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!

Supergirl…Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Looks like Supergirl is going to be getting a “super” scene-stealer moving in on her primetime appeal next fall.

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As if the news that The CW had decidedly adopted Supergirl the fourth in a series of hour-long dramas produced by Greg Berlanti after CBS dropped the Maid of Metal from their 2016 fall line-up, and guaranteeing a DC Comics sweep of primetime on a single network, news has just begun to circulate that her famous cousin Superman will be joining Kara in National City next season!

Of course, this is all still rather speculative. Warner Brothers had insuniated that there was a mandate on not utilizing any members of the publishing imprint’s “big three” — including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — concerned that the small screen appearances of these characters might impact their big screen appeal. What might have incited the change of heart? Could it have something to do with the lukewarm reception that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pulled  in at the box office?

The film that finally introduced the DC Comics Trinity wasn’t all that well received by reviewers, who have deemed the cinematic world created by its director Zack Snyder is desolate and bleak in comparison to the television universe that Berlanti and his team have continued to evolve. Now that Supergirl is joining her other super-siblings on the more properly situated CW network, with The FlashArrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow next winter’s crossover event is sure to power-up in the ratings.

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Producer Greg Berlanti carries the battle for truth, justice and primetime dominance with his television adaptations of the DC Comics properties The Flash starring Grant Gustin and Supergirl featuring Melissa Benoist.

When Supergirl which stars Melissa Benoist as the Last Daughter of Krypton, featured a guest-starring turn from Grunt Gustin who portrays the lead Scarlet Speedter on The Flash the joint-network stunt, landed Supergirl her biggest ratings since her series debut. With her move to The CW imminent, it’s only fitting that when Kara returns this fall, after a heart-stopping cliffhanger (exactly who is inside that rocket that crash lands on earth?) the Girl of Steel is joined by the Man of Steel!

Casting notices have gone out for an actor to play Superman, a role that is currently in the hands of Henry Cavill on the big screen, and was last vacated by Tom Welling who played Clark Kent as a young man growing up into the legend on Smallville. Fans are hoping that the producers will bring Welling in to (once again) fill the boots and fly the cape as Superman. Another former TV “Superman” Dean Cain, actually plays Kara Danvers Earth-born father on Supergirl.

Historically, Berlanti and his fellow producers including Andrew Kreisberg have cast actors in roles on their shows whom have a connectivity to DC Comics or have played pivotal roles in previous superhero incarnations. Namely, The Flash guest-star John Wesley Shipp who played the role of Barry Allen in the “original” CBS series The Flash, returned to the reboot as Henry Allen — Barry father. After a fatal confrontation with the villain ZOOM! this season, Henry was murdered — but it appears perhaps has been “reincarnated” as none-other than Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash!

Now that the stakes are so high, and that DC Entertainment has a lot to prove — no pressure having to dominate an entire network’s primetime line-up next fall — bringing in the big guy back to the television landsape may be exactly what Supergirl needs to make an impact next season. Superman’s storyline is expected to have the character appear over the course of the two premiere episodes of the show’s second season. And who’s to say that the occupant of the space ship that crashes isn’t maybe a young Kal-El…

With the multiverse having played such a significant part of The Flash story arc this last season, the possibilities are (dare I say) infinite!

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Supermen Clash in Action Comics #52!

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It’s the “Final Days of Superman” and all the Supermen are getting in on the ACTION!

Superman is dying! In the final arc encompassing all of the DC Comics Superman titles entitled “The Final Days of Superman” the Man of Steel has discovered that he is indeed vulnerable. After having faced the threat of the alien Rao, the immortal Vandal Savage and fired himself up in the unholy furnaces of Darkseid’s Apokolips, Superman has begun to deteriorate — his body succumbing to the various stresses he’s put upon himself.

Going through the efforts of cleaning house, making certain that his adopted home world will be properly protected after he’s gone, Superman is joined by his two closest confidants and friends. Both Batman and Wonder Woman have rallied alongside Superman to help him on his quest, and perhaps uncover the true identity of the super-powered imposter that’s walking around, bright as the sun, looking to replace him.

Several months ago, after facing the nearly unstoppable alter-universe alien might of Ulysses, Superman uncovered a new ability that allowed him to flare up the solar energy that is stored in his cells — the same energy he utilizes to power up his Kryptonian cells and makes him a “superman”. Whenever he uses this new power, Clark Kent becomes powerless for up to 24 hours as his body “recharges” and rendering him vulnerable.

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The alternate cover to Action Comics #52 pays homage to the arrival of Superman in “The New 52”.

