I Like This Chick, She Has Rage Issues

As y’all know, I get emotional at certain things. I can usually see it coming. I didn’t expect any tears during Birds Of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn, and they came in one moment. My heart skipped a beat and I burst right into tears when Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollet-Bell) finally let loose and we got a Canary Cry on the big screen.

That made me cry.

Anyway, on to the rest of the movie. It is an incredible triumph. It’s joyously funny, in a great silly way. Feminist without pandering or neutering itself. (Turns out just by centering women and making your villain a misogynist you can make a pretty feminist film even without posturing. Who knew? Oh, every woman ever, that’s right.)

Trying to explain the movie is beside the point for me, here, but it underperformed this weekend so GO SEE IT. Anyway, more thoughts, it’s framed around Harley Quinn trying to figure out what her life is going to look like post Joker. At first, she’s keeping the breakup on the DL, as she knows she’s crossed a lot of people in her career. But she finally snaps and blows up ACE Chemical (and then there’s a whole thing with a Bacon Egg And Cheese sandwich) and all hell breaks loose.

Harley finds herself in the crosshairs of Roman Sionus, AKA Black Mask, played deliciously by Ewan McGregor. Roman employs Dinah Lance AKA Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell, perfect) as a singer and enforcer, and Victor Szasz (Chris Messina) is his right hand man. She’s also being pursued by Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) They’re all looking for young pick pocket Cassandra Caine (Ella Jay Basco) who’s gotten her hands on the priceless Bertenelli Diamond, which holds the key to the vast fortune of an executed mob family.

Gotham’s underworld is also being cleansed by a mysterious Cross Bow Killer, who prefers Huntress, thank you. (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and in the end, in order to survive, all the women band together to protect Cass.

There’s hijinks galore in between, fantastic action, plenty of swears. (The R rating is entirely for the use of the F word and some real bone crunching violence. It’s great) The movie is a brightly colored fever dream in places and totally perfect. Margot Robbie is a dream, the rest of the cast follows suits. (I have to admit hearing Rosie Perez’s actual Brooklyn accent next to Robbie’s exaggerated Quinn voice is hilarious.)

Seriously, this movie is so special. I’m thrilled with how DC movies have turned around in the past year. Aquaman was so fun! Shazam was miraculous, Joker uhhh, well Joaquin won an Oscar! And Birds Of Prey is so much fun. This gets me super psyched for Wonder Woman 1984, and also, as I realized Black Widow. 

All the super hero movies I’m looking forward to this year are about women. That’s incredible, given that a few years ago, no one even knew if Wonder Woman was going to ever happen.

Crisis Management: “Crisis On Infinite Earths: Parts 4 & 5”

Shut up, you’re crying.

And I mean a lot. While not quite as fun as it’s rising action, the climax and Epilogue to Crisis On Infinite Earths are both quite good in their own ways, and I think we’d be happiest if we just dig into things.

Crisis On Infinite Earths Part 4 (Arrow Season 8, Episode 8)

After this there are only two episodes of Arrow left, and one of them is the backdoor pilot for Green Arrow And The Canaries, which means really, there’s just one. I’m glad I made the decision to catch up for the final season, despite the show never really resonating with me after season 4.

Anyway, we open in The Vanishing Point and it’s been a minute. We know this because Ryan Choi now has a beard and also he tells us in a helpful voice over. Thanks Ryan. Everyone’s a little stir crazy and they sure hate Lex and Barry is missing! OH NO! Barry shows up again, super confused and then we flash to Purgatory where Corrigan is training Oliver to be the best Spectre he can be. HE then goes to The Vanishing Point and tells Barry he has to go to the Speed Force again or something. Basically everyone gets scattered into the Speed Force and needs to learn something about themselves.

The best (and most secret) cameo comes first, Barry confronts, Barry? But Barry as played by Ezra Miller and the whole scene is a damn delight. Anyway, Barry then has a conversation with Oliver/Spectre about finding everyone. Then Kate learns about Trust from watching Ray and Oliver bicker in the past, J’onn learns about teamwork from watching Oliver and Kara bicker in the past.

Meanwhile, Kara, Lex and Ryan are on Mor Nobu’s planet in the past trying to convince him not to go back in time and create the anti monitor. They succeed, but also don’t?

Anyway, they all go back to the dawn of time and fight The Anti Monitor and Oliver dies (for REALS this time you guys.) to restart everything and it seems to work. Hooray! Sara and Barry meanwhile are very sad about it, because of course they are.

Crisis On Infinite Earths Part 4 (Legends Of Tomorrow Season 5, Episode 1)

The worlds have been merged! And Kara for one, is delighted, as is a random dude on the street who approaches Kara and Barry for an autograph. (It’s Marv Wolfman!Hooray!) Sara meanwhile, is still pretty sad because even though most everyone is now back Oliver now isn’t.

She points out that Oliver was the last person who knew who she was before and this is a difficult loss for her. This is, well, incredibly profound, actually. Sara has lost a lot. (But then I realized, uh, Thea’s still alive right? Thea was young but she knew Sara…) Barry reminds her that Oliver died for all of them but before they can really get it together and giant Beebo attacks Star City.

Hello Legends! Sara calls Eva and Nate to check in about it and they moan about being sucked into another cross over. However, they note there is another Legend besides her and Ray in town.

Mick’s got a book signing and goes to fight Beebo for ruining it. Turns out the Beebo is just an illusion and as they celebrate their victory, everyone is attacked by shadow demons. OH NO!

One last stand off with the anti monitor where Supergirl and Ray save the day stops it. In a quiet moment, the world mourns Oliver Queen, and then Barry, Sara, Jefferson, Kara, Clark and Kate light an eternal flame in his memory. Barry also reveals a round table and the empty warehouse is revealed to be THE HALL OF FUCKING JUSTICE (Well, not Fucking Justice, this isn’t Titans, they’re still on their own world. More’s the pity for my dreams of watching Kate and Kara interact with that version of Dick.)

I look forward to the further bonkers shenanigans of this world, now without unnecessary dimension jumping. (Though Stargirl will still be on it’s own Earth? Good thing The Monitor gave Cisco his powers back?)

