Monday, October 15, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 37

In which we go looking for a collection of riddle chests we missed in Chapter One, stumble across an obscure side quest we can't complete until Chapter Three and find this Max Feeber character the Prince's tax collector mentioned before.


Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 1 - American Alien

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





Plot

It is a period of adjustment. Alex is still getting used to her new role as Director of the DEO, the absence of Winn and the presence of Brainiac-5. James is awaiting arraignment for the laws he broke as the vigilante Guardian. James and Lena are still getting used to being a couple. J'onn is getting used to his new role as a counselor for other aliens adjusting to life on Earth. And Kara has become a mentor to Nia, a new cub reporter at CatCo. But some things never change and Supergirl stepping into action is one of them, when what remains of the anti-alien group Cadmus attempts to assassinate The President. Yet their supposed end game turns out to be the start of something bigger...


Influences

Numerous Superman and Supergirl stories in multiple media which used aliens from other planets as a metaphor for immigrants and refugees coming to America. The Superman movies (Kara helping out people around the world and speaking to them in their native languages.)


Goofs

Kara taking a bottle of vodka from the Kaznia woman seems horribly out of character, particularly since it doesn't seem like it was offered as a gift. (The close captioning for the episode doesn't offer a direct translation of what is said and the woman looks surprised when Kara takes the bottle from her.)

Katie McGrath's natural Irish accent slips out when she says the name "Sam" with a long-a.

Kara's dismissal of J'onn is really out of character. Apart from maybe Alex, nobody respects J'onn more than Kara and her behavior here seems to occur only to set up the lesson that Kara's idealism and experiences as a human-like alien who presents herself as being human have blinded her to the experiences of other aliens who can't pass for human and can't afford an image inducer. This "white privilege" metaphor is highly forced, even ignoring the logic problem that the DEO should be more aware of acts of violence against aliens than any other group in America!

Why did Kara and Alex suddenly drop out of J'onn's life in the past three months?  They're his foster daughters and adopted family. Kara's talk about not knowing what his life is like now is another incredibly out-of-character moment that seems to be here only to force the metaphors inherent in the script.

Kara may be idealistic, but her refusal to believe that there are common people with anti-alien feelings is just idiotic. Particularly when she's faced anti-alien bigotry in the form of the Cadmus group in the past!

Why, apart from plain old racism, is the D.A.'s office so determined to bring charges against The Guardian/James Olsen, when they have no trouble with Supergirl of Superman operating as unlicensed peace officers?


Performances

David Harewood is more like J'onn from the comics than ever before. It's odd that he seems to spend most of this episode playing detective, going to two different crime scenes and being told not to get involved by the cops (i.e. Kara) yet doesn't seem to have become a P.I. like in the comics. Maybe later in the season?


Super Trivia

In the opening scene, Kara saves a little girl's balloon from flying off as she's in the middle of saving a crowd from a meteor. This may be a nod to one of the most infamous side-quests of the video game Spider-Man 2, where in addition to answering random calls for help as detected by your Spider-Sense, you would also be called upon to recover lost balloons for crying children.

The whole opening sequence, in which Kara is showing helping people around the world and speaking to them in their native languages, seems to be a tribute to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Kaznia is a fictional Balkan nation in the DC Comics Universe, frequently beset by civil war and the threat of invasion. It was first introduced in the DC Animated Universe and has been referred to on both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

The character of Mercy Graves first appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, in the episode "A Little Piece of Home." Her background was given in the Superman Adventures comic that tied into the cartoon. Here, it was revealed that Mercy was the leader of a group of female thieves who attempted to steal Lex Luthor's briefcase. She was briefly successful, but captured shortly thereafter. Rather than being angry, Lex was impressed with Mercy's skill and nerve and offered her a job as his chauffeur and bodyguard.

Mercy Graves was introduced into the mainstream DC Comics Universe in Detective Comics #735 (August 1999). Again, she was employed as Lex Luthor's bodyguard, along with another woman named Hope. It was implied, and eventually confirmed, that both Mercy and Hope were rogue Amazons whose protection Luthor was somehow able to purchase.

A woman named Mercy Graves, who was said to be Asian-American, was introduced into the New 52 DC Comics Universe as Lex Luthor's executive assistant.

The Arrowverse version of Mercy Graves was Lex Luthor's Head of Security at LexCorp. She turned state's evidence on him to put him in prison. Despite this, she was employed by Lillian Luthor as an agent of Cadmus.

The character of Otis first appeared in Superman: The Movie where he was Lex Luthor's bumbling henchman. He would later appear in one episode of the Superfriends cartoon and the animated series Young Justice. He was never given a last name in any of these appearances.

The Arrowverse version of Otis has the full name Otis Graves is a former employee of LexCorp who worked for Lex Luthor along with his sister, Mercy. He was later employed by Lillian Luthor as an agent of Cadmus.

One of the aliens in J'onn's support group is a Valeorian. In the comics, Valeron is an alien world whose dominant sentient lifeforms resemble Earthlings. It is most well known as the homeworld of Vartox, The Hyper-Man - a super-being who is even more powerful than Superman.

Nia Nal (aka Dreamer) is based on an existing DC Comics character from the Legion of Super Heroes comics. Nura Nal (aka Dream Girl) first appeared in Adventure Comics #317 (February 1964) and was a native of the planet Naltor, whose inhabitants all had the powers of precognition, usually in the form of prophetic dreams. Nura was also a gifted scientist, second only to Brainiac 5 in ability. She was also one of the best physical combatants in the original Legion, second only to Karate Kid and Timberwolf, having studied martial arts extensively to make up for the non-combative nature of her powers. She was the second woman to lead The Legion of Super Heroes and was also romantically involved with fellow Legionnaire Star Boy.

Dream Girl was changed significantly for the post-Crisis On Infinite Earths Legion of Super Heroes. Her name was now given as Nura Schappin and she was not a full member of The Legion for most of the years between 1986-2005, though she was still Star Boy's girlfriend. She claimed to be the first precognitive born on Naltor in generations, though this was later contradicted by other stories. She also suffered from narcolepsy and would have a fit whenever she had one of her visions. She eventually did join the Legion under the codename Dreamer, just before the 2005 "threeboot" of Legion of Super Heroes.

The third version of Nura used the codename Dream Girl. This version of Nura experienced precognitive visions as daydreams, which frequently caused her to lose touch with reality as she watched events that were to come thinking they were happening right now. She developed a romantic relationship with Brainiac 5, who had, at first, resented her ability to just come up with the answers to problems he struggled to deduce. For a time she lapsed into a near-death state and was able to appear to people in their dreams as a ghost.

It is worth mentioning that Brainiac 5 has been a love interest of Supergirl in the comics and cartoons, as well as Dreamer. It remains to be seen if that will happen in either case in the coming season.

Nia Nal is an ancestor of Nura Nal.

Nia Nal is the first transgender superhero to appear in an American television series, though she is not identified as a trans woman in this episode.

Lena says that a gangster named Bruno Mannheim was Lex Luthor's business partner as L-Corp when he was first starting out. First appearing in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971), Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim ran Intergang - a crime syndicate who used weapons from Apokolips to defend their territory.

Brainiac-5 makes mention of buying his toys at a comic shop on Excelsior Street.  "Excelsior!" is the famous farewell exclamation of comic book legend Stan Lee.

The character of Agent Liberty first appeared in the comics in Superman #60 (October 1991).  Agent Liberty was a former CIA agent named Benjamin Lockwood, who left the organization after becoming disgusted with what he saw as unethical practices. Lockwood came to distrust the American government and joined a militia group called The Sons of Liberty, who outfitted him with an armored suit that offered him the ability to fly short distances and generate a force-field. He left the group when they plotted to assassinate politician Pete Ross, and Lockwood exposed the group's true beliefs to the public with the help of Clark Kent. He went on to become a reserve Justice League member and helped Superman defend Metropolis on several occasions.

The Arrowverse version of Agent Liberty leads a hate group called The Children of Liberty, which seems similar in scope to The Sons of Liberty from the comics. Unlike the comics Agent Liberty, he is an earnest believer in The Children of Liberty's goals.

In terms of their goal, The Arrowverse version of Agent Liberty and The Children Of Liberty more closely resemble The Americommando and His Minute Men - a jingoistic patriot/group who appeared in the classic graphic novel Kingdom Come.


Technobabble

Ruby's soccer team is playing a 4-3-3 with the Gegenpress and Ruby is a sweeper-keeper.

L-Corp now sells holographic image inducers that can allow an alien to pass for human.

Mercy and Otis Graves are armed with a sonic device that incapacitates beings with super-hearing. cuffs that increase gravity around the person wearing them, a high quality laser, compact fire bombs and a gun that shoots high-power concussive beams of hard-light.

Brainiac-5 claims to be able to processes terabyes of information in microseconds.

Brainiac-5's preliminary scan of the security footage from Dr. Vose's lab brings up 754,231 potential suspects.

Brainiac-5 creates a means of reversing the effects of an EMP.


Dialogue Triumphs

James: You are really good at multitasking.
Kara: (smiling) Some might call it super.

(Brainiac-5 flies to the crater where Supergirl is still trying to free her legs from the Cadmus cuffs.)
Brainiac-5: I thought you could use some back-up.
Supergirl: Brainy!
Brainiac-5: (trying to sound heroic) It is I! (awkwardly) You're free now, Supergirl.
Supergirl: Free?! The cuffs are still-
Brainiac-5: Opened?
(The cuffs suddenly open up. Supergirl is stunned.)
Supergirl:
Wow.
Brainiac-5: I was multitasking.
(Supergirl stands up, smiles, and goes up, up and away. Braniac-5 just stands there and shrugs a bit.)
Brainiac-5: You're welcome.

Agent Liberty: Let him who desires peace prepare for war.
(Otis is seen trying to puzzle this out, counting on his hands.)

