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’s Legends of Tomorrow Have Arrived!

The CW rides the wave of success mining another hit from the DC Comics universe and giving Berlanti Productions more reasons to mine for gold!

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In the second season of The Flash the Scarlet Speedster played by Grant Gustin continues to gain momentum and is heralded as Central City’s guardian angel! After surviving the cliffhanging singularity that threatened to annihilate most of existence, it’s no surprise that the world regard the fastest man alive with such revelry — the Flash is certainly on his way to carving out quite a legacy for himself and has begun to inspire other super powered individuals to follow in his fast-footed steps.

There was of course the introduction of Firestorm in season one. The Nuclear Man quickly became a fan-favorite as realized by actors Robbie Amell and Victor Garber respectfully as the sum parts of the hero as Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Martin Stein, but at the conclusion of last year’s major dramatic arc, Raymond selflessly acts to help the Flash stop the growing singularity from swallowing up Central City. In the end Ronnie is lost, and Prof. Stein is left half-the-man he was before.

In order to survive a new host is found in Jefferson “Jax” Jackson a high school football star player played by Franz Drameh whose dreams of going pro are squashed by the advent explosion that unleashes all sorts of dark matter and energy giving rise to a generation of metahumans — humans with extra-ordinary super powers — like the Flash’s super speed. Fortunately for Stein and Jackson the two are a perfect fit and Firestorm is once again reborn with a new purpose.

After great coaxing from Caitlin Snow (played by Danielle Panabaker) the able S.T.A.R. Labs physician and scientist (and the Raymond’s widow) is able to convince Jackson that he has a greater purpose – a destiny to embrace – as the hero he was meant to be. Under the tutelage of Stein the two embark on a new adventure and leave Central City, but not before another mystery unfolds around a seemingly unassuming young woman named Kendra Saunders.

Having already won the heart of Barry Allen’s colleague Cisco Ramon (played by Carlos Valdes) the lovely Ciara Renée embodies the mythic elegance of another DC Comics icon and brings to life Hawkgirl. When a dangerous interloper comes looking for her, Vandal Savage (played by Casper Crump) proves more powerful for anyone metahuman to handle. The Flash calls in some powerful friends and heads to Star City and asks Green Arrow (the Emerald Archer originated by Stephen Amell) to join the fight.

During the course of this season’s first crossover event, Hakwman (played by Falk Hentschel) reveals himself to his soulmate Kendra, and together along with the Flash and Green Arrow take down Savage, but perhaps our heroes celebrated way too soon. As the newest spin-off from the DC TV Universe is suggesting Savage is alive and well and conquers the world nearly enslaving our future. One man, a Time Master named Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) travels back to today to assemble…

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow …the title itself appeals as a call to action, no doubt. For fans of the publishing imprint’s more than 75 year continuity it’s a momentous occasion. For the first time in primetime and presented in the form of a serialized hour-long format, the entirety of that history is about to be explored and brought to life! It started with Arrow when Berlanti Productions decided to take on the unlikeliest of heroes and evolve the texturized backstory of Oliver Queen on his journey to greatness.

As he embraced his purpose as his city’s silent avenger, a hooded vigilante that used otherwise primitive weapons – the bow and arrow – in his arsenal against the criminal underworld that plague the innocent. As Oliver’s legend grew and extended beyond the radius of his own Starling City (as it was known before assuming the current Star City moniker) and attracted the attention of an impressionable CSI investigator named Barry Allen from the neighboring Central City.

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The Green Arrow, the mighty Atom and the Flash – members of DC Comic’s premiere team of super heroes, the Justice League – were brought to life in primetime in a way unlike any other previous incarnation of their like before commanding the 8pm time slot on The CW.

These two aspiring heroes, their fates intertwined; the producers of Arrow soon introduced their initial spin-off and rebooted The Flash a series that had already coasted onto the small screen with its original 1990’s incarnation. With that show’s full-on fan appreciation and the crossover events that united the primetime universes, the ground work had been laid for what inevitable came next: a team-up show to rival the popularity of the competitors, who wasted no time dominating on the big screen.

