Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor #3 - A Review

The mystic Lamp Of Chronos (really, a piece of cheap third-party technology stealing an ancient Time Lord design) has sent Sarah Jane and Professor Odysseus James into the past. More worryingly, it's sent them into a cavern full of incredibly realistic statues! Now, The Doctor and Professor James' daughter Athena must race against time (and the aliens known as The Scryclopes) in order to save them!
Thus far, Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby have done a fine job replicating the aura of a classic Fourth Doctor story. They continue to do so, though this issue - much like many episodes of the Tom Baker era - is a little light on action compared to the opening chapters. Still, it is an enjoyable read and the artwork by Brian Williamson and Hi-Fi continues to impress.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Eleven

In which we finally talk to local old salt Longfellow and discover the Synth city of Acadia.  Then, in a desperate attempt to avoid the main storyline, we agree to help Mitch the Bartender with getting his cantankerous uncle to come to the safety of Far Harbor.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Ten

In which we hunt Mirelurks - first to repair the city walls and then to recover some lost fog condensers - before going out after the biggest, most dangerous Mirelurk of all... THE RED DEATH!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Nine

In which The Mariner sends us out hunting Mirelurks (again) and we learn the legend of The Ship-Breaker before doing some work to fix up the settlement at the lumberyard.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Eight

In which we return to Far Harbor (with our Power Armor helmet this time) and head out into the swamps, seeking Mirelurks for the gumbo pot. Then a little girl asks us to clear out a lumberyard full of zombies so she and her friends can build a homestead of their own.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Superman: Lois And Clark #8 - A Review

Superman finally tracks down the mysterious villain who has been making his last few days so difficult. But he may face a more difficult battle when he gets home. It is then he and Lois will have to finally explain to their son Jonathan why they've lied about who they really are for so long...

The action sections of this issue are fine enough but where Dan Jurgens' script truly shines is in the interaction between Clark, Lois and Jonathan. Jurgens captures the essence of who Clark and Lois should be perfectly and Jonathan has grown into an instantly likable character under his pen.  The artwork for this issue - provided entirely by the original team of Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Jeromy Cox - suits the story perfectly. Hopefully this story will continue to be as enjoyable in the post-Rebirth Superman series.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 - A Review

Being a girl with the powers of a squirrel and a girl is great for fighting crime but it doesn't make dating any easier. So when Doreen Green (aka The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) discovers that her buddy and secret crush Tomas Lara-Perez (aka The Adjectiveless Chipmunk Hunk) is dating someone, she is inspired to go looking for love. Unfortunately, Doreen keeps getting set-up with total losers - from a love-lorn Sentinel to unreformed super-villains all the way up to a superhero truther who doesn't believe that costumed heroes are real, despite living in New York City!
Uneatable Squirrel Girl remains one of the best books on the stands. Ryan North's scripts poke fun at the absurdity of life in the Marvel Universe without being mean-spirited.  The artwork is all-around amazing. The colors are bright and cheerful, as befits the titular heroine. And the lettering is bold and eye-catching while remaining easy to read.

Secret Six #14 - A Review

The League of Assassins is determined to convert former Court of Owls Talon agent Strix into one of their own. But Strix has a family who are equally determined to get her back. The Secret Six shall be tested as never before as they ponder just what they've come to mean to each other in their battle with Lady Shiva.

I am seriously sorry to say goodbye to this book. Gail Simone recaptured the magic of one of my favorite pre-New 52 series and gave us a lot of laughs in the process. And if nothing else you have to praise her for bringing back Ralph and Sue Dibny in some capacity - they have been missed!

I hope Tom Derenick and Rex Lokus will be working on another project together in the future. Their work on this issue (along with Jason Wright) is wonderful and I greatly enjoyed their work together on Injustice: Gods Among Us as well.  The comic stands are a little less funny without Secret Six, but this final issue was a fitting end to a light that burned brightly, yet briefly.

Disney Darkwing Duck #2 - A Review

Public Enemy #2 Negaduck has taken over St. Carnard's new high-security prison! And the city's protector, Darkwing Duck, is trapped inside, along with every super-villain he's ever brought to justice! Or maybe, just maybe, they are trapped inside with him?!

Before Darkwing Duck #2, I never realized before how badly I needed a mash-up between the Batman: Arkham Asylum games and The Terror That Flaps In The Night! This issue is as hilarious as you might imagine but Aaron Sparrow and James Silvani also allow Darkwing to show off his skills in dealing with various villains. The joke of the show has always been that crime-fighting is the one thing Drake Mallard is honestly good at, right until his ego gets in the way. There's a lot of humor based around that but the action of this issue is honestly thrilling and you can't help but cheer a little as Darkwing outwits his enemies in a manner to do credit to Batman himself.

The artwork continues to impress in the same fashion. The artists perfectly emulate the Disney house style. And colorist Andrew Dalhouse leaves everything looking as vibrant and manic as a cartoon on paper should be.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Seven

In which the local doctor asks us to organize a big ol' Mirelurk boil. (It's like a crawdad boil, but with radioactive crawdads) and The Mariner asks us to take out a ship full of Trappers... and we ALMOST make it on the first try. (Don't go diving without a helmet, kids!)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Six

In which we hunt the hunters and trap the Trappers, raiding the lighthouse base of the Trapper's leader.

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 23 - Schism

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


With HIVE's master-plan foiled, Damien Darhk risks a direct assault on Team Arrow, stealing the laptop holding Rubicon in check and assaulting The Bunker. As Felicity and Curtis work to redirect the nuclear missile heading straight for Star City, Oliver Queen will have to draw upon a new-found power of his own to counter Darhk's death magic and save the world!


Green Arrow: Year One (the Lian Yu segments), Green Arrow: City Walls (Green Arrow fighting a magically-empowered villain by rallying the people of a city behind him), the film Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (centered around a doomsday device similar to Rubicon that could launch multiple nuclear missiles at once), the Spider-Man movies of Sam Raimi (the scene where a group of ordinary people show up to save the hero from the super-villain or support him after he nearly dies saving them.), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (ARGUS taking custody of the idol and disappearing it into storage) and Green Arrow: One Year Later (Oliver Queen becoming Mayor of Star City following a super-villain attack).


Felicity says that Warren Air Force Base is in Colorado. That may be the case in the DCTVU, but in our world it is located in Wyoming, though it is close to the Colorado/Wyoming border.

Where does Curtis go to in the final part of the show after Darhk is defeated?

All of the talk about Laurel being merciful and not wanting her murderer to die directly contradicts everything we've seen about Laurel's character throughout the show's history. In Season Two, she was ready to see The Arrow shot dead by a SWAT team when she was blaming him for Tommy's death. In Season Three, the only reason she didn't kill the assassin she thought killed her sister was because she never checked to see if the gun she stole from the Arrow Cave was loaded. And for all of the talk about how she believed in law and order, she routinely abused the authority of her office and subverted rules and promises when it suited her to do so. Hopefully we'll get less of this white-washing in Season Five.


This may be Stephen Amell's finest hour yet as Oliver Queen.  When he is speaking to the people of his town begging them to stop writing and when he later confronts Darhk before an angry mob ready to take back their city from the man wanted to destroy it, he IS the fat-cat bashing champion of the people from the comics.

Honestly, the entire cast bring their A-game to this episode and everyone has at least one amazing moment.


The special effects during the sequence in which Darhk contains one of Oliver's exploding arrows are of cinematic quality.

The fight scene in The Bunker between Team Arrow and the ghosts is one of the best in the show's already impressive history.

The fight scene between the HIVE ghosts and the mob of Star City citizens is probably the largest one in the show's history and is well-shot and choreographed.

The final scene as Ollie is sworn into office and we see all of the team parting ways is a wonderful bit of direction and editing, with a powerful music score.


Instead of the usual "My name is Oliver Queen." introduction, the episode opens with a recap of the major events of Season Four.

Sara is briefly mentioned as being at an ARGUS safe house in Coast City. Coast City, in the DC Comics Universe, is a city in California and home town to the Green Lantern Hal Jordan.

After Baron Reiter's idol is claimed by ARGUS, Amanda Waller commands it to be transported to The Slab. In the DC Comics Universe, The Slab is a maximum security prison for metahumans. Originally located in New Jersey, it was relocated to Antarctica following the events of the story Joker's Last Laugh.


Darhk's attack on Curtis leaves him with possible internal bleeding, cracked ribs and a hemothorax. This has to be treated by an immediate release of pressure.

The runes on Baron Reiter's arm prevent the power of the idol from overwhelming his mind.

Rubicon launches 15,434 nuclear missiles.

It takes 45 minutes for a Minuteman ICBM to travel from Warren Air Force Base to Star City.

Curtis suggests, when Felicity is unable to remotely hack the ICBM aimed at Star City, to use a line-of-sight attack on the missile to disarm it once it is close enough.

Nukes are designed to detonate 100 feet above their actual target.

Felicity uploads a GPS spoof to disable the missile as Curtis points an IR receiver at it.

The odds of disabling all the nukes launched by Rubicon with the line-of-sight hack is 1 in 375 million.

When Felicity hacked the nuke aimed at Star City, she gained access to its on-board computer and cloned its hard drive remotely before running a back-trace to determine the source of the initial launch signal.

By inverting the horizons of the remaining 15,433 missiles, Felicity and Curtis are able to cause the missiles to explode in space.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Green Arrow jumps through a window, tuck and rolls and comes up his bow drawn and an arrow ready.)
Darkh: Okay, I know you don't live here anymore but those were nice windows.

Taiana: You are a murderer! You killed my brother! You are darkness.
Oliver: Yes I am!  But you don't have to be!

Oliver: We can't just lose all hope here.
Felicity: You have. I can see it in your eyes.
Oliver: (sighs) I just can't believe that I thought... that I'd be the one to unite this city while Damien Darhk was trying to kill it. That was arrogant. The same arrogance that made me feel like I could be The Green Arrow without descending into darkness. Bottom Line: it was foolish.
Felicity: You don't believe that-
Oliver: I didn't believe that. Until Laurel died.
Felicity: I thought you weren't blaming yourself for her death anymore?
Oliver: We made a decision to come back here. I tried to do things differently and for a time I did. And now I am left here to wonder... if I hadn't, would Laurel still be alive?
(Curtis limps into the room, clutching his side.)
Oliver: Curtis! You shouldn't be up.
Curtis: Tell me about it. Someone's got to provide a little optimism. Doesn't seem like anyone around here is in the head space to do it.
Oliver: You know we've lost the city?
Curtis: No. I know you're running out of time to get it back. Look, living in Star City requires a special kind of tenacity. A sane person wouldn't live here. It's a fact that Paul likes to remind me of weekly. We were this close to leaving Star City last October. After three terrorist attacks, we were done. But then - the night before we were going to start packing - The Green Arrow popped up on our TV. And he reminded me that this city is worth saving. And my home... that my home was worth fighting for. That guy gave me inspiration. He gave me hope. And if he could give me hope then, why can't he give it to others now?

