Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 4 - Elongated Journey Into Night

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




Plot

The search for the rest of the twelve new metahumans leads Barry to an encounter with an old nemesis - a dirty cop turned private eye named Ralph Dibny. Meanwhile, Cisco is horrified to discover that Gypsy's father has come from Earth 19 to meet him and goes somewhere past horrified when Breacher decides to hunt him for sport.


Influences

The film Predator (Cisco being hunted by Breacher and deciding to take the fight to him rather than evading him) and The Flash comics of John Broome (character of Elongated Man).


Goofs

Ralph Dibny was identified as one of the people killed by The STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion in 107. We find out in this episode that Ralph is alive and well. (Unlikely as it is, there could be two men named Ralph Dibny in Central City)

You'd expect the thugs dangling Ralph upside over the roof-ledge to have some kind of reaction to his legs stretching as Ralph slowly starts to sink down the side of the building. Like, say, letting go of his legs in shock?


Performances


While not given much to do but stand around and look menacing, Danny Trejo does that better than anyone and proves an effective presence as Breacher.

Hartley Sawyer instantly engages the audience with his performance as Ralph Dibny.


Artistry


Tom Cavanagh nails it again with his direction.

The script for this episode is witty and full of a lot of good lines. It also does a good job of balancing the various subplots.

The SFX work for Barry getting his fist stuck in Ralph Dibny's face is well executed.

While the slow-motion effects for when Barry uses his powers are par for the course at this point, the scene in which Barry stops Mayor Bellows' thugs is one of the better ones in recent memory.


Flash Facts


This episode is the first of Season Four to feature a new opening narration by Barry.

This episode was direct by Harry Wells actor Tom Cavanagh.

The episode title is a pun on the Eugene O'Neil play Long Day's Journey Into Night. Considered the best of O'Neil's plays, it won The Tony Award and The Pulitzer Prize. As the title suggests, the play focuses upon one long day in the life of the dysfunctional Tyrone family, whom O'Neil modeled upon is own parents and brother.

Breacher is a new character unique to the DCTVU. He is played by veteran tough-guy actor Danny Trejo, who is perhaps most famous for playing the title role in the Machete films. 

When Cisco leaves with Breacher, Harry tells him to "have fun storming the castle". This is a reference to a line from the movie The Princess Bride.

Ralph Dibny is known to comics fans the world over as The World Famous Elongated Man. He first appeared in The Flash #112 (May 1960) and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, with input from editor Julius Schwartz. A gangly geek and class-clown as a child, young Ralph came to admire contortionists, who used their own lengthy bodies to great advantage. Ralph came to wonder if there was some x-factor that made body-benders the way they are. His research led to the discovery that many contortionists drank the same obscure brand of fruit cola - Gingold. Using his chemistry skills, Ralph made an elixir from the essence of the gingo fruit plant, which gave him the power to stretch his limbs to superhuman lengths!

Ralph is notable as a superhero in several respects. He was the first superhero to reveal his identity to the public, following the events of The Flash #115. He was also the first superhero to marry his love interest, though Sue Dearborn's first appearance in the comics came on her and Ralph's honeymoon in The Flash #119! Finally, Ralph's powers originally broke the post-Crisis rules regarding the metagene as Ralph was shown to have a metagene but still needed to take his Gingold elixir to use his powers. This was eventually explained by writer Mark Waid (apparently using material from the website Dibny Dirty) by suggesting that Ralph's stretching powers were an unintended side-effect of Ralph's real metahuman power - an immunity to the allergic effects of gingo fruit!

The DCTVU version of Ralph Dibny is a private investigator and was apparently a CCPD cop before being kicked off the force. As a young CSI, Barry Allen proved that Dibny faked evidence and planted a murder weapon in order to secure a conviction. The comic-book version of Ralph Dibny was never a cop and was an honest, fair-minded man who would never fake evidence to convict an innocent man for the sake of his own glory.

Unlike his comic-book counterpart, who was known for looking tall, skinny and goofy, Iris describes Ralph as "handsome in a square-jawed, Oliver Queen sort of way."

Much like at the start of this episode, Ralph and Barry did start off with an antagonistic relationship in the comics, though they quickly became fast friends. In The Flash #112, Barry became jealous of the attention that Elongated Man - a new superhero in Central City - was getting. When he discovered Elongated Man at the scene of a crime, he jumped to conclusions and began trying to fight him. Ralph revealed his secret identity and the source of his powers to The Flash, saying that he was a detective in his secret identity and that he had been follow the criminals. The two teamed up to bring the criminals to justice and were both named Central City's "Man Of The Year".

The client Ralph is speaking to when we first see him is named Mrs. Broome. This is a nod to John Broome - the comic writer who created Ralph Dibny.

Ralph drops his famous catchphrase from the comics - "I smell a mystery" - when Joe and Barry ask him if he was on the 405 bus four weeks earlier and he asks why they need to know. In the comics, whenever Ralph uncovered a clue or a case, he would wiggle his nose and say "I smell a mystery." At the end of the episode, he says the line again - this time wiggling his nose.

When Barry and Iris are searching Ralph's office, Barry opens Ralph's desk drawer. In addition to several half-eaten donuts, the drawer contains a bottle of something called Gingold, the label of which boasts "Pure Gingo Extract". This is a nod to the soda and the fruit that were originally the source of Ralph's stretching powers in the comics.

There is another nod to the original source of Ralph's powers in the comics when, in response to Caitlin asking him to drink the solution she made to stabilize his body, Ralph says that he does not just drink stuff without knowing what it is.

Breacher says that the creatures who destroyed his planet were known as The Plastoids. While creatures called Plastoids do exist in the DC Comics Universe, they are not aliens - they were the robotic minions of a villain called The Molder, who fought Batman and Plastic Man in Brave And The Bold #76 (February 1968). Plastoid is also the name of a robot built to kill Daredevil in the Marvel Comics universe. Plastoid is also the name of the substance used to make Stormtrooper armor in the Star Wars Universe.

Gypsy's first name is revealed to be Cynthia. In the original comics, Gypsy's full name was Cynthia Reynolds.

When Ralph asks Barry for a superhero code name, Barry suggests Plastic Man. Ralph dismisses this as the dumbest name he's ever heard. In the comics, Plastic Man is another superhero who is frequently compared to Ralph Dibny, though Plastic Man is a pure metamorph (i.e. shape-changer) whereas Ralph only has the power of elasticity. The effective difference is like that between a wad of Play-Doh and a Stretch Armstrong figure.


Technobabble

Harry says that the dark matter has polymerized every cell of Ralph Dibny's body, basically elasticizing. He further says that they have formed unbreakable bonds at the atomic level, so they can stretch forever, much like Silly Putty.

Lorazepam is a medication used to treat sleep and anxiety disorders. Caitlin says it is amazing what 50 milliliters of it converted into an aerosol form can do after she uses it to sedate Ralph Dibny.

Caitlin says she thinks she can stabilize Ralph's condition given a DNA sample from before he was exposed to dark matter.

Caitlin introduces a stabilizing enzyme that resets Ralph's body to its default shape through vulcanization. Or, in plain English, his body restored itself through a process like muscle memory. This allows Ralph to reshape his body to before he developed a beer gut and give himself abs.

The serum Caitlin gives Ralph is made up of sulfur, zinc oxide and steric acid and cross-links Ralph's polymerized cells.

Cisco uses an anti-vibrational force-field with an oscillating power grid to trap Breacher. It's the same design he used to hold The Reverse Flash.


Dialogue Triumphs

Barry Allen: (voice-over) My name is Barry Allen and I am The Fastest Man Alive. To the outside world, I'm an ordinary forensic scientist. But secretly, with the help of my friends at STAR Labs, I fight crime and find other metahumans like me. But I became lost in time. It took everything in my friends' power to bring me back, and in doing so our world was opened up to new threats. And I am the only one fast enough to stop them. I am... The Flash!

(Barry looks at Joe and smiles.)
Joe: What?!
Barry: I don't know! This morning. You're like... glowing.
Joe: (defensively) What do you mean "glowing"?
Barry: I just mean, like, you've got like... a warmth about you. Like a Lite-Brite.
Joe: (annoyed) There's no warmth, no glow and I ain't no damn Lite-Brite. You're wasting time. STAR Labs.
Barry: Glowing and irritable.

(Brecher is introduced to Harry.)
Breacher: You look like someone I once sent my daughter to kill.
Harry: (deadpan) I get that a lot.

Harry: What is wrong with you?
Cisco: Have you seen his face?! That guy has killed people with that face! I'm not even joking! Gypsy said that literally happened!
Harry:  You want his approval?
Cisco: Yes, I want his approval! He's my girlfriend's father!
Harry: Of course. Cisco. Listen. You're a fine, upstanding, smart, well-groomed young man! Any father would be happy to have you date his daughter, except me. Can't date my daughter. Allright? Can't date Jesse. Jesse is off limits. 
Cisco: Went for the complement. Did not stick the landing.