In this state Superman becomes as human as the rest of us, and unfortunately using this new ability has come with some consequence that has left him open to a type of blood poisoning that is affecting him down to the DNA level. Superman and Batman were able to trace some of his failing health to China and some experiments that have been performed by the dreaded Dr. Omen.

Now the three heroes are giving perilous chase to the energy entity that has escaped capture by A.R.G.U.S. and is claiming to be Superman. Batman traces the creatures energy to the West Coast and there they find the irradiated imposter, who has attacked the home of “Clark White” otherwise known as the Pre-New 52 Superman a survivor of the recent “Convergence” event that has been hiding with his Super-Family here on Earth!

So now the trinity have their hands full facing the energized “Superman” imposter and ultimately discovering the mystery behind the other Superman, while deciding the fate of Superman himself! “The Final Days of Superman” storyline have been all leading up to the upcoming publishing-wide event being billed as “DC Universe: Rebirth” and DC Comics Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns continues to insist that it is not a new “reboot”.

The entire line of DC Comics publications were made more contemporary and redesigned after the 2011 “reboot” of the imprint that was marketed as “The New 52”. All the heroes in the DC Comics Universe were reintroduced and most were reimagined to more accurately take to the readership’s more modernized sensibilities. The launch occurred after the events of “FlashPoint” and launched with the flagship title of Justice League #1.

As most of the DC Comics publications begin to hit the respective issues #52 this month, next month most will be rebranded as “Rebirth” One-Shots before returning and renumbered with all-new storylines and some minor cosmetic changes. Batman has already been “rebirth” so to speak. Writer Scott Snyder who has been writing the Dark Knight for most of his “New 52” run, will be handing the title to Tom King.

They are promising that the passing of the baton will usher in and “unleash a new Bat-era” for the beloved character. Snyder won’t be vacating Gotham City all too quickly as he’ll be at the helm of the new title All-Star Batman which will have him teaming up with the legendary John Romita Jr. the same JRJ who has been onboard since joining forces with Geoff Johns on Superman recently.

As for the Man of Steel, “Final Days” scribe Peter J. Tomasi has been promising that the end result of Superman’s fate will have major repercussions for the character, in fact when the hero returns after the “Rebirth” it’s all possible that he will be replaced by his “pre-52” counterpart who is married to Lois and the two have a son, Jonathan who will be taking up the tradition and share in some super heroics of his own.

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Lois Lane will also be gaining some abilities of her own and launching the new title Superwoman written by comics great Phil Jimenez who will also be drawing the title. Left with the task of protecting the planet Supergirl will be moving to National City and take up a job at the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations). The title will be written by Steve Orlando who just ending a brilliantly stunning run on Midnighter.

So what does all this really mean for Superman? Is it true that these are indeed perhaps the final days of the character which still remains one of the tentpole heroes for the publishing giant? Whatever happens you can expect that it will be unique indeed, after all it isn’t everyday that a Superman dies…only to be reborn from the ashes.

Want more? Follow-up with The HQ with a visit to the home site at ThrillseekerHQ with more extensive insight and editorials including links to the Internet radio show Out Loud & Live! with me and available on iTunes!

 

The Life (and Days) of Superman: The Road to “Rebirth”

The Man of Steel faces his own mortality in a race towards a publishing wide DC Comics imprint “Rebirth”.

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Superman is dying…and there’s no escaping his fate!

For more than 75 years Superman has stood as the unparalleled most powerful being in the DC Comics universe (give or take the unexpected immovable force, megalomaniac or two) but as the Man of Steel’s storyline spirals headlong into the midst of “Rebirth” this spring, the Man of Tomorrow will be facing his own mortality in the most unexpected and unconventional arc of his career yet. As the imprint prepares for the latest publishing-wide special event of the season “The Final Days of Superman” are being explored across the hero’s multiple titles.

With the advent of most major titles including Superman and Action Comics about to strike their respective issue #52, the entire line of DC Comics will soon be revamped, and as Creative Director Geoff Johns described “the dawn of a brand-new era of DC Comics adventures” is about to begin. For Superman it’s been a treacherously exhaustive couple of months. The Earth’s most able champion was doused by the unpredictable energies inside the fire pits of Apokolips, faced the villainous Vandal Savage inside the A.R.G.U.S. kryptonite chamber and battled the otherworldly Rao.