(Oliver Queen addresses a crowd of rioting citizens.)
Oliver; Please! I know what you're feeling right now! I'm feeling it too! The sense of helplessness?! Of Hopelessness?! I don't know how we even begin to process what might happen to us right now! But there are a few things that I do know! I know that this city has been through tough times before and we have pulled through! We survived The Undertaking! We survived The Siege! We survived The Outbreak! And somehow, someway, we will survive this! A friend of mine told me that living in Star City takes a special kind of tenacity. But we do live here! Because this is our home! This! Is! Our! Home! It is our friend, our family, our lives!  And we will not - we will not - throw those precious gifts away by descending into chaos! We will look to each other for hope! We will cling to each other for strength! And if we do that, no matter what happens, we can all stand here united!

John: Oliver, you yourself said going after Darhk was a suicide mission.
Oliver: Well, John, I'm not gonna die tonight!

(Green Arrow enters the nexus room under Star City's city hall.)
Green Arrow: Darhk!
Darhk: (rolling his eyes) What does a guy have to do to end the world in peace?!

(Thea shoots the two HIVE Ghosts that were sneaking up on Merlyn)
Merlyn: Thanks. Unless you were aiming at me.
Thea: At this point, I honestly can't tell.

(Darhk has just brought an entire crowd to their knees with one magical growl.)
Darhk: Humanity is feckless! And I wanted to cleanse it of a millennium worth of rot it has been infected by and I will do it!
Green Arrow: (from behind Darhk, coming to his feet) No you won't!
(Darhk turns and smirks at Green Arrow.)
Darhk: Okay. Just for fun. How are you going to stop me?
Green Arrow: Because it won't just be me who's going to stop you!
(Darhk freezes as he hears the mob behind him starting to come to their feet, enraged and inspired by one man standing up to Darhk's power. Without a word, Green Arrow draws a shaft and lets it fly. It cuts Darhk's face.  He touches the blood with one finger and looks at it astonished.  He reaches out toward Green Arrow and nothing happens... save that Green Arrow's eyes glow gold as they did when Green Arrow last tapped into his sense of hope to repel Darhk's magic.)
Green Arrow: Not so easy without the magic, is it?!
Darhk: Oh, I don't need magic. I'm a former member of the League of Assassins. Or have you forggoten that?
Green Arrow: Remind me.
(The mob cheer as Green Arrow closes in on Darhk and the two begin to fight.)

(Quentin Lance helps Green Arrow up after he's shot in the chest with an arrow Darhk fired.)
Quentin: Now you know how it feels.
Green Arrow: Wait, I thought you and Donna-?
Quentin: Don't worry. She's safe. But I had to come back to stand with my city because this Oliver Queen guy gives a hell of a speech.
Green Arrow: (looking to Spartan and Lyla, who just walked up) You two were supposed to stay as back-up!
Spartan: I already lost one brother!

(Green Arrow grabs Darhk by the shirt-collar with one hand and holds an arrow in the other.)
Darhk: What are you going to do now, Oliver? Stop the posturing We both know you can't do it. You spared the life of the man who killed your own mother.
Green Arrow: You killed a friend of mine. You killed tens of thousands of innocent peopleWith Slade Wilson I had a choice. This time, I don't.
(Green Arrow stabs the arrow into Darhk's chest and lets him fall to the ground.)

Oliver: You okay?
John: Not really. I told Lyla the truth about Andy.
Oliver: What did she say?
John: She's a soldier. She understood. But I don't and I don't think I ever will.
Oliver: What are you going to do?
John: Take some time away from this team. Away from the city. Figure out where I went off track and how to get back on.
Oliver: John, I have never done this without you. You're the one who keeps me in line.
John: Oliver, I don't know if you've been watching lately, but.. it's been the other way around, man.

Amanda Waller: You saved a lot of lives.
Oliver: I took some, too.
Amanda Waller: Do you remember what I told you? That the only way out is through?
Oliver: Well, I'm not out, Amanda. I'm still filled with darkness.
Amanda Waller: This was never about expunging your darkness, Mr. Queen. That darkness will always be a part of you.
Oliver: Then what was the point?!
Amanda Waller: To show you that sometimes killing is the only path to justice.

Felicity: You okay?
Oliver: No. (sighs) It's Thea amd John.
Felicity: Them leaving has to be a blow.
Oliver: They're leaving because of their own personal darkness. I just can't help but think that maybe they were infected by mine.
Felicity: Maybe. Like you said, maybe you can't become a hero without succumbing to the darkness even a little bit? But you were able to defeat Darhk by giving the city its hope back.
Oliver: You're saying it's not black and white?
Felicity: I'm saying that there's a man who killed Darhk in cold blood. And that same man stood on top of a car and gave a city its hope back. What you're feeling isn't darkness. It's a schism. You're at war with two sides of yourself.


Baron Reiter has magical power enough to destroy a small airplane with a gesture.

Oliver and Taiana kill Baron Reiter together, with Taiana tapping his life force and Oliver throwing a knife into his back.

Diggle freezes up in the middle of the fight with The HIVE Ghosts, seeing his brother's face.

Lyla notices this, prompting him to confess that he didn't kill Andy Diggle in self defense.

Lyla doesn't care but Diggle does.

Oliver snaps Taiana's neck after she asks him to kill her before she becomes more of a monster than Reiter.

Taiana reminds Oliver of his promise in 418 to tell her parents what happened if she died.

Felicity reminds Cooper Seldon of how they wanted to save the world, seven years earlier, as seen in the flashbacks in 305.

Cooper Seldon is killed by Darhk after he refuses to continue working to keep Rubicon running.

Darhk refers to the events of 223 and Oliver's refusal to kill Slade Wilson.

Quentin Lance is officially let go from the CCPD and decides to leave Star City for a while with Donna Smoak.

Thea also decides to quit being Speedy for fear of losing too much of herself and being Malcolm Merlyn's daughter, based on her threatening to kill Darhk's daughter to save Ollie's life.

John also says he's going to go away for a while and figure out where he went off-track.

Oliver buries Taiana.next to Yao Fei, Robert Queen and Shado on Lian Yu.

Oliver uses the comm gear Amanda Waller gave him to radio ARGUS in order to rescue the rest of the prisoners on the island.

Oliver refuses Amanda Waller's offer of employment as an ARGUS agent or a ride back to the USA so that he can keep the promise he made to Taiana and go to Russia.

Thomas Kemp - the chair of the Star City council - informs Oliver Queen that they want to appoint him as an interim mayor until the next election in August 2016, based on his speech to the people of Star City during the rioting.  Oliver agrees to take the job.

As the episode closes, Quentin is seen leaving Star City by car with Donna Smoak, Thea is seen sitting on a couch in the apartment she shared with Laurel and John is seen packing a bag while wearing a dress military uniform, apparently having reenlisted.

The Fridge Factor

Felicity is dumbed-down to give Curtis Holt a chance to contribute - first by his having the idea to use a line-of-sight attack to disable the nuke approaching Star City and then by suggesting they invert the horizons of the missiles so they will explode in space.

The Bottom Line

Taken on its own, this is a solid episode with some great performances, wonderful action sequences and great writing. Taken in the context of the whole season, however, it's something of a disappointment. The whole point of Season Four was to make Arrow lighten up. and its hard to see how having everyone except Felicity leave the team in order to cope with their own personal issues fits into that theme... particularly since Oliver ultimately has to abandon his new-found optimism and promise not to kill in order to defeat Darhk once and for all. Still, the idea of Oliver falling to leave up to his ideals is par for the course in the comics, too. Unfortunately, having Oliver win in this fashion does make much of his conflict for this season seem completely pointless.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DC Universe Rebirth #1 - A Spoiler-Free Review

The cynic in me chuckled at the first page of DC Rebirth #1. First page of a new book meant to revamp the whole of the DC Comics Universe (again!) and - in theory - bring in new readers looking for an entry point, and what do we start with? An editorial note saying we should read Justice League #50 and Superman #52 before reading this issue.

 After that, the cynic didn't laugh once.

This book is good. Damn good. An all-star line-up of artists make every page poster-worthy. Textually and metatextually, the conceit at the center of this issue's story is brilliant. It is a great story, told by the perfect narrator to explain just what went wrong with the DC Universe as it is now.

Once the dust is settled I will do a more in-depth review, discussing what worked about this issue in detail. Right here, right now, I will say only this. Rebirth is the shot in the arm that DC Comics needed and the future is looking bright indeed.

I still have some reservations about what is to come. And the cynic does wonder if the various editorial teams will manage to hold to the vision of love and legacy that Geoff Johns put forth in this issue. But I have hope after reading this book that things will improve. And that is something new.

DC Rebirth #1, as a single story, is a good one. It's a love letter to everything I love about DC Comics and a renewal of many of the things we've been missing. And even if you're not a DC fan... in fact, especially if you're not a DC fan...you should check this issue out to get a sample of what we've all been missing.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Five

In which we begin making our way to the Trapper base on the south-side of the island to avenge yet another member of the Dalton family. Along the way, we'll get attacked by radioactive deer, see Super Mutants fighting ghouls, reenact Thriller at the local drive-in and accidentally discover the lair of the local Children of Atom cultists.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 23 - The Race of His Life

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


With Henry Allen dead and Zoom's plan to destroy the multiverse revealed, Barry is more determined than ever to stop Zoom once and for all. Unfortunately, the rest of Team Flash have a plan of their own that an angry Barry Allen could only hurt. In the end, Barry Allen will have to race to save not only his world but all worlds and prove he really is the fastest man alive!


The Man In The Iron Mask (the masked man whose identity is kept secret by the villain), Star Wars (the villain trying to corrupt the hero who manipulates the same force as him), Crisis On Infinite Earths (The Flash needing to use his powers to contain the energy of a device capable of destroying multiple universes), the film Ghost (the Time Wraiths coming for Zoom), Back To The Future (the alternate past Barry fading out of existence after present Barry prevents his mother's death), Flashpoint (Barry Allen goes back in time to prevent his mother's murder) and every classic The Flash comic involving a race against the villain.