Observations

  • The Ezra Miller cameo was such a wonderful surprise I actually fell off the couch. Seriously, such a delight.
  • Lex rewrote things so that the whole world thinks he’s great. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize and everything. Kara is furious. Anyway glad Jon Cryer will be sticking around, he’s a wonderful presence on the show
  • In keeping with Legends being Legends half the episode is just people looking at computer monitors and Sara doesn’t suit up.
  • Kate chills with Alex and Kara at Kara’s apartment, and I’m so happy they’re all in the same world now. I hope Alex and Kate bond over motorcycles and awesome gay lady haircuts.
  • Sara Diggle is back! Hooray! Also, now Lois and Clark have two kids, which will be fun for their upcoming pilot.
  • Things I was hoping for but didn’t get: Digg getting a Green Lantern ring. We did see the Lantern Corp, which I’m assuming is from the upcoming HBOMax show. (I’m going to get HBOMax, purely because of The West Wing so we shall see how that one pans out) Felicity, at all. I know they wanted to save Emily Bett Ricakard’s return for the Arrow finale, but still.
  • While in all reality I want Diggle on The Waverider so we don’t have to say goodbye to Diggle, Rene’s reaction to Beebo (complete confusion) and then interaction with Rory (pouring him champagne) also makes him a good candidate.
  • I mostly cried at the montage of all the superheroes, but especially Routh!Superman flying away and winking at the camera.
  • Best Teamup Of The Crossover: Jefferson Pierce, Killer Frost and Mick Rory. Close second: Nash Wells, Ryan Choi & Ray Palmer (FOR SCIENCE)
  • I’m soaking in every moment of Brandon Routh and still can’t believe we’re losing him after this season.

Overall, I enjoyed the Crisis, the cameos and Easter Eggs were super fun, and I’d rank it third for the big Crossovers (Earth-X, Elseworlds, Infinite Earths, Heroes Vs Aliens, Whatever the Hawkpeople one was) Moving forward I’m going to do my best to keep up and write these check ins. But I’m also trying to watch less TV in general so maybe not. I don’t know yet.

 

Crisis Management: “Crisis On Infinite Earths Parts 1-3”; Black Lightning Week 9

IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somewhere in time, little Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim lay in their beds dreaming of heroes. They got their shot to tell their hero story when The CW wanted to follow up Smallville with a more grounded superhero story and landed on a Green Arrow show, that was basically a Batman show with a touch of Lost.

I don’t think when Oliver Queen became something else, they had this cold open in mind (How could they? No one could have predicted this), but it’s spectacular. The Monitor explains the explains the origin of the multiverse, and we jump to Gotham, on Earth-89, the Batsignal blares in the red sky, then it’s Earth 9, where Hawk and Robin (TITANS!) gape at the same. The Ray on Earth-X (no Citizen Cold though. Damnit!) And then Earth 66, New York City, where an aging Dick Grayson (BURT WARD) gasps, “Holy Crimson Skies Of Death.”

The Crisis has begun. I’m sitting on my couch in Montclair, New Jersey, sipping on a cup of coffee, sobbing. TV has always been my main source for the DC heroes who are my favorites. Reruns of Batman, afternoon syndication of Batman: The Animated Series, Saturday morning first run of Batman Beyond , then Smallville and then The Arrowverse.

Anyway, let’s move on to the rest of the first episode. Which is good, though, doesn’t quite live up to that spectacular opening.

Part 1 (Supergirl, Season 5, Episode 9)

Lyla as Harbinger is travelling around gathering the heroes. Before she can get to Earth-38, Kara, Alex, J’onn and Brainy try to reach out to Argo in order to warn Clark and Lois what’s about to happen. We flash to Argo where they’re playing with baby Jonathan. After the warning, Clark, Lois, and Alara (Seeing Elizabeth Tulloch and Erica Durance hug was another tearful moment!) Tyler Hoechlin continues to be amazing as Clark. The new parents and grand aunt put the baby in a pod and send him towards Earth, quoting Superman the movie. SO MANY TEARS!

The other intros work in their way, Kate shaking down a Wonderland gang member, Barry surrendering, knowing it’s time, Sara and Ray losing at bar trivia due to a time anomaly Ray created at Woodstock. (The most Legends-y intro they could possibly get.) Oliver and Mia on the beach in Lian-Yu.

They get to Earth-38 and Alex and J’onn spearhead an evacuation to Earth-1, Alex recruiting Lena to build the portal. (Will Lena see Lex? I hope so!) Meanwhile, Brainy has tracked Jon’s pod to Earth-16, Star City, the year 2046. Sara, Lois and Brainy go to get the baby, and Sara and Oliver have a moment of resolution. She assures him that their trip on The Queen’s Gambit was lifechanging and magical. Again, I cry.

On Earth 38, the heroes make their stand, fighting shadow warriors. Also Oliver gives Mia a Green Arrow suit. They don’t save Earth-38, but they do evacuate something like 3 billion people. Which is exceptional. But in the fight, Oliver is mortally wounded.

That’s right, in the first episode of Crisis On Infinite Earths, Oliver Queen, The Green Arrow, dies. It’s emotional, but I’m guessing there’s still more to think about. Anyway, I cried a lot.

The episode had a lot to do setting things up. I do wish Clark and Ray seeing each other for the first time had gotten a bit more of a beat. But I guess we’re saving that for the Kingdom Come stuff. Which I’m OK with. Seriously though, that cold open was amazing, it’s a high bar for the rest of the crossover to clear.

Part 2 (Batwoman, Season 1, Episode 9)

I mentioned in the intro that I mainly associate my DC fandom with Batman: The Animated Series and Smallville, which is how I knew this episode was going to be a lot for me. It’s also a heavy Sara episode, and includes Constantine, and Mick Rory, and an alternate Waverider where instead of Gideon, Leonard Snart is the AI.

So, I like this one.

Anyway, The Monitor tells our heroes that they need to find the paragons across the multiverse. (While Baby Jon cries.) We have two already, Kara is the paragon of hope and Sara is the paragon of destiny, they need to find a Kryptonian who is the paragon of truth, and the paragon of courage, “The Bat Of The Future.” Lois, Iris and Clark go looking for Supermen, and Kate and Kara go to find a future version of Bruce Wayne.

Meanwhile, Lex gets his hand on the book of destiny and is a step ahead of the the Super-team, trying to kill all the Supermen. When they reach The Kent Farm of Earth-167, (Smallville) that Clark is chopping wood, and Earth-38 Clark notes that he could do that with his bare hands. They tried to suss out if he’s the Supes they’re looking for, but then Lex shows up.

Clark kind of sighs loudly as Earth-38 Lex begins lecturing him about their destiny as enemies, living parallel lives, written in the stars, and then he reveals some Kryptonite which DOES NOTHING, because this Clark gave up his powers to be a dad. OF COURSE HE DID. The Clark Kent of Smallville hated being a superhero. He and Lois walk into the house, living happily ever after, which kind of sucks but is also a nice ending for them.

On Earth-96, team find the supermen, goes to the Daily Planet, where they encounter an older Clark again, this one, who looks like Ray Palmer. It’s a tremendous gift to see Brandon Routh be perfect as Superman once again, this Supes having lost everyone he ever loved to a chemical attack by The Joker. (Like Ryan Reynolds, Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, Routh was good casting let down by a bad movie) Lex shows up and makes the two Supermen fight eachother. Once they get his head on straight they bring him back, he’s our Paragon of Truth. (Fun detail, Lois is charmed by all of the Clarks, not just hers. She gets kinda flirty with Welling and Routh.)

