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The Phoenix Gate

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Comments for the week ending September 1, 2019

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Actually I think I'm the one who wasn't clear this time - I didn't think that you were suggesting Halo was powered by the Lantern spectrum. I just thought your pointing out the visual parallel was neat, and then wanted to use that to segue into something I was thinking - that, in universe, to the people who know the Lantern spectrum backwards and forwards, Halo's powers must seem oddly off. Sorry to be confusing!

Man I have a lot of thoughts about the reveal in Overwhelmed, but there's no way to type them all on phone. To sum up: [SPOILER] Honestly I think my read on it was that everything in the mindscape, except for the visit from the girls and the reminder tv shows (and maybe not even those!), came from Artemis. It's certainly within M'gann's power to make stuff like that happen, but in this case I don't think she did, or perhaps even would. Part of that is that, honestly, imo, overwhelmed!wally sounded far more like himself - especially his s2 self - than dick' s actual fever hallucination. I think Artemis really knew deep down that Wally would not have wanted her to spend her life mourning him, and M'gann just gave a voice and face to those memories. Even the reminders in the form of Zatanna's show and Hello Megan might have been Artemis' will to live and ties to life needling at her. And while M'gann would certainly be willing to trick Artemis a little if she was so obviously in a bad state (seriously, suggesting she'd make a deal with Wotan?? Major red flag) I don't think she'd put her own words in the mouth of Wally's ghost. [/SPOILER]

There's more too it but that's the gist basically.


Ow ow the feels, they're too much. Here are my thoughts on season 3 episode 25 "Overwhelmed."

[SPOILER] I usually steer clear from the big discussions on ships and shipping in the various media. I've seen how such things can take the fandom into some really ugly places as was the case for the two Avatar series and Voltron. As for myself, I've always felt that when writing relationships it's important to portray them realistically, and that means including the ups and the downs. The quiet times in-between the sweeping romantic moments and the problems that will occur down the road. I think that years of rom coms and Disney-like romance has painted a very small and uncomplicated picture of relationships and that's just simply not the reality of the situation.

And that's what I really liked about this episode, it showed the complicated emotions that we go through not just with relationships but with grief from loss, the concept of acceptance and even the hurt that can come just from opening up. It was rather poignant that Artemis immediately starts apologizing to a photo of Wally for kissing Will. Acting like she had been caught in the act by her boyfriend in person. It's pretty clear that the fever dream induced reunion from "Terminus" is still weighing heavily on her mind. And the idea of fighting like your lost comrades are still at your side can sting all the more when you hit that awkward point of realizing that they're not with you in the meaningful way and yet acting like they're still here with you.

Something I hadn't really thought much about is that this series really does concept of the immortal soul and the afterlife. While Artemis does bring up Greta from "Secrets" I also remember such concepts being brought up in "Denial" and "Misplaced."

I do like that they brought back the season 1 ladies for this it really reminds me of how things used to be, and still are in a way. Artemis always had a pretty special relationship with Zatanna, one that allowed the two of them to be a bit more honest and direct in their speech, probably because she didn't have that competition over Conner's affections that she did with M'Gann. And just like season 1 there's Rocket having to catch up with all the craziness.

You know I do wish the captions of the episode actually provided the wording for Zatanna's spell rather than just putting [spell chanting]. I'm curious what the incantation was actually for considering the big reveal at the end. Zatanna wasn't raising Wally's soul, M'Gann was creating a mental space in Artemis' mind where she filled it with her own desires. And the moral implications of this are...complicated.