So after all the talk a few episodes ago about how there was no way they could possibly stop Zoom without Barry getting his speed back, suddenly Team Flash comes up with a plan to do that in less than a day?

How exactly was Team Flash's plan to stop Zoom without Barry supposed to work when Zoom can fashion controlled breaches on his own now? Sure, they could have knocked him out of Earth One for a little bit, but he was bound to find his way back eventually...

The science behind how the Time Remnants work is hand-waved as Barry tries to explain what append to Wally and then basically says to forget about it.


Grant Gustin offered a varied performance through the episode. For the first time, we see Barry Allen truly enraged and you honestly believe he could easily kill Zoom at this point given half the chance. The final scenes in which Barry gives in to his anger but finds a way to focus it are as frightening as they are thrilling and showcase Gustin's range as an actor like nothing else in the series so far.

Danielle Panabaker also gives an amazing performance, playing Caitlin Snow as she tries to throw Zoom off guard with her talk of finally being ready to embrace the evil within her. It's a tricky thing for an actor to play someone who isn't an actor trying to act (we saw something of this last week when Caitlin impersonated Killer Frost)  but Panabaker does it well. She also nails the tone needed to drive home to Barry how out of control he is by pointing out that yes, in fact, she DOES know what it's like to see someone you love die in front of you.


The opening chase/fight between The Flash and Zoom is a triumph for the special effects team and the greatest speed-sequence ever... up until the race between Zoom and The Flash tops it.

Flash Facts

Instead of the usual "My name is Barry Allen..." opening, the introduction to this episode covers the major events of Season Two.

There's a long tradition of stories in which The Flash must run a literal race in order to save the world. One of the more famous is The Human Race by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, in which a cosmic being amuses himself by forcing the champions of various worlds to race, with the loser's home-world being destroyed.

The Mercury Labs magnetar resembles the anti-matter cannon built by the Anti-Monitor in Crisis of Infinite Earths. This was the story in which Barry Allen apparently died in order to save the multiverse, burning out his life force creating a speed vortex capable of containing the blast of the anti-matter cannon.

Harry Wells also refers to Crisis on Infinite Earths, saying the number of Earths in the multiverse is infinite when Caitlin asks how many worlds Zoom could potentially destroy with the magnetar.

Zoom is said to be hiding out in an industrial park on Leawood.  In the original DC Comics universe, Leawood was the name of a blue-collar residential district in Central City and home to Central City Stadium.

The idea of one Earth being the main nexus around which all other universes are based has been key to most of the incarnations of DC Comics Multiverse.  Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, this central Earth was Earth One, which became the basis of the post-Crisis unified universe.  Following Infinite Crisis, the multiverse was restored with the central core Earth dubbed Earth Zero or New Earth. After Flashpoint, the central Earth was dubbed Earth Zero, New Earth and Prime Earth.

In the DCTVU, that central Earth is Earth One.

The death of Barry's time remnant is a direct reference to how Barry Allen died in Crisis of Infinite Earths.

When Zoom is taken by the Time Wraiths, his body begins to molder and disintegrate. Between this and his torn costume, he resembles The Black Flash - the angel of Death for speedsters in the DC Comics Universe. (Thanks to Michael Bartosh for pointing this out.)

Jay Garrick refers to his home-world as Earth Three. In the pre-Crisis and New 52 versions of the DC Comics Multiverse, Earth Three is home to the evil counterparts of the heroes of Earth One.

The ending of the episode mirrors the events at the start of the story Flashpoint - a mini-series where Barry Allen's traveling back in time to save his mother's life creates a divergent timeline where the world is quite different.


Zoom stole a magnetar from Merucry Labs that is capable of acting like an artificial pulsar. A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.

Harry says the magnetar will act as a power amplifier, with a highly magnetized dense rotating core. It could be easily weaponized and Cisco confirms that the magnetar is what he saw in his visions of Earth Two being destroyed.

The magnetar is capable of destroying a planet - perhaps more with the right power source (i.e. the energy siphoned from two speedsters racing).

Zoom says that Earth One is at the center of the multiverse - the access point to every other Earth. One trans-dimensional shock-wave there will destroy all the other Earths.

One lap around the inside of the magnetar loop will produce about one gigawatt of energy. Zoom needs 500 plus gigawatts to power the magentar enough to unleash the shock-wave that will destroy the multiverse.

Barry's time remnant creates his own out-of-phase pulse to counteract the one generated by the magnetar. His body cannot handle the strain, however, and the time remnant burns himself out, sacrificing his life to stop the magnetar from destroying the multi-verse.

Barry went back in time moments before he left, creating a copy of himself - a time remnant. This attracted the Time Wraiths, which Barry lured towards Zoom.

A power-dampener inside the iron mask prevented the real Jay Garrick from using his powers.

Dialogue Triumphs

Joe: Henry Allen. Henry suffered two great losses in his life. He lost his wife, Nora, and he lost Barry. He suffered guilt, embarrassment, ridicule, shame and everything that comes with being blamed for a crime he didn't commit.  Henry Allen was proof that love can get you through the darkest of days. And that love will keep him alive in all of our hearts.

Barry: When I was in The Speed Force, I felt like... I had finally come to grips with her death. With not saving her when I went back. And then, the moment... where I'm finally at the place where I can move on, my father is taken from me. How am I supposed to ever find peace with that?
Iris: I don't know, Barry. But you're gonna have to find a way to do that or it's gonna tear you apart.
Barry: I just miss him so much already...

Joe: Bare? Don't race him.
Barry: It's not that easy...
Joe: Yes it is! You just say no! We find another way to stop him. Together. Like we always do!
Barry: And do what, Joe? Just sit around and wait for him to kill somebody else? Wally? Iris? You? No! No way!
Joe: He needs you, Bare! He needs your speed again to get what he wants! We have the advantage here!
Barry: All I have to do is beat him, Joe. That saves the multiverse! This whole city! All of you! I won't let another person I love die when I can prevent it.
Joe: This... isn't just about racing Zoom, is it? You want to kill this guy.
Barry: Of course I want to kill him, Joe! I want to do a hell of a lot more than just kill him! I want him to suffer! For everything that he's done! And he's going to!
Joe: C'mon Bare! Think about what you're saying.
Barry: I have to be willing to do whatever it takes. I'm sorry, but I'm racing him whether you want me to or not.
Joe: And I can't talk you out of it?
Barry: Not this time.
Joe: Then I'm sorry too.
(Harry shoots Barry in the back with a tranquilizer dart.) 

Caitlin: I made a mistake. I am so sorry that I abandoned you. But you have to understand what you said to me - that there was a dark side of me? That I was more like Killer Frost than I knew? I didn't want to accept that. I tried to lock the darkness inside of me. But you knew that was already a part of me now. And you're the only one who did. And now, I'm ready to accept who I really am.... I am so sorry that I hurt you. But now, I want to be that one that only you know. Please Jay. Let me try.
Zoom: I will say, if anything, Barry sure has an ample number of fathers to kill. 

Cisco: Barry, look at yourself right now. You're not okay! 
Barry: Cisco, my dad was just killed in front of me! Do you have any idea how that feels?!
Caitlin: Watching someone you love die? Yes, I do.
Barry: Cait...
Caitlin: Look, Barry... I know how cold and angry and distant that can make you. But when this happened to me, you were the one who kept me in check. You told me to stop and take a breath and that's all we're telling you to do now...

Barry: What are the rules?
Zoom: One lap around the inside of this loop will produce about one gigawatt of energy. And I need 500 plus to power the magentar enough to do the job. Once its full, I win.
Barry: So all I have to do beat you is to stop you before that happens?
Zoom: Yep. It's that simple. But if, at any point, you decide you don't want to race anymore, Dear Old Dad Number Two is a dead man, as well as your little fan club.
Barry: They're not my fan club. They're the reason that I'm running. And why I'm going to beat you.

Joe: I see Jay - excuse me- Hunter stole your color scheme too.
Jay: He took a lot of things that were mine. (pointing to the winged helmet that belonged to Hunter Zolomon's father) Except for that. That's - um- that's all him.
Iris: He said it was his father's from the war.
Harry: Ironically, on my - on our Earth (looks to Jesse), this helmet stood for hope.
Jay: Yeah?
Harry: Yeah.
Jay: Well, maybe I can continue that sentiment. Take something from him for a change. Make it my own.
(Jay puts on the helmet and tilts his head back.)
Caitlin: It suits you.
Jay: Thank you. All of you, for saving me from Zoom. (looks to Barry) Especially you, Flash. 
Barry: You're welcome... Flash.
(Jay tips the brim of the helmet to Barry.)

Dialogue Disasters

Candace Patton's flat delivery of the word "Dad!" as Joe is knocked through the breach by accident.


Zoom created another time remnant, whom he kills in front of Barry.

Henry Allen's tombstone bears the inscription "There is no better world than the one with you."

Barry refers to his going back in time to save his mother from The Reverse Flash in 123.

Caitlin refers to Zoom's line about measuring success by the number of victims from 219.

Zoom refers to his threat from 221 to show Caitlin no mercy if she abandoned him.

Cisco is able to fashion a controlled breach using his powers.

Cisco is unable to clearly vibe on Zoom when Zoom is on the move. Attempting to do so gives him a headache and he compares the visions he has to it being like his brain is channel surfing.

Zoom confirms that he created Velocity 9 on Earth Two, but that his continued use of it was slowly killing him. He tried several things to cure himself, including manipulating The Speed Force. This resulted in Time Wraiths being sent after him for breaking The Speed Force's rules.

The Man In The Iron Mask is confirmed to be another speedster from a third Earth called The Flash, whose real name is Jay Garrick

Caitlin refers to Ronnie Raymond's death in 201.

Cisco uses the device from 221 used to broadcast Iris into The Speed Force to help Barry send a message to Zoom across dimensions.

Earth One is revealed to be the central link between all Earths.

Zoom says the line, "Run, Barry, Run."

Barry creates a time remnant, who sacrifices himself to generate a pulse that disables the magentar.

The real Jay Garrick is revealed to be the Earth Three doppelganger of Henry Allen.

Barry recalls that his father told him that his mother's maiden name was Garrick in 220 when he sees the real Jay Garrick.

Jay Garrick's costume as The Flash is just like the one that Zoom wore when pretending to be Jay Garrick, save that the original Jay Garrick didn't wear a helmet.