These three events contributed to the perfect storm, ultimately compromising the Last Son of Krypton’s constitution at the genetic level, and causing the unthinkable and yet inevitable: Superman is dying. In the first chapter of “The Final Days of Superman” arc published in Superman #51 and written by Peter J. Tomasi the premiere comic book writer has the Man of Steel begin to take the first steps to insure that his legacy will continue. Clark is especially concerned that after he is gone there will no longer be a “super-man” around to protect the innocent.

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The legendary John Romita Jr. delivers on this iconic cover detailing “The Final Days of Superman” in the dynamic duo’s own title.

Tomasi has also made it of particular importance to the character that Superman and Clark Kent’s personal story does not go forgotten and he seeks out Lois Lane, who only recently was responsible for revealing to the world Superman’s secret dual identity of Clark Kent. Unlike Superman’s once historic confrontation against Doomsday and the brutal battle that ended him that time, this time around it would appear that Clark can’t escape the cellular degradation that is threatening his life. Upon seeking the help of his fellow Justice Leaguer Batman in Gotham City, Superman refuses the Dark Knight’s help.

Instead, in the second part of the story appearing in Batman/Superman #31 also written by Tomasi, Superman asks his friend to help him locate the now missing Maid of Steel Supergirl who he intends to leave in charge of defending the planet once he’s gone. The two heroes are attacked by the mystically charged embodiment of Chinese Zodiac dispatched by the mysterious Doctor Omen who is gathering genetic information on the Man of Steel, though to what end no one is clearly certain. Locating his cousin, Superman frees Supergirl from the D.E.O. (Department of Extra-Normal Operations).

Inside Action Comics #51 he learns that Kara’s visit to National City and her incarceration at the D.E.O is entirely voluntary especially after she also succumbs to some power fluctuations of her own. It appears that Vandal Savage’s attack on Superman had an affect on her as well leaving Supergirl vulnerable. She came to National City at the invite of the D.E.O. who promised to help her sort out her issues. Instead after she learns of her cousin’s fatal situation she goes with him to his Fortress of Solitude to continue the work he has already started as the supreme protector on the planet.

They are both surprised by the arrival of the Amazon Queen and Superman’s former paramour Wonder Woman and unbeknownst to any of our heroes, there is a stranger exhibiting some incredible powers entering into the Daily Planet claiming to be Superman and leaving a wake of destruction in his path! “The Final Days of Superman” are chronicled up until the launch of Rebirth #1 which will then continue with the renumbering of all the Superman titles with the exception of Action Comics which will reset to its original #957 and will be published twice a month!

With the magnitude of such a huge event taking place — and including the impending publication of the #1000 issue of Action Comics — Superman fans are in for quite an unprecedented shake-up that will undoubtedly have repercussions across the line. The publishing imprint is promising that in the wake of this history-making leap Superman will emerge stronger, faster and more powerful than a locomotive — and he’ll have a whole lot of help coming his way.

• This feature premiered on the DCComicsNews.com network as contributed by myself.

The Super Bowl Pulls No Punches

Heading into the midst of a golden Super Bowl weekend, the studios hard hit with their own brand of “super” indeed.

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The Man of Steel faces off against the Dark Knight in a confrontation so epic it’s going to spell “doomsday” for one of them and bring in the dawn for a league of justice.

It may only be the beginning of the year, but with Super Bowl Sunday captivating more than 100 million television viewers world wide, the studios have upped the ante with longer teases and full-on trailers for their upcoming summer movie slate — and then some! Warner Brothers and Fox studios were leading the pack running cleverly marketed ads that promoted the upcoming Marvel property Deadpool but with the most anticipated game of the year on everyone’s mind, it was a no-brainer that the summer’s big screen brawl took some honors.

Gotham City and her sister city Metropolis were both at the center of airline tourism ads to position Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) encouraged visitor come to Gotham and enjoy the nightlife as well as visit the opera, and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) suggests that the newly rebuilt Metropolis has even more to offer. Either way it’s fans who end winning as the messaging is clear…the dawn is near!

Another trailer that garnered just as much attention and is also pitting two of its titular tentpole stars against one another is the trailer to Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War the sequel to Winter Soldier takes much of its cue from the events in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron — that film’s most pivotal scene came from a quiet moment between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) as the two friends and warriors discuss their mission and the consequences of their heroics.

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Whose side are you going to be one when Civil War breaks out this summer on the big screen?

In the upcoming Civil War Cap finds himself choosing sides when a close friend and ally becomes a target and lines are drawn in the sand. Interesting that two of the big blockbusters and major superhero franchise films are pitting its big guns against one another! Undoubtedly one day Captain America versus Batman will draw just as much attention. Other Avengers making Super Bowl appearances included the diminutive Ant-Man stealing a Coke from the incredible Hulk.