(Nia explains to Kara why she wants to write about the revitalization of the Fashion District in terms of people, rather than the clothing trends.)Nia: The Fashion District article I want to write about... isn't about clothes. It's about community. And growth. And hope.

President Marsdin: A leader who caves to fear is no leader at all.

Kara: So you're afraid to make waves? Okay. Make them anyway. Make a Tsumani!

Kara: I feel like I don't know anything.
J'onn: Then you are wiser than you realize.


Dialogue Disasters

(J'onn is trying to explain the rising anti-alien bigotry to Kara.)
Supergirl: I'm an alien and I've been all over the world recently and I have never felt more love.
J'onn: Part of the reason why you were embraced as a hero is because you present as human. Most aliens do not share that privilege. I'm afraid your experiences are not the best barometer here.
Supergirl: I'm embraced as a hero because I'm good at my job. And I really don't appreciate you questioning my judgement.
J'onn: I'm just trying to offer you a different perspective.
Supergirl: J'onn, you left the DEO. So maybe now it's time you leave protecting the city to me.


Continuity

As the episode opens, it has been three months since Brainiac-5 joined the DEO.

Supergirl can speak both Spanish and Kaznian.

Kara is seen saving a train in Kaznia - a country which was first mentioned in 201.

President Olivia Marsdin, last seen in 221,

The Alien Amnesty Act was passed two years ago, in 203.

President Marsden makes a yearly visit to the DEO.

Superman is off-world on Argo City.

Cat Grant recommended Nia Nal to a cub reporter job at CatCo.

James assigns Kara to mentor Nia.

James is facing an indictment for his activities as The Guardian pending a DA's investigation.

James asks Lena to stay out of his legal affairs and let him worry about handling the DA. This in spite of the fact that Lena has friends in the mayor's office who say that James' only chance of not being indicted rest in applying leverage.

Sam Arias, the former host of Reign, is now working a new job for L-Corp Northeast in Metropolis. She has made two acquisitions that are already turning a profit.

Sam is also said to now be coaching Ruby's soccer team.

Kara does not know soccer terminology.

Kesse Kay is an Aquarian in J'onn's support group.

The leader of J'onn's support group is named Fiona. She is from the planet Ichthanor, used to live in England and has emphatic abilities.

L-Corp has begun selling image inducers that aliens can use to pass for human.

Dr. Vose is a nuclear physicist who is part of an unidentified alien race.

Dr. Vose's race is broadly human, save for their pointed elven ears and the distinctive tusks on their forearms. The tusks can be used to identify individual members of Dr. Vose's race and his lab has a scanner that requires his tusks be inserted into it for it to open the door.

Dr. Vose refuses to hide his nature and lives openly as an alien on Earth. He is also an outspoke advocate for alien rights.

Otis Graves burns Dr. Vose's tusks off with a laser.

Mercy and Otis Graves steal an EMP from Dr. Vose's lab.

Kara likes lattes.

Kara says that Nia reminds her of her. By the same token, James says that Kara is starting to act like Cat Grant when she talks to Nia.

Nia Nul has a degree in International Relations from Georgetown.

Lena is visiting her mother, Lillian, in prison again.

Lillian Luthor claims to have given up on revenge. She later admits she was lying.  She does, however, agree to give Supergirl a location where she might find Mercy and Otis Graves.

Mercy Graves is revealed to have turned state's evidence on Lex Luthor, helping to send him to prison. She was the head of security for Lex Luthor, when he still ran Luthor-Corp.

Fiona asks J'onn to join a neighborhood watch group. He refuses, saying he is done with fighting.

The Graves attempt to fire-bomb the bar where J'onn's support group meets.

Alex has been dating a few women casually but has yet to find anyone she can get serious about.

Lena claims that she wants to rebuild her relationship with Lillian.

Lex Luthor is revealed to have been business partners with Bruno Mannheim. Lillian Luthor claims Mannheim was only in it for the money laundering through Luthor-Corp, however.

Nia refuses to try and claim the Fashion assignment she wanted, letting a reporter name Mackenzie take it after she brags about her mother being friends with a number of big-name fashion designers.

Supergirl investigates the abandoned warehouse Brainiac-5 tracked Mercy and Otis to and finds a server farm for several dark web, anti-alien hate sites.

One of the posts Kara reads asks for advice on how to kill a Phorian. Phorians are a race of telepathic and telekinetic aliens. The boy James rescued as Guardian in 220 was a Phorian.

Brainiac-5 finds blue-prints of Camp David on Mercy and Otis' server.

Otis is arrested by the DEO.

Brainiac-5 attempts to emulate Winn, wearing one of his trademark cardigans (which he finds binding) and buying toys from a nearby comic shop to play with at his desk.

Lena is revealed to be playing her mother to get information to buy off the DA of National City regarding Bruno Mannheim's RICO violations. She does not tell James what she did.

Lena gets the charges dropped against James. However, the DA warns that if James becomes Guardian again, he will be arrested.

Lillian figures out what Lena did after seeing a news report talking about Bruno Mannheim being indicted on money laundering charges.

President Marsdin is revealed as an alien to the world.

Fiona is killed by Agent Liberty.

It is revealed that the Supergirl clone is punching a tunnel under the Russia/Kaznia border.


Location

Madrid, Spain
Southern Border of Kaznia.
Camp David
Somewhere under the southern border of Kaznia.


Untelevised Adventures

Superman is said to be visiting Argo City.


The Fridge Factor

Kara's is turned into an idiot and the poster child for white privilege in order to teach us a Very Important Lesson.


The Bottom Line


Supergirl's hardly been subtle in its political commentary in the past, but you could always count on the characters to be true to themselves. Kara's personality and personal politics are all over the place in this episode, with Kara's treatment of J'onn being horrible out of character throughout. Weirdly enough, the introduction of Nia turns out to be the best and least-political part of the show. Everything else is just bland, from the introduction of The Graves Siblings to Lena's efforts to save James  Not the best start for the season, in other words.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Black Lightning Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 1 - The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of the Green Light Babies

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



Plot

The Pierces have survived the battle with Tobias Whale, but Freeland is still healing. With people scared by the new threat posed by teenagers with super-powers (the so-called Green Light Babies) and the attack on Jefferson Pierce's school, there's a movement to shut down Garfield High.

As Jefferson battles to save his career and the school he devoted his life to building, Lynn is questioned about her role in exposing the ASA's abduction of the first generation of Green Light Babies, Anissa tries to find a way to help the families suing the government to get back their abducted kids, Jennifer tries to cope with her increasingly uncontrollable powers and Kara Fowdy - the ASA Spotter with nowhere to run - goes after Tobias Whale and his empire.


Influences

The Milestone Comics Universe.


Goofs

Kara Fowdy's reaction to being harpooned and her jumping out the window is far more goofier than intended.


Performances

Robert Townsend has a small but powerful role as Dr. Napier Frank - an old friend of Jefferson Pierce's since the Olympics and part of the Freeland School Board.

The whole scene between Jefferson Pierce and Deputy Chief Harrison where the police officer reveals that that he figured out Black Lightning's identity is very well acted by both Cress Williams and Damon Gupton.


Artistry

The fight between Syonide and Kara Fowdy is well shot and well-blocked.

The final sequence, showing all of the core cast in the build up to Kara's attack on Tobias Whale, is another instance of the show balancing direction and music perfectly.


Trivia

Calling those children developing metahuman powers after using Green Light "Green Light Babies" seems to be a nod to the Bang Babies of the Milestone Comics Universe. There, the term "Bang Babies" was used to describe a number of young people in the town of Dakota, who gained superpowers after being exposed to a chemically altered tear gas during a massive gang street fight that became known as The Big Bang.

One of these Bang Babies, Static, is notable for having been meant to be a tribute of sorts to Black Lightning. The two eventually met and developed a student/mentor role in the Young Justice animated series.

Jennifer is shown as levitating while she sleeps. In the comics, Jennifer Pierce was capable of true flight.

Robert Townsend, who plays the role of Dr. Napier Frank, was also the writer, director, producer and star of the 1993 movie Meteor Man - which was about a school teacher who gains super powers which he uses to protect his inner-city neighborhood... much like Black Lightning.


Dialogue Triumphs

Agent Odell: (To Lynn) You're a liar. You've been sitting here lying to me for about an hour and a half. You know you're lying. You're not going to admit it. And I don't like liars. Not because they lie, because we all lie, but because they make my job harder, and I have enough cow manure to deal with than to have you make my life more difficult.

Jefferson: Come on, Napier! You were born in Freeland! We come from the same place. And you know the board has been trying to take over Garfield simply because I will not treat these kids like criminals! Oh, they have money, right? They have money for metal detectors. They have money for guards with guns. But they never seem to have money for books, though, or teacher's raises or core computers.

(Jefferson tells Napier that he'll resign as Principal if they'll keep Garfield High open.)
Jefferson: You said it best, Napier. Like Black Lightning and Thunder, I'm trying to save Garfield. Not my job.


Continuity

The episode opens one week after the events of 113.

It is said that Anissa and Jennifer's kidnapping in 101 happened three months ago.

A young man named Issa Williams is killed by the Freeland Police while resisting arrest on suspicion of being a Green Light Baby.

Jennifer is now floating in her sleep, as electricity runs over her body.

Kara Fowdy kills Syonide.

Lynn wants Jennifer to see a therapist about her powers, while Jefferson wants to focus on training her to control what she can do.

Lynn wants to continue studying the children affected by Green Light. Jefferson thinks Agent Odell's advice to stay away is a good idea.

Peter Gambi's real name is revealed as Peter Esposito.

Kara Fowdy confronts Gambi and asks him to help her escape in exchange for her retrieving Martin Proctor's briefcase from Tobias Whale.

Jennifer accidentally electrocutes Lynn in a moment of anger.