Jay Garrick elects to take Hunter Zolomon's father's army helmet and make it a part of his costume, restoring it's original intent as a symbol of hope.

Jesse and Harry Wells return to Earth Two. They take Jay Garrick with them and promise to help him find a way to return to his Earth, which is dubbed Earth Three.

Wells calls Cisco by his first name in stead of Ramon for the first time.

Barry tells Irish he needs to get his head together before he can think of starting a relationship with her. She agrees to wait for him.

Barry goes back in time and stops The Reverse Flash from killing his mother. The episode ends with Barry trying to comfort her.


Zoom's lair on Earth Two.

Untelevised Adventures

Zoom refers to how he fought and defeated The Flash of another Earth, whose name was Jay Garrick. It was in parody of this hero that he posed as Jay Garrick/The Flash of Earth Two.

The Boomerang Factor

Honestly, the whole of Team Flash come off as sort of stupid trying to take on Zoom without Barry after how much has been said about them needing Barry, with his powers, to stop Zoom. This isn't quite as stupid, however, as Barry's decision to jack around with the timeline once again given everything he's learned so far about why time travel just makes things worse.

The Bottom Line

A largely disappointing conclusion that will ultimately be remembered for what it set up rather than what it accomplished. The battles with Zoom are just set-up for the reveal of the real Jay Garrick and the revelation that Season Three will likely be based on the Flashpoint storyline.  This begs the question... will the other CW shows be affected by this immediately?  Will this be the means by which Supergirl is brought into the main DCTVU?  The possibilities, sadly, are more exciting than this episode. But at least it will give us fans something to talk about all summer.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year Five #23 - A Review

Desperate for a lead on Batman's whereabouts but unwilling to dirty his own hands, Superman releases the serial killer Zsasz from prison. Coincidentally, his release occurs on Alfred's birthday. Well, the day that Bruce Wayne has elected to celebrate his faithful butler's birthday this year, Alfred's real birthday being a closely guarded secret...

There is a lot of subtle humor in this week's chapter of Injustice. I'm not unused to comedy in Brian Buccellato scripts but it is is usually more overtly presented. There's a great irony that The World's Finest detective should prove incapable of deducing the birthday of his oldest ally. I find it hilarious that Alfred should keep holding this mystery over Bruce's head just to amuse himself and that Bruce still manages to find a way to fill Wayne Manor's kitchen with balloons from halfway around the world.

The action of the issue is ably illustrated by Superman: Lois and Clark artist Marco Santucci. Santucci draws a great fight sequence and the battle between Alfred and Zsasz is one of the most exciting this series has seen. Rex Lokus's colors provide the perfect finish to Santucci's pencils.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Four

In which we retrieve some power tools for The Mariner, have a heck of a time having a simple conversation with a quest giver and go hunting for the fog crawler that killed ol' Grandpa Dalton.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #6 - Advance Review

Companions come and go, but the departure of Clara Oswald  has left The Doctor feeling even more melancholy than he usually gets after being left alone. Still, there are things one can do more easily when traveling alone, which leads The Doctor to expand his horizons and go to see some of the best bands in the history of the universe. Of course, being The Doctor, he can't help but get involved when he sees a man running through a crowd as if all of Hell was chasing after him, nor can he help dragging along 40th-century punk bass-player Hattie for the ride.

I was astonished by the artwork for this issue. I found Mariano Laclaustra's previous work on other Doctor Who comics to be uninspired at best. Looking at this issue, however, I now think the previous problems may have been due to the color artist rather than Laclaustra's pencils and inks. The finished artwork for this issue is, in a word, stunning and that's due in large part to the color art by Carlos Cabrera and Thiago Riberio. So if you ever doubted the power a colorist has to influence a comic, look to this issue and the above splash-page of the world known as "The Twist" for the proof.

The story is equally excellent. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased as a fan of George Mann's work to date, but this issue proves that Mann is as capable of crafting original characters as he is writing established ones like Clara and The Doctor. Hattie is an interesting figure from what little we've seen of her in action, so far, but it seems likely she'll be a worthy addition to Titan Comics' line of original comic-book companions.

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor: Year Two #6 is due out on May 25th, 2016.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #10 - Advance Review

Seeking relief from a harrowing experience, The Doctor seeks a distraction for himself and his companions, Gabby Gonzales and Cindy Wu. Unfortunately, the recent events have also taken a toll on The TARDIS, leaving the old girl vulnerable to psychic attack. And unless The Doctor works quickly, Cindy may become lost in a dimension formed by her own nightmares forever!

The regular art team of Elena Casagrande, Arianna Florean, Azzurra Florean are back in this issue and I couldn't be more pleased about it. Casagrande's style perfectly matches the spirit of Doctor Who, being slightly stylized and cartoonish while still holding a basic grounding in reality. And the color art by The Floreans is as bright and exciting as Nick Abadzis' script. While this story will doubtlessly invite comparisons to the episode Journey To The Center Of The TARDIS, Abadzis makes this story all his own.

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor: Year Two #10  is due out May 25th, 2016.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #2 - Advance Review

Receiving mysterious messages from yourself is hardly the most unusual thing to happen on The TARDIS, but it does prompt The Doctor, Rose Tyler and the amnesiac Captain Jack Harkness to follow a strange signal seemingly sent by Captain Jack himself. The trail leads to a world where The Doctor - or someone very much like him - is a reality TV sensation. Now, as Jack and The Doctor are arrested for causing a public nuisance, Rose has tracked down the fake Doctor and discovered that he's one of their old enemies, The Slitheen, in disguise...

The Ninth Doctor is one of my favorite incarnations of The Doctor, so I was quite pleased when this monthly series was announced following last year's Ninth Doctor mini-series. I was doubly pleased when it was announced that Cavan Scott, who penned said mini-series, would be staying on as the writer for the monthly book. Scott's script feels just like a lost Series One episode. The artwork by Adriana Melo - while a little over-inked at some points - proves largely enjoyable and presents the action of the story well. And the colors by Matheus Lopes are well-chosen throughout.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #2 is due out May 25th, 2016.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Three

In which we start talking to the people of Far Harbor to learn how we may make their lives better. Naturally, this leads us on a quest to the most godforsaken part of the island to kill a mob of ghouls and then to an old factory in search of some power tools.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clean Room #8 - A Review

Astrid Mueller is a polarizing figure, whether you believe she's a simple self-help author or a dangerous cult leader. Such people make enemies easily and one of them has finally succeeded in getting an assassin close enough to do some damage. Now, with Mueller at Death's Door, her staff seek to follow the directions she left in case of this occurrence. To their shock, her instructions involve journalist Chloe Pierce, who has dedicated her life to bringing down Mueller and her organization!

I can honestly say I was not expecting what happened in this issue of Clean Room to happen. Such is the magic of this series that Gail Simone finds ways to shock the reader each month. I won't spoil the many surprises of this issue here (difficult as that makes it to discuss the story) but I will say that if you have yet to give this series a shot, this issue is a good one to start with if you can't track down the originals and don't want to wait for the upcoming TP collection.

The art team matches Simone's scripts with a subtle style that belies the dark nature of the story. The colors by Quinton Winter are crisp and bright. And Jon Davis-Hunt's artwork features largely realistic designs and light inks which only serve to set a sedate illusion through which the madness of the world can suddenly reveal itself.

All-New Wolverine #8 - A Review

Laura Kinney (AKA Wolverine) is trying to establish a normal life her "sister" (i.e. younger clone) Gabby. Well, as normal as can be managed when you're raising your younger clone in Manhattan, you have a pet wolverine and you work as a freelance problem-solver whom the director of SHIELD has on speed-dial. So it is that Maria Hill has interrupted Laura's attempts to expose Gabby to the wonders of Chinese take-out so that Wolverine can sniff out some trouble. Literally.

Thankfully, despite the big THE ROAD TO CIVIL WAR II banner on the cover of this book, this issue is surprisingly free of pesky tie-ins to bloated crossovers I care nothing about. Tom Taylor keeps the focus firmly on Laura and Gabby, whose interactions are both cute and hysterical as they cope with the general insanity that dealing with SHIELD tends to require. While not as over the top as series like Howard The Duck or The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Tom Taylor still delivers comedy on the sly amid the excellent action sequences one expects in a Wolverine book.

Artist Marcio Takara proves capable of matching the manic pace of Taylor's scripts. There is a sense of dynamic action to Takara's work, with the characters always seemingly in motion. The color art by Jordan Boyd also matches this sense of high-energy.

Red Sonja #5 - A Review

King Savas had expected resistance when he captured Red Sonja's most recent companion - the playwright Midy. He did not expect for her, now feeling scorned by Sonja's apparent abandonment of her, to offer to write a play that would subvert the legend of Sonja while elevating Savas and the last of his Black Talons (the women impersonating Sonja in his name) to the level of living legends. Meanwhile, Sonja seeks another legend - a giant carnivorous bird - as she too ponders the nature of legends and how she might yet save a people who don't wish to be rescued.

If Gail Simone redefined Red Sonja for a new generation of readers, than Marguerite Bennett has refined it. No longer a simple sword-and-sorcery comic, Bennett's thoughtful writing has explored both current events such as the role of the media and popular culture in shaping politics and deeper philosophical truths about the nature of heroism and humanity. In this Bennett resembles Robert E. Howard more than any other writer to ever play in his world.

The artwork operates on a similarly deep level. There is great interplay, for instance, between Bennett's monologues for Sonja and the action in the panel as each line is spoken. The battle sequence between Sonja and the roc is epically illustrated and the colors of Jorge Sutil are vibrant and powerful.

Starman Plays Maniac Mansion - Part Six

In which we save the day as Wendy and Michael, find yet another silly way for Dave to die and somehow survive being underneath a rocket car as it takes off.

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part Two

In which, after a quick trip to Railroad HQ to see if they know anything about a secret city of synths up North, we finally arrive in Far Harbor and almost immediately get recruited to fight some of the interesting new beasties this DLC has to offer.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Lucifer #6 - A Review

Takehiko isn't the sort to scare easy. But meeting a girlfriend's parents is always daunting, particularly when they live in one of the few Satanic communities in the world and are reportedly quite devout. Still, for Rosemary, Takehiko is willing to do just about anything. Besides, it isn't like Takehiko doesn't have his own family issues...

The script by Holly Black is hilarious. There's a lot of the same dark comedy that made the original Lucifer and The Sandman so enjoyable. More, Black manages to sneak in some information about real-world Satanism (i.e. it's not the same as devil-worship) which only serves to make the ending of the issue all the better.