Traveling to contemporary times from a fractured and not-so-distant future, Rip Hunter brings together an unlikely group of adventures including Firestorm, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, whom are also joined by the Atom (industrialist Ray Palmer) who joined the cast of Arrow in Season 3, and the mercurial White Canary (Caity Lotz portrayed Arrow’s original “Canary”) Sara Lance before passing the mantle to her sister Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) who is now the vigilante Black Canary.

Hunter also recruits the criminal malcontents Captain Cold and Heatwave (the actors who were cast to play the Flash’s two lead rogues Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell played brothers on the popular hit series Prison Break) and recruited with their own agenda to plunder the most prized artifacts history has to offer. Together, these legends will confront the insidious evil of Vandal Savage as they journey through time in an attempt to stop the tyrant from planting his seeds.

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The legends of today and tomorrow first gathered to defend the newly introduced Hawkgirl against the immortal villainy of Vandal Savage.

What Hunter does not reveal to his intrepid team of adventures is that unlike some of their more colorful costumed counterparts, these individuals that he has brought together will bare little remembrance in times to come. In other words, these legends of tomorrow are hardly that at all. Rip Hunter is giving these heroes an opportunity to change their fates, in effect inspiring them to be greater as a whole, effectively preventing a hopeless future from ever transpiring.

Next: Now that the Legends have been gathered, we’ll take a look at their first adventure together in a review of “The Pilot: Part 1”.

 

 

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Supergirl: The Mighty Maid of Steel

No longer just “Superman’s Cousin” the Last Daughter of Krypton is once again casting her own legendary status as one of DC Comic’s brightest stars.

Upon making her first appearance (as “Super-Girl”) in Superman #123 in 1958 and then again rightfully as “Supergirl” in Action Comics #252 Kara Zor-El, the Kryptonian descendent of undoubtedly comicdom’s biggest name, Superman — Supergirl was immediately destined for stardom. The character was introduced to appeal to a new demographic reader, young women had for the most part steered away from the mostly muscle-bound, science-fiction and fantasy antics of superhero comics. Publishers, including DC Comics wanted a way of attracting new readers and still appeal to a diverse audience.

When the adolescent Kara Zor-El arrives on Earth, in much the same way that her cousin Kal-El does — in a rocket spirited away from their doomed home planet of Krypton — she instantly changed the way that Superman had up to that moment lived his life. The Last Son of Krypton had accepted that he was the only survivor sent to Earth to serve as this planet’s protector and as his superpowers developed he swore to use them to protect the innocent and above all keep the planet safe from any impending danger. Superman’s isolation was a major component of the hero’s character. Now that he had family, it threw him into a new role and also expanded the hero’s universe.

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Alone and without a home to call her own, Kara Zor-El feels like more of an alien than her famous cousin Superman even and is slowly learning of the importance of her role as Supergirl. The Last Daughter of Krypton searches for a way to fit in.

Up until the introduction of Supergirl, there weren’t very many other heroes in comics circulation that could best the Man of Steel, besides of course the Amazon Warrior Wonder Woman who has been in contemporary times been more properly established as an equal to Superman. In many ways Supergirl is more powerful than Superman, though many would concede that’s just not possible, but as Kara is younger and still developing her abilities, when she fully matures it is expected that she will be able to best her cousin on her sheer strength, fortunately they have a loving admiration for one another…at least for the moment.

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Still learning the full potential of her superpowers, many suspect that in many ways Supergirl is as much an equal of the Man of Steel and would someday eventually be able to best him in battle.

 

 

Throughout Supergirl’s incredible comic book history, the Maid of Might has always worked to establish her own path and not follow the one of her much more revered older cousin. The living legacy that Superman has created for himself is a difficult act to follow, but Supergirl has always performed as heroically and in keeping with the tradition established by Kal-El, or Clark Kent as he’s known on Earth. Kara has very much lived up to Superman’s expectations and often exceeded them. Supergirl has made the greatest sacrifices for the purpose of the greater good as was most evidenced in the 80’s when she was killed in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series.