Also making the grade for raising the stakes is the next installment from Michael Bay’s revisiting of his 80’s toy box as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is introduced and reveals some fan favorites that just didn’t make it into the first film. Bay has practically thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this sequel including some classic sidekicks and villains. Fans can expect Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) and the evil Krang to pop in!

One thing is for certain with millions tuning in, the super franchises are ready to make plays of their own to pull us in and keep us engaged this season at a theater near you!

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in March with Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War premiering in May.

Batgirl: Family Business

The Batgirl of Gotham’s trendy burg Burnside is causing all sorts of calamity in “Volume 2” of her best-selling series.

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The Bat-Family has been in some dire straights of late. After the recent climax to the long-brewing “Endgame” storyline in the Batman monthly that finally saw the end to Dark Knight’s epic confrontation with his arch nemesis the Joker, it appeared that Batman had fallen, and although Bruce Wayne has emerged with no memory of his time as Gotham City’s sworn protector, the task of maintaining order has been duly accepted by members of Batman’s extended family.

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Batgirl Volume 2: Family Business is available now.

Among those caped and cowled is none other than Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon who has moved to one of the city’s more up-and-coming boroughs Burnside and streamlined her adventurous ways though keeping he faith as is evidenced in Batgirl Volume 2: “Family Business” by the creative team of Cameron StewartBrenden Fletcher and Babs Tar. Batgirl finds herself in over her head taking down a team of Internet conspirators that are worshipping at the alter of the high-voltage villainy of Livewire!

To make matters only a little more challenging for Babs, she’s being hunted by Gotham’s new guardian, calling itself “Batman” an armored warrior contracted by the Powers Corporation to keep the peace. She learns quickly the identity of the man behind the mask, and Barbara is shocked when she learns that it’s her own father inside the suit. Torn with having to reveal her own dual-identity, Batgirl has little chance when the two must team-up to stop Livewire from frying the system.

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Batgirl gets a groovy redesign but keeps all of her wits about her making crime-fighting more fashionable.

Technically now a fugitive of the law, Barbara is not exactly comfortable with her roommate Frankie’s role in all her adventuring — it may be best that she simply work on her own rather than subject Frankie to the same dangerous life of an urban street vigilante, but before the two have time to blink Batgirl is enlisted into the middle of an espionage ring, and in the path of Dick Grayson — although Batgirl doesn’t really know that it’s him!

It isn’t long before Barbara learns the truth: that Dick has been lying about his death at the hands of the Crime Syndicate (at the conclusion go “Forever Evil”) and has penetrated this secret agent conspiracy to unlock its truth. With wild animals on the loose, courtesy of The Velvet Tiger Batgirl has bigger cats to battle, a Batwoman to keep at bay, and a wedding to get ready for — hoping that no Spoilers will get in the way.

The second volume collects Batgirl issues #41-45, DC Comics Sneak Peek: Batgirl #1 which introduced the series relaunch of the title and Batgirl Annual #3. It cleverly depicts Barbara Gordon, grown out of the shadow of her mentor and embracing her own calling as a contemporarily independent and savvy super-herorine. The creative team present a light-hearted and entertainment voice for a character that has come out of the dark to shine a light all of her own.

iReview: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow “Pilot: Pt.1”

The latest spin-off from the growing DC TV Universe is moving the story in inspired ways. Here is my review of “Pilot: Pt.1”.

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Spoiler Alert: This is your last warning! If you haven’t seen the premiere episode of the latest DC TV Universe spin-off DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Pilot: Pt.1 than perhaps you might not want to read any further, but if you haven’t been tuning into this season’s Arrow or its sister series The Flash than you’re missing out on a truly unique television experience and one that millions of die-hard comic book fans have been waiting a very long time for.

If it wasn’t enough that almost out the gate The CW’s action-adventure series Arrow based on the often secondarily popular hero the Green Arrow immediately went to work on establishing a foothold on introducing the most number of DC Comics heroes and villains into primetime, when it helped launch The Flash — suddenly the superhero world in live-action exploded! The Flash which is more “powers” based than the street-fighting feel of its predecessor became an instant hit with fans.

The particle explosion that helped create that series hero Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has always been a staple in the mythology and The Flash one of the top-tier characters in the DC Universe. When the multiverse was ignited in the Second Season of The Flash all bets were off, and having already introduced super-powered allies like Firestorm, the Atom, and even Vixen (in a companion animated series) it wouldn’t be long before these heroic individuals came together and formed a proper team.