In Gotham of Earth-99, Kate and Kara hit Wayne Manor, where they find a shirtlesss Luke Fox and Bruce in an exo suit. (That we hear Kevin Conroy’s voice before we see him is a nice touch. We learn that is this reality, Bruce was irrevocably injured after killing Superman, and Kate tried to follow in his footsteps and was killed. Conroy is perfect, obviously, and his switch from tired cynicism to unhinged evil is pretty great. After Kara confronts Bruce, a fight ensues and Bruce dies. After returning to the Waverider it’s revealed that Kate is in fact the Paragon of Courage. I AM SHOCKED I TELL YOU! (Also on a fun note, Kara thinks Luke is cute, which Kate thinks is weird. Luke is cute, and if Kara stays on Earth-1 I could see them developing into something. Though developments elsewhere suggest the multi-verse will be destroyed.)

Speaking of Earth-1, Mia and Sara need to find a Lazarus pit because Mia is determined to resurrect Oliver, they find one on Earth-18, which is guarded by Jonah Hex, they fight him and it’s awesome, and Constantine does a spell to restore his soul, it doesn’t work, so that’ll be fun. Barry is on this errand too, but he doesn’t do much but mope.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 9: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 4: Earth Crisis”

Like Supergirl in past crossovers, Black Lighting’s role is going to be limited, and the show has always kind of done it’s own thing anyway, but they do a great job of using the trappings of Crisis, to explore their themes of family, war and the cycle of violence. Jen finds herself confronted with a red sky and goes into a coma, where she is brought to an in between place, confronted by two alternate versions of herself. Earth-1 Gen, who poisoned Freeland’s water supply to cure metas and wound up in ASA custody, and Earth-2 Jinn, who fully embraced the path that our Jen is on, becoming a living weapon for Odell.

Earth-1 is a real bummer for the Pierce family. Because of Gen’s activities, Anissa opted to stay closeted, because this Jeff is much more political and a criminal and a lesbian would be too much of a liability. (Oddly, Earth-1 Alex was closeted as well. We’re so used to Sara, Nyssa, Ava, William and Curtis, perhaps the Team Arrow is more tolerant than the rest of their world. Is Earth-1 really conservative? Captain Singh is married to a man though…but Sophie stayed closeted in the military…) Lynn and Jeff never got back together, and an ASA raid on Christmas Eve gets Jeff shot and killed.

Earth-2 tells a familiar story, Jinn actually reminds me a lot of Not-Laurel, she’s all bravado and murder to cover up her soft beating heart. Things turn so that she herself winds up killing her father, on Odell’s orders, while she recites, “Who’s life is it? What am I going to do with it?”

Our Jen tries to calm her doppelgangers and learns that she needs to stand up for herself, and that her family is the most important thing, but she doesn’t wake up in time, and the world is consumed by the Crisis, as Jeff is blinked out of existence. (My guess, he’s on the Earth-74 waverider which is currently parked on Earth-1.)

Part 3 (The Flash, Season 6, Episode 9)

I once joked but didn’t really joke that I would just watch a show that was John Diggle yelling at people. Bad guys, good guys, people who were too slow delivering food. Each episode would begin with Digg staring someone down and saying, “Now, you listen here,” and THANK GOD, his arrival on The Waverider, finding out that Oliver died and was resurrected and that Lyla was missing, lead to him yelling at both Sara and The Monitor. In fact his rant to Mornobu even began with that epic “No, you listen, I am not losing Oliver and Lyla.” (My joke was, “Now you listen here, my wife and children are hungry and we ordered this pizza 45 minutes ago with a promise that it would be in here in 30.” Said pizza guy would then retreat in tears, but Lyla and Baby Sara or JJ depending on where on the Flashpoint timeline you are, would have pizza.)

We’ll get to Diggle who inexplicably still doesn’t have a Green Lantern ring (WTF?) in a bit. We’ll start with yet another spectacular cold open, The Huntress (ASHLEY SCOTT! From the Birds Of Prey show I do not care for!) runs from an anti matter wave, talking over com to Oracle (who I did like on that show!) saying she won’t make it, she loses contact before she gets there.

Back on the Waverider, after Digg hands Sara here ass. (Metaphorically, he probably couldn’t beat her in a fight, let’s be honest here. He’s good, I love him, but he can’t beat her.) The heroes regroup, and discuss their next steps. Ray announces that the Paragon Detector is ready. HOORAY! They find out that the other paragons are Honor (J’onn), Love (Barry. BARRY AND IRIS’S LOVE OUTSHINES THE SUN!) and Humanity (Ryan Choi!) Iris, Ray and Ralph head to Ivy Town to find Ryan Choi, who immediately fanboys out on Ray. (As he’s likely to pick up the Atom Suit when Routh leaves, this is a fun intro for him)

The Monitor gives Cisco back his powers bascically because, “Your reasons are stupid, You’re Vibe.” (I agree with The Monitor and Cranky Cisco is fun!) so Cisco, Killer Frost and Barry head to find the source of the Anti-Matter Wave. (This is after Pariah and and Lyla, now infected by the Anti-Monitor fight. Poor Digg.) When they find it, they are SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say, to find The Barry Allen of Earth-90 (John Wesley Shipp!) powering the Anti-Monitor’s weapon with a cosmic treadmill. They free him but that basically activates a suicide mode. OH NO! Also appearing as if from nowhere, Jefferson Pierce! Jeff quickly freaks out that he was the only one saved. “Lynn, my daughters!” But he helps the Flashes and their friends shut down the ray, but it’s not quite enough. The Flash of Earth-90 decides to take our Barry’s speed in order to save him and run out the clock. Barry objects, strenuously, but Barry-90 does his thing, and we get a quick clip from The Flash as his story ends.

After all of this Jeff and Barry bond, talking about their fathers, their odd situations and quoting Dylan Thomas. That the surviving group of heroes view themselves as those raging against the dying of the light is wonderful. Fighting that darkness the hardest is Kara, who is considering teaming up with Lex to use the book of destiny to rebuild their Earth. Kate talks her down, telling her that she’d fight her if she needs to. The way they’re mirroring the traditional Batman/Superman relationship with these two is great, twisting to fit Kara and Kate in ways that it never quite would with Bruce and Clark. Kate eventually confesses to Kara that she’s carrying Kryptonite, which she stole from the Bruce of Earth-99, Kara says that she trusts her with it.