Supergirl was effectively written out of DC Comic’s continuity following those events and upon the rebooting of the Superman comic. The series editors decided early on that in the new more streamlined continuity, Superman would indeed be the only survivor from his planet and so Kara Zor-El was lost to the ages. The character would resurface in other interpretations: as a failed experiment of Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor called “Matrix” and in animation Supergirl emerged as a popular supporting character on The Adventures of Superman and its follow-up series Justice League Unlimited.

It wasn’t until 2005 when comic book greats Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner decided that it was time that Kara make a proper reintroduction into mythology. The DC Universe was growing much more complex and character driven. Within the pages of the Superman/Batman anthology series Supergirl would reemerge — crash landing in of all places Gotham City Harbor! Effectively the Caped Crusader is cautious about the strange new visitor with powers very similar to those of his fellow Justice League member, but when the evil Darkseid decides to lure the stranger all hell breaks loose!

Supergirl was back! More powerful than ever, Kara was as formidable a presence as she was the heir apparent to Superman’s legacy, but this time around she had a very hard lesson to learn, and that was with great power, comes greater responsibility and Kara had a long road ahead of her before proving herself worthy of the “S” shield she wears. After the multiverse exploded open during the events of Infinite Crisis another version of Supergirl, that had become the “Golden Age” equivalent and grown up to become Power Girl played a major role in the resetting of continuity, but at the conclusion of “FlashPoint” all bets were off and the DC Comics Universe reset itself again.

This time around Supergirl was created as an integral component of the contemporary heroic mythology, and launch in her own title Supergirl set in “The New 52” universe. Our Supergirl is now a little more defiant and much closer in age to Superman. She’s finding her way in the universe and even expanded her reach beyond Earth. Kara became a member of the Red Lanterns (though that alliance was short-lived) and has spent a great deal of time finding herself across the cosmos. With Earth’s protection in the hands of her big cousin, Kara has the luxury to seek out new life and explore strange new worlds.

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The character of Supergirl continues to excel in her popularity, as is most evidence by the huge numbers the heroine made when her new weekly 1-hour drama premiered on CBS. Supergirl is from the same minds that developed the smash hits Arrow and The Flash for sister network The CW, and positions actress Melissa Benoist as its leading lady in the title role. Kara Danvers lives in National City and works for media mogul Catherine “Cat” Grant; all the while she protects the world from a series of alien attacks with the assistance of her earthbound sister and the Martian Manhunter.

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Fans are keeping their fingers crossed in the hopes that perhaps these two “real life” heroes will meet in what many imagine will be the ratings-maker of the season if The Flash meets Supergirl on the small screen.

Continuing to explore many of the themes that were popular in the comic books, Supergirl is proving herself a hit with fans, although many are anxiously awaiting the character to crossover and into the worlds of her counterparts on The CW. Rumors are once again surfacing that The Flash will be making the leap to National City and give Supergirl a dose of metahuman might, much in the same way that the speedster has been able to mix things up with the Green Arrow on his own hit series Arrow. The producers are focused on the upcoming team-up series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow so perhaps the meeting between these two titans may have to wait until next season!

Stay tuned!

Supergirl airs on CBS Monday nights at 8pm EST.

 

Star Wars Rebels: Bridging the Battle

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The animated adventure sets up the connectivity between the prequel saga and the events leading up to “A New Hope”.

The animated Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars which ran for several award-winning seasons, elaborated upon the escalation of the darkest times within the Republic. The time between Episode II and Episode III needed its own platform in which to evolve the story that leads to the downfall of Anakin Skywalker and gives rise to the evil Empire and the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader.

Now as an entire new generation brace themselves for Episode VII: The Force Awakens more gaps in the history of the Star Wars universe are getting filled in and reveal to audiences the beginnings of the resistance force set to liberate the galaxy from tyranny in Star Wars Rebels. Season 2 is now in fall swing and the band of rebels audiences followed in Season 1 have found themselves in a league all of their own.

