Top 10: Action Series Canceled by Cartoon Network by Jerry Whitworth
With the exit of Stu Snyder, manager of Cartoon Network, fans can’t help but reflect on negative advents during his seven year run at the channel. Most notable for his desire to move toward live action and reality series he championed at CN (a focus that lost the company creator Craig McCracken of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), Snyder is also remembered for the cancellation of fan favorite animation block Toonami in 2008. Between mismanagement by the network in the last few years and basing series’ success on toy sales, Cartoon Network has stacked up an impressive record of canceled series, including those critically-acclaimed and cult followed. In fact, CN had lost so much of the faith of its viewers from its mismanagement, for some years the ratings threatened to kill the network. Only in recent years, with series like Adventure Time and Regular Show (not to mention DVD sales of generally cheaply produced [adult swim] series), has it managed to recoup losses (amidst major competition from Nickelodeon, The Hub, and Disney XD). Along the way, a number of shows have come and gone by the hand of the powers that be at CN that fans felt were either taken too soon or believed there was still stories left to be told. Lets examine some of the series fans have demanded the return of on the network over the years.Read More
The Incredibles May Be Going Galactic by Jerry Whitworth
Ten years ago, Brad Bird gave the world one of the best superhero films it has ever seen (then or now) in The Incredibles. Telling the story of a family of superheroes in a world that feared their kind, their patriarch Mr. Incredible is duped by wealthy and eccentric inventor Buddy Pine into helping him perfect the Omnidroid (a series of robots that nearly secretly wiped out all known superheroes). Part of the insidious Operation Kronos, Pine adopted the identity of the powerful Syndrome who would publicly defeat the Omnidroid and become a new hero adored by the people. However, when the robot’s ability to adapt made it self-aware and throw off Syndrome’s control, it was up to the Incredibles and their friend Frozone to save the city of Metroville. Despite being popular and sequels for other films from the animation studio Pixar making their way to the big screen, Bird would say he had ideas for a sequel to The Incredibles but didn’t feel it was enough to compose another movie (choosing instead to wait until he could make a sequel worthy of the original). Since then, Bird would helm Ratatouille for Pixar and move on to live action films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland. Comic book publisher Boom! Studios would tackle the Incredibles in 2009 under the guidance of the brilliant Mark Waid featuring Xerek, intended to be the main villain of the film in early drafts, and his villainous group the Unforgivables. Recently, it was announced Brad Bird is developing a script for The Incredibles 2.Read More
Writers: Spay and Glade
The story starts off with Baba Yaga in deep contemplation and meditation as she makes every attempt to restore her second sight. It is in her meditation that she finds clarity and realizes that the future holds nothing more then a promise of darkness and fire. The fire that we find is Baba Yaga’s captive, Helios. Sela believes that Helios is the prisoner of Baba Yaga, yet Helios has made the decision to imprison himself.