On the one hand, I do think that her friends believed Artemis' need for closure and probably were stepping in to prevent her from doing something rash like going to Wotan or trying to evoke Dr. Fate. And the end result did help her, at least for the time being, come to terms with her situation. But on the other hand, knowing that it was all a psychic projection does raise some serious questions. How much of that was what Artemis created and how much of that was created by M'Gann? We saw that they were capable of "reminding" Artemis of her deadline, it stands to reason that they were just as capable of changing things further. There were times that Wally's questions sounded just a little too similar to the kind of questions that M'Gann would ask while acting as a school counselor. Or were these the sort of things Artemis really knew but was burying them while in the mental fantasy? It's been shown before that getting too caught up in a mental illusion is dangerous for someone, as seen with both M'Gann and Kaldur. At the same time, can it really be called ethical to manipulate someone into getting a sense of closure, even if you know it will help them in the short or long term? Secrets and lies has always been the recurring theme of this show and just how damaging they can be in the long run. If Wally's fate is still vague then who's to say this may not hurt one or both parties in the future?

But ultimately I think this pretty much cleared up why there was that mutual attraction between Artemis and Will, and like I guessed there was a projection of each other's loneliness from both sides. Another thing I pondered on was the life Artemis had with Wally before she went back into the field. Assuming that that was indeed the life she imagined while in the mindscape it speaks volumes of her character. A quiet life raising her child alongside Wally (may not have had a name but I think that might be the J. W. from the radio play). A domicile life free from the worry that comes with the mask? It sounds like just the thing she was denied growing up due to her parents and their involvement with the Shadows. That may be the one thing she wanted most of all in a relationship, stability. And that's why she had that attraction to Will and Lian, it was an element of stability that she was lacking in her own life. Though it ultimately turned out to be too weird for the brother and sister-in-laws they were able to at least clear the air of this tension. And get people like Lynn Stewart off their backs.

Finally in non-relationship related content, we get the subplot with Conner, Forager and the Geno-morphs. I had wondered what had happened to them ever since the end of season 1 and it's nice to finally get that answer. I admit it never once occurred to me that Conner might try to use his connections to superheroes to free them. I imagine Lex did try to argue over the fact that they are his property, but I also imagine he wouldn't want to get involved in a lengthy legal battle over owning a race of sentient beings. But it also brings up an interesting issue, ever since season 2 and the fact that he and Superman have come to see each other as family, his clone nature has been sort of set aside. In season 1 he was called the hope of the Geno-morphs, but how can they truly live out in the open when he hides the nature of his heritage?

Some final thoughts: Well they're not even trying to hide the Lex/Trump comparisons now. Not to go into politics (that's another discussion point that can turn a fandom toxic), but it's kinda weird hearing those speechisms from someone with modicum of eloquence and knows not to taper your breath. I'll cover the Markov subplot in full next episode. So Metatron is actually interested in Halo and Cyborg, though not necessarily for the right reasons. At least he's not attacking anyone. And Lian remains the cutest thing in all DC related material. [/SPOILER]

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Karrin> Sorry I should clarify, I wasn't suggesting that Halo's powers were connected to the Emotional Spectrum merely that how she used them reminded me of such Green Lantern related stories.
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

>Matthew[SPOILER] I've also mentioned that there were times when Halo spoke differently than when she normally does, times when her accent kinda drops and she speaks with a lot more confidence and authority which I speculated was when the Mother Box's personality was shining through rather than Gabrielle's. I think that Halo's last speech to Granny was an example of this. [/SPOILER]

I'm not sure I'd characterize it like that? [SPOILER] On my listen, it sounds like Halo still speaks with her same accent, just more confidently. Especially compared to how Zehra voices unaccented characters, like Harper or Mara. And at this point I think it's a little misdirected to think of what Halo does as either being a Motherbox thing or a Gabrielle thing - she's not made of the two of them switching who's in the driver's seat, she's her own person, influenced by them and their memories and inclinations like a child by their parents. Heck, in Overwhelmed Metron calls her the child of the child of his intellect, not the child of his intellect reborn, and he'd know best of anyone how to tell the difference. [/SPOILER]

