invaders are almost as powerful as Superman (voiced by George Newbern) and they are seeking someone the call “Limelight”. Batman (Kevin Conroy) stumbles upon the mysterious Star Boy (Elyse Gabel) who may hold the key to stopping these new enemies, but not even the alien Miss Martian (Daniela Bobadilla) can penetrate the legionnaires fractured memories.

With the help of Jessica Cruz (Diane Guerrero) a reluctant Green Lantern, and one of the league’s newest recruits, our heroes may be able to stop the Fatal Five from releasing their captured accomplices and exacting their plan to destroy the league preventing the modern day heroes from inspiring the Legion of the future, ensuring their dominance of the 31st Century! Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is a time-traveling escapade with the excitement of a summer blockbuster, while nostalgically reminding us of what made Justice League one of the best animated series ever.

The feature-length animated movie reunites some of our favorite voice actors from Justice League including Kevin Conroy who has voiced Batman since the days of the Emmy® Award Winning Batman: The Animated Series Susan Eisenberg who has become, for many, the most ideal Wonder Woman ever, and joining them in the cast are Diane Guerrero who voices the role of Jessica Cruz, the newest Green Lantern, as well as pulling double duty as a regular cast member on the DC Universe Original Series Doom Patrol playing Jane.

Tackling Bigger Issues

Recently the heroes of the DC Comics Universe had been facing bigger problems than just the nefarious deeds brought upon by their archenemy. Currently playing out in the DC comics event Heroes in Crisis a nine-issue limited series written by Tom King, the revelation of a “sanctuary” a place of respite the heroes use to seek support from the trials of their experiences and emotional support has shaken the perception of how the public perceives its masked defenders. When Sanctuary is compromised a mystery unfolds that has everyone feeling vulnerable.

The idea that even superheroes require special attention to deal with daily stresses is a fairly new idea, and perhaps among some of the most recent characters to have come out of the closet to reveal their emotional instabilities include the time-traveling Booster Gold, the Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn, and the newest Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, who came about her role as a ring bearer rather reluctantly. Cruz was initially seduced into taking the ring from the alternate-earth villain Power Ring, but after standing up to its corruption was made an official Green Lantern.

Left traumatized after a terrifying experience, Cruz was very easy prey from the Ring of Volthoom which feeds off of fear. When it makes Jessica Cruz its new host, it doesn’t bargain with the young woman’s own strength of will. With the help of The Flash, and the other members of the Justice League, Jessica perceivers, using her newfound powers to rise up against Darkseid and the imminent threat of the Anti-Monitor during “The Darkseid War”. Battling through her own fear, Jessica proved herself worthy of wielding one a Green Lantern’s ring.

The inclusion of the character in Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is a welcome examination of the heroine’s journey and goes deeper inside her psyche then has ever been explored in the books. There’s a magnificent dimensionality that is revealed of the newest Green Lantern in this animated adventure that makes her magnificently worthy to wear the ring. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time audiences will be given the chance to revisit the animated exploits of the Justice League especially given how much the heroes have evolved.

Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is available now across Digital Platform and will be released by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation wide across all additional platforms on April 16 with a running time of 87 minutes.

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iEditorial | LIKE A PRAYER 30th Anniversary

Still considered the most seminal work of her career, 30 years ago Madonna released Like A Prayer her most introspective project at the time, redefined popular music and elevated her celebrity into the stratosphere.

Expressing herself has always been one of Madonna’s most enduring caveats as an artist. The Queen of Pop has never attempted to shy away from the criticism or the controversies that have followed her especially early on during her emerging career, and in 1989 the controversies were moving at a rapid-fire pace, and yet Madonna kept in step. Proving many of her harshest critics wrong she releases Like A Prayer her most honest and introspective work, the album reshaped the perception of the artist immediately.

There was her high profile divorce from actor Sean Penn. Their tumultuous marriage had been headline fodder for the tabloids since the moment the couple began to date; the distraction of having their lives constantly under the microscope inevitably led to the relationship’s downfall. Madonna emerged determined from the experience not to appear a victim of what many had conspired to describe as an abusive situation. Between her last full-length album and the release of Like A Prayer, Madonna appeared to have grown in leaps and bounds artistically.