Lynn goes to Gambi and asks him to pull some strings at the ASA to have Lynn put in charge of monitoring the Green Light Babies in the Cryogenic Suspension Pods.

Anissa robs a group of drug dealers and donates their money to the legal fund to free the kids in the pods.

Deputy Chief Bill Harrison figures out that Jefferson Pierce is Black Lighting, based on the fact that the only thing that would stop Jefferson Pierce from being at Garfield High when it was attacked by terrorists is the fact that he was already there... and the fact that Black Lightning came out of retirement to save Jefferson Pierce's daughters.

Jefferson unmasks in front of Harrison and reveals that Anissa is Thunder. Harrison just walks off, not saying what he will do next.

Lynn suggests Jefferson might want to see a therapist too.

Gambi reveals to Jefferson that Kara was Proctor's spotter and talks about Kara's offer to get him Proctor's briefcase in exchange for being wiped from the rogue ASA group's records.

Garfield High is closed down permanently.

Jefferson offers to resign to save the school.

Khalil texts Jennifer and leaves a voice message asking her to meet him and listen to him about what happened during his attack on the school.

Jennifer's best friend Kiesha reveals that she's scared of the Green Light Babies.

Issa Williams, the young man who was killed on camera in the opening scene of the episode, is revealed to have been a Green Light Baby who seemingly ODed and then came back to life as the ASA was retrieving his body. He runs off after his mother says she was glad he died.

Agent Odell swears he will find out who pulled the strings so Lynn was put in charge of examining the kids in the pods.

Jennifer develops a force-field of electrical energy around her she can't shut off.

Jefferson is able to draw the energy out of Jennifer and into himself.


The Freeland School Board votes to close Garfield High. Jefferson offers to resign as Principal if they'll allow the school to remain open. Napier agrees to take the offer to them.

Kara Fowdy tries to attack Tobias, but he gets the drop on her. She escapes with a harpoon in her stomach.


The Fridge Factor

Syonide is killed off to try and make Kara Fowdy seem like a credible threat.


The Bottom Line

Black Lightning returns and its more politically charged than ever, with an opening sequence that evokes the memory of every unarmed black teen killed by crooked cops and the government seizing "criminal" children and keeping them away from their families. It would be powerful stuff, if it weren't for all the powerful moments being negated by over-the-top performances by the supporting actors. I'm also not thrilled that Syonide got killed off just for the sake of making a non-entity character like Kara Fowdy into a threat. Still, I can put up with a lot since it looks like we're getting a live-action Dakotaverse out of it.

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 36

In which we continue the long route through Chapter Two. In fact, we get to Romney, only to use the nearby temple of Banath  to head back to the temple of Ishap near Tyr Sog, so we can explore the southern part of the Kingdom we're supposed to travel through.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 1 - Nora

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


Plot

An unexpected yet familiar guest arrives on Joe West's doorstep just in time for Jenna Marie West's homecoming - Barry and Iris's daughter from the future, Nora West-Allen! Going by the superhero name XS, Nora has been trapped in the past and spying on Team Flash while trying to figure out how to ebst approach them for several months.

Of course Barry is quick to want to get rid of the young woman before she causes a paradox and changes his present or her future, but he still can't help but wonder about what happens to him in the years to come. And with a new metahuman menace threatening Central City, he may need another speedster's help.


Influences

The Flash
comics of Geoff Johns and Tom Peyer, Impulse #7 (character of Gridlock) and Legionnaires. The movie Back To The Future (Barry mentions the movie when talking about how Nora could stop herself from existing.) and the book Slaughterhouse Five (Cisco calls Nora Billy Pilgrim)


Goofs

The CGI of Nora running during the opening narration is way below the series' usual standard.

So is the CGI of Nora and Barry running together in the second segment.

Iris says that Barry went to the year 2020 to find out how to stop Savitar. He went to the year 2024. (She could have gotten the date wrong. Or it was changed by Flashpoint.)


Performances

Jessica Parker Kennedy proves an engaging presence as XS. It would be easy for her character to become vexing quickly, but she manages to find the right balance between exuberance and annoyance.


Artistry

Apparently all of the episode's budget was blown on the sequence in which three speedsters are Vibed onto a plane. THAT scene looks fantastic.


Flash Facts

The character of Nora West-Allen is unique to the universe of The Flash TV series. However, she is made up of several elements of characters taken from the comics.

Nora West II - a future speedster and daughter of Barry Allen, who goes by the code-name Cruise. Cruise was first introduced in Justice League #26 (Vol. 3) (October 2017). Physically, she resembles the New 52 version of Iris West - a Caucasian woman with auburn hair. Like Nora West-Allen, she was named after Barry Allen's mother, Nora.

In the comics, XS is the code name of Jenni Ognats - Barry Allen's granddaughter and first cousin to Bart "Impulse' Allen. A speedster like her mother, Dawn Allen, and he grandfather, XS was a member of The Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st century. She first appeared in Legionnaires #0 in October 1994.

Nora West-Allen's costume utilizes the same chest symbol as XS in the comics, though her snaking s-shaped bolt of lightning with a flash at the end is confined to a small circular patch like The Flash symbol on Barry Allen's costume.  The original comic design had the logo printed across the chest.  The costume also uses a similar color scheme, being purple and white.

Barry's and Nora's favorite dessert is said to be two scoops of cookie dough ice cream from the Mason Family Ice Cream Shop in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. In the Silver Age Justice League comics, Happy Harbor, Rhode Island was the location of the cave The Justice League used as a base.

Nora uses the word futuristic slang word "schway", which means "cool." The word "schway" was first used in the animated series Batman Beyond.

Gridlock is the name of a villain who appeared in Impulse #7 in October 1995. Abner Girdler was an urban-planning specialist whose life was ruined after a county transportation commissioner suddenly killed the funding for the revolutionary monorail, which bankrupted his company. Girdler invented a technology that allowed him to stop the kinetic motion in anything for one hour and became the villain Gridlock to get revenge on the commissioner, who by that point was running for mayor of Manchester, Alabama.

Gridlock is also the code name of Senator Hardgrave - a villain who appeared in Bat-Mite #2 (September 2015).

The Arrowverse version of Gridlock is an entirely new character who has a different power-set. William Lang is a carjacker who has the power to absorb and redirect kinetic energy. The harder he is punched and the more he moves, the harder he punches back. In this respect he is similar to the X-Men villain Sebastian Shaw.

Nora also uses the futuristic curse word "grife." This word has long been a standard of 30th century slang and is frequently used in the Legion of Super-Heroes comics.

Nora mentions a Flash Museum and says it has a curator named Mr. Myles. The Flash Museum is a well known part of the lore of The Flash, having first appeared in The Flash #154 (August 1965) where it was created as a tribute to Central City's hero. The curator was a Shakespearean actor named Dexter Myles, who first appeared in The Flash #138 (August 1963). Myles, who was out of work, was given the job as a reward for having helped The Flash with stopping a bank robbery.

When Ralph is describing his idea for a manyverse, he proposes a world where everyone on Team Flash is a bad guy. This is the basic idea for Earth Three in the DC Comics universe.

Nora says that Barry's lighting symbol is way cooler than Lightning Lad's. This is a reference to a member of the Legion of Super Heroes who also had lighting bolt emblem on his costume. This suggests that some form of The Legion exists in the future 30 years from now or that XS encountered them when they came back to the past.  Or that she went to the future.

The newspaper article from 2049 which Nora shows Barry contains a number of nods to Crisis on Infinite Earths. In addition to the mention of red skies, and heroes from other realities (like Supergirl) joining forces with The Flash and his friends, the article also mentions The Psycho Pirate and says that Reverse Flash was seen leading an army of shadow demons.

Nora says that Barry once phased an entire plane while fighting a villain called Mob Rule. First appearing in The Flash #1 (2011 series), Mob Rule was once a CIA Agent named Manuel Lago, who was a friend of Barry Allen's. Thanks to a CIA experiment, Lago developed the unlikely power to cut off his body parts and have each piece grow into a fully realized clone of himself.

Nora gives Barry a ring from the future containing a costume designed by Ryan Choi. In the comics, Ryan Choi is the successor of Ray Palmer, who took up his role as a professor of physics at Ivy Town University and his mantle as The Atom.

Ralph makes a joke about how Barry going back in time to stop The Thinker from killing him might have changed the timeline so that Ralph died during the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion instead. This would actually explain away a plot hole from the first season, as Ralph's name was among those killed during the explosion that Thawne/Wells listed while confronting Blackout in 107. It's possible that one of Barry's trips to the past changed things so Ralph survived in the current timeline.

The name of the ME on Caitlin's father's death certificate is Cameron Mahkent. In the comics, Cameron Mahkent was the secret identity of the villain Icicle Jr. - a supervillain with ice-control powers, who first appeared in Infinity Inc. #34.

Cicada is based on a villain who first appeared in The Flash #170 (March 2001). Born David Hersch  in 1890, Cicada was an architect and preacher who abused his wife Elizabeth. After killing her in a fit of rage, Hersch grew remorseful and attempted suicide. He was stuck by lightning in the middle of this and somehow acquired the power to drain the life force from other people, prolonging his own life for well over a century. The lightning also gave Cicada a vision of his wife's resurrection.  He became convinced that The Flash was connected to him and formed the Cult of Cicada to begin sacrificing all those people whom The Flash had saved as a means of gathering the power to resurrect his wife.


Technobabble

One of the fire marshal reports on Barry's desk says that crazing in the melted glass suggests a liquid accelerant. Barry says that any petroleum-based household product (i.e. floor wax, shag rugs or balloons) could cause crazing. The glass melts into the surface like ice cream into the cracks of a waffle cone.

Caitlin Suggests using the Tachyon Absorption Enhancer Thawne used to boost Nora's powers so she can go back to the future.

