Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bottom of the Pile: Oct. 21st, 2015

If you can't guess what happens, Fisk is killed on the next page.  This is actually pretty frustrating, as a storyteller.  This whole story was meant to be about how righteous people have to live within the law--even when it'd be more convenient for them not to.  Steve Rogers, "A Good Man", literally dies for this ideal.  Red Wolf actually has the chance to kill him but changes his mind because he learned the value of working for an ideal, and what's good and just rather than placing himself above the law...only for Natasha to just pop up and go "lol fuck that".  And Red Wolf's cool with it, which is the really maddening part.  If the point is to set up that these two are on the same side but won't always get along due to a difference in ideology, I get it.  But if its just "I could have done that", then it raises the question of why didn't Red Wolf just put a bullet in him to begin with. 

Either way, 1872's ending sets us up for what I was always hoping for: Steampunk Avengers. Bring it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Arrow Five Point Review: The Candidate

It worked for Flash (sorta), now let's see Arrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Flash Five-Point Review: Flash of Two Worlds

I'm about to try something.  Let's see if it sticks.

On Jay Garrick:  The shadowy character from the end of season one stands revealed.  Of course, longtime comic fans already know who this is, but the writers found a concise enough method of introducing him, Earth 2, and the multiverse in forty minutes.  It's also good that the show didn't immediately segue Jay into the "mentor" role.  Certainly, it's the ultimate place for him, but it's flat out illogical for Barry to accept a new "mentor" after recently learning the last guy who tried to help him be a better Flash was not only a traitor, but the person who murdered his mother and irrevocably altered the course of his life forever.  Having said that, Jay's "But I'm not him" line when Barry confessed all of that to him was great--it's the kind of directness that fits someone of his years/experience perfectly, and gave viewers a perfect summation of the direction of his character.  He's NOT Thawne--he's one of Barry's oldest allies and greatest friends...and hopefully he'll still be on that path when the season ends, rather than doing some silly sacrifice to make the end of the season have some drama.

Overall, the only strange thing about the Earth-2 that he doesn't have any superspeed.  It's possible this is a reference to Jay having been retired when Barry first met him in the comics, but it still felt "off".  That said, it DID give Barry an extra reason not to believe him, and since presumably he won't just leave him de-powered the entire season, gives the show a chance to make the first time we see a second "good" speedster be a powerful high note for season 2.

On Patty Spivot: This episode also had the introduction of Detective Patty Spivot, a character who's been a part of Flash comics since the late '70s.  She's a little different from her comic incarnation (who was a CSI just like Barry), but the change makes perfect sense for this universe--Joe West was in need of a new partner after the events of season one, and the "Metahuman Task Force" is most likely a thing they writers don't intend on getting rid of so it should probably grow past just a single person.   And of course her issues with Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard gives an extra layer of dramatic importance when they eventually bring the Rogues back as a whole later in the season.  Lastly, the show was looking a tad unbalanced in terms of a male/female ratio, so it's good to have a (hopefully) series regular to help make it a tad more even. Now to just wait on Jesse Quick.

On Cisco:  What's happening with Cisco is undoubtedly going to concern a lot of fans of the show.  Essentially, he's developing the metahuman abilities his comic self possesses, which will lead to him becoming the superhero "Vibe".  Originally a character that would've landed on any random "Lame DC Superheroes" Top 10 list, a reboot by Flash scribe Geoff Johns turned Vibe into a character who could track down multiversal disruptions on his Earth, making him central to the team's mission this season if they're going to start finding all the characters from other worlds that are currently finding their way onto this Earth so freely.   Hearing his reasoning for being afraid of his powers was slightly off-putting, though: he's afraid of them because he got them from Professor Wells?  But, Barry got his powers from Wells, and even if he was an evil jerk, Wells did a lot of good before he finally showed his true self.

Still, whether he likes it or not, "Vibe" is coming.  The only real question is are they going to put him in costume this season or wait until season three.

On Professor Wells: Speaking of Wells, it was actually refreshing to see him back on the show.  Tom Cavanagh was one of the best parts of season one, and although it was cathartic to finally see his character get his well-deserved comeuppance, the Reverse Flash is too much of a central rogue to just eliminate him entirely.  Now whether this is the real Wells (doubtful) or Thawne, and how he got back at all after being erased from existence are other questions that hopefully will play out with the rest of this season.