Also, as to the point about the Lantern corps - [SPOILER] Honestly one of my favorite subtle things is how Halo's rainbow doesn't map onto the Lantern spectrum, in a way that must be very confusing in universe to those that have internalized it. Her red power, instead of being somethint aggressive, is purely defensive and containing, her orange power is all about freedom and movement, her yellow power has is an offensive attack, her green power is about deception, her blue power blinds, her violet power heals only herself except in very limited circumstances, and her indigo power, well, I suppose it doesn't contradict their emotion of compassion much, but it doesn't really fit either. That's just a detail I've liked about her powers,though since we don't even know if the other colors exist in YJ I don't know if it'll ever come up in canon. [/SPOILER]


It's been awhile since I've done recaps on three episodes at a time, still here are my thoughts on Season 3 episode 24, "Into the Breach."

[SPOILER] So it turns out we were all wrong on the nature of how there are two Grannies, turns out there's a machine that can split a person into two. I'm surprised I didn't catch onto this before, it's not like technological duplication is a rarity in DC.

Speaking of technology, I really like what they've done with Cyborg in this series. Both the comics and adaptations have usually made him into the muscle of the group with a bit of a gearhead. Here his body isn't quite as robotic as it usually is so they've leaned more into his Apokoliptan cybernetics and what he can do with that. Tapping into the information highway, detecting extraterrestrial energies and of course the ability to create boom-tubes. Though that line about not detecting heat signatures reminds me of "Disordered" when we found out that Apokoliptian tech doesn't have a heat signature, especially since Cyborg was able to filter out that illusion too.

You know one thing this episode had in common with the last one is that our heroes have a bad habit of getting into situations with only the bare minimum of information on their location and no back-up plan in case they need to make a hasty retreat. With Ed's teleportation powers not working in the X-Pit, they would've been goners if Cyborg hadn't been able to hack into Overlord. I guess that was overconfidence on their part.

Which brings me to Granny, I know she's the New God of child abuse and lording her power over her victims is in her nature but just like Desaad in "Disordered" she's let that sadism override common sense. Incidentally that same desire to lord over her power was what triggered her downfall. While she certainly gave Gar a hell of a beating it also gave Cyborg time to hack into Overlord and while her strength is impressive she still relied mostly on Overlord and the Furies to do the heavy lifting. Really ties into that stronger together theme this series has.

So I was wrong that M'Gann used her mental powers to fool Granny, they really were under the Anti-Life Equation. Though luckily not for long. There's something poetic that the two characters most affected by the New Gods technology would be the ones to bring an end to this current plotline. I've noted before that all of Halo's powers have one color indicative to the rainbow and how that brings to mind the emotional spectrum from the Green Lantern mythos. What's interesting is that it brings to mind those occasions when all seven corps and emotions had to come together to combat threats like Nekron, the embodiment of the absence of life. Anyway, I've also mentioned that there were times when Halo spoke differently than when she normally does, times when her accent kinda drops and she speaks with a lot more confidence and authority which I speculated was when the Mother Box's personality was shining through rather than Gabrielle's. I think that Halo's last speech to Granny was an example of this.

So with everything that's going on I've been neglecting the new players Infinity Inc. I know it's pretty much pettiness on Lex's part to try and win them over in a popularity contest against the Outsiders but at the same time it really shows how clever he is in this series. Willing to learn from his mistakes and co-opt the popularity of young heroes. Plus ensure that they won't turn on him like what happened with Arsenal and his Outlaws. Not to mention his own manipulations to make Infinity Inc. look good, taking a page out of the Anti-Light's book by faking crimes. You know that's one of the dangers of using the same methods as your enemy. They know how to recognize that trick because they've done it before, they're much more experienced in doing it, and they know that you're willing to sink to their level which means you lose the moral high ground.