Negative tachyons slow a speedster down and prevent them from being able to time-travel. Wally says the Time Bureau has encountered them before, but nobody knows how they are generated or where they come from. Negative tachyons can also destroy any time drive they come into contact with. This means The Waverider can't be used to give Nora a ride home, as her body is saturated with negative tachyons.

Cisco determines that the amount of Dark Matter in Gridlock's body increased as he moved and got punched by The Flash. This leads to the discovery that his power is absorbing and redirecting kinetic energy.

Cisco is able to track Gridlock by hacking his phone.

Cisco builds a Version 2.5 of his Tachyon Absorption Enhancer, which should overcome the influence of negative tachyons.

Wally explains the Legends theory regarding changing the past. Certain events are soft and those things changing doesn't alter much else, like Gridlock being captured on the second try. Other events a hard and those being changed can alter everything, like Barry's saving his mother and creating the Flashpoint reality.


Dialogue Triumphs

Nora: My name is Nora West-Allen. The Fastest Woman Alive. Where I'm from? 30 years from now, I'm the guardian of Central City, just like my dad. People call me XS. Every day I hope to live up to the legacy of The Flash.  But I've still got a long way to go.

(A cop notices that Barry is wearing one of his old costumes.)
Cop: Going old-school today, Flash?
The Flash: Yeah. It's a little tighter than I remember, though.

(Ralph has just proposed his theory of a manyverse, apparently having no clue that Gypsy, Breacher and Harry were from alternate earths.)
Caitlin: What did you think we meant when we said Harry was from Earth-2?
Ralph: That he is from Earth, also!

(Wally tells the rest of Team Flash that negative tachyons are keeping Nora out of The Speed Force)
Cisco: (incredulous) Negative tachyons? So, what? Instead of speeding you up, they slow you down?
Wally: Yes.
Cisco: Well, damn. I was just joking. That's a real thing?

Nora: My name is Nora West-Allen and I' the Fastest Woman Alive. When I was a child, my father disappeared in something impossible. Then I grew up and became the impossible. Now I'm trying to live up to the legacy he created, so that one day I'll stop him from ever disappearing. I'm XS. How schway is that?! 


Continuity

The episode continues on directly from the ending of 423.

Nora West-Allen is from 30 years in the future - 2048.

Nora confirms that she was named after Barry's mother.

Nora knows everyone on Team Flash and in the West family.

Nora says her code name - XS - came from a nickname Iris gave her when she was younger, saying she did everything to excess.

Nora became stuck in past after helping her dad destroy the STAR Labs satellite.

Nobody had told Ralph about the existence of Time Travel, multiple universes or The Legends until now.

Cecile still has her telepathic powers and can read Baby Jenna's mind.

Nora has elements of both Barry and Iris' DNA.

Cisco confirms Nora has a connection to The Speed Force.

Cisco mentions his break up with Gypsy from 420. He says he still hasn't had time to process it.

Barry is officially reinstated as a CSI with the CCPD.

Nora West-Allen is also a forensic scientist. She graduated from CCU with a 5.6 GPA.

Barry's and Nora's favorite dessert is said to be two scoops of cookie dough ice cream from the Mason Family Ice Cream Shop in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Barry's parents took him there when he was a kid.

In the original timeline, Gridlock was beaten after one battle.

The curator of The Flash Museum, Mr. Myles, scrubbed all the supervillain's real names from the museum displays for legal reasons. It is unclear if this Mr. Myles is related (or an older version) of Dexter Myles, the curator of the Central City Museum in 104.

Nora makes reference to knowing a hero named Lightning Lad in the future.

Nora says that coffee in her time is $43 a cup.

Nora seems anxious to stay around Barry and to avoid being with Iris alone.

Nora recognizes the Tachyon Absorption Enhancer she uses as the one Barry used when he first met Supergirl in S118.

Barry has to put on an old costume that smells bad. Nora recognizes it as the one he wore when he fought King Shark in 215.

Nora lets it slip that, at one point, King Shark fights Gorilla Grodd.

Without the STAR Labs satellite, Team Flash is without their usual eyes, ears, dark-matter scanner and facial recognition software. This means their ability to track metahumans is far more limited now.

Ralph learns that Killer Frost has vanished and that Caitlin Snow apparently had ice powers before the particle accelerator explosion.

Iris runs down the list of times Barry has time-traveled for impractical reasons. These include pulling Snart from before he died (322), going to the future to find out how to beat Savitar (319) and going back in time to 2015 to train with Thawne when he was still pretending to be Harry Wells (217).

Barry guesses, based on Nora's behavior, that something happened to him in the future.

Nora shows Barry the newspaper from  April 25, 2049 - 25 years after the newspaper from April 25, 2014. It says that Barry never comes back after disappearing during a great crisis..

The newspaper article in 2049 is also written by Iris West-Allen. It mentions more heroes being involved in The Crisis, including Batwoman, Supergirl, The Atom, Elongated Man and Green Arrow. The article also makes reference to a villain called The Psycho Pirate, The Reverse Flash leading an army of shadow demons and Joe West being Chief of the CCPD.

Nora says she was born a few years before the Crisis, but she has no memories of Barry.

Nora says the first time she ever saw Barry was at his wedding to Iris in S308.

Nora lied about being stuck in the past, using negative tachyons harvested from The Flash Museum archive to fake being unable to time travel.

Nora says she's not responsible with her powers.

Nora says she can't do most of the standard speedster tricks like phasing, though she can make time run backwards by moving a certain way.

Barry teaches Nora how to phase, using the same advice Eobard Thawne gave him in 117.

Barry agrees to let Nora delay her return home for a while.

Joe has been napping in the STAR Labs lounge nobody else knew about for the last four years.

Nora moves into the lounge.

Wally tells Joe about how he met Elvis Presley in L314.

Wally goes off to find himself again.

Barry does not tell Iris what he learned about his disappearance in 2014.

Ralph researches the death of Caitlin's father. He determines his death certificate was a fake.

Iris' favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.

Gridlock is killed by Cicada.


Untelevised Adventures

Barry will eventually battle a villain named Mob Rule.

King Shark will one day fight Gorilla Grodd.


The Bottom Line


An interesting start to the season, despite a forgettable villain and the plot being focused around all the usual time-travel paradox nonsense this show revels in. Thankfully, the tone is kept largely light thanks to Jessica Parker Kennedy, who all but steals the show as XS.  Can we get a Legion spin-off starring her?  Or send Iris to the future with her for a few years, like in the comics?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 35

In which we do not return to the Dimwood and instead head east from Highcastle to Northwarden and south to Cavall Keep and marvel at how little combat there is when you wander off the beaten path and go the way the programmers don't expect. Still, we meet Patrus - an old teacher of Owyn's who doesn't seem to recognize him - and Owyn's cousin, Ugyne.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 34

In which we run head north past Yabon and Tyr Sog, back towards the Temple of Dala and the quest for a bag of grain that (for some reason) we can't start until Chapter Two.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 33

In which we return to the Mac Mordain Cadal far sooner than we have to and start looting the upper and lower levels of the mines before returning to LaMut. I mean, it's not like we had an urgent mission for The Prince or anything to worry about...


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 32

In which we set off on the road for Romney... by traveling up the opposite coast toward Sarth. We spend a profitable time exploring the library and get Owyn a new spell, as we make our way back towards Zun and the Dwarven Mines.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 31

In which we finally get the opening of Chapter Two to play and I say a fair bit on the history of The Riftwar Saga and Seigneur James. We also raid our good friend Locklear's bedroom for swag, have a chat with James' future mother-in-law and get a tax collector drunk in a bid to learn about a side quest.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 30

In which we make our way into the emerald sewers of Krondor (best not think on why the walls are green) in search of our pal Squire James and a way into the palace so that we can (finally!) end Chapter One.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 29

In which we clear the coast of mercenaries making our way to the Temple of Sung, Goddess of Healing. Ironically, it is we who shall heal the healers, as we investigate the mystery of the magical dream-sendings have inspired a plague of insomnia among the local clergy.

This leads to what would be the most challenging battle in the chapter... if we hadn't bought some magical items we shouldn't have this early in the game.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 28

In which we start taking the path we are meant to take to Krondor and seek out the leader of the dark elf assassins. But first we stop by the Abbey of Sarth to avail ourselves of the magic shop and the biggest library in the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 27

In which we finish exploring Questor's View and then go off in search of the Temple of Silban. We get recruited to go on a mission to kick ass for the goddess, but first track down Locklear's old friend Isaac and ask him about his dark elf friends. We also restore the town of Eggley to its former glory. All in a day's work for a knight of the realm!


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 26

In which we explore the village of Tanneurs and move on to the abandoned town of Eggley, where we encounter more than a few quest hooks and the road to Questor's View.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 25

In which I explain why Sethanon is so important to the lore of The Riftwar Cycle before we just walk right into the accursed city and find... a treasure that was not worth the effort we took to get it.

We then explore the village of Darkmoor, and make our way to just outside of Krondor.... but we don't go in because now, having explored everyplace we aren't expected to go in Chapter One, we have to back and explore the places we're meant to go!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 24

In which, after walking back and forth in the fog to boost our stealth skills, we exploit a glitch to buy cheap rations, encounter what was presumably meant to be one of Locklear's one-night-stands before the plot got in the way and encounter some shades on the way to the cursed city of Sethanon.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 23

In which we continue past the village of Lyton to the city of Malac's Cross, visit the temple of the death goddess and the Oracle of Aal and have our first encounter with the semi-undead assassins known as The Nighthawks.


Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 22

In which we start putting the Rusalki to rest with the power of our two new spells - Dragon's Breath and Skin of the Dragon.

(Huh. Is our wizard named Owyn or Merlin? Anál nathrach, orth' bháis's bethad...)

