All posts by JC Alvarez

Writer | Producer | Personality. Pop-Cultural Agent. Music | Entertainment & Genre Enthusiast. I knew comics were cool before primetime. The voice of "Out Loud & Live! with JC Alvarez" on Internet Radio. Visit www.thefanzite.com for more!

iFeature | The CW’s In Full “CRISIS” Control

It’s all been leading up to this moment! The CW’s DC primetime universe is about to get a full-on reboot as the countdown to “Crisis on Infinite Earths” begins and an anti-matter wave comes closer to erasing the “Arrowverse”.

And then all of a sudden…there was one! One primetime universe that is! If you watched last night’s episode of The CW series Batwoman into the final act, similarly to last year’s “Elseworlds” stinger, it was revealed that Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) interpreted the mysterious hieroglyphs uncovered in the tunnels beneath Central City and has unleashed something sinister upon the multiverse! We’re not exactly sure what that might be — at least not yet (but we have an idea)! The intrepid adventurer disappeared in a blast of intense white light!

Heroes united! The cast are gathered to challenge the fate of the multiverse.

If you’ve read DC Comic’s 12-part epic maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez published in 1985, and carefully deciphered the teaser trailers that have been promoting this season’s crossover event then you have an idea what role Nash has assumed in our still developing melodrama. “Some worlds will live, and some worlds will die…but nothing will ever be the same again,” was the tag line promoting the comic book run of “Crisis” and ultimately it made good on its promise. The series altered the fabric of the publishing imprint’s 50 year history.

Unless you were a Marvel Comic devotee at the time, readership was very low across the industry and new audiences coming into the genre were finding that DC’s extensive and very convoluted history was turning readers off. In order to make sense of its “Golden Age” heroes versus their contemporary “Silver Age” counterparts, DC introduced very early on the concept of a “multiverse” of earths separated by unique vibrations where its heroes like Barry Allen, The Flash of Earth-1 could join in adventures with Jay Garrick, The Flash of Earth-2.

The heroes of the DC primetime universe are preparing to meet their fate in the epic crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths” based on the DC comics of the same name.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Somewhere along the way it became too much for anyone to follow (or even care about) and the brass at DC was eager to find a way to simplify the continuity. Enter Wolfman and Pérez who came up with the story that would solve the issue of why there were two Supermen, Batmen, etc. and streamlined the natural narrative of the DC Universe into a much more cohesive chronology that enhanced the legacy of our heroes through the ages. The idea of the multiverse came into play early on The CW network with The Flash starring Grant Gustin in Season 2.

When The Flash returned for its sophomore season in 2015 it immediately went to work to expand the worlds of the “Arrowverse” (the title given to The CW primetime series that featured DC comics properties, launched with Arrow in 2013 and produced by Greg Berlanti). By then the primetime spectrum incorporated the team ensemble series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist as the Maid of Steel. The urban vigilantism of Arrow starring Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow gave way to a world of metas, magic and more!

While the intrepid cadre of “losers” on DC’s Legends (made up of several featured players that had appeared on Arrow and The Flash) navigated the time-stream, Supergirl firmly established that its storyline existed outside of The CW’s “Earth-1” — and thus a multiverse was born. Gustin and Benoist on the virtue of their personal and professional history (both were featured on FOX’s Glee) immediately engaged in teaming up. The Flash appeared in Supergirl’s National City (on “Earth-38”) during the show’s First Season.

Crossover Event Spectacular!

Since then and on an annual basis (when the series schedules work themselves into the winter hiatus) the series have found a way of crossing over in much the same fashion that the superheroes would team-up in the comic books they’re based on. For “Crisis” the latest crossover epic, a similar expectation is being lump onto it’s televised adaptation as was envisioned by the imprint when the 12-issue maxi series was released — in a dramatic 5-part televised event that at its conclusion will in some way have a lasting effect on the mythology of its characters.

Taking advantage of the primetime multiverse The CW network has benefited from since the debut of Arrow eight seasons ago Marc Guggenheim, one of the architects behind the success of that series and many of the “Arrowverse” spin-offs that followed, has been the executive producer pulling the strings behind the curtain to bring “Crisis” to primetime. The groundwork had been laid down since last season’s “Elseworlds” event, which had been scaled down to 3-parts and centered mostly around the TV Trinity of heroes: Green Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.