While all of this is happening (this episode is PACKED) Digg, Mia and Constantine go to Earth-666 and get a pass to Purgatory from Lucifer (Tom Ellis! I don’t watch Lucifer but my understanding is that I would probably like it a lot.) Turn out purgatory is Lian-Yu! Convenient! They find Oliver, Digg gives him a lecture about brotherhood and being their for eachother, and he finds himself again, but then they are confronted by Jim Corrigan, (THE SPECTRE) who explains that Oliver has to become…Something Else. (My name is Oliver Queen…)

As the Anti-Monitor succeeds in wiping out Earth-1, our paragons are taken to The Vanishing Point. (See Legends.) As they begin to get their bearings, Clark-96 begins to fall and disappear in red light, and he transforms into Lex! Kara is pissed but they have bigger fish to fry, they have to restore the universe.

And that’s it. That’s the cliff hanger, all worlds have been consumed 6 heroes and Lex Luthor have to stand.

We’re checked out until January 14. I’m really glad I managed to keep up this season, y’all. Particularly glad I reinvested in Arrow, as Mia has been a delight in the crossover.

Random Notes:

  • Lois despairs being in the middle of the greatest news story in history and not being able to report it. The Monitor nods that this is indeed quite a lot, she then asks him for his story. He gives her bits of it, and remarks that he sees why she’s the greatest.
  • The cameos were pretty wonderful. People we’ve heard might be around but we haven’t seen yet includes Lynda Carter. Welling and Durance’s scene has really grown on me and Conroy was perfection. Burt Ward kicking things off and Ashley Scott getting her due was incredible. Truly though, John Wesley Shipp & Brandon Routh owned the returns. Shipp’s history on The Flash as Henry Allen and Jay Garrick does contribute to his hitting home, and Routh getting to redeem his Superman was such a gift.
  • I continue to be worried about Jen and Khalil. I will always worry about Jen and Khalil
  • Non DC-Verse cameos include Wil Wheaton as a doomsdayer and one of the guys from The Tick, also Ryan Choi is played by Osric Chau who played Kevin Chen on Supernatural, and so now I’m going to be worried about him a lot too, because Kevin was a very worrisome character.

OK, Thanks everyone for putting up with my ramblings this half season. Thanks especially to my IRL friends and family and coworkers who nodded politely while I went through twitch fits regarding the Arrow catch up.

Whether I track the back half of the seasons is going to depend a lot on how things shake out in January. We’ll talk.

Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl, Black Lightning & The Flash Week 8; Arrow Week 7

Batwoman: Season 1: Episode 8: “A Mad Tea Party”

Things have come to a head between Kate, Jake and Alice this episode. Kate has to finally accept a few things about her sister and in the process they lose something that while strained was probably precious to them.

Alice declares she’s about to have her greatest tea party, while torturing Jake, Mouse is impersonating Jake at the moment and there’s a big fancy Gotham Gala about to hit which is honoring Katherine. Kate is refusing to go, despite Mary’s urging that they’re still a family.

Poor Mary.

ANYWAY, Alice captures Mary and Katherine at the gala and forces them to drink poisoned champagne which leads to Katherine’s death after confessing that she was trying to spare Kate and Jake pain, by faking Beth’s death confirmation. Mary is devesated, and through Mouse’s machinations, Jake is imprisoned. Kate assures her father that she’s done believing in Alice. Beth is gone, in her place just a monster.

Batwoman kick copious ass in this episode, but it’s not a real Kate focused one. Sophie and her bland husband who’s gonna die anyway (he can hang out with Tommy and Eddie, it’ll be fine) come to an understanding that Sophie needs to decide where she stands re: Kate before they can move forward.

I’m grateful that they seem to be coding Sophie as bi or pan, rather than a closeted lesbian. It’s a frankly refreshing take on a pretty bland love triangle. (Revenge also did this well.) (Watch Revenge) I am otherwise unenthused by anything involving Sophie and hope once the universes consolidate Kate and Alex Danvers can get something going. Or Kate and Nyssa Al-Ghul. Or Kate and Ava. Or Kate and Sara. Look, there are tons of badass AWESOME queer ladies to pair with Kate in this universe is my point. We don’t need Sophie who’s kinda blech.

Supergirl: Season 5: Episode 8: “The Wrath of Rama Khan”

Rama Khan (Mitch Pileggi) is ready to use the alignment of the planets to create a new Pompei. Kara needs to stop him. Meanwhile, Lena is going to use Myriad to do something? Stop people from being evil? I’m really not sure what Lena’s plan here is. But whatever, Kara stops both of them.

Alex, being the voice of reason, explains to Kara that Lena’s being a bit of a hypocrite here. Lena didn’t tell them about Reign, Lena didn’t tell them about any of her work. She keeps secrets too. I’m with Alex. The Lena/Team Supes trust loop has never really existed. Kara however, still wants to help her friend. She does, but Lena just takes it as an L.

Helping defeat Lena, is Mala’fa’ak. He uses his ability to incept to cancel out Myriad. It works! J’onn sends him back to Mars to help M’gann in the fight. The brothers part as friends. THEN! The monitor shows up and tells J’onn he passed his test. Hooray! J’onn is basically like “DAFUQ?” But understands something is about to happen. The Monitor walks into a pocket dimension where he is keeping Lex, who he assures him will soon be a hero!

I’m SO GODDAMNED excited for more of Jon Cryer’s Lex, who surprised me so much last year. He’s not Michael Rosenbaum who is my favorite, but he’s quite good. Also Rama Khan is killed by his partner and Andrea dies to I think? Anyway, that’s where we’ll pick up in January.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 8: “The Book of Resistance: Chapter 3: Pale Horse”

Lynn falls.

She’s agreed to help Tobias to take down the ASA. While I get why she’s doing it, her marriage with Jeff already being strained, I don’t know how it will survive this. She agrees to give him more powers to help him escape. Terrible plan Lynn.

Jeff, Henderson and Anissa take a stand trying to keep the apartment building where Jeff and Henderson grew up from becoming the ASA’s quarters for soldiers. Seeing Black Lightning and Thunder standing together again really warmed my heart. They win, and push back the ASA, but there will undoubtably be consequences here.

Jen and Brandon do some research into Doctor Jace, finding out she’s no longer in Freeland. Brandon is furious and nearly explodes them. Jen agrees to help him get a read on his powers, explaining that they have to funnel their anger rather than simply lash out, as she did in her grief for Khalil. (Metaphors abound on this show but that’s a pretty clear one for anger to justice conversion.)

Speaking of Khalil, he’s deployed against Anissa and it throws her. This Week’s Worrying About Jen & Khalil meter is about a 6. They’re status quo right now, still in danger, they’re always in danger but nothing new. In fact, Anissa knowing about Khalil lowers my worry about him meter significantly.

Gambi and a pod kid who’s a technopath and goes by T.C. use an old radio station to blast out the message to the general public what’s actually going on in Freeland. We shall see in the new year what that means.

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 8: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen Part 2”

Ramsey reveals his plan to “Cure” all of hummanity using the particle accelerator and The Flash as his crux. Meanwhile the whole team decides they need to get Barry back so he can die properly. Or something.