Helios with Baba Yaga’s assistance has locked himself away to control the flame within. Before a fight between Sela and Baba Yaga can escalate due to the misunderstanding, Helios intervenes to separate the women. This is certainly for the best given the sudden appearance of Koschei.Read More
Top 10: Anti-Batmen by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, Warner Bros. announced the forthcoming release of the third and reportedly final entry in Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham trilogy with Batman: Arkham Knight. This third entry has been eagerly awaited, both to return to the engaging gameplay of the series and to continue the story from Batman: Arkham City which included the death of the Joker and the League of Assassins left leaderless. Fans were given Batman: Arkham Origins to satisfy them while awaiting the third Arkham game (and likely help spawn a new Arkham series more closely under Warner Bros. influence) but Origins received mixed reviews at best, plagued with glitches and bugs (which included forcing players to restart games from scratch), sales short of Arkham City (but comparable to Arkham Asylum not including DLC), and falling prey to virtually every inherent problem with producing a prequel (playing on areas of content found in, and expanded upon, City despite taking place before Arkham Asylum). For Arkham Knight, Gotham’s rogues like Scarecrow, Two-Face, Penguin, Harley Quinn, and Riddler team-up to menace the Dark Knight as a new threat created for the game will be introduced. The eponymous “Arkham Knight” is being created in part by DC Comics superstar creator Geoff Johns and has been described in a demo provided to the magazine Game Informer as a “militaristic Batman” with an “Arkham A” on his chest who shoots Batman at the end of the demo. Anti-Batmen (villainous characters who share characteristics with the hero) are not exactly a new concept. The Three Ghosts of Batman are in fact a team of anti-Batmen and during the event Battle for the Cowl, the likes of Jason Todd and Two-Face take up distorted versions of the bat’s cowl for their own purposes (on parallel and the Anti-Matter Earth, Owlman is a villainous analogy of the Caped Crusader). Lets examine some memorable anti-Batmen.Read More
Where Conflicted Teen Tries to Find Her Place
By Jerry W. Vandal
“You thought that if you disobeyed your parents—your culture—your religion—your classmates would accept you. What happened instead?” – Captain America in Ms. Marvel Issue 1
With its wave of new Marvel Now! titles the comic book publisher has decided to tackle something that has always been an uphill battle in the comic book industry—diversity. The women of Marvel are getting a shot at the spotlight including Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Elektra. With Ms. Marvel Marvel isn’t just looking to boost their female heroic count, but also add a young Muslim girl to the mix. And the above quote is a great example of how this book plans to promote diversity by building up a connection between Kamala (the new Ms. Marvel) and the reader.Read More
Make It So: Batman Arkham Origins II by Jerry Whitworth
When Warner Bros. decided to add an entry to Rocksteady’s wildly popular Batman: Arkham series without Rocksteady (or fan favorite writer Paul Dini), reaction was mixed at best. Expectations were already lowered when the people behind the phenomenon wouldn’t be included but when reports of multiple glitches and bugs (including severe ones that forced players to restart the game entirely) were not only present but common, both the game and developer Warner Bros. Games Montréal were heavily criticized. The game wouldn’t be considered a failure, however. While it certainly didn’t reach the heights of sales or prestige of previous installment Arkham City, it managed to secure sales in the strata of first entry Arkham Asylum (not including sale of DLC material). A prequel, Arkham Origins describes the first meeting between Batman and the Joker as assassins descend on Gotham on Christmas Eve to collect a multimillion dollar bounty for the Dark Knight’s head. In the first Arkham game, Joker was the focus with Poison Ivy a significant secondary threat. The sequel saw Hugo Strange as the main adversary with the Joker and Ra’s al Ghul as seeming equal threats (Joker stealing the show by the game’s finale). Origins had Joker as the star while Bane became almost an equal threat. The three games would prominently feature some of Batman’s greatest rogues, including Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-Face, Mister Freeze, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, Black Mask, Killer Croc, Deadshot, and Firefly in addition to those named already. If Warner was to produce an Arkham Origins sequel, lets examine what that could entail.Read More
Joe Brusha: Writer
Sheldon Goh: Pencils
Free comic book day in Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales universe is a bonus for fans both new and old. The new readers are introduced to the series at the perfect time… right smack in the middle of the Age of Darkness storyline. Current fans will appreciate the fact that this freebie ties directly into the 100th issue of Grimm Fairytales and the epic Age of Darkness event featuring Sela, the Dark Queen, and the Blood Knights.