Ralph: I promised there wasn't a single case I couldn't crack. And a promise made is a promise kept.
(Ralph spins around dramatically in his chair and throws an envelope down on his desk.)
Ralph: Dibny detects... your husband didn't die in that plane crash, Mrs. Broome.
Mrs. Broome: He didn't? Then where is he?
Ralph: Well, that brings us to the difficult part. Turns out he got remarried and moved to Minnesota. Has two kids now. (chuckles before turning thoughtful) Twins... in The Twin Cities.
(Mrs. Broome looks at the pictures in the envelope and starts crying.)
Ralph: Oh, oh, oh. Hey, hey hey.
(Ralph gets up and comes to stand behind Mrs. Broome.)
Ralph: No, no, no, no, no. Don't. Don't cry for that jerk. He doesn't deserve it! The sun still shines! The birds, they still chirp! (sweetly) Chirp!  Chirp!
(Ralph starts rubbing Mrs. Broome's shoulders comfortingly as he speaks.)
Ralph: Mrs. Broome, you are a very attractive woman. And you will find someone else. Someone who will hold you. Someone who will... wipe away those tears. (pauses) Do you like shrimp?
(Cut to the hallway, where Barry and Joe have just walked up. We here an audible slap as Ralph yells in pain. Mrs. Broome walks out angrily a moment later, pushing past Barry.)
Barry: Uh-
Joe: This is definitely his place.

(Harry has just explained what happened to Ralph's body because of The Dark Matter.)
Caitlin:
Like Silly Putty?
Harry: Like Silly Putty.
Ralph: (nervously) I'm Silly Putty?
Caitlin and Barry: No.
(Ralph looks to Harry.)
Harry: Kinda.
Ralph: (angrily) I'm Silly Putty?!

(Breacher announces his intention to hunt Cisco.)
Cisco: Do you do this with all her boyfriends?
Breacher: I hunted her last one, yes.
Cisco: Where is he now?
Breacher: I don't know.
Cisco: (hopeful) He got away?
Breacher: I don't know where you go when you die.

Barry: What's your business with Mayor Bellows?
Ralph: Nothing. Just calling to tell him what a swell job I think he's doing.
Barry: 15 times?!
Ralph: (knowingly) 12 of those were butt-dials.

Ralph: I'm gonna stay here. Stretch my legs.

(Caitlin enters the lab where Ralph's sick bed is located.)
Ralph: I farted. I'm not sure everything is still where it's supposed to be down there.
Caitlin: Drink this.
Ralph: What is it? I don't just drink stuff. (flirtatiously) My body is a temple.
Caitlin: Clearly. Drink it.
Ralph:  I want to know what it is.
Caitlin: It's 17% alcohol.
Ralph: (grabbing the beaker) You should have led with that, sister!

(Ralph has just handed Mayor Bellows the pictures he has of him cheating on his wife. Bellows holds up a briefcase full of money which Ralph regards for a moment before shaking his head.)
Ralph: Keep the money.
Mayor Bellows: What?
Ralph: I take it back.
Mayor Bellows: Take it back?
Ralph: I take my blackmail back.
Mayor Bellows: Is this some kind of trick?!
Ralph: I'm not dirty. And I don't want any part of this anymore. (pauses) And don't you forget, I can tie you to that bomb that you had your goons plant in my office. So if you don't walk away, I will go to the cops.
Mayor Bellows: That's still blackmail.
Ralph:No, it's not!
Mayor Bellows: Yes, it is. You're telling me that if I don't give you this money, you won't go to the cops.
Ralph: Okay! Fine! I am blackmailing you into not being blackmailed.


Continuity


Breacher is a metahuman from Earth 19 with the same powers as Gypsy and Vibe. He is also Gypsy's father.

Mayor Anthony Bellows was formerly a police officer in the CCPD and is running for reelection.  He was last seen in 117.

Barry took down his chart regarding his mother's case - partly because it was solved and partly because he needed space to start charting the dozen metahumans created when he exited The Speed Force.

The driver of the bus died at some point in the last three weeks, drowned in his own bathtub.

Cisco tells Breacher that Barry is his personal assistant in a bid to impress him. He does tell the truth about Joe West being a cop and Breacher says that he can respect Joe as a fellow lawman.

Breacher refers to the events of 311 and Gypsy being sent to kill HR Wells.

The bus driver had an IOU for $5 written on the business card of Ralph Dibny - Private Investigator in his wallet.

The date Barry escaped The Speed Force is confirmed as 10/10/17.

Both Iris and Caitlin think Oliver Queen is hot.

The bus hit by the Dark Matter wave was Bus 405.

Barry exited The Speed Force at around noon.

Ralph Dibny has not spoken to Joe West or Barry Allen in five years.

For the first time in four years of dealing with the strange as a cop fighting metahumans, Joe West finally throws up at the sight of Ralph Dibny's face after sneezing and stretching his face.

Breacher's pet name for Gypsy is "petal".

Breacher makes reference to the fact that Earth 19 has no coffee due to the coffee bean plants being destroyed during an invasion by "the worst, most evil creatures in the multiverse." He says he has sworn never to drink coffee again. He does, however, drink tea.

Breacher names Marla The Dark Lord, Soolunga of Sheerdra and The Sand People of Scar as the worst breach criminals he has hunted across reality.

Barry confirms that he was the reason Ralph Dibny was kicked out of the CCPD as it was Barry's examining the evidence Dibny used to secure a murder conviction that proved it was fake.

Barry is able to phase himself and Iris through the floor of Dibny's office just before a bomb goes off.

Breacher has a knife which he took from a hunter-killer from Earth 48 which is capable of cutting through Cisco's force-field.

Breacher mistakes Ralph Dibny for a Plastoid - an alien race responsible for nearly destroying Earth 19.

Breacher declares that while he hates Cisco, he does respect him as a warrior and considers him worthy of his daughter in spite of that fact.

Gypsy's real first name is Cynthia.

Breacher's real first name is Josh.

Joe tells the rest of Team Flash the news about Cecilia being pregnant.

Caitlin finds a message scrawled on her apartment door - "We Miss You. Come Back Soon."

Ralph agrees to let Barry train him in using his powers.

Ralph reveals that a man named DeVoe hired him over the phone to investigate Mayor Bellows. This causes Barry to remember his talk with Abra Kadrabra in 318 and his talk with Savitar in 323 regarding an enemy named DeVoe who Barry hadn't met yet.


The Fridge Factor


Iris' freaking out over a stretched leg in the hallway at STAR Labs really seems insulting given everything she's encountered before that is far more disturbing.


The Boomerang Factor


Circumstances are manipulated so that neither Cisco nor Barry can save Joe from Mayor Bellows without Ralph helping so that Ralph can be given a "big damn hero" moment.


The Bottom Line


It's contrived at times. It's silly at others. It's the best episode so-far this season. Probably one of the ten strongest episodes of The Flash ever.


Monday, October 30, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 4 - The Faithful

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




Plot

Kara investigates a mysterious new religion which worships Supergirl and believes those saved by her to be a chosen elite. At the same time, Samantha begins to feel that she has failed as a mother putting her job before her daughter.


Influences

Superman: The Power Within
by Roger Stern.


Goofs

Again, Ruby is written as acting far younger than her character apparently is.

Just how DID that follower of The Cult of Rao know Ruby's name?

Granting it is in a auditorium full of people clapping, Alex is awfully cavalier about telling Kara that the girls in Supergirl costumes performing a dance routine are inspired by her, not worshiping her.

The re-orchestration of the song Pure Imagination is painfully bad.

The closing montage, while artfully shot, should be Exhibit A in the case against using Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in any montage ever again.


Performances


Melissa Benoist does a good job of capturing Kara's horror to being worshiped.

Chad Lowe does a good job playing Thomas Coville with just the right amount of sincerity and a creepy edge.


Super Trivia


While cults involving Kryptonians are not uncommon in the DC Comics Universe, the main inspiration for this episode seems to be the Roger Stern story The Power Within which focused on Superman dealing with a cult that started worshiping him and a counter-cult that was focused on destroying his worshipers!

Superman once had to deal with a cult that worshiped him in the Superman/Batman storyline Worship. Superman had to act to stop the cult when they began to practice human sacrifice to win his favor.

Following The Death of Superman, cultists praying for Superman's resurrection began to congregate at Superman's memorial. When four heroes emerged - each apparently continuing Superman's legacy - a religious schism was formed between the cultists who argued over which of the four was the true Superman reborn.

The death of Conner Kent - the clone of Superman created following his death, who became known as Superboy - prompted the creation of a Cult of Conner which combined Kryptonian theology with a resurrection myth that sought to bring the dead back to life. This occurred in the mini-series 52.

The symbol on the pamphlet handed out by the cult is the Kryptonian symbol for Rao. Depending upon which comics one goes by, Rao is the primary god of the Kryptonian pantheon or the sole God of Krypton. Rao may also be the Kryptonian word for God. In either case, Rao is the god of life and light and the red star Krypton orbits is named Rao as well.

When asked if Supergirl remembers saving a certain girl, she responds that she remembers every person that she saved. In the comics, Supergirl having total recall or an eidetic memory, is one of the classic powers Kryptonians have when under a yellow sun.


Technobabble


A betahedron is like the omegahedron that powered Fort Rozz, only smaller.

On Krypton, betahedrons were used to power probes that were sent into space by Kryptonian scientists that contained Kryptonian artifacts. These artifacts were embedded with information on the history and religion of Krypton, so that other worlds could learn of Krypton and their culture. Winn compares this to The Voyager Probes launched by NASA.