The artwork by Stephanie Hans proves equally skillful. The palette is heavy on extremes, with deep blacks and rich reds offset by off-whites and pale blues. This gives the whole issue an ominous feeling, even amidst the hilarity, creating a disjointed effect that subtly informs the reader that something is off though they aren't just sure why!

If you haven't given the new Lucifer series a try, this issue is an excellent starting point. It perfectly captures the twisted humor of Mike Carey's one-off stories and the artwork by Stephanie Hans looks amazing. It is highly recommended for all fans of classic Vertigo Comics!

Future Quest #1 - A Review

I was just young enough to catch the reruns of many of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons on the USA Channel back in the 1980s. My favorites, unsurprisingly, were the superheroes - Birdman and Space Ghost! Naturally, when I heard DC Comics was planning to do a massive Crisis On Infinite Earths style comic book crossover between all these series, I was curious if it would hold up.

Future Quest does more than hold up. What might have turned into a written transcript of a group of kids fighting a war between all their action figures instead starts as a sprawling epic worthy of the legacy of Alex Toth. It was Toth's designs and character backstories (most barely referenced in the original cartoons) that made up the brunt of Hanna--Barbera's classic adventure cartoons. And the designs for this comic (overseen by the recently departed Darwyn Cooke) are slightly streamlined but still recognizable from the original cartoons.

The script by Jeff Parker perfectly captures the high-action content of these cartoons After an opening prologue in which we see all but one Captain from a Space Force unit destroyed battling a cosmic being called Omnikron (possibly the origin of Space Ghost?), we cut to Earth where Dr. Benton Quest is investigating a series of strange vortexes. His arch-rival, Dr. Zin, is also investigating this phenomena and has apparently begun working for the terrorist group, F.E.A.R..

This discovery leads Dr. Quest to contact the top-secret security agency Inter-Nation and their sending top agent Ray Randall, a.k.a. Birdman to help with the investigation. The issue ends with Jonny and Hadji - in the wrong place at the wrong time, as usual - discovering that the vortexes lead to other worlds beyond Earth's solar system and one famous face threatening to kill them.

The artwork has a decidedly retro feel, with a blend of 1960s comic elements throughout. The Tothian influence is obvious in the designs but some of the character posing is reminiscent of Jack Kirby. And the scenes with Dr. Zinn inspire favorable comparison to the work of Jim Steranko.

Bottom Line: If you enjoy classic comics and adventure cartoons, you'll love this book!

Starman Plays Maniac Mansion - Part Five

In which we briefly start the game with Jeff and Sid so we can see their lame dialogue at the start of the game. Then we start replaying the game with Michael the photographer and Wendy the writer, so we can help Weird Ed with his plan to save his dad and rewrite The Meteor's autobiography.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Starman Plays Maniac Mansion - Part Four

In which we beat the game with Razor and discover an entirely new way to kill Dave in a silly fashion. We also kill Bernard, just to show off one glitch in the game.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 16 - Legendary

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


The Time Masters control of the time-stream has been shattered but Vandal Savage is still at large and he still holds Carter and Kendra hostage. Still, in the wake of Leonard Snart's sacrifice, Rip Hunter is unwilling to further risk the lives of his crew now that their destinies are their own. To that end, Rip returns them all to May 2016.

But the team aren't ready to admit defeat just yet, though Sara finds her resolve tested when she learns of her sister's death. And when a clue from Kendra sent back through time gives them a lead on where to find Savage, the team will have one more chance to prove themselves legendary.


Doctor Who (the general themes of predestination, time being rewritten and a complex story involving time-travel trickery to defeat a great evil), the Back To The Future movies (Rip's riding his ship upward after seemingly falling to his death is a nod to a similar scene from Back To The Future II, the general plot of using time travel to prevent a corrupt timeline), the movie Men In Black (Rip's knock-out device seems similar to memory-erasing machine used by the MiB) and the JSA comics of Geoff Johns, David Goyer and James Robinson (complex time travel plot, the connection between Thanagarian technology and Ancient Egypt, the surprise cameo at the end.)


Kendra just happening to run into the soldier whose helmet wound up in Rip's collection of historical memorabilia is completely unbelievable.

Why are The Thanagarians blasting their technology into space, hidden inside meteorites? That doesn't seem like the action of the war-like race from the comics, whom the DCTVU version of The Thanigarians seem to resemble based on what little we've heard.

In previous episodes, it was too dangerous for Stein and Jax to become Firestorm on The Waverider due to the energy released when they merge. For some reason, this isn't an issue when they merge in the loading bay in this episode to practice transmuting other objects.

There's a lot of questions that are left unanswered, particularly regarding Jax's subplot. Did he manage to save his father? What did he tell his mom about his being gone for five months?


Again, Caity Lotz is the episode MVP. The scenes where Sara copes with the news of her sister's death - both in mourning with her father and in her violent reaction to Rip's refusal to take her back to stop it from happening - are the emotional high points of the episode.


The direction, fight choreography and editing combine to make the final battle with Savage the best sequence in the show's history.

The scene in which Rip sees his wife and son and seems to make peace with them is well-shot and well-scored.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

Instead of the usual opening with Rip Hunter's voice-over, this episode opens with Gideon speaking and a quick visual recap of the first season.

Mick returns to robbery, giving Snart's cold gun to his new partner. He then kills said partner, when he proves to be even more hot-headed than Mick, killing a helpless security guard. This is something of a nod to the code of conduct utilized by The Rogues in the original The Flash comics.

In addition to rules against drug use, endangering the innocent and the use of lethal force except in self-defense, The Rogues have rules regarding their membership, weapons and one criminal making use of another's gear and gimmick. No one can take up a Rogue's identity while the original Rogue still lives. Also, simply possessing the Rogue's weapons or costume is not enough to assume their identity, even if the original Rogue is dead. This is why the second Mirror Master and Trickster had to prove themselves worthy of a place among The Rogues before being accepted.

Firestorm is able to break the bonds holding Carter and Kendra with their bare hands. In the comics, Firestorm also possesses super-strength.

In the fight with the Nazis, Firestorm accidentally transforms a German rifle into dust. Stein identifies this power as transmutation - changing the molecular properties of an object.  In the comics, this is one of Firestorm's primary abilities and perhaps the greatest power they have.

In the original comics, Firestorm's transmutation ability was originally limited to their merged physical form and inorganic material. Firestorm could, for instance, change lead into an equal amount of gold but could not reduse a human being into the basic elements making up their body. Firestorm also has to have a basic understanding of the elements involved in order to manipulate them. In the comics, this prevented Ronnie Raymond (a poor student) from being able to alter objects during the period he was able to become Firestorm without Martin Stein's scientific know-how guiding him.

This episode establishes a link between Carter and Kendra's powers and the alien race known as The Thangarians.  This link was originally created in the comics by writers Geoff Johns, David Goyer and James Robinson in their JSA series as a means of tidying up the rather messy history of the Hawkman franchise at that time. To make a long story short, it was established that the Nth Metal which Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara (later Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders) used to fly was taken from a Thangarian ship that crashed in Ancient Egypt.

This episode marks the first time Ray is able to use his ATOM suit to shrink another object. In the comics, Ray Palmer was occasionally able to shrink other objects, but he had to restore them to their original size within a matter of minutes or they would explode. Given that he was shrinking an object that was already about to explode, it is unclear if Ray's tech in the DCTVU has the same limitation.

The mystery man in the final scene identifies himself as Rex Tyler.  In the comics, Rex Tyler was the first superhero to use the alias Hourman.

The costume Rex Tyler wears appears to be based on the design of the second Hourman, Rick Tyler (Rex's son), with a primarily black color scheme and red-trimmed bracers.

Rex Tyler also identifies himself as a member of The Justice Society of America. Historically, the JSA were the world's first superhero team. In the DC Comics Universe, they were either the first superhero team on pre-Crisis Earth Two or the first superhero team in the post-Crisis DC Universe.


The Waverider has sophisticated hologram projectors. Rip uses this to create the illusion that he walked of the ship with the rest of the team when he first drops them off in Star City, May 2016.

When taking off, The Waverider left behind a quantum signature. Ray builds a radio beacon. Stein builds a quantum entangler. Both devices should be capable of signaling The Waverider, by broadcasting on its quantum signature.

Subspace interference and improper adjustment of temporal polarity can affect the ability of a signal to travel through time.

Rip has a hand-held device that can knock a person unconscious by flashing a bright light in their eyes. He uses this to subdue an enraged Sara, when she's demanding he take her back to save her sister from Damien Darhk.

Chronometric Repositioning is a phenomena where temporal changes can reverberate through the timeline, physically moving an object from one place to another. In this case, Kendra's putting a note inside the helmet she recognized from Rip's room caused it to move several feet across the room in the future.

The blood of Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders is the key to unlocking the Thanigarian technology contained within the Nth Metal meteorites.  Vandal Savage contrives a way to use their blood with the three meteorites to erase time, travel back to the year 1700 B.C., restarting his immortal life as a virtual god.

Transmutation is the process by which one changes the molecular properties of an object, like changing a gun into dust or a meteor into water. It's also how Firestorm materializes their uniform when Jax and Stein merge. Stein further describes it as a literal function of mind over matter.

Stein calculates that Savage means to create a temporal paradox by destroying the Earth three times at three different points in time, during a celestial alignment between Earth and Thanagar. This action will generate a time quake that would return the Earth to the point of the first chrono-thermic reaction in Earth's history (i.e. Ancient Egypt in 1700 BC, when Savage was first empowered). The alignment points Savage muse utilize are 1958, 1975 and 2021.

It was previously said that only Kendra or Carter could kill Savage using items exposed, as they were, to the meteor's radiation. Stein postulates that the same radiation that grants Savage his immortality also makes him vulnerable while he is directly exposed to a source of the same radiation. This means that they can kill Savage without the need for a fancy Nth Metal weapon or Carter and Kendra's presence, but they have to attack while he's being bathed in the radiation of a Thangarian meteor.

Firstorm is unable to transmute the final meteor because the radiation build-up is too progressive.

Approaching the sun, the solar array on The Waverider is operating an efficiency of 12,000%. This gives them enough power to make one emergency jump back to just after they left Earth to fly into the sun.

Dialogue Triumphs

(After Rip abandons them in May 2016)
Mick: I never liked that guy.