Look, there’s a lot of running around in this episode a lot of “who’s really talking here?” And, well, Nash finds his way to The Monitor’s lair. Or something. I think Nash might actually be chasing the Anti-Monitor, thinking that it’s the Monitor, but I could be wrong.

The fact is, after how great “Part 1” was, this was kind of a let down. I love that the team is still refusing to give in to Barry’s death. Again, because Barry ain’t gonna die. Oliver is. Probably.

Arrow: Season 8: Episode 7: “Purgatory”

Oh boy! Oh boy you guys! Chrissy and I used to joke about Lian-Yu being The Island from Lost, because we thought it was funny. (Also, you can’t tell me that Arrow’s flashback structure wasn’t a straight rip off!) And oh boy, did this episode feel a lot like an episode of Lost, but in a good way.

Oliver has to come to grips with what Lian-Yu did to him and for him for the zillionth time, but again, this season being the victory lap and having the added zip of Mia and William makes it all hit harder. I really am all in for Green Arrow And The Canaries especially if William is going to be around.

Oliver makes Diggle promise to keep Mia and William together after he’s gone so that’s really nice. Also he finally lets Oliver go, knowing he can’t always be by his side. Roy loses an arm and notes that it was worth it, because he feels connected to something again. think it’s worth it because even if it’s only for a few episodes I am here for Roy Harper’s Robot Arm.

Digg and Lyla are having a bit of a time. Their marriage has always been an interesting balance given their work. Now that she’s gone all in on The Monitor, he’s not so into the way things are going. I don’t really blame him for that. Lyla eventually disappears and comes back as Harbinger.

I actually think that she’s an excellent pick for this role and I can’t wait for next week.

YOU GUYS NEXT WEEK IS CRISIS (PART 1) I’m so excited! Are you excited? Get excited! Kevin Conroy! The return of Routh and Welling! OOOHHHH BOY!

Crisis Management: Black Lightning & The Flash Week 7, Arrow Week 6

We’re so close now. This is a light week. (No Supergirl or Batwoman.) I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving! Let’s get into it.

Black Lightning: Season 3: Episode 7: “The Book Of Resistance: Henderson’s Opus”

Police Chief Henderson is an interesting character for Black Lightning, because he’s not an antagonist, he’s not on a parallel track and yet he compliments Jefferson Pierce and Black Lightning so well. These are two men with history, and Cress Williams and Damon Gupton do exceptional work walking the line between resentment and friendship whenever they interact and the explosion of that int his episode is something to behold.

Henderson plants a car bomb that he intends to detenate on the ASA after he smuggles out some teenage metas. The bomb is then diffused by Black Lightning. He confronts Jeff about it and they trade MLK quotes and decide they have to go their separate ways. It’s breathtaking.

Jen and New Kid (who is as I noted last week, is disappointingly not Virgil Hawkins. PULL THAT TRIGGER YOU COWARDS) realize their powers are complimentary and it’s really cool. They’re still in a will they or won’t they fight pattern, but I like them together, if only Jen weren’t still hung up on…

Khalil. Poor, brainwashed, absolutely terrifying Khalil. Lynn and Gambi find him at The Pit and Lynn decides she needs to save him. She learns all of his memories are still there she just needs to access them. (Reenie’s “Worried About Jen and Khalil Meter This Week Is a Solid 7, they both seem physically safe at the moment, but they’re in tough spots)

Anissa is still healing, so she asks he father to take over her escort duties on The Underground Railroad. This includes smuggling Grace, who is stuck in her terrified teen persona. They say their goodbyes and by completing the mission Black Lightning has regained some of the trust of the community. Yay!

The Flash: Season 6: Episode 7: “The Last Temptation Of Barry Allen: Part 1”

This is an exceptionally good and creepy episode of The Flash. After being attacked by Bloodwork last week, Ralph is needs a transfusion of Speed Force blood, so Barry donates. It seems to work, but then Barry winds up in a coma.

Barry comas are great. While in the coma, he communes with The Speed Force in it’s Barry’s Mom form, he is also tempted by “The Devil” who looks a lot like Ramsey Russo. There’s a terrifying Thanksgiving meal with a bloody Lasagna. Seriously this scene is creepy and gross and AMAZING. Next Ramsey shows Barry all the people who have died because he’s the Flash, ending with himself, and then the life he could have if (when) he survives the Crisis. It’s a good life. Life with Iris and Nora, his friends happy. Ramsey says he can give him this.

Barry doesn’t waver until the Speed Force pops up again, then he loses it on her. Tells her he hates his random fate, he’s done. Look, I’m a Catholic with a literature degree. I attended Religious instruction my entire life and Catholic High School and Jesuit University. I love a good biblical allusion in my fiction. (emphasis on good. There are plenty of bad ones) This episode is named for one of the BEST literary depictions of Jesus’s humanity of all time, in my opinion. Last Temptation is controversial but it’s also beautiful and faith affirming. Even if I didn’t know that movie inside and out, the nature of my education and personal experience means I can spot Christology metaphors a mile away. Barry’s, “Let this cup pass me,” moment is perfectly in line with his journey on this particular tropey axis. It’s about his life, the people he loves and in acceptance, about his fate as The Flash. I liked this scene a lot. “Not as I will, but as you will.”

Anyway, Barry wakes up and it turns out, he was infected by Bloodwork, OH NOES! But this is part 1, we’ll see what happens in Part 2.

Arrow Season 8 Episode 6: “

This was a good episode. I was happy to see Paul Blackthorne again. I’m always happy to see Paul Blackthorne as Quentin Lance. But let’s be honest, The Arrowverse shouldn’t touch the Groundhog Day concept again since they perfected it on Legends with the insanely good, “Here I Go Again.”

Oliver and Laurel have to learn a lesson about how fate is unavoidable. So, The Monitor sticks them in a time loop alternate universe where Quentin lived and they try to save him one last time, over and over again. When they learn that they just can’t, they can’t save everyone, Lyla on The Monitor’s behalf let’s them out.

It’s a straightforward episode that absolutely made me cry. (Because Paul Blackthorn) but nothing really special, and again, the Arrowverse already perfected the Groundhog day episode.

When Laurel and Ollie accept the inevitable, they exit a tent and it turns out the whole team is on Lian-Yu….YESSSSSSSS!

I hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving. I’m probably at my Aunt Mary’s house while your reading this and my brother, cousin and I are likely arguing about how Watchmen is going to turn out.

 

Crisis Management: Batwoman, Supergirl & The Flash Week 5, Arrow Week 4

This week we got a teaser, the most important part of which was seeing Brandon Routh is that super dope Kingdom Come Superman costume.

He looks really really good. Also, on Saturday, Aless and I expressed our annoyance that Michael Rossenbaum turned down being in Crisis because “they didn’t have a script yet,” which like, does he need a script? He makes a speech about “destiny” and “the thin line that separates heroes from villains,” and then Welling looks off into the distance with his face scrunched like he smelled a fart. Cut. End of Smallville portion of the crossover.