That crossover event immediately established the significance of a perpetually long-established “multiverse” and was illustrated with the appearance of John Wesley Shipp (a series recurring guest star on The Flash) reprising his titular role as The Flash as the hero appeared in the CBS 1990 series, facing off against the mysterious “Monitor” (guest star LaMonica Garrett) an omnipotent character warning the heroes of an impending “Crisis”. The “Elseworlds” crossover also introduced Ruby Rose as Batwoman and Gotham City, which has since gone to series.

Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer from “Arrow”.

With Arrow coming to a close this season, and its star Stephen Amell accepting the fate of Oliver Queen’s Emerald Archer (whom it has been established would be meeting his demise at the end of the “Crisis” event) The Flash will inherit the mantle as the lead series, with Supergirl running closely alongside, helping to shepherd in the returning DC’s Legends (entering into its Fifth Season) and welcoming Black Lightning starring Cress Williams into the mix, while Batwoman carves her own path across the primetime fabric of DCTV storyline.

Setting an extremely high bar for itself, the writing staff for each of these series have the unsurmountable task of defying expectations for literally a story narrative that was so expertly crafted more than 30 years ago and is still held up as the benchmark of epic comic book storytelling. In any event, it’s an incredible feat in of itself and undoubtedly fans will have their own take on “Crisis” — Some will tune-in, others will tune-out, but the DCTV universe…

…well you get where this is going.

Crisis on Infinite Earths the 5-part crossover event begins Sunday, Dec 8 on The CW and concludes on Tuesday, January 14.

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Trailer | WONDER WOMAN 1984

After much anticipation audiences are getting their first look at next summer’s blockbuster WONDER WOMAN 1984 and the Amazing Amazon is riding the storm the bring her fans all-new excitement!

<span class=“dropcap”>S</span>he’s back! After making an indelible debut in the controversially charged Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice it appeared that movie audiences were intrigued enough to make 2017’s Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot a hit, proving that superhero movies featuring leading ladies are just as bankable at the box-office as their juiced-up muscle bound male counterparts — if their down right! The first solo outing for the Amazing Amazon proved a winner especially with acclaimed filmmaker Patty Jenkins at the helm.

Armored up! If the new gold suit is throwing you off, it makes quite the impression, giving “Wonder Woman 1984” a look all of its own.

Which is no surprise that when the discussions began about the follow-up, Warner Bros. didn’t hesitate to reach out to Jenkins who had moved into an exceptionally good position as the movie continued to set records around the world. It helped that WW also received a very positive critical reception and its star, Gadot, appeared unscathed from the dismally reviewed next appearance of her character when she fought along the rest of the assembled team in the epic failure Justice League which reunited the trinity including Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck.

Almost immediately the fandom soared when the first images emerged of the sequel in production and featured not only the star and director hard at work, but also included Chris Pine whose character, Diana’s love interest, Steve Trevor had apparently perished. Jenkins had always said, that if there was a way, they would bring Pine back, and although there is plenty of skepticism around whether he is reprising the role of Trevor, or perhaps playing an ancestor of the Air Force captain, it doesn’t matter because the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 is just that good!

Back to the Future…A New Era!

The movie is a period piece and finds Diana (Gadot) looking as glorious as ever in the decadent age of over-indulgence that was the benchmark of the 1980s. Diana has been keeping a very low profile (and as we also learned from the contemporarily placed Justice League) she went into hiding for most of her life following her emergence into Man’s World. Whether it was because of a broken heart or something else, we don’t know, at least not yet, but it’s possible that she will divulge some more secrets of her time away from paradise.

Joining the cast is actress Kristen Wiig who is often most commonly known for her comedic skills in such hits as Bridesmaids and the Ghostbusters revival, stepping into the role of Barbara Anne Minerva who is most commonly known to fans as Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis, The Cheetah. Also appearing in the film is PR agent and power broker Max Lord who will be portrayed by Pedro Pascal the star of the Disney+ Original Series The Mandalorian (which is set in the Star Wars universe) and was also featured in HBO’s hit Game of Thrones.

Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and directed by Patty Jenkins arrives in theaters June 5, 2020 and is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures.

iReview | The Official Handbook of the MARVEL UNIVERSE

For the first time collected in one volume, the one that started it all, every hero, every villain, every landmark location of the Marvel Universe as it was chronicled in the early 80s.

Imagine if you will, what it was like for me in 1982 — I was then a still emerging comic book fanatic — to gaze upon a singular volume of published books from Marvel Comics that would give me details about every single one of the major heroes and villains in the Mighty Marvel pantheon. I suddenly had an insider’s view of my favorite character’s alter egos, the major locations they operated out, and how many of them got their superpowers. Not to mention, every alphabetized entry featured my favorite Marvel hero in a super “superhero” pose!

Marvel was only beginning to celebrate a landmark publishing milestone in 1982 when The Official Handbook of the MARVEL UNIVERSE was first released, but many of imprint’s titles were rapidly marking their pace as best-selling books leaving significant marks on popular culture. Suddenly to hold in my hands, a book that immediately validated the role models I had accepted into my most impressionable adolescence, to learn that Captain America was 6’ 2” and weighed 240 and that by comparison Spider-Man was 5’ 10” and his eyes were Hazel — my heroes were real!

I was also infamously obsessed with written mythologies and historically intricate narratives, and Mark Gruenwald and many of the creative staff in the Mighty Marvel Bullpen had gone to incredible depths of detail to realize the world for me. The OHOTMU (as it had become popularly known among devotees) put it all together for me, and among my most favorite entries were the ones that listed everyone on the roster of the most popular superhero teams like the Avengers and the Defenders, and especially who were the founding members and where they were based.

The OHOTMU changed the way I looked at comics. It made them tangible and relevant to my world; especially as a native New Yorker, I felt I could just walk on over to the famed headquarters of the Fantastic Four, the Baxter Building and head on uptown to the Fifth Avenue location of the Avengers Mansion. Over the course of the original volume’s publication, the initial 12-issue release was followed by two additional tomes chronicling the “Book of the Dead and Inactive” as well as a technical volume detailing “Weapons and Paraphernalia” there would be many changes…

The new omnibus repurposes John Byrne’s classic art from the final issue of the series featuring many of the Marvel Universe’s major players.

From A to Z

Once Marvel got its groove, it wasn’t long before a “Deluxe Edition” of the Handbook replaced the original, elaborating on some of the entires popularized by the first. An entires “Origin” would be replaced by “History and in many cases would guarantee that most of the major character entries would have greater relevancy, as a hero like Black Panther would have their legacy chronicled over the course of multiple pages — and not limited to a single page. This would also provide an opportunity to detail a hero and villain’s look during the span of their career!

And speaking of legacy, as in the case of one’s like Hank Pym, the “Original” Ant-Man for example that passed on their identity to a new individual, a roman numeral would differentiate between the two. Scott Lang would be known as “Ant-Man II”, while Hank Pym would be referred to as “Ant-Man I”, etc. Future volumes would also more readily define a character’s “Strength Level” for easy comparison and individuals that had been gone inactive or deceased would be incorporated into the natural mix of things, more accurately defining the entirety of the Marvel Universe.

But it all started with the first series of books, and now those iconic 15-issues have been faithfully reprinted and collected in the latest Marvel Omnibus and featuring many of the original artwork and interlocking covers from the 80s issues that have become iconic. This is not just a nostalgic trip down memory lane, this is the classic Marvel Universe in its purest form, even as it prepares to mark its 80th Anniversary redefining popular culture as one of the narrators of the leading modern mythologies dictating legends of heroics and inspiring the impossible in our imaginations.

Marvel Omnibus | The Official Handbook of the MARVEL UNIVERSE | $75.00 available from Marvel collecting The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (1983) #1 — #15. Check it out here.

UnBoxing | DC Prime: BATMAN Action Figure

DC Collectibles inaugurates its new line of “Prime” action figures with an impressive update of The Dark Knight to commemorate the hero’s 80 Anniversary celebration!