Rip: Despite my wishes to pursue Savage alone, it seems that you're all intent on seeing this thing through to the bitter-
(Sara suddenly punches Rip and puts a knife to his throat.)
Oh! Speaking of bitter...
Sara: You knew! You dropped us off five months later because you knew!
Jax; Knew what?
Sara: You knew that Laurel was going to die! And now you're going to take me back. And I'm going to save my sister!
Rip: I'm afraid -
Sara: You should be afraid!
(There is a pause as everyone watches Sara, unsure what to do next.)
Rip: I can't allow -
Sara: (punching the wall next to Rip's head with her free hand) I don't care about the timeline! You're taking me back... NOW!
Ray: Look, Sara - I'm sure there's a valid reason why Rip-
Sara; (turning to Ray) Stay out of this!
(While she is distracted, Rip is able to slip a device from his sleeve that flashes a light and kocks Sara out. Mick moves forward and catches her before she hits the ground.) 
Jax: What the hell, Rip?!

(Rip enters into Sara's room. Sara is sitting on her bed.)
Rip: Please try very hard not to kill me.
Sara: (with forced calmness) Rip. Please take me back. I need your help. I need to save my sister.
Rip: And you know that I would do this for you, Sara, but I just can't.
Sara: (up and moving across the room) I have never asked you for anything! And you of all people should understand! You have tried everything. We - WE - have tried everything to save your family-
Rip: And I would not wish the pain of that failure on anyone.
Sara: I would rather live with that pain than this!
Rip: And that's just the thing, Sara. Look, if you were able to try and save Laurel, then you wouldn't be alive at all.
Sara: Then fine. I don't care!
Rip: When we left... when I recruited you... we altered the timeline. Now, had it remained the same, then Damien Darhk, would have... (sighs) he would have killed not only you and your sister... but your father as well.
Sara: But Rip, if- if we go back, and we take the team-
Rip: - the outcome will be exactly the same.
Sara: You don't know that!
Rip: I'm afraid that I do.
Sara: No! There has to be a way! Rip, I have to be able to do something!
Rip: I'm so sorry.
Sara: (sitting down, sobbing) I can't... I can't do this without my sister! I can't!
Rip: Oh, yes you can. You are one of the strongest people I have ever met, Sara. Laurel...Laurel may be beyond your saving. But Kendra and Carter? They might not be...

Mick: (on seeing the electrocuted Savage) Dammit! I wanted to be the one to kill him! Again, I mean!

(A second Waverider crashes in front of the team.  A man in a black and red uniform with a hooded cape emerges and approaches them.)
Is this 2016?! Is this May 2016?!
Jax: Yeah?
Man: You're exactly where you said you'd be. (gesturing at The Waverider) Do not get on that ship. If you do, you're all dead.
Mick: Says who?
Man: Says you, Mr. Rory. You sent me.
Rip: I'm sorry. Who exactly are you?
Man: (pulling back his hood to reveal short-cut hair) My name is Rex Tyler. I'm a member of the Justice Society of America.


Rip plans to return to The Refuge from 112, to return the teams' past selves to where they should have been.

Rip drops everyone off in May 2016 rather than January 2016.  It is later revealed that he did this because if Sara had been present when Damien Darhk killed Laurel Lance in April 2016, Sara would have been killed, along with Quentin Lance.

Sara learns of Laurel's death, which occurred in A418, from her father. She later visits Laurel's grave with him.

Sara's visit to Quentin in The Bunker (aka Team Arrow's current hideout) seems to take place during A422, when Quentin was watching the base while Green Arrow and Spartan were rescuing Speedy from HIVE as Overwatch was off-site trying to avert a launch of every nuclear missile on Earth.

Mick returns to robbing. He recruits a new partner, whom he gives Snart's cold gun. When the new partner, proves to be even more hot-headed than Mick, Mick sets him on fire and takes the gun back.

H.G. Wells' childhood nickname was Bertie - a fact Martin Stein knows while playing Trivial Pursuit, because of his experiences in 111.

Martin Stein was never a history buff before his time on The Waverider.

Both Martin Stein and Ray Palmer build devices to try and signal The Waverider.

Rip refers to several of the team's previous misadventures including a bar fight in 1975 (101), a bar fight in the Old West (111), putting dwarf-star technology in the hands of terrorists (102) and being turned into a scary bird monster (108).

Vandal Savage speaks German.

Firestorm is strong enough to break the bonds holding Kendra and Carter with their bare hands.

Firestorm is able to transmute a German rifle into dust by touching it. This is the first time they've used the transmutation power that is one of Firestorm's main abilities in the comics.

The Waverider is capable of traveling through time and outer-space.

The future Carter has no memory of being on The Waverider, but he does remember that his name once was Carter Hall.

Jax identifies the Meteor that Savage was stealing in 1944 as similar to the one he saw in Harmony Falls, Oregon in 1958, during 108.

Firestorm breaks Ray and Kendra's lucky vase from 109 trying to transmute it.

Savage's ultimate goal in 108 was to seize the meteor that landed in Harmony Falls.  Ray and Mick move to stop him here.

Savage's ultimate goal in 102 was to buy the second meteor with the money he made from the sale of a nuclear weapon. Sara and Firestorm move to stop him here.

Savage takes the third meteor that he stole from the Nazis in 1944 to St. Roch in 2021. Rip and Carter move to stop him here.

Savage is killed by fire in 1958, having his neck snapped in 1975 and being stabbed in the heart with an Nth Metal dagger before being thrown into an electrical generator in 2021.

Ray disables the first meteor in 1958 by shrinking it. This is the first time he is able to use his technology to shrink an object besides himself.

Firestorm disables the second meteor in 1975 by transmuting it into water.

Rip disables the third meteor in 2021 by flying it into the sun.

Rip elects to continue policing the time-stream because somebody has to in the wake of the Time Masters' depowering.

Sara decides to join Rip after a talk with her father at Laurel Lance's grave.

Stein decides to join Rip after his wife (who talked with Jax) says she thinks it would be good for him.

Rip takes Mick Rory back to Central City in 2013 so he can say his goodbyes to a completely confused Len Snart.

Mick Rory and Ray Palmer also elect to join with Rip.

Kendra and Carter decline the offer to stay on The Waverider, saying they want to see what life holds for them now that Savage is gone.


Star City - May 2016
Central City - May 2016
Saint-Lo, France - 1944
Harmony Falls, Oregon - 1958
Norway - 1975
St. Roch - 2021.
Central City - 2013

Untelevised Adventures

We don't see just how Kendra was able to escape from Savage in 1944.

The Bottom Line

An action-packed hour that still somehow seems like it isn't doing enough. Good as it is to see Sara and Mick get closure, Jax and Ray kinda get shafted on their respective homecomings. I wish I could say I'm sad to see Kendra and Carter go but they were always the weakest link on the team and there's really no reason for them to stick around with Savage gone. The final two minutes, however, have be chomping at the bit for this fall. I'm not sure how The JSA is getting brought into this mix but I can't wait to find out!

Starman Plays Fallout 4 Far Harbor - Part One

In which we answer the call to action and take on a missing person's case. But has the missing girl in question been kidnapped or has she run away from home?

Starman Plays Maniac Mansion - Part Three

In which we beat the game as Bernard, allow Dave to die a very silly death and save the day with a little help from The Meteor Police.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 22 - Lost In The Flood

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Rubicon has been delayed for a day. But Felicity's old flame, Cooper Seldon, is now working for HIVE and all too eager to prove himself the better hacker once and for all. Now, as Noah and Curtis join forces with Felicity to protect the world's nuclear arsenal, Oliver and John must race to rescue Thea from HIVE's underground city before Anarky can destroy it. Unfortunately, Ruve Adams has turned the whole city against them. And Merlyn has turned Thea against Oliver!

In the flashback sequences, the dark power of the Idol begins to change Tiana for the worse. And Baron Reiter is not quite as dead as Oliver thought...


Green Arrow: Year One (the Lian Yu segments), Green Arrow: City Walls (Green Arrow fighting a magically-empowered villain inside a sealed city), the film Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (centered around a doomsday device similar to Rubicon that could launch multiple nuclear missiles at once, name-dropped by Darkh), the film War Games (centered around hackers averting World War III, name-dropped by Curtis) the Fallout game series (Tevat Noah resembles the more idealistic visions of the underground vaults and serves the same purpose), the works of William Shakespeare (Cooper Seldon quotes Richard the Third and Hamlet), Brave New World (Spartan name-drops the book, there's some resemblance between the society HIVE is creating and The World State of this book), the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming (the destruction of Tevat Noah is pretty much every James Bond villain base going up in smoke, Darhk lets Green Arrow and Spartan live only so they can die a worse death while watching hiim win) and pretty much every Dennis O'Neil or Elliot S! Maggin story where Oliver Queen doubted his role as a vigilante doing real good for society at large.


There's a lot of weird lens flares and other oddities in the lighting that distract from the action.

Noah and Donna's argument is remarkably quiet until Felicity has sufficient time to ask Curtis what is going on and notice that he's drinking.

Granting that it's in a backyard, you'd think SOMEONE would have done something to clean up Alex's dead body!

Also, what genius decided that powering Tevat Noah with a power source so unstable that one arrow going into the machinery in its control room could cause the whole complex to explode was a good idea? Was HIVE contracting out to the lowest bidder?

Cool as the fight looks, it's impossible to beleive that Anarky is capable of fighting both Green Arrow, Speedy and Spartan to a stand-still, even in the middle of a collapsing room!

How does Merlyn know Ruve Adams was killed? He was busy evacuating people when she died. (Possibly he's working with Anarky planning a double cross of Darhk and the escaped Anarky told him? Or he just knows because he is/was Ra's Al Ghul.)


The sequence in which Spartan, Speedy and Green Arrow fight Anarky in the midst of a collapsing control room looks amazing, between the practical effects and the fight choreography.


As is tradition with previous seasons' penultimate episodes (i.e. Darkness On The Edge Of Town, Streets On FireThis Is Your Sword), the title of this episode comes from a Bruce Springsteen song.

Taiana says her home village is ruled over by a "strongman" named Kovar, who works for the Russian Government. This could be a reference to Leonid Konstantinovitch Kovar a.k.a. Starfire a.k.a. Red Star. Kovar was DC Comics first Russian superhero, created in 1968 and first appearing in Teen Titans #18. The son of an archeologist, Leonid and his father investigated a spaceship crash that bathed the teenager with a strange energy when the ship exploded. Afterward, Leonid found that he had enhanced strength, speed and psychokinesis, A devout Communist, Leonid offered his services to his country and became Russia's first state-sanctioned superhero.


