Markov and Die

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Young Justice Season 3, Episode 1

“Princes All”

SUMMARY: Two years later, Oracle and Nightwing, now operating separately from the Team, assemble their own team to take down a human trafficking ring seemingly based out of Markovia. This squad includes Artemis – now living with Will and Lian Harper, Superboy – now engaged to Miss Martian, and Jefferson Pierce – recently retired from his role as Black Lightning after accidentally killing a young girl. In a seemingly unrelated turn of events, Batman throws a hissy fit and quits the Justice League, bringing several superheroes with him.


Syd: Now that the first half of the third season is available, I think we’re ready to watch the episodes one at a time to talk about them, but oh my God, I still can’t believe this series is still happening. Forgive me if I pass out several times throughout this blog entry.

Margaret: It’s great that it’s returned! I’m looking forward to it being a show out from under network guidelines and with, hopefully, some room to run.

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Syd: We start with the godawful cg DC brand identification. The worst.

Margaret: That’s on everything, we can’t single out Young Justice for this.

Syd: Just trying to be thorough. Then, before the actual episode starts, we get a repeat of the last scene of season 2, where Nightwing decides to leave the Team and Kaldur takes over. Then we finally get the first new content in years, when we cut to Markovburg in the nation of Markovia, two years later. It seems to me like they knew we would be spending a lot of time with the Markov family, and they forgot to come up with more proper nouns after “Markov.”

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Killer Queen

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Arrow Season 3, Episode 8

“The Brave and the Bold”

SUMMARY: Oliver Queen and Amanda Waller explain to the audience how police brutality is actually good. An actor claims to be Captain Boomerang, but doesn’t even try to do an Australian accent.


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Syd: The episode starts with Roy Harper in his silly hood (which is not something I’ve seen him wear in any comics, but I guess it’s better than his Robin Hood hat) doing a goofy little run, and this is what we were missing from the Flash episode of this crossover – Roy Harper doing something dumb.

Margaret: Roy is famous for his parkour in Arrow. I also find the hood a little unfortunate as it seems way too big for his head. But, he’s there for Oliver’s backup while Diggle watches from the van. They’re about to bust into the house where their bad guy is supposed to be and realize that both doors are rigged with explosives. They blow them up, because fuck disarming them, and realize that their target isn’t in the house.

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Syd: You know who is in this house? ARGUS! It’s Amanda Waller’s secret police. They have guns trained on Roy and Ollie. Why they are here – in terms of how they got the information – isn’t explained. Also, what their relationship with Ollie and Roy isn’t explained. I would say that this episode is inhospitable to new viewers, except, when you get down to it, none of this stuff is actually important to the episode’s story. I hope this is compelling for longtime viewers, because it does nothing for me. Anyway, Diggle knows someone at ARGUS – who he seems to think is his wife, but Oliver points out they are no longer married and she has the same name as a character from The Crisis on Infinite Earths. Margaret, a little help?

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Cross Training


The Flash Season 1, Episode 8

“Flash vs. Arrow”

SUMMARY: Rainbow Raider infects The Flash with a Rage virus that turns him against his friends, including visiting vigilante Oliver Queen.


Syd: I can’t believe we finished recapping all of Young Justice that there is and I can’t believe that soon there’s going to be more. In the meantime, we’re going to switch gears, starting by watching the first CW DC crossover event, when Flash met Arrow. This is going to be interesting for me because I usually hate DC crossovers (for the record, I have never liked any comic with Crisis in the title), but the crossover with The Flash was the only episode of the first season of Supergirl that I genuinely liked. Can Grant Gustin’s overwhelming charm also save Arrow?

Margaret: Technically, Arrow met Barry Allen in the last season of Arrow and the Flash in the pilot episode of The Flash, but this is the first time they’ll actually work together. Or, well, as much as Oliver works with anyone. Once the CW got another show, they start doing a crossover event every year which became more and more intense as the network got more shows. Last year it was a full four hour event involving Nazis, so you know we have to get that at some point.