Some final thoughts, so this episode confirms that the issue with M'Comm will most likely be finished up next season. Interesting that Gar did much better battling against Granny while transformed as the Ma'alefa'ak. I wondered what's so dangerous about an animal that it can strike fear into a race of shapeshifting, psychic aliens? Well if it can hold it's own against a New God then there's probably plenty. We know that Trajectory's leading Infinity Inc. but what about the other two? And it's pretty funny that Superboy has to keep reminding the heroes that it's ultimately one person's choice whether they want to be a hero or not. [/SPOILER]

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

I recall a time when someone kept on posting spam-style posts for Texas Hold'em games, a few months before a Gathering was to be held at Las Vegas. There was some speculation that things could get nasty if anyone at Las Vegas had mentioned that particular game to Gathering attendees.
Todd Jensen

I choose to take the uptick in spam as a sign of rising internet popularity and thus a sign of an increase in the public consciousness for Gargoyles.
Brainiac - [OSUBrainiac at gmail dot com]
There is balance in all things. Live in symmetry with the world around you. If you must blow things up and steal from those around you, THAT'S WHAT RPGS ARE FOR!


gotic - [goticonline at gmail dot com]


cena - [jc518015 at gmail dot com]

KARRIN> Sorry for the double post but just noticed you namedrop Mara from _She-Ra & the Princesses of Power_ and wanted to salute a fellow POP fan, *fist bump* respect.
Business as usual

"Two hetero chicks kissing because they were rebelling."

I don't even know how to respond to this. Harper Row is bisexual in the comics and while Halo's only expressed real interest in Brion, there's nothing in the season to indicate she's exclusively attracted to men.

Business as usual

No one - at least, Greg and Brandon - ever promised that Arrowette, Thirteen, or Spoiler would be key characters. Or Katana and Metamorpho. As I recall, the sum total of the word on them was 'they're in the season.' Which they were. What people choose to hype up or focus on or think is implied is up to them, frankly, but judging the show based on what you thought it would be about based on advertising from the most tight-mouthed pair in this franchise seems, let's say, premature.

Also. You do know we have a whole fourth season coming, and that this show tends to let things stew for seasons at a time, right? Darkseid was set up as a possible enemy in season 1 and took this long to show up, the Genomorphs and their city had the same wait - why are so many people springing to go 'well, obviously the show's never going to pick up these plot threads again, ever, including in that fourth season that just got confirmed'? Is it fun to assume the worst every single time so that if things happen again, you're happily surprised?

And, wow, lots of opinions being said like they're incontrovertible facts here. I can't say 'you were listening wrong' or anything, because obviously everyone's opinion is different and your viewing experience is your own, but could you try and say things like you recognize you only speak for yourself? I, personally, found Brion's accent easy to understand. I, in my opinion, the only perspective I am capable of voicing as an individual person, liked Zehra's Halo voice, thought it suited the character perfectly, and am greatly impressed with how she's made each voice sound distinct - I don't think I'd ever mix up Halo with Mama Daou with Lian with Mara from She-Ra, even if I know they're all the same woman.

Also, could you try to be less - I don't know, randomly derisive? We saw Kaldur and Wyynde on an entire mission together, obviously caring deeply about each other, talking affectionately to each other, enjoying each other's company. Does that all not count because they weren't doing it in between making out? And framing Halo and Violet as 'two hetero chicks rebelling' seems like the most shortsighted possible view of that scene. As opposed to, say, two bi characters?

And. Look. I don't know what you expect from 'don't overhype it.' If you're talking about all the articles that poured over every pixel of every poster - the crew has 0 control over that. The only people who do are the authors and editors themselves. If you're going to blame people for that, blame them. The only thing Grandon have control over is the show, the episodes we see, and the things they say about them - they don't even cut the trailers! Even if they could, what do you expect them to do? This is their job. Their livelihoods depend on people watching this. Do you expect them to go 'eh, watch it or don't, up to you, it might have things happen in it' or go 'Definitely watch this, we've done our best to write an engaging story that we think people will really like, tell your friends so we can keep making more.'?