The nuclear missile which destroyed Havenrock was a long-range KN-08 ballistic missile.

Felicity's back-trace of Thea's phone signal has an accuracy rate of 99.9999%..

Diggle says that Tevat Noah is just like Mount Weather - a Continuity Of Government facility built by FEMA during The Cold War in case of a nuclear attack.

Oliver is either able to pick locks with an arrowhead or has a special arrowhead that is shaped like a lock-pick. He uses it to break into one of the houses in Tevat Noah while seeking cover from the guards.

Smartphones are protected by encryption. If you fail to enter the proper passcode or fingerprint after so many tries, the phone "bricks" itself (i.e. locks so no one can access it). Curtis suggests that rather than trying to break the encryption on Rubicon, they make it stop working in the first place by overwhelming it with too many access requests.

Cooper shuts down Felicity's system with an X-Axis Bi-numeric Algorithm virus. It's one she created back in college.

Cooper then sends electrical surges to all their previous IPs. Unfortunately, this allows Felicity to ping back to his location. This let's Noah hitch their own code onto the back trace. The code they use is an executable Curtis designs to overload Rubicon with access requests.

Tevat Noah is powered by a dwarf star alloy. Powerful, but touchy, as Anarky describes it. This means that a stray shot in the control center could blow up the whole complex.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Oliver shoots two arrows at Dark. They vaporize before they come close to touching him.)
Darhk: Cool. You know, I didn't even mean to do that?!

Darhk: Today was supposed to be Christmas and I woke up to a lump of coal. Is it because I've been naughty this year?

Darkh: (To Cooper) Not that it's not scintillating to watch you type, but when exactly will I have Rubicon back?

Man: You can't win! You can't stop Genesis!
Spartan: Well, what are you going to do when you're not here to enjoy your Brave New World?
Green Arrow: Spartan! Easy...
Spartan: He almost got us killed.
Green Arrow: They're like Thea. They're not in their right minds.
Man: You mean the pills? We haven't taken any. Not even one. None of us have. We're here because we believe. Because we know the world is evil and darkness. It's beyond saving.
Green Arrow: How can you believe that?
Man: Because we lived it. Every day. So many promises were made to save the city. But it all just fell apart. And we were the ones left in the rubble. Damien Darhk has given us hope. Can you, with your masks and your guns, actually say the same?

Green Arrow: Do you ever think that maybe Darhk has a point?
Spartan: No. Darhk is psychotic. Everyone down here is.
Green Arrow: Are they? He's not wrong. The world is coming apart just like Star City. I mean, it is worse than it has ever been...
Spartan: That's because Darhk's been spending the past year trying to kill it.
Green Arrow: Then why is he giving these people more hope than we ever could?

Thea: (to Merlyn) Drug me again and I will kill you, you son of a bitch!

Spartan: So Machin is down here?
Merlyn: An ongoing pest we've yet to exterminate.
Thea: He killed Alex, who brought me down here because Ruve drugged him. Just like you did to me.
Merlyn: We can discuss my parenting philosophy later. Mr. Machin is the immediate threat!
Spartan: To Darhk and his wife and I still don't understand why we should care.
Merlyn: Because he has already tried once to kill everyone down here!
Green Arrow: Malcolm's right. We're not letting anyone else die. (turning the family whose house they took over) This place isn't safe. I need you to get them out of here in order to protect them. Please...
(Green Arrow turns back to Merlyn.)
Green Arrow: Now you know the way out. So if we can't stop Machin, then you are going to lead the evacuation.
Merlyn: I don't recall volunteering.
(Spartan draws his gun and puts it to Merlyn's head. Merlyn doesn't blink.)
Merlyn: And even if I did, where exactly where would I evacuate them to? Everything above our heads is going to be under a mushroom cloud!
Green Arrow: I refuse to believe that.
Merlyn: Because you're a fool.
Green Arrow: Because I have hope.

Green Arrow: The city's safe...
Felicity: You sound like there's a "but" to that sentence.
Green Arrow: People still need saving. They still need hope.

Darkh: Tell me.
Merlyn: It was Machin. He's-
Darkh: Ruve?!
Merlyn: I'm sorry.
Darkh: My daughter?
Merlyn: We're still getting reports of survivors.
Darkh: We're locked out of Rubicon. Momentarily. I know someone who can get us back online.
Merlyn: Damien... Tevat Noah is gone! It's buried under miles of ash! Even if you could regain control of Rubicon, they would be no place on Earth that is safe!
Darkh: If there's no place left on Earth that is safe... let it all burn.

Felicity: Go to hell!
Darhk: Why bother? I'm going to bring it to us.


Curtis makes reference to the city-threatening events that have occurred in Starling City over the past three years including earthquakes (Season 1), viral attacks (Season 3) and armies of super-soldiers (Season 2).

Curtis is apparently on the Dark Web and knows Noah Kuttler by reputation.

Cooper Seldon is seen for the first time since 305. He broke out of Iron Heights during Damien Darhk's escape.

We learn the name of HIVE's underground city is Tevat Noah.

Thea's phone signal comes from the corner of Berkeley and Childress, right in the heart of The Glades.

Taiana becomes more blood-thirsty and willing to kill as people die near her as she is holding the idol.

Merlyn drugs Thea to make her compliant.

Felicity tells Donna that she's been working with The Green Arrow for three years.

Taiana is from a village, Krasnoyarsk, which is ruled over by a "government strong man" named Kovar. She wants to use the power of the idol to free her people.

Noah claims he wasn't given any choice regarding abandoning his family.

Noah recognizes the virus Cooper uses as one Felicity designed, saying that he did keep tabs on his daughter and her work.

When Donna Smoak gets stressed, she folds clothes.

Donna Smoak confesses to Felicity that Noah didn't abandon them - she took Felicity and left him when Felicity was 7.

Felicity notes, however, that Noah never once tried to correct Felicity's belief that he was a deadbeat dad.

Thea is now a good enough shot with a bow and arrow that she can shoot the sword out of someone's hand.

Anarky refers to the events of 410 - the last time he took Darhk's wife and daughter hostage.

Tevat Noah is powered by a dwarf star alloy, much like Ray Palmer's technology.

Anarky stabs Ruve Adams to death with one of Speedy's arrows.

Anarky seems to escape the collapse of Tevat Noah.

Green Arrow saves Damien Darhk's daughter.

The destruction of Tevat Noah does damage to The Glades above it.

Donna asks Noah to leave and never contact Felicity again. As the episode closes, he seems to.

Curtis points out that Donna's refusal to believe Noah could change his lying ways mirrors Felicity's dumping Oliver over his lying.

The Winick Factor

Everyone - HIVE and Team Arrow alike - is nerfed so that Anarky can be built up as a threat. Ditto the return of Cooper Seldon, who is now suddenly a competent enough hacker to handle Felicity AND her dad at the same time.

The Bottom Line

Everything about this episode feels like so much padding. When everything should be racing to a conclusion after last week's exciting episode, this episode slams on the breaks so we can focus on Felicity's family issues (which still aren't really resolved) and Thea's fight with Anarky last week proves to be completely pointless so that we can have all of Team Arrow have a far harder time fighting him than they should.

The cast gives it their all but that doesn't change the fact that the first half of the episode revolves around people typing while spouting technobabble and - as Damien Darhk himself notes - that's not exactly scintillating. The second half is somewhat better, but Thea's being brainwashed is a waste of time as is Oliver's momentary consideration that he's failed the city as a beacon of hope.

And yet, I have hope that next week's finale will prove to have been worth this diversion. It's a dim hope, but it is there.

Starman Plays Maniac Mansion - Part Two

In which we race to get Weird Ed's package before he does and continue exploring the mansion, before a power failure in the game coincides with a power failure on my camera.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 22 - Invincible

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Barry has his speed back just in time for Zoom to unleash his metahuman army on Central City. And leading the pack is Black Siren - the Earth Two version of Laurel Lance! But Barry won't be alone in saving his city... much to Joe West's annoyance as Wally West starts trying to fight the metahuman invaders himself.


The Justice League of America comics of Gardner Fox (the various Crisis crossovers, Black Siren is clearly inspired by the evil Earth Three counterparts of the Justice League) and the Vibe comics of Geoff Johns (Cisco's creates a focused sonic blast for the first time).


How the hell is Black Siren still walking after being hit by a car?

The whole idea of Earth Two counterparts being mirror-images of their Earth One counterpart is just unsound on the face of it, given how many infinite Earths there are.

Katie Cassidy's performance as Black Siren is just awful. This is curious given her best work on Arrow was in an antagonistic role in Season Two. Playing the vampy villainess proves beyond her talents, however, as her delivery is rushed in every scene she's in and seems to be doing a bad impression of Danielle' Panabaker's Killer Frost.  As Cisco says, she's "just a poor imitation."


Keiynan Lonsdale dominates his scenes as Wally West.  Wally's been an afterthought and/or a hostage for most of the second-half of Season Two. Here, however, we finally start to see something of the young man who could one day be The Flash himself.

It's a brief thing, but I loved the scene between Cisco and Caitlin where he comforts her over her seeing Zoom everywhere since escaping him. Partly because it's so rare to see a close male/female friendship like this on television but also because Danielle Panabaker masterfully portrays what PTSD anxiety attacks are like and Carlos Valdes likewise does a good job showing how to comfort someone going through such trauma. And kudos to the writers for scripting this scene.


The opening battle between the police and Zoom's army is a perfect balance of good FX work and fight choreography.

The special effects for the Canary Cry used here are closer to what we saw in Supergirl for Silver Banshee and much better than what we saw in Arrow.

The special effects as Barry runs into Mercury Labs to save everyone are top-notch.

Flash Facts

One of the metahumans in Zoom's army is a flying man who throws green fireballs. This could be an evil male version of Beatriz da Costa (a.k.a. The Green Flame, a.k.a. Fire) whose powers included generating green flames and flying.

Black Siren's costume is clearly a tribute to the comics version of Black Canary, being made of black leather and fishnets - though the fishnet material is on her arms rather than her legs.

The scene where Dr. Tina McGee and Dr. Henry Allen meet is a nod to the 1990s The Flash TV series, where actor Amanda Pays played a different Dr. Tina McGee and actor John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen.

The name of Black Siren comes from the Justice League animated series.  That show featured a heroine from an alternate Earth called Black Siren, who was clearly meant as a tribute to the Golden Age Black Canary.