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Now part of the Rebellion’s “Phoenix Squadron” the renegade Jedi Ahsoka Tano has invited the crew of the Ghost to join them against the growing tyranny of the evil Galactic Empire as Star Wars Rebels rolls into its second season.

A familiar face from the past, the former apprentice Ahsoka Tano has followed the exploits of the force sensitive new apprentice Ezra and his mentor Jedi warrior Kanan. Their rebel sects have intersected with Ahsoka’s “Phoenix Squadron” and now present themselves as a real threat to the Galactic Empire, so much so that they’ve attracted the attention of Darth Vader.

In the premiere episode “The Siege of Lothal” the crew of the Ghost find themselves returning to the planet of Lothal, which has grown more tightly intertwined in Imperial politics. No longer having any faith in its leading Imperial official to control the growing rebellion, a plan to defect is set in play that lands Kanan and Ezra in direct conflict with Darth Vader, and Ahsoka is reminded of her former master Anakin.

When Season 2 continues, the first episode’s arc re-introduce some of the more colorful members of the clone warriors that fought alongside the Jedi Knights. The exiled leader Captain Rex along with Wolf and another one of their clone brothers, reunite with the rebels to continue the fight against their former captors. Rex works deliberately to win over the Jedi Kanan and the two unite in episode 7 “Stealth Strike”.

With the Star Wars saga only gaining more notoriety now with the release of the latest feature film in theaters, the first new film in a decade, Star Wars Rebels is a richly appreciated part of the mythology that begins to bring it all closer together and especially bridges the gap between the feature films. Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels is available now on iTunes and returns to conclude the season on Disney X D in 2016.

Do you have a favorite episode so far? Do share!

Star Wars: From Rebelion to Resistance

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Now that the Force has awoken, meet the Resistance…from its beginning: Join the Rebellion!

From where the story picks up in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens the evil Empire was obviously not defeated at the conclusion of the Battle of Endor. The destruction of the second Death Star, a weapon of such dangerous potential, the Rebel forces have gone to great length to learn the secrets of the battle station at great cost to their cost. That particular story is going to be further explored in the upcoming spin-off feature film Star Wars: Rogue Squadron which will reveal the sacrifice made by a small band of pilots.

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One of the many designs that influenced the look of the evil First Order enforcers in Episode VII — an influence that has made its way into the Disney X D series Star Wars Rebels.

The Rebellion’s cause is still much in effect when we reconnect with what is now dubbed The Resistance and leading the march is General Leia Organa. The Empire may have been dealt a killing blow (more than once during the course of its regime) but even once Darth Vader and the Emperor have fallen, splinter groups have been brought together to form the latest threat to freedom and democracy in the galaxy: The First Order. Forged under the dominance of a single mind — a Supreme Leader — who rules as a tyrant and is preparing to crush the New Republic.

The set up for the next trilogy is of course in full swing as the Resistance must work to find the missing Jedi Master Luke Skywalker and find a way to restore balance to the Force. Star Wars Creator George Lucas put great emphases on the Force and what it represents in his universe — The Force is a mysterious energy source that binds us all together; it penetrates us and has a command to a certain extent on our destinies. When the Force is thrown into flux, and the evil Sith take control of power, it leads to the rise of the Empire and the path to the Dark Side.

A small band of freedom fighter begin to push back against the oppression of the Empire and soon the Rebellion is born! Star Wars Rebels follows those freedom fighter as they forge alliances across the galaxy and resist the evil of the Empire. Their story continues and is further explored by the  time that we join our established heroes in Episode IV – A New Hope but in the meantime, not that Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels is fully in play and the threat of Darth Vader is being felt all across space, we’ll take a look at the series and how it impacts the mythology certainly playing into the expanded universe.

Stay tuned. The Force is with us.

Star Wars: The Soundtrack Awakens

With the Force hitting theaters again the soundtrack is still leading the march and inspiring all movie goers.

A long time ago… | You may have heard…there’s a new Star Wars movie opening in theaters across the country (and all-around the world) this week. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is the next chapter in a series of new films, the first part of a new trilogy, and the first film under the new regime move under Disney. George Lucas very lucrative sale of his franchise to Disney has guaranteed that the “House the Mouse built” is now the most powerfully funded film studio in Hollywood.