If you're so determined to dislike everything and think the worst of it, I'm not sure what you're getting out of the show anyways. Did you have any fun watching this, if you hated all the plots and characters? I'm not gonna say hate-watching can never be fun, but 26 episodes might be pushing it.

Karrin Blue

Greg and Brandon did an interview for Teen Vogue where they talk about the work that went into this season, representation and a hint or two about what's to come for season 4.
You can find it here: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/young-justice-outsiders-season-3

Incidentally, some of their comments on Halo really reminded me of the discussion we had a couple weeks back.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

I liked Young Justice, overall. But it had some major, MAJOR problems. Let's break them down:

* In 2017 at San Diego Comic Con, Greg and Brandon revealed new team members, namely Arrowette, Thirteen and Spoiler. The hype was huge from that point on. Two years later, Arrowette and Spoiler had one speaking role each; Thirteen had two, but no backstory. Her powers weren't even properly explained. Magical bad luck is not an explanation.
* The first released promo poster featured Katana and Metamorpho with the other core characters, implying that the show would focus on the core Outsiders from the comics. Katana appeared 1/26 and didn't even speak. Metamorpho appeared 2/26.
* Greg told us that this season would blow our minds. There were a couple of cool twists and revelations, but nothing mind blowing.

* Greg and Brandon need to adjust the story they want to tell to their budget. If they don't have enough money to have 20 speaking roles in one episode, then DON'T have 20 characters in one episode!!!!! It looks flat out RIDICULOUS and GRATING seeing 5 characters just standing around without saying a peep, just frowning or brooding. It really stands out like a sore thumb! Greg and Brandon seem like kids showing off their toys. "Look how many characters that you don't know about we dug up!! Aren't we knowledgeable?!".
* The animation quality oh god! It's no secret that the animation this season was not even close to that of the previous ones. Again, manage your budget. If you can't have 26 good looking episodes, then have 20. Use the surplus to re-hire the animation studios from the other seasons.

* Vanessa Marshall, Alan Tudyk and Cameron Bowen. Were they reeeeeally only used in ONE episode?? Why? Why have Alan Tudyk have a melodramatic outburst and quit the JL (and have a row with Canary) to never show up with a meaty role again? Psimon appeared twice without saying a word. Was Alan too busy with Doom Patrol and Harley Quinn? His outburst in episode one was completely pointless. Take that scene out and nothing would have changed. Batman would still make his point across. So, waste of money on TWO voice actors.
* Conversely, you have actors that voice 15 different characters, many of which are just self-indulgent additions: Celia, Windy, Bash Bashford, Ron Evans, and Luis, to name a few.

* These are some examples of how Greg and Brandon are more committed to set up future storylines (that may never come to be) than to write characters with a proper season arc:
- Cassandra Savage & Wendy are the biggest offenses.
- Same for Mal and Karen.
- Dolphin's backstory. I guess it's not important to know why she didn't want to say her name. Then why was that even mentioned??!!
- Starro's invasion. Without explanation, it's just a plot contrivance to put Vandal as the centerpiece of "Evolution".
- Big Barda's Heel–Face Turn.
- M'Comm. Another tag and run. Only casually mentioned by Miss Martian in the end.

* Brion, Halo and Forager. Brion was just uninteresting and his accent only made him unbearable to listen to. But he was a walk in the park comparing to Halo. O-M-G. Halo sounds ridiculous. Everyone knows that cronyism is strong with Greg and this time he even wrote Halo specifically for Zehra Fazal, but hers could not be the voice he "heard" in his head when he was writing Halo's dialog. Greg needs to start prioritizing writing good characters and good stories, instead of hooking up his buddies with a job.
* After all the drama on Twitter over LGBTQ representation, that basically made Greg quit social media during season 3 production, all we get is two hetero chicks kissing because they were rebelling and two dudes kissing out of left field. In a held shot, no less.

I really hope for the sake of the show and its legacy that Greg and Brandon take a big step back for season 4. Stop cramming as many bottom of the barrel characters you can find to pat yourselves on the back and just go back to formula!