The 11-tracks that culminate in the setlist for Like A Prayer beginning with the album’s title track read like an exercise in self-discovery and exoneration for Madonna. She’s putting it all out there and bringing her audience along with her. “Like a Prayer” proved more of a success than anyone could have bargained for. In the lead-up to the video’s MTV premiere, Pepsi had agreed to a multi-million dollar deal with Madonna to sponsor her upcoming world tour. The commercial featuring the track was the perfect marriage of artist and product typical of the 80’s branding of an image.

Unfortunately, the video for “Like a Prayer” with its profound use of religious iconographic imagery, some of which showed Madonna cavorting amorously with a man who appeared as a Christ-like reference while burning crossing raged behind her, may have been more than squeaky-clean soda manufacturer had bargained for. Madonna and Pepsi inevitably went their separate ways, though she kept the millions promised to her, and followed up the controversy of the first video with the even more flagrant “Express Yourself” directed by David Fincher.

Just Like A Dream

For the second single from Like A Prayer, Madonna threw all care to the wind and decided the video for the more up-tempo track would be her most audacious yet. Collaborating with David Fincher (the pair would work together often) the pair chose the art deco influences of the gothic futuristic film Metropolis set to the “non-stop” remix of the track by music producer Shep Pettibone, to drape Madonna in satin sheets, chaining her to a bed — a captive to her own desires — as she awaits the arrival of her oiled up, muscly laborer who toils in the depths of the city.

The imagery from “Express Yourself” alone fueled a movement and would eventually reveal itself as the opening arc of her blockbuster statement of 1990, the Blond Ambition World Tour. The album would go on to release several hit singles including “Keep It Together”, “Oh Father”, “Dear Jessie” and “Cherish” which also featured a video from fashion photographer Herb Ritts. The video which featured Madonna on the shores of a beach playing with mermen who swam amidst the crashing waves was an interesting parallel to Ritts’ other video for Janet Jackson.

Though their rivalry was never a publicly stated competition, the two artists often found themselves during the 80s and 90s battling for similar audiences. Ritts bathed Madonna in cool blues which played beautifully to her own eyes as her skin appeared wet and desirably supple in the watery backdrop, while Jackson’s video for “Love Will Never Do (Without You) placed Janet in the stark California desert, radiating a heat — both artists the lustful affection of several well-built male models; of the two videos Madonna’s the more playful and innocent, by comparison.

Keep It Together

Perhaps the most significant extrapolation of Like A Prayer comes from its significantly closing the artistic collaborative efforts of songwriters Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, who had been ever-present in Madonna’s early career hits. They would return to the fold, but after Like A Prayer and her next full-length album effort Erotica Madonna would begin to experiment with alternative producing and writing partners. The success of Like A Prayer would soon be eclipsed by the shockwave of a single hit song that almost ended up a B-Side. The song was “Vogue”.

UnBoxing | Star Trek Discovery KLINGON BIRD-OF-PREY

The most feared warship in the known galaxy — like you’ve never seen it before — continues to evolve in its latest iteration from the Star Trek Discovery and brought home from Eaglemoss Collections.

When the USS Shenzhou decided to wake the bear that is the Klingon Empire at the Battle of the Binary Stars, Star Trek Discovery took the opportunity to once again (re)introduce the most formidible alien species in the galaxy. The Klingons have been a favorite fan, and within the canon of Star Trek history they are the Federation’s most fearsome adversary. With their reintegration into the 23rd century continuity establishing more details of the Klingon/Federation War, this enemy has never looked more ferocious.

The creatives behind the new series have had a distinct freedom to explore technologies and designs for Star Trek Discovery and that’s most evident in the radically more alien look at the Klingons. Even the 23rd Century Bird-Of-Prey the most notorious warship in the Klingon fleet, had a very atypical design and terrifyingly ornate aesthetic; more muscular and constructed to strike fear, the craft looks very much like its namesake implies serving to strike fear in the hearts of its enemies.

A close-up of the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey reveals the intricate detail and vastly more vascular look at the approach the design took to make this 23rd Century war ship different from its predecessors.

The Bird Takes Flight

Eaglemoss Collections recreates the newest Klingon Bird-Of-Prey for its Star Trek Discovery Official Starship Collection and begins to assemble the fleet of the Klingon forces that soar into battle during the Klingon/Federation War and are first glimpsed at the Battle of the Binary Stars of 2256. The model is based on the designs of Sam Michlap. The design team was tasked with giving the Klingons, especially the iconic Bird-Of-Prey a more “aggressive” look. Michlap chose a direction that gave the ship the impression that it can slice its way through space.