Syd: The episode starts with a recap of Geoff John’s reboot origin of Barry Allen. I know it’s been over a decade, but I still hate this origin. The Flash doesn’t need a dark, tragic backstory. We have enough heroes with dark, tragic backstories, and the more the same tropes and motivations get retconned into various heroes’ stories, the more blandly uniform they become. During the recap, Felicity refers to Team Arrow as a “well-oiled archery machine,” which is something I would like to purchase for my own archery needs. Then the actual episode starts.

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The Beetle Generation

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Young Justice Season 2, Episode 18

“Intervention”

SUMMARY: Zatanna and Rocket abduct Blue Beetle and whisk him off to Bialya to free him from the Reach’s control.


Syd: The episode starts back on Warworld, where Black Beetle is fighting Mongul, and when Green Beetle shows up, tells him that he is disappointed he only has one opponent, which is clearly just bluster, because the two beetles working together don’t even quite overpower Mongul, they just get him into position to freeze him. So, that’s taken care of and we can reflect on what a jerk Black Beetle is. Or should we mention how Despero is still in his pod, so apparently the Justice League is fine with him staying there?

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Margaret: As I must update every episode since Warworld showed up, it is still right outside of Earth and messing things up. This time, at least, it’s because we know the key is taken by Deathstroke.

Syd: It hasn’t even been a day yet, so I don’t think Warworld has done that much damage.

Margaret: Extreme weather patterns cause a lot of damage! Aquaman can only be in one place at a time! And we’ve seen that La’gaan is doing nothing! For all we know huge swaths of beachfront land is totally gone.

Syd: Are you forgetting the great hero of the seas, Orm, who is not a villain in this series? Hey, we haven’t seen him in a while. I’m sure off-camera, he’s saving so many days.

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Syd: Seriously, in the season finale, Orm is going to show up and make everything right and you will regret your sass-mouth.

Anyway, now that the Reach has lost the key, they need to focus on standing guard to make sure no one USES the key, despite the fact that the Justice League is already doing that. Of course, neither the Reach nor the League trusts the other to do what they both want.

 

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It’s 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 19

“Misplaced”

SUMMARY: When everyone above the age of 18 (or whatever the magical criterion is) disappears, it’s up to the Young Justicers to defeat Klarion and break the spell. But can they do it without calling upon the unpredictable and possibly malign power of Dr. Fate?


Syd: This episode is an adaptation of the JLA comic “World Without Grown-Ups,” which was a backdoor pilot for Young Justice. Basically the premise was that a child with godlike powers throws a tantrum and banishes all adults to another world. This premise was already adapted into a cartoon in the Justice League Unlimited episode “Kid Stuff.” The comic had more material than would fit in a twenty minute cartoon, but most of it was justifying a Young Justice solo series, which was unnecessary at this point. The villain in the comic was Bedlam – a villain created for this story – and the one thing I missed from the comic was the Team fighting the kind of monsters a magical child would conjure, including a Nazi dinosaur:

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It was refreshing that Robin and Superboy don’t debate whether it is ethical to punch Nazi dinosaurs, because they’re good guys. Of COURSE they punch Nazis.

Continue reading “It’s 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?”

BOO-yah!

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 18

“Secrets”

SUMMARY: Artemis and Zatanna spend their Halloween fighting the supervillain Harm. Then they meet a ghost. Meanwhile Happy Harbor High’s Halloween party is invaded by Martians – or at least one Martian.


Syd: So, if we’ve timed this correctly, this entry will be posted on October 31, 2016. We’re on schedule for that, right?

Margaret: Uuummm, yes. Totally on schedule. The episode starts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The sword of Beowulf has been stolen. It can only be wielded by someone who is pure of heart and is supposed to hold great power. The police officer assigned to the case sounds incredibly skeptical.