I'm really happy there's a fourth season in the works, because if the show ended now for good, I'm not sure I would want to rewatch it again.

And maybe next time don't overhype it.

Rich H

Just finished YJ Season 3! So good! The show finished SO STRONG!

I was going to post an ask, but realized it is a spoiler request, so I thought I'd just throw out a request. These are annoying I am sure, and so I apologize, but I really hope we see Fire and Magog in the future! Also, special request for Vixen! She is one of my favorite heres!

Kevstown - [digitalkev327 at aol dot com]

I can't even begin to get into my thoughts, but I found this INCREDIBLY satisfying. On a level I was not expecting! I'm so pleased, I am delighted, I am tickled absolutely pink with joy.
Karrin Blue

Just watched the finale, quick thoughts...
Into the Breach [SPOILER] So we were all wrong on the reasons for two Grannies [/SPOILER]

Overwhelmed [SPOILER] Still be vague on Wally's fate eh Greg? [/SPOILER]

Nevermore [SPOILER] Holy Carp! Was that a Legion of Superheroes ring?! I think that was a Legion of Superheroes ring! [/SPOILER]

That was a hell of a thing.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Ol' Renard, get back here . . .
"The suspense is terrible, I hope it lasts" -- Willy Wonka

SIXTH, and come on it's the following lyric of "SUPER RICH THOUGH -- KINDA MAKES IT BETTER" that makes makes LEGO Batman so hilariously memorable d:
"The suspense is terrible, I hope it lasts" -- Willy Wonka

Brainiac> Unfortunately it feels like DC has a "one step forward, two steps back" thing going on here. For every DAAAARKNEEEEEESS! NOOOOO PAAAAAAREEEEEEEENTS! there's a "Heroes in Crisis" and "The Gift."
Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

Gandalf, Radagast, Saruman, Alatar, and Pallando.
Paul - [nampahcfluap at yahoo dot com]


I am indeed both happy and sad that the THIRD season concludes this week, but at least more is to come.

Also, Matthew, I'm fairly certain DC has learned darkness is not necessarily mature. After all, I would remind you of DAAAARKNEEEEEESS! NOOOOO PAAAAAAREEEEEEEENTS!

And Algae, don't attempt that equation on me. I'll start spouting off what I remember from my honors Elementary Analysis courses in college to show you TRUE mathematical horror.

Brainiac - [OSUBrainiac at gmail dot com]
There is balance in all things. Live in symmetry with the world around you. If you must blow things up and steal from those around you, THAT'S WHAT RPGS ARE FOR!

Matthew> I second that.
Business as usual

Well it's certainly been a ride, so before this chapter closes I'll just give some thoughts on this season.
1. Something I really liked was that this was a season that was dark but also mature. And writers (especially in DC) too often make the mistake that darkness=mature when too often it felt like the opposite.
2. After Young Justice was originally cancelled I saw a lot of continuation fics pop up, fairly common for popular media that gets cut short. But none of them were anything close to what happened this season. Serious kudos to Greg and the team for their unique ideas and storytelling.
3. Continuing that point, I'm once again proud that that Greg gave characters not given much in the way of spotlight or attention a chance to shine here. Seriously, who would've thought the Outsiders would drive this season's plot much less make Granny Goodness the central antagonist?
4. Big props to the new actors. Zerhal Fazal really got to show off her versatility, David Kaye is not only a worthy replacement to Miguel Ferrer bringing that calm yet savage nature but also a surprising amount of pathos and Deborah Strang. I had my own idea of who to cast for Granny Goodness and I never thought of her and yet she totally knocked it out of the park.
5. I'm so pleased to know that this show is getting a fourth season, it's been a while since I've been emotionally invested in a show and I've forgotten what anxiety for a new episode feels like. I have an idea on where this might go, but I've been wrong before, so let's see what happens.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________