The comic focuses on the past and present of what has shaped the Age of Darkness into all it is today and the foreboding of what it is to come. Sela is set in her ways to always protect the Grimm Universe from evil and the Dark Queen is set on working on all attempts to bring that protection to an end. In this case Sela is forced to deal with the predicament of defending and protecting the Grimm Universe from the forces of the Dark Queen and her Blood Knights.Read More
How I Would Have Done It: Power Rangers Super Megaforce by Jerry Whitworth
Since taking back the franchise, Saban Brands has had difficulty finding its groove with Power Rangers. Samurai and Super Samurai were seen as short, lackluster seasons (that ideally would have been a single season, counted as such among fans). Megaforce, the twenty year anniversary of Power Rangers, kept hinting toward introducing some means of celebrating the advent only to instead be simply a lead-up to Super Megaforce. In this latest season, the rangers of the previous season gain a power-up to their previous abilities that allow them to morph into any former ranger identity. A handful of episodes in and they’ve heavily made use of popular Power Rangers season S.P.D. and employed suits from a season that largely didn’t air in America (Gosei Sentai Dairanger whose KibaRanger, Daizinryu, mecha, and monsters were used in the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers). Thus far, episodes have mostly relied on the base material footage with extreme action and had little in the way of story (even footage shot for Power Rangers exclusively has thus far involved characters in their suits or congregating in the Command Center). Of course, as Power Rangers has traditionally made much of its profits from toy sales and the twentieth anniversary has spawned the popular Legacy collection toyline and DVD sets, it’s likely this move is intended to help sell products based on the new season making the episodes thus far glorified toy commercials. Reviews as of this writing have made note of the idea of selling past ranger transformations (and associated action figures and ranger keys merchandise) and of the transition of animal-based zords to a pirate theme for no given or apparent reason (the latter a major gripe with Turbo, the season that almost ended Power Rangers). Add the fact that towards the end of Saban’s first run and most of the Disney years of the franchise delved deeply into expanding plot, thus saving and maintaining the series for over a decade, and the seemingly mindless or inane effort for the latest crop of Power Rangers (which has included major stumbling blocks for returning cast members) may turn the celebration into a wake. It’s likely with this in mind Saban has decided to skip the next season of the source footage in order to return to the dinosaur theme (with Power Rangers Dino Charge) which the series was created upon in hopes the nostalgia factor can make up for the poor production. Lets see my take on how the season could have went.Read More
Gotham High: Shadow of the Bat by Jerry Whitworth
It was announced last month significant changes are in store for the Gotham television series coming to Fox. Originally suppose to feature a young James Gordon fighting crime in the city of Gotham, the series is now instead going to star a pre-teen Bruce Wayne and his journey to ultimately don the cowl of Batman in the series finale (more-or-less following the formula of Smallville). Slated to appear are other familiar faces like the Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and Riddler. Of course, the idea is hardly an original one. In terms of Smallville, fans speculated character Adam Knight was a sly way of the show’s producers have Batman in the series despite his franchise being unavailable (Adam a homage to Adam West and Knight a wink to Dark Knight). However, not only did this prove to be false, writers for the show said it was never their intention to take that route. Jeffrey Thomas and Celeste Green developed an animated series called Gotham High after Thomas submitted the idea of a high school for Batman and his rogues and allies to DC Comics. The series, which featured over a dozen characters from Batman, would sadly be canceled before production started. Paul Dini and Kevin Smith, two heavyweights in the annals of geekdom, also collaborated on a proposed live action series in Shadow of the Bat featuring Bruce Wayne in a private school filled with familiar faces (Dini having already developed the series Tower Prep, essentially X-Men meets The Prisoner starring a teenage Batman-like character). With all of these prior attempts in mind, lets examine some possibilities in the new series.Read More
Review of Neverland: Age of Darkness by Jessica Curtis
Story: Joe Brusha
Writer: Dan Wickline
Colors: Renato Guerra
Pencils: Luca Claretti
After defeating Pan and rescuing John and Michael from Neverland, Nathan Cross is struggling to adapt to a normal life with Wendy. Nothing is ever so easy when it comes to Cross and his special talents are soon taken on by the Realm Knights. During Cross’ speculation of his life and the changes since he left Neverland you cannot help but get pulled into the story and the absolute irony of it. While Cross is grateful that his life hasn’t ‘gone down the drain’ a team of soldiers are down in the sewers investigating a portal that has suddenly appeared.Read More