Betahedrons have unique energy signatures that can be tracked.


Dialogue Triumphs

(As a young woman named Olivia tells her story of how Supergirl saved her life.)
James: Do you remember saving her?
Kara: (clearly broken up) I... I remember all of them.

(Samantha is crying about blowing off Ruby to focus on a merger.)
Samantha: I just feel like the worst mother.
(Lena smiles softly.)
Samantha:Why are you smiling?
Lena: Because I actually had the worst mother. Objectively speaking. And I find your self-appraisal a little funny.


Dialogue Disasters


Alex: (looking at a canister in the Kryptonian probe) They put Kryptonian soil samples on the probe. It - it's laced with Kryptonite!
J'onn: (yelling) Get it away from her!


Continuity


The opening scene depicts the plane crash in 101 which spurred Kara into using her powers to save people for the first time, from the perspective of a man named Thomas Coville.

Ruby plays soccer.

L-Corp is merging with a business called JQB.

Sam is the new CFO of L-Corp.

Kara remembers every person she saved.

Thomas Coville is 44 years old and a native of National City. He was a lawyer, but was disbarred after a number of misdemeanor convictions for public drinking and disorderly conduct following his discovery that his wife was cheating on him with her physical trainer and had filed for divorce.

The flight which Kara saved in 101 was Flight #237.

Lena was once propositioned by a world leader who asked if she was baptized, saying he only slept with good Catholic girls.

Ruby's father is no longer in the picture.

Ruby is taking French.

Thomas Coville recognized Kara as Supergirl based on how her eyes looked shortly after saving the plane he was on.

Coville somehow acquired a Kryptonian artifact that had the holy books of Rao stored in them.

Kara refers to the Fort Rozz omegahedron from 120.

Alex decides she really wants a daughter and can't stay with Maggie if she can't be a mother.

M'yrnn J'onzz has a cameo, praying with his son.

The episode ends with Samantha having a vision of herself covered with odd symbols and a woman in a black cloak telling her she will reign. This happens 22 hours after Alex buries the betahedron, which lands close to some underground craft and begins powering it, causing some thing in a tube in the pod to awaken.


The Fridge Factor


Alex, of all people, should not need to be told that she should get Kryptonite as far away as possible from Kara.


The Bottom Line


There's a great story to be told about the dangers of hero worship and organized religion. The Faithful is not it. The Faithful is not even in the same ballpark as it. The only thing that makes this episode work as well as it does is the performances of the cast. Even then, the script seems preachy regarding its points on the danger of faith being corrupted then tries to pay lip-service to religion with a final scene that shows most of the cast praying.

Detective Comics #967 - A Review

Tim Drake has freed himself from the inter-spatial prison of Mr. Oz. The bad news is that Tim's counterpart from a dark future where he becomes Batman has also escaped into the modern era and he's determined to avert his future by killing the woman responsible for making him become Batman... Kate Kane!

Now, all of the Knights - Tim's name for Batman's team that he's amazed nobody else thought of using before - must stand against a Batman armed with all of Tim Drake's intelligence, technology from twenty years in the future and no qualms about killing.


There's little I can say about this issue I did not already say about the previous chapters of A Lonely Place Of Living. Suffice it to say that James Tynion IV has outdone himself on the script for this story and any fans of the Titans Tomorrow arc from Geoff Johns' Teen Titans will want to check this out. The artwork equals the story in intensity and the only reason not to read this comic if you're any kind of Batman fan is if you're waiting for the trade to get it all in one glorious big gulp.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Batgirl 16 - A Review

Then, Robin and Batgirl teamed up to investigate Mad Hatter's turning to nanotech drug dealing. They discovered that Ainsley -  Barbara Gordon's one friend since moving to Gotham City (apart from Robin, of course) - was helping The Hatter and using Barbara's coding skills to do it!

Now, a new villain called The Red Queen has stolen The Mad Hatter's technology and is it using it to strike against everyone who ever hurt Ainsley... including Nightwing and Batgirl! Barbara thought her old friend had reformed, but now she isn't so sure...


The most miraculous thing about the current Batgirl arc is how well Hope Larson has balanced the flashbacks and the story set in the present. Both stories are honestly surprising and well-paced as far as mysteries go. Larson also has a great grasp of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon's personalities at both points in time and the interaction between them is a joy to read.

Larson's script is well matched by the art team. Chris Wildgoose is phenomenal and easily the best artist to work on this series since Daniel Sampere. Both inkers - Messrs. Marzan and Owens do a fantastic job of shading the artwork without blanketing the page in blackness. The colors of Mat Lopes provide the perfect finishes.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. A must read for all Bat-Fans!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 3 - Next Of Kin

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




Plot

Determined to devote his life towards his new son, Oliver asks John to take over as The Green Arrow, unaware that John is suffering from nerve damage that leaves him unable to draw a gun reliably much less fire a bow! As Oliver seeks help from an unlikely source in connecting with William, the rest of Team Arrow must contend with a rogue convert ops team and the deadly weapon they've stolen from Kord Industries.


Influence

The novels of Tom Clancy (plot based around a covert ops team going rogue) and the Green Arrow comics of Benjamin Percy (Oliver tries to balance work and parenthood.)


Performances

With every passing episode, Juliana Harkavy proves herself the Black Canary this series deserves and has needed since Caity Lotz' departure in Season Two. She captures the tough-as-nails essence of Dinah Drake from the comics and her chemistry with David Ramsey continues to be one of the best aspects of the show.

Talking of chemistry, Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards continue to be adorable as Oliver and Felicity.

The episode MVP, however, has got to be David Ramsey. He's often had a thankless job playing John Diggle but episodes like this one allow him the chance to show why he's been an essential part of Team Arrow since the series began.


Artistry

The action sequence with John Diggle fighting Onyx Adams in the car is a fantastic one, from the camera-work to the blocking of the fight.


Trivia

The episode opens with a new introductory voice-over by Oliver Queen, reflecting his retirement as Green Arrow.

We see Dinah using her sonic scream to direct and cushion the landing of a falling John Diggle. In the recent Batgirl And The Birds of Prey comics, Black Canary was shown using her sonic scream to propel herself upward, creating a degree of limited flight, in a similar manner.

Past stories have also shown Black Canary having the fine control to obliterate an ivory billiard ball into powder without hurting the hand of the person holding it. Given that, her using the Canary Cry to disperse a toxic gas cloud as she does in this episode is potentially possible.

The Arrow stinger at the start of the episode no longer has the symbol for Spartan among the symbols for Black Canary, Wild Dog, Mister Terrific, Overwatch and Green Arrow.

Once again, mention is made of Kord Industries. In the comics, Kord Industries is owned by industrialist/inventor Ted Kord, a.k.a. the second Blue Beetle.

The terrible song the Kord Industries driver is listening to is Children of Aquarius by Marcus.

Onyx Adams first appeared in Detective Comics #546 (January 1985) and was created by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome Moore. A former member of The League of Assassins who abandoned her life of murder for a life of peaceful contemplation, she joined the order of Buddhist monks who ran the ashram where Oliver Queen lived for a time following his retiring from the world after mistakenly killing a young man. She was sent from the ashram to find Green Arrow and secure his help in defeating a renegade monk named Lars, who sought an ancient artifact of great power.

Onyx Adams would appear sporadically in other comics following her adventure with Green Arrow. She appeared as part of a team of female superheroes lead by Wonder Woman to fight Circe and her followers. She would later be recruited by Batman to serve as a bodyguard for one of his agents - a vigilante named Orpheus who had assumed the role of a crime-boss in Gotham City. Onyx would later take over Orpheus' gang herself and turn them into a peace-keeping force. She also served as one of Oracle's agents in the Birds of Prey.

The DCTVU version of Onyx Adams is a CIA agent who led a black-ops squadron working undercover in Syria. They disappeared in 2015 with $100 million in Syria government gold.

The CIA dossier on Onyx Adams which Felicity pulls up lists her as being 5'8 and 140 pounds. She's single and has an IQ of 120. She's described as being an art history enthusiast whose favorite style is surrealism and her favorite artist is Rene Magritte. It says that she holds a black belt in multiple Martial Arts but specializes in Dambe - a form of boxing developed by the Hausa people of west Africa. A trained gymnast, she is also a master of disguise and is specially trained in stealth and spy-craft.

At one point, Oliver makes William a  Monte Cristo sandwich using waffles instead of bread. This is a nod to Oliver's enthusiastic if unorthodox cooking skills in the comics, where Oliver is depicted as being the sort of person who likes experimenting in the kitchen but few people enjoy the results of his experiments.


Technobabble

All of the people killed by Onyx at Kord Industries died of broken vertebrea or blunt force trauma. 

Onyx uses a unique flash-bang weapon to blind people. Curtis develops glasses that resist the effect.

Felicity and Curtis build a weapon for John which they dub The Green Monster - a modified crossbow that shoots arrows instead of crossbow bolts. It has a 260 pound draw weight and the arrows exit the gate at 400 feet per second. It has an integrated recoil energy dissipation system, adjustable mount scope, quick detach quivers, a pistol grip, finger guards and a non-slip rubber insert. The Green Monster does not have stabilizers.