Syd: It is here that we meet the episode’s villain – Harm, a character created for the Young Justice comic. Harm is kind of a weird name, though it is kind of in line with some other villains like Bane or Stryfe, from which Harm is not too far a cry. Also, he refers to himself in the third person, which is creepy and arrogant and perhaps fits in with the character, but let’s cut the crap, I have read tons of Peter David books and I know that puns are his lifeblood and he did this solely so that Harm could tell people to “stay out of Harm’s way.”

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Margaret: But he has yet to say it! Just “Mediocrity such as this is never far from Harm.”

Syd: But you KNOW it’s coming!

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Margaret: Let’s keep a ‘Harm watch!’ I think that definitely makes sense. If you name a bad guy Harm in a comic, you should use the full extent of his punny-ness.

Continue reading “BOO-yah!”

BFFP

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 17

“Disordered”

SUMMARY: After the trauma of everybody dying last episode, the Team sits down for therapy sessions with Black Canary, except Superboy, who thwarts a gold heist with the Forever People.


Margaret: The episode opens with the Team still scarred from the simulation they went through. Batman comes into the Cave expecting everyone to have already healed and moved on from saying the simulation went ‘badly’. Badly? Everyone died, Bruce! Jeez, you are so emotionally stunted.

Syd: I don’t know what Batman’s reaction to traumatic situations is supposed to be. He tends to violently overreact, but that also always works out for the best. I’m not sure if we’re meant to see Batman as horribly maladapted or absolutely the BEST adapted.

Margaret: I’m sure we’re supposed to read him as maladapted, as J’onn chides him in his response to thinking everyone should be okay by now. In many ways J’onn acts like the show’s moral compass at times.

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Syd: Well, You would expect that J’onn would be wiser and more mature than Batman, as he has several decades on him (and come to think of it, it’s weird how many interpretations of J’onn are less mature). I expect that his life was much more normal before he left Mars, too, so he would have more experience dealing with people – albeit a different kind of people.

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Blue Beetlecrantz and Booster Goldenstern are Dead

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 16

“Failsafe”

SUMMARY: When aliens attack, everyone dies! Or do they? Probably.


Syd: The episode starts with two Green Lanterns fighting a spaceship in space. I was just starting to think that there are too many Green Lanterns when they both get vaporized. Oh well, there are more where they came from.

Margaret: I was surprised the killed the Green Lanterns off so quickly. That surprise was quickly expounded upon as they kill not only random Green Lanterns, but all the recurring League characters. It was quite a shock.

Syd: This episode is hardcore. As soon as we get back from the theme song, we cut to Iris West-Allen’s report from the ground and people are being killed left and right. Like, you see their skeletons and everything.

Margaret: Yeah! It’s insane. Everyone is dying everywhere! Iris is in the middle of the action, as any good reporter on the ground would be. Flash and Zatara rescue her and put her on what they assume is a safe rooftop. A grateful Iris remains professional by thanking, “….The Flash” because she obviously was about to thank Barry.

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Syd: It seems like Cat Grant has been promoted to anchor. Last time we saw her, she was a field reporter. It looks like, despite Kaldur’s meddling, she’s well on her way to her own media empire, then leaving the show when shooting moves to Canada.

Continue reading “Blue Beetlecrantz and Booster Goldenstern are Dead”

Red Dawn

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 15

“Humanity”

SUMMARY: The Team and their new friend Zatanna uncover Dr. Morrow’s plot to use  element-themed robots for world domination.


Syd: The main villain of this episode is Thomas Oscar Morrow, whose name can be shortened to “T. O. Morrow” or “Tom Morrow,” depending on if you want the pun to work when written or spoken. I kind of love this name. It’s up there for me with the Riddler’s name being Mr. E. Nigma.

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I know we touched on this the first time we talked about Morrow, but I am annoyed by the push in modern comics to downplay characters’ joke names. Some writers seem to think that silly names are unrealistic and distracting when plenty of people in real life have pretty funny names. For instance, the guy who drew that panel I just posted was named Dick Sprang. I like that Blink’s real name is Clarice Ferguson, even though that’s a reference to a show that kids today have never heard of. I will even give a little bit of credit to Mr. Freeze being named Victor Fries, even though that’s confusing and doesn’t quite work. What I can’t stand, though, are characters whose names are ALMOST jokes. The worst offender there is Harley Quinn, whose real name is Harleen Quinzel. What kind of bullshit is that? First of all, “Harley Quinn” is perfectly plausible as a person’s real name. Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Quinn didn’t even notice that the first name “Harley” would make their daughter’s full name sound like a character from Commedia Dell’arte, but having that be her real name would in itself explain why the Joker would fixate on her. Failing that, she could have a name that has nothing to do with clowns – “Maria Shapiro” or “Susan Epstein” or something. Harleen Quinzel is nothing. Either commit to the joke or don’t make one – don’t give a character a name that sounds KIND OF like a pun. I love that Young Justice – unlike Supergirl – has the courage to use the name T. O. Morrow on air.

Margaret: Punny names are part of the game in comics, I think. It’s also why the Batman movies before Batman Begins kind of leaned into that sort of humor. They went overboard with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, but I feel like when you’re dealing with movies and shows that involve people dressing up in costumes and fighting crime you have to prescribe to the Willy Wonka theory: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” There’s nothing wrong with taking the puns with both seriousness and a bit of levity. It’s when you either ignore the fact that some of this is silly or decide that ‘because it’s comics no laws or logic apply’ that things tend to go off the rails.

Syd: We start with Morrow working on Red Tornado in pieces on an operating table. Morrow is talking and waits for a response before he remembers that Tornado’s voice isn’t operational, though his senses and mind are hooked up and working. So, Tornado can hear and process what’s happening, but can’t react. With this horror movie setup, the cartoon lets even first-time viewers know in the creepiest way possible that Morrow is bad news.

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Margaret: You can tell this guy is evil before he even speaks because he has the evilest mustache I have ever seen. It’s only compounded by the fact that every sentence he utters is creepier and creepier. Poor Red Tornado! He’s disassembled on a table and Morrow is taunting him gleefully about the fact that he is the one that did this to him. That is remarkably terrifying.

Continue reading “Red Dawn”

Shedding Some Light on the Subject

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 14

“Revelation”

SUMMARY: While the Justice League is fighting off killer plants that have been grown by Poison Ivy, Young Justice must fight Ivy herself and her six cohorts in the Injustice League.


Syd: This episode only exists for the last scene.

Margaret: You can kind of tell that by the fact that the episode starts off so dire so quickly.

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Syd: The plants that are attacking Metropolis are picking up cars with their flowers! What are those flowers made of?

Margaret: Miracle-Gro? They’re a big threat, though.

Syd: So, the cold open ends with a reveal of a group of seven supervillains. Can we talk about how insulted we are as an audience that they want us to think that these are the Light?

Margaret: As a first time watcher, I wanted to believe that these were the Light at first. However, as an experienced media consumer and someone who works in the industry, I can already tell that these seven people cannot be the Light. You don’t reveal your surprise bad guys in the cold open in the middle of the season. That’s ridiculous.

Syd: I will give them some credit that they chose some pretty big name ones. Obviously, any Main Villain group in DC is likely to have Lex Luthor, The Joker, or Darkseid in it and we get two of the three in this episode. Of the other six in the cold open, the only one I didn’t recognize was Wotan – though I didn’t immediately recognize Atomic Skull, because what is with that creepy ass character design?

Margaret: Right! They do a good job in trying to tell us that they are the Light, especially as they have that super relevant line, “It’s time for the Injustice League to step into The Light.” That’s classic viewer manipulation. There’s no one there but the audience to lie to and no reason for him to say that except for to make us think they are the Light. It’s incredibly annoying.

Continue reading “Shedding Some Light on the Subject”