Tag Archives: arrowverse

Supergirl 4.9 – Elseworlds (part three)

Just as part two of the crossover showed us the Batwoman show that we might get, part three showed us the Superman show that we never will. I enjoyed Tyler Hoechlin as Superman the couple of times I’ve seen him. Here, he gets to play two Men of Steel, as Dr. Destiny rewrites reality once again to give himself Superman’s powers, and a spiffy black costume.

Hoechlin has a fabulous and believable chemistry with Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois Lane, and I was absolutely loving their too-short time together. It won’t be continued onscreen in Supergirl any time soon, because Lois and Clark are actually leaving Earth to get married and live in the alien world of Argo City! Here’s to the show we didn’t get, because there was a decade of adventures behind them that must have been fun to see. There’ll never be a Lois as terrific as Teri Hatcher, I say, but Tulloch was wonderful, and I hope she gets the chance to play Lois again one day.

As for the rest of the story, my son and I both feel that they really led with their strongest hand. Part one of the story was by far the wildest and weirdest. By the end, the alternate reality business had lost almost all of its charm for me, though our kid certainly liked the scrap between the two Supermen, and he marveled aloud that Superman and Lois are getting married.

I’m most disappointed that John Wesley Shipp’s Flash from his old CBS show had such a minimal part in the adventure. They tossed him out of the narrative in part two and never resolved it. The Monitor wrecked his world, for some reason, and left behind the corpses of a lot of costumed heroes, for some reason, but did that mean an entire reality was wiped out, or just that planet’s Justice League? If we’re honest, the Monitor didn’t make any sense at all anyway… not that he ever did in the funnybooks in the first place. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” was a dopey and unnecessary story in 1986. I can’t swear that I’m looking forward to the TV version next year all that much.

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Arrow 7.9 – Elseworlds (part two)

Had some maddening issues getting to watch part two of this story. The Flash played just fine in Google Chrome, but Arrow insisted that I had an ad blocker active when I didn’t, so I had to play it in Internet Explorer, which wouldn’t let me skip ahead afterward to get a screencap or two… maybe I can just get an old-fashioned VHS screener or something. Those never gave me problems…

Anyway, the second part of this story principally serves as an introduction to Kate Kane, who’s not-so-secretly Batwoman, and who is played by Ruby Rose. I wish Rose and the producers the best of luck in launching this show, but I am a little disappointed by the visual choices they’ve made for Gotham City. Our heroes learn that Gotham’s basically a complete hole of a town, and that there used to be an urban legend called Batman keeping the streets safe-ish, but the Batman vanished three years ago, around the same time that billionaire super-industrialist Bruce Wayne went missing.

Kate’s got an explanation, or as much as one as she’s willing to give to the infamous vigilante Green Arrow before telling him to get lost: after Batman left, the city fell further and further apart, and Bruce lost his will to keep fighting to make the city better. Interestingly, Kara lets slip that there’s a Bruce Wayne on her Earth as well, sort of best frenemies with her cousin.

But things sadly move to Arkham Asylum, and it’s so unoriginal and uninventive. Granted, the front atrium of the building becomes the center stage for Diggle (David Ramsey) to have a simply amazing brawl with about a dozen Arkham inmates. But the asylum is the same, dreary, dilapidated, moldy, bare-mattress building that comics and video games have been crapping into existence for three decades and just once I’d like somebody to depict it as a state-of-the-art facility based on an actual 21st Century psychiatric institution. Maybe Bruce Wayne could have spent some of his trillions fixing the Arkham plumbing and its decades-old flickering fluorescent bulbs instead of on more Bat-toys if he really wanted to do something to help the city.

There’s a nice wink at the ’60s Batman in the form of a Shakespeare bust in Kate Kane’s office. I wish the Batwoman show well, and I hope it doesn’t suffer too long from the Dark Knight-shaped hole in its floor.

Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter

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The Flash 5.9 – Elseworlds (part one)

We watched Avengers: Age of Ultron on Sunday, but as much as our son and I enjoyed the movie, I found myself uninspired to say anything about it. I’ve got something now: our kid thought that Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s brief turn as the speedster Quicksilver was fun, but the character was overshadowed by all the other mayhem in the movie.

But the Flash is a whole ‘nuther story. Earlier this evening, we watched part one of the annual Arrowverse crossover and this blasted kid has burned off a good four thousand calories crashing around the house trying to run as fast as the Flash. At one point, we heard the unmistakable sound of decorative wooden shoes clattering across hardwood floors and into bookshelves as he super-speed slid past the Christmas tree and tripped. The kid now has to sit still and console himself by moving his hands so fast that he can phase through solid objects, just like Barry Allen, and, tonight, Oliver Queen.

This year’s crossover is called “Elseworlds” and the two principal heroes of Earth-1, Flash and Green Arrow, wake up in each other’s bodies. The body-swap seems to be the first strike against reality by a classic DC Comics villain, Dr. Destiny, abetted by another figure called the Monitor, who seems to have a beef against all these parallel universes. While a couple of their superpowered allies try fighting a new menace, the star players figure their friend Supergirl, over on Earth-38, might be able to help.

So the Arrowverse really kind of left me behind – I genuinely enjoyed the first season of Supergirl, but all the changes they made when they moved production to Vancouver were a drag, and I never forgave The Flash for all the cast acting so unbelievably gullible and stupid in season two’s Zoom story – but I saw news blurbs and this sounded fun. As the story goes on over three nights, we’re apparently going to have a pile of Easter eggs and winks to the audience who knows older superhero shows. This story actually opens on Earth-90, where John Wesley Shipp has apparently been playing the Flash ever since his old show on CBS got cancelled twenty-seven years ago, and we learn that the Kent family farm on Earth-38 is in fact the same Kent family farm of Smallville, theme song and everything.

I really enjoyed the farm scenes. Kara is visiting Clark, who is played by occasional guest star Tyler Hoechlin and who is terrific as Superman, and this episode introduces Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, who’s certainly been mentioned on Supergirl a time or ten, but never seen before. There’s a great callback to a memorable moment in season one of The Flash involving remotely-triggered crossbows, but it’s the fight that blew our kid’s adrenaline through the roof. It is kind of joyous watching Superman, Supergirl, Flash, and Green Arrow take down the robot Amazo, looking nowhere as goofy as it did in the funnybooks.

So yes, our son was in heaven, and the episode ended with a clue that Dr. Destiny and the Monitor are hanging out in Gotham City. This is the home of the red-haired Batwoman, who also has a show in development on the CW. I’ve never read any comics with the character before, and nor am I certain whether The Flash and Arrow have ever acknowledged Gotham City before, so I’m really curious what will happen next. More tomorrow night!

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Supergirl 1.18 – World’s Finest

I wanted to dip one more time into the first season of Supergirl, and enjoy Brit Morgan’s fun portrayal of Livewire, thirteen episodes after the character’s first appearance. “World’s Finest” was the inevitable, but very welcome, crossover with all the other shows from the “Arrowverse,” establishing that the Girl of Steel and her frequently offscreen cousin from Krypton are just a simple dimensional hop away from the annual event story every November.

I really enjoyed this episode when it first aired on CBS in March 2016. At the time, they were juggling about four important ongoing plots, and the Flash, played by the amazingly likable Grant Gustin, just runs into National City and puts them all on pause for an hour. Amusingly, the Flash is able to offer some unusual insight into Kara’s problems. She needs to slow down.

Meanwhile, Livewire has teamed up with a villain from the comics called Silver Banshee. This is actually the only point of the story that doesn’t quite work for me, because while Italia Ricci is just fine as the character, she looks completely ridiculous in her weird voodoo-skull makeup. And yes, I get that she’s meant to be a cursed Irish character but she doesn’t look like a dangerous villain. She looks like Halloween on Bourbon Street.