Review: JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time by Jerry Whitworth
Part of some bizarre”stealth release,” JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is a direct-to-video animated film available only in US brick-and-mortar Target stores released January 2014. Discovered by eagle-eyed fans who learned of the film through a Target store mailer roughly a week before its premier, absolutely no foreword was provided of the film be it an official announcement or from any of those involved making mention of it, its discovered existence largely a happy accident. Even more strange, several of the players behind the hit animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender worked on the film but little mention of this fact has been played up by Warner Bros. In any event, the film’s plot features a quasi-team-up of the Super Friends and Legion of Super-Heroes when a plan by the Legion of Doom goes awry seeing the group’s leader Lex Luthor emerge in the future. Once there, he acquires the means to time travel while uncovering Superman’s secret origin and returns to the past to make sure Superman never came to exist. Following the rogue are Karate Kid and Dawnstar, two applicants for the Legion of Super-Heroes who are responsible for Luthor’s release and who alert the Justice League of America of the coming threat. First, lets examine some of the themes of the film.Read More
The Hunter Should Take a Shot at Hollywood
By Jerry W. Vandal
Spider-Man is held tightly in the grasp of the Vulture as he flies low through the car packed streets of New York City. A news crew is bobbing and weaving through traffic as it attempts to keep up with the embattled foes. Vulture releases Spider-Man into the trunk of a car causing the arachnid hero to collide into and bounce defenselessly to the ground. The Vulture flies slightly overhead and grins victoriously. And then he looks up to see a silhouetted man barreling towards him. The burly man latches onto Vulture with a bear-hug like hold and drives the winged criminal onto the hood of a taxi (insert an appearance of Stan Lee as he peaks out of the window of his now wrecked cab). Vulture is out for the count.Read More
Same Bat-Series, New Bat-Features by Jerry Whitworth
Following a deal cut between Warner Bros and Fox over the Batman television series of the 1960s starring Adam West and Burt Ward (giving WB access to Fox’s original content in the franchise), fans knew it was only a matter of time before the series, long absent from home media, would finally find its way to DVD (albeit with a healthy dose of hesitation). A recent surprise announcement from comedian and late night television host Conan O’Brien on Twitter would provide fans the news they’ve waited nearly five decades to finally hear: Batman is coming home. Simply stating the series would come to DVD sometime in 2014, the three seasons of the famous show is said to have saved the Batman franchise at DC Comics (which had lagged in sales following the nationwide assault on the comic book industry in the 1950s, Batman kept alive through the efforts of Julius Schwartz and Carmine Infantino starting in 1964). Following the premier of Batman, not only would sales of Batman’s books thrive, the character became a cultural phenomenon in the United States (and in some ways across the planet) as DC Comics put the character front and center in titles like Justice League of America, World’s Finest Comics, and The Brave and the Bold (beginning to edge Superman out of his long held limelight at the company). The television series featured big name actors like Vincent Price, Milton Berle, Joan Collins, Cesar Romero, and Burgess Meredith (Clint Eastwood was considered to appear as Two-Face until the character was viewed too gruesome for the show’s audience). As with many DVD releases, perhaps as exciting for the series to be made available for home consumption is the desire for what special features will be included in the collection (especially for such a long awaited series). Lets take a look at some of the special features we may expect to see included with the set.Read More
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Sideshow Collectibles is very excited to announce a line of 1:4 Scale Premium Format Figure collectibles based on the upcoming film Captain America: the Winter Soldier are coming soon!
Each 1:4 Scale Premium Format Figure will feature authentic likeness to the actors, such as Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan, as their on screen characters – Captain America and Winter Soldier.
These upcoming Marvel must-have’s will be reporting for Pre-Order duty soon!
Plus, enter for a chance to win one of TWO(2) Hot Toys Captain America – Rescue Version Sixth Scale Figures today!Read More
Saturday, January 25 at 6 p.m.
Free copy of BOOM Studios’ new comic book CURSE signed by co-writer Michael Moreci when attendees sign up to become a Heros Initiative member
LOS ANGELES, CA (January, 9, 2014) In conjunction with the release of the new comic book CURSE by BOOM! Studios, Aw Yeah comic book store in Skokie, Illinois will be hosting a Hero Initiative membership party, Saturday, January 25 at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the membership drive will benefit Hero’s Initiative, the non-profit organization that aids comic creators in need.Read More