We also have our first encounter with my favorite NPC in the game and the inspiration for one of my D&D characters - Abuk, Master of Locks.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 21

We continue down the Romney River towards Silden, dispatching rogues and rusalki along the way as we discover another magic shop and the temple of Eortis, the dead god of the sea, and Beyla, the greatest source of fan-service in the game.


Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 20

In which we enter into Romney proper, head southwest to the village of Sloop and encounter a fortune teller in need of some exorcising.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 19

In which we continue our journey southward through the eastern part of the oddly empty game world, toward the town of Romney. Romney will be our ultimate goal in Chapter 2, but for now it's just a place to boost our Haggling skill.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 18

In which we head to Kenting Rush and Cavall Keep, meet Owyn's Uncle Corvalis and begin to explore the eastern edge of the game world.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 17

In which, after explaining why we're now in Dencamp-On-The-Teeth and why we skipped over the village of Wolfram, we examine our first magic shop, head east toward Northwarden (or is that north toward Eastwarden?) and avail ourselves of the blessings of the war god Tith.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 16

In which we explore the town of Eldpoint, take on a quest to retrieve a bag of grain that we can't do until Chapter Two and we finally clear out that impossible ambush with the help of River Song. (The spell, not The Doctor's companion.)


Friday, August 24, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 15

In which we go hunting for goblins on behalf of Baron Kevin, uncover another cache of treasure chests and make our way to the village of Eldpoint... eventually.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 14

We're out of the woods and into the one area of the game you never have to go to during the main quest. So we press on towards Highcastle and the very nice weapon shop that is allegedly there and have our first fight with a group of trolls.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 13

In which we explore the northern Dimwood and encounter more riddle chests, more moredhel hordes and our first undead enemy - The Rusalki!


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 12

Our exploration of The Dimwood continues, as we move into the central and northern portion of the forest, discover a chest best not touched and indulge in a little light grave-robbing.

(My apologies for the late posting. I was at Anime Fest 2018 all weekend!)


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 11

In which we clean out the southern section of The Dimwood and fiddle around with more Moredhel riddle chests. Screw the urgent mission to deliver word of an invasion to the Prince - there's loot to be had!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 10

In which we further explore the Dimwood, encounter our first Moredhel Witch and work through a LOT of puzzle boxes.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 9

In which we make our way to the border barony of Highcastle by way of the Dimwood Forest. Because somehow, the forest full of giant scorpions and random encounters we aren't supposed to visit until much later in the game is much easier to go through than the direct road east of Tyr-Sog. But hey - we get to help a kindly old witch out, so yay us!


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 8

In which we enter into our first dungeon - the Dwarven mine called The Mac Mordain Cadal - and seek out the Brak Nurr. (All Hail Brak Nurr!) We then go off to solve the mystery of the missing ruby, because killing giant rock monsters is just WAY too easy.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 7

In which, having totally circled around the northwestern part of the game world and visited five villages, we finally travel to LaMut and the first big city we are meant to go to. Here, we pick up a few more side quests, before going off to the nearby dwarven mines to help slay a fearsome beast.


Friday, August 3, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 6

In which I briefly backtrack to find the things I missed by not staying on the path between Loriel and Hawks Hollow and loot the bodies we couldn't loot earlier because we were overburdened. We'll also finally find Brother Jeremy's chest, complete our first side-quest and turn Owyn into a master bard in three minutes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 5

In which we go off on a quest to find Brother Jeremy's chest.

Hey! That rhymed!

But before the quest is done, we will make our way to Zun.

(No more rhymes now! I mean it!)


Monday, July 30, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 4

In which we try to get to Hawk's Hollow, Owyn proves to be more competent in a fight than Locklear, we encounter our first tavern and Locklear spills the details of his secret mission to a con-artist he knew as a teenager. Yet we'll see him keep warning Owyn about keeping his mouth shut...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 3

In which we encounter a pawn shop that won't buy used weapons, indulge in a bit of grave robbing, start raising Owyn's barding skill and show just why I elected to turn off the combat music for this play-through as we make our way to the town of Loriel and explore our first temple.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 2

In which we enter our first combat, encounter our first Moredhel puzzle box, take up our first side quest, run into our first magical booby trap, Owyn learns his first new spell and we make our way to the city of Tyr-Sog.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Starman Plays Betrayal at Krondor - Part 1

Join Starman in this new Let's Play, as he guides the knight Sir Locklear, newbie wizard Squire Owyn and the dark elf warrior Gorath as they take their first steps toward the city of Krondor.

Based on the novels of Raymond E. Feist, this game truly captured the spirit of the novels that inspired it... only with a lot more random grinding for levels, playing the lute in taverns to earn money and random side quests involving alcohol.



Sunday, July 8, 2018

Doctor Who: The Seventh Doctor #2 - A Review

The Doctor, Ace and their friends in the Counter-Measures Group are still investigating the apparent crash of an alien spacecraft in the Australian Outback. Sabotage has delayed their efforts, but who is responsible? And could the alien menace they fear has come to Earth already be among them?


Christopher Jones continues to prove himself the consummate Doctor Who comic artist. His work on Titan Comics' Third Doctor mini-series was phenomenal and his work here is of equal quality. He perfectly captures the appearances of the actors from the classic television series and draws some fantastically imaginative visuals.

The story, I'm sad to say, will not be everyone's cup of tea. Unsurprisingly, Andrew Cartmel perfectly emulates the tone of a Seventh Doctor story. The problem is that what comes off well on film does not always work in a comic book.

While I personally love the sly Seventh Doctor and how he cunningly manipulated events while seemingly doing nothing at all, the pay-off in many Seventh Doctor stories usually came at the end when the conjurer's trick was revealed. I have no doubt we'll get a smashing reveal in the next issue but this issue comes off a little flat, with two page sequences of coded messages being silently translated and The Doctor not doing much beyond facilitating a high-speed escape.

Again, this is typical of the McCoy era, and fans of the Seventh Doctor will love it. Everyone else, sadly, will not see the point. In this, the comic perfectly captures the spirit of the era, though it does make it a bit inaccessible to new fans.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. It's perfectly captures the feel of a Seventh Doctor television episode. For good and for ill. 


Injustice 2 #64 & #65 - A Review

The Red Lanterns' siege of Oa continues in Injustice #64. The Red Lanterns' still have Starro The Conqueror on their side, and through it control of a Guardian and many Green Lanterns. Can Hal Jordan find it in himself to be a leader again?  If he can, will The Green Lanterns follow him despite his past crimes?



An unexpected arrival turns the tide of the battle in Injustice 2 #65. But the new arrival is not there to save Oa or to defeat the Red Lanterns. They have come for Conner Kent, the new Superman!




I regret that my Tuesdays of late have been so busy as to not find the time to discuss this book in a more timely manner. If pressed to pick a single favorite comic book right now, I dare say this might be it. Tom Taylor's command of these characters - many of whom no longer exist in the regular DC Comics universe (or, at least, are heavily sidelined) - is astonishing and I still say that when the current creative teams are done with their runs we need Tom Taylor writing a Green Lantern book.

As far as the artwork goes, it is ever fantastic. I have a slight preference for Bruno Redondo's clearer lines and Gabe Eltaeb's delicate inks over the grittier aesthetic preferred by Xermanico, but that is only because I think it generally fits the tone of Taylor's stories better. Generally, this is true, but Xermanico proves the perfect artist to draw the darker-toned Injustice 2 #65. The colors by both Juan Albarran and J. Nankan are spectacular and Wes Abbott is, as always, wonderful about using his balloon placement to enhance the action rather than obscuring it.

Bottom Line: There are both great issues. This is a fantastic series and it should be an obvious pick-up for anyone who loves the DC Universe.

The Final Analysis: 10/10 for both issues.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Red Sonja/Tarzan #3 - A Review

The time-traveling hunter known as Eson Duul has set his sights on the Greystone family. Now, Red Sonja and Tarzan are in a literal race against time. Fortunately, The Greystroke family is far from defenseless, as the son of John Clayton is known to the great apes as Korak - their word for killer! And he does not stand alone in the battle against Duul and his forces, even without his father and the She-Devil With A Sword!


Red Sonja/Tarzan #3 is surprisingly free of either of its title characters. It is not lacking in action, however, with most of the issue focused on the exploits of Korak, Son of Tarzan, and Windia - an African woman warrior who could give any member of the Dora Milaje a run for their money.

Those who have enjoyed this series so far will find the third issue contains more of the same spirited writing and action-packed artwork.The only real flaw, and I admit this is a nitpicky one, is that I expect to see more of Red Sonja and Tarzan in a book called Red Sonja/Tarzan. Thankfully, the final pages promise that in plenty next month.

The Final Analysis: 7 out of 10. Old-fashioned pulp action, marred only by our title characters being largely absent from this issue.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark #1 - A Review

You know her as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark - star of stage, screen, games... and comic books! Yet nothing you've seen can prepare you for the terror that awaits you, as Elvira falls through a time-traveling coffin and into horror history! Her first stop - a wild weekend with Mary Shelley and a real vampire in search of new brides.



Fans of the horror hostess with the mostess are sure to get a kick out of this book.Writer David Avallone perfectly captures the humor and voice of Cassandra Peterson, with all the puns and innuendo you'd expect of Elvira. The animated artwork of Dave Acosta and Andrew Covalt proves a good match for the story, ironically presenting a colorful view of a character so normally associated with black and white. People who don't get the joke will have a miserable time, but fans of Deadpool and the writing of Gail Simone will laugh themselves silly.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. If you like cheesy jokes and cheesy horror, this is a must read.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 23 - Battles Lost and Won

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




Plot

With Reign reborn and free of Samantha's body, Supergirl and her allies must face their greatest challenge ever in a battle to save the Earth!