Anyway, our son was in heaven as Supergirl and the Flash had their big battle with the villains, and Marie was really amused by some of Calista Flockhart’s unbelievably snarky comments. This program just lost so darn much when it lost Cat Grant.

But about that fight: it’s in a public park with lots of extras. I mean piles of people. Earlier, I had paused the episode to explain why Supergirl was so concerned about winning the public’s trust again. In a previous episode, she’d been poisoned with red kryptonite, which made her aggressive and selfish. Our son had never heard of red kryptonite, so I told him about how it’s completely unpredictable and has weird effects on our heroes’ minds.

There’s a great moment in a Lois & Clark story where the villain, Bruce Campbell, is ecstatic to learn that his batch of red k makes Superman apathetic. And that reminded me of how small all the fights in Lois & Clark had been. Whenever there actually was a fight – and there weren’t many – it was always in a deserted alleyway. Fair’s fair, all of the Arrowverse shows have had many scraps in abandoned warehouses and disused airport runways. In fact they have one in this very story and the Flash comments on it. But every so often, they really do something big and wonderful and really fun. I don’t watch any of the Arrowverse shows regularly anymore, but it’s got me wondering whether they’re going to have another one of those wild four-part crossover events this November…

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Supergirl 1.5 – Livewire

Our son has watched most of my DVDs of the late 1990s Superman cartoon, and really enjoyed the character of Livewire. She’s a villain created by Bruce Timm for that show, a former shock jock who gets turned into a being of electricity.

I never thought much of the character myself. It’s kind of funny how us boring old people look sideways at the new characters created for silly worlds of children’s fiction once we’re adults, as though their caretakers are trying too hard, but the children who get to know these giant worlds full of characters as one lump sum just treat them all as equally interesting or cool. See also: grownups who grumbled about a face from The Phantom Menace making a cameo in Solo, while all the seven, eight, nine year-olds in the audience had their minds blown.

Anyway, I thought that since he enjoyed the cartoon Livewire, he might enjoy seeing the live-action take on her. Actress Brit Morgan has played the part in the ongoing Supergirl series that stars Melissa Benoist. Rewatching this episode this morning reminded me of how much I enjoyed this show’s first season, particularly Calista Flockhart’s fantastic performance as Kara’s boss, Cat Grant. I became increasingly bored and disillusioned with the show after it moved from CBS to the CW and they changed all the character arcs that I was enjoying so much, with the final straw being giving Jimmy Olsen a new superhero secret identity of his own.

(And sure, I’ve got all the time in the world for Elastic Lad and Turtle Boy in sixties Stupid Comics, but Mehcad Brooks was used so much interestingly in Jimmy’s first season role than after they moved networks…)

Anyway, our son has always been just a little skeptical of what he’s seen from the Arrowverse, and simply hasn’t been interested in them, so I’ve never pushed it before. This didn’t change his mind overall, but he says that he really did enjoy the action scenes, and thought that Supergirl’s rescue of a helicopter, which unwittingly results in turning shock jock Leslie Willis into Livewire, was awesome.

I think most interestingly, we paused for a quick discussion about who’s to blame for Livewire’s villainy. There’s a great scene where Cat Grant blames herself for Leslie’s transformation, and our son interrupted “She did, she made her go up in that helicopter.” He didn’t understand what Cat was getting at, though, that it was her pushing her employee to go meaner, to go nastier, to go below the belt in pursuit of radio ratings. I reminded our son of the brief bit we hear of Leslie’s talk radio show, and about how ugly she was about Supergirl. You can’t keep saying terrible things without it changing you. The more awful the words you use, the more awfully it affects your heart.

So yeah, trust a dad to come up with a moral.

There’s a lot to love about Supergirl‘s first season, including Melissa Benoist’s note-perfect performance, the family dynamics, the emphasis on the CatCo workplace, and the messages of tolerance, diversity, and acceptance, and the fight scenes are pretty great as well. Brit Morgan was terrific as Livewire, and I think he enjoyed it just enough for me to show him one more episode next month.

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