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John Williams the legendary composer behind the music of all the preceding Star Wars films returns to the saga of a galaxy far, far away with the original score for Episode VII – The Force Awakens.

Undoubtedly The Force Awakens will break all expectations at the box office, and the reviews have been more than favorable for J.J. Abrams relaunch of one of the most beloved film series in cinematic history. Under new Lucasfilms head Kathleen Kennedy it has been promised that this is only the beginning in an imperial-sized onslaught on entertainment, that includes spin-off series starring Rogue Squadron, Boba Fett and even a young Han Solo.

For the moment, film fans are focused — all of their attention is laser-sighted on Episode VII. The much anticipated sequel that takes place 30 years after the events of Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi reunites the heroes from the original trilogy and introduces a new generation of characters that will now propel the story forward as a new threat faces a galaxy far, far away.

No Spoilers Ahead (Really) | Though they claim that George Lucas is only peripherally associated with the (re)launch and the continuation of the saga, one returning creative that has also left an indelible mark on the legacy of Star Wars is film composer John Williams. The relationship between Williams and the major blockbusters of the last four decades is one of mutual symbiosis. There are some that might suggest that without John Williams there could be no Star Wars.

For Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens the composer was once again enlisted to recreate the iconic symphonies that instantly transport movie-goers to the Outer Rim and back. Although this chapter of the saga will no longer open with the support of the characteristic 20th Century Fox films fanfare, it nonetheless begins with the familiar high octave notes as the title appears on screen.

As the title crawl begins to introduce the prologue for this adventure it instantly moves into the establishing shot as “The Attack on the Jakku Village” begins. The story begins on a planet, not unlike Tatooine in Episode III a mostly desert planet where a bold, young Resistance pilot named Poe Dameron is on an important mission. Sent by the General of the Resistance forces, Dameron has been entrusted to find the missing piece of a map that will lead to Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Knight and hero of the battle against the tyrannical Empire.

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To introduce the new heroes of this exciting new chapter, Williams has taken notes from the original trilogy to give much deserved weight to a new generation of rebels. When “Rey Meets BB-8” the droid carrying the missing map piece, the symphony runs in many parallels to the theme that establishes Luke as the hero of the first trilogy. “I Can Fly Anything” has the same excitement that was often in the background of the daring escapes made infamous by the space smuggler Han Solo.

With The Force Awakens now preparing to carve its own legacy thanks to John Williams it resonates with the power that gave the original series of films the gravitas to become the cinemas greatest space opera.

 

Eaglemoss Delivers on the Starship Enterprise

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Never a more decorated vessel in Starfleet’s history…and now just in time for its 50th Anniversary, the “USS Enterprise” comes home.

Perhaps it couldn’t be anymore appropriate that this week’s shipment from Eaglemoss Collections of Star Trek The Official Starships Collection featured the one that started it all. Issue 50 in the line of vessels from the longline of spacefaring ships to map out Federation space and beyond, is none other than the one that started it all: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.

Beautifully die cast an measuring approximately 5 inches in length, Captain Kirk’s fabled Constitution class ship has been expertly reproduced; all her delicate lines captured in great detail. Considering the size of the model, the weigh it significantly ideal and hefty along the saucer section of the ship, which holds the nerve-center of the ship.

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Eaglemoss Collections’ USS Enterprise is one of the best releases yet from the die-cast series of collectibles.

The nacelles and lower engineering hull appear to be in perfect proportions to the original designs inspired by the tv ship’s designer Matt Jeffries. This model of the Enterprise also matches many of the details that were introduced when the ship was upgraded for the high-resolution BLu-ray release of Star Trek: The Original Series Remastered.

Of all the ships that have been released by Eaglemoss and carry the name Enterprise (including the larger scale “special issue” from the reboot) this is by far one of the best models, and is sure to please any starship collector. It wouldn’t be a fleet without one of the Federation’s finest! The model also comes with a 20-page magazine with background info.