Chapter Nine of the Star City charter allows the mayor to convert a city council bill into a city-wide referendum, allowing the people to vote on a measure.


Dialogue Triumphs

Oliver Queen: (voice-over) My name is Oliver Queen. After five years in hell, I returned home with only one goal - to save my city. But I couldn't honor that commitment and honor the promise I made ti the mother of my son. So I asked the best man I know to help. His name is John Diggle and he is The Green Arrow.

(Dinah looks at John with a smirk on her lips.)
John: Maybe in another week I'll get used to that judgmental stare you keep giving me.
Dinah: This isn't judgement. It's amusement.
John: Hmm.
Dinah: (in imitation of John) Sooner or later someone's gonna find out The Green Arrow isn't shooting any arrows.
John: Dinah, I'm not an archer.
Dinah: No. It's not about the arrows, John. It's about the injury. I thought you were going to talk to Oliver?
John: I was. Until he asked me to put this on.
Dinah: Which he never would have done if he knew the truth.
John: Dinah, what do you want from me? The man's under an FBI microscope. He's worried about his son!
Dinah: Imagine how worried he'd be if he knew you were out there compromised.
John: Did you see me tonight? Did I look compromised? Dinah, I have this handled. The tremor's gone
Dinah: (sarcastically) Well, I guess I worried for nothing then.

Felicity: So the man who took down Damien Darhk is bested by arithmetic?
Oliver: It wasn't my strongest subject in school.
Felicity: No? What was? Truancy?
Oliver: (smiling) Charm.
Felicity: (smiling back) Yeah, no doubt.

(John, in The Green Arrow suit, sits in the cab of the delivery truck with the security guard and driver. Terrible music plays as the three men sit in silence.)
Radio: Children of Aquarius, Your dream is my dream.
The Green Arrow: You have horrible taste in music.

John: Every time I've hard to give orders... in the Army? On this team? There was always someone there backing my plays. I'm not used to making the hard calls alone. No one is more disappointed in me than me.
Dinah: Well, next time get it right. Our lives depend on it.

Oliver: This is weird.
John: Being back down here?
Oliver: How many times have you come down here to find me brooding?
John: I'm not brooding, Oliver. I'm thinking.
Oliver: Yeah.
(A long pause passes as the two regard each other.)
John: Okay, maybe I'm brooding a little bit.
Oliver: Well, if you haven't figured it out already, that expression is a much a part of the uniform as the green hood.
John: Every time you were down here brooding it was because you made a mistake. (pauses and sighs) I think you made another one, man.
Oliver: No. Not even close.
John: Who came to you? Rene?
Oliver: I needed to come and ask Felicity a favor. And then of course I saw that very familiar expression. It makes me wonder if maybe I asked too much of you.
John: What do you mean?
Oliver: I gave up being Green Arrow for William. But... you have J.J. You have Lyla. That doesn't exactly seem fair...
John: That's not the issue at all, Oliver. I made my peace with this whole life a long time ago.
Oliver: So what's the problem?
John: I don't know how you did it. You never hesitated to make the call. You were always sure. I'm not.
Oliver: I was never sure! Not one time! I'm very flattered that it looked that way on the outside, John. But on the inside, it was... it was instinct. It was instinct and it was fear.
John: Yeah, but you worked past it.
Oliver: Well, you'll work past it too. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that you won't make mistakes. That you won't lose people along the way. You know... most... most will be strangers, but some.... some won't be. Because John? You're one of the main reasons that The Green Arrow even exists.
John: What are you talking about?
Oliver: The Restons.
John: The bank robbers?
Oliver: The bank robbers, yeah. You were the first person to convince me to look past just the names on my father's list. You helped me discover that The Hood - that persona - he wasn't a hero. You helped me find one. All of this - The Green Arrow, the idea of it - it exists because you had faith in me. Now you've got to have the same kind of faith in yourself. Because if you do, you can be a better leader... you can be a better hero... than I ever was.

(John walks to the end of the shooting range, looking at the tennis balls he shot to the wall.)

Dinah: Nice going. Steady.
John: See? Told you. Tremor's gone.
Dinah: Well, I'm convinced. (smiles) You were wrong about one thing, though.
John: What's that?
(Dinah takes one of the arrows from the wall and offers it to John.)
Dinah: You can make the hard calls on your own just fine.
(Dinah walks off, leaving John to look at the skewered tennis ball with a sense of satisfaction.)

(Felicity opens the gift box Oliver gave her. It contains a key. She looks to him, confused.)
Oliver: It's a key to my apartment.
Felicity: Okay. Umm... won't that be confusing? For William?  I mean, it sure as hell is confusing for me?
Oliver: I know that when I took William in, we agreed that we would keep our distance because... he was going to have a lot to process.
Felicity: He still has a lot to process.
Oliver: Yes he does. Every day... there's a new challenge.
Felicity: I sense a "but" coming. There is a "but" coming, right?
Oliver: But... then I saw you with him. And I became 100% sure that, if you want, his life will be better with you in it. (smiles) Just like mine.
Felicity: Are you sure?  That's what you want?
Oliver: I'm sure.
(Oliver leans forward and kisses Felicity, pulling her into his arms.)


Continuity

Dinah now has such fine control of her powers that she can use her sonic scream to slow the velocity of a falling John Diggle and direct him to a ledge.

Alex Faust, the explosives expert working with Black Siren, is seen for the first time since 601.

William likes his eggs scrambled.

Quentin tries to negotiate a deal with Councilor Pollard (last seen in 515) to try and get some toothless anti-vigilante legislation passed to make Oliver appear tough on Team Arrow. Oliver refuses to go along with the plan.

Felicity's apartment is six blocks from Star City Hall.

Kord Industries invented a military grade nerve gas called ZX.

For the first time, John Diggle freezes up in the heat of battle.

Dinah is still keeping John's secret but only because she fears revealing his injury will hurt the chain of command.

Reme approaches Oliver with his concerns about John, saying Oliver needs to come back because John is in over his head.

Felicity was Nevada's three-time state Mathletics champion. She would probably have made it the fourth year, but Freshmen weren't allowed to compete.

Oliver recruits Felicity as a math tutor for William.

Oliver refers to the events of 106 and how John Diggle was the first person to convince him that he could be a hero. He says there wouldn't be a Green Arrow if it wasn't for John.

Oliver makes Monte Cristo sandwiches using waffles instead of bread.

Dinah's Canary Cry is capable of keeping a gas cloud from spreading.

Team Arrow does not have a team victory dance. According to John, it never will.

Felicity and Curtis build a special crossbow for John that fires arrows instead of bolts.

John's tremor is now gone.

Oliver uses Chapter Nine of the city charter to put Councilor Pollard's anti-vigilante bill to a public vote of the people of Star City, rather than limiting it to a vote on the city council.

Agent Watson of the FBI is shown assembling a board of people around Oliver Queen. It includes pictures of Felicity Smoak, Quentin Lance and Rene Ramirez. It has a picture of Thea Queen, which is marked out with a red X. She ads a picture of John Diggle to it.

William gets an A on his math test.

Oliver gives Felicity a key to his apartment. The two agree to start dating again.

The final scene shows John Diggle meeting with a mysterious man in an alley, purchasing some kind of drug in a syringe from him. We see John's hand shaking as he injects himself, apparently treating his nerve damage.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode in most respects, though it seems a shame to take a cool character from the comics like Onyx Adams and use her name in place of a generic mercenary character. Then again, the series is already thick with ex-League of Assassins members. Still, what sells this episode is the performances of the ensemble cast, particularly Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary and David Ramsey as John Diggle.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 3 - Zari

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




Plot

When Sara receives a distress call from her "good friend" Gary, The Legends move in to help capture a time-traveling assassin. Unfortunately, their efforts to help her target - an outlaw named Zari - only makes the anachronism worse. At the same time, Stein tries to diagnosis Amaya's condition, which now has her summoning animal spirits in her sleep.


Influences

The comic X-Men: Days Of Future Past (a dark future where super-powers are illegal) and the movie The Terminator (idea of a time-traveling assassin, Nate quotes the movie)


Goofs

Sara Lance, Mick Rory and Ray Palmer are all listed on the metahuman registry despite not having superpowers. (Perhaps the registry also includes ordinary humans with extraordinary training or technology or any vigilante/criminal with a code-name regardless of whether or not they have powers?)


Artistry

The fight scene in which Nate, Sara and Ray take down a team of ARGUS agents - much to Mick's annoyance since he doesn't get time to shoot someone - is well-executed.



Trivia Of Tomorrow

The episode title comes from the name of Zari Tomaz - the new Legend introduced in this episode.

Zari Tomaz is a character unique to the DCTVU, though her name is inspired by that of Adrianna Tomaz - the woman who became The Mighty Isis in the post-Crisis DC Comics Universe. She is armed with The Wind Totem, which gives her the power of flight and the ability to control the element of air.

The Mighty Isis was a heroine originally created for the 1970s children's program The Shazam/Isis Hour which also starred the Billy Batson version of Captain Marvel a.k.a. Shazam.

The Mighty Isis was introduced into the DC Comics universe formally during the mini-series 52. Here, she was an Egyptian woman named Adrianna Tomaz (an homage to the original heroine's secret identity of Andrea Thomas) who was rescued by Black Adam. She would befriend him and eventually the two would fall in love, with Black Adam giving her the Amulet of Isis that allowed her to transform in much the same manner that he did.

