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!

Flash and Arrow…Take Flight!

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In this season’s first crossover event the DC TV Universe spreads its wings and gives flight to more DC Comic’s legends!

Although by now televisions fans of The CW hit series Arrow and its sister series The Flash have been prepared for the upcoming third spin-off – and no… I’m  not talking about that Maid of Might minding over National City on CBS – the assembled DC’s Legends of Tomorrow have started coming together in the premiere crossover episodes of the season…and it’s a pretty brilliant take-off.

In the DC Comics mythology there are few more formidable opponents than Vandal Savage (played by Casper Crump) the immortal menace was a thorn in the side of the “Golden Age” heroes before plotting to destroy their “Modern Age” counterparts…and because Savage is a dastardly long-lived kind of baddie, he’s proven really hard to kill. Savage is the ideal candidate for the premise introduced to set-up Legends.

But most beautifully, the writing team with includes some of DC Comics most devoted fanboys, and I do mean show runners Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim — both writers have placed at the center of the controversy a character the although once once a “sidekick” of sorts, when Hawkgirl took a pivotal role as a founding member on the Justice League cartoon series, her wingspan peaked!

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Hawkman (Falk Henschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciare Renée) join The Flash and Arrow as they prepare to become Legends in the next spin-off set to premiere in early 2016.

Now the reincarnated form of Kendra Saunders has evolved again, and has been brought to life by the dashingly exciting and relatively new talent on the television spectrum Ciara Renée — the veteran of stage has given rise to the latest hero to come to life and borrow the spotlight from the boys, before taking her rightful place on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

 

When the cast was introduced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, the young woman was already showing a ferocious eagerness to jump right into the suit and show everyone what she’s got. With Tuesday night’s first-part crossover on The Flash entitled “Legends of Today” Renée proves she’s no disappointment!

With the growing number of characters become part of a larger mythology — and rumors already circulating that Barry Allen may be popping over to pay Superman’s famous cousin a visit on Supergirl (more on that soon). fans can expect some very exciting stuff to take shape in the time-traveling adventures of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that Ciara Renée has earned her wings! Take flight! We’ll be watching you soar the friendly skies!

I’ll have my review of this season’s “Legends of Today” after Wednesday’s continuing arc on Arrow. Stay tuned!

 

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iReview: DKIII – The Master Race

Now that most of the world has delved back into Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight” I can say with reverence “no spoilers ahead”!

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The expectation around the third part of graphic novelist and artist Frank Miller’s latest chapter of his opus dedicated to the legend of the Caped Crusader should come as no surprise. Eager collectors have been foaming at the mouth at the revelation of the multitude of “alternate covers” accompanying Dark Knight III: The Master Race without knowing much else about the story.

There are many in poplar circles that would contest, the original Batman: The Dark Knight Returns prestige format 4-issue series didn’t need to become episodic. If anything, Miller’s set ended very solidly with a definite end game for the Bruce Wayne’s Batman, having negotiated to keep the peace with the world at large and not stir things up. He contrives a plan to fake his death and moves operations into the Batcave.

Inevitably a sequel would follow.

At the conclusion of the lukewarmly received Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again readers were left with a perrifial look at where Bruce Wayne’s legacy had lead him and his place in a world that had mostly lost its way. The 3-issue series also examined the placement of the other heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in how they related to now living relegated to a world that regarded heroes as a threat.

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A cover gallery of Frank Miller’s original Batman: The Knight Returns epic.

After all in his quest to seek justice, Batman inspired a movement and a social consciousness in his descipiles in stark construct to perhaps the Man of Steel, who truly came the closest of all the superheroes in the league pantheon to resemble a “God on Earth”. How that was validated upon by the likes of Wonder Woman, who had born Superman a daughter, and yet Bruce had accumulated more of the glory, did not sit well with her.

Especially not when Batman’s actions would directly impact the already emotionally taxed Man of Steel, who was being held ransom by his villainous arch enemies.

Batman’s legacy meanwhile was preparing to move onto the very able and capable hands of the latest “Robin” to sport the familiar tights and yellow cape, Carrie Kelley had herself stepped out of the Batman’s cave and endeavoring to adopt an identity of her own, interestingly one based on one of the Dark Knight’s most enduring and popular rogue’s Catwoman. Carrie becomes his chief lieutenant in his fight.

Freeing Ray Palmer/the Atom and Barry Allen/the Flash from imposed captivity and giving them a new mission, Batman along with his soldiers, including the Green Arrow are poised to save a planet that is beyond corrupted, but in effect face not only some of the most dangerous villains, there is also a society that doesn’t want to be rescued.

At mission’s end DK2 appeared pretty cut and dry and the Batman was “dead” — for good, this time, but enter the third chapter like any good trilogy and it looks like the stakes are much higher this time. When DKIII: The Master Race opens up the streets of Gotham City are still facing corruption, but emerging from the darkness is a familiar avenger — the Batman is once again on the hunt!

