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!

DC Comics “Rebirth” Gives us a SUPERMAN REBORN!

After more than a year of grieving, then (re)introducing the Man of Steel back into proper continuity SUPERMAN REBORN reestablishes the role of greatest hero as the mystery surrounding “Rebirth” continues!

When we lost Superman in the present evolution of the DC Comics universe, readers couldn’t have ever imagined that there was another Man of Steel waiting the wings to swoop in and save the day, unfortunately this version of Superman wasn’t ready to steep into the boots especially given he has a family — a wife and child — to protect. Nonetheless he couldn’t stay hidden, and before to long this Superman revealed himself to the members of the Justice League. Imagine having to explain to them including Batman and Wonder Woman that he was not “their Superman”.

So who is he? Well that’s part of the mystery surrounding the current company-wide reboot of the DC Comics line entitled “Rebirth” and as Superman returns to reclaim his proper place as the Earth’s Greatest Champion, the recent 4-issue arc Superman Reborn which ran its course in recent issue of Superman #18 and #19, and Action Comics #975 and #976 worked to answer some questions including who may be behind all the mischief that has been plaguing the Super-Family recently.

At the center of the entire drama is the son of Superman Superboy! First introduced during the final days of “The New 52” Superman, the child of Clark Kent and Lois Lane from an alternate timeline (specifically the one prior to the “FlashPoint” reboot) survived during the Convergence event, which claimed pieces of previous versions of DC Comics continuity and kept them inside of a living lab watched over by Brainiac and the living planet Telos. When the “Covergence” wrapped up Superman, Lois Lane and Jon (Superboy) escaped to the Prime-Earth (or Earth-0).

Once they arrived, they kept themselves hidden and avoided attracting attention, but were immediately wrapped up in the death throws of Superman’s dying counterpart. Upon the death of “The New 52” Superman energies were released that resulted in the emergence of a Superwoman (the adventures of Lana Lang are evolving in her own title out now). There was also an imposter Clark Kent floating around, but we’ve recently learned that this was the Fifth Dimension menace of Mr. Mxyzptlk who had also been held prisoner by the mysterious Mr. OZ.

Mxyzptlk kidnaps Jon and effectively erases him and all trace of Superman’s and Lois Lane’s life on earth while stealing Superboy and brining him into an “Infinite Planet” dimension. There he forces Superman and Lois to play his game to rescue Jon. There he reveals to Superman that he’s been split into two — including his “New 52” persona as the other side of the coin. During the ensuing challenge, Jon comes across two, distinct energy sources that prove to be the displaced energies of the recently deceased “New 52” Superman and Lois Lane.

Superboy convinces the pair of his sincerity, that he is indeed their son, and convinces the pair to realign themselves with a glowing set of blue energy that represent his parents. Once the energies all come together, the histories of Superman and Lois Lane begin to realign themselves into one, elements from both pasts and present, filling in the gaps. With Mxyzptlk effectively defeated, Superman and Lois Lane finally restored to their proper selves, along with their son Jon, the Superboy return to earth, unaware that they are being closely watched!

Although the place of the Man of Steel within the current world has been reordered and (somewhat) corrected, the mystery of “Rebirth” continues and will be further explored in an upcoming arc appearing in the pages of The Flash and Batman. Stay tuned!

Superman Reborn written by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Dan Jurgens with art by Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke is on sale now from DC Comics.

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DC Comics: Rebirth Focuses on BATWOMAN

How a Silver Age character from the extended “Bat-Family” emerges in contemporary mythology as perhaps the most influentially powerful heroine of this generation! DC Comics’ BATWOMAN gets a “Rebirth”!

As the Caped Crusader enjoyed a peripheral amount of relevancy during the Silver Age of comics, that time between the 1950s and late 1960s when the Golden Age characters were mostly being revitalized due the advances of the Atomic Age, Batman and his ward, the Boy Wonder, Robin would find themselves often sharing their colorful exploits with a pair of female crime fighters setting trends of their own and taking down evil-doers.

Cast in an uncharacteristically bright golden suit with vamp red accents the original Batwoman and her sidekick, the original Bat-girl created a formidable force of their own, and helped tame the hallowed halls of Wayne Manor with their presence. According to Wikipedia the characters were created by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Sheldon Moldoff and were introduced in Detective Comics #233 released in 1956.

When the company-wide reboot that took effect with the Crisis on Infinite Earths during the 80s, secondary supporting characters like Batwoman were folded into history, retroactively erased from history. Although their alter egos still existed, and the original Bat-Girl, Bette Kane, was reintegrated into the revamped continuity as the Teen Titan “Flamebird” post-Crisis the caped heroic escapades of the Batwoman were effectively hung out.

After the events of Infinite Crisis (2005) the proper sequel to the Crisis on Infinite Earths there were “52 Weeks” without heroes and Batwoman was revisited. Well-to-do Gotham City socialite Katherine “Kate” Kane is raised as a military brat, and when her mother and twin sister are murdered, it appears that her life begins to spiral out of control. She follows her father, Colonel Jacob Kane and pursues a career in the military, but is discharged when she reveals she is gay.

Interestingly when the Batwoman character was written into Silver Age mythology, it was as a potential love interest to Bruce Wayne, in an effort to divert attention from what had become popularly gossiped culturally that Batman was perhaps homosexual. The billionaire playboy sharing a home with a teenage ward and both men physically fit as they were…well, you can see where this is going. The introduction of Kate Kane was intended to change that perspective in readers.

Batwoman gets a “Rebirth”.

The Modern Era Kate Kane is alongside Midnighter perhaps the most high-profile LGBTQ character appearing in their own title and published by DC Comics. After the events of the recent New 52 reboot, Batwoman survived the FlashPoint aftermath and as the publication entered into its “Rebirth” arc Batwoman: Rebirth #1 has ensured that this heroine’s story continues to expand. Recently Kane was recruited by the Batman to train an army to protect Gotham City.

Batman has placed a lot of faith in Batwoman, and not only because unlike some of his other acolytes and sidekicks, Kane is actually related to the Dark Knight by blood. Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane are cousins, which makes her a unique accomplice in his fight to rid Gotham City of crime and corruption. Now under the helm of writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting the Batwoman is rising no longer in the shadow of Batman!

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After the recent attack on Gotham City by the Monster Men, Kate is taking the fight on a global scale. On a mission set upon by Batman, Batwoman will use all of her skills and wits to prevent the sale of the lethal “Monster Venom” on the Black Market. If any unfriendly forces got their hands on this mixture, they could introduce a terrible menace — an army of uncontrollable monsters — on an enemy.

With her life — and loves — still sorting themselves out, one thing that Batwoman can be counted on is that she is a dependable soldier and ready to undertake any challenge! With the release of the new series Batwoman #1 has Kane globetrotting in exotic locations and guided in her fight by Julia Pennyworth code-named “Tuxedo One”. There adventures may have only (technically) just begun, but Batwoman will undoubtedly emerge as one of the most relevant reads of the “Rebirth”.

Significantly raising the profile of LGBTQ characters within the DC Comics universe is not a stunt the publishers are pursuing to enhance readership, but more importantly create substantive characters that resonate with readers and also allow for broader storytelling. With Batwoman leading the charge in her own title, she will most likely establish herself as the benchmark by which all other LGBTQ heroes and heroines are metered, but Bennett and Tynion are proving themselves in spades!

Batwoman: Rebirth and Batwoman #1 written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting is on sale now from DC Comics.

Tomorrow NITE ON :: THE FLASH It Gets Musical!

SUPERGIRL and THE FLASH are about to get symphonic when this dynamic duo take on an enemy that gleefully has them all singing a new tune!

It was inevitable! When you have a cast as talented as the individuals appearing on The CW action series Supergirl and it’s companion show The Flash and starring two former members of the Glee you was only a matter of time before Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin would find themselves soft shoeing their way into primetime!