This episode is the first of the third season to feature a new introduction, delivered by Sara Lance.

Kuasa is a character unique to The DCTVU, who first appeared in the Vixen animated series. The older sister of Mari McCabe and granddaughter of Amaya Jibe, her battle with her sister for control of The Anansi Totem lay up the heart of the first season of the Vixen animated series.

In the second season of Vixen, the sisters were forced to team up when Mari returned to the land of her birth to fight Eshu - the warlord who had destroyed her home village - who was now armed with a magical Fire totem. Kuasa attempted to turn on her sister using the Water totem they had retrieved together, only to be killed by Eshu in the battle which followed. The Water totem gave Kuasa the power to transform her body into pure water and control water around her - a power she retains following her resurrection.

Based on Kuasa's fights with Ray and Sara in this episode, it appears that her water form has enhanced strength and durability as she is able to trade blows with Ray in The ATOM Suit. She is able to beat Sara handily in a fight, due to Sara's attacks not phasing her and her attacks hitting Sara much harder than they seem they should. She may also have some form of enhanced speed (but not on the level of a speedster) as she is able to dodge and block Sara's attacks with little effort and her background does not suggest much in the way of martial training - at least not on par with a member of the League of Assassins.

Gary - the Time Agent who Sara slept with - has his full name revealed in this episode as Gary Green. It's worth noting that comics have a tradition of alliterative names, which started with Clark Kent (Superman) and continued through Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) and all the way up to Jessica Jones in the modern day.

At one point, Jax comments that ARGUS - whom Ray identifies as a covert paramilitary organization - seems to have forgotten how to be covert as they are now driving around in large black military vehicles with their logo stamped on everything. This seems to be a mocking jibe at Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD, which centers upon a similar organization that features prominent branding on all of their vehicles and equipment despite supposedly being a covert organization few people know about.

Zari asks The Legends to help break her brother out of prison. Mick Rory says the words "Prison Break" ponderously before agreeing to help. Dominic Purcell - the actor who plays Mick Rory - is also one of the stars of the show Prison Break.


Technobabble

In The Time Bureau, a Code 99 is apparently the code for either a rogue metahuman attack or a request for back-up. Gary Green issues one when Kuasa kills the two ARGUS guards transporting Zari Tomaz.

Stein describes Amaya's sleepwalking while wall-crawling as "Acute Arachnid Somnambulism."

ARGUS drones are equipped with lasers.

Stein suggests testing Amaya for an overactive hippocampus, latent chromosomal imbalance and temporal dysplasia.

Lyoga Root is a Zambesi plant known for its spiritual healing properties. A powerful hallucinogen, it is used by Zambesi mystics to go on vision quests.

Jannah means 'sanctuary' in Arabic. Literally, it translates as "paradise". In Islamic tradition, it is also the name of the highest level of Heaven but is also used to refer to The Garden of Eden and any sort of symbolic paradise or haven.


Dialogue Triumphs

Sara: (voice-over) How will we be remembered? Will it be for saving the world twice? Nope! We're the team that broke Time. That's right! History has been torn to shreds. Which means it's up to us to put it back together again, piece-by-piece, fixing these so-called anachronisms before we get torn to shreds. So please, don't call us heroes - We're Legends.

Stein: You're not supposed to wake a sleepwalker! Especially when they're stuck to the ceiling!

Sara: The last time I checked, we help people who are in trouble.
Rory: I don't.

(As the team watches a large military vehicle drive past.)
Ray:
 (identifying the logo) That's ARGUS - covert paramilitary organization.
Jax: Yeah, but it seems they've forgotten how to be covert.

Nate: (To Zari) Come with us if you want to live.
Ray: Yeah, I used that one, once.

(Jax, Mick, Sara and Ray enter the bar. Ray is wearing a backwards black ball-cap, an eye-patch and a clearly glued-on soul-patch goatee and crossing his arms in an attempt to look tough.)
Sara: Too much, Ray. Too much.
Ray: What? I look like a just robbed a bank!
Jax: Or a costume store.

Zari: I can't believe it! You guys are time-traveling superheroes?!
Ray: Yeah! We've actually saved the world. Twice. Not that we're counting.
Zari: Really? You saved the world?
Ray: Twice!
Zari: Then why does it still suck?
Jax: Uh- just for the record, dealing with that messed up police-state of yours? That's on our to-do list.

Sara: Nate? How are we doing with that rescue?
Nate: (as Scotty from Star Trek) I'm giving her all she's got, Captain! The ship can't take much more of this!
Gideon: Actually, Dr. Heywood, the engines are still idling.
(Cut to outside The Waverider, where it is revealed the ship is hovering and birds are flying past it. It turns out that the visuals of the ship moving at great speed were part of Nate's hallucination.)
Nate: (intensely) Then why does it feel like my face is peeling off?
Jax: Dude, are you high or something?!
Nate: You have no idea...

Kuasa: So you do have it. But are you capable of using it?
Zari: What are you offering for the totem?
Kuasa: I can give you what you really want, Zari. What you want more than that little trinket. I can give you revenge.

(Rory draws his gun and sets himself between Ray and Kuasa)
Rory: If anyone's gonna kill Haircut, it's me, lady!
Ray: (genuinely touched) Awww. Thanks Mick.
Rory: Pleasure.

Kuasa: (To Amaya) I would kill you, but I'd just be killing myself.


Continuity

The Seattle of 2042 is a police state with an anti-metahuman curfew at night.

Kuasa frees an imprisoned woman in 2042 - later revealed to be Zari Tomaz.

Gary the Time Agent, first referred to in 301 and first seen in 302, is now identified with the full name Gary Green.

Ray Palmer refers to the events of Vixen: Season Two and how he once fought someone with water powers.

Nate quotes the movie The Terminator to Zari, when he says "Come with us y Ray notes that he made the same quote. He did this in 112.

Metahumans were declared illegal by The Metahuman Act of 2021.

This future seems to contradict what we see of The Future in the pilot episode of The Flash, where a newspaper headline from 2024 seemed to depict The Flash still operating openly.

Zari is capable of hacking an ARGUS drone in seconds so it does not recognize her as a threat.

Gideon determines that there is nothing physically wrong with Amaya.

Zari Tomaz's rap sheet includes burglary, larceny, grand larceny, identity theft, trespassing, digital trespassing, metahuman smuggling, conspiracy and multiple religious infractions due to her being a devout Muslim.

Religion is illegal in 2042.

Mick Rory had a regular bar in Seattle, which is still around in 2042, though the decor is greatly changed.

Zari has no idea who Kuasa is but can think of several reasons why people would want her dead.

Zari agrees to help The Legends if they help break her brother out of an ARGUS holding facility

Ray has Gideon synthesize Lyoga Root extract so that Amaya can go on a spirit quest to find out what is wrong with her powers. He tests the extract on himself first.

Jax elects to free all the prisoners in the ARGUS Black Site after discovering that the metahumans are being tortured as part of some kind of experiment.

Zari lied about needing to rescue her brother. In truth, she needed to recover a necklace that belonged to him.

The necklace is revealed to be The Wind Totem, counterpart to the Fire Totem used by Eshu and the Water Totem used by Kuasa. Zari is able to use it to fly and create focused blasts of compressed air.

Mick's nickname for Nate is "Pretty" or "Prettyboy."

Amaya has a vision of "the world between worlds" and speaks to an ancestral spirit who informs her that her powers are growing stronger because a threat is coming that requires she become more powerful. It also says that she cannot fight this threat alone and must find and protect a girl who is destined to become a totem barer like her. It also advises her to trust her powers and not resist them.

Zari was captured the first time trying to recover the Wind Totem after her brother was killed and ARGUS took it. Ray follows her to a sanctuary where she and her parents were supposed to meet. Zari believes her parents to be dead, killed by ARGUS as well.

The Time Bureau also has access to large Time Ships.

Kuasa offers to help Zari get revenge on ARGUS for destroying her family in exchange for The Wind Totem. Zari rejects her help.

Kuasa has some form of runestone that allows her to teleport.

Ava Sharpe calls The Waverider to tell them that whatever leniency Rip Hunter gave them in the past is over and she intends to banish The Legends to the dawn of time if she sees them again.

Amaya has gotten control of The Anansi Totem again. She confirms that Zari is the "girl" in her vision that her fate is entwined with, whom she must protect.

Zari agrees to join The Legends.

The final scene of the episode, set in Ivy Town 1988, depicts a young Ray Palmer, hiding from some bullies in a sewer pipe and saying hello to some manner of creature.


Location

Seattle - 2042.
Ivy Town - 1988.


The Fridge Factor

Stein and Nate discussing Amaya's condition in front of her like she isn't there and "mansplaining" her own powers to her.


The Bottom Line

A solid introduction for Zari and easily the strongest episode of the show to date. While The Legends still indulge in some tremendously stupid behavior, at least this time it is being done for believable reasons (i.e. Sara butting heads with Ava Sharpe, Jax wanting to stop people being tortured leading to a bigger prison break than planned, Nate wanting to help Amaya out of love, etc.) and the execution of the story is far stronger. More episodes like this in Season Three, please!

