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The Phoenix Gate

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Comments for the week ending November 15, 2020

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Darn. Got the tage symbol mixed up with another sites'.

Todd Jensen> So you ever watch Gravity Falls? Been checking it out on Plus as well myself. If so, check the spoiler bit:

<SPOILER>You ever read the theory that Eda from The Owl House is Stan Pines' one time wife mentioned but unseen? If so, what do you think about it?</SPOILER>


Didn't register for me before. Fitting that Savage was made an Illuminatus (is that right) in the radio play.

Wonder incidentally if the canon members in place of him, The Chameleon and Tombstone would have similar aspects to them.


Sorry for the double post, but it struck me just after I posted that last comment that there's something akin to that element in the Illuminati of "Gargoyles", given that its leadership is entrusted with the Holy Grail, a traditional symbol of goodness and purity.
Todd Jensen

Thanks for your latest review, Matthew.

I'd thought of the Illuminati as a likely influence on the depiction of the Light as well, and think that calling the main antagonists in the series "the Light" is an especially unsettling touch (in a good way), considering the normal connotations of the word "Light".

Todd Jensen

Watched episode 2 "Fireworks" today. And we get our first look at our main villains of the series, The Light. I have the theory that with the cancellations of things like Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man, Greg sometimes likes to use elements from the future plans he had for those shows and adapt them here. In this case, The Light somewhat referencing the Illuminati from Gargoyles. I'll get more into that as the series goes on; in the meantime, the show goes to big lengths to set up the mystique of the head members. Only have two of them speak this episode, hiding their faces, heck even their profiles are distorted. I remember there was a lot of speculation on who they all were.

Last episode Superboy was by design a blank slate, a weapon to be used against the heroes. Here we see more of his personality as in-between the action we get some character moments, I had forgotten how formal his speech was once he started talking and it only really loosened up after meeting the heroes and as his temper starts to show. There's something a little unsettling about how quick to anger he is, especially early in the season to say nothing about how serious his tone is when he talks about destroying Superman if he "turns from the light." But as I was thinking about it of course that's how he is. We learn that he's been given a psychic education via the G-gnomes, but they can't teach emotional response or growth. Makes sense that he goes from 0 to 60 so quickly, temperance isn't something that can be programed in.

I didn't mention Dubbilex last episode and while they simply hint his agenda last episode here it shows that even in the heart of the Light's genetic machinations he's managed to pull a few impressive strings, Desmond may run Cadmus but the genomorphs ultimately follow only him. Besides luring the heroes to Cadmus and setting them on the path to Superboy, he was able to send Aqualad's plea to Superboy through the G-gnomes and let him choose what he wanted, which was freedom.

A lot of the action this episode goes into the escape from Cadmus but the big highlight comes in the fight between the Team and Desmond, now Blockbuster. I wondered if Desmond knew that taking the Blockbuster formula would turn him into a mostly mindless brute. But considering his fear of the Light and how they reward failure I imagine that weighing his odds he either takes control himself or if the Light decides to take issue with his failure then it's probably better not to have a semblance of sentience.

The fight is a critical piece of any superhero team up, what the characters do when they face a threat that is too dangerous for any one of them to face alone. When done right, it shows why each member is a crucial member of the team and their need to be there. Done poorly, a select few or even one does the heavy lifting while the rest mop up or are engaged in some other matter. The Justice League movie is a good example of this, most of the tension against Steppenwolf vanishes once Superman joins the fight and effortlessly trounces him while the rest of the League struggled against him. In most media the team up is depicted as the heroes battling a large army but occasionally a single opponent is used. In Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes they used Graviton and here we have Blockbuster, a villain strong enough to match Superboy blow for blow and he had previously taken down the other three heroes. Heck Blockbuster not only does he do the animalistic savagery better than Superboy but he also has a bit of fighting skill as well like when he manages to snatch KF mid-run and whiplash him right into Aqualad. It's only by pooling their skills and resources do they manage to win.

The end of the episode firmly establishes the Team with not only their base, mission and the addition of Miss Martian. I have to admit that it was a little weird to advertise the full team just in the opening titles without having the full roster in the show, but growth is another recurring theme of the show too. At the same time the Light is also more than willing to grow as well...

Some final thoughts: I wonder how many missed Dubbilex's "brother" line to Guardian the first or even second time watching. Greg showing off a lot of obscure DC lore, by using Mount Justice and the Secret Sanctuary as the Team's base. Not many know the Justice League started there, most of the time depictions go straight to the Watchtower.

Got to love the irony of Aqualad telling Superboy that they need to escape and not bury themselves, and yet they ultimately win and escape by burying themselves. The shot of Superman and the Justice League descending upon the ruins of Cadmus and the Team is a great one. Really kind of frames them as god-like figures they're so often treated as in the comics and shows our legacy characters just what they have to live up to. Speaking of which, we'll get to Superman soon enough but we see the less than stellar introduction between him and Superboy.