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An unfinished page from DKIII: The Master Race captures the drama in play in one of the more intense moments in the first issue.

Many still perceive of him as a myth, and he’s been out of commission for a significant enough time that his return is being questioned, when Commissioner Yindel learns her GCPD is giving chase to the caped and cowled assailant, when she arrives on the scene, after the “Batman” has taken out several of her officers, Yindel unmasks the vigilante and reveals the true identity of…Carrie Kelly!

In a brilliant move, Miller’s prologue to this new chapter, reveals very much a world that still needs its caped avenger, but to what end. This is the first time in the lineage of the story that an entire universe is being elaborated, which is leading audiences to believe that Miller plans a story of epic proportions in DKIII and will hopefully explain he eludes to in the subtitle and reveal who exactly are the Master Race.

DK III: Masterful Indeed

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Frank Miller adds another chapter in his “Dark Knight Saga” as “The Master Race” begins the legend of the Bat reigns!

It wasn’t as if anyone expected Frank Miller to follow up Batman: The Dark Knight Returns with a continuing adventure, but the graphic novelist returned to the darkly cynical Gotham City he introduced, and the battle-worn Bruce Wayne of this dystopian future with the 2002 sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Instantly our imaginations were reignited!

After the catastrophic real-life events that occurred on Sept. 11, Miller’s opus seemed closer to reality and far more resonated than when he first brought Batman out of retirement. Though he battled many of his own demons in his obsessive dedication to finding justice, when his mission was complete he changed the world.

In the wake of what followed many of the heroes that fought alongside the Batman had an entirely new mess to clean up…and even after what it would appear was the Batman’s final moment, the Dark Knight has risen. From his ashes it seems we have a master race among us. Miller’s storytelling picks up right where the last remnants of his last opus end.

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What is the final fate of the Batman? Is Bruce Wayne dead? If he is, who has taken up the mantle and is wearing the cape and cowl?

It looks as if the Batman is back in business about the streets of Gotham, taking out wildly gun-totting coppers ready to strike down defenseless innocents, but when Commissioner Yindel is forced to give the word to bring in the Bat, it seems that her police force is on it! Giving chase to the Bat, they’re surprised by what they find when they take down the caped crusader.

It isn’t Bruce Wayne under the cape and cowl that’s been stalking the shadows, but someone very close to the Dark Knight…someone who has dedicated herself to following in his footsteps! The action is kinetic and although Miller didn’t provide the art himself for the premiere chapter, passing the task onto Andy Kubert, the sense of style is still the same.

In a back page interview, “A Conversation With” the artists appearing in current issues of DC Comics this month, Frank Miller comments on how he chose to collaborate with Brian Azzarello on this chapter of The Dark Knight Saga. “I set up a realm in which Batman would operate,” said Miller, “and Brian is now expanding on the storyline that I introduced. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Components necessary to evolving DKIII involve setting up in context the other heroes in the DC Universe including supporting characters like Wonder Woman and Superman in uniquely developed chapters entitled the Dark Knight Universe Presents:. The first such episode reintroduces Ray Palmer The Atom in his own set-up adventure.

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What in the world is The Atom up to haunting the Dark Knight? Find out.

DKIII: The Master Race has certainly delivered in its promise to readers that it will provide a continuing evolution of Miller’s saga, and also incorporate the taste and style of artists that have become popular in the wake of his groundbreaking artistry, brining much of the Dark Knight’s tale full circle.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race Book 1 by Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Klaus Janson and Andy Kubert is available now in print and digital form from DC Comics.

On a “Dark Knight”…

One of the most influential stories in comics is gaining all new traction as Frank Miller prepares for another chapter in his “Dark Knight Saga”.

In 1986, when Frank Miller’s epic graphic novel Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was igniting the imagination of comic book readers, I was sternly navigating away from all the buzz. After all, I was a staunch fan and dedicated to the competitor imprint and with the exception of The New Teen Titans and the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, I didn’t read a lot of DC Comics.

I was devoted to the adventures explored by The Uncanny X-Men and Spider-Man. I depended on my comic book heroes to be simple and accessible — relatable and in the context of a world that I felt I could inhabit.

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If it wasn’t for my comrade David Dayoub who had always a far more sophisticated taste than I — I would never have read Miller’s opus, which was a no-hold’s bar look the Batman mythology — it was a dystopian look at a “future” Gotham City that glimpsed our own reality, taking a shattered-mirror look at governmental corruption and the questioning of heroism — and what makes a “hero”.

The depth and themes of the story were what attracted David to the book; that it centered on one of his favorite characters — The Batman — was only a peripheral pleasure. I can recall how he would describe to me the texture of which Miller was evolving the myth, but to my adolescent mind I grasped with the importance of telling that type of story within the context of a comic book — it didn’t make sense to me.