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 3 - Luck Be A Lady

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




Plot

A new metahuman dubbed Hazard proves to be bad luck for Team Flash and the rest of Central City. At the same time, Harry Wells returns from Earth Two with a message for Wally from Jesse Quick which leads to a momentous decision.


Influences

Roy Thomas' Infinity Inc. (character of Hazard) and Superman III (the slapstick direction of the chaos around Hazard is very Richard Lester).


Artistry

The sequence of Hazard robbing the bank is amazing, from the slow-motion effects showing the chaos breaking out around her to the musical score.


Flash Facts


This episode takes its title from a song from the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls. Originally performed by Robert Alda, it was sung in the 1955 film adaptation by Marlon Brando and became a standard of Frank Sinatra. Indeed, Frank Sinatra's cover of the song is used during the first scene in which we see Hazard's powers in action.

Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Todd McFarlane, Hazard first appeared in Infinity Inc. #34 (January 1987). Rebecca "Becky" Sharpe was the granddaughter of Steven Sharpe III - a super-villain known as The Gambler, who was a continual foe of The Justice Society of America. She fought against Infinity Inc. - a superhero team founded by children and proteges of the JSA - under the name Hazard, as part of a super-villain group called Injustice Unlimited.

Hazard had the power to manipulate luck and probabilities, making things turn to her advantage or against her enemies. Like her grandfather before her, she was a master of games of chance, even ignoring her powers. Unlike most of her partners in Injustice Unlimited, however, Becky had a strict code against killing, which eventually made her turn on her teammates and turn herself in for her past crimes.

The DCTVU version of Rebecca Sharpe has terrible luck and considers herself jinxed until she gains metahuman powers that make her lucky while causing bad things to happen to the people around her.

Becky's work uniform at her job as a blackjack dealer is a perfect replica of Hazard's costume in the comics.

Cisco quotes Oliver Queen's catch-phrase from the early seasons of Arrow - "You have failed this city!" when Barry is the first to be shot playing laser tag.

It is considered bad luck in some cultures for a groom to see his bride in her wedding dress before the wedding. This fact is mentioned after Barry accidentally walks in on Iris trying on her wedding dress.

The pilot who is said to be bad luck appears to be Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger - the hero of the famous Miracle On The Hudson, where Sully was able to make a successful water-landing of his plane with no casualties after a goose flew into the engine. The 2016 film Sully was based on the incident.

Wally decides to leave Central City to stay with a friend in Blue Valley for a while. In the comics, Blue Valley, Nebraska was Wally West's hometown. It was also the hometown of Courtney "Stargirl" Whitmore.


Technobabble


According to Harry, Atlantean plastic on Earth Two is poorly made.

Break-Up Cubes are a piece of technology used on Earth Two used to end relationships. You record a hologram of yourself, select an appropriate piece of music and once the message is done, a tissue pops out so the person you gave it to can dry their tears. It is, as Caitlin remarks, a really convenient way to break someone's heart.

211 is the CCPD code for a robbery. It's also the code for a robbery in California, in the real world.

Harry says that what Cisco calls juju, he calls quantum entanglement. Quantum particles are connected and, when triggered, they simulate a synchronicity that, to the untrained eye, appears to be luck. Barry guesses that Becky affects the particles around her in a positive way, which causes the connected particles to spin negatively. In other words, she has a good-luck field and when good things happen to her, bad things happen around her.

Cisco detected trace amounts of dark matter on Hazard through the censors on Barry's suit.

Newton's Third Law Of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Harry evokes this when explaining that the more good luck Hazard experiences, the more bad luck she spreads around her.

The hydrogen particle hatch and electron hatch are parts of the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator.

The hydrogen electron collision released a charge that temporarily negated Hazard's quantum field.


Dialogue Triumphs

Wally: I thought Jesse and I were having date night?
Harry: Yeah. That's what you thought.

Wally: What did she say? In the message?
Harry: You know - you heard. You - "you're a great guy." I don't remember.
Wally: Don't you have total recall?
Harry: Yeah. (suddenly) No! No... don't. I did! I don't. (pauses) I did but I don't.

Barry: If we can stop evil time-traveling speedsters from destroying the planet, we can find a wedding venue!

(The Mechanic and The Thinker are watching as Hazard causes the boyfriend who was cheating on her to suffer a series of accidents in the restaurant where he just happened to walk in with his other date as she was eating.)
The Mechanic: I don't understand. Your plan revolves around this dolt?
Boyfriend: (on monitor) Who makes soup so hot?!
(The Mechanic stops the video feed.) 
The Thinker: As lusterless as Rebecca is, she may be the most formidable of them all.
The Mechanic: (impatiently) Then why don't we get her now?
The Thinker: The capricious nature of her powers warrants further observation.
(The Mechanic sighs and unpauses the video feed.)
Boyfriend: (screaming) Are those live lobsters?!

Becky: Listen, CSI guy - my entire life has been one piece of crummy luck after the next.
Barry: Look, we all have ups and downs in life-
Becky: (laughs) Not Becky Sharpe. I have only ever been dealt bad hands. But I knew one day the universe would see it made a mistake, and then I'd have the run of the table. I got on that bus and Lady Luck smiled on me.
Barry: Becky, this isn't some higher power fixing a miscalculation. You have powers. And they're affecting everyone around you, making them feel as awful as you made them feel.
Becky: I'm sorry about that but... maybe it's just their turn? Maybe, for once, everyone else can feel how bad I felt my entire life. Anyway, there is nothing you can do to stop me.
(Barry looks around the room as Becky walks off, noting a waitress just barely stopping herself from spilling a tray of drinks, a coffee pot that is continuing to boil past the safety point and a workman with a nail gun pointing it downward and clicking the trigger in frustration as a mother with a baby carriage walks underneath him.)

(After Harry lets the Particle Accelerator activate, saving the day.)
Cisco: How did you know to do that?
Harry: (shrugs) Lucky guess.

Joe: I don't want anything more than for you to find what you're looking for. But I've... I spent so much time without you in my life... I don't want to lose you.
Wally: (smiling) You'll never lose me, Dad. Plus, I 'm a speedster. You need me, I'll come running.


Dialogue Disasters


The whole of the "Iris wants to get married in a hurry" scene. It's at this point that the humor of the episode crosses the line from decent slapstick into poor farce, with Iris acting wholly out of character and disrupting a funeral in an incredibly tacky display. The worst part though is the final lines, as the choking priest is being led away from the ceremony.

Barry: (weakly) You know, it was a... very nice funeral.
Iris: (angrily) Really, Barry?


Continuity


The Thinker's second subject is Rebecca "Becky" Sharpe.

Becky Sharpe is severely lactose intolerant.

Central City has legalized gambling.

We see Rebecca Sharpe board a bus with three other people on board besides the driver. One of them is Ramsey "Kilg%re" Deacon, from 402. The others are a man and a woman. The show's opening ends with them all being exposed to a bright flash of light.

Joe West's house has distinctively noisy pipes.

Jesse Wells dumps Wally West through a Break-Up Cube message.

Jesse Wells apparently lost her virginity to Wally West. It's unclear if she was his first time as well.

When we first see Hazard in action, the app breaks for her Uber driver, a security guard starts choking as she enters a bank, knocking over the ladder which a workman is using. This, coupled with a suddenly spilled cup of coffee setting sparks to flying on a computer and a distracted teller talking to her mom about not using an oven allows her to talk into an open bank vault unnoticed. The Flash is unable to catch her, due to a barrel full of marbles suddenly turning over in the street, causing him to slip and fall.

Cisco claims his cousin Hector was cursed by an ex and has not been able to find a parking place at the mall for three years.

Becky Sharpe is 24 years old and has no prior criminal record. She is still in the CCPD criminal database, due to having been rear-ended four times,  having her identity stolen twice and having a cat burglar literally burgle her cat in the three years she's lived in Central City.

Again, the question is raised of how Becky can be a metahuman when she wasn't in Central City at the time of the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator Explosion.

Cisco did leave some new sensors in Barry's suit, despite claiming to have removed all the new tech in 402. They are capable of detecting trace amounts of dark matter.

Joe West finds out it will cost $15,000 to replace all the piping in his house. He says that is more than his great uncle paid for it originally.

Barry accidentally sees Iris in her wedding dress as she is trying it on at home. It is considered bad luck in some cultures for a groom to see his bride in her wedding dress before the wedding.

The venue where Barry and Iris wanted to hold their wedding burned down shortly after they booked it. Their back-up venue booked another event the morning they found this out.

Barry and Iris' wedding is in six weeks.

When Barry left The Speed Force three weeks earlier (in 401), a wave of dark matter came with him. This triggered the new wave of metahumans, according to Harry.

Harry Wells created the calculations to access The Speed Force.  He warned Cisco against using them, however.

Joe's house suddenly starts leaking water from the ceiling.

Iris refers to The Dominators, Savitar and gorillas when listing bad things that have happened to her and Barry in the past.

Iris' attempt at a rushed wedding ends when the priest has an allergic attack to the cinnamon incense the altar boy used.

Over the past few months, Harry Wells organized a support team for Jesse Quick on Earth Two. He was voted off the team, however, due to being his usual dickish self.

Harry decides to stay on Earth One.