Fans will never outgrow the hands-on experience that comes with holding an action figure inspiring them to revisit their most cherished moments from a favorite film, graphic novel or television series. It’s like owning a piece of history or becoming a part of the action, especially as the business of providing more coveted items for the adult enthusiast is manufactured to appeal to their high-end sensibilities. Always ready to seize on an opportunity, DC Collectibles joined the fray about 20 years ago and continues to aspire to greatness.

In 1998 the publishing imprint decided to take a more personal approach to produce and provide its readership with products that not only spoke to their audiences more closely but recruited DC artists, writers, and graphic designers to effectively become much more collaborative. The action figure lines produced all much easily resonated more authentically than when parsed out to manufacturers. DC Collectibles has prided itself on creating items with a functional playability but also an enthusiastic dedication to collectibility with an aesthetic to match.

The DC brand of DC Collectibles continues to excel in the market. After the recent line of  “Icon” action figures that spotlighted in extreme detail the most iconic characters in the DC Comics Universe wrapped in 2018, the next series of offerings began to take shape. The first series meant to celebrate the 20 Year Anniversary of DC Collectibles were the “Essentials” line. Based on the designs of some of DC’s most favorite artists the action figures measured approximately 6.9” in height and were tailored to appear as the characters currently in publication.

DC Collectibles | DC Prime: THE BATMAN Action Figure available now.

In order to keep up with a tradition of innovation and excellence, DC Collectibles has now pushed its boundaries with an all-new set of action figures that are primed to make your mouth water. Introducing DC Prime from DC Collectibles and it is only appropriate that the most commercially successful and popular character, The Batman inaugurate the new figures in this extreme offering!

Primed For Battle

The Dark Knight Detective is celebrating 80 years of pop-culture relevance. In his most recent incarnation since the publishing-wide “Rebirth” relaunch of the DC pantheon of heroes, The Batman was redesigned and outfitted to more properly take on the dregs of Gotham City in a streamline Kevlar armor suit that is perfect for contemporary urban warfare. That is on full display and in an ultimate representation in the new DC Prime: BATMAN Action Figure from DC Comics Collectibles.

The DC Prime action figure comes in at a whopping 9.2” and is heavily articulated for durable playability as well as intense posing. Designed by renowned artists Riccardo Federici and Wonil Song it features over 23 points of articulation and more than 18 additional parts and accessories, all specially designed to complement Federici’s urban street fighter. The wired, fabric cape is also posable and shields our Dark Knight Detective from the most perilous assaults. The figure comes packed in a blister box decorated with product designs and a stand to display the figure.

You can be guaranteed that billionaire Bruce Wayne is constantly readapting and perfecting his suit especially as his enemies become deadlier and more lethal in their tactics. Utilizing the most durable materials in his fight, Batman’s armor plating is meticulously detailed and perfectly constructed; each piece in place to defend the Caped Crusader and also traverse the concrete, steel terrain of Gotham City. His utility belt is aptly armed with the most sophisticated weapon systems including grappling guns, Batarangs, and Batman’s uniquely crafted tools.

Whether you’re a fan of The Batman or an avid collector, this DC Collectible is unlike anything offered before and is accurately suited to its new moniker as a DC Prime offering. “The Batman” figure is promised as the first in the new line, and fans are already anticipating what the second DC hero to come to life will be. Many hope that given that The Flash is celebrating its 80 Years in publication next month, DC Collectibles will honor the Scarlet Speedster with his own DC Prime interpretation.

DC Collectibles | DC Prime: BATMAN Action Figure | $125.00 available from DC Comics Collectibles here while supplies last.

UnBoxing | Star Trek REMAN WARBIRD “SCIMITAR” from Eaglemoss

As formidable as it appeared fearsome the Scimitar was at the center of a coup within the Romulan Empire that ultimately lead to the Federation facing their greatest nemesis and turned the tide of power in the galaxy.

The crew of the Federation Starship Enterprise under the command of Jean-Luc Picard couldn’t have imagined what they would be facing when they were dispatched into Romulan space to meet with the empire’s new praetor. The latter half of the 23rd Century was wrought with tension; the Federation was still recollecting itself after its war with the Dominion and Starfleet was perhaps at its most vulnerable. The tenuous relationship between the Federation and the Romulans had been sheathed as the two superpowers found a common foe.