The high-end collectible comes in at about 6” from stem to stern, approximating the actual size of the warship which measures 188.7 meters, keeping it within the anticipated size of its predecessors. The Klingons historically dispatched the Bird-Of-Prey as escort ships or as wing defenders; they’ve also served as the introductory arsenal heralding a Klingon invasion. Featuring the recognizable wing-swept design of the line, the vessel was also impressively armed with multiple phaser banks and photon torpedos.

Michlap explains the radical new approach to the ship’s design in the 16-page magazine that accompanies the model (along with a display stand) and admits that much of the Gothic design and texture of the ship was inspired by ornamental details found in cathedrals and especially Islamic architecture. This undoubtedly marries the 23rd Century Klingons very closely to their cultural connection of a more ceremonial people. The Bird-Of-Prey is seen protecting the fleet and is called upon with the enormous Sarcophagus Ship is in peril.

First of the Fleet

Besides the introduction of the unique Klingon Bird-Of-Prey to the line, Eaglemoss has also issued the Klingon destroyer Qugh Class (Issue #8) and the much more elegant Qoj Class (Issue #10). Both ships and their respective models give fans an alternative insight into this formidable force, which is still developing and playing a significant role in the evolution of the narrative storyline of Star Trek Discovery in its Second Season. The ship models are available for purchase individually or as part of Eaglemoss Collections subscription service.

Klingon Bird-Of-Prey | Star Trek Discovery Official Starships Collection Issue #4 is available now from Eaglemoss Collections. Click on the link here!

Trailer | Marvel Studios AVENGERS: ENDGAME

As the countdown to the summer’s biggest event film begins, fans brace themselves for what will undoubtedly turn out to be the Marvel Studios blockbuster to end (literally) all blockbusters.

Avengers assemble! One last time! To imagine that fans have been on the edge since the epic conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War is in itself a huge understatement. The last time we saw our intrepid team of adventures they had gathered their defenses and rallied to fend off the mad plans of Thanos (Josh Brolin). After gathering all of the all-powerful Infinity Stones, the Titan was able to fashion his Infinity Gauntlet and simply “snapped” his fingers and eradicated half of all life…everywhere!

It appeared hopeless. Thanos had won and although there have been two additional Marvel Studios releases in between, the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp didn’t exactly inspire optimism; then came Captain Marvel and at least in Carol Danvers we may have found a savior. In the latest trailer for Avengers: Endgame it appears that the Avengers with Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the lead is preparing to launch one final operation. Cap isn’t alone in his effort. He’ll be joined by the remaining Avengers, including Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).

Exactly what the Avengers have in mind isn’t clear from the looks of this trailer. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is back in the mix, but he’s adopted a new identity — that of the martial artist/weapons master Ronin, and Don Cheadle appears poised to step back into his War Machine armor as James Rhodes fills the void from the still MIA Tony Stark, franchise lead Robert Downey, Jr. — but wait…as we see the Avengers marching into battle we see that Stark is back on terra firm, and now Nebula (Karen Gillan) will also be joining the fray.

A Decade of Marvel Movies

What the trailer does do so masterfully is evoke the 10 years of cinematic achievement that it’s taken to get to this moment. Marvel Studios has single-handedly altered the way audiences approach the genre and successfully introduced a serialized universe where all of the Marvel properties co-exist and in so doing inhabit an evolving narrative inspired by the very medium it’s adapted from. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige couldn’t have imagined what franchise would become — or perhaps he did. Knowing the full weight of what these characters mean to fans.

The trailer returns to some of the most defining moments from the last decade of Marvel Studios films; from the first flight of the Iron Man, the recruitment of Steve Rogers, our first glimpse at the mighty spires of Asgard and ends with the indoctrination of its newest star. In the final moment, Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson, stands toe-to-toe with an utterly intimidating Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who summons his new weapon Stormbreaker to his side, and Danvers barely flinches. Afterwards, he declares his approval of the newest Avenger in their ranks.

Check out the new trailer for Avengers: Endgame here:

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters worldwide on April 26.

iFeature | CW’s THE FLASH Gets a New Showrunner

Changes are in full-speed as The Flash welcomes Eric Wallace as the series new showrunner in Season 6, and Todd Helbing moves out of the multiverse he’s navigated for the last two years!

Amidst the recent announcement that Arrow will be culminating its series run with a 10-episode Eighth Season next fall, an all-new showrunner has moved into the reigns of another Arrowverse hit! It appears that next season The Flash starring Grant Gustin in the title role of Central City’s Scarlet Speedster, will be signing off Todd Helbing and elevating Eric Wallace to the new role of the show’s new showrunner. It’s a monumental move as the Fastest Man Alive moves into the lead pole position on The CW primetime play of DC properties.