Team Flash determines there were 12 people on the bus that Barry infected with Dark Matter.

Wally went to Earth Two an spoke with Jesse. She said she needed time to focus on herself and he decided he needed to do the same

Wally leaves Central City to stay with a friend in Blue Valley for a while.

The Thinker has a camera inside the head of the Samuraoid that is now in STAR Labs, allowing him to spy on The Flash.

Joe and Cecile decide to keep Joe's house.

Cecile reveals that she is pregnant to Joe.


Untelevised Adventures


We don't get to see Wally's journey to Earth Two and his talk with Jesse Quick.


The Bottom Line


There's a good episode here. Unfortunately, it takes place entirely off camera while we watch random stupidity occur. Maybe I'm alone in wanting to see Wally talk with Jesse about their relationship troubles over dated references to famous disasters (seriously, what was up with the Sully reference?) and Iris suddenly becoming Bridezilla and wanting to have a hurried church wedding without any of her friends and family present... but I doubt it. Every major revelation revealed in this episode seems forced and could have used more time to be developed instead of being shoved into the last five minutes while we watch Becky being quirky and adorable as all hell breaks loose around her.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Injustice 2 #29 - A Review

As Kara, Damian Wayne and Black Adam launch their plan to rescue Diana - the former Wonder Woman - from her Themiscyran prison, Diana is visited by an old foe with an odd request...


I can't show any images from this week's Injustice 2 issue. Partly because Tom Taylor has put enough surprises in this issue relative to the description above that I don't want to spoil anything and partly because all of this issue's failings lie in the artwork.  I'm not saying that Mike S. Miller is a bad artist, but his bright, detail-driven style is a poor match for the tone of Taylor's story here. Some of moments which are meant to be dramatic look goofy as rendered by Miller and the scene depicted on the cover does not happen, even in a metaphorical sense. Fans of the Amazons will want to read this issue anyway, particularly for the final page.

The Final Analysis: 7 out of 10. Good, but not great. 

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 3 - Far From The Tree

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



Plot

Eliza throws Alex and Maggie a wedding shower and Alex encourages Maggie to reach out to her estranged father. Meanwhile, Kara joins J'onn on a journey to Mars where M'gann reveals a shocking discovery.


Influences

The 1998 Martian Manhunter series (presence of M'yrnn J'onzz) and 2006 Martian Manhunter series (presence of Till'all). Kara's speech about how the Green Martians can save the White Martians who wish to atone for their race's sins is reminiscent of a similar speech from the Babylon 5 episode Dust To Dust - "If we are a dying people, then let us die with honor, by helping the others as no one else can..."


Goofs


It's a hell of a coincidence that the Martian mythology and ancient Greek mythology both feature two characters named Deimos and Phobos, though the characters seem completely different!

Kara is incredibly non-nonchalant about using the Staff of Kolar to vaporize White Martians. What happened to that whole "not-killing" code of ethics?

Does anyone else find it disturbing that the White Martian resistance all take the form of black humans and that they are only saved by the blonde-haired, pale-skinned Aryan idea that is Supergirl?


Performances

Carl Lumbly gives a powerful performance as M'yrnn J'onzz.


Artistry

The effects work as J'onn's memory projects over the ruined Martian temple is well executed.


Super Trivia

This episode was the first to open with a new introduction for Season Three. It's largely the same as the Season Two intro, save that it starts with a line where Supergirl introduces herself as Kara Zor-El rather than Kara Danvers and emphasizes her status as an alien. Melissa Benoist also delivers the lines in a more serious tone.

Till'All first appeared in Martian Manunter #2 (Volume 3) (November 2006). One of ten White Martian refugees to come to Earth who had been brainwashed to believe they were Green Martians, Till'All was the least effected by their various trials and tribulations. He was saved by J'onn J'onzz but left in the care of the Justice League while J'onn investigated who was responsible for the death of Till'All's father.

The DCTVU version of Till'All is one of the greatest fighters among the White Martians who are fighting to curb the more violent and racist aspects of their society.

M'yrnn J'onzz was created by John Ostrander and Eduardo Barreto and first appeared in Martian Manhunter #33 (Volume 2) (August 2001). A singer by trade, his first appearance was largely a cameo in a flashback detailing the destruction of the Green Martian race.

Carl Lumbly plays the part of M'yrnn J'onzz, father of J'onn J'onzz. Carl Lumbly previously voiced J'onn J'onzz in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series. He also starred in the cult-hit superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S. where he played the role of a paralyzed scientist who used an mechanized exoskeleton of his own design to fight crime.

The DCTVU vesion of M'yrnn is the highest ranking religious leader of The Green Martians. He was spared because, according to M'gann, not even the most vicious of The White Martians would kill the prime servant of H'ronmeer.

H'ronmeer is one of the more powerful gods of the Martian pantheon in the DC Universe. Opinion seems divided, however as to H'ronmeer's true nature. He has been referred to as both the god of fire, art and death as well as the god of light and life. H'ronmeer is not malevolent, despite his dark nature. There are some theories that H'ronmeer may be a masculine aspect of Death of The Endless, much as her brother Dream is identified by the Martians as L'Zoril - lord of Dreams. H'ronmeer is also worshiped by the Red Saturnians, though they call him Hiromeer.

M'yrnn recalls a Martian fable regarding H'ronmeer and his two sons, Phobos and Deimos. In classical Greek Mythology, Phobos and Deimos were the twin sons of Ares (god of war) and Aphrodite (goddess of love). Phobos became the god of fear and Deimos the god of terror. In astrology, the two moons of the planet Mars are named Phobos and Deimos.


Technobabble

While it is possible to use a single transmat gate to travel if you have the exact coordinates of the point you are trying to reach (like when Winn sent Kara to the Daxamite mothership in 217), transmats can only be used to travel between planets if there is a second gate for the first gate to home in on. This is why Kara and J'onn must travel to Mars by ship.

Martian techonology is capable of shape-shifting. J'onn has a space-ship that he keeps disguised as a vintage convertible on Earth.

The Rite Of Tyagar is a Martian technique that allows one telepath to force their way through another telepath's mental blocks. This can allow them to read their mind unimpeded but it can cause great damage to the one whose blocks are broken.

It is a Green Martian custom to assume the forms of other species when making peaceful contact, in order to insure the comfort of their guests. This is why The White Martians assume human forms when greeting J'onn J'onzz, know his distaste for White Martians. It is also why M'yrnn assumes a human form when addressing J'onn when he appears in his human form. (It also helps to keep the SFX budget low!)


Dialogue Triumphs

Kara: My name is Kara Zor-El. I'm from Krypton. I'm a refugee on this planet. I was sent to Earth to protect my cousin, but my pod was knocked off-course and by the time I got here my cousin had already grown up and become Superman. I hid who I really was, until one day when an accident forced me to reveal myself to the world. To most people, I'm a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media, but in secret, I work with my adopted sister for the DEO to protect my city from alien life and anyone else that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.

(J'onn opens the garage where he keeps his spaceship. It holds an old convertible.)
Kara: Cool car. So, is this like an elevator to a secret hanger that will-
J'onn: No, it isn't.
(J'onn goes to the driver's seat and gets into the car.)
Kara:
This is your ship?
J'onn: Yep.
Kara: We're taking this to Mars?
J'onn: Yes, we are.
Kara: Okay.
(J'onn adjusts the radio as Kara opens the passenger front door and flounces into the chair, shaking the car. J'onn looks up at her, slightly annoyed.)
J'onn: Careful with the leather there, Supergirl.
(Kara winces and raises her hands.)
Kara:
Sorry.
(Rock music begins to play on the radio as Kara looks around.)
Kara:
There's no seat belt.
J'onn: It's from a different era.
Kara: And a different planet!
J'onn: I come from a race of shapeshifters, Kara. Why shouldn't our technology shape-shift too?
Kara: Fair enough.
(J'onn pulls out of the garage as the car changes into a space-ship and flies upward into the sky.)

(J'onn enters the cell where his father is being kept.)
M'yrnn: I'm praying! Leave me be!
J'onn: I think, at this time, H'ronmeer will allow you a moment of personal indulgence.
(J'onn walks around to stand before his father.)
J'onn:
It's me, Father! It's J'onn!
(M'yrnn does not respond.)
J'onn: You are angry with me. For abandoning you. As you should be. I know how you must have felt. Alone all these years... thinking you'd never see another Green Martian. Thinking our entire family had been destroyed...
(There is a long silence. Suddenly, M'yrnn speaks as J'onn looks at his father.)
M'yrnn: You really thought such a trick would work on me?!
J'onn: Father?!
M'yrnn: (angrily) I survived two centuries of imprisonment and torture.. alone! So if you think exploiting the form of my dead son will break me, you are a fool! I will never tell you where The Staff of Kolar is!
J'onn: Father, it's me! J'onn! I fled to Earth! I survived!
M'yrnn: (laughs) You give yourself away, White! My son would never have fled!
(Despondent, J'onn turns and leaves the room at a hurried pace.)

J'onn: You ever wonder, Kara, what your parents would say to you if they could see you now? After all this time? What they'd think of the person you've become?
Kara: Every day. (pauses) They'd be proud of me.
J'onn: Yeah. I thought that too. Then I actually got the chance to ask. My father thinks I'm a coward.
Kara: Then he doesn't know you. Because the man I know dedicated his entire life to making sure that what happened on Mars never happens anywhere else. You go in there, J'onn... and show your father who his son really is.