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The element of crossing over the storylines on the series also introduced a much appreciated dynamic that hadn’t been seen before in superhero series in syndication or primetime. When the serialized adventures brought together all our heroes it had the same impact as when heroes came together in the pages of the books. Audiences were now privy to getting more bang for their buck and this season’s crossover team-up was nothing short of legendary!

A Time Master named Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) is determined to put an end to the conquering might of Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). The tyrant has all-but laid waste to the future with his armies. In order to stop Savage once and for all, Hunter requests that he be allowed to travel back in time and recruit some very powerful allies, but the Time Masters are convinced that Hunter will cause more damage than good traversing through history. Rip Hunter steals a time ship, the “Waverider”, anyway and gathers his forces.

Moving quickly and simultaneously Hunter systematically “kidnaps” Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) The Atom, the Nuclear Man Firestorm (Victor Garber and Franz Drameh), the resurrected White Canary (Caity Lotz) and the long-lived winged warriors Hawkgirl and Hawkman (Ciara Renée and Falk Hentschel). Hunter also employs the dangerously unpredictable rogues Captain Cold and his partner in crime Heatwave (Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell). Hunter warns them of his mission and shows them a hopeless future where Savage rules.

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The newly minted Firestorm (Franz Drameh) introduced this season on The Flash gets to really start a fire as a member of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

Having only recently faced off against Savage, the Hawks are confused to learn that Vandal Savage still exists. After their last battle they teamed up with Green Arrow and the Flash and it appeared they had indeed destroyed Savage, but apparently the ancient evil has survived. Hunter hopes to convince the eight that he heroes (and villains) are needed, and that in the future history will come to know them as “legends”. That they have a legacy to live up to is attractive to them but most of all to Palmer and Prof. Stein.

The rest of the team will require a little convincing and so travel with Hunter back to the 1970’s to uncover a piece of the puzzle to help alter the grim future from coming to past. There they enlist the help of a historian Dr. Aldus Boardman (Peter Francis James) who reveals himself to be the son of both Hawkgirl and Hawkman, but a time-traveling mercenary named Chronus has followed Hunter and his intrepid team of heroes on their journey!

The group are able to outrace the mercenary’s attack but inadvertently get Boardman killed and learn the truth of why they were chosen by Rip Hunter for this mission. Hunter is himself a determined renegade out to prevent Savage from destroying anymore lives the way he destroyed his own family’s, but as for the heroes Hunter has collected…though he’s seen men of steel fall and dark knights shaken, these “legends” he’s assembled are lost to the ages.

In effect these “legends of tomorrow” are far from that; they are inconsequential and their lives — their heroics — won’t matter at all. Hunter brings them together in an effort to give them all a fighting chance to be remembered as more than just “secondary characters” in a plot line. In effect, these legends will themselves be endeavor to be the templates for all those to come! Convinced that unless the stop Vandal Savage the future will be lost!

From the moment that the group is assembled on the bridge of the time ship, their chemistry is almost immediate. In the DC Comics mythology Ray Palmer and Carter Hall are very good friends and team-up often to fight crime, so it’ll be interesting to see if that dynamic will also developed among the series’ characters. Victor Garber as the elder statesman and one-half of the powerhouse Firestorm is also wonderful invigorating, though fans may wish that Robbie Amell had been recruited instead of Jefferson “Jax” Jackson who is still developing.

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It’s an offer they can’t refuse, the “legends” gather to embark on their first adventure through time and space in the premiere episode of the series.

The anti-heroes of Captain Cold, Heatwave and White Canary make for an interestingly dynamic mix that is both volatile and sexy, and give off some kick-ass sparks. Though charmingly entertaining Heatwave and Cold just don’t have the gravitas that audiences might prefer to see take on the Scarlet Speedster from time to time, but perhaps when these two have exhausted their appeal it will open the door for two more proper heroes to take their place…maybe Blue Beetle and Booster Gold.

One thing for certain, after proving that Arrow had great dramatic potential in serialized television and that The Flash can make superpowers interesting, DC’s Legend of Tomorrow is set to plead the case for ensemble casts that work in team shows. Feeling a little bit like Firefly and throwing in plenty of Quantum Leap and Doctor Who DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are the primetime heroes we’ve been hoping for today!

Bonus Features: The iTunes bonus feature when you purchase a Season Pass includes the nearly half-hour documentary “The Time is Now” which sets up the world of the Legends from their origins and into primetime.

Care to check out more?! Go deeper into The HQ and goto ThrillseekerHQ.com for a look at episode data and additional features including “Legends: Who’s Who”.