Todd Helbing came up in the ranks and has helmed The Flash for two seasons, undoubtedly moving the story arc and action on the show to more embody and capitalize on it super-powered centric motifs. Of all the shows on The CW’s line-up, The Flash has most closely followed the comic book story and benefitted from introducing elements like the “multiverse” to the television audience, as well as exploiting menaces like Gorilla Grodd and King Shark, characters that have been realized in full CGI for the series.

No stranger to primetime producing, Helbing is known for his other television credits including Black Sails and Spartacus. Greg Berlanti was quoted in Variety as commenting, “From his first day on The Flash, Todd Helbing has been a leader on the show, beloved by the cast and crew for his exceptional talent, vision and wonderful attitude.” Wallace came onboard in Season 4 as a co-executive producer, most recently working alongside Helbing in Season 5. Wallace is credited with contributing a great deal to the voice of the series in Season 4, and will be shaping its future.

For fans of the show who want to get more familiar with Eric Wallace, he can be seen participating as one of the commentators on the Season 4 bonus feature “Flash Time on Amunet Black with Katee, Eric and Sterling”. The 13-minute featurette took a deep-dive at the backstory of Season 4 villain Amunet Black played by fan-favorite Katee Sackhoff. Wallace and series writer Sterling Gates provide insight into the story arc that pitted this new adversary against Killer Frost (series regular Danielle Panabaker).

The Flash is currently airing in its Fifth Season on The CW | Tuesday nights @ 8pm

UnBoxing | Eaglemoss BSG | VIPER MARK II

The iconic one-man fighter revamped for the 2002 reboot of Battlestar Galactica gets the collectible treatment in the newest high-end line of models from Eaglemoss Collections.

There are only a handful of designs in the realm of the science-fiction and fantasy genre that are as readily recognizable as the starships that appeared in Battlestar Galactica. When the series was revamped in the new millennium for the SyFy Original Series, diehard fans kept the expectations low approaching with trepidation fully aware that executive producer Ronald D. Moore was taking a fresher perspective in modernizing the overall feel of the show based on the 1978 run.

Inevitably the series emerged a ratings hit for the network and actually jumpstarted the “reboot” phenomenon. Moore’s team of creatives held close to many of the originals groundbreaking elements, largely inspired by the success of the Star Wars films, and chief among those designs was the primary starfighter enlisted to defend the heroic fleet against the advancing centurion opponents. The ship tasked with that effort was the Colonial Fleet’s space superiority fighter, the Viper.

Eaglemoss Collections through Hero Collector has continued to provide the fandom with high-end merchandise and inaugurated its latest line Battlestar Galactica The Official Ships Collection with the Viper Mark II as it appeared in the 2002 reboot. Keeping with a traditional of excellence, the model itself measures in at nearly 11 inches and is expertly detailed, made of die-cast metal and high quality ABS plastic material. The starfighter sits balanced on a display stand and is significantly weighed to keep it properly settled.

The model measures in at approximately 11″ and is packaged with a detailed 16-page magazine.

Ships In The Line

The Viper Mark II bears the insignia of the Battlestar Galactica and the call signs of Captain Kara Thrace, “Starbuck” the fan-favorite character played by Katee Sackhoff on the series. As audiences recall, the Viper played a significant role in the ultimate climax of the series’ arc. The 16-page magazine that accompanies the model details the backstory of the design team’s inspiration for reimagining design, while staying faithful to the original. Moore was determined, as were the network executives that if any ship would closely resemble the original it was the Viper.

Although the Mark II is ultimately replaced by the more advanced Mark VII as the first line of defense against the Cylons, the Mark II are rapidly deployed into service to defend the colonial fleet and prove themselves as indispensable as ever. Eaglemoss has captured the essence of this iconic ship, the first in the Official Ships Collection that will feature designs from both the 2002 reboot and the 1970s Original Series. Follow the link below to check out the entire line available as part of the subscription service.

For the avid fan who has admired this ship design, this model will make a prize addition to any collection. Expertly styled, beautifully and accurately detailed and built to be proudly displayed it brings the excitement of this most beloved franchise to life.

Battlestar Galactica The Official Ships Collection | Viper Mark II is available through Eaglemoss Collections. Click on the link to subscribe.