As the various factions worked to reassert themselves, on Romulas, the homeworld of the Romulan Empire, a military coup was in play to unseat the current senate and instead put in place Shinzon, a Reman and relatively untested leader who ascended to the heights of power by creating a weapon of near-unstoppable capabilities. The Reman Warbird Scimitar represented a ferocious superiority, dwarfing Picard’s Sovereign-class USS Enterprise with more enough firepower to take an armada, but at its core, the vessel was a weapon of mass destruction servicing a madman.

As the latest “Special Issue” release in it Star Trek The Official Starships Collection Eaglemoss Collections has captured in great detail the deadly beauty of this enemy ship that was first introduced on the big screen in Star Trek: Nemesis the final feature-length film starring the cast of The Next Generation. It took the might of the Enterprise and the Romulan Warbird Valdore to eventually cripple Shinzon’s monster, which was capable of multiple maneuvers in battle including the ability to fire while partially cloaked. The Scimitar measured over 890 meters in length.

The Ultimate Nemesis

Though not as elegant as similarly styled ships that have appeared in the service of the Romulan Star Empire, the Reman Warbird Scimitar was constructed by the Remans, an oft-set cast that of people that share space with the power-thirsty Romulans. The Scimitar was built with one purpose and one purpose alone, to intimidate and annihilate its enemies. Very much in step with the Romulan edict of design tribute to a “bird of prey” the Scimitar has swooping wings on either side of its muscular fuselage, that resembles the feathered wings found on an attacking condor.

Those wings conceal the most dangerous weapon created in the galaxy. Once they are deployed and fan out to target its enemy, the Scimitar could unleash its full capabilities and ignite its thalaron weapon system. Though the Eaglemoss Collections model does not have this feature it still looks impressively powerful and the surface detail is a revelation. Though the ship was destroyed in Star Trek: Nemesis never to be seen again, the CGI model has developed from one of the starship illustrator extraordinaire John Eaves designs and completed by the team of SFX modelers.

The “Special Issue” release is larger than the regular ship models in the line of the Official Starships Collection and is often scarcely available. The Scimitar joins recent “Special Issue” releases that have included V’Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Starfleet’s Spacedock.

https://shop.eaglemoss.com/usa/star-trek-starships/scimitar-starship

Reman Warbird Scimitar | Special Issue | Star Trek The Official Starships Collections | $45.00 available from Eaglemoss Collections here.

First Look | Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as BLACK ADAM

Lightning strikes from the heavens and after much anticipation, the first images of action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reveal how he will look like the DC anti-hero BLACK ADAM!

Thunder rumbles in the distant heavens. The DC cinematic universe has been teasing the introduction of this particular character from their pantheon for some time, and now the first illustrated image of what action-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will look like as the anti-hero Black Adam a feature film of which is set to premiere in theaters December 2021. It’ll be paving the way for what is certain to be an inevitable showdown between two of DC Comics’ most powerful beings!

After the success of the recent action-comedy Shazam! which brought the publishing giant’s Most Powerful Mortal to the big screen, rumors had started to circulate that Johnson would be brought into the franchise as the hero’s greatest adversary. It is now being reported that Black Adam starring Johnson will go begin production summer of 2020, and the production has released the first images of Johnson as the title character in artwork from BossLogic and DC legend Jim Lee. Johnson excitedly shared the image across social networking.

Johnson has been expressing his interest in bringing this titan to the bog screen for some time, and especially not shying away from his enthusiasm about joining the DC Cinematic Universe. The film’s producer Hiram Garcia has also revealed the depths of which they intend to dive into, by realizing Black Adam’s origins in an entirely new and textured fashion. The character was introduced as a villainous foil to Shazam!, but has become entirely something else in contemporary publications.

Dwayne Johnson as he might appear as the titular anti-hero starring in “Black Adam” set for release 2021.

How the character will evolve into a film will be very carefully watched, given the critical reception most DC properties (outside of Batman) experience in the cinematic market. Successes are few and far between for Warner Bros the studio that owns the properties, unlike the competitor’s record, which is, well, marvelous! Recent releases beginning with Wonder Woman, followed by Aquaman and the recent critical and lucrative success of Todd Phillips Joker means that perhaps lightning may strike again — for Black Adam.

Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson is scheduled for theatrical release December 2021