Anyway, this week’s episodes, let’s talk.

Batwoman Season 1, Episode 5: “Mine Is A Long And Sad Tale”

We finally learn how Beth became Alice. After the car accident a disturbed loner who’s abused son needs a friend, so he kidnaps Beth. After a near miss where Jake and Kate fail to find her, Beth and John, the mysterious Mouse, latch on to each other and Alice In Wonderland to escape the hell that they’re stuck in.

Alice tells her story to Kate, who is trying her best to understand what’s going on and also doing that superhero thing where her failure to save someone close to her even under pretty reasonable circumstances becomes the defining moment of her entire life and mission to fight crime.

Meanwhile, a frustrated Mary gets drunk and shows up to Kate’s office to confront her about how she’s a good person and Kate’s fixation on Alice, her “real sister” is hurtful. The reasoning for the scene is only OK, but an at the end of his rope Luke having to deal with Drunk Mary is awesome.

Oh, also Jake does manage to save Kate from Alice, but it’s too late for Alice who’s committed to Mouse as her new family, rather than the people she feels failed her.

Supergirl Season 5, Episode 5: “Dangerous Liaisons”

Kara loops new guy William (ehhh) into The DEO’s search for Leviathan, under the auspices of investigating Andrea. They are bonding, I am reminded of how much I miss Mon-El.

Alex and Kelly meanwhile are coming up on their “date-a-versary” whatever the hell that means, but it is an excuse for them both to realize that their scary dangerous lives are just all the more reason to further committ and also ride motorcycles together. (Seriously, did someone look at Alex’s entire life and just say, “she’s great! It’s all great! How can we make it even gayer?” I’m not complaining. Just saying.)

Meanwhile, Kara and her cool pants and neat bangs, and J’onn fight an assassin with Doc Ock arms who it turns out is (GASP) controlled by Leviathan who are, if you missed it, coming.

Oh, also Andrea’s creepy VR contacts launch and I know this is going somewhere Leviathan related, but for the moment it’s stupid and unfocused and it’s really hard for me to care.

Also, Lena tricks Malaf’a’ak, and now she’s studying his brain. I wish this had gotten more screen time.

The Flash Season 6, Episode 5: “Kiss Kiss, Breach Breach”

Breacher is back! YAY! I love Danny Trejo.

Of course he’s back because Gypsy is dead, which boo. She was murdered and The Collectors think that it was Cisco. OH NO!

Cisco and Kamilla and Breacher go about solving Gypsy’s murder, and Cisco doesn’t think he can do it. He also makes a Barry AI, which is adorable. Barry and Iris are on vacation, and I know that the Barry-light episodes is so Grant Gustin can film his Crisis stuff, and the show is doing OK by it, and we only have a few more weeks, so I’m hoping Barry gets some fun things to do in the back half of the season.

Anyway, they solve the murder and it was Echo, who is an alternate Cisco. DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Anyway, Cisco clears his name but does have to live with the idea that Gypsy died thinking he killed her. But he and Kamilla say I love you! Yay!

Frost confronts Ramsey and he offers to turn her into a blood monster. She passes but confirms his evil-ness. Ramsey is actually a pretty fun big bad, and I especially like that his connection is through Caitlin and Frost, rather than Barry’s future.

Joe and Nash (our new Wells) get stuck in the sewers below Central City, looking for The Monitor. We’re still not sure why Nash is looking for the Monitor, but Joe doesn’t care, because you know, it’s Joe, he’s just looking to bond/protect his family. He explains that the current need for faith in his life is that Barry’s death won’t be in vain. It’s a good scene because Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanaugh are incredible. Even if it’s a little contrived getting them to be alone together is always welcome.

Arrow Season 8 Episode 4:

I love when Arrow gets on it’s high horse about murder. It’s so much cognitive dissonance since the initial episodes of the show were just Oliver running around murdering people, a habit he has not really broken. Oliver still murders people pretty regularly. 

Anyway, this week’s “Don’t Murder” lesson goes to Mia. Everyone gets really cool, really quick about the future kids showing up. It’s weird but they’re dealing with a bunch of weird stuff anyway, so they all just kind of roll with it. (It’s weirdest for Connor since Dif and Lyla haven’t adopted him yet.) Mia, William and Connor agree not to reveal the future to their parents, especially Rene and Dig, who might not be cool about the whole “JJ murders Zoe” situation. Eventually everything comes out though and they all brood at each other.

Mia though is definitely up for killing CURRENT (5 year old) JJ in order to save FUTURE  (not 12 year old) Zoe. Laurel tells her that murder is always a bad plan. (Again, Laurel murders people kind of a lot) and Oliver tells Mia he wants them to be a family.

William is thrilled to be back in the life he voluntarily vacated at 12, which is annoying on a plot level but adult William is so damn cute, that I excuse it. He also comes out to Oliver who reveals that he was aware of William’s sexuality but wanted to give him time and space to come out on his own, and hates that they never got that time. Anyway, the episode ends with Dig and Conor doing sword training, The Queens eating grilled cheese sandwhiches and Rene running for city council, while agreeing to let Dinah train Zoe.

Oh also, the Minitor recruits Laurel to betray Oliver and get her Earth back.

I’m guessing this isn’t going to be that straightforward.

No Black Lightning this week. And hey! Tomorrow The Mandolorian premiers! I’m still thinking I’ll stick with Mondays for Crisis Watch and do Fangirl Loves Star Wars on Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll see.

They Don’t Care About People Like Me

There’s a moment at the end of Joker where I literally burst into uncontrollable giggles.

I was pretty sure going in I wasn’t going to enjoy the film. I hate when movies feel the need to apologize for what it is. And Joker feels like this Batman fellow sure is ridiculous and we’re sorry we have to reference him at all in this story about a murder clown, but AH, Superhero flicks are the only thing that get greenlighted anymore even though they aren’t real cinema.

Anyway, that moment is during the riot that’s being caused by Arthur Fleck, AKA Joker’s murder of talk show host Murray played by Robert DeNiro, we zoom in on a movie marquee, and it reads simply, “Zorro: The Gay Blade.” I glanced at my friend Margarita who was sitting beside me and we both shrugged and started laughing.

Sure enough, Bruce, Thomas and Martha Wayne emerged from the theater, and are forced by the crowds into an alley. One of the rioters follows them calls them out and shoots. The pearls go flying, Bruce weeps over the bodies of his parents.

Because heaven forbid we don’t see the Wayne’s die a millionth time.

Anyway, that’s just one thing about Joker which is a messy, unfocused, derivative flick, that think it’s deeper than it is, and has some showy acting that’s cool to watch but not enough to make it sing.