On Professor Stein: There sure are a lot of Professors on this show, but one supposes that makes sense on a series that's basically about a bunch of super-science.  Anyway, at the tail end of the episode Stein collapsed, seemingly into a coma.  This is going to have something to do with Firestorm, and to field a guess most likely it'll lead to Jason Rusch returning to help re-make the Firestorm Matrix. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bottom of the Pile: Oct. 7th, 2015

Even though Secret Wars is still ongoing, Marvel October can't be stopped!   Let's see what things look like (another) eight months into the future over at the House of Ideas, along with what's going on in the world of Batman, DC's newest character with an ongoing Telos, and more!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Flash "The Man Who Saved Central City" Review

The second season of the Flash hit the ground running (pun not intended), as it tied up the monster cliffhanger of the first season, introduced a brand-new villain in the form of Atom Smasher (played by WWE veteran Adam "Edge" Copeland), and started us off with what will become the major conflict for this season.  It's not a bad start--it actually accomplished far more than what one normally expects of a season opener.

The episode begins with Flash absolutely trouncing Captain Cold and Heat Wave, two of his fiercest rivals from the last season, only to reveal itself as an elaborate dream sequence.  In the interrim of Flash saving the city from the singularity that threatened the entire planet at the end of season one, "Team Flash" seems to have disbanded.  I think if I had one main problem with an episode that I mostly loved, it'd be that there was too neat of a bow placed on the end of season one.  To help close the singularity, Firestorm split apart in the center of it--costing Ronnie his life a second time.  To begin with, I've never been a fan of killing characters that were originally thought dead or seemingly killed on screen only to be revealed as alive and well later.   The transition from "Oh thank goodness, we thought you died" to "I can't believe he actually died this time" has always felt like lazy writing.  But worse, how on Earth did the events of last season not cause some kind of time paradox?   Thawne's ancestor killed himself, which meant Thawne never existed, so he couldn't go back in the past, which should mean...ugh.  Nevermind.  This is why so many hero characters hate time travel.

Anyway, the rest of the episode is fairly solid, focused around Barry's new desire to do things alone after feeling at fault for the events of "Fast Enough", and the secret of Atom Smasher--a new rogue with superpowers...who also mysteriously seems to be dead.  Though long-time comic book fans already know this is heading towards the introduction of Earth-Two, I'm absolutely in love with the way they're doing it.  For newcomers how there can be two Albert Rothsteins is a mystery that will unfold in the next episode, but for fans of the Flash and DC in general, this reveal is a long-time coming.

And on that note, I'd just like to pause and say that I love how unashamedly comic book-y this show is.  Last season actually introduced Z-List rogues like the Golden Glider and Rainbow Raider and made us take them seriously, while this season is delving into the multiverse and has dialogue like, "How'd you think of this?"  "I dunno, I read it in a comic book."   It's a far sight, and a welcome change from the days of Smallville and the "Red-Blue Blur".  I'm also loving how the series is gradually transforming Central City into this town that loves the Flash.   Bear in mind, Barry's the only hero who has an entire museum devoted to him.

If I had any other real complaint for this episode, it'd be the inexplicable way they handle Barry's dad.  A recording of Dr. Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne has him completely confess for the murder of Nora Allen, allowing Barry's father to finally go free.  It leads to some very touching, heartfelt moments that I'm all for...until the guy reveals that he's planning to leave Central City.  For what?  He gives some speech about Barry not being able to be "The Flash" if his dad's around but...newsflash.  He's had a "dad" for all of season one already.  Barry can't have TWO father figures because his original is black and to have a white one around isn't progressive enough?  Wouldn't having two dads be progressive in itself?   And in the first place, if Thawne hates Barry so much, why give Barry what's basically the ultimate gift in finally freeing his father?  None of this makes any sense.

Still, that's actually a rather small blight on an otherwise great way to open the episode--and even if I find fault with the execution, the bottomline is that covers nearly every loose thread from season one, leaving the writers open to do whatever they want with season two, which is seemingly going to focus on increasing the number of speedsters in Central City.   First up: Jay Garrick, the "Original" Flash.   As a longtime fan of the Justice Society, I can't wait.