I remember reading Crisis and whimsically thrilled by the idea that the extensively complicated DC universe and its continuity were about to become “streamlined” and that its most iconic characters including Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and especially Batman were getting major face-lifts, but after turning the first pages into Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns I wondered what direction it would take.

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Frank Miller’s now classic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

The graphic novel established Bruce Wayne as a sort of aging daredevil, disconnected from the world around him and finding reasons not to involve himself with the machinations of the people inhabiting it. Any distraction to keep him from delving into the psychosis of vigilantism that lead him to embody the might of the Batman. But life isn’t so generous and as fate would have it, Wayne will soon be forced back into the cowl.

The Dark Knight Returns would redefine the Batman mythology for next generation of readers, and when Hollywood called the studios would be attracted to the conflicted sides of Bruce Wayne that embraced the shadows in his search for justice. Was Bruce after all only hiding behind his role as a superhero to sate his thirst for revenge? These were only a handful of themes that Miller dove right into.

The Batman would emerge once again one of DC Comics most popular characters, even besting the Man of Steel within the pages of the climax of the series. The character and his origin would be revisited by creators over the next decades and would become the focus of the rebooted Batman Begins franchise, utilizing most of Frank Miller’s influences fro his groundbreaking work.

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Batman dons armor to take on Superman in the original  The Dark Knight series a scene that will come to life in next summer’s most anticipated film.

Next summer when the Dark Knight returns to the big screen, one of the most pivotal moments in Miller’s book will come to life and is at the center of the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice big screen motion picture. Three decades later, Frank Miller is still impacted the culture and with the release of the next installment of his Dark Knight Saga — DKIII: The Master Race it would appear that night still belongs to him.

The “Legends” are Coming!

10407249_1569952109946208_2615419563962142432_nThe DC Comics Universe is assembling its own team of “Legends” in primetime! The heroes of today, fight for our future!

As if having three major powerhouse series in primetime wouldn’t be enough, executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg including Marc Guggenheim are about to pool their resources, or rather their casts — to initiate the first team of super heroes in primetime. Hinted at in their sister series Arrow and The Flash these two are about to join the line-up of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

With the arcs for both CW series having introduced several other characters from the DC Comics universe, including some of the more popular villains, it made sense that with the success of MARVEL Comic’s own Avengers heroes coming together in the movies, with DC dominating in primetime, the same would occur. With heroes like the Atom and Firestorm part of that team-up, you can bet there will be sparks flying!

Take a look at and enjoy the premiere trailer that sets up the backstory (which will also be explored in the upcoming 2-part crossover event in The Flash and Arrow) and let me know what you think!

 

First Images reveal a Spectacular “Wonder Woman”

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After significant starts-and-stops “Wonder Woman” goes into production and gets a sensational reception by fans!

Although she first had a significant impact in primetime when Lynda Carter portrayed the Amazing Amazon, Wonder Woman has had a perilous journey making it to the big-screen, but it looks like Warner Bros. the studio that has had a string of successes with franchises platformed off of Princess Diana’s male counterparts, has finally focused its energies and the third part of the DC Comics trinity is about to go big time.

Fans were highly encouraged when at 2014 San Diego Comic-Con the first images of Gal Gadot were released with the Fast and Furious actress in full battle armor set to spar amidst titans in 2016’s summer tentpole Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film follows director Zack Snyder’s redux of the Superman mythology, and after much hesitation the filmmaker has admitted the film is a proper sequel to his hit Man of Steel.

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After the winning the role of DC Comic’s most powerfully iconic female lead, Gal Gadot went about to win fans over when the trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice premiered at SDCC.

 

And from the “first look” images revealing a sensually mysterious Diana Prince stealthily hidden beneath a cloak, Wonder Woman is ready for the big screen…in a big way. The character will come between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight in there upcoming blockbuster brawl that will also help to launch the connective franchise series Justice League.

Early glimpses at the Woman Wonder film suggest that the film will be a period piece set during the events of World War II with Star Trek’s Chris Pine in the role of Steve Trevor, Diana’s paramour and ambassador into Man’s World. The story revolves around Diana’s pursuit of the dangerous mad god Ares and a secret weapon that the God of War plans on using to lead down the path to Armageddon.

The behind-the-scene story of bringing Wonder Woman to life is almost as legendary as the origins of the character itself. Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon was initially tasked with writing the script which realized a contemporary imagining of the heroine. That story was soon scrapped for something a little more inline with the comic book origins which set Diana in the middle of the second World War.

The film has already passed hands several times. Michelle MacLaren was originally set to direct until she decided to leave the project over creative differences, until handing the reigns to Patty Jenkins who is currently helming the project for a theatrical release in 2017.

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In full color and full armor, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman!