In this episode of #thinksipwrite, my son Tony sits in for Roberta as we talk about all things Marvel and DC. Who is the better comic book universe and why? What are your thoughts and favorite characters?
I feel like I have to review all of these shows in one article, as they co-exist in the same universe. Notice I kept Gotham separate, because it’s its own entity. This will cover the first half of Supergirl Season 2, The Flash Season 3, Arrow Season 5, & Legends of Tomorrow Season 2. This brings everything up to the winter finales of these shows, so I’ll review the latter halves later. There will be spoilers, so if you’d like my full review without those, then scroll down to the last paragraph of each section to get my ratings.
SUPERGIRL SEASON 2 PART 1:
Kara / Supergirl is easily the strong point of this show. Her and Martian Manhunter are what really makes it fun to watch.
Sadly Cat Grant has left for at least a little while, but she’s been replaced with a decent interpretation of Snapper Carr. He adds a little more to the dynamic.
Miss Tessmacher and The President (played by Lynda Carter) were fun little throw backs to the Superman and Wonder Woman movies and show. Plus we got a little Batman reference in there as well.
Superman was a very pleasant addition, and though I didn’t feel the actor quite had the look down, we ended up with arguably the best interpretation of Superman for the fans. He was a cross between Chris Reeve and Tom Welling’s portrayals in their best moments. Hopefully he’ll return for more.
Miss Martian and Mon-El are welcome additions though they are likeable to the point of making me wonder who they are going to turn bad or kill first. Still each scene is done well with these two, and their origin stories are pretty close to the comic versions.
Scorch, Roulette, and Parasite were done very well with the latter two easily being the highlights. Even though Parasite’s history was altered, I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a good version of him on screen. Of course then they killed him off, so that’s a bit upsetting.
Jimmy /Guardian & Wynn – having James take on the role of Guardian was initially upsetting to me. After it played out a bit I realized that he’s better off in this role. Let’s face it… this isn’t the Jimmy Olsen we know and love. He fits in the Guardian shoes better. Wynn works well as a compliment here, so all I’d like to say is I hope they add some color to his outfit to reflect the comic counterpart well. I am eager to see how Supergirl will take the news of these two working behind her back.
Lena Luthor – Something makes me want to believe her, but the Luthor name just has me skeptical. Lena’s presence feels a bit off. I think Lillian plays a better fitted role as the director of Cadmus, and that should be the focus… not redeeming the company’s name by Lena.
Speaking of Cadmus… we were given two great comic book villains that came off quite differently. Metallo was perfect in every way, but Cyborg Superman was downright stupid. First off…. it was stupid to call himself that because he isn’t Superman at all, nor does he have any connection to him in this universe. Secondly he’s more of a Cyborg Martian at this point than anything else. I know this is me being nitpicky, but the actor playing Superman could have easily done this as the real Cyborg Superman and it’d have been much better. OR they could have turned Mon-El into him. Instead we were left with a pretty lame take on the character.
And finally we get to the part that makes me cringe. When Maggie Sawyer stepped onto the scene I was excited. I love her in the comics. Her sexual preference doesn’t feel forced in the comic pages, and it really doesn’t here either. My problem isn’t with Maggie. It’s with Alex Danvers. Her coming out wasn’t handled well at all. Instead we got 5 episodes of her realizing she was gay, having very uncomfortable dialogue (it would have been uncomfortable were she straight too), and a drawn out forced plot line that fell short. What does this mean? It means the writers saw an opportunity to introduce a gay character, but didn’t take time to flesh out the scenes. Instead of a natural flow we get a very forced, and very bad dialogued few scenes that are almost unwatchable. I’m glad she’s found her true feelings, but the constant focus on this is too much. It should only be a minor side thing, and not a primary focus. This is SUPERGIRL after all.
Despite the villains being high points, and the appearance of Superman, this season has so far been bad. I feel as though they didn’t take time to develop anything, and are just throwing characters and situations in without giving the viewer time to understand or adjust to what’s going on. So far this season gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. Let’s hope when it returns on January 16th they get their heads on straight and deliver some really fun and good writing.
THE FLASH SEASON 3 PART 1
The Flash (Barry Allen) is struggling this season with his decisions to alter the past. By creating Flashpoint, he managed to really screw things up for everyone. What I don’t understand is everyone being pissed at him, but we will get into that down bottom during the crossover event. Grant Gustin continues to shine in the role.
Iris & Joe – Sometimes feel out of place, but they are necessary over all. I love their presence here, so while it isn’t always written well, they make up for it in their delivery and support of Barry.
Jay Garrick / Flash, Wally West / Kid Flash, and Jesse Quick in no way feel like they are overshadowing Barry. They work well as compliments to him. To me however, I want to constantly see Jay Garrick. John Wesley Shipp is the flash I grew up with and the cameo of “his” earth’s Trickster (Mark Hamill) was really fun to see. He’s playing Jay the way he played Barry back in the day, so for fans of the old series this is a very pleasing thing to see. I can’t get enough Jay Garrick in this show.
The Rival, Magenta, Top, Reverse Flash, and Alchemy were good villains for an episode or two. Though the Rival’s costume reminded me of Bale’s Batman, I still liked the villain he played. My favorites so far are Mirror Master and Shade. The first of those two should really have had some closer costume to his comic book one, but I’m glad to have finally see him debut. Although Shade was a bit underwhelming, he was always a character I liked, so performance didn’t matter because the threat was there.
Killer Frost and Vibe – are now direct results of Barry’s altering of the timeline. I love the slow shift of Kaitlyn into her evil half, but am a little upset at how much of a dick Cisco has become. I understand him being upset at his brother’s death, but he was the comic relief on the show, and now we’ve barely got that. It leaves us with a very serious season, that is great for story, but brings the tone too close to that of Arrow (which is meant to be that way).
Savitar is finally an interesting villain, but he looks like a Transformer. I’m not sure why only Barry can see him, but perhaps its the speed his molecules vibrate at that makes this possible. Will we find out if he really is a god like he says? Time will tell.
Overall this season has become too dark. It’s not bad at all and the additions were done well on the hero and villain side. Flashpoint was touched upon in a way that worked nicely, but I hope we get some more lighthearted moments back for the second half of the season in January. I give Season 3 part 1 a 4 out of 5 sCrypt rating.
ARROW SEASON 5 PART 1
Let’s start with Green Arrow, Diggle, Felicity, and Speedy. These staples in the series remain the way they have been with not much change to them. From acting to character arcs I find them at times annoying, but overall enjoyable. It is Quentin Lance that bothers me. Grow up, man. I get it. You’re heart broken and on multiple levels, but the city can use you and that is a way to distract you from it. The drunk issue is a real issue, but we can move on from that. Plus how much longer is Oliver going to be able to have dual roles of Mayor and Green Arrow? When does he sleep? Oh, and Thea just decides during Invasion that she’s in? WTF? You’ll fight aliens, but not save your city? Seems like they just wanted to throw her in there. (Still it was nice to see her back in action).
The new team is a mess. Wild Dog is nothing but a thug who doesn’t care for the rules. How many times does this guy have to screw up? Mr. Terrific needs to be more like his comic counterpart. Instead, he feels like he’s just shoved in there to be another character. Don’t get me wrong… I love what they are doing with Curtis, but as Mr. Terrific I don’t buy it. Artemis? Well who didn’t see that coming? I only wish they’d have used Sportsmaster (since he’s her dad) instead of Prometheus for her betrayal twist. Finally Ragman. While I love that he’s on the team, I also hate it. It’s almost like he could do it all himself because of his powers. Why wouldn’t he have been more of a help during Invasion? There’s just many plot holes with these characters because we were bombarded with them all at once.
Adrian Chase / Vigilante – is not quite like the comic version, and to be honest, I’m not sure I like him either. So far he’s just someone who kills anybody in his way. I mean he tried to murder team Arrow even though he knew they were doing the right thing. The guy is a nutcase that makes all gun owners look bad.
On another note, Christopher Chance aka Human Target, was awesome! He was used perfectly, and with no fanfare. I hope we see him again at some point.
Anatoli is the KG Beast in the comics. He’s less of that and more of a mob boss here. This is neither a good nor a bad thing, as the actor does well.
If anything, the awesome cameo from Dolph Lundgren should have been in the KG Beast role. I was waiting for him to whip out some Rocky 4 lines, but for a role on TV, I have to admit, this was some of Dolph’s best acting so far.
Tobias Church was an intimidating villain who seemed to be too easy a pickoff when Prometheus was done with him, but the latter character gives me mixed feelings. I don’t like the costume or the rehashed feel of this season, but I love that it all ties back to season 1 here.
Black Canary is back!? Is this a result of Flashpoint somehow or the time travel in the Invasion episode? Who knows? But I really don’t care! I Love that Laurel is back, and she better stay that way.
All in all this season is shaping up to be mediocre. It’s better than the last season, but feels rushed at points. I am eager to see where it all leads, and for the first time in the history of the show I want to know how it will affect everything. I feel like there is way more on the line, other than crazy villain trying to destroy a city. It’s a breath of fresh air in most places, while still stale in others. Arrow Season 5 Part 1 gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings from me.
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SEASON 2 PART 1
Firestorm finally has an interesting turmoil plot point where Stein is dealing with the existence of a daughter that initially wasn’t there.
Atom is all over the place. First he’s Iron Man, then he’s a brief Captain Cold replacement, then he’s got a suit again, but there is hope… He mentioned that he needs to update the suit, so maybe we will be getting a more Atom appropriate costume soon.
White Canary must have every STD ever known because she just sleeps with every woman she meets in history, instead of focusing on her being the new leader of the team.
Heatwave is perfect the way he is, and always has been the stronger point of this show.
Both newcomers Vixen and Citizen Steel have been given interesting stories and their substance hashed out well. If anything I enjoy this show for these two the most.
Rip Hunter just up and left? WTF? And to top it off now he seems to be just a movie producer? It makes little sense at this point, but hopefully we get some resolution as to why he left in the first place, and why he has no recollection as a time master.
The Justice Society of America was placed well with decent representations of Commander Steel, Stargirl, Obsidian, Dr. Midnight, and Hourman. Likewise was the utilization and return of Jonah Hex done well.
Damien Dahrk and the Reverse Flash are interesting villains in this. With Dark Archer/Malcom Merlyn coming on board, it’s bound to be not just a legenday hero team up, but also a villain team up. Throw in Captain Cold, and have Rory betray the team, and we’ll have a Legion of Doom that will be way better than the heroes they are facing.
Captain Nazi Baron Krieger and Quentin Turnbull were nice comic book cameo villains. The zombies and historical figures were a welcome addition too, but I sometimes feel like this show only has to do with time travel so that they can throw stuff like that in there. It’s called subpar writing, something DC struggles with recently.
In all I am enjoying Legends much more this season than the previous one. It’s a little more developed. While it shines in some areas, it’s still lackluster in others. I think with the Legion coming on that it will become much more interesting the rest of the season. I’ll give Season 2 Part 1 of Legends Of Tomorrow 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos.
The 4 part crossover “Invasion”
I wanted to include this as a separate entity because it really remains a standalone miniseries without affecting much of the main shows’ content.
Invasion was a lot of fun. Supergirl’s episode was really only a stepping stone. Arrow’s 100th episode was filled with cameos. Flash’s episode was filled with everyone hating on Barry. And Legends’ episode was downright kick ass.
I have to address two major problems with this whole thing. 1) They are not the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, that’s the Avengers, but even if that wasn’t an already taken tagline, they still aren’t. A true crossover of this scale would have brought Superman & Martian Manhunter to fight against the Dominators.
The Dominator storyline was actually a bit interesting, and the CGI was good in most parts. My second complaint isn’t with that though. It’s with time travel. Everyone is blaming Barry for everything, yet these idiots in Legends are traveling through time every week and killing countless people in history. How is their tampering not having ramifications? Even Vibe said he felt guilty realizing he changed the past a little. But this whole future Barry sending a message back to blame himself is BS. If anyone’s to blame for screwing up the timeline while trying to protect it, it’s the Legends. Every. Single. One of Them.
It was a kickass team up though, and I think handled better in the future (pun intended), that they can get rid of the problems I had with it. On a side note that doesn’t affect my rating. Don’t they all look like a bunch of cosplayers above? Just saying. 🙂
Invasion gets 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings. So what did you think of the 4 shows and the crossover? Chime in with your comments below.