Acting MVP goes to Nolan North as Superboy. He really gets to flex his range between the formal, condescending tone while speaking to the trio for the first time, the barely contained berserker when fighting and the quiet vulnerability when he realizes he doesn't have all of Superman's powers.

Favorite Lines:
Kid Flash: Quit staring, you're creepin' me out!
Robin: Uh, KF? How about we not tick off the guy who can fry us with a look?

Desmond: Don't start thinking now. See, you're not a real boy, you're a weapon and you belong to me!...Well to Cadmus, same thing.

Aqualad: Superboy. You live. That gives you the right to follow your own path. A weapon or a person. The choice is yours. But ask yourself, what would Superman do?

Desmond: You-you'll never get outta here! I'll have you back in pods before morning!
Robin: That guy is not whelmed. Not whelmed at all.
Kid Flash: What is it with you and this whelmed thing?

Superboy: Superman can fly. Why can't I fly?
Kid Flash: Don't know. But it does look like you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Still cool.

Desmond: [seething] He hacked the motion sensors!
Robin: I hacked the motion sensors.

Dubbilex: Perhaps for the sake of all genomorphs our brother Superboy should make up his own mind.
Superboy: It was you.
Dubbilex: Yes brother. I set the fire and lured your new friends into Cadmus. Woke them when they were in danger-
Superboy: And guided me, why?
Dubbilex: Because you are our hope, the genomorph hero. You will blaze a trail for all our brothers showing us the way to freedom.
Guardian: What's...going on?
Dubbilex: What is your choice brother?
Superboy: I. Choose. Freedom.

Kid Flash: Come and get me you incredible bulk!

Batman: End results aside, we are not happy. You hacked Justice League systems, disobeyed orders and endangered lives. You will not be doing this again.
Aqualad: I am sorry, but we will.
Aquaman: Aqualad, stand down.
Aqualad: Apologies my king. But no. We did good work here tonight, the work you trained us to do. Together on our own we forged something powerful, important.
Flash: If this is about your treatment at the Hall the three of you-
Kid Flash: The four of us. And it's not.
Robin: Batman, we're ready to use what you taught us, or why teach us at all?
Superboy: Why let them tell us what to do? It's simple. Get on board or get out of the way.

Aqualad: Today is the day.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________


Darkwing Duck reboot heading straight to Plus.


Send me a "gargoyle " for my solitude and protection. Meanest fucker you can find... Oceanside CA
Ryan Harwell - [ryanharwell760 at gmail dot com]
Ryan harwell

Here's hoping. At any rate I did my full playthrough on the 1st and 2nd this month of the show and have replayed episodes a few times.

Something I'll do a little more often as I do with shows I've seen when I'm doing other things as I like to have something on in the background.


Disney on Facebook just posted a poster for the anniversary of Disney+. It’s kind of a Where’s Waldo with all kinds of different characters from properties on Disney+. In the bottom left corner are Goliath and Demona. I think the only other Disney Afternoon characters featured are Goofy and Max. So! Enjoying this world where Disney is giving Gargoyles a little extra love. Hopefully that will translate to... more... in the near future.

Matthew> Looking forward to that. As with the Gargoyles revival, tie in comics even the good ones don't always get talked about as often. Oddly enough not even on comic forums.

Thanks Todd, I'll cover the second half of the pilot on Friday.
And after much consideration I'll also cover the tie-in comics, which means my DC Universe account for a little longer.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

MATTHEW - Thanks for your review.

The introduction of the Light as "the Board of Directors" was one of the elements that most stood out to me about this episode. I liked the way they gave the sense that this group with a mundane-sounding title was anything but mundane; it had a truly creepy tone.

As a mythology buff like you (if with far less knowledge of DC Comics), I also enjoyed the explanation of Cadmus Labs' name, evoking the story of the dragon teeth.

(And I got a kick out of the line you quoted where someone's pointing out the peculiarity of "Speedy" being a name for an archery-themed person rather than a super-fast-themed person.)

Todd Jensen

And so it begins...
Watched the first episode of Young Justice today, "Independence Day." Every good series opener really needs to grab the viewer's attention as soon as possible, especially in animation when you have a limited amount of time. I think what the show did well in its first few minutes was establish the world and the main characters; we get a pretty good gist about what our central heroes are about just in their introduction. Robin's playfulness, Speedy's no-nonsense attitude contrasting against the more laid-back Green Arrow, Aqualad focused and serious and Kid Flash's excited but impatient mood. You get pretty much everything you need to know about who they right off the get-go.

Another important thing that's established is that even though they maybe friends they're definitely not a unit yet. And a good deal of that comes from the fact that while they may be good friends they haven't really worked together; even taking aside Speedy's ragequit Robin and KF are quick to runoff and do their own thing without communicating, even when it's just rescuing civilians from a burning building. And this becomes an even bigger problem when they break into Cadmus and find themselves fighting Guardian, the genomorphs and Superboy. A part of this does come down to their mentors; as will see, the Justice League is a team and works together but they lack a certain togetherness that our heroes will eventually build. Both hero and sidekick are used to the doubles act rather than as a group.

