Recap: Cracking under the pressure of the upcoming Avengers 2, Iron Man runs off to the DCTVU.
Muggle Musings: Ok I’ll admit, of all the episodes so far, this is probably the “worst” one (which is saying something that Flash’s worst is still better than a lot of other shows). My problems boil down to two major points.
1) Does anyone really “like” Brandon Roth as an actor beyond the “OMG, so pretty!” factor? I don’t know what it is but I’ve just never found him to be that compelling except when playing one of the exs in “Scott Pilgrim” and Clark Kent (as opposed to acting like Christopher Reeves acting like Superman). I think the guy really needs to go with more villain roles as when he turned bad in Chuck (spoiler warning – as if you need it) he started showing a bit more range whereas every time he’s been a hero the guy is flatter than his abs. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I see more of him on Arrow when I catch up on season 3 but this episode? I barely remember him being in it.
2) I wish I was joking above but no, for those who haven’t seen it, the DCTVU (DC Television Universe) has seriously turned Atom (not to be confused with Captain Atom or Atom Smasher) into an Iron Man copycat.
Let me explain why this is bad without any meta references: there is a rule (I’m sure my econ-professor buddy has the term for it) that it’s best for companies to compete for different shares of a market. So one company makes chocolate ice cream, another company makes vanilla ice cream. But say what if one company decides they want some of the other’s customers? Well the BAD idea is to try and make your product more like the other (like making chocolate taste more like vanilla) because it won’t be as good as the makers who have practiced and refined the production of that product over years so why would anybody who likes that product, try yours? If you take a casual scan of the comic landscape, you can see a pattern of this emerge between the comics. Superman and Thor may be similar in a lot of ways, but they’re also very, very distinct. Batman and Iron Man may have some things in common, but mostly they are different. The Green Lanterns are very unique to DC and as such remembered far more in wider consciousness than any Marvel echoes of it (save among some hardcore fans). Likewise Wolverine of Marvel is known by even the most casual comic fans while his DC parody is probably not one you can name off the top of your head. Meanwhile both sides have a speedster (Flash v Quicksilver) with only academic differences between them. With both entering media at the same time, it will be interesting to see how well the differences are retained in the wider consciousness or if the two become sort of “blended” in the pop culture mind.
All this is to say that I love the MCU. Iron Man, Cap America, Avengers, Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil… I love watching them. I love watching DCTVU ever since I first became hooked onto the Batman: Animated Series way back in the day. Here’s the thing: I like them both BECAUSE they have different “flavors.” Unless it’s a crossover special (like the INCREDIBLE JLA/Avengers comic – seriously can we devote the world GDP to putting that up on screen in an 8 hr epic?) when I start a DC show, I want to watch a DC show. I really don’t care about seeing Marvel suddenly invade it.
Plus Brandon Roth just CANNOT do an Iron Man like Robert Downey Jr can so why they even had him try?
Metahuman Musings: Then ON TOP of everything above? Ray Palmer is NOTHING like Iron Man! He’s just a college professor that figured out how to build a belt that can change his size. Unless there’s a recent iteration in the comics I’m unaware of (and I have stopped keeping track of the Nu52) there’s NOTHING he has in common with Tony Stark except maybe the generic “white guy” thing. If anyone is close-ish to Iron Man it’s either Blue Beetle 2 (fun-loving rich guy using his money to make advance tech), Blue Beetle 3 (alien device creates for kid super advance suit), or Steele (super-whiz at tech which makes himself a super mechanical suit).
As you may have put together from above, they took what was unique about a character AWAY from Ray Palmer, and turned him into a generic Iron Man knock off. Which doesn’t work. Just… yeah I don’t hate this episode (it’s hard to hate vanilla as they say) but it’s incredibly disappointing when this season had built up so much good will.