Influences

Superman: The Movie (Supergirl turning back time to saved a loved one), Star Wars (Kara quotes Han Solo to Brainiac-5 as they are beating down a tsunami wave.), Man of Steel (The Kryptonian witches plot to terraform Earth mirrors Zod's plan from this movie.), the film Ghost (the scene of the Kryptonian demons dragging Reign away resembles the shadowy things that come for bad people when they die in this film) and the Superman: New Krypton arc from the Superman comics. (Kryptonians who survived the destruction of their world attempt to conquer/destroy Earth.)


Goofs

How exactly does Thomas Coville know how to activate the distress signal on a Martian spaceship?

So... stabbing Reign with a sword violates Kara's "no killing" rule but dragging her into a mindscape and force-feeding her poisonous water that leaves her helpless as demons drag her away doesn't?


Performances

Honestly, the entire cast is on fire here and it's hard to single anyone out as especially great.


Artistry

You can tell they saved the special effects budget for this episode. There's some truly amazing visuals in the first part of the episode, particularly the sequence with Saturn Girl stopping a tsunami wave from hitting National City.  It is topped, however, between the final fight between Supergirl and Reign.

The sequence in which Reign loses control of her powers and dies is magnificently shot.


Super Trivia

When J'onn slaps a pair of Kryptonite-empowered handcuffs on one of the Daughters of Juru, he describes it as "a little piece of home."  A Little Piece Of Home was also the name of the episode of Superman: The Animated Series which introduced Kryptonite into the DC Animated Universe.

Kara's traveling back in time to redo her fight with Reign is a nod to Superman: The Movie, where Superman does the same thing in order to save Lois Lane.

Mon-El seems to mix up the Ancient Greek myths of Persephone, Orpheus and Hercules when trying to complement Kara. He talks about entering the underworld, slaying the three-headed monster and rescuing Persephone. As Kara points out, Persephone was the one who ate the pomegranate seeds and became trapped in Hades' realm. Hercules fought the three-headed dog Cerberus, but did not slay it. Orpheus went into the underworld to save his true love, but he ultimately failed because he looked back to make sure she was behind him.

Mon-El gives Kara a Legion ring of her own before returning to the future. In the comics, depending on the reality, Kara traveled to the future and worked with The Legion for a time, was declared an honorary Legion member and/or permanently settled in the 31st Century.


Technobabble

Alex's new body armor is revealed to have the capacity to generate an electric blue force-field that can disintegrate small boulders before they can hit her.

The Legion Flight Rings allow the wearer to breathe in space.

Kara says she can use the electricity contained in the Harun-El to take her to the Fountain of Lillith if she can find a disruption in space-time.


Dialogue Triumphs

(Supergirl and Alura have just finished wearing down a wave that Saturn Girl was holding in check. Brainiac-5 is flying behind them in The Legion ship.)
Supergirl: You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!
Brainiac-5: (testily) I assume that's some sort of film reference?
Supergirl (aghast): We never showed you Star Wars? Not a single Star War?

M'yrnn: I am sorry I could not give you the rest.
J'onn: (tearing up) Don't apologize... don't...
M'yrnn: (smiles) I had a good life.
J'onn: I'm not ready.
M'yrnn: You are. You looked into the flame and you had no fear!
J'onn: (sighs) That's because you were with me.
(M'yrnn places a hand on J'onn's shoulder.)
M'yrnn: That will never change, J'onn. Never.

(J'onn slaps a pair of Kryptonian power-dampening cuffs on one of the Daughters of Juru.)
Witch: What is this devilry?!
J'onn: A little piece of home.

(Reign is strangling Supergirl.)
Reign: You cannot win. There is no prison you can build that can contain me. There is no one on this planet of equal power that can kill me!
(We pan over to see Samantha, now holding The Sword of Juru.)
Samantha: That's what you think.
(Samantha stabs Reign in the back.)

Kara: Before we went to Argo, I just had this thought. I... could be Kara Zor-El, Ordinary Citizen. (laughs) That I would feel like I was home. But when we were fighting Reign and the witches, I...had this moment... this realization that ...Argo City isn't my home anymore. National City is. Earth is. And my mission is to protect it. I mean, my whole life is here.
Mon-El: Yeah.
Kara: Messy. Complex. Balancing Kara and being a hero... (sighs) That's who I am.


Continuity

A TV report briefly mentions that Superman is dealing with the damage in Madagascar, which was mentioned in passing in 322.

J'onn receives one final memory from his father - an image of the first Martian priestess to receive the sacred scrolls at the dawn of The Martian Race. They were given to her by a being with glowing eyes whose face erupted from the Martian soil.

James reveals his face to a woman whose son he saves from a burning building.

Brainiac-5 has not seen Star Wars.

M'yrnn merges himself with the Earth to counter the destruction wrought by The Daughters of Juru.

Saturn Girl claims to have gotten a message from Mon-El's time beacon. Mon-El said, in 322. that the Time Beacon broke but was later revealed to have been lying. When confronted about this, he says that it must have had a fail-safe so that it would send a message even if it powered down.

Thomas Coville - presumed dead in the last episode - is revealed to be barely alive in The Fortress of Sanctuary.

Saturn Girl says that she realized - during her separation from Mon-El - that their marriage was never what it should have been and she should have realized that when she lied about the real reason they traveled back to the past.

Samantha has visions of her adoptive mother apologizing to her for abandoning her.  Sam does not believe she is real at first, but the figure is later revealed to be "all that remains of Patricia Arias and her lover for Samantha."

Brainiac-5 reveals that millions of people were saved by The Blight never coming into existence, thanks to the death of Pestilence in the 21st century... including a distant relative of his, who has developed a viral plague to wipe out all other artificial intelligences. This means that Brainiac-5 must remain in the past until someone else cures the plague.

Brainiac-5 reveals that Winn's design for his force-field belt goes on to lay the foundation for some of the most advanced technology of the 31st century. To that end, he asks for Winn to go to the future to replace him on The Legion of Superheroes and combat the AI Plague. He claims that the piece of paper on which Winn scribbled his design while trying to explain it to Demos is now a treasured historical artifact in the National Archives in the future.

Brainiac-5 also says that the future needs heroes and leaders and pleads for Mon-El to return to the future.

Thomas Coville activates a distress beacon in J'onn's ship to signal the DEO as to the location of The Fortress of Sanctuary.

James refers to 320 and how Lena figured out she could kill Reign with a lethal dose of Kryptonite. Kara refuses to consider this as an option at first, but finally relents after Alura and J'onn say there may be no other option.

When Samantha awakens, she has full Kryptonian powers.

Samantha stabs Reign and Kara throws her into The Daughters of Juru's cauldron. This leads to Samantha and Alura being killed by Reign's heat vision. Mon-El also dies taking a heat-vision blast trying to save J'onn.

As Kara flies back in time she remembers things that were said to her in the past about Alex thinking Kara Danvers saved her more than Supergirl and J'onn saying that Kara saved his life and her mother saying that she would go on to do great things. (301)

In the new timeline, Kara stops Sam from stabbing Reign and instead uses the Harun-El to shock herself, Samantha and Reign into The Valley of Juru. From there, they force-feed Reign the weakening waters of the Fountain of Lillith and she is dragged away by Kryptonian demons.

Mon-El decides that he has to go back to the future because he is needed there.

Mon-El gives Kara a Legion ring of her own.

Samantha is 100% human following the latest round of tests by Lena.

Winn decides to return to the future with Mon-El.

James reveals himself to the world as The Guardian.

Alex tries to resign from the DEO so she can start a family.

J'onn refuses, saying he wants to promote Alex, placing her in charge of the DEO.

J'onn steps down as DEO director so he can  go out and focus on helping others directly in the Martian tradition rather than hiding behind walls.

Alura plans to return to Argo City, taking Selena and the other Daughters of Juru with her so they can stand trial for their crimes.

Lena gives Alura a case full of Harun-El that she synthesized as well as the recipe to make more.

Winn leaves Braniac-5 his original sketch of his design for the force-field belt, along with a note saying it is guaranteed to appreciate in value more than a jar of dirt, in reference to his gift of future dirt from 318.

There is no pizza on Argo.

Lena is revealed to have kept some of the Harun-El and is experimenting on it with Eve Teschmacher.

Kara's use of the Harun-El to stop Reign seems to have created a clone of Kara in Russia.


Location

Wherever J'onn and M'yrrn go so M'yrnn can merge with the Earth.

The Fortress of Sanctuary

The Siberian Border.


Untelevised Adventures

Superman is said to be dealing with the natural disasters threatening to rip the world apart in Madagascar.


The Bottom Line


Far more than the sum of its parts. Part of me wants to scream bloody murder about the sheer insanity of the Valley of the Juru, the mixing of science and fantasy and the logistics of human ghosts going to a quasi-Kryptonian after-life/dreamscape. The other part of me says "Screw it. We give Sam closure and Betty Buckley gets another paycheck."

Lots of big changes in this episode, yet the pace is quite leisurely and the epic battle is almost an after thought. We already have Jeremy Jordan and Chris Wood confirmed as leaving the series and only coming back as guest stars, if at all. I hope the same isn't true of David Harewood, who is one of the rocks of this show. James revealing himself to the world as Guardian is... well, as muted as everything else relating to Guardian this season.

Still, the low-key conclusion seems oddly appropriate and after the breakneck conclusions of Arrow and The Flash that failed to be thrilling, it's kind of nice that this episode ends with Kara and Alex having a sisters' night in. Can't wait for Season Four!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Batman: Prelude To The Wedding, Part Three - Batgirl Vs. The Riddler - A Review

Having not been reading Tim King's Batman on a regular basis, I had been planning on giving the whole Prelude To A Wedding storyline a miss. Then I found out there was going to be an issue pitting Batgirl against my favorite Batman villain and... well, I had to see how it played out, having the real greatest detective in the Bat Family (by Bruce's own admission) go against Edward Nygma.


