Comic Week 2/5/16

Alright, we’ve finally got all 4 shows running!  Let’s do this!

Supergirl 1.12 – Bizarro

Well they just went and full on transformed Maxwell Lord into Lex Luthor.

They say everybody “wants to write the Joker” that’s why he shows up so often for Batman.  Me?  Lex Luthor is the one I want to write, mostly because I think when Luthor is well done, he can almost persuade you that he has the right idea.  When he’s done well, sometimes you have to stand back and go, “the man ain’t right, but he’s not wrong either.”  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want all villains to be ‘complex.’  I enjoy Doomsday as the force of nature and pure evil that he should be opposing Superman, who is a force of nature and pure good in his own right.  But likewise I enjoy Luthor as the more… insidious evil.

Because that’s why I think he SHOULD work better as a villain.  What so many writers (heck, people) forget is that evil is supposed to be TEMPTING, seductive.  So many stories make evil tempting on an intellectual level (“oh, i can see why [character] did that”) but almost never make it tempting on a gut level (“you know the villain has a point…”) save for a few who want to be ironic hipster types who just enjoy going against the popular grain.  I was really hoping they would make Mr. Lord that kind of villain for this show – the kind that could make you question whether you should hate him or even why you trust they heroes to be right (of course the show should eventually settle those challenges but the build up is important).

But then that’s probably my single biggest annoyance with this show, that it’s continuity and characters almost seem randomly generated.  This episode, building the Red Tornado or Bizarro is wrong!  Previous episode: Random alien threats that require exotic weaponry/solutions.  Why does the DEO crew yell at Max for making weapons when they make their own kryptonite bullets?  It’s only wrong when someone else does it?

Yes obviously Max shouldn’t have been kidnapping girls for experiments, but what if it was a volunteer?  (You can’t tell me that in a world with Supergirl, you wouldn’t have a line around the block of girls wanting the chance to be just like her.)  Then instead of having her brainwashed, have her just be overconfident, or overeager, maybe even a little crazy from the treatment.  Just… something a little bit different from the norm.  Something with more complexity to it.

Fights were mostly ok, though sometimes the special effects were groany.  The characters are starting to gel a lot more though every episode I keep wishing Olsen was Steel instead and I could not care less about him and Kara getting together.  Final Grade: B for bringing in a Superman classic villain and for the actors doing great jobs this episode.

Flash 2.12 – Fast Lane

So in this episode about FAMILY we have several FAMILY members and FAMILY things all happening to the FAMILY-like collection of FAMILY characters in FAMILY FAMILY FAMILY.

Ok I kid.  It is nice to have an episode gel and tie all the themes of its plots together and I’ll admit I’d rather have an episode that overplays its themes like this one than let all their plots run off and do their own thing (though my most favorite structure is the desperate plots that come together at the end, often revealing a connected theme).  And if there is one theme I certainly don’t mind being trumpeted, “family” is one of them.  So take my jest as one of warmth and approval to a much beloved show.

Heck I especially enjoyed Harrison Wells’ facial expressions of “are you guys rubbing in as much guilt as you can on purpose?” until he couldn’t take it any more.  Then Joe & Iris West having an entirely wordless conversation in the hospital… I am just constantly surprised by how well this cast does their jobs week in and week out.  Heck I was never much of a Barry Allen fan, always more Wally West but Grant Gustin sells me on the character.  Add in the positive portrayals of fathers and their importance (this was pretty much Joe’s episode to shine and boy did he) and this show just never causes me to regret watching it.

Otherwise not a lot to say as this was just a by-the-numbers episode moving things along, running with a theme, etc etc but Flash continues to do that consistently well.  I’m giving it a grade of C+ because based upon the show’s grading curve, this is pretty average, but if I were to compare it to other TV shows, it would remain an almost constant A.

Legends of Tomorrow 1.03 – Blood Ties

Legends of Tomorrow chugs along to pilot episode 1.5.  Not a lot to talk about beyond a recitation of happenings, so instead I’ll give one negative and one positive thing about it.

Negative – It’s probably me because I watch all these shows later in the week all at once, but I’m getting TIRED of the “you need self-confidence” plot device/character arc.  Worse I think all these shows have done it on the 3rd episode (I’ll have to check).  Probably what’s worse is that as you get older, you start realizing how unlike life that is.  Obviously encouragement is important, it shouldn’t be avoided completely.  Like at work, we have a big project going underway and at times a section I’m working on runs into a big problem.  Eventually all the “believe in yourself, you can do it” becomes just plain annoying and you want to scream “I don’t need to believe in myself, I need to know how to do __!”  It may be that Brandon Routh still doesn’t have the range he needs to convey “panicking” and “nervous breakdown” which would have made the pep talk a bit more understandable but all things considered, this one annoyed me.  If you want to know of what I think is a great way to do the “character needs motivation” arc (as well as several examples of character arcs besides the confidence one) check out the movie Down Periscope sometime (yes I’m serious) and notice how Kelsey Grammer handles the ex-o.

Positive – This time Vandal Savage didn’t bother me and I’m not sure why because it’s not like the acting has changed.  I guess that this episode was just so over-the-top in its near insanity that Casper Crump’s performance finally ended up gelling.  From the cult of Vandal to the superhero surgery to an actually useful user’s manual (talk about science fiction!) this episode just fully embraced its comics roots and went nuts so a nutty performance is right at home.

Still a little early to set the LoT grading curve so I’m going to say the grade on this one was about… B- though it will depend heavily on a person’s tastes.  I can see why some might grade this episode lower.

iZombie 2.11 – Fifty Shades of Grey Matter

This show?  Good.  Some random thoughts on things that happened.

  • MotW – A bit more engaging and entertaining this time.  It certainly showed us a deeper look into how the brains affect Liv than just by visions, this time I really felt the alteration more than others.
  • Minor’s fate – After a season of no luck, this season seems to be all luck for Major with the cops just missing him. Shame, I would have been interested in how things went down if he was arrested and Evil Corp was potentially in trouble.  Shame they had to lose the dog.
  • Blaine’s arrest – His overconfidence nearly did him in but Blaine escaped… this time. All this toying around with his fate is going to make the eventual karmic justice that much sweeter when his sins come home to roost.
  • Liv x Thug – Temporary or permanent feature?  He seems ok so far, a decent, barely “bad boy” type but it that just what we’ve seen or is there something darker?
  • Peyton x Blaine – Well… should have stuck with Ravi I guess.  It’s at least a good parable on why you should always be a lot more sure about a person before letting them into your bed (or… couch in this case).  Though now shouldn’t Peyton be due to become a zombie?  Ravi mentioned zombism as an STD to Liv & Major.  The “cured” rat reverted to a zombie eventually meaning that even the cured folks (like Blaine) should still be carrying the zombie factor.  Who wants to place bets on whether this possibility will be addressed at all or just forgotten?

Final Grade: B+, but only because this show has set the bar at such quality that major events have to happen to push it into an A.  If Peyton does end up becoming a zombie like Liv (or maybe something new? vampire time?) then we’ll have to retroactively upgrade this episode to an A-.

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