Believe the hype about Joaquin Phoenix here, he’s very good. The movie isn’t but his performance is quite impressive, eerie and off putting from jump, not a version of the character I’d ever come back for more from (I prefer my Joker on the zanier side of menacing) but interesting and stunning.

Amusingly the only scenes that I found remotely interesting were the ones that involved Bruce Wayne. Due to some plot stuff that barely matters because this is a garbage movie with a script that makes no sense at all, Arthur becomes convinced that Thomas Wayne is his father. (He also might be? But Unreliable Narrators abound in this flick. And not in a fun interesting Fight Club or Gatsby way.) So he shows up to Stately Wayne Manor, and does clown tricks at a baffled Bruce by the gate. (I think I said out loud, “Why doesn’t Bruce just punch him in the face?”) Eventually Alfred comes out (he is not identified as such, but he is a middle aged British man and protecting Bruce, so you know, Alfred.) and basically tells Fleck to take a hike and also that he’s a deranged weirdo. Arthur doesn’t like that at all, so he later stalks Thomas to a gala fundraiser to watch Modern Times which you should definitely watch instead of this movie because it is excellent. When Arthur confronts him, Thomas punches him in the face, which is of course, the start of a wonderful family tradition. (I don’t know of a specific instance, but I’m sure Damian and Helena have both punched Joker in the face several times.

Anyway, in summary, movie bad, Phoenix, pretty great in it, Batman parts, ridiculously hamfisted and deeply enjoyable if you are like me, and will take your Batman content wherever it is offered. (I was also the only person on planet earth who stopped watching Gotham because, “I would like this show to focus on preteen Bruce Wayne staring into the middle distance.”)

Rankings

  1. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Rocketman
  5. Detective Pikachu
  6. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  7. Downton Abbey
  8. Joker

Trailers:

My disappointment at Birds Of Prey not being here was quite large.

The Rise Of Skywalker: That John Williams music is basically an emotional grenade for me. My God, I can’t believe how soon this is coming up.

Doctor Sleep: I swear I’m going to read and review the book soon. The movie looks excellent though, and I love Ewan.

Richard Jewell: I remember the bombings (We were in Atlanta for the games) but I don’t remember any of this. (Being 9, I didn’t really follow the story, just was glad that my family didn’t get blown up.) This looks interesting though.

 

 

 

Ready For The Team: Young Justice: Outsiders Part 1

So, we’re, here you guys. We’re through the first half of Season 3 of Young Justice, and we’re not getting more until summer.

While I have been having giddy excited brain exploding fangirly squee fests over the episodes as they’ve dropped (usually on Twitter!) this weekend, Aless came over and we watched the whole season and found ourselves, giggling, and gasping and clapping and forming more inside jokes about this. (Aless and I already have a lot of Young Justice based inside jokes. It’s that kind of show. And we’re those kind of friends.)

Here’s the thing, I love Young Justice. I think it’s completely wonderful. The first two seasons have everything I like about superhero stories. Team work, legacy characters, awkward real world metaphors, shipping, Nightwing…season 3, freed of the need to please network people, since it was on DC Universe, took those things and destroyed any barriers that may have previously been holding them back.

Team work? There are like six different teams happening on this show. There’s the Justice League, which Kaldur (now assumed the role of Aquaman,) and Wonder Woman are leading. The Team, which gives the show it’s name, being led by M’gann and Conner. Batman, Inc. lead by Batman, and Batman Inc. Jr (as I’m calling it) being lead by Tim Drake, and Super Secret Spy Team, lead by Dick Grayson.

Legacy Characters? Sure, Kaldur’s Aquaman now, so there’s that. We’re still dealing with Tim Drake as Robin, but we catch glimpses of resurrected Jason. (It’s wonderful) Bart Allen is both Kid Flash and helping his grandmother Iris West-Allen raise his dad and aunt. Conner is very concerned that Clark’s been spending a lot of time off world, so he now has to step up as the Super-being in chief.

OH, right, also we see Talia holding a baby in one episode, and Lois Lane with her son Jon. So you know, the Supersons are coming.

Real world metaphors? Well, this world is dealing with a refugee crisis as Quarac has merged with Bialya and people are trying to escape Queen Bee. Also kids are being kidnapped and tested for meta-genes and being deployed as weapons. (Dick is trying to end this. To be fair.)

Shipping. My god, this show gives good ship. Dick and Barbara are a couple. (Oh, also she’s Oracle now.) M’gann and Conner are engaged, but kind of having some problems. Clone!Roy (who goes by Will) is living with Artemis and there are vibes there, but he’s not really over Cheshire and Artemis’s morning routing still involves waking up to a picture of Wally. (The show has NO CHILL about a lot of things, and one of them is Wally’s death. They’re going to make you sad about whenever possible.) Jaime and Bart are still chilling (They are my out there not really a ship, but yes they are.) Tim and Cassie are still together but strained, and he’s leading a squad that includes Steph. (My heart belongs to Tim and Steph.) New characters Violet (Halo) and Brion (Geoforce) and falling for each other, but she’s also strongly drawn to Cyborg. And Beast Boy is dating Queen Perdita of Lativa (they met at Wally’s funeral.)

Nightwing. There’s so much Nightwing. He’s leading a secret black ops crew to break up a metahuman trafficking ring. He’s bailing on his friends because he’s having trouble connecting since Wally’s death. He’s bringing Black Lighting along on missions where lots of teenagers die, because, I don’t know, he hates Black Lighting? (YOU KILLED A KID! Is one of said new inside jokes.) He’s making out with Barbara, and making bad puns so she rolls her eyes. He’s fighting Jason but he doesn’t know it’s Jason. He’s training the new kids and being kind of a jerk about it. There’s just so much Nightwing. It’s really great.

Straight Arrow

Also, this happens. It brings me great joy.

This is just scratching the surface of all the things that make Young Justice: Outsiders really great, and a good continuation of two seasons of very good TV that came before.

I’m pretty much incapable of putting together coherent thoughts on what makes it great, and I’m not sure why.

Dick and Babs

Oh, wait, that’s why…

Nerd Homework: Birds Of Prey (2002)

Sometimes, I do the nerd homework because it’s something good or essential, sometimes I do it because it’s fun, and sometimes I do it to remind myself that, nope, you made the right call back when you were 14 and this show about Batgirl premiered on The WB and you thought it was dumb.

Birds Of Prey is a bizarre artifact from it’s time period, full of pleather and reheated guitar pop and bad acting and some really muddled DC-verse mythology. If you’re a DC fan, you know The Birds, the all female Gotham-based team, usually lead by Barbara Gordon (Either as Batgirl or Oracle) and Black Canary. They’re fun, sassy and kick copious ass.

The Huntress has been on and off the team in both her iterations, as the alt-verse daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Wayne (my preferred version) or the mob princess turned crime fighter Helena Bertenilli (Also great!).