Mercury Labs was equipped with a Crash Survivable Memory Unit - a black box for buildings.

Joe wields a new anti-metahuman weapon - a gun which fires shock-collars that latch onto a metahuman and render them unable to use their powers.

Cisco's Vibe Tech didn't work on Earth Two because their dimension operated on a different frequency. Barry suggests there might be some way to use that and the technology Pied Piper used to fight The Time Wraith to create something capable of disabling all the Earth Two metahumans at once.

Strictly speaking, Barry is technically correct saying Mach 50 is not a real thing. It would be more accurate to say that it's not a real thing on Earth. The highest Mach regime runs from Mach 10 to Mach 25, and measures the speed needed to maintain a low orbit in Earth's upper atmosphere. The speed of light in a vacuum, by contrast, is Mach 880,991.09.

According to Harry, any sound over 200 decibels will kill an ordinary human at close range. The blast from Black Siren which Barry survives is charted at 250 decibels. To put this in perspective, a sound of 150 decibels can permanently rupture an ear drum and is the equivalent of a jet engine taking off at close range. The highest recorded sound in human history was 194 decibels.

All matter vibrates at its own unique frequency. Disrupting the frequency disrupts the matter, like how an opera singer can shatter a glass with her voice. People from Earth Two vibrate at a higher (and, according to Cisco, more erratic) frequency.

Hartley postulates that they could create a dimensional tuning fork of sorts. If Barry runs fast enough around Central City to create a refracting field, the tuning fork will send out a pulse that will bounce off of the wave, split apart and collide with itself over and over, amplifying it into a higher frequency on the Earth 2 spectrum. When that pulse hits anyone from Earth Two, it will disrupt their nervous system, knocking them unconscious.

Wells designs special headphones to protect himself and his daughter from this pulse.

Harry Wells makes use of a 75 KTSB 40,000 watt reverberating sound amplifier, designed to single out the operating frequency of every single Earth Two being on Earth One, which, when contained and magnified by The Flash creating a sound pressure wall around Central City, will render all of the aforementioned Earth Two beings without special ear protection conscious.

Cisco creates a special cell for Black Siren in The Pipeline, using double-panned sound-proof glass.

Dialogue Triumphs

Iris (opening voice over):  Some people are calling it "the met apocalypse" - the days when Central City was overrun by an army with powers beyond imagination. But in these dark times, we must never forget our own strength. Our own power to fight back. That it is only in the blackest of nights that we can truly see the light and know for sure that we are not alone. We are never, ever alone.

Dr. Tina McGee: There may be one more possibility. A few months ago, I saw Harrison Wells running out of my facility. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm certain it was him. Is there any way he could have anything to do with this?
(Enter Harry Wells, standing in the doorway with a coffee mug.  Dr. McGee's jaw drops.)
Harry: A few months ago? Sure. Now? No.
Barry: Yeah, there are a FEW more things that we could catch you up on, Dr. McGee...

Wally: The Flash can't be everywhere at once! I have to do what I can to help! I have to show him I was worth being saved!
Joe: Wally... you ARE worth it.
Wally: Really? Am I? Because last time I checked, I'm the guy who avoided his dying mother for weeks.  I'm the guy who shamed a bunch of other guys and illegally took their cars from them.  I'm the guy who caused The Flash to lose his powers and start this whole damn Metapocalypse in the first place!
Joe: Wally...
Wally: Last time I checked... I have a whole lot to make up for. And that's what I intend to do.

(Barry enters his lab. He finds Zoom looking over Barry's timeline his mother's murder.)
Zoom: You know, I never saw the crime photos of my mother's murder? Well, I guess I didn't need to. I got a ring-side seat while you got whisked away. Too delicate, I suppose.
(Barry just stares at him.)
Zoom: Not just a hologram after all, are you Flash? (He meets Barry's gaze) Interesting.
Barry: I know you didn't call me up here just to banter. Let's finish this. Right now.
Zoom: Actually, I did. I called you up here to tell you you can't keep running from one meta to the next. Around and around. Like a dog chasing its tail.
Barry: I'll do whatever it takes to stop you.
Zoom: If only that were good enough. 'Cause here's the thing - I know you. I know you. I know what's holding you back. You and me? We're really just the same person.
Barry: (scoffs) Yeah, you keep saying that, but that's not going to make it true.
Zoom: You'll see. We are. Same tragic background. Same reason for running. Same desire to be the fastest - to be the best. The difference? You think your anger is dirty somehow.You want to be seen as pure. The hero. Doesn't it get exhausting? (frantically) Doesn't it get exhausting, Barry?! It was exhausting playing Jay, believe me!
Barry: I'm not pretending.
(In the background, a seismic rumble is heard.  Barry looks across the skyline to see another building starting to collapse.)
Zoom: Now if it were me, I'd let that building tumble without a second thought. But you... you'll never let that happen, will you? That's why I'm going to beat you, Barry. Because you always have to be the hero. And while you're playing the good little boy... I'll be busy winning.

Cisco: Birds! Why? It's like a Hitchcock movie in my head!

(As Caitlin has a panic attack, thinking she saw Zoom.)
Caitlin: I see him everywhere!
Cisco: Look. You literally just escaped the psychopath who kidnapped you, all right? So I think it's normal for you to have a severe reaction like this.
Caitlin: This is so much worse than that! I-I'm afraid all the time. I don't think I can ever move forward
Cisco: You will...
Caitlin: When?! Jay took everything from me! My confidence My trust! My sanity. I don't think I'll ever be whole again!

Cisco: (hugging her) Of course you will. I promise.

(Wally is sitting his his car, listening to a police scanner. Suddenly, The Flash runs up.)
The Flash: Stealing is illegal, you know?
(Wally looks at the scanner and chuckles, as if trying to think of an excuse.)
The Flash: Detective West tells me that you've been... fighting Zoom's army on your own?
Wally: Yeah. I want to help.
The Flash: I admire what you're trying to do. But the best way to help is to just leave this to the police.
Wally: Like you did?
The Flash: I do have powers, Wally. It is a little different. This isn't your fight. It's mine.
Wally:  No, it's all of ours. This is my city now too, now. And it's up to all of us to protect it.

(As Black Siren gloats over a deafened Flash, a car comes out of nowhere and hits her, sending her flying.  Wally West opens the passenger door and waves to The Flash.)
Get in!
(The Flash crawls into the car as Wally grins, guns the engine, and drives off into the night.)
Wally: Thought you might need a lift.
The Flash (still gasping) Yeah... thanks...
(The Flash exits the car, leaving Wally alone to grin and shake his head.)
Wally: You're welcome.

Joe: (To Cisco) This is where I play stupid and you explain science.


Captain Singh is injured in the battle with Zoom's minions.

Caitlin makes her way back to STAR Labs, seemingly let go by Zoom. She's dehydrated, malnourished and in shock but otherwise fine.

Since returning from The Speed Force, Barry is overly optimistic and seems to think he's invincible, talking about how the universe is with them.

Cisco has several vibe visions of birds flying into glass windows and dying. Specifically, canaries.

Dr. Tina McGee figured out that Barry Allen is The Flash through simple observation of the fact that Barry seemed to be far too well informed regarding everything going on in her labs that The Flash was privy to but Barry Allen shouldn't have been.

Dr. McGee makes reference to seeing Harrison Wells rob her lab back in 204.

Dr. McGee learns of the existence of Earth Two and its version of Harrison Wells.

Jesse asks Caitlin to run tests on her to see if she's become a metahuman after being hit by the dark matter wave.

Caitlin is having PTSD flashes of Zoom.

Barry claims the Speed Force changed him and took away his fear.

Barry refers to the events of 217 and Pied Piper using his technology to take down a Time Wraith.

Black Siren's sonic powers seem to be me more powerful than Black Canary's.  She also seems to be a more accomplished fighter than Earth One Laurel Lance.

Black Siren is aware of the death of Black Canary.

Wally West's licence plate is 6EG-488.

Cisco is right-handed. His Earth Two counterpart, Reverb, was apparently left-handed.

All dopplegangers are mirror images of themselves, at least in terms of which hand is dominant, according to Black Siren.

In a moment of duress, Cisco is able to throw a focused sonic blast at Black Siren, which sends her flying by accident.

For some reason, Jesse Wells is still effected by the pulse wave despite her ear protections, experiencing great physical pain. Harry Wells takes off his protectors and places them over her protectors, saving her but causing him to be knocked unconscious.

Barry, Cisco and Caitlin elect not to tell Sara Lance and Quentin Lance about Black Siren, based on Barry's own bad experiences interacting with his alternate-earth loved ones in 213.  She and several other metahumans are being contained in STAR Labs Pipeline. The rest are being kept at Iron Heights.

Captain Singh survived his injuries. He is aware that the captured metahumans are being kept someplace besides Iron Heights, but trusts Joe when he says he doesn't want to know where.

Captain Singh is unaware of the existence of Earth Two.

Joe West wants his grandchildren to call him Poppa - not Gramps.

A romance seems to be blooming between Tina McGee and Henry Allen.

The same can be said about Wally West and Jesse Wells.

Wally seems to figure out that Barry is The Flash.

In the final scene, Zoom seems to kill Henry Allen in the same spot where his wife died, in Barry's childhood home.

Untelevised Adventures

We don't see the the opening wave of Zoom's metahuman army attacking Central City, with the episode opening in media res in the middle of an all-out battle between the CCPD and Zoom's followers.

We don't see Barry saving the people at the second building collapse.

The Fridge Factor

For all the effort put into making Black Siren seem menacing, she's really not.

The Boomerang Factor

Barry's competence is severely nerfed in order to make Black Siren seem threatening.

The Bottom Line

A bit of a stumble as this season runs for the finish line, to use a running metaphor.

The script fails to properly build on the drama that could have been caused by Team Flash confronting an evil version of a fallen friend and Black Siren's presence is a distraction from the much bigger (yet oddly quieter - no pun intended) menace posed by an army of hundreds of evil metahumans. Had there been some attempt at showing Black Siren's background or allowing the whole team a chance to react to her, it might have worked. That failure, coupled with Katie Cassidy's muted performance, makes the Black Siren subplot largely pointless.

And yet, the rest of the episode has moments that work so well you can ignore how pointless the scenes with Laurel are.  Cisco trying to help Caitlin confront her PTSD. The brief flirtation between Henry Allen and Tina McGee. Every moment of Wally proving that he is his father's son and trying to be a hero? These moments make the episode into something tolerable, if not quite good.