Naturally, the plot involves The Riddler setting up a test for Batgirl which involves murder and mayhem if she fails to answer his questions. The twist Tim Seeley sets up for why he is doing this is rather brilliant and I shan't say another word about it. Suffice it to say it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to The Riddler and this issue did not disappoint. While the endgame is obvious the execution is masterful.

Better than the story, though, is the art. This is the second special I've seen Minkyu Jung work on (the last one being Titans Annual #1) and the second time I wished he was working regularly on a series I read. Jung's grasp of composition and framing is fantastic and the action of the story flows smoothly throughout. Would that we could see Jung paired with Jose Marzan Jr. on Batgirl, as they prove to have a real flair for working with the character and each other here. The colors of Jordie Bellaire are sweet icing on a very rich cake and Dave Sharpe's letter-work is as astounding as ever.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. A one-shot special that lives up to its name.

Detective Comics #982 - A Review

Trapped in the darkest tunnels under Gotham City, Batman seeks a missing homeless man. What he finds is a conspiracy organized by a frightening new cult and an old enemy... older than Gotham itself.
Detective Comics #982 seems less like a Batman comic and more like a Hellboy story that was hurriedly adapted into something Batman-themed. Doubtlessly this may be because of the artwork by Sebastian Fiumara, best known for his work on Lobster Johnson and Abe Sapien. Yet with a supernatural villain at its heart, this story still seems atypical for the sort of serious, mystery-based tales we usually see in Detective Comics.

That being said, this is far from a bad book. Indeed, this is perhaps the most noteworthy use of Deacon Blackfire I've ever seen in any story, though that is damning with faint praise as I've always found the character less than compelling. Yet Michael Moreci's script makes him compelling and the artwork by Sebaastian Fiumara and Dave Stewart drives the story at full tilt into the deepest, darkest parts of Gotham. There's also some great font work by Clem Robins, who crafts text that seems to cut at the balloons that contain it.

The Final Analysis: 10/10. All in all this is a solid one-shot Batman story. 

X-Men: Red #5 - A Belated Review

Unbeknownst to Jean Grey, an old enemy of the X-Men is twisting the minds of various world leaders to hasten the anti-Mutant initiatives that are gaining popularity, at the same time a new breed of Sentinel is using social media to turn ordinary people into the puppets of hate groups and mutants into self-loathing suicide bombers. Thankfully, Jean and her new team of X-Men are not without resources or allies, but they still have a long battle ahead of them - one that will start with an effort to save mutant refugees from an advancing army.


I missed out on the fireworks when this issue originally came out and various forces held it up as a prime example of how the social justice warrior agenda is ruining Marvel Comics. Ignoring that Marvel Comics has a long history of doing this sort of thing (and indeed was build upon the work of several Veterans who specifically used their art to make political points) to say that an X-Men comic is not meant to be political seems incredibly ignorant.

For the sake of argument, let's consider this story as an action epic, free from Tom Taylor's drawing parallels between the social-media Sentinels that reprogram people's brains to turn them into anti-Mutant activists and the use of fake news in modern society. Does this comic still hold up?  Yes. Taylor writes a fantastic action sequence and the battle in which we see the X-Men placing themselves between an army and a group of refugees is a thrilling one.

All of this is ably illustrated by Mahmud Asrar, whose shadowy, heavily-outlined style is a good fit for the grim world that Taylor's script reveals. The colors are largely dull, save for the colors of the X-Men in their costumes - a brilliant conceit by colorist Rain Beredo that makes our heroes stand out like the beacons of hope they should be in a dark world. The letters by Cory Petit are well done, with a wide variety of texts in the caption boxes, the news scrolls and the action balloons.

Let the broflakes cry. This is X-Men done right, modernized for the 21st century - as political and powerful as it should be.

The Final Analysis: 9/10. The best X-Men book in years!

Red Sonja/Tarzan #2 - A Belated Review

United across time and space by an enemy who seems to have the power to breach those same boundaries, The Lord of The Jungle and The She-Devil With A Sword form an uneasy alliance... though this is not the first time the two have crossed paths, though neither remembers the first time they met and came to blows...


Again, real life had gotten in the way of my reviewing this wonderful little mini-series, sure to appeal to fans of both Red Sonja and Tarzan. Gail Simone's script captures the essence of both characters perfectly. This is unsurprising, given Simone's long association with Sonja after 18 issues of the monthly comic and the Swords of Sorrow event, which gave her ample opportunity to indulge her obvious love of pulp fiction. Hopefully we'll get to see Jane in action by this series' end as well.

Walter Geovani proves the perfect partner in this. Again, this is unsurprising, given Geovani's long history of drawing Red Sonja and other pulp works for Dynamite Entertainment. Attention must also be paid to the colors of Adriano Augusto and the letters of Simon Bowland, which are equally amazing. Again, I say it - this is a wonderful series, sure to appeal to fans of both Red Sonja and Tarzan as well as anyone who enjoys a ripping yarn.

The Final Analysis: 8 out of 10. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that is their loss.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Injustice 2 #60-62 - A Belated Review

The Red Lanterns have recruited Starro The Conqueror and have lain siege to Oa - home of The Green Lantern Corps and The Guardians of The Universe. The New God Metron has recruited Jaime Reyes - The Blue Beetle - to stand against Starro, having foreseen that only the wielder of The Scarab can stand against the rage-empowered Starro.

Blue Beetle does not stand alone, however, with his friends in the New Titans and Booster Gold having joined in the fight. Even the bounty hunter Lobo, who was hired by Metron to bring Blue Beetle to him, has joined in the fighting on the simple grounds that it'll be hard for him to get paid in a universe run by a crazy hive-mind. And before the day is over, even more unlikely allies may be found to aid Oa in its blackest night...


Due to life being life and my schedule of late leaving me busy on Tuesdays when this book is released on-line, I haven't had the opportunity to review Injustice 2 for nearly three weeks. Indeed, I've barely had the time to read it!

Today, however, I made the time and I am glad I did. For Injustice 2 #62 contained no less than three jaw-dropping moments. I am not certain that my jaw literally did drop physically as I was reading the issue. Mentally, however, I was gobsmacked.

I know Tom Taylor is a busy man but I dearly wish he were writing several series based on his work here. There are a number of characters in Injustice 2 - no longer in existence in the DC Rebirth reality - who I sorely miss and am glad to see being given their due here. Chief among these are Conner Kent and Cassie Sandsmark, who have become this reality's new Superman and Wonder Woman and one heck of a cute couple. I'd also love to see Taylor tackle the Green Lantern Corps on a regular basis or pen a new Blue and Gold series.

The artwork is equally fantastic. This book is blessed by a number of great creative teams and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite if asked to do so. Xermanico, Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, J Nanjan, Rex Lokus and Wes Abbot all deliver their respective A-games to every aspect of this series' artwork and I cannot recall any issue where the art was anything but excellent.

If you haven't been reading Injustice 2, for whatever reason, you've been missing out. This is one of my favorite series and you would do well to check it out and find out why.

The Final Analysis: 10 out of 10. Great issues, all of them. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 3, Episode 22 - Make It Reign

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



Plot

With Selena's plans for Earth revealed, Kara, Mon-El and Alura must find a way to escape Argo City. At the same time, J'onn prepares to say goodbye to his father, M'yrnn.


Influences

Supergirl: The Movie (Villain named Selena trying to take over Earth, while Supergirl is trapped elsewhere), Superman 2 (three evil Kryptonians menace the Earth) and the film Man of Steel (Kryptonian invasion of Earth meant to terraform the planet into a new Krypton)


Goofs

Why do the Daughters of Juru need to terraform Earth? Isn't Kara proof that Kryptonians can survive (and indeed thrive) in Earth's atmosphere? (You can't argue with religious fanatics and they're sort of committed to their prophecy demanding they conquer Earth and change it... even if they do have super powers as it is now.)

Kara and Mon-El are strangely unphased by the explosion in Selena's secret room and their white clothes are surprisingly unsullied by the fire and dust kicked up by the collapsing ceiling.

If Reign's whole purpose was to ultimately terraform Earth into a new Krypton, what was the point of her going around enforcing a more lethal form of justice when she first awoke?

The death of Agent Demos is played up as being far more significant than it should be. While the character is one of the few named DEO background agents, he's hardly had enough screen time for his death to have much resonance.

The heat-vision blasts in this episode act more like concussive beams than heat-rays, knocking people back rather than setting things on fire.

James Olsen has nothing to do in this episode but come in and try and give Winn a pep-talk.

Honestly, a lot of the emotional moments in this episode seem to misfire or are played off far faster than they should be, such as Alex and Alura meeting face to face for the first time.


Performances

Carl Lumbly has stolen virtually every episode he's appeared in this season. This episode is no exception, though the interactions between him and David Harewood are easily the high-point of this episode and - speaking as someone who is losing his father to Alzheimer's - all too realistically portrayed.

Chris Wood has prove far better at underplaying Mon-El this year than he was in overplaying the cocky frat-boy in Season Two.  The moment in which he says everything while saying nothing while talking to Winn is a quantum leap forward in what we've seen him do with the character.


Super Trivia

The base idea of this episode bears some slight resemblance to the plot of the 1984 Supergirl movie, which briefly saw Supergirl trapped in The Phantom Zone and helpless to do anything about the villain - a witch named Selena. This episode sees Kara briefly trapped on Argo City with no way back to Earth, as it is threatened by a Kryptonian priestess with dark magical powers named Selena.

There's also some superficial resemblance to Superman 2, with three evil black-clad Kryptonians menacing the Earth with the assistance of a human stooge. (Lex Luthor in the movie. Thomas Coville here.)

The ultimate goal of The Daughters of Juru is revealed to be that of General Zod in the movie Man of Steel - terraforming Earth into a New Krypton.