On this week’s episodes of the DC Comics based series (produced by Greg Berlanti) the Maid of Might and the Scarlet Speedster come face-to-face with an old friend turned new fiend, when their one-time Glee co-star Darren Criss steps onto the seen as the villain Music Meister — a middling musician who casts a spell on the dynamic duo rendering them…musical!

The Flash — “Duet” —  Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Melissa Benoist as Kara — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW –© 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Sure the episode is stunt, but no less a treat for fans who have loved all these actors during their time on the hit musical that aired on FOX. Also in the mix will be several melodically inclined players including Jesse L. Martin and Victor Garber both actors with extensive ties to Broadway. Carlos Valdes who plays the ever-dependable Cisco “Vibe” Ramon, is also a stage veteran.

So before we cast judgements let’s take a minute to sit back and relax and take in the fun. After all in a year that saw Hollywood re-connect with musicals, practically hailing La La Land the best movie of the year”, Benoist and Gustin don’t have to surprise their audience with their ivory pipes and slick footing — we know they’re talented!

 

Last NITE ON :: THE WALKING DEAD “The Other Side”


A mission to take down Negan materializes as two unlikely allies put aside their differences to bring down THE WALKING DEAD’s most dangerous threat yet!

(No Spoilers Necessarily Ahead) Beginning almost in a quiet ballet of sorts, the latest episode of the AMC hit series The Walking Dead is entering into the final episodes of its eight season, and undoubtedly the most traumatic and trying of the show’s incredible run. This season one of the graphic novel’s most dastardly villains was realized and introduced into the television narrative. It’s definitely proven the statement that it is “Negan’s World”. At the onset the bat-swinging tyrant and leader of the Saviors took out two of our most valuable players. Even as the credits rolled, audiences had to say good-bye to two of its most loved and favorite characters.

Since then, the horror of Negan and his savagery has been a constant threat, now after what felt like a very long winter, it looks like our heroes, lead by Rick Grimes are ready to fight! And so are we! The Walking Dead has thrived from its ability to create a viscerally dangerous reality, a zombie apocalypse where it isn’t only the infected that are out to devour each other. Those working to survive this uninhibatiable future have more to fear from other survivors among the pockets of humanity looking to edge out an existence.


After taking their time, recouping their loses and licking their wounds, Rick and the rest of his group surviving within the community of Alexandria have decided, the time has come to unite with the other members of the local settlements and bring the battle to Negan’s doorstep. None are more determined to take down this big bad than Rosita and Sasha, who witnessed Abraham’s demise first hand. The two women had shared separately — at different times — an intimate relationship with the fallen soldier. The began their mission to single-handedly take on the Saviors.

Rosita recruits Sasha with the understanding that she needs her expert marksmanship to perhaps sniper Negan from a distance. As the Saviors converge on the Hilltop, one of the other surviving communities, the two make haste on their plan. In the meantime, the Saviors converge on the Hilltop and take with them the doctor that has been treating Maggie who is pregnant. Perhaps one of the best moments was watching the still suffering Daryl who has escaped the clutches of the Saviors, is handed a plate of food by Maggie. Daryl still feeling guilty about inciting Negan and leading to the murder of her husband Glenn, shrinks ever slightly at her approach and consoling touch.

After all that these two characters have experienced, it was significantly poignant to see them still working on what makes them a family. Daryl finally confronted with having to face Maggie breaks down. It’s a moment much needed to be seen and experienced by Daryl. Maggie accepts Daryl’s apology and asks him to help them win! Meanwhile Rosita and Sasha find themselves a used car dealership and after creating a distraction are able to get themselves mobile and on the fast track to taking their shot at Negan!

“I fell in with him cause he saw I could handle my shit. I never looked back.” —  Rosita discussing her feelings about Abraham with Sasha on The Walking Dead

Arriving at their destination, the two warriors stake out a location — a bird’s eye view — to pick off Negan. After spending some time together, the two finally open up about their feelings and realize the truth about their feelings, reestablishing their friendship in the process. Though Negan makes an appearance, Sasha is unable to get a clear shot. Immediately they decide to change their tactics — they may need to go inside of Negan’s stronghold,

Though the pair find Eugene, he immediately betrays them. Convinced that the groups still needs Rosita, Sasha tricks her and locks her outside of the gate, running in after Eugene. It isn’t long before more of Negan’s minions appear and run Rosita off. Finding some cover, she catches a glimpse of a familiar silhouette, Daryl has followed them back!