I don’t think I need to outline my love for Babs and Dinah Lance, because you know, I’ve done that a lot.

Birds Of Prey, the TV show, presents us with Barbara Gordon, as Oracle, seven years since she was paralyzed after being shot by The Joker and Batman disappeared from the city. She’s about the only thing that the show gets right. Intelligent, empathetic, brilliant and driven, this is the Barbara Gordon I know and love.

She’s mentoring Helena Kyle (she refuses to claim the Wayne name) and Dinah Lance, a runaway.

This is where things get infuriating to a DC fan/Confusing to a Filthy Casual.

Helena is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. Good. OK. Batman’s disappeared from New Gotham (why New? This isn’t a far flung Batman Beyond style future, it hasn’t even been a decade! So weird…) Selina Kyle was killed by The Joker to get at Batman (I mean, fine?) And we’re going by the Batman Returns style Catwoman had cat like powers, which, Helena has inherited. (Ehhh, I like my Bat-characters without powers, for the most part, but again, at least consistent) Helena refers to herself as a Half-Meta. (THAT IS NOT HOW META HUMANS WORK IN ANY VERSION! YOU CAN’T BE HALF META) She also doesn’t wear a costume or mask of any kind. Which is just an exceptionally bad idea.

Then there’s Dinah.

Oh boy did I get screamy about this. Oh, but Dinah didn’t. Yes, rather than Dinah Lance’s actually fun power of emitting disabling sonic booms with her vocal cords, Birds Of Prey makes her a pre-cog.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF DC CHARACTERS WITH PSYCHIC ABILITIES, WHY WOULD YOU GRAFT THAT ON TO A BRAWLER LIKE CANARY?

Also, Alfred is around, because I guess with Bruce all disappeared he’s doesn’t have anything to do.

The big bad is Harley Quinn (An excellent call) except she’s still functioning as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, and she’s like a criminal mastermind, mob boss type? Which is not Harley’s MO at all, and if she’s still practicing, she wouldn’t be Harley at all, you know? It’s confusing.

All of this deviation could be excused if Birds Of  Prey were any good, (Smallville, at least at it’s best is an example of that. Also the whole Arrowverse.) but it isn’t. It feels a little bit like some Charmed and Angel spec scripts had DC grafted on to them and then also you lost the charismatic cast that made Charmed work at all, and Joss Whedon and Tim Minear’s story sense that made Angel one of the greats.

It all feels cheap and dated and my god is it dull. Which is a bummer, because it has solid bones. Doing The Birds Of Prey is an excellent choice for a “Batman without Batman” show, the dynamic of Barbara Gordon in her 30’s, Helena Wayne in her 20’s and a teenage Dinah creates an interesting relationship model. And they really do get Barbara right, so that’s worth something.

But it also screams the Smallville “no tights, no flights,” ethos taken at it’s stupidest. No costumes for Huntress and Harley, in a city that’s already had Batman and Batgirl and the various Robins is a baffling choice. When Helena is considering quitting, which she does three times an episode, at one point, Barbara points out that heroing is an important legacy, carried on by people with potential, people like her, and Dick Grayson! And Tim Drake! And Jason Todd! ALL THOSE PEOPLE! But where are they? Bruce disappeared and the boys are just gone? I can handwave Dick ( In Bludhaven, maybe going through one of his “I work alone” phases) and Jason (Still dead? When was Under The Hood?) but Tim? Tim Drake wouldn’t quit after Barbara became Oracle and Bruce disappeared! Tim Drake would organize and then get all huffy when no one wanted to organize with him. He should be popping out of shadows telling Helena that she’s sloppy and to put a mask on for God’s sake every five minutes. Oh, that might be why he’s not a character on this show. Because that would actually be fun and entertaining, and this show seems allergic to both of those things.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that even as a teenaged girl, I could recognize that this show was shitty nonsense and I remain eternally grateful to Batman The Animated Series and Batman Beyond for exposing me to proper adaptations of this material early on. Also, I’m proud of nerd kind for rejecting it outright, even back in the dark ages when we thought that Brian Singer’s X-Men was the closest we’d get to the source material. (Though I can’t help but wonder if it’s forgotten for being both terrible and lady centric.)

I have a lot of affection for The WB, the network of my teen years. Both sides, what I call the Buffy side (Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Smallville, Supernatural) and the Dawson’s side (Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls, also Smallville) (That Smallville straddles both is really the show’s greatest achievement.) but they, for the most part relied on a formula, and any half assing of a formula is going to be bleak.

Justin Hartley Green Arrow

Smallville’s SECOND greatest achievement. Making me give a shit about Green Arrow(‘s abs)

The Nerd Homework feature has been all about challenging my preconceptions of stuff in my wheelhouse, that I’ve previously put off or ruled out. That is the Raison d’etre for these projects. Star Trek, Battlestar, Anime, the work of Stephen King. Which is why Birds Of Prey being on DC Universe felt like a blessing. I’d outright rejected the show twice before after watching the pilot (when it first aired and then after Arrow premiered when CW Seen was pushing it.) but maybe now I’d enjoy it.

I did not. It’s terrible. It deserves it’s fate of obscurity and mocking.

60 Books In 2018 #3: Crisis On Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez

OK so, I picked this up so that I would have a basis of comparison for when the Arrowverse version coming next fall.

Also, just because as I get back into superheroes (not that I was ever not into them, but you know what I mean!) and back into reading superhero comics this seemed a good place to start. (Seriously, last year the only superhero book I read was Grayson.) Like all it’s later immitators, Crisis On Infinite Earths is both wonderful and befuddling, and delightful and dull, all at once.

Wolfman’s story meant to forever simplify the DC Universe by streamlining it’s many alternate worlds into one, but only served to show the company that big crossovers will sell books and also that killing a Flash from time to time is to be expected, is given a huge leg up but Perez’s art. Seriously, I’m not even big into that era of comic book art, (I came to comics post Image and the glossy style of Jim Lee & Co really shaped my taste.) but Perez just so so good.

The story, though, well, let’s talk about that. The Monitor and Anti-Monitor are battling for the universe, and The Monitor calls the greatest heroes from across the multiverse to his side. Two Supermen, Supergirl, The Flash, Captain Marvel and many others, join in the battle, which in the end destroys worlds, and everyone forgets and the DC Universe spins on, but simpler, until it isn’t.

What Crisis really represents is a the last gasp of a certain time in comics. It was published in 1985, just before the earth shaking forces of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns changed everything. Crisis was trying to simplify a status quo that was about to be obliterated anyway, but on it’s own, it’s a fun exciting superhero story.

When it comes to The Arrowverse, my guess is that it’s going to end with Kara Zor-El’s world merging with those of Barry Allen and Oliver Queen.

But by this time next year, we’ll know.

Up next is The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker. I’ve joined the book club at my library and this is the book this month, so I’ve gotta get it read.