A new version of Selena was introduced into the reality of DC Comics Rebirth in Supergirl #10 (August 2017). This Selena was a powerful sorceress, described as Heir to Ataxia. She was convinced to join the villain team The Fatal Five, which was being led by Emerald Empress against Supergirl. She abandoned the team in mid-mission, however, wishing to avoid a losing battle and having no real grudge against Supergirl or loyalty to her new comrades.

The two Daughters of Juru besides Selena are named Vita and Ayala. This is in honor of writer Vita Ayala, who co-wrote some issues of the DC Rebirth Supergirl series with Steve Orlando.

At one point, Selena muses that Supergirl "actually cares for these humans." This line is a paraphrase of one of General Zod's lines from Superman 2 -  "He actually cares for these Earth people."

M'yrnn proposes merging himself with the planet Earth in order to stabilize it in the face of Reign's attacks. This is what J'onn J'onzz eventually did with the planet Mars in the reality of DC One Million.


Technobabble

Harun-El is made toxic to Kryptonians by Earth's atmosphere.

M'yrnn says that The Reach will allow him to live forever within his son's mind.

Lena determines that Sam's body cells are reverting back to their natural state (i.e. Kryptonian) but her blood cells are oxygen deprived and shrinking, with some of them having become dormant. At Ruby's suggestion, Alex decides to try exposing Sam to the intense yellow sun lamps the DEO used for speeding Supergirl's healing.

Winn develops an omni-directional self-maintaining sub-atomic personal shield - i.e. a belt-mounted force-field. It is based around a frequency conversion of some sort and is the cornerstone of the new non-lethal tech that Winn is building for the DEO. The dumbed-down explanation is that it is like a magnet for atoms.

Zor-El had been working on a transmat portral - a teleportation device that could work across interstellar distances to send the people of Krypton to another planet.

Lena uses her refractive scatterfield to test Sam's eyesight. Since Sam is able to see through the field and see Lena waving at her, we know that her body is not reacting like a Kryptonian's should. If Sam were a healthy Kryptonian, she would have hurt her eyes just trying to look at Lena through the field.

Lena says that environmental factors can influence gene expression, turning it on and off. She theorizes she can use Harun-El to rejuvenate Sam's blood cells.

Kara is able to use the cache crystals as a sort of impromptu radio, allowing her to talk through the hologram of Alura in the DEO headquarters.

A multi-phase descrambler which links to a power source is part of the transmat mechanics. The insulator or Zor-El's transmat is cracked, meaning it will only be good for one trip.

Alex's new gun fires ammunition that generates an electrical net capable of briefly restraining three Kryptonians. It works until the net is blasted by heat vision. She also has Kryptonite bullets and the glove of her costume can generate a Kryptonite energy field.

Winn's personal force-field is shown to be strong enough to protect him from a Kryptonian heat-vision blast. It also keeps him from being killed when he is thrown against the wall by a Dark Kryptonian, though the concussive force is enough to knock him unconscious. The focused energy of three Kryptonians' heat vision, however, is too much for it, as Agent Demos tragically discovers.

Eve Teschmacher reworks the Harun-El to try and jump-start Sam's blood cells. It does not work. Lena thinks perhaps she can make it work by adjusting the ratio of the solution she used before and reinject Sam with it.

Lena determines that Sam and Reign are still connected by a symbiotic non-local entanglement. This means that Sam is getting weaker as Reign is getting stronger, despite Reign no longer being contained within Sam.

M'yrnn and J'onn interrupt The Reach to help evacuate National City.

Mon-El speaks of a world called Zune, who terraformed their world by digging to the planet's core, creating a Genesis event. The process took hours.

M'yrnn says that is he uses his shape-shifting and phasing powers to merge with the nexus point of Reign's attack, he can help to stabilize the Earth by merging with it.


Dialogue Triumphs


M'yrnn: Home is not a place. It is living among those who love and honor you. I can depart this world with peace because I know my son is home.

M'yrnn: These are happy memories. They should make you happy.
J'onn: And they do, Father. But they also remind me how much I'm going to miss you. Every memory that passes between us brings us closer to that eventuality.
M'yrnn: By the end of this, you will not feel loss, J'onn. You will feel complete. I promise.
J'onn: How do you know?
M'yrnn: Because I know the hole that comes with not knowing this. The way I felt when your mother was taken from me. When you were taken from me. Be patient, my son. Let the memories fill you up as you have filled me up.

(Winn is asking Mon-El why he hasn't returned to the future.)
Mon-El: Uh-yeah. Yeah, I was but then the time beacon broke and... Kara ran into some trouble, so I uh, I decided to stay back to...
Winn: (unconvinced) Uh-huh. Always the hero.
Mon-El: Yeah.
(Mon-El pauses, before speaking in a more quiet tone.)
Mon-El: I lost her once, man. I'm not sure I can do it again.
(Comprehension dawns on Winn's face, as he glances to where Alex is working.)
Winn: Wow, really?  Dude.  Dude, forget Reign! You need to get back here fast so we can get a drink!
(Mon-El chuckles.)

Selena: Give me the blood.
Kara: You want the blood? You can have it.
(Kara throws the blood vials into the air toward Selena. Her heat vision catches it in mid-flight as Selena catches it, wincing as it begins to burn and melt in her hand.)

M'yrnn: This planet is my son's home. I intend to save it with him!


Dialogue Disasters


Eve: More bad news?
Lena: Yeah. Sam's no better. And now three people in National City with the same powers of Supergirl have just murdered somebody.
Eve: Oh. That is not good.


Continuity


The Daughters of Juru had a prophecy which foretold of three of them standing on Earth in order to bring about the rise of Reign.

The three members of The Daughters of Juru are revealed as Selena, Vita and Ayala.

Harun-El is made toxic to Kryptonians by Earth's atmosphere.

Selena had an atlas of Earth in her secret quarters.

Kara identifies some of the writings on the atlas as being identical to those in Coville's journal. She recognizes them as the instructions to create a Worldkiller from 319.

Sam is not feeling well but has not transformed into Reign again.

M'yrnn comes by the DEO to say goodbye to Alex.

The Reach ceremony requires a Martian artifact called The Staff of Kh'ollar.

Alex is left in charge of the DEO while J'onn is away performing The Reach.

Among the items on Selena's secret room, Kara finds a scabbard which has "Whoever wields this sword shall bathe in the blood of the old worlds and reign with might over the new." written upon it. Alura identifies this as The Scabbard of Juru and the line as a quote from an ancient Kryptonian religious text.

Selena leaves behind a hologram of herself that speaks to Alura along with a fire-bomb trap that wounds Thara.

Selena explains that she gave Kara the Harun-El because it was necessary for Sam and Reign to be separated in order to enact the final stage of her plan and helping Kara saved her the trouble of doing it herself.

Sam says that she was feeling totally normal but now feels so weak she can barely hold her head up and that her insides are melting away.

Agent Demos has some kind of grudge against Winn.

The gravity manipulator Mon-El purchased in 321 is destroyed by Selena's trap. This means he cannot use it to contact The Legion and have them come to help get him and Kara to Earth.

Kara spent many afternoons watching her father work in his lab. He often used her as a sounding board for his ideas. She remembers him always talking to her as if she were another scientist.

The ritual to bring back Reign fails because they do not have the blood of Purity and Pestilence. Luckily, Thomas Coville knows that blood samples can be found at the DEO.

Lena uses her refractive scatter field from 319 to test Sam's vision.

Selena was able to get Zor-El's transmat mostly-functional. The problem is that it would require another transmat portal at their destination in order to function.

The DEO has a transmat portal, which Winn recovered in 209.

The DEO also has Kryptonian cache crystals, like the ones in Zor-El's lab.

Kara is able to use the cache crystals as a sort of impromptu radio, allowing her to talk through the hologram of Alura in the DEO headquarters.

There are 500 million potential moves on an Ok'Rock'Tock board.

Alura comes to Earth with Mon-El and Kara.

Agent Demos dies after being hit by the heat vision of all three of the Daughters of Juru. This turns out to be too much for Winn's new force-field belt to cope with.

Eve Teschmacher is still working in Lena's lab, helping her with trying to save Sam.

Enough of the dried blood of Purity and Pestilence remains on Serena's hand after Kara's heat-vision blast for her to sprinkle the ashes of it into the fire being used to reform Reign.

The Fountains of Lillith are two fountains from ancient Kryptonian mythology said to be in The Valley of Juru. Alura learned of them from Jindah Kol Rozz, who ranted about them at her sentencing. One fountain gave infinite strength. The other gave weakness. Rozz spoke of a woman born of the fountain, who had the power of destruction - i.e. Reign. Kara theorizes that this may be the source of Reign's power rather than Earth's yellow sun.

Sam asks for Lena to help her return to The Valley of the Juru (where she went in 317) so she can use the fountain to indirectly weaken Reign.

Reign's awakening triggers an 8.0 earthquake in National City, super-storms and tornadoes in Madagascar and a tsunami warning.

M'yrnn declares his intention to merge with the nexus point of the disaster, allowing him to stabilize it.


Location


The new Fortress of Sanctuary


The Bottom Line


On the one hand, the plotting of this episode is utterly nonsensical, with the reasons for Reign's existence having completely changed amid a host of minor things that don't make sense like concussive heat vision and the expectation that we're supposed to be deeply moved by the death of Agent Demos while undercutting emotional moments that should be more powerful, like Alex and Alura meeting.

And yet... for everything this episode borrows from earlier Superman and Supergirl stories, the execution here is far stronger than in those earlier stories. By making the Kryptonians trying to destroy the Earth to create a New Krypton into religious fanatics rather than soldiers adhering to some elitist eugenics program, Supergirl Season 3 has corrected the biggest flaw with the plot of Man of Steel. For all its flaws, this episode largely works in spite of itself.