Cadmus is an interesting nut because of the many interpretations its had in various media, usually as a US government power bloc or like in the Justice League series, an anti-Justice League. By the way, I'll be making plenty of comparisons to other DC-related shows like Justice League and see how one may have done something better. Anyway, Cadmus returns to its roots as "independent" genetics lab like in the comics and the ones being responsible for the creation of Superboy. I like the creepy horror theme that accompanies it. The hallways being dark and foreboding, the walls in the lowest levels seemingly made of living tissue where the genomorphs grow. Even watching Guardian's brain be controlled is unnerving.

Greg has openly stated that "secrets and lies" is the major theme of the series and we get our first look at that just from the fact that neither the public nor the sidekicks are aware of the fact that the Justice League has a secret base orbiting in space, even Aqualad the most dutiful of the protégés is left wondering what the adults are hiding. And then there's what Cadmus itself is doing, creating a veritable army of inhuman creatures, and for what purpose. And who are the Cadmus board of directors that could spook someone as arrogant and unpleasant as Dr. Desmond.

I also have to bring up the action because it is phenomenal, seriously the best I've seen in any DC related project. The Team's battle against Guardian and the genomorphes, the fight against Superboy. It's everything I loved about Spectacular Spider-Man cranked up to eleven.

Some final thoughts: I'm loving the design for the Hall of Justice, you could totally believe it to be the HQ of such legendary figures like Superman. Still reminds me of the the Cincinnati Union Terminal but with a futuristic, art deco look. Like what people in the 40's-50's believed architecture would look like in the future. Batman wanting a debrief on the coincidence of four ice villains attacking at the same time is kinda funny if you know just how many ice-themed villains there are in DC comics, an overlap was bound to happen. Aqualad's waterbearers are just cool to watch. And Kaldur? Well you can see why he was put into the comics before the show had even properly aired, the guy is just awesome. As a mythology nut I like that they referenced the myth of Cadmus creating the Spartoi from dragon's teeth. And finally, we see the the first of the arc numbers 52 and 16 this episode which we're sure to see more of.

Acting MVP: Something new I'm doing. Giving praise to the actor or actors who deliver an outstanding performance in the episode. Today it goes to the late, great René Auberjonois as Dr. Desmond, and bringing another Star Trek actor in. I swear the man made grumpiness into an artform.

Favorite Lines:
Bystander 1: I see Flash and Flash Junior!
Bystander 2: His name's Speedy.
Bystander 3: No, Speedy's Green Arrow's sidekick.
Bystander 2: Well that makes no sense.

Kid Flash: Have all four sidekicks ever been in the same place at the same time?
Speedy: DON'T call us sidekicks. Not after today.
Kid Flash: Sorry. First time at the Hall, I'm a little overwhelmed.
Robin: You're overwhelmed, Freeze was underwhelmed. Why isn't anyone ever just whelmed?

Fireman: It's what's-his-name, Flash Boy!
Kid Flash: Kid! Flash! Why's that so hard?

Aqualad: [sarcastically] Nooo, nothing odd going on here.

Robin: No signal.
Kid Flash: We're in too deep. Literally.

Desmond: You realize that once we get in there, they can never leave.
Guardian: Doc, these aren't your typical "meddling kids." You don't want to get on the wrong side of the Justice League.
Desmond: Better than getting on the wrong side of the Cadmus board of directors believe me.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________


Also there's been this one channel I keep up with since few years back. That Long Haired Creepy Guy..

He and his costar have reviewed episode by episode shows such as Jen and The Hologram, Batman The Animated Series and DuckTales (1987), X-Men, Spider-Man.

Plus going through the Garfield specials and various incarnations of Scooby Doo.

It's been their plan to review Gargoyles after Jem which has finally been completed.

But they made an exception last year on Halloween with the pilot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqvQE4pQ7s

But yeah gave it a like (especially to help it get more exposure).



Should have been "death of Findlaech at Gillecomgain's hands".
Todd Jensen


"Young Justice" hasn't grabbed me as much as "Gargoyles" did, but it has one quality I'd particularly like to praise here. I'm not an expert on DC Comics, and a lot of the characters in that series were entirely new to me. But I always got a sense of who they were, understood the essentials about them. Whenever anything about them was mysterious or unknown, it was meant to be that way. Take the team, for example: the only one of them I knew anything about from outside the series was Robin, but I got a sense of each one's nature and character. I think that's a very good quality indeed, making it accessible to someone unfamiliar with the source material.

Incidentally, I don't know if anyone's brought it up yet, but this year is exactly a thousand years since the death of Findlaech and Gillecomgain's hands and the first crossing of paths between Macbeth and Demona.

Todd Jensen



I figure that Young Justice will be what's covered next, if anyone else wants to take point they're more than welcome to, otherwise I'll cover the two-part series opener this week.

Insert Inspirational Quote Here:________

"The suspense is terrible, I hope it lasts" -- Willy Wonka