The Walking Dead is the most successful when it has its quitter moments and the characters have time to reflect on their situations. Given the high-intensity action is greatly appreciated and as the year’s pass, the danger becomes more calamitous, as an ardent viewer it’s a gift when the action matches a heartbeat — perhaps the impending climax will be well earned indeed especially after so bleak a season.

It’s been a very difficult season for the show; it’s optimism approach to surviving the wasteland that has become of the world was practically (if not literally) cut at the knees with the introduction of the Saviors, but the ugliness these characters represent – convinced that in their greed and oppression – are actually doing a service, instilling an order amidst the mad chaos, that perhaps is something that resonates with the sensibility of audiences right now.

There are only 2 more episodes left this season. This episode of The Walking Dead was followed with the premiere of Into The Badlands now in its Second Season.

STAY TUNED!

Coming This Week: iReview COLLECTIBLES!

This week expect some interesting looks at some new collectibles from some of my own favorite brands including Eaglemoss’ Star Trek Starships Collection and some new additions to the DC Comics line of DC Collectibles based on characters appearing on The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow with a look at a recent major villain and one of the comic imprint’s greatest heroes!

Also this week a FlashBack Look at the one that started it all! The Marvel Comics cinematic universe exploded onto the big screen and dominated at the box office largely due to the success of its premiere adaptation, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark Iron Man launched an entirely new way of making films and especially promoting superhero franchises. Stay Tuned! 👍🏼

iReview :: ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams

Regarded as one of the best science-fiction films of the year, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, ARRIVAL, is a uniquely enterprising look at what that first contact experience could ultimately look like.

This year’s selection of films that ran the circuit of the awards season were all similarly themed and executed, especially in their narrative that explored the human condition; you could even say that about the much lauded musical La La Land and this is even more so about the Oscar Winning Moonlight a love story as explored through the perspective of two gay men. The theme of the human condition is given a slightly more universal angle in Arrival the only sci-fi film in the lot nominate for Best Film.

Along the same lines as Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey, this feature is modeled more from the fact-based science of what an alien first contact scenario would perhaps occur in reality, Arrival is seen through the lens of actress Amy Adams character Louis Banks, a linguist, who is given the opportunity of a lifetime when a series of extraterrestrial vessels arrive on Earth and situate themselves in twelve strategically significant locations. Banks is the not the first expert to meet the new visitors, but is the first xenolinguistic to crack the code in communicating with the aliens.

What happens next is an unimaginable journey as Banks begins to understand the aliens’ intention and interprets the magnitude of the “gift” that they have brought with them. Is there intention to help mankind, or finally undo centuries of mankind’s own strife and deliver a weapon that might lead to the end of days? Arrival superbly maintains the drama and without any particularly huge explosions well extrapolates its narrative which becomes more and more intricate as the alien language is deciphered by the earthbound experts.

Amy Adams own ability to approach her roles from an exquisite purity opens that world of aliens while grounding the fanciful in a very tangible reality. She does this very well in all her roles, but most apparent in her films that are larger than life, as example by her approach to reimagining the DC Comics iconic character of Lois Lane most recently in the blockbuster Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. She delivers Banks similarly authentically. The scientist is extremely relatable and potent — a truly believable and thoughtful heroine.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve the filmmaker is the storyteller behind the recent hit Sicario which is extremely realistic and immersive in its approach. Arrival is very much the same in tone and is rich in its ability to create a very authentic environment. In a season of bombastically explosive alien invasions, without the benefit of full and deep character development Arrival appears to be the film that benefited from all those missing plot lines in those other flicks, and is a thoughtful and very hopeful experience.

I personally did not know what to expect, but once the film began it was impossible to relent to its leading players, and especially imagine the world of Louise Banks and how it had just opened up beyond all comprehension or expectation.

Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner is available now for digital download on iTunes.