Dialogue Disasters


Kara: J'onn, if Krypton still existed and I had to go back to where my parents were buried, under rubble, I know you wouldn't let me do it alone.

Maggie's Father: Do you know I was the only Mexicano working alongside a bunch of white boys? Do you know that they would wait for me at night, by the road, and laugh at me and call me wetback and kick me until my ribs were broken?!
Maggie: Dad, what does this have to do-
Maggie's Father: -with you being a lesbian?! I worked! To win respect! Those same boys when they grew up elected me their sheriff. I endured, for my children, so that you would never have to face that kind of hatred! So that you would belong!
Maggie: I'm respected for who I am. The world is different now.
Maggie's Father: Ha! They're building a wall to keep us out because in their minds we're nothing but rapists and murderers! The only thing they hate more than a Mexicano is a homosexual!


Continuity


J'onn refers to the events of 217 in explaining why he and Kara can't just use a transmat to teleport to Mars.

Martian spaceships are capable of shape-shifting.

Eliza Danvers' lasagna is her daughter's favorite food.

Maggie hasn't spoken to her parents since she was 14. Her father's last words to her before he dropped her off at an aunt's house were "You shamed me." Her aunt later told her that her parents removed all the photos of Maggie from the family photo album.

The Staff of Kolar is an ancient Martian weapon which is said to have been forged by H'ronmeer. It's a psychic weapon that could potentially be used to track down every member of the White Martian resistance and kill them instantly.

M'yrnn was tortured by the White Martians for over 200 years.

Maggie's full name is Margarita Sawyer

Maggie's father is a sheriff who read up on his daughter's case histories after she called him. He taught her everything he knew about being a detective.

In the myths of Mars, H'ronmeer had two sons - Phobos and Deimos. In order to test his sons, H'ronmeer created two artifacts - a book of sacred symbols, which taught the morals that govern Martian life and a weapon - The Staff of Kolar. The symbols could be shared but only one could wield the staff. To H'ronmeer's disappointment, Phobos chose the staff while Deimos chose the book. Phobos became the first White Martian and was banished to the underworld. His descendants clawed their way back to the surface and eventually overtook the Green Martian race sired by Deimos. H'ronmeer then buried the staff to keep it hidden.

Alex's favorite color is blue. Her favorite animal is dogs. Her favorite ice cream is Rocky Road.

Maggie loves Merlot.

Maggie's father gives her a picture of herself as a child that he's kept in his wallet for years.

M'yrnn had previous exposure to a Kryptonian at some point in his past.

J'onn's happiest memory is of a birthday where his father left worship early to surprise him and his daughters spoiled the surprise because they were so happy to be in on the secret that they couldn't stop dancing.

Maggie again tells Alex that she does not want kids.

J'onn brings The Staff of Kolar and his father to Earth.


Location

Mars.


The Bottom Line

Quite probably the weakest episode of the series to date. The script tries to mirror its subplots, with both J'onn and Maggie seeking the approval of their fathers, though J'onn feels he abandoned his father in his lowest moment and Maggie was abandoned by her father in hers. The problem is that Maggie has been such a non-entity on the show that she can't support her own subplot and her father is written as a melodramatic gay-hating cliche who seems far too articulate for a small-town sheriff.

The subplot with J'onn and his father fares somewhat better, though some of David Harewood's exclamations come off as more comical than was intended. Still, Carl Lumbly gives the whole thing a sense of gravitas that it doesn't deserve and the whole Resistance battle is problematic with Kara killing a mob of White Martians without reservations. And that's ignoring the problems with a blonde-haired, white-skinned woman being the savior of a bunch of aliens who all take on the forms of African American humans.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Green Arrow #33 - A Review

Fresh off of his victory over The Ninth Circle and the battle to save Gotham City from an invasion from The Dark Multiverse, Oliver Queen has come home. Seattle hardly feels like home, however, still being called Star City and still being ruled by a corrupt elite.

Despite this, Green Arrow's spirits are high, though his alter ego is about to go on trial for murder and the discovery of the alleged victim, alive and well among the slaves of The Ninth Circle, isn't quite the game-changer he'd hoped for. He still has the love of a good woman, Dinah Lance, who moved Heaven and Earth to help save his city in his absence. Yet bad women are moving against Oliver Queen as well, with the assassin Shado having been hired to bring down Green Arrow and another unexpected woman from Oliver's past about to reenter his life...



Green Arrow #33 is about as perfect an entry-point into the world of Oliver Queen as one could hope for. Benjamin Percy's script primarily concerns itself with reestablishing the status quo after Green Arrow's extended road-trip and setting the stage for the battle to come. Though light on action, this issue is full of gripping drama and great character moments. The best involve Oliver Queen's reunion with Dinah Lance and further cement Percy's status as one of the few Green Arrow writers in decades who truly understand how both characters should be written.

This issue marks Jamal Campbell's premiere on Green Arrow and it is an impressive one. Since the beginning of Rebirth, this series has benefited from some amazing artists who handled every aspect of the artwork - pencils, inks and colors. Campbell proves his worth to stand among them with every fantastic page of this issue.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aquaman #29 - A Review

As Dolphin tries to convince a despondent Arthur to continue to fight for the people of Atlantis, other heroes work to save their nation from the excesses of King Rath. Vulko, one-time adviser to the last Queen of Atlantis, scours the ghost-haunted archives for a weapon that might stand against the artifacts Rath has accumulated. Meanwhile, Mera and Garth (now called Tempest) struggle to breach the magical barriers that surround Atlantis.


It is good to see Dan Abnett take an issue to focus on the supporting cast of Atlantean heroes. Garth and Vulko haven't gotten any time in this book since DC Rebirth began (Indeed, I'm not sure if Garth has appeared in Aquaman at any point since The New 52 started!) and are given some much needed definition. Indeed, we learn more about Garth here than we have in Abnett's Titans title.

What can I say about Stjepan Sejic's artwork I haven't already? I find myself unable to say anything beyond the artwork is gorgeous and that Atlantis has never looked better. Then again, perhaps that's all I need to say.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Injustice 2 #28 (Digital Edition) - A Review

With the American government in shambles and Jefferson Pierce (a.k.a. Black Lightining) now President of the United States in the wake of Aqualad's terrorist attack on Ra's Al Ghul, a newly formed Congress is out for answers  Someone must pay for the crime and their first target is Batman, whom they know was working in secret with the President and may have wished a more agreeable partner in building a better world. What follows may be the greatest trial Bruce Wayne has ever faced in every sense of the word.


Reading Injustice 2 #28, I'm unsure which aspect of the comic is greater - the story by Tom Taylor which raises an interesting point about how Batman's actions may be sending him down the same slippery slope of idealism as Superman (a point that never rang true in the original games) or the artwork by Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus, which looks fantastic and is full of wonderful little moments such as a tribute to the opening of the original Batman: The Animated Series cartoon. In the end, it doesn't matter. This is a great comic any way you slice it and a good jumping-on point if, for some reason, you don't wish to start this series from the beginning.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Batman: The Drowned #1 - A Review

The Dark Knights continue their assault on Earth 0, as Aquaman and Mera face off against The Drowned. Hailing from Earth -11, this Batman is a Batwoman. Fearful of the potential threat posed by the metahumans of her Earth, she set about killing them all. This led to her ultimately transforming herself into a water-breathing monstrosity in order to wage a one-woman war on Atlantis itself!


With this issue, the novelty of the various Dark Nights specials is beginning to wear thin. Dan Abnett weaves a great story and The Drowned is easily the most unique of the various dark dimension Dark Knights to date. Unfortunately, the plot is exactly the same as most of the other specials, with a flashback detailing the background of The Knight in question, a battle in the present against their Justice League counterpart and Dr. Fate showing up at the end to spirit the hero away when the Evil Batman proves to be too much for them. It's still a good read but one feels it could have been great.

The artwork is similarly conflicted. There's two great art teams at work here, though their styles are so different as to completely wreck the visual flow of the book. It would have been better to have one artist but everything looks good in spite of that.

The Final Analysis: 7 out of 10. It's good but it could have been better.

Titans #16 - A Review

Wally West is dead, having seemingly stopped his own heart to save his friends! Now, as the other Wally West races to his side, feeling a disturbance in The Speed Force, the rest of the Titans must face Psimon and the approaching evil he claims Lilith Clay is responsible for summoning...



In the past, I've complemented Titans for being amazingly accessible to new readers. I can't do that this month. Indeed, I had to reread the issue several times to figure out what was going on myself. Part of the problem is Brett Booth's page layouts are confusing. Worse yet, some of the forced poses he places the characters in look goofy as all get out. The "berserk" Donna Troy is particularly egregious.

In the end, I think it says a lot that this issue hypes the appearance of "the other Wally West" on the cover and that the issue synopsis focused on that aspect of the story despite it only taking up four pages of the issue. Most of the book is devoted to a nonsensical battle which introduces too much and haphazardly ends one of the book's major subplots in a way that doesn't pay off well at all. Maybe Dan Abnett can salvage this next month but it's not looking likely.

The Final Analysis: 3 out of 10.