Planet Buzz 05-17-02


The Authority Is NOT Over

Despite the final issue of The Authority coming out this week, DC and Wildstorm have not put the kibosh on the concept. Good heavens, people, they have action figures to sell!

On August 7, Wildstorm will release a one-shot, hopefully the first of many. (And with such delay between issues, the book has been feeling like a series of one-shots anyway.)

The Authority: Kev will be 48 pages and priced at $4.95. Written by Garth Ennis with art by Glenn Fabry, Kev tells of the unluckiest government agent alive. A complete screw-up, he's still the man chosen to wipe out The Authority.

Welcome to the Oval Office, President Gore, indeed.

Ordinarily, Cats And Thunder Don't Mix

Last week Wildstorm announced that this whole '80's nostalgia thing isn't over by a longshot, at least not until they get their piece. To that end, the house that Jim Lee built has landed the rights to Thundercats.

In August, you fans of those beloved anthropomorphic feline savages will get not one but two issues. Thundercats #0 will appear on August 7, with cover and interior art by J. Scott Campbell.

Two weeks later, Thundercats #1 will feature the work of Ed McGuinness, fresh from his stint on Superman. Mr. McGuinness plans to stick around for the entire six-issue mini-series.

Set after the events of the mini-series, with Lion-O installed as king on the Thundercats' new world, signs point to the evil of Mumm-ra never truly being dead.

When will I get my Silverhawks, huh?


The Man Without Fear Is Here, With Spin-offs Already

USA Today published the first official photograph of Ben Affleck in his pleather red pajamas. All square-jawed and eyeless, he looks pretty good.

In further news of the Daredevil film franchise at Fox, last week the studio made sure they had DD's leading lady locked down. Jennifer Garner signed a 3-picture contract (which should be de rigeur with a superhero film franchise, anyway). What makes this announcement different from those signed by actors like Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) and Hugh Jackman (X-Men) is that Garner is guaranteed that one of those movies will be hers and hers alone.

That's right; no sharing screentime with Affleck. Whether we should consider it Daredevil 3 or not, Jennifer Garner will be starring in Elektra.

Provided, of course, that all the hype and anticipation for Daredevil turns out to be worth the effort.

With Bigger, Better Grunts, Too…

Last week Angelina Jolie signed on the dotted line to come back as Lara Croft for the cleverly titled Tomb Raider 2. Having utterly loathed the first one, I have nothing really witty to say, except that I know I'll still go and see the sequel. That's how bad I am. Help me.


Even a Marvel Razorline Book Gets Adapted…

Clive Barker's Saint Sinner started shooting in Canada last week for a tentative October airing on the SCI FI Channel. Loosely based on a Marvel Comic book, the title character is a 19th century priest who accidentally unleashes two beautiful demon women on the future. Using supernatural means, he must journey into the 21st century and recapture the evil he let loose.

We hate it when that happens.

The WB Officially Visits Gotham

This was the week the networks announced their fall schedules, and it looks pretty good for genre fans. Fox has replaced Dark Angel (okay, maybe that's sad) with Joss Whedon's Firefly, a science fiction drama completely separate from the Buffyverse (because spreading it out over three networks would be silly).

But the bigger news is on the WB. Of course Smallville got the renewal order, as did Angel, which will apparently be moved to Sundays at 9. Now that The X-Files are gone, we need something there. But they finally gave the go ahead to Birds of Prey. The pilot has been shot, and the series has been ordered. Gotham Clock Tower has seen the pilot and given it a good review. But then, that's in their best interest, isn't it? We're trying to get our hands on it, and will let you know when we do.

As of this writing, Birds of Prey has been locked into the Wednesday night, 9 p.m. slot. Next fall, The West Wing will be boring anyway.

CBS and Fox Flip DC The Bird…

With reunion specials all the rage right now, CBS has scheduled a telefilm about the making of one of the most beloved 60's shows -- Batman.

According to the release in Daily Variety, "Back To The Batcave: The True Adventures of Adam West and Burt Ward will reunite the stars of (that show) in a comedy about the creation of the Batman series." Oddly enough, Batman originally ran on ABC, while Batman's daughter will have a show on the WB.

What seems unclear at this point is if the two-hour special will actually feature Adam West and Burt Ward, or actors playing them. All it really reminds me is that I want that series out on DVD, bat soon.

And Speaking Of DVDs…

Vindication is coming for my persnickety ways. I have refused to buy the Bryan Singer film X-Men on DVD, knowing that someday, there would be a better version. According to the website Dark Horizons, I was right.

Allegedly, Fox has allotted money and scheduled time on the set of X2 (the sequel to X-Men) to shoot extra scenes for editing into an expanded Special Edition DVD. The site speculates that these scenes might be origin sequences for Cyclops and Storm, both considered but ultimately cut from the first film's script.

Speaking of Mutants:

Every now and then, something catches my eye that bears repeating here. Read this article, which I picked up off of the AP, and tell me this doesn't sound like a throwaway bit from an X-book:

BOSTON -- Scientists studying a family with a strange and rare genetic condition that gives members square jaws and superdense bones have pinpointed a protein that could advance the quest for better osteoporosis drugs.

Current treatments for osteoporosis, like calcium and hormones, largely focus on preventing bone loss. But doctors are looking for better ways to actually build bone, especially in patients with severe loss.

Bone-weakening osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans - most of them women - and leads to more than 1.5 million fractures a year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers at Yale University focused on a family with the opposite problem: bones about twice as dense as usual. Their genetic condition is so rare it is unnamed.

It gives family members square jaws and bony growths on the roofs of their mouths. It does not impair their daily lives, other than making it difficult to float.

The condition was discovered in the family when a middle-aged member got into a serious traffic accident.

"They took routine X-rays, and he had unbelievably dense bones - no fractures," said Dr. Richard Lifton, leader of the research team.

The researchers, who reported their findings in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, first found that the family members all carried a mutation of a gene known as LRP5. They were also found to have unusually high levels of bone-building proteins.

The researchers then located a specific protein, called Dkk-1, that appears to act as a brake on the bone-building chemical process set in motion by LRP5.

They reasoned that if the Dkk-1 protein could be altered by a drug so it no longer brakes this bone-building process, osteoporosis patients could form new bone.

"What's so exciting about this is it points to a system that seems to build bones," said Dr. Karl Insogna, a bone specialist on the research team. "It provides a direct molecular target."

Already, at least one drug developed for osteoporosis seems to build bone, but it is not clear exactly how it works.

In an accompanying editorial, two doctors at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Millan Patel and Gerard Karsenty, cautioned that more study is needed to know if it is practical to disable the Dkk-1 protein.

What's so exciting about this is that this guy's bones don't break. These people are superdense; if it's a condition so rare it doesn't even have a name, doesn't that make it a mutation?

Just an X-Filish, X-Menish Fanboy thought to carry you through the weekend…

Derek McCaw


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